Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time (Men)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ATPballkid, May 14, 2007.

  1. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    Yes, good tennis writings can be hard to find these days. Some of the best on those early years are by A. Wallis Myers, easily the most famous authority of his time. (I think it's a crime he isn't in the hall of fame, BTW.) I have a book by him called The Complete Lawn Tennis Player that is excellent - Nabokov also had it and refers to it in his autobiography, as well as in The Annotated Lolita. A more recent book with some good coverage is Sporting Gentlemen by E. Digby Baltzell, though the author makes a somewhat offensive sociological argument that relates the superiority of amateur tennis to professional tennis and the supposed superiority of the aristocratic classes. One of my very favorite books, and the one that taught me the most about the game when I first read it long ago, is Tennis Styles and Stylists by Paul Metzler, which is easy to read (very informal in tone) and packed with details going back to the very first Wimbledon. There is a wonderful biography of Norman Brookes written by his wife, which has helped me appreciate what a truly great champion he was - certainly one of the greatest of all time, I think. And though you may have trouble finding it, I have the book written by the Doherty brothers, which includes instructional material as well as descriptions of the games of many of their contemporaries. Finally, one fun thing to do is to read the biographies at the Hall of Fame website, and the excellent essays at histoiredutennis.com (though many of the latter are not translated into English).
     
  2. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Tennis and the Meaning of Life is a good book.
     
  3. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    i just read some comments on the subjects here. First i didnt know, that Nabokov made some references on tennis in Lolita. Would be interesting to sample other literary references. Tennis is a bit underrated, when it comes to literacy. You only have to compare it to boxing and names like London, Hemingway, or now Carol Oates.Some German speaking writers as Ernst Musil or Erich Kästner wrote essays on tennis, Kästner called it 'duel on distance'. Peter Ustinov wrote pretty well on tennis, too.For the pre WW 1 era, an often forgotten man is Maurice McLoughlin, the Californian Comet, a quite small man, but the first big server in history. His Wim final against Wilding in 1913, was probably the most significant pre war match. Masses showed up and Worple Road was outgrown.Wilding tamed the comet's serve, and won in three close sets.
     
  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the Clerici book is great with fine photo material. I got one copy when i was on vacation in Italy in 1975, later i got a German edition, too. I read somewhere that he has out a new edition in 2007.
     
  5. Zets147

    Zets147 Banned

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    Tsonganator - GOAT
     
  6. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I would also highly recommend "The Ultimate Tennis Book" by Gianni Clerici

    With 335 pages and more than 1200 black and white illustrations and 40 color plates.
    In this hugh, handsome and lavish book, is a bible for tennis history as it contains quite alot of info and pictures of the history of tennis. Clerici details the renaissance and classical origins of the sport, describing the current action which has made tennis a million-dollar business as well as the fastest growing spectator and active participant sport in the Western world. Copyright 1975, this book is 10" X 12", close to 10 pounds and 2 inches thick. This book is out of print and very hard to find

    Another excellent reference is "Tennis A Cultural History" by Heiner Gillmeister

    Supported by a startling wealth of linguistic and documentary research, Gillmeister charts the global evolution of tennis from its origins in the early Middle Ages to the appearance of the modern game in the 20th century. Along the way, he debunks established myths about the history of the game, including those surrounding the invention of the Davis Cup. 136 illustrations, 16 in color.

    Not sure if "The Fireside Book of Tennis" by Allison Danzig has been recommended, it is also outstanding ...

    This very comprehensive book on Tennis History documented by many of the best players and writers of the 20th century. This alone makes it an excellent reference.

