If slams were played on clay, grass AND hard-court in Laver's time?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 6-1 6-3 6-0, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

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    If, during Laver's 1962 and 1969 calendar grand slam years, the grand slams were instead played on clay, grass AND hard-court, would Laver still have won the calendar grand slam, or would he have come up short (like federer)?

    Or would Laver have been the first man to win slams on clay, grass and hard-court all in a calendar year? (Only Rafael Nadal has done this, in 2010.)

    What do you think? :p
     
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  2. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Probably.. Laver was too damn good on EVERYTHING.

    I wish Sampras would have gotten to play 3 slams on grass and 1 on clay in a calendar year though.. That would have been fun
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Of Course

    Of course Laver would have won a 69 hard court slam. He won the top hard court tournament of that year (and the top indoor event as well). Laver won over 30 events on hard even though it wasn't a big surface in his era.

    Apparently Johannsburg hard court had a 64 draw that included great players such as Laver, Emerson, Drysdale, Gimeno, Gonzalez, Stolle, Roche, Richey, Ralston, Okker, and McMillan. Rod Laver won the final over Tom Okker 6-3 10-8 6-3.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
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  4. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    If Nadal doesn't play GS for 6 years and comes back and wins all four.....
     
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  5. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

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    But federer won a streak of small indoor titles and worldtourfinals2011, but didn't win a hard-court slam (AustralianOpen2011 or USOpen2011). How likely is it that Laver would have won a hard-court slam?
     
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  6. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Sampras would win 3 slams per year for 7-8 years. It would not have been fun for the tour though.
     
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  7. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    We will never know if Laver would have won all 4 in 1969had he played the AO and the USO on hard court. It's all speculating.

    1962 was too easy in the amateur. Any multiple top players today would have won the GS given the same circumstances.
     
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  8. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Hard courts would most likely have been Laver's best surface with his impeccable all around game which no player has ever matched in complete excellence. So he would have only benefited from this and likely won even more, perhaps even the Grand Slam more often.
     
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  9. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Outdoor Hard Court Event

    Johannsburg was outdoor hard (not indoor). It was the biggest outdoor hard court event of the year. Laver won it. It is evidence that Laver could/would have won a Hard Court slam event if there was one.
     
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    In 1969 grass was fast, and clay was slow. Hard-courts would be in-between, so it seems likely that Laver could have won on an in-between-speed court, if he could win on the extremes.

    The next logical question: did Laver win on hard-court in 1969?

    In 1969 the most important hard-court tournament was the South African Open in Johannesburg. In March 1969 Laver won that outdoor hard court tournament, beating Tom Okker in the final: 6-3, 10-8, 6-3. (In 1969 Laver also won the Philadelphia Indoor Open WCT on carpet over Roche, the indoor BBC2 World Professional Championships in London over Rosewall, the U.S. Professional Championships over Newcombe on uni-turf, the Fort Worth Professional Championships on hard-court over Rosewall, and the British Covered Court Championships in London over Roche on indoor wood.)

    The next logical question: did Laver want to win a Grand Slam in 1969 (regardless of the surface)? Simple answer: yes.

    Is it likely? Yes.
    Did he do it? No.
     
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  11. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Here's a thought. We could ask 'would Laver have thought it be any more difficult task winning the Grand Slam if two of the events were hard court, with one clay court and one grass'? The answer is no, not a bit.
     
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  12. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Same result: Laver wins the Grand Slam. Some TW members with a glass-clear agenda wish to reduce Laver's historic accomplishments by suggesting he had some sort of "advantage" due to surface. This irrational theory conveniently forgets that his rivals all played on the same surfaces, so they were as experienced on/exposed to the surfaces at the same time, just as it would be in a 4-surface era. There's no getting around that level playinf field.

    Laver's mastery of the sport was the result of supreme talent & understanding of the sport, not the wholly fictional "advantage" used to provide excuses for other players.

    Federer--like Wilander before him--could not win the Grand Slam not due to surface changes (otherwise, it would have prevented Graf from winning her Grand Slam) but both being incapable of concentrated dominance in the calendar year--destined to fall short somewhere along the way.

    This is the reason some in the tennis PTB, and sports media invented the latter-day "personal slam" nonsense: to grant a distinction to players who were not good enough to win the Grand Slam, so they need something--anything--to suggest they were of some legendary status never earned.

    There was not, nor will there ever be or "personal slams" linked together over the years. Similarly, "almost," "coulda, woulda, shoulda" years like that of Federer, Wilander, Serena or Hingis are not substitutes for the Grand Slam.
     
