Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Cesc Fabregas, Apr 30, 2009.
Who is the greatest mens hardcourt player ever? I'll go with Federer.
I agree. Federer is my pick too. This is my list:
I can't argue with that list.
Sampras and Fed are awfully close IMO. You can argue either way
Personally my list is
It is hard to place Connors/Agassi. They are very close in my eyes. Agassi has 6 HC Slams but he came from an era of two hardcourt slams unlike Connors who has 3 and there was not even a hardcourt slam his whole career.. Connors did not get a hardcourt slam in existence until 1978 which causes a problem as some of his best years were the early 70s. Connors and Agassi have 40+ hardcourt titles and it just leads to a difficult spot for me. I don't want to put Connors ahead of Dre as Dre did win more HC Slams 4 AO and 2 USO and they were two different surfaces, but Connors did not have this opportunity to do so.
McEnroe won three US Opens in a row and then a fourth one. Placing Agassi ahead of him is laughable.
Federer-Lendl-Sampras are good choices for top three. After that McEnroe/Connors. Of course keeping in mind that hardcourts really emerged as an important seasonal category of surfaces in the late 70s.
I agree. Agassi won 4 AO's and 2 USO. Mac won 4. Mac also won more tourney's on HC. So how in the heck is Agassi above him??
I have Agassi with 46 Hardcourt titles and McEnroe with 22 listed by ATP not sure on his non listed by ATP titles.
Agassi IMO would have had more had he played the AO more years. Lets face it.. Agassi was at his best at the Australian. That was his best surface and he didnt even play it in his earlier years
I have to disagree. The years he missed it he was not the likely winner of any of them. 1994 was Sampras, not a Sampras shackled with emotional news of his coach like 95 or coping with an injury like 2000 (still nearly won in 2000). 92 and 93 was Courier who totally owned Agassi around then, no way Agassi stops Jim those couple years. 89 and 90 were Lendl back when Lendl owned Agassi completely. His only shot was 1991 when Becker won maybe. However the guys in contention at the very end that year were: Becker who Agassi did well against around then, Lendl who Agassi did not do well against, and Edberg who Agassi had mixed results against around then. Combine that with that Agassi choked all 3 of his slam finals from 1990 to 1991. So all things considered I doubt he wins in 1991 either. Agassi most likely missed the Australian Open in years he wasnt going to win anyway.
Also while Agassi's record in Australia is great lets face it he got a bit lucky in some of those. I already mentioned Sampras's situations in 95 and 2000, but look at his draws to the title in 2001 and 2003. He wasnt going to be facing Rainer Schuettler and Arnaud Clement in the finals in any of the years he missed, lets put it that way.
mac won 77 titles (90 total). how could he only have 22?? bizzarre.
edit: dude, common sense will tell you that is incorrect.
Agassi shouldn't be above him. One could falsely rate Agassi above McEnroe if one merely adds up majors, rather than analyzing percentages persuant to peak play.
In doing that, what we see is that McEnroe won three US Opens in a row, or 4 in 6 years, while no other major (including the Australian) was played on hardcourts.
Agassi won more majors on "hardcourts" (of course, different ones, but no matter for our purposes here), but never really at as good a rate. His best stretch was the Aussie wins in 2000, 2001 and 2003 against iffy opponents. At the US Open - hardly dominant. The 1999 victory largely the result of Sampras pulling out.
Granted the 01 and 03 field wasnt strong but hell.. Look at what Andre did to Pete at the AO. Pete couldnt beat Andre in Australia. So all in all.. If Andre was on his game, I think he could defeat anyone in australia including Courier, Edberg, Becker etc. . Though u can argue Andre didnt play his absolute best until 99 or 00. But look at how great he looked at the AO in 95. To say Andre wouldnt win anymore AO's (The slam where he had the most success) I dont necassarily agree with but to each his own I guess. Andre was awesome at the australian. Better than he was at the other 3 slams
I can't seem to find the stats that show how many HC tourney's Mac won in his career. 22 is not correct because that means he won 55 grass and clay tourneys...thanks for any help.
