I'm not greatest player - Roger Federer

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by tennissportsrog, Sep 2, 2012.

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  1. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Feels so good to see a post like this...of course I doubt they will address it, I have brought up this issue too in the past but their logic is too complex for me to understand
     
  2. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Of that criteria, I think the only items I would personally consider relevant is:

    1) H2H (of the individual player against the field... against the top players... and the field against itself).

    2) (Somewhat). I think video or memory of close matches can be very important if the match in question has both players playing within themselves and at a high level.

    Of course, all of these should be considered during prime performance. Not past-prime or pre-prime.

    From that perspective, when I compare Roche/Laver against RoddickHewittNalbandianDavydenko/Federer... Roche is stronger in my opinion.

    BTW, I left out Murray in your list because he didn't really "show up" until past-prime Federer and I don't consider their H2H to be an indicator of Federer's prime strength.
     
  3. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for your answer. A few question though:

    1) I didn't understood your first criterion though. What means the "H2H of the field against itself"? And if you analyze the H2H of a player against the top player AND against the field, is it not the same to look at his achievements?

    2) How do you use memory or video or a close match to compare two players? If I left out achievements, which are only a product of context and say nothing of playing level, I personally find it hard to rank Safin, Federer, Nadal and Verdasco from my memory of their AO SF. They all played at a very high level, both matches where very close.

    3) I assume you have analyzed the H2H of Roche against the top player and against the field, and the field of the late 60's with itself, an that you have done the same things respectively for Hewitt, Nalbandian, Roddick and Davydenko. Do you care to elaborate, and provide to us the demonstration?

    4) How do you control the "crush" factor? Imagine if someone grew up watching attacking all court tennis, it's likely that he will be more impressed by net skills and touch than by a ruthless retriever. Or the opposite (we see that a lot these day, with all the djokoisthemegaiestforcethread). Is one style superior to the other?

    5) Looking at a close matches allow to assess great technical skills. But how do you measure mental, physical and emotional skills, which are just as important, if no more, than the technical ones? These skills that make Ferrer what he is, and Nalbandian the opposite?

    In a thread comparing Sabatini to Sanchez, BTURNER writed:

    It would be very interesting if we were able to find a serious way to assess playing strength without relying to much on the achievements, for the reasons you mentioned.
     
  4. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Within modern times, the best way that I've personally done this is by looking at the "power band" of the top players using ATP points as the indicator. Now, I know that the total available ATP points has changed over time, so I really only use the percentage of the total ATP points held as that indicator.

    The "power band" of the top players in a field will see a steady and consistent drop off in the distribution of ATP points. A weak field will see a much more drastic drop-off.

    And just to show people that I really look deeply into this stuff, here is the beginning of one such analysis I did for the field from 2004 to 2009. This shows the raw power bands of the Top 100 for those years:

    [​IMG]

    I agree, it gets tougher here. Especially if individual performance statistics are sparsely available. Things become more subjective. I'd say video is much more effective than memory. But the ending score alone isn't indicative of match quality. Two crappy performances will yield similar lines to two high-quality performances.

    I personally have a pretty good memory of high-quality matches between Federer and Nadal. As we as between Federer/Nadal and a few other players. But things can get foggy.

    But I think in many situations (especially talking about 60s, 70s, and even some 80s) video evidence is absolutely necessary to see what we're talking about.

    I didn't go into those guys individually and looking at them specifically. I stopped at the field analysis from Fed's years of dominance.

    I do agree that some can get caught up in the "romanticness" of what they've been exposed to. I personally don't think any style is "superior" to any other.

    Within an era, I'm sure there is a style that is best-suited for success... but I don't think any particular style is necessarily best-suited for all eras.

    Awesome question. To me, this becomes a question of consistency. A player who has superior intangible skills (mental, emotional, fitness, consistency) will perform consistently better over time than someone who has lesser intangibles.

    The examples you bring up are perfect. Ferrer, while he does not necessarily have the level of tangible playing skills that his rivals has... he definitely scores high on the intangible skills area. And this has allowed him to outperform people like Nalbandian. Nalbandian, like many players, has flashes of brilliance... but failed more often than not over time.

    I'd also point out that even though many people rip Ferrer... he probably is the most balanced player in the ATP aside from Djokovic. I'd go so far to say that Ferrer is one of the most balanced and consistent tennis players ever.
     
