Who is the GOAT??

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by uncooling, Mar 15, 2013.

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WHO IS the GOAT?

  1. FEDERER

    66.4%
  2. NADAL

    12.9%
  3. SAMPRAS

    6.9%
  4. BORG

    5.2%
  5. DJOKOVIC

    2.6%
  6. LAVER

    1.7%
  7. AGASSI (OR OTHER)

    4.3%
  1. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Prime Seles played Wimbledon just once, in 1992, and wasn't herself in the final that year at all, having been hounded by the media all tournament. The feeling was that it was only a matter of time before she won the tournament. She was 18 and dominating everywhere else.
     
  2. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    That depends on the source; at the time, I do not recall many believing she would be a lock to win Wimbledon if facing Graf on the other side of the net, as Graf was held in a similar regard as Sampras in terms of grass acumen.

    To be honest, Seles was not even seen in the same light Rafter would be several years later (back-to-back finalist everyone thought was a natural to win the title, but did not). I remember in the early 90s, many thought Novotna had the goods to be the next queen of that surface more than any nods Seles recieved in her time.
     
  3. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    I have to agree. I too don't recall anyone stating that Seles was a lock to win Wimbledon. It was Graf's to lose
     
  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Try not to use hindsight when doing analysis. Yes, grass was the weakest surface for Seles, but she had just beaten Navratilova in the semi finals, and she had overtaken Graf at the other majors in the recent period before that. Graf had previously been dominant everywhere, but Seles had become the best in the world. It was pretty obvious that she would crack Wimbledon eventually. Obviously, the affect that the stabbing and her dad's cancer battle had on Seles' mentality changed the whole dynamics of what happened afterwards. It changed her as a person, making her more serious, self-conscious and philosophical than the tennis-loving, giggly and easy-going person of her pre-stabbing self.

    I have the BBC broadcast. During the warmup, they were debating the match ahead, and John Barrett and Ann Jones backed Seles to win, while Virginia Wade went with Graf. Combine this with Seles being 18 at the time, and already the reigning champion of the other 3 majors and the WTA Championships, it says it all. Seles had missed 1991 Wimbledon due to injury, and had withdrawn by telephone without calling a press conference and subsequently wasn't found for weeks by the press, so the tournament was dominated by questions of "Where is Monica Seles?" No doubt that annoyed a lot of people, having an absent world number 1 talked about more than the Wimbledon ladies' tournament itself, so that's the reason why the media got their own back at 1992 Wimbledon, with the hysteria over the grunts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  5. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Seles might have won 1 Wimbledon without the stabbing (most likely a really weak year where she didnt have to play any of Graf, Novotna, Hingis, Williams, or Davenport, 1994 would have probably been her best and only ever opportunity). However a possible GOAT on the womens side would need to win atleast 3 or 4 Wimbledons, and Seles would have never managed that stabbing or no stabbing. Only her most devoted and delusional fans will argue otherwise.

    Anyway this whole discussion is silly since we shouldnt even be talking about WOMEN tennis players in a thread about the best mens players of all time. A seperate thread should be done for the women if one wants to discuss them. As for the actual poll above it is predictable Federer will win in Fedland Warehouse but the real answer is of course Laver, the only player to win 2 Grand Slams, man or women (pardon to the Selestials like spinovic, Mustard, et al who are sure of her winning 3 or more Calendar Slams without the stabbing, ROTFL). Second for me would be a toss up between Gonzales and Rosewall. Fourth would be Federer, and 5th a toss up between Sampras and Nadal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2013
  6. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Well, I said Graf because G.O.A.T stands for:

    Greatest
    Of
    All
    Time

    It didn't say G.M.O.A.T. or Men's GOAT. Although, I do understand that the world still tends to default "Greatest Anything" to men. Which is unfortunate given that it is the year 2013... and not the year 1413.

    So if you ask me who the greatest player ever is, I'd say Graf. If you ask me who the greatest male player is, it's between Laver and Rosewall. My knock on Rosewall is that he never mastered Wimbledon (although he crushed other huge grass tournaments). Laver's accomplishments have never been achieved in the men's game since.

