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hoodjem 10-28-2012 06:24 AM

GOAT Discussions
 
(This thread is not about who is the GOAT. Rather it is about how these GOAT discussions are trending.)

It occurs to me that since Fed has overtaken Pete in the slams count and tied his 7 Wimbers titles, Sampras is seldom mentioned in the GOAT discussions any more.

Pete's reputation seems to have been largely based (by himself?) on his total slam count number and his seven Wimbledon titles.

Lately the discussion has been about Fed and Laver, or Hoad, or Gonzales or Rosewall, (or maybe Tilden being mentioned). It seems to be about (what I call) apples versus oranges, or players who are difficult to compare (as opposed to easy), because so much history has elapsed and conditions have changed so much.

I don't know whether this is correct, but I do think that Sampras has engineered his own irrelevance by putting so much emphasis on slam count totals, and not on other aspects of his record.

Dan Lobb 10-28-2012 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 6979124)
(This thread is not about who is the GOAT. Rather it is about how these GOAT discussions are trending.)

It occurs to me that since Fed has overtaken Pete in the slams count and tied his 7 Wimbers titles, Sampras is seldom mentioned in the GOAT discussions any more.

Pete's reputation seems to have been largely based(by himself?) on his total slam count number and his seven Wimbledon titles.

Lately the discussion has been about Fed and Laver, or Hoad, or Gonzales or Rosewall, (or maybe Tilden being mentioned). It seems to be about (what I call) apples versus oranges, or players who are difficult to compare (as opposed to easy) because so much history has elapsed and conditions have changed so much.

I don't know whether this is correct, but I do think that Sampras has engineered his own irrelevance by putting so much emphasis on slam count totals, and not on other aspects of his record.

Certainly, his refusal to learn how to play on clay has hurt his ranking, because the greatest players, even Gonzales, won some important clay titles.

Carsomyr 10-28-2012 06:48 AM

Hard to completely blame Pete - the counting of GS tourny wins was deemed a relevant criterion for GOAT status concurrently with his domination. I think it was largely media driven, and Pete played along with chasing the record. There was an ESPN article in 2000 or 2001 that discussed the chasing of the record and becoming the greatest ever. Pete also said something to the effect that he needed a FO to be considered. Oops.

Gizo 10-28-2012 08:11 AM

I never considered Sampras to be the greatest player of all time, even when he held the grand slam title record and before Federer started dominating men's tennis.

Within the previous 20-30 years alone I always considered Laver to be greater, and I considered Borg to be at least Sampras's equal (I personally lean slightly towards Borg in that debate).

Tennis was rapidly losing popularity in the US and other countries in the 90s, compared to the golden age of the mid 70s to mid 80. At the height of Sampras's dominance in May 1994, Sports Illustrated ran the cover 'is tennis dying?', and the New York Times regularly had articles of a similar theme. The one superstar that men's tennis had, Agassi, didn't properly dedicate himself fully to the sport until 1998 (aside from one year in 1995). Sampras inadvertently helped kill the popularity of tennis by not being willing to help promote the sport.

I suspect that the ATP and the tennis media hyped up Sampras's pursuit of Emerson's grand slam title record (which Emmo himself didn't even know he held for decades) to generate some much needed interest and excitement in the sport.

I agree that at the time, this newfound interest in that record that was previously seen as irrelevant, helped boost Sampras's legacy upon his retirement. However since then Federer has come along and broken that record so quickly, and has Sampras well and truly beaten according to these 'modern' GOAT criteria that didn't exist before.

There are still cases to argue that Gonzales, Laver etc are greater than Federer (and vice versa). However there is no case whatsoever to argue that Sampras is greater given that Federer tops him in nearly every category, and that both players' CVs are judged by these modern criteria. Of course Sampras was an amazing player and easily one of the greatest players to have ever lived I must add.

urban 10-28-2012 11:37 AM

I agree, that Sampras put too much emphasis on his majors record, instead of other records of him, which were better imo, his 6 year reign as year end Nr. 1, his 7 Wimbledons or his 12 wins at Wimbledon - US Open. For me the 14 majors looked always beatable, regarding the long absence and percentages between majors wins and participation of players like Tilden, Borg, Gonzalez, Rosewall or Laver.
But we should give Sampras his credit- as the modern Gonzalez, possibly the best fast court player of modern times on fast grass, fast hardcourt and indoor carpet. He was a big cat, with the deadly serve and great vertical movement.

pc1 10-28-2012 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 6979124)
(This thread is not about who is the GOAT. Rather it is about how these GOAT discussions are trending.)

