Peak Level over Five Years

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    We have had seemingly an infinite number of GOAT threads throughout the years but I decided to have another thread for Peak Level with a minor difference.

    I would like to define PEAK LEVEL as the highest level of play over a five year consecutive period. Reason is that peak level can be define in an infinite amount of ways. It was be defined as one match, one year, one month etc. I want to see who is the best of all time over five years. The reason I picked five years is that the human body obviously ages and over let's say ten years their is considerably decline in physical talent. However a super player can maintain his great level of over five years.

    We cannot necessarily define it by statistics alone because it is often dependent on the level of the competition. A perfect example of this is Rod Laver from the mid 1960's to the Open Era in 1968 and 1969. Laver was 25 for most of 1964 and perhaps the top player in the world. He was at perhaps his physical peak and yet his winning percentage while he was on the Old Pro Tour was lower than when he started Open Tennis in 1968 and for a few years afterwards. Laver was to turn 31 in 1969 but his winning percentage was higher than any of his Old Pro Tour years from 1963 to 1967. Why? Because Open Tennis had lower competition than the Old Pro Tour. Laver had a number of easier matches that he was fairly certain to win in his sleep.

    Some names are Tilden, Vines, Perry, Budge, Kramer, Gonzalez, Borg and Laver. I'm sure Dan will mention Hoad and BobbyOne will mention Rosewall. And I am sure many will mention Sampras, Connors, McEnroe Nadal, Djokovic and Federer.

    Now five years to me insures super greatness but feel free to discuss one year GOATs also.

    Please discuss.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg 76-81 is also a great peak play
    Mc Enroe from 79 to 84
    Connors from 74 to 79 ( even if 79 was a relatively bad year for him)
    Lendl from 1984 to 1989
    Kramer from 1946 to 1951

    But I still agree with you on the Rocket
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Kiki,

    Just what to make it clear I'm not picking anyone here although I have some opinions. I just used the Rocket as an example that a lower winning percentage doesn't necessarily mean lower level of play. I truly believe Laver's average level of play was higher in 1967 for example than in 1969 but the statistical evidence isn't there if you just look at winning percentage or in accomplishment.

    Dan L of course was absolutely correct in writing the GOAT has the highest level of play.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Pc1,

    I understood what you mean; I also meant peak play for 5 years.
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sorry Kiki. Just wanted to make sure.

    Any bets on Bobby and Dan discussing the five year peaks of Hoad and Rosewall here?? lol.

    We should also discuss five year peaks for all the women in your Women's GOAT thread.

    I may do that tomorrow.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I did not open it, however I am very keen on women´s tennis ( in fact, I was)

    It is very hard in the female tennis to pick 5 years, because two of my potential winners, Maureen Connolly and Maria Bueno were broken by injuries before they could amasse 5 years.If they did, they certainly belong

    Lenglen from 1925 to 1930, Wills from 1930 to 1935, Court from 1968 to 1973 are a solid option, so are also Navy from 1982 to 1987 and Graf from 1988 to 1993 .And, of course, Evert from 1974 to 1979.
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Good choices of years Kiki but just a minor thing. You're using a six year period not five.

    Navratilova was so good from 82 to 86 she only lost 14 matches and one year she only lost one single match! But she didn't win the Grand Slam.

    Court did win the Grand Slam in 1970 as did Graf in 1988.
     
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  8. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    For me peak play over a long period comes down to;

    - Major titles won
    - Win/loss record
    - Other big titles
    - Specifically win/loss versus top opponents (top 10)
    - Percentage of tournaments won from entered

    That's the starting point IMO. When you have a list of comparable individuals then you start breaking it down into the different shots they had and the level of competition.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That is correct, I used 6 years, you can cut it like Evert 74-78, Martina 82-86, Graf 88-92,Court 69-73 and so

    Connolly would have had with almost total security a great 52-56 period; by 1957 Hart,Fry and Gibson were already strong, yet because of her age, I think she could have been just as great till 1959 or even 1960 ( what a wonderful rivalry vs Bueno¡¡)
    Bueno was great from 61 to 64, still 61 to 65 can be her peak years, and she was still very tough until 1966.
     
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Can't disagree with that.
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Those are the years I would use for Evert, Navratilova, Graf and Court also. Court has a lot of great five year periods.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, Court has them.Evert also had four more great years in 1980 ( to me, her best playing year considering the challenges she was facing on and off courts) ,1981,1985 and 1986 and Martina had three more great years in 1978,1979 and 1987.
    Graf can add 1987,1994,1995,1996 and Court, as you mentioned, was just an exceptional player from 1963 to 1967, and still had a very good 1975, if I recall well.

    Curiously, the first rivalry I "got exposed to" was Court vs Bueno.But it was when Maria had started her unfortunate decline; I sometimes wonder if she had been healthy in 1970-72, if Goolagong would still have had that phenomenal season in 1971 and, of course, if Court would have swept the big four as she did in 1970.
     
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  13. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Connors five years = 74 - 78
    Grand Slams entered 12
    Grand Slam wins 5
    Grand Slam runner up 6
    Grand Slam q-f. 1
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One Masters and one WCT title.

