Rankings of Greats by tennis experts

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

  1. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    This is an amazing compilation. I thought it might be interesting to see how often the different names are mentioned. I first took out the name of the commentators (as they themselves are players sometimes) and then had the word processor tell me how many times each name appeared. Since the average date of the comments must be at least two decades old, and the most recent ones seem to be 6 years old, this is necessarily skewed away from the present, but it gives an idea of what names have always been more frequently “in the conversation”.

    These are the names that were mentioned twice or more.

    LAVER 21
    TILDEN 15
    BUDGE 15
    BORG 14
    GONZALEZ 12
    KRAMER 12
    CONNORS 8
    MCENROE 7
    SAMPRAS 6
    ROSEWALL 6
    PERRY 6
    VINES 5
    LENDL 4
    HOAD 4
    FEDERER 2
    AGASSI 2
    EMERSON 2
    LACOSTE 2
    JOHNSTON 2
    COCHET 2
    RIGGS 2
    NASTASE 2
    SEGURA 2
    SEDGMAN 2
    TRABERT 2
     
  2. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Those opinions are fun to read but time has change. The more accurate opinions are the one that's up to date.
     
  3. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Lucio for the nice comments. I appreciate Your work regarding the ATP and their database very much. I would be nice, and this is a step into the right direction, if tennis would have more solid records.
     
  4. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Such rankings generally betray the bias of the 'expert'. I am Australian and it is probably fair to suspect a bias in favour of Aussie players. I try to overcome any such weakness by relying on comparing players by established criteria including statistical records but, dang it, I am a Rosewall devotee. The guy's record is so awesome from kid to vet and he's such a nice person as well.

    If I can comment on some of the 'expert' rankings, they're mightily biased as well. There is a common tendency to go with style - big serve, spectacular shotmaking - over substance - winning big events and win/loss records. Harry Hopman had no time for professional players and his rankings are essentially based on amateur play. Too many experts just ignored 4 decades of pro tennis in favour of amateur results they were familiar with. Others consciously or unconsciously defer to 'now' or racquet technology and discount older results that they know least about. You can only wonder how Don Budge of Jack Kramer or Lew Hoad would have performed with modern racquets, training regimes and millions of dollars. Similarly, how would Djokovic, Nadal or Federer have stacked up with wooden racquets and pocket money? We'll never know.
     
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I´d rather pick the top 5 players over a decade:

    1910-1930:Tilden,Brookes,Wilding,Lacoste and Cochet
    1930´s:Budge,Perry,Vines,Crawford,Borotra
    1940´s: Kramer,Parker,Schroeder,Riggs,Drobny
    1950´s:Gonzales,Hoad,Rosewall,Trabert,Sedgman
    1960´s:Laver,Rosewall,Emerson,Fraser,Santana
    1970´s:Borg,Connors,Newcombe,Nastase,Vilas
    1980´s:Lendl,Mc Enroe,Becker,Wilander,Edberg
    1990´s:Sampras,Agassi,Rafter,Courier,Stich or Ivanisevic
    2000´s: Federer,Nadal,Kuerten,Hewitt and Djokovic
     
  6. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Fedace is the only tennis expert I respect
     
  7. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Serena based on her talent should have a lot more in terms of accomplishments but in many ways it is her own fault she does not because she has never been totally.committed to the sport. Also while Serena may have more power that does not make her defacto better then Evert. Evert was a consistent all surface threat and all court threat as well. Serena well...really is not to the degree Evert was. Greatness is not juzt talent and ability but it is achievement to and while Serena may have power Everts achievememts blow Serena so far out of the water (more then 4 time as many tourny wins, more majors, nearly twice as many major finals, more then 1000 match wins) Sorry but there is really no way to justify Serena over Evert in a GOAT list. Maybe if Serena had been commited...but she wasnt so really....she isnt close. And if you put navratilova above serena then there is really no reason not to put evert above her as well.
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Doherty,Wilding,Tilden,Budge,Kramer,Gonzales,Laver,Borg,Lendl,Sampras,Federer are the nº 1 of ech of the decades from 1900 to 2010.We´ll have to wait if Djokovic or Nadal are the kings of 2010´s.
     
