How Do You Define 'Strong Era'

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    How Do You Define 'Strong Era'?

    Is it a larger number of great players at the same time (as indicated by multiple-slam winners competing against each other)?

    Is it one or maybe two many-slam winners who dominate and keep all others out of the slam record books?

    Is it some other way?
     
    #1
  2. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,536
    Location:
    OREGON
    I refuse to even play the game in such broad terms. while I may describe an era as especially strong in terms of as specific surface 9clay court era or grass) , region (european tennis or Amrican) or style ( S/v or baseline) , I do not subscribe to the notion that tennis does anything but go forward, with only the briefest of declines ( a yer or two at the longest) while adjustments to new technology or rules or another external factor. yes, that means todays women's tennis is not a weak field, just weak in certain narrow specific skills. and No, Sampras did not have a weaker era than Federer or Vice Versa. .
    the moment
     
    #2
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    I think the definition of a Strong Era is a high level of competition in that particular era.

    You can judge it in so many different ways that it's hard to define. For example many may consider the 1970's a strong era because their are so many Hall of Famers playing in that era. Laver, Borg, Rosewall, Newcombe, Connors, Vilas, Nastase, Ashe, Smith, Orantes, Gimeno, Emerson among others played in that era. However not all of them were at their peaks at the same time. Laver for example was still very strong in the early 1970's but declined later. Borg was excellent in the early 1970's but he was not nearly at the level he reached later. You can also argue that perhaps the 1970's was NOT a strong era and the only reason that their are so many Hall of Famers is that enough time has passed for them to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.

    Some may look at the players in an era and complain that the players had many stroke weaknesses and therefore the era was weak.

    I personally would define it as a high level of play, especially among the top players.

    Here's a question for everyone and I think it may have been asked already but I'll ask it again---What period of time would you say is the strongest era in tennis history?
     
    #3
  4. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    "Strong" Era

    This is tough because it is defined when looking backwards, isn't it? :confused: Hall of Fame players usually become such after they retire:-?

    This is one of the reasons why I don't feel inclined to jump on the "Fed is God" bandwagon....just don't feel his competition has been top notch, aside from Nadal. But, that is not Fed's fault, obviously.

    Taking a wild swing at this, I'd say it is defined by "3 or more players who tend to surpass all others, each who have won more than one GS title, and who are simultaneously vying for GS titles and having a shot at winning them" It is amongst this GROUP of players that the GS titles reside/are won over that era.

    So, basically, you are looking at a time frame when there are realistically several guys in contention for a GS, all of whom who at least occasionally beat each other....late 70's, early 80's, early 90's, I think fall into this classification. Perhaps early 70's too, but a lot of the pre-open era greats were aging/approaching retirement at that stage.

    I think 2010 could be the emergence of a strong era, if Del Potro continues to perform, Murray steps up, Nadal gets well and Djokovic remembers how to win. Those 3, plus perhaps a lingering Roddick and a Fed who may(?) be winding down could make things very exciting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
    #4
  5. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,434
    no such thing, it's an artificial construct that makes for a good debate, and a tool for fans to bolster their individual points of view, which are typically biased towards whatever era they happened to 'come of age' in.

    there are no absolutes in tennis, it's entirely relative.
     
    #5
  6. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,571
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Even then, there is a problem with looking back. If an era is so totally dominated, as Federer's is, then there will be less Hall of Famers because Federer is/was so dominant. And, just because he is dominant does that mean his era was any less competitive? It is easy to argue both sides of this.

    I really think that in a global sport, such as tennis, the level of competition is a constant. Now, it can be skewed in one direction or another, but by and large, you're getting the best the world has to offer at that time. When I say skewed, there have been periods when the QF's and up were the most competitive and there have been times when the competition was, for lack of a better term, in a state of parity. That is to say that one player so dominated the era as to make the rest of the field look equal but substantially below the guy on top. I think that is the case now as was the case when Tilden was on top and to some degree Borg.

