Pete Sampras NOT the greatest player of all time.

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by UpTheT, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. UpTheT

    UpTheT Rookie

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    I don't understand how people can say without a doubt that Sampras was the best. Take his record against
    Edberg 8-6 Sampras (Edberg beating him in both majors)
    Against Agassi 20-14 (Sampras 3-2 in majors)
    Against Chang 12-8 ( Sampras 3-1 in Majors)

    And for fun-- Against Brad Gilbert 5-4 ( No majors)
    * has a winning record against all the above.

    As you can see, he is far from dominant.


    If you talk about winning percentage -- Pete comes in at 77%

    Mac 82%
    Borg 82%
    Lendl 82%
    Connors 82%
    Federer 77%
    Agassi 76%
    Edberg 75%
    Roddick 65%
    Gilbert 64%

    True greats dominate.
     
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  2. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

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    Did you just throw Roddick's name in that list? You might want to edit that.
     
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  3. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    He is the greatest because he achieved more than anyone else. Yes, he could lose to anyone on any given day, but he could also beat anyone on any given day. ANYONE. If Federer was playing back then, his winning streak wouldn't be quite as good. If McEnroe was playing then, Mac wouldn't have gone 82-3. Sampras would lose a small tournament match, but he would never give up the Wimbledon final. It all comes down to a guy that doesn't necessarily enjoy playing matches, but loves winning the trophies.
     
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  4. charles_boey

    charles_boey Rookie

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  5. fishuuuuu

    fishuuuuu Hall of Fame

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    I think charles_boey hit this one on the head.
     
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  6. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    UpTheT - how about UpTheDuff.

    ............oh, forget it. I was going to say something, but I'm too tired.

    ............goodnight.
     
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  7. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    Pete played for the slams -- I saw him come out here to Scottsdale and tank in the first round (his brother promoted the tournament) and go home and get some rest -- Andre, too, for that matter. Even so, I think winning percentage is as good an objective measure as anything, beyond, of course, performance in major championships.
     
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  8. UpTheT

    UpTheT Rookie

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    I don't think Federer is the greatest. The purpose of the thread is just to voice my opinion that Sampres is not the greatest. Give him a wood racket and he wouldn't dominate Laver, Lendl, Mac, borg and or Edberg. There are Greats of the game, I don't think you can name a greatest.

    Don't get me wrong- he was a great player and more importantly Major Tournament competitor. But THE GREATEST--No.
     
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  9. armand

    armand Banned

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    Laver himself said that Sampras was the greatest. Are you calling the great Rod Laver a liar? How dare you? Who in the hell are you to be calling Rod Laver a liar? He won THEE Grand Slam twice and now suddenly(maybe because he's an old man now?) he's deemed a liar!
    This whole world is screwed up! Well, whatever, I trust Rod Laver, not you. Even without the tennis credientials, he'd never call anyone he never even met a liar.
     
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  10. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Sorry for being a bit pointed. I am tired......:)

    But, if this quote is your actual opinion, then why list a heirarchy of winning percentages?

    You insinuate that winning percentage is the reason why a player should be considered the greatest, whereas others go by GS titles, etc. etc.

    If you don't think there can be listed a "greatest" then I get the title of your thread. Even though you're being passively argumentative and contradictory to your opinion by saying that Sampras couldn't beat Laver, Mac, Borg, Lendl, Edberg with a wooden racket. This implies that you think these players would be better than Sampras.......

    BTW - Sampras' records against Edberg, Agassi, Chang, Becker, Courier, reflect the level to which these guys were competitive with each other. As for Brad Gilbert, his wins all came before the USO of '92 which was the turning point for Sampras' career.
     
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  11. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    I wonder why the issue of Sampras' place in Tennis History has never been discussed before this...?

    (UpTheT - You've been around enough by now to know how to use the SEARCH feature, haven't you? There are only about 25 threads a year on this subject. You didn't really need to start another, did you?)

    - KK
     
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  12. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Sampras could have beaten those oldies with a wood racquet. He used an incredibly tight and small racquet. And it has been shown that serve speeds are about the same with a wooden racquet. No, I think he would have been even MORE dominant if he had played his peak in the 80's. With that ridiculous serve he would have easily been able to volley the return. No Agassi returns and passing shots to deal with.
     
