Peak Play GOATS

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

  1. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    agree. i remember you left the forum for a bit cause of arguments
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I enjoy these forums and I like debate as long as it doesn't get out of hand. Do you have any opinions on the peak level topic forzamilan90?

    Anyway to get back on topic, historically the two guys mentioned most by the tennis historians as the ones who are the best when they are on their games are Vines and Hoad. I've read stories about Hoad hitting return winners for a set against great servers off both backhand and forehand. Kramer used to write that if Vines was on you were lucky to get your racquet on the ball.

    I was amused by Riggs' concept with Pancho Gonzalez. Here's a quote from the excellent book by Stan Hart, "Once a Champion." He asks Bobby Riggs this question; "So suppose you had them all on their best day, playing each other. Then what?" "Probably VInes, but here is what I have to say. Suppose you tell the loser that if they lose, they don't get any money. Suppose you say that the winner gets the money and the losers have to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. On those terms, I would take Gonzalez. He might be the meanest and might rise to the highest, and if his life depended on it, he might be the survivor."
     
  3. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I can only comment on peak play from what I've seen, and you already know what I will say regarding peak play.
    Obviously the greatest players I've seen in my lifetime are Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. All three great, legendary players.

    Federer in God Mode was the greatest athlete I've ever seen, period. When he was on he was just smacking winners left and right and he had the most consistent, prolonged God mode of anyone I've seen (2004-2007 that's just free flowing domination, I could care less what some critics say about competition, when a man knows that if his footwork sets him in a such that he can unleash an unreturnable forehand winner it's game over). He had the highest peak level of play, cause basically if he played up to his potential without f***** around (like the crap he tried to pull vs Safin in 2005 AO semi that lost him the match point he had) he simply won. To me knowing, that you don't have to annoy your opponents or disrupt their rhythm (classic Nadal strategies) and you can simply blow your opponent out of the court, to me that's the true peak right there, cause you know you got this. He made a career out of that and that legacy is untouchable. No one won as convincingly.

    Since Fed's peak days, only Novak would I say has come close and even that only last for a little bit more than several months (2011 he fell apart after the US Open completely). But it's funny that even the God Mode Djoko that annihilated everyone in 2011, still got beat by an older version of Federer. To me that settles the peak debate.

    Nadal is capable of great peak play, but very sporadic and inconsistent. I wouldn't say his God mode is up there with Djoko and Federer.

    Obviously you also have your other notable characters (Laver & Gonzales) but I will obviously vouch for what I have seen in my lifetime.

    On another note, I am probably one of the few here who doesn't agree with the Hoad hype in these debates. Sure great 1956 year (Djokoesque 2011 in a way), but other than that looking at his finals record (especially as a pro it's 1-7) it's not that impressive. Injuries are a part of the game. The argument, well when he's healthy he's unstoppable, and he only loses when injured is exactly the kind of crap Nadal media has been trying to portray last decade.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  4. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Bobby, I read somewhere that they played several times in 1953, and obviously Gonzales was not rusty as you insisted, but had several warm up tournaments to Wembley that year.

    Don't forget that you cited many matches between Hoad and Gonzales which you were unable to document.

    Some of those were probably unrecorded exhibitions.

    I guess you think that beating a prime Gonzales 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 at Wembley and 6-4, 9-7, 6-4 at Kooyong is an insane and unacceptable assault against you by the history of tennis.

    Bobby, don't accept the truth, fight to the bitter end.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  5. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Yes, Bobby, kiki is open to accepting the truth when it is cogently presented by a realistic investigator.

    Bobby, you seem to have forgotten the purpose of this thread, which is PEAK performance, not consistency.

    Think again, old friend.
     
  6. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, You are confused and unfair: krosero and I have given you the exact 23:23 balance of Gonzalez vs. Hoad in 1959 (two newspapers).

    But you make claims reg. 1953 and reg. 1963 (Hoad's "additional" wins against Laver).

    Get serious! Don't read "somewhere over the rainbow"!

    You have already reached the bitter end with your strange claims...
     
  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, Gonzalez had a higher peak than Sedgman even though also the latter had a high peak.

    Sedgman won only 5 pro tournaments.
     
  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Federer's God-mode.
    Djoko's God-mode.
    Nada's God-mode.

    Does everyone have a God-mode?
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I had a hunch what you might write but wasn't sure. To pick Nadal, Djokovic and Federer as your three best at peak level is logical. They are all superb players. Actually another player in this era that I just remembered is Nalbanian who I've seen make Nadal and Federer look like hackers at times.

    I've been skeptical about some of the hype with Hoad and his peak level to be honest. I think it's possible part of the reason he has streaks in which he supposedly goes into the zone is because he goes for so many low percentage shots. Eventually you will get into some groove and make a bunch of great shots. To me great talent also is the ability to repeat strokes and maintain a consistent level. Vines for example could go into the zone from all the evidence we've seen but he also was a consistent player who won majors and was perhaps the best player in the world from 1931 to 1938.

