Most talented player of all time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Here's a vid of Nastase.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf4wrrpzdYc

    Here's a few vids of Mecir
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlb5Py25DPM&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2bzlj4ypvw

    Here's a video of Tony Roche against Rosewall in a losing effort.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJubuKDN7Fk

    Here's Vijay Amritraj against a young Borg in the US Open in 1974
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDFd4q3CycU
     
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nick Bolletieri cetainly knew how to take advantage of average players -except Courier,Seles and Agassi, who certainly weren´t average players-, but he is not qualified at all to talk about something he´s never recognized: talent.So boring his players played, with a very few exceptions, that once you see one , you´ve seen them all.He is the most overrated coach I can think of...
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That is great list, altough Vines himself accomplished quite a lot...why not Tappy Larsen, instead?...oh¡ and Gene Mayer, certainly belongs there...
     
  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes both of them were extremely talented and could be there. I read one comment that Larsen's lefty backhand was perhaps the best lefty backhand ever and that's incredible considering the person making the comment knew of Laver and Connors.
     
  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I wonder if anyone remembers a story where Larsen, on match point, took an easy overhead sitter, and feigned hitting an overhead, but instead, at the last second, flipped his racquet around, and using it like a pool cue, hit the ball over with the butt of racquet for a winner! I vaguely recall this, but can't be sure it was Larsen.
     
  6. spazz

    spazz New User

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    the Wimbledon finals of Borg/McEnroe and Nadal/Federer are justifiably celebrated, but I think the most staggering display of talent I ever saw was the Australian semi-final where Safin clipped Federer. The shot making and spontaneity were beyond belief. Safin's lack of discipline exchanged for the good life is now legend, but I think Federer may also have surrendered a little bit of the variety of his early game for a consistency that served him well before the rise of Nadal.
     
  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Apparently, Art "Tappy" Larsen suffered from a pretty severe case of OCD. His nickname "Tappy" came from his obsession to tap on "items around the tennis court." Gardner Mulloy descrdibed him as one with "so many superstitions." He also spent some time on the front lines in WWII. A head injury, or scarlet fever, could explain the OCD.

    http://rjschwartz.blogspot.com/2011/06/strawberries-and-cream-wimbledon-2011.html
     
  8. TCTEN

    TCTEN Rookie

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    Career records aside my vote stays the same. I've never seen anyone with a more complete game. He can hit winners from anywhere on the court but he's smart enough to know when to go for them.
     
  9. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    Yes, a worthy mention.
     
  10. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I don't know if anyone has mentioned Ramesh Krishnan from India. I saw him play a few times on tv in the 80s. He had a very aesthetically pleasing game, and commentators often described his strokes as "smooth as silk" and his game "flowing like honey" and similar phrases. Not a hard hitter, but what you might call a touch player with extraordinary control. He won the Wimbledon and French Open junior titles in 1979. Extremely talented and promising player that never quite made it to the very top. His highest ranking was in the 20s.
     
  11. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    He and Mcenroe actually had some interesting touch battles.
     
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wouldn´t surprise me at all... wasn´t Tappy Larsen the guy that talked to his " falcon" who suposedly was on his shoulder??.I heard he was a real genious, kind of Budge Patty or Jaroslav Drobny
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One of the nicest memories of the 80´s is when those 2 artists, Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan led India to the DC finals...only to be wipped out by the ultrasolid swedish squad (Wilander,Nystrom,Jarryd,Edberg,Sundstrom,Pernfors...)
     
  14. TennisNoob1

    TennisNoob1 New User

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    I think that Nalbandian at best were the best i´ve seen, also Safin around 2000-2005. Nalbandians backhand, running forehand dtl. angles and lobs were absolutely out of this World. Even Federer looked sometimes ordinary compared to what the Argentine could deliver, at times. Nalbandian would play beautiful points in every match even if he lost, sometimes he were simply overpowered by the bigger hitters and servers, like Safin ect. Even thou Safin may have been just as talented. Fed ofcause, memoreble performances may be when he beat Delpo and Tsonga in AO 2009 and 2010. Absolutely ridiculous tennis, but Nalbandians game were my favorites. He knew how to play Fed aswell. He played extremely clever at times, ect. "Fed slices short crosscourt, Nalbandian slices Deep into Feds forehand, that would normally be dangerous, but he knows that Fed has a slightly average forehand lob, which is Feds only option, just because of the depth of the slice approach and the covering of the net on both sides, even thou Nalby may not have been the greatest net cover and mover" Pete Sampras and Rios may be mentioned aswell of newer time players, both had Ridiculous hands and touch, Sampras could pull the most stunning dropvolleys and halfvolleydropshots of, and had immense serve, forehand and quickness. Rios had great angles, lobs and dropvolleys.
     
