Players you loved to watch.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Paul Murphy, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    I posted a similar thread elsewhere about current players.
    Now let's look at past players only.

    1) Lendl: I loved the power he brought to the game, his forehand and his domination on US hardcourts and the aura he brought to the game.
    I thought his running line backhand was a thing of beauty.
    Loved his rivalry with McEnroe.
    Made tennis in the 1980s the most exciting era for me.
    Also admired the way he came back from a succession of defeats in majors to win eight of them and "own" most of the 1980s through his weeks at No.1.

    2) McEnroe: The master of touch, the lefty serve was a delight.
    His behaviour was appalling at times but he brought undeniable excitement to the game.
    I loved the S/V versus baseliner confrontation with Lendl and Connors - the contrast in styles is what I miss so much about tennis now.

    3) Couldn't stand the guy but loved his return game. It was fascinating watching him pick apart big servers.
    Overdid the theatrics and aggression but played a major part in making tennis what it was the 1980s.

    Basically any major which featured those three in the semis was always going to be worth watching.

    Opinions?
     
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  2. McLovin

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    1. Edberg - Best serve & volley game in the Open era IMO. You knew he was coming. 1st serve, 2nd serve, return, clay, hard, break point up, match point down.
    2. Rafter - After Edberg retired, his was the most exciting serve & volley to watch, especially vs. a returner like Agassi.
    3. Fernando Gonzalez - No one, and I mean no one, could hit a winner like this guy. Sure, I had to endure a butt-load of unforced errors, but man, when he hit the ball, he hit the ball!
     
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  3. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    First and foremost I loved the players that made the game look easy knowing full well that it wasn't. These would include:

    McEnroe
    Krishnan
    Mandlikova
    Neiland
    Bunge
    McNeil
    Leconte
    Zvereva
    Goolagong
    Santoro
    Novotna
    Mecir
    Nastase
    And then there are others that I liked either because of their personalities or some part of their game:

    Jaeger
    Arias
    Ruzici
    Lindqvist
    Edberg
    Shriver
    Sukova
    Wade
    L. Gildemeister
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I assume number three is Andre Agassi?
     
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  5. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    No. But interesting that you'd think that - the first line does describe him perfectly.
    Sorry.
    It's Connors.
     
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  6. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    All except for the "couldn't stand the guy" bit.
    I liked Agassi - certainly the more mature version we saw from the late 1990s anyway.
     
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  7. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    suwanee, i like your reasoning.
    players that made it look easy.
    and the ones you mention somewhat date you in the same age group as myself:)
    provided you mean ramesh and not ramanathan krishnan:)
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Connors was one of my favorites to watch.

    Here's a list in no order-Leconte, Noah, Laver, Borg, Rosewall, Mecir, Orantes, Nastase, Connors, Lendl, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Vilas, Agassi, Edberg, Becker, Sampras, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Kuerten, McEnroe Vijay Amritraj.

    Favorite rivalries-Borg-Connors, Connors-McEnroe, Laver-Rosewall, Federer-Nadal, Nadal-Djokovic.

    Women-Evert, Navratilova, Goolagong, King, Graf, Seles, Serena, Venus, Henin, Clijsters, Mandlikova, Court, Sharapova (too much noise and just one style of play but I enjoy how she competes), Capriati, Hingis.

    Favorite rivalries-Evert-Goolagong (my favorite among the women), Evert-Navratilova, Graf-Seles, Clijsters-Serena, King-Goolagong, Henin-Capriati.

    Wife's personal favorite-Henri Leconte-Brilliant shotmaker but wild.
     
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  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    The Rocket - Unmatched intensity. Never seen anything like him before or since.

    Federer - The most graceful, efficient, at ease, game I've ever seen.

    Agassi - The way he punished balls from on top of, or inside, the baseline was unprecedented.

    Rosewall - An aesthetically beautiful and deceptive game. Probably the most consistent execution ever, other than Borg.

    Borg - The speed, athleticism, power and consistency were superhuman.

