Rating Agassi, Sampras, Connors, Mac, Fed, Lendl, Borg, in each area of game.

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by lambielspins, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

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    How would you rate the 7 truly greatest players of the last 25 years-McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Sampras, Agassi, and Federer from best to worst in each aspect of the game. For me it would go like:


    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. McEnroe
    4. Lendl
    5. Borg
    6. Agassi
    7. Connors


    Return of Serve:

    1. Connors
    2. Agassi
    3. Federer
    4. Borg
    5. McEnroe
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Borg
    5. McEnroe
    6. Connors
    7. Sampras


    Backhand:

    1. Connors
    2. Agassi
    3. Federer
    4. Borg
    5. McEnroe
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Overall movement:

    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3. McEnroe
    4. Connors
    5. Lendl
    6. Sampras
    7. Agassi


    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. Lendl
    2. Federer
    3. Borg
    4. Connors
    5. Sampras
    6. McEnroe
    7. Agassi
     
    #1
  2. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    I don't think a guy who lost 11 of 19 GS Finals should be considered to have the #1 "mental game" of modern times. Your #'s 3, 4 and 5 in that list, should be 1, 2 and 3, with Federer #4.
     
    #2
  3. capriatifanatic

    capriatifanatic Banned

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    I dont know how Lendl should be rated as far as his mental game since during his dominant 6 year stretch of tennis, probably nobody was a stronger and more determined competitor then he was. However if you look at his entire career, he had many years, including his early years as a strong contender before he began to dominate in a field with a fading McEnroe and aging Connors , where he was extremely prone to nerves and was a shaky big match performer especialy compared to his biggest rivals.
     
    #3
  4. hewittboy

    hewittboy Banned

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    Lendl is no #1 in mental toughness. He is the guy who has reached the most slam finals of any player in history but still sits only in a 5 way tie for 7th in slam events won. That is where his 8-11 record in slam finals takes him to, from a first in slam finals, to sharing 7th with 4 others in slam titles.

    Is that a sign of being the beacon of mental toughness of all recent players?
    I dont think so.
     
    #4
  5. hewittboy

    hewittboy Banned

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    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. Lendl
    4. McEnroe
    5. Agassi
    6. Borg
    7. Connors


    Return of Serve:

    1. Connors
    2. Agassi
    3. Federer
    4. Sampras
    5. Lendl
    6. McEnroe
    7. Borg


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Sampras
    5. Borg
    6. Connors
    7. McEnroe


    Backhand:

    1. Borg
    2. Connors
    3. Agassi
    4. Federer
    5. Lendl
    6. McEnroe
    7. Sampras


    Overall movement:

    1. Federer
    2. Borg
    3. McEnroe
    4. Sampras
    5. Lendl
    6. Connors
    7. Agassi


    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Borg
    5. Connors
    6. Agassi
    7. Lendl


    Mental game:

    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3. Sampras
    4. Connors
    5. Lendl
    6. McEnroe
    7. Agassi
     
    #5
  6. DarkSephiroth

    DarkSephiroth Rookie

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    Did you both seriously just rank Agassi's forehand above Sampras's?
     
    #6
  7. ctbmar

    ctbmar Semi-Pro

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    They ranked Agassi's backhand better than Federer's...
    Did you factor in Federer's slice? Ability to hit short low balls with topspin? Around the net post shots? Lunging Backhand Returns with topspin? Short Angle Slice? Super-backspin dropshot with disguise of a slice stroke? Flicking crosscourt with just his wrist on a full stretch to pass players at the net?
    Half-volley on a dead-run on his backfoot with control to guide in down-the-line /crosscourt for a winner? Ability to hit short angled topspin like a two handed backhand?
    The only thing impressive about Agassi was his hand-eye coordination and hitting on the rise for his returns.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
    #7
  8. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    This seems about right to me. Sampras, Federer and McEnroe certainly the top 3, and probabely in that order. I rate Agassi's serve above Borg's and possibly Lendl's, but it is about right.

