Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by armand, Jan 31, 2006.
I think the choice is obvious but it seems some would disagree.
Hehe. The choice is obvious to many people - the problem is that to different people, it seems obvious in opposite directions
(I'm not voting in the poll, I have no clue what the answer is or how to determine it)
The players now are better, but in comparison...
I voted for Federer having slightly tougher rivals, but I must admit this is one of the closest comparisons between the 2. I gave the edge to Federer, only because of the time each of them played. In Sampras time, it seemed that the best were starting to exit while the upcommers were just starting to get there. If Sampras reign had started say 5 years earlier, I'd given the edge to Sampras.
I went for Sampras having tougher rivals, not least because he had to face all-courters and serve-volleyers as well as baseliners. It's true that Pete caught a few of the 80's greats in their waining years but they were still threats and he suffered a few defeats into the 90's. Of the 80's players he had to contend with, Lendl, Becker & Edberg were still up there in the early 90's, not to mention he had to contend with Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Stich, Kafelnikov, Muster, Bruguera, Courier & Agassi when all were in their primes, and Safin, Hewitt & Rafter in his twilight playing years. That's pretty stiff competition for anyone!
I find it funny that neither Sampras nor Federer had any trouble beating the living daylights out of Roddick.
Its difficult to measure the competition. I think, one has to divide the 90s into two periods: pre and after say 1994. In the eary 90s there were some very good fastcourters like Sampras, Stich, Ivanisevic, with Becker and Edberg as hangovers from the late 80s, and some very decent hard and clay courters like Courier, Agassi and Bruguera, too. All these players were able to compete on fast and slow courts. But due to injury, lack of motivation, head problems, age or something else, all these players had faded at around 1995, with the lone exeception of Sampras. The game virtually divided into two circuits: fast and clay, with Sampras no real competition on clay vs. Muster, Kuerten or Moya.The later 90s were quite a low in mens tennis, in 1998 you had no clearcut Nr. 1, several one slam wonders and Sport Illustrated wrote about the death of tennis. Agassi's resurrection in 1999 revitalised tennis, Sampras played better then in the years before. In 2002 it looked like a bright future with 6-8 young guns to shoot it out. But like in 1994, injuries and burn-outs have taken their toll. We can only hope, that Safin, Haas, Johansson or Ferrero (and Nadal) can come back and re-establish themselfs, to form a group of decent challengers to Federer.
I didn't follow tennis when Sampras was dominating, but it seems like he had tougher rivals. There is more depth in men's tennis now, but 10 years ago there were more champions to contend with. Federer still has to deal with Agassi, but Sampras dealt with Agassi back when he was quick on his feet. And everyone is always injured these days. Sampras also had to contend with Safin and Hewitt later on, and they were playing better than they are now (if Safin was still playing).
Federer has tougher rivals because the players on the men's ATP tour as a whole nowdays are stronger and more competitve then ever.
Of course it's all relative....one could argue that Federer doesn't really have any "tough" rivals because, I believe, as do others, that he is simply the most talented tennis player to have ever lived.
But definitely, the men's competiton as a whole is stronger then it ever has been.
Firstly, Federer doesn't have a tennis 'Hall of Famer' like Agassi to compete with.
Secondly, it's hard to compare Federer with today's guys because he seems to be so far ahead of the pack.
With Sampras, at least he got beaten from time-to-time, usually between 10-20 times per year...with Federer, he hardly ever loses: just 10 times in the last 2 years - that's an incredible statistic.
Checking the respective opponents, for Sampras we have top-flight guys like Courier, Chang, Agassi, Becker, Rafter, Ivanisevic, Philippoussis.
Federer has Philippousis, Agassi, Roddick, Safin, Hewitt.
Both resumes look good but I think we can only really look back and make true compaisons when Federer has retired.
That's true. The players today maybe the HoFers of the future? who knows. I mean, surely many of those who played during Sampras's era wasn't a HoFer at that point in time?