    Connors - The ultimate tennis warrior. Amazing depth, power and consistency from the ground.

    McEnroe - At his peak, it seemed like he could beat anyone with his left hand while eating a ham sandwitch with his right hand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
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  10. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    great list; love the McEnroe quote....he was simply amazing and he made it look oh so easy....
     
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  11. Devilito

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    Agassi
    Courier
    Korda
    Pioline
    Lendl
    Becker
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The bolded part is a great line. :) How true.
     
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  13. BTURNER

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    The artists: McEnroe, Leconte, Goolagong, Santoro, Federer,Mecir
    The clinicians: Evert, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Hingis
    The athletes: Navatilova, Graf, Becker, Serena, sampras, edberg.
     
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  14. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Leconte, Santoro, Gene Mayer, Krishnan
     
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  15. BrooklynNY

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    Sampras, Federer, Korda, Corretja
     
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  16. AlfaAce

    AlfaAce Rookie

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    I agree. What has happened to today's tennis... especially the S/V player?!?!
     
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  17. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Agassi
    Santoro
    Edberg
    Borg
    Dolgopolov
    Federer
    McEnroe
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
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  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Players I love to watch:

    Thomas Muster
    Rafael Nadal
    Goran Ivanisevic
    Pancho Gonzales
    Rod Laver
    Jimmy Connors
    Guillermo Vilas
    Bjorn Borg
    Roscoe Tanner
    Vitas Gerulaitis
    Tim Mayotte
    Mats Wilander
    Aaron Krickstein
    Miloslav Mecir
    Henri Leconte
    Boris Becker
    Jim Courier
    Monica Seles
    Jennifer Capriati
    Aranxta Sanchez Vicario
    Mary Pierce
    Fabrice Santoro
    Alberto Berasategui
    Sergi Bruguera
    Andrei Medvedev
    Albert Costa
    Yevgeny Kafelnikov
    Petr Korda
    Marcelo Rios
    Gustavo Kuerten
    Magnus Norman
    Lleyton Hewitt
    Marat Safin
    Alexander Popp
    Juan Carlos Ferrero
    David Nalbandian
    Guillermo Coria
    Kim Clijsters
    Gilles Muller
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  19. heftylefty

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    Former players I loved to watch

    Wilander
    Edberg
    Rafter
     
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  20. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    Rather than repeat what others have said, I'll throw out Hingis-Kournikova doubles. Uniquely entertaining as partners, and they won a couple Slams together.
     
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  21. Tshooter

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    @Mustard "Tim Mayotte"

    A nice guy. But he was among the most boring players I've ever watched and I've watched them all since Rosewall. Seriously this guy makes Jim Grabb seem exciting.

    Former: Nastase

    Current: Monfils

    Thumbs up on the poster listing Krishnan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
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  22. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Hello. Could you tell us more about Rod's unmatched intensity? I'd like to hear about how it manifested itself and what sets him apart from all the other greatly intense players in the history of tennis such as Connors, Nadal, and the like.
     
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  23. Paul Murphy

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    Elegantly put. :)
     
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  24. Paul Murphy

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    Of the women - Navratilova by far.
    Aggressive, interesting game, lovely contrast to most on the tour.
    She made women's tennis very interesting - her S/V versus baseliner battles with Evert were redolent of the Lendl/McEnroe match-up.
     
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  25. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Edberg is what made me fall in love with tennis. Today I love to watch Tsonga.
     
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  26. BTURNER

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    No other player induced me to ask, "How did she ever get her racket on that and get the ball control to get it back?" nearly as often. She did Becker dives at the net, when Becker was studying his multiplication tables and kept on doing them after he retired. She had no right to steal those points from Evert. Bionic women do not belong in the main draw.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  27. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Missed off Lleyton Hewitt. :wink:
     
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  28. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Nastase, Rosewall, Federer.
    Among the women, Navratilova, Evert, BJK, Goolagong, Mandlikova, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Sharapova.
     