    As far as a GOAT, I've arrived at the conclusion that any champion from any era would do well against his peers regardless of when they played given equal conditions/equipment. So, Tilden would be in the top ten today and Federer would be in the top ten in the 20s.
     
    #6
  7. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,389
    The 90s was a 'stronger era' for Chang, Agassi, Stich and Courier than it was for Sampras even though they all played most of their tennis in the 90s.
     
    #7
  8. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,369
    There were some periods, when 6-8 really great players were competing at the top. I mean 6 players of the class of top 20-25 all time, near their prime. The 30s, the late 50s at the pros, around 1970, and the late 80s. Take for example the late 50s at the pros, say the Forest Hills round robins in 1957 or 58. You had Pancho Gonzalez at his peak, Lew Hoad at his peak (although always unpredictable), Frank Sedgman and Tony Trabert near their peak, Pancho Segura still going strong, Ken Rosewall approaching his prime years, but very dangerous. All these players were technical sound, athletically strong, battle tough and very clever. Put in players like Cooper and Anderson, and you had a very strong cast.
     
    #8
  9. akv89

    akv89 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,587
    Competition is not really indicative of the strength of an era because it is a measure of how strong players are in comparison to others in their own era, not players from another era. Competition would be the same if there were a bunch of great players playing at the same time, or a bunch of mediocre players playing at the same time.
    The most objective way of looking at things would be to look purely at the quality of tennis being played by the top players. However, even that might be slightly biased because of changes in technology that make it easier to hit the ball harder and still keep the ball in the court.
     
    #9
  10. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,621
    Great one. That's why the "weak-era" argument that is so prevalent among fed-detractors is so fallacious.
     
    #10
  11. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    Eras

    It is very tough to say, and to some extent becomes a bit subjective. Fed is obviously highly skilled and has had a dominant run. Arguably, perhaps the skill set is lacking in his opponents??? (e.g., the spirit is willing but the body is weak?)....Nadal is the only guy who has been able to get in there and take it to him regularly, not including the recent Del Potro triumph. Many of us have watched the sport for many, many years; putting nostalgia aside, I just don't think Fed has had "hall of fame" competition [again, Nadal not included]. I'm not a Fed detractor, I just think some of these guys just were not ready to beat him on the big stage, for whatever the reason. When you read off the list of those he has beaten in the GS events, you don't say "WOW"...but you are certainly impressed by the quantity and consistency of his performance.
     
    #11
  12. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Location:
    somewhere in calif
    Strong Era:
    *******s - The era which includes Federer
    Samprastards - Any era which does not include Federer
     
    #12
  13. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Strength of era is usually decided upon the number of strong, consistent top contenders.

    Look at 1978 -- how many tourneys did Jimbo win that year? Consistently great? 1989 and 1990 are other years. 1982. You can go on and on.

    Pre-2000 the surfaces were much more diverse creating pure surface-specialists and that divide supplied the different surfaces with rested, peaking specialists in every different season since many coasted during the other seasons and ultimately saved themselves, extreme example Solomon on grass.

    There's usually a clique of serious contenders for a years top spot who all have great, consistent results. If one analyzes these specific players and note their characteristics as in that they have great clutch, impressive results against their rivals for the top spot and rarely, if ever, loses to anyone beneath them.

    Players ranked 5 and lower usually lack serious clutch and has other clear problems with their game and are more patchy.

    Consistently great performers year after year after year in the absolute elite is key...
     
    #13
  14. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    6,581

    I think it's easiest to define a strong era by saying what it isn't, rather than what it is.

    Having one or two players who win everything isn't a strong era - it's women's tennis.
     
    #14
  15. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3,309

    At present everybody beats everybody in women's tennis - strong era.
    In 2002 Serena won everything - weak era.
     
