Defining Greatness

arvind13

Professional
Ultimately tennis greatness is judged by results (with a caveat that the slams and masters and titles you win should be judged against the level of competition). so results adjusted to the level of competition and surface variety. but besides the level of competition and surface variety there is another caveat that challenges the results based way of judging greatness, which is star power. who was the bigger star? who got more sponsorships and endorsements? who is remembered more by the fans after they retire?

for example, results wise lendl achieved more than mcenroe, more consistent, more weeks at no 1, more titles, but mcenroe was undoubtedly the bigger star, is remembered more and is more relevant to tennis today as a commentator than lendl. shouldn't star power be factored into greatness?
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
"Great" is a very vague concept, and subject to personal interpretation.

If a player is labeled "great", the type of greatness should be specified. What kind of greatness?

Failing to define the term with respect to the player concerned renders the term without meaning.
 
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Jason Swerve

Professional
So that gives us this year's HOF entrant Hewitt as the greatest?
Among the men, yes- he was at that age. He's been surpassed by the likes of more consistent stars who were less great but burned longer.

To win a slam in your teens and continue on is to have a higher trajectory to the people who started in their 20s. But if you don't add on to your initial win, your legacy ends there.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Among the men, yes- he was at that age. He's been surpassed by the likes of more consistent stars who were less great but burned longer.

To win a slam in your teens and continue on is to have a higher trajectory to the people who started in their 20s. But if you don't add on to your initial win, your legacy ends there.
So your top players are?
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
So your top players are?
I use the same metric the officials do. So, the grand slams + age. That means the greatest two players are Becker and Hingis. But then, you have to start factoring in how much better McEnroe's doubles is. So, you get McEnroe and Hingis. But then, Navratilova and Serena had better overall records than Hingis, and Serena played in the same strong era.

By my logic, that's McEnroe and Williams.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
I've got to admit, I've never thought about it too hard from a competitive standpoint. Only a few times. Is that in terms of the record or playing ability?
 

Frankc

Professional
Just a thought to toss out - "one sign of greatness could be when your pro peers gather regularly to watch you perform."
Similar, and what may have led me to the above is that "you know it when you see it." Could be removed totally from results. My first thoughts are Mandlikova, and Mecir (and others, a few)...
 

Devtennis01

Legend
Safin could be considered great. He won a slam young beating Sampras in the final. He beat Federer in a magnificent match at the AO on his way to the title. Those two feats had real greatness about them and mean all his lows don't mean anything in the big picture or undermine them.
That to me is greatness. You achieve a couple or a few things which people remember you for. You don't have to be amazing all the time.
 

BTURNER

Legend
Ultimately tennis greatness is judged by results (with a caveat that the slams and masters and titles you win should be judged against the level of competition). so results adjusted to the level of competition and surface variety. but besides the level of competition and surface variety there is another caveat that challenges the results based way of judging greatness, which is star power. who was the bigger star? who got more sponsorships and endorsements? who is remembered more by the fans after they retire?

for example, results wise Lendl achieved more than mcenroe, more consistent, more weeks at no 1, more titles, but mcenroe was undoubtedly the bigger star, is remembered more and is more relevant to tennis today as a commentator than lendl. shouldn't star power be factored into greatness?
No. Just no. Being a great celebrity, is distinctly different from being a great tennis player. Lets not enhance Anna Kournakova as a tennis great, beyond her titles that she actually earned. Once we start down this road, notoriety and infamy are suddenly advantageous no matter how you got it. Now McEnroe is the greater star than Edberg. One of them got a sportsmanship award named after him, the other has famous clips attacking plants, with his racket and screaming at officials and nearly getting into two fistfights. Vitus Gerulaitus has 1/3 fame from his on court tennis, 1/3 fame from his commentary, 1/3 fame from his New York parties with their powered appetizers. Now the same very sweet guy was also incredibly generous with charities, but that does not register in your metric at all!

We can compare Margaret Court's name familiarity with Maria Bueno, and see which of them has acquired 'star power'. Some comes from tennis results and press as Serena chases her records. Some comes from an entirely different place.




No thanks.
 
