Where to put Agassi on historical ladder?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by urban, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now that Agassi has called his retirement, it could be the time - maybe a bit premature - to put his career into historical perspective. In short: Is he top five all time material or top ten? His achievements are not easy to evaluate, i think like Hoad or Becker, he is quite difficult to rate. He had longevity, but also a few years in between, which he virtually threw away. His greatest achievement, mentioned by players like Mac or Lendl, is his full card set at the majors, on 3 different surfaces. But can it make up for his relative short time at years end Nr.1? OK, he was longer Nr.1, of you count all placements year long. But imo, can we rank him above say Connors, Lendl or Mac, who were all Nr.1 for at least 4 years. His longevity reminds one of Rosewall and Connors, who also had a great return game, but is he in their class? I would rank him top 15 ahead of Becker or Edberg, but not necessarily top ten.
     
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  2. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
    1) sampras
    2) borg
    3) laver
    4) lendl
    5) agassi
    6) connors
    7) mcenroe
    8) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
    9) newcombe
    10) becker
     
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  3. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    Talking about history..lots of things come into play. While scoring lots of titles is a very important criteria, it is equally important to connect with fans and establish a legacy.
    His place in History as the Greatest returner of serve is assured. His place as one of the great baseliners is a given. He influenced a huge tennis population who took to his style of game. He could connect to fans in remote world locations. While he is not playing Pro Tennis, he can still contribute a lot to tennis


    Andre Kirk Agassi place as one of the top 5 players in Tennis history, is a fact.
     
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  4. diegaa

    diegaa Hall of Fame

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    mmmmm... top 5? perhaps. top 10 for sure.
     
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  5. omniexist

    omniexist Semi-Pro

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    Was gonna post something similar but ya beat me to it.

    Yeah, Sampras, Borg, Laver...definitely top tier.

    Agassi-sumplace below that.
     
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  6. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    Not a bad list though mine would differ. However where is Connors on your list:confused:
     
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  7. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    sorry, forgot to add connors in there.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    He is top 2 behind Laver.
     
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  9. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    Good man.


    So you put AA above Pete:confused: How do you justify him being better when Pete dominated him most of the time?
     
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  10. inyourface

    inyourface Rookie

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    one reason to put Agassi above Sampras?he played better tennis ;) that was a fact.he won less trophies but he played better
     
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  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I think Agassi belongs on equal footing with two other guys who have eerily similar careers, Connors and Rosewall. All 3 men were outstanding players, and all three were champions. All 3 would have been candidates for GOAT had it not been for a more dominant champion who also played during their time, Rosewall had Laver, Connors had Borg & McEnroe & Lendl, and Agassi had Sampras and Federer. The greatest similarity in these three players is their longevity and all 3 were their generation's greatest returner of serve. Connors and Agassi were known as power players with Rosewall being the notable exception.

    Trivia
    Rosewall's nickname, Muscles was given to him by the legnedary Harry Hopman. Hopman was known for giving sarcastic nicknames. Muscles was bestowed on Rosewall because, in Hopman's opinion, he was devoid of them. Hopman also dubbed Rod Laver as Rocket. This was a comment on Laver's footspeed, or lack thereof.
     
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  12. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    You are obviously not at all aware of what a fact is...
     
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  13. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Lendl and Agassi ahead of Connors and McEnroe? Are you nuts? Connors and Agassi have the same number of GS titles, despite Agassi playing in far more GS tournaments (Connors skipped Australia after 75 and skipped the French from 74-78, during his prime). Same deal with McEnroe and Australia, and McEnroe was a more complete player. As for Lendl, strong player, but his head to head against Connors is inflated by wins well after Connors prime.

    And if you were wondering, then here is mine:

    1) Laver
    2) Sampras
    3) Borg
    4) Connors
    5) McEnroe
    6) Lendl
    7) Hoad
    8) Agassi
    9) Wilander
    10) Edberg

    I'm not rating Fed until his career is over. For now, I'd put him just outside the top 10, but moving up fast. And I put Edberg ahead of Becker because, though they had the same number of GS titles, Edberg actually made a French final, something Boris never did.
     
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  14. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Why is Hoad on that list? I assume you were talking just Open era. Plus Hoad is a "what if" type player. He won very few slams & got injured early in his career. Talentwise he is regarded very highly, but his accomplishments don't measure up to the others on your list.

    And I don't think its so crazy to rank Lendl above Connors or Mac. He reached all 4 slam finals(which the others didn't) & was ranked #1 longer(in total weeks) than either of those 2. He also made more slam finals than anyone in the open era.
     
