Mpst Athletic and Why...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Merger5, Apr 5, 2012.

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Best Athlete All Time (Tennis)...

  1. Sampras

    6 vote(s)
    28.6%
  2. Laver

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  3. Nastase

    1 vote(s)
    4.8%
  4. Borg

    6 vote(s)
    28.6%
  5. Noah

    4 vote(s)
    19.0%
  6. Edberg

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  7. Rafter

    2 vote(s)
    9.5%
  8. Hoad

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Safin

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Other

    5 vote(s)
    23.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    All of the other polls and discussions on this board are always biased for the current player in terms of athleticism; I think this is ridiculous. So lets hear it from people who know more than current era. Best pure athlete- athletic meaning a certain combination of speed, explosiveness, jumping ability,coordination, physical strength, stamina, flexibility. It does not mean mental strength.

    Here are my top picks (in loose and arguable order):
    Sampras
    Laver
    Nastase
    Borg
    Noah
    Edberg
    Rafter
    Hoad
    Safin
    Federer
    Djokovic
    Monfils
    Cash
    Nadal
    Mecir
    Lendl (very underrated in this dept)
    Gerulaitis
    Rosewall
    Gonzales (Gorgo)
    Becker?
    Emerson?
     
    #1
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Emerson was considered the epytome of tennis athlete.Hoad and Laver were great athletes, so was Newcombe and so was Ashe.

    I like your list, just missing some names for open tennis era, though.
     
    #2
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Laver and Borg are the two best athletes I've seen on a tennis court. Sampras was also an explosive athlete when he needed to turn on the jets, but, perhaps not as intense as Laver. By the time I saw Emerson, he was already in his mid 30's. But, from what I've read, Gonzales may have been the greatest athlete who ever played.
     
    #3
  4. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    On Emerson- was he really that athletic or was he rather extremely well conditioned? As I have stated I was not around to actually see him play.

    In Nastase's autobiography he stated that Emerson used to try to get Nasty to work out with him, Nasty never wanted to, and one day Nasty was like "whatever I'm a natural athlete, I dont need to train". Emerson showed Nasty a drill he does where he jumps over the net back and back for a set of 20, where upon Nasty proceeded to jump the net 100 times in row (or something like that) and kind of looked at Roy as say "see I dont need to exercise". Although he said that he really liked Roy and had a lot of respect for him.
     
    #4
  5. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Most athletic was probably some journeyman who we never heard of who was athletic but didn't have the rest of the game of the very top players.
     
    #5
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Being super athletic has to translate into tennis. Yannich Noah was a super athlete but for tennis talent I thought a number of players were more gifted including his French Davis Cup teammate Henri Leconte. Very few in tennis were as gifted athletically as John Lucas, the former NBA all star. I often wonder how he would have done in tennis if he decided to pursue that instead of the NBA.
     
    #6
  7. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    Does Chang not belong on the list?
     
    #7
  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    My understanding is that Emerson was a champion high school sprinter with a sub 10 second 100 yard dash.
     
    #8
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Emerson did a lot of footing around the cities he was playing.He had to let all those tons of beer out.
     
    #9
  10. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Will go with Borg because of his absolute speed and endurance and because McEnroe (whose opinion I feel should carry some weight) felt there was no one even close to Borg in athletic ability. Nadal should be considered as well though not a former player. I think you could make a case for Sampras but he lacked the endurance too often yet had strength, leaping ability and more stealthy speed.
     
    #10
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg would have been an Olimpic athlete if he had not picked up a racket...
     
    #11
  12. Satch

    Satch Hall of Fame

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    Why Safin? He is athletic like a plank
     
    #12
  13. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Of recent times I would go with Sampras and Rafter. Definitely Edberg. Becker was athletic but of course was not fleet of foot.

    How about Ivan Lendl? Was he extremely athletic? Or just well conditioned?
     
    #13
  14. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    Wilander he was great on the court!!
     
    #14
  15. ClairHarmony

    ClairHarmony Rookie

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm2dUw9dyNw

    The match point vs. Courier > FF to 2:44 vs. Rafter @ Wimby...swish-zoom-pan-va-voom! Who is this mysterious man of mystery who looks every bit as fast-twitchy, speedy, athletic as the swashing buckling Aussie on everybody's list? That's right, none other than...surprise-surprise...Sergi Bruguera. Pretty darn good at soccer too, playing in the reject league for secon tier washed up pro soccer methletes, post tennis Depardieu bordome...nothing to do but watch, boring Gerard Departdieu movies now...oh, what to do, what to do other than watch Scooby Doo, and Scrappy too.