    #15
  16. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Location:
    Tennis Courts!
    Funny how people's minds work.
    • If there were 10 different Grand Slam Winners playing on the ATP Tour right now, we would call it an (inconsistent era), due to no single person being guaranteed to win a Grand Slam
    • BUT, if there were 10 different Grand Slam Winners playing on the ATP Tour currently, we would call it a (strong era) due to there being so much "competition".
    Yet,
    • When one person has a great chance of winning a Grand Slam, the rest of the field is called WEAK.
    • When the rest of the field all have chances to win a Grand Slam, everyone is called WEAK
    • When a person wins consistently, he is called LUCKY and the rest of the field called WEAK
    • When a person doesn't win consistently, he is called WEAK
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
    #16
  17. akv89

    akv89 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,587
    I think this is a step in the right direction. But then you have to define what does it mean to be consistently great? And how many players need to be consistently great for an era to be considered strong?

    Your definition is a top-heavy way of looking at what makes up the strength of an era. What I mean by that is that you're giving more weight to the results of players at the very top of the game. This would mean that if there were 4-5 good players in a field where everybody else is mediocre, then that era would be considered stronger than if there were 4-5 good players playing against a field of others that are almost as good, because the the top players in the latter era are more susceptible to upsets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
    #17
  18. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    589
    Strong era would be 1990-1996...
     
    #18
  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    The term Strong Era is of course subject to debate and often cannot truly be said until years later and even then it can be debated.

    A lot of it can be subjective of course also. We can look at a great player and pick on a few weaknesses. For example as great a player as Stefan Edberg was we can pick on the fact that people thought he had an ugly and relatively weak forehand. Jimmy Connors was great but he had a relatively weak serve.

    I think we also have to look at how long a people consistently wins and is considered a great player. A Jimmy Connors around 1978 is clearly at or near his peak and he was a top factor in every major he entered for many years afterwards defeating players into the 1990's. Clearly Connors helped to make the late 1970's a stronger era. You can say McEnroe in the late 1970's won for a long time as did Borg, Vilas, Tanner, Ashe, Gerulaitis and others. Does it make the late 1970's a strong era? Who knows? I do know that average record of any player in any era would be a consistent fifty percent winning percentage.

    So by logic we would have to say that we have to have a lot of excellent players who are near the top or at least can challenge the top to make a strong era. Does for example a Miloslav Mecir, who for a short time was about as gifted a player as you can get qualify to help make it a strong era? I would think so despite the fact he didn't last long. At his best I think he was better than for example a Brad Gilbert who lasted longer and had perhaps a better career.

    Right now I think we had the potential to have a Strong Era with Federer, Nadal, Murray, Del Potro, Djokovic and a number of others who can challenge in any major but we will have to see. So far only Nadal has been able to defeat Federer in majors consistently.

    I think we all enjoy it when we feel that there are a number of awesome players playing at one time at the top levels of tennis. It's exciting to see them play in the later rounds and finals instead of the same old final matchups. I think a lot of people were bored in the 1980's with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova playing in every final.

    Again, here's another question? Was the Evert-Navratilova dominance in the 1980's due to the fact it was a weak era or was it that Evert and Navratilova level of play unusually high that allowed them to win all the time? Maybe the rest of the field was just as good relatively speaking as in the past.

    So what is better? An era with twenty very good players at the top but none that are great or an era with eight super players at the top and the next twelve of much lower quality than in the first example. From a viewing standpoint I prefer the latter since I enjoy watching a battle of titans instead of a battle of very good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
    #19
  20. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    840
    What, precisely, made this period so strong?
     
    #20
  21. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,313
    I don't. ......
     
    #21
  22. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,248
    Location:
    Akron, OH
    Strong era is not seeing the same player in GS finals 80% of the time <<; WTB Roger some competition
     
    #22
  23. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Location:
    Tennis Courts!
    So you mean like how it is in the WTA, where we don't see the same player in GS Finals 80% of the time.