Although, the way Fed sweeps through the ATP tour with no mercy like that... it's going to be hard for the HoF committee to find a reason why this person or that person should be inducted. If GS wins are a qualification, then... well, Fed's got the most of it and leaves very little to others. If Masters titles are a qualification, well... last year Federer and Nadal left little for anyone (who must be thanking their stars that Federer and/or Nadal are or were otherwise engaged). Oh well, a little sweeping exaggeration there.
Thankfully there's a Davis Cup route. Seeing that Federer isn't too excited to play a DC tie... well... there you go.
good topic OP.
this is very subjective matter but I would go for Sampras on the basis that he was dealing with more experienced and highly decorated hall of famers. In Sampras era he had to contend with Mcenroe, Connors, Lendl, Becker and Edberg. He also had a competitive pool of young peers such as, Agassi, Chang, Courier, Ivanevesic, Rafter, Kraijeck and Kefelnikov.
In contrast Federer is only dealing with one legend, Andre Agassi who has 8 slams to Federer's 7. Thus, although it might be argued that the players are tougher, fitter and have better racket technology than in bygone years. The fact remains that they are inexperienced at the highest level. Sampras had to deal with players who had over 34 slams between then - that is a huge pool of experience. Whilst, Federer is dealing with a lot of single slam winners, Agassi aside and Hewitt and Safin on 2 slams each.
In Federer's favour is the fact that the generation after Sampras/Agassi i.e Moya, Enqvist, Johansson et all, never fulfilled their potential and so after the Sampras era there were no threats to the new generation, Agassi aside. So guys like Fererro, Roddick and Federer had a clear run for the GS titles.
I agree with Galactus and opiate, Sampras had quite a few HOFers he had to compete against. I also noticed someone mentioned that Edberg was an 80s hangover on his way out in the 90s, but if I recall, he won at least two majors in the 90s (I didn't look this up but I think I remember a Wimbledon and a US Open). One can say that throughout Pete's whole career he has had some very stiff competition and was a participant in possibly the best rivalry of all time: Sampras v. Agassi.
With that said, Federer is way more exciting to watch.
I think there were more guys peaked around Sampras than Federer. Meaning that the pack was closer in level back then. Tennis has gotten deeper, but has suffered at the top of the game.
Who's to say? All we can hope for is that Federer's rivals will get tougher as he gets older, and that very well may happen.
At this point in Fed's career, however, it's no contest--Sampras was on top during tennis' 2nd best decade ever (Edberg-Agassi-Courier-Becker-Kuerten-Rafter). The only period that supersedes Sampras' rivals was the Connors-Borg-McEnroe-Lendl-Wilander era.
It's funny when you think about it. After Sampras' retirement, and between Federer's emergence as the dominant player on the tour, Hewitt filled the void. Now, the only thing stopping Hewitt from racking up more slam titles is Federer. In other words, Hewitt was the beneficiary of a tour lacking a group of dominant players like the Sampras or McEnroe era's. The only difference now is that Roger is the head of a weak class.
1 - And an old Agassi, at that.
2 - Racquet technology (larger sweetspots, better materials) making up the fact that today's player's aren't as good as previous decades.
Sampras' rivals were much better
i'm 100% sure they were, nowadays they all suck
i watched gasquet yesterdey who's 17 player in the world and he sucks, he won sanguinetti who's even worser
and i've seen becker live, who rocked, for example
Roddick has/had a 2-1 edge against Pete.
Roddick had an edge over Pete.
Hewitt had an edge over Pete.
Safin had an edge over Pete.
Federer had an edge over Pete.
Pete was from an older era, and by the time he retired, he possessed the last straggling remains of the serve and volley relic that would soon and permanently disappear from relevance. It's testimony to his greatness that he was able to go out with one final hurrah!, but the modern power baseline game was quickly relegating him to irrelevance. He wasn't ancient when he retired -- he was simply just about over, and he knew it.