That may very well be correct. Mac won a great number of events on carpet, which were more common at the time than hardcourt events.
The problem is that is just too simple an outlook. Like I said given the circumstances the 95 and 2000 Australian Opens were not Sampras at his best. I like Sampras of 94 or 97 Australian Open for example vs any Agassi at the Australian Open, particularly since Agassi had such a hard time beating Sampras not at his best in 95, and with an inury in 2000. Also Sampras at the Australian Open is a very strong force unlike the French Open, but he is not a dominant player like he is at Wimbledon and the U.S Open. In truth he is not really any stronger than what Courier, Lendl, Edberg, and even Becker were on that rebound ace surface during their good years. As well those players are completely different opponents and matchups, and like I said peak Courier and near peak Lendl were always bad matchups for Agassi. They were baseliners who stayed back on their serves so Agassi's return of serve and passing shots strength didnt mean as much as vs an attacker like Sampras (aided even more by the slower court) and with their dominant forehands and superior movement they could beat Agassi from the baseline during their prime years, and they were mentally tougher too than Agassi and a battle of wills often decides the winner in a baseline war (eg- think Fed and Nadal). Lastly Agassi also was never anywhere near as strong a player at the time of an Australian Open before 1995 as he was in 95 or 2000, or even in 2001 in any given year before that. So what he was capable of doing in 95 or 2000 would not apply to those earlier years as those were during the best two roughly one year apiece runs of forms of his whole career (summer 94-summer 95, spring 99-winter 2000).
Agassi had lost to Courier 5 times in a row going into the 1993 Australian Open, and 3 times in a row going into the 1992 Australian Open. He was Courier's lapdog for that span, he was not going to turn it around to beat the then dominant mens player who was owning him. Likewise Agassi had a 3 match losing streak vs Lendl going into the 1989 Australian Open, and a 6 match losing streak vs Lendl going into the 1990 Australian Open. He wasnt going to turn that around vs the then dominant mens player in the game either. Courier and Lendl at their peaks are very mentally tough, they do not allow players they are used to dominating beat them in a big match on a good surface for them. Not to mention Agassi didnt even reach his first slam final until after the 89 and 90 AO, and didnt win a slam until 1992. 1991 is the best shot like I said. However the 1991 Australian Open was in the midst of the streak of Agassi going 0-3 in slam finals, losing to 30 year old Andres Gomez in the 1990 French Open final, getting destroyed by 19 year old Sampras in the 1990 U.S Open final, and losing to Courier from 2 sets to 1 match (a match that sort of started Courier's dominance over Agassi for awhile) in the 1991 French Open. The odds of him coming through with the trophy with all of Becker, Lendl, Edberg waiting at the end given his slam finals performances around the time seems unlikely. Forget about 1994, Agassi had a bad ending to 1993 and was injured and low ranked to start the year, he wasnt even going to survive 6 rounds to the final most likely had he been there let alone beating a blazing Sampras who was completely different from the Sampras he fought hard to beat at the 95 AO.
I am picking Lendl. Not just the opens he won all those finals he reached. Had the australian been changed a decade before, I think this would be far more obvious.
Look it up a majority of his titles come on carpet as it was the dominate surface in the 80s at points. I was shocked as well.
I got Mcenroe having
Grass - 8
Those are ATP listed titles.
With invitations that I have in my records so far 4 more.
You have neglected carpet in that count.
I'd put Connors ahead of Lendl. Same number of US Open titles (3), but Connors beat Lendl for two of his.
Winning percentage on hard courts for these players:
Federer - 82%,
Sampras - 81%,
Connors - 81%
Lendl - 82%
McEnroe - 82%,
Agassi - 79%,
Edberg - 79%
It's hard to find the number of titles for the older players, but Federer has 38 hard court titles, Agassi 46, Sampras 37.
