Rankings of Greats by tennis experts

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Laver won only 1 pro Grand Slam. He won 8 pro majors in the pre open era and several after the open era. I don't agree that Laver had better longevity than Federer. In fact, it seems that Federer's health is holding up better than Laver's did.
     
  2. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    I know what am saying is 3/3 is easier than 4/4.... Well Fed hasn't a slams at 31 or higher... Laver has 1500 wins as you pointed he stayed in the game for a long time.
     
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not sure what you are saying. Laver started as an amateur in 56 and by 73 was semi retired due to injuries. Federer turned pro in 98 and is still competing for major titles in 2016.
     
  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Laver's span of quarter-finals at slams* is 'only' 12 years (1959 Wimbledon - 1971 Wimbledon). Federer's is nearly 15 years at present (2001 French - 2016 Australian). I think it is fair to say that Federer has greater longevity at the highest level.

    Interestingly though, Laver's slam career spanned 21.5 years (1956 Australian - 1977 Wimbledon), whereas Federer's is 'only' 17 years to date (1999 French - 2016 Wimbledon).

    * Sorry, you're going to have to accept that this is the word I use to describe these tournaments.
     
  5. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Laver won 4 slams after turning 30... Fed has 1 slam since age 30. What argument do you have to suggest Laver winning more than 17 slams if he wasn't banned for 5 years? Remember slams count only from 1963 and onward no amateur nonsense.
     
  6. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Who was more dominant and Consistent Laver or Fed? Fed has 237 and 300 weeks at No.1 + 17 Slams 3x3slam seasons...
     
  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Wow! Laver won 16 open majors after turning 30? I never knew that.

    What makes you think that Laver would not have won numerous major titles before 1963 if tennis was open ab initio?
     
  8. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    When did I say he won 16 slams after turning 30?:eek: You putting words in my mouth now:mad:.... Don't do that:mad: I said he won 4 slams after age 30 which was Calendar Grand Slam in 1969 ..... Laver got smacked around when he first joined the pro tour see 1963!... So I see no reason why he would be so successful pre 1964....
     
  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    You said Laver won 4 slams after 30. Your words. That is 16 majors.

    Laver improved quickly after joining the pro tour because of the opportunity to compete against the best. If he had had that opportunity from the beginning in 1956 what makes you think he wouldn't have improved much earlier?
     
  10. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    ....according to traditional language. The terms "slams" and "majors" are now interchangeable (no matter whether members of the older generation like this or not).
     
  11. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    No player dominant from the start so from 1956 there were too many other people dominating and Laver was too young, moreover Laver struggled in the amateurs until his last 2 years. So there is no way he was going to do well earlier on. Still I see no reason to indicate Laver would have won 17 or more slams if he wasn't banned from 1963-69... Rosewall had his number on clay....
     
  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    If you want to disrespect the 5 all time greats who have actually won the Grand Slam, by conflating and deluting their acheivements, don't ask we who do respect them to follow suit. :p
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    If Laver had competed against players like Gonzalez, Trabert, Hoad, Sedgman, Segura and Roeswall beginning in 1956, I think there is a good chance he would have been ready to start winning majors by 58' 59'.

    BTW, according to pc1, Laver has a winning record against Rosewall on clay.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Just a little info for you my friend. Until 1968 as I'm sure you know there was a Pro/Amateur divide, meaning that generally the top amateurs like Laver, Gonzalez, Kramer etc became Pros to earn a living and to compete against the best players. The Pros weren't allowed to play the majors and therefore couldn't add to their total of majors. I'm sure you know that but the effect of this also was that there was a decent gap in competition between the pros and amateurs unless you were a super amateur like Jack Kramer. The top amateurs often struggled the first year as they adjusted to the higher level of competition.

    This was true of Laver, Gonzalez, Hoad, Rosewall and many others. Laver struggled in the beginning in the pros in 1963 in losing I believe 19 of his first 21 matches! However Laver was obviously a very talented and adaptable player! By the end of 1963 labor was the number two player in the world! And by his own accounts in his book Laver took over as number one late in 1964. We all play to the level of our competition. I see no reason why Laver could not have adapted earlier if there was always open competition. I'm sure any 3.5 player who plays a 4.0 player understands how it is to adjust to a higher level of play.