  9. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    They are too old to dominate the next nine years. Perhaps a younger player will end up being the best player of the 2010s.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  10. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    Notice Drucker, Flink, Collins, and Fein all have Connors as the 8th greatest ever. Are we on to something here?
     
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Maybe.have to wait and see what goes on.

    Now, choosing between dcades, I´d classify them in 2 groups: weak and competitive.

    1920-weak
    1930-competitive
    1940-weak
    1950-ultracompetitive
    1960-weak to average ( if we just count the amateurs)
    1970-competitive
    1980-ultracompetitive
    1990-competitive
    2000-weak


    I am not talking about just talent or quality but pure competitiveness.1950 wass extraordinary with Drobny,Patty,Sedgman,Hoad,Kramer,Rosewall,Pancho,Trabert,Seixas... and 1980 was also very very tough with Borg,Lendl,mc Enroe,Connors,Becker,Edberg,Wilander,Vilas,Cash,Tanner,Kriek,Noah,Gerulaitis and Agassi and Chang at the end of the decade.

    of course, 1940 was a short decade because of the WW.How interesting would have been seeing Kramer and Pancho vs Budge or Perry...
     
  12. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    kiki, what about Pancho Segura? And for my money, I'd have Hoad as one of the best players of the 1960s. He was consistently runner-up to Rosewall and better than any of the amateurs. I'd have Rosewall as one of the best players of the 1970s - Tommasi ranked him #1 in 1970, 1971 and 1972, leaving the others to fight over top ranking for the other seven years. 2 AOs, 2 WCTs, 1 US, 2 W finals and 1 US final....that's more than just about anybody else can muster. I wouldn't include Fraser in the 1960s best. Not even close, IMO.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I full agree for Hoad and Rosewall.As I posted many times, from 1960 on the best ever foursome are: Laver-Hoad-Rosewall.Gonzales in the 60´s, Borg-Lendl-Mc Enroe-Connors at the early 80´s, and Agassi-Becker-Edberg-Sampras in the first half of the 90´s.

    That puts Hoad as one of the best in the 60´s and, of course, Rosewall is a top ten when you think of the best of the 1970´s.Just behind Borg,Connors,Newcombe,Nastase and Vilas, IMO.

    Of course, I haven´t seen forusome like Tilden-Borotra-Lacoste-Cochet, Crawford-Perry-Vines-Budge or Sedgman-Kramer-Trabert-Segura, to mention a few ones that would be as good if not better in an all time great list.

    I don´t agree for Fraser.he has an impressive lsit of achievements and was Australian best amateur for a while, higher ranked than Emerson and Laver.He also was a great DC player and this should be something australian people should, IMHO, reward.

    The problem with Australian tennis ( ¡¡holy problem¡¡) is that, in the 50´s and 60´s, it had such a vast croop of all time greats that a guy like Fraser ( or Cooper) looks second fiddle.If Fraser had played today, with his record, he´d be just behind Federer and Nadal, and no doubt he would be considered one of the best of the decade.
     
  14. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    According to the latest Steve Flink book just released.

    Greatest Tennis players ever.

    2012) Flink: Federer Sampras, Laver, Kramer, Tilden, Borg Nadal, Budge, Gonzalez, Connors, Agassi, McEnroe, and Lendl


    The book is very good indeed. It does contain a section with the Greatest Strokes of all time.

    Regarding the greatest tennis players Steve always placed Agassi below Mac and Lendl, but not now.
     
  15. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks for the info.

    I don't know if the book came out before Nadal won this year FO, because if it did, then he's basing on Nadal 10 slams instead of 11. It could be a reason why he had Nadal right behind Borg.

    Nonetheless, I have no problem with his ranking. The guy knows his tennis.
     
  16. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    The book was printed on March 2012.
     
  17. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Laver claimed that Hoad was still number one in 1963 when he was concentrating and in shape.
    Gonzales picked Hoad as number one, as did Rosewall in 2010, putting Gonzales second, Laver third, and Federer fourth.
    Gonzales and Laver played almost everyone between them.
     
