Originally Posted by BobbyOne
pc1, I rank Kramer in a group with McEnroe, Vines, Lendl and Hoad regarding achievements, just behind first tier (Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, and Laver) and behind Borg, Sampras and Federer.
Reasonable and some of those players have been argued to be GOAT by some.
I do think many rank Kramer subjectively on average level of play as the highest ever. Subjective opinions are tough because someone can rate David Nalbanian as the best ever when healthy and frankly while he's pretty tough when he "on" his game he can't come close to the best on average level of play.
However there are also results indicating the incredibly high level of play in Kramer's often lopsided victories on tour
over Riggs by 69 to 20 and Pancho Segura also by a huge score which some write as 64 to 28. Gonzalez was dismissed by 96 to 27 and Sedgman came close at 54 to 41. However Kramer was suffering from a bad case of arthritis when he played Sedgman and was already over the hill. To defeat a super player like Frank Sedgman when you are suffering from arthritis at age 32 is a great result. He was perhaps the first athlete to receive cortisone injections. These are very impressive victories over some of the greatest of all time. I believe that these tours are perhaps more important than majors at that time. In some ways tennis operated like Professional Boxing in that the World Champion had to be beaten in a series of matches. The winner is World Champion.
Let's put it this way, if you had a young Jack Kramer in 1950 with a wood racquet playing anyone in history on grass or hard court, Kramer would have an excellent chance to win. If you had anyone in history playing Kramer on an indoor court at Kramer's peak, Kramer may be favored over anyone. And yes Kramer was a pretty good clay court player.
So here's the problem with Kramer. We currently rank players by amount of majors. You cannot just rank by majors won. That's a bit too simplistic and superficial. Kramer did not win a huge amount of majors but he was dominant in tours at his best and he did win some majors, classic and pro. He retired early because of arthritis. So do we rank on achievements only or top average level of player?
Kramer would do extremely well with the former considering he was number one for years. Some argue he was the best from 1946 to 1954. I disagree there on the years but he was clearly number one for a while. On average level of play he has an excellent argument when looking at the players he defeated and from the many opinions of people who played with.
Do I think he's the GOAT? No. Do I think he has valid arguments to be at least be argued as the GOAT? Yes. I would not say that about many players like Djokovic, Nadal or Agassi just to name a few. Although I can see the former two in the mix if they continue their superb play for a few years.