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  13. ssuHeartsRivald

    ssuHeartsRivald Rookie

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    Sampras is the greatest of it's referred to GS title. For me Federer is the greatest player i've ever seen. And why do you think Sampras will dominate Laver or etc , they were at different era and you can't compare like that.
     
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  14. sexmachine

    sexmachine Rookie

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    ADELY, man u really need to calm down, he never said he was a liar, your the one who quoted him. Laver was fantastic and is such a complimentary sportsman of course he'll say he was the greatest, the fact is we will never know and u simply can't reasonably compare them.;)
     
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  15. DashaandSafin

    DashaandSafin Hall of Fame

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    Winning percentages dont me anything. Look at what he acheived. More than any other player, thats what counts. When crunch time came, Pete put on his hard hat and worked.

    Also its funny how you put Gilbert and Roddick up there as the GOAT. Was just reading Winning Ugly while eating breakfast :)
     
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  16. arnz

    arnz Professional

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    Ahhh, I just happened on to this new topic...I don't think anybody's voiced an opinion on this one yet, good one UpyourT:mrgreen:
     
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  17. There's no end to this argument. Practically and theoretically. UptheT, I could take your winning percentage stats, which you've agrued as more important than slams wins, and cite 5 other stats (if not more) in which Sampras dominates all those players. Then say, therefore Sampras is the best.

    As for the W/L records, we could do the same. I'm sure there's other good or great players who Edberg, Mac, Borg, Becker, etc. have losing lifetime record against, for some reason. Maybe Rafter or Goran or Stan Smith or Pancho or Muster or Rios or friggin Todd Martin (no offense, Todd), for example, is 6-4 against Edberg. Should we then declare them better than Edberg?

    It could on and on....
     
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  18. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    Now you're calling Laver a fraud? Sad day when one man can call a man he never met a liar, and another man can call him a fraud.
     
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  19. alfa164164

    alfa164164 Professional

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    I believe Laver has had some pretty complimentary things to say about Federer after his Sampras comments.
    Sampras is surely not the most complete player out of the GOAT contenders, however he is one of the greatest fast court players, one of the greatest short point players, and one of the greatest big match players.
    Nobody considered Roy Emerson to be the greatest when he had the most Grand Slam titles, so Grand Slam title count isn't the deciding factor in the GOAT discussion (although it certainly is a good indicator of the general range that person should fall in).
     
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  20. 8PAQ

    8PAQ Banned

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    No didn't. Federer isn't done yet. His overall winning % is improving with each year because lately it has been in the 90s. So few more years and he will be #1 on that list as well.
     
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  21. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I agree that the "most majors" stat is emphasized too much when discussing Sampras. What's most impressive to me are his 7 Wimbledons & 5 US Opens. Those 2 events were always the 2 biggest events in tennis, going back to Tilden's time. They always had great fields(unlike the Australian) never had a down time in terms of international attention(like the French)
    No saying that Sampras is indisputably the greatest, but he won the 2 most important events in tennis history 12 times. That's more than Borg, Mac, Connors, Lendl could do.

    And Emerson only won 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens. Had he won a lot more of them, he would have a legit place among all-time greats, regardless of him facing fields with the best amateurs.
     
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  22. Chadwixx

    Chadwixx Banned

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    Hewitt owned pete, fed owns hewitt. Is that enough? Fed even beat golden boy pete when he was still a teenager. Why people cant realize this is astounding.
     
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  23. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    How is that relevant to the original topic? This isn't a matter of who-beat-who, but of accomplishments. Guess that means Laver, Budge,Tilden, Kramer, Rosewall, Lendl, McEnroe, Connors etc aren't all-time greats because they eventually started losing to the next generation of players? Regardless,their record still stands. As does Sampras'. He will always be remembered as an all-time great.
     
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  24. TGV

    TGV Rookie

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    If he is not the undisputed G.O.A.T, he is at least on the same level as Borg and Laver, and well ahead of those on the next tier such as Connors, McEnroe, Agassi, Lendl etc.

    I do agree with O.P that he never had as dominant a year as Mac, Lendl, Borg, Federer etc and his record was really skewed towards the faster surfaces (2 slams v 12). But the overwhelming importance of the slams, especially Wimbledon and USO, makes Sampras's achievements stand out more than anybody else's.
     
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  25. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Pete Sampras is the greatest tennis player ever. He is even better than Roger Federer. Sampras would beat Federer in his prime anyday. Sampras has won 14 grand slams, including a record 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens. From those statistics alone, Sampras stands alone as the best ever in tennis.
     
