Who is the most important male player ever.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by JAY1, Apr 8, 2012.

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Who is the most important male player ever.

  1. Lew Hoad

    2.1%
  2. Ken Rosewall

    3.1%
  3. Rod Laver

    13.5%
  4. Arthur Ashe

    11.5%
  5. Jimmy Connors

    13.5%
  6. Bjorn Borg

    21.9%
  7. John Mcenroe

    6.3%
  8. Andre Agassi

    7.3%
  9. Pete Sampras

    7.3%
  10. Roger Federer

    46.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    This is connected to the other poll recently posted and they both stem from the thread 'Is Jimmy Connors underrated'.
     
    #1
  2. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    Ernie Gulbis...mark my words.
     
    #2
  3. 8F93W5

    8F93W5 Rookie

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    I've never heard that question about tennis players before.
    Important in what way? I don't know if there are any important people in tennis right now among current pro players.
    Ever?
    I guess Billie Jean King would be the best and only answer. Some might say Arthur Ashe. Maybe any of the several who have started charities/foundations such as Agassi and his school.
    Maybe Ilie Nastase for having sex with 2500 women (he said so in his book). Maybe he was important to all of them. Maybe he gave them something to remember for the rest of their lives? Is that important?
    Wingfield? Howard Head? Walter Clopton Wingfield?
    With the exception of Billie Jean King, I don't know if the world would be any different today if any certain player had never been born.

    Edited later:
    Oh! opps! You said "male" player.
    Ashe I guess.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
    #3
  4. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Who's been the most important male player in regard to bringing tennis to the masses and for a time transcending tennis itself!
     
    #4
  5. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Borg maybe
     
    #5
  6. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Laurie Doherty, Tilden, Budge & Pancho Gonzalez should get into that list :)
     
    #6
  7. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Vijay Amritraj, of course.
     
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  8. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    This is the most important thread ever.
     
    #8
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    major Clopton Wingfield.He invented tennis...
     
    #9
  10. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Jack Kramer, without a doubt. Great player that changed the game with the s&v dominating for decades but then really changed the game after he quit playing and began administrating the shamateurism to pro play.
     
    #10
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kramer was very influential, and possibly tennis greatest ever politician.

    Tilden gave tennis a big boost and was considered the first tennis intelectual.

    Other guys that were responsible for the growth of tennis were promotors Lamar Hunt and George Mc Call.
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    They (Kramer and Tilden) are definitely candidates for most important player. I suppose most influential might be a better term.

    Laver and Rosewall helped keep the popularity of tennis alive in the 1960's so they were influential also. Borg created almost the rock star image of tennis in the 1970's with some other players I suppose.

    Pancho Segura was very influential in his own way as a player and a coach.
     
    #12
  13. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    It's hard to pin down one name, but I have a few names. From what I read, Kramer and Tilden seem to be important figures. Laver did the Grand Slam twice. Connors and Borg did much to give tennis a boost in the 70's media and television boom. Arthur Ashe, rest his soul. Overall, I have a lot of time for Billie Jean King too, fair play to the women. Wasn't Suzanne Langlen a massive star in her day?
     
    #13
  14. 8F93W5

    8F93W5 Rookie

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    He patented a game that was already being played.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You are right.Gonzales was also important during the pro days of the 50´s.Borg is considered by many the father of modernt ennis, not just from a stroke point of view only.But I agree, BJK must be the most influential person associated with this sport.Lenglen was the women´s equivalent to Tilden, the first really household name.
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    like brittons use to do in anything....
     
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  17. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Hall of Fame

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    Where's Lendl? Seriously, we wouldn't have the slow surface grindfests we have today without him. If this period of slow surfaces and hard-hitting baseliners obsessed with fitness continues for another decade, the father of that kind of tennis should certainly be considered the most important ever.

    None of the guys on your list are repeatable. They're all one of a kind. How does that make them important? What did the contribute to the sport but popularity, fleeting popularity...
     
    #17
  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That is very true.Even more than Laver and Borg, Lendl´s way of playing turned to be the most imitated, 20 years after his retirement...
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just thought of another big name, Rene Lacoste, inventor of the first non wood racquet made out of steel, great great tennis player and of course we have his clothing line.

    He may be the number one guy.

    Who knows, without him we may be playing with tiny wood racquets. That's big.

    I think he may have invented the tennis ball machine but I'm not sure.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEaL7Euh_mI
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
    #19
  20. power level 800

    power level 800 Semi-Pro

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    Lendl! Everytime I see Berdych or Del Potro crushing a flat forehand, I just say to myself 'that's Lendl's mark on the game'.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    yes, I also read somewhere that story about ball machine.Lacoste was a stajanovist, a pre modern Lendl...
     
    #21
  22. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I would nominate Riggs and Kramer since they were both top players who organized pro tours and help to evolve the current pro tour.
     
