Could any Big 3 member could beat Prime Bruguera on Clay and Prime PETE on Carpet in the same season?

Who could beat Bruguera on clay and Sampras on carpet?


  • Total voters
    79

NAS

Hall of Fame
Well prime Sergi essentially is peak Sergi lol. In 93-95 his RG results were: W, W, SF (lost to Chang). He was never the same after that ankle injury in 96.
Yes but he did lost to Goran on clay, I said before 94 RG Sergi and 94 Sampras in yec is tougher.
Peak Sergi can loose on clay on any given year, he is no Rafa
 
Doesn't count, that day Sergi was injured, unmotivated, his parents divorced, and his dog ran over by Muster's BMW.
Wow, this is riveting information for sure and it does lessen the greatness of Chang's win. I don't think it's fair to Sergi to count this as a prime level win against him.

And I actually just did some research regarding the Chang/Sampras YEC semi that year and it looks like Pete was hungover from the night before, had a minor ankle sprain and was busy writing Agassi a letter about how he was his DADDY that year. Don't think this qualifies as a prime level win either.
 

Blahovic

Semi-Pro
It's possible for all of them to do it, but Federer and Djokovic have better chances than Nadal, because Nadal's weaker at returning big serves on fast surfaces. Djokovic's return probably the most important shot in this context.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Nadal vs. prime Sampras indoors... holy crap that'd be a mismatch. Nadal would only win if he keeps modern racket tech and Sampras stays with the old stuff. Assuming equal preparation and technology, prime Pete would blow him off the court. His game just translates so well to those types of surfaces while Nadal is disadvantaged on courts with low bounce like carpet.

Djokovic would find it tricky to beat Sampras indoors in those specific conditions because his game works better on the slower courts of the post-2008 ATP Finals. He's still great on the surface and I think he'd pull out the occasional win if he's truly zoning, but Sampras is clearly the better player in those conditions. Still, Djokovic's return would come in really handy here.

Federer's game would adapt so much more easily to fast carpet courts than Djokovic and especially Nadal, so I feel he'd give Sampras a harder time than the other two. Remember, he did play in a time when the Masters Cup was still pretty fast (2003-2008) and he had some absolutely stunning displays at that tournament (though 2003 and 2004 were outdoors). In a series of ten matches, I could see him winning four or even... possibly... five, but I'd have to give PETE the definite upper hand in this rivalry.

Nadal would wipe the floor with Bruguera unless its one of his weaker versions on clay like 2011, 2014, or 2018-now. I don't think much needs to be said.

Djokovic would have the upper hand in this rivalry I think (I believe 90's clay would be much easier for a 00's and 10's player to get accustomed to than blindingly-fast carpet) although Bruguera would grab plenty of wins.

I would probably favor Bruguera against Federer the slight majority of the time but Fed would certainly still grab some wins of his own. Might draw level.

I think Federer is the best answer to the OP's question but Djokovic could possibly do it too.
 
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Rogerer

Rookie
Nadal vs. prime Sampras indoors... holy crap that'd be a mismatch. Nadal would only win if he keeps modern racket tech and Sampras stays with the old stuff. Assuming equal preparation and technology, prime Pete would blow him off the court. His game just translates so well to those types of surfaces while Nadal is disadvantaged on courts with low bounce like carpet.

Djokovic would find it tricky to beat Sampras indoors in those specific conditions because his game works better on the slower courts of the post-2008 ATP Finals. He's still great on the surface and I think he'd pull out the occasional win if he's truly zoning, but Sampras is clearly the better player in those conditions. Still, Djokovic's return would come in really handy here.

Federer's game would adapt so much more easily to fast carpet courts than Djokovic and especially Nadal, so I feel he'd give Sampras a harder time than the other two. Remember, he did play in a time when the Masters Cup was still pretty fast (2003-2008) and he had some absolutely stunning displays at that tournament (though 2003 and 2004 were outdoors). In a series of ten matches, I could see him winning four or even... possibly... five, but I'd have to give PETE the definite upper hand in this rivalry.

Nadal would wipe the floor with Bruguera unless its one of his weaker versions on clay like 2011, 2014, or 2018-now. I don't think much needs to be said.

