Who will still be considered a GOAT contender in 100 years' time?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Phoenix1983, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Serious question, without any trolling or fanboyism.

    We all know that the "GOAT debate" always focuses a bit too much on current players, as the media and fans salivate over those who are still plying their trade, and everyone wants to believe they are watching "the greatest to ever play the game". It makes people feel special to think that, in their time, they are seeing the pinnacle of tennis history.

    However, over time, when certain players retire, their position in history drops, as an objective reading of their achievements means they can't be spoken of as GOAT contenders. McEnroe and Agassi obviously fall into this category - players who are much more 'famous' than others who were greater than them, but who obviously are not top tier greats in the long run.

    I also think, sadly (as he was my original favourite when first watching tennis) that Sampras' reputation will decline, slightly. Not by much, and he will always be considered a top tier great. However he will probably not be considered GOAT when any future tennis history books are written, due to his clay record and Federer surpassing his slam count.

    Conversely, some players' reputations seem to remain intact, and actually prosper, after their retirement. Laver is the obvious example. Borg is an interesting case, as I think his reputation has remained intact, but the reason for his immortality has changed (ask someone 30 years ago about the reason for Borg's greatness, and it would be his 5 straight Wimbledons, whereas ask someone today, and it would be his three Channel slams).

    The most salient case for me though is Bill Tilden. Now, I am not saying I consider Tilden the GOAT - but what I am saying is that it's incredible he is still ranked by all knowledgeable experts as being top 10 all-time (minimum), some 90 years after his peak. And this, despite his personal life being one which was at best tragic and at worst, despicable. (I don't want a discussion on this point, the only reason I mention it is because you could understand if some people had wanted Tilden's name and tennis record airbrushed from history - but that record was simply too great for this to be possible)

    Anyway, as we know, each subsequent generation from now will produce great players, and over time, some of those new players will take their place in the 'consensus Top 10' greatest players ever - and, by definition, some of the players now considered in that 'consensus top 10' will have to drop out. Much as, if the 'consensus Top 10' had been done 50 years ago, it would have included names like the Musketeers, Perry and maybe Doherty, none of whom are generally considered in that category now (by most).

    So my question is, who, of players who have already existed, is most likely to still be ranked as the GOAT, or very near the GOAT, in 100, or 200 years' time?

    Personally, although I consider Federer the GOAT, I think the man most likely to be up there still is Laver. This is because I see his two CYGS's as the most unbreakable record in tennis.
     
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Laver will remain in the conversational, Nadal's exploits on clay will forever be mentioned IMO. Everyone else including Federer is potentially changeable though. Though I feel it will be a long time before Federer is pushed out if at all.
     
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  3. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    No one ...
     
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  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Nadal may forever be the clay GOAT but will he be mentioned in the overall GOAT debate in 100 yrs? Obviously his career is not over yet so we don't know what his final achievements will be.
     
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  5. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    Impossible to say OP, 100 years from now is too far into the future to tell. It's pie in the sky stuff. Who knows what will happen.

    We could invariably see each subsequent generation produce a player who would stake a claim to the GOAT. With the way the courts are now, homegenised and all, we could see a guy come along in a weak era, that is yet to happen, and rack up 30 slams. That would mean curtains for every player in history up to this point as far as GOAT is concerned.

    Alternatively, the sport's administrators could decide to speeden up the courts at some point in the future and keep the clay courts slow, which would mean a more even distribution of slam winners. Who knows?

    We may also see a 5th slam added to the calendar in 5 decades time and that would disjoint everything.

    The game changes and that's why you can never have an all time GOAT, because you're comparing apples to oranges. The best you can hope to ascertain is the era great in each era, apples to apples, not an all time GOAT.
     
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  6. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    Jack Kramer did not allow much televised coverage of tennis during his time, which will weaken the arguments for players like Gonzales or Hoad over time. In the case of players like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc., their matches are well documented and they will probably have a better chance of being contenders in the future.
     
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  7. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Laver will stay GOAT until someone can match:

    200 Titles
    2 Calendars
    11 slams despite (while barring them from Majors through their primes)

    .. All the while playing in an era full of talent. Not an inept one.


