Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by anointedone, Apr 12, 2009.
Who do you feel is the weakest mens players to win atleast 2 slam titles.
This is tough...I don't know enough pre open era on the small guys so I am stuck open era it is not Nasty definitely and not Ashe who probably should have had more. There is Kodes he is in consideration, Villas was very deserving of his, wait nevermind I got the answer.
He won those 2 Australian Opens with fields lacking most powerful forces. He made little to no damage at any other slam except the Aussie with such a depleted field. Nobody is less deserving than him.
I voted for Kafelnikov. I have seen him play many times and I was never once all that impressed. He had the easiest draws imaginable to win his 2 slams and never even won a Masters title. I dont believe he ever had a big win at a grand slam. His biggest win ever was probably Krajicek or Todd Martin at a hard court slam, that is it. Those are decent wins, but not for your biggest grand slam wins ever. I would rate beating Krajicek or Martin in a hard court slam over beating Stich or Sampras at the French Open btw (or Krajicek who Kafelnikov also beat to win the French, that was his quarterfinal to final draw to win the French, see what I mean).
kriek was a consistent top tenner for a few years there without ever really making much impact against the top guys borg,mcenroe,lendl or connors.
won about 15 atp titles in his career and got to the semi's at roland garros one year but got obliterated by lendl, winning a total of 3 games.
I like Kriek, but that's who I voted for.
Where is Rafael Nadal
Of the ones listed
But I bet there were weaker players to do this if one looks at the full list of GS winners.
He made the semi's at the US Open in 1980. He was up 2 sets to none over Borg, but then Borg steamrolled him in the last 3 sets.
Kodes made 2 U.S Open finals with a string of big upsets before falling to Smith and Newcombe, the two top players at the time, in 5 setters in both finals. Ironically he beat Smith and Newcombe on the way to the finals in each opposing year. This was on grass but his best surface by far was clay where he won 2 Frenchs. Of course his Wimbledon was a joke with the boycott. Still I imagine he was a pretty good players atleast.
No players who have won two slams are weak.
"Weakest" is being used here as a relative term. Doesn't mean that, e.g., anyone thinks Kriek was a weak player, just that, compared to the other guys who've won 2 slams, he's not as strong as they are.
so besides his 2 australian titles he made the semi's at both the french and us opens losing to lendl & borg.
i'm guessing his best at wimbledon was probably quarters, overall a good player...with enough research i think there's a likelyhood of finding someone with lesser credentials.
No love for Yevgeny?.. The man could play some nice tennis when he wanted to.
good luck finding.
He had one semi at france
one semi at us which he choked away
and i think it is two quarters at wimbledon.
He did not win his slams against any of the big forces in his era. At least Kalfenikov and Brug beat big names. Hewitt also made other strong runs at slams and was world number 1. He beat a couple good players on his US Open run and won a lot more titles than him. Kodes made more of an impact, I don't see anyone who could possible be the weakest unless you go back prior to the 1950s.
Look at his draws to win his 2 slams. Krajicek, Sampras, and Stich on clay. Not a single remotedly top clay courter. Then his Australian Open title was Martin (who was injured for that match but Yevgeny owned anyway), younger Haas, and Enqvist in the final. Sorry but those are a joke. 10x easier than the dream draws you keep saying Federer gets. When your biggest ever win in a grand slam is Sampras on clay or Todd Martin on hard courts, then you were lucky to ever scrape out 2 majors.
My Gut instinct is to go with Kafelnikov. He was a good player, but he was the first one I thought of before even opening the thread. Kriek is probably 2nd.
Try looking in the greatest of all time thread.
Oh come on.. Pete was playing some great tennis at the 96 RG. He took out COurier and Bruguera that year.
That's true, almost good enough to lose to Nadal 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.:twisted:
Stich took out Muster which was a much bigger win than Courier or Bruguera that particular year as Muster was completely dominating on clay in both 1995 and 1996, but that still doesnt mean Stich is a top clay courter now does it. Same for Sampras. Kafelnikov lucked out playing Stich, Sampras, and Krajicek instead of take any of Muster, Costa, Corretja, Rios, Chang, or Agassi. When someone takes out the big threats on that surface, it doesnt mean it is just as tough to play that player as the one they took out, you are then happy you are playing that player instead. If Youzhny took out Nadal at the U.S Open would it mean it was just as tough for Federer to play Youzhny as Nadal.
