What player in history played the highest level of tennis for one match?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. christo

    christo Hall of Fame

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    Edberg was on a celestial plane that day because Courier was not chopped liver and certainly not just happy to be there like so many other finalists. He was in it to win it but the Swede was playing with house money that day and put on a clinic of S&V which we have not seen since that day.In fact I think Luxilon was founded that day(kidding):)
     
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  2. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Fed d Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 US Open Final
    Fed 2007 AO Roddick beatdown
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And what Vilas did to Gottfried in 1977.
     
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  4. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Watching a really great match now, Borg-Gerulaitis 1977 W Semis. Not sure who played better though
     
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  5. Crazy man

    Crazy man Banned

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    Prior to the match, I didn't think it would be easy for Sampras because Safin was passing (see Todd Martin) and serving very well throughout the tournament. I gave Safin hope if he took the first set, but deep down as a big Marat fan (favourite player) I thought Sampras was more stable mentally and would be able to take it. I was stunned (and annoyed) to see such a masterful performance because his first half was below average. Safin would have made any player look average that day. Period, he was one of a kind!
     
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  6. BTURNER

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    I agree. you really can't get to your highest level in a match, when the player across the net plays at substantially lower level. and just got lucky in the draw. This category is about smashing someone who has no business being smashed in the first place. This match fits. EDberg was fabulous.
     
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  7. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Two possibilities

    I would nominate two possibilities.
    1) At Forest Hills Pro final, 1959, the unofficial world pro championship for that year, Hoad over Gonzales 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Hoad reached his highest level of play in this match.
    According to Danzig in the NY Times, Hoad was extraordinary in the first set, returning Gonzales' best first serves for winners. At the end, he reeled off the last six games of the match.

    2) At the Wimbledon Pro final in 1967, Laver defeated Rosewall 6-2, 6-2, 12-10, which was a brilliant match by both players, despite the one-sided score. Rosewall was runnerup at Wimbledon for the third of five times (twice as an amateur, once as a pro, and twice in the Open era).

    It was often said that Hoad and Laver hit the greatest highs in their respective eras, and in these two matches they faced their greatest competitors in the most important match of the year.
     
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  8. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    That was what came to mind for me, as well. Graf had numerous <40 minute MATCHES. For Nadal, that is one service game.
     
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  9. urban

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    Agree with the Hoad and Laver matches. Many thought that Hoads demolition job at Wim 1957 against Ashley Cooper was the highest level ever seen. Interestingly enough, Hoad lost 2-14 the next two weeks in two round robins at Forest Hills and LA, after turning pro. Also, once at London, Hoad won the first set 6-0 against Gonzalez, only to lose in 3 sets. It shows, that Hoad could get on ridiculous heights and fall into big holes, in one and the same match. Laver's wins over Rosewall in 1968 at London indoors and Los Angeles, when he won 4 bagel sets out of 6 sets played, must have been pretty awesome.
     
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  10. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    update

    When did Hoad and Gonzales meet in London?
    The only matches I know of are the 1961 Wembley semi-final, and the 1967 Wimbledon Pro quarter-final, both of which Hoad won.
    Just for the record, Gonzales defeated Rosewall in the deciding match of the 1958 Forest Hills round robin, after losing the first set 6-0.
     
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  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think from top of my head, it was in a spring BBC 2 tournament at Wembley in 1964, not the more important Wembley London pro. Gonzalez was very tough in long 3 resp. 5 setters. They used to say: Better you beat him soon, or you don't beat him anyway.
     
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  12. jgreen06

    jgreen06 Rookie

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    I second the 2007 AO Roddick beatdown by Fed
     
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  13. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's hard to pinpoint out one match because there's so many. But for the entire tournament, I would say Fed 2007 AO was the highest level that a player have ever reached in 7 consecutive matches.
     
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  14. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Federer was on another planet for the Aussie Open in 2007.
    Speaking of the Aussie Open, Graf's performance in the 1994 final was an amazing display of hers which isn't talked about enough.
     
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  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This ^. Edberg was in God mode that day and would have wiped any of his peers off the court no matter how well they played.