    *lol*
     
    #23
  24. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I define "strong era" as an era with several great players at the top of the rankings, with each having a great chance at winning majors. So, I vote for defining "strong era" as "having a larger number of great players at the same time" (as indicated by multiple-slam winners competing against each other).

    Depth is also important, but as a fan, you tend to really focus on the QF-Finals of the Grand Slams.

    In my opinion, it'll be very difficult for Tennis to have the kind of excitement and high level competition produced by Borg, McEnroe, and Connors. They also had to compete against Lendl and Vilas. That's 3 lefties among those 5 by the way, with definite "surface masters" so to speak. Lendl was very tough indoors even though he was young. Vilas was a clay court monster. Connors was a great hard court player. McEnroe was awesome on grass. Borg? Well, my favorite player was very dangerous on ALL OF THE ABOVE!

    All three were tennis warriors with unbelievable talent, with all three being all time great players, with contrasting personalities, styles, strengths, and weaknesses. They made tennis ratings go through the roof!
     
    #24
  25. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    840
    Great answer! :)
     
    #25
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    I think some of us have opinions on what is a strong era or not. And I am sure that some eras in tennis have been stronger than others. The problem is that there is no concrete way of proving it. You can make one argument in favor of one era and someone else can make a better argument in favor of another era.
     
    #26
  27. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    contrasting playing styles and personalities, combined with the intense competition, really made you want to watch these guys back in the late 70's early 80's....that was the tennis heyday, so to speak, for good reason....you just don't have those sort of contrasts today, nor the personalities...and you can debate if there are as many skilled top pros out there today of similar caliber....the TV ratings tell you a lot...tennis has become something of a marginalized sport (unfortunately)
     
    #27
  28. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,571
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    I don't know that I'd exclude Nadal. IMO, the Fed era has been competitive, but Federer has just been an anamoly. He is just hands down better than the field.

    I have a totally new perspective on Nadal after reading an interview with Pancho Segura. In it, he pretty much wonders aloud if Nadal can be competitive going forward and opines that Nadal is not dominant given his set scores. Agree or not, it is a very interesting perspective from a guy who has forgotten more about tennis than the rest of us will ever know.

    My turn....this is a great post. I would add then that this made the surface specialists you mention made the top guys' wins all the more impressive. It was really amazing to see Borg win against guys on slower clay who were the dirtballers and then turn around two weeks later without a warmup tournament and do the same against guys who lived and died on grass. Likewise, McEnroe's 1984 run to both finals were equally as impressive, moreso on clay because he was not as good on it.

    The only counter I have to it is a year like McEnroe's 1984. The competition was the same, McEnroe was just that much better and for a 12-month period. Again, like Federer, McEnroe was an anamoly for a 12-month period. The next closest was Wilander's 1988. Federer has just done it longer than anyone.

    Or Federer/Nadal for the last 7 years? The argument has been raised, and I don't know that I can counter it, that women's tennis is more competitive now than the ATP. Certainly the usual suspects to win a major on the women's side is much deeper than the men's.

    Since 2003, when Federer won his 1st major, there have been 7 winners who aren't named Federer or Nadal. That's a total of 28 majors, 21 of which have been won by Federer or Nadal. Just as an aside, the 7 are Agassi, Ferrero, Roddick, Gaudio, Safin, Djokovic, and DelPotro, all with one each.

    In that same span, there have been 10 different winners of majors on the WTA. Serena Wiliams and Venus Williams, the most dominant, have accounted for 10 with Henin at 6.

    I agree with this 100%. The ATP and WTA have "coached" the personality right out of the game. It's more a mutual admiration society with a sprinkling of pros who refuse to admit that they were beat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
    #28
  29. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Rabbit -- thing is with Fed's era is the lack of consistent all-time-greats.

    Look at Roddick and he lacks those player-characteristics that, say Jimbo had; never losing, not afraid of anybody, 10 tourneys won every year, super-results always on majors with surfaces playing to his strength (and darn good results on surfaces not speaking to his strength) year after year after year.

