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Old 01-20-2013, 03:38 AM   #2322
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,071

Originally Posted by BobbyOne View Post
Thanks that you argue against my arguments instead of insulting me.
I don't think I ever "insulted" you. My calling your comment "nonsense" might have been blunt and intemperate, but I never attacked you personally.

Stravinsky probably did not say "it's a boogie-woogie" because that term was not known at all in Beethoven's time.
And that is all the more reason to say Beethoven did not "invent" jazz.

I stay at this: A genius can leap the centuries (you partly agree).
One would expect the most influential figure in Western music to have been ahead of his time, but again hints of what's to come don't mean the real thing. To (re)use the Leonardo example, his futuristic notes and sketches continue to amaze us, but it's a stretch to say he invented most of the devices he envisioned. Likewise an art form is more than its parts.

I believe you that you can play Beethoven sonatas (I never could do so) but the most important thing in music is to OPEN YOUR SOUL as treblings has done.
While I don't disagree with the sentiment, I do find it ironic that you say this right after namechecking Schoenberg as one of the authorities to support your POV.

I rate Haydn as the Roy Emerson of music: both are very famous but vastly overrated...
Haydn is a composer's composer, one who is better appreciated by musicians than by laymen like you and me. And just about any respectable classical GOAT list would have him among the top 10. The same can't be said of Emerson in tennis.

Originally Posted by krosero View Post
In our debate about the demands of the amateur game you acknowledged Tilden's longevity and pointed out that he, too, spent a lot of time in the amateur game. I'm not certain what your inference is there, but we do know that the amateur game in Tilden's time included all the world's best players. Tilden joined the pro tours later, but if we're asking why he could play possibly his best tennis at the advanced age of 31, we're talking about 1924, when all (or perhaps nearly all) of the world's best players were amateurs.
Tilden's 1924 record is a bit misleading because, like you said, he didn't play all the majors and thus have to face the Four Musketeers, to name one example (or four). Would he have won just about every big event in sight like Laver in '69 with all the big names around? Possible, but historically improbable.

And even if that were true we'd be talking about only two players in the entire history of modern tennis, two whose career trajectory (at least Laver's) and number of prime years doesn't deviate so much from those of other GOATs from Gonzales to Federer. Given these similarities it's reasonable to conclude that Tilden and Laver's seemingly late development was not so much personal than structural, and I say that in Laver's case it is the amateur/pro divide that offers the best explanation.

If Tilden was dominant at a late age that would have more to do with his being a late bloomer, his time spent in military service, etc.
Yes, in Tilden's case military service is probaby a bigger factor than the amateur/pro split (which both of us agree didn't hinder him much), and another one that affected the entire tour, not just him.

Everything was different, then, in any case. Players did not cross the oceans as much as in Laver's time, and when they did they spent entire weeks on ships, without playing tennis. How does that impact longevity?

Tilden also subsisted mostly on steak and potatoes, and smoked heavily. Very different from Laver. So what does that do to the comparison? It just complicates it more.
I'm actually skeptical that one's diet has such a big impact on his game, and tend to scoff at the notion of today's "advanced" nutrition. Smoking and travel could've been bigger factors.

Just so we're clear I don't deny that any of these variables have some impact. I was talking strictly about the amateur/pro divide with respect to Laver's supposedly late dominance. I never argued that being an amateur would be the biggest factor in all cases.

If you mean that the junior game is less demanding than the "senior" game, you're absolutely correct. But I was not making any arguments about the junior game taking a physical or mental toll on an athlete. I was talking about development. Someone who trains every day as a junior and plays often in competition will develop faster, and reach his peak earlier, than someone who plays much less as a junior.
I'd say actual play against the world's best can help a budding player mature as fast, if not faster, as any humanly possible amount of training. This is especially true for S&Vers like Rafter, who once admitted that he needed as much actual playing time as time off to get into his net-rushing groove, or something to that effect. And while Laver was more of an all-courter I'd suspect his case was similar.

I disagree, I think the question of playing style has to come into this somehow. Think of Ken Rosewall. The general feeling is that his efficient classical style had everything to do with his great longevity. He was almost never injured -- and that will certainly save the body.

You mentioned Borg, Nadal, Sampras and Federer each having an 8-year span of winning at least one major. But Rosewall started winning majors in '53 and won his last one in '72: a period of 19 years. Even cutting out his amateur majors, he's way ahead of the other champions we mentioned.
krosero, again I wasn't making any generalization here. I was talking in particular about Laver's annus mirabilis at age 31, and how that is such an outlier in the annals of tennis history if we're to view it in a vacuum. I doubt any knowledgeable tennis fan would dispute your point about Rosewall and his playing style.

And I see I wasn't very clear about my definition of one's "prime years." When I say prime I do mean when the player is in the prime of his career, not any year when he was able to eke out a Slam. Pete and Fed might have won a major in '02 and '12 respectively, but one would hardly call that either one's prime. That's why I made particular mention of the # of years these legends were ranked no. 1, and history indeed shows that this number has remained remarkably constant, between 6-8 years depending on one's own rankings (Borg is the only glaring exception here).

So then we ask about Laver. Why did he win majors as late as 31? Well I don't know exactly, but in a comparison of the playing styles of champions, I think it makes more sense to group him among his peers who played a similar classic style, than it does to group him with the four champions we mentioned from the Open Era. He was no grinder like Borg and Nadal, that's for sure. But he also did less grinding than Federer, who is after all a baseliner. And Pete played an awful lot of baseline tennis, certainly not enough to call him a baseliner, but perhaps more than Laver did.

Pete played more SV tennis as he got older, partly in the realization that the older he got the less he was going to win from the baseline. It's something you hear a lot: grinding is for the youngest legs.

And if that's true -- that net play saves the body as it ages and can extend the prime years of a player -- then how can we ignore that in Laver's time SV was a far more common style than in the Open Era?
I can see how this can extend a player's longevity, but again history has shown that a GOAT's length of time spent at the top has remained eerily consistent. One would expect this to shorten over time if grinding were such a big factor. And let's not forget that completing the Grand Slam at the nominal age of 31 is the most unlikely achievement by any historical standard.

FWIW I've got Tilden, Laver and Sampras all with 7 year-end no. 1 spots, and Fed with 6. And we know Fed spent pretty much the same amount of time at the top as Pete (I know a few people will make a silly point about the ATP rankings, but that's because they fail to understand the ATP ranking system is just one out of many algorithms). Hardly any significant difference here.

Anyway I just hope we're clearer about each other's argument by now. I don't think there's much disagreement between us.
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