Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by tennissportsrog, Sep 2, 2012.
NatF, Newcombe had the best second service in the game.
Regarding Federer's strength as a returner: If you check the ATP website of Federer you will find astonishing numbers.
Roger has an career average of return games won of 27% and a highest number (2006) of 32%.
To put it in perspective: Chang has an average of 32%, Agassi also 32%, Nadal 33%, Djokovic 31%, Murray 32%, Kafelnikov 28%, Edberg 30%, Coria even 35%.
Borg had an average of astounding 40% in one or even several years...
My conclusion: Federer is not God and also not GOAT!
Based on just return games won? lol. What a joke.
Federer is generally quite passive on break points, but as seen by the way he deals with big serves he's very good at getting them back into play.
Rosewall has a medicore serve, not GOAAT.
Yes, 58% on first-serve points was not typical for Rosewall -- certainly not in his victories. But Dunlop was a close five-set loss, so 58% is significantly low. I don't mean to imply that Rosewall always had such numbers, and in fact his service stats could be surprisingly good. I'm just pointing out that his service was poor enough to produce such a low stat even in a match in which he played well (not one in which he was dominated, because in a blowout the losing player might very well be at 58% or some similar number).
Sure Rosewall at his peak must have had better matches than the Dunlop final. But this match was regarded as one of their better matches. I don't recall the exact quote but I think it was called one of the finest matches ever played in Australia.
The ball always bounced relatively high on Australia's dry turf, so it was a surface where someone like Laver could really take a swing at Rosewall's serve. And he did some damage: in the second and fourth sets Rosewall was winning only 30% of his second serve points. In the entire match Rosewall's second serve drew only 4 return errors (Laver's drew 13).
At Forest Hills it was more difficult to take advantage of Rosewall's serve because the ball bounced so low.
And as Moose pointed out in this thread on that match, Roche returned poorly. There was a stretch where he could barely seem to get the ball back in play, and the commentators (Kramer was one) said that Roche should be getting more serves back.
It was still a fine service performance by Rosewall -- but he had some help from Roche.
I've got Rosewall above 70% on his first serve points in matches against Newcombe and Smith. But a returner of Laver's caliber could do greater damage to Rosewall's serve (which you can see he did in the Dunlop final).
On low-bouncing grass, yes. At Forest Hills, where the USO was played, the ball took a lower bounce than at Wimbledon. In Australia the climate was dry and the turf baked hard, which produced the highest bounces of all.
Rosewall was superior to Laver on clay because his style was far less risky. His game was perfectly suited to clay. With the high bounce on clay Laver may very well have tried to take a swing at Rosewall's serve, but even a powerful service return would be neutralized by the slow surface.
umm, you don't think people are aware of those stats if they are available on the ATP site ?
that has to do with
a ) the fact that federer went deeper into tournaments more than anyone else and faced more top seeded and top ranked opponents than anyone else and that includes on the faster surfaces in the later half of the season
b) throw in that his service games was that good that he didn't need to break as often as say nadal or djokovic
c) his record in TBs is the best in the open era by far, part of the reason is his excellent returning ( he doesn't have chance to choke away break points there ! )
federer handled the serves of roddick/ljubicic/safin/karlovic etc with relative ease at the peak of his powers ...
borg though a very good returner did have some problems with the serves of mac/tanner
borg's return games won % - not a true indicator of return as a stroke in itself - as he was so dominant on clay ... same for rafa as well .... it has more to do with their ground game on clay
coria's ratio is also skewed by clay and him not playing that many top opponents on other surfaces ...he reached 39% return games in 2003 ..but would you honestly have him or federer face roddick on grass or fast HC or indoors ?
chang didn't even get pass QF at wimbledon , only reached QF once ...
kafelnikov didn't do much at wimbledon either ...
I don't think it's so clear.
For one thing, Federer can be astoundingly good at dealing with powerful serves. I'm sure ABMK has links to footage of that kind. I've seen him do astonishing things with the fastest of Roddick's serves. One year at the USO he returned a Roddick serve that was over 130 mph (?), blocking it back with his BH with such force that it landed inches from Roddick's baseline and forced Andy into an error.
Federer reads and deals with Roddick's serve better than Djokovic has. NOT saying that Federer is a greater returner than Djokovic: I'm pointing out one strength of Roger's return.
Secondly, Borg stood very far back on his return and that left him vulnerable to serve-and-volleyers like McEnroe. You probably remember that the players of Rosewall's generation criticized Borg's return, at the time, for just that reason: they felt that Borg would not be allowed to stand so far back if he had to face someone like Hoad or Gonzalez.
