The GOAT...

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by saram, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. saram

    saram Legend

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    ...does not exist. He cannot exist, because of several things...

    Technology has changed. Laver dominated in a game of finesse. He dominated when the surfaces were different than today's. And, not only were the surfaces different, the Opens won during his era were played on different surfaces as well. The AO, for example, was played on grass--not rebound ace.

    Laver's rackets were wood. His opponents smoked and drank continually. The power in today's game did not exist. The game in itself was entirely different.

    Pete came along in an era that separated Rod and Roger. Power was being introduced, grass was still grass, and the players still lacked the racket technology and power of today's game. He dominated his era--but may not have dominated Rod's era if given Rod's rackets, opponents, surfaces, etc.

    Roger's era is completely different than both Pete's and Rod's. Roger's era combines power with slower surfaces, more surfaces than during Rod's era and players less consistent than during Pet's era. Pete never had to contend with grass that played almost as clay. Pete never faced a challenger on clay such as Rafa. Pete's only constant was Andre..and Roger has yet to face a constant challenger during his era. His opponents and challenges change like the tide.

    Andre won slams during the course of 20 years. He challenged Pete without ever losing a set during a match that went four tie-breakers. He took Roger to five sets over two days during the Open a few years ago. He also won on all four current surfaces--something Rod, Pete, and Roger cannot say. Andre won on grass, fast, clay and rebound ace. Again--nothing the other three can say.

    Bjorg dominated and left just too early to ever know his greatness. If he had stayed on tour for 20 years as Andre did, then maybe he would be the GOAT. And, if Johnny Mac did not have to contend with Bjorg during his short tenure--then maybe Johnny Mac would have been the GOAT.

    Then there is Rios--maybe the most talented and best player to never win a Slam. He will never be mentioned in the GOAT conversation--but based on talent--he had it--just never hung around the tour long enough to exploit it.

    My point, after all this rambling, is that there can never be a GOAT as so many things change during the growth of tennis, its technologies, and its surfaces. Nothing stays constant enough to allow greats to come and go and be compared on a level playing field/surface--let alone, technology.

    Right now, Roger is the goat. But give it time. In ten years, another will arise, surpass him, and I'll be saying the same things between Roger and his apprentice as we are saying about Pete and Roger now.

    I do find though, that to be considered for the GOAT, you need to possess the same or similar qualities:

    All court game
    Ability to serve and volley
    Mellow demeanor and calmness
    Clean strokes within the simplest form
    Precise serve--not the fastest, but precise
    Simple clean lifestyle without drama or chaos

    It is time to put the GOAT analogy to rest, and enjoy tennis for what it is: a great sport that is ever evolving into something even greater....
     
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  2. tennispro11

    tennispro11 Hall of Fame

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    Man, you did some thinkin on this one. Whenever the GOAT is involved there will be too many people who think that this player or this player was the best ever. I never saw Laver of Borg play in real life. On tape yes, actually seeing them, no. They only thing that I would consider is this, Sampras has said that he thinks Federer will be the best tennis ever. Laver has said something quite similar but I am not going to say exactly what since I can't remember exactly what he said. I would listen to those guys when they speak on the GOAT. But if they say Federer could be the GOAT of all time, I will surely listen. Maybe not agree with them, but surely listen to their opinions more than I would some to most of the people on this forum, who have only seen footage of the players and not seen them in person.
     
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  3. saram

    saram Legend

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    athletes will progress in time as will technology and surfaces. we just cannot compare apples to oranges...
     
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  4. tennispro11

    tennispro11 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, your right.
     
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  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    One question...

    ... Why was Andre mentioned?
     
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  6. iamke55

    iamke55 Professional

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    My god, you midsize/volley/Sampras fanboys are numerous to the point of ridiculousness. The only quality GOAT contenders need is results! And Federer has them, whether or not he plays at the net as much as Nadal does in Wimbledon.
     
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  7. tennispro11

    tennispro11 Hall of Fame

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    Wow you put us into a pretty good category. I think to be great you need to have a good all around game as well. Who wants the GOAT to be a guy that had a big serve and a big forehand? I don't, that is what you are coming across as.
     
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  8. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

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    I agree. It's the results that matter. I don't care how pretty your strokes are, if you don't win, you can't be that great...
     
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  9. AM28143

    AM28143 Semi-Pro

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    While it is impossible to determine the GOAT, with the vast changes in the game throughout the past few decades, it is still fun (and comical at times) to discuss it. Many of the finer threads this board has produced have been stemed from endless quarreling over who is better-Sampras or Federer.
     