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  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I would switch Mcenroe and Lendl. Don't forget, Mcenroe won Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles. That counts for something. These guys are great singles players, but Mcenroe was a great singles, doubles, and mixed doubles player.

    One could argue he is a greater player than any of the guys on this list.
     
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  16. baseliner

    baseliner Professional

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    I can go with your list if "historical ladder" excludes all pre-open players. If however we are talking an all time list, Agassi is #1 on potential but top 25 on accomplishments. Bill Tilden, The 3 Muscateers, Fred Perry... In selecting a top 10, if you restrict the field enough anyone can make it. AA a sad tale of him waking up too late.
     
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  17. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    I put Hoad in there because of what I've read of him and what Laver said about him. If we just restrict it to Open era players, throw Hoad out, bump everyone below him up 1 space and throw Becker into the top 10.

    I don't think you can argue Lendl over Connors. Lendl over Mac yes, but not over Connors. Lendl and Connors have the same number of GS titles, but Lendl never won Wimbledon. Connors won the U.S. on all three surfaces, so while Lendl never won a G.S. title on his weakest surface (grass), Connors did win one on clay.

    No, Connors has to go over Lendl. I think we can agree though that Lendl, Connors and McEnroe all rank ahead of Agassi.
     
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  18. Hewitt rulez

    Hewitt rulez Semi-Pro

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    The only reason I would put Andre above Sampras is cause he won the French.
     
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  19. RiosTheGenius

    RiosTheGenius Hall of Fame

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    I'm not gonna get into the whole 1 through 10 thing cuz I think it's stupid. but Agassi is definitely a top 10 player in tennis history
     
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  20. RiosTheGenius

    RiosTheGenius Hall of Fame

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    you can't start comparing these guys cuz you are always going to be unfair
     
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  21. ACS

    ACS New User

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    Rather than stating that Agassi belongs in the top 5 or top 10 of all time (or of the Open era), I lean more towards saying he belongs in the second tier of open era greats.

    In the top tier, I'd place Sampras (14 slams and 6 years at #1), Borg (5 straight Wimbys, virtually unbeatable at the French during his career), and Laver (the grand slam in 69, another as an amateur), with Federer likely to join this group.

    I'd place Agassi firmly in a group with Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, and probably Wilander. Within this group, anyone can make an argument for any one player over any other ("Agassi won all four majors." "But Connors won more tournaments overall." "Lendl had more weeks at number 1." "Well, McEnroe at his best played at a higher level than any of those guys.") At a certain point, it becomes a subjective argument related to which accomplishment you value more.

    (Of course, with this approach, you lose the fun associated with subjective rankings.)
     
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  22. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I think urban is exactly right. Agassi's accomplishments are unique, and he has certainly earned a place among the top 15 or 20 players in history -- but he lacked the consistency at the top of the game that is an absolute prerequisite for being counted among the top five or even top 10 players of all time. As urban and some others may know, I like to evaluate players by a three-part formula: completeness, universality, and longevity. Though by no means a complete player, Agassi was both a universal player and one whose career exhibited considerable longevity. In my judgment, that puts him in the low teens, just below those players who had considerable success in major championships (including Pro championships, in the cases of Laver, Rosewall, and Gonzalez) and who truly dominated the game for a period of three or more years.

    My own list, which is always subject to revision, looks like this:

    [Edited 28-June to reflect ties]

    1. Rod Laver
    2. Bill Tilden
    3. Pete Sampras
    4. Bjorn Borg
    -. Don Budge
    6. Ken Rosewall
    7. Jimmy Connors
    -. Ivan Lendl
    9. Pancho Gonzalez
    -. John McEnroe
    11. Jack Kramer
    12. Andre Agassi
    13. Roy Emerson
    -. Fred Perry
    15. Lew Hoad
    -. Ellsworth Vines
    17. John Newcombe
    18. Henri Cochet
    -. Rene Lacoste
    20. Boris Becker
    -. Stefan Edberg
    -. Mats Wilander
     
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  23. jukka1970

    jukka1970 Professional

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    I love this post, and what a great attitude in looking at the greatest players. I think this is a wonderful way of dividing them up into groups instead of numbers. It really eliminates the nit picking arguments of well this person is better because of amount of titles, while someone else says no it's the other way around because this person won on all surfaces. Grant you there is still room for debate on which group one should go in, but at least it's comparing a group of talents and people to another group as opposed to 1 on 1.

