Most fierce competitor of all time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by TMF, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is not about accomplishment/talent but strictly about a fierce competitor.


    I would Nadal on the men side and Seles on the women side. Some of you might say Connors which is fine. McEnroe once said if he wants to increases the competitiveness level, he emulate Connors since he think no one wanted more than him.
     
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  2. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I would say Serena for the women. No women has ever won as many big slam matches from the brink of defeat or saved as many match points against her. King, Evert, Graf, and Seles would be my honorable mentions with King probably taking runner up. I might have picked Seles but her poor comeback from the stabbing was not the stuff of the toughest competitor.

    For men I would say Connors. Honorable mentions to Nadal, Sampras, Muster, Chang, and Hewitt.
     
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  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wrong.Being cocky or agressive is a genetic question but there are many different ways to be competitive and absolutely nothing to do with behaviour tham inner strength and resilience
    Were cold champs like Laver,Rosewall,Lacoste,Borg,Lendl,Wilander,Kodes,Sedgman,Kramer,Sampras i,Newcombe,Smith or Federer less competitive than hot extroverts like Tildem,Perry,Budge,Hoad,Gonzales,Nastase,Connors,Agassi,Becker or Nadal?
    I do not think so.All of them have made history cause they were all ferocious competitors and it had nothing to do with personaluty
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    How could I forget mentioning Edberg and Emerson as cold champs and Kue
    rten,Djokovic,Vines and Mc Enroe as red hoted ones?
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Being a top competitor is almost impossible to measure. Kiki does have some excellent points in his above posts.

    I guess you would want a top competitor playing for you if the fate of the world is at stake.

    Without picking any one myself but many have picked Pancho Gonzalez when this was asked and some Jimmy Connors. Others have picked Lew Hoad.

    Look at Djokovic in recent years, he's won a lot of matches from match point down. The man refused to give up. Same with Nadal in refusing to give up.
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    González, Ricardo Alonso

    1969 Wimbledon First Round against Charlie Pasarell:
    22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9
    (Pancho was aged 41; Pasarell was 25.)



    You don't go that far to win in the first round of a tournament against someone 16 years younger without being a fierce competitor!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
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  7. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    gonna throw in Younes El Aynaoui's performance vs Roddick 2003 Aussie Open
     
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  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Michael Chang coming through at the French Open while cramping is etched in my memory. Man he wanted to win that match and did against the great Lendl in 5.
     
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  9. Jeepers

    Jeepers Professional

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    Ferrer !
     
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  10. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Connor’s run in 91 was all competitiveness and will to win. His tennis skills had zero impact on those results. You can be younger, more technical, faster and stronger but there is nothing that can replace the heart and mind of a champion. Connor’s is someone I would go to war with.
     
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  11. President

    President Legend

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    This is one department Federer is nowhere near the top of the list in :)
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I´d always pick Borg over Connors if my life was at stake.

    If my life was at stake with my opponent serving at 5-4, 40-0 in the fifth set, I´d have no doubt: Rod Laver.
     
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  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Connors run in 91 was all heart.
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Of course. Being fierce doesn't make up for talent and I think Borg was every bit the competitor that Connors was. While Connors is super talented, Borg was arguably the greatest talent (with Laver, Hoad and a number of others) in tennis history.
     
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  15. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Define talent. With Borg it was more about fitness, mental strength and consistency than great skill, if I am not mistaken.
     
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  16. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Mate, no offence but you seem to be peddling your BS in every thread.

    Name me one other player who would win the FO by grinding and then 2 weeks later win SW19 by serving and volleying. If that doesn't need talent, then what does?

    The only players who you can't knock for not being able to do the above would be players post 2000 because grass was slowed down.

    All other players pre-2000 had the opportunity to do what BORG did but none of them were able to do so and that includes sampras,llendl, agassi, mcenroe, connors, becker, edberg. Thats the who's who of the tennis world unable to do what Borg did 3 times. That shows an immense range of talent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's all opinion of course but Borg was arguably the fastest player that ever lived. He was renown for his great stamina. Many thought he had the best reflexes in tennis. Another person may think he's an untalented bum.
     
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  18. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Hall of Fame

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    I'll give a mention to Navratilova. 4-22 against Evert and worked her tail off to turn it around and have a winning h2h against her..plus she was the first to win majors and make multiple major finals in 3 different decades, and be in the top 5 in 3 decade's as well I think.

    Not that I necessarily pick her outright...but she deserves some credit for not giving up especially against Evert.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good post...but Laver did that too as well as Hoad
     
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  20. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    The problem is in a discussion like this, is that the elite players that won grand slam titles will receive most of the nominations. However in any generation, many of the lower ranked players are just as fierce competitors as the big guns, it's just that they are not as talented.