    The insatiable winner. Bona-fide champ-material.

    At the same time you had Mac, who shared these traits with Jimbo. Never say die. Never folding. Being extremely consistent on his surfaces. At the same time you had Lendl and so forth.

    Safin, Roddick, Ferrero and those guys are not all-time-great material even with a couple of more majors under their belt.

    They lack the consistently great results in the smaller tourneys that they should have.

    Even in 1984 -- when Mac was out of this world fantastic -- he went to five against Lendl on red clay and went to five against aging Jimbo. They still confirmed and retained their all-time-great status and their past and future successes were in crystal clear evidence in their results against Mac even in his most untouchable season at very important stages. The stripes never change on a tiger...

    There's one guy who's an all-timer in Fed's age: The Spaniard. He's got the Jimbo traits -- never say die, consistently great and wins many tourneys every year, not a guy that folds under fire.

    And what's the H2H with Fed. Disaster for the Swiss. This is not good no matter how much contortionist-arguments you throw into the mix. There's not one from Fed's generation who wins 10 tourneys every year and have been alongside him.

    It's just like Borg didn't have Jimbo or the other way around -- never mind Mac and Lendl...

    Or Laver lacking Kenny and Pancho in the 60s...

    Just one consistently great all-timer doesn't make the fiercest era...

    Then you have the surfaces. There's a lot of stuff.

    Every time I am ready to bump Roger up to the highest tier he folds on me. Six straight USO against an on-fire -- but still major-final-virgin Del Potro -- would've done the trick -- but of course no. Three points away wasn't close enough for the Swiss. Unfathomable. Six in a row against an on-fire Nadal at Wimby would've sealed the deal too. No matter the opposition if he strengthened all his records with something truly sublime and unseen in the Open Era besides being consistent himself against rivals who are not very consistent. Is there pattern that Federer tends to crumble when seriously challenged. That his nerves aren't made of standard steel?!

    How can the era be strong if the strongest guy has rusty nerves...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
    #29
  30. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,571
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    ^^^^^^^^^^^
    Again, I can't argue against this. Great post.
     
    #30
  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Not to disagree, but to put an even sharper point on it, since Fed "had his breakthrough" and won the Wimbledon in July 2003 there have been only five other names on that list: Roddick, Gaudio, Safin, Djokovic, and Del Potro. Each with only one.

    Since Nadal "had his breakthrough" at the FO 2005, there have been only two other names besides Federer and Nadal. Each with only one.
     
    #31
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    At least four great players, each with multiple slams or other top tournament wins (DC or pro tourneys) during an era.?
     
    #32
  33. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    There's a lot of French Audio, but since Urban mentioned those great players, I thought watching some 1930's Tennis would be fun:

    Fred Perry Tribute Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLyX...827AA09CB&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=4

    Don Budge Tribute Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE1g...827AA09CB&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=5

    French Open Video (Featuring Cochet, Tilden, Borotra, Lacoste, Boussus, Crawford, Von Cramm, Budge, Menzel, Destremeau, Petra, Bernard, Drobny, Parker, Patty, Sedgman, Rosewall, Seixas )
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezUDvIzZmWg
     
    #33
  34. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    Exactly...

    BorgForever, your entire post is completely SPOT ON! Thanks! year after year, A-level performance is what makes the difference. was looking at Ivan and Jimmy's tourney wins on Wiki the other night; really amazing that they could win 8/10 tournaments a year, year after year. Multiple surfaces too. You don't see too much of that now.

    It is very hard to articulate the difference between watching ongoing contests between Borg/Jimmy/Mac/Lendl vs. the Fed vs. "someone" show....it is like not knowing who will win vs. a 90% certainty of knowing Fed will win...simply cause the other guy isn't good enough

    aside from Nadal, Fed is not seriously challenged. This year, he has showed some weakness, I will say. Roddick came very, very close to pulling it off...his carelessness and Fed's serving in the 5th prevented the upset. but, I think it just caught up to him in the Del Potro match. He seemed very spent...certainly not a class A effort down the home stretch...