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  26. Chadwixx

    Chadwixx Banned

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    Hewitt beat him 6-0, i would think that would disqualify him. Hewitt beats pete 6-0, fed beats hewitt 6-0.

    Fed beats pete on pete's best surface.

    Moose, read the topic name, i was bringing up points as to why he isnt the goat. There isnt even a need to bring up inablity to play on clay. He was a great fast court player, nothing more.

    Stat wise borg was the greatest player of all time. The players he was beating were actual champions and not career finalists like with pete.

    Quality wins goes to borg. Overall tennis ability goes to federer.
     
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  27. Ha ha! Check my post above, at 8 a.m., saying Win/Loss records don't tell the whole story and shouldn't be be used to argue that a lesser player is better than a more accomplished player.

    Then, 12:50, Chaddix says, "Hewitt owned pete, fed owns hewitt. Is that enough?"

    Sigh.
     
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  28. Chadwixx

    Chadwixx Banned

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    For obvious reasons many people dont look at your posts.

    Win loss records dont matter? After reading this its no mystery why people dont look at what you post. Its just plain dumb.
     
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  29. UpTheT

    UpTheT Rookie

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    Here's the deal. I grew up playing against Pete, Chang,Washington and a few others (never played Agassi). When Pete finally made it to the big show I watched him play in a tournament (High Stakes) against Lendl, Mac Edberg, and Connors. Yes he was young but the flaws my friends and I tried/failed to expliot when playing Pete were exposed by Mac, Lendl and Connors. For example, Mac and Connors both abused him by coming in and forcing pete to hit a winner with his backhand, something Pete didn't have to do all that much during his career. Even when he did it was against far less talented volliers like Rafter (no offese to Rafter). Lendl, at the time, was just better. Lendl returned his serve with authority forcing Pete to sit on the base line. Once Lendl had him backed up he just pounded him relentlessly. As for Edberg- I felt embarrassed for Pete after that match.
    Obviously Pete got better but the game changed in his favor too. Serve and volleying was taken over by the baseline game giving Pete the advantage. If you weren't a good returner you didn't have a chance against him. He would get you on your heels with his serve and if you hit him a shallow forhand-- LOOK OUT.
    Clay was the great equalizer, not only did it give people a better chance to return Pete's serve in allowed them the ability to come to the net and get cheap points, something that just wasn't done against Pete on the faster surfaces.
    My Point-- The competition was diluted and the change in style of play helped Pete quite a bit.

    Was Pete great Yes. But if I wasn't playing for championships and just wanted the bragging rights of having the best all around game I would choose someone else.

    I would rather play like Mac, Edberg, Laver, and Aggassi if he came to the net more. I like federer but watching Mens tennis today kills me -- I just end up yelling at them to come to the net more.
     
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  30. UpTheT

    UpTheT Rookie

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    For the record, back in those days Mal Washington was the last guy I wanted to see on the other side of the court. He was and is the fastest player I have ever seen. Made Chang look like his was standing still. Losing him took ever bit of energy out of you--I don't know what beating him did to you cause I never did.
     
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  31. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    When you started this thread, you were referring to accomplishments, not "all around" game right? You seem to be all over the place in trying to devalue Sampras' career with the winning %'s, head-to-heads, wood racket comparison, etc.

    When someone talks about a "great" in any sport they are talking about wins. On the biggest stages. Not style points, diluted era bs, but wins. And Sampras has 7 Wimbledons, 5 US Opens. Those numbers will be remembered & respected for ever. Not sure how anyone could have won that many big titles with such a limited game.

    So why was he the one who won all those titles, not Becker, Krajicek, Stich,Ivanisevic etc? They were as talented/effective on fast surfaces as Sampras was. They had bigger serves, mph wise. But they didn't have that desire that he did, though. That attribute is more important than talent to become truly great, IMO.

    Wait, you're saying players beat Sampras on clay because they were able to come to net more? Yeah right.

    This is absurd. I can understand you praising more versatile all court players like Mac but Agassi? So you think Agassi has a more well-rounded game/better volleyer than Sampras? Sounds like you're just bitter that Sampras is a legend & set for several lifetimes while you have to work for a living. Even though you almost beat him when he was in diapers.

