Tennis Demagogues & the Self

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Chopin, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Dear Tennis Warehouse Historians & Hackers,

    I know that many of you have been awaiting the triumphant return of my threads, and I'm happy to say that, at long last, they're back. Forgive my absence, but I've been on a series of a trips (I'm off island now) and it was one of these very trips, as I stood in the Bronx Zoo, watching some California Sea Lions swim in all of their glory that I came up with the idea for this gem.

    Let me start by assuring you all that I love the game. My love for the game is deep--like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby. I love playing the game, teaching the game, watching the game, and learning about/from the game. I only tell you this so my words aren't misconstrued as an attack on the game itself. No, no. In fact, my words are a defense of the game--of the game's true essence..

    Now to provide a defense for something implies that there is an assailant working against that thing. Here the assailants, as I see it, are the Tennis Warehouse Historians. Yes. The TW Historians are undermining respect for the modern game. Their weapons are misguided uses of statistical analyzes meant to "prove" the "strength" of an era.*1 The old days of tennis must always be greater in their minds. But why is this the case? Do the TW Historians actually believe that the old days of tennis are better (or that Rod Laver could really compete, using his classic strokes with no modifications, in the modern game?)

    The answer is hero-worship and the personal connection to past greats these posters have (however false and misguided).

    Many of you continue to put players on pedestals (Laver being the prime example, though worse still, egotistical players like Mac and Connors) and argue, essentially, that these players are inherently greater than today's players. Now I fully understand that there is a difference between admiring a person's accomplishment and admiring the person, but again and again, many posters come across as grown-up, adult fanboys, who defend these players not for tennis reasons, but out of a sense of personal connection to these players (despite not knowing them). For example, the love for Borg from many of you defies logic (many of you seem to ignore Mac getting the best of him). Borg is neither a role-model or hero for me, nor is he GOAT. I ask some of you: do you know Borg personally?

    I'll leave you all with the following question. How can tennis strive in the United States if some of it's biggest and most passionate fans refuse to acknowledge the amazing depth and high level of play of today's players? Is this about tennis or your own personal memories of growing up and watching Borg?

    Furthermore, Is this about tennis greatness--or your own egos?

    Kind Regards,
    Chopin

    *1 Footnote: There is no legitimate way to statistically prove the strength of an era. Looking at slam distribution tells us nothing of value in regards to this specific question
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
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  2. ZhengJieisagoddess

    ZhengJieisagoddess Semi-Pro

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    I guess you have been too busy composing your brilliant etudes to notice the adulation of one Mr. Federer on here. :)
     
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  3. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    No, no. My point is that the sophisticated Historians are no different than the fanboys and girls.
     
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  4. jimbo333

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    The problem today is that the players aren't egotisical enough!

    (with the odd exception)

    If only there were great players/characters at the top of the game today like Connors and Mcenroe and Nastase, tennis would be WAY more popular than it is:)
     
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  5. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Chopin,

    I do appreciate more modern players as well as older players and think it's important to appreciate every era. Let me repost my top 25 players of all time:

    1. Borg
    2. Federer
    3/4 Sampras/Laver
    5-7 McEnroe/Connors/Lendl
    8-15 (in no particular order at this time):

    Don Budge, S. Edberg, M. Wilander, B. Tilden, Hugh Lawrence Doherty, Ken Rosewall, Rafael Nadal, and Pancho Gonzales.

    Here are other great players that just missed my list of 15, but are very close especially to all the guys 8-15. I'll list them 16-25. One can make arguments for having several of these folks in a list of the top 15.

    Boris Becker (peak performance, more than longevity/consistency), Fred Perry, Henri Cochet, , Rene Lacoste, Ellsworth Vines, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Roy Emerson, and Lew Hoad.