    A backward look at the wonderful heritage of the game is also very rewarding. You can leaf through these pages and comprehend why there are so many old-timers who swear no tennis player was ever as good as Bill Tilden. Or no tennis match is glamorous or as fascinating as the one in which Suzanne Lenglen met Helen Wills...unless perhaps it was the Don Budge-Baron Von Cramm battle that decided the Davis Cup in 1937? But come to think of it, wasn't Jack Crawford's conquest of Ellsworth Vines at Wimbledon in 1933 even more dramatic? Where does Pancho Gonzales rate among All-Time greats? Enough. Let your eye run over the Contents and you'll find your own moments in tennis history that you'll particularly want to explore, whether on a revisit or for the first time. Allison Danzig will tell you about them along with such other superb tennis chroniclers of those days as Parke Cummings, Al Laney, John Tunis, A. Wallis Myers, Edward Potter, and Fred Hawthorne. But this book by no means confines itself to ancient history. A new crop of genuinely knowledgeable and sensitive writers, including Fred Tupper, Herbert Warren Wind, Bud Collins, Lance Tingay, Neil Amdur, Rex Bellamy, David Gray, Richard Evans, Walter Bingham, Will Grimsley, Frank DeFord, and Alan Trengove, are here to recount great moments from more recent times as the stars of today, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Tony Roche, and all the rest battle it out for top spot. Nor are the ladies neglected - far from it. The roster of women stars represented ranges all the way back to the Sutton sisters and Hazel Wightman, through the eras of Lenglen and Wills, Alice Marble, Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly, up to today's outstanding players, Margaret Smith Court, Billie Jean King, Maria Bueno, Ann Jones, and those two newest sensations, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong. Part III is completely devoted to instruction of strokes and tactics by outstanding players who excelled in theory as well, such as Tilden, Billy Talbert, George Lott and Pancho Gonzales. In similar vein, scattered through Part I are expert technical analyses of the games of a number of great players, written by Julius D. Heldman. I know of nothing that can compare with them in achieving what they set out to do. Server ready? - Receiver ready? - Read! - Peter Schwed".

    I really enjoy collecting and analyzing the rackets that many of these great champions played along with the transition of racket technology. The must have book for this area is "Book of Tennis Rackets" by Sigfield Keubler.. This is the most complete book on Tennis Rackets and Keubler was a renown racket designer and consultant to Wilson. This hugh book has 630 pages most with many 150+ color racket photos and illustrations.

    I have some pictures of these books along with some more references at: http://www.woodtennis.com/history10s.htm

    Regards,
    Joe
     
  7. Gasquetrules

    Gasquetrules Semi-Pro

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    Boris Becker?

    I know Becker only won six or seven GS titles, perhaps because he competed against McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Muster, Stich and many other great players during his career.

    But regardless of the GS tally, just watching Becker play in recordings of his matches and comparing him to other players, I think he was among the very best to ever play the game.

    He was a terrific athlete. He had a serve that was second only to Sampras' in his day. He could effectively rally from the baseline with Ivan Lendl or anyone else during his time. He really did have great groundstrokes. And he was a great natural volleyer. I'd put only McEnroe and Edberg as being superior at the net -- all time. Really, I think Becker was a much better volleyer than Sampras, and certainly had a more consistent and better backhand. Forehands were about equal. Sampras had a great serve that kept him out of trouble, other than that the rest of his shots were on par with other top-ten players during his day.

    And regarding the Becker - Sampras comparison, Becker played his best tennis during the '80s, a time when there was more top-level competition than there was during the mid-90s when Sampras dominated. And perhaps Becker was not as highly motivated to win as many titles as possible the way Sampras was from the beginning of his career. After all, Becker was and still is the youngest man to ever win Wimbledon, so really, what more did he have to prove? It's one thing for a player to win the French at age 17. Both Wilander and Chang did that, and Nadal did it at 18. All you need is a solid baseline game and great stamina, something a teenager can acquire. But to win Wimbledon, a player must have a pretty complete game. I doubt Becker's record win as the youngest player to win Wimbledon will ever be broken.

    I have great admiration for Wilander, Lendl and Edberg, three great players with very different styles of play. But when Becker was playing his best he easily and soundly beat all three. Becker could overpower Wilander and Edberg when he was in top form. And he could give as well as he got from the baseline with Lendl, while always outplaying Lendl at net.

    Really, Becker had no weaknesses in his game. Until Roger Federer arrived, Becker was probably the most complete player who had ever played the game, and I still believe Becker to be better at net than Federer.

    Becker reminded many tennis fans of Lew Hoad, because he was big and blond and athletic and so talented. Hoad didn't win as many major titles as Laver, but some would argue that at his best he was every bit as good as Laver was, perhaps better. I think you can make a similar argument about Boris Becker against any player from any period.
     
  8. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Got something against Agassi? It's only natural progression to say "Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang," to leave Agassi out seems intentional.
     
