Ten greatest players of all time?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by federerhoogenbandfan, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Who would you choices be for the ten greatest players of all time, per gender? These would be mine in order:


    Men

    1. Pancho Gonzales
    2. Ken Rosewall
    3. Rod Laver
    4. Bjorn Borg
    5. Pete Sampras
    6. Bill Tilden
    7. Don Budge
    8. Ken Perry
    9. Ivan Lendl
    10. Jack Kramer

    I predict by the end of 2006 Roger will be on this list, somewhere between #7 and #10.



    Women

    1. Steffi Graf.
    2. Martina Navratilova
    3. Margaret Court
    4. Suzanne Lenglen
    5. Maureen Connoly
    6. Monica Seles
    7. Helen Wills Moody
    8. Chris Evert,
    9. Billie Jean King
    10. Serena Williams
     
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  2. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    Davey, what do you think Federer will have accomplished by the end of 2006?

    I have no problem with your list(as far as the names go), but the rankings are purely subjective, there is no way to prove who should be #1. Though I think it's reasonable to instead have "tiers" for the greatest players. Tier one for example, IMO, would be Laver/Sampras/Borg.

    It's hard to know where to place Pancho, he only won 2 majors(I think?) but dominated the pro circuit for a decade. He certainly belongs in the top 10.

    Ken Rosewall was a great player but I definitely think you regard him a little too highly. Yes, he had great longevity & won majors close to 20 years apart, but I don't think he ever was clearly the best player in the world at any time in his career(even on the pro circuit) Connors also had longevity, but clearly was the best for a time.

    Laver didn't have Rosewall's longevity(though he did win the Grand Slam at age 31, which is pretty remarkable considering how most greats are past their prime at that age) but was dominant. He gave some clinics to Rosewall in big matches as well(the '69 French Final)

    Also, I've been fortunate enough to see some Laver/Rosewall/Newcombe matches recently from '69 to '74. When I watched Laver, he looked like he was playing a different sport (like Fed looks today) from his peers. He had so many weapons & so much ability. Rosewall was impressive as well, but nothing stood out to me like when I watched Laver. Laver had another gear that Rosewall did not possess, when Laver was "on" there was absolutely nothing his opponent could do.

    It's surprising that Laver declined so quickly after his '69 campaign. But even though Rosewall was a top player a longer time, Laver won more overall titles after the age of 30 than Rosewall did. I believe he had a 44-29 advantage in that stat.
     
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  3. donnyz89

    donnyz89 Hall of Fame

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    u dont like americans? first of all... if federer isnt on the top 10 for men then y is serena there for women? Capriati or Davenport should be on there instead of Serena consider your list is mostly made of accomplished retired players.

    if not where is federer? the way he dominates is uncanny... and no Agassi??? no Johnny Mac?
     
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  4. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    What the hell are you talking about? He has 5 americans on his men's list. If Federer's career ended today he would have "only" 4 slams & one year end #1 ranking. Not enough to be considered on the 10 best of all time, IMO.
    If Serena retired today her record is certainly worthy of all time status(far more than capriati or davenport)
     
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  5. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    1. Laver
    2. Sampras
    3. Borg
    4. McEnroe
    5. Connors
    6. Gonzales
    7. Agassi
    8. Wilander
    9. Tilden
    10. Budge

    All played in "open" eras, at least partially, and won a significant number of Slams - but also on a multitude of surfaces. Accomodating for eras, I looked at guys that were dominant in their own era.

    Just missing: Becker, Lendl, Kramer, Edberg, Emerson, Agassi.

    Jet
     
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  6. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

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    I think you need to put Guga in that list, to win the FO 3 times is a remarkable accomplishment. By far the toughest slam to win, and greatest depth of players on clay.
     
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  7. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    It's always interesting to see where Connors/McEnroe/Lendl stand with fans when discussions like these start. They played around the same time, were close in age, but Lendl always seems a little slighted compared to other 2. He didn't have the personality of Connors or the genius of McEnroe. But to me, his accomplishments outweighed the other 2(even though I wasn't a fan of him when he played)
    He remained more of a threat to win majors longer than the other 2. He made more GS finals & semifinals than anyone in the open era.

