Sampras on post-2002 Grass of Wimbledon

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Prisoner of Birth, Jan 10, 2013.

?

How many Wimbledons would Sampras have won on "Slow Grass"?

  1. 0

    8.3%
  2. 1

    2.1%
  3. 2

    8.3%
  4. 3

    25.0%
  5. 4

    14.6%
  6. 5

    18.8%
  7. 6

    4.2%
  8. 7

    10.4%
  9. 8

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. 9

    8.3%
  1. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    How many Wimbledons do you think he would have won if he were born in 1981 (and Federer didn't exist)?
     
    #1
  2. FedererDropShot

    FedererDropShot Hall of Fame

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    Weak grass era/10.

    Sooo.... 8 or 9.
     
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  3. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    I say 5; he could still win through 2006 maybe 2007, but after that the returning has just become too good, and the bounce too high, for him to have been effective at attacking the net. Nevertheless, he did have one of the best allcourt games ever.. so who knows.
     
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  4. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    What? I don't understand your first sentence.
     
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  5. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    His 2002 peformance

    Sampras' 2002 performance is instructive here. It was the first year of the slow grass. His lost to a lowly ranked player in the second round. It is true his form had been patchy but given the opposition you would think that if it had been the grass of the previous year he would have found a way to win handily.
     
    #5
  6. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    The most likely scenario is 3 Wimbledons. Lol at folks who vote 9. Ridiculous !
     
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  7. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    I like how the moment Sampras retired the grass at Wimbledon all of a sudden turned into green clay. Everybody remember who Federer beat in the 2003 final? You think The Scud would make a slam final if the surface wasn't fast?

    These boards are hilarious. Remember Hewitt and Nalbandian contested the 2002 final from the baseline. It wasn't the courts changing it was the racquets and strings.
     
    #7
  8. flyinghippos101

    flyinghippos101 Legend

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    What an unbelievably open-ended question. I doubt Sampras would've been inclined to continue serve and volley on such a slow surface. My best bet is probably 3-5; with a game that favours hard baseliners with great movement, my estimate is based purely on the virtue of Sampras being, well...Sampras on grass. How well Sampras would've performed instead as a pure baseliner (and with likely a two handed backhand) is pure speculation. But factoring in Federer, Nadal and hell, even Novak and the numbers could be lower.
     
    #8
  9. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    The major changes started in 2001, new grass(rye) and clay packing under the grass layer. Still had 2 S&Vers in 2001. So they continuously increased clay packing further and further in 2002 and 2003. Here are some comments from some of "older" pros who played on grass in the past.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Martina Navratilova on Wimbledon court changes (2011):
    It bounces higher and bounces slower. Higher bounce always slows the court down because you have more time to get to it. It’s not skidding through as much.
    The slice now, because you can put so much more spin on the ball, the slice stays low. It’s easy to hit a really good slice because of the strings. The ball stays pretty low on the slice. But the serve is not coming through nearly as much.
    Yeah, I think they need to speed it up. I think they need to speed up the courts, generally speaking, or lighten up the balls. How good was the French Open with those light balls? It’s fantastic tennis. Then the talent comes really through. You can be touchy-feely with a light ball. Good touch pays off. When you have a heavy ball, I can’t volley a heavy ball. If you punch it, it doesn’t go anywhere.
    This light ball, poom, now you can come to the net. Number one thing I would put a lighter ball. Hitting the ball so hard, the heavy ball, it’s going to take a toll on the arms. Speeding up the court, you can come to the net and be aggressive.
    Nowadays, I couldn’t serve and volley. I would have to pick my spots. For me, if I can’t serve and volley, something’s wrong with it, something is wrong with the game. You’re not going to get any variety. If I can’t do that now playing the way I played then, you need to even it up somewhere.


    Jonas Bjorkman on changes in the game and at Wimbledon (2008 ):
    It’s so different. Everything is so different: strings, the material of the racquets, the speed of the courts, how a tennis player is built these days.
    When I came up, there was not too many who was going into the gym, and these days you see them like this (packed). It’s much more physically. Everyone is working harder. They’ve been taking it to a different – what do you say – improving it even more from the past than I started.

    Marat Safin on the Wimbledon courts (2008 ):
    I played well because I think the courts, they has been getting slower and slower throughout the years. So it’s not any more like they used to be like eight years ago. It was really fast, and now you can play from the baseline and nobody even getting close to the net.


