No consesnus on the GOAT...why not?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by richied, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. richied

    richied Rookie

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    Everybody knows if Tiger gets 18+1 majors he is without question the greatest golfer of all time. NO DOUBT! This is because of the insanely difficult and high target of 18 majors+ a career slam and long time at number 1.

    So, tennis, if someone can win 15-16 slams plus a career slam have a long period at 1 and healthly H2H against major rivals..surely that's enough to confirm a greatest player of all time.

    Roger has a chance to achieve this..if he doesn't, then Nadal sure does!!

    I'm sure if you asked Laver if this was enough..he would say 'YES'...he already thinks Roger is the best player he has seen.
     
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  2. Nadalfan89

    Nadalfan89 Hall of Fame

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    Tennis fans are less mature than golf fans. Tennis fans pick their respective idols and defend them to the grave instead of allowing facts and statistics speak for themselves.
     
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  3. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    In golf it is harder to win majors.....you play against 100 other players....tennis you just have to beat the man on the opposite side of you

    Also in tennis, the majors were not the most important events....the pro era complicates things..... see Laver, Pancho and Roswall

    I believe Laver should be GOAT, but Sampras was dominant on surfaces - clay, Pancho was the best player to never win a slam by a wide mile, Federer has had an amazing career
     
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  4. The_Steak

    The_Steak Rookie

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    Pete is the greatest of all time because he won the most slams.

    /thread
     
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  5. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Laver won 11 slams and something like 9 pro majors? So that puts him at 20 top level tournaments.

    Tennis is not as simple as golf. Every golf game is played on grass, the four majors are the four majors. Tennis has gone through evolution of surfaces, times when the majors were confused as there were two sets and various other things making it a bit more difficult. Laver has 11 slams and if you look at it there is a a 6 year gap between winning his slams from 62-68 but he was playing. He was professional and winning the professional majors that got outdated by 68 with the formation of the atp and putting the slams back into place.
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    There are a lot of choices and there's a lot of great players. People also have different values on how to pick a GOAT. It's hard to get a consensus.

    I think Tiger's probably the greatest golfer but I'd bet a lot of guys might pick Nicklaus or Snead or Ben Hogan. But I think you're right, I think golf fans have more of a consensus than tennis people.
     
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  7. THERAFA

    THERAFA Banned

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    I usually say their is not GOAT in tennis until somebody has both the Total Slams Record AND the Career Grand Slam. But if a GOAT must be declared today then I'd say:

    Sampras is the greatest till somebody overtakes his total slams record, he has the most slams and he played in a strong era (one of his opponents was a guy who won the career grand slam).
     
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  8. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Thankfully, the majority of tennis fans aren't stupid enough to believe that you can pick one player above all others and call him, or her, the greatest of all time. Only an idiot would think that is possible.
     
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  9. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Professional

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    OP, the reason it is so difficult to name a GOAT in tennis is that the structure of the pro game has changed dramatically throughout the years. The value that players have given to certain tournaments has increase for some events and diminished for some others. Nobody talked about the Slams they way we talk about them today, where they are the central focus of the sport.

    To take your golf example, imagine if in the 80s, players valued the Buick Open highly and didn't care that much about the US Open. The fields at the US would have been weaker. When counting slams, the proper thing to do would be to count Buick Open's over US Opens. That is kind of what happened in tennis. Nobody counted Slams in Borg's time like they do today. The Slam metric was adopted later, but then applied to all the past greats. This is incredibly unfair.

    Laver's 1st calendar slam was not against top-level competition, but he also won many other events that would have been the equivalents of French, Wimby. That's why you can't just look at Slam tallies to judge a player's career. Agassi was my favorite player growing up, but there is no way that his career was equal to Jimmy Connors' even though they both have 8 slams.
     
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  10. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    The game is much more physically demanding these days then it was in Laver's day lets not forget. Is there a true GOAT in tennis? Prolly not. You can make arguments for many of the greats. There will always be arguments. It goes deeper than just slam counts. But its fun debating nonetheless.


    The only thing that isnt debatable is each has its greatest player. The only way to prove who could be the undisputed GOAT is to take all the greats and stick them in the same era. Unfortunately, there is no time machine. The game has changed so much its too difficult to say
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You're right. You could pick ten people here and they could pick ten different GOATs and they all could having totally viable reasons for picking that GOAT.

    It's fun debating as long as some of the people don't get too mean about the debates.
     
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  12. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    It's much easier to compare across generations in golf.
     