  9. jonline

    jonline Semi-Pro

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    Agassi and McEnroe out of top ten when Sampras is at #1? That's rather comical. I think you have some of the right players there, though.
     
  10. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    How is Agassi better than Lacoste?
     
  11. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    one of the Best thread on any of these sites!! I'd pay to sit at a roundtable and discuss this with most of you. Great insight and knowledge. Mind the 80's catfight thread is better , though.
     
  12. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    That's a valid point, but is there any scientific evidence to support it?
     
  13. base_liner

    base_liner New User

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    look at federer he hasnt won the french and people are calling him one of the greatests of all time
     
  14. avmoghe

    avmoghe Semi-Pro

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    I understand the argument as follows:

    This is because he is clearly the 2nd best player on clay. Sampras wasn't anywhere near the top on clay. The implicit assumption here is that a GOAT *must* excel on every surface that the sport throws at him. Sampras fails at this criteria.

    If Federer gets 14 slams, he effectively eliminates Sampras from any GOAT consideration (equal slam total with far better play on clay. Sampras six year end number 1's is negated by Federer's longer consecutive weeks at number 1 record). The only way to keep Sampras in contention is to resort to the rather ridiculous "Sampras competition was better" arguments.

    Either way, I don't agree with these "people" - Rod Laver has been and still is the GOAT until Federer wins a real Grand Slam (4 in a row may be good enough)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2007
  15. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Becker was awesome. When he was on I wouldn't bet against him against anyone. However, I would not say he had "no weaknesses." He was a mental case, didn't always have the best game plan, was to stuborn to change game plan when one wasn't working, and his movement wasn't the best. Also, I wouldn't say he was only behind Edberg and Mac as a volleyer. Henmen, Cash, and Rafter were better then him just to name a few.
     
  16. stevekim8

    stevekim8 Semi-Pro

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    are you kidding? no federer on the list?
    now that's just plain wrong
     
  17. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    I really think you need to consider Borotra - his playing career was so long it beggars belief. Here are a few salient points:

    He first played at Wimbledon in 1922 and was last entered in an open event (mixed doubles) in 1964. That's a 42 year Wimbledon history and during that time he played a staggering 221 matches (winning 152).

    His Davis Cup record lasted from 1922 to 1947 - 25 years representing his country.

    In the annual match between the International Clubs of France and Great Britain, he played singles every year that it was held between 1929 and 1985 - that's 56 years, and he won his last match (in this event) in 1984 at the age of 86.

    Nobody, but nobody, will ever equal or come even close to, this record of tennis longevity.

    Apart from his delightful charm and sense of showmanship, (similar to Nastase but without the offensive element), he was a dedicated athlete, could play any shot to perfection and of the Four Musketeers, was actually the most successful, winning Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926, The French Open in 1924 and 1931 and the Australian Open in 1928, plus several doubles titles (Wimbledon Mens 3 times, French Mens 5 times, Australian Mens once) and Mixed 5 times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2007
  18. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    why is it then that Mac considers without any shade of doubt that Borg was the greatest?

    Tilden?
    Lacoste?
    Budge?
    Cochet?

    why not throw in "Major Harry Gem" and "Augurio Perera", the inventors of this game we love...

    People here tend to give too much credit for players of the First 70 years of tennis...
     
  19. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    as far as hitting the ball es, but he couldn't move from a to b, and he was a headcase
     
  20. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    I agree. I only had time to read one of the stories in a bookstore, but want to buy this one day. I can't wait to read what Wallace Stegner has written about the game.
     
  21. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    1. Roger Federer 671pts
    2. Ivan Lendl 577pts
    3. Pete Sampras 518pts
    4. Bjorn Borg 512pts
    5= John McEnroe 447pts
    5= Mats Wilander 447pts
    7. Rod Laver 414pts
    8. Jim Courier 404pts
    9. Stefan Edberg 400pts
    10. Boris Becker 373pts
    11. Jimmy Conners 366pts
    12. Andre Agassi 348pts
    13. Guilermo Vilas 325pts
    14. Ken Rosewall 321pts

    Peak Ratings from my own system. Open Era Only.
     