    Look how quickly Laver adapted to Pro Tennis. He was beaten up early in 1963 and yet according to his last bio he became number one in late 1964. I think he probably would have done the same if he turned pro in 1959. I don't know if he would have been number one so quickly since the great Gonzalez was around but I think almost certainly he would have improved quickly and would have been great.

    So in 1963 Rod Laver did not win any of the three pro majors. That is not surprising. Laver was a raw rookie pro who had to learn more about the percentages of the top level of tennis. He already had the strokes and talent. Laver adjusted and in the remaining four years he won eight of the remaining 12 pro majors he competed in. He won one of the three open majors in 1968. And of course he won all four majors he competed in for 1969. A quick count shows that in important tournaments Laver won 13 of 19 tournaments from 1964 to 1969. If you still include the old Pro Majors in 1968 Laver won 15 of 22 important tournaments from 1964 to 1969.

    Now the Pro Majors had fewer rounds than classic majors so there are differences but it is a fact Laver won 5 of 7 Open Majors in 1968-1969.

    Now does this mean that Laver would've won many classic majors if Open Tennis was always around? Not necessarily but the opinion of many is that Laver at age 31 when he won the Open Grand Slam was past his prime. Yet he was still strong enough to win the Grand Slam. This to me is a strong indication that Laver could have done extremely well in classic majors prior to 1968.

    Let's look at the Women's side in tennis which didn't have a Pro/Amateur divide ever. Margaret Court won 24 majors. Helen Wills won 19 majors in only 24 attempts. Maureen Connolly won at one point 9 straight majors she entered. Right now a few women are in the 20 major range and two others have won 18 majors.

    I don't think it is unreasonable that the Men's side, if there was no Pro/Amateur divide and they always had the plane transportation that we have now that the majors record could be in the 20 range, maybe the mid-twenties range. Would Laver be there in that area? I don't know. It could have been Tilden, Gonzalez or some other player. My best guess with Tilden is that he was so dominant in the 1920s that he would have reached the 20 plus majors range but we will never know. We do know that he won 9 straight majors at one point that he competed in if we include the World Hardcourt which was the equivalent of the French championship in those days. We also are pretty certain that from 1920 to 1925 he won about 98% of his matches. That is dominance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
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  15. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Aye, he did lose 4 years in a row to Rosewall.
    So we have to look at like this had laver competed with the top guys earlier in the last 1950s he would have improved and won more, sounds reasonable to me the way you wrote it... But Rosewall Stopped him too many times on Clay I am not sure whether he would be able to win so much classic majors. He would have struggled with Gonzalez initially... Also who do you think was more dominant Federer or Laver?
     
  16. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    The French Pro was played on wood when Laver played Rosewall. Laver also defeated Rosewall many times on indoor wood at Wembley.

    Please note that in 1968 the French Pro switched back to Roland Garros on red clay. Newcombe defeated Rosewall and Laver defeated Newcombe in the final on red clay in straight sets. That was the only time Laver played the French Pro on red clay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  17. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Semi-Pro

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    Pleased to see that you are not distressed.

    You cannot correct another person's opinions. Opinion is subjective. Your opinions regarding Pancho are as right or as wrong as anyone else's opinions of him.

    Kramer, and others, have indicated that Pancho would often lose his temper and that would hinder his physical abilities. Tennis is primarily a mental sport. There are plenty of incredible physical specimens that never reached the greatest heights playing tennis because they lacked the mental discipline required to be consistently successful. I think Pancho was one of them. On his day, no one could match him. But those days were not as frequent as many of the players that are above him in the Pantheon on Tennis Greats.

    Indeed, I do limit my GOAT analyses to (fast) natural grass and slow Red Clay. Both of these surfaces are the ultimate test for a tennis player. In the past we had great grass court specialists and great red clay court specialists. Very few players were able to straddle the divide and be consistently successful on both surfaces against highly rated opponents on those surfaces. In my opinion Laver and Borg lead the pack in that regard.

    Actually, I don't bother with much analyses. In my opinion, Rod Laver is the male GOAT.

