Greatest Ground Game of all Time!

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

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Turn to beach volley since you are completley clueless on tennis...

    Kodes scored wins against guys that would toy with hewitt on ( true grass) fast grass like Newcombe and Smith.he won Wimbledon in a field that had 2 times finalist Ilie Nastase, 2 times champion Jimmy Connors...and 5 times CONSECUTIVE champion Bjorn Borg...

    Hewitt never got even close to be a RG contender, which Jan won twice.And Kodes played , and beat the likes of Laver,Rosewall,Ashe,Orantes,Gimeno...but, as I said, since you are clueless, you probably never heard of them...much less seeing them life...
     
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    have you ever thought that a top player may suck because the other just doesn´t let him/her in? that is exactly what happened at that final, Rosewall ahd defeated in 4 sets Laver the former year.

    and, please, don´t compare a regular event like Hamburg ( Nadal was death in the third set and, as it happened in the YEC at London, he just threw away the final set) to a GS title...
     
  3. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    nastatse bombed out, connors and borg not in their primes and lost before the semis predictably ..... his toughest opponent was roger taylor, LOL!!

    hewitt toyed around with the greatest grass courter ( so far ) - sampras and beat him twice on grass , bah .....( including one year in which he won wimbledon - 2000 )

    you are clueless ....

    and hewitt has beaten federer, nadal, djoker, agassi, sampras , kuerten ,rafter , safin etc etc ..you dumbo ..

    laver, rosewall owned Kodes, so did Connors and Borg later on ... LOL

    I already said Kodes was better than hewitt on clay, didn't I ? just pointed out that hewitt's biggest win on clay - kuerten in davis cup is a far more impressive win than any of Kodes' on clay

    but then hewitt is by some distance better on grass and of course wayyyyyy better on HC ......
     
  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You mean, Hewitt beat oldies and almost done Sampras and Agassi? yes, i agree.he did.and Nadal and Djokovic were far from their prime when the australian baseline moonballer beat them..oh¡ but he beat mental giant Tim Henman a thrillion times¡¡¡ bah...

    BTW, I know he beat sampras at Queen´s.Queen´s is a minor event that is mainly used for tunning up purposals...
     
  5. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    it doesn't happen when the better CC ( rosewall ) is in good form ...

    rosewall sucked in that final ...

    nadal just got outplayed , plain and simple .... was nadal tired in the 1st set at YEC, become untired in the 2nd and again tired in the 3rd ? LOL .....

    if anything federer toyed with him more from the baseline in the first set than in the 3rd .... he hit something like 17 winners to 3 from nadal ...

    and the final set at hamburg was near-perfect tennis from federer , nadal was still doing some marvelous gets ....
     
  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver was untouchable all through 1969, achieving what no other player has.

    Nadal and Federer played at the FO final a couple of weeks after their Hamburg match...remember what happened?
     
  7. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    D Crealy took Laver to 5 sets at the FO in R2 ......yet Rosewall can't take one set off him ? LOL ..... what else does it imply other than that Rosewall was off-colour ...

    federer won wimbledon in 2009 , yet sucked from R1 in wimbledon in 2010, nearly losing to falla in R1 and finally lost to berdych in QF ...

    similarly rosewall won FO in 68, but was pretty off-colour in the final vs laver in FO in 69 ( actually in general in 69 ) ...

    it was a close 4-setter which nadal edged out as he was in better form than he was in hamburg and federer choked away BPs ...
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg and Connors did reach 1973 W QF.If Nasty lost before that, so what...he entered the event.

    Kodes confirmed his great W win by making it to the US open Final, losing in an extremely close match to the best player of that era, John Newcombe, after defeating Stan Smith, who was the general favourite.

    Hewitt never played a grass court great at Wimbledon.Nalbandian is a honest grass courter, but his place in the final makes 2002 W the weakest since open era started
     
  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here's my latest. See if you can figure out who I added.

    Roger Federer
    Bjorn Borg
    Jimmy Conners
    Ralph Nadal
    Rod Laver
    Novak Djokovic
    Andre Agassi
    Ivan Lendl
    Don Budge
    Ken Rosewall
    Pete Sampras
    Mats Wilander
    Gustavo Kuerten
    Jim Courier
    Thomas Muster
    Bill Tilden
    Pancho Gonzales
    Guillermo Vilas
    Marat Safin
    Ilie Nastase
    Pancho Segura
    John McEnroe
    Bobby Riggs
    Tony Trabert
    Michael Chang

