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-   -   Tennis Demagogues & the Self (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=290242)

Chopin 09-25-2009 04:34 PM

Tennis Demagogues & the Self
 
Dear Tennis Warehouse Historians & Hackers,

I know that many of you have been awaiting the triumphant return of my threads, and I'm happy to say that, at long last, they're back. Forgive my absence, but I've been on a series of a trips (I'm off island now) and it was one of these very trips, as I stood in the Bronx Zoo, watching some California Sea Lions swim in all of their glory that I came up with the idea for this gem.

Let me start by assuring you all that I love the game. My love for the game is deep--like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby. I love playing the game, teaching the game, watching the game, and learning about/from the game. I only tell you this so my words aren't misconstrued as an attack on the game itself. No, no. In fact, my words are a defense of the game--of the game's true essence..

Now to provide a defense for something implies that there is an assailant working against that thing. Here the assailants, as I see it, are the Tennis Warehouse Historians. Yes. The TW Historians are undermining respect for the modern game. Their weapons are misguided uses of statistical analyzes meant to "prove" the "strength" of an era.*1 The old days of tennis must always be greater in their minds. But why is this the case? Do the TW Historians actually believe that the old days of tennis are better (or that Rod Laver could really compete, using his classic strokes with no modifications, in the modern game?)

The answer is hero-worship and the personal connection to past greats these posters have (however false and misguided).

Many of you continue to put players on pedestals (Laver being the prime example, though worse still, egotistical players like Mac and Connors) and argue, essentially, that these players are inherently greater than today's players. Now I fully understand that there is a difference between admiring a person's accomplishment and admiring the person, but again and again, many posters come across as grown-up, adult fanboys, who defend these players not for tennis reasons, but out of a sense of personal connection to these players (despite not knowing them). For example, the love for Borg from many of you defies logic (many of you seem to ignore Mac getting the best of him). Borg is neither a role-model or hero for me, nor is he GOAT. I ask some of you: do you know Borg personally?

I'll leave you all with the following question. How can tennis strive in the United States if some of it's biggest and most passionate fans refuse to acknowledge the amazing depth and high level of play of today's players? Is this about tennis or your own personal memories of growing up and watching Borg?

Furthermore, Is this about tennis greatness--or your own egos?

Kind Regards,
Chopin

*1 Footnote: There is no legitimate way to statistically prove the strength of an era. Looking at slam distribution tells us nothing of value in regards to this specific question

ZhengJieisagoddess 09-25-2009 04:36 PM

I guess you have been too busy composing your brilliant etudes to notice the adulation of one Mr. Federer on here. :)

Chopin 09-25-2009 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZhengJieisagoddess (Post 3976013)
I guess you have been too busy composing your brilliant etudes to notice the adulation of one Mr. Federer on here. :)

No, no. My point is that the sophisticated Historians are no different than the fanboys and girls.

jimbo333 09-25-2009 05:11 PM

The problem today is that the players aren't egotisical enough!

(with the odd exception)

If only there were great players/characters at the top of the game today like Connors and Mcenroe and Nastase, tennis would be WAY more popular than it is:)

borg number one 09-25-2009 05:23 PM

Chopin,

I do appreciate more modern players as well as older players and think it's important to appreciate every era. Let me repost my top 25 players of all time:

1. Borg
2. Federer
3/4 Sampras/Laver
5-7 McEnroe/Connors/Lendl
8-15 (in no particular order at this time):

Don Budge, S. Edberg, M. Wilander, B. Tilden, Hugh Lawrence Doherty, Ken Rosewall, Rafael Nadal, and Pancho Gonzales.

Here are other great players that just missed my list of 15, but are very close especially to all the guys 8-15. I'll list them 16-25. One can make arguments for having several of these folks in a list of the top 15.

Boris Becker (peak performance, more than longevity/consistency), Fred Perry, Henri Cochet, , Rene Lacoste, Ellsworth Vines, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Roy Emerson, and Lew Hoad.