On clay this was no problem for Borg because he rarely faced big servers. He outlasted everyone regardless of whether he was serving or returning. I think this might have something to do with Borg's high rate of breaking serve. He was practically invincible on clay, and on clay there are always a great number of service breaks. You don't have to be a great returner to break serve on clay. Borg WAS a great returner, of course, but I think you have to be careful with equating a high rate of breaking serve with a great return. There's a distinction between the return game and the return itself.
Borg had a particularly difficult time with McEnroe's serve in the 1980 USO final. He made 64 return errors in all.
Compare him to Hewitt.
1980 USO final, 39% of McEnroe's serves against Borg are unreturned
1981 USO final, 31% of McEnroe's serves against Borg are unreturned
2001 USO final, 33% of Sampras' serves against Hewitt are unreturned
(Mac made more first serves in 1980 than in 1981).
In any case, these are comparable numbers between Hewitt and Borg.
Neither Hewitt nor Federer stood as far back as Borg. Federer can stand right at the line and send a return back so fast that even someone staying back (like Roddick) is robbed of all his time.
Ha, again we've cross-posted within minutes on the same idea. Deja vu.
he had more chances on grass ( both wimbledon and USO ) ... hewitt faced federer in the wimbledon QF in 2004 and in the SF in 2005 .... that's why he couldn't make more finals ...
umm, again demonstrating you know nothing about the modern era ...
he won :
Masters in 2001 - beating agassi, rafter, ferrero
Masters in 2002 - beating safin, federer, ferrero
both on fast indoor surfaces ....
actually there were hard courts in Kodes era ... just not as many as now ...
your problem if you can't remember that Laver himself won quite a few HC tournaments ...
yep, very true ...
btw that serve was 140 mph
you remember the smash lob of roddick's smash in basel 2002, right ? this is the link to the full game , one of the finest return games you'll ever see
just one thing about the return numbers b/w hewitt and borg .... pretty sure hewitt hit far more return winners+returns to force sampras error than borg did vs mac in both those finals ... though don't have the stats for that ...
would be if :
a) they faced similar quality of opponents
b) same % of matches on surfaces
c) had similar ground games on all surfaces
quite a bit of difference b/w the return as a stroke and the return game
to digress a bit, federer has a superior service hold % to goran ivanisevic , richard krajicek etc ... does that mean he has a better serve than them ? no, it just means his service game as a whole is better
Thanks, krosero, for this explanation. I understand.
But, as you also write, Rosewall's achievements in his peak years were probably better. The Dunlop match and those against Newcombe and Smith happened when the Little Master was already 35 or older.
It's a phenomenon that people tend to judge Rosewall for his performance in open era only but not for those in the early 1960s. Of course the latters are rather unknown and almost not recorded.
krosero, This sounds convincing.
It was Rosewall great return that won him legendary 74 matches against Newcombe, Smith and young Roscoe Tanner at Wimbledon and Forest Hills
It always seemed to me that Borg faced better the big flat swingless cannon ball of Tanner than the wicked, angled slice of Mac
What is your opinion Krossero?
kiki, but even his serve was not too bad. For winning matches you also need a good service...
I can ONLY lolz @ this post
Anyway watch this Bobby
I know you have not seen what Roger Federer was during his peak. Here he is returning a 140 miles per hour serve from the baseline with flick of his wrist.
There will never be a shot maker like him
Nasty Feather, I did see Federer during his peak. When will you boys accept that?
Two great returns are fine. Don't you think a Rosewall could have also done this? Muscles was famous for his reflexes and technique...
Why do you speak about Rosewall and get defensive about him? Why you feel insecure whenever I said something about Federer? I have never commented about Rosewalls' return as I have not seen him play. I don't talk about things that I don't know or else I will become a fool in front of others, you know :wink:
And if you had seen Roger's peak, I am sure you wouldn't have insinuated Coria, Kafelnikov etc have better returns than Roger
These are interesting stat but they are not analyzed correctly. The return game has note the same place in the game of Federer than in the game of Chang, because he could hold his own serve. Agassi and Chang, on the other hand, would be broken more often and so they needed to win more return games.
Federer, like Sampras, is known for his ability to hold serve and win the right points at the right moment.
Chang, on the other hand, is 91 in the list of service game win. Coria 160. These two players HAD to be great in the return game.
Flash, good point.
I just checked the matchfacts in ATP website. Coria played 324 matches and of which 185 are on clay. Roger player more than 1000 matches and of which only 217 are on clay. Just check how close the number of matches they played on clay are. On clay there will be lots of service breaks. I guess thats why it's like that
Regarding the list, leave me. I am not a tennis expert like you guys to make a list and all. I was not even born when Borg won his first major. How do I compare Borg and Federer?