    Hoad wasn't exactly known for having the greatest topspin backhand. Laver for example was far more consistent with his topspin backhand. Being a person who has seen Laver I used to be amazed how easy it seemed for him to hit winners. My first thought was that it can't be that easy for him to hit winners against the top players in the world. Arthur Ashe used to write that Laver starts by hitting the lines and then he starts hitting them harder and harder and harder. And no one can stop him.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  10. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I use the term God mode as in the highest level of a player, when they are in their best and most dangerous form.
     
  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Forza, why do you think Wilt Chamberlain was the GOAT? He may be of course but I'm curious why you picked him.
     
  12. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I wonder if there's any members in here who were kids when Tilden was playing/dominating and can comment. That's a bit of stretch though, but it would be nice to actually hear things from who witnessed them as opposed to read what it says in a history book
     
  13. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    The way I see it, in basketball the two greatest players ever are Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. I like to think when it comes to guards or forward (smaller players) MJ is king, and Chamberlain is king of the big guys.

    MJ is unparalleled in skill set and performance and domination compared to his peers. He had some stacked teams and of course won 6 championships.

    Chamberlain broke the record books and then some. Greatest rebounder by a huge freaking distance, greatest shot blocker, probably the greatest scorer, great defender, insane strength (strongest player ever former players say), insane jumping ability (track athlete with huge vertical, see youtube for this), amazing passer (led the league in assist as a center, that's unheard of), unstoppable on offense, his only real weakness as a player is his free throw ability. They had to change the rules just to nerf him cause he was that potent of a player. Dominated the entire league, dominated Bill Russell (though Bill Russell won the war thanks to his much superior dynasty teams), and even held his own vs Kareem Abdul Jabar when the young fella was tearing up the league. Chamberlain has a lot of myth around him ( a la Lew Hoad), but looking at the footage and seeing this dude block a sky hook like it's nothing, jump up and basically put down any shot imaginable, dunk on entire offenses and just impose his will like no other, I mean how can you argue against that? He dominated every other hall of fame athlete and separated himself from the rest. Then you look at the stats and your mouth drops, those are never getting broken by anybody.

    Add to that his insatiable appetite for life and his larger than life personality, I mean the dude transcended the game more so than anybody else except maybe Jordan and that's cause Jordan had the marketing/ad campaign era behind him to propel him to such status. He died when I was still too young to pay attention to sports, but from footage I've seen, this dude would have been my hero in basketball.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One of the peak play conditions is what PC1 pointed out: the ability to play under % shots at the most difficult moments and make them work for you.It takes insane ability but also insane self confidence and the capability to let steam off.I used to think Connors was the one taking more risks but, at the end, that is the way he could play.

    But Laver had many options, yet he often chose the high risk plot.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, I agree with most you write. But Vines was not the best player in 1933. Crawford was.
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good point Bobbyone.
     
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Wilt Chamberlain stories outside of basketball is perhaps more incredible than his basketball feats. I read something (if my memory is correct) years ago about Chamberlain being asked about claw marks on his shoulder. He told the writers that while in the desert he was attacked by a mountain lion. He threw off the mountain lion, got back into his car and sped off.

    You read about him breaking a player's foot because the basketball went through the hoop so fast.

    Just checked and here's an article on it.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/01/sports/the-night-chamberlain-scored-100.html

    On Chamberlain's strength.
    http://theofficebodybuildingworkout...The-Strength-of-Wilt-Chamberlain#.U4O4HyjfCEU

    To get back on topic I think peak level players should have great attacking returns aside from great serves. So the legendary return of Frank Kovacs would fit this. Kovacs had an excellent serve with huge groundies and a super return. Kovacs beat the French Champion (he may not have been at the time) I believe on clay in three straight sets with the loss of only one game. Laver of course fit that too. He crushed Rosewall in one match in three straight sets also with the loss of one game.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  18. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah Federer is the greatest player I've ever seen. His display in the USO F 2004 was just something else. People remember his forehand being lethal but he was also delivering some clutch serving scoring 3 aces in a row to save a break point and take a game etc...He was also 31/35 at the net. All round display from him. Aside from the second set where he made 20 winners and 20 errors, he was impervious. Hewitt was in good form as well, he was on a 16 match win streak and hadn't dropped a set.
     