    It boggles my mind how to this day, people can compile a list of stripper feet athletes from the 90s pro tennis scene...and consistently overlook the phenomenal display of ahtleticism on that epic match point from the 93 French final. I mean it should be embedded in every serious tennis fan's head...objectively speaking, yeah, he was almost entirely a clay courter with a bad 'tude at times, but come on, there's a reason Doc Bud said of him..."Sheeesh, I don't think I've EVER seen any one be able to extend a point as long as him," or whatever, keep it alive as long as him, the point paraphrasing was, simply that the dude had mad, hot rod wheels, and a stretchy-twitchiness when fully MENTALLY engaged on the fly like few in 90s pro tennis. He was FOR SURE, definitely, up there with the best athletes of the 90s era.

    Courier was not the flashiest athlete per say, but he was all-around one of the highest rated of all...wasn't there a story circulating that he actually tested higher overall in the battery of tests administered by the US Olympic committee than any other US athlete?

    Dude was no joke. He hade mule lip buttocks, VERY firm, and good for the gander. You couldn't tire this bloke out, nope, not even with a blow from a non-malleable steel bar to the knees. He was another guy who for sure belongs up there.

    And Muster? Yes, Muster too. Was on the Austrian national junior soccer team, was hulking, but the man could fly too. REALLY moved his feet well considering that he had a hulking, MAN'S build...unlike all the other tennis athletes who like fly-by-night methheads, you know kind of like sugar-cane pixie straws blowing in the breeze, the kinds that come in all kinds of fruity metrosexual, 80's retro-chic, Miami Vice colors. Muster was the one guy from the 90s who wouldn't look out of place at a Strip-N'-Dale's joint...although one could probably make a case for Courier too as well. And maybe Philipoussis too...if he hadn't maybe wasted so much money on Ferraris, he could have maybe hooked up with Canseco's knowledgeable vitamin friends in high places. Then, history may have really turned out different.

    But no, Philipoussis wasn't quite that naturally great as an athlete. Strong, great skills, and talent, and tree trunk tall...sure, but, he was in comparison to Stich, also a junior national soccer player, a mere clod-foot pededstrian.

    Stich was more than just nimble on his feet, he was downright, lithe. He would have made a great stalker of beatuiful blond woman for the German CIA. You would never hear his foot steps coming, the only sound? The sexy horse hair on his head. On a windy day, you could sometimes hear it blowing. But other than that, nope, for sure the guy was the James Bond/Fred Astaire love child of fancy Mr. Popper's Penguin's footwork on a tennis court. He would have made a devastatingly debonair lawyer by looks alone, but his utter lack of patience would have made him bail on you eventually. He's the first tennis player in history who would look right at home playing tennis in a tuxedo, rather than his classic, Reebok swish digs. It's a shame Jessic Stockholm never got to see him playing tennis in a tuxedo...but then again, who knows? Maybe she did. Maybe she did...hmm, yes, maybe she and Barbara Becker did....and on this, Seifeld moment, I pass out.

    Rembmer though, whenever faced with a ballot choice, cancel out all the other names, and just pencil in Bruguera. Amazing at tennis, amazing at ping-pong, amazing at sky-diving, party poker, and all other sorts of things...if he were on E-harmony, the servers could crash, woman would swoon, well, except maybe Laurie, still hodling out for Rampras....sigh. Rampras, now THAT guy...eh, truthfully? He needs to invest in some LA Gear Catapults, because right now the only thing standing between him GOAT-ness is...? A doctor, to remove the lead from his feet. Oh well, because he's Indian-American, we can clearly assume that he knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody...who can do the good deed. I feel like mango-slushies right now, "Good God, 7-ELEVEN, employees; WHYYY...don't you serve Mango slurpees yet? Why...why...why...call the cops, I'm a rapper, I wave my green card like I just don't care no more."
     
    #15
  16. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    In women tennis, Graf probably is the most athletic player ever, super fast with endurance and explosive power.

