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tacou 04-03-2011 05:12 PM

greatest retirement of all time
 
tennis is an interesting sport in that you can spend 4-10 years at the upper echelons, and then in a year or two completely fall off the face of the earth and retire in obscurity (I'm thinking Moya, and injured players like Ferrero and Gonzalez).

so, who has the best retirement of all time? I know there are more enlightened historians on this board than me but I've got to go with Pete. Winning a slam in your last match ever is really the only way to go out.
any other contenders?

CyBorg 04-03-2011 05:56 PM

It depends on the kind of story you want to write. Sampras wanted to write a very American story, with a triumphant ending.

It doesn't have to be that way. If he'd played another year, even without any success, he would have still had his 14 majors.

Some guys play longer and don't win anything for years. But if they're having fun the whole way through then there's nothing wrong with that.

boredone3456 04-03-2011 06:31 PM

This is a very interesting question. I think Cyborg has it right though it really depends on the story you want to write. If Pete had chosen to keep playing would you have thought of him at all? I'm not so sure. Agassi comes to mind as an example of continuing and fizzling, if he had retired after the 2005 US Open instead of the 2006 one, he would be looked at as having his last run being a memorable marathon one to a slam final..instead of seemingly limping into retirement throughout a sort of lackluster 2006.

El Diablo 04-03-2011 06:56 PM

Connors, for two reasons. !) kept competing out of love for the game, even when he really had no real chance to win the big one, thrilling us until he was nearly 40. Sampras, in this regard, left me cold. His need to go out on top only means he had love for himself, not for the game. 2) Connors never went through the narcissistic fanfare of announcing retirement, just gradually played less and less until he didn't play at all.

BrooklynNY 04-03-2011 07:10 PM

Yeah, but as much as I love Connor's grinding out until he is 40, that is something only he can do. I don't think Sampras or even Federer would be able to pull that off, they are too graceful to grind and lose first round after 4th round waiting for the stars to align.

Datacipher 04-03-2011 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 5546614)
Connors, for two reasons. !) kept competing out of love for the game, even when he really had no real chance to win the big one, thrilling us until he was nearly 40. Sampras, in this regard, left me cold. His need to go out on top only means he had love for himself, not for the game. 2) Connors never went through the narcissistic fanfare of announcing retirement, just gradually played less and less until he didn't play at all.

Nonsensical. Sampras retiring in that way "only means he had love for himself, not for the game." Hopefully I don't need to expand on the innumerable problems with that statement.

But even worse...to point at JIMMY CONNORS. JIMMY CONNORS!!!

Jimmy didnt' announce retirement for 2 reasons:
1.didn't want to admit it was over
2.kept hedging his options on another comeback
3.he was no longer physically able to play out a full season

The only reason #2 didn't happen is he found a way to get more attention, and be the #1 again on his seniors tour. EVEN THEN, he kept suggesting an ATP comeback might happen.

Jimmy most definitely DOES NOT LOVE the game.

Jimmy loves JIMMY. Jimmy loves WINNING. Jimmy loves money. I don't recall Jimmy ever sacrificing anything to help the game...I do recall numerous times over his career, an unwillingness to help the game when he could have! (maybe someone else can remember Jimmy altruisim and sacrifice to the game??)

Having said that, Jimmy did help the game immensely....possibly more than any other person....it's just it was an unintentional byproduct of helping Jimmy...

tacou 04-03-2011 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boredone3456 (Post 5546562)
This is a very interesting question. I think Cyborg has it right though it really depends on the story you want to write. If Pete had chosen to keep playing would you have thought of him at all?

I probably would not have thought of him, no, but the reality is why I thought of him. Agassi is for sure an interesting choice, Nadal at Wimbledon was hyped and I think the first set was decent/USO vs Baghdatis was classic.
However the Connors example is precisely why I raise the question, playing less and less until you disappear seems ...."anti-climactic" to me.
I like Agassi though. Any other memorable last matches? What was Connors last match, exactly?

obsessedtennisfandisorder 04-03-2011 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 5546614)
Connors, for two reasons. !) kept competing out of love for the game, even when he really had no real chance to win the big one, thrilling us until he was nearly 40. Sampras, in this regard, left me cold. His need to go out on top only means he had love for himself, not for the game. 2) Connors never went through the narcissistic fanfare of announcing retirement, just gradually played less and less until he didn't play at all.