  19. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, PC1. Some people got bent out of shape too easily. I was thinking about online "identities" (which we all have) in the context of the terrible shooting in California. I was reading that the killer posted on an online bodybuilding forum and while he obviously posted vile, offensive things, and was taken to task for them, it made me wonder if there are posters here who take these discussions "too seriously." I've always been civil with people here--yet there have been a few instances where I've felt compelled to stand up for myself and perhaps should have just walked away--but I've been called names before, and I've observed far worse treatment of other posters. So, I wonder if some people get too worked up in their real lives over what happens on Talk Tennis. So, I just wanted to wish everyone here well.

    My chess game is far from excellent, but I did have a pleasing online win on one of the two major chess websites against a player rated above 1700. I feel that I'm still improving though I have to open up the books soon and really "go to school," so to speak:

    1. d4 d5 2. ♘f3 ♗f5 3. c4 ♘f6 4. ♘c3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. cxd5 ♘xd5 7. e4 ♘xc3 8. bxc3 ♗g6 9. ♘e5 ♗xe4 10. ♕d2 ♘d7 11. ♘xf7 ♔xf7 12. ♕f4 ♘f6 13. f3 ♗g6 14. g4 ♔g8 15. g5 ♘d5 16. ♕e5 ♕d6 17. ♗c4 ♕xe5 18. dxe5 b5 19. ♗xd5 exd5 20. f4 h6 21. ♖g1 hxg5 22. ♖xg5 ♗e4 23. f5 ♔f7 24. ♖g6 ♗xf5 25. ♖c6 ♖xh2 26. ♖xc7 ♔e6 27. ♔d1 ♔xe5 28. ♗d2 ♖h1 29. ♗e1 ♖e8 30. ♔d2 ♖g1 31. ♔e3 ♔d6 32. ♔f2 ♖exe1 33. ♖xe1 ♖xe1 34. ♖xg7 ♗xg7 35. ♔xe1 ♗xc3 36. ♔e2 ♔c5 37. ♔d1 ♗e4 38. ♔c1 a5 39. a3 b4 40. axb4 ♔xb4 41. ♔d1 a4 42. ♔c1 a3 43. ♔d1 a2 44. ♔e2 a1=Q 45. ♔e3 ♕e1 46. ♔f4 ♗d2 47. ♔e5 ♗h1 48. ♔d4 ♕e3 0-1 {White checkmated}

    Here's another game I lost against a player ranked 2055. I felt that I had a fighting chance before the unwise decision at 31. Rook to g1 seems like a better choice as it prevents queen to g2 and threatens a check:

    1. e4 e5 2. ♗c4 ♘f6 3. ♘c3 ♗e7 4. ♘f3 ♘c6 5. d3 O-O 6. ♗e3 d6 7. a3 ♗e6 8. ♗xe6 fxe6 9. ♕e2 ♕d7 10. ♗g5 ♘g4 11. ♗xe7 ♕xe7 12. h3 ♘f6 13. O-O-O ♘d4 14. ♘xd4 exd4 15. ♘a2 e5 16. g3 c5 17. ♖df1 b5 18. f4 a5 19. f5 b4 20. a4 b3 21. cxb3 ♖ab8 22. ♕c2 ♖b6 23. g4 ♖fb8 24. ♕c4 d5 25. exd5 ♕d6 26. g5 ♖xb3 27. gxf6 ♖xb2 28. ♔d1 ♖b1 29. ♘c1 ♖8b4 30. ♕a2 ♖1b2 31. ♕a3 ♕xd5 32. fxg7 ♕g2 33. ♕a2 ♖xa2 34. ♘xa2 ♖b2 0-1 {White resigns}
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Yes, Kovacs was great when "on". He beat the 1949 French Champion, Parker, shortly after the 1950 French Champ.

    Rosewall's loss to Laver at the early 1968 Wembley was his worst at all, even worse than his loss to Connors at the 1974 US Open. I believe Muscles said afterwards: "Nothing worked today".
     
  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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  22. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    The "two newspapers" did not document the matches, and there must have been at least 9 unrecorded exhibition matches if this account is true.

    I have at least as good support for the extra 1953 and 1963 matches.
     
  23. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Sure, that is what I indicated on my peak list.

    Gonzales beat Kramer at Philadelphia in 1950 by 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, and defeated Hoad in the final at Sydney in 1959 by 11-9, 6-1, 6-1.

    However, the point under discussion was whether or not Sampras is in this league, especially considering what Sedgman did to Gonzales on two major occasions.

    The answer is "no", Sedge had too much when pumped for Sampras.
     
  24. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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  26. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    Perhaps, but the backhand versus Blake was in another dimension . He produced 4 or 5 shots off that wing during this match that at one point i thought Blake was going to quit
     
  27. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    His backhand for that whole Wimbledon 06 to AO 07 spell was incredible IMO, especially during the YEC. It's like he borrowed Edberg or Laver's backhand.
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Actually Nat I probably have seen far more experts and former pros (who have seen both) favoring Vines over Hoad on peak play. From what I gather Vines had a more powerful serve and forehand. Speed was close and both were excellent volleyers although I think Hoad may be favored there. Both had very strong backhands and overheads.