So there are 10 players in my top 25 from 1975-2009 (the last 34 years of tennis). That comprises 40% of a top 25 list. Looking at those 25, I can see that many may include Agassi and Courier as well, but I had to make a few tough calls. Therefore, it's clear I recognize more modern players as well as players from past generations. I just happen to think that among the current crop, only Federer and Nadal make a top 25 list, that's all. I appreciate your concern though. I know what you are getting at. None of us should allow our biases to undermine our appreciation for the modern game OR the game as it was played in the past. Let's all seek to be balanced in our view of players and especially modern tennis. I do have tremendous respect for pro players from every era, since tennis is such a difficult individual sport, that has always been so challenging and physical at the highest level. I'll try and not allow those that only favor the modern game to cast a shadow over my appreciation of modern players. I enjoy many players of today, including Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Del Potro, Federer, Nadal, Roddick. I just don't think modern tennis is markedly better and more impressive than in many other years, especially at the top ranks. I try not to let my anger at players that don't seem to appreciate other eras at all cloud my judgment as to the current crop of players, but boy do they make it difficult. To think that modern players are just inherently better all the way around is also off the mark (I'm not talking about just certain uninformed Nadal or Federer fans). The truth as always, is somewhere in the middle. I'm glad you started this thread, it's important to think about. To add something, I think we all should be cognizant of biases towards certain countries as well (US/Great Britain/Australia especially). We should never let the fact that, for example, Agassi is from the US and was very popular/famous to cloud our judgment. National allegiances can also be dangerous when trying to be as unbiased as possible when watching the game and its progress. Thank you for your perspectives.

Chopin 09-25-2009 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimbo333 (Post 3976080)
The problem today is that the players aren't egotisical enough!

(with the odd exception)

If only there were great players/characters at the top of the game today like Connors and Mcenroe and Nastase, tennis would be WAY more popular than it is:)

You're probably right that if tennis had more obnoxious brats, it would generate more headlines.

Chopin 09-25-2009 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by borg number one (Post 3976101)
Chopin,

I do appreciate more modern players as well as older players and think it's important to appreciate every era. Let me repost my top 25 players of all time:

1. Borg
2. Federer
3/4 Sampras/Laver
5-7 McEnroe/Connors/Lendl
8-15 (in no particular order at this time):

Don Budge, S. Edberg, M. Wilander, B. Tilden, Hugh Lawrence Doherty, Ken Rosewall, Rafael Nadal, and Pancho Gonzales.

Here are other great players that just missed my list of 15, but are very close especially to all the guys 8-15. I'll list them 16-25. One can make arguments for having several of these folks in a list of the top 15.

Boris Becker (peak performance, more than longevity/consistency), Fred Perry, Henri Cochet, , Rene Lacoste, Ellsworth Vines, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Roy Emerson, and Lew Hoad.

So there are 10 players in my top 25 from 1975-2009 (the last 34 years of tennis). That comprises 40% of a top 25 list. Looking at those 25, I can see that many may include Agassi and Courier as well, but I had to make a few tough calls. Therefore, it's clear I recognize more modern players as well as players from past generations. I just happen to think that among the current crop, only Federer and Nadal make a top 25 list, that's all. I appreciate your concern though. I know what you are getting at. None of us should allow our biases to undermine our appreciation for the modern game OR the game as it was played in the past. Let's all seek to be balanced in our view of players and especially modern tennis. I do have tremendous respect for pro players from every era, since tennis is such a difficult individual sport, that has always been so challenging and physical at the highest level. I'll try and not allow those that only favor the modern game to cast a shadow over my appreciation of modern players. I enjoy many players of today, including Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Del Potro, Federer, Nadal, Roddick. I just don't think modern tennis is markedly better and more impressive than in many other years, especially at the top ranks. I try not to let my anger at players that don't seem to appreciate other eras at all cloud my judgment as to the current crop of players, but boy do they make it difficult. To think that modern players are just inherently better all the way around is also off the mark (I'm not talking about just certain uninformed Nadal or Federer fans). The truth as always, is somewhere in the middle. I'm glad you started this thread, it's important to think about. To add something, I think we all should be cognizant of biases towards certain countries as well (US/Great Britain/Australia especially). We should never let the fact that, for example, Agassi is from the US and was very popular/famous to cloud our judgment. National allegiances can also be dangerous when trying to be as unbiased as possible when watching the game and its progress. Thank you for your perspectives.