I started watching Tennis, when I was 9 years. I first watched 86 Wimbledon. I was more of a Cricket fan in those days though I used to like Stefan Edberg.
I have watched a lots of matches in the 90s. I do feel that in the last two decades Roger Federer is the best player. Yeah, I consider him better than Pete Sampras. That's about it
Feather, that's a serious answer.
Whether or not Rosewall could return a 140 mph serve to the servers feet during a tiebreak...guess we'll never know.
Right. But that does not mean at all that we can rule out the possibility that he could have done. As already written Muscles is one of theall-time great returners and had arguably the best reflexes. They say he executed special eye exercises to improve his reflexes...
You know, I really miss that Roger. He was awesome against big hitters. Like Wimbledon 2004...Felt very sad watching him lose to Tsonga at Wimbledon 2011. On his heydays he used to eat power hitters and now he is very vulnerable to them.
He played in another world during 2004 - 2007. I remember Marat safin was aske who are the three best players. He said, Borg, Sampras and Nadal. The interviewer was like what about Roger? Safin said, I thought you are asking about players from earth, damn funny it was
His reflexes have decline. I miss the power he had of both wings, he was a power hitter at his peak!
Burden of proof isn't on me really, I reckon the best servers of today > the best servers of the 60's. The speed of serves on average today will be faster. None of what you said is proof he could return a 140 mph serve with such precision.
Maybe Rosewall could I wouldn't be surprised, but it would nice if you just gave Roger his due for once and admit that it was an impressive return (from his backhand no less).
Smart NatF: Your logic is remarkable: You (rightly) firstly wrote that we will never know if Rosewall could have done the same and now you say I can't prove that he could do it. Why a blame when we BOTH cannot say what is the truth.
I can say though that Rosewall is valued be many expert as the man with most precision. Therefore I think Muscles is a good match for Roger in this department.
Interestingly you overlooked that I have written that this Federer return was
a great shot. When did YOU ever praise Rosewall for anything?
Both those statements amount to the same thing? Where's the gap in logic? We'll never whether Rosewall could do it or not, thusly you can't prove that he could.
Valued by who? And in what context? Most precision of the old crop of players doesn't amount to more precision than anyone today. I'm glad that you're no longer blindly saying Rosewall has a better ROS than Federer.
I have praised Rosewall multiple times for his longevity, I was also impressed by his backhand in clips that I've seen.
Keep this thread non-personal, or else it will be closed (or trouble makers will be temp banned (maybe that's easier)) :twisted:
Personal crusades are dead weight for everyone.
I love to see Rosewall try to return Isner's serve.
I don't think anyone is returning that serve.
Yeah that was a ridiculous serve, just to manage to get your racket on it is almost impossible.
At the Davis cup tie a couple of weeks back Isner was hitting serves that were kicking up above Djokovic's head landing in the stands...
I don't have the forced errors but I do have the clean return winners. Hewitt falls in between those two finals.
1980 USO final: 9.4% of McEnroe’s serves were returned for clean winners
1981 USO final: 6.1% of McEnroe’s serves were returned for clean winners
2001 USO final: 7.1% of Sampras’ serves were returned for clean winners
I agree, McEnroe just had the hook, sliding away from the returner, down to perfection.
NatF, I cannot prove but it's yet possible.
You cannot blame many experts for their judgment.
It could be that Rosewall had a better return. I believe it yet...
Roger is the best there ever was, ever is and ever will be.
Hail Roger Featherer.
I don't blame them for their judgement. But you haven't provided quotes or context. For all I know these comments were made long before Federer was even born or winning grand slams...
Ofcourse you believe it, never doubted it.
abmk, You properly are on my ignore list, but let's discuss seriously!
Your points seem convincing but I yet have some contra arguments.
We should accept the seriosity of return statistics (and others too of course).
It's a fact that Agassi, Nadal and Djokovic have better return percentages than Federer.
Federer has better percentages than Sampras. Thus I rank Federer higher than Pete at the return. But using the same logic we should accept that Borg was clearly stronger than Federer (peak 40% to peak 32%).
I confess that I have underrated Borg for many, many years. But later I have realized how great the Swede is.
Borg not only dominated clearly on clay but also dominated in his peak on grass, hard court and indoors (fast carpet). He hold service to a high degree on all these surfaces.
In 1976 he won Wimbledon without losing a set. A clear indicator! Federer never did.
Borg won five Wimbledons on fast grass. Federer was favoured because he played on slower grass. On the old grass his return % would have been lower.
McEnroe had a fantastic service. He would have given troubles also to Federer.
Chang had many injuries which lowered his percentage.
Federer is of course great in holding his serve. But he also would like to break service more often. I don't trust the theory that Roger did not care too much to breaking more services. But of course I cannot prove it.