    I will not go into an Agassi vs. Connors debate on return, but I do rate Agassi higher. Otherwise I might stick Borg's return above Federer's. Lendl deserves to be above McEnroe for sure.

    To have Sampras's forehand last is plain aburd Sampras's forehand was one of his strengths. Sampras should be about 3rd, dropping the others all down a slot.

    Lendl surely has a better bachand than McEnroe. I do not rate Connors's backhand above Federer's, Borg's or Agassi's. Connors's bachand was not an aggressive shot, and he had little variation. Federer has most variation with his slices, topspins and dropshots but Fed can be inconsistant and struggles with the high ball. Borg just didn't miss backhands (or forehands). Agassi had very solid backhand and a delightful and underated drop shot. It is very difficult to rate these players backhands but I would actually put Borg first because his backhand would be the most difficult to break down. Agassi and Federer can scramble over 2nd, putting Connors at 4th.

    7. Agassi

    I suppose this includes court positioning and footwork (if it doesn't then there should definetly be another catergory). If we are looking at the new image Agassi then court positioning and footwork were great strenghs in his game. Agassi was also good moving forward when he choose to. I would stick Sampras at the bottem. I would stick McEnroe way down the list on movement alone, but up again if footwork and positioning are included. Lendl should be 3rd I think. Connors also above McEnore. Agassi in the scrap somewhere.

    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi

    Borg over Connors (Borg serve and vollyed very sucessfully at Wimbledon). Agassi over Lendl. Agassi rarely choose to come to the net, but when he did he could put away a clean volley.

    This is horribly wrong. I don't where you got these ideas from about Lendl being a mental giant, with a poor backhand and return, yet an average Serve? This is not what I view him as at all. Borg surely tops the list. Borg has a 26-4 record in 5 sets (the best of any by far). The only thing that phased Borg was the US crowds. Sampras is next. The man who had a great 5 set record despite unsublime stamina, and could even win a 5 set tiebreak while throwing up. If you want a big serve at a crucial time then he is also your man. Federer has yet to prove himself mentally. Federer is rarely in tight situations so his mental strength is not really tested. Federer has a very poor record over 5 sets (its about 8-8 ) for someone of his fitness. Federer also sometimes has lapses of concentration. Federer should be 3rd or 4th (with Connors) followed by Lendl, then McEnroe/Agassi.
     
    #8
  9. rleidle

    rleidle New User

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    This is the same Lendl that broke down mentally and lost to cramping Chang at the French?

    :)
     
    #9
  10. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    nice list, but Sampras had a better backhand and forehand than Mac.:)
    Lendl would not be a #1 for me in the mental department. I would rate him last. Sampras or Fed at #1. Mac should be higher.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
    #10
  11. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    How I rate the 7 of them is simple:

    Forehand:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer


    Backhand:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer

    Net game:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer

    Movement:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer

    Mental game:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer

    Return of serve:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer


    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2-6. everyone else
    7. Federer


    Sampras is the best at everything of all those 7 guys, and Federer is the worst at everything of those 7 guys. Sampras is a god, a superhuman. Federer is the best player of a horrable era of tennis, he beats up a bunch of losers and even though he is average he wins all the time. He would get killed by a real champion.
     
    #11
  12. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    This moron forgot to take his medication.
     
    #12
  13. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    I'll simplify my response and go like this (and as you can see, I agree with many of your picks!):

    Serve:
    1. Sampras
    2. McEnroe
    3. Becker

    Return of Serve:
    1. Connors
    2. Agassi
    3. Federer

    Forehand:
    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi

    Backhand:
    1. Connors
    2. Federer
    3. Borg

    Overall movement:
    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3. McEnroe

    Net play:
    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer

    Mental game:
    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3. Wilander


    Note: The toughest category was the last. How can we really know? And do you mean from a tactical standpoint? I would say that, for me, "Mental Game" would entail a player's ability to adjust in the course of a match. With that being the case, Mac would be in my top three. The top three above though reflects a much more benign approach: Who could keep their head in a match and just grind.

    Also, I tried to stay within the bounds of your "past 25 years" boundary. You also could consider the Open Era.