    One the most impressive stats to me was his 8 straight US Open finals from '82 to '89. The game changed more in that decade than at any other time. In '82 there was wood & touch players. In '89 there was graphite & power players. Lendl was one of the best throughout all the changes.

    Sampras made 8 US Open finals from '90 to '02, but the game didn't as drastically change in that time as it did from '80 to '90.
     
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  8. gts072

    gts072 Semi-Pro

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    I don't think Gonzales should be No. 1 and no Guga should not be on the list at all IMO. Winning 3 FOs is not that difficult considering the results of players in the past, Bjorn, Lendl, etc. I know Gustavo Kuerten is your favorite player, gugafanatic but this a list for the greatest of all time not the greatest on one surface.
     
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  9. ScottinTX

    ScottinTX New User

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    I think you are ranking Evert a little low. She won 154 career titles, 18 slams, a record 125 match winning streak on clay (which will probably never be broken), the highest winning percentage for career of any player (90% of all matches played in career), reached the semifinals or better in the first 34 slams she played in her career from '71-'83, won at least one slam a year for thirteen years in a row, 17 years (72-89) never ranked lower than number 4. Too bad she skipped three French Open slams during that period of her unbeated streak on clay to play team tennis. Dumb dumb dumb.
     
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  10. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

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    GTS072, Bjorn and Lendl won the FO during a lesser period of clay specialists around. Guga won the French three times, and the depth of clay courters during this time was massive. Furthermore Guga is the only South American to win the end of years Masters cup (lisbon) on hard court and finish the yr world no 1. Furthermore he is one of the few players to have defeated both Sampras and Agassi in strights sets during a tournament (Lisbon). I think Guga deserves to be mentioned because he played during a tougher era, compared to those players present on the list.
     
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  11. spinbalz

    spinbalz Hall of Fame

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    Pele
    Maradona
    platini
    Cruyff
    Beckenbauer
    Di stefano
    Puskas
    Zidane
    Eusebio
    Garincha
    and special line for Sir Bobby Charlton, and Yachine
    :mrgreen:
     
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  12. Honestlybad

    Honestlybad Rookie

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    Graf was incomplete - had no backhand. Not nr 1 material.
     
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  13. spinbalz

    spinbalz Hall of Fame

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    According to the players who faced Graf, she had a great backhand, not by the variety, she only sliced it, but due to its consistency, she won a high % of backhands vs backhands rallies, it was a shot that totally neutralised her opponants, prevented them to attack her, and setted up the point to place her in a position to hit a forehand winner, and she very rarely missed a backhand.

    What I will say is a paradox but her backhand forced her opponants to make unforced errors

    What finally counts to define what is a great stroke is only the % of points that you can win with it, and not really how many winners you hit from it. Here is an exemple to give a clear idea of what I mean : at the professional level, every player will prefer to be able to win 6 points out of 10 with with 0 winners than to win 5 points out of 10 with 4 winners.

    Won a Golden Grandslam (each slam events + olympic gold medal the same year) and not N°1 material? Please let's be serious.
     
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  14. Honestlybad

    Honestlybad Rookie

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    I am being seious. She was an incomplete player. She was a great player obviously, just not the best.
     
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  15. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Sampras and Laver, the top 2 maybe trailing by Borg.

    Then there is this Pancho Gonzales guy. There is this dubious period of having
    both pro and amateur circuit (when was it ? Like 1950-1968???).

    I've heard he was the king of the pro circuit from 1950-1961.
    I could be wrong but Ken Rosewell and Gonzales could beat Laver easily
    when Laver just turned pro in 1964(?,5?). Ken Rosewall and Gonzales
    already pasted their prime at the time, right ?

    I'm not sure about that period. I'm not sure about Roy Emerson and Laver's
    gland slam titles won between 1950-1968.

    If we exclude these confusing times, Gonzales and Sampras seem to be top
    2 full time "professional" players in history, IMHO. If you include amateur era,
    then the name of Laver should surface although he won fully professional gland
    slam in 1969....
     
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  16. spinbalz

    spinbalz Hall of Fame

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    I already explained you why her backhand is not a stroke that can let us call her incomplete, and anyway who were really more complete? Navratilova who was not a so great baseliner? Evert or seles who came at net only to shake hands? Court perhaps had a more rounded game but had not a forehand as devastating as Graf's forehand, so in a match between Graf and court, Graf would probably impose her forehand and win.