    So there are 10 players in my top 25 from 1975-2009 (the last 34 years of tennis). That comprises 40% of a top 25 list. Looking at those 25, I can see that many may include Agassi and Courier as well, but I had to make a few tough calls. Therefore, it's clear I recognize more modern players as well as players from past generations. I just happen to think that among the current crop, only Federer and Nadal make a top 25 list, that's all. I appreciate your concern though. I know what you are getting at. None of us should allow our biases to undermine our appreciation for the modern game OR the game as it was played in the past. Let's all seek to be balanced in our view of players and especially modern tennis. I do have tremendous respect for pro players from every era, since tennis is such a difficult individual sport, that has always been so challenging and physical at the highest level. I'll try and not allow those that only favor the modern game to cast a shadow over my appreciation of modern players. I enjoy many players of today, including Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Del Potro, Federer, Nadal, Roddick. I just don't think modern tennis is markedly better and more impressive than in many other years, especially at the top ranks. I try not to let my anger at players that don't seem to appreciate other eras at all cloud my judgment as to the current crop of players, but boy do they make it difficult. To think that modern players are just inherently better all the way around is also off the mark (I'm not talking about just certain uninformed Nadal or Federer fans). The truth as always, is somewhere in the middle. I'm glad you started this thread, it's important to think about. To add something, I think we all should be cognizant of biases towards certain countries as well (US/Great Britain/Australia especially). We should never let the fact that, for example, Agassi is from the US and was very popular/famous to cloud our judgment. National allegiances can also be dangerous when trying to be as unbiased as possible when watching the game and its progress. Thank you for your perspectives.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
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  6. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    You're probably right that if tennis had more obnoxious brats, it would generate more headlines.
     
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  7. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for adding to the discussion.
     
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  8. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    To the clowns who rated my thread one star: you fear the power of my ideas. My threads are more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
     
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  9. 1st Seed

    1st Seed Semi-Pro

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    I'm thinking the glare of our Yonex RDiS Mid's has made you gone Mad.
    "Like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby"That is deep.
    Welcome back my friend.
     
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  10. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Historians & Hackers ?

    Nice sensational header to troll a response ?
    Are you trying to make an association here ?

    Its obvious what is really bothering you from your conclusion or "footnote":

    "There is no legitimate way to statistically prove the strength of an era by looking at slam distribution."

    Why not ? Use some historical analysis like tennis magazine did comparing era's and its pretty apparent. Why was that published analysis and all the "historians" facts not legitimate ? This must be really bothering you since it was on your mind during your vacation.

    BTW, what does the US have to do with your legitimization of the strenght of tennis decades and GOAT determination ?

    Im really with Rod in that greats from different era's should not be compared but if you must continue to determine a GOAT or era strenght, then you must consider statistics ... total championships, slams, grand slams won, and strenght of competition based on this same criteria.

    Trying to be helpful,
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
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  11. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I consider the RDiS mid to be one of the finest racquets I've ever had to pleasure to use. Someday I'll consider it an old friend, and look back at on it with even more pride than the Yonex RD-7 I used during my young years.
     
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  12. Chopin

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    Borg Number 1: Would you mind explaining why you believe that Borg is the GOAT?
     
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  13. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Chopin, sure, it would be my pleasure as I think, that especially in the U.S., Borg's accomplishments tend to be diminished somewhat due to many who love to support the Americans McEnroe and Connors (who are also two all time greats, no question). Then, you have our tendency to always focus on the here and now, which caused many to immediately declare Sampras the "greatest ever" and then declare Federer "the greatest ever". Let's not forget exactly what Borg did during his storied career, though it ended abruptly for many reasons, as we have discussed. I'll paste in text to answer that very complicated question from one of my previous posts. Note that I put Borg, Federer, and Sampras at the top of the highest tier of players all-time, with Rod Laver number 4. As I've said before, arguments can be made for any of those 4 players, in my opinion, if one sought to try and differentiate players like this across eras. It's really quite a complicated exercise. I can't answer this question very quickly but see core text from the thread, "Sampras, Federer, and Borg, who rates as the greatest of all time amongst these three?". I give a lot of emphasis on his ability to dominate on both clay and grass. Federer has not been able to do that. Thanks.:


    "Borg is number one in my book, with Federer a close second and Sampras number three. To analyze Borg's accomplishments, you have to go beyond just the McEnroe rivalry. Note that even McEnroe rates Borg much higher than himself among the all time greats. Borg retired at 25-26 coming off his sixth French Open win. Think about that, 6 french titles by 26. He beat a young Ivan Lendl, who was overmatched by Borg's fitness. Borg was the greatest all around athlete tennis has ever had. His resting heart rate, combined with very intense conditioning, gave him a huge stamina advantage. When he retired, this was his record in the 3 slams he and others at the time actively competed in (remember that all the way through the 70's-80's, the Australian was not played by many of the top players): He won the French Open 6 times. He won 5 straight Wimbledons, and barely lost in that 6th final. His big "failure" was losing in the final of the US Open 4 times. Remember, that they changed surfaces at the US Open from grass to clay, then to hard courts during the mid to late 1970's (Vilas beat Connors on clay and that did it!). The only thing he knew was winning at the Slams. Here is why he edges past both Federer and Sampras: He DOMINATED on the fastest surface, grass, which requires incredible "reaction times", etc. PLUS he DOMINATED on the slowest surface there is, red clay. Nadal is chasing Borg at the French Open, still.....plus, Federer has chased and caught up to Borg at Wimbledon. Think about that...That's why Borg is REVERED by all tennis pros, such as Federer and Nadal. He was the first truly big international tennis superstar. All pros that follow owe the him for the big contracts being inked today, because he was an absolute phenomenon. He was a great athlete, but also very much a thinking man's player. It says a lot about him in that even the fiery John McEnroe would hardly ever even complain about a line call when he was playing Borg. He would say that "he could waste no energy" if he was playing Borg...lol."
     
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  14. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Fair enough, borg number one. Borg certainly did dominate for quite a stretch on two surfaces!

    Personally, I'd place both Federer ahead of him though. The lack of U.S. Open titles does hurt in my book, along with walking away from the game when he started to lose his grip. Federer has impressed with me with his incredible career resolve, in that no matter how many times he failed at the French, he ultimately got it done there. When people were writing him out and Nadal took over #1, he trained harder, got fitter and achieved two of his greatest accomplishments (French Open and the Paris/London trick). He's shown that he's still can turn it on against Murray and Djokovic and give them master classes on a whim. And Federer is now 4 slams up on Borg (and counting). So in my book, I have to go with Federer over Borg.

    I also strongly believe that it's become harder and harder to dominate in tennis (in the absolute sense) so I have to give more weight to Federer and Sampras in the contemporary game.
     
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  15. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    He still had to wait for a Nadal injury.
     
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  16. Chopin

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    I frankly don't buy that the Nadal injury argument somehow detracts from Federer's accomplishments this year. Honestly, Nadal's style of play (and schedule) lends the guy to being injured. I mean he's injured all the time. It's not really an excuse. Soderling blew the guy off the court at the French (injury or no injury). Tennis isn't just about one matchup. Nadal isn't even a GOAT contender right now.

    Federer was sick last year, but like I said, it's no excuse.

    No, tennis immortality is about longevity, consistency and winning titles. Federer meets all three requirements. Nadal does not. One bad matchup for Fed (and one that is very nuanced with Nadal never really playing prime Federer on fast hard courts and Federer consistently playing prime Nadal on clay) isn't going to stop me from calling Federer the GOAT.
     
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  17. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    Hello Chopin. After pushing through your overtly provocative headings and getting past your plastic 'i am the greatest' arrogance, when you write honestly, your posts do often contain and generate interesting reading. Thanks for contributing as you do.
     
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  18. bojsag

    bojsag Banned

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    You post this and then question people who lowrate your threads. Little surprise there quite frankly.
     
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  19. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I appreciate that.

    Best,
    Chopin
     
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  20. Chopin

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    Well, I don't understand your point, or how my defense of Federer as the so-called "GOAT" somehow justifies people rating all my threads 1 star (even those aimed at giving or seeking instructional, string, apparel or racquet advice). I could make a genuine thread calling for world peace and there are still certain posters (specific ones) who would rate my thread 1 star just because I made it.

