Sampras-Federer Myth Part 2

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Indio, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Indio

    Indio Rookie

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    Those who say there is no debate are correct. The case is actually closed. In fact, even had PS and RF been tied at 14 majors, the honors, in my opinion, still go to RF for several reasons, the biggest of which is his amazing streak of QFs or better in majors. But the many PS advocates who claim their man is still #1, regardless of the numbers, believe he faced the (much) tougher opposition, and had they been correct, there certainly would be a debate.
    There are cases in which quality of opposition could be a decisive factor when comparing the accomplishments of two athletes. A good example of this is Connors 74 and McEnroe 84. Each man had a sensational year, but was one better than the other?
    Connors 93-4 15 W Australian, Wimbledon, US
    McEnroe 82-3 14 W Wimbledon, US (lost French final)

    The following players had good showings in the majors:
    1974 1984
    Rosewall F F Lendl W F SF
    Newcombe SF QF QF Wilander W SF QF
    Smith SF QF Connors F SF SF
    Borg W Cash SF SF QF

    Connors defeated Rosewall twice, in the finals of Wimbledon and the US. He didn't face Newcombe, Smith or Borg. He defeated Phil Dent in the Australian final. His record against the top performers in 1974's majors was therefore 2-0, omitting Dent, who surely wasn't highly ranked.
    McEnroe defeated Connors in all three majors. He defeated Cash once and split a pair of matches with Lendl. His record against 1984's best was 5-1. He didn't play Wilander in a major, but did trounce him at the year-end Master's event.
    Despite winning two majors to Connors' three, I believe McEnroe gets the nod because of the more difficult opposition he had to deal with.

    RF's main opposition from 2004 to 2007 comprised Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt (04-05), Andre Agassi (04-05), Marat Safin (04-05), Rafael Nadal (05 onward) and Novak Djokovic (07). How this crew can be described as being part of a weak era is a mystery to me, but PS supporters usually base half of their argument on that claim. To be honest, 2006 may have been relatively soft, with the decline of AA, LH and MS, and an off year by AR till the US Open, but it's not much worse than PS's 1994. And when compared to 1997, when PS beat just one Top 10 player in a major (Muster #5 Aust), RF's 2006, with seven Top 10 victims, doesn't look too bad after all.

    Agassi: Old. That's what RF detractors usually say about AA during this part of his career. He's too old to offer strong competition. He's far from the player he used to be.
    Before I continue with AA, I want to mention some similarities between pro hockey and pro tennis. In both sports, players typically begin their careers in their late teens or very early twenties, and in both, most players are at their best before reaching their 30s. In the 2010-2011 NHL season, Nick Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman. He was forty years old. I'm sure that even the most dim-witted observer will understand my point. One example should suffice, but here's another one. The previously mentioned Ken Rosewall was 39 when he lost in the finals of Wimbledon and the US to Jimmy Connors. To reach those finals, he defeated Roscoe Tanner, Stan Smith and John Newcombe, twice. Yes, he was destroyed in both finals, but I believe (and I obviously can't prove) that the defeats had more to do with Connors' powerful groundstrokes easily handling Rosewall's lightweight serves than it did with the disparity in years.
    AA had a long up-and-down career, but the period from 2002 to 2005 was one of consistently good tennis, with good W-L records and few early knockouts. In 2004 and 2005, he reached a Final, a SF and two QFs in the four hard-court tournaments, losing the SF to Safin in Australian 04 and the other three to RF. How does a player who's allegedly too old advance that far in so many majors? Finally, if you still believe the man was too old, go to Youtube and watch the final few minutes of his match with James Blake in the US 2005 QFs.

    Hewitt:
    2004 68-18 4 Ws 3 2nd rnd losses in 20 matches
    2005 37-9 1 W 1 1st rnd loss (by retirement) in 10 matches

    2004 majors 4 QF QF F French loss to Gaudio, other 3 to RF
    2005 majors F -- SF SF Aust. loss to Safin, other 2 to RF

    LH lost 27 matches in these two years, nine of them to just one player, RF. It looks like RF had no problem with him. How did LH do against other players of interest?

