Prime Sampras v Prime Lendl: Who wins?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by theagassiman, May 4, 2009.

  1. theagassiman

    theagassiman Rookie

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    If Sampras and Lendl both peaked in the same era, and were say, pitted against each other at all the grand slams and other major tournaments, who do you think would come out on top?
     
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  2. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Australian Open- Lendl wins 6 times out of 10
    French Open- Lendl wins 10 times out of 10
    Wimbledon- Sampras wins 9 times out of 10
    U.S Open- Sampras wins 7 times out of 10
     
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  3. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    What about the Masters/Grand Slam cup? They were both deadly on indoor courts.
     
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  4. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    With that small headed racquet Lendl loved using, I think he would have had too much trouble with the Sampras serve everywhere except for clay and possibly the slow hard courts at the AO of the time.

    grafrules predictions are pretty good except I don't think Lendl could have beaten Sampras ever on the fast grass of the time.
     
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  5. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Well I am certainly not thinking Lendl would have ever beaten Sampras at Wimbledon in my hypothetical. It is more like if they played 10 times Lendl would have nabbed a win at Queens, where Sampras played very well and won a number of times but not with Wimbledon esque intensity (note some of his losses there over the years).
     
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  6. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    lendl was clearly better on clay,
    sampras was clearly better on grass,
    hardcourts and indoors is a lot closer...i lean towards lendl on both.
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Interesting matchup. Lendl was relatively weak (for a player of his level) on grass but he did win at least one grass tournament and he reached the Wimbledon final several times. His service return wasn't up to par on grass and I think his forehand volley was a little weak.

    Lendl was super on clay and on hard court plus indoors.

    Sampras was obviously great on grass and better than Lendl.

    I don't think Pete in his best years was that bad on clay but because of his stamina problems he would be dead if he lasted to the second week.

    Pete was great indoors and on hard court.

    Overall if they played a series of matches I would go with Lendl by a slight margin. It all depends because if they played so much that Pete was exhausted I could see Lendl crushing Sampras not because Lendl was better but because Pete would be barely able to move. A very tough call.
     
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  8. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Australian Open- Evenly matched
    French Open- Lendl easily
    Wimbledon- Sampras easily
    US Open- Sampras has the edge

    Overall Sampras.
     
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  9. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Clay: Lendl
    Grass: Sampras
    Carpet: Sampras
    Hard Court: Even

    Sampras gets the edge because he was a better fast court player. Many tourney's were played on carpet in the 80's (something I did not realize until recently). They would not have faced each other much on clay, so Sampras gets the edge.
     
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  10. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Agreed. Lend could give some resistance on grass, not has bad as people make him out to be, but Pete would stil get him.
     
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  11. tennis-hero

    tennis-hero Banned

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    slow wimbledon grass would be a toss up

    both at their prime and it would go to 5

    same with a 1980 borg VS a 1999 Sampras on slow grass

    however, on fast grass i would say sampras destorys lendl, borg, mac, fed, nadal.... anyone

    anyone, at petes peak no one was ever going to touch him at wimbledon
     
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  12. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    since neither played slow grass, not sure if your conclusion would be correct.
     
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, I remember when "slow grass" would have been an oxymoron.

    Those were the days . . .
     
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  14. Winners or Errors

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    Fairly certain Lendl was one of the best carpet players ever, so I'm not sure how you figure Pete gets a walkover there. And how many times did Lendl make the US Open final on hard courts? I'm just sayin'... Lendl-Sampras on hardcourt or carpet would be even, and Lendl would be much closer to Sampras on grass than Sampras would be to Lendl on clay.
     
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  15. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Lendl was a great indoor player. He was beating Becker frequently indoors in the mid to late 80s when many feel Becker was at his true career peak. One big edge Sampras has on Lendl though is he is truly one of the ultimate big match players. His record in slam finals is an incredible 14-4. This cannot be said of Lendl as easily. If Lendl was the big match player Sampras is he might be atleast the Open era GOAT now with all his achievements and all the finals he reached (including Wimbledon finals) So while Lendl vs Sampras on hard courts and indoors might be even in one sense, I think it becomes less even if the match is a U.S Open final for example. Still Lendl is a cut above any player Sampras faced, including Agassi, so it wouldnt be a free ride for either of them.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
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  16. Kirko

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    thats what I always thought >>

    Lendl was a terrific player on carpet seeing him play thru the yrs.
     
