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NadalAgassi 12-19-2012 03:56 PM

What does Serena have to do in order to be the best ever
 
In your viewpoint what does Serena have to do in order to be the best ever. I believe she has to reach 20 slams and win a 2nd French. If she does that she will be GOAT IMO since she would:

-Obviously if she keeps winning slams any longer have the best longevity ever. She already has the best longevity ever IMO.

-Have the highest peak level play ever by a women. I know this is subjective but the general consensus already is Serena's peak level of play is the highest ever on all surfaces except clay. Higher than Graf, higher than Navratilova, higher than Seles, etc...

-Hold the real unasterixed slam mark, considering the asterixes next to Court's 24 (Australian Open illegitimate slam of time for women), and Graf's 22 (Seles stabbing). At most Court would only have 18 and Graf only 19 without these situations, so 20 would be the true mark ahead of Wills and Graf's 19, Evert, Navratilova, and Court's 18.

-Dominating the deepest womens field in tennis history from 1999-2003, thus proving herself vs the strongest competition of any player ever.

-Her records in both Olympics and doubles showing her completeness. Someone like Navratilova who also excelled in doubles had countless opportunities to play in the Olympics and did not even attempt to.

pc1 12-19-2012 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7071209)
In your viewpoint what does Serena have to do in order to be the best ever. I believe she has to reach 20 slams and win a 2nd French. If she does that she will be GOAT IMO since she would:

-Obviously if she keeps winning slams any longer have the best longevity ever. She already has the best longevity ever IMO.

-Have the highest peak level play ever by a women. I know this is subjective but the general consensus already is Serena's peak level of play is the highest ever on all surfaces except clay. Higher than Graf, higher than Navratilova, higher than Seles, etc...

-Hold the real unasterixed slam mark, considering the asterixes next to Court's 24 (Australian Open illegitimate slam of time for women), and Graf's 22 (Seles stabbing). At most Court would only have 18 and Graf only 19 without these situations, so 20 would be the true mark ahead of Wills and Graf's 19, Evert, Navratilova, and Court's 18.

-Dominating the deepest womens field in tennis history from 1999-2003, thus proving herself vs the strongest competition of any player ever.

-Her records in both Olympics and doubles showing her completeness. Someone like Navratilova who also excelled in doubles had countless opportunities to play in the Olympics and did not even attempt to.

I think you might have some arguments with the stuff I put in bold above. But I think even with twenty majors she just lost a little too much and didn't win enough overall tournaments to be considered the best ever for career. I can see the argument of her best play for one match being the best ever. A lot of experts who have seen tennis for years believe that. I think it's possible that for one match she may be the best I've seen.

But for one year or a few years consecutively or a career I think you would have to go with players like Navratilova, Graf, Evert, Court or even Lenglen or Wills.

NadalAgassi 12-19-2012 04:15 PM

Well many/most consider Graf the female GOAT and she won 107 tournaments, which without the Seles stabbing would probably be more like 75-80. I think Serena can be in the range of "no Seles stabbing" Graf's mark of about 80 tournaments by the time her career is over too. She seems to be taking them more seriously. I already pointed out I dont think you can take that particular stat of the pre 1985 or so, or wood racquet era, players seriously. Everyone played alot more then and had much longer careers, the game was nowhere near as physical or as prone to wear out and injuries as today (which is why what Serena is doing now, excelling well into her 30s in todays game is all the more remarkable).

pc1 12-19-2012 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7071240)
Well many/most consider Graf the female GOAT and she won 107 tournaments, which without the Seles stabbing would probably be more like 75-80. I think Serena can be in the range of "no Seles stabbing" Graf's mark of about 80 tournaments by the time her career is over too. She seems to be taking them more seriously. I already pointed out I dont think you can take that particular stat of the pre 1985 or so, or wood racquet era, players seriously. Everyone played alot more then and had much longer careers, the game was nowhere near as physical or as prone to wear out and injuries as today (which is why what Serena is doing now, excelling well into her 30s in todays game is all the more remarkable).

I'll put it this way, Serena doesn't seem to be slowing down so she will move up higher. I don't think you should penalize pre 1985 players for using wood racquets but it's a different skill set and in some ways I believe it's harder. Players used to play with injuries more in those days. Now they are more conservative. They rest more so nagging injuries don't happen as much.