    However, between Graf and Laver, I'd have to say Graf. Again, I don't consider slams as the only element. When you see the people that Graf beat, the strength of the field in her career, her astounding results (not only slams but #1 rankings and point totals).... she was a beast.
     
  7. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    It is unfair to say Rosewall never mastered Wimbledon when he had to miss it for 12 years in his prime. He would surely have won atleast a couple Wimbledons.

    Is strength of competition really a strength of Graf? She came in with Evert and Navratilova were in their 30s, dominated again after Seles was stabbed, then faded when the next generation like Hingis, Williams, and Davenport emerged. I greatly respect her record, but I wouldnt say strength of competition is a huge element in her favor. Compared to Federer mind you she had way tougher competition, but I would say Laver had more than Graf. Look at the players and draws Laver beat to win his 69 slam. On a whole different level than Graf's 88 slam.
     
  8. eidolonshinobi

    eidolonshinobi Professional

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    you opened a can of worms OP.
     
  9. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I know what you're saying here. This is why I have issues to this day deciding between Rosewall and Laver. Especially since he beat Laver on grass several times. I'm pretty sure Rosewall would have beaten Wimbledon at least three times.

    But what I have an issue with would be my own hypocrisy around considering "what-if" circumstances. Such as "what if Seles hadn't been stabbed". If I negate that argument, shouldn't I also negate the "what if Rosewall hadn't have dropped out?"

    I know it is a different circumstance, but I still struggle with it.

    I consider Graf's entire career. I'm not just looking at slams or even calendar slams. Graf had to compete against more competitive GS winners than anybody. Graf also dealt with the four surfaces when they were the most distinct and different.

    I've looked at both Laver's and Graf's draws through their careers. I've even added up the total number of slams of their opponents. Graf is ahead.

    But honestly, I don't want to degrade either's accomplishments. I'm willing to say that they are so close to each other... that it makes it difficult to distinguish.
     
  10. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Not hindsight, as my comments on Seles and Novotna were recalled from sentiment / view of that era. Rafter was only mentioned as an example of one who was expected to win Wimbledon, but did not (despite having a supierior feel for the surface over someone like Seles).

    Some said the same of Henin; according to her supporters, she had a game that was "all court," and could handle the faster surface (for one with her strengths being on clay) and should have been a perfect fit to win the Wimbledon title, but despite all studies of potential match-ups or how well she was playing (ex. 2006), it was not to be. That event was not hers to own.
     
  11. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Exactly, making a Wimbledon final at a young age is no proof to winning Wimbledon. Henin impressively made the Wimbledon finals at only 18 in 2001 as well, but never went on to hold the trophy, and she wasnt humiliated in the final the way Seles was either. Henin is a better and more talented grass player than Seles, so if even she while later peaking in a poor grass period (2006-2007 when Williams were AWOL, Davenport was retired) couldnt win a Wimbledon, Seles is far from a sure thing ever to have, let alone the 3 or 4 minimum that would be required to be a candidate for overall female GOAT.

    Anyway Seles is not even a factor in this topic, so not worth discussing any further.
     
  12. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    ROFL...........Rosewall had a 0-5 record in Wimbledon finals, when he was winning everything else available to him. His failures there are certainly a reason to exclude him from GOAT.
     
  13. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    So much ignorant from him it's unbelievable !

    During Rosewall went 0-5 Wimbledon, he was able to win AO and USO when both of those slams were played on grass. It's clear that Wimbledon was Rosewall's weak slam.
     
  14. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    The problem with the GOAT is that you have too much speculation. Who knows how Hoad, Budge, or Laver would be like against Fed, Nadal, or Djok. This debate goes far beyond Pre-Open Era tennis. For example, would Safin beat Nadal? Who knows? The two meetings that they had were awful! Safin looked like a shell of what he was in his prime. I have a thread that talks about how his game changed after his knee injury: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=455682.

    What about the court surface and conditions?

    Then you have the "in his prime" problem, or as I call it: The Nalbandian Effect. Some players are simply more consistent than others. Do you include this consistency in your rating of GOAT? Or do we want the absolute best tennis player in an isolated bubble?

