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tennischemist 06-20-2012 02:48 PM

Sampras v. Agassi but really a general question
 
In your estimation was Sampras' great record against Agassi a result of:

Sampras just being all around better

or

At the tippy-top of the game, a great S&V player will beat a great baseliner/returner.

or some combo of both.. i always hear "the point is on the attacker's racquet" but Agassi attacked from the baseline for a good portion of his career.


obviously Sampras had a great ground game as well
but i just wonder as Sampras is often said to have the best serve of all time and Agassi is often said to have the best return of serve of all time


curious as to what some of you think

NonP 06-20-2012 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennischemist (Post 6647493)
In your estimation was Sampras' great record against Agassi a result of:

Sampras just being all around better

or

At the tippy-top of the game, a great S&V player will beat a great baseliner/returner.

or some combo of both.. i always hear "the point is on the attacker's racquet" but Agassi attacked from the baseline for a good portion of his career.

More the former than the latter (whose veracity depends on the type of surface--you have to consider the percentages), but of course it's some combo of both.

dominikk1985 06-20-2012 03:16 PM

I would say agassis problem was his lack of footspeed. he did move well but lacked athleticsm and top end speed. sampras had the edge there.

If agassi was as fast and athletic as say djokovic sampras would have had a really tough time given andres quality of return and from the baseline. but agassi simply wasn't agile and fast enough even if he was a hard worker and very fit when he was on.

scotus 06-20-2012 03:38 PM

Movement aside, Sampras had the steely nerve that served him well in big events and on big points. He was, as someone put it, "as cool as a cucumber."

Agassi was somewhat fragile mentally (even though he got tougher and tougher gradually), and once Sampras established dominance, he really didn't feel like he could beat Pete. He confessed that even if he played his best tennis, Pete could still beat him.

tennischemist 06-20-2012 03:41 PM

I guess I'm more concerned if you think a great S&V player will ultimately prevail over a great baseliner

and it goes back too so it's hard to say, McEnroe had his epic battles with the defining baseliners of his career in Borg, Connors, and Lendl

tennischemist 06-20-2012 03:42 PM

and they of course beat each other seemingly randomly so it's hard to say

scotus 06-20-2012 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennischemist (Post 6647594)
I guess I'm more concerned if you think a great S&V player will ultimately prevail over a great baseliner

and it goes back too so it's hard to say, McEnroe had his epic battles with the defining baseliners of his career in Borg, Connors, and Lendl

On fast and semi-fast surfaces, I would say the S&V player has the advantage, but we're not talking about a Henman. It's got to be a Sampras.

pc1 06-20-2012 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 6647551)
I would say agassis problem was his lack of footspeed. he did move well but lacked athleticsm and top end speed. sampras had the edge there.

If agassi was as fast and athletic as say djokovic sampras would have had a really tough time given andres quality of return and from the baseline. but agassi simply wasn't agile and fast enough even if he was a hard worker and very fit when he was on.

I would agree with that. Sampras mentioned something in his book to that effect.

Sampras overall in the 1990's also was more dominant as a server than Agassi was as a returner. Sampras led the ATP in most years in the 1990's in percentage of holding serve. I don't recall how Agassi did as a returner in percentage of breaking serve exactly but it was nearly as impressive as Sampras as a server.

fluffyyelloballz 06-20-2012 03:56 PM

Focus. If you ask me, Sampras was always focused on tennis. He was not sidetracked, and perhaps because his personality did not attract it, all the media attention. Sampras was dedicated to tennis his whole career. That focus carried itself into his matches with Agassi. He was more experienced at winning the big matches on the big stages and had the confidence that comes with that.
In addition, Sampras had a better game for hard courts. The movement, the serve and the forehand. Agassi did have some great wins against him and was a difficult match up but the focus, champion's mentality and aggressive game of Sampras was too difficult to overcome more often than not.

ClairHarmony 06-20-2012 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dominikk1985 (Post 6647551)
I would say agassis problem was his lack of footspeed. he did move well but lacked athleticsm and top end speed. sampras had the edge there.

If agassi was as fast and athletic as say djokovic sampras would have had a really tough time given andres quality of return and from the baseline. but agassi simply wasn't agile and fast enough even if he was a hard worker and very fit when he was on.

Either footspeed/reach or an impestuous ability to simply bonk winners wherever when finding yourself in King Kong form for the day. Guys like Bruguera/Ferreira had the cagey kind of athleticism you need (think soccer player style) to run down balls with a flourish. Agassi was a pigeon-toed by comparison. But unlike Chang, Bruguera/Ferreira also had big forehands themselves, and the ability to loop it with extreme top (no one had a more varied array of arc on a 2-handed backhand than Bruguera, from lofty moonballs to shoelace top pickups to penetrating screamers...he mixed it up extremely well off this side when on) in the case of Bruguera. They returned just fine (Ferreira off both wings), and Bruguera's weak dink forehand return was actually almost a neutralizing/frustrating advantage against net rushers, why? Because he had the speed off the mark to flag down the first volley, while the dink did not give the net rusher enough zing with which to put it away (the classic problem you encounter when you stand way back to get full pace in, like Muster...but end up giving your opponent to much open court, angle, and pace to work with if you don't smack it just absolutely smack dab righteously).