    You're right we do lose the fun of subjective ranking, but I'm willing to trade that for the loss of nit picking arguments and full out wars on a subject :)

     
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  24. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Obiously not.

    Agreed. The Tiers approach is better, IMO. I like the ACS' idea....

    My Tiers are of the Open Era Players only, and I will not even rank them within their tiers. They are alphabetical:

    Tier I - Demonstrated Greatness: Singles, Doulbes, Multiple Surfaces ... Open and Davis Cup
    Andre Agassi (career Slam)
    Bjorn Borg (retooled game to win Wimby (5) and kept winning the French (6) )
    Jimmy Connors (longevity)
    Rod Laver (Grand Slam in Open Era)
    John McEnroe (versatility)
    Pete Sampras (almost Tier II because of one-dimensionality; but must be in Tier I)

    Tier II - Greatness; just "not quite" up to the Par of the Tier I players
    Boris Becker
    Stefan Edberg
    Ivan Lendl
    John Newcombe
    Ken Rosewall
    Mats Wilander

    * Subject to change ... and Federer is already a "lock" for Tier I ... Nadal is a "lock" for Tier II, "with a bullet"....

    - KK
     
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  25. jukka1970

    jukka1970 Professional

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    I think this is pretty much how I'd divide them up as well. As for where to put Nadal, I think we may have to wait a bit to see if his playing becomes more adaptable to other surfaces, and definitely agree Federer will be in tier 1. The tough calls for me are Becker and Lendl, but would probably put them in tier 2, but definitely have to think about this one.

    I also like the comment after Sampras, very true, definitely one dimensional, and as you said, but definitely belongs in tier 1 without hesitation.

    John
     
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  26. mowcopian

    mowcopian Banned

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    5th or 6th id say
     
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  27. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    He's somewhere in the top 5. I don't really like to rank, especially since Federer still has a long career ahead of him. But I'd put Sampras, Laver, Agassi, Borg and Federer right up in the top, in some order, followed by McEnroe, Lendl and Connors.
     
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  28. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    I like this listing. We also have to consider the impact the player had on the game with his Charisma. Almost every nook and corner of the world where tennis is played, AGassi is a prominent figure. His game has made many turn to Tennis ( This i can speak from my own experience as well)

    I thoroughly enjoyed Agassi's game all through out and he remains the #1 player on my list.

    At the age of 36 yrs, he is still considered top tier Tennis player. While it is debatble, i certainly believe a healthier back would have seen Agassi win a late grandslam or so.
     
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  29. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    a lot of people underestimate lendl's game. i don't have the stats in front of me (actually i'm too lazy to look them up) but the man won over 90 titles, was #1 in the world for a ridiculously long period of time, reached the finals of the us open 8 straight years, won 8 grand slams (didn't win wimbledon but reached 2 finals), and had a winning record against virtually every player he played against. i'd have to rank him in the top 5 in the open era.
     
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  30. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I agree, though there are two knocks against Lendl: (1) in comparison to other all-time greats, he was not the best big-match player; (2) he was never the best in the world on grass, marked by his successive failures at Wimbledon. I put Lendl in the same class as Connors, just a notch below Rosewall, with all three of them hovering underneath the true A Group of Tilden, Budge, Laver, Borg, and Sampras.
     
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  31. smileblue27

    smileblue27 Guest

    Ranking top 10 isn’t about who was a better returner or who had a better forehand or backhand. All these guys are world class champions. The difference is who among them had a greater impact on the sport; on you and me. Who made people buy a racket when they knew nothing about love or match point? Agassi brought tennis from a casual rich mans' past time into our living rooms. How many kids growing up played lendl/becker set 5 US Open? Not me, I played Agassi/Sampras winner buys pizza. No person in the history brought excitement and passion and desire for the sport like Andre. This guy will be recognized for ages everywhere he goes. Agassi Top 5, no doubt about it.
     
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  32. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    Here is my list of Open Era players (only those who played all or the majority of their career in the Open Era).

    1. Pete Samras
    2. Bjorn Borg
    3. Jimmy Connors
    4. Ivan Lendl
    5. Andre Agassi
    6. John McEnroe
    7. Roger Federer
    8. Mats Wilander
    9. Boris Becker
    10. Stephan Edberg

    So for me Agassi is number 5 for the Open Era, and easily top 10. All time, he is borderline top 10, as I think Laver, Budge, Tilden, Rosewall, Gonzalez are all clearly above Agassi. That would put him at #11 all time, soon to drop to #12 (as soon as Federer wins one more slam).
     