When Pete was in his prime, he dominated a list of successful champs from past eras who were fine and varied players, all of whom built up impressive resumes because no REAL legend was there to take away their chances. They built their resumes in a vacuum. When Pete arrived, he quickly proved that the "legends" from the 80's were simply capable placeholders waiting for a true champ to come along. Likewise, when the power baseliners REALLY came into their own, they proved that "ordinary" top ten talents in the modern (2000's) era were more than sufficient to dismiss the likes of Sampras.
The Hewitts and Safins and Roddicks and even Nadals would run so roughshod over dinosaurs like Edberg and Becker and Rafter in their primes that those "legends" would look like qualies. None of those guys would be a top 20 player now.
Not only are all the best players today better than the best of Sampras's rivals, they are all better than Sampras, and proved it on the court. And guys like Safin and Hewitt did it before their primes. The fact that they are better players now than when they were demolishing Pete, and STILL can't get a sniff of a title today just goes to show how Fed is light years ahead of Pete, talent-wise.
At least the ten best players who ever stepped onto a court are actively playing today.
Nice argument, I am totally convinced...
I agree with most of what you are saying except the last statement. Sampras is better than anyone today except Fed. True he had a matchup problem with Hewitt, but even Fed has a matchup problem with Nadal.
Why is that funny?
I don't know how you can presume that Hewitt and co are better than Sampras and co based on h2h or playing styles. I think the comparison is unbalanced. It's like suggesting that Agassi and Sampras were far better than Connors, Lendl and Mcenroe based on a few results.
You have to factor in the fact that the players from the older generation are past their peak i.e Henman, Sampras, Costa, Clement and are more likely to lose to up and coming replacements i.e Murray, Roddick, Nadal and Monfils.
Furthermore, depending on how you determine the word 'better' suggests it's relative. The players today are more one dimensional than in the 80's. Does this mean that the 80's players are better because they have more rounded games? It is IMHO relative? That is why a 35 going on 36 is able to compete with the twenty something's today.
You know this argument seems like a Chicken and Egg type of thing. The reasoning behind saying that Federer is the head of a "weak class" is because there are very few multiple GS winners active. However, did anyone stop to think that the reason why there are very few multiple Slam winners is because the field IS super competitive so that it becomes even more difficult to win multiple majors? Also note that a lot of the guys who are active now also had the misfortune of starting their careers in the late 90s where Pete and Andre were still pretty much dominating everything.
Sampras had Chang, Agassi and Courier to contend with whereas Roger has Nadal, Hewitt, Safin, Baghdatis, Nalbandian and a whole host of other talented players from the new generation to contend with: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the new players are much better than the older ones during their respective peaks.
Well I gotta give the edge to Federer. The way people play and the way people hits serves are different. Pete Sampras who was hitting serves in the 200-210km/h region was at the time considered one of the fastest server in the game. Forehands that was hit at the 140s were considered one of the fastest forehands. These days you can see anyone hitting those consistently. So I guess you'd have to have better hand and eye coordination. Just my 2 cents *shrugs*
I disagree 100%. How can you say the ten best players who ever stepped onto a court are playing today? That is funny, very funny. Maybe you think tennis began 10 years ago. Give a wood racquet to Safin or Nadal or Hewitt and see how they play 25 or 30 years ago. I would love seeing Nadal or Roddick playing in Wimbledon against McEnroe or Borg or Edberg. Different eras, you can´t compare.
sampras all the way
There were more mentally tough players(Muster, Kuerten, Krajicek, Larsson Courier, Lendl and Edberg) in Sampras's era than Federer's. At least that is what I believe, because Safin, Roddick, Kiefer and many others fold at times. Also, more dangerous floaters existed in Pete's day as well. Remember Magnus Larsson? Or maybe even Rios? I think that is the difference, less dangerous players making a serious commitmnet to the game.. Most of the players today are consistent like Ferrer or Andreev, and maybe a big forehand or two. However, less big guys exist who can attack and keep constant pressure on the other player. The greater diversity of styles produced all of the above. So, many big serves, big forehands, net rushers, speed demons and grinders to deal with.