    Sampras' 6 year end #1s will stay forever most likely. Pancho's 8 years on top will stay. Fed's Slam semis streak will probably stay maybe.. Doubt his slam record will though
     
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  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    90's Clay, Rosewall will also stay GOAT until someone can match:

    23 (or even 25) majors
    8 GS tournaments despite missing 45 (fortyfive) events.
    Reaching 52 big SFs
    Winning 24 Doubles majors
    Winning 9 majors in a row (where he participated)
    Having a positive hth at majors against almost all greats he played against (including Laver) (exceptions Drobny and Connors)
     
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  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    a hundred years is a lot of time. Tennis may go the way Jeu De Paume or Court tennis. (google is your friend)
     
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  10. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I don't think you can be considered GOAT if you only won on one surface or using only one racket technology. To be GOAT you have to have been able to win both with graphite oversized rackets and with standard siized wood or wood-like rackets. So I think Pete Sampras has the GOAT title locked up (he won junior titles using wood), as a return to wood is unlikely and this will keep any future champions from challenging his status.
     
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  11. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    By then, it probably would be safer to abandon the whole debate and rank players by era.
     
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  12. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Rosewall isn't even considered a GOAT contender now let alone in 100 years. He has the resume for it but he's clearly not considered by the general public and sports analysts.
     
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Players like Laver have accomplishments that jump out at you. To me the most impressive is actually his 200 tournaments victories for career. That is something out of Babe Ruth in the 1920's in baseball. Laver is so far ahead of the others that it's amazing. (I think Tilden is second with about 160 tournaments won.) But you also add Laver's two Grand Slams and the one Pro Grand Slams and that's something.

    Gonzalez's record will stand the test of time since he won seven Pro Head to Head Tours which in my opinion is greater than winning one major for each tour won. It could be the equivalent of two or one and a half majors for each tour won. He won 130 tournaments also and 14 total majors.

    Borg to me stands out because he was such a shooting star. The guy won 106 tournaments by age 25. That boggles the mind and his French Open, Wimbledon doubles for a few consecutive years are incredible. He also won a number of majors without losing a set. The dominance factor is unbelievable with Borg. You add the fact that Borg (ATP records are wrong) has perhaps the highest winning percentage in history and you have a great case there. Borg also had perhaps the most dominant series of consecutive years in the Open Era and I'm including Laver's years in there. Borg lost only 32 games in winning the 1978 French Open while winning every set. That's dominance at the highest level.
     
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  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal may have some minor case for GOAT but he needs more dominant years. What he has now is the official highest winning percentage in ATP history ahead of Borg. He's won 13 majors, behind Federer but in far fewer attempts than Federer with only 37 attempts. If he has a few more years like 2013, he has a case.

    Sampras to me had the worst case of all. Yes he was great, but really never dominant, even in his best year of 1994. The man won 14 majors but in 52 attempts. Not that good. He won only 64 tournaments in his career and his career winning percentage was a poor 77.2%. That's hardly unbeatable. How anyone could call him the GOAT is beyond me?

    Actually Jimmy Connors has better potential GOAT credentials than many. He won 149 tournaments. That's the most in the Open Era. He won 81.79% of his matches in a super long career. It's higher than for example Federer is now. He was dominant for years. He had a period (around the time of Borg) in which he won about 90% of his matches over a five-year period. To put it in perspective, Sampras never had ONE YEAR in which he won 90% of his matches.

    The key is how far the player was ahead of his or her competition. Tilden will always be in the mix because he was head and shoulders above every player in his best years. Laver, despite his rival Rosewall, was clearly the best and he was so prolific in winning tournaments that it was astounding. Borg really for a number of years did not have anyone close to him. Connors was the pseudo-number two but he really never had any chance against a healthy Borg in those years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
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  15. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    Rod Laver's ~200 titles will probably never be surpassed if the ATP schedule doesn't change drastically.
     
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  16. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    As was noted, there's real potential for Sampras to get pushed further down the list the farther we get away from the 1990's as there's several players with compelling resumes like Borg. I think Borg's and Nadal's careers will be viewed as greater then Pete 30 years from now
     
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  17. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure why people have this obsession with percentages and domination of the regular tour (i.e. unimportant events).

    I don't quite consider Sampras as the GOAT, due to his lack of clay prowess, but here are some reasons why he's in the very top tier:

    - 14 major titles (Open Era record when he set it)
    - 7 Wimbledons (still a joint all-time record)
    - 6 straight YE No 1's (still Open Era record)
    - 5 YECs (record when he set it)

    I don't think dominating week in, week out on the tour meant that much to Sampras. For him, it was all about the majors and getting enough points to be ranked #1. So it's a little bit silly to compare his percentages to those who dominated smaller events (which, by and large, will not be remembered in the history books).