    Sampras 5-4 LH won five of the last six.
    Agassi 4-4 One LH loss was a retirement. AA won the last two, in 02 and 04, again proving that he wasn't too old to compete.
    Rafter 3-1
    Safin 7-7
    Roddick 7-7 Roddick won four of the last five.
    Henman 9-1 From 00 to 04, it was 8-0, and all four on grass were LH's.
    Ivanisevic 3-0 00, 01 and 04, all on grass, 7-0 in sets
    Philippoussis 3-1
    Blake 8-1
    Kafelnikov 7-1

    LH obviously has a losing record against Nadal, Murray and Djokovic, but virtually all of the damage would have been done after 2005. The only other players I could find with winning records against LH are Gonzalez, 5-2, and, believe it or not, Karlovic, 3-1.

    Roddick: Compare AR to a few notables from the Sampras era in winning percentage, overall and on grass and hard courts. There's no point in including his clay results, as he was no threat to RF at the French.

    Overall Grass Hard
    Roddick 612-213 74.2 79.6 75.5
    Agassi 870-274 76 73.5 79
    Courier 506-237 68.1 62.2 70.9
    Ivanisevic 599-333 64.3 72 58.2
    Rafter 358-191 65.2 74.7 66.7

    I would say that Roddick measures up fairly well. From 2004 to 2007, in the 12 non-clay majors, he reached three Finals, two SFs and Four QFs. Overall, he reached the SFs or better ten times. He was stopped by RF in seven of those matches.

    Nadal: Little need be said here. It's true that he didn't meet RF in a hard-court major till 2009, but he was an immediate threat to RF at the French, which, unlike PS, RF usually had an excellent chance of winning.
    I've heard Nadal described as strictly a defensive player, and on some other site, some idiot described him as a pusher. The hardest hit groundstrokes I've ever seen are inside-out forehands that RN occasionally unleashes.

    Safin: MS's career is remarkably similar to Patrick Rafter's. Each man had one big all-around year:
    MS 2000 73-27 7 W 15 early losses
    PR 1998 60-21 6 W 11 early losses

    In majors, each man had 2 Ws, 2 Fs and 2 SFs (MS reached 2 QFs. wile PR did not).

    Djokovic: He was obviously not the player he was to become, but in 2007 his record was undeniably good: 68-19 5 Ws majors: 4 SF SF F
    In addition, he won two Masters events, Miami and Canada.

    Davydenko: Packed four SFs and four QFs into 05-07, which is better than Courier did in the three years following his last big one, 1993.

    Nalbandian: His achievements in majors were fairly close to those of Todd Martin, but he spread them around all four majors. 2006 was his last good year in the majors, but in 2007, at Masters Madrid (the earlier indoor one) and Paris, he knocked off RF twice, RN twice, NovD and David Ferrer. Martin won no Master Series events.

    Finally, here are some interesting numbers with which to finish this thing off--Top 10s faced by PS and RF in each year of their periods of domination. In each case it will the man's record vs Top 10s in majors in the stated year.

    PS 93 4-1 RF 04 7-0
    94 4-1 05 5-2
    95 4-1 06 7-1
    96 3-1 07 9-1
    97 1-0
    for 1993, I added the victory over Agassi, even though he wasn't a Top 10 at the time.

    In conclusion, I want to say that I'm not only a Federer fan, but also one of Sampras. I refuse to watch any part of his match vs Bastl at Wimbledon 2002on Youtube because I'm not at all interested in seeing him embarrassed. I did these two posts mostly because it seems to me that his supporters, more than those of RF, pump out so much unsubstantiated BS, particularly about the quality of the players both men faced. I may make one more large post on this topic, comparing each man's path in the majors during their best periods.
     
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  2. The_Order

    The_Order Legend

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    Can you do one of these between Federer and Rafa?
     
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  3. NEW_BORN

    NEW_BORN Professional

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    When something is repeated enough times, people start to believe it.
     
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  4. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Is this going to be a trilogy? Like LOTR movies?
     
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  5. Fiji

    Fiji Legend

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    17>>>14.....
     
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  6. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    So basically Sard conjecture about Sampras having better competition yarda yarda yard is a load of BS? Good to know.
     
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  7. DropShotArtist

    DropShotArtist Banned

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    As the OP proves. If both Fed and Sampras were even at 14 majors, it is Federer that would get the nod because of the tougher competition that FEDERER faced!!! I've been saying this for a long time having closely watched both Sampras' and Federer's careers, but didn't eloquently prove it like the OP has done.
     
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  8. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's better to compare Nadal with Borg because of their achievements resemblance.
     
