Whats your top 10 of all time right now?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Dan, thanks that you agree partly.

    It's a shame that we don't know those two additional (US?) tournament results where Rosewall beat Gonzalez (probably July) in four men events.
     
  2. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    621
    Finally i completed my list of whom i think are the best ever. I divided them in different tiers. I would like to know what you think, especially from the second tier and below where i believe it gets tougher to compare

    First tier (GOAT candidates)

    1-Laver
    2-Federer
    3-Gonzales

    Rest of the first tier

    4-Rosewall
    5-Sampras
    6-Nadal
    7-Borg

    Second tier

    8-Lendl
    9-Connors
    10-Tilden
    11-Mc Enroe
    12-Agassi
    13-Kramer
    14-Vines
    15-Budge

    Third tier

    16-Djokovic
    17-Becker
    18-Edberg
    19-Wilander
    20-Perry
    21-Newcombe
    22-Hoad
    23-Cochet
    24-Lacoste

    Fourth tier

    25-Sedgman
    26-Courier
    27-Nastase
    28-Vilas
    29-Hewitt
    30-Kuerten
    31-Riggs
    32-Emerson
    33-Ashe
    34-Murray
    35-Roddick
    36-Safin
    37-Crawford
    38-Segura
    39-Trabert
    40-Rafter
    41-Kodes
    42-Kafelnikov
    43-Borotra
     
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    Like the way you set up your system with your tiers. I'm not going to disagree with anything although my list is clearly different.

    What are the most important parameters in deciding the list?
     
  4. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    ARFED,

    Very good list. Tilden's place is too low. Also Hoad's. I'm glad you have Emerson only at No.32. I would put Segura higher.
     
  5. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    621
    Thanks Pc1 :)

    I give importance to domination of the field, that is where i clearly see a gap between my first 3 choices and the rest of all time greats.
    Tilden is a special case, he was probably the most dominant force in tennis, but IMO his competition in the early 20`s was subpar to say the least. That is way i didn`t consider pre WW1 players like Doherty, Wilding, etc.

    Longevity is important but below dominance IMO.
     
  6. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    621
    Thanks Bobby, glad to know that you think it is a reasonable list. I know i am biased towards the modern players, since i`ve been watching tennis for the last 25 years, but i tried to remain as objective as i could.
    Regarding Tilden, IMO his competition in the 20`s was just too small, perhaps in a full modern field he would just dominate as he did in his time but i guess you can say pretty much the same about Doherty for instance.

    Hoad to me is just a more accomplished version of Safin, can`t put him above the likes of Becker and Djokovic
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    No Fraser???
     
  8. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    ARFED, good list, but I think Tilden does deserve to be in Tier 1 (albeit at the bottom of it), due to his accomplishments and setting the standard for all future greats to follow.
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    The other question is a person has to ask is how much more unbeatable can you be than Tilden, since he almost never lost in his best years and won every major he played in? I don't think it's possible to do better. He only started losing (not much by the way) until he hurt his knee badly in a Davis Cup match in 1926. At that he was beating top players like Vines, Perry, Budge, Nusslein and Cochet into the 1930's and beat Ted Schroeder in a match in the 1940's.

    I have my doubts whether any player could do better than Tilden in those days if whether you magically transported them from the 2010's or 1950's to the 1920's to play.
     
  10. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    The problem is that during his peak (1920-1925), he largely only entered the US Nationals, of the major championships.

    Yes, he won it every year (usually only having to beat minor greats like Johnston), but would he have won every other major, if he had entered them during that period? I have severe doubts in particular whether he would have won Roland Garros.

    By the way, when the Musketeers came on the scene, they regularly defeated him, as can be seen from his sequence of defeats below:

    1927 French: Lacoste
    1927 Wimbledon: Cochet
    1927 US: Lacoste
    1928 Wimbledon: Lacoste
    1929 French: Lacoste
    1929 Wimbledon: Cochet
    1929 US: N/A (Champion)
    1930 French: Cochet
    1930 Wimbledon: N/A (Champion)
    1930 US: Doeg or Shields (full draw not online)

    I know he was getting old by this point, and maybe he would have done better if he'd been a bit younger.

    The point is though, Tilden's great success came when the field was weak and there were no other true greats to challenge him. When greats did come along in the form of the Musketeers, they often got the better of Big Bill.
     
  11. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,451
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    It's easier to maintain high winning percentages in majors when you only play 1-2 a year. Imagine if Borg only played the FO and Wimbledon, or Federer Wimbledon and the USO. They'd look about as dominant as Tilden.

    Obviously his win/loss record in smaller tournaments was also very high. But then other dominant champions have recorded 90%+ win loss records over several seasons and over deeper fields too. Tilden obviously maintained such a high percentage for longer than anyone but I doubt he could have done so in later era's.
     