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  29. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Oops. So I did. I've edited my post ;)
     
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  30. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I guess one way to describe intensity is a combination of effort, talent and skill. Laver played with the highest level of effort, talent and skill that I've ever seen. He just played harder, and had more weapons, and more talent than anyone else. He ran faster, jumped higher, hit harder, never compromized, never temporized, and never gave less than 100%, ever. It was written that when watching Rod Laver play, it was easy to forget that he was human. And, that's a fact.

    In tennis, the closest I've seen to the intensity that Laver played at were by Cliff Richey, Jimmy Connors, Thomas Muster, Llayton Hewitt and maybe Rafael Nadal.

    I've written many times that I would compare Laver's intensity to that of Walter Payton and Michael Jordan. If you have ever seen them play live, you know what I'm talking about.
     
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  31. Cesare

    Cesare Semi-Pro

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    Adriano Panatta at his best (year 1976)
     
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  32. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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    Federer , Agassi , Becker , Mcenroe , Edberg , Borg

    the first 3 are my favourite ones
     
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  33. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Of course. Thank you very much for the elaboration. In the footage I have seen of Laver, he does seem almost desperate to win the point and play with 100% effort, with how his limbs sprawl around the court, and it was matched with an unbelievable amount of talent and skill. By comparison, you won't catch Federer doing much with his body that could result in some sort of injury, such as a Boris Becker dive. In fact, he does often give off the vibe that he's churning along at 95% instead of 100%
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Edberg and Mecir.
     
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  35. JLyon

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    Loved to watch Guga play he was just fun to watch.
    Sampras and Edberg with their S&V game
    Lendl and Graf with their ball bashing
    Jim Courier with his baseball swing BH and huge FH
    Finally loved Thomas Muster and his all out assault on the ball
     
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  36. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Federer is the master of efficiency. He has the best, most efficient, footwork technique and movement I've ever seen. But, he doesn't have the flat out speed, acrobatics or explosiveness that Laver had. He is very similar to Nastase in that respect.
     
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  37. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I absolutely adored watching Safin growing up. The guy was such a monster when he won his first slam in 2000. It's one of the reasons I really got into tennis. Same goes for Sampras in the late 90's and early 2000's. :)

    -Fuji
     
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  38. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Safin was a monster. Imagine if Safin had Borg's focus and competitiveness. 20 majors?
     
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  39. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Injuries slowed Safin down after 2005.
     
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  40. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Honestly if Safin did have the focus and competitiveness of Borg, I think we'd still be talking about him and Federer in the Head to Head for GOAT. I think they're rivalry would have been much like Nadal. As stated though after 2005 the injuries really piled up.

    I think they should make a Fed-Safin hybrid. It would be unstoppable! :lol:

    -Fuji
     
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  41. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I've never seen Ramanathan play but would like to. I do love me some Ramesh though. People always describe him as "silky smooth" but I can't think of any other way to describe a male player of his calibur without feminizing the adjective. There were times when he passed Mac and Mac would look so silly because he honestly wouldn't know where Ramesh was going with the ball.

    Can't believe I left off Lori McNeil. Another smooth player that when she trusted her instincts was sheer beauty in motion.
     
    #41
  42. fire_eaters

    fire_eaters New User

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    Justine henin was my favorite player to watch. Best one handed backhand I've ever seen
     
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  43. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    You make a great point. For me, Martina made other players much more watchable. Sanchez Vicario bored me to death because her moonballs and looping strokes rarely served an actual purpose other than to keep an opponent back and possibly lull them to sleep. But when she played Martina she was forced to play more aggressively and show off the decent net skills that she possessed.

    Martina also forced others out of their comfort zone. Had it not been for her I might've never realized what a good forehand volley Evert has. That's not a knock on Evert as I genuinely enjoyed watching her play doubles.
     