Djokovic would have the upper hand in this rivalry I think (I believe 90's clay would be much easier for a 00's and 10's player to get accustomed to than blindingly-fast carpet) although Bruguera would grab plenty of wins.

I would probably favor Bruguera against Federer the majority of the time but Fed would certainly still grab some wins of his own.

I think Federer is the best answer to the OP's question but Djokovic could possibly do it too.
If fed had played in Pete era he would have a medium high vantage in h2h. Pete played in the best era for him with modern racket and old court, but the difference between fed return and Pete serve is less than Pete return and fed serve. Fed had alongside edberg the best backhand on fast court in the last fifty years. Agassi claimed fed as better faced and pietrangeli said there are three goats(fed, laver and borg). Fed had a better return against big serve better than fed
 

NAS

Hall of Fame
Pat Rafter clowned Muster at the ‘94 French Open lol

Also “Musterrific” only made it past the 4th round at Roland Garros 3 times. I know there were some upsets like Guga but seriously wtf. How is the “King of Clay” only making the QFs 3 times???
Somehow Muster always underperformed on RG
 

tex123

Professional
Place them in say 1994 or 1996 or something, could any Big 3 member beat Sergi Bruguera at the mega slow 90s French Open and also Pete Sampras on lightning fast carpet at the YEC?

Caveat: they would have to do it in the same season.

Who would do it?
It's a difficult choice. All 3 of them can demolish Bruguera. That's easy. He barely scraped past Courier to win FO.
I wish you had asked about Kuerten instead.

None of them stand a chance against Sampras on lightning fast carpet. None. He would blow them all away.
 
D

Deleted member 771911

Guest
Djokovic could not even beat Federer and Nadal on their best surfaces in their prime.
Federer is the answer.
 
Don't think much needs to be said about Nadal vs Bruguera or vs PETE.
Against Bruguera Federer and Djokovic both could get their wins (Bruguera would grab plenty of wins too).
Against PETE, Federer gives him the most trouble because his game adapts so easily and quickly to the faster courts. We know he put up some awesome displays at the YEC back in the mid+00s when the surface was still fast. Pete still has the upper hand here though.
Djokovic would have a tougher time but I think he could get an occasional win, as he is a great indoor player. Pete clearly has the advantage of course.
So to answer the question, I think both Federer and Djokovic would have a shot.
 
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zvelf

Hall of Fame
I'm not into hypothetical matches, but given how the question is phrased, any of the Big 3 at their peak could beat peak Bruguera and Sampras on clay and carpet, respectively. If the question were whether they'd be the favorite to beat both, then no, but can they take an occasional match from either, sure, they can. If Nadal played Pete in 100 matches on carpet, even Rafa would take a few at his best.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
You jokers badly need to get this infallible analysis of mine bookmarked:


Basically Rafa is the only one who can take down GOATing Bruguera at RG, but of course he ain't beating Pistol on carpet unless Pete has a crap day.

So '90s champs >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Big 3. Pistol = BOAT.


Can some of you explain what you're seeing from Michael Chang in these two matches that Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic are incapable of doing?
Sergi was out for a month with a knee injury prior to '95 RG. It'd be a bloodbath between 1993-94 Bruguera and '95 Chang (who almost made the 60% Club himself).

Mike did get Pete good by almost outserving him (7 aces each) and mercilessly attacking short balls in the '95 YEC SF, but that's cuz Pistol struggled with his 1st-serve % all year long (usually he'd average 60%, but only around 55% that year). Put any other version of prime Pistol save '98 and Mike would do well to steal a set (he actually never did indoors outside that match between 1993-96).
 

Incognito

Legend
Nadal and djoko never played a player like Sampras. Prime Pete would destroy them on carpet. This is about returning with precision, you cant just block Pete’s serve and get away with it. This is not karlovic.

Federer would beat both bruguera and sampras.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
If fed had played in Pete era he would have a medium high vantage in h2h. Pete played in the best era for him with modern racket and old court, but the difference between fed return and Pete serve is less than Pete return and fed serve. Fed had alongside edberg the best backhand on fast court in the last fifty years. Agassi claimed fed as better faced and pietrangeli said there are three goats(fed, laver and borg). Fed had a better return against big serve better than fed
Indoor king Ivan Lendl disagrees about the backhand thing.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Sergi was out for a month with a knee injury prior to '95 RG. It'd be a bloodbath between 1993-94 Bruguera and '95 Chang (who almost made the 60% Club himself).