Sampras in 2001 was of course an old one against Hewitt.
The matches of Borg against McEnroe are just two matches. Not more and not less.
Borg played against strong Tanner (probably the best server of the late 1970s) very well.
Generally spoken Borg ran through most tournaments in his peak years losing rather few games.
Don't write Featherer. You could get problems with Feather ;-)
NatF, you are right that these experts (I can't tell you names but there were really many of them) judged before the Federer era. But I could imagine that still there are experts who praise Rosewall more than Federer regarding precision.
By the way, I once read in "The Fireside Book of Tennis" that Rosewall was a typical chalk raiser...
Perhaps there are. But could Rosewall be as precise as Federer with the same amount of pace etc...Federer is also highly rated you know...
The armada hath spoken!
hoodjem, smoledman should not use the term "Hail" because it was used ("Heil H.") in a bad period of mankind ;-)
Nadal has a return percentage of 43 on clay. He is behind Federer on grass on return percentage. On hards he is marginally ahead. Return of service and return games won is an entirely different thing. Federer is much better in return of service than Nadal.
Borg didn't win US Open in many attempts. I think he failed there on three surfaces. Roger succeeded on all surfaces. It's a clear big difference. Even in his worst surface, he reached final five times. In Open era atleast he has the best record when you consider all surfaces.
Federer never had any trouble with servers in his entire career. McEnroe will not give much trouble to Federer. You know baby Federer handled Sampras serve excellently on fast grass. Unless you say that McEnroes had a better serve than Sampras, which obviously he didn't have, you cannot say that McEnroe will trouble Federer. This you saying after few days ago I posted you the clip of Federer returning 140 mph serve that too from service line not 10 feet behind the baseline like Borg. Since he stay close to the baseline he will not be vulnerable to serve and volleyers. Federer will have only advantages on the fast grass as he is better at net and volleying than all other in the top four.
I don't know you have seen the match or not but Federer versus Sampras match shows what a young Federer, who was not even a masters winner did on FAST grass against Sampras, the grass court king. Sampras was past his best but he served well. And Bobby, Federer doesn't lack touch shots. And also he serve and volleyed a lot in that match.
Double standards! If Sampras was old in 2001, then obviously Federer was also old in 2011, because they both are exactly ten years apart. So why do you harp that Federer won ONLY one out of twelve majors since he is an old man? If Sampras was old at age 30, how can be Federer was in his prime in Wimbledon at age 31? Remember you said Federer was in his prime at Wimbledon 2012. Please be fair to all
If smoledman is a Roger Federer fan, then I am the Prime Minister of India.
It's funny in a way. There are few new accounts who pretend as Roger Federer fans and post "interesting" stuff on boards.
quite a bit of difference b/w the return as a stroke and the return game ... as has been explained multiple times
nope, I don't use just one metric to evaluate a player on any front ....
Besides me, krosero and others have already told you the difference b/w the return and the return game ...
federer is a better returner than sampras because he is ... its obvious from watching them play
agassi and djokovic are overall better returners than federer ..but against a big server on a medium to fast surface, I would definitely take federer over djokovic and favour federer a bit over agassi ... djokovic/agassi are clearly better at punishing weaker serves
as far as nadal goes, he's clearly inferior returner to federer IMO ...
federer's return stats are better on grass
only very slightly behind on HC, that's understandable considering federer goes deeper into HC tournaments far more than nadal and plays far more on the faster HC events
nadal's is clearly better on clay ... mainly due to his ground game being that good on clay
yeah, I know all that about borg ... which is why I said there is no question in my mind that borg was better from the baseline than rosewall ..
only one correction, he did not dominate on hard court .... he was very good on HC, but not great ...
he did. But you need to realise that borg was in trouble far more in the earlier rounds in other Wimbledons and lost far more sets ....
federer only lost one set each in 2003,05 and 06 ...
on the return yes, federer was favoured a bit, but not that much ....
of course mac had an excellent serve. But players like roddick, ljubicic, karlovic also had excellent serves, but didn't trouble federer to a great extent ...
federer wouldn't have it easy vs the mac serve, but as he is capable of standing on the baseline , taking it on the rise, I'd expect he'd handle it better than borg did ....
that's a clearly obvious thing to those who've followed federer quite a bit ...
his TB record is the best in the open era ( also in the majors ) .. its not just the serve, but the return there as well ... he gets back more returns into play there than almost anyone ....
so sampras was old in 2001 and federer was still in his prime in 2012 ? good to know
borg was 11-4 vs tanner (5-1 in majors ) , which is pretty good , but it pales in comparision to federer being 21-3 vs roddick ( 8-0 in majors )
he did have trouble with tanner's serve on several occasions
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