Keep in mind for Connors also, from 75-77 the equivalent US Open series was on clay, since the Open was on clay, and the Australian was a grass court tournament the top players skipped.
If Connors could win the 74 and 76 U.S Opens on grass and green clay, it is pretty likely he would have won them on hard courts too which I am pretty sure is his favorite surface. Anyway a very gold Rosewall or an up and coming Borg certainly would have had more shot on the surfaces they played Connors on, they would have had even less on a decoturf hard court. Heck come to think of it he was far more likely to have won both 75 and 77 too if it was on decoturf then. I am not sure Vilas or Orantes have any shot vs him other than on some form of clay which is what those finals were on.
Are we going greatest or most achieved? Is there a difference? Numbers arent the be all end all of course. They only tell a fraction of the entire story. There are other factors when evaluating the greatest of anything. And it usually just comes down to opinion and most of the time, a subjective one at that
My list would be:
Ρετε Sampras, on everything apart from clay, the best service with the best forehand PERIOD
Where's the poll?
Were there many hard-courts on the 1950's pro circuit? (I am thinking of Pancho.?)
I am absolutely shocked. I had no idea he won that many carpet tourneys.
Is there an actual list that gives these #'s? I am completely shocked.
I'm guessing you looked on Wikipedia and didn't find Mac's statistics.
As it turns out, there is now a separate page for his tournament wins, somewhat hidden on the main profile page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEnroe_career_statistics
Thank you Cyborg...amazing. I can't believe so many tourney's were on carpet back then. Makes sense though, both indoor facilities in my area were carpet in the 70's through the early 90's.
I admit I was wrong.
yep, when the australian open converted in '88 lendl's record reads:
1991 runner up
you have to believe there's a lot of missed oppurtunities there for ivan between 1980-87 which included his peak years and three straight titles at flushing meadows.
i'm a lendl fan so no surprise he's my pick but 8 straight us open finals and an
impressive post kooyong aussie open record are just a few reasons to rate him no.1.....here's another that may enable others to see the light.
lendl's head to head on hardcourts read:
9-4 v mcenroe
14-5 v connors
2-1 v borg
5-2 v wilander
4-2 v agassi
2-0 v courier
becker managed 3-3
Lendl's record vs Connors is greatly inflated by the fact that Connors kept playing after the age of 33 and was good enough still to beat most players on the tour, but by that point he was no longer a threat to the game's elite players.
Lendl did well vs McEnroe even when McEnroe was in his prime but not vs Connors. Connors was his nemisis until he really got old.
Connors quit vs Chang one year at the French
Yeah, I think it was 91 or 92. He played well enough to take it to a fifth set and had to retire because of injuries.
Connors vs Lendl I would rate Lendl ahead on clay clearly, Connors ahead on grass clearly, and hard courts it is close between them.
Connors vs Agassi I would rate Connors clearly ahead on both grass and hard courts. I am not even sure if Agassi is better on clay. Connors did win the U.S Open and three times in a row be in the finals on green clay. He missed the French Open on red clay during his 5 best years to potentialy do well there, and still made the semis or quarters 5 straight years after that.
Connors vs McEnroe, McEnroe probably gets grass, Connors hard courts though, and not sure on clay.
I think you meant Connors was ahead of Agassi clearly on grass right?
Connors vs. McEnroe on grass I might give it to Connors. Connors won four grass court slams (Aussie, 2 Wimbledons, US) and has a winning record vs McEnroe on grass (4-3). Connors also has a winning record vs McEnroe on clay (2-1), thought admittedly those wins were in 77 and 78. Most of McEnroe's wins over Connors were on carpet, McEnroe's best surface.
Connors also made six Wimbledon finals.
Yes I meant Connors was clearly ahead of Agassi on grass, sorry it was a typo.