    When it mattered (except on clay) Sampras had very few peers in men's tennis history.
     
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  18. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    Because for much of tennis history those 'unimportant events' were actually considered rather important, and in many years more important. The ability to dominate over all events and surfaces was seen as a key ingredient in making a player great, because it is hard to do.

    Since this is a discussion about All Time, it doesn't make sense to to consider things only from a viewpoint made popular by Sampras's chase for Emerson's slam total, IMO.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, I think you are too pessimistic. Experts like Collins, Lee, Geist, and Colussi already consider him that way.

    And I guess I was able to convince some posters here that Muscles should be included in the small list of true GOAT candidates...
     
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  20. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Unfortunately the number of 'experts' who are truly aware of history is low. In 100 years time all of us will be dead. Collins etc...won't be there to back Rosewall when the Tennis channel of the future do their list.

    The ones who will survive are those who have records already recognized by the ATP etc...Rosewall's 23 majors aren't an official record.
     
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  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, I'm not much surprised that you forgot Rosewall...

    Have you read my post about Rosewall's achievements?

    Laver's 200 titles (I'm sure it's even a bit more than 200) is an awesome record.

    But, just as regarding his Grand Slams and Wimbledon titles, we should consider that Laver was privileged to achieve some of his feats by turning pro later than Rosewall and being younger than him when open era started.

    Rosewall won at least 137 tournaments and would probably have won some more but yet he would not have reached the 200 number.
     
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  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, I'm yet surprised that you even reflect about Sampras and Connors but still neglect Rosewall.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, I hope that not all experts are ignorants like ATP officials and Tennis Channel list makers...
     
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  24. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Well, OK, but by the same token, posters shouldn't disparage Sampras because his percentages were not as high as previous generations' greats, given that he was not interested in having high percentages and winning lots of tournaments throughout the year. The historians here always bring that up as a way to push Sampras down the list.
     
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  25. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    In a few years time, Rosewall will be dead.

    And his obituary will not state that he is the GOAT...
     
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  26. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    The issue is time. The vast majority of analaytics are younger former pro's who don't understand the way the tour was or the players. That trend won't change. Video evidence might save the current generation a bit. But only a bit I think.
     
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  27. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    The way chronological factors of the human body are changing don't be so sure everyone will be dead in 100 years. And what about those who are reincarnated, they would remember the 1900s and early 2000s players. :)

    To answer the question I think only Laver's achievements and Nadal's clay achievements would really stand the test of time. Laver would still be the greatest ever conversation (even if not outright considered it probably) and Nadal still in the best ever on clay conversation (possibly still considerd it) but that is all. Nobody 100 years from now will think of Rosewall as winning 23 majors, hardly anyone now even does. Federer and Sampras's achievements will be pretty much all eclipsed by that point, and Borg in the shadow of Nadal on clay will be just a footnote too. Gonzales will also be barely noted by then. Sad but reality.
     
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  28. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    In 100 years, as now, there will be two groups - those without an in-depth knowledge of tennis history, and some with knowledge. Those with knowledge will probably be considering most of the names being discussed now, with new names added.

    Those without knowledge, or only interested in their favourites at that time, will focus on the achievements seen as important then, and who knows what that will be, since it is always changing with time. Slam totals may fall out of favour. If someone gets a Grand Slam, maybe it will be repeated quickly because conditions favour it. Remember, 3 out of 4 have been done often recently and I can see a player doing it in the next couple of decades if surfaces continue to be homogenised. Once Laver's achievement gets equalled he will quickly be relegated to just another old guy.

    So really the question is more about how tennis will be organised in 100 years, and what achievements will be seen as important then.
     
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  29. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Considering almost nobody talks about people like Tilden, Budge, Wills Moody, Lenglen, even Court, Rosewall, anymore. The group with less knowledge that would barely talk about the greats from 1970 to 2015 is more likely to make up the vast majority (even among loyal tennis fans).
     
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  30. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    As I said in my OP, Tilden is generally still considered top 10 all-time and he played 90 years ago. There are some players whose legacies do stand the test of time.

    Court will surely be still ranked in the top 10 (although not GOAT, as she isn't GOAT even now), as 24 slams is going to be very hard to beat.
     
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  31. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    He is probably still considered top 10 all time but almost nobody talks about him, so it almost doesn't matter. The majority of people (I know there are exceptions) only mention Tilden, Wills, Lenglen when making a top 10 all time list and grudgingly throw them in, but even people like Becker, Mandilikova, Goolagong, etc..are talked about 10 times as much in general despite ranking lower on an all time list.

