Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.
Up to this point...
That's so difficult to answer, really, but I'm more and more convinced that Pancho Gonzales is number 1, if there is such a thing.
Pick the order you want.
The game has changed dramatically in this period so better to leave it at that.
What's the use of getting everyone upset and end up disrespecting those players who gave their all when they played?
Besides, 90% of the answers will be from people who have answered already in another similar thread and adding close to nothing new.
1. Rod Laver
2. Ken Rosewall
3. Roger Federer
4. Pete Sampras
5. Rafael Nadal
6. Pancho Gonzales
7. Bill Tilden
8. Bjorn Borg
9. Don Budge
10. Jimmy Connors
1. Martina Navratilova
2. Chris Evert
3. Margaret Court
4. Steffi Graf
5. Serena Williams
6. Suzanne Lenglen
7. Helen Wills Moody
8. Maureen Connolly
9. Billie Jean King
10. Monica Seles
I thought of including Elsworth Vines, Ivan Lendl, Justine Henin, and Venus Williams, but I just couldnt find space for them.
I don't like ranking top pros from different decades. I believe each decade has the #1 guy and leave it at that.
60s - Laver
70s - Borg
80s - Lendl
90s - Sampras
00s - Federer
Laver,Sampras,Borg,Gonzales,Rosewall,Hoad,Kramer,Connors,Mac or Lendl or AA or Newk
The only weak one here is you.
2 cathegories,Weak Era Greatest of All Time
Strong Era Greatest of All Time
I like your lists.
Nice, Rod and Kenny both have Fed at the top of their lists and you've got them both above Fed. Rod ranked Rosewall 6th amongst the old guard, BTW. I love the guy too, but this Rosewall fetishism has got to stop
I find it great that you put Rosewall at second place but I would say that Gonzalez, Tilden and Borg would deserve a higher place than you gave them.
WRONG! Laver has Federer as No.1 only for open era. Rosewall has Federer as No.4 behind Hoad, Gonzalez and Laver.
When Federer overcomes Rosewall's 23 majors then we can discuss once more about Rosewall fetishism....
5-Nadal ( he can move up , at the end of his career he'll be the second behind the king)
A good looking list.
thanks but I've forgotten to include Connors in this list
Tilden has a place too
I'll edit it now
After 40 years of studying tennis past and presence:
1 Laver and Rosewall tied
6 Sampras and Federer tied
Budge, Vines, Kramer, Lendl would follow...
Seems to me a reasonable list, Bobby One, it is not that far from Nadal-Agassi's list. I think the top 7 should be there on every sensible list, the order is a matter of choice. How to input Nadal, is imo still too early to tell. Federer career is not over, too. Hoad is pretty high, when considering his real achievements. Some would put Budge, Kramer, Connors, Lendl (for instance on the basis of years at Nr. 1) over him.
Subject to reconsideration:
It's hard to have all the players in the top 10 because as you go further down the list the more grey area. The top 5 looks good, but from 6-10 you can easily interchange.
Having Rosewall out of the top 10 is plain crazy. The guy was a top 3 player for 20 freaking years, nobody has ever come close to that or probably ever will. He was also the games dominant player for 4 or 5 years, as long or longer than Federer. You have him below Agassi, Lendl, and McEnroe, LOL!
Also while I love Agassi there is no merit to him being above Tilden, Lendl, McEnroe, or Connors. Honestly I cant see how he can possibly be in the top 10. Talent wise he should have been, but he didnt have the career.
What 4-5 years was Rosewall the game's most dominant player? I agree Agassi's career wasn't what it could have been. He had injuries and motivation lapses. But, had it been what it could have been, he would probably be top 5 all time.
Rod Laver's picks for all time greats:
1. Lew Hoad
2. Jack Kramer
3. Pancho Gonzales
4. Don Budge
5. Fred Perry
6. Ken Rosewall
7. Ellsworth Vines
8. Bobby Riggs
9. Jack Crawford
10. John Newcombe
1. Roger Federer
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Pete Sampras
4. John McEnroe
5. Rafael Nadal
6. Novak Djokovic
7. Andre Agassi
8. Jimmy Connors
9. Ivan Lendl
10. Stefan Edberg
Laver didn't rate himself. But, obviously he is at or near the top of either list.
