Positive debates on GOAT candidates

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    When I mean here is we should have some posters argue positive reasons why a player is possibly the GOAT. Example-You shouldn't argue Federer isn't the GOAT because he get beaten by Nadal all the time. But you can use as an example of Nadal's strength that he beats Federer most of the time and all his other top rivals too.

    There should be some posters who I think could argue very well for certain players. It doesn't mean they necessarily believe it but they are in charge of giving positive arguments for the player.

    I think that Hoodjem and Urban know the career of Laver pretty well so I think if they want they could discuss the reasons why Laver is or could be the GOAT.

    I think NatF is pretty fair and objective and I know he likes Federer so I think he should discuss Federer if he wants to.

    Gee, I wonder who would want to be the advocate for Rosewall? I think I know.

    I would hope Dan Lobb would come back to discuss Lew Hoad and how great he was.

    You can be subjective too. You can write for example that Federer's forehand is possibly the greatest ever.

    None of this stuff about how evolution improves players because somehow I don't see how Nadal at 6'1" has a major physical edge over the 6'2" Tilden unless Nadal developed wings to fly.
    Evolution doesn't happen that fast.

    And please no ridiculous arguments that tend to happen between a few posters. That's why I wrote POSITIVE discussions.

    I'll start with TIlden.
    Tournaments won-160 plus
    Majors won-15 (if we include the World Hardcourt which was a major)
    Percentage of Tournaments won career-52% (est.)
    Winning percentage in best five years-98% (est.)

    Tilden, according to Bud Collins' book won from 1912 to 1930 in his amateur career (which essentially was the top level because he faced all the top competition) won 138 of 192 tournaments, lost 28 finals with a 907-62 match record. The winning percentage was .936! Tilden turn pro in the early 1930's and kept playing.

    There was a story Fred Perry related in his autobiography about Bill Tilden. Perry wrote that Tilden wanted to hit with him on a hot day in Independence, Kansas. Apparently when they got to the court he told Perry to hit a few to his forehand, short and wide. Perry did this and Tilden returned the balls using a perfect continental just like Fred Perry himself would. Tilden said that after watching Perry play so many times and studying his style he realized the continental grip and not his own Eastern grip was the best one for that sort of shot and Tilden felt he wouldn't be a complete player unless he had mastered it. Perry wrote that when Tilden perfected the continental grip he was 53 years old. That's very impressive to me. It just shows what a perfectionist Tilden was and how he was always trying to improve in tennis. I have no doubt Tilden would not only adjusted to today's game easily but developed new ideas for tennis.

    Tennis wouldn't be the same today if not for Tilden. Federer for all intents and purposes for examples plays with the concepts that Tilden developed. Tilden was a genius of Tennis.

    Subjectively many feel that overall that Tilden could do as much off both sides as any player ever. Vines wrote that he never played anyone who could do so much off both sides and Vines played Budge, Perry, Cochet and Nusslein. Tilden had a great serve, great footwork and mobility and a good but not great volley. Tilden also had fantastic return.

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/big-bill-tilden
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #1
  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,449
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    Very good thread idea pc1, I will probably write something about Federer but I'll leave it for a day or so. I'd like to do a piece on perhaps someone else too like Sampras. But Phoenix and others could write more about Sampras than I could.

    Might be interesting to see posters write a case for a player they don't normally favour.

    You could do Sampras to impress Phoenix then pc1 ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #2
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    I don't think anything I do would impress Phoenix1983. I like Sampras so I think I will.:)

    Incidentally those advocating a player should be fair and acknowledge that the player may not be perfect in every way. For example if someone wrote Nadal's backhand is the greatest ever and superior to Djokovic, well that's outrageous.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #3
  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Yes but I feel that you're more impartial than most and willing to discuss so I feel you're a great candidate for this. There are some posters who feel their chosen favorite is the greatest in everything not realizing that somehow they do lose a little more than they think. They may possibly know more but they wouldn't be as objective. Anyway you can get almost any information you need on Federer on the internet and I know you know his style and game.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #4
  5. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    why do you care so much about impressing me? :?