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Jason Swerve

Professional
In terms of greatness however you define it.
The issue with a Top 10 is few fit the criteria. I'd have to expand it to my subjective list, which is:

1. Alice Marble
2. Pete Sampras
3. Anna Kournikova
4. Mats Wilander
5. Arthur Ashe
6. Stefan Edberg
7. Monica Seles
8. Garbine Muguruza
9. Johnny Mac
10. Martina Navratilova

I also have a highest-level list, which I think about much less.

1. Martinka Hingis
2. '15 Djokovic
3. '94 Pete Sampras
4. Johnny Mac
5. Andre Agassi
6. Roger Federer
7. Mary Pierce
8. Stefan Edberg
9. Venus Williams
10. '92 Monica Seles

No. Just no. Being a great celebrity, is distinctly different from being a great tennis player. Lets not enhance Anna Kournakova as a tennis great, beyond her titles that she actually earned.
Kournikova won 2 GS titles. Albeit, because Hingis was compassionate enough to invite Kournikova to play with her after they were refusing to talk. That makes Kournikova a great in my eyes, and above the likes of Andreescu who only holds one in a weaker field.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
The issue with a Top 10 is few fit the criteria. I'd have to expand it to my subjective list, which is:

1. Alice Marble
2. Pete Sampras
3. Anna Kournikova
4. Mats Wilander
5. Arthur Ashe
6. Stefan Edberg
7. Monica Seles
8. Garbine Muguruza
9. Johnny Mac
10. Martina Navratilova

I also have a highest-level list, which I think about much less.

1. Martinka Hingis
2. '15 Djokovic
3. '94 Pete Sampras
4. Johnny Mac
5. Andre Agassi
6. Roger Federer
7. Mary Pierce
8. Stefan Edberg
9. Venus Williams
10. '92 Monica Seles


Kournikova won 2 GS titles. Albeit, because Hingis was compassionate enough to invite Kournikova to play with her after they were refusing to talk. That makes Kournikova a great in my eyes, and above the likes of Andreescu who only holds one in a weaker field.
Andreescu has really shown something this week with five long matches. We'll see what she does in the final at Miami against Barty.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
That to me is greatness. You achieve a couple or a few things which people remember you for. You don't have to be amazing all the time.
So, you can acknowledge Hingis is greater than Graf, then. She had a '97 one slam away from being on par with '88 Graf's, and she was younger and had laughably better competition. Not to mention she cracked her knee in half and still kept winning in shoes and panties that fit too tight, and the shoes hardly even had soles to them.

Then she flipped it around and earned a CYGS in doubles while slumping and fat, on top of puberty and all the other issues. Never saw Graf winning that much in an obvious slump, while chasing boys at the beach on the side.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Safin could be considered great. He won a slam young beating Sampras in the final. He beat Federer in a magnificent match at the AO on his way to the title. Those two feats had real greatness about them and mean all his lows don't mean anything in the big picture or undermine them.
That to me is greatness. You achieve a couple or a few things which people remember you for. You don't have to be amazing all the time.
That is known as peak form evaluation. I think that is probably the best way to evaluate greatness in athletics.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Andreescu has really shown something this week with five long matches. We'll see what she does in the final at Miami against Barty.
Not if Barty slices her up. I don't make bets anymore, but...at any rate, she's gotta win some more slams. Then she can enter the discussion. I respect her effort and her desire to win. She's about 5 years too late to not be making slam quarterfinals.

I fully agree with his statement.

I fail to see the relationship between tennis players earnings outside of the court (stardom) and tennis greatness: https://www.forbes.com/profile/kei-nishikori/?sh=5842c2d03588
I think we're seriously glossing over the part where she won 2 Grand Slams.
 

BTURNER

Legend
That is known as peak form evaluation. I think that is probably the best way to evaluate greatness in athletics.
And I have never figured out that logic. They were athletes before their peak and after. They were paid before their peak and after. They had tennis fans watching them before their peak and after. The 'peak' itself is as ephemeral and ill defined as a cloud, and prone to subjective definition and cherry picked boundaries. All tennis players should be judged on every single match they played on the tennis tour - unless they were dragged on the court kicking and screaming. Otherwise you are allowing them to throw their failures into a garbage dump and put a spotlight on their successes.

