Laver, Connors, Borg & Mcenroe as good as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic &Sampras-see below

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by JAY1, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    There is so much talk about who is the greatest male player of all time.
    I think the stats below will show once and for all there is very little difference in the very top male players of the last fifty years, numbers very rarely lie.
    I think a lot of you don't really get how very different the racquets and balls are these days compared to the past, they may as well have been playing with a frying pan and potatoes, they were that different!
    Please comment on what you read below, I am very interested in all perspectives.......

    1969 Wimbledon Final - R.Laver bt J.Newcombe 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
    1971 Philadelphia Final - J.Newcombe bt R.Laver 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 6-4
    1975 Australian Open Final - J.Newcombe bt J. Connors 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6
    1975 Dallas Semi-Final - R.Laver bt B.Borg 7-6(2),3-6, 5-7,7-6(2), 6-2
    1976 US Open Final - J.Connors bt B.Borg 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
    1977 Wimbledon Final - B.Borg bt J.Connors 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
    1980 US Open Semi-Final - J.Mcenroe bt J.Connors 6-4, 5-7, 0-6, 6-3, 7-6
    1980 Wimbledon Final - B.Borg bt J.McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6
    1982 Wimbledon Final - J.Connors bt J.Mcenroe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
    1989 Dallas WCT Semi-Final - J.McEnroe bt I.Lendl 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 7-5
    1992 US Open Round of 16 - I.Lendl bt B.Becker 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
    1995 Wimbledon Semi-Final - B.Becker bt A.Agassi 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-4, 7-6(1)
    2000 Australian semi-Final-A.Agassi bt P.Sampras6-4, 3-6, 6-7(0),7-6(5), 6-1
    2000 US Open Semi-Final - P.Sampras bt L.Hewitt 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-6(5)
    2002 Miami Final - Agassi bt R.Federer 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
    2003 Davis Cup Semi -Final - L.Hewitt bt R.Federer 5-7, 2-6,7-6(4), 7-5, 6-1
    2004 US Open 1/4 Final - R.Federer bt A.Agassi 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
    2009 US Open R of 32 - R.Federer bt L.Hewitt 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
    2010 Wimbledon R of 16 - N.Djokovic bt L.Hewitt 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
    Last five years..Federer bt Nadal, Nadal bt Djokovic, Djokovic bt Federer,
    Nadal bt Federer, Federer bt Djokovic & Djokovic bt Nadal.

    Interesting eh?
     
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  2. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, big problem with todays tennis, with 4 good players in past 5 years and no one in the making to join them
     
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  3. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Yes absolutely right, except it's 3 players in the last 5 years!
     
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  4. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I did something a few years ago, where I compared head to head records of the top players in their prime vs. the top players who were a few years older (open era). The older players held their own vs. the prime players in each generation.
     
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  5. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    The likes of Laver, Connors, Borg and McEnroe would have been greats in any era, I'm sure. They were talented and true competitors. Federer is a genius and deserves to be compared with any great from the past. Seven Wimbledon titles. Even the amazing Laver may not have won that many if all players had been able to compete from 1961-1969. Rosewall would surely have claimed some. Federer, tennis player for the ages too.
     
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  6. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Silly laughing face above in my post, emoticons, damn,lol! Edited!
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In the 1975 Dallas semi, Borg beat Laver, not the other way around. Great match. Here's the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5sBBFQfcNU
     
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  8. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Yep your right my mistake.
    So what's your perspective on my thread?
     
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  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I played in the mid 70's with a wood racket and just recently (a few months ago) took up playing again. The improvements in rackets and balls do make a difference. More power of course, but I think that stroking technique has improved also. How much of the improvement in stroking technique is due solely to the equipment changes is hard, maybe impossible, to say.

    Anyway, I think that there are some significant differences in the proficiency of the games of the top players of the 2000's (Federer, Nadal, etc.) and the top players of, say, the 60's (Laver, Rosewall, etc.) and the 70's (Connors, Borg, etc.), and that it's not entirely a matter of equipment. That is, if all external factors could be more or less equalized, then my guess is that the players of the 2000's would be favored over the players of the 70's and 60's.

    The dominant players (since the 1940's) have been:
    1950's -- Gonzalez
    1960's -- Laver and Rosewall
    1970's -- Connors and Borg
    1980's -- McEnroe and Lendl
    1990's -- Sampras
    2000's -- Federer and Nadal

    This is a group of fantastic players by any standard. People who have never seen, up close, world class players competing with wooden tennis rackets would be amazed I think. Would the likes of Federer and Nadal have prevailed had they been in their primes in one of those past eras? I think they would, but that's just my opinion.
     
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  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Laver did Beat Borg on clay in Houston, in 1974, if I recall correctly. Your premise is fun. You could probably go all the way back to Tilden if you want to.
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Great choices. Wouldn't it be fun if they had several small wood racquets only tournaments on different surfaces?
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Maybe we could play Six Degrees of Ken Rosewall or anyone else. :)

    Let's link Djokovic to Ken Rosewall. Djokovic played Nadal who played Agassi who played Lendl who played Borg who played Rosewall. That was too easy.

