Originally Posted by Mustard
That is all speculation. You could just as easily say that Federer doesn't stand a chance in the era of wooden racquets, no tiebreaks and no sitdowns at the change of ends against Laver. No modern player could just play the game that they do today with 1960s equipment, because wooden racquets didn't have the power to dictate from the baseline with the authority and depth of today's game. You had to go into the net a lot back then.
Originally Posted by TMF
There's no facts to even worth speculating Roger at 6'1" wouldn't have dominated the field,
Mustard, this is absolutely true, and one of the key statements made by anyone in this thread. You did have to go to the net a lot back then, especially on Wimbledon's old grass, and even more so on the grass at the USO where the ball bounced even lower -- and more erratically -- than it did on Wimbledon's old grass.
You also had to get into net a lot on the super-fast wooden boards that many older tournaments were played on. Wood surfaces were not friendly at all to defense.
In fact you could probably say that the taller you were, the more important it was to get into net, in order to avoid low/erratic bounces.
Modern fans of Federer who picture him playing in those times are probably just imagining him hitting groundstroke winners. But nobody won the grass majors back then if they didn't come into the net a lot. Borg stayed back more than most champions and yet he attacked the net far more, at Wimbledon, than anyone today. Agassi finally won Wimbledon by staying back all the time, the way players do today -- but he did it with a modern racquet. If you tried to stay back in the wood era, with those tiny racquets, on low-bouncing grass, against volleyers like the great Aussie champions, you had no chance.
So Federer vs. Laver in 1965, for example, would either be a SV battle, or it would be Federer, with a wood racquet, trying to hold off Laver at the net, on surfaces inherently advantageous to net-rushers.
And yet the argument is that Federer would wipe the floor with Laver and with the other Aussie champions, who perfected volleys the way no one had done before, and no one has done since (with some exceptions like McEnroe and Edberg).
Seriously, even the most rabid Federer fans don't call him the greatest volleyer of all time. His reasonable fans even accept that the older champions were better volleyers than today's players. I've heard many modern fans say that volleying is not a good strategy today; but I don't hear anyone saying that Federer is a better volleyer than Laver, Roche, Sedgman, Hoad, etc.
Still less do you hear that Federer is two to three times better at net than the great net-rushers of the past; yet that is what Federer would have to be, if he's going to dominate them at major after major.
I think Federer, if he had grown up in those times, would do just fine. But no way would he be wiping the floor with any great netrusher on those fast grass and wooden surfaces.