The Greatest Hard Court Player of the Open era for you

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Laurie, May 5, 2012.

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Who's the greatest hard court player for you?

  1. Ivan Lendl

    25.9%
  2. Andre Agassi

    3.7%
  3. Roger Federer

    48.1%
  4. John McEnroe

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Jimmy Connors

    3.7%
  6. Pete Sampras

    18.5%
  1. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    You might recall I did an article on the greatest hard court players of the open era two years ago, which proved very popular. I also managed to have it published on Eurosport tramlines last September which was nice. For those who never saw it, article is here http://burnstennis.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/greatest-hard-court-players-of-open-era.html

    The guys I chose were Agassi, Federer, Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, Sampras. All of these players have the credentials to be considered top man. I want to know who you consider top man and why, I've put a poll in so you can choose.

    I just want to add one thing about Federer, a lot of his titles on hardcourts have come indoors, the other guys won most of their indoor titles on carpet, so the distinction is slightly more pronounced. I accept that San Jose and Memphis were on indoor hardcourts but they were exceptions no?
     
    #1
  2. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    My vote was for Pete Sampras. The stats might say Federer but best is on the court, not on paper, and on the court Sampras was the best hard court player. I rate him as the best on fast hard courts, and equal to a number of others on slower hard courts. He really should have more than 2 Australian Open titles, but chance is always part of the equation.
     
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  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    The Rocket!
     
    #3
  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Roger Federer. Hardcourts were much rarer before the late 1970s.
     
    #4
  5. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Laver doesn't belong on the list. Many experts never have Laver as one of all time great on hc. And this article is just another example.
     
    #5
  6. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I'm picking Ivan he was so damn consistent on that surface it was like a challengers round on the other half of the draw to see who he'd meet at the open or down in Australia. While he got his RG titles, it was on the hard courts he was at his best. If the Australian had turned from grass in 85, rather than 88, I am sure he would have at least two more majors.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
    #6
  7. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    I just give it Federer, but it's very close. They're all great hard court players. Federer is more consistent than Sampras was in the Slam events. Federer v Sampras at their peaks, what a prospect. Lendl was amazingly consistent, and yet should have won more. Mac at his peak could beat anybody, and let's not forget Connors loved the hard courts at Flushing Meadow which suited his all court game.
     
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  8. sadowsk2

    sadowsk2 Rookie

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    Sampras all day- Courts were faster back in the day and the folks he consistenly beat on the hard courts were all top notch.. Lendl would be a close second.
     
    #8
  9. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    I want to see Laurie's vote. I predict it will be Agassi.
     
    #9
  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. Laver is not on the list.
     
    #10
  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Old Laver has the best hard court final record of open era: 18-2.
     
    #11
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    At just a quick count I have Laver at around 29 or 30 hard court tournaments won and that doesn't account for the tournaments he won that we don't know what surface it was.
     
    #12
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Once again, the question becomes, is greatness reduced to counting up major titles, or do we look at a player's entire record AND his level of play?
     
    #13
  14. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Agree pc1. Those 18-2 is called an open era record on the wikipedia webside for Laver (i don't know who put it there) and obviuosly counts open tournaments according to the ATP. I would also think, that the actual count of hard court wins is much higher, even in open era.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
    #14
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Majors are important but I think too far overrated today. Looking at the player's entire record and his level of play is the best way to evaluate the year. Why bother playing other tournaments then if majors are the only thing that counts? If majors are the only thing that counts why do they have the other tournaments around?

    The reason they have the other tournaments is because they make up a good portion of what players need or want to accomplish.

    If you include wood as a hard court then Laver did win a major on hard court. So Laver is actually the most diversified in surfaces won in majors. He won on grass, clay, wood, indoor. Anyone else have that type of variety in majors? I guess Rosewall.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
    #15
  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, the points awarded for winning majors and non-majors should inform the amount of importance an event should be afforded. One major is equal to two masters series events.

    Laver won on grass, clay, wood, hard court, carpet, canvas, dirt, and probably asphalt too.
     
    #16
  17. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    "I want to see Laurie's vote. I predict it will be Agassi."

    Accomplishments wise probably Federer but my vote would go to Sampras if I was to vote. I like the fact that Sampras won on hardcourts playing different styles in his long career. Some matches virtually from the baseline, matches later on virtually as a serve volleyer.
     
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  18. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    One interesting sub topic is how to seperate McEnroe, Connors, and Lendl in this category. Very tough to tell how they rank amongst those:

    Lendl- All those U.S Open finals, all on hard courts, but a losing record in finals. Won Australian Open twice on hard courts, but both times benefiting somewhat from absences, key injuries to rivals, wasnt so much a force there compared to the U.S Open. Very good overall hard court record outside the slams. Had trouble with Connors and Becker in a big way on hard courts, not starting to have real success vs Connors until he was 32 and above.

    Connors- Most felt hard courts was best surface yet got limited opportunity on hard courts. No hard court slams until 1978, and not a second one until 1988 when his prime was long past. Still managed to win 5 overall U.S Opens, 1 on grass, 2 on clay, 2 on hard courts, you have to think he would have won all those, if not possibly more, had it been on hard courts all along. Heck he would have never lost to Orantes or Vilas in those finals on hard courts, so almost certainly more. Than if the Australian Open were on hard courts back then too just imagine.

    McEnroe- Won 3 U.S Opens on hard courts, the Australian didnt move to hard courts until his prime was well past too. At his best was dominant and nearly untouchable on hard courts, carpet, or grass.

    My gut tells me Connors was the best overall of the 3 really.
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The best single match I've witnessed at the US Open was Connors against McEnroe in 1984 in the semi. Unbelievable rallies. I thought Connors was a bit past his prime but still gave peak McEnroe at he could handle.
     
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  20. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    If the USO was on HC, then hard to fathom Orantes beating Connors; Vilas might' ve tho. Still, the surface variety gives Connors a truly unique record that will never be broken. His record on hard courts is obviously quite good and yes, it's very close between him, Mac and Lendl. Though at his best, I give Lendl a slight edge....slight.
     
    #20
  21. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    If we simply count the Majors, Federer is the best.
    But until 1987 only a Major was on hard courts (Lendl & McEnroe are penalized) and before 1978 there were no Majors on that surface (Connors is strongly penalized).

    Two-Majors Era:
    Agassi vs Sampras: 6 Majors+16 Masters Series against 7 Majors+10 Masters Series. My choice is Agassi.
    Federer is probably slightly superior to both, but if you take the three at the peak of their game, every one of them coul beat the other.

    The US Open-only Era:
    McEnroe = very high peaks and "great but not amazing" consistency: he was defeated by Scanlon in 1983, then he vanished after 1985.
    Connors = semifinals or better from 1978 to 1985.
    Lendl = 8 consecutive finals, 3 victories, 5 losses: 4 of these came from players at their peak (Connors '82, McEnroe '84, Wilander '88, Becker '89), but he was always there to front them. Outstanding consistency and he was nearly omnipotent for three consecutive year.
    Only a heavy loss, against Connors in 1983, but there were some extra-tennis factors (Connors intimidated him and italian journalist Gianni Clarici also testified that some people in the crowd were shouting against Lendl slogans like "you dirty communist": it wasn't probably a easy match for Ivan).

    My choice: the best peak was probably McEnroe in 1984, the most consistent was Connors (also considering that he did not played a Major on hard surface from 1974 to 1977, some of his best years), the best in combining peaks and consistence was Lendl. :)

    In the poll I voted Lendl because I love his playing style and statuesque elegance... and also because he had a lot of strong opponents.
     
    #21

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