Laver vs Sampras on clay?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by corners, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. corners

    corners Legend

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    Rod Laver vs Pete Sampras, in their primes, at Roland Garros. Who wins?

    (Time machines are functioning here.)

    Note: This thread is not meant to be a popularity contest, not a ******* match, not a place to defend your favorite player to your dying breath. I'm just curious, more than anything, how people see this match playing out, tactically and strategically. What weaknesses of Sampras' could Laver exploit on clay, and vice versa? That kind of thing. In short, Why do you think Laver or Sampras would win, and How?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
    #1
  2. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    So this is debatable? Sampras isn't good on clay so anything that suggest Sampras being a better player only makes Laver look bad.
     
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  3. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Laver easily. Dumb question. Why not ask a place it is a tougher call like Wimbledon.
     
    #3
  4. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I take it that this a rhetorical question, to highlight the deficiencies of Sampras.
     
    #4
  5. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Really not even close - Laver was solid on the slow stuff......
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Good job TMF. You know that Laver was pretty damn good on the red stuff . . . and Sampras was not.

    All hail TMF!
     
    #6
  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, there's a great set of round-robin matches at Wimbledon: Sampras, Laver, Borg, and Fed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
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  8. corners

    corners Legend

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    No, not rhetorical at all and not meant to make anyone look bad or feel bad or act bad or anything else. And I don't think it's an easy answer either.
     
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  9. corners

    corners Legend

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    How do you see the matchup playing out on clay, tactically? For one all-time great to beat another I would assume he would have to take advantage of some weakness with a strength.
     
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  10. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Laver would have an abundance of options vs Sampras on clay:

    1. Just do what any decent clay courter in the top 30 usually could do, even ones with 20% of Laver's talent, just put the ball back in play, mix in some funky spins for good measure, and let an impatient Sampras self destruct with 70+ unforced errors en route to a 3 or 4 set defeat.

    2. Jerk Sampras around and take advantage of his discomfort sliding and discomfort with his footing on clay.

    3. Just play how he does against most any opponent on any surface and make it a shotmaking fest, going for wonderful yet for him still high percentage winners, and unlike a faster surface Sampras on this surface would never keep up in this regard either.

    I cant think of anything Sampras could do better than Laver on clay except serve. It would just be Laver deciding which way he was going to win, or Sampras decicing which way he wanted to lose. I love Sampras but he is not in same stratosphere as even Federer on clay, let alone Laver. Pete did occasionally caught fire on clay and came up with a big performance, and maybe on those days Laver would have to dig in to win (still almost for sure successfully) but the vast majority of the time it would be a breeze. Now prime Sampras vs prime Laver on fast grass, carpet, fast hard courts, would love to see that play out.
     
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  11. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Well Laver played and won on clay on a regular basis for years......his movement for one is much much better than Petes on clay. Sampras's biggest problem on clay was his movement and Laver would just take advantage of that for one. The Rocket could also play from the back or attack and would be able to keep Pete totally off balance - I hate to say it but on clay with both at peak form I think The Rocket takes him easy.
     
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  12. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    lol, way to sneak in your federer hating agenda ....

    How on earth are federer and laver on different stratospheres on clay ?

    they are on a similar level on clay ...
     
    #12
  13. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    A message in a bottle washes up on the shores of the Postmodern Boards:

    Gentlemen, it is excellent to see the spirit of Chopin alive and well on the Boards! Time travel is indeed possible, if only in the minds of the Enlightened.

    Chopin sends a question, from his solitude:

    Laver versus Rios on clay?

    I will see you all at the stroke of midnight!

    --FFC
     
    #13
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    2 RG to 1.Laver is in the same stratosphere as Kodes, which is, on clay, on a higher plane than that of crush fed.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    a very good mach, indeed
     
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  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    17 majors for federer to 11 majors for laver ...

    yes, we all know federer is on a much higher stratosphere than laver :)
     
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  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    abmk, All what you can is to belittle Laver and his colleagues and to praise Federer in an exaggerated way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
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  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Stay on topic: no Kodes, no Fed--Sampras and Laver.
     
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  19. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, what I'm doing here is replying back to those fed-haters in nadalagassi and kiki in their own language so to speak ....
     
    #19
  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think the topic is even close to debatable tbh ... laver is far superior on clay ...
     
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  21. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Deleted...
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
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  22. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Saying Kodes ahead of Fed on clay is like saying Ferrer is ahead of Laver on clay.

    Fed, Nadal, Borg and Lendl all made at least 5 RG finals. Just to let you know.
     