    His only shame is Davis Cup, in that competition, he is a pale shadow of what Mc Enroe accomplished ( or even his other three american enemies, Tanner,Ashe and Smith)
     
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  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    But I do believe he averaged winning around 90% of his matches during that period which is great.
     
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  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Interesting thread.

    Of course I will mention Rosewall. I take 1960 to 1964. Even though he lost badly to Gonzalez in 1960 and lost many matches to Laver in 1964, this five year period is impressive: He played 12 pro majors and won 10 of them (nine in a row = all-time record). Plus he almost beat Laver in 1964 at Wembley (net cords decided the end of that classic) and was weakened by food poison in their 1964 US Pro encounter.

    Rosewall also won 9 of his matches in the Kramer Cup (pendant to Davis Cup) in that period. His overall match balance in big matches (majors and Cup) in that five year period is a fantastic 48:3!!

    Rosewall won at least 34 Tournaments in those five years. Not overwhelming but pretty good if we consider that he played long tours in 1960 and 1963 and some shorter tours in 1962 and 1964 and that he did not play at all in the first seven months of 1961 (because of his second child, Glenn).

    I don't have his overall match percentage for that period but it must have been pretty high.

    I give these numbers to show that Muscles not only had a very long top career but was also able to dominate in his peak years.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  17. BobbyOne

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    pc1, I'm sorry but I once again must contradict you and Dan. As earlier written "level of play" is a rather woolly term. Dan never was precise enough to say if it means top level in one match or one tournament or one tour or one year or a five year period or a whole career.

    F.i. I believe that Hoad would have won against Rosewall if they would play one match where both players played their best tennis. But it's obvious that Rosewall had the better overall level of play: I count a 71:48 hth of them.

    Furthermore I still claim that the GOAT is usually measured by his resume, not by peak level of play. Most experts don't rate Hoad the GOAT even though they are aware of his extremely high peak level of play.

    Of course players like Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver and Federer have won so much that they must have a very high level of play.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    didn´t he lose to Ivan Molina on a DC match?
     
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  19. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I think for your peak period of play to be the best you have to spend most of it as #1.
     
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  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Nat,

    I would say generally that's correct but there have been some odd situations in tennis history that the best player with the best year has not been ranked number one. As stupid and obvious as this may seem I would modify your statement a bit by writing the you have to have the best year to be the best player.
     
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  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In 1975 he lost to Raul Ramirez in four sets in Mexico 2-6 6-3 6-3 6-4. I don't think he ever played Molina in Davis Cup. That was his only loss in Davis Cup while he was at his peak. He lost two matches later in 1984 to Wilander on clay and Pat Cash on carpet. Not bad losses by any means. He was clearly the underdog in the Wilander match.
     
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  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Well I mean the 'true #1', I don't just mean following the ATP ranking. I'd probably apply the criteria I wrote before for peak play over a 5 year period to a single year if I was in doubt.
     
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  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'd agree with that.
     
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  24. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Rosewall's five top years.

    I forgot to mention that the Little Master also won several pro tours in that 1960 to 1964 period.

    He won three big tours in 1963, i.e. the series against Laver (11:2), the following 6 man tour (31:10) and its 4 man play off (14:4 against Laver).

    He won the (18?) tournaments tour in 1964 (probably 78 points, ahead of Laver, probably 70 points, and Gonzalez, Gimeno, Buchholz, Hoad, Olmedo and Ayala).

    Rosewall also won the 1962 New Zealand tour (7:1 matches), the 1962 French tour (7:1) and probably two small 1962 Australian tours.

    He won the 1964 "Trofeo Facis" Italian tour (first part 13:1 matches against Gonzalez, Gimeno and Buchholz).

    Rosewall was widely acknowledged No.1 in 1962 and 1963 plus as tied No.1 in 1960, 1961 and 1964.

    Facit: Rosewall is top tier regarding best five years, together with Tilden, Vines, Budge, Gonzalez, Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer, arguably even better than some of them.
     
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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Do you have the balance of each of the participants in those tours Bobby? Or are they in McCauley's book?
     
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  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I may have it. I'll give it to you.
     
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  27. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks pc1.

    It's not necessarily a tip top contender but Mac's 1980-1984 was a very strong 5 year stretch too.

    - 3x USO
    - 3x Wimbledon
    - 5x Indoor Majors at the Masters and WCT.
    - 3 years where he was #1.
    - High win/loss record

    Strong era as well.
     
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  28. BobbyOne

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    NatF, I was busy to answer a curious woman, but I will try to give you details. Partly they are in the McCauley book.

    Edit: The three 1963 tours are listed up in Joe's book.

    The long 1964 tournament tour: My counting (it's not clear which tournaments counted for the world tour):

    1 Rosewall 78 points
    2 Laver 70
    3 Gonzalez 49
    4 Gimeno 48
    5 Buchholz 29
    6 Hoad 27
    7 Olmedo 24
    8 Ayala 10

    The 1964 Trofeo Facis tour, first part:

    1 Rosewall 13:1
    2 Gimeno 9:5
    3 Buchholz 3:10
    4 Gonzalez 3:11

    Rosewall won also the whole tour but lost several times to Laver.

