Greatest mens grass court player ever?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by thalivest, Apr 28, 2009.

?

Greatest mens grass court player ever?

  1. Pete Sampras

    48.9%
  2. Rod Laver

    13.5%
  3. Bjorn Borg

    6.4%
  4. Roger Federer

    22.0%
  5. Pancho Gonzales

    4.3%
  6. Bill Tilden

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Don Budge

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Ellsworth Vines

    0.7%
  9. Ken Rosweall

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. other

    4.3%
  1. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Who do you consider the greatest mens grass court player of all time. It seems alot in the general Pro Discussion think it is Sampras so I was curious to hear what some in this section felt.
     
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  2. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I voted for Laver. He probably would have won atleast 6 Wimbledons in a row had it been Open tennis than, but perhaps more depending how quickly he matured in the early 60s faced with his toughest competitors earlier.
     
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  3. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I've said this before, but have to stick up for the GOAT:)

    If you gave them both the same racquet on an even paced grass court (i.e not the super fast Wimbledon 90's grass), Laver is going to win every time:):)
     
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  4. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Oh, and there is no point having a poll with Sampras in it, because he wins every one as he has more fans here than anyone else:)

    By the way, I think Sampras was the second Greatest Mens Grass Court Player Ever:):)
     
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  5. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I'd have to say Laver, he was just phenominal on grass and if he had been able to as thalivest said he would have won more wimbledons.
     
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  6. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    1. pete
    2 Rod
    3 Tilden
    4. Borg
    5. Federer
    6. McEnroe
    7. Rosewall
    8. Perry
    9. Edberg
    10. Kramer
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
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  7. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    A lot (two words) in the Pro Discussion forum don't know anything about tennis or the game's history and probably think Pete was the best claycourt player as well.

    The reality is that while Pete was one of the best Wimbledon players of all time his record at other grass-court events was poor. Played Queens 12 times and only won it twice. Played Halle once and lost second round. THAT isn't the record of the best grasscourt player of all time. Hell, that isn't even the record of the second best.

    Add to that, in Davis Cup play, Pete lost to Alex Corretja on GRASS and in the United States. Against Alex Corretja on grass???? THAT isn't the hallmark of the game's greatest grass court player, or the fifth best.

    Simple reality is that different grass courts play very differently. As a result, Wimbledon plays differently to Newport which plays differently to Queens which is different to Halle and so on. On the Wimbledon grass, Pete was in his element. At Queens, he wasn't. Exactly the same as Rosewall not being at his absolute best on the grass at Wimbledon but thriving on the Australian and American variety or Hoad doing well in Australia and the UK but hating the rotten bounces and poor quality of the grass in the States.

    I'd rate Fred Perry, John Newcombe, Rod Laver and Jack Kramer well ahead of Sampras.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
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  8. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    good point, Andrew. Now I have to rethink. But not tonight the bed and pillows beckon, the blankets whisper my name....
     
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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Many also forget that 3 of the 4 grand slams used to be on grass before 1975. Therefore the greats before, and in the early, open era, had more opportunity to play on grass.
    Of course this also raises the possibility that Pete would have had even more Slams if the grass tradition continued. Considering he played so few tournaments of the surface, his record was pretty good.
    Do you have any video sites for Fred Perry? (I hate to say it, but I've only seen him on that Fred Perry tennis wear commercial.)
     
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  10. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    If Pete played before 1975 he wouldn't have averaged four grand slam events per year.
     
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  11. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Hard to argue with Laver or Sampras or even Tilden.
     
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  12. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    i'd have becker on that list, not that he's the greatest but 3 wimbledon titles plus a total of 7 times in the final is a pretty good resume, by memory also a few titles at queens.
    overall my pick would be sampras
     
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  13. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Look at votes though compared to the comments, it really is a joke!!!

    The Sampras fans just simply cannot argue their case!!!

    Laver was the Greatest Mens Grass Court Player Ever, without any doubt at all:):):)
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I voted for Laver but what surprises me about this poll is after 22 total votes that Roger Federer has not gotten 1 vote. Not that I think he deserves a vote but I would have thought since Federer has won so many Wimbledons that he would gotten at least 1 vote.
     