    PS: I also flipped Courier and Kuerten. Not totally committed, though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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  12. ctromano

    ctromano Rookie

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    I think that "ground" game wise "Djoker" & "Nads" have that covered, but as far as all around game goes... Fed is the winner, he looks so "easy going" and then again the grinder is Muster for sure, he could hit all day all night and then sit in a chair and hit some more. but I like Graf for her tactic ground game, I think that is why Agassi married her because only she could move someone side to side like he could.
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Do you think Djoko and Nadal have better ground games than Federer did between 2004-2007? Remember, ground game doesn't just mean groundstrokes. Movement, footwork, tactical effectiveness, every aspect of the groundgame, is included. If only grounstrokes were the criteria, I'd still put Agassi on top.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    By your definition, Bobby Riggs perhaps should be higher on the list. He had the groundies to neutralize a slightly past prime Budge, he had an excellent serve return, he had control, drop shots, some power, changes of pace, footwork and he could volley. He was great in every area you mentioned here.

    Bill Tilden probably should be in the top five as would Rosewall. Does anyone have better footwork and movement than Rosewall? He also seemed to know where his opponent would place his shot before his opponent did. Rosewall arguably had the best backhand and the best return ever.
     
  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Where would you put him? Who would you put Riggs over? Over Budge?

    IMO, Tilden was a bit unbalanced, and, as great as his footwork was, it wasn't at the level of Federer or Nadal who can play most of the court with their strength without penalty. If you want him moved up, make a suggestion keeping in mind who you're putting below him.

    Rosewall had a great ground game, but, would you put it over Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Connors, Borg, Laver, Agassi, Lendl and Budge? If you really think so, I'll make the move. But, Rosewall's biggest strength was his mental toughness, even moreso than his ground game, IMO.

    PS: PC1! You there!

    PPS: I think PC1 is mad at me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No I'm not mad I've been out all day. Believe it or not I have a life outside of this thread. lol.

    It's so hard to interpret what you mean by ground game. Tilden's was strong on backhand and forehand. That's hardly imbalanced. Federer and Nadal are probably more imbalance than Tilden. He could volley and his variety of power and spin was incredible. He could play an opponent in an infinite amount of ways. He had great touch also. Tilden was also considered up there with anyone in footwork and mobility along with Fred Perry. The man was virtually invincible with his ground game.

    Also with Rosewall, if mental strength is all it takes for Rosewall to win, perhaps Chris Evert should be in the top five also. Rosewall's anticipation and footwork plus his variety of great groundies, superb volleys, lobs, great groundies were perhaps unmatched. How do you think he won 23 majors (including Pro Majors)over guys like Gonzalez, Hoad, Segura and Laver by just mental strength?? Of course not.

    My question to you is what is your definition of ground game on this thread.


    By the way I interpret it I believe Rosewall and Tilden should be in the top five over Laver, Sampras, Federer and many others. But your definition may change that. It's your thread. You made the rules and I'm trying to figure out what players fit with the definitions.
     
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Thing is, some of these players like Sampras, Laver and Federer also have superb serves to help them out when they are in big trouble. Rosewall didn't have the huge serve. Tilden did but he often did not use it, often preferring to play cat and mouse with his opponents.
     
  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here's my OP:

     
  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Don't underestimate Rosewall's serve. It was called a powderpuff that you couldn't attack. Too much disguise and placement.
     
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Okay let's look at Rosewall. In his prime and during his career he is arguably the GOAT. I've seen Rosewall many times in person. He was amazing in his awesome footwork and mobility, along with Borg perhaps the best I've seen. His anticipation was extraordinary. He often seemed to know when his opponent was going to hit his shot before his opponent did. He was about as consistent as can be. He wasn't nicknamed the Doomsday Stroking Machine for nothing. He had great versatility in that he could hit the ball early with good power (not used as much in later years), lob, change pace and somehow hit great angles despite the fact he hit so flat. And Rosewall had one of the best volleys of all time. He could take floaters in the air and put them away for winners. Players don't do that nowadays.

    Yes his serve is underrated but it also wasn't exactly a shot like Sampras or Federer. He couldn't count on it to win games automatically for him like it sometimes seemed for Pete Sampras. How do you think he won, by mental strengtha alone? You have to make the shots and Muscles did that so well.

    I'll discuss Tilden later. Can't do it now because I have to play today before I rush back to see the French Open Men's final.

    One of the little clues for greatest ground game would be on the return of serve, percentage of breaking serve. Federer's been good in his career but hardly as great as Djokovic, Nadal, Murray or Coria. Same with Sampras. Pete's never been as good as Agassi or Chang. Guys like Borg, Rosewall, Connors were incredible at breaking serve.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    When you discuss Bill Tilden, you realize this is another player who is arguably the GOAT, in fact in a poll of writers in 1969 Tilden was named top tennis player ever over greats like Laver, Budge, Kramer, Gonzalez.