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  10. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    On the contrary, GOAT existence has been proven conclusively in scientific studies.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    One correction: That in older times players were constantly smoking or drinking, is an insult.Hoad began drinking, when he was on the exit. I only know about the 80s and 90s, that players were on drugs or pills, but mostly, when they were on the decline.I doubt about the athletic abilities of the current generation: Nalbandian,Baghdatis, Blake, Gasquet and others certainly don't look fit. Some of the Argies have helped their fitness a bit.Even Federer or Roddick could get a few pounds off.
     
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  12. s.sharm01

    s.sharm01 Rookie

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    I would have to agree that its hard to say who is the greatest of all time, with all of the changes that have taken places over the years. I don't think ppl today realize how difficult it is to hit, let alone successfully play with a wood racquets. Many pros today wouldn't be able to play a match with them. With the racquet technologies changing and the surfaces changing, its hard to say one would be better then all.

    There might be greatest of each era but thats debatable, never a clear cut answer.

    Also how can science and mathamatics prove who is GOAT when they take factors like looks into account which is all biased on the times. I'm sure safin would loose all his looks points if he came out with short shorts.

    And what makes some great is their ability to defy all logic, makes shots that no one would be able to make, come up with angles that blow our mind away. If the greats are able to do that i would suspect the GOAT to be able to do that aswell. So probablity can't tell us who the GOAT is.
     
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  13. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    except that you are all forgetting that all players play with the same raquets, so there is still no advantage over having a technologically advanced raquet. If you gave everybody wooden raquets then the rankings would be exactly the same as they are now, why? Because Federer is still the best player in the world, and he would be the best if he had a wooden raquet or a titanium raquet.
     
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  14. saram

    saram Legend

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    Because he won on clay when Roger and Pete have not. Not saying Andre is the GOAT by any means, just showing an example of a player that won a career slam, as well as golden slam, attained a slam on a surface that two of the three considered for GOAT did not attain, etc.

    Not saying Andre is the GOAT, just using him/his performance as a reference...
     
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  15. saram

    saram Legend

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    Cool! My man, Safin is the GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  16. saram

    saram Legend

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    I am not a fan of Sampras or Federer. Get your facts straight before sounding like an idiot within this household.
     
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  17. saram

    saram Legend

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    You completely missed the intent of this thread, or just did not read it and blindly posted something. My point is that Roger, Rod and Pete all had different sticks, opponents, and surfaces...so you cannot say one was better than the other unless they could all meet in the same era, same sticks, same surfaces, etc.
     
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  18. saram

    saram Legend

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    I stand corrected, thank you...:)
     
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  19. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    I agree with the OP. I'm tired of seeing GOAT arguments on this board. To me it does not exist. Closest you can get is the greatest of the generation. To many variables.

    Scientifcally clearly shows that this is not the way to measure GOAT as Safin is at top having only won 2 slams and Hewitt is above Federer yet Hewitt hasn't beaten Federer for about 11 meetings.
     
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  20. dukemunson

    dukemunson Rookie

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    A good post but I don't see any purpose to the end criteria you came up with...how could that possibly have anything to do with being the greatest of all time? Demeanor? Clean Lifestyle? I don't see the point...
     
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  21. saram

    saram Legend

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    demeanor and lifestyle meaning that there are not outside distractions. both Pete and Roger do not get caught up in the media hype, on court--they are calm and cool and you cannot rattle their cage. they do not party it up like Marcos or Marat. they are not shooting continual promotional work such as Agassi did, Maria is doing now, etc. they are purely focused on tennis and don't let their life distract nor deteriorate their game...

    that was kind of my point in that....sorry if it did not make sense earlier.
     
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  22. dukemunson

    dukemunson Rookie

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    No I understand your point...I just don't see why those criteria matter in the context of Greatest of all time.

    Using that logic Jordan couldn't have been the best basketball player of all time because he enjoyed gambling, had an affair and endorsed every thing from underwear to big macs...

    I can see how demeanor on the court in terms of staying calm on big points would matter...and that it usually takes unbelievable focus off the court to be at the top level, but if Fed had as many slams and weeks at number one and acted like Safin, that wouldn't change in my mind at all his stature in list of all time greats. I guess I'm confused about the point of your criteria, as you seem to be listing what it usually takes to become great instead of what defines being great...
     
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  23. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Yep, he sure is! So how could you have said earlier that GOAT cannot be determined conclusively!