i think Sampras had tougher rivals
There were more dangerous big-serving net rushers in the 90's than today. I think this is because of fast surfaces and carpet tournaments. (The other day I was looking at the breakdown of Sampras and Federer's career. Both had about the same # of titles at age 24, but Sampras had 11 carpet titles to Fed's 1!) There are big-serving netrushers today as well - Dent, Ancic, Karlovic, Lopez, Mirnyi, Moodie etc. - but they are beaten out by players like Gaudio, Ferrer, Gonzalez etc. who can accumulate more points on the slower surfaces. That's why more and more we are seeing big servers stay back - J. Johansson, Ljubicic, Monfils come to mind.
How can this be in Federer's favor? If Moya, Enquist, Rafter et al had been better than what they turned out to be, they would've reduced Sampras and Agassi slam counts from 96 to 02 (just like Sampras, Agassi, Courier reduced the tally of Edberg and Becker). By 2004, they would have been in the twilight of their careers anyway.
For me it doesn't matter who of them had tuogher rivals. I just watch them play ( i have many federer and sampras matches) and there is no doubt in my mind that Federer is a better player. Sampras had clearly hols i his game (backhand) which Federer has not, and Federer makes winnershots in a way Sampras never did.
Agassi who has played many big matches against them both says Federer is the best. He knows what we are talking about =
Fed fan boys sound exactly like Brad Gilbert and Mary Carillo. Fan boys really convinced themselves that a true beat down is blowing a lethargic, injured opponent off the court.
Pat McEnroe and Jim Courier's large tongues impress Tommy Haas too.
I don't care. They are/were both the most dominating player at the time.
Whose rivals are tougher? i don't know... and I can't care less...
Why all u guys always love to think about the things which never actually happened? Ahh what if Bagman have won over Federer!? Ohh at their peak: Graf/Seles... Federer/Sampras...
BLAAAAH!! You're making me kinda sick
Let the pro's be. The things happened the way it happened, and that's the point of no return...
A 120 mph serve was amazing back when sampras played, now even santoro hits them. The players are better and much stronger than the players of the 1990's, all you have todo is look at the speed the ball is traveling now a days. Look at how easily hewitt handled sampras's serve. Say what you want about the rest of pete's game, but he was serving harder when hewitt beat him than he was in the past.
Agassi maybe reguarded as a hall of famer but am i the only one who remembers him taking every other year off in the 90's?
Sampras, most definitely.
An aging and time worn Agassi is still competitive against todays players. Look at the GS singles records of the guys Sampras had to beat; Edberg, Lendl, Courier, Becker, Agassi, Rafter et al. How many of todays players can compare to even one of those guys? Who in todays game will win more than two slams?
Federer really has no competition today except on clay.
You are quite mistaken. Michael Stich in the early 90's had 140mph serves
(and not much else arguably). The record was 145mph, I think. Roddick's serve is only marginally faster, and most players don't hit nearly as hard.
Sampras and Ivanisevic, two of the best servers had only moderately fast serves. There were always people who served faster and harder.
Hewitt, Baghdatis, Kiefer, Safin and Davydenko can't compare with Lendl, Edberg, Becker and Rafter.
Nadal's always injured. Safin's bored. Roddick has the attention span of a flea. Berdych is unfit and impatient on the court.
The problem is you are in a forum with a lot of teens who probably never got to watch Sampras, Edberg, Becker and the rest battle it out in the late 80s and all the way through the 90s. True, men's tennis does have depth now but certainly not the class that the 90s did. Its all baseline bashing 2 handed backhands out there, no elegant Edberg, no smooth volley Rafter and last but not least, no Ivanisevic....