    Let's link Nadal to Little Bill Johnston. Nadal played Agassi who played McEnroe who played Newcombe who played Gonzalez who played Tilden who played Johnston.

    Let's link Andy Murray to Fred Perry. Murray played Federer who played Agassi who played McEnroe who played Roche who played Segura who played Budge who played Perry.
     
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  13. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    The jumps are much shorter than that

    1920's great Tilden played P. Gonzales and lost in the early 1950's (Tilden was nearly 60 at the time)

    P. Gonzales beat Jimmy Connors in the early 1970's

    Jimmy Connors lost to Agassi in the late 80's

    Agassi played Federer a number of times in the early-mid 2000's
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    We could be starting something here.

    :)
     
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  15. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    I agree with everything you say except I think the great players of yesteryear would have evolved with the game, the technology, racquets, balls, training and courts etc and be the same level as the top players are now with all the benefit's they have, I really do!
    I found a guy online who has the most amazing collection of DVD matches dating back until the 1950's and i've spent a lot of money on buying a fair few of them.
    I really think Federer, Nadal & Djokovic would not play a higher level than Laver, Connors, Borg & Mcenroe if they had all the conditions the older players had all those years back.
    The other way round is hard to imagine how Laver, Connors et al would have done with today's conditions.
    I can't quite picture it, yet I find it easy to picture the other way round.
    Last week I went with some friends to play at my club and we took along the old Dunlop Maxply and the Wilson T2000 racquets to compare them with our racquets of today, Babolat Pure Drive and the Babolat Nadal racquet.
    We all play to a good level (national level) so were able to judge pretty well.
    The difference is massive! For a start if you don't centre the ball you miss it, hardly no sweetspot.
    The racquets are all a minimum of 400 grams-that is heavy on your playing arm believe me.
    We all agreed at the end of playing that anyone of us playing with a new Babolat would have beaten anyone of us playing with one of the old racquets.
    So my conclusion is... Roger, Raffa & Novak would not have be better than Rod, Jimmy & Bjorn were with the old racquets.
    The other way round is too hard to judge.
    Comments welcome please...........
     
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  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I don't think it's really that hard to imagine. If we just use the Women's tour almost as a control group we know that top female players like Serena, Venus, Henin, Sharapova and Clijsters like hit the ball like lightning with great spin. Many of them have because timed over 120 mph on the serve. I believe little Henin at about 5'5" tall has been timed at or around 120 miles per hour. Is it really hard to imagine gifted talents like Laver and some others hitting the ball like heck today? You figure that they would hit substantially harder on serve than the Women and the groundstrokes would have greater spin and overall power. Trust me, it's not hard to adjust from a tiny little wooden racquet to a much bigger modern racquet with great strings, power and control. Laver said he probably would have changed his grip. It would have been nice to see a young Laver at let's say 24 transported to today to see how he would have adjusted. I say 24 between he already developed his old style so I would be curious in how he would have changed the way he played.

    I know McEnroe almost beat Roddick in WTT a few years ago at around 50 years old.

    It's always fun to think about what may have been but we will never know for sure.
     
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  17. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Let's add some rules to the game.
    Choose matchups where both players were in peak form, or even peak of their career. This gives a more disciplined result.
    It also gives fewer results.
     
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  18. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I think this would be fun to watch.

    I agree that the great players of the past would also be among the top players today, but I think the dominant players of today are just a bit bigger and stronger than, and as quick and fast as, their predecessors. So I would give the edge to the current era players.

    I agree, and I think this is one of the main reasons why players didn't generally hit the ball as hard in the wood racket era (harder swing = increased chance of hitting outside the sweet spot), and why stroke technique was a little different in the wood racket era.

    The weight of the wooden rackets plus a higher of percentage of one-handed backhands produced, generally I think, a more pronounced difference in the size of a player's arms in the wood racket era, imo.

    As I mentioned, I think that the likes of Roger, Rafa, and Novak would, had they been born in the wood racket era, have dominated. Just because they're a little bigger and stronger, and at least as quick and fast as the great wood racket players.

    But maybe an argument could be made that the current greats aren't as quick and fast as the wood racket greats.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your comments.
     
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  19. powerslave

    powerslave Rookie

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    Again one of those potential threads which will end up as oldies vs current generation.

    These gents in question could become the players they were due to the kind of training and conditioning they recived during their times which was again influenced by the way the game was played . Equipment, money and ever increasing commoditization of the sport too have their fair share of influence.

    There is simply no way to tell if Federer would have been as successful as he is today had he been born in 50s/60s. Same holds true for the great Laver there is no way to tell if he would have been as successful today as he was in his era.

    Yes if it is the work ethic, never say die spirit or sportsmanship one is talking about then yes each of these greats have those things in common however these traits are not sufficient enough to win a tennis match.
     
