Alternatives to the Big 3

mxmx

Hall of Fame
If you think about it, the big 3 is great and many consider them the "biggest 3".

To me so many slams shared between just 3 players does not make them as great as they should be made. It concerns me that there was no one else to contest. A lack of depth so to speak.

With this in mind, how would any alternatives to the big 3 have dominated in the same era as the current big 3? Players like Laver, Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Sampras and Agassi. Who would your 3 alternatives IN THEIR SAME RESPECTIVE ERAS have fared if those 3 changed places with the current 3?
 

ibbi

Legend
I’m not sure I really understand your question even with the all caps shouting at us, sorry :-Dbut I feel like Borg, Lendl and Andre, probably Connors too to some degree, and certainly Wilander too would all be laughing playing in the current era.

Imagine Borg never having to make the adjustments he made to play off clay, imagine Lendl not having to go though anything like the same struggle to adapt to grass.
 
Lendl, Agassi, Borg.

This is the baseline era.

And thank God for that...

These three would have been very comfortable in this era.

Oh yeah, and Kafelnikov and Muster.
 
Chang could manage a 'bonified' Schwartzmanesque career in this era for sure, i believe in him
Problem is, he didn't believe in himself so much.

He was rather weak in the big finales.

1-3 in slams, 0-1 in WTC.

(Back then WTC was more serious than these days.)
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Sampras, Borg and Lendl would be the Big 3 if they played in today's era.

Sampras would own grass for a while, lose to Borg in one of his finals and as he gets older, lose to Lendl in several finals.

Borg would own clay similar to Rafa, though not to the same extent.

Lendl would share a rivalry with Sampras on HC.
 
Sampras, Borg and Lendl would be the Big 3 if they played in today's era.

Sampras would own grass for a while, lose to Borg in one of his finals and as he gets older, lose to Lendl in several finals.

Borg would own clay similar to Rafa, though not to the same extent.

Lendl would share a rivalry with Sampras on HC.
Sampras would own only his rackets, nothing else.

Perhaps not even them, after he smashes them after each 3rd-round loss.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
If you're asking who I regard as the greatest talents - other than The Big 3 - I'd probably go with Laver, Borg and Sampras. I think that the very best (and that includes everyone I'm mentioning) will find a way to adapt to almost any conditions of play. Pancho, Muscles and (a motivated) Mac also come to mind.
Still, I think that The Big 3 really are that unique. I don't know that their talent and skill is necessarily better than the previous legends, but their combination of tennis skills, overall athleticism and burning desire are remarkable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DSH

mxmx

Hall of Fame
My question is more players of the same eras (or at least overlapped and played each other more than just once).

Looking at it individually, to me someone like Agassi would destroy all players outside of the current big 3 on everything, even often on slow grass. So it makes sense that Sampras would be one of his "3". The third player of this team is a tough one. So many to pick from that is so much better than the players we have today.

To me the talent was more equal in their era. That would of course mean less dominance, even if they are basically as good as the current big 3. If you keep winning against losers you will eventually win everything. There were just too many hurdles in the form of players back then. Courts were very varied. I see Federer adapting the best if he had to play against the players of the 90s.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
If you're asking who I regard as the greatest talents - other than The Big 3 - I'd probably go with Laver, Borg and Sampras. I think that the very best (and that includes everyone I'm mentioning) will find a way to adapt to almost any conditions of play. Pancho, Muscles and (a motivated) Mac also come to mind.
Still, I think that The Big 3 really are that unique. I don't know that their talent and skill is necessarily better than the previous legends, but their combination of tennis skills, overall athleticism and burning desire are remarkable.
What's your take on someone like Thiem?
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
What's your take on someone like Thiem?
I somehow missed that you were talking about another group of three whose careers intersected. My first thought would be Borg, Connors and McEnroe. Not sure who to group with Sampras and Agassi - maybe Becker. I think that Roger has more overall game than Pete, that Novak is a bigger, more athletic, better serving Agassi, and Becker really doesn't "replace" Rafa. It's hard to find anyone like Rafa historically.

Thiem? I think Domi (historically) could have found (and maybe, still will) several opportunities to win RG, and also contend somewhat on hard courts. We'll see where the next 5 or so years take him. While some dismiss him as a ball basher and mentally soft, I think a lot of that is unfair, or at least exaggerated. I think he's a quicker, more athletic Wawrinka - more consistently good (especially through this age) but his top level may not be as devastating as Stan's.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I somehow missed that you were talking about another group of three whose careers intersected. My first thought would be Borg, Connors and McEnroe. Not sure who to group with Sampras and Agassi - maybe Becker. I think that Roger has more overall game than Pete, that Novak is a bigger, more athletic, better serving Agassi, and Becker really doesn't "replace" Rafa. It's hard to find anyone like Rafa historically.

Thiem? I think Domi (historically) could have found (and maybe, still will) several opportunities to win RG, and also contend somewhat on hard courts. We'll see where the next 5 or so years take him. While some dismiss him as a ball basher and mentally soft, I think a lot of that is unfair, or at least exaggerated. I think he's a quicker, more athletic Wawrinka - more consistently good (especially through this age) but his top level may not be as devastating as Stan's.
It would have been interesting to see Agassi against Djokovic. I sometimes think Becker is very underrated. Perhaps his game isn't flashy enough so we forget how good he was. For one I think he served better than either Rafa or Djokovic. But remember, they would have had to play the rest of the tour. How would this era have dealt with a Becker?
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
It would have been interesting to see Agassi against Djokovic. I sometimes think Becker is very underrated. Perhaps his game isn't flashy enough so we forget how good he was. For one I think he served better than either Rafa or Djokovic. But remember, they would have had to play the rest of the tour. How would this era have dealt with a Becker?
Andre and Novak are two of the best ballstrikers - and returners - ever. I'm not great at projecting matchups, but tend to think Novak did almost everything just a little better than Andre, and had the bigger "strike zone", more speed and quickness, etc.

Becker was a huge story from his debut at Wimbledon (I think he won his first year, and second), improbably
winning W at ages 17 and 18! His serve was a "bomb" and he was fearless at net - on the grass and even on HC, lunging and diving. He was a significant player for a while with good battles (not looking) versus Edberg, Lendl, Pete, Andre and others. You don't really see Becker's style now, and very shortly after, Sampras was, I think, a much better and more athletic version.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Andre and Novak are two of the best ballstrikers - and returners - ever. I'm not great at projecting matchups, but tend to think Novak did almost everything just a little better than Andre, and had the bigger "strike zone", more speed and quickness, etc.

Becker was a huge story from his debut at Wimbledon (I think he won his first year, and second), improbably
winning W at ages 17 and 18! His serve was a "bomb" and he was fearless at net - on the grass and even on HC, lunging and diving. He was a significant player for a while with good battles (not looking) versus Edberg, Lendl, Pete, Andre and others. You don't really see Becker's style now, and very shortly after, Sampras was, I think, a much better and more athletic version.
To me Agassi has more power but perhaps less consistency. Even though Novak moves better, Agassi moved very well and his anticipation was among the best. Mentally he is also stronger than Novak for me.

I saw Becker when he came on the scene. No german aside from Stich has come close to him imo.

But yeah, this is not about a old big 3 vs a new one as in head to head. It's more about a combination of 3 other players and how the rest of the other tour would have dealt with them.

To me it has been a weak era for a while now. Would it have been or seemed weak with 3 alternative players?
 
Top