  18. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I love threads like this. I have certain preferences, but I think I'll keep them to myself for the time being at least because I don't think I know enough to make anything approaching definitive judgements on the subject.

    The main reason I posted here is to ask where I might find videos of Hoad, Gonzalez, Rosewall, etc. Doesn't seem to be much on YouTube.
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If I had the chance to choice which of the players I haven´t seen I could watch them just once, no doubt I´d pick the 1957 Lewis Hoad.May have been the most exciting player ever.
     
  20. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I'll have to read it; is his ranking based on skill or accomplishments? or both? Nadal and Agassi seem a bit over-ranked to me. But, I'm biased towards longevity and career accomplishment, so I'd put Connors and Lendl a bit higher.
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's not based on accomplishments. He ranks Lendl and Agassi equal number 10 which is ridiculous. Lendl won 148 tournaments to Agassi's 60. Lendl won 8 majors in 19 major finals and Agassi won 8 majors in 15 majors finals. Lendl had a much higher lifetime winning percentage at 81.76 to Agassi 76.05.

    If Agassi doubled his tournament wins (without doubling his majors or winning percentage) Lendl would still be ahead.

    It's obviously based on opinion.

    What does Lendl have to do to get any repect by the way? Lendl is on another level above Agassi.
     
  22. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Its strange since he always had Lendl over Agassi even in 2006.Agassi has not played since 2006,so go figure.

    I do agree with pc1 that Lendl had a better carrer than Agassi as well as Connors and even Mac.

    Flink said that Sampras was the greatest big match player at his best but he placed Federer as the number 1 since he won the French on clay.Maybe he used the same criteria regarding Agassi which is wrong in my opinion.
     
  23. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    I absolutely agree with you. I was going to respond myself, but now there is no need. I know it's not relevant to the thread, but evert's service to tennis would also out-rank serena considerably.
     
  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    As you know, it takes time to contemplate and compare the greatness of a career as a whole against the greats of history. No one's career is fully appreciated when it is still occuring. The problem confronted by a comparison the relative greatness of Lendl and Agassi is that it is, somewhat, a comparison of apples and oranges. Lendl's greatness was due to his longevity at the top. Agassi's greatness was due to his level of play at his best. If Agassi had the relatively injury free career that Lendl enjoyed, no doubt he would have been at or near the top much longer than he was.
     
  25. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    But Lendl at his best was far better than Agassi.He almost lost no matches between 85 and 88.Even 89 was great for Lendl.His Win Loss percentage is awesome.

    The year Agassi was number 1 1999 lost 4 out of 5 matches against Sampras.
     
  26. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    I do agree that Lendl was better than Agassi at their respective peaks, but he's also proof that win-loss %'s do not necessarily correspond with true quality of play, as shown by his records against Edberg and Becker.
     
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Lendl at his best was so dominant he averaged winning over 90% of his matches over a period of five years. Agassi never accomplished that in even one year. The closest was in 1995. Lendl was far superior at his best and over his career.

    The only argument (and I would go with Lendl here too) that if they were both playing their best that Agassi would win. The main thing I see that Agassi has over Lendl is the backhand. Even there Lendl has an excellent backhand. Lendl was far superior on serve and I believe clearly better on forehand. Lendl was faster and over their careers (I understand that Agassi was quite fit later in his career) the fitter player.
     
  28. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    There is no chance Agassi done more than Lendl, and its hard to judge Lendl, Connors and McEnroe trio

    Also, Nadal is way to far in front, not agree with that too
     
  29. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    I agree Lendl had a better career than McEnroe and Agassi. I disagree on Connors. Connors won more tournaments, more years at No. 1, the same number of majors but Connors won on three surfaces whereas Lendl never won on grass, and Connors defeated Lendl in two Slam finals. It wasn't until Connors was 33 that Lendl finally got the upper hand in their matches.
     
  30. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    Yes you are right in my opinion.Connors also ended 12 years in the top 3thats awesome indeed.

    From 73 to 85 he reached at least the quarterfinals at slams 34 out of 35 times reaching 28 semifinals or better in that span.

    The loss before the quarters was against Curren at Wim in 83.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    BTW, what is their H2H?
     
