Originally Posted by Limpinhitter
I think Riggs was a great player. But, I also think he benefited from Budge's shoulder injury which, from what I've read, permanently diminished Budge's game and prevented him from returning to his prior form. There's no doubt in my mind that peak Budge was the better player. Whereas Kramer could only beat Riggs on a regular basis from the net, Budge could overpower Riggs regularly from the baseline. And, I think Riggs acknowledges that in terms of their early 40's losses, although he seems to disregard Budge's injury when talking about his late 40's victories.
I've seen some interviews with Riggs in which he does take into account the injury plus he also felt Budge gained weight which in his opinion also hurt Budge's game.
Most people would agree with you that Budge was clearly the superior player over Riggs when both were at their peaks. Vines ranks Budge at his peak ahead of Riggs and Kramer also ranks Budge ahead of Riggs. In fact I can't think of anyone who ranks Riggs ahead of Budge.