    Cool.

    Jet
     
    #13
  14. Nick Irons

    Nick Irons Semi-Pro

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    Nice list Jet

    It is the first one that appears to have any actual thought put into it. These fellas that are putting Federer atop the Service List aren't doing their homework.

    I have to agree, more or less with your choices; I'd probably put Roger atop the 'movement' over Borg however.
     
    #14
  15. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    Sampras moved incredibly well. And McEnroe had the best anticipation, but basically lurched for a first step and launced himself. McEnroe and Connors and Agassi and Lendl don't even deserve to be rated in the same league as Federer, Borg and Sampras. Not EVEN open for discussion. Watch the film.

    And movement is why Lendl, Agassi and McEnroe aren't considered anywhere near being the GOAT, except by their loyalest, of fans.
     
    #15
  16. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    And in terms of the movement, Borg was a midget compared to Roger, so I think Rogers movement is even more impressive. Borg was a dancer on the court though. Between that and his ability to push, he was impossible to beat on clay. Impossible.
     
    #16
  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. McEnroe
    4. Lendl/Agassi
    5. Borg
    6. Connors


    Return of Serve:

    1. Agassi
    2. Connors
    3. Federer
    4. Borg
    5. Lendl
    6. McEnroe
    7. Sampras


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. Connors
    7. McEnroe

    Backhand:

    1. Agassi
    2. Federer
    3. Connors
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. Lendl
    7. McEnroe


    Overall movement:

    1. Federer
    2. Borg
    3. Sampras
    4. Agassi
    5. Connors
    6. Lendl
    7. McEnroe

    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. McEnroe
     
    #17
  18. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    Lendl, Agassi and McEnroe's weakness was their mental strength, not their movement. McEnroe had a tendancy to explode and let a 2 set lead and a break slip at the FO final. Lendl lost 11 GS finals including to a cramping Chang. Agassi was up and down like a yo-yo. Agassi had is rebel image that prevented him from entering wimbledon.

    Sampras's movement not supiror to these guys. His movement was let down by a lack of stamina (particualrly towards the end of his reign). Borg had the best movement, but Federer's was more fluid.
     
    #18
  19. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    Lendl didn't lose French Open final to Chang. He lost in early round to Chang. Chang beat Edberg in final of French in 89.
     
    #19
  20. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    Sorry, you are correct. Alright then. Lendl lost 11 GS finals, and that does not even include an earlier round loss at the FO to a cramping Chang!:-D
     
    #20
  21. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Serve:

    1. sampras
    2. mcenroe
    3. federer
    4. lendl
    5. borg
    6. agassi
    7. connors

    Return of serve:

    1. connors
    2T. agassi
    2T. federer
    4. borg
    5. mcenroe
    6. sampras
    7. lendl

    Forehand:

    1. federer
    2. sampras
    3. lendl
    4. agassi
    5. mcenroe
    6. borg
    7. connors

    Backhand:

    1. agassi
    2. federer
    3. connors
    4. borg
    5. mcenroe
    6. sampras
    7. lendl

    Net Play:

    1. sampras
    2. mcenroe
    3. federer
    4. lendl
    5. connors
    6. borg
    7. agassi

    Overall movement:

    1. federer
    2T. borg
    2T. sampras
    4. mcenroe
    5. lendl
    6. connors
    7. agassi

    Mental game:

    1. connors
    2. sampras
    3. borg
    4. federer
    5. mcenroe
    6. agassi
    7. lendl
     
    #21
  22. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Good list Jet. However, I would place Becker serve above Mac's. For movement, I wouldn't place Mac at the third position. I would place either Edberg or Wilander there. Speaking of Edberg, did you forget about him? He's number 2 when it comes to net play. I was glad that somebody remember Wilander and his mental prowess. I would probably place him second and Fed/Mac/connors third.
     