    Other than that there have been a number of Federer masterclasses as well.
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    So much true...from the slowest to the fastest court in just 15 days¡¡¡ and against excellent specialists in both...he also did it in 1979, 1980...one of the major feats in hisitory.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Great display...and what about Orantes vs Connors in the 1975 Forest Hills finals?
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Historic match, one of the best ever and, certainly up there with the best ever played on Centre Court.Absolutely amazing.That match was worth 10 wins for Gerulaitis ( he never had a closer chance to beat Borg again, getting trashed at the 1978 USO sf, 1979 WCT and FO sf, 1979 Masters, 1981 Wimbledon and 1980 FO)
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    2 matches that must be a must for any serious tennis follower...along 1972 WCT final...and 1969 Laver-Ashe at Wimbledon.Completely breathtaking.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Zvereva was no match, I don´t think it was a real big win for Graf.Worst ever beaten finalist.A shame.
     
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  21. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    the guy said one match
     
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  22. li0scc0

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    I meant Graf and her many dominant 25-40 minute wins, in general
     
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  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I didn't mean to single out any particular match but wanted to know opinions on who played the highest level on any individual day. Some would pick Hoad. Many in the past would have picked Vines. I assume you would pick Federer but you really didn't answer the question.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hoad would beat anybody else who played the game when tunned on.
     
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  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    What was funny was that Zvereva was asked before the match if she thought she had any chance against Graf and she said "No." And she proved it.

    Zvereva had very good talent. She did stand somewhat of a chance, not much but some chance.


    Versus Steffi GRAF (FRG)
    Year Tournament Round Surface Winner Score
    1988 French Open FR Clay (O) S.GRAF 0-6 0-6
    1989 Washington SF Hard (I) S.GRAF 3-6 4-6
    1989 Hilton Head FR Clay (O) S.GRAF 1-6 1-6
    1990 Amelia Island SF Clay (O) S.GRAF 6-7 7-6 1-6
    1990 German Open SF Clay (O) S.GRAF 4-6 2-6
    1990 Canadian Open QF Hard (O) S.GRAF 0-6 4-6
    1990 Worcester QF Carpet (I) S.GRAF 0-6 1-6
    1991 Amelia Island QF Clay (O) S.GRAF 0-6 2-6
    1992 French Open QF Clay (O) S.GRAF 3-6 7-6(4) 3-6
    1992 Wimbledon QF Grass (O) S.GRAF 3-6 1-6
    1993 Tokyo Indoor 16 Carpet (I) S.GRAF 2-6 0-6
    1993 Leipzig QF Carpet (I) S.GRAF 2-6 1-6
    1993 Virginia Slims Championships 16 Carpet (I) S.GRAF 2-6 4-6
    1994 Key Biscayne FR Hard (O) S.GRAF 6-4 1-6 2-6
    1995 Key Biscayne QF Hard (O) S.GRAF 4-6 6-7
    1995 W.T.A. Tour Championships SF Carpet (I) S.GRAF 4-6 3-6
    1996 US Open 32 Hard (O) S.GRAF 4-6 2-6
    1998 Indian Wells QF Hard (O) S.GRAF 3-6 0-6
    1998 Wimbledon 32 Grass (O) N.ZVEREVA 6-4 7-5
    1998 Stanford QF Hard (O) S.GRAF 1-6 3-6
    1999 Key Biscayne 16 Hard (O) S.GRAF 2-6 4-6
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    DIDN´T KNOW ABOUT THAT H2H.GOOD JOB.
     
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  27. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Damn, Graf fed Zvereva so many bagels.
     
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  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep. Fed did not drop a set in the tournament.

    Very high level of play.

    This same level was also achieved by Nastase at the FO in 1973, Borg at the FO in 1978 and 1980 and at Wimbledon in 1976, and by Nadal at the French in 2008 and 2010.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
    #78
  29. westside

    westside Hall of Fame

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    These two have been mentioned a few times so far.

    2004 USO: Federer def. Hewitt 6-0 7-6 6-0
    2007 AO: Federer def. Roddick 6-4 6-0 6-2

    But I'm just throwing this one out there;

    2008 AO: Tsonga def. Nadal 6-2 6-3 6-2
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I remember this one well. Nadal had that bewildered expression on his face looking up to Uncle Toni.