Thanks for adding to the discussion.

Chopin 09-25-2009 07:54 PM

To the clowns who rated my thread one star: you fear the power of my ideas. My threads are more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

1st Seed 09-25-2009 08:45 PM

I'm thinking the glare of our Yonex RDiS Mid's has made you gone Mad.
"Like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby"That is deep.
Welcome back my friend.

joe sch 09-25-2009 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chopin (Post 3976006)
Dear Tennis Warehouse Historians & Hackers,

I know that many of you have been awaiting the triumphant return of my threads, and I'm happy to say that, at long last, they're back. Forgive my absence, but I've been on a series of a trips (I'm off island now) and it was one of these very trips, as I stood in the Bronx Zoo, watching some California Sea Lions swim in all of their glory that I came up with the idea for this gem.

Let me start by assuring you all that I love the game. My love for the game is deep--like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby. I love playing the game, teaching the game, watching the game, and learning about/from the game. I only tell you this so my words aren't misconstrued as an attack on the game itself. No, no. In fact, my words are a defense of the game--of the game's true essence..

Now to provide a defense for something implies that there is an assailant working against that thing. Here the assailants, as I see it, are the Tennis Warehouse Historians. Yes. The TW Historians are undermining respect for the modern game. Their weapons are misguided uses of statistical analyzes meant to "prove" the "strength" of an era.*1 The old days of tennis must always be greater in their minds. But why is this the case? Do the TW Historians actually believe that the old days of tennis are better (or that Rod Laver could really compete, using his classic strokes with no modifications, in the modern game?)

The answer is hero-worship and the personal connection to past greats these posters have (however false and misguided).

Many of you continue to put players on pedestals (Laver being the prime example, though worse still, egotistical players like Mac and Connors) and argue, essentially, that these players are inherently greater than today's players. Now I fully understand that there is a difference between admiring a person's accomplishment and admiring the person, but again and again, many posters come across as grown-up, adult fanboys, who defend these players not for tennis reasons, but out of a sense of personal connection to these players (despite not knowing them). For example, the love for Borg from many of you defies logic (many of you seem to ignore Mac getting the best of him). Borg is neither a role-model or hero for me, nor is he GOAT. I ask some of you: do you know Borg personally?

I'll leave you all with the following question. How can tennis strive in the United States if some of it's biggest and most passionate fans refuse to acknowledge the amazing depth and high level of play of today's players? Is this about tennis or your love for growing up and watching Borg?

Furthermore, Is this about tennis greatness--or your own egos?

Kind Regards,
Chopin

*1 Footnote: There is no legitimate way to statistically prove the strength of an era. Looking at slam distribution tells us nothing of value in regards to this specific question

Historians & Hackers ?

Nice sensational header to troll a response ?
Are you trying to make an association here ?

Its obvious what is really bothering you from your conclusion or "footnote":

"There is no legitimate way to statistically prove the strength of an era by looking at slam distribution."

Why not ? Use some historical analysis like tennis magazine did comparing era's and its pretty apparent. Why was that published analysis and all the "historians" facts not legitimate ? This must be really bothering you since it was on your mind during your vacation.

BTW, what does the US have to do with your legitimization of the strenght of tennis decades and GOAT determination ?

Im really with Rod in that greats from different era's should not be compared but if you must continue to determine a GOAT or era strenght, then you must consider statistics ... total championships, slams, grand slams won, and strenght of competition based on this same criteria.

Trying to be helpful,
Joe

Chopin 09-26-2009 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1st Seed (Post 3976377)
I'm thinking the glare of our Yonex RDiS Mid's has made you gone Mad.
"Like the feelings of a mother sea lion for her baby"That is deep.
Welcome back my friend.