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    The counter argument is that Tilden won at a higher rate than just about anyone and he also won the World Hardcourt and Wimbledon twice. So he won all of his majors in his best years on all surfaces. He was able to beat Don Budge in tournaments in his forties and won a number of Pro Majors over top competition. The question I also asked myself is how much better can anyone else do? I take off points for era and Tilden still ranks in the top few for me. I'm not trying to argue in favor or against Tilden. I am just pointing out the problems with knocking a player down so much because of era. How much better could Laver, Gonzalez, Federer, Kramer and others do than Tilden. Even Vines said in the late 1970's that he never saw a player who could do more off both sides than Tilden.
     
  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    It's always a lot of problems ranking some players. Gonzalez can be a problem due to his many long tours that could last a year. That hurts his tournaments won and perhaps some Pro Majors because he couldn't enter tournaments to win them. Different eras have different problems.
     
  14. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,451
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    I'd put Tilden in the top 5-6 personally so I don't degrade him that much based on his era. I also feel his tennis brain would give him immense success in any era. I don't doubt his abilities.

    I agree it would be hard to better his percentages but I think several players could match him in that era if given the chance.
     
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    I agree with that.
     
  16. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Tilden has the charme of the beginning. Like a Mallory or Hillary in mountaineering. There were maybe better climbers afterwards, but their legend lives on, because they were the first on Everest. Tilden is the father of the modern game, straitening out the strokes, handling spins and angles, figuring out the percentage game. Before him, some players still played both forehand and backhand with the same side of the racket. No one before or after him had that much influence on the development of the game. I also think, that Lenglen or Wills are difficult to rank behind somebody, they did so much, that nobody could have done more.
     
  17. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,451
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    I guess it depends how much you equate greatness with influence? If we think in terms of best of all time then it becomes much harder to rank someone based on how they changed the game.
     
  18. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    Lenglen and Wills are even more extreme cases than Tilden, since the women's game was incredibly lacking in depth at that time.

    I mean, like you said, no one will ever equal their records of going years without dropping a set (!) and hardly ever losing any matches unless they were injured.

    Paradoxically, though, this doesn't necessarily show me that they were superwomen, but rather that their eras must have been absurdly weak.

    You can't conceive of a female player coming along nowadays, no matter how great, and going unbeaten for years, hardly dropping a set. The concept is just ridiculous.

    I think women's tennis has become much more competitive since the dawn of the Open Era/foundation of the WTA, as it's become the de facto global No 1 sport for women.

    That's why, even more than in the men's game, I consider earlier eras to have been weak.
     
  19. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Changing the game is imo the greatest thing that one can do.
     
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    What I find astounding about Tilden is basically how he invented Modern Tennis and it's current concepts if play. Every player today uses the Tilden methods for their game especially with the baseliners monopolizing the game. I have read so many fascinating stories about Tilden like the one where Tilden learned the continental grip from watching the style of Perry and thought for certain shots it was best to used that grip. Tilden mentioned that he felt he wouldn't be a complete player unless he learn it well enough to use it when he needed to. Tilden I believe was in his late forties at that point.

    He clearly was a genius of the game and I wonder what concepts he would have developed today.
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    Good point. Greatness can't be confused with influence but in Tilden's case I think his genius contributed to others being influenced by him. I don't think Gonzalez necessarily contributed much to changing tennis but nevertheless he still be easily argued as the GOAT.
     
  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    14,451
    Location:
    On the road from would of to would have
    This is essentially what I was getting at. Plus some players may influence the game heavily but it might not be so readily apparent.
     
  23. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    The most influential greats have probably been Kramer, Tilden and Borg.

    Least influential probably Gonzales and Rosewall.
     
  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    Unless we believe Connors was influenced by Gonzalez in the way they (ahem) discussed things with linesmen and umpires. Lol.
     
  25. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,771
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Add McEnroe.







    (I think it's humorous that Mac cites Laver as his "idol", but Mac certainly did not imitate Laver's demeanor. Has anyone ever witnessed Laver berating an umpire or line judge?)
     
  26. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    I like the phrasing of pc1, that Tilden was a or better the "conceptual player". While Tilden rewrote the concept of tennis, the Divine Suzanne Lenglen elevated the game as near as nobody else to an art form, to a sort of performing art in the style of a ballet. Gianni Clerici wrote a theater play on Lenglen, to my knowledge the only play centred around a tennis player.
     
  27. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    621
    When i think of Tilden, immeadiately comes to mind names such as Brookes, Wilding, Doherty, etc. Was Tilden more dominant than Doherty for instance? I don`t believe so. If we are going to compare Tilden to more recent greats and just assess their greatness with the view that competition across eraas remains the same then we are being brutally unfair to Laurie Doherty, who easily could be in the top 10 all time.