Courier and Bruguera were out of form that year anyway and not among the favorites to start with, although they still would be a tougher draw than anyone Kafelnikov did play. Anyway Sampras was so completely exhausted for that semifinal so it is not like Kafelnikov had to really play him. After the first set Sampras just limped around court doing nothing basically.
that's what i meant when i said "with enough research"...i'm thinking at some point there's likely some guy that played maybe in the early 1900s who might have won 2 slams and done little else and that most of us no little about.
here's a few names for example that i'm fairly clueless about:
RL Murray, WD Mcneil, RW Heath....all 3 are 2 time slam winners who never appeared in another slam final.
whether these guys were any better than kriek i couldnt say.
To me, it means in that particular tournament, these "lesser" players are tougher to beat. Otherwise they would not have won! I think people sometimes underestimate how close the top guys really are. An in-form Enqvist could very well be harder to beat than an out-of-form Sampras.
I don't think Kafelnikov was the weakest. The thing about him is that he almost always played doubles as well was singles (due to wanting to maximize his earnings) and went pretty far in doubles too. 4 GS in doubles speak for that. Also he was a solid top 10 for several years. If anything, I think he could have done more if he concentrated more on his singles career.
But Kafelnikov beat Krajicek on hardcourt at a slam right in Queens, New York. He even survived a US Open record 49 aces in doing so. I'd porobly go with Johan Kreik, but would listen to arguements.
Kriek. He was an also-ran journeyman. On a par with LeConte. Often in the top-10, occasionally in the top-5, never the number-one player.
He was lucky when he won slams, because better players were eliminated or did not enter.
I am not big on Kafelnikov or Rafter but nobody could be weaker than Kriek, a beneficiary of the Australian Open syndrome for awhile.
I agree with the post that no one who has 2 GS titles is a weak player but I voted for Kriek... with that said Yevgeny was up there too
I am surprised Stan Smith doesnt have some votes. He wasnt my first choice with Kriek, Kafelnikov, and even Kodes on the list, but he also wasnt that good. He won his Wimbledon and U.S Open titles in a softer little interim in mens tennis where he really only had prime Newcombe to deal with. Laver and Rosewall were getting long in the tooth, Connors hadnt emerged yet, Nastase was insanely inconsistent, Ashe wasnt doing all that well around then AFAIK, and Kodes was an extremely determined player but short on natural ability outside of clay.
why did 3 people vote Rafter? he is arguably the best player on the poll
Stan Smith was the #1 player in tennis for a while. You are way off. By most regards, the player of the year in 1972, and at least co-#1 in 1971. As far as competition, Newcombe and Nastase sounds pretty good to me. Ashe, Rosewall, Laver were all playing well too.
In addition to winning those two majors, Smith is well remembered for his dominant WCT stretch in 1973, including the win in Dallas. That was prime Smith, dominating his opponents.
His career was cut short due to elbow problems.
Conversely, a player like Kriek never broke the top five and perhaps is overrated by some who just look back and count the two Australians. Really meaningless wins against poor fields.
Accomplishments-wise, Smith is very close to Hewitt. Two great years + one or two solid ones, and change.
I should add that Smith probably missed out on a Wimbledon crown in 1973 due to the boycott.
I watched part of the '73 USO Final between Kodes & Newcombe recently, Kodes was VERY talented(the guy was ripping topspin passing shots left & right until midway through the 4th set & was super fit. Newcombe's serve really bailed him out that day) & certainly worthy of a major. Its too bad he'll always be remembered as the 'boycott' champion. I wonder if he felt extra motivation at the USO that year due to this fact, he could have silenced his critics with a win there. FYI he saved a match point vs Smith in the semis.
and coincidently I also watched a Kriek match recently. He's certainly one of the fastest players I've seen.
many missed out on a wimbledon crown that year. there were no locks at majors in those days. Smith was just one of many contenders.
I suppose Nastase had a good shot. Newcombe was playing terribly. Smith was red-hot. He would have clearly been the favourite.
