Originally Posted by krosero
The thing is, as you say, there are so many choices for top level of play. There are several champions who have achieved performances that qualify as candidates for "best tennis ever", and you listed some of them. All of them could stop one another, or at least that's what you would expect: you'd expect close matches if the best of the best met at their respective peaks.
The only person who could qualify as a "must-win," no matter who faces him, is someone who can play at a level above everyone else in history. I guess Lew Hoad is a candidate for that level of play.
But the other champions can beat each other. Laver can go on those tears and thoroughly dominate Ashe or other players, but if he meets Pancho Gonzalez at his best, or Ken Rosewall at his best, he might lose. Especially if you vary the surfaces.
Anyway Federer has gone on many such tears. I think when he beat Nadal at Indian Wells this year, Pmac said during one of Federer's best patches that when he gets into that form he's unplayable.
It's always tough to figure peak level. Djokovic seemed to be at that level for a long time last year. Murray seems to be able to reach this but as you said it depends on the matchup. Nadal also at times seems unstoppable.
As you wrote it depends on the opponent too. Didn't we have a topic on this one time?