Positive debates on GOAT candidates

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

  1. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    borg number one: The fact that Gionzalez did not play a single match in 1962 but was ranked by Amdur No.1 player is not a good sign for tennis writing in those days. Most experts then (and many also today) just under-rate GOAT candidate Rosewall. Hoad was great in peak level but his hardly a GOAT candidate.
     
  2. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,640
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I actually think Hoad is right there BobbyOne. He had a very unique career arc of course and he was gifted no doubt. He was brilliant at times, inconsistent at times and quite unlucky in many ways in terms of injury too. He pushed the game forward mightily and for that I give him a lot of credit. I think that Hoad, Nadal, and Borg were three of the most physically gifted tennis players ever (Gonzalez and Sampras are two more among others in my opinion). Some great tennis players/athletes are just plain wired differently physically/athletically. I think that was true of Lew Hoad. You can't easily measure it either based on just height/weight/bmi/sprint times etc. It all goes back to looking at cumulative achievements over the course of a long career versus perhaps basing assessments with more weighting towards peak play/prime years.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Rod Laver was also a gifted athlete.His jumping, coordination, speed and massive forearm are the basis of his success, along extraordinary feel and ball touch and uncommon ( yet developed with time) tactical sense.
     
  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    Interesting information, Borg No 1.

    The article says that Gonzales was the greatest tennis player never to win Wimbledon, and I agree. Certainly no other names come to mind. ;-)
     
  5. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,774
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    Ahem...I think you're forgetting someone. Get serious and show Lendl some respect ;)
     
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    I agree with your opinion of Hoad.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    To me greatness is the ability to overcome your weaknesses and make them strength or at least, find unlearned strengths that can overcome weakness

    So, it is not a measure against the field but against yourself

    Therefore, that concept is linked to who gave his best and overcame his shortcomings as a measure of greatness

    You´d be surprised if you look deep down it.
     
  8. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,640
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Absolutely. Strong as heck also. I was thinking the same thing. Rod Laver's athleticism is underrated these days. He made his stature work in his favor in many ways, to outmaneuver his often taller, less agile opponents.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Holy Cow!

    Did he saw off the handles on a 15 oz. Maxply? And wield those like a pin-pong paddle?
     
  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    You two are terrible!

    Now, go eat your peas and carrots.:razz:
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Yes, he was strong but also quick ad nimble.Perfect athletics for this game.
     
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    I thought Laver was arguably the most gifted player of all time and with that is his superb athleticism. He was incredibly fast, quick, with fantastic reflexes and he was very strong, especially with his left arm and wrist which were huge. He was stronger for example than much bigger players like a John Newcombe or a Barry MacKay.

    The great ones like Laver can adapt to anything their opponents toss at them. Laver was great at taking balls on the rise, often almost on the half volley to gave his opponents less time to recover from the previous shot.

    Even though Laver was shorter than some greats like Gonzalez he had a fantastic overhead because of his quickness in moving back to smash the overhead. Laver's quickness and reaction time also gave him excellent range to cover passing shots at the net. His serve, because of his powerful wrist was excellent and the fact that he was a lefty certainly helped him.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Even if i do consider him the GOAT, if there is any ( which I doubt), three things missing on him:

    1/ a lack of WCT crown, even if one point away of the title
    2/ Doubs record is good but not great ( see Hoad,Emmo,Rosewall,Newcombe)
    3/complete lack of slam interest after 1969 ( that one is totally understandable)
     
  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    hoodjem, You are right: They are.
     
  15. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    It's true that Lendl is the greatest player of the Open Era not to have won Wimbledon.

    However, Gonzales is the greatest overall.
     
  16. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,774
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    You are of course correct. Lendl is probably 3rd overall after Gonzalez and Rosewall.
     
  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Wilander fourth?
     
  18. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,774
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    I think so...I don't know of any other 7 time major winners to not win Wimbledon.
     
  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    That's a pretty good question. Nastase is a good possibility for fourth or fifth. Have to look at it more carefully.
     
  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    considering Wilander is significantly greater than Nastase, that shouldn't be a debate .

    it'd be more interesting to see 5th b/w Nastase and Courier ....;)
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Wilander didn't win many tournaments in his career while Nastase won about at least double the amount. Nasty also won a ton of year end tournaments so while I favor Mats as a gut reaction I'd rather check the full record before giving a clear answer. It's funny I anticipated someone would write what you wrote. Good question and that is my answer.

    Edit-Mats won 33 tournaments while Nastase won at least 78 tournaments in his career including four year end Masters and the Italian several times. I don't think it's a slam dunk for Mats.