    That Court isn't rated as the GOAT is proof of how players will fade over time. After all with 24 slams she should be, yet she isn't to most only because she played in the 60s, and instead lowballed in favor of a 22 slam winner with the aid of an attempted murder and an 18 slam winner (and now possibly a 17).
     
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Did Bud Collins contribute to the Tennis Channel list?

    Really? (I didn't know that.)
     
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  33. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    He did contribute. Obviously he's just one voice so we can't blame him for it's shortcomings. He put in a good word for Rosewall.
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    OK. Thanks for the info.
     
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  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix1983, Hope that Muscles will continue to live even more than only a few years...

    Hope that your obituary will not state "Phoenix1983 was an idiot"...
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, he did but I do know (through phone calls with him etc) that he ranks totally differently, having Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall and Laver as his true GOAT candidates.
     
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  37. Anti-Fedal

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    :-? Bud Collins didn't have Rosewall in his top 5 in 2006.

    Maybe he changed his mind since then.
     
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  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Did Collins publish a GOAT-list in 2006?

    I'd like to see it. Can we access it?
     
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  39. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    In 2004 he published a fictional ultimate tournament for Sports illustrated. I think it had Laver defeating Sampras in the final.
     
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  40. poofytail

    poofytail Banned

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    Interesting. Despite that I think Laver ranks way above Sampras all time overall, I think Sampras would have been a tough matchup for Laver on anything but clay. I just dont see such a short player doing well vs Pete for some reason.
     
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  41. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    286 Weeks at #1
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    Advantage over all main contemporary top rivals in his era
    Won the USO 12 years apart

    .... Yea Thats Tier 1 material. At the end of the day, Sampras won a great majority of the most IMPORTANT events and important records. To say that isn't impressive or not pseudo-GOAT material I don't know.

    I don't think Pete is GOAT. Not even top 4 but hes still tier 1 and a hugely dominant player. But I don't even consider what winning percentage someone has for the year as an important barometer or taking away from pete's GOAT claim. Pete's main knock against him for GOAT is lack of a French Open title.

    Had Pete won a French Open, many would still probably consider Pete the greatest since Laver, Pancho, and Rosewall (since Pete didn't have the issues vs. his main rival/s as Fed does with Nadal. Pete was more able to keep his main rivals at bay while Fed did NOT)

    At the end of the day, the important achievements matter. Not how many rinky dink tourneys someone wins. When people say "dominant" seasons the main bar is how many major big tournaments they win through the year. Player A could win a ton of 250 Non slam events and titles for the year, and Player B could win 2 slams? Whats gonna be be more important for the year and memorable in the record books.

    For Nadal to increase his GOAT argument for instance , its imperative he wins more SLAMS. Winning meaningless tournaments isn't gonna help his cause.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  42. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Sadly I would remove Borg and Sampras from the GOAT discussion, as they both are missing a slam.

    In the future, I don't think we will have a dominant player as we have seen in the past or even now (Federer and Nadal). I think now Tennis players and athletes are celebrities and as such. I don't think they will be able to keep their focus on Tennis.

    I am surprised Federer and Nadal are doing a great job at keeping their focus on Tennis. But I think very few in the future can do it. Hope I'm wrong. Djokovic looks like he's taken his eye of Tennis. Safin - we know what happened to him. I think in future players will win few slams and enjoy the good life.
     
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  43. Anti-Fedal

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    So there you go. His top five is Laver, Gonzales, Tilden, Borg, Sampras.
     
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  44. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I imagine that might have changed somewhat since 2006.
     
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  45. Anti-Fedal

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    I doubt it. Bud doesn't rate Federer very highly because of the H2H against Nadal.
     
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  46. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    In his book he says he might be the greatest player of all time. He also acknowledges the match-up issue ;)
     
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  47. Anti-Fedal

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    I haven't seen that, can you provide a quote?

    I'm only going off this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5POYlOe7P4
     
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  48. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Sure here it is;

    Watching Fed collapse against Nadal in that 5th set might have coloured Bud's opinion somewhat. But fair enough, the newest edition of his book (which I have) came out after the 2009 season. Perhaps he changed his opinion.
     
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  49. Anti-Fedal

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    Interesting. Fed probably fits into his top five then (one would assume), not sure what he thinks of Nadal.
     
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  50. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    He probably thinks quite highly of Nadal too I imagine.
     
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