NadalAgassi 12-19-2012 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 7071263)
I'll put it this way, Serena doesn't seem to be slowing down so she will move up higher. I don't think you should penalize pre 1985 players for using wood racquets but it's a different skill set and in some ways I believe it's harder. Players used to play with injuries more in those days. Now they are more conservative. They rest more so nagging injuries don't happen as much.

OK I dont want what I said misinterpreted so I will say this. I am not one of those who believes tennis competition was easier always in the old days, and older tennis was always weaker. For instance I believe Laver in his Grand Slam year of 1969 had WAY tougher competition than Federer ever had looking at the field. I believe Evert in the early to mid 70s had more overall competition than anyone not named Serena of 99-2003 has had since.

However I do believe the tournament wins total, that particular stat is not at all comparable from pre 1985 or so to today. The nature of the game then was alot less physical (I didnt say worse, I actually in many ways dont like the style of the current game), and players in general had longer careers, were able to play more, missed less time with injuries. You keep trumping how Laver won 144 tournaments and Court won 199, but will we ever see any player approach those numbers again, no matter how great they are? Absolutely not, it is simply impossible in todays game. People like Connors and Lendl have many more tournament wins than Federer still, and are they better or more dominant than Federer, hell no, and believe me I am no Federer fan.

That said I do fully agree Serena needs to up her tournament win total. She has to atleast have the most of any player the last 15 years and she doesnt even have that yet. She also needs to be roughly around the 80 or so the consensus female Graf would have without the Seles stabbing I would say.

Gonzalito17 12-19-2012 05:42 PM

She IS the greatest female player in history.

Talker 12-19-2012 05:50 PM

Serena just has to have the usual stats and be near the top in most.
Slams, weeks at #1, tournaments won, winning percentage.

boredone3456 12-19-2012 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7071240)
Well many/most consider Graf the female GOAT and she won 107 tournaments, which without the Seles stabbing would probably be more like 75-80. I think Serena can be in the range of "no Seles stabbing" Graf's mark of about 80 tournaments by the time her career is over too. She seems to be taking them more seriously. I already pointed out I dont think you can take that particular stat of the pre 1985 or so, or wood racquet era, players seriously. Everyone played alot more then and had much longer careers, the game was nowhere near as physical or as prone to wear out and injuries as today (which is why what Serena is doing now, excelling well into her 30s in todays game is all the more remarkable).

Serena only has 46 titles right now and is 31 years old. There is pretty much a 0% chance of her getting to 80 titles at this point. In her best year ever 2002 she won 8 titles, she won 7 this year. She needs 34 more titles to get to 80...that means even if she is able to win 8 titles a year she will need to do that for about 5 more years. To be honest I highly doubt she is going to do that. Only 2 years in her career has she won more than 6 titles in a season. Going off that 80 titles likely will not happen. 60 is possible...80...probably not.

Even in her stretch from the 2008 US Open- 2010 Wimbledon she only won 1 titles outside the majors....that is just well..bad. There is no way to spin it so its not. Two year period winning 5 majors and outside of them diddly really.

Than there is the fact that from 2004-2008 she won 3 majors in 5 years after winning 5 in just over 1. That giant gap in between two periods of dominance is a mark against her as well.

Plus only 31 non major titles...to low. Davenport, Clijsters, Hingis and Henin all have more right now....that hurts her.

She can improve her stats of course but at this point she is playing from way to far behind to make up the numbers. If she does it props to her but looking at her whole career she doesn't seem likely. Could she hit 20 majors? That I believe is possible IF she stays in peak shape and has zero injuries. But the non major numbers will always be her downfall.

AndrewD 12-19-2012 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7071209)
In your viewpoint what does Serena have to do in order to be the best ever.

Win all 4 majors in the one calendar year.

If she's as good as you say she is then it shouldn't be hard at all - especially given the quality of her opposition. If she can't do that (again, given the quality of opposition), she's a wasted talent.

pc1 12-19-2012 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewD (Post 7071423)
Win all 4 majors in the one calendar year.

If she's as good as you say she is then it shouldn't be hard at all - especially given the quality of her opposition. If she can't do that (again, given the quality of opposition), she's a wasted talent.