There's no definitely right answer to come up with such a short list(10 players). As I've stated in my previous post, it's gets more cloudy/subjective as you move further down the list. You can throw in Connors or Rosewall and remove any two players from bottom list and that wouldn't make any difference since it's all debatable.
I'll try a pre-open era and open era list (without using a player in both lists, so players who started their careers pre-open era or open era):
1. Pancho Gonzales
2. Rod Laver
3. Bill Tilden
4. Ellsworth Vines
5. Jack Kramer
6. Ken Rosewall
7. Don Budge
8. Pancho Segura
9. Frank Sedgman
10. Lew Hoad
1. Roger Federer
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Pete Sampras
4. Rafael Nadal
5. Jimmy Connors
6. Ivan Lendl
7. John McEnroe
8. Mats Wilander
9. Andre Agassi
10. Guillermo Vilas
Laver's career achievement was overlapped in both era, so I don't see how you can say he's near at the top in both lists, especially in the open era.
Rosewall was clearly the best in the World in 1961, 1962, 1963, and arguably in 1960 and 1964 too.
I agree wholeheartedly on Agassi but he should be evaluated by what his career was, not some of hypothetical what ifs or wasted potential, wouldnt you agree. Kudos for him for making that late run and salvaging atleast a large portion of his wasted potential and becoming an all time great, but it still was never going to be able to make up for all those wasted years in his physical prime.
I just dont see how Rosewall could be one of those borderline for the bottom of the top 10. The guys longevity is unparalleled in the history of the game even today, and he was the Games top player for about as long or close to as long as most of the GOAT candidates too. Had it been Open Era he probably would have had well over 20 slams, he was such a force for such a long time.
I also dont see how Agassi's career could ever be rated above people like Lendl or Connors, unless one is going into their subjective views of his abilities more than results.
Thanks for your words.
I agree that Nadal is too early to judge. Hope that he can continue to play. He was the only player to match or beat Federer consistently.
Hoad is difficult to rank. You are right that others have a better career. I put him so high because of his top level which probably was the best of all time.
Yes, my top seven should be included in everyman's top ten list.
Carlo Colussi once wrote that every list is a bad list which does not include Gonzalez and Rosewall. Both are underrated now when fans only know the current and recent players. Rod Laver is the only one of the older players who is acknowledged by most exeprts and fans.
This seems the proper way to rank players.
I like how every player gets his due this way and not have to downgrade players In posts because of the changes in how the game was played.
All those pre-open players did their best with what the game offered as they do now.
This way eliminates the negativity a great deal, players of different times can be appreciated more for their achievements.
I like this format more than the one I posted earlier using best of each decade.
I really like the open-ERA list.
How many years did Nadal utterly dominate from start to finish? Zero.
Gonzales was not toppled in 1960 or 1961. In 1960, Gonzales didn't play hardly any tournaments due to his disputes with Kramer, but he did dominate the 1960 world pro tour, as the standings below show:
1. Pancho Gonzales 49-8
2. Ken Rosewall 32-25
3. Pancho Segura 22-28
4. Alex Olmedo 11-44
In 1961, Rosewall won the French Pro and Wembley Pro titles, but Gonzales won his 8th US Pro title, and once again won the world pro tour:
1. Pancho Gonzales 33-14
2. Andres Gimeno 27-20
3. Lew Hoad 24-23
4. Barry MacKay 22-25
5. Alex Olmedo 18-29
6. Butch Buchholz 16-31
Third Place Play Off
3. Frank Sedgman 15-13 (Hoad pulled out with injury)
4. Barry MacKay 13-15
1. Pancho Gonzales 21-7
2. Andres Gimeno 7-21
As for 1964, I don't really see how Rosewall is above Laver that year. Laver won 2 of the 3 pro majors, and had turned the tables in their head-to-head matches.
I respect you as the only poster here apart from me who ranks Rosewall among the top two. Thanks for your expertise.
But I must contradict a bit. Even as a Rosewall admirer I find 20 years among the top three a bit exaggerated. In my rankings I give Muscles 16 years among the top three and I concede that Gonzalez (if we yet consider his two off-years in 1962/63 where he would most probably among the top three) was also top three for 16 years.
