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Old 02-12-2010, 04:10 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Steve132 View Post
No one doubts that Laver, Rosewall, Connors and Lendl won at least some big tournaments or that they are great players. My objection is to the argument that the total number of titles won is a major criterion to be used when comparing players' achievements across generations, and that Federer is to be found wanting because he has not won, and most likely will never win, 100 or more titles. In today's game players - male and female - focus on majors and, to a lesser extent, Masters events for men and Tier 1 tournaments for women. The ITF, ATP and WTA are all happy with this situation. That's why Serena Williams - the closest thing to a Federer counterpart in today's WTA - has won "only" 36 titles, but that total includes 12 majors, 10 tier 1 titles and 2 YEC's.

Incidentally, Federer's claims to greatness do not by any means depend exclusively on his number of major titles, or even his performance in majors (winning 11 majors in 4 years, reaching 18 of 19 major finals, 23 consecutive semi final appearances, etc.). He also has 237 consecutive weeks at no. 1 (the record for both male and female players since weekly rankings were introduced in the mid 1970's), as well as Open era record winning streaks on both grass (65 matches) and hard courts (56 matches).

No, it isn't, but nothing that I wrote suggests otherwise. McEnroe was far more consistently successful in 1984 than Wilander in 1988, and his 1984 season ranks with Laver's 1969 and Federer's 2006 as the best of the Open era. But none of this has anything to do with the issue under discussion - the use of number of titles won to compare players across generations.
Truth be told, Federer doesn't play that many events because he doesn't have to from a financial standpoint. In that regard, he owes Laver et al a cut of everything he wins. If the earnings were constant, adjusted for today's dollars, Federer would have to play every week in "Mickey Mouse" events.
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