I consider the RDiS mid to be one of the finest racquets I've ever had to pleasure to use. Someday I'll consider it an old friend, and look back at on it with even more pride than the Yonex RD-7 I used during my young years.

Chopin 09-26-2009 07:35 PM

Borg Number 1: Would you mind explaining why you believe that Borg is the GOAT?

borg number one 09-27-2009 03:08 AM

Chopin, sure, it would be my pleasure as I think, that especially in the U.S., Borg's accomplishments tend to be diminished somewhat due to many who love to support the Americans McEnroe and Connors (who are also two all time greats, no question). Then, you have our tendency to always focus on the here and now, which caused many to immediately declare Sampras the "greatest ever" and then declare Federer "the greatest ever". Let's not forget exactly what Borg did during his storied career, though it ended abruptly for many reasons, as we have discussed. I'll paste in text to answer that very complicated question from one of my previous posts. Note that I put Borg, Federer, and Sampras at the top of the highest tier of players all-time, with Rod Laver number 4. As I've said before, arguments can be made for any of those 4 players, in my opinion, if one sought to try and differentiate players like this across eras. It's really quite a complicated exercise. I can't answer this question very quickly but see core text from the thread, "Sampras, Federer, and Borg, who rates as the greatest of all time amongst these three?". I give a lot of emphasis on his ability to dominate on both clay and grass. Federer has not been able to do that. Thanks.:


"Borg is number one in my book, with Federer a close second and Sampras number three. To analyze Borg's accomplishments, you have to go beyond just the McEnroe rivalry. Note that even McEnroe rates Borg much higher than himself among the all time greats. Borg retired at 25-26 coming off his sixth French Open win. Think about that, 6 french titles by 26. He beat a young Ivan Lendl, who was overmatched by Borg's fitness. Borg was the greatest all around athlete tennis has ever had. His resting heart rate, combined with very intense conditioning, gave him a huge stamina advantage. When he retired, this was his record in the 3 slams he and others at the time actively competed in (remember that all the way through the 70's-80's, the Australian was not played by many of the top players): He won the French Open 6 times. He won 5 straight Wimbledons, and barely lost in that 6th final. His big "failure" was losing in the final of the US Open 4 times. Remember, that they changed surfaces at the US Open from grass to clay, then to hard courts during the mid to late 1970's (Vilas beat Connors on clay and that did it!). The only thing he knew was winning at the Slams. Here is why he edges past both Federer and Sampras: He DOMINATED on the fastest surface, grass, which requires incredible "reaction times", etc. PLUS he DOMINATED on the slowest surface there is, red clay. Nadal is chasing Borg at the French Open, still.....plus, Federer has chased and caught up to Borg at Wimbledon. Think about that...That's why Borg is REVERED by all tennis pros, such as Federer and Nadal. He was the first truly big international tennis superstar. All pros that follow owe the him for the big contracts being inked today, because he was an absolute phenomenon. He was a great athlete, but also very much a thinking man's player. It says a lot about him in that even the fiery John McEnroe would hardly ever even complain about a line call when he was playing Borg. He would say that "he could waste no energy" if he was playing Borg...lol."

Chopin 09-28-2009 10:21 PM

Fair enough, borg number one. Borg certainly did dominate for quite a stretch on two surfaces!

Personally, I'd place both Federer ahead of him though. The lack of U.S. Open titles does hurt in my book, along with walking away from the game when he started to lose his grip. Federer has impressed with me with his incredible career resolve, in that no matter how many times he failed at the French, he ultimately got it done there. When people were writing him out and Nadal took over #1, he trained harder, got fitter and achieved two of his greatest accomplishments (French Open and the Paris/London trick). He's shown that he's still can turn it on against Murray and Djokovic and give them master classes on a whim. And Federer is now 4 slams up on Borg (and counting). So in my book, I have to go with Federer over Borg.

