The Most intelligent player of all time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by theagassiman, May 5, 2009.

  1. theagassiman

    theagassiman Rookie

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    Male or female, open-era or pre-open-era.

    Overall, in the history of tennis, who is the most intellgent player of all time?
     
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  2. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    martina hingis
     
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  3. swedechris

    swedechris Banned

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    Arthur Ashe Martina Navratilova
     
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  4. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Ken Rosewall

    I am assuming you mean intelligence in terms of tennis tactics and strategy.
     
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  5. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    ^^^Since I never saw guys like Rosewall play:

    B Gilbert
    F Santoro

    I like that Hingis pick on the women's side, nhat8121
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Ken Rosewall but I've read that Bill Tilden wasn't bad either.
     
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  7. Winners or Errors

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    Mats Wilander - never any doubt, most intelligent #1 player ever, no huge weapon but had a dominating season anyway

    Martina Hingis - did a lot with little power, wish she'd developed physically a bit more, avoided injuries, and had a longer career

    Much more fun to watch the intelligent players than the power players, though I tend to emulate the latter in my own game (because I'm stupid...).
     
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  8. jimwh

    jimwh Rookie

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    Arthur Ashe or Bjorn Borg
     
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  9. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Chris Evert. She could exploit angles and weaknesses like nobody else.
     
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  10. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    For the Women Evert would be tops in my opinion, she was so good at reading and court and moving her opponent around with slices and lobs and being able to turn defense into offense. She had a truly great tactical sense.

    Honorable Mentions for the women: Hingis, Lenglen (I have read she was very good in this department according to many of her cheif rivals), Navratilova, and Wills

    Men: The men are tough, there are quite a few men who really were very intelligent and good all court readers. Some that stand out now off the top of my head would be Federer, Rosewall, and Tilden (from what I have read about him).
     
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  11. tonyg11

    tonyg11 Rookie

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    McEnroe had a great tennis mind regardless of his temper
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I read a story about Bill Tilden in Fred Perry's book. Perry used to approach the net so his body and white shirt and pants would be in the same line as the white tennis ball. Perry figured if he did this that it would be harder for the opposing player to see the ball. No one noticed this or said anything about this except for Bill Tilden.

    I think Tilden made a comment about how hard it was to see the ball when he played Perry but he had his eyes checked and it was 20/20. Perry wrote you couldn't never put anything over Tilden.

    Another story about Tilden was when Tilden insisted to Perry that they go out to hit because Tilden wanted to show Perry something. Tilden told Perry to hit a ball wide to him to Tilden's right and Tilden, with the same continental style forehand that Perry used to use returned the ball to Perry. Tilden commented to Perry that in observing Perry's play over the years he thought that Perry's way of returning that particular type of shot was the best way and he didn't feel that he would be a complete player unless he mastered that stroke. I think Tilden was in his late 40's or early 50's at this point.
     
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  13. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Bjorn Borg.
     
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  14. SoCal10s

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    Pancho Segura

    Pancho Segura
     
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  15. PimpMyGame

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    From my era (late 1970s to present) I'd say JMac.

    Special mention to Connors too. For someone who looked as if he had more weaknesses than strengths he must have been an intelligent player to compete for as long as he did.
     
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What Ashe did to Connors in the 1975 finals at Wimbledon was very intelligent.
     
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  17. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I have read the first story before somewhere, not in Fred Perry's book but somewhere. The second was interesting, that is the first time I've heard it. Thanks for posting it, it definitely shows Tilden was the type who was always looking to improve and was smart enough to know you can always grow as a tennis player. Some players never seem to realize you can continue to evolve as a player no matter your age.
     
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  18. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    DY

    10 char
     
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  19. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    I'd probably say Borg.

    But from what I've read Ashe, King and Rosewall had excellent tennis brains. McEnroe as well despite his antics, as well as Evert. More modern, I'd say Edberg's brain is underrated, also Hingis and Nadal.
     
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  20. JediMindTrick

    JediMindTrick Professional

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    Didn't Gimelstob say that Murray is the player with the "highest tennis IQ"?
     
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  21. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    In today's game Murray and Nadal are the smartest players.
     