    Contrary to popular belief, I don't dislike older tennis--I quite enjoy it. I enjoyed watching Borg v. Laver on the Tennis Channel last night, but I do think many of the posters in the former pro player section are fanboys (albeit older ones) masquerading as objective tennis historians.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
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  21. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Chopin,

    Let me add the following as to Borg. I think that you are leaving this out of your analysis above. Borg had to face down tougher competition AT THE TOP (SF/Finals) in the Grand Slams vs. both Federer and Sampras. Who did Borg face in his prime at the GS tournaments in producing his record? It was Connors (US Open and Wimbledon), McEnroe (US Open and Wimbledon), Gerulitas (Wimbledon), Vilas (French) and Lendl (French). All those guys, except perhaps Gerulitas, were WARRIORS, who were extremely tough to put away in matches, especially during the final rounds of the majors. Meanwhile, Sampras' biggest rival was Andre Agassi, and Federer has faced down a past his prime Agassi, Safin, Hewitt, Roddick, Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray. Of course, as Nadal has gotten a bit older, he has basically outperformed Federer (AO, FO, and Wimbledon wins against him).

    So, Borg, in my estimation, has faced tougher competition in those final rounds. Plus, as I've mentioned, Borg's red clay record head and shoulders above the clay court records of both Federer and Sampras. He was a huge threat to win on any surface, including indoors, that he played on, and I don't think you can always say that about Federer and Sampras was typically a non-factor at RG and the last FO win by Federer still does not elevate him on clay to anything close to Borg's level. Stamina on the part of Federer is also a concern at the French, in that at times vs. Nadal he looked completely overwhelmed. The same thing occurred perhaps at this year's US Open vs. Del Potro. Borg never exhibited that. I do agree with you that both Federer and Sampras have sustained their efforts over more years and they each have "faced down" competition. Yet, I would point out that such competition is not on par with the competition that Borg faced, in terms of the other star players he was competing against.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
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  22. bojsag

    bojsag Banned

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    Well you unjustly pile on Nadal, Laver, Sampras and other great players. A lot of truth-bending for sole purpose of glorifying one player you consider great. As a Federer fan myself, I understand your bias. But clearly others are more objective and less understanding than myself. I doubt anyone would berate your threads out of spite as you are suspecting. I am sure each thread is judged on its own merit.
     
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  23. Chopin

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    borg number one
    ^^I understand that Borg competed against other great players, and agree that he had an amazing ability to meet challenges, but this still does not change the fact that he lost his grip on the game and walked away. This isn't a personal criticism of Borg, but in my book, at least, a serious detriment to his GOAT status.

    I also don't quite agree that Sampras didn't have incredibly tough competition--I don't even think it's debatable. As for Federer, contrary to many, I do think he's faced tough competition in the sense that many of the players he routinely faced would be probably be multiple slam winners if Federer was not winning all the slams. It's the chicken and the egg question when it comes to Federer's performance, but I will say that guys like Hewitt, Safin and Roddick would be much more accomplished if Federer were not around. People gripe about the lack of slam winners today, but I think it's an unconvincing argument just because there are four slams played every year (same as always) and if Federer wins most of them for years on end, how can other people amount slam totals? You know? Either everyone else sucks, or Federer is that good. I think it's the latter.

    In general, I feel that the level of tennis competition has only gone up and up as tennis has expanded around the globe. I personally think it's harder in the objective sense to dominate today than in Borg's era by virtue of the global game (not tennis's popularity in the media).

    I hear your argument loud and clear though, and I do appreciate Borg (and Laver)--I watched them play on the TTC the other night--and certainly think Borg is a legend of the game, and one who deserves respect.
     
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  24. Chopin

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    OK, I am a little harsh on Laver, but I strongly believe that he's overrated.

    I don't think that Sampras and Nadal are overrated though. I don't even particularly like Sampras, but I still think he's #2 all time behind Federer. And I respect Nadal a lot, I just don't think we should read into his head to head with Federer until he proves that he's as great a player as Federer in the long-run. Nadal has proved that he's very, very good at playing Federer on clay, and good at playing him off clay, but he hasn't proved that he's as good as Federer in the grand scheme of tennis.

    And it might sound harsh, but I'm not going to make excuses for the guy when he play way too many tournaments and when his very style of play, the very thing that makes him tough, is not an easy style of play for his body to handle. Injuries go hand in hand with how he plays tennis. Nadal wouldn't want us making excuses for him either.