Even though Rosewall was the top player for only three years, we also can argue that he was a Co.- No.1player for several other years: 1959 (8:4 head to head against Gonzalez), 1960, 1964 (winner of the long world tour), 1965 (two pro majors won), 1970 (clearly better than official No.1, Newcombe) and 1971 (winner of two big tournaments that were probably stronger than FO and US Open; SF at Wimbledon).
Interesting lists. I only would contradict about Rosewall's place. But it's fine that you include Pancho Segura who is vastly underrated. He was No.4 as late as 1962 when he was already 41 and had a match point against world champ, Rosewall, at Wembley...
A champion should also prove his dominance in big tournaments which Gonzalez did not in 1960 and 1961. The US Open 1961 was not a big tournament (weak participation).
In 1964 it was clear for all players that the winner of the tour was acknowledged the No. 1 player. I find it therefore fair to give Rosewall a tied No.1 ranking.
I would say that only Tilden and Gonzalez had a similary long career as Rosewall had (but both were not No.2 at 40 as Muscles was in some rankings).
In my speculations Rosewall would have won about 25 open majors, topped only by Tilden (about 30, but weaker participation) and Gonzalez (about 27)...
Laver won the Grand Slam in open era, a feat never realized by Federer...
For me, Sampras is not so high, even if he won most Grand Slams than the others. He won major tournaments only on fast courts. Never played even FO final. Players like Connors, Lendl, Agassi, and even Wilander and Vilas won majors on clay and on fast courts.
I agree with Bobby One, that in sensible calculation Tilden would have won the most majors of all. Between 1920 and 1925, he was close to unbeatable, and the players who won Wimbledon, World Hard Court (RG wasn't open to foreigners) or Australia, which also had no foreign entries, like Patterson, Johnston or Borotra were not in his class. The musceteers Cochet and Lacoste began to challenge and overtake Tilden since 1926, but given 4 available majors per year, Tilden still would have sneaked in several titles, as he did in reality at Wim and Forest Hills.
Gonzalez would have much deeper competition in open tennis in the 50s: Kramer in the first years, who dominated him at first, Sedgman, who could do harm to Gorgo on grass in Australia and GB, Hoad, who excelled at Wim and grass courts, Trabert and Rosewall, who were clearly better clay court players, Segura, who was always a dangerous opponent. Given this sharp opposition, I don't see Gonzalez winning the same amount of majors and overall titles as Tilden. Rosewall had the longest career at the top, and was always very good at big events (he won Wembley as early as 1957) and especially at French venues. Laver had a shorter career, but was imo so technical sound, versatile and powerful, that he could sweep all available titles in some of his best years.
Rosewall's nuts then. Hoad is the single most overrated great on this forum.
the pants wearing fellows (Tilden, Doherty, Renshaw....I ain't ranking them, too way back in the way)
The 1961 US Pro had Gonzales, Sedgman, Gimeno and MacKay.
Hoad is ranked by his peak level of play rather than vast achievements.
Ranking by peak level play only makes sense when the achievments are close. If peak level of play is all that mattered one could say Safin and Maureen Connolly were the two best ever, yet obviously such a claim is laughable, especialy regarding Safin. Hoad does not have the achievments to be especialy high on any list. Relatively low (all time speaking) number of amateur slams and there isnt even one year he was ranked as the top pro, there was one year he was outplaying Gonzales until his back problems began to take hold.
so all that peak level of play and he is 4–2 in GS finals, and 1–7 in Pro finals..just cannot see what the fuss is about.
I agree with you...if peak level is all that matters, then McEnroe should be damn near the top of any list...1984 season was nuts!
Rosewall is not nuts. He and Rod Laver have Hoad on the top of their lists because of Hoad's extremely high playing level. I'm sure they did not mean the quality of Hoad's career.
Perhaps you are right that I overrated Gonzalez a bit and that Rosewall would yet have won more open majors than Pancho, but remember that Gonzalez was clearly better than Kramer AFTER their long series and that Gonzalez was extremely strong till 1965 and very strong till 1970.
Gonzales said that Hoad was the only player who was capable of playing a level of tennis that was even out of reach for him (Gonzales).
...which was a field much worse than the two events where Gonzalez failed: French Pro and Wembley.
Separate names with a comma.