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  15. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    well i'm no sampras fan (got nothing against him either) but 7 wimbledon titles makes a pretty good case
     
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  16. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Sampras was an unbelievably great player on really fast Wimbledon grass in the 90's, but look at his record on other grass court tournaments!!!

    Laver was the Greatest by a long way:)

    I've already said I'd put Sampras second though:)
     
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  17. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Like I said earlier you have to ignore the votes. Most Sampras fans probably just vote and then don't even read the thread, never mind try to make an argument for him:)

    I'm guessing though that Federer fans know that Laver was better:):)
     
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  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's funny how John Newcombe isn't spoken about too often nowadays. In 1973 I saw John Newcombe play Jimmy Connors (I think it was the quarters) of the U.S. Open and John Newcombe won 6-4 7-6 7-6. It may have seen like a fairly routine straight sets triumph but it was super close. Both tiebreaks went to 4-4 and whoever won the next point won the set. Newcombe had the only break of the match in the first set and neither player lost serve afterwards.

    I am not kidding when I tell you the quality of that match was amazingly high. It was in my opinion a better quality match than many of the more well known and most exciting matches that we read and talk about. Connors played superbly and still lost.
     
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  19. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I'd really like to see that above game, is it anywhere out there on the web?
     
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  20. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    By the way Fred Perry was also a great table tennis (ping pong) player, think he was world champion at that as well?

    Anyway my Grandad played and beat him once when he was playing an international game for Wales against England, he always liked to tell that story:):)
     
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  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I assume you mean your Grandfather beat him at Table Tennis? Either game, if your Grandfather beat Fred Perry, that's very very impressive. If I beat a player of Perry's level, I would be talking about it all the time. lol.

    Incidentally Jimbo333 I've often wished I had a copy of that 1973 Newcombe-Connors U.S. Open match.
     
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  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    On grass the better volleyer tends to win on percentages. Because of his superior speed, I believe Laver would beat Sampras to the net, Sampras would be more confined to the baseline, and thus would tend to lose against Laver.

    Laver's game was better than Sampras's in every respect, except the serve.
     
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  23. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Roger will surpass Pete on grass.
     
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  24. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    True about different grass courts, but you have to admit Sampras often treated 'warmup events'(that's what queens ultimately is) before majors as basically extended practice. I recall Bjorkman or Woodforde joking about this after they beat him at Queens one year(that Pete was just going through the motions before Wimbledon & that it wasn't a 'real' win)

    This was also reflected in the oddsmakers/analysts, even after sampras suffered his traditional early round loss at queens, the odds didn't change one bit & no one stated he wasn't anything other than a huge favorite at W. Imagine what the odds would be for W if Fed loses early at Halle this year.

    Sampras was a strange player, there is a great disparity between his win % at majors relative to his win % at regular tour events(esp in comparison to every other great of the open era - Connors, Mac, Borg, Lendl, Fed, Nadal - they are consistent in their numbers at all events)
    Clearly he didn't have the greatest motivation at non majors throughout his career. Amazed that he could just turn it on so often, many other greats couldn't put losses behind them so easily.
     
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  25. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I voted for Borg. He won 5 years in a row and did it against guys who grew up on by and large faster surfaces. He played in an era when everyone knew how to play the transition game.

    Behind him, Laver and behind Laver, Sampras.
     
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  26. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    yes, he maybe would have won more W titles (its a guess of course), but the issue for Laver is Sampras's serve and his return game. Laver did not play a guy like Pete in his time (on W grass anyway). I could be wrong, but its just from what I know about Pete. Pete's serve on grass was literally unstoppable. He also returned very well, in the top 10 (even 5 to some) volleyer of all time. You add those 3 ingredients together, then Pete should win against Laver. Don't get me wrong, from what little I have seen on video and people's take on Laver (one that actually watched him play) he is a tremendous player. But he just did not have the power of Pete. Would be fun to watch though.:)
     
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  27. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Laver didn't have a better forehand than Pete.
     