    I only started getting annoyed with you when you made that post stating that Gonzales was one of the best clay courters ever and would undoubtedly have beaten Kuerten over a series (paraphrasing).
     
    #5
  6. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    20,082
    Location:
    Relax folks, ...
    Superb thread.

    I'm just too busy but will check in on this one and contribute in the future.
     
    #6
  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    I don't care to be honest. It was something Nat was joking about and I went along with it.

    Stick to the topic. Already we're talking negative stuff.
     
    #7
  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Is there a player you would like to debate as the GOAT Nathaniel? You would be fabulous no matter who you would pick.
     
    #8
  9. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    What would impress me is if you stopped being so obsessed with percentages of matches won. But we all know that's not going to happen.
     
    #9
  10. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    20,082
    Location:
    Relax folks, ...
    I have a couple of ideas, yes. I will present thorough ideas/debate for why a couple of players can be considered to have a very strong case and I won't necessarily choose the players I like the most. It will be a useful exercise but it's worthy of considerable time and effort so it will have to wait a couple of days or with some fortune, tonight, because such an examination requires not just a look at positive slants and angles for players but also how they fit within the context of tennis history and how they might provide points of positive difference, even when these elements are scrutinized and put against other titans of tennis.
     
    #10
  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Looking forward to it.

    I'll also wait before or if I pick another player for fear of stealing that player away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #11
  12. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Great thread idea PC1. I'll contribute some thoughts on Bjorn Rune Borg and look forward to your positive thread. Your posts and threads are always a welcome sight.
     
    #12
  13. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,266
    i'd put Tilden near the top on the GOAT list. Like Fed, Petros, Laver, Tilden in no particular order
     
    #13
  14. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    20,082
    Location:
    Relax folks, ...
    No need to wait, it's fine if there are multiple attempts to justify GOATdom for one player... nothing to be stolen.
     
    #14
  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,772
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Everyone knows that Laver won the amateur Grand Slam in 1962 and the Open-Era Grand Slam in 1969. His intervening pro years are worth recollecting, also.

    Laver turned professional after completing the Grand Slam in 1962. He quickly established himself among the leading professional players such as Pancho Gonzales and Ken Rosewall. During the next seven years, Laver won the U.S. Pro Championships five times, including four in a row beginning in 1966. In the first half of 1963, Laver was beaten badly by both Rosewall and Hoad. Hoad won the first 8 matches against Laver, and Rosewall won 11 out of 13. By the end of the year, however, with six tournament titles, Laver had become the No. 2 professional player behind Rosewall.

    In 1964, Laver and Rosewall both won seven important titles (plus four minor events), but Laver won 15 of 19 matches against Rosewall and captured the two most prestigious titles, the U.S. Pro Championships over Gonzales and the Wembley Pro Championship over Rosewall. In tennis week, Raymond Lee has described the Wembley match, where Laver came from 5-3 down in the fifth set to win 8-6, as possibly their best ever and one that changed tennis history. Lee regards this win as the one that began and established Laver's long reign as world number one. The other prestige title, the French pro, was won by Rosewall.

    In 1965, Laver was clearly the No. 1 professional player, winning 17 titles and 13 of 18 matches against Rosewall. In ten finals, Laver won eight against the still dangerous Gonzales.

    In 1966, Laver won 16 events, including the U.S. Pro Championships, the Wembly Pro Championship, and eight other important tournaments.

    In 1967, Rocket won 19 titles, including the three tournaments that unofficially constituted the "Professional Grand Slam" (the London Indoor Professional Championship at Wembley, US Professional Championships, and the French Professional Championships), plus the trial-basis Wimbledon World Professional Championship. That tournament held on Wimbledon's fabled Centre Court was the only professional event ever staged on that court before the open era began. In the final Laver beat Rosewall 6–2, 6–2, 12–10.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
    #15
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Anyone you would like to discuss and debate is the GOAT?
     
    #16
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Excellent job Hoodjem. Thank you.:)
     
    #17
  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    hoodjem, Thanks for your list.

    But I must contradict a bit: Rosewall was No.1 in 1964 together with Laver as he won the official pro tour.