    And I have said on other threads here, Borg's achievements are so under-rated by the modern tennis fan, especially the Hard Court obsessed ones. What he achieved on both the very fast grass of Wimbledon and the very slow red clay of Roland Garros in the late 1970s against very tough opposition stands up pretty much against any other player in history.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I don't agree. If conflating majors, slams, grand slams, etc., is the generally accepted language, then the generally accepted language is disrespectful to the great champions who have actually won the Grand Slam.
     
  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I disagree. You can correct an opinion if it conflicts with the truth.

    If you have a source for your representations about Kramer's comments regarding Gonzalez, please share it. I have never read anything of the kind. To the contrary, I have read many times that Gonzalez' temper was a source of motivation for him.

    Further, I don't agree with your premise that grass and red clay are any more the ultimate test for a tennis player than other commonly used surfaces throughout the history of tennis. There is no inherent truth in that.
     
  20. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Right, who would say can lay a better claim to GOATHOOD, Laver or a Federer that has 8Wimbledons/18Slams total?
     
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    That depends on how you define greatness. For example, which is greater, winning 5 Wimbledon titles in 5 years or winning 7 Wimbledon titles in 10 years? Which is greater, playing at the highest level ever played for 2-3 years, or playing at the next highest level ever played for 6-7 years?
     
  22. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Federer won his first Wimbledon at 2003 and his last potentially in 2016... plus he has 5 in a row, he has both longevity and concentrated Dominance. Laver could still be ahead by virtue of having more weeks at No.1 more Year ending No.1 and Calendar Slam would would you say..
     
  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    At this point, I can't pick a greater champion between Laver, Federer, Gonzalez, Borg and Sampras with any certainty. My opinions of greatness are based on level of play, sustained for a reasonable period of time. I make a mental adjustment for equipment. Even if Federer wins another Wimbledon, I don't know that that would seal the deal for me. What Laver was able to do, the dominance he imposed for at least 7 straight years, against all of his opponents, would not be surmountable in Federer's career, in my view. Then again, Federer has done a few things that Laver didn't do, although, at least in part because Laver was excluded from a chance to do them.
     
  24. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    It's not, because I doubt that the likes of Laver and Graf especially care about linguistic semantics, and aren't offended at all by people calling the big tournaments either "majors" or "slams".

    If the likes of you are offended, well, that is your own concern.
     
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I disagree. Disrespect does not rely on the one being disrespected to be offended. Further, it is not just the individual Grand Slam champions who are being disrespected, it is the tradition of the Grand Slam itself that is being disrespected.
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Each player had various claims to being the GOAT. Federer has 7 Wimbledons and 17 majors in total. Laver has 4 Wimbledons and 11 majors in total. However I would tend to look not only at majors but overall dominance. Federer was virtually unbeatable for several years. That's a super level very few in tennis history has reached. Laver won an Open Grand Slam which surprisingly now that Djokovic lost a Wimbledon today is the only one in Open history which is also a sign of greatness. Laver lost five peak years which he could play the majors but was still the best player for four of those years from 1964 to 1967. He also couldn't play the 1968 Australian so he missed 17 majors in that time. Laver was unbelievable in all tournaments as was Federer.

    To be honest it's possible that neither Federer or Laver is the GOAT. Gonzalez won a lot of majors and more important seven World Championship tours that made him the World Champion in that year. And isn't being the World Champion the goal of all players in a year?

    If you feel Federer is number one as so many do that perfectly fine. It's certainly a very logical choice. The same if someone picks Laver. Personally I think Vince Spadea or Brad Gilbert is the GOAT. They have the most claim to GOAThood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
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  27. xFedal

    xFedal Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, only thing Holding Novak from entering the GOAT debate is his lack of slams and weeks at No.1 for now... Lack of Calendar Slam does not hurt Novak as it hurts Federer..
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Right now the most impressive achievement imo for Djokovic in his great career resume was when he held all four majors at the same time. But let's see how his career pans out. I would tend to think Djokovic will add a lot more to his tennis resume but you can never tell. No one would have thought John McEnroe wouldn't have won another major after 1984 and yet it happened. I suppose you could argue that the WCT championship he won in 1989 is a major so you could count that.
     