    The other players mentioned on the list have a rightfull place in the top 10 but do not have a serious chance to deserve the N°1 spot.

    Perhaps Hingis should be added on the list.
     
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  17. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    After those claycourt-hardcourt-grasscourt threads i've realised clay-court tennis is totally different from the other surfaces(hard, grass, indoor carpet) so to me the best are those players that can win slams on each side of the big divide. So i'm picking players like Laver, Borg, Agassi, Connors and Lendl. It's a big if, but if Federer wins the French I'd add him to the list aswell.
     
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  18. spinbalz

    spinbalz Hall of Fame

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    AAAA, lendl never won Wimbledon!
     
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  19. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Spinbalz, he didn't but he was in several US Open finals, winning a few of them, and he won the Aus Open as well.

    From what I recall Borg didn't play any grass court warm-up tournaments between the French Open ending and Wimbledon beginning; he just practiced hitting with his coach and he remarkablely won the FO and Wimbledon back to back for 3 straight years.

    When someone as exceptionally talented as Federer remarked how difficult it is to switch surfaces when he won 3 successive tournaments last year on three different surfaces(Wimbledon followed by a minor clay and then hard court tournament), what Borg achieved by winning a clay-court slam followed by a grass-court slam defies all realistic expectation.
     
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  20. spinbalz

    spinbalz Hall of Fame

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    Totally agree about Borg.

    What I meant about lendl is that he won clay but not on grass the surface that is at the extreme opposite, he won on hardcourts that I estimate between clay and grass, so he didn't won on all the spetcrum of surfaces. But his tennis accomplishments were truely great anyway.
     
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  21. prince

    prince Semi-Pro

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    Maybe if we change the topic to hundred greatest players of all time - then you can bring guga up.
     
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  22. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    Very good. Post of the Year in my opinion. But you forgot Baggio and Maldini.

    Jet
     
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  23. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    You're talking about Graf, yes? (yes).

    She's Top Three at worst. Totally dominant player who won on all surfaces.

    Jet
     
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  24. sandiegotennisboy

    sandiegotennisboy Banned

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    im a young kid, so i cant fully appreciate the tennis greats from the past, but am very impressed with their accomplishments. i was born in the 80s, started being a tennis fanatic in the early 90s, and to me and most of my tennis peers.... (friends i played in high school with or just casual tennis players my age)...we would put Graf and Sampras on top of the list. i think its cool what the past players accomplished. But the game evolved to be tougher and more physically demanding. That's why I can't see anyone else as number 1 in the men's or womens other than the two I mentioned.

    Maybe there's a reason people declare Fed as one of the best of all time already. Just based on his accomplishments so far....in the field of players he's against, in my opinion, he's up there, even w/o the most slams ever.
     
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  25. Northerly

    Northerly Rookie

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    If I recall correctly Graf hammered the nail into Navratilova's coffin in the 1988 Wimbledon final with a topspin back hand winner!!!
     
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  26. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Also rank Lew Hoad somewhere. (it is quite difficult to compare the current with old champions because of changed technique, better tactics, new/improved equipment etc., better conditioning systems).

    I reckon after 6 years, Roger Federer should be number 1 on this list (provided he stays healthy and motivated enough).
     
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  27. remilard

    remilard New User

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    Considering BJK beat a 7.0 male player and modern women can't beat a 5.5 I think she should be ranked higher.

    (Sorry, I couldn't resist)
     
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  28. Yours!05

    Yours!05 Professional

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    Hoad is almost always forgotten, perhaps because, unlike the other Ausssies, he didn't retire to the U.S., but to Spain. In the view of many, the most Complete Player ever.
    During his quarter-century career as a professional, Pancho Gonzalez faced a vast array of first-rate players, and the one he considered the most devastating was Lewis Alan Hoad.
    "When Lew's game was at its peak nobody could touch him," said Gonzalez, who cited Hoad as his toughest foe during his years of head-to-head one-night-stand pro tours.
    - International Tennis Hall of Fame
    http://www.tennisfame.org/enshrinees/lew_hoad.html
     
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  29. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Thats interesting. Sampras has mentioned Hoad more than once.
    This is too difficult. I can't make up a list and try to sell that to people here on this message board. There are too many people I haven't seen play from the past.
    So, I have to say its always surprising when someone like the author of this thread telling us who the best of all time is.