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  17. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Let's make one confirmation, Pete is a 7 time Wimbledon Champion. Lendl has ZERO W titles. I really won't bother with you if you make statements like that regarding grass...who cares if Lendl is closer to pete on grass than Pete to Lendl on clay..WTF does that even mean???

    Do you even realize Pete made 8 USO fianls and won 5 while Lendl made the same 8 and won 3...gee who would be considered the better HC player??? Seiously, if numbers and FACTS don't matter to you please don't bother with me. I was kind to say Lendl/Sampras even on HC, but its clear Pete was better since GS are really what matters. Again, you don't even know what you are talking about.. lendl 8 finals and Pete 8 finals.

    Carpet...Lendl has 33 carpet titles to Pete's 14 so I was wrong to make that a "walk through", but since no GS was played on carpet, we need to look at the overall #'s. I found Pete's winning % was 76 on carpet and he won 148 matches and lost 47. Does anyone have Lendl stats?? I believe there were more carpet tourneys in lendl's day so it won't surprise me if he has more wins (of course), but wondering what his winning % is.

    I was being fair and objective in my assessment...somehow you missed that.:confused:
     
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  18. Winners or Errors

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    Like I said, just sayin'...
    Sampras wins against Lendl 9 of 10 at Wimbledon.
    Lendl wins against Sampras 10 of 10 at FO, not even close.
    Slight edge, maybe, at the US Open, maybe 6 of 10 go to Sampras
    On carpet, obviously no majors, but Lendl's record was 267-56 on carpet, which is 83%. I graded them as even, because I think it'd be a good match.

    Seriously, why so upset about this? I just pointed out that Lendl was great on carpet and a pretty darned good hard court player. Also, the fact that Lendl actually has a record of semifinal and final appearances at Wimbledon, as opposed to Sampras' pathetic record at the French Open, is the reason I mentioned the grass/clay thing.
     
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  19. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    In regards to indoor carpet i'm not quite sure people are aware of how incredible lendl was on this surface, imo the indoor GOAT.
    At the end of year masters he was within 1 match of making the final for 10 years straight, losing in the '89 semis to edberg....if he'd won that match it would have been the entire decade of the 80's in the final...if that's not a mindboggling record i don't know what is.....as it is he finished with 5 YEM titles and 4 runners up, also ended up with 12 consecutive appearences in the semis or better from 1980-91, it should be pointed out also that unlike the occasional grand slam there is no easy draw at this event,all the top guys are there and in lendl's era that means borg,mac,connors,vilas,becker,edberg,wilander etc.

    In addition lendl also holds the record for consecutive match wins indoors with 66 straight between october '81 and january '83.
    lendl's record in the other major indoor events of his time is also vastly impressive, 2 times champion at wct dallas, 5 times champion at the seiko tokyo indoor, 5 times champion at the european comunity championship in antwerp, 2 times champion at the us pro indoor, 1 time champ at the us national indoor, 3 times champ at the benson & hedges london indoor at wembley, 3 times champ at aussie indoor etc.

    while lendl is my pick as indoor GOAT i do recognise sampras as being among the greatest indoor players also and would rank him with mac and becker as the main contenders for the no.2 spot.
     
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  20. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Well said except carpet. It's hard to say based on titles, as many more events were held on carpet in the 80's than the 90's and even less today. What Paris Indoor, Lyon and maybe one or 2 others. Shangahai was carpet offically (Indoor Taraflex) and many said it was more of a hardcourt anyway.

    Iterchange them Sampras gets more carpet titles playing in the 80's, and Lendl less in the 90's. Not a slight just the way the game has changed.

    CARPET
    Lendl 267-56 33 titles
    Sampras 144-44 15 titles

    INDOOR
    Lendl 344-71 42 titles
    Sampras 213-61 23 titles
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
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  21. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Lendl really should have won more U.S Opens. He was a bit of a choker in big finals, especialy early in his career. Then again that doesnt bode well for him playing prime Pete in big matches, one of if not the ultimate big match player.
     