  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    We're talking about tennis, not rapping. :D
     
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  30. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not Killer Cahill? :D
     
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  31. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You should consider also the level of competition for each champion....Laver did not face the highest level of competition.
     
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Haha! Dan, you have accomplished what no one else on TW has ever accomplished. I am so flabbergasted by this comment that, for one of the very few times in my life, I am speechless.
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Who did Dan in your opinion?
     
  34. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Silence is golden.
     
  35. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Gonzales.
     
  36. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    With Gonzalez playing Kramer, Hoad, Segura, Sedgman, Rosewall, Trabert, Riggs, Budge in the 1950s and later Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Gimeno, Emerson in the 1960s and later Connors and Borg in the 1970s it is certainly impressive. Incredible to think that Gonzalez had a plus or at worst even record against all but Kramer and Laver. It was general big plus records.

    Laver played older Gonzalez, Hoad, Gimeno, Rosewall, Connors, Borg, Nastase, Smith, Vilas, Roche, Newcombe, Gerulaitis, Solomon, Emerson, Kodes, Ashe, Sedgman, Segura. Laver played a better Borg and Connors than Gonzalez did. This is impressive too.
     
  37. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    No-one is being disrespected due to linguistic semantics.

    Certain traditions are archaic and deserve to be questioned.
     
  38. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    This isn't one of them. It's a manifestation of media hype and public laziness and sloppiness.
     
  39. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Semi-Pro

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    I rest my case :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  40. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Semi-Pro

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    Sensible comments if one's focus is primarily the statistics. Just looking at the numbers seems to be a modern disease. All "science", no "art"!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  41. 70sHollywood

    70sHollywood Semi-Pro

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    But is this the right way to judge competition? In this case Rosewall would have as tough competition as anyone, but most people think he dominated precisely because he didn't have the competition. In other words, competition can only really be assessed by looking at who a player beats.

    Most great players have to beat at least one other great player - like Laver with Rosewall - but Laver had no one really at the other end, like Djokovic right now. They both had clear runs at the field. Same with Federer, but from the other side. I would still look at players who were caught in the middle of two greats e.g Borg, Nadal. Someone like McEnroe had four greats - Connors and Borg on one side, and Lendl and Wilander on the other. In this case John was very unlucky to deal with one player with incredible longevity (Connors) and one of the all time great early bloomers (Wilander) at the same time.
     
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  42. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    You have no case.
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Good point. Judging competition is very subjective.

    It's always hard to know the true levels of the opponents. I do feel to use Gonzalez as an example that he faced some players often called GOATs with Kramer and Laver often. Hoad has also often been called the GOAT although I would disagree with that. And Gonzalez faced tremendous all time greats like Rosewall did.
     
  44. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Semi-Pro

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  45. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Nice typo. :D
     
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  46. George K

    George K New User

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    That Cronin list is sheer ignorance:

    Anyone with an understanding of the history of tennis knows that Tilden, Budge, Kramer and Gonzales were the dominant players of their time and can't be left off any list of the top twelve. The most crucial criterion is how often you were the world's number one IN YOUR ERA: Tilden, Budge, Kramer and Gonzales ..... all 6 times or more.

    By the way, "the French" Championships were CLOSED to foreigners in the early 1920's, so hardly a MAJOR. At that time, the tournament closest to today's French Open was the "World Hardcourt Championship .... won by Tilden in 1921 . As a result, Tilden's "Grand Slams won" number should be 11, not 10.

    For all Nadal's success at the French Open, how many times was he the world's number one?

    No argument about Federer and Sampras at one and two all time..

    By the way, now that Serena Williams has won Wimbledon (2016), she's clearly the undisputed all time great of women's tennis, distasteful "McEnroesque" behaviour not withstanding. Had Seles not been stabbed at the height of her dominance over Graf, who knows how long that dominance might have continued. Graf's numbers might have been much lower without Seles' injury. Graf's numbers will always be tainted with a "what if?'
     
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  47. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I prefer to rate players on an absolute basis, with a mental adjustment for equipment, based on my personal observations, when possible.

    I'm glad you brought up Seles, cut down at 19 before reaching her prime, who may have played the highest level of tennis ever played on the ladies' side even if only for two years.
     

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