You make some good points on Connors vs McEnroe on grass though. It actually is closer than I was previously thinking it was.
well this cuts both ways, all of connors victories over lendl were before lendl's peak years....connors last win over lendl was in '84, lendl didnt become the undisputed no.1 till late '85.
I love these threads where little kids that have never actually seen any of these players play a match in their lives are all of a sudden “experts” because they pull up worthless stats from Wikipedia. There are about 1000 reasons why stats mean very little asking a question like this. For one, there were different tournaments on different surfaces in different eras. Some players played some tournaments, other played different ones. Some players had a bigger competitive talent pool to play than others did.
IMO a good hard-court game is an aggressive on that puts your opponent on the defensive early. You have guys like Federer, Sampras, and Agassi that immediately come to mind. Of prior generations you certainly had McEnroe and Connors. Lendl is also up there obviously but my ranking would go
Were 82-84 not really part of Lendl's prime or did it simply just look that way since he failed to win more than 1 slam vs tough competition like prime McEnroe, Connors, and even Wilander all combined. He still faced Wilander after 84 but not so much the other 2. Edberg and Becker emerged but until 1987 atleast not much need to worry about them except on grass. Lendl took big steps in his mental game from 85 onwards but it seems fairer to somewhat punish Lendl by still considering years he underperformed and "choked" in big matches, than punish Connors for being an old man in tennis terms far past his prime.
absolutely. amazing how many are out there.
82-84 could be considered part of lendl's prime but from '85 he's reached a higher level,mentally stronger and also added more variety to his game.
lendl recorded his 1st win over connors in '82 6-1 6-1 in cincinnati, between 82-84 their record would be faily even by memory....conors was still a great player in this period, always among the top 3 or higher.
most see connors peak as his dominant '74 season with 3 slam titles but i think in terms of the competiton he faced his feats in '82 were possibly more impressive.....in '74 he beats a 40 year old rosewall in the wimbledon and us open finals and phil dent in the australian final, in '82 he beats mac in the wimbledon final and lendl in the us open final.
Lendl was 22 in 82. By age 22, Lendl was a top three player, regularly challenging for top titles, but he couldn't beat the best (Connors, McEnroe, Borg). Lendl didn't really have his breakthrough until Connors was WAY past his prime (33) and McEnroe had gone off to la-la land after getting married to Tatum.
Lendl is also the only men's open player to get one his Slams via retirement, his final one, when Edberg had to retire due to injury. I don't think a healthy Edberg loses that match. Edberg was hampered by the injury the whole match and still almost pulled it out.
Frankly, I also penalize Lendl for being the only top player to have a losing record in Slam finals.
By 22, Connors had won three Slams, McEnroe had won 4, and Borg had won 6. Lendl should have been able to beat a 30 and 31 one year old Connors in the US Open finals, but Connors was a better player.
In fairness to Lendl he did own McEnroe completely in 81 and 82, and 1981 was McEnroe's 2nd greatest year ever. I guess that shows though that Lendl was already really good as early as 1982 alteast, maybe even 1981, yet despite this still only managed 1 slam before the 1985 when Connors was really aged far from his prime and McEnroe a totally different player.
with connors i'll concede the age factors somewhat in to their head to head record,
with mcenroe there's only a years difference with lendl, lendl was beating mac before during and after his peak.
about the edberg final, well that's an asumption on your part that edberg pulls it out.....lendl was the defending champ and had won his last 13 matches at melbourne park and was also leading edberg when he forfeited.
before '85 lendl only faced mcenroe in 2 slam finals and both were in mcenroe's absolute peak year 1984....they split it 1-1.
Yeah that is true, and he beat McEnroe in the U.S Open semis in 82 though. I dont think anyone is saying Lendl couldnt beat anyone in slam events before 1985, but he was failing to put the 2 or 3 wins needed to win a slam event except for that 84 French before 1985(and lets face it he got a bit lucky at that 84 French but a win is a win). Most of all he was failing to win that 7th match when he got there almost everytime.
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