Originally Posted by forzamilan90
For me credentials for the GOAT really have to be eye popping, spectacular achievementsthat go above and beyond, that really show man this dude is on a different level, incredible (stats, records, longevity, strength of play against the field). It's no secret that I think Fed is the best ever (The GOAT) but I think guys like Laver, Sampras, Gonzales, Tilden (though I'm just being respectful here, deep down inside in my heart I can never call a 1920s player GOAT) are in GOAT convo. Guys like Hoad and Kramer I respect what they did but cannot seriously consider them in that category at all. With guys like that, I haven't seen them play, got no highlight reels,have lesser achievements (right I know I can't just go by the fact they have less majors but a lot of other factors and hypotheticals go in place here for pre open era legends that make things complicated). There's also a lot of lore and mythology that surrounds guys like Hoad or Kramer (peak level of play and all that which can be said about anyone who has ever been tough at his peak).
As far I am concerned, these guys are at best on the level of McEnroe or Djokovic. Far away from from the first tier. And I like to keep that first tier (the GOAT contenders) really strict and exclusive to get into. So lots of respect, but no GOAT material imo.
Here's the thing. There are different variables here. You discuss Federer as the clear GOAT, but is it so clear? You realize that the old time pros couldn't enter the majors and thereby add to their totals. You realize that players like Bill Tilden had trouble going overseas by boat for many weeks to enter majors like Wimbledon (which he won several times) and the French. You realize that Gonzalez was the foremost player in the world for many years and a major title contender for way over a decade, close to two decades.
Would Kramer have won a lot of majors if he had the chance? Yes I think so. He didn't have the chance. You write about mythology but it's not a myth that Tilden won ten classic majors and a total of 14 majors. It's not a myth that Tilden won over 160 tournaments. It's not a myth that Tilden was about 6'3" or 6'2" tall and was physically gifted. Do you penalize Tilden for playing in the 1920 to the 1950's? The man was a tennis genius and it's pretty clear to me that if he had the same mindset that he would have done extremely well in today's game.
Here's a number for you. Federer won 17 majors. That's a fact. It's very impressive. Did you know he won that in 54 tries at major? That's about 31.5%. Not quite as dominant when you see the percentages. Others have had higher percentages for winning majors. So my point is that the older pros didn't have the chances to play the majors and therefore had no chance to win 17 majors. I think Tilden would have won many majors as would have Gonzalez and Rosewall. There was no opportunity. If Federer was in that situation also, he wouldn't have won many majors because they would let him play the majors.
So this is what you have to take into account when you look at Jack Kramer's career and if you examine the different variables it's very impressive.