    #22
  23. dunlopfan

    dunlopfan Rookie

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    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. Agassi
    4. Connors
    5. Lendl
    6. McEnroe
    7. Borg


    Return of Serve:

    1. Agassi
    2. Connors
    3. Federer
    4. McEnroe
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. McEnroe
    7. Connors


    Backhand:

    1. Agassi
    2. Federer
    3. Connors
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. Lendl
    7. McEnroe


    Overall movement:

    1. Federer
    2. Borg
    3. Agassi
    4. Sampras
    5. Connors
    6. Lendl
    7. McEnroe


    Net play:

    1. Sampras
    2. McEnore
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Lendl
    6. Borg
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Borg
    4. Sampras
    5. Agassi
    6. Connors
    7. McEnroe
     
    #23
  24. BeckerFan

    BeckerFan Rookie

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    I actually disagree with your seven players, but that's beside the point. Sampras certainly had the best serve of the modern greats, by quite a lot. Best return goes to Agassi, with Federer and Connors close behind (they are/were both more consistent, but Agassi was more explosive).

    Forehand goes to Federer, who has perhaps the best forehand of any player of the Open Era. Sampras's running forehand deserves mention too, though Federer's anticipation and footwork are so good that he rarely NEEDS a running forehand. The backhand is tough, but I will give this honor to Federer as well. Connors, Borg and Agassi all had superb two-handers, but the one-hander simply gives better reach and variety. The consistency of Federer's stroke seems to be improving.

    Best movement: Borg, in a landslide. He is the fastest player I have ever seen, beyond any shadow of a doubt. The only comparable experience was seeing video clips of Fred Perry bounding about in his wide trousers. Federer is a great mover too, but he can't scramble like Borg. No one can.

    Net play is a tricky category. There are so many variables to account for: the touch and placement of the volley itself, the quality of the approach, and the ability to set up the approach with a big serve (or groundstroke). McEnroe was probably the best volleyer in modern tennis, followed by Edberg, though I might argue that the overall net play of Sampras or even Becker would win out. In the final analysis, I would give the blue ribbon to McEnroe, but with some hesitation.

    Your choice of Lendl for mental game is a poor one. Perhaps the most memorable thing about Lendl was his failure to win Wimbledon. He faced Becker six times in Grand Slam matches and beat the German only once, and that was a five-set victory at the US Open in 1992! Lendl was mentally tougher than McEnroe or Connors, but weaker than Becker, who was in turn weaker than Sampras. Federer is perhaps the best big-match player of all, even better than Sampras, though he has a weakness in five-set matches. I give the blue ribbon to Borg, the most stoic of all the great players, and the undisputed king of long matches. His one shortcoming--his failure to win the US Open in four final appearances--can perhaps be excused, for he faced the emotional Americans Connors and McEnroe in those finals.
     
    #24
  25. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
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  26. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Wow - some very interesting points.

    Here's one from a self-confessed Lendl-fan: making 19 GS finals, 5 years at #1... that sure takes a lot of mental toughness, in some ways endless-driving-consistency takes more mental strength than irregular flashes of brilliance. Also him even making two W finals...that took amazing focus and mental strength too.

    I'm not saying he should be #1 on that list, but I don't think he should be #7 there either.
     
    #26
  27. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    Federer's game sucks and he should be last on each list in each area. Look at his games:

    serve-fluffy serve with no power
    forehand-lots of moonballing to it, too much topspin
    backhand-hits that woosy slice, a wimpy shot, not the hard crips ones like a real man
    net play-so awful at net, flubs balls at his knees
    mental game-is scared of anybody that stands up to him
    movement-fat and slow around the court
    return-little woosy return, just pokes at it

    He should be last in everything, his game sucks. He wins everything since nobody around is better then him now, the whole field sucks, he is bad but the best of that really bad field so wins alot which makes him look really good when he isnt.
     
    #27
  28. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Please go away.
     
    #28
  29. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Serve: Sampras
    Returns: Agassi
    Forehand: Federer
    Backhand: Agassi, but on a different day, I could easily pick Federer as well
    Volleys: Edberg, but since he's not on the list, Mac
    Footwork: Federer
    Fitness: Lendl
    The Ability to Sneak into Net at most Opportune Times: Connors
    Showmanship: Connors
    Mental: Federer
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
    #29
  30. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I believe Mac drove Borg into retirement and Borg was still in his prime. I agree Agassi should not be at the level the rest were at, but each and every one of these players dominated at some point (and for a few years) their peers.