  22. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^and how did you come to these 'ratings?'

    mac was 82-3 in 1984, I find it hard to believe that 4 players had a higher "peak" rating.

    and Connors was 99-4 in 1974, yet is behind Courier? very strange...
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007
  23. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    What does peak mean in this system? Normally peak performance means best performance in a year, which would give Lavers 1969, Federers 2006 and 2004, Connors 1974, McEnroes 1984 or Guillermo Vilas 1977 high rankings.
     
  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    heh .. system.
     
  25. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Explain please. Where the heck is Lendl?
     
  26. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Many thanks for the replies relating to my posting. I am pleased that you have all taken the time and trouble to read it and felt strongly enough to post your concerns. I am perhaps a little disappointed that there was no voice of support, but I suppose the nature of the subject is going to cause arguments and debate as it is impossible to derive a definitive answer.

    I will try to answer each of your points in turn.

    I hope the fact that I am splitting up the answers does not constitute spamming, but if it does let me know and next time I will ensure I amalgamate any points I have to make into a single post.
     
  27. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    ‘Its Connors, not 'Conners.' Learn it. Know it. Live it.’

    First of all sorry for the misspelling of Connor’s name.
     
  28. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    ^and how did you come to these 'ratings?'

    mac was 82-3 in 1984, I find it hard to believe that 4 players had a higher "peak" rating.

    and Connors was 99-4 in 1974, yet is behind Courier? very strange...


    The ratings are calculated using statistical probability theory.

    Common intuition suggests that if a fair coin is tossed many times, then roughly half of the time it will turn up heads, and the other half it will turn up tails. Furthermore, the more often the coin is tossed, the more likely it should be that the ratio of the number of heads to the number of tails will approach unity. Modern probability provides a formal version of this intuitive idea, known as the law of large numbers. This law is remarkable because it is nowhere assumed in the foundations of probability theory, but instead emerges out of these foundations as a theorem. Since it links theoretically-derived probabilities to their actual frequency of occurrence in the real world, the law of large numbers is considered as a pillar in the history of statistical theory.

    The strong law of large numbers (SLLN) states that if an event of probability p is observed repeatedly during independent experiments, the ratio of the observed frequency of that event to the total number of repetitions converges towards p strongly in probability.
    I understand the points you are making in relation to the dominance of the players quoted for individual years but as described above we must decide whether the volume of data for a single year is sufficient to yield a sufficient confidence level as separate the calculated value of p for the higher level players which we are trying to evaluate. In this system we are calculating a 95% confidence limit.

    The results show us that a sample of data for one year is not sufficient to yield a very high value of p within the space of a single year. In fact a perfect set of results for single year without any further results to take into account would only yield a minimum p value of .324.

    Therefore mathematically for a player to prove with a 95% confidence that he/she is in the top 14 players of all time, he/she must play for a minimum of one year. Of course results may exceed this p = .324 by a wide margin but within the finite scale of a single year we could not be reasonably certain that this was not an aberration of the limited sample size.

    I won’t go on any further here but should you be interested in the subject of sports ratings with a sound basis in statistical probability theory I would recommend. The Rating of Chessplayers, Past and Present (1978) by Arpad Elo.

    I like the statistics you quoted, could you possibly let me have the source. Thanks
     
  29. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    What does peak mean in this system? Normally peak performance means best performance in a year, which would give Lavers 1969, Federers 2006 and 2004, Connors 1974, McEnroes 1984 or Guillermo Vilas 1977 high rankings.

    It look for the highest value of p in which we have a 95% confidence that the figure derived is the minimum value necessary to have achieved the results.

    I like the statistics you quoted, could you possibly let me have the source. Thanks
     
  30. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    heh .. system.

    System is defined as ‘a set of rules or principles or practices forming a particular philosophy’. Admittedly you may not agree with the mathematical theories behind the system and therefore disagree with the philosophy, but at least it is objective.
     
  31. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Explain please. Where the heck is Lendl?

    Lendl is at number two. He was dominant for a period much longer than one year and at one point we would be 95% confident that he would need a p value of at least .577 to achieve the results recorded.
     
  32. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    As you all enjoyed the men’s ratings so much, here are the women’s.

    1 Martina Navratilova 747
    2 Steffi Graf 666
    3 Chris Evert 623
    4 Margaret Smith Court 550
    5 Monica Seles 544
    6 Evonne Goolagong 495
    7 Martina Hingis 481
    8 Serena Williams 478
    9 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 447
    10 Venus Williams 438
    11 Billie Jean King 426
    12 Justine Henin 423

    As before Open Era only.
     