Mike did get Pete good by almost outserving him (7 aces each) and mercilessly attacking short balls in the '95 YEC SF, but that's cuz Pistol struggled with his 1st-serve % all year long (usually he'd average 60%, but only around 55% that year). Put any other version of prime Pistol save '98 and Mike would do well to steal a set (he actually never did indoors outside that match between 1993-96).
Still though, Bruguera made the 1995 Rome final losing to Muster. He was also the 2x defending champ at Roland Garros.
Pete had won both Wimby/USO and just won the 1995 Paris Masters, beating Becker in straights, as well as beating Becker in the RR at the '95 YEC.

If that's not prime level form then what is? I'm not saying 'peak' here, but certainly still a very high level coming into the match from both.

Somehow Rafa and Novak will be helpless against these two, and yet, Chang did this exact feat, beating both, did he not? So it clearly is possible, though Bruguera and Pete could play better.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
You jokers badly need to get this infallible analysis of mine bookmarked:


Basically Rafa is the only one who can take down GOATing Bruguera at RG, but of course he ain't beating Pistol on carpet unless Pete has a crap day.

So '90s champs >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Big 3. Pistol = BOAT.



Sergi was out for a month with a knee injury prior to '95 RG. It'd be a bloodbath between 1993-94 Bruguera and '95 Chang (who almost made the 60% Club himself).

Mike did get Pete good by almost outserving him (7 aces each) and mercilessly attacking short balls in the '95 YEC SF, but that's cuz Pistol struggled with his 1st-serve % all year long (usually he'd average 60%, but only around 55% that year). Put any other version of prime Pistol save '98 and Mike would do well to steal a set (he actually never did indoors outside that match between 1993-96).
Muster beat Sampras on carpet in 1995.
 
None of them could. Nadal would beat Bruguera but would be squashed by Sampras indoors. Fed loses to Bruguera on slow clay. Djokovic maybe beats Bruguera on slow clay.. Maybe. but gets squashed by Sampras indoors regardless
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Indoor king Ivan Lendl disagrees about the backhand thing.
Boris is the Indoor Kaiser, precisely cuz his BH > Ivan's and Fed's on those quick indoor courts. (Hard to argue against Edberg's, but then there's the FH side.)

Still though, Bruguera made the 1995 Rome final losing to Muster. He was also the 2x defending champ at Roland Garros.
Pete had won both Wimby/USO and just won the 1995 Paris Masters, beating Becker in straights, as well as beating Becker in the RR at the '95 YEC.

If that's not prime level form then what is? I'm not saying 'peak' here, but certainly still a very high level coming into the match from both.

Somehow Rafa and Novak will be helpless against these two, and yet, Chang did this exact feat, beating both, did he not? So it clearly is possible, though Bruguera and Pete could play better.
Sure if you wanna take an extensive definition of "prime," but then whey bother with these hypotheticals if we don't assume they'd be actually playing at prime levels?

Also you're underrating '95 Chang. Like I said he actually won 59.95% of his games on clay and gave peak Muster a real scare early in the FO final, and also posted 89% and 29% in S/RGW, which is pretty damn good on indoor carpet vs. the likes of Becker and Sampras, Courier and Scud. Not that hard to see why Sergi and Pistol would lose to that Mike on an off day.

Muster beat Sampras on carpet in 1995.
Which reinforces my point. Pete's serve was rather wobbly in '95, except thankfully in the big matches (Wimby SF & F, USO F).

Bruguera peaked for RG

Tomas played f**king everything full throttle
Finally someone gets it. Yeah the Muster-Bruguera H2H is meaningless unless you understand that. Sergi won "only" 62.2% and 63.3% of his games on dirt in '93 and '94 - still damn good, the latter in fact better than Novak or Fed ever managed, but nothing compared to his FO runs where he won a whopping 68.8% and 64.3% each.

And that 68.8% was despite facing almost certainly the toughest final opponent for any OE champ. Add to that another 60% Club member in Sampras (yes, Sampras) in the QF and you can see just how dominant Bruguera's '93 run was.