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  9. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Another nod for Fed is his 14th slams includes a career slam.
     
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  10. fed_is_GOD

    fed_is_GOD Professional

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    You nailed it bro..
     
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  11. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I don't really the see point of these threads other than to stir up the tards of both players against each other.

    It's acknowledged by all except the most vehement Sampras tards that Fed > Sampras. And this is meant as no disrespect to Sampras, who is clearly No 2 of the Open Era and no lower than top 5 all-time. It's just that Fed has surpassed him in almost every conceivable way.

    No need to post huge threads proving this point.
     
    #11
  12. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Alright time to Dissect this **** nonsense.



    It can be described as "weaker" at least because:

    1. Agassi was operating with sciatica and advanced age, yet he posed probably the biggest problems for Fed on hard courts during that time.. During a time when Fed's true contemporaries should have like Nalbandian and Safin. Two guys who SHOULD have been Fed's main rivals during that time period outside of clay but foruntately for Roger, Safin was injured most of the time and/or would only show up to play his peak focused tennis during that entire time.

    Where was Safin from 2000 USO to 2005 AO? Why did he do JACK ALL in between that time for 90 percent of that time period? Because his focus was on everything but tennis. Nalbandian only showed up to a few Masters events vs. Roger. Where was he in the slams? He couldn't even keep himself in shape nor even make it deep in slams.

    These two guys should have been the main rivals to Roger yet they were out of the picture more then they were in it.. YEss even much more of an MIA session then Agassi was from 96-98. Andre actually made it back to near the tip of the tennis world.

    Roddick was a solid player but after he ditched Gilbert and ditched the big serve and FH, his game took a big downhill turn especially later on when Connors took over the helm.

    Similar circumstances with Hewitt. IMO Hewitt was at his best under Cahil. And post 2005 Hewitt was all washed up with injuries.


    Fed had already reached the double digit slam plateau by the time Djokovic did ANYTHING. Fed didn't contend with the Djokovic that would later become by 2011.


    Nadal from 2004-2007 was learning the game outside of clay.. Nothing but a greenhorn really. Failure to do anything at hardcourt slams until AFTER the time Fed amassed all his slams. But Nadal had to pick up the slack for the head casing, out of shape underachievers who didn't have their focus on tennis like Nalbandian or Safin.

    Even Roddick who was much less talented then Nalabandian or Safin had to pick up the slack as well.

    So the guys who SHOULD have been Fed's main rivals weren't the main rivals. Instead, old broken down foges like Andre or Diaper Rash Nadal who was just beginning his tennis career, or a much less talented Roddick had to pick up the slack.

    Andre was pushing advanced age and his level dropped huge by 2003. After the AO, how many titles did he win? Compare that with his level in the mid 90s and his return in 99-200.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    #12
  13. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    ^ I'm sorry but Nalbandian is overrated on here. Maybe he deserved to win a slam, but by no means would he have been dominating/contending with Federer throughout the year.
     
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  14. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    He had Fed on the ropes at the French (Before he injured himself, probably due to being out of shape like he was always notorious for) in 2006, then showed he could take even peak Fed out on hard courts when he was on his game

    So along with Safin, he had the game to hurt Fed the most and be Fed's main rivals throughout the circuit. But 95 percent of the time he was out of shape and underachieving at slams (failing to even reach the 2nd week) or like Safin either injured or bar hopping
     
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  15. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldn't call 1 set all "on the ropes", but whatever.
     
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  16. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Last night my son and I watched a 3 and a half hour CD of a 19 year old Federer BARELY beat a prime 29 year old 7 time reigning Wimbledon Champion.

    A more mature Fed would have beat him MUCH easier. Both were awesome. Man those fast courts! No 40 shot rallies, no way, IMO could the top 3 today last against those guys, no way, no time to sit back and hit those monster baseline shots, they'd be utterly confused.

    Fed was pretty raw, not the Fed
     
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  17. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Well, all I can say is..
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11lvw_thomas-dolby-she-blinded-me-with-sc_music
     
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  18. fed_is_GOD

    fed_is_GOD Professional

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    #18
  19. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Last night we watched the 3 1/2 hour 2001 Wimbledon where a raw 19 year old played a prime 29 year old Sampras. They were carbon copies, maybe a couple of points seperated them.