Actually if she does it twice and is almost unbeatable like Navratilova was for a few years that would help a lot.

storypeddler 12-19-2012 07:47 PM

These questions ALWAYS come back, inevitably, to opinions. Well-argued and logical perhaps, but opinions nonetheless. Here's how I select a GOAT---and I freely admit that it is an imperfect method and fraught with "Yeah, but..."s

I evaluate a player at his or her very best---the highest level of play he or she ever reached. Then I factor in how much of his or her career was played at that level. Finally, having narrowed the field to a handful, I ask myself how those individuals would do head-to-head, all playing at their greatest playing level. Some extrapolation here, admittedly.

I saw Martina go through an entire calendar year with a single loss---one. Her record that year was something like 87-1. Total domination. For years in the middle of her career, she dominated everyone but Chris. She and Chris are even with slams, so that isn't in play. Chris was unbelievably consistent with her results for a decade and a half.

Steffi was just as dominant at her peak---and she won 22 slam titles, not to mention the Golden Slam. She stands alone with that accomplishment.

I think Monica would have been in the mix had she not been stabbed, but that affected her career so drastically that she was never the same after that. So modern day, the first three I named.

A generation earlier, Margaret Court won 24 slam titles. 24. Two dozen. It makes no difference where they were played, or who else was in the draw, or anything else. Every other player of her day could have played in every single slam Court did. If they chose not to, you cannot penalize Court for that. She may very well have rolled through a full field every year anyway. She showed up every tournament and she did what she had to do. Period. All-time slam leader has to carry some weight.

Based on everything I have read and heard from those who saw her play, Maureen Connelly (Little Mo) was perhaps the greatest/most talented ever to play the game. She just didn't have the length of career to make the same GOAT argument.

Finally, Suzanne Lenglen may always be underrated because of the time in which she played, but she not only won 2 gold medals and a bronze at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, but between 1919 and 1926 she lost only ONE match!!! Think about that for a minute---one loss in seven years against all comers. No modern player has ever approached that kind of domination. And she made playing tennis look like ballet on the court---while obliterating all her opponents.

Assuming you can never really compare one generation of players to another and can only look at individual accomplishments against their own cadre of opponents in the time they played, I would put Serena in the conversation, but there are numerous arguments against her as well, many of which have been spelled out by earlier posters.

Best I could do would be narrow it to two and they are too close to separate---Martina and Steffi. Incidentally, I think that at their best, they would both have strong winning records over Serena. They were thinkers on the court; Serena is a physical force out there, but not particularly cerebral. IMO Serena's mentality works against her. In spite of what she says to keep the peace with the tennis public, she clearly doesn't respect her opponents nor their ability. It isn't confidence---she was instilled with a rather brazen cockiness by her father as a survival technique based on when and where she and Venus grew up. Maybe it helped her then. It hurts her now. She honestly doesn't believe she can get beaten. She convinces herself that if she loses, it is because she played sub-par, not because an opponent outplayed her on their own merit. That mentality causes her to question and challenge linespeople, umpires, everything but her own weaknesses and flaws. She doesn't think she has any. She doesn't develop a more diverse game because she doesn't believe she needs to. The physical potential was always there to be the GOAT---but the mentality never was. It still isn't.

pc1 12-19-2012 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by storypeddler (Post 7071465)
These questions ALWAYS come back, inevitably, to opinions. Well-argued and logical perhaps, but opinions nonetheless. Here's how I select a GOAT---and I freely admit that it is an imperfect method and fraught with "Yeah, but..."s

I evaluate a player at his or her very best---the highest level of play he or she ever reached. Then I factor in how much of his or her career was played at that level. Finally, having narrowed the field to a handful, I ask myself how those individuals would do head-to-head, all playing at their greatest playing level. Some extrapolation here, admittedly.

I saw Martina go through an entire calendar year with a single loss---one. Her record that year was something like 87-1. Total domination. For years in the middle of her career, she dominated everyone but Chris. She and Chris are even with slams, so that isn't in play. Chris was unbelievably consistent with her results for a decade and a half.

Steffi was just as dominant at her peak---and she won 22 slam titles, not to mention the Golden Slam. She stands alone with that accomplishment.

I think Monica would have been in the mix had she not been stabbed, but that affected her career so drastically that she was never the same after that. So modern day, the first three I named.