Nope. You take the whole career, warts and trophies alike and laud the athletic achievements, and hold them accountable for their athletic weaknesses
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Is the OP a Federer fan? Once his most significant records are being tied or broken by Djokovic and Nadal, I see suddenly all these arguments about popularity, money earned, sportsmanship awards etc. being put forth as factors to be considered in the GOAT discussion as he is already behind in head-to-head record against Nadal and Djokovic also.
 
I'm sorry, @Jason Swerve

My english is so limited nowadays that I couldn't make myself understood.

I was referring to my second to last post in which I didn't give any arguments as to why "Players earnings on court and tennis greatness should be carefully examined."

- Even if we adjust earnings and inflation former players, before & after the so called 70's "tennis boom", aren't given a fair shake if we correlate earnings and tennis greatness.

- 250K-500K ATP Finals were played in best-of-five sets.

- We have to consider exos:

"As is common with exhibition events, the players are receiving compensation just to show up and commit to the event, earning sizable paychecks regardless of how well they play.

The China Daily reports that Sharapova alone commanded a seven-figure payout to show up. "It is not getting any cheaper to convince Sharapova to come here. But by hook or by crook, we have managed to get her to come to Hong Kong. It took a bit of discussion to get her to agree," Ian Wade, president of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons Association (HKTPA), told the paper. It appears, the paper says that this year, the Russian is demanding more money now that she has added the US Open crown to her résumé." https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2009/05/exos-bring-the-bling/16959/

You know this very well* & other subjects such as: how can we find the right balance between players earnings in Davis Cup & their greatness?

* I really appreciate your input regarding female players from the 90's.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
And I have never figured out that logic. They were athletes before their peak and after. They were paid before their peak and after. They had tennis fans watching them before their peak and after. The 'peak' itself is as ephemeral and ill defined as a cloud, and prone to subjective definition and cherry picked boundaries. All tennis players should be judged on every single match they played on the tennis tour - unless they were dragged on the court kicking and screaming. Otherwise you are allowing them to throw their failures into a garbage dump and put a spotlight on their successes.

Nope. You take the whole career, warts and trophies alike and laud the athletic achievements, and hold them accountable for their athletic weaknesses
I have never understood that way of evaluating a career. I don't really care how well Gonzales played in 1972 or how many runner-ups Rosewall got into in his forties.

I want to know how good they were in their prime.
 

arvind13

Professional
No. Just no. Being a great celebrity, is distinctly different from being a great tennis player. Lets not enhance Anna Kournakova as a tennis great, beyond her titles that she actually earned. Once we start down this road, notoriety and infamy are suddenly advantageous no matter how you got it. Now McEnroe is the greater star than Edberg. One of them got a sportsmanship award named after him, the other has famous clips attacking plants, with his racket and screaming at officials and nearly getting into two fistfights. Vitus Gerulaitus has 1/3 fame from his on court tennis, 1/3 fame from his commentary, 1/3 fame from his New York parties with their powered appetizers. Now the same very sweet guy was also incredibly generous with charities, but that does not register in your metric at all!

We can compare Margaret Court's name familiarity with Maria Bueno, and see which of them has acquired 'star power'. Some comes from tennis results and press as Serena chases her records. Some comes from an entirely different place.




No thanks.
the difference is that mcenroe got his star power primarily through his matches his style, his antics in tennis unlike kournakova who was a star when she played tennis, but became a megastar after she left tennis with other stuff he did. same with safin who got his starpower because of what he did in tennis.
 

Devtennis01

Legend
So, you can acknowledge Hingis is greater than Graf, then. She had a '97 one slam away from being on par with '88 Graf's, and she was younger and had laughably better competition. Not to mention she cracked her knee in half and still kept winning in shoes and panties that fit too tight, and the shoes hardly even had soles to them.