    Mikhail Youzhny on Wimbledon and ATP surfaces (2008 ):
    Yeah, now it’s all courts slower than it was before. We don’t have now fast surface, only one tournament what I know, one tournament on the grass where it was fast. Now the tournament is surface slower and slower. That’s why it is too many Latino guys and Spanish guys start to play good on hard, on grass. Before it was much easier to play against these guys on grass and hard court. Now it’s not a big difference between surface.


    Martina Navratilova on the slower surfaces in tennis and Wimbledon (2006):
    (center court): It doesn’t feel that slow. I feel like the slice bites. The slice stays low. But the topspin doesn’t. Yeah, it’s slower. I think it is slower.

    (other events): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everything’s slower. All the courts are slower. I mean, Indian Wells, forget about it. You hit a great volley and, you know, the person’s got five minutes to run it down and hit it by you.
    So it’s frustrating, yeah. You can’t play a normal game. It should be equal. A great serve and volleyer – of the same ability – should play against a great baseliner and it’s like half and half. Half the time this one, and half the time that one. So on this court, this one’s slightly favored; on this court, that one’s slightly favored.
    Now the ball has gone completely in favor of the baseliner. It’s a shame.

    Thomas Johansson (2005):
    It’s pretty slow, I would say. You could easily stay back, which I do pretty much all the time. But you can also play serve and volley, of course. But I think it’s a lot slower this year than it was maybe five years ago. I don’t know if it’s the court or if it’s the balls. For the moment, I’m not complaining.

    Lleyton Hewit on speed of Wimbledon grass (2005):
    All grass is different. But today it was pretty slow, very slow. It felt very soft out there today. I’ve got no doubt, though, it’s going to quicken up over the next two weeks, you know, the more play it gets on it, I think because the show courts just don’t have any play at all. So, you know, today they’re very green out there. Both of us playing from the back of the court, where both of us were serving, we were leaving imprints into the court it was that soft. You know, I’ve never seen that before.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #9
  10. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    The courts DID change, though. The went from 70% rye-30% red fescue to 100% rye grass after the 2001 tournament. The new grass made the ball bounce higher and slower. Henman said it was the slowest court he'd played on all year (though this was obviously hyperbole).
     
    #10
  11. kragster

    kragster Hall of Fame

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    I think 5 makes sense. Sampras would lose 1 Wimby to Nadal and maybe 1 more because of Nole/Murray but I don't see anyone else who could challenge him. We vastly underestimate Sampras's ground game, outside of today's top 4, his ground game would still be more than enough to take on any of the non top 4. And clearly his great serve, clutch mentality etc all still hold true.
     
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  12. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Good comments from all. I was not aware the extent they had tampered with the surface. However, I still say it's obvious that racquets and strings had much more to do with the change in tennis the the courts did.
     
    #12
  13. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    Sure. Poly gives you 20% more spin. Agassi mentioned we should either ban polys or everyone should use them to be fair.

    Butt equally important thing was the ball, IMHO. It's got touch bigger, hairier and quite heavier. Roddick one time complained it as "water melon ball".

    Not just Wimbledon. US Open started slowing from 2004. All started from 2001, and mostly done by 2004,5 I think.

    All these changes render favorable conditions for heavy top-spin power baseliners.

    Coincidentally, Federer-Nadal era arrives.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  14. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    What a joke. So Nadal would take away a Wimbledon from Sampras, Murray/Djokovic would.... but not Federer.

    Oh, sorry....didn't read to the end (Federer excluded).
     
    #14
  15. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    For world class pros, it is huge. In fact, the surface is often the only factor makes difference.

    And more fundamentally, all 4 slams are played more or less similarly, "homogeneous" condition, slow bouncy conditions.

    That is seismic change in professional tennis on year around tour.
     
    #15
  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    here are the facts :

    AO slowed down in 2004 onwards
    USO slowed down from 2004 onwards
    wimbledon slowed down from 2003 onwards
    FO slowed down, oops I mean speeded up from 2009 onwards

    Did I get that right ? :twisted:

    this is what actually happened ...

    wimbledon has slowed down in 2002 and then even more so from 2005 onwards ...

    USO was slowed down a bit in 2001, then again a bit in 2003 ... its remained fairly constant till 2011 ...