  5. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    The greatest player of all time was nowhere near 6'2". Across the field of history, height does not matter for every example presented yesterday. If a taller or shorter player fails, it is due to a deficiency in talent, not the physical trait of height.
     
  6. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I'm disappointed by your answer.

    Rosewall stands 4:3 against Newcombe in very big events!!

    Roche was clearly better than Newk in 1968 and 1969. You should accept this.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, instead of irony and sarcasm you should accept the facts about Roche!
     
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, being on par with Laver and Rosewal in hth is more than just giving troubles to top players. Have you realized that L&R are arguably the two greatest players of history and it's not easy to win a single match off them?
     
  9. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Roger Federer, the GOAT, is 6'1.
     
  10. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, Let's compare Roche with Federer. I'm of course not saying Roche is as great as Roger but imagine what have happened if Federer was ill at a young age, say 2003. The experts had been claiming for years that Roger would become the NO.1 player one day but he possibly would not climb so high if having health problems and not playing for three years. You and even I would still have said that Federer is a great talent and a potential all-time great.

    Exactly that happened to Roche who had great success before being injured:He won the French Championships (even though his forte was grass), reached the finals of Wimbledon and US Open against giants Laver and Rosewall arguably even before he reached his peak and won over 40 tournaments before his pause. He was ahead of Newcombe in 1968 and 1969 and beat Laver 5:3 matches in 1969, in Laver's second best year.

    Remember Seles was never herself after the stabbing but still very good. Roche recovered and was arguably the best grasscourter in 1975. Show me another player of that time with a 18:18 hth against Laver and Rosewall together...

    A last tip: Watch the 1969 AO SF or the 1969 US Open final. You can see how strong Roche was!
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  11. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    The greatest player is at 6'1" and we all know who he is. But that's not my point so don't go off on a tangent because to your insecurity.

    Of course talent is a must to be one of all time great, but talent alone is not enough if a player is not the RIGHT size/height to be one of the best in modern tennis. Power and big serve isn't all about talent but being tall. Nalbandian is more talented than Roddick but doesn't have his huge serve. Davydenko is talented but doesn't have power.
     
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    it certainly proves being
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I kinow for the unimaginative " copy and paste" believer generation is hard or impossible to figure out, but yes, that is exactly what happened with grass then.
     
  14. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

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    So how did the grass differ from tournament to tournament, then? Did they play on short-cut grass in one tournament, and then waist-high weeds and nettles in the next? :lol: :p
     
  15. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    can you post some evidence on differences?
     
  16. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    grass = grass

    hard court <> clay <> grass

    Capiche ? :mad:
     
  17. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    To be fair, there are different types of hard court, so presumably there were different types of grass played on at that time.
     
  18. ledwix

    ledwix Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but no one could reasonably argue that if the game got rid of Wimbledon grass and turned it into Wimbledon hard court, it'd be more diverse a tour surface-wise than it is now.
     
  19. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I think that's the point. Two grass courts are more diverse than two hardcourts. One is an organic composite surface. The other is an artificially engineered surface. These days, the grass is so well engineered, it plays almost like an engineered clay.

    In the old days, the players would play in muddy grass courts with giant divots all over the place. Or courts that were basically dry dirt and divots by the end of a tournament. Think old soccer or American football fields.
     
  20. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    What did I just read. Federer could play a guy ranked 10.000 in the world and he would make the match interesting.
     
  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Melbourne was a tupid an high grass were some adapted baseliners could do well, Wimbledon was a perfectly cut, fast but reliable bounce and Forest Hills, was a very short cut, unconsistent grass.
     
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    all courts now are the same, thus, here the explanation - along technology evolution-. why everybody plays what I call a " copy and paste style" hahahahaha...tennis is dying and most believers feel in glory when old and seasoned posters know it´s never been so low...
     
  23. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    I define greatest player not by fun to watch, or wins, or records but by fist pumps, grunts, hip thrusts, shoulder bumps, time violations, etc. Federer is hands-down the winner in this respect.:oops:
     
  24. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Except you are wrong not all courts are same today. This is just dome generalization bias you have
     
  25. xan

    xan Professional

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    it's just easier for them to accept that. how else would they explain why certain players stopped winning everything left right and center.
     
  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    you have no idea how different courts were.One of the reasons tennis was oceans funnier to watch than current dark and gloom era, wkit Federer and Nadal and of course Djokovic being the Knights of doom.
     
