Greatest Top 10 Male Singles Players (A sensible list)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Chopin, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Let's assume Federer wins the French.

    1) Roger Federer (14 slams)
    2) Pete Sampras (14 slams)
    3) Andre Agassi (8 slams)--Particular weight should be placed on his career slam, which was achieved in an incredibly competitive modern game on three surfaces--something no one besides Federer has accomplished (including Laver). One also must consider that he played against Sampras.)
    4) Björn Borg (11 slams)
    5) Rod Laver (11 slams) Great champion, but his Grand Slam consisted of winning grass court tournaments when professional tennis was in its infancy. All in all, he was a great champion who played in a weak era. The truth is, a prime Laver would not match up well with current ATP players. These considerations prevent him from being ranked above Borg, who himself had difficulties keeping up with the rising powers of the modern game.)
    6) John McCenroe (7 slams)
    7) Jimmy Connors (8 slams)
    8) Ivan Lendl (8 slams)
    9) Ken Rosewall (8 slams)
    10) Roy Emerson (12 slams)--Obviously difficult to place.

    Note: Accomplishments are considered first (winning slams is the only legitimate test of a champion), though some emphasis is placed on the strength of the era (hence, Emerson not being ranked higher). Thus, Laver is #5 due to great accomplishments in his era, even though keen observers of tennis understand that Federer, Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, Mac, ect. would beat him soundly and routinely.

    EDIT: Hey guys, I know that I told some of you to listen to the Revolutionary Etude (fits your posting moods well) but I've reconsidered and decided that you'd be better off listening to the Waltz in C-Sharp Minor as you view this thread. It might relax some of you guys. I would post my own recording, but I suspect many of you aficionados would be quite critical, and I know how much you guys like the old timers, so here's The Man playing it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WpDH5zbhIk
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
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  2. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    I think there's no way Agassi should be ahead of Borg and Laver for starters and this is coming from someone who likes Dre's game.
     
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  3. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    I agree. Agassi, for all his achievements, never dominated the game the way that Borg and Laver did.

    Lendl is also rated too low - he was a formidable competitor for most of the 80's.
     
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  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    One has to love how troll boy got thrashed so soundly by other posters in his "Laver" thread that he ended up having to put his tail between his cowardly legs and beg people not to take him seriously...but then can't help but put in another bitter cheap shot in yet another troll thread. So pathetic, but hilarious!
     
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  5. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Agree,I would put Lendl ahead of Agassi,Mac and Connors.The guy was amazingly consistant week in week out and had much tougher competition(IMO)than both Fed and Sampras.People seems to have a knack for underrating Lendl all the time from what I've seen.
     
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  6. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Here, let me help you clear up your misconceptions.

    1) I didn't start the Laver thread, someone else did. It was not "my" Laver thread.

    2) I didn't tell anyone to not take me seriously, I suggested that they were taking themselves and the GOAT question too seriously. When one guy told me, "this isn't about tennis" and to "do the decent thing" I deduced (correctly) that some people we're taking it too seriously--not to mention I received a barrage of personal insults for suggesting that Laver is no GOAT. I noticed you referring to me as "pathetic" in your post--seems a little harsh in a discussion of Rod Laver's greatness playing tennis. Hmm...

    3) It's no troll thread. It's a legitimate GOAT list. I know many posters would rate Laver ahead of Borg, but I think the guy is way over-rated (as many other posters are suggesting). Besides, it's not that radical to put him at #4. Take a poll of the tennis world and most will rate Laver behind Federer & Sampras, at the least.

    Game, set, & match.
     
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  7. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Where would Lendl be on your list? (I'm asking out of genuine curiosity).
     
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  8. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Really..This is ridiculous and absurd you can not even back this up. Your excuse is height...do not make statements that you can not factually back up.