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  23. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    sampras wins because he is a stronger and more modern player. however he was really not a good claycourter. he was still hard to beat because of his serve but from the baseline those spanish dudes could really pick his BH apart. laver certainly was a better clay courter if you adjust for era but h2h sampras was just stronger because that was another time.
     
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  24. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    The amount of times Fed gets belittled in this Laver Forum is astounding, so 1 post belittling Laver is nothing, and no one is in position to complain.
     
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  25. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    also at their prime, Laver would use a wood racquet and Sampras would use a graphite racquet. That is too much of an advantage for Sampras.

    >>Rod Laver vs Pete Sampras, in their primes, at Roland Garros. Who wins?

    (Time machines are functioning here.)<<
     
    #25
  26. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    The OP didn't specify Pete/Laver play in the '60 or '90, which would be a huge difference. We don't know how both players would adapt to such different conditions and racquet.
     
    #26
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I bow down in respect for TMF.

    Laver won tons of top clay court tournaments against everyone. He defeated Rosewall, Borg, Newcombe, Gonzalez, Kodes, Gimeno, Smith all on clay.

    Sampras won three titles on clay (according to the ATP website) with a 62.5 winning percentage.

    For pure accomplishments on clay it's not close.
     
    #27
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just go with accomplishments on clay.
     
    #28
  29. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i assumed they would play today.
    the transportation device from Star Trek would beam a prime Rod Laver and a prime Pete Sampras to the center court of Roland Garros to play this match.
     
    #29
  30. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Then Pete would win easily since Laver doesn't know how to use a graphite racquet.
     
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  31. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    :)

    Now that you know that i'm not always pro modern players, but I go by what I believe. I wish some of the old-timers(e.g. kiki) would be open minded, even though we know he doesn't believe what he actually saying.
     
    #31
  32. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    And Pete would lose easily because he doesn't know how to use a wooden racquet. Two can plat that game.
     
    #32
  33. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    yes BUT Laver missed all of the slams in 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 and the AO in 68 do you honestly think he would not have won???? What at least 5 or 6 more slams in all that time???? I bet if he had stayed on the tour he would have won the Grand Slam at least 2 more times - he was good enough in 63 and 64 to sweep all the events again.......Fed has never been that dominant.
     
    #33
  34. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Consider Laver's 6 of his 11 slams were from the amateur so that cancel out. Even if he decided to play the slams in those years he would have to join the amateur club, which is a very weak field(old-timers already conceded that).

    Any top players can win a GS given the crap amateur field, not to mention having to deal with only 2 surfaces.


    Most GS titles
    1. Roger Federer 17*
    2. Pete Sampras 14
    3. Björn Borg 11
    = Rafael Nadal 11*
    5. Jimmy Connors 8
    = Ivan Lendl 8
    = Andre Agassi 8
    8. John McEnroe 7
    = Mats Wilander 7
    10. Stefan Edberg 6
    = Boris Becker 6

    GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 24*
    2. Ivan Lendl 19
    3. Pete Sampras 18
    4. Björn Borg 16
    = Rafael Nadal 16*
    6. Jimmy Connors 15
    = Andre Agassi 15
    8. John McEnroe 11
    = Mats Wilander 11
    = Stefan Edberg 11

    Consecutive GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 10
    2. Roger Federer 8

    3. Rafael Nadal 5
    4. Andre Agassi 4
    = Rod Laver 4
    = Novak Djokovic 4
    7. Jimmy Connors 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Mats Wilander 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Pete Sampras 3
    = Rafael Nadal 3


    GS semi-finals
    1. Roger Federer 32*
    2. Jimmy Connors 31
    3. Ivan Lendl 28
    4. Andre Agassi 26
    5. Pete Sampras 23
    6. John McEnroe 19
    = Stefan Edberg 19
    8. Boris Becker 18
    9. Björn Borg 17
    = Rafael Nadal 16*

    Consecutive GS semi-finals
    1. Roger Federer 23
    2. Ivan Lendl 10
    3. Novak Djokovic 9*
    4. Ivan Lendl 6
    = Nadal 6
    6. Novak Djokovic 5
    = Boris Becker 5
    8. Roger Federer 4*
    = Rod Laver 4
    = Tony Roche 4
    = John McEnroe 4
    = Andre Agassi 4
    = Jim Courer 4
    = Nadal 4
    = Andy Murray 4

    GS quarter-finals
    1. Jimmy Connors 41
    2. Roger Federer 38*
    3. Agassi 36
    4. Ivan Lendl 34
    5. Pete Sampras 29
    6. John McEnroe 26
    = Stefan Edberg 26
    8. Boris Becker 23
    = Rafael Nadal 23*
    9. Novak Djokovic 22*
    10. Björn Borg 21