    The Years End Masters is worth 1500 points as opposed to a major with 2000 points. Let's say Nastase and Wilander won the same amount of Masters Level Tournaments. Wilander won seven majors for 14000 points and Nastase four Year End Masters for 6000 points. Nastase won two majors for 4000 points. That's 10000 points for Nastase. So the difference is Mats won 26 other tournaments and Nastase won at least 72 other tournaments. Simple subtraction of 72-26=46. Since the average lowest ATP tournament is 250 points and if we assume Mats performance and Nastase's performance would be about the same in the others. So if we multiple 46 times the 250 minimum we get 11,500. So 14000 for Wilander minus 10000 for Nastase gives Wilander an edge of 4000. If we use the 46 extra tournaments for 11,500 for Nastase was have a clear advantage to Nastase it seems by a wide margin of at least 7,500. However the 250 is the minimum per tournaments so it's at least 7,500. If we average 350 for the tournaments Nastase won it would be 12,100 in favor of Nastase which is probably more reasonable.

    Now perhaps my methodology or reasoning could be off but I do think majors counting for GOAT tends to be overrated. Other tournaments should be taken carefully into account but that would be too much trouble for the media perhaps.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Nastase should have won one.He played two finals while Mats never smelt anything similar to a semifinal at the AELTC.

    No contest here if we discuss Wimbledon.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Fred Stolle lost three finals while winning two major titles.
     
  24. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    Out of interest, do you think this is the case just for tennis, or for all sports?

    I.e. if there was a great runner who won loads of regular season meets but never won Olympic Gold, would you consider them greater than another runner who was consistently slower than the first one and rarely won regular meets, but won two Olympic golds?

    Just wondering because I've always considered winning the biggest titles, in any sport, to be the key metric to determine greatness.

    I wasn't sure whether you disagreed with that view just in tennis (because of its complex history meaning that we can't just count majors), or if you disagree with that view in all sports.
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    that is a very interesting point.

    And the greatest example of that is the ethernal discussion between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain

    Russell won everything and Chamberlain all individual but almost no team title...who is the better of both?

    ( we can say Russell on deffense and Chamberlain on offense but that does not answer the question)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    I guess it depends on the sport, whether you look at career or peak level. For example if there was a team sport would you penalize a player if he never won a world championship? All depends on the situation.

    This was something I worked out on the spur of the moment and I'm sure there's a ton of flaws in it. Some methodologies I have worked out for decades and have imo cover just about every angle.

    It's tough. Would you say a Michelle Kwan, who won five World Championships, nine United State Championships as inferior to Tara Lapinski who won the Gold Medal in the 1998 Olympics over Kwan? I don't know the answer. Maybe Lipinski was just plain better than Kwan. Or maybe Kwan accomplished more because she had to continue longer to win her Gold Medal which she never was able to win.

    What about team sports? A player can be an awesome player but lose all the time to great teams. I think Charles Barkley was awesome as a player as John Stockton and Karl Malone. Yet all these great players never won a championship. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls were often in the way. And Jordan never was able to win a championship without the help of a second great player like Pippen. On the later Bulls teams they also had the great player Dennis Rodman.

    Anyway in tennis isn't the goal to be number one for the year? That's the primarily goal. Winning majors helps you become number one but you can be number one without winning majors. In 1973 Nastase was clearly number one but John Newcombe actually won more majors that year than Nastase. Newcombe didn't do much else however and Nastase won a lot of tournaments.

    Nastase won two majors in his career. John Newcombe won seven majors. Is John Newcombe 3.5 times the player Nastase was? He is if you only count majors.

    In their careers Nastase and Wilander both were number one just once. But I do think that Wilander in his seven years in the top ten was usually in the top few more than Nastase. Nastase was in the top ten eight times in his career.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    The Russell-Chamberlain debate has gone on for decades. Red Auerbach has said that Chamberlain had the most potential of perhaps any player ever but Russell was the better player.

    Yes Russell was great on defense but Chamberlain was pretty great on defense also.

    Jerry West once said if I recall that Chamberlain was the better player but for one game, Russell was better. The thing about Russell was that he was always trying to figure out how to best help his team and didn't really care about the stats.
     
  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Yes, Russell is what I consider my ultimate center.He´d do great any era.
     
  29. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    Oh yes, team sports are different.

    George Best and Alfredo Di Stefano are two of the greatest football players of all time, yet neither of them ever even played in the World Cup, because their countries didn't qualify.

    This wasn't in your original post, another famous pc1 edit!

    No, I wouldn't say being No 1 is per se the primary goal, actually - although many of the greats are ranked No 1 as an inevitable by-product of their success.