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  22. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Maybe, but then again Gimelstob is a babboon.
     
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  23. CEvertFan

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    Ted Tinling said that Suzanne Lenglen played tennis like a chessmaster and then when he saw Evert he said he had never seen anyone play so much like Lenglen.

    Ted knew all the top women from Lenglen (he was a ball boy for a lot of her matches) onward until his death in 1990.


    Based on that I would say Lenglen and Evert for the women.
     
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  24. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Women - Billie Jean King! She beat a lot of players who were better athletes, taller, stronger and more consistent just by using guile and court sense. Its one thing to have all that variety in spin and trajectory of volley and groundstroke , its another to know when to get cute and when not to! She understood instinctively the percentages of each choice and her opponent's weaknesses as well as any woman in sports history


    Men - Connors! he not only had a great sense of what shot to hit, whne and with what spin, he knew how to psyche the crowd, linesmen and his opponents. That is a kind of intelligence too.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
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  25. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Of recent players Evert, Hingis, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Sanchez Vicario would be my top choices. Amongst the all out attacking players I think Ann Jones and King were the smartest players. Amongst the power servers/baseliners I think the smartest players by far are Graf and Seles, with Serena next behind them.
     
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  26. tudwell

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    Tipsarevic has a Dostoevsky quote tattooed to his forearm. Sounds like a pretty smart guy to me.
     
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  27. Kirko

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    Pancho Gonzales >>>>

    self-taught and able to beat "groomed" players like Hoad & Rosewall ; even Hoad said if he found a weakness to exploit on him and win the next time that weakness was recognized by Gonzales and gone. lot of smart players of course he's my fav.
     
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  28. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Pancho was taught by his brother who was as polished a player as Rosewall's father (who taught him to play) then he was taught by David Pate's father.

    I think Bobby Riggs rates a mention for smarts, as does Mats Wilander.
     
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  29. World Beater

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    it is interesting to note that prior to nadal on clay, federer was seen as a very tactical player.

    he chose his moments to stay back and come to net very well while exploiting all his opponents weaknesses.

    now he is seen as a tactical moron...lol
     
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  30. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    I agree on Murray and would have to say modern era Wilander. All time has to be Tilden from what I have read the man was insanely knowledgeable of the way the game was played.
     
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  31. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    Newcombe Ashe
     
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  32. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I once saw a tape of Sampras at net in some grass court tournament in England, at this arena called Wembley...???? anyways some campbell's tomato soup can was at net, Samp was on the baseline, Pistol waited for him to go one way, and then at the last moment smacked this ball right by this guy. I gre up around pro tournaments, the journeyman level top 10-20 don't have that type of skill and finesse. For the ladies I'd have to say Nav. Her fluidity and ability to rely on form an athleticism were awesome.
     
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  33. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    haha, that is true...which is a shame. I think he is quite a smart player.
     
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  34. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Gisbert, Kuhncke had a doctor-grade, both seemed to be pretty smart. I think Daniel Prenn was a doctor, too. Chuck McKinley was a broker, he should have been smart, too. I once read, that Borg's favorite book was Mickey Mouse.
     
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  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I apologize. I do not know what you are saying here.

    It might have an interesting meaning, but I cannot interpret what what you have written.

    Can you please write it again in plain English, avoiding use of colloquialisms and the vernacular?
     
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  36. jaybeoh

    jaybeoh New User

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    In terms of game intelligence I'd say Gilbert! This guy has gon so far in tennis even tough his technique wasn't too great. His whole success was based on thinking!
     
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  37. vandre

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    for my $, arthur ashe by a mile.

    watch what he did to connors in the 75 wimbledon final if you want to see a classic case of jacking with your opponents head!

    off the court, ashe was an amazing commentator and made hbo's wimbledon coverage "can't miss" every year. it was almost like he could see into the future. he understood the game, the players, the surface, the conditions, everything! his keys to the match were always right on the money.
     
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  38. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Any idiot can have anything tattoed on them. It doesn't mean anything.

    I would say Arthur Ashe and Brad Gilbert for the men.
     