    Connors...c'mon...the guy was amazing. He had a crap serve. Yet, he dominated in the mid 70's. The guy won slams into his 30's.

    Lendl dominated a really good class of players in the mid to late 80's. He was a flake for a while, but changed his mental approach.

    Other than Agassi, partly because he did not dominate his peers, all deserve high regard and belong in the same breath....just my 2 cents.:)
     
    #30
  31. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Sampras's movement not supiror to these guys. His movement was let down by a lack of stamina (particualrly towards the end of his reign). Borg had the best movement, but Federer's was more fluid.[/QUOTE]


    Don't forget Sampras had a rare blood disorder. Here is a quaote from Wikpedia:

    Sampras has thalassemia minor, an inherited disease that causes anemia. Thalassemia minor limits physical and athletic endurance and causes those who have it to feel fatigued when forced to perform athletic feats. Sampras was generally able to control this condition, although he was not known for his endurance in extremely long matches. Sampras vomited on the court during his epic 7-6, 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 win in the 1996 US Open quarterfinals against Alex Corretja - a match that lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes. During this match, Pete's close friend and radio presenter Patrick McCafferty turned up during the second set.

    Also..the guy had to sleep like 12 hours a day....
     
    #31
  32. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I agree w/you. I put Lendl last only because I felt the other's had more. But all still had mental toughness. Lendl was a great, great player. Too bad he was such a bore.
     
    #32
  33. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    Agassi is defenitly in this group! Agassi is the only player in history to have won the career GS across 4 different surfaces. Look at all the players. They all failed at 1 slam. Sampras barely tried to win the FO. Lendl could not win Wimbledon despite all the sacrifices he made and not playing the FO. McEnroe fell apart mentally to lose the FO final from 2 sets and a break up. Borg could not cope with noisy crowds and night sessions. Federer has yet to prove himself at the FO after a dissapointing loss last year. Connors did not win the FO (I know he was banned, but that does not mean he would have won it). Agassi was inconsistant but he did spend over 100 weeks at world number 1. On rebound ace Agassi dominated everyone. Agassi has more rebound ace AO titles than any other male player. Agassi lost just 1 set on 2 occasions. Beat Sampras twice here and never lost to him. Sampras's lead over Agassi is always exagerated. Sampras only holds a 9-7 lead over Agassi in ATP finals. Sampras could not win a match off Agassi at the AO or the FO. Sampras was better at SW19 and the USO, but Agassi was better at the AO and the FO. Their H2H would be much closer if Sampras had been good enough to meet Agassi on more occasions on the slower surfaces (particularly clay). Agassi holds 10-4 lead against Becker, a 6-3 lead over Edberg, a 8-4 lead over Kafelnikov, 7-4 lead over Kuerten, 15-7 lead over Chang and a 10-5 lead over Rafter. Agassi could certainly dominate some of the leading players of his time. Agassi's best Win to Loss record is 72-10 (in 1995). This is better than Sampras's best ever year (his best was 72-12). Agassi reached 4 consecutive GS finals. Neither Connors, Sampras, Borg or McEnore achieved this. This is domination and success.
     
    #33
  34. kanjii

    kanjii Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    602
    I think it should be titled emotionless game....
     
    #34
  35. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    Could you expand on this? I know "mental toughness" isn't something that can't easily be explained, but I think Connors & Mac far-outclassed Lendl in this category. As someone mentioned Lendl lost more slam finals than anyone else in history & to players he was heavily favored to beat at times(Cash at '87 W, Wilander at '85 FO, Connors at '82/'83 US Open, arguably Becker at '86 W as well)
    Connors & Mac were 2 of the toughest players mentally, I've ever seen.

    Borg & Connors reached 6 straight slam finals.
     