    For instance Nicolas Lapentti (who won 16 matches in his career that he faced match points in) was just as big as fighter as Nadal has been. It's only that Nadal is the considerably more talented player. While Nadal has been displaying his fighting spirit in grand slam semi-finals, masters series finals etc, Lapentti was more often displaying his fighting spirit in smaller ATP events.

    Similarly Felix Mantilla in the 90s was just as big a fighter as well reknowned warriors and grand slam champions like Muster and Chang. I mean the guy twice won matches that he saved 9 match points in.

    That same logic is true as you go further and further down the rankings.
     
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  21. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, because winning FO from the baseline and then completely changing your playing style to win on lightning fast grass few weeks later takes no talent at all.

    Are you serious? Borg was one of if not the most adaptable player that ever lived, that's enough of a testament to his talent in itself.
     
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  22. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I'm well aware of Borg's phenomenal RG-W achievements, and I have watched some of the highlights. I don't think he "completely changed his style" - yes he improved his serve a bit and occasionally came to the net. But he didn't suddenly go from being Vilas at RG to being Edberg at W.

    Certainly many players of his era had more skill, most notably McEnroe.
     
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  23. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    Plus a little bit of experience.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree but I think stamina on clay and the best footwork ever on grass were his unmatched talents since his heavy top spin was not that efficient on low bouncing old grass
     
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  25. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Good point. He worked the crowd like I've never seen.
     
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  26. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Serena hands down. Also Hewitt (prime), Rafa, Pancho Gonzalez, Muster. Serena is a different animal though )
     
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  27. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Nadal and Serena when she is on
     
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  28. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    LOL a comical post. Trying watching full matches of Borg at RG and Wimbledon (which are readily available on the internet through numerous outlets) and not just brief highlights.

    Borg went from regular, long gruelling rallies at Roland Garros, where he could outlast anyone including a physical specimen and fitness freak like Vilas, to serve-volleying on 100% of his first serves in many of his matches at Wimbledon. He even occasionally came to the net on 2nd serves to mix things up. In fact there were some matches like his 1973 QF against Roger Taylor when he consistently came to the net on both 1st and 2nd serves. His serve improved more than 'a bit'. It became a fearsome weapon that he worked hard to develop. He was more than capable of serving opponents off the court on faster surfaces, like he did to guys like Tanner and Nastase. Plus he developed his slice to keep his shots lower on grass and also noticeable shortened his backswing on his return of serve. There was a huge transformation between Borg at RG and Borg at Wimbledon.

    And a huge LOL at your comment that many players of his era had more skill than him. Apart from McEnroe, I'd like to see the names of these so-called players.
     
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  29. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    that just might be a slight exaggeration.....I'd say his heart and competitive nature brought out the skills he had left at that point in his career, if anything....

    "Fierce" competitor implies something overt, not under the surface. so people like Connors, Serena and Nadal would be obvious picks. We know that there were some "fiercely quiet" competitors, Borg, Evert, Sampras, Fed, etc.
     
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  30. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Hewitt and Connors.
    Sharapova - I'm not sure I've ever seen a WTA player hate losing as much as her.
     
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  31. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    I used to think of Ferrer as a fierce competitor. However, his last match against Nadal at the FO was pathetic. The dude basically gave up in the second and third set.
     
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  32. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    how is he more skillful than Borg? Better Bh, fh? lol :D
     
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  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And Trabert, too.:)
     
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  34. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Laver and Budge come to mind immediately.

    OK, looked it up.
    So post 1947, when Jack Kramer brought in Serve and Volley as the predominant style to 2002 when Lleyton Hewitt won on the slow grass (Ivanisevic won on fast grass in 2001) - people who have won both:

    Budge Paddy (often forgotten among the greats)
    Tony Trabert
    Lew Hoad
    Rod Laver (twice)
    Bjorn Borg (3x)

    Emerson never did it even though he won two French and two Wimbledon.
    Doing it 3 times is certainly a great achievement.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
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  35. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    The top 3 men who were like dogs with raw meat.......
    1. Connors
    2. Pancho
    3. Kramer

    These guys were tough, mean and didn't quit. Name one other player who would have the guts to run to the other side of the court to rub out a mark on Har-Tru like Jimbo did?

    I was not a Jimbo fan and was always pulling for Borg or Vilas...etc but on court NO ONE laid it out like Connors......even today no one even close.
     
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  36. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Great point, I've always thought competitiveness came down ultimately to concentration. Champions can be fiery or quiet, so long as their focus remains sharp and undisturbed.

    I'm not sure Budge belongs in your second group. He was often described as consistent and even boring compared to some of his rivals.

    McEnroe could be added to your group, and I mention him because he's the first player that comes to mind when I think "temperamental."

    Add Edberg to your first group.
     
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I added them later on.Mac is one of the natural choices, of course.And so is Edberg in the other group.

    Vines can be included in the second group although I really don´t know much about his personality.
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sure he did.And underrated yet a great champion.he had the misfortune to play in one of the strongest eras, when he became a pro.
     
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