    We can agree to disagree on this though.

    However, trust me, my threads are not judged on their merits. I've made lots of helpful threads about apparel and racquet reviews (completely benign stuff) and within a few minutes of posting, they're 1 star. These losers follow me around. It's a running joke between me and some other posters who find their behavior juvenile as well. They can't beat me and they can't win though, so it just adds fuel to the fire and motivates me to become an even greater poster.
     
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  25. bojsag

    bojsag Banned

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    Nothing wrong with being a little harsh on Laver. And Sampras as you know won record 14 slams fair and square. But forget those two for a moment.

    How can you say that Federer could be considered greatest? Forget Laver and Sampras for a second. There is a living breathing real man by the name of Nadal who instills fear into Federer’s little heart. Not in the 90s, not preopen era. Here and now in Federer’s prime. Forget about all the numerous clay beatdowns. Last 3 slams they played each other were on 3 different surfaces – clay, grass, HC. Same story every time.

    Now if some horrible people are berating your innocent threads on purpose, that is horrible. Do you know who those posters are? I am sure we all want to know.
     
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  26. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    Sounds like your doing with Federer exactly what you accuse others of doing.

    It doesn't make it ok for you to be a total hypocrite because in your mind you are correct and Federer is GOAT.

    The debate about who is GOAT is far from over and it probably never will be. Your opinion on who is GOAT is just that, your opinion. Your opinion is not more valuable than anyone else.

    Many people disagree with you. Deal with it in another way besides making childish threads calling other people names because they don't agree with your opinions.

    I don't find it at all surprising that people dislike you enough to stalk your threads and vote everything 1 star.

    You come across as incredibly arrogant, pretentious, and misinformed.
     
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  27. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Chopin, I hear what you are saying, believe me. I would agree that there is more overall depth in the game today. For example, there are more countries, such as Spain and Argentina who are producing a larger number of very good/great players, but that is besides the central point of my last post.

    I am talking about who a top player must face in those final two rounds of slams only, not rounds 1-5. In that respect, I contend that most posters are overlooking this aspect when making the analysis as to who is the hypothetical "greatest player of all time". I don't think I can overemphasize enough just how difficult it was to beat BOTH Connors and McEnroe on a consistent basis in the Grand Slams. Only McEnroe really matched him head to head, and even in that case, Borg beat him in a GS final, at W, on arguably McEnroe's very best surface. Here is my central point in all this:

    Just as Borg was not CLEARLY the greatest of all time without argument, arguments can be made for and against him having that hypothetical title. The same applies to Laver, Sampras, and yes, even to Federer.


    I would like Laver, Sampras and Federer supporters for the hypothetical "greatest of all time" title to acknowledge this inescapable truth, that there ARE reasonable arguments to be made as to some other players, that's all.

    It's like asking who was the "greatest politician" of all time. How would one answer such a question? Is there CLEARLY one right answer?

    Well, the same thing applies in tennis. It's as much Art as Science. The analysis must be both quantitative and qualitative, and one must necessarily introduce a lot of theories, and subjectivity in order to try and answer such a question. So, let's recognize what this exercise is all about and acknowledge that no one has the indisputable "right" answer. It's just not that simple and we must all become comfortable with the uncertainty that is necessarily a part of this question. There are no easy answers here, but several viable ones.

    In terms of "walking away" from the game, while that is technically true in the case of Borg, we both know that it's more complicated than that, in that there are also other things that are true about his "early" departure from tennis.

    Yes, he "just walked away from the game" in a sense, but he was also facing burnout after about 10 years of playing a crazy schedule and facing court specialists galore, PLUS facing down an unreasonable governing body in Tennis that insisted on him continuing to play a heavy schedule and QUALIFY for grand slams potentially, instead of facilitating a temporarily lighter schedule. How would Federer have handled such a schedule for example? Would he have had the same success at GS tourneys if he had done so? Perhaps not.

    Tennis' governing body did not work with him and in essence did the Game a great disservice, though Borg also made mistakes, no question. That still does not change my emphasis on peak performance rather than simple longevity when analyzing these greats.