    AO speed was more or less similar till 2009 ..... only since 2010 its slowed down ..

    finally get real ! federer prefers low bouncing, medium to fast conditions ....unlike nadal/djoker .....

    funny how in this 'fully' "homogenous" era, nadal wins his first slam @ RG in 2005, but takes till 2009 to even reach a HC slam final ...
    how he leads federer & djoker 12-2 on clay, but has a losing h2h vs them outside of clay ....

    and finally all-court tennis ( with bias towards baseline play ) can be done on medium-fast to fast surfaces - see borg, connors, lendl (throw in agassi - almost exclusively baseline ) - that's what federer was from 2003-05 ..... with conditions becoming slower, he became more of a baseliner ....what is important is to have to be able to play quick strike tennis ...... federer is brilliant at that ... djoker and nadal even more so don't come close ..

    what differentiates federer from the rest is that he can be nearly as aggressive as the most aggressive players : safin, agassi, tsonga, soderling, berdych etc ... and yet can slug it out and defend nearly as well as the elite defenders in nadal, djoker, murray etc ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #16
  17. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    coming back to the thread question :

    candidates most likely to challenge sampras from 2003-2010 (eq from 1993-2000 ):

    roddick wimbledon 2004
    hewitt wimbledon 2004

    hewitt wimbledon 2005

    nadal wimbledon 2007
    nadal wimbledon 2008

    roddick wimbledon 2009

    nadal wimbledon 2010

    less likely, but can't be ruled out :

    roddick/scud wimbledon 2003
    ancic wimbledon 2006
    nadal wimbledon 2006
    hewitt wimbledon 2009

    how many of these sampras would win and how many he'd lose is a matter of speculation of course .... I'd say he'd win 4 ....
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #17
  18. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I agree, poly strings have a huge impact. But, after to losing to Federer on a fast court last year, Murray said Federer would still be number 1 if the courts were faster. Cincy Masters is also a faster court and Federer won there pretty easily. I think Murray, Djoko, and Nadal grew up on the slower courts and their games reflect it. Federer grew up on faster surfaces and has always been better on faster surfaces.

    I would like to see ATP speed up the courts/balls a couple of % points to bring back more volleying and attacking tennis. Too slow now and too much baseline play.
     
    #18
  19. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    it was after wimbledon 2000 the courts were changed not after 2001..i had a discussion in youtube comments under a tennis vid somewhere..and i thought it was after 2001, but after chatting and then found out after some investigating myself it was after 2000.
     
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  20. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    No

    I was sure it was 2002 that the new grass debuted...but I was wrong - it was 2001

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1310082/Centre-court-debut-for-a-new-Wimbledon-seed.html

    Something is strange here though. Nobody seemed to notice in 2001 that it was slower....but people noticed in 2002 it was greatly slower. Did they change the composition after 2001 again?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #20
  21. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sampras can also lose to Roddick and Hewitt.
     
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  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    They changed it in 2001 but only after the championships.
     
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  23. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    no but i read online somewhere that it took a while to settle in and something about non ideal conditions in the bedding in process,

    the autumn of 2000 was infamous for being very wet with major flooding in southern england..so it wasnt as slow that first year in 2001 as they were hoping for..

    plus i suppose players didnt realise that baseline play could work in the first year (2001) also had something to do with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #23
  24. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Petros was one of the greatest players of all time. Not some one-dimensional bozo with nothing more than a big serve that would be dead if someone returned it. Lots of people got Pete's serve back plenty of times. Agassi is considered one of the best baseliners of all time and Pete handed his ass to him in baseline rallies plenty of times. Petros wasn’t a net rusher like Edberg. He was an all-court player. He would have done fine in any era including now. His game would change slightly, his racquets and equipment would change, but one thing that wouldn’t change is he’d be kicking people’s asses on the tennis court.
     
    #24
  25. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    3-4....the Slower Grass would be a passing shot festival. Pete has a good baseline game...that translates real well on fast surfaces. The higher bounce would different for him, his running forehand would be less of a weapon. They can get the shot back and hurt him.

    People were afraid to go to his forehand....that fear would disappear a bit. Sampras being an athlete and having the best net charge maybe can maybe still pull 8 Wimbledons.

    I would say 3-4....since you have to account for Rafa and Djokovic who can tire him out with great passing shots and relentless baselining.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    #25
  26. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    Without Fed in the equation, he probably wins the same amount prime Roger did. But compared to Roger, I think he'd decline faster with age. Do I see him winning Wimbledon at age 31 in today's conditions? No.
     
    #26
  27. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    IMO Sampras would win the same number of Wimbledons on the slower grass that he won in the 90's. If Federer was not around, who would be a better grass player than Sampras? Nobody. And no, I don't think Nadal would beat Sampras even on the slower grass or if he did beat him, Sampras would beat Nadal more imo.
     