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  23. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Without Kramer (now maybe someone else would have risen to do what he did?) there would not have been any Borg the rock star or other household names in the 70's as the game would have remained small in stature. He brought tournament tennis to the masses. Behind the scenes, he was constantly working on greater exposure thru TV and larger venues and greater money. He was the visionary that brought tennis into the big time and out of the short 2 minute news reel.
     
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  24. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Lew Hoad (and his close friend Tony Trabert), who brought tennis alive in the new media, that is TELEVISION. Their 1955 Davis Cup match drew an audience of over 10 million, the first mass audience for the game.
    The Wimbledon finals of 1956 and 1957 provided the highest display of tennis in the postwar game to that point.
    Although Kramer refused to allow TV cameras into the major pro tournaments at Forest Hills, for fear that TV would hurt ticket sales, Trabert himself succeeded Kramer as the tour manager in 1962, and televised hugely popular matches in Australia, including a 1962 tournament final where Hoad defeated Rosewall, and big matches at Kooyong in 1963 where Hoad defeated Laver in a close, five set match, and Laver defeated Rosewall the next day in four sets.
    Hoad was responsible for bringing tennis to TV with mass popularity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
    #24
  25. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Kramer's obit in the LA Times gives credence to his legacy. There's a reason that the greatest selling racquet of all time was the Kramer autograph and it continued to sell more than 20 years after he was no longer playing.

    Hall of Fame tennis journalist Bud Collins said Sunday, "From a competitor to an administrator to a broadcaster, Jack Kramer was the most important figure in the history of the game."


    http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-jack-kramer14-2009sep14,0,2060439.column?page=1
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
    #25
  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If Hoad neevr played tennis, he´d have been one of the big movie stars of the 50´s and 60´s.Right there with Charlton Heston,Paul Newman,Kirk Douglas.Looked like a musculated and nicer looking Alan ladd.
     
    #26
  27. 8F93W5

    8F93W5 Rookie

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    Without Kramer, Billie Jean King and the other ladies might not have decided to contact Phillip Morris (Virgina Slims) and start their own tour.

    BTW, Kramer wrote a GREAT book called "The Game"
     
    #27
  28. 8F93W5

    8F93W5 Rookie

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    Lew Hoad tried cocaine. He even wrote about it in his book.
     
    #28
  29. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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    Federer and Borg
     
    #29
  30. tennischemist

    tennischemist Rookie

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    In popularizing the game, I play tennis because my mom had a crush on Borg when she was a teenager and started playing tennis because of him. She's not from the US, though. Mac and Connors allegedly reinvigorated tennis in the US (according to my dad, at least, I wasn't alive). It's too difficult for me to say much about the Pro-era dudes because that's so far removed from anything I know about.

    As far as influential otherwise, I feel that it has to be Arthur Ashe.

    Ashe protested South Africa's Apartheid, raised awareness about heart disease and AIDS, and spearheaded the ATP.

    Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, perhaps Gottfried Von Cramm, and maybe Martina (I dunno how big of a deal her defection from the Iron Curtain to the US was).
     
    #30
  31. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    The names you mention, plus Sean Connery, were close friends of Hoad.
     
    #31
  32. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    He also was famous for all-night beer bashes before matches, and smoking with a twin-exhaust holder.
    He paid the penalty with an early death and shortened career.
     
    #32
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Is it true? well, Lewis would have been a great 007, with his heavy aussie accent included¡¡ " bring me a Vodka & Martini: smashed, not sliced " or maybe " Twisted, not topspinned "?
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nice post, tennischemist.Much of the 1970´s teenagers were fortunate enough to be in the Golden Era of Tennis, and certainly Borg was the most popular household name in the world, even if in the US, Connors was just as much if not more popular.In Europe, japan,Australia every body was going crazy about that punk tennis player who changed everything with his top spin, 2 handed backhand and his actor´s looks.

    Ashe had a political side that went beyond sport.Just like Ali.It was a period full of charachters, like Pele,Cruyff,Ali,Mercky,Nicklaus,Sevvy,Jabbar,Chamberlin and many more and it was easy to just get passionated about sport.

    One question...why did you mention Von Cramm? he was a great player and had a sad personal situation during Hitler´s days but I would never say he was a main charachter for our sport.
     
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  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Hoad may have been too strong to play 007. Any evil villain who punched him would be in pain because they would basically be hitting steel.
     
    #35
  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah¡¡.I can imagine Jack Kramer as "M" and Bill Tilden as "Q"...Gonzales was a true villain.A Hoad vs Gonzales fight certainly would match and suprass any Bond´s battle, and possibly any heavyweight fight ever...
     
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  37. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, either Bill Tilden, or Jack Kramer (as much for what he did as a promoter as a player).
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It also depends on which country you talk about.