    Probably all matches on clay

    Laver played in the easier group with Hoad, Olmedo and Ayala. Joe gave only a few details.

    1962 New Tealand tour:

    1 Rosewall 7:1
    2 Gimeno 5:4
    3 Sedgman 4:5
    4 Ayala 1:7

    Matches probably on grass

    1962 French tour:

    1 Rosewall 7:1
    2 Gimeno 5:4
    3 Buchholz 2:6
    4 Haillet 3:5

    Probably clay.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  29. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Thanks for your readiness to help and your efforts. I just have answered to NatF and given the results.
     
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  30. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for this Bobby, Rosewall looks to have been very dominant in those tours.
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    How many pro slams did Gimeno win? or a sort of YEC for pros? Olmedo won the massive US Pro in 1960.

    Gimeno was more consistent, Alex more brilliant.
     
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  32. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Massive US Open Pro? 3 rounds of best of 3. No Gonzalez, Rosewall or Hoad...no better than any other tournament win in the pros really.
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    A major is different because of a concept called pressure...but if you never played any kind of real competitive tennis ( and you don´t need to be an ATP ranked player for that), you won´t catch it.:-?
     
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  34. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Ok, so the draw was weak but because it was the US Pro it counts for more? I can buy that, but it's still not particularly impressive. You have double standards on this point. You'll take a metaphoric number #2 on the achievements of players you judge come from weaker era's, but when it comes to your favorites, even if they win in a depleted field it counts all the same to you :lol:
     
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  35. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    'Pressure' is an intangible, nebulous concept. Its hard to measure or quantify, but undoubtedly is involves a constantly changing metric, not only between matches but between points. Its a gusting wind that moves the heart rate, the mind and the physical reaction time much as a blustery moment moves a tennis ball.

    We can't isolate the score, from the event, from the opponent, from the personal internal dynamic. I do know that if one's opponent isn't playing well enough to truly threaten, it does not matter what the venue. There is no pressure where there is little fear of loss.
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What made Bjorn Borg such a myth, ore than any of his undeniable abilities and capabilities was how well he dealt with pressure.

    That is the best gamesmanship you can have, and that is far superior to anything Connors could never throw in.
     
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  37. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Ice Borg...
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Just one example.He played with a sore stomach two W finals -which he won-.He never let anybody know that, except Bergelin, whom he adressed some subtle gestures.

    Did anybody notice anything similar to pain or even " unconveniences"? I surely didn´t.Borg was the perfect mask.
     
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  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He was also hurt in the 1981 Wimbledon final that he lost.
     
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  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's sort of hard to explain but you could almost feel the crowd's excitement when Borg was playing. There was an electricity that I've never seen for any other player and understand I was not a Borg fan.
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    he was the most iconic player of the modern times...and people went to see if he could get finally beaten
     
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  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He also could have fit in well with the Beatles as far as female fans are concerned.:)
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He was a rock star.

    It was funny, a friend of mine who managed a Tennis Magazine once told me that his favourite passtime was...designing cartoons¡¡¡
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  44. Carsomyr

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    What five year stretch would we use for Nadal? Per one poster's criteria of being the best player for the majority of the time, it's a tricky proposition.
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    For Nadal, best time is, undoubtably...Christmas¡¡¡

    That is what his name means.
     
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  46. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    07-11 would be his best 5 year period. It doesn't rank up there with the best. Nadal's career is mostly picking up one slam in Paris a year with a few more dominant seasons...
     
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  47. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    Like, Christmas Island? Are you saying he's the GOATse.cx?
     
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  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nadal means Christmas in his motherland language.That is the only thing I said.
     
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  49. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Not sure if you're serious, but anyway: Nadal's career is more like an opera or epic poem, with twists and turns and grand triumphs followed by moments where all seems lost etc. Doesn't lend itself well at all to this question, though it's really great entertainment in a way and will be missed when it's over.

    Anyway, here goes:

    Hipster Nadal purists, peak movement/athleticism: Davis Cup final 2004 - Madrid SF 2009

    Overall, level of play: 2006-10

    Overall, consistency at the majors: 2007-11

    Overall, clay: 2006-10 (bookended by undefeated seasons on the surface)

    Overall, grass: 2006-10 (I think he could've been Rosol'ed as early as 2011, but for probably the friendliest first week draw of his SW19 career)

    Overall, HCs: 2009-13

    Overall, drama/opera/third act twists: 2009-13
     
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  50. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    I wrote this above, but I'd go with 2006-10 over 2007-11. I know 2011 had an extra slam final and better results on slow hard courts, but I think 2006 was ultimately a better year - more titles on more surfaces, better w/p overall, etc. - plus Nadal protected his home surface better (right in the middle of his 81 match clay winning streak), had a slightly better fall season (to his standards), and had that great win on the fast courts of Dubai to snap Fed's 56 match HC winning streak.

    2011 does have the Davis Cup win, however, and great consistency across surfaces - it's a close call.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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