Besides you're fooling yourself if you watch the '93 FO final and still think Sergi and Jim yield an inch to Djokorer.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Sure if you wanna take an extensive definition of "prime," but then whey bother with these hypotheticals if we don't assume they'd be actually playing at prime levels?

Also you're underrating '95 Chang. Like I said he actually won 59.95% of his games on clay and gave peak Muster a real scare early in the FO final, and also posted 89% and 29% in S/RGW, which is pretty damn good on indoor carpet vs. the likes of Becker and Sampras, Courier and Scud. Not that hard to see why Sergi and Pistol would lose to that Mike on an off day.
It does feel good to be called a joker.

The last point you made is actually something interesting to me from a playstyle perspective. I actually was not trolling with the 'what are you seeing from Michael Chang' question either.

There are merits to what Chang did in both matches,. Chang stands closer to the baseline to return the Pistol serve than you usually see Novak do, and obviously lol at Rafa (though I do feel his reflexes and ability to play closer to the forecourt are certainly there, though they lay dormant often). Plus he was absolutely ruthless at moving into net as you said, he punished like 8/9-10 short balls from what I saw and didn't allow Sampras many easy volleys. His net instincts and ability to ghost in behind a groundstroke are innate and something that I'm not sure Novak could ever replicate, really. Rafa might have a better chance of playing that way, but of course he would get burned trying to play the court position Chang did in these matches.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
If we are talking absolute peak level (Bruguera FO final 1993, Pete YEC finsls 94 or 96/GSC final 97) then nobody can. If we are talking just prime years, then in one or two matches basically anything can happen. Nadal would even have a chance vs Pete on carpet if he could catch him on an off day like Muster and Chang in 95.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
It does feel good to be called a joker.

The last point you made is actually something interesting to me from a playstyle perspective. I actually was not trolling with the 'what are you seeing from Michael Chang' question either.

There are merits to what Chang did in both matches,. Chang stands closer to the baseline to return the Pistol serve than you usually see Novak do, and obviously lol at Rafa (though I do feel his reflexes and ability to play closer to the forecourt are certainly there, though they lay dormant often). Plus he was absolutely ruthless at moving into net as you said, he punished like 8/9-10 short balls from what I saw and didn't allow Sampras many easy volleys. His net instincts and ability to ghost in behind a groundstroke are innate and something that I'm not sure Novak could ever replicate, really. Rafa might have a better chance of playing that way, but of course he would get burned trying to play the court position Chang did in these matches.
Yeah Mike tends to get dismissed by teenyboppers as this midget that got lucky vs. a choking Lendl once, but like Hewitt the guy was in fact a tricky opponent for attackers. I'm guessing you already know he's actually the career leader (since '91) in RGW% on hard at 32.8%, yes even more the likes of Dre, Muzz and Novak, and he also boasted some of the best passing shots in the business as well as the best offensive lob I've seen among men (the best defensive one goes to Wilander). Of course that he was also lightning fast goes without saying.

And the guy was unafraid to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at his opponent. Net rushing, grinding, returning on the rise, moonballing, you name it - he tried 'em all. That alone makes him more dangerous than a Ferru or Diego who's content to trade umpteen groundies from the baseline, but then there's also his mental strength though to call it that is misleading as Mike was almost pathological in this regard. With just about everyone else, even those you consider mental giants, you will see some wobbling in the biggest matches vs. the toughest opponents. Not Chang, though, who could somehow block out everything and start each point as if it were the first or the last. Hence my infallible observation that his steely resolve would ultimately net him a Slam in any era.

As for Novak and Rafa vs. Pistol, I do think both can make whatever necessary adjustments to win even indoors, but against Pistoling Pistol? Zero chance, which brings me to....

If we are talking absolute peak level (Bruguera FO final 1993, Pete YEC finsls 94 or 96/GSC final 97) then nobody can. If we are talking just prime years, then in one or two matches basically anything can happen. Nadal would even have a chance vs Pete on carpet if he could catch him on an off day like Muster and Chang in 95.
Yeah this Q could use some clarification. Just about ANY top player can upset even a GOAT on a given day, but that kinda makes the literal interpretation of this Q pointless, doesn't it? And there's literally zero chance any of the Big 3 takes down Bruguera in the '93 FO final AND Pistol in those ATG performances.
 

goldengate14

Professional
Place them in say 1994 or 1996 or something, could any Big 3 member beat Sergi Bruguera at the mega slow 90s French Open and also Pete Sampras on lightning fast carpet at the YEC?