    And what was it that day: Tsonga's amazing net-play and stop-volleys.
     
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  31. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    among beatdowns that Federer has handed out, his rout of Delpo in AO-09 must rank among the highest: 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. and that's my candidate for the op as well.
     
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  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Never saw the match but I guess Federer was tremendous.
     
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  33. fed_rulz

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    #83
  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    #84
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hoad in 1956-57.Highest peak ever.Ridiculous.Unmatched.
     
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  36. urban

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    And yet 2-14 in his first 16 pro matches. But indeed Hoad could reach apparently great levels of play.
     
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  37. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    A few years ago, night match between Fed and Roddick at the 2007 US Open. Roddick played damn near perfect tennis for two sets, with huge 1st serve percentage, plenty of aces, high winners to unforced errors ratio (very few unforced errors at that) and yet after two sets, he was down two sets to none, 7-6, 7-6. I swear that was about as good as I've seen someone play and not win a set. The third set, he threw in the towel and said if I can't win with that level of tennis, I'm toast.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
    #87
  38. Crazy man

    Crazy man Banned

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    Roddick lost that match because of his approach shots. Dumb as ****. If he played like he did from the baseline but came in like he did at Wimbledon 2009 (not like a dumbass) then he could have won more than one slam.
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He had to make such a big adjustment, but Pancho Gonzales himself has stated that Hoad was the only guy he couldn´t beat, when both were peaking...and coming from such a selfish and arrogant dude as Pancho, it sounds to me as the final tribute.
     
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  40. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed---there's many high level McEnroe matches to choose from, but Wimbledon '84 was one for the ages in artistry, strategy and overall dominance.
     
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  41. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Gonzales went further, and stated that the greatest tennis he ever saw was Hoad's play against him in the 1959 championship tour of the USA, the biggest stop being Madison Square Gardens, where the two played perhaps their greatest ever indoor match. Gonzales stated that Hoad's power raised blisters on his hand.
    Gonzales won the first match of the 1959 tour in L.A., and then Hoad went 15 to 2 against him to build up a 15 to 3 lead. At that point, Hoad's back began to bother him, and he paced himself, losing the last ten matches of the tour for a 15 to 13 edge. For the year as a whole, Hoad held a 23 to 21 edge, including the most important match of the year in the Forest Hills Pro final. Hoad also won the bonus money pool for the best overall professional record in the calendar year, equivalent to the current #1 position on the ATP computer ranking.
    The previous year, Gonzales had won their season's meetings 53 to 39, although Hoad won the major tournament meetings at Kooyong, Forest Hills, and Roland Garros, and held a 21 to 10 edge on the championship tour before his back gave out. Hoad had also won the bonus money pool for 1958.
     
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  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I never saw this match but I've always been fascinated by what people have wrote about a Laver match against Tom Okker in the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic.

    Here is the description from "The Fireside Book of Tennis." "I feel I'm better prepared for this match than I was for our first," said Tom Okker as he went out on the court to challenge Laver once again.

    And Okker was right. The young Dutchman played perhaps the finest tennis of his life. He had every shot, every move-but Laver had the answer to every shot, every move. It was, to that date, the greatest tennis Laver had played, and it was after this match that the grizzled veteran observer had said that maybe, just maybe, Tilden might have had a chance.

    At one point, Okker caught Rod flat-footed in the forecourt but Laver, in desperation, raced backwards, caught up with the ball, ran around it and put it away. Okker dropped his racket in astonishment and the spectators, even the umpire in the chair, howled in disbelief and admiration.

    In the locker room, Okker declared flatly that he had played as well as he had ever played, perhaps better than he had ever played, "but I was never even in the match. I couldn't believe some of those shots. He couldn't believe them himself," Okker moaned.

    The date was February 6 in Madision Square Garden. The score was 6-1 6-4 6-3. Laver's earnings were now $90,000.


    Just want to point out that Okker was a fantastic player and his average level was superb. So if he played his best match and got slaughtered, how well did Laver play?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
    #92
  43. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Fed was just playing normally, DelPo was playing really bad.