    Laver was not clearly No.1 in 1965. Rosewall won two majors beating Laver clearly.

    Laver had "only" three years of clear dominance: 1967 to 1969.
     
    #18
  19. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Bjorn Rune Borg

    Here is a summary on Bjorn Borg that I'll add to as I think of other items of note.

    -Bjorn Borg played in 27 majors. Pete Sampras played in 52 majors. Roger Federer has played in 60 majors to date and Rafael Nadal has played in 38 majors to date. He won at least 1 major for 8 years in a row. Nadal has now won at least 1 major for 9 years in a row now, surpassing both Borg and Federer in that regard during the Open Era.

    -Borg won three Channel Slams in a row between 1978-1980, and did not play the '77 FO due to his participation in WTT. He chose to play WTT and the French Open barred WTT players from playing. He lost a record 32 games to win the '78 FO.

    -Borg won a record 41 matches in a row at Wimbledon and won the 1976 Wimbledon title without losing a set.

    -Borg holds the Davis Cup record with a streak of 33 straight wins. He led Sweden to it's first ever Davis Cup title in 1975. He won his first Davis Cup match at 15, with a five set win over Onny Parun.

    -Borg played a heavy schedule of both official (ATP sanctioned) and unofficial tournaments while playing fewer majors per year between 1973-1981.

    -In his first year at the majors, when Borg was 17 in 1973, he reached the R16 at the AO, US Open, and the FO, while reaching the QF at Wimbledon (a boycott year albeit). He then won his first major at the FO, which was just the fifth major he played.

    -Borg won ~41% of the majors he played and 89.8% of the matches he played at the majors. Due partly to his retiring at or near his peak (25-26) but also due to incredible win rate, those are top percentages for any player. Nadal is the closest to Borg in terms of those two metrics (check the numbers for even Federer and Nadal through any point in their careers and check them against Borg's numbers and that becomes clear). I believe Nadal, Borg, and Connors are at the top in terms of overall win percentage (all singles) at about 83% down to ~81%. Keep in mind that there is the whole question of "official" matches/tourneys counted and "unofficial" matches/tourneys played yet that's another matter.

    -Borg won 23 official indoor titles, including 1 WCT title and 2 Masters YEC titles (Masters Cup at NY's MSG). Borg went 5-0 versus Lendl, McEnroe, and Connors while winning the Masters played in Jan. 80 and Jan. 81 at New York's Madison Square Garden, indoors at Madison Square Garden before crowds that reached up to 19K.

    -Borg was a revolutionary player in many ways, including his playing style and use of topspin/two handed backhand. Look at how he chose to win Wimbledon with a different formula as an example. Look at the players that essentially followed in his footsteps and those of Lendl I would submit. His use of a personal coach that traveled with him exclusively everywhere was also a new thing at the time. He helped usher in a Golden Age of tennis during the mid-1970's through 1981. The sport reached an apex of popularity in many countries all at once, in the period following the onset of the Open Era.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    #19
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Just a wonderful post and that's what I would expect from you.:)
     
    #20
  21. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Thanks PC1, likewise friend. Great thread concept as others have noted as well.
     
    #21
  22. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    Far away
    Some very high quality posts in this thread. While I lurk this section much more than I post in it, I think I'll throw together a reply about Nadal later tonight. Not the hugest fan of him, but I think he deserves to be in the conversation.
     
    #22
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Yes Borg in 1980 Masters did what Mac at the 80 Open
    Very impressive
     
    #23
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    I don' t believe he is but JMac records qualify him for the debate
    In 77 became the only Wim sf (aged 18) to go so far from qualies.
    his team record,that is DC +Doubs is by far the best of the open era
    Won 1980 USO beating on after the other 3 guys that many consider top ten ever and anybody top ten open era
    7 outdoor slams and 8 indoor slams with a rècord of 5 WCT titles
    His 84 season speaks for itself
    His historical finals that rate among the all time greats
    80 W
    80 US
    83 WCT
    84 RG
    As well as those two US semis against Jimbo

    And a big big untangible: he along Borg,Connors and Lendl defined the peak of the peak Golden Era which makes him one of the biggest ever influencers in the history of tennis and without his contribution tennis would not have reached those off chart heights that placed the sport in the big league
     
    #24
  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,449
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    Thanks. I think I'll write my piece about Federer first while it's on my mind, get it out of the way. Then I can focus on discussing these other greats a bit more.