    For instance, Rios, Wozniacki, Safina and Jankovic are often considered bogus No 1's because they never won a major tournament. Serena meanwhile was clearly the best in the world for many years on the women's side, but she wasn't ranked No 1 as she rarely showed up outside the majors. Yet no one would claim that Woz/Jankovic were ever better than her.

    pc1, you made another edit. I'm not replying to it. Post what you mean to first time, or not at all.
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Yes but in this case both Nastase and Wilander were legit number ones for the year. Calm down with being annoyed with the edits. I post it and ideas come through how I can improve it. Since you know how I work, just wait before you reply. Come on now, you know it. What's the old saying again, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.:)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    By the way Phoenix, thanks for bringing out this stuff so we can discuss it in depth. I appreciate it.
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Di Stefano WC was the European Cup, he helds the record for consecutive wins with Real Madrid
     
  33. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,087
    Most players who played against Hoad regard him as GOAT, (Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Krishnan, Bucholz, others).

    Bobby, you seem to have your own definition of GOAT criteria, which means something else.

    You are choosing NOT the greatest player, but rather the greatest CAREER.

    Two different things.

    I am interested in the greatest PLAYER, not the greatest CAREER.
     
  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Dan,

    That's an excellent point. The most accomplishments is not necessarily the best player. It could be but it may not be.

    One minor thing however, I'm not sure if most who played Hoad considered him the best they had played or even. A lot of people have picked Gonzalez, Kramer and others. But you are right in that a number of people have played Hoad as the best they have played.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I'd take Wilt as center, and use Russell as a forward.
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I think peak Nastase and peak Wilander would be a very interesting match-up.

    Nastase was so very talented. Wilander was the ultimate counter-puncher.
     
  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Dan, I was hoping you would mature after your posting pause, but alas...

    Just for beginners in tennis history: The GOAT is defined by a mixture of great achievements plus great playing level plus extraordinary skills.

    Your darling, never called the GOAT by any player!, lacks GOATness achievements.

    I don't have own GOAT criteria, I just refer agreement of tennis experts.

    Awake!
     
  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    I wasn't just counting the majors -- though that itself should seal the deal here ( even with Nastase's 4 Masters titles )

    there are other factors in favor of Mats as well .

    He was a part of top 4 for longer than Nastase was.

    Mats had clearly tougher competition as well IMO . Nastase had the advantage of some split fields or players missing and yet didn't capitalise on some of them ( prime example being Wimbledon 73 )

    And ATP has Nastase at 58 titles. I'm not sure how many of the others ('unofficial') should be counted ....
     
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Russell would be a great PF with his athletic ability
    But all the scoring would be Chamberlain
    He would dig in even more points with Bill on his side
    Did they ever team up?
     
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Nastase had tougher opponents by fairly far than Wilander
    Laver,Muscles,Smith,Newcombe,Roche,Ashe,Kodes,Vilàs,Borg,Panatta,Orantes and Connors in his prime which is 1970-1976 with a peak year in 1973
    Mats never played Borg
    He had very tough rivals but list is shorter
    Agassi,Edberg,Lendl,Mac,Mecir,GomezBecker,Noah,Cash and Connors
    Prime Mats is 82-89 with a peak in 88
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    I believe I mentioned that in post 176. I don't think he had better competition however. It's very debatable there. I think Kiki mentioned it already in the above post but Nastase faced Newcombe, Connors, Borg, peak Ashe, Smith, slightly pass peak Laver, past peak Rosewall, Kodes (for you Kiki), Vilas, Orantes, Okker, Panatta and he faced all of them at their peak or at least when they were still very strong in the cases of Laver and Rosewall. At his peak Nastase was competitive with all of them. But to be fair peak Wilander was competitive with everyone also except perhaps occasionally on grass at Wimbledon. I respect Wilander tremendously and it shows his great peak level that he won majors on grass, hard court and red clay. Both Nastase and Wilander were excellent on all surfaces.

    But Dan and others have brought up a great point, is the most accomplishments (by today's standards) necessarily mean that person is the greatest player? Naturally it's an indication of that but sometimes I wonder. Any comments??
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  42. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,774
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    The greatest player should be able to play that "greatest level" often enough to win the biggest titles often. Achievements are often indicative of playing level because it means you were playing the best during that week or 2 week stretch. A player like Hoad didn't do that enough times compared to the double digit major winners for example.

    Plus comparing playing level across era's with changes in equipment etc...is very difficult. That's why achievements must be the first port of call IMO
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Of course, achievements are the best indicator of greatness. Thanks NatF.
     
  44. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    and yet in the 2 majors that Nastase won, his only tough opponent was Ashe in USO 72 ..His 73 RG draw was pretty easy and any good CCer would run through that draw ..