    Competition matters, you just can`t prove you are strong enough if your opponents are weak. I guess in the case of Tilden a kind of exception can be made, because he defeated players like Budge well after his prime, but only to a certain degree
     
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,771
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Hear! Hear!
     
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    I do agree with you about the Dohertys. In Tilden's case he did defeat Ted Schroeder (in the 1940's) , Nusslein, Vines, Perry, Budge and a ton of others regularly.

    I don't disagree with anything you wrote. Just pointing the problems in evaluations and that's just another one that you mentioned.
     
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    It was much more Nastase´s way, who took Jimmy under his wing...
     
  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    The red haired was a gentleman but prompt to outbursts.He would just throw the racket up

    With that left arm, he better not throw it in any other direction.

    One thing that I always loved of him was his self containing irk.He would keep himself calm but, when he was angry, you just looked closely to his eyes.The look was really flamming.he had the eyes of a killer.
     
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,771
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Yes, I have heard references to his "inner fire" and "contained intensity".
     
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    In his book it seems like Laver was somewhat undisciplined during his junior days.Borg also was, according to himself.
     
  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    I think Laver hated to lose as much as guys like Connors who showed it more outwardly. As they say the great ones hate losing more than they enjoy winning.
     
  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    kiki, Of course not. Fraser was not a great player.
     
  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    ARFED, Thanks.
     
  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    pc1, I agree. And Tilden won all Davis Cup matches for six consecutive years (including wins against Borotra and Lacoste). Davis Cup was the main event in those times.
     
  38. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,661
    Why the doubts about the French Open (there actually wasn't a French Open until 1925 anyway. But there was a World Hard Court Championship)? Tilden actually won the Clay Court major in 1921 (World Hard Court Championship). And actually had match point in the 1927 Roland Garros tournament. So, don't know why you would have doubts when he actually won the clay court major (in 1921).

    To me the most impressive thing about Tilden is that he still upon occasion could give the top players competitive matches (and sometimes win!) when he was in his late 40's and early 50's. What does that mean for how good he must have been in his late 20's/early 30's?
     
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    If that was true what about Roche?

    A Rotary Club player?
     
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    If Safin had seen Hoad play he would remain astonished
    Hoad could forget more tennis than Safin would ever learn
    Those young fans are really clueless about past legends
    Many still will hold that Gonzales was an old version of Issner or Karlovic:)
     
  41. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    timnz, I agree. Tilden's peak must have been very high.
     
  42. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    kiki, Roche is an all-time great. More talented than Newcombe.
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    And he was hurt playing Davis Cup in (if memory serves) 1926 with a bad knee injury. He was a greater player at his peak. And in the match point at the 1927 French he apparently, according to witnesses served an ace but Cochet was I believe the lines judge and called it out!! Tilden lost the match.

    They would never have a player call lines from the same country today.
     
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,645
    Tilden's dominance was unreal but there were already signs of him slipping several months before that injury (which took place in Aug. '26). Earlier in the year he lost to Borotra at the US National Indoors; Danzig referred to it as his first defeat in a "national singles tennis championship” since 1919.

    The next week he lost to Lacoste in the same venue, as part of a US/France international tie. That was his first defeat ever in an international team match, and his first loss anywhere in 3 straight sets since 1919 (again per Danzig).

    Of course those events were below the majors and the Davis Cup. But they were still well-covered events.

    Then he hurt his knee when he lost the DC rubber to Lacoste. But Lacoste had held match points on him twelve months earlier. So by '26 imo he was ripe for the picking.
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    Great points. Thanks.
     
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,771
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    And Cochet was his defeated opponent in the semis. Cochet had no business supposedly acting as an "objective line judge".

    Very bad form!
     
  47. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    One aspect in the evaluation of Tilden is, that he was a very late bloomer. OK, WW 1 could have played a role here, but he reached his form in 1919/20, when he was already 27, very late for todays standard. It could well be that he wasn't the most natural of players (like for instance Dick Williams), he took great painful strides to model himself into this exemplary player, who made history. Frank Deford mentions this in a 2000 Tennis Magazine article, that Tilden sculptured himself into the superstar Tilden, that the player Tilden was the greatest product of the artist Tilden.
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    Sometimes I think with Tilden that his greatest strength was his incredible tennis mind. I presently don't believe he's the GOAT but there are doubts.
     
  49. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    2,540
    He's certainly the earliest player chronologically who can still be considered for the GOAT title, and is undoubtedly Tier 1.

    Pretty amazing that his dominant days were now almost 100 years ago, and he's still in the discussion.

    Will people talk as much about Federer and Nadal in 100 years' time, as we talk about Tilden today?
     
  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,474
    I do find his story interesting, as far as the pure tennis side is concern. There have been many fascinating individuals in tennis history. Tilden is definitely up there with anyone.

    Phoenix, in looking at tennis history do you have any players in the past you find fascinating. I don't necessarily mean just the tennis but the overall story.
     

Share This Page