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  22. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    i should also add here that head to head indoors reads 3-1 for lendl and all meetings took place from 90-93.
     
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  23. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Because the grass/clay thing has nothing to do with anything. Pete is the better player on grass, HANDS DOWN. Who cares if Lendl is the better player on clay HANDS DOWN. One has nothing to do with the other..its a seperate playing surface. Here is your quaote:

    "Lendl-Sampras on hardcourt or carpet would be even, and Lendl would be much closer to Sampras on grass than Sampras would be to Lendl on clay."

    Again, what does that even mean? What??? How many FO does Lendl have? Unless he has 7 (which he does not) then your arguement is very childish. By any chance are you a teen? If so, please don't bother me with your nonsense.

    Even though I proved Pete has a much better USO record you still think they are near even???? What a joke. A prime Pete would beat a prime Lendl at the USO 8/9-10 times. Lendl was a great player, but he was not Pete.

    Lendl was a great carpet player and I would call them even...thanks for clearing that up.
     
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  24. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    What about McEnroe? He won 43 carpet tourney's. I go with Mac as the best carpet player.
     
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  25. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I guess Mac should be thrown into the mix then. He won 43 carpet titles (I was recently informed much to my surprise). So Mac has 10 more than Lendl..IMPRESSIVE.
     
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  26. Winners or Errors

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    We'll have to agree to disagree about hard courts. There's simply no way Sampras would have beaten Lendl 8/9-10 times at the USO. Look at the list of players Lendl lost to, then look at the list of players Sampras beat. There is a big difference in the quality of opponents. We can agree to disagree about that as well, after all, this is just a speculative exercise.

    As for clay, let me reiterate that Sampras' record was demonstrably pathetic at Roland Garros. Lendl, on the other hand, played in many finals and won three of them.

    As for grass, I happen to think that if the stars aligned Lendl could have beaten Sampras. Sure, he didn't win at Wimbledon, but he did make it to two finals and I forget how many semifinals. We'll never know.

    Lots of ways to look at this. I happen to think that, where Sampras is concerned, you are overly defensive though I'm not sure why, but it is clearly indicated by the fact that you've gotten so emotional and inserted personal jabs into your retorts.

    There is no doubt that Sampras was a great player, perhaps the best of all time on hard courts and grass, but it's far from conclusive. Differences in the level of competition alone are enough to insert gray into this debate where you want to see black and white.
     
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  27. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Depends on the type of grass. If it's late 80s early 90s grass, then no, Lendl wouldn't have had a chance in hell. Lendl couldn't beat Pat Cash on grass. In fact, in the Wimbledon final, Cash beat Lendl in straight sets. Now, I always liked Cash and saw him as a dangerous floater, but Cash was nowhere close to being as good as Sampras on grass.
     
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  28. Azzurri

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    personal jabs?? did I call you a moron? Did I call you a fool? Did I say you were abrainless twit? None of that was said. But I will say this, you know little about tennis making those comparisons. the clay/grass debate you insist on has absolutely NO BEARING on how Lendl would play Pete at Wimbledon. You see, this is where you miss the point and your ignorance shines...you actually think since Lendl was a better grass player than Pete was a clay court player (no duhhh) then he would have a better chance beating Pete in Wimbledon..WHATEVER. What you don't get is Pete is a 7 time champ, only one man has as many titles and that was like 100 years ago. your "if the planets line up" retort shows your immaturity and lack of understanding. Lendl could not win Wimbledon, yet you think he could beat Pete...whatever.

    Lendl would have had some issues with a prime Pete at the USO. Pete's monster serve and return game would be too much for Lendl. okay, mayb 7/10.
     
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  29. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    now this is a logical post. it shows a level of understanding the game of tennis. great point, Cash could not touch Pete on grass and Cash nowhere near the weapons Pete had..hence his 7 titles. Not sure if w&e will get it though.

    today's slower grass is still a "fast" surface, but Lendl would just keep it closer, I still don't think he would beat Pete just like Pete would not beat Lendl at the FO.
     