Given that, it is not Federer's fault that he came into this era, so long live Fed... and Marat owes us all another slam
I think tennis is better today overall, the players ranked 140 or 180 are really good, challenger events are of great level these guys give some serious trouble to the top guys, but is there where I find that today's players are a bit weak.
right underneath Federer we have people like Safin and Hewitt who I consider true legends, but that's about it. then in the top 10 there's people like Roddick, Davydenko, or Ljubicic who despite being decent players are no Muster, Bruguera or Rafter.
if you look at the top 30 players of 1996 you can probably say that Sampras had much more to worry about.
1 SAMPRAS, PETE USA 4865
2 CHANG, MICHAEL USA 3597
3 KAFELNIKOV, YEVGENY RUS 3564
4 IVANISEVIC, GORAN CRO 3492
5 MUSTER, THOMAS AUT 3166
6 BECKER, BORIS GER 2983
7 KRAJICEK, RICHARD NED 2380
8 AGASSI, ANDRE USA 2364
9 ENQVIST, THOMAS SWE 2191
10 FERREIRA, WAYNE RSA 2149
11 RIOS, MARCELO CHI 2114
12 MARTIN, TODD USA 2039
13 COSTA, ALBERT ESP 1757
14 EDBERG, STEFAN SWE 1567
15 SIEMERINK, JAN NED 1530
16 STICH, MICHAEL GER 1518
17 GUSTAFSSON, MAGNUS SWE 1515
18 MANTILLA, FELIX ESP 1505
19 BERASATEGUI, ALBERTO ESP 1477
20 WASHINGTON, MALIVAI USA 1472
21 PIOLINE, CEDRIC FRA 1455
22 ROSSET, MARC SUI 1406
23 CORRETJA, ALEX ESP 1385
24 KORDA, PETR CZE 1332
25 HAARHUIS, PAUL NED 1312
26 COURIER, JIM USA 1299
27 WOODFORDE, MARK AUS 1287
28 MOYA, CARLOS ESP 1283
29 HENMAN, TIM GBR 1243
30 PHILIPPOUSSIS, MARK AUS 1242
Wow, thanks for putting up that list RiostheGenius. I remember watching a couple of old Masters Cup tourneys and the competitions were so tight that those who went on to the SFs were often determined on the basis of sets and games they won because hardly anyone ever went undefeated in those things. In marked contrast today's MC features wipeouts like Gaudio's double bagel. It makes you think, doesn't it?
The new generation of players that will peak in about two or three years time seems to be more promising though. Imagine the MC four years from now: Nadal, Berdych, Gasquet, Baghdatis, plus some of the leftovers from this generation... Should be very interesting.
They did reduce Sampras' and Agassi's GS slam tally. Rafter beat Agassi in several Wimbledon SF in 5 sets. He also beat Sampras in the US Open 98 SF. Moya contested a OZ Open final with Sampras. The point i'm making is that these players never flourished after their early promise although it might be argued that Rafter over achieved. But the other guys like Enqvist, Moya and Kuerten to an extent never kicked on and so Fed and co never had the same experienced HOF's to contend with.
Put it this way how many of the current crop are going to have 6 or seven slams apart from Fed? How many will be future HOF's? Sampras had a whole different class of players to deal with. Edberg won the 93 US Open. Becker won the 96 OZ Open to name but a few. Federer in contrast is not meeting too many experienced GS winners unless you consider a part-time legend, Agassi, Lleytton Hewitt and the unpredictable Safin.
One attribute some people have missed is experience. It is arguble whether today's players are better than yesteryear's because of the marginal differences they share in power, groundstokes and fitness. But experience and a champion's mentality cannot be underestimated. Don't believe me just ask M Hingis.
Edberg and Sampras played twice in a GS. They were both between Pete's first and second GS wins, and I believe Pete credits losing to Edberg as a turning point in his focus/preparation. But I digress....
Lots of you guys mention Becker. All I can ask is whether any of you saw him play. While he did somehow manage to spend about 3 months of his career as No. 1, if I recall correctly it was while Edberg was off the tour for a bit due to some ailment, where he couldn't protect some points(not 100% sure of my memory on this).
