Peak Play GOATS

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Okay. Here is the place to post your peak-play GOATs list.

    As the title implies, this is about the individual's level of play on their very best day at the peak of their career. To put it in modern vernacular, when this person was "in the zone" for one whole match and everything was going this person's way. Everything clicked.

    Cumulative achievements do not matter; longevity does not count; years at no. 1 are not relevant.

    1. Hoad
    2. Gonzales
    3. Laver
    4. Federer
    5. Vines
    6. Kovacs
    7. Sampras
    8. Tilden
    9. Borg
    10. Budge

    (I have not thought in these terms before, but here's my "first-thoughts" list.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
    #1
  2. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Good question.

    How about:

    1) Hoad
    2) Gonzales
    3) Budge
    4) Vines
    5) Laver
    6) Federer
    7) Sedgman
    8) Sampras
    9) Borg
    10) McEnroe
     
    #2
  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^Good list. (I don't know a whole lot about Sedgman's level of play.)

    (Fix that no. 8, you cool dude 8).)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  4. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    It seems to me the concept of peak play requires a defined period in which to frame it. It could be a number of years, one year, 6 months, a tournament, or even one single match. But without some temporal frame the notion becomes diffuse.
     
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  5. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Good point.

    Temporal time-frame: one single match on one day.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  6. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    In 1984, McEnroe recorded the best single season win-loss record in the Open Era at 96.47% (82/3). I'm guessing there had to be more than a day or two that year where he was invincible
     
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  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe so. That was a great year--maybe the greatest of the open era.

    You are welcome to formulate your own list based on your own beliefs and opinions.
     
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  8. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    This is the perfect topic for Federer haters like BobbyOne. All based on subjectivity and without any credibility.

    Waiting for the esteemed opinions of the historians
     
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  9. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I'm sorry but are you seriously going to have a discussion trying to compare the peak play of Sampras and Vines for example? How are you going to do this then?

    It is difficult enough to compare say Nadal with Lendl. The game has changed so much that trying to compare players objectively going back before the Open era is just not possible in my opinion!
     
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  10. corners

    corners Legend

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    I wasn't aware that there is video of any entire matches played by Hoad, Gonzalez, Vines, Tilden, Budge or Kramer. Could you please suggest where I could find these incredible matches?
     
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  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, I cannot help you. I don't think that video had been invented then.

    Some filmed excerpts do exist.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  12. corners

    corners Legend

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    Yeah, I just can't see how discussions of this kind are even close to well-informed enough to draw any conclusions. I've seen a grand total of maybe 25 minutes of Hoad, Pancho, Vines, Tilden and Budge in match play. That isn't enough information to make comparisons of this sort, IMHO. How can I possibly compare peak level of play from the finest matches Hoad played to Federer or Sampras' finest performances if I've never seen a single Hoad match in it's entirety, let alone his best matches?
     
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  13. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Do you know of any excerpts that demonstrate their high level of play? I saw one of Rosewall and Tony Roche in the 1970 US Open final recently. Speed wise I was quite impressed, I imagine it was much harder to time shots with those raquets and they were still hitting good shots. They were still incredible athletes back then. Obviously though when just watching highlights you don't really get the full picture.

    Not sure how to rate this, are you rating their peak play compared to their contemporaries? Or do you think Hoad with his wooden raquet could beat Federer? Or are you trying to adjust for equipment changes? Etc...not criticising just curious.

    I think Federer is the best of the modern era though. Hoad is generally considered the best of the pre open era on peak play alone. So I'd probably have number 1 and 2 being those guys. Federer in front because I actually have experience of watching him...
     
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  14. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    It would be a shock if Bobby and kiki to have Roger in the top 10.
     
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  15. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Probably bottom of the top 10.
     
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  16. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Ok. I can only talk of what I have seen that stuck in my mind as a great level of play. In the grand scheme of tennis things, what I have seen is squat, but I'll tell you anyway what impressed me the most.
    In chronological order. Level refers to the winner, though in some cases the loser was not far behind. Some matches are blowouts, but the loser is not to blame.
    ----------------------------

    I remember some footage of a Laver-Roche AO semifinal in 1969. Impressive play by Laver.

    Borg at his first Wimbledon final against McEnroe in 1980.

    Connors at Wimbledon 1982 against McEnroe.

    McEnroe against Connors in 1984 at Wimbledon.

    McEnroe at the USO against Connors that year.