I tuned into watch Kriek many a times on the old Connors seniors tour. I had never heard of him before then, so I was interested in seeing what this guy with an unusually short and stocky build for a former grand slam champion could do. I REALLY enjoyed watching him play. He was my favorite seniors player to tune into back then. I suppose he's either just too old now, or just not enough of a draw with all the infusion of quality "name" seniors players these past several years. Still, I'd love to hit a few even today. There was just something odd looking about how stocky he was yet how well he moved. In general, I like the way guys with stocky builds look when they play. Guys like Malivai Washington, Muster, Yzaga, Costa, Corretja, etc. Their strokes just somehow look more dignified to me because of their stockiness. I don't like the wiggly aesthetics of Kuerten's strokes, or Simon's, or limpness of Kucera or Mecir's or Murray's for example, weird that I only found Bruguera and Pioline's wiggly strokes to be aesthetically orgasmic (actually the two most ever for me personally).
But anyway, Kriek had a REALLY nice looking one-handed backhand, and that's why I really liked watching him play. He looked like a solid tree trunk out there. Just one solid hunk/mass of tree trunk, a solid stump with no limbs. It was funny but kind of cool at the same time.
He seemed to my mind's eyes actually VERY talented. He looked like a real shotmaker to me on the seniors tour and generated quite a bit of pop that defied what you thought possible from his 5'7" frame. He was technically a tennis little guy, but he didn't play it that way...well, at least on the seniors tour. I think I remember the commentators mentioning a few times that he was considered quite talented back in his day.
I guess you could say he was just a more refined version of Andrew Illie, an Illie with a measure of control and discipline and court smarts. Probably also much better wheels than Illie too. An Illie with substance basically. I think if a lot of people on here had got to see him, they would probably think a little higher of him. He was quite fun to watch for me at least on the seniors tour.
Btw, I think the closest reitteration of a modern day Johan Kriek I've seen is Stanislaw Wawrinka. This guy looks like an utter clone to me right down to his trademark THUMPING, manly, one-handed backhand.
And like Wawrinka, he looks like one of those guys who's very good, but just missing that little extra to ever truly merit consideration or contention as one of the elites of the game. They're what I call "filler top players". Every generation has them.
You're right, he was very aggressive when he was on tour. I have some of the 1982 USO match he played vs Nastase, & he was basically swinging all out on every shot(pretty rare for those days, it kind of took me aback)
And I also have the '85 Queens Final with Becker, there was a ton of power on that court that day.
And I can't re-iterate just how fast he was. The commentators ranked him right behind Borg in footspeed (I wish I could see the 5 setter they played at the '81 USO)
Hmmm, I knew I liked Stan for some reason. Johan was a lot of fun to watch for me.
That's a very good comparison.
I like that phrase. It reminds me a little bit of a boxing writer who referred to boxers in a similar category as "as good as a fighter can be without being a helluva fighter".
i am a big fan of his but sergi bruguera. besides on clay he was not a top 10 player on any other surface
US Open: Semi-finalist one time, Twice a quarter-finalist, Once to the Rd 16, seven times into the last 32.
Wimbledon: Twice a quarter-finalist, Twice into the Round of 16, 4 times into the last 32.
French Open: Semi-finalist once (only played there 3 times)
Australian Open: Won twice, Quarter-finalist Twice, Semi-finalist once.
What were you saying about doing no damage at any of the other majors?
Kriek's Aus Open wins may have been against soft fields but he was a major talent and no-one with even the slightest knowledge of tennis was even remotely surprised when he won the Australian Open. Prior to that he'd already been to the quarters twice at the US Open and the semis once plus a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon. At that point in his career, winning a major seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Would people still have not been even remotedly surprised when he won the Australian Open if it was a stacked field like the other 3 slams though? That is the key question at hand.
I agree with you, but actually in 93 and 94, I think he was a top ten on indoors belive it or not...even though yes, the indoor courts really played like indoor courts back then. At the end of 94, he was one of the hottest indoor players in the world. And had he not got tight at the end of the second set against Becker in year ending semis, coulda/woulda/shoulda made the finals of year ending championships. And there, all bets would have been off against Sampras. Yes, Sampras' would have been the heavy favorite in the final, but Bruguera matched up pretty well with Sampras and the year before put a clinic on Sampras for a set at the year ending championships, coming within two points of a 6-love set against him. Imo, he really did outplay Sampras that match when on paper there was no way he should have, even if Sampras won in the end.
