What is a Tennis Great?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Wuornos, Nov 8, 2007.

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How many players would you refer to as greats within the open era?

  1. 1

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  2. 2-4

    3 vote(s)
    12.0%
  3. 5-9

    5 vote(s)
    20.0%
  4. 10-16

    11 vote(s)
    44.0%
  5. 17-25

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  6. 26-36

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  7. 37-49

    2 vote(s)
    8.0%
  8. 50-64

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. 65-81

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. 81+

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  1. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    When you talk about a player being one of the greats, what exactly do you mean?

    How many players do you classify as greats?

    For me it would be around the dozen mark for the men and an equal number for the women in the open era, with a similar number below that, that I would refer to as good players but not greats.
     
    #1
  2. saram

    saram Legend

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    I would say a great wins more than one slam on more than one surface. Is able to attain #1 at the end of the year for more than just one season--not necessarily back to back, but more than one season. They are able to stay at or near the top for three to four years. Able to challenge the clay court specialists, S&V players, etc.

    Someone that basically stands above all others during his/her era for a good tenure.
     
    #2
  3. saram

    saram Legend

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    I would say there have been about 10-15 greats. To name a few (and forget some others)...

    Bjorg
    Llendl
    Agassi
    Sampras
    Federer
    Laver
    Johnny Mac
    Connors
    Edberg

    Court
    Graf
    Henin
    Serena
    Venus
    Hingis
    Navratilova
    Evert

    I am sure I have forgone a few. There were others that were close...

    Chang
    Becker
    Courier
    Noah
    Hewitt
    Safin
    Davenport
    Seles
    Capriati

    Go ahead...blast me....I'm sure some will...
     
    #3
  4. Mingo

    Mingo New User

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    Dozen sounds about right to me
     
    #4
  5. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    I doubt anyone would blast you for those selections.

    Thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

    Based purely on my personal opinion and not through my favourite statistical pass time, my selections are very similar to yours. As follows:

    Male Greats

    Roger Federer
    Ivan Lendl
    Rod Laver
    Pete Sampras
    Björn Borg
    Mats Wilander
    Jim Courier
    John McEnroe
    Andre Agassi
    Boris Becker
    Jimmy Connors
    Ken Rosewall


    Male Good/Close

    Stefan Edberg
    Guillermo Vilas
    Rafael Nadal
    Ilie Năstase
    Stan Smith
    John Newcombe
    Jan Kodeš
    Arthur Ashe
    Lleyton Hewitt
    Juan Carlos Ferrero
    Andy Roddick
    Pat Cash
    Patrick Rafter
    Johan Kriek
    Gustavo Kuerten
    Vitas Gerulaitis
    Marat Safin


    Female Greats

    Steffi Graf
    Martina Navratilova
    Margaret Smith Court
    Monica Seles
    Chris Evert
    Serena Williams
    Martina Hingis
    Venus Williams
    Billie Jean King
    Justine Henin
    Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
    Evonne Goolagong
    Lindsay Davenport
    Hana Mandlíková


    Female Good / Close

    Jennifer Capriati
    Maria Sharapova
    Amélie Mauresmo
    Ann Jones
    Gabriela Sabatini
    Kim Clijsters
    Tracy Austin
    Conchita Martínez
    Jana Novotná
    Andrea Jaeger
    Mary Pierce
    Virginia Wade

    Regards

    Tim
     
    #5
  6. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    what ??? :shock:
    courier over edberg ?!... heresy ! :roll:

    please tell me it's a mistake... ;)
     
    #6
  7. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Everyone knows Courier was superior to Edberg because of his kewl cap! ;)
     
    #7
  8. l_gonzalez

    l_gonzalez Professional

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    Courier over Edberg is a travesty... I really hope it's joke. Edberg was awesome.
     
    #8
  9. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    No, not a joke, but just my personal opinion. I know it's not considered the done thing but I really rate both Courier and Wilander. In my opinion they may not have accomplished as much but at their best they were more dominant than people like Edberg or Becker or come to that more dominant than Agassi or Connors. They made the top of the game theirs in a way I don't think these other players did.

    Just my personal point of view.

    What's your reason or prefering Edberg?

    Regards

    Tim
     
    #9
  10. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Edberg has more Slams (6-4) than Courier and more Slam finals. Edberg won his slams over a much greater period of time (1985-1992) than Courier (1991-1993). Edberg destroyed Courier in the 1991 US Final (giving up only 6 games) (though Courier beat Edberg in 4 sets in both the 1992 and 1993 AO). Both made the finals of all 4 slams, which is impressive. Both spent time at #1.

    I'm not saying tha Courier isn't a "great" but if he is, Edberg definitley should be.
     
    #10
  11. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Yep we both have our differences in opinion. I can see why though. You believe that winning slams over a greater period of time and winning more slams is a good indicator of greatness.

    For me the total number of slams have less meaning than the period of time over which they are won. And here we differ most in that I believe winning them in less time is a greater indicator of greatness.

    To be honest I think you can make a case for both points of views.

    I suspect your view of Edberg being rated above Courier is a far more comonly held view though.

    Take care

    Tim
     
    #11
  12. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Professional

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    I think Illie Nastase as being great! That is great fun to watch. Another great is John McEnroe; good frien of Illie's. Jimmy Connors is also great! All are great trouble makers!
     
    #12
  13. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    definitely !
    make a poll if you wanna get the confirmation... :rolleyes:

    absolutely no way this lumberjack is greater than the artist ! :)
     
    #13
  14. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Between Courier and Edberg the argument is very close.