    Ok so...

    Roger Federer


    *Please note a lot of the statistics I will be referring to are Open Era records - not necessarily all time records*

    To start with I will just say that I tend to stay away from declaring a single player the GOAT, however it is my opinion that Federer is the greatest player of the Open Era and perhaps by some margin if I'm being truly honest.

    I'm going to start with his dominance in majors. He has 17 slams and 6 YEC's, I make this a total of 23 majors. Although I realize some will argue that the YEC is not a major. Anyway both his 17 slams and 6 YEC's are records in those events, the next best being 14 and 5 respectively. I would also like to note here that I am aware that other great players Lendl, Mac etc...have more indoors majors than Federer does. I only talking about the current YEC (WTF as it now known, I quite dislike that name so I won't be referring to it as such from here on out). So back on topic his high number of majors alone should vault him high up in any conversation about potential best of all times IMO. But there's a lot more to it than that. His dominance in majors extends beyond just the total numbers.

    For starters at 3 of the slams he is the joint record holder. He is equal to Agassi and Djokovic at the AO, equal with Connors and Sampras at the USO and tied with Sampras at Wimbledon (again in the Open Era). He is the only male player to have at least 4 titles at 3 of the 4 biggest events. He is also the only player to have reached the finals of all 4 slams at least 5 times. And again he has a record 6 YEC's. He has therefore been extremely dominant at 4/5 biggest events in tennis today.

    A little more on his record at the YEC, what is particularly impressive is that on 5 of those occasions he won the YEC without losing a match! That is 5 times he has won 5 straight matches against top 10 opponents in the same tournament.

    Further stats to show his dominance are that he is the only player to have 2 streaks of 5 consecutive titles at 2 majors. From 03-07 he won 5 straight Wimbledon's and from 04-08 he won 5 straight USO titles. At the AO he has 11 straight semi finals appearances at the AO. Even at his weakest slam he managed 4 straight finals - Roland Garros.

    He is the only player to win 3 slams in a year on 3 occasions. No one else has managed it twice. In those 3 years he also won the YEC as well for 4/5 biggest events. Furthermore in 2 of them he made the finals of all 4 slams as well. In fact Federer has reached the finals in all 4 slam tournaments on 3 separate occasions.

    For 5 years you could be almost certain to see Federer on the second Sunday as he made 18/19 finals including streaks of 10 finals in a row and 8 finals in a row. Both of those are the 2 top streaks in that category. He also made 23 consecutive semi finals and 36 quarter finals. His consistency at the big events has been quite frankly mind boggling and is a strong argument for his versatility on all surfaces.

    My final point on his dominance in slams is that during a 4 stretch he won 11/16 slams. Great players have taken 8 years to win what he won in half the time.

    In terms of ranking he holds the record for total weeks spent at #1 at 302, he also holds the record for consecutive weeks at #1 that number being 237. I find his consecutive weeks stat extremely impressive, there was no a single 52 week period for 4 and a half year where anyone preformed better than he did. He also at 31 years of age took back the #1 ranking from his prime/peak rivals Nadal/Djokovic/Murray all of whom are at least 5 years younger than he is. It is worth noting here that Sampras holds the record for YE 1#'s in the Open Era. Federer is of course still in the top 4 at 32 years of age, I expect he would have remained there last year as well if not for his back troubles.

    In terms of win percentage at he height of his powers over 3 years he went 247-15 for a win percent of 94%, other great players have of course managed similar numbers. He has the record for unbeaten streaks on hard courts and grass. Against top 10 opponents Federer from late 2003 to early 2005 went on an unbeaten run of 24 straight wins! His record against the top 10 is one of the best there is. He also has the record for longest unbeaten streak in finals with 24.