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  13. qindarka

    qindarka Rookie

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    Serena's slam is just as good as a calendar year grand slam. She won 4 in a row, what difference does it make that it wasn't in a calendar year.
     
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  14. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    so having 4 slams on clay/grass in comparision to having 4 slams on HC is the very same ?

    that more styles of play can succeed on HC than on either clay or grass isn't a factor at all ?????

    so is federer's

    federer's seasons in 2004,2006 and 2007 ( 3 slam years ) are wayyy ahead of wilander's when in comes to dominance ( see win-loss % )

    federer had a win loss record of

    74-6 in 2004 (3 slams+YEC)
    81-4 in 2005 (2 slams+2 slam semis)
    92-5 in 2006 (3 slams+1 slam final+YEC)
    68-9 in 2007 ( 3 slams+1 slam final+YEC)

    that is concentrated dominance in a calendar year unless you are thick ...only reason he didn't win the GS is in 2006/07 is a certain rafael nadal, the CC GOAT.

    Give him instead a totally sub-par Rosewall in a Roland Garros final and he also wins RG in 2006/07 making a clean sweep ...
     
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  15. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Again, you are missing the crucial point: anti-Laver (pro-Federer) types attempt to suggest Laver enjoyed some advantage, but that is patently impossible, as he played under the same conditions as everyone else in that year, so it came down to talent/mastering the sport.

    Moreover, as the majors eventually used four different surfaces, it did not stop Graf from transitioning to win the Grand Slam, so either way, there is no spinning history to protect and/or inflate Federer--or anyone else (as noted earlier), who won three majors in the calendar year.

    Concentrated DOMINANCE does not mean, "well, he sort of had a run at the majors in this year, and that year, then failed somwhere along the way at one of them." No, it means winning all four majors in the calendar year, which he did not do, and in that regard, he's in the exact position with the same end result of Wilander: no Grand Slam. Winning 3 in two additional years over Wilander still ends with no Grand Slam.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
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  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    And you blame me for belittleing Federer and belittle Rosewall as a claycourter...

    I heavily doubt that Federer would dominate peak Rosewall on clay.
     
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  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    THUNDERVOLLEY, I support your thundervolleys against the Federer Armada and Laver doubters.
     
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  18. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    BobbyOne, you probably know that the OP is only midly a pro-Federer, do you? The aims of this thread is not to give some "excuses" for Federer's failure to win the grand slam on three occasions. It is to underline the incredible fact that Nadal is the only player ever to win 3 slams on 3 different surfaces in tennis history, all at the tender age of 25, a feat that is considerer by our dear OP, as the greatest feat ever in tennis history.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Yes, great Nadal. By the way, Rosewall did similary: he won three majors on different surfaces: 1962 French Pro (clay), 1962 Wembley (wood) and 1963 US Pro (grass), that means holder at the same time.
     
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  20. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, I forgot to mention "in a calendar year". It is strange that I forgot it, considering how often I have read it. At least Agassi and Federer have won 3 different slams on 3 different surfaces in their careers.
     
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  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Very true.

    One of the points that Laver emphasizes repeatedly in The Education of a Tennis Player was that there was no similarity at all between the grass at Wimbledon in 1969 and the grass at Forest Hills for the US Open. The former was fast with a true bounce, the latter was rough, gone, divetted, muddy, and "like a swamp" (because of two days on rains).

    He makes one of his stranger analogies in this reference, when he speaks about calling them both grass: "When you say that Wimbledon is a grass court tournament and Forest Hills is a grass court tournament--and isnt grass, after all, grass?--you might as well say that Raquel Welch is a woman and Twiggy is a woman., and what's the difference? Wimbledon is so alluring because it is cuddled and cared for more than King Farouk ever was."

    "But labor problems and the climate are insuperable. American grass just doesn't hold up long beneath a thundering herd of tournament players."

    "But in playing conditions in the day, it [Forest Hills] it was a far-down bush league all its own. The courts are grass, and American grass is for cows and lovers--not tennis players. In fact, American grass courts are so uncertain underfoot that ann unwary cow might break a leg strolling from baseline to net. Or starve. There isn't much grass let on an American court by the time a tournament reaches its climax."

    "Uncertainties of American grass made tennis at Forest Hills comparable to driving the Indianapolis 500 on cobblestones. The 1969 Open, practically ruined by record New York rains, made it clear that grass must be replaced by a level, all-weather surface . . ."
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
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  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Do you actually realise I was only talking about the RG final in 1969 where rosewall was totally sub-par ?