    Hoad with the current equipment, considering that he could really hit over the ball I think would be fantastic.

    They say Vines hit the ball flat but what's their definition of a flat shot? He seems to hit with some topspin on the forehand from some videos I've seen.

    Alison Danzig, Gene Mako, Bobby Riggs (either Vines or Gonzalez depending on the situation), Jack Kramer, Don Budge, George Lott (either Vines or Tilden) are among the many who saw both Vines and Hoad and thought Vines was better at their best.
     
  29. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Interesting that Vines' contemporaries rate him above Hoad, while Hoad's contemporaries rate him above anyone.

    Unfortunately, Vines' contemporaries did not play against Hoad, and Hoad's contemporaries did not play against Vines.
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    A number of tennis writers who saw both said Vines also. Riggs and Kramer did not play Vines although I do think Kramer was partial to Vines. Riggs I found is pretty objective. I don't think Mako played Vines either. I've even read one book in which the author mentioned that it seemed like most ranked Vines highest in that category.

    It's tough to choose obviously but from what I've read it seems like Vines is mentioned the most.
     
  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    That's an old post of mine pc1, but I find it interesting that you rate Vines over Hoad. Seems like you favor Vines as perhaps the best in terms of peak play. Who else would you put at that level?
     
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Right now I rank Vines over Hoad but I have favored Hoad in the past. There are a lot of greats Laver, McEnroe, Ashe, Sampras, Tilden, Gonzalez, Kovacs and others from past players would be up there.
     
  33. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Do you think Sampras has a higher level than say Djokovic or Federer? McEnroe over Borg?
     
  34. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Show us your top ten.

    Obviously, this list does not simply look at careers, but at peak form play, presumably for one match.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  35. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    I see no need to change this, except to acknowledge that the earlier players were difficult to judge, given the time frame.

    This is NOT a consistency rating, but simply at peak form for one match.

    Budge played against the players of the fifties, but he rated Vines ahead of them.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  36. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I personally find it highly unlikely that 4/5 of the best players of all time played at the same time.
     
  37. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Vines did not have the same range of strokes as Hoad, and this actually cost him in his matchups against Crawford.

    Hoad patterned his own game after a clone of Crawford.

    Crawford and Vines played about a dozen matches against each other in an exhibition series in Janurary 1933, with each player winning half.

    Not a big upset at Wimbledon that year.
     
  38. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Hey, that's not my evaluation, but Rosewall's.

    I think that Laver had a different ranking, giving more weight to earlier players and recent players.
     
  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'm not ranking current players but Sampras on fast court is pretty great. On clay I think he is capable of being great but I think his backhand would make him vulnerable in groundstroke rallies.

    Both Borg and McEnroe are tremendous for high level on all surfaces. A lot of experts who observed the French for decades at the time thought McEnroe's level against Lendl in the first two sets in 1984 were about as high as they have ever seen. Of course that may be hyperbole because people are always most impressed by events that happen just recently.

    If you notice all the players I picked have excellent serves and excellent returns.
     
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    After being on these boards for a few years, I realize that Crawford is, and by a wide margin, the most underrated of the truly all time greats.

    Nice to know that Hoad was inspired by him.A Crawford-Cochet match with both at their best would be the one I´d like to watch
     
  41. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I mentioned that as an example for McEnroe but I've seen Mac play some great clay matches including beating Vilas 6-1 6-1 in one match.
     
  44. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    "Well, I remember yesterday
    Just drifting slowly through a crowded street
    With neon darkness shimmering through the haze
    A sea of faces rippling in the heat"

    Good to see you, Kiki. This summer will mark the Return of Chopin.
     
  45. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I think most great players can get hot on all surfaces if their game is clicking. I think we should be generally considering play in slams or 5 set matches/finals though. Thats where players put in the most effort.
     
  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Chopin the romantic will certainly embrace gentleman Jack Crawford as a past simbol of dead romanticism.

    I hope no less of you Chopin.Keep on posting here.
     
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I think the 6-1, 6-1 is an exo.
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No it wasn't. It was a tournament I went to at the old West Side Tennis Club. The old Tournament of Champions. I think that match was in 1983.

    McEnroe in 1984 beat Lendl at the same tournament 6-4 6-2. He also beat Lendl on I believe red clay at the World Team Cup in Germany 6-3 6-2. McEnroe seemed to spent a good portion of 1984 crushing players like that.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Chopin,

    I'll discuss your chess games when I get a chance to look at them carefully. I didn't forget.
     
  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    But some players can click at a higher level if their overall game and talents are superior. That's the point of the thread I believe.

    You make an excellent point about five set matches however. Stamina should be taken into account.
     

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