    There is another thread currently in this discussion section about Nadal-Fed. Another example of what makes the GOAT impossible. Bad match-ups are common in tennis. In a ridiculous round robin tournament with 1,000 players playing on all four surfaces, federer would likely have the best record. However, he would likely lose to Nadal on every surface except for grass (they are tied now on hardcourts overall).

    Lastly, heart and desire is very important, but difficult to measure. Rafa had no business winning the 2009 AO. I almost didn't watch it because I was sure that he would retire in the first set. I'm not stay up till 2am to watch 25 minutes of tennis. Clearly Rafa had a lot of heart, and wanted it more. Safin is another good example. His temper was ridiculous! When he could channel that anger (Ray Lewis style), he was diving for shots and unbelievably focused.

    Do you measure Grand Slam counts? Federer with 17 is amazing. What is even more amazing is that 12 out of the 17 came in 2003-2007. What is less amazing is that the following five years he only produced 5 titles, less than half. He was certainly still in his prime in 08, 09, etc. If anything he got better with age because he adopted cutthroat tennis and ended points more quickly. Obviously, the competition from 2003-2007 was not the most consistent. I believe Robredo and Ancic both made the top 10 :-|. Federer was clearly in the right place at the right time. Have the Nadal, Djok, or Murray of today hop in the Delorean and they would clean house just like Federer did from 2004-2007, GUARANTEED!

    The best way that I have seen GOAT done is by combining two methods:
    1. Which player is the greatest in their prime, best surface, favorite opponent, etc. At 100% peak efficiency.

    2. Which player would you want to play for your life?

    Here is my list:
    1. Safin, 2005, Hardcourt (pre-injury). Rafa, year would depend on opponent due to slight style changes, clay court (healthy). Federer, year would depend on opponent due to slight style changes, grass or indoor hardcourt (both need to be super fast).

    2. I would want someone with heart and desire. Watching Federer completely fall apart in the 2009 AO final was awful. So was some of his FO meetings with Rafa. He just completely drifted away... I say Rafa or channeled anger Safin (could be dangerous if he doesn't channel it very well) for heart and desire to save my life!

    Therefore, I have RAFA or SAFIN as the GOAT. I believe that my arguments, though valid and logical, are still complete garbage. This is the best I have ever been able to come up with, but this is truly impossible to do. I think you'd have better luck proving or disproving the existence of bigfoot then deciphering who the GOAT is.
     
  15. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    He was 0-5 in Wimbledon/Wimbledon Pro finals, losing against five different opponents.

    In the years 1953-1956 he won 2 AOs, 1 FO, 1 USO and the Davis Cup. He won all major tournaments available to him bar Wimbledon.

    In the years 1967-1974 he won 2 AOs, 1 FO, 1 USO and the WCT. He won all major tournaments available to him bar Wimbledon.

    Draw your own conclusions.
     
  16. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Nobody disputed that Wimbledon was his weakest slam. However despite that he still would have won it atleast a couple times had he not been barred all those years. Does one seriously think he would have won any Wimbledons from 1957-1967, especialy at his peak from 1960-1964? Dont be ridiculous. Given that he won the Wembley Pro from 1960-1963 (and another in 1957) which had all the best players minus Laver from 60-62, and Emerson, and that Laver was no match at all for him as a pro in 1963, it is quite possible he would have won Wimbledon all 5 of those years had it been Open Tennis in fact, but atleast probably 3 minimum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2013
  17. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, this is probably why we shouldn't even talk about it. It really is an exercise in futility that seems to never be resolved.

    The questions you pose, I have also posed before. To me, those questions are fun and interesting to discuss.

    As for who I'd have play -- with my life being at stake -- it is without a doubt Serena Williams. She is the only player in the game who I would characterize as a pathological killer. I'm not sure she even enjoys the game itself. I think she just utterly enjoys destroying her opponents. Nadal doesn't even come close to her in that category, IMHO. I'm not sure who else matches up.

    Nadal has some of this... but not to her level.
     
  18. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Given his psychological problems having a 0-5 record in Wimbledon finals, I don't think it's inevitable he would ever have won it. Not sure why you and others assume he would definitely have won it had he been allowed to compete (remember Gonzales, Laver, Hoad etc. would have all been present as well).

    This is one of those hypotheticals that people state as if they are definitives. No way to say if it would be true.
     