    I wasn't talking about him as a CCer overall ... He's greater and better than federer on clay ....

    see, even parts of the final set are available on youtube :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCsIEx7ykDY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO6bDVBiMJ8

    rosewall making so many silly errors ......

    However while rosewall's longevity on clay was excellent, peak to peak , I do see nadal and borg dominating Rosewall on clay ......
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Very true.

    Laver comes pretty close to answering this very question in TEOATP: "In the day, I'd have played Forest Hills if the surface was macaroni and cheese. I'm a professional. The money was there along with a big title. . . . The game I played at Forest Hills--or on any other American grass--was entirely different from how I played on Wimbledon's firm and true grass."
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
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  24. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, that doesn't make any sense ...... try again ...

    if all 4 slams were on clay, we wouldn't be hearing about the talent of the likes of sampras, mac, edberg, connors much ....... instead we'd be hearing much more about how talented bruguera, kuerten , vilas etc were ....

    just because conditions are same for everyone doesn't mean a particular type of player doesn't enjoy the advantage .....

    Like I said , hard courts allow for a wider range of gamestyles to flourish in comparison to clay or grass ...... so that does make a difference ...

    Laver's GS in 69 was a tremendous feat, no doubt .... but it that alone isn't his greatness, not even close .....

    it was the fact that he first dominated the amateurs, then the pros and then finally in the open era ,was versatile and consistent @ his peak years ....

    by just stating the calendar GS time and time again alone, you're doing him a great disservice ......

    would it be very very difficult for anyone to emulate what Laver did in 69 ? absolutely .. but is it more difficult to do it now ? yes ....

    to expect federer to complete the toughest part of the calendar GS for him, RG , with prime nadal standing in the way in 2006,07
    vs
    laver who got to play a sub-par rosewall in the RG finals in 69

    is just being plain thick ...

    concentrated dominance means dominance over the tour overall, at all events .....

    get this : the tennis world does not revolve around the calendar GS ......
     
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  25. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Illogical. The anti-Laver argument is based on the false surface theory; Laver was on the same playing field as his contemporaries, thus winning goes back to the talent of the man playing. Laver was that man far and above the rest. You also conveniently ignored the Graf situation--she won her Grand Slam in the era of 4 different surfaces, so are you going to say she had an advantage on all four? For your sake, you should not, as all of her opponents were playing on the same surfaces. The difference is in the overwhelming talent of the GS winner--surface does not matter.

    That's your woefully incorrect fan desire--not recognized history. You have no explanation (or flat out dodge) why players such as Laver and Graf are considered the GOAT over the course of decades--and it has nothing to do with majors count, either.

    Winning the Grand Slam is concentrated dominance at the sport's biggest events--the majors. Federer, Hingis, Wilander and Serena all won three in a season, but none were good enough to show supreme dominance over the season's majors. Try and try again, but you will never be able to spin this into an advantage for Federer.

    He did not have what it takes to win the Grand Slam in his so-named "prime," and considering his age at present, it is unlikely he ever reach the level required to do it moving forward.
     
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  26. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    The Main Point

    is that Laver wouldn't have found completing his Grand Slam on 3 surfaces rather than 2 any more difficult at all. In fact, given his talent I suspect that he would have found it a bit easier actually. (Some have said that his game is highly suited to Hard Court). Remember Laver won over 30 outdoor hard court titles.

    I wonder if he now wishes that some of the Slams would have been on Hard Court during this era - maybe he would have won more still?
     
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  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I like the way you put it timnz. We'll never know if Laver would have won a Grand Slam on hard court but we do know that Laver was a great hard court player and it would not have hurt his chances in winning the Grand Slam.
     
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  28. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, But I believe Agassi and Federer have won the three not in a row as Nadal and Rosewall did.
     
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  29. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    abmk, I understand and agree.
     
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  30. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    Put any right handed single handed backhand player against Rafael Nadal on a clay court and you would know what he is. No one in the history of Tennis had to face the insane topspin generated by Rafa's left forehand directed at the right hand single handed backhand..
     
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  31. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Guga

    I would be really curious to see how Guga would have handled it.
     
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  32. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, Nadal v Guga would have been interesting to watch.

    I thought about him while posting that. I was expecting abmk to come up and say something about Guga.
     