    Tilden did have a big serve but he often spun the first serve in, preferring to use his great variety of shots to baffle his opponents from the baseline. His forehand has often been ranked among the best of all time. Tilden's backhand was considered to be an excellent shot with variety and power. It was a great passing shot also.

    The man was considered to be one of the best movers of all time. They said he was like a dancer on the court.

    Yes I do think Tilden belongs in the top five and easily.
     
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I never watched Tilden ( I am not that old), but I have always tried to figure out which of the players of the last 50 years would rassemble him the most.I just don´t think there is any that would be a modern version ( even with less quality) of Big Bill.Any idea?
     
  23. Ramon

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    It's very hard to compare sports figures of different eras. Tilden was a tall guy with a big ground game who could move. I think a close modern comparison would be Djokovic.
     
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Budge would be close to Connors.Gonzales, in a way, to Sampras.Laver, in a way, to young Federer.Hoad to Mc Enroe ( but to a certain extent).Perry to Courier.Kramer to Becker or Edberg.But Tilden?
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    what do have Lendl,Connors and Borg, 3 of the best ever baseliners, have in common? they all were beaten by the best John Mc Enroe, on a row, at the 1980 US Open.so much for tough draws¡¡¡
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Tilden was unique in tennis. The GOAT candidates generally are. Laver, Hoad, Rosewall, Gonzalez, Borg are all unique players.

    You would have to have a big server who had a very strong forehand and backhand. Great variety on his shots, great movement, stamina and power if he needed it.

    Laver had all the variety of shots but he played a different game than Tilden so did all the others I can think of.
     
  27. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You have to understand that, unlike others on TT, when I compare players from different eras, I try to compare them on an absolute basis and make an adjustment for equipment. For example, I'm not trying to compare Tilden's ground game against his opponents to Nadal's ground game against his opponents. I'm comparing Tilden's ground game against Nadal's ground game. Obviously, it's much easier for me to make that kind of an assessment for players I've actually seen play. For others, like Tilden, I have to go by what I've read and seen from online video.

    In that context, I wouldn't put Tilden's ground game in the same tier as Federer, Sampras, Laver, Borg, Gonzales, Djokovic, Nadal, Agassi, Lendl, Connors or even Budge. I'd say Tilden's forehand was probably better than Budge's. But, Budge's backhand was a bigger advantage over Tilden's backhand, IMO. I could be wrong, but, I think his backhand would be more exploitable against those players than theirs would be for him. Tilden's forehand was a major weapon, especially his spin versatility, which is all but extinct in tennis today. But, his backhand was not as strong or versatile as his forehand. I do think he could be very competitive in any era, perhaps a top player. But, realistically, do you really think his ground game overall was better than those I listed above him? If so, be specific. Tell me why.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  28. Limpinhitter

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    I've seen Rosewall live as well. Not as much as Laver, but, enough to compare. Rosewall was more consistent than Laver in terms of bringing his "A" game to the court every single day, that I'll give you. But, IMO, when Laver was on, which he usually was, Laver's ground game was superior to Rosewall's in every respect, except his backhand slice, and Laver's slice was perhaps the second greatest of all time. Laver was faster, stronger, more explosive, hit harder, with heavy topspin on both sides and much sharper angles which I've heard referred to as "strictly Laverian." Simply put, when Laver was on, Rosewall had no chance. I think I've read where Rosewall said as much. And the only 2 players I've seen with better return games than Laver were Connors (once in a match against Rosewall), and Agassi, and not by much.

    Now, you may protest that I'm conflating Laver's whole game with his ground game. But, think about this, how much of an advantage did Laver have on serve? A little. At the net? Maybe none. And Rosewall, arguably, had the greatest smash of all time.

    So, with that in mind, please pick a spot.
     
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think Laver had more than a little advantage on serve. More power and spin plus he was a lefty. Remember when you saw Rosewall, he was but a shadow of what he used to be. Rosewall was at his peak in the late 1950's to around mid, maybe a little pass mid 1960's.

    Do we include transition game to the net in this ground game thread? If that's the case guys like Rosewall and Laver get a huge plus over guys like Agassi. Connors and Borg get a huge boost also as does Sampras.
     
  30. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    If Tilden was a tennis player in this era, do you think he would have played the way he did in the 20s?
    You really can't compare them on an absolute scale, it's totally wrong...
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  31. pc1

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    That's interesting that you write that Budge has an overall advantage over Tilden when you consider backhand and forehand because most who saw both play didn't think that. And it's clear Tilden had a decent edge in total mobility. Tilden won over 93 percent of his matches over a 19 year period during a time they relied on groundies from 1912 to 1930. I think his ground game overall was more than just pretty effective for his time.