    However, I started a thread a couple months back on the best players you've seen. I always think thats a more realistic argument and less antagonistic.
     
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  30. crosscourt

    crosscourt Professional

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    I agree with Mahboob. Whenever this topic comes up at my club, the greybeards say "You think Laver was good? You should have seen Hoad."

    More generally, from my experince watching tennis since the early '70s, the most remarkable thing in tennis was what Borg did at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the mid-70's. I hear so much rubbish talked about Borg's game, about it being one-dimensional or negative. Borg had a huge serve at Wimbledon, and could serve and volley. He didn't do it at the French. Why would he, he had other ways to win. He was a superb athlete with a very well worked out game, and marvellous ground strokes. The pressure on him was hysterical at times. If you like a statistical approach over a qualitative approach, or if you weren't born in the sixties, you could say Sampras was the best in the last 30 years. I understand why.

    After Borg and Sampras there are Lendl, Mcenroe, Agassi, Wilander, Becker. Agassi won all four majors. Wilander won on clay, grass and hard courts. Lendl on clay and hard. I put those combinations ahead of grass and hard court.

    cc
     
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  31. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    Amazed by your omission of Connors,
    amazed at my agreement with the Top 10 women. I'd re-order the Top 3 to this:
    1. Martina Navratilova
    2. Chris Evert
    3. Maureen Connolly
    (9 Majors titles in 11 tries, probably the greatest tennis player of all time, career-ending accident leaves her as one of the great mysteries, I think she had 30 - 35 Majors in her)
     
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  32. Northerly

    Northerly Rookie

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    Chris Evert ahead of Graf? LOL
     
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  33. johnmcc516

    johnmcc516 Semi-Pro

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    If Grafs accomplishments on the circuit are not good enough for number 1, then no ones are.
     
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  34. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    The WTA was very weak in Graf's prime and her biggest potential rival got stabbed. Look at who Evert and Navratilova had to play 80 times - each other. Evert lost 43 of those matches and still is the only tennis player with a career record of 90%.
     
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  35. Northerly

    Northerly Rookie

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    If it wasn't for Graf, Evert and Navratilova would have still be 1 and 2 for several more years. Graf bumped them both right out of the game, so it's a bit rich to say that the tour was "very weak in Graf's prime" because Graf was beating both of them and still in alot of ways still on the way up.

    Winning each of the 4 Grand Slams at least 4 times, and on 4 different surfaces has to put her at number 1.

    Look at the most contrasting surfaces: Graf won more French Opens and Wimbledons combined than either of them.

    And then there's the record number of weeks at No 1........
     
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  36. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    I think he will have 8 majors, including 1 French Open title, and 4 Wimbledons.
    That is why I will have him in the top 10, if he fulfills my expectations for the end of 2006. Not totally unrealistic at all.
     
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  37. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    After being beaten 6 times in a row, Graf did manage to beat a 32 year old Evert for the first of 7 times to garner a whopping 7-6 head to head edge. She was 9-9 against Navratilova, including 2-2 the last four times, losing to her when she was 35 and 37. Sounds like age, not Graf, is what bumped them out of the game.
    The tour was very weak during Graf's tenure and in the late 80's, Evert and Navratilova were still able to be #2 and #3 in the world at 30+ years of age.
    Sure, there are arguments to be made for Steffi as GOAT and I've posted about her winning each Majors 4 times myself. Let's just keep the arguments honest.
     
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  38. scoot

    scoot Rookie

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    Graf's record (in my mind) always will have an asterick b/c of the Seles stabbing by Graf's #1 fan. Seles had won like 7 of the last 10 slams at the time.
     
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  39. spirit

    spirit Rookie

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    Tilden played in an "Open" era? Wasn't he playing in the 1920 and 30s? Was tennis in an "Open" era at that time?

    Anyway, I love this discussion. Gives me imput for my GOAT tournament that I am planning. What I really need is some specifics on the games of all these greats, so I can imagine what match ups between them are likely to be like.