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  30. Winners or Errors

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    That's like saying Rafter could not touch Pete on hard courts. Cash was plenty capable when he was on of beating any player in his era. Sampras was significantly more consistent, but c'mon. Where do you come up with this stuff? You are truly delusional where Sampras is concerned.
     
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  31. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Guess I have to make you look bad..again.

    Pete's record vs. Rafter on HC is 10-3. Its well known Pete owned Rafter. However, I was NOT talking about Rafter. I happen to think rafter was a better player than Cash, so again...you just don't get it.
     
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  32. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    lendls grasscourt record was fairly solid it's just that on clay,hardcourts and indoors his record places him among the greatest ever so it gets a little overlooked and people tend to underate his abilities on that surface.
    Besides his 2 wimbledon finals he made another 5 semifinal appearences,
    also made the final at kooyong in '83 and was twice champion at queens.
    Had wins over becker,edberg and tanner.
    there's plenty of wimbledon champions like cash,krajicek,stich who's overall record is nowhere near as consistent as lendl's was on grass.
     
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  33. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    let me get this straight, you would rather have a team (say the Buffalo Bills) go to 4 Super Bowls and lose them all instead of say win one like the Jets? It's all about winning championships. Pete obviously got that. No one said Lendl was a bad grass court player, but he would not touch Pete. Could I be wrong..sure, but I am going by history and history tells me Pete won 7 Wimbledon titles, never lost a final while Lendl never won a single Wimbledon title. Anyone could beat anyone on any given day, but if that was the point, then who cares about these discussions?? In other words, you can't have it both ways. Cash, Stich and Kraijek are Wimbledon champs and your post is trying to take that away when you claim Lendl is a better or more consistent grass court player. If anything, you should argue Lendl grass court record with other good grass court players that also never won Wimbledon..now that would be fair.
     
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  34. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    i'm not taking anything away from cash,krajicek or stich....i said what i meant, lendl was more consistent...this isnt an opinion just facts.
    btw personally i think the bills were better than the jets, that last second norwood field goal goes in and now we have a SB champion with 3 runners up compared to a team that had one SB win and no runners up.
    of course he missed it so history records it differently, even thurman thomas got screwed out of the mvp because of that miss despite having the better game than oj anderson...thomas was better but the glory always goes to the winners whether its justified or not.
     
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  35. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    wha if, what if, what if.....
     
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  36. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    well it works for seles fans
     
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  37. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    This is from someone who loves Cash and thinks injuries cost him a couple of slams. But when "they're on". Cash's best vs. Pete's best?? Are you really making that comparison??? Are you??
     
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  38. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    LOL...yes it does.:)
     
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  39. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I guess you noticed he does not make much sense...yea, me too.
     
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  40. PERL

    PERL Guest

    Cash, Krajicek and Stich at their peak were far better than Lendl on grass at his peak. And that’s why they were able to win Wimbledon once. I always thought we were talking about players at their peaks when making those fantasy matchups. Bottom line is Lendl was consistent but he was never good enough to beat the best grass specialists at Wimbledon. His best wins there : a 32 years old Tanner, Tim Mayotte twice, Zivojinovic, a 29 years old and far past his prime Johan Kriek, an 18 years old Pat Cash, a 21 years old Edberg who was still improving and not at his best on grass, he’s tied with Leconte 1/1.
    His best wins stand at the Queens but who cares about the Queens ? Certainly not Sampras. Sampras beat Lendl in straights at Wimbledon if both are at their peak.
    I know that Lendl may be underrated by some but he’s overrated by others, probably as a reaction.
     
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  41. Azzurri

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    exactly. like I said before, winning is the only thing that matters and Lendl never won Wimbledon. I don't care if he made 10 straight SF, he still never won. Someone made it seem as if even though Lendl never won W, he was a betetr grass court player than some of the one time winners....clueless poster.
     
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  42. Winners or Errors

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    Hold on there. We're not talking about both of them playing the match of their lives. We're talking about them at their peaks, which is far different. If Cash was on, he could beat anyone. Nowhere did I say Cash in the zone was better than Sampras in the zone. Cash plays great, Sampras has an average day, Cash wins. In the end, that's my opinion.

    Those weren't 7 straight Wimbledons, were they?
     
