General Opinion on Lew Hoad
My opinion on Lew Hoad is that he is one of the most gifted if not the most gifted player in the history of tennis. There was almost nothing he couldn't do. He obviously had huge power on serve, volley, backhand and forehand. He was very quick, great stamina and good touch. Was he a consistent player with few errors, apparently not but that goes with the style.
The man was the only person to defeat Gonzalez in a head to head tour when Gonzalez was in his prime, beating him by a close score of 15 to 13.
Many people have called Hoad the BOAT. Now I believe if you look at career accomplishments I cannot logically think that Hoad is anywhere close to being the BOAT for career accomplishments because he simply didn't play enough. He was done in by back injuries. I also see that he seemed to have a lot of losses that a player of his great abilities shouldn't have had.
So if Hoad cannot qualify as the BOAT for most career accomplishments you have to look at peak value. Some believe that Hoad had his best year in 1959 when he beat Gonzalez more times than Gonzalez defeated him on the tour. The thing is that he did have a lot of losses that year and he did lose some other tours played. Does it qualify as a super peak year? Certainly by record it doesn't look as impressive as some peak years of greats however the Old Pro Tour was an incredibly tough level of competition. It was filled with great players like Rosewall, Gonzalez, Trabert, Cooper, Segura, Sedgman, Anderson among others. So the key here is how powerful was the competition. Gonzalez to me was around his physical peak or perhaps slightly past so certainly that qualifies as an awesome foe as is Ken Rosewall. Trabert was certainly a very powerful opponent and Sedgman is perhaps up there with anyone. Is it a more impressive year than let's say Agassi in 1999? Perhaps. Is it more impressive than some of Sampras' great years? Maybe. Is it more impressive than some of Federer's great years? Who knows?
One negative is that Hoad didn't win Wembley, the US Pro or the French Pro in 1959.
I'll leave it up for discussion whether Hoad in 1959 qualifies as a super great year.
Another possibility for Hoad as BOAT is whether he was the greatest for a single individual match or series of matches. Now of course it is a matter of opinion but many people believe this to be true of Lew Hoad, by that I mean he was possibly the greatest ever for a single match or a series of matches.
I am of the opinion this could very well be possible that he was the greatest for a single match but you can also argue Gonzalez, Laver, Vines, Tilden, Ashe, Kovacs, Richard Norris Williams and several others. There are stories about Hoad on how he seemed to do nothing but hit winners off everything for a little while and was unstoppable. Vines himself was of the opinion Hoad could even do this at times against Don Budge and Vines thought Budge was the best player after World War I so that comment is pretty impressive.
Of all the players I've read about I believe Hoad is the most likely candidate for being the Best Ever for one individual match or series of matches. We can't prove it but he would be my best guess if I had to make a pick.
Last edited by pc1 : 09-18-2012 at 08:23 AM.