    He is a great player, perhaps the GOAT...just would like to see some more of these guys "step up" to challenge him.
     
    #34
  35. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,248
    Location:
    Akron, OH
    I have to admit, I don't think this argument holds much merit. No one questions Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer ever, although he has no dominant counterpart or competitor. Sure, every once in a while, someone will rise up once and give him a good run for his money, but that consistent rivalry isn't there. Maybe it's the nature of the sports in that in tennis, you only compete against one person at a time and your results are a more direct result of your skill level compared to someone else, whereas golf is more of a sport where you play the entire field so whoever is hitting the best for 4 days is the winner and there's a little bit more of that luck factor, but I think Federer is the best player of the era by far, and I'm only 17 so I can't speak for GOAT because I've never really seen anyone from another era play with my own eyes, but Federer most definitely has the credentials and shouldn't be immediately discredited on the sole basis that his era is not as competitive as those of the past. The notion that you determine who the greatest player is based on how skilled their opponents are is just silly. It's personal skill. THEY are who we are judging.
     
    #35
  36. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    Incorrect >> then it would have been a victory over yet another first time finalist, nothing special

    nah, it would've been another victory against "claycourt" specialist nadal !

    uh, so 22 GS semis in a row, 10 GS finals in a row, 5 wimbys and 5 USOs(5 consec at two different slams ) are something seen before in the open era ?????(never mind 65 consecutive wins on grass, 56 consecutive wins on HC)

    not easy when someone like fed is dominating

    Its NO disaster unless the non-clay H2H goes negative for fed

    Your 10 tourneys every year point is moot as I'll point out in my next post

    uh, since when did lendl become a "big" part of the borg era ?? He was there just during the tail-end of it

    you have two - fed and nadal

    Roddick wimby 2004 F, agassi USO 2004 QF,nadal wimby 2007 F, roddick USO 2007 QF, Tipsarevic 2008 AO 3R, andreev USO 2008 4R, haas FO 2009 4R, del potro FO 2009 SF, roddick wimby 2009 F (and safin 2005 AO SF & nadal wimby 2008 F) etc don't agree
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
    #36
  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    well, of course you WON'T see that now. The tour is more "standardized" now, with the top guys mostly playing the major tournaments and not playing too many minor tournaments >> unlike those days where they won small tournaments one after the other playing different tournaments with smaller fields ....
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
    #37
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,609
    I was just thinking today that in tennis, fans make A LOT out of rivalries -- for better and for worse. And this point about golf is spot on. In tennis the head-to-head rivalry is where all the drama seems to be, and so with Federer and Nadal it's repeated over and over -- everything. Not just that Federer has lost the rivalry -- but also that he hasn't really lost it; or that it's the greatest rivalry of all time; or that it isn't really the greatest; ad nauseum, ad nauseum.

    But if it's going to be that way -- if Federer is going to be judged according to how he happens to match up against his main rival -- then it should be done all the way. Don't just compare the direct H2H. Compare Federer and Nadal's GS titles against each other. Compare each man's record against the rest of the field (including H2H's). Compare their yearly titles and W/L records -- against each other. That's the way to fully emphasize the rivalry.
     
    #38
  39. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    I don't disagree; Fed is the best player of this era, by far and away. But, I do think he might have a few less GS trophies on the shelf if he faced better/tougher competitors. Borg was one of the all-time greats, certainly, but when he faced Connors or Mac, a win was not a certainty. Even Sampras, as great as he was, was not a lock down win when he was facing some of his top level peers (Agassi, Courier, etc.)