It occurs to me that since Fed has overtaken Pete in the slams count and tied his 7 Wimbers titles, Sampras is seldom mentioned in the GOAT discussions any more.

Pete's reputation seems to have been largely based (by himself?) on his total slam count number and his seven Wimbledon titles.

Lately the discussion has been about Fed and Laver, or Hoad, or Gonzales or Rosewall, (or maybe Tilden being mentioned). It seems to be about (what I call) apples versus oranges, or players who are difficult to compare (as opposed to easy), because so much history has elapsed and conditions have changed so much.

I don't know whether this is correct, but I do think that Sampras has engineered his own irrelevance by putting so much emphasis on slam count totals, and not on other aspects of his record.

Hoodjem,

I do think a lot of the GOAT discussions don't take into account the changing values of what is important in the tennis world and how superior a player is compared to his contemporaries. Even then I wonder if some subjectivity should be taken into account on whether the player may have had some stroke deficiencies. The formula for simply counting majors to analyze greatness is greatly flawed to me in an infinite amount of ways.

For example Bill Tilden is arguably the most dominant player of all time but he is behind in majors to a number of players. Is he an inferior player to them? Perhaps or perhaps not.

We don't have enough stats about the past in tennis unlike baseball in which we can compared teams on winning percentage or run differential among other things. People like Joe McCauley, Andrew Tas and Robert Geist has helped us tremendously in this area and hopefully we can get more information in the future.

May not be able to post for a while because a huge hurricane is coming my way and power may be out for more than a week. :shock:

borg number one 10-28-2012 09:47 PM

Hoodjem, I understand your point about the new emphasis on "slam count" as a central measure with Sampras, although majors were always coveted. With Sampras, there was definitely a change in terms of the central criterion. Yet, I would argue that besides the fact that Sampras does not have the most majors, I still consider him to be one of the all time greats and an argument can be made for him to be right at the top. He of course excelled as a fast court player, but did not have great results on clay.

NadalAgassi 10-28-2012 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 6979124)
(This thread is not about who is the GOAT. Rather it is about how these GOAT discussions are trending.)

It occurs to me that since Fed has overtaken Pete in the slams count and tied his 7 Wimbers titles, Sampras is seldom mentioned in the GOAT discussions any more.

Pete's reputation seems to have been largely based (by himself?) on his total slam count number and his seven Wimbledon titles.

Lately the discussion has been about Fed and Laver, or Hoad, or Gonzales or Rosewall, (or maybe Tilden being mentioned). It seems to be about (what I call) apples versus oranges, or players who are difficult to compare (as opposed to easy), because so much history has elapsed and conditions have changed so much.

I don't know whether this is correct, but I do think that Sampras has engineered his own irrelevance by putting so much emphasis on slam count totals, and not on other aspects of his record.

You are right. I like Pete but he overhyped his slam record WAY too much. That was never that impressive a record. Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, and possibly a few others, would all have more slams than even Federer currently has, let alone Sampras, had Open Era tennis been around then. His most impressive records were always his 7 Wimbledons (which he still shares, and IMO his 7 in 8 years is more impressive than Federer's 7 in 10) and his 6 straight year end #1st, along with his fabulous U.S Open record including 5 titles, 8 finals, and which showed amazing longevity at the event with 12 years spread of his first and last titles. However by building up his not that astounding slam mark so much, he indeed has rendered himself irrelevant by Federer breaking it. Federer meanwhile is overhyped and too easily coronated in GOAT debates due to not only his current player status, but thanks to Pete's overvaluing of his own slam mark. Federer has Pete to thank for much of his over the top GOAT coronation these days, LOL!

NadalAgassi 10-28-2012 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban (Post 6980128)
I agree, that Sampras put too much emphasis on his majors record, instead of other records of him, which were better imo, his 6 year reign as year end Nr. 1, his 7 Wimbledons or his 12 wins at Wimbledon - US Open. For me the 14 majors looked always beatable, regarding the long absence and percentages between majors wins and participation of players like Tilden, Borg, Gonzalez, Rosewall or Laver.
But we should give Sampras his credit- as the modern Gonzalez, possibly the best fast court player of modern times on fast grass, fast hardcourt and indoor carpet. He was a big cat, with the deadly serve and great vertical movement.