  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I have to pick Federer. Lots to debate in GOAT discussions, but in every aspect of the game, and in every sense that 'talent' can encompass, he is rock solid. You don't really need to worry about what to define in or out of the concept among any of the parties. With Federer, it just does not matter. he has to be included at the very top of the most talented list.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    you simply cannot tell this because so many other factors play a role. you just don't know what fed would have done under 1960s conditions or laver under 2010 conditions.

    of course a player with a plastic racket will look more talented than a guy with a wood racket because you can do more strokes with the plastic racket.

    I believe that federer is a unique talent and certainly one of the best talents ever, but you don't know how good greats of the past would have been if they grew up with plastic rackets, had feds swing technique and training.
     
  17. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Records have to be evaluated for strength.

    For example, whom did Gonzales beat?

    His only serious challenge was Hoad, and Hoad apparently convinced many that he had the greater game.
     
  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Dan,

    Gonzalez beat Sedgman, Trabert, Segura, Rosewall, Gimeno and of course Hoad on tour among others. Remember that when Gonzalez beat Rosewall the second time, Rosewall was in my opinion at his peak and still got beaten badly by a score of 15 to 4. Sedgman was at his peak as was Segura and close to his peak was Gimeno. I think that's pretty tremendous.

    Lots of very talented players in history. Aside from the aforementioned Hoad and Gonzalez, among the retired players you have Vines, Laver, Borg, Nastase, Sampras, Ashe, Budge, Kovacs, Riggs, Rosewall, McEnroe, Kramer, Tilden, Connors etc.

    I do have some problems ranking players as super talented who don't have very good serves at least. Connors had at least a lefty serve and consistent spin with a very high first serve percentage. Rosewall had excellent talent but I have problems nowadays ranking him ultra high on talent because his serve was so vulnerable and relatively weak. The serve is the most important part of the game and to have an inability to serve well in that area is a huge negative in talent. Hoad, Gonzalez, Kramer, Vines had it in spades for the ability to serve well. Borg served I believed at 130 mph with wood which is great. In Borg's heyday some said he had the best serve in tennis. All the others had excellent serves.

    I wish I could say Rosewall had a great serve because he was one of my favorite players but in observing him in person, seeing comments about his serve by his opponents, very few have ranked it as even a good serve.

    Riggs surprisingly apparently had a great serve. Vines for example ranks it higher than Don Budge's vaunted serve. Gonzalez called it a great serve.
    http://www.t3licensing.com/license/clip/634C230_024.do

    Ashe had an explosive serve, especially when he was younger. Very powerful flat serve and a great slice serve when could pull his opponent wider than any righty player I've seen in the deuce court.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS0j_UHAk3E

    And you're right records have to be evaluated for strength with correct analysis of the situation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  19. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I tend to lean towards touch as a mark of talent, myself. Players like McEnroe and Nastase etc...are high up in my estimations.

    Interesting that you put a lot of 'talent value' on the serve pc1, these days players with extreme serves are often talking about in a derogatory way as if being able to serve really well is not a talent.

    Though obviously taller players have it easier when crafting a great serve, I find Sampras more talented in the serve department than Isner despite Isner's being better as pure shot.
     
  20. Rosewall

    Rosewall Rookie

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    Whenever I think of "most talented", McEnroe always comes to mind first. But I have always admired the cerebral part of the game -- probably because it is missing from my own game. :) For such a punk, you have to ask yourself why so many of his contemporary legends feared him (Borg), gushed over him (Becker) or measured themselves against him (Connors).

    Other names that popped into my head:
    Agassi -- just a freak. I saw him at the LA Open at 16 taking full swings at volleys. I still love watching him whenever he plays exhibitions.

    Le Idiot -- maybe the tennis equivalent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Leconte did some stupid stuff, but you knew when you watched him, you might see something you had never seen before. His imagination was never lacking and he was never afraid to go for a shot from anywhere at any time and had the hands to pull it off more times than not.