Becker had a lousy forehand that couldn't reliably stay on court, but he did have the best serve of anyone up to the time he played. Strictly one-dimensional, and when you have to talk about Becker as defense of depth of the game, you've lost the argument already.
Fed, Safin, Hewitt, Roddick did play with two of the highest caliber HOFers (higher than Edberg & Becker) - Sampras and Agassi. All 4 of them have a winning record over Sampras.
How many slams did Edberg, Becker win during 93-98 when Sampras finished #1? Just 1. As Grimjack pointed out, they won their slams in an earlier era when there was no dominant champion like Sampras or Federer. Sampras beating Becker is not any greater than Fed beating Agassi.
Federer is simply a dominant champion in the mold of Sampras and Borg that would keep his opponents from picking up slams. I mean he has won 6 of the last 7 non-clay slams!! So I don't think it's fair to ask who among the current crop can win 6 or 7 slams.
Yeah, this idea that today's men's pro tour is weak because only Fed is winning slams is nonsense. I mean DUH !!!! Federer is the MOST talented human being to have EVER picked up a racket and he is IN HIS PRIME right now. SO of COURSE there are not going to be a whole lot of other guys who are going to be winning slams !!!!!!!!!!!!! Common sense no ?
The fact is that today's top 100 in the men's tour is the most competitve group to have ever played this game period. The fact that an unknown could reach the FINALS at the AO is truly a testimony to this fact. And whats even more amazing is that, according to Federer (when he was sharing his thoughts on Marcos Bagdatis) there are A LOT of guys out there capable of doing this. On any given day, just about any guy in the top 10 (with perhaps the exception of Fed) can be beat by just about any guy in the top 100. This is what makes today's men's tour so exciting for me at least.
And I know this next comment is going to ruffle some feathers on this board, but I'm going to say it anyways. Even IF Sampras were in his prime today (age wise) and playing at the top of HIS game, there is NO WAY he would be enjoying the same degree of success that he did back when he played. Sure, he would still be competitve, and he would still be in the top 10 competing for Slams. But he sure wouldn't be winning 14 of them against today's men's field of players.
As an aside though, there is one guy who comes to mind from a past era who I think could make great rival for anyone today and that would be
Borg....he was truly a man ahead of his time IMO.
Cmon with the hypothetical questions already - don't you have anything better to do?
Federer played poor matches for a year. Still, he squeaked by a dozen matches in Dubai, Miami, Halle, Cincinnati, US Open, Masters Cup and Australian Open. In 2004 and 2005, except for Nadal, Hewitt and Agassi, the players who've won a set from Federer have rarely made the quarterfinals of Masters and slam tourneys.
Safin and Roddick aren't fit and competitive enough.
Kiefer, Mirnyi, Haas, Ancic, Zabaleta, Ljubicic, Davydenko, Blake, Berdych, Nalbandian and Gaudio don't win many tournaments.
Soderling, Minar, Gasquet and Monfils are lucky to reach semifinals and finals of small tournaments the last year.
I think many "kids" on this message board don't know how to play tennis properly and don't recognize great tennis!!! Sampras a much tougher competition than Federer, in those days there was MUCH more versatility. And just because Fed won on game vs Sampras doesn't mean ****. Tennis has declined in my opinion, nowdays players prefer to stay back and rarely do anything else ... just check the grass close to baseline during Wimbi.
Just somethin I wanted to say for a long time: how many of you have tried to play SV during a game not many I gues, otherwise you would appreciate Sampi more.
Sampi to me is like Kobe he made tennis look easy - charging the net is no easy task when you play against AA.
Curious, do you think there may be a REASON no one comes to the net all the time anymore? Other than a few guys, none of whom are in the top ten? Reason being that it just doesn't work anymore, returns are too big, you have to pick your spots to come in. Could you imagine Rafter out there today with his groundies? He wouldn't get TO the net. Like others have mentioned, guys that Fed owns now did pretty well vs. Samps, granted he was a little past his prime, but didn't that seem to happen quite suddenly? He was just barely over 30.
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