    Once again you show you lack complete knowledge of tennis history. During the 50s and 60s the best players on the tours were unable to play the slam which explains why Laver won 11 with a 7 year gap. There were equivalent majors that can be taken into account and various other factors as in who dominated the pro tour during this decade. Also it should be taken into account that the Australian Open was skipped by many top competitors such as Connors, Borg, McEnroe etc. for a duration of the mid to late 70s and early 80s and there were times in the late 70s that there we considered to be 3 majors by Borg and that many did not venture to Australia. Borg himself only would venture to Australia requiring he won the first three in the year as he did not deem it worthy and would only do it for tradition sake. Considering the Australian Open was the last slam and was played in a very awkward time late December right around Christmas. Also it must be noted there was points when players such as Connors and Borg were banned from playing the French Open due to contracts with organizations such as World Team Tennis. So although we like to use slams to judge modern players now there are players who came from a time when standards were different. A lot of other factors are important such as titles, records against other top players, weeks and years at number 1 and domination of the tour that need to be taken into account. For example Lendl was a far stronger player than Agassi and although lacking Wimbledon lost it to very tough grass players. He also held a stranglehold on the tour that was similar to Federer in regards and lost out on possibly a slam when the Australian Open was canceled in 86. Lendl also dominated Connors, McEnroe at points in time and the three all should be ahead of Agassi, they all dominated the tour and were stronger more consistent players in my opinion. Although Agassi has the career slam it more saves him from being pushed into the Wilander, Becker, Edberg range than vaults him ahead of Connors, McEnroe and Lendl. Agassi spent a ton of time being inconsistent and his last few Australian Opens came against fields that were in so much confusion. It was a time with aging greats like himself and Sampras, upcoming yet still inconsistent players in Hewitt, Safin, JCF and Federer and a tour with a clay court specialist leading the way in Kureten and a time when Thomas Johansson would even win a slam. While if you look at Connors, McEnroe and Lendl they were beating up tons of top players including themselves for slams having to compete with guys like Borg, Wilander, Becker and Edberg for their slams along with strong guys like Cash, Mecir and Vilas. The 80s was one tough decade.

    Also you left out guys like Pancho and Tilden which I guess is understandable as it is hard to rank them, but it is weird to rank Rosewell so low considering he won a slam in the 50s and the 70s and dominated on the pro tour all the time in between. The guy had a 20+ top tier career. That is definitely valuable any era.
     
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  9. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well I don't know enough about pre open era tennis(although I have been reading more about it in the last few months,I lurk here in former pro section from time to time) to really form a GOAT list but as I said for me Lendl is definitely ahead of Agassi,Mcenroe and Connors on the best ever list,I think he has accomplished more than any of them.

    I also can't decide whether Borg is ahead of Sampras or not on the GOAT list.I mean Borg did some of the most amazing things in tennis ever,to dominate 2 surfaces which where then complete polar opposities to such extent never fails to amaze me.It's a true testament to his versality and adaptability as a player.Even though the guy is known as a baseliner to most people,that is very false,the guy was a true all-courter who played a lot of S&V at Wimbledon.He also did way better at his worst slam-USO(3 finals) than Pete ever did at his-FO(one SF).

    As for Fed,I'll wait until he finishes his career to compare his achievements to other greats who are long retired.People on this board seem to either put him on a pedestal or really take a **** on his achievements depending on how well the Fed is doing at the moment.
     
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  10. Chopin

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    The problem is that it's absolutely impossible to weigh how a player would have done if they had competed in a slam if he was unable, or unwilling to play in it. Absolutely impossible. That's completely out of my criteria.

    And Agassi won slams late in his career due to high level of play, not due to a lack of competition. If anything, Agassi should be given more credit for the amazing longevity of his career in the modern game. Competition has only gone up and up in tennis and the reasons have nothing to do with the talent of a few at the top of the game, but instead due to tennis exploding into a global game with billions of dollars of infrastructure.

    I don't have time to respond to your post in length, but I will point out that the older generations universally acknowledges that tennis is tougher today than ever before. Every guy acknowledges it, right down to the most arrogant ones like Mac and Connors. Personally, I think these guys understand the game better than TW historians.
     
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  11. kimbahpnam

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    Where would Nadal rank?
     
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  12. Chopin

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    Too early to say.
     
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  13. egn

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    However at the same time guys like Sampras have called Laver the greatest of all time...so how would that rank?
     
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  14. Chopin

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    I know he admires Laver, but I've never heard him say that. I honestly don't think that's Sampras opinion at the moment. I truly thought that the last time he spoke about it he said it was between him and Roger.

    I know for a fact that Federer, while saying there is no such thing as GOAT, has said that things were different in Laver's era and that Pete and him are really the frontrunners.
     
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  15. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    No, Sampras has said Laver is the best to him. Now he's more diplomatic saying Laver, himslf, Federer and Borg, and "it's hard to say", but Pete has said Laver is the best ever.
     
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  16. tonyg11

    tonyg11 Rookie

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    i like your list. I have no problem with you putting Agassi 3rd. You could shuffle Agassi from 3rd to 6th and it you could make an argument for him being in any of those positions.

