Greatest Ground Game of all Time!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Limpinhitter, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    I wish I could agree with you but yesterday on Eurosport, they called Raonic the "new Pete Sampras"

    Andy Murray was outplayed by ‘New Pete Sampras’ Milos Raonic as the Scot was eliminated in straight sets from the quarter-finals of ATP Barcelona.

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/27042012/58/murray-dumped-raonic.html
     
  2. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Wow, that is pretty extreme. I would like to think of it as more Raonic overhype than downplaying Sampras and pigeonholing him as mostly a dominant serve, but unfortunately it probably is some of both in that case.
     
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Very well said. And thanks for the support. In his prime, Sampras' groundies were massive. His lack of major championship success on clay was due to his "first strike" mindset, which is not amenable to winning majors on clay, especially against grinders who could absorb Sampras' power and keep the ball coming back indefinitely. But, reading some commments (moreso in another thread), in which posters are literally laughing at the notion that Sampras' groundies, and his backhand in particular, were somehow not even in the same league as Federer's, is sad and, IMO, uninformed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Or, maybe they were just implying that Raonic had world class speed and a crippling running forehand. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    What did Nasty do in the 1973 Davis Cup, the second-biggest event of 1973? (the US Open was the biggest, with Newk dominating, just as he did in the Davis Cup).
     
  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And a not so good backhand.
     
  7. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Andre Agassi....and no one comes close.
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What´s Newcombe vs Nastase record? Maybe Mustard will enlighten us...

    Davis Cup was not as important in the 70´s due to the proliferation of pro events and exos.It´s gone downhill ever since, with most players missing it or not giving it a continuated effort.
     
  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^The ATP has the H2H at 0-4 for Nastase. But it's a pretty incomplete list, with no Davis Cup.
     
  10. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Newcombe and Nastase never met in Davis Cup, Newk was banned from 1967 to 1973. The personal head to head is quite lopsided in favour of Nastase. Newcombe never could figure out Nastase's style. That said, Nastase did great in virtually every head to head with the best of his time, even against Connors and in his younger years against Borg. The only losing head to head was i think Okker, and Nasty was about equal with Smith. And he struggled in his early matches with his idol Rosewall - maybe due to his utmost respect.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Virtually identical to Federer's backhand!
     
  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Please read (or re-read as the case may be), the OP and consider editing your post!
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, Nastase was better than Newcombe in every aspect of the game except one - mental toughness. If they met in a major final, Newombe would probably have the edge.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I remember watching in awe as Nastase dismantled Newcombe in one of the matches in the Year End Masters. Newcombe hit a strong smash that Nastase leaped up and smashed Newcombe's smash passed a stunned Newcombe.

    I wouldn't say that Nastase was superior in every aspect of the game. Newcombe had the clearly superior serve and his volley on both sides in my opinion were more penetrating. Newcombe may have and that's debatable since Nastase had one of the strongest forehands in tennis a better forehand.

    Nastase was an incredible talent and would have been a top player in any era. His hand speed, anticipation, foot speed was incredible. And of course he had fabulous touch.
     
  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I disagree. Nastase had a better serve and a better forehand, Newcombe's best shots. In 72-74, Nastase was considered to have the best serve in tennis. He was a master of spin and could hit heavy topspin or slice on both sides. Nastase had more power, and more touch (Newcombe's true strength), in every aspect of the game. Further, he was the faster, more gifted, athlete. What he didn't have was the singular focus to win championships every time the opportunity presented itself, that Newcombe did have.
     
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Limpinhitter,

    Needless to say I disagree but if you feel that way that fine with me. Nastase is one of the most brilliant athletes and talents in the history of tennis. I have always said that I would love to see a Nastase fully focused (that may be impossible by the way) playing Federer on any surface. It would be fun to see both reaching shots that almost no player could reach and the great replies to great shots.

    Any opinions on a Nastase versus Federer match at their peaks on various surfaces? A peak Nastase in my opinion had no weaknesses.
     