    FYI Mac is my alltime favorite player, but he has no legitimate case for GOAT. Sampras does.
     
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  32. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    I actually agree with most of this.

    Perhaps except that the competition being diluted. Depends on how you look at it. I'd consider it a lot of depth at the top. Maybe not throughout the top 150 like it is today with the exception of Federer.

    Sampras competed with multiple (not just clay) slam winners like Edberg, Becker, Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, Agassi, Courier, Kafelnikov, Hewitt........then there's the clay courters (multiple RGs) like Brugera, Kuerten.....and solid threats like Chang, Muster, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Stich, Safin....having won slams. Throw in Pioline, T. Martin......

    When Sampras felt unbeatable was when his backhand was on. This just didn't happen very often. I got the impression that Sampras trained to peak at the slams. Thus his lower overall winning percentage.

    Now, the overall dynamic is different. Lots of talent throughout, but not many guys surfacing to the very top. All are chasing Federer. That makes Federer look even better. The next few years will be interesting. Some young talent taking shape.

    My favorite players to watch were McEnroe, Edberg, Sampras, Rafter, Borg...and for the fun factor, Arazi, O. Rochus, and Santoro. For the aforementioned, I'm drawn to the more attacking styles and guys with exceptional movement (Moya too then).

    In the end, it's about matchups. Sampras had the most trouble with guys that could return low to force him to volley up and returned hard preventing him having good position for his first volley. Players that at the backcourt that could bait him swinging him wide to the forehand and expose his backhand. I guess that's why his game shifted from being an all-courter to more of a serve-volleyer and why he worked on, and came to depend on, his service accuracy, variety, and heaviness.

    Given his eastern forehand grip and his weaker backhand, clay was never going to be his best surface especially how clay court tennis developed through the 90s and on to how it is now.

    I think Sampras' greatness is in his longevity and how he was able to adjust his game. It just never panned out at RG.

    Speaking of the soon to be here RG, Federer's got more western grips than Sampras and uses more spin, but it looks like the ball jumps up out of his comfort zone on clay. Do you think he'd be successful stepping in even just that much more? Approaching even and taking more balls out of the air?

    As to winning percentage, and matchups, Federer's been having trouble with Nalbandian. He knows what to do and is aided by faster surfaces against Federer. Not too long before the other players can put it together against Fed.

    UpTheT - what were your ages when you played against the most recent US dominant guys? Who did you have the best winning percentage against? I'm just curious to get an idea about how your game contrasts to the other guys. Guys you beat easily, guys that it was more difficult. Was there anyone that made it that you and your buddies didn't think would...I'm sure there were guys that looked like they were destined to rise to the top but didn't.

    I agree with you about wanting players coming more into the net. I'm just not sure if it's conducive with the tour having slowed the conditions overall. If guys that want to venture in continually get the beat-down after an approach or big serve, then it blows.
     
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  33. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    McEnroe could be the GOAT......if you consider singles AND doubles.

    Sampras - greatest singles player
    Woodbridge - greatest doubles player
    McEnroe - greatest tennis player

    Graf - greatest singles player
    King - greatest doubles player
    Navratilova - greatest tennis player
     
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  34. Mattle

    Mattle Rookie

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    No.. Federer isn't the greatest.. YET! he's only 24 years old and currently he has 42 titles ( 35 singles) (7 doubles)

    Sampras is 37... he has 66 titles (64 singles) 2 doubles...

    Don't you think Federer can manage that?he got 13 years.. and he has just used 6 years to get 42 titles... If Federer continue this, do some math:)

    And if you doubt my information, see for yourself at www.atptennis.com
     
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  35. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Remember, it could all end in a hurry for Federer......


    .....there is no guarantee.


    (cue the scary music)
     
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  36. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Mcenroe is the greatest TENNIS PLAYER of all time. He has the highest winning percentage and more total Grand Slams than Pete. Mcenroe won grand slams in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. I believe that would make him a greater player than Pete.

    PS, UpTheT is clueless
     
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  37. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Not a liar (could you say that a few more times? - lighten up, Francis), just too nice and gracious (he is an Aussie). Aussies by nature aren't argumentative - they'd rather go have a beer (or two or eight) and enjoy themselves. I'm sure if an American were in Laver's position - 3 less Slams but having been robbed of 6 prime years - and 24 Slam opportunities - he wouldn't just give Sampras the nod.