Then she flipped it around and earned a CYGS in doubles while slumping and fat, on top of puberty and all the other issues. Never saw Graf winning that much in an obvious slump, while chasing boys at the beach on the side.
Hmmmm. I know there is a long thread elsewhere about this! I would acknowledge that Hingis' 97 season made Hingis great. I still think Graf's 1988 was greater. I think there are very slim margins here and it's subjective. Can we leave it there!?
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Hmmmm. I know there is a long thread elsewhere about this! I would acknowledge that Hingis' 97 season made Hingis great. I still think Graf's 1988 was greater. I think there are very slim margins here and it's subjective. Can we leave it there!?
It's accurate to say that Graf's numbers are better, but that Hingis had it amazingly harder with the nuance behind her numbers.

the difference is that mcenroe got his star power primarily through his matches his style, his antics in tennis unlike kournakova who was a star when she played tennis, but became a megastar after she left tennis with other stuff he did. same with safin who got his starpower because of what he did in tennis.
You don't really think Kournikova would've gotten famous if she had bad showings in '97-'98.

And I have never figured out that logic. They were athletes before their peak and after. They were paid before their peak and after. They had tennis fans watching them before their peak and after. The 'peak' itself is as ephemeral and ill defined as a cloud, and prone to subjective definition and cherry picked boundaries. All tennis players should be judged on every single match they played on the tennis tour - unless they were dragged on the court kicking and screaming. Otherwise you are allowing them to throw their failures into a garbage dump and put a spotlight on their successes.

Nope. You take the whole career, warts and trophies alike and laud the athletic achievements, and hold them accountable for their athletic weaknesses
For the devil's advocate argument, why would you take the less great parts of someone's career?

I'm sorry, @Jason Swerve

My english is so limited nowadays that I couldn't make myself understood.

I was referring to my second to last post in which I didn't give any arguments as to why "Players earnings on court and tennis greatness should be carefully examined."

- Even if we adjust earnings and inflation former players, before & after the so called 70's "tennis boom", aren't given a fair shake if we correlate earnings and tennis greatness.

- 250K-500K ATP Finals were played in best-of-five sets.

- We have to consider exos:

"As is common with exhibition events, the players are receiving compensation just to show up and commit to the event, earning sizable paychecks regardless of how well they play.

The China Daily reports that Sharapova alone commanded a seven-figure payout to show up. "It is not getting any cheaper to convince Sharapova to come here. But by hook or by crook, we have managed to get her to come to Hong Kong. It took a bit of discussion to get her to agree," Ian Wade, president of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons Association (HKTPA), told the paper. It appears, the paper says that this year, the Russian is demanding more money now that she has added the US Open crown to her résumé." https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2009/05/exos-bring-the-bling/16959/

You know this very well* & other subjects such as: how can we find the right balance between players earnings in Davis Cup & their greatness?

* I really appreciate your input regarding female players from the 90's.
If the fans really want this player to appear, they players got great star power. Even if they're washed up now, it doesn't change what they did the rest of their career. If Federer suddenly charges per exo, it's not like he suddenly started playing last week.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
the difference is that mcenroe got his star power primarily through his matches his style, his antics in tennis unlike kournakova who was a star when she played tennis, but became a megastar after she left tennis with other stuff he did. same with safin who got his starpower because of what he did in tennis.
From what I remember, she was more popular during her tennis career.
 

BTURNER

Legend
It's accurate to say that Graf's numbers are better, but that Hingis had it amazingly harder with the nuance behind her numbers.


You don't really think Kournikova would've gotten famous if she had bad showings in '97-'98.


For the devil's advocate argument, why would you take the less great parts of someone's career?


If the fans really want this player to appear, they players got great star power. Even if they're washed up now, it doesn't change what they did the rest of their career. If Federer suddenly charges per exo, it's not like he suddenly started playing last week.
Because the matches were played, watched by the public, recorded in the historical record and she was paid to play them. Its erasing history to delete them from their record, and extract an arbitrary number of those matches , right smack in the middle that only represent the best ones and utilize that extraction to represent the players work. I cannot figure out how Martina Navratilova's tennis career is supposed to be represented by what she did between 1982-1987 when she played for 21 years on the singles tour. You are taking them out of context and magnifying them and in the process pretending that all the matches in that span represent her peak level, and none of the matches she played in 1981, or 1988 were. That's not how athletic performance works. Every single match matters, and every single match is part of her legacy and contributes to her reputation.
 