Agassi's average to slightly above average (in his youth) footspeed, the problem he ran into with Sampras on the fast stuff especially (that era was really more geared toward Sampras' game than these days, back then it was far more unfair to the extreme grippers, but now it favors them...this is what happens you cater to only one side of the equation, respecting the right to be great equally all around not exactly the same)...just didn't cut-it when it came down to it against a *streaking* Sampras. That's what Sampras do...he'll come out of nowhere, and explode...and bullet forehand suddenly streaks to a corner, not expecting to be caught up to...but Bruguera/Ferreira could also suddenly go all spider man on you, and *could*...and this is where Agassi would fail. The key to taking Agassi out of his game was always the same. Whether by cutesy behind the back angles...anything to get him to *stretch.* Or, if you could get enough top on the ball, to *force* him to stand way back...his swings were actually quite flat, and meant to *deaden* the ball if you will, *from primarily up close.* That's really how he "geared," and "fine-tuned" his swings. Small takeback on the backhand, but with a vicious follow-through. Large, but mostly straight almost, *hack down* on the ball, feeling-ish take back on the forehand, like how a hungry pirate would instinctively look to do it with his rusty sword, if on the 44th day on the tuna fishless sea, he imagine a plump, hard pineapple magically appearing to appear from out of nowhere on a *deck stump*...how would he react? T-hwACK!!! That's kind of how Agassi saw ball, as something to thwack down upon visciously, cold-cut, clean-slicing through hard pineapple, *clinical.* At his best, he did with surgical precision and could mishit not once all day...*unless* you had someway to get him off his perch. Move that birdie off his branch, and those claws didn't move sideways like that...he lost his feathers quickly then...*in his youth.* But then, he worked on it. And even with bad matchups, which Sampras *definitely* was for him style-wise (I don't think Sampras and his fans play this up enough, because then it'd of course take away from their legacy in a big way..but it's just the truth...Sampras' game/strengths simply just out and out matched up better with Agassi's, than the other way around. Furthermore, heavy top to Sampras' backhand was more likely to give him rhtyhm problems than simply blasting it semi-flat there, which in a way, gave Sampras less time to think, and more time to unload...which is what he did best, randomly unload on you...and suddenly send you scurrying off-guard at any time, from anywhere...that he missed a lot too, was what made it in a way more effective, you just didn't know how/when to brace for...as Courier said, he could be doing keeling over on the ground barely pushing-ups one second, then SLAP! shot from heck, and I'll be darn, I didn't really see that coming...*point over.* With his serve allowing him to stay even on cruise control...this proved to be a both a highly effective and *intelligent* formula to play with.).

Sampras was the master of the *ricochet* effect in tennis. That's how his forehands came out you randomly at the most opportune of times. You better be *quick* enough to do something about it, bcs. you ain't gonna get many chances to break him, that's for *sure.* Agassi was no ballerina on the run, he was all thumble, and desperate, lunges, and *-acks!* at the ball by comparison. From the center of the court, in *dominator* position, no one's ever struck it so cleanly and with such conviction with *so few mishits* as Agassi did when on. This is why he had a field day with Ferreira. A big forehand...*but one that's neither flat enough, angley-cutesy enough, or hurrican high-bounding topspun enoungh* to get him out of his decidedly, lawn-mower on a string...mindset, his most comfortable "flow" if you will. And Ferreira's merely reliable, solid, and totally *non-threatening* bakchand...made it all the easier. He didn't care if you were faster than him, in this matchup it really didn't matter. Ferreira wasn't going to be able to run down shots corner to corner ALL day long...*because that's what it'd take.* Agassi saw Ferreira as his Thai-clinch, plumb, heaven-sent. He could rag-doll him all day from this position, and it was very much pleasurable to him. We all love to dominate when the matchup suits. Really a player's maturity and growth as a player, however, is marked by their ability to keep-up the good stamina and will power...when things just aren't going your way today, and for *very good* reason. When you accept that these are the best in the world, and sometimes it just takes a little something more...this is where ESTP's often fail. The *most* naturally confident in the *unproblematic* matchups, see Rios/Hingis...but allow themselves to wilt too easily, "take their ball and go home" if will is a tag that often follows them, when things don't go their way. You have to really give Agassi credit for finding all the humility in the world to recognize where he was *weak,* and *go down* as that 1-of-a-kind, *inspiring* "legend" as a result. He didn't have to look inside, but he did. Philipoussis, also an ESTP, didn't.