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  28. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    Not prime Sampras.
     
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  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well I'm factoring in the slow grass, high bounce and heavier ball. Remember Sampras was pushed to 5 sets many times in the 90s, not that he was cruising on every match. So if playing in a less favorable conditions, there's greater chance for upset.
     
    #29
  30. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

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    On the grass these days, I'd say he wins 3 or 4. He would lose in the semis against the likes of Hewitt and Roddick between 2004-2005, and after then he would struggle against Federer and Nalbandian from 2005-2008, and then Djokovic and Murray from then on.
     
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  31. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    No, he would not struggle against Roddick and Hewitt, not an in prime Sampras!
    The OP stated if Federer were not around, so forget Federer. Federer would be the only player who could consistently match Sampras on any grass.
    LOL at Nalbandian, Djokovic and Murray against a prime Sampras on any grass. :oops:
     
    #31
  32. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    novak/murray 2008-10 would get beaten by sampras ...

    hewitt/roddick are far greater threats in the time-period from 2003-10 ....

    amazing how people tend to over-rate novak/murray even on grass and under-rate roddick/hewitt ...
     
    #32
  33. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    eh ? nalbandian on grass ? really now ?
     
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  34. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    The verdict on Pete's slow grass game? Bastl.

    Realistically, Pete would face a lot more returns, a lot more passes, and his backhand would be exploited far more mercilessly.
     
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  35. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    krajicek wasn't a better grass player than sampras, yet ripped him apart in straights @ wimbledon 96 ....

    korda, kucera, scud etc .... weren't better HC players than sampras, yet beat him in HC slams ....

    sampras wouldn't have it easy vs roddick 2004/09 or vs hewitt who returned and passed him darn well ... and anything below his best, nadal of 07,08 and 10 would beat him ....
     
    #35
  36. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

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    Nalbandian got to the final as a scrub, I am sure he could manage to pull one over on Pete, Bastl did.
     
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  37. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    I did not say Sampras would have it easy against Roddick or Hewitt but I think a prime Sampras would win 80% of the time or more against both on any grass.
    Sure if prime Sampras played below his best, Nadal could beat him on grass but imo Sampras would have the lead in that h2h on grass over Nadal. For me Sampras is a much better grass player than Roddick, Hewitt or Nadal. The only player I can see giving Sampras trouble on grass would be Federer.
     
    #37
  38. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I picked the same as he actually won. Besides the serve and volleys, Sampras probably also had the best groundstrokes of his era for a fast low-bouncing court. It was his mental game that really gave him such an edge on grass - where a single break of serve makes all the difference.

    There were reasons he was #1 for so many years.
     
    #38
  39. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    bastl did it vs a a very very below par sampras in 2002 ... not prime sampras ...nowhere close ...
     
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  40. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    now, really ? sampras in 99, when he won wimbledon had to go 6-4 in the 3rd to beat 18 year old hewitt at queens ; in Queens 2000, he lost to 19 year old hewitt in straights and he'd go on to win wimbledon that year as well ..( & hewitt beat him again in 2001 as well, though this isn't as significant as the previous two matches )

    I see sampras vs hewitt being a somewhat similar case to federer vs nadal on grass .. even though the former in those cases are better grass court players by far, in their matchup, it just gets closer ....

    I'm not talking h2h on grass over a series, I'm talking about the years in which they played well there ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    #40
  41. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I think he could have won quite a few. I also think that he would have been competitive with Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Also, in some ways his game would have been more potent with the new frames and technology. His serve included. Here's an article which discusses the surface change at Wimbledon. It mentions that the rain during 2001 made the courts actually play faster than they would have otherwise.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1815724,00.html

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    #41
  42. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    If Sampras was instantly transported to W today he would still win the same IMO. He wouldn't know any better but to play the game that won him 7 Ws. Yea sure he would get passed alot, but think of what his game would do to Nadal et al. His game would dictate to Nadal. Either stay back and play Nadal's game, allow to be played under Nadal's terms and get ground down or play his attacking game, unsettle him, allow him no rythm, end the points quickly. Naratilova always said I'm going to the net to kill off the point, if you pass me, too good. That's the approach Sampras would probably take.

    If however Sampras grew up in an era to allow him to play today, then he's gonna be another version of Djok or Nadal, so where's his point of difference? There is none. If he's a smidgen better than Nadal, he may win an extra W or 2 over Nadal, if he's a smidgen less than Nadal, he may win a W less or 2 than Nadal.