  33. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Sorry, I must have been blind or drunk at the time. Nice Stats tho. However, how did you pick your data and which factors did you use and how many years played did you include?
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  34. lakis92

    lakis92 Rookie

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    Federer! No one else!
     
  35. kashmonyklik

    kashmonyklik New User

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    I know the whole universe would disagree but my Greatest Tennis Player All time is - Goran Ivanisevic

    Cant think of anyone taking that away
     
  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Well, maybe Yannick Noah. Up there with Goran in all categories, except Grand Slam finals lost.;)
     
  37. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Bonjour Jonathan (for the English readers, as Jonathan I'm French too),
    I've just ended reading Wilding's own book ("On the court and off") and he stated that H.L. Doherty and Brookes only met twice : "The two met twice, but neither match could be called satisfactory or conclusive. On the first occasion, when Doherty won, Brookes had an injured shoulder which was a very considerable handicap. On their second meeting Brookes won, but taking into consideration the fact that the match was a friendly affair, and that neither player had enjoyed preliminary practice for it, we can hardly attach the same weight to the victory as if it had been earned in a Davis Cup competition or championship match.". Wilding had forgotten the England vs Australasia test match, Wimbledon (G): (Jul 31) where Brookes beat H.L. Doherty 64 62 (or perhaps Wilding considered this match as the private one ?).

    Have you any info about the private match between Brookes-H.L. Doherty ?

    I think you slightly overrate H.L. and underrate his brother R.F. Of course the latter was "always" ill so can truly be considered in any GOAT discussion. Nevertheless he has always beaten Laurie both in their only official match (Wimby 1898 ) and in their numerous private matches. GW Hillyard even stated that Laurie even seldom won a set and that in fact Reggie owe 15 to Laurie. The latter has become a sort of #1 by default when Reggie couldn't play anymore and before the Australasians and Larned became top players. For me he was a little the equivalent of Riggs, the American being #1 when Budge had declined and before Kramer reached the top. The difference is that the intermediate era of Laurie Doherty lasted longer than Riggs's.

    About Wilding I sort of agree with you. According to Myers (in his book about Wilding, ended on January 1916) in the challenge round of Wimbledon 1913 Wilding had played better than anyone before especially his contemporaries, Brookes and McLoughlin. Myers stated that Brookes was the artist (and Wilding the athlet) but that the Melburnian had a bad stamina which explains for instance his following defeats though he had previously led 2 sets to love : Queen's 1905 (Beals Wright (USA) - Norman Brookes (AUS) 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-1), Davis Cup 1908 (Beals Wright (USA) - Norman Brookes (ANZ) 0-6 3-6 7-5 6-2 12-10), Victorian Chp 1909 (Tony Wilding (NZL) - Norman Brookes (AUS) 2-6 3-6 6-3 6-3 9-7). This is why he considered Wilding better (I also think Myers's friendship with Wilding influenced Myers's judgment). But Myers also claimed that after Wilding's great successes in 1913 the New Zealander had lost his enthusiasm for tennis competition and hard training. All witnesses, including Myers, agree that Wilding wasn't fit when he played Wimbledon in 1914 and Myers insisted that Wilding didn't train very hard for the Davis Cup meeting against the USA. Had there been no war in 1914 it is likely that Wilding would have anyway declined. Hadn't he been killed in Neuve-Chapelle it is probable that he wouldn't have done better than Brookes after the war though he was 6 years younger than Norman. So he probably wasn't in the same class as Tilden or other players.
    And for me there is no doubt that Brookes was below Wilding. In best-of-three set matches played on grass Brookes was perhaps better than Wilding because of his superb service and volley but in best-of-five set matches on grass Wilding was slightly superior because of his great stamina. On clay there was no match because Wilding's forehand lifting drive was much more efficient on clay whereas in the same time Brookes's twisted service was much less efficient on clay : in conclusion Wilding was truly better on clay (Championships of Cannes, 1914, Wilding winner 6-4 6-2 6-1 and Cannes Carlton, 2nd meeting, Wilding still winner 6-2 6-2 6-2). Brookes himself said that Wilding had been year in, year out, easily World #1 and that Anthony had beaten everyone and was invincible on European hard courts (=clay).
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  38. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    I was very interested to read this about Wilding, as recently I have bought both his biography by Len & Shelley Richardson and two separate editions of Wilding's "On the Court and Off".