    I think w/Fed, he just doesn't have to face down those kind of situations, he is almost always the heavy favorite and some of these guys seem to quit before they even start. Nadal is the only one w/the real fire in his belly to beat Fed....Roddick is taking on a new approach finally, believing he can beat Fed (we shall see). Djokovic, well, not sure where the hell his head is at. Soderling practically gave up the FO final (but nearly tagged Fed at the USO). Del Potro, to his credit, pulled his sh#t together and turned that USO final right around. I will be curious to see how he plays in future matchups w/the Fed.
     
    #39
  40. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    The Fed v. Nadal rivalry is a very good one; hopefully more to come, once Nadal is 100% fit again. Maybe Del Potro will become the 3rd man on this wheel...
     
    #40
  41. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    # tournaments

    well, just out of curiosity, how many tournaments are there in a year now since they've "standardized"? in the 70's/80's you had something like 50/60 in a calendar year.....have they cut back considerably since?

    [it seems so, but hard to tell w/out looking at an ATP event calendar]

    also, you don't see many exo events these days....there used to be tons of them and often fun to watch...

    perhaps because there isn't as much money to made from them now, as they might have trouble filling the seats/stands?
     
    #41
  42. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    840
    There is far more money in today's game than there ever was in the past. Federer is easily the sport's all time leader in on-court earnings.

    The issue is not so much the total number of tournaments held but rather the way in which top players now have to structure their schedules. ALL ATP and WTA top 100 players are expected to take part in all four majors, and all participate unless they are injured. For the top ATP 50 or so players participation in Masters series events (other than Monte Carlo) is also mandatory.

    This means that the top players spend most of the year playing in big tournaments with strong fields. To date the four majors and eight of the nine Masters series events have been held. Federer and Murray have played in all 12 events except for Shanghai. Nadal has played in all but Wimbledon. Djokovic has played in all 12. Del Potro has missed only Cincinnati, and Roddick missed only Monte Carlo and Rome.

    Today's players cannot accumulate the number of tournament titles that players in previous eras could, because they play in far fewer small events. For example, of Federer's 61 tournament titles 15 are majors and 16 are Masters events. No contemporary player will ever approach Connors - much less Laver or Rosewall - in terms of the number of titles won.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
    #42
  43. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,009
    [​IMG]
     
    #43
  44. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    6,581
    You can look at it like this. In that time frame, Serena Williams and Justin Henin equate to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as being genuinely, unequivocally great. You could say that Myskina = Gaudio and Ivanovic = Ferrero. But, where's the men's equivalent of Mauresmo, Venus Williams, Kuznetsova and Sharapova? Those are, in my opinion, Hall of Fame players of the second-tier but where's the male of a similar level? Safin, possibly, but certainly not Djokovic (not yet, if ever). Wind back a bit further and Hingis matches Agassi, Davenport matches Kuerten, Graf matches Sampras but where's the equivalent of Sanchez and Seles?

    Regardless, this discussion does a few things that people continually neglect (possibly because they don't like the results).

    Firstly, it illustrates that supreme dominance over an extended period of time is the result of a lack of competition.Pete Sampras and Martina Navratilova wouldn't have won as many Wimbledons if they'd had stronger competition. Margaret Court wouldn't have won as many Aus Opens if she'd had stronger competition. Steffi Graf and Roger Federer wouldn't have won as many majors if they'd had stronger competion. Chris Evert wouldn't have won as many clay-court matches or been so consistent at the majors if she'd had stronger competition. Their dominance is simply down to a great player being put up against lesser opposition.

    As a contrast, look at Ivan Lendl's record. The guy made it to 19 major finals for 8 wins. What stopped him winning 19 straight was coming up against Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Boris Becker, Cash and Wilander. Of those players, only Cash wouldn't be considered amongst the game's elite but on a grass court -the surface he beat Lendl on- he most certainly would. It wasn't that one guy beat him all the time or that the threw in a few losses to guys beneath him. Each time he lost to a genuinely great player at the very top of their form. Remember, he had to deal with Becker at his absolute peak, McEnroe at his absolute peak and Wilander at his absolute peak.That's why Lendl is better than people admit. Without genuinely great opposition he would have snagged closer to 15 or 16 major all records. With heavy opposition he still made it to the top. Sampras and Federer can't say the same.