    #43
  44. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

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    Becker - Very first match I ever watched was Becker-Curran 1985 Wimbledon Final. Made me a tennis fan. Back in those days, I was a kid who loved big strong guys...favorite superheroes were all big strong guys. My one superpower would've been super strength, all that stuff. Becker matched all that and more. Big guy, big huge serve, powerful forehand, all that stuff. Plus he had enough flair in his matches to make it fun. His rivalry with Lendl was fun too.

    McEnroe - Never have I seen more of an "angles" genius in my life. For all of his faults, the guy just knew how to hit shots, time and time again, that were impossible for the very best in the world to hit. Even when he was fading away and not winning regularly anymore, you'd see him hit those angles against Courier, or someone of that nature, and Courier knowing he had zero chance at it...and those guys at that level get just about everything. Not to mention that JMac had a court sense like Larry Bird had basketball sense.

    Connors - Simply loved the fight he exhibited every single match. He'd hustle against the 500th player in the world...hated even conceding a point. Love that attitude.

    Edberg - Net game was Picasso-like, and I always loved his second serves. Nothing like Federer, but he had a dancer's like footwork too. Beautiful to watch.

    Sampras - Simply...the serve. Wish he would've adapted on clay, but his dominance on grass is only matched by one man.

    Ferrer - Goes without saying, and everyone here knew this would be coming. Just love his consistency every single match. Even when he's getting beat to death(like the RG semi against Nadal), he keeps fighting, grinding, and hitting. Places the ball beautifully just about every single shot, and outside the Top 3(Murray can't do this), it's near impossible to force him into multiple mistakes, so breaking him is a rare gem. His constant winning is not a fluke. No big weapons, but his whole game is one big weapon.

    Nadal - Idiot fanboys aside, this is one of the all time greats. So much fight, and he has an uncanny ability to come up with an unreal and impossible shot to change the course of a match more than anyone I've ever seen.

    Federer - Simply the Maestro. The James Bond of tennis, with the unmatched combination of strength and grace. Never seems to sweat, and never makes a noise on the court(footwork I mean). The greatest of all time, and I hope to see him play in person before he retires.
     
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  45. smirker

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    For me the player that made tennis look easy was Steffi Graf. In her prime no one even got near to beating her, the female Federer of her era. Also loved to watch Henin as it was always astounding how hard such a tiny woman could hit the ball.

    On the mens side Becker was why I took up tennis but also loved watching Agassi for the showmanship. Sampras was arguably the better competitor but never as good to watch.
     
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  46. NickJ

    NickJ Rookie

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    There's so so many that could be included in this, and I see that they've all been named in other posts before including my choice below. But if i had to say one, just one, player that was a joy to watch and I finally got to see him 'in the flesh' in his last year at Wimbledon was, Fabrice Santoro. Always Santoro. Only Santoro.
    He wasn't my favourite player, I grew up loving McEnroe, then Agassi, now it's Tsonga and Berdych. But, you just had to watch him if you could. Even if you ask the professionals themselves, I would say a good 75% of them would say Santoro.
    He played in such a way that was unnerving if you were on the opposite side of the net. I never have been, never would have got close to being on the same court as him but it would have been so much fun just trying to win points against him. You know what you're in for but powerless to do absolutely anything about it. You don't get the name 'The Magician' without a trick or two . . . Genius.
     
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  47. treblings

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    i have to mention Mikael Pernfors.
    he would fight till the last point and often win against more talented opponents.
     
    #47
  48. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    Steffi Graf - The most beautiful game ever for me

    Pete Sampras
    Bjorn Borg
    Novak Djokovic
    Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
    Lindsay Davenport
    Conchita Martinez
    Michael Stich
    Patrick Rafter
    Magnus Larsson
    Irina Spirlea
    Tommy Haas
     
    #48
  49. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Mikael is still a hero of sorts in my area. I used to see him from time to time in and around Atlanta but its been a while. As good of a player as he is he's an even better person.
     
    #49
  50. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    that´s good to know:)
    he even played with my racquet for a number of years, the wimbledon graphite.
     
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