    And the Fed Roddick is just normal Fed playing.


    The two that stand out in my mind(that I saw live) were Wimbledon 1999. From break-point down in the first set, the match seemed over just a few minutes later and Sampras was out hitting Agassi from the baseline.

    Mac v Connors 1984, never have seen Connors look so bewildered on court.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    His show vs Lendl at the 1984 USO was equal, if not superior to that W final against Connors.In both cases, rivals were completely outplayed.
     
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  45. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    When I ever think of Mcenroe at his best, I think of that 84 Wimbledon final He just toyed with Connors. Really, just toyed with him.
     
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  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I know I'm reviving an older topic but Kiki's post in the Hoad versus Borg fantasy matchup thread made me think it was appropriate.

    As I wrote in the other thread Vines, Hoad are two names but I'll throw out a few more in Gonzalez, Borg, Laver, McEnroe, Sampras (on fast courts), Kovacs and Tilden. Connors in some matches was unbelievable too.
     
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  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    True, but others had a great peak as well, Nastase,Becker,Lendl,Kramer,Federer,Agassi.Nadal not so much
     
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  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Nadal's high level in my opinion is underrated. I think he's pretty great but not at the level of some like Gonzalez, Borg, McEnroe on most surfaces.

    Mecir by the way in my opinion had a great peak level also just to toss out a non all time great name.
     
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  49. encylopedia

    encylopedia Semi-Pro

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    To me, it's also Sampras - but I'm not sure when. 99 Wimbledon? 96 USO final? 95 USO final? There are just so many great matches from him at big times....or is it the 3rd round at the Podunk open?? Even the 90 USO final was devastating.

    Whatever it is, I pick Sampras, because I believe his peak game is the best game the world has ever seen. That's saying a lot of course, because all the greats play nearly unbeatable tennis when they're at their best.....but Pete had the most diverse game of all of them IMO, all the touch, matched with irresistable power (it's that power, that makes me give it to him over 84 Mac who played tennis....mastered tennis, in a way nobody has played before or since....instinctive, artistic, feel tennis). At peak, every part of Pete's game was a weapon, from every part of the court, and his kryptonite - stamina - isn't a factor.

    Moreover, I think one could argue he was mentally tougher for big match play than anyone. Calm yes, but ice nerves that meant he was the only guy, ONLY guy, I ever watched of whom, at certain special moments, I didn't wonder if he might choke. Every other player.....whether they did choke or not....at certain moments in their career, I wondered if they would. I never even questioned Sampras. At any given point, no matter the score or occasion, that toss would go up, and I'd feel the odds of the big ace coming were about the same as any other point (pretty high....)...and even on 2nd serve.....Sampras hit some double faults, but you never expected it.....because their was just as good odds that he'd hit a 2nd serve ace, a double fault, or a good 2nd serve in a 5th set tiebreak, as their was in the 2nd game of the match - or so it appeared.

    I will give a special runner-up to Connors. Connors best game, was not as good as a peak Mac, or peak Sampras....but in Jimmy's peak games. he had that one special gift: he didnt' want to lose no matter what, and he'd do anything to keep you out there and get that win. He was a jerk, and he didn't care....not only would he fight physically to win, he'd do anything with gamesmanship to win. I think that's part of why, when they asked the pros in the 90's who you'd want to play for you, for one key match your life depended on, the overwhelming pick was Connors. (note: Connors picked Gonzalez or Mcenroe)
     
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  50. encylopedia

    encylopedia Semi-Pro

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    Extremely. If he is at peak, he would be a tough threat to any other great of any era, on ANY surface - and of course, on clay.....honestly, he is the best. With all due respect to past clay court greats - Nadal will get them more than they get him - even Borg, Lendl, etc WILL fall.

    I would never pick Federer for this, even though he has played many magnificent matches, and without going into my extensive reasoning, I'll say Nadal also provides a pretty convincing illustration/confirmation of this. I'd say Nadal's peak performance over Federer is more lopsided than Federer's peak against Nadal - and you'd think it would be the other way around for the player some allege is the more "offensive". For goodness sakes, Fed got FOUR games in 3 sets in that FO final....
     

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