Originally Posted by veroniquem
But Sampras and Fed are close enough in time that it's not that difficult to compare their achievements and observe that Fed has surpassed Sampras on any surface and in any department.
I prefer still not to compare them. I am sure you are aware at how polarized the surfaces were in the 90s, there were very distinct characteristics shown between the slams, that are not around in todays game. Again, I am not saying Federer wouldn't have had the exact same success, he is very adaptable, and I am not even saying that Nadal wouldn't have the same success, but even between their time and Pete's time, things have radically changed.
I will say this, Federer and Nadal to a slightly lesser extent have done remarkably well, and have incredible champion's mentality, but so did Sampras. But Fedal have played in conditions that are different from what Sampras did.
Now, you can say that it makes things easier for Federer and Nadal, since there is less surface change, the balls are similiar etc. But you can also say that it also makes things harder, since other players who would have struggled more in 90s with changing surfaces, now are able to compete on more and more events and slams, thus making it even more difficult for Fedal to win. It goes both ways, and again, I am not fighting a case either way.
I am just saying, Sampras did play in a time when conditions were drastically different, to what Federer and Nadal have, so you already have to look at surfaces as a discussion point. And if arguments are being made, yeah....you can still say who you think is GOAT, but there will be question marks always. Speculations and hyptheticals will always come up. I am happy with what Roger, Rafa and Pete have done in their careers, but I don't need to be giving GOAT titles around to underline they were the best. In the times they played, they simply were the best.