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  33. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    How old was Nadal when he won his first RG? How many RGs he had played? Did he play in all RGs on the same level he played in 2008 or 2010? I think, Laver would have been glad, to teach a 18 year old some things about clay court tennis. As he lefthander with a great backhand and a strong wrist, he would play Nadal in a similar way, as Puerta did, only with more all court game, and a deadlier finish (and without juice).
     
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  34. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    again, you are thick if you think talent is the only thing that matters .. of course one has to be darn talented to win the GS, but a combination of other factors are also important including the surfaces and a bit of luck ...like I said, give nadal and borg four slams on clay and they'd be wiping the fields clean for several years at their peaks ... sampras would be a near nobody as far as all time greatness goes in that case ....

    coming back to graf, great great feat, no doubt, but many still regard navratilova above her ...

    very few regard court above navratilova ...

    and much fewer , if any, regard budge as better than federer

    its the entire body of work that matters, not just the GS

    that is just again you being downright thick ..... dominance is dominance over the field over an entire year ...... again you do not understand because you are obsessed with the calendar GS and your favourite serena has negligible amount of titles overall even when compared to the other modern great players ....

    the parameters of greatness in tennis change quite a bit with time ......

    in the early years, Davis Cup was perhaps the most important event ... at that time, I doubt if the term grand slam was used in tennis .... only probably came into the picture in the 30s ......

    then the best players were in the pros and pro majors held more significance than the amateur majors and h2h battles were of high significance

    If the calendar GS were the only important thing in history the likes of vines, gonzales, rosewall, hoad etc. wouldn't have joined the pros

    then with the open era, the calendar GS assumed more importance ..... then slowly towards the end of lendl era till now, the no of majors has become a much more important parameter ........ pretty sure borg didn't care about inflating his no of majors by going to Australia in his prime years ....
    now Davis Cup is of much less importance ......

    the greatness of players should be evaluated on multiple parameters based on the importance of the events at those times .....
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
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  35. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    if nadal were slightly below par, I could see something like the FO 2009 4R match happening, only kuerten with better movement than soderling and lesser firepower .... essentially nadal getting over-powered ...

    prime to prime, IMO, kuerten would do well in the rallies ..... he wouldn't have that much of trouble with nadal's action on his FH as he'd probably have with his defense and determination

    nadal would be ruthless and take every chance he'd get as a result of kuerten's inconsistent play .... nadal would still win the majority of the matches, but kuerten would win a few as well ....... bar borg, I don't see anyone consistently challenging nadal on clay as kuerten could ....
     
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Almost my thoughts exactly.

    I actually think Kuerten has more firepower on clay than Nadal. What are your thoughts on that abmk?
     
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  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah, absolutely, serve is quite a bit more powerful , groundstrokes a bit more powerful as well ....

    but then federer has quite a bit more powerful serve and more powerful FH but it hasn't done him a whole lot of good against nadal on clay, has it ? :)
     
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  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting point.

    Would Laver have had the advantage here also--being a lefty with an incredibly strong backhand (and not to mention, forehand) of his own?
     
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  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Oooohhh! That would be a helluva match: Borg versus Nadal at RG.

    With Borg's incredible stamina and speed, Nadal would have to be at the top of his game, and hit a lot of outright winners.

    No easy shanking backhands from Borg--everything comes back. (Bring your pillows and sleeping bags.)
     
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  40. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Yes, those who write off Borg don't reflect on the following - how do you hit a ball past the fastest and fittest guy ever. Wide to his backhand - he is there in an instant. His ground strokes so solid he could stay with you for hours and hours. He never gets tired or weary. (I remember Borg saying that recently that he never got tired ever)
     
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  41. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Very true, Nadal in 2005 and 2006 was not unbeatable yet by someone good enough on clay, he wasnt the Nadal of 2007-2012 yet. Just like Borg in 1974 and 1975 wasnt unbeatable by someone good enough on clay (he was a better player in 1976 and still lost to Panatta on red clay at RG, then Connors on green at the U.S Open), just in both cases nobody proved to be good enough to do it, Federer included. Laver, a clearly superior clay courter than Federer, with a more diverse and complete game, and less stubborn and more willing to adapt to opponents, would have been more likely to do what Federer failed to do, take out a pre prime Nadal at RG en route to a possible Grand Slam.
     
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  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I once read an interview with Borg in which he said he got tired of his second wife, Loredana Bertè, always wanting sex.

    :razz:
     
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  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    True enough but that backhand of Guga is something, especially on red clay. That's a big difference maker. Still makes me sad to think of Guga and his bad hip that forced him to retire.