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  33. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    My List would go:
    Sampras, Laver, Borg, Emerson, Connors , Agassi , Mac, Lendl, Rosewall, Boris.
     
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  34. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    In terms of influence, certainly Agassi is one of the most important players in modern times. But don't underestimate the popularity and impact of McEnroe, Borg, and Connors, as well as some of the earlier personalities (perhaps esp. Hoad, Kramer, Budge, Perry, Vines, Tilden, and the Doherty brothers). Each generation has at least one player, two or three if they're lucky, who bring something new and fresh and exciting to the game. Agassi is certainly in that class. But greatness, I think, in the long run must be more about winning matches than about winning fans. The greatest players, Laver and Tilden, managed to bring the game to a new level both on and off the court. (Budge and Borg could also perhaps be included in this category). In the mid-90s, for good or bad tennis witnessed a split, with Sampras by far the dominant player on the court, and Agassi the dominant personality off the court. Neither I think can boast the complete package of Laver or Tilden, though Sampras's achievements (esp. his seven Wimbledon titles) are simply too outstanding for me to rank him outside the top three.
     
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  35. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I think this is an excellent list, with Federer threatening to climb higher. I do see the argument for ranking Agassi ahead of McEnroe, though personally I find that McEnroe's greater consistency at the top (marked by finishing at least three years as the No. 1 player in the world) trumps Agassi's greater longevity and versatility. Connors and Lendl are very close in my mind, perhaps even in a dead tie. Lendl ultimately emerged with a massive head-to-head advantage, though it was Connors who prevailed in their most important matches in the 1980s. Both also brought much to the game: Connors inaugurated tennis's Golden Age with his brash personality and seemingly boundless energy, while Lendl introduced the modern era of fitness and training techniques, as well as taking further the baseline-oriented game of Borg.
     
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  36. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    My only real concern here would be Emerson, who at no point in his career could really lay claim to being the best player in the world. I am not sure that one deserves inclusion among the top five players of all time, or even top 10, if he was never the best even among his contemporaries (Laver and Rosewall were both undoubtedly his superiors in the 1960s).
     
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  37. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the nice diskussion. I am well aware of the problems to rank players of different eras, but it is possible to classify tier 1 or 2 of champions. Agassi has a very complete record on all surfaces inclucing Masters Cup, Olympics, outstanding Davis Cup record, all Masters except Hamburg. His problem seems to be the Nr.1 status, only one in 1999. He is not easy to rank, i would put him near Perry, Emerson, Newcombe at around 11-12, in open era is is in a league with Connors, Lendl and Mac, they all were however Nr.1 for 4 years at least.
     
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  38. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    chaognosis,
    where do you rank Edberg? I see you have Becker at 20, but he never finished a year #1. Edberg had 2 year end #1's.

    One of his more impressive achievements(though understandably not well-known) was reaching 10 straight slam SFs(open era record) which include 4 on grass, 2 on clay, 3 on hard, 1 on rebound ace-talk about all surface ability! Fed currently has reached 8 straight. I was surprised that Mac, Connors, Borg didn't get near Lendl consistency at slams(they had some QF or earlier upsets at slams during their primes)

    A lot like to knock Lendl's grasscourt ability. Yes, he didn't win W, but he had an incredible grasscourt record. 2 titles at Queens, 2 W finals, 5 W SFs, 2 AO SF(when it was on grass)
     
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  39. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    On the front page of atptennis, they have a list of all players that have won 4or more slams at one venue in the open era(titled 'will federer join the 4 or more club?') Only 5 guys have done this. Sampras & Borg are the only players to do this at 2 different slams.

    http://www.atptennis.com/en/
     
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  40. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I agree in part. I did some research after another poster slighted Emerson. You should investigate his Open era record. He was older and had been through quite a few majors and probably played his prime as an amateur. All that said, he still acquitted himself very well as a pro with wins over Rosewall, Laver, Tanner, and even Borg.

    Emerson did exactly what Laver and Rosewall did, what he thought was right. In his case, it was remaining an amateur and representing Australia.
     
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  41. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Emerson did even beat Gonzales, a fact, some guys on the internet are negating, even on wikipedia. He beat him Ferbruary 1970 in a 10000 $ winner take all match at Los Angeles 1,3 and 0.
     