    Finally there's Federer's level of play, for those who have a spare 30 minutes there is this video...

    Federer's top 100 best shots

    It's impossible to compile a career of great shot making into a single video but the author does a good job IMO. Federer can hit every shot, he's hit some of the most stunning backhand winners down the line I've seen, some of the most devious drop shots and impeccably placed lobs too. He's returned 140 mph serves back to the servers feet and has half volleyed big ground strokes back from the baseline. He has excellent touch and can volley well though he is more comfortable at the baseline. He has the talent to succeed in any era. His biggest weapons are his movement (with almost second to none footwork) combined with his anticipation, his serve which is excellent in clutch moments and can hit the spots extremely well, his touch and ability to improvise incredible shots and of course his forehand. His forehand is arguably the greatest of all time.

    So that is a fairly long post on why I think Federer is a GOAT contender. I think that is fairly comprehensive although I'm sure others will point anything I may have missed.

    I will comment on some other greats a little bit later on.
     
    #25
  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    You wanna talk shots?
    OK I'll bring up Laver or Hoadie
     
    #26
  27. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,449
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    It's a positive thread kiki, please do bring up Laver and his abilities as a player it's an important reason for why he is one of the premier GOAT's. Hoad is of course not a GOAT contender for anything other than peak level...
     
    #27
  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    TBH
    I don' t wish to go through it again but in case you are interested in my Laver' s Analisi I opened a thread on this section called Rod Laver' s game
     
    #28
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Very well done.:) Excellent information.
     
    #29
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    I would love it if you discuss Laver or Hoad.
     
    #30
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    That would be nice.

    I may take Gonzalez and Rosewall. I have all the numbers on Rosewall already. I've seen Rosewall play in person at majors numerous times and on television so I'm well acquainted with Rosewall's style of play. So I think I can discuss him pretty well in depth.
     
    #31
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    A lot of people feel John McEnroe especially in 1984 had the greatest season history of tennis. A number of people have thought of John McEnroe has the greatest ever. I believe World Tennis magazine around 1986 had a fantasy all-time tennis tournament and John McEnroe won the tournament.
     
    #32
  33. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,449
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    Thanks for this post, Borg is certainly underrated by a lot of people nowadays.

    Do you have any numbers of the unofficial tournaments he won? Were these treated as serious tournaments by the participants? What were the draws like etc...
     
    #33
  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Yes but he was the fashionable man in 80
     
    #34
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Tíminz and me had a very enjoyable thread on the subject at Golden Era Exhibitions
    If you need a fast draft I will help you there with first hand memories and experiences but need some time
     
    #35
  36. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,449
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    I'd like to know more, I'd be happy to take some of your time while you explain it to me ;). Or if you want to just show me the thread I can do some reading and reply with my thoughts.
     
    #36
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Well finding it will take time, its deep down the scroll
    What kind of info you need?
     
    #37
  38. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Thank you. Borg will be an all time great for as long as tennis is played and watched. Yes, this is the best spot I've seen in terms of a compilation of his tournaments played and won. There is a lot of good work shown at this link. For Bjorn Borg, see these 101 tournament wins is the total compiled thus far here, with 37 titles not listed by the ATP. He won 23 official (ATP) indoor titles among those:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Björn_Borg_career_statistics

    Connors for example, liked to play for money and the sheer competition anywhere, whether it was Centre Court or elsewhere at a currently "unofficial per ATP" tourney. The thing is that people don't realize how competitive and tough some of the "unofficial matches" played were, played in say South America and other parts of the globe. Think of even the old pro tours with Rosewall, Gonzalez, Laver, Hoad, and company and those series of matches. So, Borg was playing a heavy unofficial schedule on top of a heavy official schedule and he did that from the time he was about 17, though he played his pro match at 15. Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Gerulaitis, Vilas and others were in effect laying the foundation for a global sport while ramping up popularity in the traditional powerhouse countries for tennis, namely England, the United States, France, and Australia. In my opinion, you can have continued global spreading of tennis, and that work continues to this day, yet tennis badly needs the U.S., England, Australia and France to really be vested in tennis as a sport, with money, resources, fan bases, and of course great players too. Look at Borg did for tennis in Sweden alone in terms of the great players that followed him just in his home country as an example of this impact on the sport. All the toil and effort for years that Borg put in was instrumental for the sport and he was actually someone that really did not seek out the spotlight, yet his aura was something that caused such a following among tennis fans.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ1GS-t9pDk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoB9KnKn-vA