    Fed was what, 4 years from his prime, he still looked a little like the Fed we know today, but very unpolished, so it stands to reason a prime Fed would crush Sampras on fast courts.

    I realize they have played exhibitions, but they are a far cry from actual high tension matches.
     
    #19
  20. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Pete was not in his prime in 2001. He went 35-16 for the year with no titles at all. Does that sound like someone still in his prime after they accomplished what Pete had? Jeesh. Fed 4 years from his prime? ROFLMAO. He was 2-3 years from his prime by then. Probably 2 years. As he really started his ascent in 2003.

    Pete was already a good 3 years or so past his prime by 2001. Maybe 4. In terms of his real big year around high level, Pete's last year was 1997 or so. Had a down year in '98, came back and looked awesome in 1999 Wimbledon and the YEC but was injured through most of the year and missed the USO and I believe the AO as well.

    From 2000-on his prime was clearly over and pretty much already had a foot out the door. Just hanging on to win one more slam

    Pete's prime as a player was probably 1993-1998 and maybe 1999. Anything after that... No way
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
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  21. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    sampras was still playing well in 2000 ... played well vs agassi @ the AO even though he lost, won wimbledon and reached the finals of the USO - beating his nemesis krajicek (incl a great comeback in the 2nd set breaker ) and then winning in straights ( although it was a competitive match ) vs hewitt
     
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  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    eh, 2001 wasn't prime sampras .. although in that match, he did play well .....
    so did federer

    federer wouldn't be crushing sampras on fast courts ...though IMO he'd have the edge
     
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  23. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Very true.
     
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  24. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Indeed. I think what I find baffling about this forum is that even though Federer has passed virtually all of Sampras' records and some keep saying that Federer is much better than Sampras, they keep having to say this on not only a daily basis, but a minute by minute basis which is a bit crazy.

    Far from all of the obsessional arguing on this forum between posters, I actually think this is a big compliment to Sampras and perhaps Sampras is a lot better than they are letting on with their comments (if you see what I mean). If you think about it, Sampras last played a match in 2002 and yet on a daily basis his name is mentioned in General Pro Player discussion more than almost 98% of the current tour players.

    I kind of see this all now as a bit of a laugh and not to be taken seriously.
     
    #24
  25. Indio

    Indio Rookie

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    For those who asked whether I'll be doing similar comparisons of Federer--Nadal or Borg--Nadal, the answer is no. We don't know whether Nadal is out of his prime, and in the case of RF--RN, they both still have many active opponents who are still compiling career stats.

    90's Clay, before I respond to your attack on my post, I'd like to know something. Have you participated in the CBS Sports tennis forum under the name of Sman? Your style is very similar to his.
     
    #25
  26. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Is the OP having this frantic debate in his mind.

    His "controversy" seems sort of imagined. Certainly, in a Fed vs. Sampras GOAT debate, there are still a group of Sampras backers. But, most of them can at least concede that Fed as GOAT has a legit foundation, and can understand the argument in favor of Fed. Moreover, I'm betting that there are still many more Fed backers than Sampras backers.

    So, the all this talk about myths seems a bit overwrought.
     
    #26
  27. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Sampras = 90's GOAT
    Federer = 00's GOAT

    End of discussion.

    Weak competition, slower court, better strings, blah blah are just non-sense.
     
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  28. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    But would it be nonsense if someone said 17 = 14 ?
     
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  29. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    If they played in the same era, it would make perfect sense, but they are not, so your point is moot.
     
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  30. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    So you can say Sampras 14 is no better than Nole's 6 slams because they are not in the same era. Not that I agree with you but that's using your logic.
     
    #30
  31. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    To add: what about Borg/Nadal's 11 vs Pete's 14? I'd argue Nadal's 11 is higher because he had to beat Federer in 7 of them. whom did Pete beat?
     
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  32. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    #RESPECT. Well done. Thanks for setting the record straight. 17>>14 people. Even when they were tied at 14-14 fed still had it. He won the french which sampras never came close to doing. He beat Sampras at WIMBLEDON. Dont get me wrong I love Pete and I still think he has the best SV game EVER. But federer is just more regal, elegant and is much more accomplished
     
    #32
  33. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    I think Edberg and Rafter were clearly better serve-and-volley players (in fact Sampras was NOT a serve-and-volley player, as anyone who watched tennis in the 90s should now).
     
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