    Pete and Andre played in what could easily be considered the strongest era of tennis ever. Not to mention you could argue that Agassi's career spanned 3 different eras. His longevity, his growth as a player into his 30s, his ups and downs, his career golden slam with the Olympic gold medal and his influence on the game of tennis could easily be arguments for him being 3rd

    I don’t know anyone who could do what Andre did. He could have retired in 93 with his wrist injury and surgery, or in 96 with personal problems and further injuries. Both times he came back strong. He came back and improved as a player at an age when most pros consider retirement. That is something Borg couldn’t do and something I doubt Sampras, Federer or Nadal could do. He brought the human element to the game of tennis. Something Sampras couldn’t do and something Federer could never do even if he wins 20 grand slams.

    Even though his career was side by side with someone that could be argued as the GOAT, you could argue that Agassi did more for tennis than Sampras.
     
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  17. Chelsea_Kiwi

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    And Laver said Fed is the best ever.
     
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  18. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Laver said Pete is the best ever.
     
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  19. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    And Billie Jean King cosigned it.
     
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  20. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    I very much doubt that any of the players you mentioned would beat Laver "soundly and routinely".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SptdffCeVmM

    Connors doesnt seem to be beating him very soundly here, despite the fact laver is in his late 30s.

    McEnroe, Llendl and Connors always had very close matches and both held their own against young Sampras and Agassi when they first appeared on tour and would have matched up well with them if their career peaks coincided.

    To say Laver would have been beaten "Soundly and Rountinely" is very disrespectful and ignorant of Lavers abilities and accomplishments.
     
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  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I like the Nocturnes best.

    Rubinstein is the GOAT.
     
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  22. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    1. Rod Laver
    2. Pete Sampras
    3. Ken Rosweall
    4. Bjorn Borg
    5. Pancho Gonzales
    6. Bill Tilden
    7. Don Budge
    8. Roger Federer (if he wins the Fernch)
    9. Jack Kramer
    10. Jimmy Connors
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Nice list GSF. Don't overlook Lendl. He's a contender.
     
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  24. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Yeah for sure. I have a hard time picking picking between him and Connors. I think both are above McEnroe though as much as I respect McEnroe's talent.
     
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  25. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Good list.
     
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  26. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    A bit harsh on Fed. If he wins the French he will have 14 slams and a career slam losing record against Nadal or not he definitely deserves a higher position than you have him at as Pancho himself was never good on clay and has a losing record against Laver career wise..Tilden is hard to rate and Budge as well but you can't make any claim for Sampras and Borg being ahead and than find a way to turn it around and use it against Federer. Federer had the dominant years, will have than tied the slam record, has the longest string of good performances in a slam and holds the record for longest consecutive number 1 period. Let alone he will have done what Borg and Sampras failed to do win a slam on all the major surfaces. If your only claim to holding Fed at 8 is his losing record against Nadal that is a weak one. He is definitely not number 1 but he definitely deserves at least a top 5 spot. Just my argument to the matter.

    Also where is Fed without the French? And I hope as you being a Graf fan than don't have Graf 1 on the female GOAT list as if anyone was more lucky than Fed it was clearly Graf.
     
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  27. CEvertFan

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    I'd have to agree. Winning the French would definitely put Federer past Borg and Sampras IMO and even if he doesn't win the French tomorrow he still should be in the top 5. Sampras or Borg never dominated like he did for so long.
     
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  28. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    I agree Connors is ahead of McEnroe, and I put him ahead of Lendl for winning Slams on three surfaces (grass, clay and hard) and for beating Lendl in the two Slam finals they played each other in when Connors was 30 and 31. Lendl really didn't get the upper hand on Connors until he was 33, well past his prime, but still good enough that he could go far in Slam tournaments.
     
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  29. Chopin

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    Yeah, I thought the nocturnes might put some people in a gloomy mood though, and they'd start weeping because Laver is #4 on my list. :)
     
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  30. Chopin

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    Interesting, it looks like he's qualified it. Let's wait until after the French (if Federer wins it) and we'll see what Sampras has to say. I suspect that lots of people will be bothering him about Fed's career slam. Wouldn't you put Sampras and Federer in the top 3?
     
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  31. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Cases can be made for both it all is how you look at it. I find myself constantly readjusting my list but both are always in my top 7 which consists of usually Laver, Sampras, Federer, Borg, Gonzales, Rosewell and Tilden in no specific order.
     