A generation earlier, Margaret Court won 24 slam titles. 24. Two dozen. It makes no difference where they were played, or who else was in the draw, or anything else. Every other player of her day could have played in every single slam Court did. If they chose not to, you cannot penalize Court for that. She may very well have rolled through a full field every year anyway. She showed up every tournament and she did what she had to do. Period. All-time slam leader has to carry some weight.

Based on everything I have read and heard from those who saw her play, Maureen Connelly (Little Mo) was perhaps the greatest/most talented ever to play the game. She just didn't have the length of career to make the same GOAT argument.

Finally, Suzanne Lenglen may always be underrated because of the time in which she played, but she not only won 2 gold medals and a bronze at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, but between 1919 and 1926 she lost only ONE match!!! Think about that for a minute---one loss in seven years against all comers. No modern player has ever approached that kind of domination. And she made playing tennis look like ballet on the court---while obliterating all her opponents.

Assuming you can never really compare one generation of players to another and can only look at individual accomplishments against their own cadre of opponents in the time they played, I would put Serena in the conversation, but there are numerous arguments against her as well, many of which have been spelled out by earlier posters.

Best I could do would be narrow it to two and they are too close to separate---Martina and Steffi. Incidentally, I think that at their best, they would both have strong winning records over Serena. They were thinkers on the court; Serena is a physical force out there, but not particularly cerebral. IMO Serena's mentality works against her. In spite of what she says to keep the peace with the tennis public, she clearly doesn't respect her opponents nor their ability. It isn't confidence---she was instilled with a rather brazen cockiness by her father as a survival technique based on when and where she and Venus grew up. Maybe it helped her then. It hurts her now. She honestly doesn't believe she can get beaten. She convinces herself that if she loses, it is because she played sub-par, not because an opponent outplayed her on their own merit. That mentality causes her to question and challenge linespeople, umpires, everything but her own weaknesses and flaws. She doesn't think she has any. She doesn't develop a more diverse game because she doesn't believe she needs to. The physical potential was always there to be the GOAT---but the mentality never was. It still isn't.

Nice post. Not sure about the psychological aspects of Serena you have there however. Incidentally Margaret Court won about 92 or 93 percent of her matches for her CAREER! You add 24 majors, a Grand Slam, about 200 tournaments won and that's a pretty great record I would think.

90's Clay 12-19-2012 08:39 PM

She would have to win a calendar slam at least, and manage another 8 or 9 slams and have another extended reign at #1. Thats very far fetched now considering her age.

She won't catch Graf or Martina.

She might have had the highest peak level of any player (arguably) but in terms of her career, she's pretty far behind players like Graf, Martina, Court etc.

She squandered quite a few "key years" away in which she could have solidified herself more to be in the hunt for GOAT status

TMF 12-19-2012 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 7071479)
Nice post. Not sure about the psychological aspects of Serena you have there however. Incidentally Margaret Court won about 92 or 93 percent of her matches for her CAREER! You add 24 majors, a Grand Slam, about 200 tournaments won and that's a pretty great record I would think.

Most single titles is held by Martina, not Court.

1 Martina Navratilova 167
2 Chris Evert 157
3 Steffi Graf 107
4 Margaret Court 92
5 Evonne Goolagong Cawley 68
6 Billie Jean King 67
7 Lindsay Davenport 55
8 Virginia Wade 55
9 Monica Seles 53
10 Serena Williams 46
11 Hingis 45

EDIT: Serena has 46, which she takes over Hingis in 10th place.

BobbyOne 12-19-2012 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TMF (Post 7071546)
Most single titles is held by Martina, not Court.

1 Martina Navratilova 167
2 Chris Evert 157
3 Steffi Graf 107
4 Margaret Court 92
5 Evonne Goolagong Cawley 68
6 Billie Jean King 67
7 Lindsay Davenport 55
8 Virginia Wade 55
9 Monica Seles 53
10 Hingis 45

TMF, Will you ever learn???

Court has won at least 200 tournaments and there were no Mickey Mouse events therein. And there were no splitted fields as there were at the men.

You can't neglect tennis before open era!!!

TMF 12-19-2012 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobbyOne (Post 7071574)
TMF, Will you ever learn???