    For example, Gonzalez I understand was a really big server and a net player. Imagine him playing with the modern graphite racquet after having enough time to adjust his game to it (more open stance shots perhaps, maybe change in grip). What would a match between him and Sampras be like, both men in their primes? What about between him and McEnroe, again both men in their primes? What would he and Borg do to each other. Wonderful to imagine. I never saw Gonzalez play except in some short video clips. But what I saw looked good. They say he had killer instinct on the court.

    But then again, there is Laver (left off your list). What were the specifics of his game? Big server? Big forehand? All court? Two times winning all 4 slams in a single year. WOW! Who will ever match that? Federer might be able to get one year like that.
     
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  40. Richard Parnell

    Richard Parnell Rookie

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    I would agree with Mahboob Khan about Lew Hoad being in there.His backhand is considered as one of the best of all time (his wrist was as big as a forearm).I was lucky enough to be taught tennis by Lew (I live next to his tennis ranch) and his back was his real problem and curtailed a career that could have continued on for quite some time.
    My 2 cents anyway, good weekend everyone
    Richard
     
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  41. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I read somewhere that a visitor to Hoad's tennis ranch had a Kramer Autograph and let Hoad hit with it. The article said that Hoad's ball striking skills and ability with the wood frame were not diminished in the least. They were amazed at how much work he could put on a ball with a wood frame.
     
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  42. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    spirit,
    you should check out Steve Flink's book "Greatest matches of the 20th Century" Great descriptions of all the greats, their strengths/weaknesses, etc.

    I recently watched some Laver matches from '69(the year of his 2nd Calendar Grand Slam) I was amazed at how "low percentage" he played compared to say McEnroe/Sampras/Federer. It seemed like he was just teeing off on everything(& they kept going in!) He consistently S&Ved but had great topspin drives off both wings. He reminded me of how Korda played, great strokes, flashy shotmaker(both lefties) I think he would have done fine in the modern game(but would have to be more conservative when necessary)

    In Tilden's time, there was no pro tour so the best players were amateurs. I'm not sure about specific times, but I think the pro/amateur split became an issue in the 40s.
     
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  43. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    I put Laver No. 1 on my list...

    As far as "open," regarding the old timers, there wasn't the major split in the 20's between amateurs and professionals. Therefore - in direct contrast to the 60's, say, all, if not a significant majority of the top players were indeed able to regularly face off.

    Tilden's sort of like Babe Ruth anyway - a towering figure that deserves a top spot due to his dominance and pioneering.

    I love these debates too. It gets everyone thinking about the heritage of this great sport.

    Hoad - I hit regularly with a guy that trained under Lew in Australia, as a boy. Amazin' stories.

    Jet
     
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  44. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    I dont agree with those of you saying Evert and Navratilova had it much harder than Graf because they had each other, while Graf had nobody since Seles was stabbed. I understand that as a broad view, but not upon closer analogy.

    First of all a player can be there, it is a personal accessment what point in their career they were at. Lets say Graf slam winning period was 87-96 where she won 21 of her 22, Navratilova 78-87 where she won 17 of her 18, and Evert 74-86 where she won all of her 18. One could say Navratilova was playing 87-94, 8 of those 10 years; Evert 87-89, 3 of those 10; Seles 89-92, early 93, late 95, 96, 5.5 of those 10. Of course though we all know those players were not among their prime all those years.

    Well I dont neccessarily think Evert and Navratilova were both in their primes all those years, either won majors. No way was Navratilova in her prime yet between 74-77 when she won 7 majors, nor were King or Court any longer,73 was probably the last year of their long primes when one evaluates King's play at times in 74 and Court's in 75(she came back after 74 off and played until 77). So Evert faced no all-time great in their prime during 74-77. Some would argue Navratilova was in her prime in 78-79 when she won two Wimbledons. I would disagree, that is the year she first became a real champion, but there was still a huge difference between her those years and 82-86, she still was a bit pudgy, and her weaponary still could not be deemed similar to the 80s. She also would go into another slump in 80-early 81 and suffer a series of bad losses, and motivation depletions, given that 5 different players(she was 1 of them)won majors in 80-81 it is hard to believe her failure to win in 7 straight majors until the final of 81 was simply due to the strength of opposition. So I dont think her prime really started until 82. Austin was very good yet she didnt even play the French or Australian in 79-80, and started suffering health problems as early as 81. So Evert did not face an all-time great in her prime, in my mind, until 82.