    Secondly, it reinforces the uniqueness and value of the calendar year Grand Slam. The only reason people undervalue it is because their favourite player can't do it.
     
    #44
  45. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,057
    "Originally Posted by Borgforever
    Just one consistently great all-timer doesn't make the fiercest era...

    you have two - fed and nadal"

    I'm not convinced that Rafael Nadal is an all-time great, not yet anyway. He still has a lot to prove. Federer, on the other hand, doesn't, but he is still winning majors. He is supremely motivated.

    Much as I admire Jimmy Connors, he could win "only" two US Opens between his great year of 1974 and 1982, after Borg had retired. And Borg could never win the US Open, not even on clay (I know it was American clay).
     
    #45
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I think the strongest era was when there were at least five great players, e. g Connors, Borg, Vilas, McEnroe, Lendl. Does any other era compare? Late 80s-early 90s? 1930s?

    At least five multi-slam winners--
    Connors: 8 slams
    Borg: 11 slams
    McEnroe: 7 slams
    Lendl: 8 slams
    Vilas: 4 slams
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
    #46
  47. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,057
    Lendl didn't win his first major until 1984, when he was 24. Borg had been out of the game by three years or so by then, while Vilas was past his best. But Lendl does overlap the Borg-Connors era slightly, with McEnroe in there too.

    A 21-year-old Connors thrashed a 40-year-old Rosewall in the 1974 Wimbledon and US Open finals, but the following year he lost the Australian Open final to a veteran John Newcombe, the Wimbeldon final to a veteran Arthur Ashe and the US Open final to the one-time major winner, Manuel Orantes. Connors had a bit of a sinecure at the US Open. Without it, he record in the majors would still be very consistent, but very thin.

    McEnroe, like Sampras after him, couldn't win on clay, though McEnroe did have a great chance in the 1984 French Open final against Lendl...
     
    #47
  48. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    I think this is very true re: Ivan. I was never a big fan of his, but he was an exceptional player. The only thing that stopped him from winning Wimbledon really, was the guys you listed....he always ran into one of them on grass, inevitably...and then later in his career, you can throw Edberg in the mix of obstacles.

    Now that I go back and look at his record, I am truly amazed; plus, in the GS finals he lost, well no shame in who he lost to as most, if not all, are Hall of Fame caliber

    Regarding this other post: "Much as I admire Jimmy Connors, he could win "only" two US Opens between his great year of 1974 and 1982, after Borg had retired. And Borg could never win the US Open, not even on clay (I know it was American clay)."

    I'm not sure what to say there; he has one of the very best overall records at the USO ever...Jimmy was in 5 straight finals...the clay was not the best for him (losing 2 of those)...having beaten Borg in '76 on clay, was the most impressive, I think...[tho' he beat him the year before in the semis there, again on clay]. He was consistently in the semis 79/80/81, 84/85/87/91 and qtrs at worst, 88/89. I suspect if it hadn't gone to clay, he would've won at least 1/2 more during those 3 years.
     
    #48
  49. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    Eras

    I think that time period is one of the very best, competitively. I think the late 80s/early 90's perhaps.....Sampras, Courier, Edberg, Becker, Agassi, Chang, stacks up decently, maybe just a notch or two below.
     
    #49
  50. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    Re: the ladies, Martina and Chrissie were just so, so much better than everyone else, particularly on their preferred surfaces (Grass or Clay)....they really made the other girls look like pikers. The only exceptions, I would say, are Tracy and Hana. I think Tracy might've done more if she hadn't gotten injuries, Hana was just inconsistent, but incredibly talented and dangerous. It was not until Steffi and Monica hit the scene that you saw top level talent come thru...along w/some very good players like Aranxta, Davenport, Pierce, etc.....
     
    #50

Share This Page