    #35
  36. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,260
    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. McEnroe
    4. Borg
    5. Lendl
    6. Agassi
    7. Connors


    Return of Serve:

    1. Agassi
    2. Connors
    3. Federer
    4. Borg
    5. Lendl
    6. Sampras
    7. McEnroe


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. Connors
    7. McEnroe


    Backhand:

    1. Federer
    2. Agassi
    3. Connors
    4. Borg
    5. Sampras
    6. Lendl
    7. McEnroe


    Overall movement:

    1. Federer
    2. Borg
    3. Sampras
    4. Agassi
    5. Connors
    6. McEnroe
    7. Lendl


    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. Borg
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Lendl
    6. Agassi
    7. McEnroe
     
    #36
  37. BeckerFan

    BeckerFan Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    120
    Certainly. As you said, mental toughness is a tough category to define. Your point is well taken that Lendl lost more Grand Slam finals than any other player. Yet I think the flipside of that argument also applies: Lendl REACHED more Grand Slam finals than any other player. Consistency was Lendl's middle name in the 1980s. In five seasons he won over 90% of his matches--as far as I know, McEnroe hit this mark only once [1984], Connors three times [1974, 1976 and 1978] ... though I don't have the complete data in front of me for the 1970s, so you could correct me.

    In any case, I do agree that Lendl had a weakness on the big stages; those two huge losses to Connors at the US Open are especially problematic. But I try to weigh all factors. Lendl had a winning record against all his major rivals in the 1980s, with the sole exception of Borg, and as you know I consider Borg to have been the toughest of them all. By contrast, Connors had a losing record to Borg, McEnroe AND Lendl. McEnroe had a bad record against Lendl, though he was dead even with Borg.

    It's tricky, I admit, and you do have a good case. The mental games of Connors and McEnroe may have had greater heights, but they were also more volatile. Especially seeing the way Lendl manhandled McEnroe in 1981-1982, two of McEnroe's prime years, I have to give him the final nod.
     
    #37
  38. BeckerFan

    BeckerFan Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    120
    Just a quick illustration of my previous argument. Think of the three top players on the WTA last year: Mauresmo, Henin-Hardenne and Sharapova. You can point to Henin-Hardenne and say, she lost THREE Grand Slam finals, while the others lost none. But I still think she was mentally the strongest player on tour. It takes a certain kind of toughness to win on those big stages, but it takes another, more consistent kind of toughness to reach those stages in the first place. I feel that's the kind of strength that made Lendl so excellent, and it shouldn't be overlooked.
     
    #38
  39. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    6,295
    I once heard it said that Lendl was a player who usually came into a tournament at a high level and stayed there, he wasn't known for losing in the early rounds, hell, 19 GS Finals shows remarkable consistency indeed.

    But the point being made was that, to use a pop-culture analogy, his dial 'only 'went up to 10 :), and he'd usually be at 10. Didn't matter if it was a smaller tournament or a bigger one, he would come in at that level and play at it.

    The trouble is, some players, and in fact, many in his era (Becker, Cash & Mc especially, Connors too I guess), can go to '11'. Now it meant they (other than connors, maybe) may not have the same ridiculous consistency as Lendl, but in a big stage, they could pull that little more. They were fiery, explosive, emotional beasts, where Lendl was the consummate profesisonal doing a job. He came into the match playing his best, and he'd usually give a great performance. Some of his contemporaries, well they might start at tournament at 2, and reach 11 in the final. If they reached only '9', Lendl walked away with the trophy, '10' was a great match, and '11', well Lendl didn't have the same 'emotional response' to match it....

    Thesedays you think of Fed, Hewitt, Safin, Baghdatis - these are players who have that '11' ability. Davydenko, Ljubi, Blake, Roddick even.... not so much the big-stage huge-performance deal...
     