    Federer -- no need to say anything, he is Fed

    Nadal -- might surprise some that I put him in here. So many detractors point to his brutish strokes, but make no mistake -- the guy is a tennis savant. He has all the shots and is better at tactically breaking down an opponent than any player I have ever watched. Unlike a guy like Lendl, he has tremendous agility and great hands at the net.

    Nasty -- you give him Connors' mental toughness, and he becomes the most accomplished tennis player in history. It is amazing to me that a guy that mentally weak made it to #1. His feel for the racquet is unmatched.

    Rosewall -- The tennis equivalent of NBA HOF John Stockton. Wait, wait, wait... we're talking about "most talented" here, not dudes that were conventional grinders. You miss the subtle beauty of his game if you think that. IMO, Rosewall and Stockton have always been underestimated and underappreciated. Conventional yes, but still subtle geniuis. Can you hit a backhand slice? Can you drive through your backhand slice so it screams low and heavy across the net and doesn't bounce up? Can you do it every time? Can you still hit that driving, heavy, deep slice every time when returning John Newcombe's serve? When driving through that backhand slice return, can you make a subtle regrip or cup your wrist a bit one way or roll it the other way to feather it up the line or cross court -- always keeping it running away from and just out of the reach of poor John? That was Ken Rosewall.
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Isner for example is tall and has a great talent for serving but that same talent also imo hurts him in the agility and mobility department. Sampras is not lacking in any of these departments, by that I mean he's a super server and is extremely agility and mobile.
     
  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    People underrated Nadal's great talent. He's fast, powerful, is a lefty (which is something that helps him no doubt) and people forget that his racquet speed is incredible and probably the fastest in tennis today. The RPMs he puts on the ball is unmatched by anyone today. Racquet speed is super important. His stamina is excellent and he can hit great offensive shots off both sides.
     
  23. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal has underrated touch, I've seen him with some mighty soft hands before. He's very talented for sure. Although his greatest strength has always been his mobility IMO.
     
  24. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Talented but not dedicated:
    Vijay Amrithraj

    Gael Monfils
     
  25. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Yes, of course, you are right that Gonzales demonstrated greatness of talent, I rate him #2 overall.

    But some years in the mid-fifties he had little opposition.
     
  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I hope this does not disagree with anyone's particular choices or named players, but . . .

    When I see "most talented", I infer extremely talented but underachieving.

    Maybe I watch and listen to too much NFL football commentary, but when I hear a player described as having a lot of talent, it is usually a lead-in to asking why we are not seeing great results.

    "Most talented" seems to imply exceptional latent abilities that are never realized in achievements.

    Again Rios comes to mind as an excellent, recent example.

    Here's a phrase that comes to mind: "He was so amazingly talented, it was too bad he never won the big one."

    In my estimation, "most talented" is almost pejorative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  27. Rosewall

    Rosewall Rookie

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    Vijay practiced occasionally at a club I worked at in LA. He may be known for his grace and touch, but I was in awe of how hard and flat he hit. It was intimidating just to watch his easy ground strokes.
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I love Vijay Amritraj. He was an awesome talent. Many felt at the time in the early 1970's that Vijay had of the most talent of all among Borg, Connors and Vijay.
     
  29. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    The designation "most talented" allows us to highlight certain players who would otherwise be underrated or ignored, such as Kovacs, whose great talent did not result in great records in majors.

    Or Vijay Amritraj, or even Nastase, whose major record should have been greater.
     
  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You are, of course, right. But then the implicit question becomes what did Vijay achieve compared to Connors or Borg?
    Yes, absolutely.

    These names implicitly corroborate my point. Kovacs, Amitraj, even Nastase never achieved what was suggested by their displays of talent.

    In its way, "most talented" is certainly a compliment, but it is--what we call in English--a "backhanded compliment".
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  31. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    i will second this opinion, and btw i'm not particularly fond of him as a player. however no question, he's got talent that extends beyond just strength, endurance, and 'topspin'--i've seen him win a number of touchy-touch battles around the net, the guy is the complete package, even if he mostly does one thing exceptionally well.
     