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  28. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    while your arguement seems solid, it has several holes. Do you know the type of grass the other tourney's had? Did you know Pete's mindset on those tourney's? You need to look at his overall #'s. His winning % is highest on grass (not sure what it is, but it has to be). By your logic, he is also not a good hardcourt/carpet player since he lost more tourney's (percentage wise) than he won. Anyone that followed Pete knows he was all about the grand slams, especially W and the USO. He may not have won Queens club every year, but he did quite well there regardless. Also, Pete played far fewer grass tourney's than Laver and his generation because there were fewer events. It may have just been a timing issue for Pete in the warm-up tourney. Pete never won Canada and lost far more HC tourney's at Indian Wells and Miami. Yet he is considered one of the greatest hard-court players in history (7 HC grand slams).

    I agree that grass plays differently at all the events, but its not different like the AO/USO surfaces. Heck, Lendl won Queens twice..what does that tell you?

    Guess who has won the most prize money at Queens club....?

    Notice Fed does not even play it and many consider him to be the greatest grass court player. I look at the final # and Pete won 7 W grand slams. You really can't argue facts. Its also hard to judge what a player would actually do against another when they are seperated by 20 plus years. Just knowing Pete's game and his power, I just don't see anyone able to control the guy on any fast surface. Its just looking at it logically.

    Corretja? Do you realize they played in 2002. Pete lost to some nitwit that same year at W, so if that is your reasoning, well I just cannot understand your reasoning.
     
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  29. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I am actually a bigger Mac fan. But I cannot justifiably vote for a guy I never saw play. I guess you must be 60 + years old then, since you seem adament about Laver. I guess you have all of this confidence since you have seen play since the 50's.:rolleyes:
     
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  30. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    are you saying Laver had a better return game, better FH? So Laver would have an easier time breaking Pete's serve than Pete breaking Laver's?? No knock on Rod, but Pete had a very good all-court game and his power may be too much for the Rocket. I think they both excelled at the net and not sure Rod was fatser to the net. I give Pete the odd as the better athlete and I know Pete was as fast as a deer. Laver may have had the better "classic" grass-court game, but Pete's serve and return game would probably overtake anything Laver had that was better. I think the return game was key on grass and I just don't see Laver doing much to Pete.:)
     
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  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for asking. I believe that Laver was better at everything, except the serve.

    I am saying that Laver's return game was better, his volleying was better, his ground game (forehand and backhand) was better, and he was faster.

    Sorry, no knock on Pete. I like his game a lot, particularly his forehand and his under-rated backhand IMO, and his put-away volleys.

    All of these elements of Pete's game were "very good." I simply believe that all of the components of Laver's game were not just very good, but among the best of all time. Laver had no weaknesses; IMO he was the most complete player in the history of the game.

    In my opinion the only thing Sampras does/did demonstrably better was the serve. (As for greater power for Sampras, well this is time-travel stuff anyway--wood Maxply versus PS 85 is factored, or maybe both with K88, both age 29, so who can say.)
     
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  32. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    This thread is a joke... a complete joke!!!!!! Sampras has the #1 spot and anyone can say what they want about me being a Sampras fan, but look at the arguements being made.

    -he only won Queens twice in however many times he played it... so what???? Did Sampras ever play at Queens with the intensity he did at Wimbledon. So the first arguement about Pete's grasscourt prowess is..... Is he didn't take Queens seriously. Great arguement/ I don't care if they used grass from the moon at Queens, put that that same grass at SW19 and explain to me how Sampras doesn't get 7 Wimbledon titles on that grass, and we'll have a discussion.

    -3 slams on grass?? Oh please. How many slams would Sampras have won if he had the opprtunity to play 3 slams on grass. You can't use this barometer and compare players who got to play 3 slams on grass to those who didn't(See McEnroe and Federer as well).