    It all comes down to Sampras' attacking game. The way he played in the 90s is his point of difference. That's why if he was instantly tranported to today's era, he would have more success than if he was groomed for today's era. Sampras got to play some grinders in his era, but Nadal has never quite faced an attacking player like Pete before so it would be alot newer to Nadal than to Sampras. I don't think the slowing of the grass would worry Pete all that much. He said winning at W is about returning better.
     
    #42
  43. Fiji

    Fiji Legend

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    3-5 Wimbledons.
     
    #43
  44. Dark Magician

    Dark Magician Professional

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    A much more interesting question would be what would Sampras - Nadal H2H be if we consider the OPs condition? coz they aint meeting on clay for sure.
     
    #44
  45. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    yes thats it..i knew it was something to do with the weather affecting the new grass..

    whenever the new courts were put down either in the autumn of 2000 (v wet indeed)..or as stated in this article you found, in the spring of 2001...and off course that was a rain affected wimbledon.
     
    #45
  46. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Sampras would have dominated wimbledon in the 2000's.. Id say he would probably win more he won in the 90s since the grass field overall was much weaker 2000s-present then it was then

    You could sod the grass to the moon, Pete was still the best on grass. Baseline pushers never bothered Pete either.. It was more of the hard hitting attackers that bothered him.. And we haven't had many/any if all since the 90s.
     
    #46
  47. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Probably about 5, I don't know if he'd dominate Wimbledon like Federer did much less do better.
     
    #47
  48. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    That was the conditions during the 90s. You don't translate his results to an era when the dominant players are from the baseline. And Hewitt did bother Sampras on fast grass, that would suggest the baseliners would fare even better on a slower, high bounce grass. If you think Sampras is going to serve/volley his way to the final you're sadly mistaken.

    I see most people see Pete would win from 3-5 W which is about right.
     
    #48
  49. slice serve ace

    slice serve ace Rookie

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    sampras:

    1993
    - loses 1R at queens to grant stafford

    - wins wimbledon, while stafford loses to palmer, ranked 110, in the 1st round:)

    1994
    - loses in F at queens to todd martin, barely beats jan apell ranked 127 in SF.
    - martin's win over pete was one of only 2 he had over him in the 90s, along with 17 losses.
    - sampras is broken 8 times in 5 best of 3 matches


    - wins wimbledon, broken only 3 times in the entire tournament. he was broken 4 times at queens vs bjorkman alone. beats martin among others
    - apell doesn't even play wimbledon


    1995
    - wins queens, goes 13-11 in the 3rd vs goellner in SF, broken 3 times in that match alone, F against forget in 2 tiebreaks

    - wins wimbledon
    - goellner loses to almost retired wilander, ranked 101, in the 2nd round
    - forget loses also in the 2nd round to rusedski, sampras beats rusedski easy later

    1997
    - loses to bjorkman at queens in QF, gets broken 3 times in that match alone

    - wins wimbledon, broken only 2 times in the entire tournament
    - bjorkman loses round 1 vs wilkinson, ranked 218:)


    1998
    - loses to woodforde at queens in his 2nd match 3-6, 2-6, broken 4 times

    - wins wimbledon, broken only 5 times in the entire tournament (only once in his first 5 matches)
    - woodforde loses 3rd round


    1999
    - wins queens, goes to decider 3 times in 5 matches, barely over lleyton and henman

    - wins wimbledon, beating henman much easier than in queens, hewitt loses to practically retired becker in straights in round 3:)


    2000
    - loses to hewitt at queens, broken 4 times at queens, 3 times by hewitt alone. doesn't play anyone in top 100 in first 4 matches

    - wins wimbledon, broken only 5 times the entire tournament (unbroken from the 1st set of the 3rd round)
    - hewitt loses in straights to gambill in round 1, sampras beats gambill later



    conclusion is pretty clear

    - sampras at queens and sampras at wimbledon are 2 different worlds

    - using hewitt matches from queens to try to predict their possible match at wimbledon is useless...or sampras was lucky to avoid staffords, woodfordes and bjorkmans at his prime at wimbledon...


    now, hewitt from 2002, 2004, 2005 would have been serious oponent for sampras on slower grass, no question...
     
    #49
  50. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    So NOBODY ELSE has figured to end the points fast against Nadal.... You're suggesting we're in an era of complete no-brainers?
     
    #50

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