    F.I. Becker had a huge impact on developing tennis in Germany, one of the finest sporting nations on earth but with a very poor record at tennis.It really looked like there was no tennis in Germany till 1985 Wimbledon.

    Vilas in Argentina and Santana in Spain did the same thing.Tennis was a very elitist sport in elitist countries but no popular basis.Both made it extremely popular and the current croop of Argentinian´s and Spain´s pros owe that to them.

    What about Gomez in Ecuador? and Vijay Amritraj in India?.I would even give credit Andrei Chesnokov for developing tennis in the Soviet Union, but Russia is a very complicated country and easy explanations like that probably don´t work.

    I am not sure if that chinese girl that won RG a few years ago will do the same for China.I doubt it.

    I am sure, after Djokovic, Serbia tennis will explode.Serbians ( and all ex Yugoslavians) are extremely talented for sports, and I see that happening.
     
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  39. The Bawss

    The Bawss Banned

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    Tim Henman for sure, he shaped a nation. GO TIGER TIM!
     
    #39
  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Jack Kramer invented the modern pro tour.

    That could make him the "the most important male player ever."
     
    #40
  41. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    under that particular definition? Connors...closely followed by Bjorn and Mac. They took it out of the country clubs and made it both accessible and exciting.
     
    #41
  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    This is valid just for US boundaries.Borg was far more popular in the rest of this small world.
     
    #42
  43. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Tilden, in good and in bad ways. No other male player did represent tennis as a person like Tilden did. He transcended his sport and became a public figure - without the help of Nike or Adidas. His writings set the classic tennis standards. When Newcombe after his Wim win in 1967 was asked, how he had learned tennis, he said: By reading Tilden. Tilden became a figure in literature, too. Nabokov styled a figure in Lolita after him. I only know of Di Maggio in a similar way, who was cited by Hemingway or Paul Simon. Tilden also was responsible, that for a long time tennis was called a sissy sport.

    For both genders, i would nominate the Divine Lenglen. She transcended sports into arts. Novels, ballets and plays were written about her, her match with Wills at Cannes was the most heralded and media studded match of all time.
     
    #43
  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...like only a true french madmoiselle was able to...even if she was relaly ugly.

    Martina Hingis was the closest to her in terms of grace and femeinity...nobody who has been with a real woman will deny it....
     
    #44
  45. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Actually, Hoad and Gonzales were good friends, they travelled together and shared the same cheap motels on tour, played pool together.
    They also regarded themselves as the two greatest players ever, an opinion shared by Rosewall.
     
    #45
  46. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    If Gonzales was a villain, then Kramer and Riggs created that villain in 1950 by mocking Gonzales so much for his heavy losses to Kramer on the pro tour. Gonzales' personality changed and he became determined to turn himself into a winning machine, something Gonzales did by making huge sacrifices and he was also underpaid by Kramer, both of which just added to the chip on Gonzales' shoulder.

    When I hear descriptions of Gonzales during his amateur days, he sounds closer to Kuerten in personality, with smiles and an easy going nature, in stark contrast to what he became after 1950.
     
    #46
  47. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's amazes me to this day how one match, Lenglen against Wills is still talked about today. To me honest I cannot think of one match that I have seen in my lifetime that can equal that match, relatively speaking in people discussing it and the anticipation prior to the match.

    And you are right about Tilden and how he transcended the sport. He was the Babe Ruth of his day. It was never about his opponent, it was either Tilden won or Tilden lost the match.

    In a February 1951 AP poll on who was the greatest tennis player of the last 50 years, there was 393 votes in total and out of those 310 voted for Tilden, followed by Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Helen Wills, Suzanne Lenglen, Bill Johnston, Fred Perry and Ellsworth Vines. Of all the sports in which they asked that general question (baseball and others) Tilden had most votes in his favor.

    To me it's a shame that Tilden has fallen so far in the minds of the general public because he was about as dominant as you can get as a player. According to Bud Collins' Encyclopedia, Tilden from 1912 to 1930 won 138 out of 192 tournaments. How many more dominant can you get?
     
    #47
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver, in his book, remembered the first time he hold down Gonzales after a big contract discussion.He was amused at how, big and fierce Pancho was surprised to see that small aussie call him out.He thought he would get punched, but from then on, Gonzales knew who was the true boss of the circuit.
     
    #48
  49. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but Kramer pointed out that Tilden was lucky, he dominated a very weak field in a post-war period (come to think of it, so did Kramer himself!), and don't forget, Tilden won his first significant tournament (his FIRST, no less) at the age of 28! Many players start winding down at that age. Tilden must win the prize for the slowest developing player of all time, by a country mile! He was dominant at 34, which shows what a lack of competition he had.
     
    #49
  50. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
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