    Incidentally Laver could really get red hot on red clay also with no pun intended. I saw him play a young Borg in 1974 when Laver was pass his best and beat Borg in a great match. Great variety by Laver in that match. In 1975 Borg beat Laver on har tru in four sets at the US Open. A match I could have gone to but a friend begged me to play him in singles that day and I give in. It was a bad decision on my part.
     
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  44. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^Really bad decision.:sad:
     
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  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You're being extremely nice when you say bad decision. You can add the fact that my friend is a player who I always beat 6-0 and I mean always. Not fun beating someone so easily when you could watch Borg/Laver.
     
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  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    To be able to say now that you saw Borg versus Laver at the US Open on clay: 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to Borg!?

    "Priceless."
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
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  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NadalAgassi, I agree.
     
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  48. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^

    yeah, only problems with that argument are :

    peak safin would've beaten laver @ AO 2005 ......

    and laver's main problem, ; at times, going for too much and losing concentration for spells would cost him big time vs nadal who is just too good at focusing on every point and very rarely loses focus

    while laver's BH and net play are better than federer's, federer's serve and fh are better ......

    also nadal was better on clay in 2006 than he was in 2005 ....

    federer/laver are at pretty similar levels on clay IMO, while laver would not face the matchup problem that federer does, still would probably not be enough vs nadal on clay ....especially 2006 onward ...and even in 2005, he'd have to be in absolute top form ....
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
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  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think Nadal probably would have beaten Laver most of the time on red clay. It would be interesting in that Laver would have played Nadal very differently than anyone has ever played him. And Laver's forehand was still very powerful especially if he decided to go for that.

    Laver probably would have used various drop shots and angles just to bring Nadal up to net. Nadal imo is a very good volleyer but he still is uncomfortable there where forced to be there. Rod would probably use a lot of different angles, volleys when appropriate.

    I think Laver would be able to beat Nadal at times on clay. I don't think he would be embarrassed. I believe for example Laver has defeated Rosewall more times than not on clay so Rod was a great clay court player.

    One thing for sure, Nadal would face someone with a huge amount of playing styles. He could not get adjust to one style of play. And yes I do think it's very possible Laver was a better clay court player than Federer. Sorry guys but that's how I feel. More solid on both sides, better volley, a little better variety and Laver's forehand was still considered the best in tennis by many in his day so his forehand isn't exactly chopped liver.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
    #49
  50. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Agree. Laver's record on clay is pretty fine, although he didn't play much on European clay after 1964. In 1962 he had one of the best clay seasons ever, comparable to Muster's run in 1995, winning Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Bournemouth, Gstaad, Hilversum, Oslo, Houston and other events, against clay courters of the status of Santana, Pietrangeli, Emerson, Lundquist, Krishnan, Mulligan, Darmon and others. Laver won 2 RG (out of maybe 5 played, including one final), 2 Rome (out of 4 played), 2 Hamburg (out of 3 played). He defeated every great clay courter between 1961 and 1975, and maybe only with Santana, whom he played regularly only until 1962, he has a slightly negative head to head, losing twice 1960 and 1961 at RG, but winning at Rome 1961 and Hamburg 1962. His other hth on clay are in favor of Laver, or at least even. Given that its quite difficult to reconstruct the surfaces on the old pro tour, i have a slight margin 3-1 for Laver over Rosewall on clay. Interesting, that he made his breakthrough against Rosewall in 1963 at Kitzbühel, when he won the clay event in straight sets. In open competition, Laver was 4-4 with Rosewall on clay, with Rosewalls last win coming 1976 at Houston, when both were near retirement. It was a matter between these two, how the clay played. If it was hot, and the court played fast, Laver took advantage. Rosewalls two wins in 1968 at Bournemouth and Paris came on a rain-soaked court, which played quite slow. In the summer 1968 Laver came back to RG and won the French pro over the decent clay courter Newcombe who had beaten Rosewall.
    In 1971 Laver was still able to beat Kodes, the reigning RG champ, at Rome in a straight (3) sets final. He beat Borg 1974 on red clay at Houston, "teaching him a clay court lesson", as Arthur Ashe remarked, and lost to him at Forest Hills in four on har tru, when he was 37 and gave away 18 years. In the 70s, when he was past 32, he still coped on clay with the likes of Orantes (1-0), Vilas 1973/1975 (1-1 overall), Panatta in 1975 (at Boston), Solomon, Gerulatis, who all won RG or were runners up there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
    #50

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