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  42. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I do consider Becker the No. 1 player for 1989. Obviously this is a subjective judgment on my part, but I think a player usually deserves that distinction by winning two majors in a year (in this case the two most prestigious, Wimbledon and US Open). In much the same way I am willing to ignore the computer rankings and consider Borg, not Connors, as the No. 1 player of 1978; likewise Connors, not McEnroe, as the No. 1 player of 1982. You make an excellent point about Edberg though. I would rank him, together with Wilander, just outside the top 20. I like Becker because of his incredible record at the most important tournament, Wimbledon, winning three titles and reaching seven finals in all. Becker also won more titles than Edberg, despite competing in fewer, and he amassed a greater win-loss percentage over his career. All this though is really splitting hairs. After the first three echelons it becomes more difficult to rank (on my list, I would designate Group A as #1-5, Group B as #6-11, and Group C as #12-19). The same group with Becker, Edberg, and Wilander might also include such names as Lacoste, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Ashe, Vilas, and perhaps more I am not remembering at the moment.
     
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  43. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, it is tough picking an order for Connors, Lendl, Agassi, McEnroe, and Federer at the moment, they are all so close right now. Same for Becker, Edberg, and Wilander, very tough to order those. I think Federer can solidify the #3 spot behind Sampras and Borg on my list with two more slams though.
     
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  44. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    What puts Connors over Lendl for you? I would ask about what puts Agassi over McEnroe for you but I am suspecting it winning all 4 slams in the duration of his career, combined with the far far greater longevity so no point really asking. No way could I understand Federer being over Wilander yet though, as much as I cant stand Wilander and like Federer's game miles more, and he will be over him anyway so it is a moot point I guess.
     
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  45. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I agree with you; Emerson is an all-time great, his record speaks for itself, and it is unjust to dismiss his accomplishments because he did not play his peak years as a Pro. (Laver himself was known to remark at what a fierce opponent Emerson was, a player gifted with extraordinary athleticism--even if he lacked the brilliant shotmaking of a Laver or a Hoad.) Nevertheless, I do think that Emerson's record reveals that he was not as good as either Laver or Rosewall when the Open Era began, which makes me strongly suspect that he was not as good as these two between 1963 and '67, either. There is not a single year where I can say I honestly believe Emerson could be ranked anywhere higher than No. 3 in the world, and probably in most cases not even that high. Still, his multi-surface accomplishments and his record number of singles + doubles major championship titles cannot be ignored.
     
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  46. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    I would say that Federer has already distanced himself ahead of Wilander. Wilander was No. 1 for only one year, Federer now for two (and arguably three), and odds are he will finish on top this year as well. Wilander never won the biggest championship, Wimbledon, while Federer has won it three times and is the currently the favorite to make it four. Not to mention I think that Federer simply has a more complete game than Wilander.
     
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  47. federerhoogenbandfan

    federerhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Well Wilander has a single 3-slam year, just as Federer does. Wilander has won grand slams on every surface, since he won the Australian Open twice on grass. Wilander has won his 7 grand slams over a 7 year span, 82 through 88. So considering he has the same number of slam titles as Federer right now-7, and more slam finals and semis, I could not have Federer over Wilander yet. Probably by the time this year is done he will be over him though, if he ends the year with 9 slams it would be a slam dunk(and he probably will).
     
    #47
  48. Hops

    Hops Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Messages:
    392
    the lack of Borg/Connors on the 'straight SF' list is due to skipping AO/RG. Looking at list of consec SF of slams entered, Connors is at 11, again at 7, Borg at 6. Fed got press for reaching 4 cons. slam finals to match Agassi/Laver, but Connors/Borg both reached at least 5 consec. slam finals they entered, and both did it twice.

    One more -- consec. QF, of slams entered. Connors is at a ridiculous 27, the next guy (Lendl) is at 14. Jimbo went 10 years, 1973-83, without getting knocked out before the QF at any slam.

    http://www.tennis28.com/slams/cons_semifinals.html
     
    #48
  49. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    6,297
    Lendl was very much a prepared player, it was very rare for him to get knocked out early. He reached a level and could maintain it for the fortnight. Sometimes you'd see Becker knocked out early, he was more of a "build up with the tournament player".

    I like to think of it that becker (and other players like him) maybe start a slam at 75 and reach 100 by the end of a good slam. Lendl used to come in at 99 and maintain it to the end, but sometimes lost when becker or one of the explosive players could find that 100 near the end.
     
    #49
  50. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
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    6,297
    ....deleted by me within a minute of posting after reconsidering!....
     
    #50

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