Court has won at least 200 tournaments and there were no Mickey Mouse events therein. And there were no splitted fields as there were at the men.

You can't neglect tennis before open era!!!

But historians don't include Court, they consider Martina's number is the record holder.

Those 200 titles are nowhere near having the same weight as today. Since Serena has 46 titles, are you saying she needs to win 154 more titles to be equal Court? That's ridiculous.

BobbyOne 12-19-2012 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TMF (Post 7071594)
But historians don't include Court, they consider Martina's number is the record holder.

Those 200 titles are nowhere near having the same weight as today. Since Serena has 46 titles, are you saying she needs to win 154 more titles to be equal Court? That's ridiculous.

TMF, Reasonable historians like Bud Collins do include Court. There is no reason to refuse to do it.

There were no top pros among the women when Court won her many titles. Thus the best players did participate in the amateur events.

The ATP and WTA records are false and irrelevant! They neglect all records prior to 1968 or even before founding of ATP and WTA.

CEvertFan 12-19-2012 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7071209)
In your viewpoint what does Serena have to do in order to be the best ever. I believe she has to reach 20 slams and win a 2nd French. If she does that she will be GOAT IMO since she would:

-Obviously if she keeps winning slams any longer have the best longevity ever. She already has the best longevity ever IMO.

-Have the highest peak level play ever by a women. I know this is subjective but the general consensus already is Serena's peak level of play is the highest ever on all surfaces except clay. Higher than Graf, higher than Navratilova, higher than Seles, etc...

-Hold the real unasterixed slam mark, considering the asterixes next to Court's 24 (Australian Open illegitimate slam of time for women), and Graf's 22 (Seles stabbing). At most Court would only have 18 and Graf only 19 without these situations, so 20 would be the true mark ahead of Wills and Graf's 19, Evert, Navratilova, and Court's 18.

-Dominating the deepest womens field in tennis history from 1999-2003, thus proving herself vs the strongest competition of any player ever.

-Her records in both Olympics and doubles showing her completeness. Someone like Navratilova who also excelled in doubles had countless opportunities to play in the Olympics and did not even attempt to.

There's one thing you've got wrong - the only time Navratilova could have played singles at the Olympics and had a legitimate shot to get a medal is in Seoul 1988 - she was already 31 y.o. - tennis stopped being an Olympic sport after 1924, was a demonstration sport at the '84 Los Angeles Olympics (Stefan Edberg and Steffi Graf won the gold medals which don't officially count as it was just a demonstration sport) and returned to a full medal sport at the '88 Seoul Olympics. Evert actually played in Seoul but lost early to Rafaella Reggi of Italy but Martina was too focused on winning her 9th Wimbledon title at this time and so decided to not play the Olympics.


As for Serena and being considered the best ever:

Grand Slam singles titles aren't the only criteria when you consider a GOAT candidate. There are many other factors you have to take into account - year end #1s, weeks at #1, total number of singles titles, consistent period of dominance etc and for most of them other than the major titles Serena falls far short of the "Big Four" of Graf, Navratilova, Evert and Court. Heck, even Davenport has more singles titles than Serena does (55 to 46) and has 4 year end #1s to her name because she mostly maximized her potential and Serena hasn't for the most part, and at 31 time is quickly running out on her career. She could have had the best numbers ever and dominated like no other if she had been more dedicated to tennis instead of her other outside interests but you can't fault her for wanting more out of life than just tennis, but you just can't put her in the same conversation with the "Big Four" either unless by some miracle she accomplishes a lot more than she has already outside of the majors.

boredone3456 12-20-2012 04:47 AM

Also...Serena was not the dominant player for all of 1999-2003. She was only dominant in 02-03. From 1999-2001 she won only won major. The dominant ones during this period were Venus (4 majors), Capriati (3 majors), Davenport (2 majors) and Hingis (only 1 major but way more dominant all the same. Serena from 99-01 was barely the 5th most dominant player on tour. Extending not even 2 years of dominance into saying she dominated from 1999-2003 is an exaggeration that is ridiculous.

Wolbo 12-20-2012 05:11 AM

Serena has to win in my view at least another two or three Grand Slam titles, another 15 or so titles and have a significant time at No.1 to even be included in the female GOAT discussion. I do think she's capable of that and she shows no signs yet of slowing down.


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