    "Fire and Ice" Clips

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPGh4p0dyIk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbvmPjYA5CA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWYCnJXEJNE
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
    #38
  39. ScentOfDefeat

    ScentOfDefeat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,405
    The thing about McEnroe is his inclination for the game. When he retired he was completely surpassed by the newer generation. But if you look at how he's playing as a senior, the intensity he brings to the game - and, frankly, the quality as well - is quite astonishing for a man in his 50s. Now that he's used to the new technology, he's beating younger guys that he hadn't come close to beating in the latter part of his career.

    His game is all about flair. He was probably the most naturally talented player before Federer came along - and I'd argue he's probably superior to the Swiss master in terms of talent because his game didn't just "click" like Federer's did at some point: his idiosyncratic game, that only he can play, has always been there, in all its glorious quirkiness, since he started playing as a professional. I think what still fascinates people in McEnroe's game is how connected it is to his body, the way he moves, his singularity as a person. There is no artificial dimension in Mac's game, everything flows from his natural stance and movement. It's a hard quality to explain but I see it in Laver and in Leconte as well. It's almost like they were made for playing tennis (they're all lefties, which is an interesting coincidence).

    One of Mac's contributions to the game is therefore completely intangible; it's the simple fact that no one can forget the was he played tennis. He's nowhere near what people traditionally consider to be a GOAT candidate but he's indelible in the tennis world's recollection of itself, and was even mentioned by a philosopher like Gilles Deleuze who considered him an inventor (Deleuze was very interested in what he called the "creative act" in any human activity, from philosophy to the arts, to sports and science).
     
    #39
  40. Kenshin

    Kenshin Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    749
    I will write about one of my favorite players ever, Pete Sampras. Pete was special from an early age. He became the youngest male player to win US open by beating Andre Agassi in 1990. Until his retirement in 2002, he won 14 grandslams. He reached No.1 and stayed as No.1 for 286 weeks. He holds the record for the most year-end No.1 for six consecutive times. He has won 5 world tour finals.

    While he could play on slow hard (2 AO titles) and on clay (semi-final at RG)
    Sampras was especially successful on fast courts like grass, medium-to-fast hard courts and indoor carpet . He has won 7 Wimbledon and 5 US open. I believe he was the best fast court player of all time. I also consider him the best grass courter as well. One can argue Roger Federer as the best grass courter too, but I chose Pete over Roger because of his game style (traditional serve and volley style so you can associate more with grass court ) and he had to overcome real grass court(more faster in the 90's) and had to deal with a lot of good grass courter in his generation.

    Pete is the first hybrid of players who can serve and volley effectively while choose to stay back and rally with his opponents. His first serve and second serve combo is widely considered the best in history. His volley is one of the best along Edberg and McEenroe. He also had the best running forehand. In that sense, he was the ultimate all-court player who I've seen. That is why I believe Pete Sampras was one of the best player of all time and a serious GOAT candidate.
     
    #40
  41. ScentOfDefeat

    ScentOfDefeat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,405
    This is a great point. We often try to compare players across eras, compare their achievements, the way they fare against the competition - but sometimes we forget that the generations before the 90's were still building the foundations of the modern game. We are too quick to look at Sampras, Federer or Nadal for the sheer numbers that constitute their accomplishments but we don't recall the fact that they're playing on "stable ground" as it were.

    Everything's been done for them, the ATP was already there when they started playing and from then on "all they had to do" (as if it's not a lot, I know, but bear with me) is pile up the titles and the records in an even field with a centralized bureaucracy. No amateur/pro split, no rival tours, no grey areas (such as the competitive unofficial matches you referred), etc.