    On the other hand was Evert in her prime after 81? Starting in 82 she began to post troubling(for her)results in a collective manner, meaning two matches of the same type, indicating not an accident result of some sort. For example she would lose twice in a row to Jaeger on clay, her favorite surface, in the spring of 82. Jaeger was good, but would Evert in her prime lose twice in a row to her, in straight sets, on clay? Then you have a 6-3, 6-3 loss in an Italian Open final, in 84, to Manueal Maleeva, then an up and coming player then, who in many career meetings as a future consistent top-tenner would never beat Graf or Seles, and only took a set apiece of either of them. You also have a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Navratilova on clay, followed by a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Navratilova on clay, again back to back matches. Sorry but it is hard to believe, and yes I have seen her on clay, that Navratilova was ever that astonishing on clay to explain these back to back showings against Evert, if Evert was still in the extended peak of her career.

    It could be argued Evert and Navratilova were never truly in their primes together, that Evert's prime finished just as Navratilova's was starting.

    Graf atleast had 3.1/4 years facing Seles in her prime(90-early 93)and it is not her fault the tragedy took place, and there is no gaurantee Graf would not have been able to make the rivalry more competitive. Seles actually never beat Graf on a surface other than rebound ace or clay, Graf was going through a bit of a struggle with her own game in the early 90s and failed to reach the two U.S open finals or the two year-end finals to face Seles. Navratilova was obviously past her prime by 91-94 despite having success including a couple wins over Graf and Seles. Many would argue Navratilova was past her prime by 87-89. I am not sure it is any more clear she wasnt in her prime those years as Evert 82-84 however. In 89 she managed to make the finals of Wimbledon, U.S open, and the year-end Championships, smoking everybody except Graf. Her only losses that year were all believable in her prime, three to Graf, one to Sukova(who beat her in her prime), and one to Sabatini on clay (perfectly believable when Gaby has wins over Graf and Seles on clay). In 88 her results were dissapointing, yet in 87 she made the finals of all 4 slams, beating Graf in straight sets to win Wimbledon and the U.S open, and taking Graf to 3 sets in a French Open final, a surface(clay)she generally would be considered an underdog to other all timers. I cant believe she could do that against Graf "past her prime".

    So in all I have every reason to believe Graf faced either Seles or Navratilova in their prime for as long a period as Evert and Navratilova faced each other in their primes, if not longer. One other thing you might want to do, when looking at the four years Graf did not have to face pre-stabbing Seles is to imagine if Navratilova or Evert were missing between 83-86. Would either of them have surpassed Graf's slam count of 22?

    Evert: In 83 she was sick at Wimbledon, where she was dismissed by Kathy Jordan easily, and she skipped the 83 Australian. In 84 she lost 6-3, 6-1 in the French Open final to Navratilova, but given her 6-3, 6-3 to Maleeva in the Italian final, and Mandilikova taking Navratilova to 3 sets the previous round, it is hard not to speculate somebody else would have been able to take her out had Navratilova not been there. At best she has 3 possable additional slams-83 U.S open, 84 Wimbledon, 84 U.S open. In 85 she lost in the U.S open semis to Mandilikova who beat Navratilova in the final as well so she likely does not beat her on a different day, and by now Mandilikova and Sukova were challenging her more regularly, still she won the 85 French. In 86 she wins the French, but loses in Wimbledon semis to Mandilikova, and U.S open semis to Sukova. She avoids playing Graf who beat her in straight sets to win Hilton Head on clay early in the year. I would guess she gains 1 additional slam in 85. In 86 she would gain none with Navratilova gone, if she is lucky she avoids meeting Graf in the 86 French with the draw rearranged and gets to keep her 1(Mandilikova had an amazing come from behind to beat Graf in 86 French quarters when Graf came into event on 4-event win streak on clay including wins over Evert and Navratilova). The best she does is equal Graf at 22, had Navratilova not played in 83-86, perhaps not even that.