    Cash against Lendl at Wimbledon 1987.

    Lendl at the Master’s final against Wilander in 1987.

    Nadal against Coria in Rome 2005

    Federer against Gaudio at the WTF 2005 (double bagle)

    Federer against Bjorkman Wimbledon 2006

    Federer against Roddick AO in 2007

    Federer against Nadal Wimbledon 2007

    Nadal against Djokovic at FO 2008

    Nadal against Federer Wimbledon 2008

    Federer against Andreev at the USO 2008

    Nadal against Verdasco AO 2009

    Nadal against Djokovic Madrid 2009

    Nadal against Djokovic USO 2010

    Djokovic against Nadal Miami 2011 (this is the best I've seen Djokovic play, and maybe Nadal as well even though he lost)
     
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  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, Interesting that your top four are identic with Rosewall's list. That confirms my conviction that Rosewall ranked regarding peak play and not regarding achievements.
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Featherer: What has Roger done to me that I should hate him???
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF: A well-balanced post.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
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  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Benhur, I think that Roche was equal with Laver in that 1969 summary: Great shots, especially volleys, from both players...
     
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  21. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Believe it or not, the only thing that really riles me is Federer belittling. Otherwise I try to be fair.

    When did you start watching tennis BobbyOne?
     
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  22. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Good list Benhur. I would add Borg vs. Vilas at the 1978 French Open. Borg vs. Connors at Wimbledon 2008. Borg was playing really well vs. Lendl at the 1980 Masters Cup at MSG (Jan. '81 YEC). Bjorn Borg was likely hampered a bit in the '80 Wimbledon final with a stomach muscle injury, but it was a great match. McEnroe and Borg have both played better in other matches between them. I would definitely put Nadal on the top 10 list and then take off either Vines or Kramer, but it's debatable. You could argue that Sampras may be higher, Borg may be higher, but the ten names are all very good ones. How about Becker at Wimbledon? He could be on the list with his great peak play.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  23. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Didn't see Hoad or Gonzales, didn't see enough of Laver at his peak to accurately judge.

    So...
    Federer, Sampras, McEnroe.

    Actually Mac at his 1984 best may have handled Fed at his 2006 best if you could transport him forward 22 years in that mythical time machine. Nadal was winning against Fed even in 2006 while Mac was crushing Lendl and Jimbo easily for the most part in 84.
     
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  24. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    Good question but impossible to give an answer. How do you compare peak levels when we are not even taking into account the surface. I am almost sure that any version of Hoad would be blowed off the court by RG 2008 Nadal on clay (provided they use poly of course). If you change the parameters (equipment, surface, etc), you are likely to get a different outcome. And we do not have to go that far to make an example. If we put Fed (2007 AO version) against Djoko (2011 AO version) imho, the winner pretty much depends whether the match is played on plexi (djoko) or rebound ace (fed).
    In any case i will just give it a try, only from players i have seen enough to give a proper answer and all of them playing with modern equipment.

    Slow-high bouncing surfaces
    1-Nadal
    2-Djokovic
    3-Federer
    4-Agassi
    5-Kuerten (just clay in this case)

    Fast-low bouncing surfaces
    1-Sampras
    2-Federer
    3-Stich
    4-Becker
    5-Edberg
     
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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal beat Federer largely on clay and those were tight matches. He also beat him Dubai. Nadal is Federer's krytonite sadly. While 2006 was arguably Federer's best year I'd say his standout performances from other years were more impressive. His 2004 US Open final against Hewitt, his whole AO 2007 campaign, the last 2 rounds of Wimbldeon 2003 the final of Wimbledon 2005.
     
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  26. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I'm going with Federer here. When I saw him enter God mode in most of his matches during his prime it was just an entirely different level. What he did vs Hewitt in the U.S. Open Final in 2004 or vs Roddick in Australian Open semi in 2007 was ridiculous. Full flight Federer to me is the closest we get to greatest peak level ever.
     
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  27. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    He was a winner machine when he was on. This shot was ridiculous...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7ikx0Du735Y#t=167s
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  28. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Exactly, this is what I was saying. I really like the posts by Hoodjem, but lately many threads have been ruined by inane chatting/arguing by people who basically don't know what they are talking about. Often these people are young fans of modern players, and not surprisingly know little about the historic players. Starting a thread like this, is just asking for trouble, and as already explained pointless anyway. This part of TT is for Former Pro Players, I've learnt lots of superb information about historic players, why not stick with that. My opinion.
     