LOL..if anything the reverse. Connors kept playing because he loved the $$$ and milked whatever he could out of the fans and the game for this.
pathetic
not only that he had no respect for the game or himself playing someone who
is nowhere near as good a player as he is...then "goes through the motions"

now how "going through the motions" translates to respect for the game i don't know.
by contrast...borg and especially sampras knew their ending as good players was near and thus didn't BS fans in paying money for seeing "a great player" when in reality it was crap play from a washed up player due to age.

then Connors has the nerve to say he was one of the most competitive

just LOL

abmk 04-03-2011 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by obsessedtennisfandisorder (Post 5546851)
LOL..if anything the reverse. Connors kept playing because he loved the $$$ and milked whatever he could out of the fans and the game for this.
pathetic
not only that he had no respect for the game or himself playing someone who
is nowhere near as good a player as he is...then "goes through the motions"

now how "going through the motions" translates to respect for the game i don't know.
by contrast...borg and especially sampras knew their ending as good players was near and thus didn't BS fans in paying money for seeing "a great player" when in reality it was crap play from a washed up player due to age.

then Connors has the nerve to say he was one of the most competitive

just LOL

borg really ?

ending was near with a FO win and finals at USO and wimby in 81 ? really ??????

He was just mentally burnt out , that's it ....

dominikk1985 04-04-2011 02:24 AM

sampras retirement would have been fantastic if he retired directly after the win. unfortunately he waited one year without playing and making anyone guess before he announced his retirement. still a good one.

agassis retirement was a bit late his body was totally shot at 35. one or 2 years ago he was still very good he should have retired then.

obsessedtennisfandisorder 04-04-2011 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abmk (Post 5546931)
borg really ?

ending was near with a FO win and finals at USO and wimby in 81 ? really ??????

He was just mentally burnt out , that's it ....

true borg had complications like maybe overplay and stuff...but my general theme is players "hang on" too long..they are delusional ones..or else they are milking the sport.

anyway...we were looking for you in the odds and ends thread about india winning the CWC.

abmk 04-04-2011 04:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by obsessedtennisfandisorder (Post 5547267)
true borg had complications like maybe overplay and stuff...but my general theme is players "hang on" too long..they are delusional ones..or else they are milking the sport.

anyway...we were looking for you in the odds and ends thread about india winning the CWC.

hmm, have posted elsewhere about that , but not here, will look into them :)

joe sch 04-04-2011 05:12 AM

How about the great or maybe GOAT Pancho Gonzales ...

He really never retired and continued to beat top players even when he was in his 40s. He passed away in 1995 and I think was 67. There were alot of players that wished he would have just retired since his competitive nature and personality was very abrasive. The only other player that may come close to surpassing his longevity playing achievements is maybe McEnroe. Some players just cant retire and thats whats soo nice about golf, they can basically keep playing (for big $$$) as long as thier bodies hold up.

slice bh compliment 04-04-2011 05:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 5546614)
Connors, for two reasons. !) kept competing out of love for the game, ....

~I hate losing more than I love winning~
-J Connors

Quote:

Originally Posted by Datacipher (Post 5546704)
... Jimmy loves money. ....

He underwrote, played in and contributed to so many good causes without taking an ounce of credit.
He was a Davis Cup stalwart.
He wore his Davis Cup jacket whenever he could, even when it was over 80 degrees.
He looked up to Arthur Ashe.
He took a real stand against apartheid-era South Africa (playing for huge money in Sun City).

Oh, wait a minute. I'm thinking of McEnroe. Never mind.

EDIT:
Back on topic.
Pete Sampras somehow winning his last slam final. The only thing I can think of that might be cooler is to play your last match at the Davis Cup final. And you beat the world no. one in five sets in the fifth rubber. And you drink champale from the Davis Cup with all of your teammates.
EDIT: I wish this for Roger Federer at Davis Cup.

BTURNER 04-04-2011 07:07 AM

Evert retired fully in '89 but stopped seriously competing after '88 having won a couple last tournaments, reaching the finals in Australia , the semis at W and the open and loosing in the 3rd rd of the french. Chris did get two victories over Martina . She entered only two majors in 89 and got to the semis in one and the quarters in the other and ended up #4 in the world, her lowest ever.