    The first one is what appears to be a paperback photocopy of the original printing, while the second is a hardback new edition by Kessinger Publishing, who specialise in reprints of rare books. I obtained both editions, new, from Amazon.

    Oddly enough, the people at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of Wilding's memorabilia is held (and which is worth around half a million NZ dollars), were not even aware that Wilding had written this book.
     
  39. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello,
    the Len & Shelley Richardson book is wonderful (I've read it before Wilding's and Myers's books respectively published in 1912 and in 1916 for the first editions) because there are many Anthony's tennis results (almost completely missing in "Captain Anthony Wilding" and in "On the court and off", in the latter I don't think there is any complete score) and a very detailed biography : for instance all his South African trip in 1910 is told while there are few . They made very few mistakes, the most important one was that they put in 1907 (from memory) the 1906 Monte Carlo tournament (where he lost to H.L. Doherty).
     
  40. adidasman

    adidasman Professional

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    Gadzooks. How stupid can people be? Sampras with no French? Not the best. I'd argue Agassi should rank higher all-time. Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall ahead of Laver and Borg? So far beyond ludicrous it's not worth addressing. And the fact that Federer isn't in there at all makes the list completely useless. Arguing that a college player would have beaten Tilden with a modern racquet? Not necessarily, if Tilden had grown up with that babolat in his hand and all the modern training techniques. You can't just drop a wood racquet guy out of thin air into 2008 and then say, "He wouldn't beat Nadal." That's moronic. Number one all time? Laver. That's easy. Sampras isn't even in the top three on my list, even if I only rank the guys I've actually seen play. (Probably Federer and Borg for me at two and three.)
     
  41. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    1. Federer
    2. Sampras


    No one else qualifies because the next in line is Laver and there's no way that he'd be able to defeat Sampras or Federer in their primes.
     
  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Unsupported blather.

    Boy, has this thread degenerated.
     
  43. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.
     
  44. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    If they are both using wood, my money is on Laver or Rosewall (or for that matter Budge) - definitely NOT Federer or Sampras. It seems you are more interested in comparing racquet and string technologies, rather than the abilities of the players themselves. FYI, playing with wood requires greater skill.
     