ITA on all and I also agree Sampras is the best fast court player of modern times. Peak to peak he would beat Federer more often than not on all of fast grass, fast hardcourt, and indoor carpet.

NadalAgassi 10-28-2012 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gizo (Post 6979669)
Tennis was rapidly losing popularity in the US and other countries in the 90s, compared to the golden age of the mid 70s to mid 80. At the height of Sampras's dominance in May 1994, Sports Illustrated ran the cover 'is tennis dying?', and the New York Times regularly had articles of a similar theme.

Sports Illustrated and the like always complained when someone other than their favorites was dominating or even on top. One example of this is people complained in the Seles absence due to stabbing years it was boring since Graf was too dominant, and that she had no real rival. Yet Graf won only 6 of 10 and 6 of 9 slams played during that period. Seles won 7 of 9 and 7 of 8 slams played from 91-early 93 before the stabbing. So Seles was in fact much more dominant the 2 and half years before the stabbing as Graf in the 2 and a half while Seles was out. Yet despite this obvious fact oddly these same people didnt complain about tennis being boring, Seles being too dominant, or Seles having no real rival (any talk of a great rivalry with Graf that period is BS as they only even played 5 matches and 3 slam matches in nearly 3 years) prior to the stabbing.

Likewise Sports Illustrated had no problems whatsoever with Navratilova's staggering 83/84 dominance, losing 3 matches in 2 years, and winning 13 matches in a row at one point, most embarassingly one sided, vs her chief "rival" Chris Evert. Nor did they have an problems with Serena's 02/03 dominance, including winning her only 5 meetings, all 5 in slam finals, vs her chief "rival" Venus. They did however complain about the dominance of Hingis in 1997, and even of Henin in late 2003/early 2004 and 2007.

So players they deem boring or just dont enjoy for whatever reason like Sampras, Graf, Lendl, Hingis they complain about being too dominant and having no real rival, even in ridiculous cases when Graf had been far outdone by Sanchez most of 94/early 95 and lost her #1 ranking to her, and they still claimed she had no rival. While players they do enjoy or find more interesting like Seles, Navratilova, McEnroe, they say absolutely nothing against even when being more dominant and having less of a real rival than the aforementioned group.

Gizo 10-29-2012 12:21 AM

^^ True but Sampras's grand slams finals in which he wasn't playing Agassi generally got pretty poor TV ratings in the US. Despite being American I doubt Sampras was anywhere as big a star or as well recognised in the US as the non-American Borg was.

The All-German Wimbledon final in 1991 got much better TV ratings than the all American final featuring Sampras. Given that Wimbledon takes place during a relative quiet period during the American sporting calendar, the TV ratings that a player generates from their Wimbledon finals in the US is a pretty good measure of how big a star they are there. And Sampras's first 5 Wimbledon finals before he faced the genuine star Agassi in 1999 all did pretty poorly.

Plus Sampras took Sports Illustrated pretty seriously and was offended when they ignored his 6th consecutive year end no. 1 finish in 1998 and especially his record 13th slam title at Wimbledon in 2000.

I agree that we have Sampras to blame (even though Lendl near the end of his career actually started it) for this 'only grand slams matter' attitude and increased focus on 'slam counting'.

His haul of 12 Wimbledon/US Open titles would probably have received even greater praise if he had played during Connors's time in the 70s for instance, when many people considered those events to be the two blue chip majors.

BTW did someone seriously post what you have in your signature. LOL I couldn't stop laughing when I read it.

hoodjem 10-29-2012 05:23 AM

Wow! Thanks guys. I am am very impressed with the depth of thinking and memories in these responses. Call me cynical about these boards, but I did not expect this level of calm, rational reasoning.

I am tempted to agree with virtually everything that has been said.

hoodjem 10-29-2012 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by borg number one (Post 6980999)
Yet, I would argue that besides the fact that Sampras does not have the most majors, I still consider him to be one of the all time greats and an argument can be made for him to be right at the top. He of course excelled as a fast court player, but did not have great results on clay.

No argument from me here.