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I can't agree with you. IMO, Agassi's forehand was nearly as good, if not as good, as Lendl's and his backhand was better. His serve was nearly as good and his return was better. Most importantly, he played from about 10 feet closer in than Lendl, hit harder, with more angles and was just as steady. Agassi was at least as good at net, had better touch, a better smash, and a better drop shot. Lendl hit on the run better than Agassi.
     
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl and Mc Enroe were more dominant than Jimmy indoors.So, the trio won on 3 different surfaces, with Lendl never winning on grass and Mac and Connors never winning on clay.Borg was also dominat on grass,clay and indoors, but never won on hard.
     
  34. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl and Agassi? Lendl leads 6-2.

    Ivan Lendl 6-2 Andre Agassi
    1987 Stratton Mountain SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 5-7, 6-3)
    1988 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4)
    1988 Masters RR: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (1-6, 7-6, 6-3)
    1989 Forest Hills SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 6-3)
    1989 Montreal SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 3-6, 6-4)
    1989 US Open SF: Ivan Lendl def. Andre Agassi (7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1)
    1992 Toronto F: Andre Agassi def. Ivan Lendl (3-6, 6-2, 6-0)
    1993 New Haven QF: Andre Agassi def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-4)

    Hardcourt: 4-2 to Lendl
    Clay: 1-0 to Lendl
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 1-0 to Lendl
    In Majors: 2-0 to Lendl
     
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl was a more complete player than Agassi.Lendl had a better serve and a slighty better net game, a better FH and a worse return and BH.Lendl was a top class lobber, too.
     
  36. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    John and Ivan were better players Indoor but lets not forget Jimbo won over 50 Indoor titles and had 81,7 percentage of match wins

    Lendl and Connors were just amazing Indoor/Outdoor with number of titles, and John of course had much better Indoor than Outdoor record
     
  37. elegos7

    elegos7 Rookie

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    I have read the introduction on Amazon to his new book "Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time", where Flink mentions he added 6 recent matches to his list since the last edition.
    Can anyone write us these 6 recent matches? One of them was the Djokovic vs. Nadal at the Australian Open this year.
     
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I see peak Lendl defeating peak Agassi more often than not.

    On clay the edge is clearly Lendl's. He was more patient, for one. Agassi would try to hit Lendl off the court, and it wouldn't work -- particularly over the course of a series.

    On grass I'd say Agassi wins. Each man made two Wimbledon finals, but Lendl's movement was probably worst on grass. He would normally have better mobility than Agassi, but not so much on grass. And if he tried to SV on every point, Agassi would be ready with deadly returns. On other surfaces Lendl stays back and essentially takes Agassi's greatest strength out of the matchup.

    On indoor carpet, Lendl was one of the best ever. He was sure-footed; the lack of wind aided his high toss; and the surface speed allowed him to knock off winners with ease. Agassi could trouble players like Becker and Edberg indoors, because they gave him a target. But I just don't see him having an edge over Lendl on carpet in any category, especially on serve.

    Hard court is really close. Lendl was almost as good on hc as he was on carpet; and it was Agassi's best surface, easily. Put them together at Flushing where they both loved to play, and it would be close. Lendl, at the very end of his career, lost to prime Agassi by some very respectable scores on hard. In his own prime Lendl played a young Agassi twice at Flushing and overwhelmed him both times. Tough to call.

    Mental strength I see them about the same. Stamina is about the same (though not over the entire course of their careers as PC1 points out). Agassi has the better return, but that would not be much of a factor when Lendl stays back. Serve, however, is a different story. Lendl could crank far more aces than Agassi and could routinely pull them out when he needed them.

    Some interesting matchup issues against chief rivals. Agassi dominated Becker, who dominated Lendl. Yet Lendl dominated Courier, who dominated Agassi.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  39. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    He removed 5 from the first book(Edberg-Lendl '85, Althea Gibson match, '95 USO Sampras-Agassi, a Pauline Betz match, '97 Family Circle Cup Hingis-Seles) and added these:

    '01 USO Sampras-Agassi
    '03 USO Henin-Capriati
    '05 AO Serena-Sharapova
    '08 W Nadal-Federer(he now ranks this at #1, over Borg-Mac)
    '09 W Fed-Roddick
    '12 AO Djokovic-Nadal

    there were additions to honorable mentions as well

    He had Connors tied with Agassi at 10. Lendl & Mac were not ranked(it was just a top 10 list, but he did say at the end "I could not include Mac or Lendl on this list."