    I think you have brought up some excellent points, but I could argue that Federer also has several weaknesses when this analysis is done, as does Laver, as does Borg, as does Sampras.

    No player can escape such criticisms, but as others have noted to be "the greatest of all time", without question, requires some monumental accomplishments over a sustained period. The fact that Federer has lost to Nadal at the last two GS finals on fast surfaces that are supposed to favor his game are chinks in his armor, just as Borg's departure is a weakness, just as Sampras' failure to win much on the slow stuff, just as Laver's supposed "physical limitations" compared to other great players are "chinks" in their armor.

    Such credible arguments can be made against any of those four great players, so let's get used to such uncertainty and embrace it, and understand that in life, we tend to want an easy answer to everything, but that's just not reality.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
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  28. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-7WCTDALLAS.html

    Chopin buy the DVD above, watch and report back to me. It's all different from era to era. Laver and Rosewall play a different game but an amazing game. They volley so well, cover the court so well and hit such great angles. It is an interesting game to watch. Today players are very athletic and hit as hard as the human reflexes will allow. I don't think we can go anywhere as far as speed goes. Tennis has reached a peak in speed. Where do we go from here?

    As for comparing players from other eras, it is like comparing apples and oranges. There are so many things to factor in. Grand Slams are not enough. I have a big collection of tennis books, some very old. The same discussions come up in every generation of books I have. Comparisons of players and playing styles. It is interesting that one clear pattern is the dominance of baseliners being followed by serve and volley dominance and then baseliners again and so on. Can that happen again?

    Players used to skip some tournaments because of money or the amount of travel. Many players in the early days of tennis would not make the trip to Australia. Someone like Tilden would have accumulated even more slams. Also Davis Cup used to be more important than the big tournaments. You can also factor in the two world wars and of course pro vs. open era tennis.

    It is clearly impossible to label anybody the GOAT.
     
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  29. Chopin

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    A number of interesting responses, some of which I agree with, and some of which I don't.

    I will say that I agree with Clintspin that it's impossible to label anyone the GOAT as any type of definitive label.

    I will reply in length to some of the other criticisms and commentary later today.

    Kind Regards,
    Chopin
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
    #29
  30. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I think Federer is the “GOAT” (if I were forced to choose one) because he’s won 15 slams, on all surfaces, in an incredibly competitive modern game. Not only that, but his list of achievements and records is baffling. Prime Federer (Federer is clearly no longer prime) was playing the most jaw-dropping and amazing tennis I’ve ever seen.

    I think the Nadal-Federer head to head certainly is significant, but it’s also a very nuanced thing. Federer is 2-2 in slam finals off of clay against Nadal and overall leads Nadal 5-4 off of clay. This is not a bad record, by any means. And of course, Nadal rarely played (or plays) Federer on faster hardcourts (never made it to the US final) where you’d have to favor a prime Federer’s chances. Yes, Nadal is superior on clay, but why fault Federer for being good enough to play Nadal on his best surface when Nadal has rarely been good enough to play Federer off clay? It’s not logical.

    And unfortunately, there is this misconception that a 27 or 28 year old Federer is somehow “prime.” I think it’s pretty clear to people who know tennis that Federer isn’t moving (at least on a consistent basis) like he was a few years back when he’d literally lose practically no matches and would win almost every single tournament he entered.

    And finally, I’m not the only one who considers Federer the best tennis player ever. J-Mac, Agassi, Sampras, and many other legends of the game have said the same thing.

    I ask myself the following question: as of this moment, whose career would I rather have had: Federer’s or Nadal’s? The answer is a “no-brainer.”

    Anyhow, we can agree to disagree, of course.

    Kind regards,
    Chopin
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
    #30
  31. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I agree with your post. Well said.

    I have, of course, watched the old tennis of tennis and do admire many elements of the game. Boy, could those guys volley! The transition game was also much more of an art.

    That being said, I think that players have gotten better not just in terms of fitness, and gene pool, but in terms of technique--regardless of racquets. I personally believe that if prime Sampras were given a wooden racquet and a little time to practice that he'd handily beat prime Laver due to his superior technique and physical skills. I see no reason why a service motion like Sampras had couldn't translate well into wood. I always note how little players like Laver bend their knees in comparison to modern pros.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    Kind regards,
    Chopin

    This, of course, cannot be proven, but I do think that tennis has evolved to a higher standard in absolute terms.
     