Datacipher 04-04-2011 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slice bh compliment (Post 5547533)
~I hate losing more than I love winning~
-J Connors



He underwrote, played in and contributed to so many good causes without taking an ounce of credit.
He was a Davis Cup stalwart.
He wore his Davis Cup jacket whenever he could, even when it was over 80 degrees.
He looked up to Arthur Ashe.
He took a real stand against apartheid-era South Africa (playing for huge money in Sun City).

Oh, wait a minute. I'm thinking of McEnroe. Never mind.
.

LOL. For a second there, I thought you truly were truly MAD.

Datacipher 04-04-2011 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slice bh compliment (Post 5547533)
~I hate losing more than I love winning~
-J Connors



He underwrote, played in and contributed to so many good causes without taking an ounce of credit.
He was a Davis Cup stalwart.
He wore his Davis Cup jacket whenever he could, even when it was over 80 degrees.
He looked up to Arthur Ashe.
He took a real stand against apartheid-era South Africa (playing for huge money in Sun City).

Oh, wait a minute. I'm thinking of McEnroe. Never mind.
.

LOL. For a second there, I thought you truly were truly MAD.

Joe Pike 04-04-2011 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tacou (Post 5546410)
tennis is an interesting sport in that you can spend 4-10 years at the upper echelons, and then in a year or two completely fall off the face of the earth and retire in obscurity (I'm thinking Moya, and injured players like Ferrero and Gonzalez).

so, who has the best retirement of all time? I know there are more enlightened historians on this board than me but I've got to go with Pete. Winning a slam in your last match ever is really the only way to go out.
any other contenders?



Steffi Graf was more impressive:

Won FO 1999 beating the #2, #3 and #1 player. The final was voted greatest ever open era women's match by fans shortly after.
Went on to make the Wimbledon final 4 few weeks later.
Had to retire injured in her next and last ever match 4 weeks after that.
Ended her glorious career being #3 in the WTA rankings, highest ranking ever for a retiring player.

tennis4josh 04-04-2011 11:14 AM

I don't think a retirement is an achievement. So we should not rate it as good or poor. For professional sportsmen the retirements comes in very young age. So its just the matter of setting the right priorities and figuring out what's up next.

I like the way Sampras retired and equally like the way Agassi retired. The way an athlete retires is a reflection of their personalities.

Sampras being the clear headed and focused person throughout his career, knew when and how he wanted to retire. For one last time he wanted to show his best on the surface that suited him the best and retire on a high note. But when he realized that he cannot give his best at wimbledon, he did not bother playing. He could have decided to play thinking he may get a lucky draw. But he was not after the trophy.

On the other hand as much as Agassi hated the game, he took very very long time to figure out what's next. So he just kept playing. What made his retirement memorable was his speech, and it did not matter at all that his retirement came in the 3rd round of US Open.

I think we should just leave it to the individual to decide when and how to retire. Even if someone keeps playing and never gets back to their peak level again, it does not undermine their achievements from the past.

-Josh

BTURNER 04-04-2011 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis4josh (Post 5548417)
I don't think a retirement is an achievement. So we should not rate it as good or poor. For professional sportsmen the retirements comes in very young age. So its just the matter of setting the right priorities and figuring out what's up next.

I like the way Sampras retired and equally like the way Agassi retired. The way an athlete retires is a reflection of their personalities.

Sampras being the clear headed and focused person throughout his career, knew when and how he wanted to retire. For one last time he wanted to show his best on the surface that suited him the best and retire on a high note. But when he realized that he cannot give his best at wimbledon, he did not bother playing. He could have decided to play thinking he may get a lucky draw. But he was not after the trophy.

On the other hand as much as Agassi hated the game, he took very very long time to figure out what's next. So he just kept playing. What made his retirement memorable was his speech, and it did not matter at all that his retirement came in the 3rd round of US Open.

I think we should just leave it to the individual to decide when and how to retire. Even if someone keeps playing and never gets back to their peak level again, it does not undermine their achievements from the past.

-Josh

I absolutely agree but those matches still matter. If they miscalculate their chances, its on them. Those late career decisions are a part of their legacy and record as much as their peak years or early years. Fans come to watch and spend their money based on their legacy as champions. I get frustrated when we dismiss losses as non peak performances, cherry picking which matches and time frames we will consider. Former champions deserve to retire as they wish and play as they wish, but they are not immunized from the judgments History provides from inconsistent or lackluster play. so Connors or Graf, Rosewall, or King, Agassi, or Evert get the glory of surpassing expectations, they also get the criticism when they disappoint


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