    I exchanged a number of emails with him a while back, his lists are a combo of accomplishment + peak level of play. I'm surprised that Agassi moved up, but maybe he has concluded that Agassi at his best would beat Lendl at his best. Considering how detailed each chapter is, I wouldn't be surprised if he watched Agassi-Sampras '01 USO multiple times while writing that chapter & that swayed him a bit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  40. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Ummm...injuries? Does that include sitting around eating donuts and taking meth? seriously? Ivan took his career very seriously....Agassi rose and fell like the tides; only late in his career did he redeem himself. At his best, I put Lendl above Andre.
     
  41. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    perhaps you could argue on the quality of the forehands, but the SERVE? no how, no way. Lendl was far superior to Agassi on serve. Lendl was better on hard courts and clay than Andre...I just don't see where Andre is superior. On grass, it would be a close one, maybe tipped a bit to Andre due to his excellent return game. Much like Connors, the return served him well on the grass courts.
     
  42. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    not quite true as you know; Connors won the '76 USO on Har-Tru clay.

    Indoors, I give an edge to Lendl. But only slight...when they were on, Mac and Connors were both dangerous on a fast indoor surface.
     
  43. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    No!

    Lendl has a better fh but Agassi has a better bh.
     
  44. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Serena is only as great as her accomplishments mirror. Evidently her athletic attributes wilt before Evert's mental attributes. Potential that is realized here and there, off then on, is only sometimes great. Evert's records were not made in spite of her greatness but because of her greatness.
     
  45. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    I think Jimmy won all his Clay titles on green Har-Tru
     
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Guys, with all this Lendl opposed to Agassi talk, here's the facts.
    1. Lendl won 146 tournaments-Agassi 60-HUGE difference
    2. Lendl's lifetime winning percent is 81.76-Agassi 76.05-Big different
    3. Lendl actually averaged winning over 90% of his matches over five consecutive years as opposed to Agassi NEVER doing it over one year-This shows much greater dominance at his best.
    4. Both won 8 majors. Agassi won his 8 majors in 15 final appearances and Lendl won his in 19 final appearances. Lendl reached more finals. Lendl also has a higher percentage of majors won as opposed to majors entered.

    We can all be subjective about things but Lendl had to be doing a number of things better than Agassi to achieve so much more than Agassi. We can't say that Agassi's strokes and mobility was superior to Lendl's and yet observe that Lendl's career record was far better. Performance is what counts.

    Again subjectively I believe there are few players in the history of tennis that can have the overall backhand and forehand combo of Agassi. There are some but I think you can count them on one hand.

    It's not close, Lendl is the better player by miles.

    A close argument would be Connors against Lendl but not Agassi.

    Subjectively I do believe Agassi is amazingly talented but while we can argue strokes I don't think any of us can argue that Agassi's mobility was at the level of Connors or Lendl. Generally I believe the really top level greats have greater mobility than Agassi. Look at Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer today. Look at Laver, Rosewall, Nastase, Borg, Connors, Lendl, Edberg and Sampras.

    I think one of the big reasons Agassi lost more often to Sampras was that Sampras was a far more mobile player.

    Agassi may have been faster than Becker, Newcombe and some others. I'm not sure but I was never impressed by Becker or Newcombe's mobility.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  47. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Ivan was deadly constant.. he spent more than 11 years in Top 5 and we know how low could Agassi fall

    Andre done amazing things after 30th birthday but that's not good enough
     
  48. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Connors won the 76 US Open on clay, beating Borg in four sets. So, he is the only one of those three to win Slams on grass, clay, and hard court.
     
  49. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I agree in no way should Agassi rank over Lendl. I am surprised Flink would do so. I dont think McEnroe can be behind Agassi either (nor over Lendl for that matter).
     
  50. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Great and CLEAR stats :)
     

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