    #31
  32. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    This thread is not about Roger Federer--it's about tennis--nothing more, nothing less. Nor is this thread about the GOAT--it's about the self in relation to tennis.

    Meditate on this for seven years and return to me.

    Regards,
    Chopin
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
    #32
  33. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    borg number one:

    I won't quote your post to save space, but I will say that you're a very good poster. Your point about the GOAT discussion being an art and not a science is outstanding, and I agree with you 100%. You also do a good job bringing us a more nuanced perspective on Borg walking away from tennis.

    I foresee you becoming a great poster on the boards.

    Kind regards,
    CHopin
     
    #33
  34. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks, very much, I really appreciate that Chopin.

    When I started posting on these boards, especially the former pro player threads, I was reminded of what it's like to be surrounded by folks that are as "into this Game" as I am. I am enjoying all the reading and posting I am doing, and I am now certain that I will continue to learn about tennis until my advanced years. I have always planned to play tennis my whole life and this forum has only further educated me and reminded me of why I and so many others are passionate about this game. It's filled with intelligent, competitive folks, of all backgrounds, such as yourself and many others, who understand the mind/body connection and who appreciate just how complex, difficult, and yes, beautiful the sport of Tennis is.
     
    #34
  35. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    No this thread is about you claiming others are blinded by being 'fanboys' of their favorite players when discussing them, while ignoring that you yourself are as big a 'fanboy' as anyone on this board.

    Perhaps you should have meditated on that before posting this drivel.
     
    #35
  36. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    See, that's the kind of response that tells me that you've only meditated for a single day. Open up your mind, my friend! Logic is the beginning of knowledge--not the end.
     
    #36
  37. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    And that's the kind of response that lets everyone here know that your an arrogant windbag who cannot see his own failures when they are right in front of him.

    Why don't you stop with the patronizing response and explain to everyone exactly why you believe that you are any different from the 'fanboys' your describing?

    You get 10 gold stars if you come up a a logical response. You lose 1 gold star for each for each statement that cannot be proven and for each patronising or arrogant smart ass remark.

    Hopefully you will have at least 1 star left by the end of your response.

    Your time starts now.
     
    #37
  38. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    My friend, no need to get all bent out of shape! You went after me in your original post, despite never having had any interactions with me. Yet still, you felt the need to post the following:

    "I don't find it at all surprising that people dislike you enough to stalk your threads and vote everything 1 star. You come across as incredibly arrogant, pretentious, and misinformed."

    You actually expected me to dignify you with a serious response?

    No hard feelings, but this would conclude my interaction with you at this particular juncture in time. Perhaps in the future we can engage in a more civilized discussion.

    Kind regards,
    Chopin
     
    #38
  39. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    Fail. Your failure to even mount an argument only confirms you know how wrong you are in this instance.

    I give you 1 out of 5 stars for this post.

    I foresee you remaining an ignored and disrespected member of this forum in the future.

    Footnote 1: I also rated your original post (and this thread) 1 star. That makes 2 failed assessments for you.

    You will need to repeat this course next semester unfortunately.

    I hope in time you will learn from your mistakes. See you next year.

    Kind regards, friend.
     
    #39
  40. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    I judged you and your intent by your long winded initial post. Your initial post was indeed arrogant, it was indeed pretentious, and it was indeed misinformed. I judged you by your own words. My not knowing you or not having interactions with you doesn't mean a thing to me. If you put a blatant attack of a post out there for the world to see you will be judged for it.

    And now your getting 'bent out of shape' because I, a person who the attack was not aimed at, is calling you out.

    You also obviously know I'm right in my theory that you are every bit as much as a fan boy as those you are addressing, and you are taking the cowards approach of simply ignoring me rather than attempting to prove your feeble position.

    My ridiculous grading of you may offend you but only because it so closely mirrors your own silly posting style that you believed was your own.

    Please try and be strong rather than continuing to try to be the martyr and proclaiming me as one of your long list of imaginary assailants. I doubt anyone here feels sorry for you.