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  43. Winners or Errors

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    No. You are twisting that poster's words. I believe the poster said Lendl was "more consistent." That's not better on a given day, it's better over the course of a career. Lendl lost to many players who were having great tournaments because he wasn't at his best on grass courts. I suspect Lendl would have traded that consistency for one Wimbledon title, but that doesn't change the fact that he was a threat to go deep in the draw at Wimbledon for many years and almost never lost a match he was supposed to win there, while most one win wonders were quite inconsistent in their performance.

    My contention stands. Sampras would not have trashed Lendl 10 of 10 on grass. As I recall, I said 9 of 10 and that just wasn't good enough for you. That's 90%. Why not good enough?
     
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  44. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    i was just making a point, but you and I were discussing hardcourt and the USO.
     
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  45. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    I agree with this. His best win at Wimbledon by far was Edberg in 1987 and even that wasnt the same Edberg as 1988-1992. He doesnt have a 2nd win that even comes close to that. Like you said comparing Krajiceck, Stich, Ivanisevic to Lendl on grass is hard because:

    Lendl consistent performance level on grass > Stich and Krajicek especialy on grass
    Stich, Krajicek, Ivanisevic peak performance level on grass > Lendl on grass

    The bottom one is why those 3 could win Wimbledon and Lendl couldnt though.
     
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  46. Winners or Errors

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    Good points and very true. To win Wimbledon, Lendl would not only to have been playing well, but would have had to get lucky enough to meet an opponent in the final who was not having a spectacular day.

    Sampras, in comparison, could potentially pull it off even on a relatively bad day, as good a grass-courter as he was.

    Lendl was not good enough on grass to handle a grass-court specialist peaking at Wimbledon. Sampras was.
     
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  47. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    You keep saying if "Cash was on", but what if Sampras "is on"??? This it what it comes down to.....

    Cash when "he's on" vs Sampras when "he's on". If Sampras has an off day hell anyone can beat him, so what's your point?? Anyone can beat anyone when that person's off?? Hell Sampras can beat Lendl at Roland Grros if Lend has an "average day"... what does that mean???
     
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  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Back to the OP: Lendl wins at RG, Sampras on Wimby. Pretty even at USO (maybe Sampras by a hair, 7-6 in the fifth).
     
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  49. Azzurri

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    Here is why I think it would not be as close at the USO between them (not so much a specific mathc, but over all H2H at the USO). Pete beat Lendl in 90 as Lendl was coming in with 8 straight final appearances. Pete was no where near the player he would become, yet Lendl was still extremely good. Lendl was closer to being Lendl in 90 then Pete was being Pete. Pete has been noted as saying he was extremely green when he won the USO and was just on an incredible hot streak. His serve actually began to be the force it was just prior. It took Pete 3 more years to win another GS title, so I just think even a green Pete beat a very good Lendl (who won the AO that year, got to the SF of Wimbledon and then made the SF of the USO in 1991 (I believe). Then Lendl just dropped. But in 1990, young and inexperienced Pete beat a very good experienced Lendl.

    Some may not get my point, but think of it this way. When Safin beat Pete in 2000, was Safin a much better player 3 years later and then did he dominate tennis for 6 years?? No. Same with a lot of players. Not many players won a major then reached their peak years later and dominated for years after. Federer won a major and dominated right after. Nadal won a major and dominated along w/Fed right after. I am not talking about all major winners because not all major winners domianted their sport. There are only a handful of guys since 1968 that won a major and then dominated for a few years. Pete won a major, played good tennis for 3 years and then dominated for another 6 years. That is rare and shows how much better he was as he got older and how talented he was at age 19.
     
    #49
  50. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

    Joined:
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    Next door to Elisha Cuthbert.
    you may want to read your own statement, because its not what you were saying earlier. your opening statement in this post is pointless and what does it matter. So anyone that beat Lendl was having a spectacular day and Lendl was just "unlucky" not to win. You don't get it, Lendl was not meant to win Wimbledon during that era. Too many good grass court players and always someone better than he was...hence he never won. Cash is/was a better grass court player and had nothing to do with him playing "spectacular tennis" on a given day...he was better.

    I noticed you keep harping on grass, I assume you have waved the white flag on the USO issue?
     
    #50

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