    Courier basically displaced Edberg as the world number one. He ended with a 6-4 h2h overall and 4-2 in major late rounds beating Edberg on clay, hardcourts and even grass. From the '91 RG through the '93 USO Courier reached the final of 7 of the 10 majors played, at least one final at each of the four venues winning 4. During the same time frame Edberg who started at #1, reached 4 major finals winning two. Courier played a big part in ending Edberg's short time at the very top just as Sampras would end Courier's short reign.

    Aesthetically I prefer Edberg, but there is no denying that Courier helped push the reigning #1, Edberg, off his throne and then took his place.
     
    #14
  15. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    A tennis great is someone who captures the attention and imagination of people.
     
    #15
  16. saram

    saram Legend

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    One could also throw in Courier's Davis Cup titles (2) when arguing for Courier. I thought/think Courier was a wonderful player that showed he was capable of winning on more than one surface. I did opt for Edberg over Courier because he brought a one-dimensional game of S&V and was able to work it with success against a variety of games/players he faced.

    You don't, or shouldn't, have to justify a choice in Courier. He is a multiple slam champion, was in the finals of all four, and has two Davis Cup championships, as well as inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. If you are in the Hall of Fame, you must be a tennis great.

    In my list, I did forget Wilander and Vicaro...I should have added them as greats as well.
     
    #16
  17. saram

    saram Legend

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    Donald Young and John Isner have captured the attention and imagination of the tennis world this summer...does that make them tennis greats?
     
    #17
  18. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    IMO "Greats" qualify as a larger group and what Hall of Fame should be using as the criteria for induction.

    Multiple slam winners don't win multiple slams by accident, while I believe some single slam winners are anomolous and shouldn't qualify.

    Win a major and make three or more finals and I think that can eke a player in depending on the level of competition in the era.

    I think the term "Great" covers a larger group.

    I also believe that GOAT is a group of guys. In the Open era I would put Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer.

    While I think he barely misses and falls to the top of the next group, I think a good case can be made for Lendl to be included in the first. He was basically the Dallas Cowboys AND the Buffalo Bills of the '90s rolled together in a crowded very top of the rankings in his era.

    I think players like Rosewall, Connors, McEnroe, Newcombe, Becker, Wilander and Agassi constitute the next tier.

    Then Edberg, Vilas, Courier.

    Players like Kuerten, Nastase, Smith, Ashe, Kodes, Rafter, Hewitt, Safin, Kafelnikov, Bruguera etc the next.

    The "just ins" are Ivanisevic, Roddick, Chang not because the won but because they've backed it up with 3 or more other major finals. Stich is on the bubble either just in or just out IMO. I would include him and fully admit my subjectivity on him.

    Just out Krajicek, Muster, Gerulaitis, Moya, Ferrero, etc. Great players but just outside looking in. I would put Kriek in this group as well despite the two major titles.

    That's my definition of "Great" from their I rank them in tiers. Were some guys in lower tiers capable of beating or flat out better than tiers above? Sure. But I think one has to give alot more weight to getting it done vs. the flash or perceived ability to get it done. JMO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2007
    #18
  19. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    edberg >>> courier

    but it's simply because courier is of the "next" generation !
    for instance, edberg took lendl's #1 spot, this is not a reason for considering him greater than lendl ! ;)

    in terms of career achievements edberg is above courier in almost everything ! look...

    #1 weeks: 72-58
    years ended in top10: 10-4
    slam titles: 6-4
    slam finals: 11-7
    different slam won: 3/4 - 2/4
    total career titles: 42-23
    different surfaces for career titles: 4/4 - 3/4
    (and i don't talk about career achievements in double !)

    honestly, i don't know what else you need. ;)
    and if you talk about capturing the attention and imagination of people (as Supernatural_Serve says), please... edberg is one more time above the lumberjack.
    even the ATP agrees with me :
    http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/legends/default.asp
    they don't put courier there... but they put rafter ! this time, precisely because he captures attention and imagination ot people...

    and about davis cup ?
    edberg also won it in 1984, 1985 and 1994 !
    one more time than courier... once again. ;)
     
    #19
  20. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Yeah but what you're overlooking, even if four years constitutes a full generation difference, is that Courier was the third best of his generation behind his pure contemporaries, Sampras and Agassi. Sampras mugged Courier in very short order limiting his count in everything.

    Edberg had significant help from Becker and Wilander in unseating Lendl who spotted Edberg nearly six years not four.

    When Edberg ascended the throne he and Becker leapfrogged Lendl dropping him to #3. And after Edberg took the top spot Lendl never won another major.

    When Courier succeeded Edberg he dropped Stefan to #2 and after Courier was there the Swede won another major indicating that the peak of their careers and respective time at #1 overlapped a little more than Edberg/Lendl.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2007
    #20
  21. HEAD/PRINCE RULE

    HEAD/PRINCE RULE Rookie

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    UP Coming

    Nadal
    Joker
    Gasquet
    Tsonga
    Stepanek
    Marcos Baghdatis
    Benjamin Becker ( If he show what he can do)
     
    #21
  22. Legend of Borg

    Legend of Borg Legend

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    Oh, lol! I see how it is!
     
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  23. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Thanks FiveO

    That's a great answer. I certainly agree with you on the 'one has to give alot more weight to getting it done vs. the flash or perceived ability to get it done'.

    Thanks for the input.

    Tim
     
    #23
  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    NO, definitely not if that's all they did.


    P.S. I would place Edberg higher than Courier, caps notwithstanding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2007
    #24
  25. Tennis-Chris

    Tennis-Chris Rookie

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    Saram, that is a good list. The only one I would even debate is Edberg.:D
     
    #25

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