Caveat: they would have to do it in the same season.

Who would do it?
Federer only one. Nadal would beat Bruguera not Sampras. Djokovic v Bruguera would be close but id lean towards Bruguera and Djokovic would lose to Sampras.
federer on his day could beat Sampras on fast carpet and Bruguera on clay so have to go Federer in this hypothetical
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Young Djokovic had a near 70% win rate on carpet despite playing not that many matches. Nadal had a 25% win rate. There's your answer on that one. Bruguera would be beaten by both. I think Federer and Djokovic could beat both in the same year.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Which reinforces my point. Pete's serve was rather wobbly in '95, except thankfully in the big matches (Wimby SF & F, USO F).
Pete served well in AO 95 QF vs Courier, AO 95 final vs Agassi and USO 95 semi vs Courier as well.

Besides you're fooling yourself if you watch the '93 FO final and still think Sergi and Jim yield an inch to Djokorer.
I think the best fed vs bruguera/courier at their bests would be a dogfight.
djoko just doesn't have the wins at RG like fed has vs 09 RG delpo and 11 RG djoko himself. So less confident in him at RG specifically.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic from 2011 probably the only one. And that's if he manages his body better than he actually did in 11, and doesn't burn himself out for indoor season.
Wouldn't favor 2010 Rafa over Pete on carpet, although he'd still have a solid chance.
Federer over Bruguera on clay is doubtful.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Wow, this is riveting information for sure and it does lessen the greatness of Chang's win. I don't think it's fair to Sergi to count this as a prime level win against him.

And I actually just did some research regarding the Chang/Sampras YEC semi that year and it looks like Pete was hungover from the night before, had a minor ankle sprain and was busy writing Agassi a letter about how he was his DADDY that year. Don't think this qualifies as a prime level win either.
It speaks to PETE’s lack of year round consistency that reminding Agassi that the true paternal figure in his life was Petros Sampras caused a distraction, given that he wrote this letter annually from 1990-2002.
 

NAS

Hall of Fame
Djokovic from 2011 probably the only one. And that's if he manages his body better than he actually did in 11, and doesn't burn himself out for indoor season.
Wouldn't favor 2010 Rafa over Pete on carpet, although he'd still have a solid chance.
Federer over Bruguera on clay is doubtful.
The all the big talking about Bruguera is over the top, out side of that two RG he was not invincible on clay, as I said before he lost to Goran on clay in 95, Fed can certainly can defeat anybody on clay.
Unless you are talking about 93 and 94 RG final, Fed can defeat him
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
All three of those guys would take Bruegera out comfortably. Federer would have a decent shot against Sampras indoors as it would be pure shootout with close breakers. Djokovic has a great return but I can’t see Sampras losing to a grinder in super fast conditions. Federer has the best chance. Nadal has little chance against Sampras in fast conditions.
 

toth

Professional
I think Federer has the best chance to do this.
He can play a 50-50% match against Sampras on superfast surface and he is the only one to do it amoung this three player.
Against Bruguera he could have about 50 % chance too.
Just my opinion.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
If Agassi could defeat Sampras on carpet, and almost did it twice in a row in 1994, then so would Djokovic. The advantage Djokovic has over Agassi in athleticism is significant. People truly don't understand that.
 

toth

Professional
If Agassi could defeat Sampras on carpet, and almost did it twice in a row in 1994, then so would Djokovic. The advantage Djokovic has over Agassi in athleticism is significant. People truly don't understand that.
But i think Agassi would win about 2 of 10 matches against Sampras on carpet.
(Sampras has won all fast surfices GS match against Agassi for example)
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
But i think Agassi would win about 2 of 10 matches against Sampras on carpet.
(Sampras has won all fast surfices GS match against Agassi for example)
I would say 3/10. Yea Sampras won all their GS matches on faster courts. Harder to pull off a win when you have to win 3 sets over him versus 2.
 

President

Legend
I think Federer would have a decent shot, people are underrating his peak clay level. I don't see Bruguera beating him more often than not. Sampras would be tough, but Federer would win a portion of those matches even on carpet.
 
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