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  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Always hard to say. Pancho Gonzalez was actually bigger than Roger, Rafa and Djokovic and he was perhaps as great an athlete as anyone, possibly greater than anyone. Remember also that player born in that era would be different so if they were born in that era they probably wouldn't be as bigger or as strong. Different health standards. Different nutrition. Different training techniques.

    John McEnroe played in the wood era and just a few years ago he almost defeated Andy Roddick during a WTT match, and McEnroe was over 50.
     
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  21. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    You might be right. According to Wiki, Gonzalez was 6'2" and 180 lbs., which makes him as big or a little bigger than the dominant players of today. I had read before that he was 6'1" and somewhat skinny. I don't know. Anyway, by any measure, Gonzalez is one of the greats. Also, before 1962 players had to keep one foot on the court during serving, so maybe Gonzalez's monster serve would have been even better had he learned to jump into it as modern players do.

    Yes, but we have to consider them in terms of what they actually were physically, and not in terms of what they might have been physically if they had been born in the current era.

    Yes, I've watched some stuff of McEnroe vs Agassi, etc., when Mac wasn't in his prime. Still awesome. There's something about the technique of the serve and volley game that might have been lost in the current era.

    Serve and volley is a very effective way of playing tennis. Maybe something of a lost art. It's how I learned to play, and I used to beat guys that were really good strokers.

    But the thing is that the good players of today hit the ball so well and with so much power that it's just really hard to come in on them.
     
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just for the record wiki is wrong, Gonzalez was 6' 31/2". I have this on good authority.
     
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  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I read somewhere that a prime Gonzales beat a 50+ year old Tilden 6-2, 6-2. Imagine Mac or Borg getting 2 games a set off of Federer, Nadal or Djoko.
     
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think Wiki is off on that. I've read in various places that Pancho was 6'3" and 6'4". Having seen pictures of him posing with his contemporaries like Hoad and other's, I'm tempted to say he was at least 6'3". As lean as he was, if he was 180, he'd have to be at least that tall.

    Pancho with Lew Hoad who was 5'10":
    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=panc...14&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:11,i:155&biw=1003&bih=569

    Pancho with Jack Kramer who was 6'2":
    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=panc...&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:624,i:161&biw=1003&bih=569
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  25. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Wow, yeah he looks really big in those photos. I wonder where there might be an authoritative text reference to his stature.
     
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  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    The only personal reference I have to a player like Gonzalez is when I was playing in the mid 70's. There was this guy, about 6'4" who used to come to the courts now and then. He had very solid, almost pro-like strokes and a great serve. I played him a couple of times. He had the classic serving motion of bringing the feet together. Monster first serve. I was able to undercut them back, but he always held serve. Beat me bad both times, though I managed to get a few games.

    Now, I'm supposing that Gonzalez's serve was even better, like much better, than this guy's serve. In which case it would be, for a player like me, virtually unreturnable. Larger than life, so to speak.

    Gonzalez was the undisputed best player in the world for like 8 years during his prime. The players of the decade in which he dominated (the '50s) were playing with basically the same equipment that the players of the '60s and '70s were playing with, which, given his stature and athleticism, might explain how he was able to beat top players when he was in his 40s.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Check this out.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY
     
    #27
  28. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Just read an interview with Rod Laver on the Spanish newspaper AS. Maybe a guy more familiar with Spanish can give full explanation. From what i could understand, Laver comments on Federer's Wim win over Djokovic, calls it surprising. He marvels on Federer's ability to play his best tennis in semis and final. He mentions physical problems of Nadal, especially knee problems. He calls Nadal the only one who could have beaten Federer at Wim, and explains some technical details, like the massive cross forehand of Nadal, which goes into Federer's backhand.
    Laver makes some interesting comments on his own time too, recalls Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez as his big rivals on the Kramer tour, and praises Newcombe and "his friend" Santana (its a Spanish newspaper). I find it personally interesting (because some like Jeffrey Neave and me mentioned the match on the wikipedia page), that he calls the 1968 LA South West Pacific final against Rosewall (4-6,6-0,6-0) the best tennis he played.
    www.as.com/tenis/articulo/solo-nadal-posia-haber-ganado/20120712dasdaiten_1/Tes
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
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  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I say {Fed, Nadal, Nole} combined are superior players than the past greats combined.


    If you look at all 4 slams, the current top 3 have won quite a lot.

    AO - 8 titles
    RG - 8 titles
    WB - 10 titles
    USO - 7 titles

    There wins are well balance on all surfaces. Simply, there's no chink in their armor in any of these slam events. They are heavily guarded, no players outside have much of a shot. Unlike Connors, Borg and Mac, they left room for other players to sneak in and win slams.
     
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  30. Setmatch45

    Setmatch45 Rookie

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    Greats are greats and would be great in any era in almost any sport. I say that because old time football players would not be big enough to play in today's game.
     
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