  17. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I agree his temperament was ill suited, not his strokes . Both wings produced plenty of margin and spin, as well as pop. I never had the feeling he felt real confident in his movement on clay either, I suspect it distracted some from his concentration in the rallies. Same guy was dominant on slower hard court events. Roger moves fluidly on clay.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    While Newcombe was clearly the better server and volleyer, he was not as fast not as complete at Nastase, who mastered the spins, paces and shots at the backcourt as well as a Rosewall...Nastase was better at the net than Newcombe ( who had a great forehand but mostly for approaching to the net) was at the backcourt.Newcombe, however was menthally tougher.If Smith was able to beat Nastase at the 1972 Wimbledon final, I have little doubts that Newcombe ( a superior player to Smith) would have also won his thrid straight Wimbledon title.But on clay or even indoors, I´d give Nastase the edge on any day.
     
  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Federer and Nastase both had amazingly efficient, seemingly effortless mobility. IMO, Federer would have a winning record against Nastase on hard courts by a pretty comfortable margin. Grass would be much closer. Clay was probably Nastase's best surface. On clay, Nastase would have a winning record.
     
  20. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    In the 1973 Davis Cup, he lost a five-set match to Smith, and Newk beat Smith in a great five-set encounter in the next round.
    Edge to Newk in the big ones.
    Nasty had a poor record in big events after 1972, but won every two-bit event in sight in 1973. Not even close to Newk that year.
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Nastase won an event called the French Open,another event called the Italian Open and another event called the Year End Masters. He also won Monte Carlo, Madrid and a host of other tournaments. He was agreed to be clearly the best player in the world that year by most experts. Nastase won 15 tournaments that year to Newcombe's three.

    Newcombe was excellent at the Australian and the US Open. He didn't do much in between. Nastase was great all year.

    Newcombe was fabulous in Australia's Davis Cup run with Laver and Rosewall. He defeated Smith as you mentioned in a great opening match. Smith was serving a second serve at break point in the fifth set. Newcombe moved way around into to threaten to hit his forehand in the ad court. Smith went for the ace down the middle and missed. The double fault give the match to Newcombe. Newcombe was also brilliant in the doubles agains Smith and Erik Van Dillen but was overshadowed by an even more brilliant Rod Laver who was in the zone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't know about that; it seems almost every time I read a report from one of Newcombe's matches, they're talking about the damage he did with his serve. And when he beat Kodes at the '73 USO, Kodes called Newk's serve the best he had ever seen (he had played Nastase many times).

    In the '72 Wimbledon final Stan Smith was pouncing on Nastase's second serve right from the start.

    Which I think is particularly significant considering that Newk's second serve has been regarded as one of the best in history.

    Forehand, yes, I'd take Nastase.

    Nastase's volleys did not penetrate the way that Newcombe's did. Whoever had the better serve, Newk was clearly the better serve-and-volleyer.

    And Nastase was clearly the better defender, no question. On clay his best tennis was probably much better than Newcombe's.
     
  23. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    C'mon, this is a joke! Nasty won a bunch of doodley-boop events, against guys like Karl Meilor and Paul Gerken (we saw this group tour Canada, no tennis hotbed).
    Nasty stunk at Forest Hills, the number one tournament by a huge margin, and he lost a big one to Smith in Davis Cup in five sets, Smith being the WCT champ.
    Who attended the French that year? The Italian? Nasty folded in the big ones.
    The year-end Masters had no final, as Newk deliberately avoided serving out against Okker, and his leg injury prevented a season-ending match with Nasty (on which I would bet money on Newk).
     
  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    You try to diminish Nastase's win over Gerken, but you don't realize that Newcombe lost to Paul Gerken that year.

    Glad you mentioned the strength of the fields. Let's go to the AO that Newcombe won, which you've said nothing about. Only two of the year-end Top 10 players attended. The 1973 French Open, which you suggest was poorly attended, was actually one of the better attended French Opens: only two of the Top Ten were missing.

    You seem to make up stuff without even bothering to check the facts.

    You ask about Rome. Easy enough to check. Nastase defeated Orantes and Kodes, maybe you've heard of them.

    Nastase also had multiple wins over Panatta on clay, and other claycourt victories over Orantes and Kodes. He beat Borg in the Monte Carlo final, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Had wins on fast courts over Stan Smith and Connors, and Newcombe.

    Nastase won his only meeting with Newcombe that year, at the Masters.

    And regardless of who you think would have won in the final, we can only go by actual achievements. Not what-ifs.

    Almost everyone chose Nastase as #1 for the year, and you consider it a joke?
     
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    And, he continues to do it over, and over again, even after his misrepresentations and/or false premises have been shown to him.
     