    I will not be responding to your posts in the future as you seem to be intellectually unable to defend yourself.

    End communication.
     
    #40
  41. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    borg number one: do you get the TTC? If so, did you happen to watch the Laver v. Borg clay court match the other night? It had been a while since I'd seen it and I was, as always, impressed by Borg's brisk, determined player. He was like a machine when he was top form. People often compared Nadal to Borg, but Nadal's intensity boils to the surface whereas Borg was operating like a finely tuned machine (quiet but incredibly efficient).
     
    #41
  42. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Let me tell you guys a story I told to someone else on these boards once upon a time:

    I've had the pleasure of snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay, which is widely considered one of the best snorkeling spots in the USVI. The cay is only accessible via a hiking trial that leads onto a rocky beach lined by sea urchins. And once you're in the water, you must swim across a deep expanse where all sorts of larger creatures pass through (reef sharks, great barracuda)--it can be a unnerving experience depending what great creatures meet you from the deep! And due to the cay's proximity to the open ocean, the current can be quite, quite strong. It's not a trip to be taken lightly. But once you reach the blindside of the cay facing the open ocean, you're often greeted by a wondrous sight! A diversity of corals, fish and invertebrates well worth anyone's time. I once saw the beautiful spotted eagle ray, gracefully gliding through.

    And perhaps most importantly, when I'm at the mercy of the great sea, surrounded by nature's glory and life's beauty, I realize how perilously we exist, even in our day to day existence. The experience is nothing short of sublime. I hope you see, then, that I'm not afraid to see things for what they are--whether they be tennis or life. I'll continue to make my threads and make my arguments, no matter how much criticism or praise they receive.

    "The breaking of so great a thing"--Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
    #42
  43. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Great stuff and writing I might add Chopin. Never change your approach for anyone, but it's good to listen to advice, that's what I think. In the end you have to act and form opinions based on your own inner compass. If you really believe in what you are doing and how you are doing it, that is exactly the way to be (within reason of course, you don't want to be someone that doesn't even listen to advice).

    That Borg/Laver match, I've only seen clips of it on YouTube. Unfortunately, when we switched from DirecTV to AT&T, I lost the Tennis Channel, but hopefully I'll start getting it again later this year. Thanks for the above on Borg/Nadal. I agree. The thing with Borg was that he was fast/quick, and SO EFFICIENT. Yes, that's it exactly. He's like that finely tuned luxury vehicle that just purrs down the road, barely making a sound, but boy when it needs to accelerate, boom, off it goes, like a leopard or cheetah after its been crouching in the brush. He doesn't waste much energy does he, and he always looks like he's reading the paper or watching TV casually, NEVER giving anything away to his opponent. That's why he won so many matches, per McEnroe, "before ever stepping on the Court". Players knew they had to play their best tennis the whole match, on every point against him, especially in the Slams (a bad loss is very hard to find).

    Also, I love the story you put up there. That seems like a very serene, "mind expanding" experience. I bet you get some of your best ideas down there in the water, am I right? It's sort of like going for a long run, or meditating/praying, you know? Thanks again.
     
    #43
  44. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    ^^I agree that listening to advice and evaluating its merits honestly is always a wise choice. Are there times when I could have toned down my rhetoric on the boards? Absolutely. But one thing I try to do in my threads is take people outside of their comfort zones without resorting to personal attacks. It's sometimes a fine line, but I believe that when people are genuinely pushed, that fruitful discussion follows. Some people really dislike my posts, but as one poster noted, they often lead to lots of meaningful discussion. And of course, some of my posts are just meant to make people smile :)

    If I can contribute/create discussion on the boards and make people smile at the same time--mission accomplished, right?

    I hope you get the TTC again--there was a great special on the history of tennis on recently talked about the very origins of the game and the sports/games that proceeded modern tennis. It was really fascinating.

    Glad you liked the story. It's an interesting thing: how natural environments shape and move us as people. I can honestly say that I'd be surprised if my perspective on life were not quite different had I not discovered my passion for marine life (among other things).

    You're welcome to post in any of my threads.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
    #44

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