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    "" Oh let the sun beat down upon my face" in the inmortal battle between Golden and Dull"
     
  28. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    its not only the surfaces, but the coaches/academies as well ..

    besides you have no clue about players who actually play with variety today as you have near zero knowledge about modern tennis .....

    roddick making 3 finals at wimbledon, yet not making QF at RG ; nadal dominating on clay, but not on any other surface, federer being even h2h with nadal on surfaces except clay all are proof that all surfaces are similar, right ? :lol:
     
  29. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Or it might be evidence that those players (aside from Federer) might not be as great as some make them out to be.
     
  30. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well it does indicate a difference in surfaces/conditions, but yes Federer has been able to bridge it best, and that is why he is the leading player of his era, and goat candidate.
     
  31. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I'm talking about their performance across surfaces. If the surfaces were that similar, they should have had 'somewhat' close results at those venues , right ?

    take federer himself, he has 'only' 1 RG compared to 7 wimbledons. Is it because he's not that good on clay ? no, its because he's been stopped by rafa 5 times at RG, whereas at wimbledon, he's 2-1 vs him ....
     
  32. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Now Rogi shows he is the humblest as well.
     
  33. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Clay isn't the question. When it comes to the other surfaces being more homogeneous, the other surfaces play slower and bounce higher... i.e. they play more like clay.

    As for Federer only winning one FO title, but going the finals more than a few times. The two main reasons are: 1) Nadal is a better clay player than Federer is, 2) The rest of the clay field is extremely weak.

    BTW, those two reasons are the same reasons why Nadal has 7 FO titles.
     
  34. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for your answer. I don't really understand your explanation though. You measured the distribution of the points in the top 100. What are your hypothesis? A strong field is identified when the points are evenly distributed between the top players; corollary a weak field is identified when the points are stacked in the top player?
     
  35. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Bobby, I did not criticize Roche, but questioned the methodology which allow Mightyrick and you to dub him a far superior players to Roddick, Hewitt and Murray. By using the same methodology, I concluded that Gasquet is a great player. This, I think, prove the imprecision of the methodology. It does not prove that Roche was not a great player.
     
  36. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I fully trust you on the potential of Roche, and don't doubt that his career would have been very different if he didn't had so much health issue. That's true for a lot of players, including Safin, Nalbandian and Hewitt, in a different extent. While these players (especially Safin and Nalbandian) had a tremendous potential, it remains that they didn't met this potential. When we speak of Federer or Laver's competition, the reasons don't matter. For whatever reasons, Safin, Nalbandian and Roche could not be the threat they could have been to Fed and Laver.

    And while the H2H against Rosewall (quite old: I don't think they face each other before 68 do they?) and especially Laver is very impressive, I don't think it allows to give a clear answer on his level. He might have had a strong match-up advantage, or, like Murray, played at a very high level every-time but in slam finals.
     
  37. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    But then it is also about the difference between clay and the other surfaces.
     
  38. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    As I define it, the "power band" of a field is measured by the total points earned within the Top-100... and then the distribution of the share of those points held within the Top-10. The Top-10 represents "the field".

    Outside of the Top-10, the point distribution becomes fairly flat. So all you really look at is how many total points the Top-10 has... and then the distribution of those.

    The more linear the distribution of those points, then the stronger the field.

    2004, 2005, and 2006 were very steep distributions... with 2006 being the weakest at 8.2/4.4/2.8/2.5/2.5. In 2007 things start to change and by 2008, the field becomes strong. In 2009, the field was incredibly strong. Not only was the distribution of points linear, the Top-10 increased their total share of Top-100 points by 10%.... all the way up to 40%.

    The reason why you measure distributions of points is because they are earned by playing lots of players. In 2006, not only was the Top-10 not having any success against the #1 or #2 player... they weren't even having decent success against those outside the Top-10.

    I know it sounds complex, but it really isn't. I've done similar things in baseball, as well.

    And while Federer fans love to point to the dominance of 04-07 as Fed's pinnacle, I disagree. Based on the strength of field, Fed's greatest accomplishment came when he won the USO '08, and then Wimbledon and French Open in 2009. By far.
     
  39. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    There are certainly still differences between the surfaces. But the degree of difference is not binary. Nobody is arguing that the surfaces are not the same.

    All that is being argued is that the surfaces in the past play far more differently than they do today.
     