I also strongly believe that it's become harder and harder to dominate in tennis (in the absolute sense) so I have to give more weight to Federer and Sampras in the contemporary game.

Cesc Fabregas 09-28-2009 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chopin (Post 3983249)
Fair enough, borg number one. Borg certainly did dominate for quite a stretch on two surfaces!

Personally, I'd place both Federer ahead of him though. The lack of U.S. Open titles does hurt in my book, along with walking away from the game when he started to lose his grip. Federer has impressed with me with his incredible career resolve, in that no matter how many times he failed at the French, he ultimately got it done there. When people were writing him out and Nadal took over #1, he trained harder, got fitter and achieved two of his greatest accomplishments (French Open and the Paris/London trick). He's shown that he's still can turn it on against Murray and Djokovic and give them master classes on a whim. And Federer is now 4 slams up on Borg (and counting). So in my book, I have to go with Federer over Borg.

I also strongly believe that it's become harder and harder to dominate in tennis (in the absolute sense) so I have to give more weight to Federer and Sampras in the contemporary game.


He still had to wait for a Nadal injury.

Chopin 09-29-2009 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cesc Fabregas (Post 3983263)
He still had to wait for a Nadal injury.

I frankly don't buy that the Nadal injury argument somehow detracts from Federer's accomplishments this year. Honestly, Nadal's style of play (and schedule) lends the guy to being injured. I mean he's injured all the time. It's not really an excuse. Soderling blew the guy off the court at the French (injury or no injury). Tennis isn't just about one matchup. Nadal isn't even a GOAT contender right now.

Federer was sick last year, but like I said, it's no excuse.

No, tennis immortality is about longevity, consistency and winning titles. Federer meets all three requirements. Nadal does not. One bad matchup for Fed (and one that is very nuanced with Nadal never really playing prime Federer on fast hard courts and Federer consistently playing prime Nadal on clay) isn't going to stop me from calling Federer the GOAT.

gpt 09-30-2009 10:21 PM

Hello Chopin. After pushing through your overtly provocative headings and getting past your plastic 'i am the greatest' arrogance, when you write honestly, your posts do often contain and generate interesting reading. Thanks for contributing as you do.

bojsag 09-30-2009 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chopin (Post 3985347)
I frankly don't buy that the Nadal injury argument somehow detracts from Federer's accomplishments this year. Honestly, Nadal's style of play (and schedule) lends the guy to being injured. I mean he's injured all the time. It's not really an excuse. Soderling blew the guy off the court at the French (injury or no injury). Tennis isn't just about one matchup. Nadal isn't even a GOAT contender right now.

Federer was sick last year, but like I said, it's no excuse.

No, tennis immortality is about longevity, consistency and winning titles. Federer meets all three requirements. Nadal does not. One bad matchup for Fed (and one that is very nuanced with Nadal never really playing prime Federer on fast hard courts and Federer consistently playing prime Nadal on clay) isn't going to stop me from calling Federer the GOAT.

You post this and then question people who lowrate your threads. Little surprise there quite frankly.

Chopin 10-01-2009 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gpt (Post 3988830)
Hello Chopin. After pushing through your overtly provocative headings and getting past your plastic 'i am the greatest' arrogance, when you write honestly, your posts do often contain and generate interesting reading. Thanks for contributing as you do.

I appreciate that.

Best,
Chopin

Chopin 10-01-2009 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bojsag (Post 3988837)
You post this and then question people who lowrate your threads. Little surprise there quite frankly.

Well, I don't understand your point, or how my defense of Federer as the so-called "GOAT" somehow justifies people rating all my threads 1 star (even those aimed at giving or seeking instructional, string, apparel or racquet advice). I could make a genuine thread calling for world peace and there are still certain posters (specific ones) who would rate my thread 1 star just because I made it.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't dislike older tennis--I quite enjoy it. I enjoyed watching Borg v. Laver on the Tennis Channel last night, but I do think many of the posters in the former pro player section are fanboys (albeit older ones) masquerading as objective tennis historians.


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