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  32. Chopin

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    #32
  33. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    I'd have Pancho over Rosewall, Federer a bit higher (irregardless of French Open), but that's just my opinion.
     
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  34. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    I don't know what Sampras will say we'll have to wait and see. He said Laver, and more recently Laver, himself Borg and Federer.

    Would I have Sampras and Federer in my top 3?? I don't know. I have (in order of appearance) Tilden, Budge, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer definitely in my top 10. But the order I don't know as there are so many variables to look at.

    Some I don't know other than what I've read, and others have holes on their resumes. It's not that simple. But Sampras and Federer are both in running from where I stand.
     
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  35. Chopin

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    Why do you "hate" Federer? It seems odd to be a "proud Federer hater for life," no? I think Laver is over-rated but I certainly don't hate him.
     
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  36. urban

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    I am very reluctant to participate on this thread. This scientology thing bothers me. To me, those Fedfans with their Fed is God and religious experience **** reminds me more of some religious groups. On New York times online is a good article as usual by Christopher Clarey, who examines the goat talk and the evaluating problems quite precise. Gilbert is cited with his notion, that the pre open era players didn't even know the majors numbers record (then held by Tilden, who stayed amateur for the best years of his career), let alone went after it. The examples of Gonzales and Hoad are mentioned, all time players with only 6 majors combined. That all makes the number game quite problematic.If Federer wins RG, we will certainly see several articles by new press writers, who don't know nothing about the history of the game of tennis. Thank God (allow me that little religious reference), that by the books of McCauley, Sutter and others, and by some internet collaborations by people like Andrew Tas (especially thanks), Carlo or Jeffrey we know more about the real facts of the tennis 'dark age', the pro era before 1968. So all people should be very careful and do a little research for themselves (not only on wikipedia), before they are hailing the next new goat every next month.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
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  37. DonBudge

    DonBudge New User

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    Very high class post.
    About this thread: CRAP.
     
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  38. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Right now I rate Federer #12 behind all of Connors, Lendl, and McEnroe. If he wins the French he will leapfrog all those to #8. Fine I will ask you then, where do you have Federer now, and behind and ahead of whom exactly, and where would you have him if he wins the French. Would you even have him #2 behind Laver or #3 behind Laver and Rosewall in this case? It sure sounds like it.

    While this is off topic in a mens thread since you asked yes I do have Graf as the #1 women player all time. Why should I feel there is anything wrong with just because I am a Graf fan, as many do have her the #1 player all time anyway:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=226893&highlight=greatest+women

    I supposed you will say those are all biased Graf fans now, LOL! Granted this is just TW World but amongst experts almost all have she or Navratilova as the greatest women player ever. Evert is the consensus 3rd but very few have her ahead of either of them.
     
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  39. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    Thats a better list than the OP's, though I would put Fed a bit higher, probably around 5 or 6 right now if he wins the French. The OP's list was way off, Agassi should not have been 3rd, Laver was way to low, and Fed is not number 1 even if he wins the french, at least in my opinion. This list is much better.
     
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  40. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    *gasp* But it's "sensible"! ;)
     
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  41. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    I like Agassi but he is clearly below guys like Lendl, Connors, and McEnroe. He was never dominant like they were, not as consistent as they were, his peak play doesnt compare to McEnroe's especialy, and Connors even surpasses his longevity while Lendl approaches it.
     
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  42. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, in terms of players I have grown up playing and watching, Agassi is by far my favorite, but in all honesty the highest i would put him all time is 11. I like him, but I am not about to overinflate him. Connors and Mac were far more consistant and dominant in their best years and across their careers, Lendl makes up for his shortcomings with sheer volume of slam finals as well as longevity. Pete, Laver, Pancho Tilden, Fed and Budge are just higher, and I would say Rosewall is to.
     