    Navratilova-Well she wins 6 of 8 slams in 83-84, and the two she losses she is upset by Horvath and Sukova. One is likely a huge choke, or an inspired playing-out-of-her-mind Horvath. The other is a moderate top player, who never won a slam in a long career as contender, but was a bit of a nemisis for Navratilova in big matches(Sukova)always playing her tough and sometimes beating her in those matches througout her career. I dont see Evert being gone changing a thing in 83-84. 85 she loses the French to Evert, and U.S open to Mandilikova, U.S open does not change, but she probably wins the French with Evert gone. 86 there is no Australian and she loses French to Evert, with draw rearranged who knows what happens, Mandilikova beat Graf in the quarters so could have a hot day, and Graf came into the event on 4-event win streak on clay including wins over Evert and Navratilova. She gains even less than Evert, 1 or 2 wins had Evert not played from 83-86.

    Evert might equal Graf's 22 had Navratilova not played the same period Seles did not, but that is it. Navratilova would not have even done that, since she dominated Evert that period anyway, and only lost 2 possable slams at her expense.
     
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  45. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    The general field was even weaker when Navratilova and Evert were on top, than when Graf was. Mandilikova from 81-86, and Goolagong from 74-80, could be put at the same level of Sanchez Vicario of 88-96. Players like Sabatini and Novotna, were noteable players througout the whole period of 88/89-96, and were easily superior to other Navratilova-era contenders like Shriver and company. If one adds an Austin who was there only brief amount of that time, one could add a Capriati or Pierce for the later period. Shriver for example was not nearly at the same level as those players. Sabatini generally kicked Shriver left and right when they played in the late 80s, even though Shriver was still in her prime(she could not beat Graf in the 88 year-end semis and reach Wimbledon semis in both 88 and 89 when she is a player with only 1 career slam final had she not been). Bettina Bunge, Sylvia Hanika, Claudia Khode-Kilsch? These were some of the regulars of the top 10 during the Navratilova dominance. The weakest of the regular top tenners of the Graf era are superior to those players without problem.
     
    #45
  46. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Well Evert's last win over Graf was when Graf was barely 16, and Graf was not exactly a teen sensation the same way Seles or Hingis were. So Evert likewise has never beaten Graf in her prime either. You point out Navratilova and Graf were 2-2 between Martina being ages 34-36(that was her age at the time of the two wins, not 35 and 37), but you ignore Graf's 4-0 against Navratilova in 88-89, so really her head to head against an over 30 Graf is 6-2, which indicates little in Graf's favor since Martina was older by then, but it also is not the embarassment against Graf as you make it out to be.

    I should also add in 86, when Navratilova who did not win 2 slams in the same year until 82 at age 25, was still in her prime beyond much doubt that year. Graf almost certainly was not. Graf clobbered Martina 6-3, 6-2
    to win the German Open, and had 3 match points against Martina at the U.S open.

    So an older Navratilova gave a strong Steffi some trouble, but a still green Steffi gave some grief to a strong Navratilova just as well.
     
    #46
  47. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    davey,
    The Goolagong-Evert rivalry was a very big deal from '75 to '77. I think you underestimate Goolagong, she might not be in your definition of "all-time great" but she was a lot better than Sanchez-Vicario & a better rival for Evert than Sanchez was for Graf.

    Generally, I have no problem with your list, but how can Seles be ranked higher than Evert in your opinion?
     
    #47
  48. spirit

    spirit Rookie

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    yes you did put Laver #1. I missed that. Reading too fast. Glad you told me how Open tennis was in those early days. I was under the mistaken impression that the Open era started in 1968. But the "closed" era really was in between two Open eras. Nice to be corrected on that.
     
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  49. spirit

    spirit Rookie

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    I will definitely get a copy of Steve Flink's book. Thanks for the tip, and info on pro/amateur tennis.
     
    #49
  50. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Kevin, Goolagong won 4 of her slams at Australian Opens, a slam many of the top players did not attend. 3 of her 4 slams were at other venues, an average of 1 per slam at the other 3. For that reason I think of her as more of a 4-slam winner sort of player than a 7, just as Sanchez and Mandilikova were.

    I agree she is far more talented than Sanchez Vicario, but she is also less consistent, more prone to early loses to no-names, less hard working, and less determined and hungry day in day out to suceed.

    Seles above Evert? Well I agree that is a contentious choice on my part, and I did not expect many to agree. However Seles dominated the game for
    2 years in a way that leads one to think she was a more dominating kind of player than Evert ever was. That is why I rated her higher, just as I rated Connoly higher than some women who had many more slam titles after having her career cut short prematurely.
     
    #50

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