    -Different types of grass. Sampras only played well on Wimbledon grass?? Well what other grasscourt tourneys are prelavent today??? But if one says Tilden, Budge, etc. get smacked on hardcourts..... on no that's unreasonable. Well I see...... hardcourt, deco turf II (all 3 speeds they've used in Flushing), Rebound Ace, Plexicushion, Indoor Taraflex indoor carpet, tha many who've felt it say it's really a hardcourt), Carpet, and Greenset (another type of indoor hardcourt). So when you decide to hold this against past players, then hold the fact that Pete was only dominant on Wimbldeon grass against him.

    -Flaws, how about we talk about Laver, When he won his first 2 Wimbledon titles where the hell were Ken Rosewall and Lew Hoad, Damn where was even Pancho Gonzales?? Oh that's right they were barred from playing slams, but that never gets mentioned regarding Rod. Only the slams he was unable to play, not the slams others missed which enabled himto his first 6 slams (5 which came on grass). Nothing against Laver as I think he's great, but let's call a spade a spade.

    AHEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  33. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Maybe all this is true, but you do know that Sampras often went on runs of holding serve 80 or 90 consecutive times during wimbledon? I believe he only lost serve twice in the 7 wimbledon finals he won. and he only lost serve twice during the entire tournament in '97.

    No one in Laver's era(or any era really, including today) held serve that efficiently & frequently. You can say that's all due to equipment, fine(yet no one else has come close to that in the graphite era, so maybe Sampras was unique in that department?) I think its safe to say Laver never faced someone that put that kind of pressure on his service game(service breaks were a lot more common then. I have several complete Laver matches on tape, including the '69 US & W finals & the '70 Dunlop Final, his serve was far from unbreakable & often went way off for stretches - his rivals even talked about this. again maybe that was due to equipment, but fact is you could lose serve & still win on grass back then. while that was close to an impossibility in many of the W finals of the 90s)

    I'm not part of the 'bigger, stronger, faster era' herd by any means(in fact most would say I'm quite the opposite), but I think serve % held is a very important stat, & laver would need to greatly increase his efficiency in that department if you want to play time travel games with sampras (and this stat isn't about power, there have been many great servers who had high hold %'s without power, like Mac)

    I think the greats would be greats in any era. But that includes recent greats as well. I think Laver was a more complete player. But I also think he would have had a tough time breaking Sampras on grass(like everyone basically did) Being more 'complete' often has nothing to do with winning or losing a tennis match. The serve is the most important shot in the game, esp on grass(& esp the 2nd serve, which was not a strength of Laver's)
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Let's just take a deep breath, and not bite any one's head off, please. (You would think I'd brought up Monica.)

    BTW, is there something stuck in your throat?
     
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  35. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    I voted for Fortress -- who you think I'm gonna vote for? Chip Hooper?

    But I will say this -- I'm certain (as can be -- which always includes healthy doubt for the unkown unpredictability-factor) that the differences between the Apex Old Grass Predators after WWII (a top tier IMO who includes Gonzales, Sampras, Laver, Borg and to a certain extent Federer) are, at best, miniscule and the question principally unanswerable.

    However, if we play the time-machine game which is always fun the tiny, slight differences are these according to my views:

    These guys would be absolute, unrelenting nightmares to each other in match-ups with matches of strange greatness never witnessed if the collided at peak. No-one faced anyone as powerful as the other on grass when the reached their Apex Grass Tennis Predator-phase.

    It's really an extreme toss-up for me... Everyone's got something on the other and these things also IMO coincide with each and everyone of the other player's particular weakness -- or at least that they never faced anyone with that super-specialized ability that they all individually and uniquely possessed at their respective peak.

    Sampras deserves special and enhanced mention -- great respect for Moose's post above concerning Pete's stunning and unmatched achievement at SW 19 of just keepin' his serve go just steamin' -- and I can talk loads about these other guy's advantage over the other but since I am who I am I have to let the silent Borg speak volumes:

    * 41 straight wins at Wimby at age 25...

    * 21-0 in sets at Wimby 1976 AT AGE 20 (!) against fast-court specialists in very inspired form (not only Nastase) -- holding his serve like Pete showing that he could do it -- with the old wooden racquet -- you, know, with the old pea-sized sweetspot!