  26. brettsticker86

    brettsticker86 Rookie

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    you're kidding right? sampras' backhand as good as Feds??? can't take you seriously now
     
  27. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Thanks for all of your thoughtful input and assistance. It's knowledgeable, insightful, factually supported posts like yours that make trying to compile such a list so interesting and rewarding.
     
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Is this like the "mickey mouse tourneys" that Vilas won?

     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Newcombe was called by Jack Kramer, Arthur Ashe and John Alexander among others as having the best serve in the game in the early to mid 1970's. Nastase had super anticipation at the net but as you wrote his volleys didn't have the penetration of Newcombe's. The second serve of Newcombe's has been called the best in history.

    I can testify that Newcombe could serve and volley against perhaps anyone in history on grass. In 1973 I saw Newcombe win in straights against a pretty good returner call Jimmy Connors at the US Open. Connors did not break serve once during the match.

    When Kramer made his list of the best strokes in tennis history I think that on second serve he wrote something like "Newcombe by far."

    Rex Bellamy described Newcombe's second serve as "the most consistently damaging I have seen in 30 years" in his book "Love Thirty."
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  30. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, and Bellamy wrote: "Nastase for my pleasure, Newcombe for my life!" Nastase had great hands, but his volley had not enough length and power. Newk's volley, especially his forehand volley was more a volley drive, and deadly. Nastase was faster, and had extraordinary athletic ability. His overhead was maybe the best (alongside Noah). His groundies, although not having that much weight, were more consistent than Newcombe's. Newcombe forehand on the return was feared however. The Aussies didn't want to play Nastase due to his antics. Maybe that explains the bad head to head with Newcombe.
     
  31. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You said it yourself, Nasty's only win over Newk was in a preliminary round-robin at the Masters, the type of match where you assess and measure your opponent in preparation for the final.
    Sure, Nasty was great on clay that year, but in the biggest events, Forest Hills, Wimbledon, Davis Cup, all of which carried more prestige than the Masters (have you noticed that the successor to the Masters often excludes the top guys in the final, do they really care about this event?), he seemed to wilt, perhaps because of the pressure.
    Nasty was a nut case. In the 1975 Canadian Open final, which I watched, he played superbly against Orantes until he got a bad call (he thought) in the tie-break (actually a good call), and sulked the rest of the way, making no attempt to return routine shots. This wasn't a tank, it was a spoiled brat making a protest. Nasty was fined by the tennis council, which included Hoad, for lack of effort. (Hoad himself did not always give 100%, but at least he would make some effort.)
     
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Newcombe is not losing to access his opponent. He lost fair and square to Nastase. You may access your opponent if you qualify for the next round even if you lose but I don't think this was the case.

    Here's the head to head between Nastase and Newcombe according to the ATP website. As you can see it's not Nastase's only win over Newcombe.
    1974 Masters
    Australia Grass S Nastase, Ilie
    6-3, 7-6, 6-2
    1973 Masters
    MA, U.S.A. Carpet RR Nastase, Ilie
    7-5, 6-3
    1971 Wembley
    England Hard Q Nastase, Ilie
    9-7, 6-5
    1971 Richmond
    VA, USA Hard S Nastase, Ilie
    6-2, 4-6, 7-6

    Incidentally the last meeting in 1974 was the Masters Semi in order to get to the final against Vilas. I don't think Newcombe was accessing Nastase.

    Please check your information.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Urban, thank you for quoting Bellamy. That is one of my favorite tennis quotes. I totally agree with your descriptions of Newcombe and Nastase.

    When I watch Nastase played Newcombe in the Masters semi in 1974 I was in awe at some of Nastase's shotmaking. He made the spectacular seem routine.

    Arthur Ashe called Newcombe's first volley the best in tennis. While Nastase was great on clay, Newcombe wasn't too bad either. He won a number of top clay tournaments including the Italian Open in 1969 and the Canadian Open in 1971.

    Even though we are debating the relative merits of both Newcombe and Nastase they will no doubt both were great all around players capable of winning against anyone on any surfaces.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  34. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Back to the task at hand, is anyone nominating Newcombe for a place on the list of greatest ground game?
     
  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I wouldn't put him there because I felt his backhand wasn't a weapon but he was, with his all around skills an excellent clay court player.
     