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  13. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Yep you have those who feel it is laver, those who feel it is sampras, federer, borg, pancho, rosewell, nadal, and so on and so forth. YOu have even had mentions of Agassi being GOAT oh and let us not forget Tilden. The list extends onward.
     
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  14. saram

    saram Legend

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    OP--you clearly do not understand the game of golf versus the game of tennis. Golf is played against a course and yourself--not an opponent.

    Tiger holds the course record at the Masters, etc...he is clearly the best ever regardless of Majors won...

    Tennis is head-to-head and era versus era. There will never be a GOAT in tennis as we cannot compare Bjorg/Laver/Roger/Pete/Rafa on a level playing field....
     
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  15. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Very true. Let me make a case for every single possible GOAT

    Laver --- no explination needed
    Pancho -- dominated the pro curcuit, could have won many majors had he not been pro
    Rosewall -- like Laver, except he was a pro for even longer
    Federer --- 10 straigt GS finals, most consec weeks no 1, won 3 slams 3 times
    Sampras --- most GS titles, most wks no 1, 6 year end no 1
    Tilden --- dominated era, won FO and Wimby in limited times he played there
     
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  16. bladepdb

    bladepdb Professional

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    THE GAME OF GOLF HAS NOT EVOLVED AS PROFOUNDLY AS THE GAME OF TENNIS HAS. HENCE IT IS EASIER TO GAIN CONSENSUS ON GREATS FOR GOLF VS TENNIS.

    For instance, many speculate how dominant Borg and the greats of his era could have been with today's racquet technology.
     
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  17. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In all sports there is no real consensus, if one has to pick one athlete or (golf)player. I am no golf expert, but some will rate Jones, Hogan (who lost many years to war and injuries, and couldn't win a Grand Slam because of date collision), even Palmer for charisma over Nicklaus and Woods. Many call Muhammad Ali the greatest athlete of all time. He is certainly the most famous all over the world, but real boxing experts would pick Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis or even Roberto Duran over him. I think, in tennis the real records are somewhat clouded by the amateur-pro split up to 1968 (and the political struggles later). Golf has done better, by going open since the 20s. Imagine even a lonesome figure like Don Bradman playing not in Test series, but on a separate pro tour.
    And tennis has a bad record in record-keeping.You cannot find the real records of players in reference books, the most completes records are probably to find on the internet (and on the stats of Andrew Tas).
     
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  18. THERAFA

    THERAFA Banned

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    I don't mind the GOAT being the player who has the Total Slams Record, I think its fair enough. I usually said the GOAT didn't exist until someone won Career Grand Slam and Total Slams Record, but maybe the criteria should be Total Slams Record and winning 3 of the 4 slams.
     
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  19. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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  20. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Actually it may be a "fallacy" to think that golf is that clear cut in terms of the GOAT debate. Tiger may be the greatest "competitor" ever in the game of golf, but he may not necessarily be the "greatest" golfer. As urban mentioned, many consider Ben Hogan to be the purest striker of the golf ball. His control with his irons was perhaps the best that has ever been seen. Hogan unfortunately did not win that many majors because of injuries from a horrific car crash. He also did not travel abroad that much, so that means he practically missed out on playing in The Open Championship in Great Britain. The only time he decided to play in UK he won his only Open Championship in Carnoustie. Another great golfer was Moe Norman. He was considered a rebel, with a hugely unorthodox swing that gave him almost total control of his shots. However, he had many long-running arguments with the tour, and hence mainly competed in Canada I think. Here is what Tiger said when asked about "owning" the golf swing, “Only two players have ever truly owned their swings- Moe Norman and Ben Hogan,” Woods said. “I want to own mine. That’s where the satisfaction comes from.”
     
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  21. vtmike

    vtmike Banned

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    I am going to save this post for later use :mrgreen:
     
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  22. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    your post just reinforces that indeed there is no consensus, this may be every possible candidate in your mind but not neccasarilly for someone else.
    lendl & connors are no.1 and 2 in the open era in career titles won and career matches won, both would be candidates in my view.
    Both had an outstanding 81.8 career matchwinning % which is bettered only by bjorn borg, who incidently i'd take over any player on your list with the possible exception of laver.
     
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  23. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Who cares about titles.... Laver would have had way more titles had the ATP not recognized them. Career matches won just refers to how many matches they played in a year for a long time.