  45. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hi,
    Look at an old version of the "Ken Rosewall" article (January 17, 2007) in Wikipedia that I mainly wrote at the end of 2006 and early 2007 : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ken_Rosewall&diff=101338209&oldid=101337920. This version has been often edited since because new stats' were found (in paticular Ken's number of titles has improved from 121 to 132 wins) and because I wasn't neutral as required in Wikipedia. In particular there was a chapter called "Rosewall’s combined amateur-professional annual rankings (rough estimations due to the absence of official rankings before 1973)" which since has been cut. Another chapter, being non-neutral too has been also erased : "One of the greatest players of all time though being also one of the most underrated players". Nonetheless two chapters helped to estimate Rosewall's level. When someone really knows Rosewall's career he can truly wonder if that player was at least the equal of Laver and he's almost sure that Ken was above Borg without any doubt. Most of persons, as you, judge Rosewall when he was a baby (before he turned pro in 1957) or when he was a patriach (when open tennis arrived at last). But so many ignore all his feats when he was at his best. Everyone recalls that he was crushed when he was nearly 40 by Connors but Rosewall has already declined since late 1965 and mainly since May 1972 (when he won his last WCT Finals). In very great finals against Laver he was at least equal to Rocket or even ahead though he met Laver for the first time when he was over 28 years old. Here are their very great finals. US Pro 63 (Rosewall winner), French Pro 63 (Rosewall), French Pro 64 (Rosewall), Wembley Pro 64 (Laver), US Pro 65 (Rosewall), French Pro 65 (Rosewall), Madison Square Garden 66 (Rosewall), US Pro 66 (Laver), Wembley Pro 66 (Laver), French Pro 66 (Rosewall), Wimbledon Pro 67 (Laver), Wembley Pro 67 (Laver), French Open 68 (Rosewall), French Open 69 (Laver), Dunlop Open Sydney 70 (Laver), WCT Finals 71 (Rosewall), WCT Finals 72 (Rosewall). My choices can be disapproved on some cases but not many and here you have a Rosewall lead of 10-7. After the WCT Finals 1972, their last very great meeting, neither Rosewall nor Laver fight for the very top honours that is the #1 spot but before their first very great final (the US Pro 1963) Laver was never a contender for the first place and even for a very great title (in 1962 though he made the Slam he was two classes below Rosewall and Hoad that year and of course the years before) while Rosewall had won his first great titles in 1957-1958 (Wembley 57 or French Pro 58 ) and began to fight for the first place since 1959 (that year he led at last 3-2 Gonzales in direct confrontations according to McCauley but Rosewall himself said that he had beaten Gonzales 5 times out of 7 meetings in 1959).
    So yes Rosewall is a name to be picked up for any GOAT discussion. Yes Rosewall was perhaps as good if not better than Laver if we judge their whole career. And Tilden and Gonzales are too superb contenders for the GOAT title. And Borg and Sampras and Federer (if his career would stop now) can't compete with Rosewall at all. The Australian had won the equivalent of 20 modern Slam tournaments (once again see my old contribution to Wikipedia of January 17, 2007) so he can be selected without any doubt in any GOAT discussion. I don't claim that he was better than Tilden, Gonzales or Laver without any doubt, I just say that I have strong cases to show that Rosewall was in the same class as those players. I defy anyone to give me really good arguments showing that Laver was a greater player than Rosewall without any doubt. Firstly Rosewall's records are at least as good as Laver's, secondly Rosewall's longevity (26 (consecutive) years in the Top20 : 1952-1977) was clearly superior to Laver's (17 years : 1959-1975). Laver was only better in terms of potential. At his very best Laver was superior to Rosewall on fast courts (Wembley 1966, NTL Wembley Invitation Pro 1968, Pacific Southwest 1968 ) but even on fast courts Rosewall could beat or extend a great Laver : French Pro 1963 final (played on indoor wood : Laver said in 1973 that it was the finest match of his whole career though he lost to Ken), Wembley 1964 (won in 5 sets by Laver), US Pro 1966 (Laver winner in 5 sets), Wembley 1967 (Laver in 5), Open Dunlop Sydney (Laver in 5, considered by many as the greatest match on the Australian soil with the von Cramm-Budge match on January 9, 1938 in a tri-state event), WCT Finals 1971 (Rosewall in 4) and WCT Finals 1972 (Rosewall in 5). And on slow courts in general Rosewall at his best was superior to Laver (for instance the 1968 Roland Garros final, considered by some as the greatest match of the first three open era years) in particular on wet courts. The greatest Laver's win over Rosewall on slow courts was the Roland Garros final in 1969, Laver said that it was his best match ever on clay but he also added that Ken in 1969 was declining because he wasn't mentally at the top after 20 years in the tennis circuit.
    In conclusion about the Rosewall-Laver comparison, Laver was clearly superior at his very best on fast surfaces but on all the other criteria Rosewall was at least the equal or even better so to state at 100% that Laver was superior is very bold not to say inaccurate.

    About Perry I agree with you : he cannot be compared to Laver or Borg. Perry was never a clear #1 : between 1934 and 1936 he was the best amateur but Vines, the best pro, could claim to be quite equal (in 1934-35 I think Vines was slightly better but in 1936 I would give the edge to Perry because Vines was injured most of the summer that year and therefore didn't play for 6 months). The other year when Perry was close to #1 was in 1941 (best pro) but Riggs, the best amateur was at least as good as Perry (in their single confrontation Riggs led 5-4 in the decisive set and (if I'm not mistaken) 30-15 when Perry injured and had to retire), and J.P. Allen suggested that Riggs, the top amateur in 1941 should defeat Perry, the top pro that same year.

    About Borg. Compare him with Budge, year by year at intervals of 40 years (Budge was born in 1915 and Borg in 1956) :
    if you read my following arguments you will note that Borg was a sort of Budge who would have retired well before so I suggest that Budge was globally better than Borg. Given that injury (and war) prevented Budge from having a career as great (or even better) as Tilden, Gonzales, Rosewall or Laver you can guess that I think that Borg was below Rosewall (and co.).