    Like I said the fields were split , many of the players were not at their primes and that makes a huge difference ....

    He didn't face Laver in a major

    He didn't face Newk in a major

    Rosewall only once - in 69, much before his prime, almost irrelevant

    Faced Connors twice - 72 and 82, 72 was pre-prime for Connors and 82 post-prime for Nastase , again close to irrelevant

    Faced Ashe only once - USO 72 - already mentioned above

    faced his direct contemporary Smith 3x

    faced Borg 3x

    etc etc ...

    so all in all , he was relatively inconsistent, so was the field tbh and the fields were split in some cases etc etc ..

    I'm not impressed by just the names floating in and around that era .... I actually look at what was happening in the majors, in the big tournaments ...


    Contrast this to Wilander :

    he had Lendl, Mac, Edberg , Becker and the the supporting cast of Vilas, Cash, Noah , Clerc, Agassi, Leconte, Curren etc.

    Most of the fields were full ones and Wilander actually faced them in majors at their primes or near that level ....In majors

    Wilander faced :

    Lendl 9x
    Edberg 5x
    Mac 5x
    Cash 5x
    Becker 3x ( tbf, 2 were on clay )
    Noah 3x


    Its a big big difference ....

    Just FTR, to put it in a different way, their records in majors in their prime years or near it :

    nastase from 71-77 : a record of 71-19 (78.8%)
    wilander from 82 to 88 : a record of 113-18 (86.26%)

    that's a gigantic difference , 42 more wins and 1 less loss

    Nastase's great wins indoors does bring down the difference by some margin, but nowhere near to get him close ...


    nothing that complicated. What Dan is talking about is level of play - that's it.

    IMO, greatness requires achievements + level of play + something special that distinguishes the player - something that makes people remember that player .....Hoad doesn't have #1, though he has #2 and #3. But without #1, you cannot have greatness.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Thanks abmk for your input. You did leave out the Year End Championships in which Nastase faces guys like Ashe, Borg, Vilas, Smith, Newcombe, Connors, Kodes, Okker, Gorman, Orantes, Ramirez, Panatta and beat almost all of them.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Only in life.

    "We talked a lot in our post-career lives," Russell said. "One of my favorites is one time he called me up and he was so mad. I said, 'What's the matter, man?' He said Sports Illustrated did a story and they asked the question: 'Was Dennis Rodman the best rebounder ever?' "Wilt was beside himself. He said, 'I averaged more in a half than he did in a whole damned game and they're gonna tell a story that he was the best?

    "Well, Wilt and I are the only two guys that had over 20,000 rebounds and nobody else is even close. So I said, 'Yeah, Wilt. It's obvious you were the best rebounder ever, because I averaged 22.5 for 13 years. You averaged 22.9 for 14 years. So that makes you the best rebounder.'

    "He says, 'Well, I disagree with you.' I asked how he could, and Wilt said, 'In the playoffs, you averaged 24.9 a game and I was 24.5, and that's where the toughest rebounds are, because you're always playing against the better teams. That makes you the best rebounder.'

    "So you know what we decided between the two of us? Was Dennis Rodman the best rebounder ever? Man, that ain't worthy of discussion. And we had a great laugh.
    "That was our friendship. I miss it."
    .............................................................................--Bill Russell
     
  47. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,087
    Bobby, I was not expecting any change in your attitudes, so I am not disappointed.

    No, Bobby, YOUR GOAT is defined by career only, you don't really look at skills or level.

    If you did, Hoad would be your number one, as he is for Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Krishnan, Bucholz, Bedard, Davidson, and many others., who did actually refer to him as the

    "greatest player" of all time.

    Yes, that's the GOAT PLAYER, not the GOAT CAREER.

    NOT the player with the greatest career numbers.

    Two different things, as you seem to be desperate to ignore.

    Sorry to have to tell the truth again, old friend.
     
  48. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,087
    No, he did it often enough to convince a huge list of his opponents that he was "the greatest player" ever.

    Greater than Kovacs, Nastase, Roche and others who won fewer major events. (What is your idea of "major event"?)

    But also greater than players who had a long list of career achievements.
    But also greater than
     
  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,403
    Two great players of course but the problem I could see with Wilt at center and Russell at power forward is that the outside shooting threat wouldn't be there. Then again Wilt and Russell would dominate the boards and no one would drive on them.
     
  50. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,774
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    Today I would name the 4 slams, the WTF and the Olympics as majors.

    What counts in other eras is a question for someone with more knowledge than me. How many majors do you think Hoad won? Try to focus on what he did in the Pro's because I don't rate AM achievements particularly highly.

    Obviously injuries were a big factor, during what periods do you think Hoad was at his best consistently?
     

Share This Page