It's weird, but Bruguera was imo, a better indoor player than hard court. I think the reason is that he was very flaky mentally. Indoor courts traditionally helps not just guys with big serves and flat strokes and volleyers, but also guys with poor concentration and who are flaky imo. One of the big reasons they say indoors helps volleyers, servers, flat hitters is because they say taking out the elements, the variables, of outdoor play, enables you to zero in on the ball better, to "see" it better, and to strike it more cleanly and with greater margin. In my experience, this is definitely true.
Also, in my experience, as one of those guys who was notoroius for getting "affected' by conditions on any given day (i.e. I could almost NEVER get myself to play well if it were overcast, or if it were humid, and ALWAYS played my best in colder weather or at night), indoors REALLY helped me IMMENSELY in being able to just focus on the task at hand. Indoors, it didn't matter if I hadn't played in months. The second I stepped onto an indoor court, for some reason, ALL my senses felt hyper activated and "honed in". Indoors imo allows flaky guys to play their best, by creating an almost vacuum effect for their concentration and doddling minds.
Imo, Goran excelled indoors not just because of his serve, but also just as much because indoors made it A LOT easier for him to hold his focus and stay "in the moment."
Bruguera on hard courts had a negative attitude a lot of the time I felt, and didn't always give it his all. He was a weird guy, if he REALLY focused in, he could play BRILLIANTLY on hard courts too, however. It was said that he played so well against Medvedev at the 97 Lipton, that Medvedev was only able to win a handful of points the entire first set, Bruguera intimiated that he LET Medvedev win a few games in the end, because he felt bad for his good friend.
If Bruguera was at his best, he was imo, most definitely one of the ten best hard courters in the world. Problem was, he didn't do it very often, and as Courier said about his effort at the US Open when his co-commentator said, we've seen some claycourters like Bruguera maybe not really look like they were giving it their all here in the past, Courier goes: "Just say it, just say it. The boy tanked, the boy tanked."
I think a lot of this was that Bruguera always seemed to be in an energy-saving mode. Meaning that he was one of those guys who always looked like he was "saving" his energy, DEBATING when was the right time to unlease all that energy for a time or moment he saw most fit or appropriate. At the end of 94, he played so well indoors, that he said that for the first time he was going to focus on playing on hard courts/fast surfaces from now on...then, that's when the injuries started kicking in for him starting that offseason. And I think at that point, he just tried to salvage 95, by winning the French that year on minimal prep. Basically, 95 and 96 were wash out years for him due to injury, though he did salvage 96 by taking silver at the Olympics on hard (weak field though).
And in 97, he started off very hot on hard obviously, and was definitely one of the top ten in the world on hard that early hardcourt season. After the French, he seemed to lose motivation again, not seeming to give his all again. He looked really to me nowhere near as motivated or "charged" in losing to Rios at the US Open that year in the round of 16. He wasn't tanking, but you could just sense that he wasn't giving that "little extra". At the year ending championships that year, he started off well against Chang, then honestly you could just see him not try anymore half way through the first set inexplicably. He said he felt himself getting injured during that match, that he felt some weird pain he'd never felt before in his rib area, or something. Whatever the case, he ended up putting pretty much ZERO fight in his next match, then retired from the tournament. Then 98, he said due to personal problems he'd lost all motivation and wasn't practicing at all. Then again the injuries started up again.
In other words, it was basically a wasted career and wasted talent imo. He had a LOT more talent than I think a lot of people realize because of this. Agassi was SO impressed with his talent the first time he saw him play, that he sent his personal jet to Spain and flew Bruguera to Vegas to train and hit with him. Agassi does NOT just do that for anyone imo.
Bruguera wasted his athletic prime imo due to a combination of his own, "always half-azzed, sometimes motivated, sometimes not" (tour insider's words) mental affliction, and a fragile body that just wasn't able to hold up to the rigors of the tour according to Malivai Washington (also Krajicek and Rios fall into this category as well).
Bruguera had both a very distinct cruise control mode which is about the effort he usually gave, not tanking, but not exactly knocking himself over sweating buckets like Rafter to win the match either. And he also had a HYPER active mode, where he looked like a different animal. It was in this fleeting mode, imo, where he was able to give the world's best all they could handle on ANY surface. ...just don't expect him to do it the next round too. That was his primary problem imo.
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