    There are matters for subjective judgment, and then there matters of objective reality that we can measure scientifically. In particular, I am not sure why you think Safin wearing shorter shorts would change the objective reality.

    And by the way I posted the wrong (preliminary) table due to technical error. Here’s the correct version (conclusion remains the same, of course):

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    I disagree about the GOAT issue not being possible.

    I understand the points made about players coming from different eras with different emphasis on various aspects of the game, like power. That however is part of the challenge.

    To me different emphasis is something that can be seen in the current game in the present, with surfaces. Clay and Grass and Hardcourt all change the nature of the game and require different skills and attributes. However this does not stop us from considering Federer number 1.

    In my opinion it is up to the very best players to change their game to meet the current demands. I hear much bemoaning the lack of serve and volley in the modern game but that's because we are creating the environment to support a baseline strategy. Even the grass at Wimbledon is slower. If we change the surface the S&Vs would return and the great players would change sufficiently to still dominate.

    Now we move on to progression of standards within the game barring direct comparison. It is comparatively easy to set up an index which measures current levels of domination by pro players. That is in effect what the official rankings are, although I personally have my doubts as to their validity. Assuming the standard was constant throughout history these in themselves would be sufficient to measure overall playing standard and compare players cross era. However, the point is raised that the standard would be increasing, and I am not referring to technology here, but the quality of the play itself. I find this argument persuasive but not insurmountable in calculating its effect.

    If you study a reasonably large number of sports where standards of performance are directly measurable, it is possible to see two things. How frequently a world record is produced and how the top 250 performances are dominated by latter day players. By creating a mean of this increase in performance it is possible to calculate a performance slope against time. This slope can then be applied to the domination index previously created to calculate an absolute standard of play.

    I use such a system that I have derived myself and have all the necessary data for the open era. While I do not consider it to provide an absolute answer to the GOAT question it does break down the issues into the various component parts for consideration and is objective in its conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
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  25. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    The sport changes too much for anyone to be able to name the best player ever. What we can say is that if you were great in your era, you would have been great in any era. What separates great players is not their strokes, it's their ability to win matches. Sounds obvious, but it most players don't seem to understand that it's not about hitting the ball hard, it's about winning the damn point. The great players knew how to do this when the pressure was on.
     
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  26. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    I disagree about the GOAT issiue not being possible.

    I understand the points made about players coming from different eras with different emphasis on various aspects of the game, like power. That however is part of the challenge.

    To me different emphais is something that can be seen in the current game in the present, with surfaces. Clay and Grass and Hardcourt all change the nature of the game and require different skills and attributes. However this does not stop us from considerng Federer number 1.

    In my opinion it is up to the very best players to change their game to meet the current demands. I hear much bemoaning the lack of serve and volley in the modern game but thats because we are creating the environment to support a baseline strategy. Even the grass at Wimbledon is slower. If we change the surface the S&Vs would return and teh great players would hange sifficienty to sill dominate.

    Now we move on to progression of standards within the game barring diret comparison. It is comparatively easy to set up an index which measures current levels of modern domination by pro players. That is in effect what the official rankings are, although I personally have my doubts as to their validity. Assuming the standard was constant throughout history these in theirselves would be sufficient to measure overall playing standard and compare players throughout history. However, the point is raised that the standard would be increasing, and I am not referring to technology here, but the quality of the play itself. I find tis argument pursuasive but not insurmountable in calculating its effect.

    If you study a reason amount of sports where standards of performance are directly measurable, it is possible to see two things. How frequently a world record is produced and how the top 250 performances are dominated by later day players. By creating a mean of this increase in performace it is possible to calculate a performance slop against time. This slope can then be applied to the domination index previously created to calculate an abslotute standard of play.

    I use such a system that I have derived myself and have all the necessary data for the open era. While I do not consider it to provide an absolute answer to the GOAT question it does break down the issues into the various component parts for consideration and is objectve in its conclusions.
     
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  27. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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    lol @ that graph
    i love how sampras gets 0 points for some of them just so safin can win hahaha
     
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  28. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    Speechless :)

    Edit: I love the way "clothing style" points rank up there with SLAM wins...

    Re the GOAT, I'm with the OP on this, closest you are going to get is greatest of a generation.

    What would be really interesting would be to get the top 200 ranked ATP players to vote for the GOAT and see what the result was. I'm less interested in who the GOAT is, more the split. We could call it "Vote for the GOAT!"
     
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