    The rationalization of the game, whose foundations were laid by previous generations who did not benefit from a homogenized world tennis organization, has given the current generations (since the 90's) a huge advantage in terms of knowing how to rate a career or a player's general achievements.

    Nowadays there are no distractions, ambiguities or grey areas and everyone plays for the same homogenized records. And these very recent criteria are the ones we use to rate all the great players in tennis history. Let's not forget this.
     
    #41
  42. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Bingo. This is one of the best posts you'll read in a while!
     
    #42
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,475
    Fantastic post!!

    It's funny about John McEnroe the first time I saw him play I thought to myself that this guy will never make it because his style is so ugly. Yet somehow it all the ugliness of his style he made aesthetically beautiful shots. I saw a thread in the general put Pro player in which some people said John McEnroe's volleys were aesthetically pleasing. I thought to myself at this point are they seeing the same volleying style I'm seeing? Some people have joked the John McEnroe never bent his knees on the volley in his life! It's somehow he managed to pull off the most obscene winners with the volley and off the ground.

    It took a little while for me to understand his style. He's very underrated as a baseliner. His movement was not as flowing as a Borg or a Mecir was superb. So off the baseline he did some slices, some Topspin,some looping shots, some weird angles and somehow it would he would find a way to disturb his opponents style of play. He also hit the ball so early.

    And that weird looking serve!! It just looked so strange to me! It was hardly the classic service motion of a Pancho Gonzalez for example. It was not the fastest serve. But somehow with that weird service motion it became perhaps the best serve in tennis!

    He backed it up with incredible reflexes and that super volley of his.

    I often rooted against him because of his antics of the court. Yet at the same time I wanted to root for him because of his genius. John McEnroe is one of the most unique players I've ever seen, perhaps the most unique.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
    #43
  44. ScentOfDefeat

    ScentOfDefeat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,405
    And I'd just like to add that he's one of those very rare players who are acclaimed and lauded not only by his fans but also by those who disliked him or didn't root for him (or preferred Borg, Connors, etc). This fact, in itself, should be a lesson for fans of the contemporary game and its respective fanbases.
     
    #44
  45. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Scent of Defeat, that's another great point about a lot of mutual respect between those players and their fan bases as well. Also, I agree as to McEnroe, he had a unique flair for how he played the game. You need that variety to keep the sport interesting, with contrasting styles and ways to hit the ball, since the possibilities are really endless there in that department.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #45
  46. ScentOfDefeat

    ScentOfDefeat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,405
    Hah, it looks like the guy in the middle is scratching Borg's head.

    But yeah, respect between fanbases is one of the things that makes a generation of tennis champions a legendary one.
     
    #46
  47. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Interesting, McEnroe an Anti-Oedipus. Must be a nice confrontation with Connors, the classic Oedipus.
     
    #47
  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,772
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Monsieur Bobby,
    You may differ in opinion, but I believe the facts are not on your side.

    I find these posts very persuasive, convincing, and decisive.

    My opinion is that in one year winning 11 tournaments compared to another player's 10, and having a 15-4 H2H against that same player makes the former player the no. 1 player for that year.

    I grant that it is a close call, but to my powers of analysis the conclusion is clear.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
    #48
  49. ScentOfDefeat

    ScentOfDefeat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,405
    Hahaha. I don't think that was Deleuze's claim but I guess it makes sense. It's true that Connors is profoundly oedipian.
     
    #49
  50. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Not on a goat candidate but on a great player. Herbert Warren Wind's remarks on Roy Emerson after the Davis Cup final of 1964, which was played on clay at Cleveland:

    He is foremost a player, rather than a thrilling shotmaker. His service and his first volley cannot compare to Hoad's. His backhand is far inferior to Rosewall's - whose isn't - and Rosewall returns service better. Sedgman had a much surer forehand and a more powerful overhead. Laver is just as fast afoot and produces much more exciting passing shots. Emerson merely does everything pretty damn well, or - closer to the point - there is nothing he does poorly. I can't think of no player since the war - and there have been far greater stars - I would rather have on my side and playing the fifth match in a Challenge Round with everything riding on it.
     
    #50

Share This Page