Pete definitely kept to himself more than Roger in terms of shouldering ambassadorial chores on the sport's behalf. Pete was rather driven by individualistic goals: to surpass Emerson's slam count above all else, and to retain the year end number one ranking. That's it...period...that was basically all that Pete ever aimed for. But he accomplished both goals with aplomb in my opinion. So, he belongs in the GOAT discussion for his having held (but only for a short period in terms of "ALL TIME" greatness) two of the most important records by which tennis' great champions are measured.
Due mostly to the weakness of transitive arguments, however, the fact that Pete owned his main rival holds very little value in my opinion because, you can only play the guy in front of you and you cannot control the current shape of the field that it is your job in part to tame if you're to be one of the GOATs.
This all may sound very convenient for Fedfans wishing to excuse Rafa's ownership of Roger first on clay, and then off of clay in slams as Roger got older. Well, Roger is not Agassi by any objective measure, and Rafa's H2H over Roger enhances Rafa's resume much more than Pete's over Andre enhances Pete's, notwithstanding the fact that, when parsed according to surface, Rafa's H2H over Roger suddenly looks pedestrian except for their numerous matches played on clay--but I believe Rafa is the greatest clay court player ever (although I do not place Borg so far below Rafa as other people do...Rafa and Borg are almost neck and neck IMO).
Getting back to my initial point, Roger seems to do a lot more for the promotion of the tennis than Pete ever did, while at the same time eclipsing every one of Pete's records. Roger is beloved the world over and people seem to feel comfortable with him being the figurehead that he has become. For this reason, he has cemented an ethos in the hearts and minds of millions in a manner that someone who is comparatively taciturn and arguably more self-driven like Sampras can never match. This may explain how Pete so quickly fell from the pedestal that he worked so single-mindedly to place himself on...and now, all that Pete has left are fifty million dollars in the bank the hope of continuing to be spoken of in the same breath as some guys whom he had hoped to be seen as towering above in perpetuity...is that karma for him not giving back? Even his trophies were stolen!
Last edited by DeShaun : 01-21-2013 at 12:01 PM.