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Vijay didn't accomplish much in comparison to Borg and Connors. And frankly since I believe I may know a little more about tennis now than at that time I think Borg and Connors may have been more talented.
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I would agree with that also. I would add that while Nadal has super mobility I think what makes him unique is his great racquet speed which gives him great spin and power. No one in the world has the racquet speed of Nadal.
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I do wonder that if someone is supremely talented, that person does not work that hard to develop. That person relies on that great reservoir of talent to help them win.

    In the end, that person does not achieve as much as the individual who was less endowed but works and practices harder.

    I remember watching Fed do one of those amazing tweener shots at the US Open against Djokovic, and thinking WOW! what amazing talent.

    I was gratified that in the interview after the match, Fed stated that, yes, he does practice that shot.
     
  35. 5point5

    5point5 Semi-Pro

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    Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Simon, and Rios.
     
  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I always wondered what happens if a male ATP pro messes up in practice on that shot. Do they collapse to the ground? Are they able to have children?

    And I've also wondered why practice that shot since you have more control and power if you do hit it with a normal forehand or backhand.
     
  37. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    Talent = Bahrami
     
  38. jjsang23

    jjsang23 New User

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    Simon & Rios? Hahahaha! Simon who never made it past a major QF and won onl 11 tourneys. Rios who was a fake #1 (like Woz & Safina) who only made 1 major F. Talent means nothing without results.
     
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    This is exactly my point.

    One can be supremely talented, but have (nearly) zero achievements.
     
  40. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    As usual, very enjoyable post. Mac fan here, also... If you were to select one match (hopefully one generally available) of Mac's to show a younger group, which one would you select that best presents his gifts?
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Hard to say but I would think perhaps two of his 1984 matches against Jimmy Connors, the Wimbledon final in which he crushed Connors 6-1 6-1 6-2 in which I believe he made only four unforced errors in a brilliant display of shotmaking.

    The other one was the wonderful semifinal match at the US Open that same year in which he displayed his huge range of shots in defeating an inspired Connors in five sets.
    Here's the beginning of the 1984 Wimbledon final. You can click on the other parts to continue watching the full match.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIA2RdqOTgo

    Here's the beginning of the 1984 US Open semifinal. As with the first link you can also click on the other parts to see the entire match. This match incidentally is one of my all time favorites to watch. I often put it on while I am doing work.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0lvniH_iBM
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  42. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Appreciated...

    Agreed on the US Open with Connors - sparkling match - too many layers - especially enjoyable for me is Newcomb's commentary (he always probed the mental game)...

    And That Wimbledon Final - yep...

    I'd throw a vote in for the US Open Final w/Borg (his last)... Mac's speed and anticipation startles one - and what he can do with a woodie is devestating - variety to the nth and flat power is that is unheard of... and in combos - OH!!!

    Like his US Open (later on, much - gifts are mostly spent) against E. Sanchez(top tenner at that time, I believe)... he feathers two drop volleys off of full drives that both freeze Emilio and you can see him give Mac the look - one cannot do that - only an alien... Great match as neither has a knockout punch weapon - so they must nick each over and over and build points - Mac in 5 - beyond special...
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  43. tipsa...don'tlikehim!

    tipsa...don'tlikehim! G.O.A.T.

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    I never knew that before, a few weeks ago I read somewhere that McEnroe was playing with the same grip on both sides, forehand and backhand ? (and serve?). That's crazy. Is that true?
     
  44. President

    President Legend

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    Marcelo Rios-The Man We Barely Knew
     
  45. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    McEnroe against Connors or Borg was about as exciting as tennis gets, and you can really see Mac's brilliance in those matches. Almost makes me wish they standardized racquets so we would all be playing with 65 sq in wooden frames.

    Yes, it's true. He used one grip for everything. It used to be quite common in the 60's and earlier.
     
  46. Mr.Lob

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    John McEnroe has more talent in a single strand of DNA, than Ivan Lendl does in his entire body.
     
  47. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, you're right.

    But Lendl worked harder and accomplished more. Lendl is thus the greater player overall.
     
  48. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Maybe Vijay did....

    I believe he was playing in the late 70's - early 80's. Not much information was available about the private lives of the Tennis players at that time.
    But it is my understanding his focus was on the ladies and the parties. So the Amrithraj brother were just doing enough to stay on the tour and live jet set life style.

    So although we may want them to win titles and be number 1 - that might not have been their goal.
     
  49. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Lendl never won Wimbledon. He accomplished much much less.
     
  50. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    In some years, the old pros did not have any major events to play for
     

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