    How can Borg be 2nd best when he only won two different slams, and retired at age 26. I am not trashing Borg, becuase in fact i believe he has had a better career than Sampras, however it would be hard to make him a case for GOAT based on winning %
     
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  24. egn

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    Borg played in an era where Australia was not held with high regard. He only attempted play Australia once in his youth I believe it was 1974 well before his best years. In his best years he even said I will go play Australia if I win the first three to attempt the slam. Since back then Australia was the last slam of the year. Borg is up there for consideration because he won 6 french opens and 5 wimbledons. I would right now rank Borg far ahead of Wilander and Wilander won 3 unique slams and a slam on all the surfaces. Borg had week in and out dominance something Wilander did not have outside of maybe 88 and even then Wilander wasn't dominating week in and out he was only truly destructive at the slams.
     
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  25. Josherer

    Josherer Professional

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    Yeah. The average age of most tennis fans would be less than that of most golf fans
     
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  26. clayman2000

    clayman2000 Hall of Fame

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    Im not denying the stuff hes done.... but i am saying that while i would put him above many GOAT candidates, i would never think him to be one
     
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  27. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    well if nobody cares about titles then why even have a tour and rankings system, just play the 4 slams each year.
    personally how a player performs on a week to week basis seems like a pretty important criteria to me.
    btw i never said borg was 2nd best, i said the only guy on your list i see as arguably as good would be laver, how anyone can not even have borg as a contender really beggers belief.
     
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  28. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    GOAT candidates also have strikes against them as well you could say. Laver, impressive 2 calendar slams, however, slams were only played on grass and clay in lavers day. Nowadays a player has to overcome two different styles of hardcourts along with grass and clay to get the calendar or career slam


    Sampras- Slam record and no rival getting the best of Pete, but the French Open title always alluded him during his whole career which left a bit of a blemish on his resume

    Borg- Retired too young and couldnt overcome his nemesis McEnroe


    Fed- Hasnt been able to grab the French Open and can't overcome his rival Nadal and now has lost to his rival on every surface at the slams aside from the USO
     
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  29. deltox

    deltox Hall of Fame

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    one day there will be a GOAT, but it will only happen when the majority of Pros say the same name. What we spout on this forums, in the grand scheme of things, means little.
     
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  30. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Right on there. THe problem is nobody is perfect.
     
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  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    GameSampras,

    Actually Laver was a great hard court player. The surface actually was perfect for his power game. He won a lot of hard court tournaments. You can't penalize Laver for not playing a hard court major.

    It's too bad about Sampras never winning the French because if he didn't have Thalassemia that affected his stamina I believe he would have won the French at least once. At least he won the Italian which is perhaps the second more important clay tournament. Pete had all the tools to win on clay and his biggest weakness, his backhand return wouldn't be as vulnerable on clay.

    Everyone seems to think that Borg retired because of McEnroe. From what I've read, it was because of being burnt out. The guy had a lot of injury problems over the last few years of his career and played tennis on the tour since he was a young teen. For example according to Bill Scanlon's book, Borg defeated McEnroe in the 1980 Wimbledon final, a match people have called the greatest ever with a torn stomach muscle.
     
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  32. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    I agree.. From what I have read Laver was certainly a good hardcourt player as well. But again... people can make that argument about the slams regardless. Whether laver could win on Hardcourts or not, he is usually widely credited the most with the calendar slams. However, is that fair to say a player like Nadal? Who is is in position to possibly grab the calendar this year. At the end of day, if Nadal does somehow grab the calendar this year, whos calendar slam is more impressive Lavers or Nadal's? I would have to say Nadal's beyond a shadow of a doubt due to the circumstances compared to Laver. Imagine if slams were only played on grass and clay today? Who knows how many calendar a player like Nadal could get. Grass and clay are his two best surfaces.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
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  33. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but winning at RG and Wimbledon would have been harder for Nadal in Laver's era I am guessing, seeing as the difference in surface was greater than today.
     
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  34. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Sampras had his chances definitely. 1996 was his best chance. He had a couple quarterfinals appearances as well. But he did play in a pretty solid clay court era as well. I take that into consideration, along with his Thalassemia Minor, and that old crap pro staff racket as well
     
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  35. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    ^A bad workman blames his tools. Racquet technology wasn't why Sampras didn't win RG. His ailments must have had an impact though. Clay exposes any physical shortcomings.
     