    Agree with Chadwixx - if you had to pick one player to win a fast court match for you you'd be a moron not to pick Sampras. All his Slams were won on fast surfaces - before you say 'Rebound Ace, slow, high bounce!', the Australian Federation made them a lot faster back then. But if you had to pick one player to win a match for you and you wouldn't know the surface until 30 minutes before the event, no way you'd risk picking Sampras.

    And I still disagree that Sampras' competition was that tough - Lendl, Edberg, JMac, Becker were already way past their prime and not as interested - and guys like Agassi were years from hitting their peak.
     
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  38. VolklVenom

    VolklVenom Semi-Pro

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    McEnroe isn't the greatest player of all time. He isn't the 2nd greatest either, nor the 3rd or the 4th.
    When looking at the greatest, you really do need to look at the individualistic quality and sheer brilliance of the singles game.
    I have nothing against doubles but it's not a good yardstick when measuring tennis greatness.
     
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  39. charles_boey

    charles_boey Rookie

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    :mrgreen:
    i highlight it again just for u... read carefully :mrgreen:
     
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  40. BaseLineBash

    BaseLineBash Hall of Fame

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    I don't think Pete ever took steroids though.
     
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  41. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I disagree. Doubles is just as much a part of tennis as singles is. Great doubles requires some very unique skills and very fast reflexes and quick hands, as well as, more strategy than singles.

    In my opinion, I don't think one can call themselves a complete or even a "great" tennis player without being good at BOTH singles AND doubles.
     
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  42. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Doubles is the ultimate indicator of how well you can control the ball under the highest pressure. McEnroe I believe is the most talented player of all time. There can only be one greatest, and that is the guy that achieved the MOST in the game - that is Pete Sampras and always will be until someone beats his records.
     
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  43. TennisWooh

    TennisWooh Rookie

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    6 consecutive years at #1... thats what makes him the greatest.
     
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  44. VolklVenom

    VolklVenom Semi-Pro

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    I disagree. If doubles is just as much a part of tennis as singles is, then we would be talking about that great doubles Slam final of 2001 or whatever, but instead the focus is on singles, because its evident that singles requires the most out of all the catergories of the sport (fitness, toughness, power, bravado, skill, endurance,etc)
     
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  45. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    It's hard for us to talk about professional doubles because few of us have ever seen it since the networks refuse to televise it! :mad:
     
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  46. jings

    jings Professional

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    imo Mac's case is better than most if you're judging on indvidual quality and sheer brilliance ... brilliance, genius if you will, those are terms I associate with Mac's game. I still think his touch in the forecourt has yet to be seen since (and arguably before) and his disguise and range of shot won him so many points. If Mac painted he'd have used watercolours, Sampras oils and Lendl, an heavy acrylic with a roller! Quick point about the doubles is that he was winning them at the same time as the singles titles, which meant he was playing much more through a slam than Sampras, Lendl, Borg, Becker, Edberg ever did to fire out some names at random. By '83 Mac had played a helluva lot of GS tennis. Maybe double titles shouldn't count per se but how about a weighting system: a 50% weighting to any single's title won and double weight if you lifted singles and doubles at the same one ... which I recall he did at Wimbledon ....
     
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  47. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    Nice post, Jings -- please come back more often. All else notwithstanding, Pete Sampras -- far from my favorite player -- dominated his era at a time when the talent in the men's draw was better and deeper than any time before or since. He beat all comers, and he won more majors than anyone, and he went out on top.
     
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  48. BaseLineBash

    BaseLineBash Hall of Fame

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    John McEnroe was on performance enhancing drugs for six of his forteen years on tour. His match results are blemished just as Barry Bonds' homers are.
     
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  49. jings

    jings Professional

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    Just about anyone on tour in the 70s was on something or other when they played, and almost certainly far more enhancing than just "plain juice"! I've obviously missed something here, could someone point me in the right direction for Mac confessing to his crimes?

    BTW I'm not a great one for anyone being the GOAT, albeit the discussion is fun. Bit lame I guess but I don't know about you, but just when I think that Mac might have been the best I start recalling Borg say and his death defying runs at RG and Wimbledon, his winning percentage, the young age he stopped, with a wooden racket and so on and just find myself more confused than I started!
     
    #49
  50. BaseLineBash

    BaseLineBash Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    1,543
    Here ya go. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=1708055
     
    #50

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