Devilito 06-20-2012 04:17 PM

because in the 90s they didn't play slams on blue clay, red clay and green clay. They actually had different surfaces that complimented more styles than just Lance Armstrong 8 hour marathon grinding. Therefore on faster surfaces like Wimbledon and the US Open a player like Petros had the advantage over a baseliner. Even still Andre was an aggressive baseliner so he still had success on faster courts it’s just that Petros was optimized for those surfaces. As a consequence Andre did better than Petros on slower surfaces

Devilito 06-20-2012 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ClairHarmony (Post 6647640)
SPAM

1997 called. They want your stupid spam post generator back

Limpinhitter 06-20-2012 04:19 PM

IMO, Sampras saw Agassi as his main rival and he raised his game against Agassi more than he did against anyone else.

Bobby Jr 06-20-2012 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scotus (Post 6647589)
...He confessed that even if he played his best tennis, Pete could still beat him.

I thought Agassi said he always felt like there was usually a way into matches with Pete... It was against Federer he said there wasn't anything you could do.

boredone3456 06-20-2012 04:47 PM

Sampras had a steel nerve, consistency (except on clay), and an amazing serve as well as a solid all court game. Sampras at times came off as more robotic then Andre but he usually always brought his best to the table. Agassi was a great player when on but the cinsistency was not always there, so he came off the worse against Sampras frequently because of that. Sampras was a consistent attacker who served and moved well, where as agassi was slower and not always the most consistent. His best was great and when he was at the top of his game Pete had major problems...but that did not always come out of Andre. Sampras benefitted as he was almost a tennis robot in that you knew what he was gonna bring...agassi could be stellar or just good/slightly great. Pete was a pistol all the time.

tennischemist 06-20-2012 04:59 PM

that vulnerability always appealed to me about agassi.. i felt i could relate to him more than I could Sampras who was a tennis machine.

i'm lucky to have been growing up at the right time to watch them play and i am very proud of Andre for figuring his life out and really, it seems, pouring himself into his charity work.

both men are a credit to american sports and to tennis in general

i will be very happy to see another American come and win some majors.. especially the US Open

that's neither here nor there

thanks for the input, everyone

Mustard 06-20-2012 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Devilito (Post 6647656)
because in the 90s they didn't play slams on blue clay, red clay and green clay. They actually had different surfaces that complimented more styles than just Lance Armstrong 8 hour marathon grinding.

There's still a huge difference between the different surfaces today. I don't know why people say they are the same. You'd have to be blind to think Queen's Club grass played anything like Roland Garros clay.

Mustard 06-20-2012 05:45 PM

Here are the Sampras vs. Agassi head-to-head matches, by the way.

Pete Sampras 20-14 Andre Agassi
1989 Rome R32: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-2, 6-1)
1990 Philadelphia R16: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (5-7, 7-5 ret.)
1990 US Open F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-4, 6-3, 6-2)
1990 World Championships RR: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-4, 6-2)
1991 World Championships RR: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-3, 1-6, 6-3)
1992 Atlanta F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (7-5, 6-4)
1992 French Open QF: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (7-6, 6-2, 6-1)
1993 Wimbledon QF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4)
1994 Miami F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (5-7, 6-3, 6-3)
1994 Osaka SF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-3, 6-1)
1994 Paris Indoor QF: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (7-6, 7-5)
1994 World Championships SF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (4-6, 7-6, 6-3)
1995 Australian Open F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (4-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4)
1995 Indian Wells F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (7-5, 6-3, 7-5)
1995 Miami F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (3-6, 6-2, 7-6)
1995 Montreal F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (3-6, 6-2, 6-3)
1995 US Open F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5)
1996 San Jose F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 6-3)
1996 Stuttgart Indoor QF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-4, 6-1)
1996 World Championships RR: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-2, 6-1)
1998 San Jose F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-2, 6-4)
1998 Monte Carlo R32: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-4, 7-5)
1998 Toronto QF: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-7, 6-1, 6-2)
1999 Wimbledon F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-3, 6-4, 7-5)
1999 Los Angeles F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (7-6, 7-6)
1999 Cincinnati SF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (7-6, 6-4)
1999 World Championships RR: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-2, 6-2)
1999 World Championships F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-1, 7-5, 6-4)
2000 Australian Open SF: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1)
2001 Indian Wells F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (7-6, 7-5, 6-1)
2001 Los Angeles F: Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras (6-4, 6-2)
2001 US Open QF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6)
2002 Houston SF: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-1, 7-5)
2002 US Open F: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi (6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4)

Hardcourt: 11-9 to Sampras
Clay: 3-2 to Agassi
Grass: 2-0 to Sampras
Carpet: 5-2 to Sampras
In Majors: 6-3 to Sampras

tennischemist 06-20-2012 05:50 PM

you know now that i look at it 20-14 isn't really "owning" someone

although 6-3 in majors is telling of Sampras' superior nerve (and more too probably)

Mustard 06-20-2012 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennischemist (Post 6647827)
you know now that i look at it 20-14 isn't really "owning" someone

although 6-3 in majors is telling of Sampras' superior nerve (and more too probably)

The 1995 US Open final was the crucial match. I often wonder how different things would have been in the rivalry, and in the tennis world, had Agassi won that match.


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