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  36. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    It wasnt the sole reason Pete didnt win it. But I think it contributed as to why. But thats just my opinion. I think Thalassemia Minor definitely had something to do with it. At the french open you need some serious stamina to get through it. Pete was handicapped his whole career due to thalassemia minor before he even started tennis. PEte wasnt pathetic on clay. HE won the davis cup in 95 and Rome. So I think he could have managed a French Open at least one year.

    People may call these excuses but I call Thallasemia Minor a REASON just as I would Fed's mono at the AO in 2008
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
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  37. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    ^I acknowledged that, you just quoted too late. :) From what I've seen, Pete just wasn't a good enough clay courter. Remember that his sole clay final victory came against Boris Becker, a fast-court specialist.
     
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  38. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Well yea but he did beat Bruguera, Muster, Courier. Maybe not at their peaks but he still beat them. They werent slouches by any means on clay. Their clay performances speak for themselves
     
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  39. helloworld

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    I wouldn't back up your assumption just by his sole victory at Rome. Roddick has won many clay tournaments way more than Sampras, but nobody expects him to win at the French. Sampras is just not good enough to win at the French. Same goes to Federer. Nadal isn't the excuse for him not winning the French. The score from the finals last year strongly indicates that Federer is clearly not among the greatest clay courters around.
     
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  40. Cyan

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    I would say Laver has to be the GOAT. 2 CYGS is amazing!
     
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  41. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    It's amazing, but it's not the most important statistics. A person who wins 4 slams in 1 year and then completely disappear afterward wouldn't be in any GOAT discussion. The reason that Laver is regarded as GOAT is because he could have won 20++ slams and 200++ tournaments if he hadn't turn pro.
     
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  42. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Also add the fact that he dominated the pro circuit. Winning all three pro majors in a single year in 1967 and was top player for most of the 60s.
     
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  43. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Numbers are the only thing we can go by when comparing eras but whos to say what would happen if all the greats met in their respective primes? COuld Prime Laver handle Prime Borg, Sampras, Fed, Lendl, Mac etc? And VIce versa. Would Laver be able to adapt to the conditions today? Or even the conditions of the 90s? Would Sampras and Fed be able to adapt to the conditions in Laver's time?

    All big what ifs.


    Numbers are just that numbers. Records are made to be broke. Im sure 10-20 years from now there will of came a few players who could actually get the calendar slam and or slam record.

    But whos really to say, whos better than who? We didnt get to see all the greats at their peak square off and go at it.

    We didnt get to see Tiger go against Nicklaus. Didnt get to see MJ go against Oscar, Wilt, or Russell etc. Didnt get to see Tyson go against Ali. Same goes for tennis.

    Its a shame isnt it
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
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  44. clayman2000

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    This is what i mean.
    Rating the top 10 players of all time is different than rating the top 10 players who you think could be the GOAT. Why? Becuase being the greatest ever requires longetivity, something Borg didnt have (whether it was him loosing or not playing at all)

    Personally, i dont think most pros and former pros would say Borg as the GOAT. You would hear Sampras, Federer, Laver, Pancho, Rosewall. However on a top 10 list, i would pace Borg above Sampras and maybe Rosewall and Federer
     
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  45. AprilFool

    AprilFool Guest

    That has already occurred, no? And most of them said it before he accumulated many of his records. Perhaps they were mostly referring to his form.
     
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  46. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    The guy who started this thread should take his head and bash it against a wall until he can't feel anything.
     
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  47. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    i think we could get a consensus on this one
     
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  48. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    no consensus on goat? well maybe not here but in the middle east, eastern mediterranean and north africa goat is consensual... and lamb...

    pig on the other hand! :)
     
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  49. NE14Tennis?

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    ^ LOL

    In Scotland, sheep are strictly consentual (or should I say "con-sensual"?)
     
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  50. NE14Tennis?

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    Seriously though, Laver himself has said that winning a GS today would be much more difficult than when he played (as 3 of the 4 were on grass). Now, we all know Rocket Rod is impeccably modest, but I believe this is true.

    I think we should have (at least) three G.O.A.T.'s -

    One for "Amateur/Early Open Era" (when pros weren't allowed initially and nobody cared about the Aussie) - most likely Laver

    One for Mid Open Era (1970-1983, when pros were allowed, but everything except RG was still grass, and almost nobody cared about the Aussie) - Connors, Borg, McEnroe, <insert your choice here>, etc.

    and one for Modern Era (4 different surfaces, 4acknowledged majors that top players actually showed up at, more ball-bashing) - Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Agassi, etc.

    Then, if we can forge a definitive set of criteria, we might have a chance of agreeing on one for each.
     
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