    The other great athletic women will be Court, the Williams, Martina Nav. and Sanchez.
     
    #16
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Athletic can have several meanings: strength, power, stamina,speed,footwork,flexibility, and a player very good at one of those concepts might be lousy in another one.But if I had to mix everything, I´d say Budge,Gonzales,Hoad,Laver,Stich,Edberg,Sampras,Rafter,Cash,Nadal and Djokovic are above average natural athletes.Others like Lendl or Emmo are trained ones and Borg, possibly the greatest one.

    In womne´s field, I can tell the names of Bueno,Court,Gibson,Lenglen,Connolly,Navratilova,Mandlikova,the 2 Williams, but Graf would possibly be the best.
     
    #17
  18. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    In my lifetime, Graf, Williams sisters, and Navratilova. Martina might not have been quite as fast as Steph or as powerful as the sisters but she sure had the ability to lunge and cover court and was probably as "quick" as anyone within a 10 foot circle.

    But I know I'm leaving lesser "players" out
     
    #18
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Any player that makes it to the top in tennis must have some natural or trained assets.Be it speed, footwork, stamina, strenght, raw power, I can´t think of any top player, man or woman, who was above his/her peers in any given era as far as athleticism is concerned.
     
    #19
  20. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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    Nadal without any doubt
     
    #20
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I would think there are several but Borg and Gonzalez come immediately to mind. They both were extremely fluid players who were very strong, fast with excellent reflexes. The stamina for both were also excellent.

    Athletic skills doesn't necessarily translate into tennis talent however. I think John McEnroe is one of the most gifted tennis players I've seen and on the other end Yannick Noah is only of the best tennis athletes I've seen. But for pure tennis talent I would go with John McEnroe over Yannick Noah even though I do believe Noah had a lot of tennis talent.

    For the women I would think Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court and Hana Mandlikova are among the best athletes I've seen. Going further back they say Suzanne Lenglen, Pauline Betz, Althea Gibson and Alice Marble were great athletes.
     
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Experts in the past have said that Tilden, Perry and Vines were tremendous athletes too. Bobby Riggs said that Vines may have been the best athlete of all time.

    Vines was probably the best tennis player in the world for years. He retired and became of the best pro golfers in the world. He was the leading scorer on his college basketball team and he played semi pro baseball.
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lenglen was more of a dancer than an athlete.Similar to Bueno.I very much agree on Evonne, a great natural athlete and, if not the best, near the best footwork I have ever seen on a tennis court, men or women.She just floated.
     
    #23
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Jan Kodes was a great athlete in terms of stamina.He played a lot of 5 setters and was always ready for that.
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Hey pc1,

    I'm sure Vines was a fine golfer. But, in the era of Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, and perhaps a young Sam Snead, I'm not sure Vines was the best golfer in the World.
     
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  26. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    From what I've seen of Lenglen, she was an amazing athlete. Don't be fooled by some of those sappy demonstrations she's done where she tries to look artistic. That's not the way she played. She was a bulldog on the tennis court.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Pat Cash was also a great athlete, so was Johan Kriek.In fact, Kriek was almost playing pro rugby back in South Africa, before becoming a tennis pro, if I recall properly.And Cash played Australian Rules, a sport where, more than athlete you must be almost a criminal...or a complete fool.
     
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  28. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    Well, that's why I have Cash on my list (not on the poll, though) and I have him rated above Nadal. I remember Kriek playing a few times; was he that athletic? He seemed just above average athletically to me. What about Chris Lewis?
     
    #28
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lewis was a hustler but didn´t seem particularly athletic to me.Kriek had very strong arms and legs, was lightening on court and hit very hard.If he just had the right mind ( like Mandlikova), he would have a bunch of majors by now.
     
    #29
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ....like Mandlikova
     
    #30
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He was never the best golfer. But he was one of the best golfers in the world. Never meant to write that he was. But I am sure he was the best tennis player in the world. I left the world "one" out of the sentence by accident.

    I left the word "one" by accident out of the post. Vines was never a Hogan, a Snead or a Nelsen. I just put it in above in bold.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
    #31
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    AAMOF Cash was lucky he discovered tennis and was talented at.If he had kept on playing Australian Rules, he might not ever gotten his pension...
     
    #32

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