BTURNER

Legend
the difference is that mcenroe got his star power primarily through his matches his style, his antics in tennis unlike kournakova who was a star when she played tennis, but became a megastar after she left tennis with other stuff he did. same with safin who got his starpower because of what he did in tennis.
tennis celebrity does not necessarily contribute to tennis greatness, anymore than celebrity necessarily contributes to greatness. I don't care when or how they got their celebrity.
 

BTURNER

Legend
I have never understood that way of evaluating a career. I don't really care how well Gonzales played in 1972 or how many runner-ups Rosewall got into in his forties.

I want to know how good they were in their prime.
Then you are not evaluating their career at all.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Because the matches were played, watched by the public, recorded in the historical record and she was paid to play them. Its erasing history to delete them from their record, and extract an arbitrary number of those matches , right smack in the middle that only represent the best ones and utilize that extraction to represent the players work. I cannot figure out how Martina Navratilova's tennis career is supposed to be represented by what she did between 1982-1987 when she played for 21 years on the singles tour. You are taking them out of context and magnifying them and in the process pretending that all the matches in that span represent her peak level, and none of the matches she played in 1981, or 1988 were. That's not how athletic performance works. Every single match matters, and every single match is part of her legacy and contributes to her reputation.
Aren't poor performances by a player, by definition, not great? Just 'a legacy' doesn't automatically equate to 'great'.
 

BTURNER

Legend
Aren't poor performances by a player, by definition, not great? Just 'a legacy' doesn't automatically equate to 'great'.
Any measure of greatness has to include the 'not great' performances as context. If you entered two Wimbledons, reached the final of one, and won the second that tells us one story about your greatness. If you entered 8 Wimbledons, reached the final of one and won the second, it begs the question what. surrounds those two events. Did you lose in QFs and semis to seeds, or did you lose in first and second rounds to journeymen or women. You must always turn a career upside down and look at it from the bottom up to learn about inconsistent or lackluster results as context or consistently solid results as context. We know that Wade had a pretty disappointing career at Wimbledon because we know what happened to her in other 23 years she played the event not identified as 1977! A career w/l ratio at Wimbledon can tell us a little more of the story, but it still does not give us a clear pattern. You have to turn the career upside down and look at those losses with as much scrutiny as you do the victories to do any justice to the whole notion of greatness.
 
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DMP

Professional
Greatness is anything 'I' choose to define as being great, because there is no universally accepted yardstick(s).

Or...

Greatness is being talked about, argued about, discussed (by a wider public than a few obsessives) years, decades, centuries after your time. The longer you are discussed, the greater you are/were.

So...

Tilden/Lenglen/Wills Moody/Budge are great

Kramer/Gonzales/Hoad/Rosewall/Laver/Court/King/Borg/McEnroe/Connors/Evert/Graf/Sampras might be great.

Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Serena Williams - too soon to know.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Any measure of greatness has to include the 'not great' performances as context. If you entered two Wimbledons, reached the final of one, and won the second that tells us one story about your greatness. If you entered 8 Wimbledons, reached the final of one and won the second, it begs the question what. surrounds those two events. Did you lose in QFs and semis to seeds, or did you lose in first and second rounds to journeymen or women. You must always turn a career upside down and look at it from the bottom up to learn about inconsistent or lackluster results as context or consistently solid results as context. We know that Wade had a pretty disappointing career at Wimbledon because we know what happened to her in other 23 years she played the event not identified as 1977! A career w/l ratio at Wimbledon can tell us a little more of the story, but it still does not give us a clear pattern. You have to turn the career upside down and look at those losses with as much scrutiny as you do the victories to do any justice to the whole notion of greatness.
This is just one definition of greatness, your own definition, and you concentrate on "career" stats as a measure of greatness.

Most people do not think of greatness in terms of career numbers but rather in terms of quality of play, quality is more important than quantity.

The greatest achievements in most avenues of human endeavour involve major achievements which occupy only a fraction of a career.

Nobel Prizes concentrate on major breakthrough achievements which influence the entire field. These achievements usually occupy only a tiny fraction of the total career, but they constitute the basis of what the individual is remembered for.
 