    Consecutive GS quarter-finals
    1. Roger Federer 34*
    2. Ivan Lendl 14
    = Novak Djokovic 14*
    4. Rafael Nadal 11
    5. Pete Sampras 10
    6. Ivan Lendl 7
    = Mats Wilander 7
    = Andy Murray 7
    9. Andre Agassi 6
    = Rafael Nadal 6

    All Four Slams Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969

    Three Slams Per Year
    Jimmy Connors 1974
    Mats Wilander 1988
    Roger Federer 2004
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007

    Rafael Nadal 2010
    Novak Djokovic 2011


    All Four Finals Per Year
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2009

    Rod Laver 1969

    All Four Semi-finals Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969
    Ivan Lendl 1987
    Roger Federer 2005
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2008
    Roger Federer 2009

    Rafael Nadal 2008
    Novak Djokovic 2011
    Andy Murray 2011

    Most consecutive matches won at one Grand Slam event:
    1. Björn Borg (Wimbledon), 41
    2. Roger Federer (Wimbledon), 40
    = Roger Federer (US Open), 40

    4. Pete Sampras (Wimbledon), 31
    = Rafael Nadal (French Open), 31

    Most consecutive Slams played:
    1. Wayne Ferreira 56
    2. Stefan Edberg 54
    3. Roger Federer 52*
    4. Fabrice Santoro 46
    5. Dominik Hrbatý 44
    6. Feliciano Lopez 43*
    7. Tommy Robredo 41
    8. David Ferrer 40*
    9. Mark Woodforde 37
    =. Jonas Björkman 37

    Most Grand Slam match wins
    2. Roger Federer 248*
    2. Jimmy Connors 233
    3. Andre Agassi 224
    4. Ivan Lendl 222
    5. Pete Sampras 204

    Other Stuff:

    Year-End Championships
    1. Roger Federer 6*
    2. Ivan Lendl 5
    = Pete Sampras 5
    4. Ilie Nastase 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Boris Becker 3

    Most Weeks at #1
    1. Roger Federer 297+*
    2. Pete Sampras 286
    3. Ivan Lendl 270
    4. Jimmy Connors 268
    5. John McEnroe 170
    6. Björn Borg 109
    7. Rafael Nadal 102*
    8. Andre Agassi 101
    9. Lleyton Hewitt 80
    10. Stefan Edberg 72

    Consecutive Weeks at #1
    1. Roger Federer (1) 237
    2. Jimmy Connors (1) 160
    3. Ivan Lendl (1) 157
    4. Pete Sampras (1) 102
    5. Jimmy Connors (2) 84
    6. Pete Sampras (2) 82
    7. Ivan Lendl (2) 80
    8. Lleyton Hewitt (1) 75
    9. John McEnroe (1) 58
    10. Rafael Nadal (1) 56

    Year End #1
    1. Sampras 6
    2. Federer 5*
    3. Borg 4
    4. Connors 3
    = Lendl 3
    = McEnroe 3


    Highest Season Winning Percentage
    1. John McEnroe (1984) .965 82–3
    2. Jimmy Connors (1974) .959 93–4
    3. Roger Federer (2005) .953 81–4
    4. Roger Federer (2006) .948 92–5

    5. Björn Borg (1979) .933 84–6
    6. Ivan Lendl (1986) .925 74–6
    7. Roger Federer (2004) .925 74–6
    8. Ivan Lendl (1985) .923 84–7
    9. Ivan Lendl (1982) .922 106–9
    10. Björn Borg (1980) .921 70–6
    = Novak Djokovic (2011) 0.921 70-6

    Most ATP Titles
    1. Jimmy Connors 109
    2. Ivan Lendl 94
    3. John McEnroe 77
    4. Roger Federer 75*
    5. Björn Borg 64
    = Pete Sampras 64
    7. Guillermo Vilas 62
    8. Andre Agassi 60
    9. Sampras 6
    = Rafael Nadal 50*
    10. Boris Becker 49

    Consecutive Match Win Streak
    1. Björn Borg 49 1978
    2. Björn Borg 48 1979–80
    3. Guillermo Vilas 46 1977
    4. Ivan Lendl 44 1981–82
    5. Novak Djokovic 43 2010–11
    6. John McEnroe 42 1984
    7. Roger Federer 41 2006–07
    8. Thomas Muster 35 1995
    = Roger Federer 35 2005
    10.Jimmy Connors 33 1974
     
    #34
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I believe in what I saw and what records prove when correctly weigthened.

    Kodes won 2 RG as opposed to Federer´s 1...
     