    #39
  40. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,495
    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2T Lendl
    2T Borg
    4. mcEnroe
    5. Federer
    6. Connors
    7. Agassi


    Return of Serve:

    1. Connors
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Borg
    5T. Federer
    5T. Sampras
    7. McEnroe


    Forehand:

    1. Lendl
    2. Federer
    3T. Borg
    3T. Sampras
    5.Agassi,(only just behind!)
    6T. Connors
    6T. McEnroe


    Backhand:

    1. Lendl
    2. Borg
    3T. Agassi
    3T. Connors (very competetive category!)
    5. McEnroe
    6. Federer
    7. Sampras


    Overall movement:

    1. Borg
    2T. Lendl
    2T. Sampras
    2T. Mcenroe
    2T. Federer
    2T.Connors
    7. Agassi


    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Borg
    3T.Sampras
    3T. Connors
    5T.Federer
    5T. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1T. Borg
    1T.Connors
    3.McEnroe
    4T.Federer
    4T. Sampras
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi
     
    #40
  41. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    Ranking Mac at 7 in returning is madness. I have a huge collection of his matches, he was almost Agassi like in how early he took the return, esp against other S&V players. He's certainly better than Lendl, possibly even Borg, who most of the time were just getting the return in play. Mac was attacking, constantly on returns.
     
    #41
  42. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,495
    He had a weak and inconsistant backhand return whilst all the others had very powerful backhand returns.He is in a very competetive group, I'm not saying mcenroe didn't have amazing returns by ordinary standards, just compared to the others.
     
    #42
  43. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,495
    it was striking how many of these goat's have amazing backhands.
     
    #43
  44. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,715
    Sampras is the easy #7 of these 7 on returns. He is a good returner but clearly the least strong of these 7 players.
     
    #44
  45. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    Yeah, I agree. Especially since he only tried to break one game per set & basically tanked the rest of the return games. Impressed that he could pull off that strategy though, it sounds crazy that anyone would dare play that way.
     
    #45
  46. lambielspins

    lambielspins Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,715
    Yeah I agree that is impressive. Having arguably the greatest serve of all time helped alot though and probably was a large part of that mentality.
     
    #46
  47. paterson

    paterson New User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Serve:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. Lendl
    4. McEnroe
    5. Agassi
    6. Borg
    7. Connors


    Return of Serve:

    1. Federer
    2. Agassi
    3. Connors
    4. McEnroe
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Sampras
    3. Agassi
    4. Lendl
    5. McEnroe
    6. Borg
    7. Connors


    Backhand:

    1. Federer
    2. Agassi
    3. Connors
    4. Borg
    5. Lendl
    6. Mcenroe
    7. Sampras


    Overall movement:

    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3. Sampras
    4. McEnroe
    5. Lendl
    6. Connors/Agassi



    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Sampras
    3. Federer
    4. Connors
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. Sampras
    2. Federer
    3. Borg
    4. McEnroe
    5. Lendl
    6. Connors/ Agassi
     
    #47
  48. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,495
    I don't think so, he was pretty much the same as Federer, he just blocked serves back into play, back in the 90's that wasn't enough to get you noticed though.
     
    #48
  49. capriatifanatic

    capriatifanatic Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    645
    Sampras could not have ever held the huge servers to as low a number of aces and service winners as Federer can. In case you havent noticed you are the only one who didnt have Federer over Sampras on the return of serve. You are in your own little world on that one I am afraid.
     
    #49
  50. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    3,046
    Forehand:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Agassi
    4. Sampras
    5. Borg
    6. McEnroe
    7. Connors


    Backhand:

    1. Federer
    2. Agassi
    3. Borg
    4. Connors
    5. McEnroe
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Serve:

    1. Federer
    2. Sampras
    3. Lendl
    4. McEnroe
    5. Borg
    6. Agassi
    7. Connors


    Return:

    1. Federer
    2. Agassi
    3. Connors
    4. McEnroe
    5. Borg
    6. Lendl
    7. Sampras


    Movement:

    1. Federer
    2. Borg
    3. Sampras
    4. McEnroe
    5. Lendl
    6. Connors
    7. Agassi


    Net play:

    1. McEnroe
    2. Federer
    3. Sampras
    4. Borg
    5. Connors
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi


    Mental game:

    1. Federer
    2. Sampras
    3. Connors
    4. Borg
    5. McEnroe
    6. Lendl
    7. Agassi
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
    #50

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