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  39. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    come on >>>

    his brother Ralph ? I know Pate was a HS pal & I knew Mrs. Pate who ran the MGM Pro Shop way back when I lived in las vegas. Andrew we are talking the pro-level. I don't think either Ralph or Chuck Pate would know how to beat a guy like Lew Hoad. it rested on Pancho's shoulders.
     
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  40. BTURNER

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    I am astonished I am the only one to mention Billie Jean.
     
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  41. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Sure, but at pro level neither Rosewall or Hoad had a coach and when they were young they learned from people who were as well qualified as Pancho's brother and David Pate's dad (possibly less qualified). Harry Hopman was their trainer during Davis Cup days but not a coach. Hoad's game was developed by trying to copy Jack Crawford (hence the continental grip for everything) and Rosewall's was developed by his dad (a player no better than Pancho's brother or Pate).

    Actually, if anything, it shows that Pancho had been able to win and win comfortably despite having a flawed game. However, when Rosewall and Hoad came along he had to change those flaws in order to keep winning. That puts a big question mark against the contention that Rosewall and Hoad only did well because the pros were absent. If that had been the case, Pancho wouldn't have needed to change anything in his game. That said, I wonder how much better Gonzalez could have been had Hoad's back not given out on him when he was comfortably leading their head-to-head series. If Hoad had stayed healthy and won that match-up (which I have no doubts he would have done, even though he'd have struggled to stay interested) it might have spurred Pancho on to become even better.

    Of course, something that people never mention is that of all the top pros Rosewall was the one who suffered most due to the bulk of matches being played on extremely fast surfaces and under very poor lighting. That unfairly favoured Pancho and the other big servers yet Rosewall was able to survive and thrive. It requires a lot of smarts and a lot of skill to win when the odds are stacked so high against you.

    There's a worthwhile site put together by a Gonzalez fan and with a lot of input from Pancho's family - have you seen it? Apart from the usual Pancho stuff it offers a table of 'potential majors won' (if the pros hadn't been banned from the game) and the results are very interesting.
     
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  42. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Men, prior to the Open Era: Tilden and Rosewall. Men, since the Open Era: Rosewall, McEnroe (and I'm giving a big nod to) Murray.

    Women, prior: Lenglen. Since: King and Hingis.




    Those who are mentioning Borg make me laugh. I loved Bjorn's game, and how (like Nadal) he was able to keep improving it. But Borg is no genius.



    Tilden was known for playing TO his opponents strengths. As I recall, he was asked why.... His answer was something like, "Because once I've broken down his strengths, all he has to fall back on is his weaknesses."



    Watching Rosewall was like watching a surgeon. He was thinking and analyzing all the time. By the end of the match his opponent would be vanquished ... but the blood loss was minimal.



    Mac was a lot smarter than many thought. (One of the reasons he pissed me off so much. He didn't need to act like that. Now it's part of his persona.)



    King and Hingis: two girls with unexceptional "strengths" who made it to the very top of the game. Brainy.



    - KK
     
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  43. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I mentioned her although not exclusively. If I probably chose one rather than trying to credit as many as possible I probably would have chosen her though, either her or Evert anyway.
     
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  44. BTURNER

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    "Watching Rosewall was like watching a surgeon. He was thinking and analyzing all the time. By the end of the match his opponent would be vanquished ... but the blood loss was minimal." I love this quote. " Haven't seen enough of Ken to gauge its veracity but it sure is vivid.
     
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  45. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    Andy Roddick?
     
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  46. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. Real tacticians. Really know how to change their game. "Me losing? Me hit harder!"
     
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  47. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Andrew ! >>

    I did not know about that site.
     
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  48. swedechris

    swedechris Banned

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    Miroslav Mecir was a smart guy on court .. used the pace of the opponents shots very very well.ยด.. IMO a rare talent.
     
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  49. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    I'd say Evert on the women's side.

    I also think Mats Wilander was overrated as a "smart" player.

    Tipsarevic, I really laughed at that one. The guy has to be one of the dumbest players on court. Who cares what kind of tattoo he has. He is a mental midget on court.
     
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  50. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    Ditto to that. A small, bow-legged guy, who had ricketts as a child, beating the best in the world with his head as well as with his two-handed forehand...
     
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