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  43. egn

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    Fed currently is up in the air on my list I actually took a bit of reworking in my list a month or two ago originally I had Fed 6 and Sampras 7 but right now I have moved both of them up so currently I have Fed 5 with Laver, Pancho, Borg and Rosewell ahead of him and Tilden rounding out my top 7 at 7. If Fed wins the French I feel he leapfrogs Rosewell and Borg at chance..(though my opinion on this is bound to change and he might remain right where he is) even with a losing record against his main rival for the following reasons. Rosewell had a losing record against Laver and Borg was on the verge of falling under Mac and quit too early. I still have him behind Laver and Pancho though. I have him ahead of Sampras due to dominance, consistency and being stronger on all the surfaces. I will not say all Graf fans are biased I am just not sure what is your case for Graf being 1 and Fed being 12? That is quite absurd behind Connors, Mac and Lendl? Lendl has the worst slam finals record and only 8, Connors could not beat any of his main rivals of Lendl, Mac and Borg and only has 8 slams sure he hit all the surfaces but green clay plays much more like a slow hardcourt than clay and McEnroe has only 7 slams and was very inconsistent and had only 2 real dominant seasons 1984 and 1981. 1981 itself was not nearly as strong as 84 or any of Fed's 3 best seasons. I am not sure how you can justify any of these players being ahead of Fed as Fed has more slams, more accomplishments, better results on all the surfaces and longer periods of dominance with more convincing dominant seasons than any of those 3. The where Fed falls between Sampras and Borg is clearly up in the air but Fed is definitely more accomplished and deserves to be ahead of Mac, Connors and Lendl that would be putting Fed in the same pool with Wilander, Edberg and Becker in essence..Fed winning the French will tops be 3

    On the topic of Graf I have her second to Martina for the whole Seles reason.
     
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  44. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, they are certainly other factors to be considered, not just total slams.
     
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  45. Chopin

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    To be fair, I'm not sure this is about hailing the next new GOAT every month. Federer stands on the brink of history. Whether you guys like it or not, the tennis world at large is going to anoint Federer as the GOAT after tomorrow if he wins (I suspect that this will include the vast majority of past greats, commentators, coaches, insiders, fans ect.). It'll really only be on message boards like this where people will have him at #8 (come on).
     
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  46. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Don't be absurd. I'm not one of the bumpkins off the turnip wagon, so prevalent here. I KNOW what you are and what you are doing. You can't "win" against me. However, as evidenced by the multitude of replies you've received, you are indeed owning the forum. Still, between you and me, as you well know, this is like saying you are the master of manipulating a kindergarten class! Oh well, have fun!
     
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  47. Chopin

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    This is hilarious. What am I and what am I doing? My GOAT list is quite legitimate (others have agreed with it). Many feel that Agassi is ranked too high (a legitimate argument) and that Lendl is too low (fine), but I still stand by it. You're never going to have a list that pleases everyone. Considering how much Borg dominated the game, I don't think it's unreasonable to place him at #3 either...

    Yes, it is a humorous jive in posting the Chopin waltz with the thread, but I'm trying to get posters to lighten up a little bit and not approach the GOAT debate with more hot & angry feelings than they bring to a debate about the scope of the First Amendment's protection. Once again, given the topic of conversation and the medium through which it's taking place, it seems juvenile for you to refer to me as "pathetic" in one of your posts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
    #47
  48. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
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    4,611

    You are VERY PATHETIC, but not quite as pathetic as the people responding to you, so I've given you that. Be happy about it. Posting a semi-plausible list along with troll statements eg. "even though keen observers of tennis understand that Federer, Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, Mac, ect. would beat him soundly and routinely.", hardly disguises you from any thinking poster.

    Even now, you're weak attempt to continue this "engagement" with me, is....pathetic. That's the best word. I could give you some credit if you could say "hey, Datacipher, what can I say? It's a good time!", but instead you think you can drag me into drawn out, insincere discourse for you to get your jollies. Sorry bud, been around too long, and you're just not very good at it. Yes, you need to hit the average poster with the hammer punches to get their attention, but again, if you want to move up a league in your trolling, you'll have to produce more a subtle touch and recognize those who won't fall for the gimmicks.

    Again, have fun.

    Hey, just out of curiosity, how many of the threads that you start, that are not equipment related are Federer fan posts? 98%? lol! Ah...kids...


    PS. The word you're looking for is "jibe" not "jive".
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
    #48
  49. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I won't waste my time responding to your rude diatribe in length, but I will point out that the word I was looking for was indeed "jive," not "gibe," and definitely not "jibe," as you wrote. Jive is old jazz slang from the 20s.

    2 a: glib, deceptive, or foolish talk

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jive

    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/gibe.html

    P.S. You're one of the people responding to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
    #49
  50. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I have a a couple of questions.

    For those of you who have posted in this thread and said that even if Federer wins the French he isn't the GOAT, what would he have to do in your opinion to move up to #1? His accomplishments are already staggering as it is and he'll most likely complete a career Slam tomorrow. Also what are the reasons why you don't consider him to be in the top 5 right now without a French title and why what are the reasons you would still not consider him the best ever WITH a French title? My curiosity is getting the better of me.
     
    #50

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