(Sampras is certainly in my top-10 GOAT-list. But his paucity of clay-court titles prevents his higher placement, IMO.)

Carsomyr 10-29-2012 06:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 6981046)
You are right. I like Pete but he overhyped his slam record WAY too much. That was never that impressive a record. Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, and possibly a few others, would all have more slams than even Federer currently has, let alone Sampras, had Open Era tennis been around then. His most impressive records were always his 7 Wimbledons (which he still shares, and IMO his 7 in 8 years is more impressive than Federer's 7 in 10) and his 6 straight year end #1st, along with his fabulous U.S Open record including 5 titles, 8 finals, and which showed amazing longevity at the event with 12 years spread of his first and last titles. However by building up his not that astounding slam mark so much, he indeed has rendered himself irrelevant by Federer breaking it. Federer meanwhile is overhyped and too easily coronated in GOAT debates due to not only his current player status, but thanks to Pete's overvaluing of his own slam mark. Federer has Pete to thank for much of his over the top GOAT coronation these days, LOL!

Pure speculation and apples to oranges in the extreme. For example, if Open Era tennis had existed in, say, the 30s, how many majors would Laver have won from '60-'62, competing against the best pros?

hoodjem 10-29-2012 07:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carsomyr (Post 6981455)
Pure speculation and apples to oranges in the extreme. For example, if Open Era tennis had existed in, say, the 30s, how many majors would Laver have won from '60-'62, competing against the best pros?

There is a thread on this topic somewhere.

What if tennis had been OPEN during the 1950s? How long and when would Laver have caught up with the pros--if he'd been competing against them from day one, and not just after 1962.

Very speculative, but many concluded that he would have been forced to work harder and matured earlier competing against them. (I wonder where this thread is?)

Carsomyr 10-29-2012 07:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 6981494)
There is a thread on this topic somewhere.

What if tennis had been OPEN during the 1950s? How long and when would Laver have caught up with the pros--if he'd been competing against them from day one, and not just after 1962.

Very speculative, but many concluded that he would have been forced to work harder and matured earlier competing against them. (I wonder where this thread is?)

It's possible of course, but as you said, extremely speculative. The late 50s and early 60s saw Pancho and Rosewall at their best.

TMF 10-29-2012 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carsomyr (Post 6981455)
Pure speculation and apples to oranges in the extreme. For example, if Open Era tennis had existed in, say, the 30s, how many majors would Laver have won from '60-'62, competing against the best pros?

Yep. Pure speculation <<<<<<< FACTS. You can argue Laver would have won less if there's no split fields.

urban 10-29-2012 08:22 AM

Sometimes i think, if reading certain post and posters, that Rod Laver never won a thing in his career. Something of a ghost. Must be a dream, that he won 200 events in his life, that he was in all major finals (including pro majors) in the majors he played in the 60s, bar 4, that he won 11 out of 19 classic majors played in the 60s, that he had the best amateur year of all time, the best pro year and the best open year in history, that he had clear positive records against all contemporaries, most of them hall of famers, and even if they were younger 6 or 7 years. Must be a dream.

Carsomyr 10-29-2012 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban (Post 6981620)
Sometimes i think, if reading certain post and posters, that Rod Laver never won a thing in his career. Something of a ghost. Must be a dream, that he won 200 events in his life, that he was in all major finals (including pro majors) in the majors he played in the 60s, bar 4, that he won 11 out of 19 classic majors played in the 60s, that he had the best amateur year of all time, the best pro year and the best open year in history, that he had clear positive records against all contemporaries, most of them hall of famers, and even if they were younger 6 or 7 years. Must be a dream.

Sometimes I think, if reading certain posts and posters, that Rod Laver's career is beyond scrutiny. I mean, why even bother discussing it at all? Everyone who ever lived knows he's the best player ever, and all GOAT discussions, including this thread, are moot.

pc1 10-29-2012 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carsomyr (Post 6981687)
Sometimes I think, if reading certain posts and posters, that Rod Laver's career is beyond scrutiny. I mean, why even bother discussing it at all? Everyone who ever lived knows he's the best player ever, and all GOAT discussions, including this thread, are moot.

Of course Laver's career is not beyond scrutiny but as Urban did point out he certainly has a huge amount of pluses in so many areas.

But you can say the same for Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall and Borg among others.


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