    I believe the best Budge ever did in one year was about an average year for Tilden, perhaps slightly better. In other years I don't think Budge could match Tilden for winning percentage.

    Even Budge's comtempories in Vines and Perry thought Tilden could be better than Budge. Perry definitely thought so and Vines thought it was very possible. In fact Vines wrote he never saw a player who could do more off both sides than Tilden. And remember Vines played Tilden on a tour when Tilden was 41, way past his prime.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  32. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    Monica Seles
     
  33. Limpinhitter

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    I saw Rosewall in 69' against Ashe and in 74' against Connors. I wouldn't say he was a shaddow of his former self in either case. He won 4 majors from 68'-71', and he was in the Wimbledon and USO finals in 74', and was ranked ATP#2 in 75' if I remember correctly.

    Transition game? Hmmm! I think those are groundstrokes too. Today's players don't really play a transition game, they cream everything above the net.
     
  34. Limpinhitter

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    From what I've read and seen, Tilden's game was very much like the modern game. Although, I think he would take a bigger, harder swing at the ball with a modern frame.
     
  35. Limpinhitter

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    I'm not saying Budge was better than Tilden. I'm saying that, IMO, his ground game, as a whole, was better. In fact, I would rank Budge's ground game about 4th in the wood racquet era arguably behind only Laver, Borg and perhaps Connors. Perhaps also Rosewall, but, that's a very difficult call. BTW, as you know, Kramer picked Budge as the GOAT.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes Kramer did but while Kramer's opinions, while they should be respected and considered do tend to lean toward his friends and Budge was his very good friend. Kramer has put Ted Schoeder on the same level as Laver which to say is shocking is an understatement.

    Kramer put Budge, Tilden, Vines, Perry, Riggs and Gonzalez along with Cochet and Lacoste in the top tier. I believe he put Budge first, Vines second and Perry third.

    Nevertheless Kramer's choices for the top are reasonable. I can see them in the top level.

    Budge over Tilden for a better ground game isn't bad. Some do feel that way and it's your thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  37. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    In 1941 Budge was 26, Tilden was 48...
    they went on tour and Tilden won 7 of 53 matches... this is pretty impressive in my opinion...
    he was 22 years older, well past his prime, and he was still able to win a match every 7-8 that he played against a young & dominant world no. 1...
     
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with you. I believe Tilden was a clearly better player in his prime and had the better ground game over Budge. What I was writing was thar it was not the worst choice to pick Budge over Tilden.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  39. krosero

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    Budge could not really be called dominant at that time. That tour with Tilden, at the start of '41, was Budge's first competitive tennis since being hospitalized with scarlet fever and strep throat in October 1940.

    Tilden's performance was great, though I tend to view that less as a mark against Budge than as proof of Tilden's longevity. That same year Tilden took at least 5 matches from Perry (who was in fact world no. 1 that year) in a tour that was shorter than the one he had played against Tilden.
     
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It does make you wonder who the greatest 50 year old tennis player was. Was it Tilden? Perhaps John McEnroe now. I would go with Tilden. Beating Perry and Budge among others is something.

    Of course Tilden was so good that he could be argue to be the best in his twenties, thirties and forties also as would be the case with some others like Gonzalez and Rosewall.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  41. BTURNER

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    Sorry, she did not prove that ground game effective enough on fast grass compared to either Evert, or Graf, both of whom had established their strokes work well on all surfaces. Not Monica's fault per se because her career was effectively shortened, but can't give her grass titles using those groundies,she did not earn. Great ground game can be readiliy modified to work on clay, hard or grass. I give this category to Graf.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  42. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    In his 40s Tilden notched numerous wins over alltime greats, largely because he was playing them so often on pro tours. He turned 40 in 1933, so he had wins over Vines, Budge, Perry, Nusslein. He last beat Vines at the age of 46, and had those wins over Budge and Perry at the age of 48.

    But it's hard to compare against other players with great longevity -- like Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez or Norman Brookes. Their circumstances were different; Brookes played before there were even any pro tours; and of course the pro tours were gone by the time Ken and Pancho turned 40.

    None of those men, at the age of 48, were meeting the top 2 or 3 players in almost daily competition as Tilden was. So it's difficult to compare.

    Tilden, at the age of 41, took about 20 of 60 matches against Vines. Pancho, at the age of 41, had a couple of wins over Laver, including a big five-set victory at the Garden. Rosewall, at 40, was beating Stan Smith and John Newcombe in majors. Brookes, at 41, made the Challenge Round at Wimbledon; at age 46 he had one last big win, over No. 5 in the world Frank Hunter, at Wimbledon.
     

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