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  29. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    I like to go by surfaces. In terms of peak play per Surface, the highest level I've seen:

    Grass- Sampras circa 93-95 or '99
    Slow Hardcourts- Agassi circa '95 or Nole circa 2011
    Fast Hardcourts- Sampras or Federer
    Indoors- Becker
    Clay- Nadal or Muster circa '95
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  30. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You rank Agassi above Djokovic on slow hardcourt?
     
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  31. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Its close. I got Andre slightly ahead of Nole on slow hard courts yes. IMO '95 Agassi was superior then 2011 Nole on slow hard courts.

    Andre should have won 6-7 AO titles as well really if he played them earlier in his career. To this day, Andre's peak (1995) is probably the highest level I've ever seen on slow hard courts.

    Nole will have achieved more on slow hard courts at the end of the day.. But Andre's peak was superior IMO
     
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  32. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Nole was pretty crazy in 2011, you got any matches in mind for Agassi? I don't disagree with Agassi having more AO's if he played it more. Djokovic still has time to win a few more himself though...
     
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  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, It's just a case of relativity to judge a player. Is a third place for Federer an overrating or underrating or exact the right place?

    I believe that Federer ranks higher in achievements than in peak play.

    My first tennis match was the men's 1970 Wimbledon final. At that time my favourite player was Roy Emerson but I realized quickly that the outcast pros were better than the shamateurs...Tennis Channel has not realized that till today...
     
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  34. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    jimbo333, Interesting question and thought.
     
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  35. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You don't have Federer third do you though? I thought it was 4th of 5th...

    What tennis matches of Federer have you seen from his heyday may I ask? You seem to be almost the only one even of the regulars here to not rank his peak play highly.

    I agree that the amateurs are overrated, it's in the names...Pro's > Amateurs. How do you judge Rosewall's peak play from the earlier decades? Or players who are even older? Or are your estimates of Rosewall purely from what you saw from 1970 onwards?
     
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  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    90's Clay, Thanks for a not All-Federer list.

    Even though I'm an Austrian I would think that Nadal is stronger than peak Muster...
     
    #36
  37. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, Federer was winning mostly all of those years. I picked 2006. I picked a year, not isolated matches or tournaments. I could have picked 2004 or 2007. Those were his winning-est years.
     
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  38. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    You're so right, jimbo333.
     
    #38
  39. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Hoad had a great record on clay, including against Rosewall and Trabert. All three could have handled Borg or Nadal on clay.
    If you want to, you can see Rosewall on clay.
     
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  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Yes, I rank Federer fifth regarding achievements and about tenth regarding playing level (which is not identic with peak play. Otherwise I must rank Hoad at first place, not at No.3 which I actually do, behind Rosewall and equal Laver).

    I don't remember which peak Federer matches I have seen but I did see matches at Paris, Wimbledon and Melbourne.

    The Rosewall matches which I have seen were disappointing for me: Wimbledon 1970, final; W.1974,SF, W.1974 final. In those matches Rosewall was not in best shape. I also saw a few early round matches of the 1975 W. won by Muscles against lesser players: Andersson (Sweden) and Barazzutti...

    Generally the current players look faster than those of older times but I'm convinced it's mostly because of the improvement of equipment. Useing wood I would favour Rosewall over Federer.

    I'm sure that the 1963 Rosewall was stronger than the 1970 one.
     
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  41. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Ok this is going to be a massive post so just beware.

    In terms of greatness of winners (points) and variety I think the following makes a solid case:

    God Mode exhibit A: Freaky Lobs Concoctions
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hp-EArV6s8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc1RCqidtTg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yidqJM1Xl4U

    God Mode exhibit B: Tweeners
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37qyvTRVus8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QobvppHSjB4

    God mode exhibit C: Serve
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QZQe-B4cNI

    God mode exhibit D: Forehand Demonstration
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_CuXqNBr2c

    God mode exhibit E: Backhand Demonstration
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bByvWPmMZ_8

    God mode exhibit F: Slice Demonstration
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B01nhqJizTc

    God mode exhibit G: Return Demonstration
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxzFlrFfUrg

    God mode exhibit H: Volley
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INE4Y5CzoBM

    God mode exhibit I: Dropshot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAeFXIIq95A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq33L8K2mVs

    God mode exhibit J: Smash (Both Backhand and Forehand)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2vF9xnL-EU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCownMHsCTI


    Actual matches where Fed enters God Mode and it's scary

    Federer vs Roddick - Australian Open 2007 Semi Final 6-4, 6-0, 6-2

    Full Match
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6Bdn-Ml8rU

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ikx0Du735Y

    Federer vs Hewitt - U.S. Open 2004 Final 6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-0

    Full Match
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge17unv-XrI

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfb2PDlIc3o

    Federer vs Nadal - World Tour Finals 2007 Semi Final 6-4, 6-1

    Full Match
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed7iRmkUhek

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR7do5BFgzA

    Federer vs Nadal - World Tour Finals 2011 Round Robin 6-3, 6-0

    Full Match
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjwaygk40LM

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6az62bmV5hM

    Federer vs Gaudio - World Tour Finals 2005 Round Robin 6-0, 6-0

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwreJJgeYIg

    Federer vs Del Potro - Australian Open 2009 Quarter Finals 6-3, 6-0, 6-0

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcfqC_DqQyE

    Federer vs Blake - World Tour Finals 2006 Final 6-0, 6-3, 6-4

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imLOdUK0Kfs

    Federer vs Agassi - World Tour Finals 2003 Final 6-3, 6-0, 6-4

    Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_dgHOVPy9g

    there's some more, but looking at the screen is beginning to hurt.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  42. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    man that took a while, and it sucks I was going to embed the videos and all but it came looking all messed up. Oh well I'll keep the formatting as such.
     
    #42
  43. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    He is much younger than you guys, but suffers from a bad case of "Sampras got surpassed so I'll hate on everything after his reign and complain and take shots at every modern player every chance I get" syndrome
     
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  44. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    I have seen Rosewall play against Laver (long highlights) in Rg 1968 and i respectfully disagree with you. Only Borg and Djokovic could handle (and even them to some extent) Nadal`s crazy top spin on clay. A peak form Nadal on clay is the closest one can get to an invincible player (this coming from a huge Fed fan). Again i must say, this is provided modern equipment for all players. If i take out poly from Nadal the story changes a a lot. But it is all suppositions i guess
     
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  45. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Nice links forzamilan, now imagine if they had high def and You Tube around for Laver and all the greats after that? Or even Gonzalez forward? Modern tennis watchers, including myself, should often be reminded that tennis is much, much bigger than what's only on Tennis Channel these days.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  46. W.P. Mayhew

    W.P. Mayhew Semi-Pro

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    Tennis needs a Martin Scorsese-like guy working hard to restore and preserve old tennis matches. Older stuff shot on film could be tracked and restored to a very decent quality. Sorry for the off topic... Nice compilation, forza.
     
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  47. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Great list

    I would add

    Becker vs Edberg and Wilander Davis Cup finals '89 (I think only god mode Fed/Sampras/or Mac could even compete against Becker that weekend on that fast indoor court)
    Edberg vs Jim C USO final '91
    Edberg vs Wilander AO semi '90
    Sampras vs Becker Masters final '94 and '96
    Sampras vs Becker Wimbledon final '95
    Becker vs Sampras Stuttgart finals '96
    Wilander vs Leconte FO final '88
    Wilander vs Lendl USO final '88
    Lendl vs many during his terminator/Darth Vader mode reign '85-'87
    Sampras vs Agassi many times
     
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  48. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Absolutely. That would be great W.P. Mayhew. It would help bring the greats from the past much more "into focus" wouldn't it?
     
    #48
  49. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    eh, you have federer vs gaudio, which was a very good, solid match from federer, but not his very best, but not the USO 2004 final vs hewitt ?

    also for nadal, RG 2008 SF vs djokovic, but not RG 2008 F vs federer ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  50. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    How do you seperate playing level from peak play? Is playing level what you consider their consistant level to be?

    Might as I suggest to someone who professes to be a historian, that you should watch more of the Federer matches mentioned in this thread. I would watch more Rosewall if there were videos.

    Then how is it that you can so strongly claim that Federer is beneath Rosewall in terms of level of play? I'd venture that I've seen alot more of Federer than you've seen of Rosewall and perhaps Federer combined...

    Being taller also helps with longer strides when running. If Federer grew up with wood raquets I think you'd be surprised. His speed and footwork are excellent which would help with his timing with the smaller raquets. He'd also excell in fast conditions...

    No doubt, but if you didn't see it how much better is just an assumption.
     
    #50

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