    A) First years
    1933-1936 :
    - Budge was an ordinary player in 1933-1934, was possibly in the Top15 in 1935 and was around #5 in 1936
    1973-1976 :
    - Borg was in the Top20 in 1973, possibly #3 in 1974, between #2 or 3 (tied with Connors) in 1975, probably #2 in 1976
    Here you can see that Borg had better begun his career than Budge

    B) "Apogee"
    1937-1942 :
    - Budge was possibly #1 in 1937 (Vines and Perry, then pros, were very close to Budge), almost surely #1 in 1938, #1 in 1939 and 1940, I think he was just #6 in 1941 and once more #1 in 1942
    1977-1982 :
    - Borg was probably #1 in 1977 (Vilas very close), #1 in 1978-1979-1980, #2 in 1981, very debatable but this my opinion : Borg #5 (after Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Wilander) though he didn't play the official circuit except his Monte Carlo and Las Vegas appearances where he didn't give a damn.
    Both players had comparable years

    C) "Decline"
    1943-1955 (until 1961)
    - Budge played one match in 1943 (that he won against Edward Alloo 62 64) after his shoulder injury because of war, in 1944 he was slightly dominated by Segura and was equal to Kramer, in 1945 Budge was #2 as in 1946, in 1947 he was #2 or 3 (tied with Kramer), in 1948 #3 or 4 (tied with Kovacs), in 1949 he was in the Top5 or Top10, 1950-1951-1952-1953 : possibly in the Top10 each year, 1954-1955 : Top20
    1983-1993 :
    except Borg's win over Clerc in Monte Carlo 1983 (and some Swede's wins in exhibition matches) Borg's end of career was nil.
    In their last years Budge was better though not outstanding with some good results from 1945 to 1947-1948.

    Of course my above comparisons are rough but it gives first elements to decide between Budge and Borg.
    Budge had a slow start (compared to Borg) then both players dominated the tennis world for some years and finally Budge declined but played very honestly while Borg simply retired. Therefore I'm enclined to give the edge to Budge : each player had a stop, due to war and injury for Budge (1943) and to mental tiredness for Borg (40 years later in 1983), but the difference between them is that Budge really came back with some good performances whereas Borg just played some challenge or exhibition matches and made a pathetic return in 1991-1993.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    The excellence of your logical argument leaves me speechless. The evidence you offer is irrefutable.


    And by extrapolation, there's NO WAY a player with all Luxilon strings would lose to a player with a gut-poly hybrid. "Sorry, but there's no way that would happen."
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  47. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    Unsupported blather--The Sequel.

    I thought that was a book that you wrote. I don't want to take credit for your work. ;)
     
  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Again, you thought wrong. This is your work:

    Stand up and be proud of your creation!
     
  49. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Please explain there's "no way" Laver could beat Sampras and Federer in their primes??
     
  50. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Thank you. What JD is saying is CSI today would be a better criminalist than a CSI in the '60's as today's criminalist have the benefit of using DNA. Put a modern day CSI in the 1960's and how do they fare?? What about giving CSI's from the '60's the beneift of using DNA, and other forenzic advancements.

    It's not a slight on one or the other, but with the DNA and modern science readily avaiable CSI's from the 1960's would have been moulded with a different approach, likewise if modern day criminalsts did not have modern science they'd approach the science of criminalogy differently. If these things aren't considered what's the point of discussing this, whoever is the most recent will just end up being the greatest based on evolution.

    You have to somewhat level the laying filed. Put a Babolat in Tilden's hands, a Wilson in Gonzales' hands, or a head in Laver's hads and how do they fare?? Put wood in Federer or Nadal's hands and how would they fare.

    Note: Sampras is somewhat of a unique case cuz though he's from the graphite era, his game from a young age was moulded by wood due to the designings of Pete Fischer, According to Pete he didn't use graphite unil he honed his strokes and technique with wood.

    What JD is doing is not logical. Take to trained marksmen. Give one a modern day Sig Sauer 380 and the other a Derringer form the 1930's, and let then have a shootout, without question the one with the 380 will win. Does that mean he's the better shooter?? maybe, maybe not. But all this illustrates is that he was equipped with the better firearm. JD is equating haveing the better firearm as being the better shooter. Havein access to better and modern science as the better criminalist.

    So Chaog I'd have to agree. His comparison is invalid, as the playing level are clearly not even.
     

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