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Roche needed a better head, not a better body
     
  41. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, Roche's hth against Laver and Rosewall is awesome. It does not matter that Rosewall was an old player because most other top players including Newcombe have a negative balance against old Muscles. Also Laver did better against Newcombe than against Roche. Being No.2 behind only top Laver is a huge feat.
     
  42. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    see the steep increase in 2009 ? that's not because of the top 10 increasing dramatically in level ....

    that's because the rating system changed. It wasn't a direct multiply by 2. there were more points proportionally for reaching the later rounds and lesser for the earlier rounds in the system from 2009 onwards. As a result, the top 10 players benefited more and amassed a higher proportion of points ...
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  43. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    so if the other surfaces play more like clay, why hasn't rafa won more than 2 majors at any of them while he's won 7 of them at RG ?

    why has murray done well at AO, wimbledon and USO, while he's failed at RG and on clay in general ?

    same for roddick ..

    there are plenty of other examples as well ...

    but if the clay court field is weak and the hard court is clearly stronger, that means that there is a significant difference in the surfaces, right ? :)

    nadal is a better clay courter than federer of course, but federer is clearly better on other surfaces ... how is that possible if the surfaces are so similar ?

    try again ...
     
  44. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I think you have to explain it better then.
     
  45. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that was factor somewhat, but it isn't as significant as you're making it. Averaging over the course of the year, and applying the distribution as a share of the whole, it still amounts to a meaningful curve. All players are exposed to the same rules, tourneys, and expected finishes. The reality is, in 2009, the Top-10 was much stronger than it was three years previous. I'm not sure anyone can reasonably argue against that assertion.

    Also, the increasing strength of the field became apparent in 2008... before those changes took place.
     
  46. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    it was a bit better in 2009, but not significantly better. the factor I mentioned is the major factor. how can you do a direct comparison when you know the ranking system is different and not exactly proportional ?

    the same rules, tourneys, finishes , so ? top players will make it deeper into the tournaments .. its why they are top players ... given a higher % of points for later rounds than before, obviously % of points won by top 10 out of total will increase ....

    how did the field becoming stronger become 'apparent' in 2008 itself?

    in 2007, top 10 had 32.3% of the total points
    in 2008, top 10 had 31.9% of the total points

    check the %s for 10,11,12 ... they aren't that different from 2009 ... reason being the points system being changed ....2010 in particular had federer, djokovic and murray AWOL for large parts ....
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  47. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    There is a difference, surely. But the difference is still not as great as it was in the past. The courts are so similar now that it allows a player like Nadal to exploit Wimbledon and get to five finals and win two of them. He's only been to the FO two more times. By many people's measure, Nadal would not only be a clay specialist, but also a grass specialist with stats like that.

    How could Nadal do that? Because he is able to use the exact same style of play. Well, if a person can use the exact same style of play... it is because the surface is allowing them to.


    You say try again as if you've proven something, but you really haven't. You are only throwing out singular points, while ignoring other ones, as if they prove anything. They don't.
     
  48. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    there are two points here :

    1. the surfaces of today are closer to each other than in the past - correct
    2. the surfaces of today are similar to each other - incorrect

    nadal does alter his style of play on grass, stands in closer to the baseline and plays more aggressively. though not as drastic change as borg .... nevertheless, he did/does adapt/change

    also , he has only 2 finals each at AO and USO compared to 7 wins at RG ....

    agassi didn't play that differently on different surfaces and he made atleast 2 finals at each major, winning atleast one on each ...
     
  49. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I am frantically looking, but I can't find the "what-if" scenario band images I have to address this point. I am going to keep looking. I did this analysis once already, which was applying the distribution shift percentage of 2009 to prior years. Until I find it... all I can tell you is that there is still a visible strengthening of the field in 2008 and a continuing trend in 2009 and beyond... even with this allocation adjustment applied.

    The difference in distribution of the points within the Top-10 itself is significant in those years. That is indicative of a strengthening of the field.
     
  50. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    And this is all I'm trying to point out. The drastic-ness of play difference in Borg's time (and before) was much greater than players have to do today. And in my opinion, this difference is significant at the highest levels of the game.

    On the current surfaces, it is entirely possible that Borg would beat McEnroe (who never won an FO) in 1981 Wimbledon. Hell, it's entirely possible that Borg stays in the game and wins a few more majors.

    But all of this is speculation of course. So all I do is go by what the players say. Because that is the closest I can get to when it comes to trying to quantify the level of difference/similarity between the surfaces.
     
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