    * Fought off every major contender during his reign on all kinds different old grass (fresh, super-skidding grass, hard-baked, humid, dry humid et al)

    * Even in the direst of circumstances -- being down and out like nobody else almost -- being 0-2 against Edmondson and Connors, a break down in the fifth against a peak Gerulaitis in 77 -- every five-setter -- he was just the very definition of clutch at Wimby. Hit "Clutch" at Wiki and there's only a picture of Ice Borg there.

    * After he only had only played three Wimbys he pulled off five straight victories and a sixth successive final -- not only lost because of a great opponent, we all know that -- and then Fortress never played there again. Clearly the fiercest record of any player at any era at Wimby at such a young age. His cool, wise demeanor, his smarts, the maturity -- just strolling out there pulling the rabbit out of the hat every single time, "like a true seasoned professional of over thirty" as Kramer said during Wimby 1976, with just that fascinating expression of a tired butcher on a Monday morning...

    What would anyone say of Sampras, say, if this had been a fact:

    Not only did Pete Sampras win six Wimby-titles he also won five-straight RG titles against extraordinary talent on the slow-courts staving off each and every contender in astonishing and unforgettable ways -- even talked about often today -- only finally losing at RG in a very close match against another absolute dominant great at RG although we all know that his focus wasn't there that match -- never to return again. No one had the upper hand on Sampras at RG and he was supposed to be at his peak the most dominant player, maybe, ever on faster surfaces. And then he pulls this off. And he's only 25...

    And although he did win Wimby twice without losing a set he actually won RG when he was only 20 for the first time not losing a set -- which has not happened since -- even long before further racquet evolution had made it much easier to achieve precision in every shot...

    Just a thought...
     
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  36. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I'm gonna revive this thread after Roger wins Wimbledon 09. I'm the only one who voted for Roger so far, but watch how things change. I stick with my pick.
     
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  37. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    The only all time poll Roger would win is the most overrated all time great of all time.
     
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  38. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Is that why he's about to be the new record holder of most slams? Because he's overrated?
     
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  39. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Sampras without a doubt. 7 Wimbeldons in 8 years? Whos come close except Renshaw maybe or I guess Borg? And Fed I suppose but he struggles against a defensive grinder in Nadal on grass.

    Laver aint better than Pete on grass. Pete is the greatest player to ever step foot on the lawns of Wimbeldon.. HANDS DOWN. No one compares.


    There isnt a player in history who could Pete on grass when he was on his game and at his peak... Except Krajieck in 96 I suppose :).


    But I think you would be hardpressed to make a convincing case of anyone better than Pete on grass. Hes proved himself IMO as the greatest ever on this surface.
     
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  40. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    He has been supposably about to do that for 20 months now and still hasnt. That is why he is overrated.
     
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  41. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    No I think Roger has more of a case as being one of the greatest hardcourt players ever especially faster USO type courts as he does a GOAT candidacy on grass.
     
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  42. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I agree with you for once.
     
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  43. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    We agree on something? What the hell.
     
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  44. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    LOL! There is a first for everything.
     
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  45. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    krajicek and ivanisevic must be two of the greatest returner ever since krajicek have actually beaten pete on grass and goran took pete to 5 in '95 and '98? how were they able to return that unreturnable serve?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
    #45
  46. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    I thought you said you were 25? How many times have you seen Laver or Borg play in their primes?
     
    #46
  47. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, just to be clear my Grandfather beat Perry at Table Tennis, not tennis. As you say though still impressive:)
     
    #47
  48. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Fair point mate:)

    Although I have seen Laver on DVD/Ytube etc a lot, and my Grandfather told me about him loads as well. I'm actually 39 and am a bigger Connors fan:)

    Still sure that Laver is GOAT though:)
     
    #48
  49. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Quite a few youtube videos and a couple dvd's Ive purchased. I didnt see them firsthand in their primes. Then again, How many here actually have? I doubt many.
     
    #49
  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    This is what I get on Wiki when I plug in the word "clutch":


    [​IMG]

    My Bjorn, how you have changed?
     
    #50

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