The questions we don't ask when comparing champions.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BTURNER, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The questions we don't ask when comparing champions or eras.

    All those threads about how Laver would do today with modern rackets, or how Sharapova would do with a wooden racket in 1965. We talk about who would adjust physically to the surfaces, styles and rackets. We do not ask if they could adjust mentally and emotionally to the kind of game, tennis culture and tempo that they would be playing week after week. If you transplant Wilander ( a total tactician) to today's era, where tactics play a lesser role, will his mind be stimulated enough, the enjoyment be such that he could survive and thrive or would power tennis point after point, leave him to unmotivated to put in the time training his body?

    If you put Nastase in today's tennis world, which so marginalizes personality and creativity to the worship of sports pschology, statistical and computer analysis and constant discipline to squeeze every mental advantage and crush any distraction. will any top coach stay a week with HIM, ? Will his talent be smothered and his risk taking spirit punished to the point he'd never pick tennis as an outlet for his personality in the first place?

    Would Serena have the tenacity to fight the kinds of segregation battles Gibsen did, and still succeed or would she not?

    would Rosewall put up with the intense attention modern media smothers champions with, or would he find the goldfish bowl too bright and transparent?

    These are the kinds of questions I am curious about. Not how well would Ashe's serve do today ? Or would Sampras do well on slow grass.

    We look at these issues narrowly, we sort of presume the social, mental and emotional rewards and risks that produced these champions have not changed so much that they would not thrive enough, get enough joy from tennis or tennis culture to keep going and working toward being number 1.

    any comments or am I being silly to pose these questions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
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  2. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    They are interesting questions, but we have absolutely no way of answering them, except rank speculation.
     
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  3. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    ^^ yeah, what blue said.

    Who can say for certain? We're all products of our particular milieu. Would Picasso have been great in Rembrandt's time? I dunno.
     
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  4. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that Nastase--if he could win, and keep winning--would change the nature of the game. He would make it come to him, to respect his flamboyancy and move away from "computer analysis and constant discipline."
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He would get sooo bored he'd quit younger than Borg
     
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  6. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Actually they are super questions.

    I think in the case of Rosewall, players who are very shy would have a whole media team to help with with this. For example Laver years ago I believe was with IMG and I can see Rosewall with that type of group. They would train him for this so I don't see it as a big problem.

    The Serena question is interesting but I don't know if anyone can answer that correctly. Certainly Gibson went through a lot more in her day than Serena does now.

    I have also thought about how tennis is so much more rigid today and it seems like they stifle creativity. Would we have a Nastase, Hoad, Laver, Orantes, McEnroe or Tilden types today who often were interested in the art of tennis? I have mentioned in the past that I have a very good friend who is a top tennis coach. I have asked him if he would ever want to teach old style tennis with one handed backhands and different varieties of play. He said he would love to but the parents don't want that.
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sometimes things come in cycles. Maybe someday there will be a Nastase type or a McEnroe type again at the top level of tennis.
     
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  9. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    You can't argue line calls with a machine and with everyone making so much money, no one is scratching away an existence which tends to bring about the inner self
     
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'm not talking about arguing but just the different style of play of the both of them. I'm talking about the touch and the imagination of these players.

    However you do wonder how McEnroe would react to line calls nowadays with the machines around.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I can imagine him yelling at the Hawkeye something like
    "you will never work here again" or " do you have a problem with your wife?"
    BTW that statement was done in post Tatum days...
     
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  12. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    To the Serena question. The blacks in sports who were successful pioneers had to have superhuman self discipline and control and tenacity. Jackie Robinson, Ashe, Gibson had to be virtual saints as well as better than everyone else to get through the barriers imposed by institutional racism. Everyone was in search of an excuse to invalidate and nullify their claims to equal access to venues, and support. Don't think Serena would able to quietly and gracefully march on, past the taunts, sneers, and brazen lies that greeted these trailblazers at every stop.
     
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  13. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    But, you're transporting current-day Serena to the past. IF Serena had her career during those periods, she would have grown up in those periods and would probably be different person altogether. That's why the questions are so difficult to answer.
     
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  14. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Gonzales suffered racism (why was he called Pancho when his name was Ricardo/Richard instead of Francisco?), and he certainly didn't act like a saint. After Kramer humiliated him in 1950, he became so full of rage. Of course, to make up for this, Gonzales had to be so damn perfect in the way he played tennis, to dominate year after year. He'd have been treated as the worst pariah in the history of tennis if he had flopped in the professional game after all that attitude. Some still saw him as the worst pariah anyway.
     
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  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Damn you bluetrain, you trying to ruin my whole thread ?? It won't work. Kirk and Spock and McCoy used a transporter and they didn't change character!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
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  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Essentially with Gonzalez in the head to head tours it was kill or be killed and after losing to Kramer he always survived.

    Hoad was trained by Kramer to beat Gonzalez but Gonzalez survived.

    There have been some other champions in sports history that had to survive those problems. The Cleveland Browns had a few african american players like the great Marion Motley. The Browns had to play a pro game without Motley I believe in the old All American Football Conference in Florida was because of the laws at the time were not allowed them to bring their african american players with them for some reason. They had to be very strong to survive the abuse they took.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  17. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    If Federer and Laver had played in their primes on Wimbledon grass in center court!! The Earth wouldve achieved its purpose!!!
     
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  18. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Kinda the point of the thread. Could the Serena of today be able to weather the storms of the 50s Gibson did and push on to win majors and be number 1? I think Serena is an insanely strong willed woman and if she really wanted to I do not think she would let anyone stand in her way. However Gibson did not have such a polarizing personality or brazen attitude and in the 50s Serena would be labeled and bashed so much more than she is now by many. Gibson based on what I have read was more quiet and reserved..almost introverted in some ways...polar opposite of Serena. I could see Serena storming in and demanding the right to play...but i could also see her just turning her back and not putting herself in the situation to be subjected to it at all....look at her Boycott of Indian Wells. I could see Serena just saying "you are just scared...screw ya" and walking away with a smile.
     
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  19. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Sampras? He was decent at Wimbledon.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Which grass since it is completely opposite
     
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  21. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Federer looks too short in this pic. He's 6 feet 2, right? :)
     
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  22. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    6'1, but yes I too noticed that Federer has been sold short here, or that Laver was on a steady bout of HGH in a parallel universe, or something.
     
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  23. rst

    rst Rookie

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    If you transplant Wilander ( a total tactician) to today's era, where tactics play a lesser role, will his mind be stimulated enough, .............


    has miss cleo retired?
     
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