  36. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Not a chance, as Lloyd once said, "His backhand couldn't break an egg"
     
  37. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Actually, his touch backhand was very good. And, he could hit with pace when he wanted to. But, it seems he rarely did.
     
  38. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I checked the 1973 French, and Nasty got the weakest path through to the title of anyone in the field, beating Taylor, Gorman, Pilic in the final three rounds (in earlier rounds, nobodies). This does not inspire confidence.
    Newcombe had a tougher time with Onny Parun and Proissy at the Aussie Open that year.
    Karl Meiler upset Rosewall in the Australian Open and reached the semifinals, so my apologies for questioning his ability.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  39. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    So, now, Parun and Proissy are tougher competition than Pilic, Taylor and Gorman? I suppose this is consistent with all of your prior premises.
     
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    To be fair John Lloyd did play Newcombe at the end of his career but even in his prime it was the greatest. It was a consistent backhand which he could hit with decent pace. It fit in with his excellent game.
     
  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nastase lost a Davis Cup match to Stan Smith, in five sets, a respectable result. But the tie had already been decided. It's not a meaningless result, but in terms of pressure it's nowhere near the Slams, or the Masters, or live rubbers in Davis Cup. Weren't you asking above whether Tilden's victory over Lacoste was in a dead rubber?

    In a decisive 5th rubber against the Netherlands in May, Nastase flattened Tom Okker, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. There's a little pressure for you, and an impressive victory considering Tom was enjoying the best year of his career (won 7 titles and reached #4 in the world).

    Nastase did go out early at Wimbledon and Forest Hills. Newcombe, however, went out in the first round of the French Open, in straight sets, to Milan Holocek (career high ranking of 71). He also lost in his opening match at Rome. That's hardly a clean record in big events.

    Even in Davis Cup, which you're valuing so highly, Newcombe lost a live rubber to Jiri Hrebec of Czechoslovakia (on grass at Kooyong!) Nastase by contrast won all of his matches in Davis Cup except the dead rubber against Stan Smith.

    Then you turn to the overall record and it ceases to be a contest. Newcombe took just 3 titles, compared to Nastase's 14 (per Bud Collins it was 17). And we've already established how many good players Nastase beat throughout the year.
     
  42. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Just for interest sake, who defeated Nasty at Wimbledon and Forest Hills (definitely the two biggest tourneys)? Some giant of the game?
    In the Davis Cup semifinal, whom did he play besides Smith?
    Nasty's 14 titles together don't add up to the Forest Hills that year (I still say Nasty had an easy run at the French).
    I give Tilden credit for the 1928 DC win over Lacoste, but Tilden's lifetime against Lacoste ON CLAY (which was the issue) doesn't compare to Hoad's lifetime ON CLAY against Rosewall, which appears to be a winning record for Hoad.
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.Newcombe, as mighty as he might seem to be, relied a lot on touch and placement.His heavy forehand ( more because of the angles than raw speed) and his sliced and dinky backhand were very good shots.I agree, however, that his backhand was not a major weapon, but it did help him keep the ball in play, placing it deep and low and chip and come in, where he felt completely at ease.
     
  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Your are completely biassed.Pilic was a better player than Parun, I´d say by far, and Gorman was pretty better than Proisy.

    I am a very heavy pro australian tennis ever, but your comments are extremely biassed.

    Newcombe was one of my favourite players but so was Nastase.They both had a very good 1973, but the H2H proves that Ilie mastered John, at least when they palyed each other.
     
  45. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Newcombe was known for playing at a higher level in the major tournaments. Nasty was known for playing at a lower level in the major events. No comparison.
     
  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In this I can agree.But Nastase had the record for YEC titles, that is, beating the most qualified competition ever¡¡¡ only a genious could do that.Smith,Ashe,Newcombe,Borg,Rosewall and Laver were beaten by Nastase at the hardest competition´s field.
     
  47. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    The YEC has never had the prestige or significance of Wimbledon or US Open.
     
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nasty owned Newc head to head.
     
  49. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Nasty never played well enough in a major to meet Newk when it really counted. Do you know who beat Nasty at Wimbledon and Forest Hills in 1973? Guys you probably never heard of. This doesn't cut it.
     
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Dann Lobb is just pulling it out of his rear, again.

    BTW, peak Gorman was even better than Pilic, IMO. He had a bad back that hampered him and shortened his career. But, his game was complete, and when healthy, he was supremely confident.
     

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