    #35
  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    with Federer´s opposition Laver would have won the GS 3 or 4 times, as we all know
     
    #36
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...because this forum is for adults, not teeny whoppers:)
     
    #37
  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Please ignore kiki; he is baiting you.
     
    #38
  39. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Obviously Laver..

    But I think The Sampras hate gets ridiculous on here..

    People talk as if Sampras had NO conquests on clay, and beat just a bunch of mugs and no talented clay courters.

    NOT true at all. Under his old coach Gullickson, Sampras was a very competent clay court winning Davis Cup, Rome, getting far at the French, and posting big wins over guys like Muster, Courier, Bruguera, Agassi, Kafelnikov etc.

    Sampras obviously wasn't clay court "elite" but under his old coach, he was capable of beating ANYONE on any given day on clay.

    Hell prime for prime, Sampras beat more big names on clay then a lot of other all time greats did.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
    #39
  40. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Sampras could play some great clay tennis, he just wasnt consistent enough.
     
    #40
  41. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    In the early 00s many people were predicting that Roddick would have a better clay court career than Sampras which seems ridiculous now.
     
    #41
  42. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    If Sampras came along in some mug era with no clay GOAT, or deep clay field (like there was in the 90s), he perhaps could have posted 1-2 French Open titles and we probably wouldn't be having this conversation :)

    I think people also forget, the French was monte carlo slow back in pete's day. Nowadays they have sped it up which can benefit the big hitter more.
     
    #42
  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True.

    Laver won on slow RG clay, fast Wimbledon grass, Forest Hills swamp, indoor, outdoor, concrete, har-tru, super-fast wood, carpet, whatever.
     
    #43
  44. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Sampras could and did beat a lot of good clay players, the problem was his tendencies to lose to inferior players on that surface
     
    #44
  45. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    ha ha, he was getting ripped off by both rosewall and hoad in 63, getting beat left right ...... fat chance of him winning 1 major, let alone all in 63 ...

    he wouldn't have his 62 slam for sure ... since rosewall and hoad were clearly better then and would have crushed him ...

    rosewall and him were pretty close still in 64,65 and 66 ......

    rosewall certainly could have beaten him at RG in 67 , given that he did beat him there in 68

    apart from that others like gimeno, newk, roche, emerson etc .... and the chances of upset

    actually federer has been the most dominant over a 4 year period - 11 of the 16 slams, 3 YECs, only 24 losses over a 4-year period ...

    so yeah, federer > laver clearly , deal with it ... :)
     
    #45
  46. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    he would have won zero, given he wouldn't get past nadal on clay @ RG .....

    the likes of agassi, djoker, safin, hewitt, roddick, nalbandian etc would also defeat him in slams .....

    and of course he was more prone to upset than federer was at his peak ( see the drysdale upset in USO 68 ) ..
     
    #46
  47. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    stop dreaming, sampras wouldn't have won any French Open in any era .... he just wasn't patient/good enough to play through 7 best of 5-set matches on clay ....

    maybe a RG final, but his stamina would be gone by then and the form he'd require to make it there would have tapered off by the time he's done with 6 best of 5 matches on clay ...
     
    #47
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Did he ever play on ice? sand?:(
     
    #48
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I love how easy you change opinions.
     
    #49
  50. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I've heard the argument in the past that had Sampras not been completely gassed out going into his 1996 RG semi against Kafelnikov, and beaten an opponent that he usually owned regardless of the surface, that he would have been a shoe in to win the title and complete the full set of slams.

    However waiting for him in the final would have been Stich who was better than him on clay and moved more comfortably on it. Plus he was the opponent that Sampras feared the most and had been playing tremendously well in that tournament. I think Stich's performance to knock out Muster in R4 was beyond anything that Sampras was ever capable of producing on clay.

    Tennis can largely be about match-ups and Kafelnikov was a horrible match-up for Stich, Sampras was a horrible match-up for Kafelnikov but had no energy left going into their semi, and Stich was a difficult match-up for Sampras. Muster was an absolutely horrendous match-up for Kafelnikov on clay but Stich took him out for him to clear his path to the title.

    It's easier for players to be mentally strong in tournaments/on surfaces that they are more comfortable on, than ones that don't suit their games so much. Sampras was a mental giant in his 7 Wimbledon finals. However had he reached the final at RG and got a sniff of the title during his career, I imagine that he would have been much more mentally frail and more readily fallen victim to his nerves.

    Nadal was a mental rock on clay even as a teenager, but was a clear bag of nerves in his first Wimbledon final in 2006. He was completely overawed by the whole occasion at first, and got incredibly tight when he tried and failed to serve out the second set.
     
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