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Old 06-20-2013, 08:58 AM   #3070
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Originally Posted by NonP View Post
As you recall I've already covered Sampras. As for the other guys, Hewitt has admitted on record that he felt the pressure of having to win on his home turf, and before he began his 3-peat Down Under the USO was actually Djoko's more successful HC major. Kafelnikov did do significantly better at the AO, yes.

Even more tellingly, though, I've seen the officlal court speed readings in the '90s actually rate the AO faster than the USO, and IIRC the two had virtually identical %s of service games won as recently as last year. Neither supports the common perception that the USO clearly plays faster than the AO.

I think the real reason why the AO seems to retain this outlier status is its timing and unpredictable conditions. That is, since the event is held shortly after New Year's the top players don't have much time to get into a groove and impose their game right off the bat. Add in the blazing heat, which means fitness and stamina play a bigger role than at the USO. Also it used be be played on Rebound Ace, which reportedly could turn sticky under the sun and produce more uneven bounces (and presumably more upsets) than the current Plexicushion.

As for Djoko vs. Sampras, granted Pete never dominated an AO from start to end like Nole in '08 and '11, but in the two years he won he was zoned in from the SFs. I do think that Pete would be a very tough nut to crack even for peak Djoko. (Of course I'm assuming that there's hardly a big difference in court speed between the two HC majors.)
djoker's problems at the AO in 09, 10 were heat/health related, not to do with the slowness/speed of the surface.

I don't recall exactly where I saw it, but till the last year, the trend was that break % at USO was clearly lesser than at the AO , only last year, they came pretty close.

I don't see hewitt performance at the AO actually being lesser because it was it his home tournament. Au contraire, he was fired up more in places/circumstances like those ; Davis Cup performances show that as well. I'm sure you've read his multiple list of complaints regarding the AO surface being pretty slow ?

you could add examples of roddick, rafter being clearly more threatening at the USO than at the AO.

for sampras, I recall you mentioning some amount of bad luck and heat/stamina problems, but I did reply to the 'bad luck' part showing he was no luckier at the USO.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
It's not just the #s in the H2H, but the comprehensive way Pete dominated Agassi that clinches it for me. Also Dre for all his consistency never went on a tear in '99 like Pete did in the summer.

I do think Agassi's FO title is a big plus over Pete that year. But Pete got his big win at the YEC too, against... of course... Agassi himself, in a thorough demolition to boot. In fact Dre in his book talks about how he felt he wasn't the best player in the world after yet another beatdown by his rival. (Of course he came back strong a couple months later at the AO, finally taking out Pete in perhaps his clutchest performance ever.)

If not for the YEC I'd easily name Agassi the sole No. 1 for 1999. But as things stand I think Pete edges it out by a hair, or at least shares the prize with Dre.
too subjective IMO. In any objective system, considering the context of the era, sampras wouldn't be #1, wouldn't be close either.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
I don't think tennis is just a collection of H2Hs myself, and I've commented before on how Fed should be considered the best HC player of 2009 over Murray because Andy failed to deliver when it counted.
yes, exactly my point.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
Granted the context is different, but the main idea is the same: arguably the best player (Gonzales/Sampras) was barely active outside of a limited time period, but such was his dominance that he deserves consideration for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Again I perfectly understand why one would rank Agassi over Pete for '99, not unlike why Rosewall often gets the top billing over Gonzales for '60.
maybe it deserves a second thought/consideration, but the context of the era tilts it more in favour of gonzales vs rosewall ( relatively ) when compared to sampras vs agassi

Last edited by abmk; 06-20-2013 at 09:13 AM.
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