  19. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    An interesting point. I agree that she is like that. She even has the desire to take out linesmen. I found this photo of her that exemplifies her intensity. I think she looks great in purple.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    How do you know it was psychological problems. Fast grass was his weakest surface, and when you look at the Wimbledon finals he lost he didnt lose any he was really favored to win:

    1954- lost to Drobny in 4 tough sets. OK that the worst loss probably, but I believe Drobny was the #1 amateur player of the year. It was Rosewall's first final so unlikely he had psychological problems already in Wimbledon finals. Some nerves in your first ever Wimbledon final are to be expected.

    1956- lost to Hoad in 4 sets. No upset. Hoad was by far the #1 this year and nearly unbeatable. It was his 3rd straight slam, but Hoad would be denied a Grand Slam by Rosewall himself at the U.S Open.

    1970- lost to John Newcombe. Rosewall was already 34 and well past his prime. Newcombe was the #1 player at the time.

    1974- lost to Jimmy Connors. This one is a no brainer, he was 39 and did amazing to even reach the final vs that years dominant #1.

    The Wimbledon Pro he lost to Laver, again no upset, a slightly aged Rosewall losing to prime Laver on fast grass, fully expected.

    What happened to those psychological problems in those 5 Wembley Pros he won vs the best players in the World?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2013
  21. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    And given that some of the great players have failed to win on their worst slam during their prime...Lendl-Wimbledon, Sampras-FO, Borg-USO, Mac-FO etc...

    Like you said...it's hypothetical and there's no answer if Rosewall would have Wimbledon had he played during his prime.
     
  22. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    He clearly wasn't intimidated at Wembley. He certainly was playing at SW19, the home of tennis. No man who fails in five finals there can be GOAT.
     
  23. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    Nadal owns Federer, convincingly.

    That's huge evidence against Federer's case.
     
  24. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Henin did not dominate tennis to the extent of early 1990s Seles. Seles at that time had a enthusiasm for tennis as a sport, and the competition that went with it, well beyond what Henin had, in my opinion.

    I'm sorry, but with all the crazy weather during the 1992 Wimbledon final combined with a mute Seles, the scoreline doesn't tell the story in terms of tennis ability. Now, we can blame Seles for the poor way she dealt with the circumstances she had found herself in, if you wish, but that comes from a lack of experience with the situations that she had found herself in. That experience would have made her stronger for the future. In fact, she had a chat with Arthur Ashe before the 1992 US Open, and she decided that she wouldn't pay attention to the grunt controversy any longer.

    But Rosewall couldn't play at Wimbledon for over a decade after turning professional in late 1956.

    Of course we can't say for sure. But Rosewall was the world's best player in 1962 and 1963, with Gonzales having gone into an 18 month retirement from the end of 1961. Gonzales stayed the best in 1960 and 1961 due to him winning the big World Pro Tours, but Rosewall was the best in tournament play in 1960 and 1961. In 1962 and 1963, as I said before, Rosewall was the best player in the world. Admittedly, Wimbledon was Rosewall's weakest mainstream major, but it's hard to believe that Rosewall wouldn't have won Wimbledon at some stage in that decade plus period when he couldn't play at Wimbledon.

    There were no official rankings before 1973, but Rod Laver was the number 1 seed and the best player in the world at that time. Laver lost at 1970 Wimbledon in an upset against Roger Taylor in the Round of 16. John Newcombe was the number 2 seed.
     
  25. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Mustard, with that last post, you have just made me realize that Laver over Rosewall is the men's GOAT.

    Why? Because these arguments just shouldn't be so difficult to make with a GOAT.

    You should not have to do complex what-if hypotheticals and excuse-making for a GOAT. I've done this for years concerning Rosewall. I can't give him the nod anymore. He had five shots at Wimbledon... and he didn't make it. I'm sorry... that's all there is to it.

    And Laver did it. Laver played in the Professional league, too.

    But here's the other thing that convinced me. If I compare Laver's entire career to Rosewall... including the Professional and Open era... it goes to Laver. Even though Rosewall did beat Laver in the Professional league.

    Laver just accomplished more over the entire period than Rosewall did.
     
  26. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

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    I think you left out clay in the first sentence.
     

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