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Jason Swerve

Professional
Any measure of greatness has to include the 'not great' performances as context. If you entered two Wimbledons, reached the final of one, and won the second that tells us one story about your greatness. If you entered 8 Wimbledons, reached the final of one and won the second, it begs the question what. surrounds those two events. Did you lose in QFs and semis to seeds, or did you lose in first and second rounds to journeymen or women. You must always turn a career upside down and look at it from the bottom up to learn about inconsistent or lackluster results as context or consistently solid results as context. We know that Wade had a pretty disappointing career at Wimbledon because we know what happened to her in other 23 years she played the event not identified as 1977! A career w/l ratio at Wimbledon can tell us a little more of the story, but it still does not give us a clear pattern. You have to turn the career upside down and look at those losses with as much scrutiny as you do the victories to do any justice to the whole notion of greatness.
Ah, now that's a very good point against the argument I was making. That's the whole reason people take only peaks, though. How everyone did in their peaks will still have these dips all around (unless, Graf and especially Martinka). They'll just be fewer of them overall, and you'll compare the best with the best.

This is just one definition of greatness, your own definition, and you concentrate on "career" stats as a measure of greatness.

Most people do not think of greatness in terms of career numbers but rather in terms of quality of play, quality is more important than quantity.

The greatest achievements in most avenues of human endeavour involve major achievements which occupy only a fraction of a career.

Nobel Prizes concentrate on major breakthrough achievements which influence the entire field. These achievements usually only occupy a tiny fraction of the total career, but they constitute the basis of what the individual is remembered for.
What you said's why I only consider the peak Martinka as the best '90s player. If I were to add Hingis and not be talking doubles, there'd be some serious issues with that logic. I'm not just talking about Graf, but Seles, Venus, Serena, Henin- all better singles careers. So you have to take Hingis at her best, because greatness is putting someone crosscourt from someone else and having the two play at their best. Martinka would mess everyone up, and Venus is the second-highest peak we've seen. Then Seles. Serena right after. Henin. That's much harder to argue against than the glitter and glitz argument that can invite several weak era claims to the discussion.
 

BTURNER

Legend
Ah, now that's a very good point against the argument I was making. That's the whole reason people take only peaks, though. How everyone did in their peaks will still have these dips all around (unless, Graf and especially Martinka). They'll just be fewer of them overall, and you'll compare the best with the best.


What you said's why I only consider the peak Martinka as the best '90s player. If I were to add Hingis and not be talking doubles, there'd be some serious issues with that logic. I'm not just talking about Graf, but Seles, Venus, Serena, Henin- all better singles careers. So you have to take Hingis at her best, because greatness is putting someone crosscourt from someone else and having the two play at their best. Martinka would mess everyone up, and Venus is the second-highest peak we've seen. Then Seles. Serena right after. Henin. That's much harder to argue against than the glitter and glitz argument that can invite several weak era claims to the discussion.
Peaks are very deceptive and rather susceptible to distortion secondary to bias, agenda etc. But when you flesh out the details.....
For example,it turns out that Virginia Wade had a rather short 'peak' 1968-72 as measured by results (as opposed to best play), and that was years earlier than that 1977 renewal to peak form that particular spring-summer ( it was a marvelous season for her and a culmination of a life's dream) , but you can see the exact shape, size and duration of both, by looking at her career upside down!
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Peaks are very deceptive and rather susceptible to distortion secondary to bias, agenda etc. But when you flesh out the details.....
For example,it turns out that Virginia Wade had a rather short 'peak' 1968-72 as measured by results (as opposed to best play), and that was years earlier than that 1977 renewal to peak form that particular spring-summer ( it was a marvelous season for her and a culmination of a life's dream) , but you can see the exact shape, size and duration of both, by looking at her career upside down!
I would give her credit for her best performances, that's fine.
 

BTURNER

Legend
This is just one definition of greatness, your own definition, and you concentrate on "career" stats as a measure of greatness.

Most people do not think of greatness in terms of career numbers but rather in terms of quality of play, quality is more important than quantity.

The greatest achievements in most avenues of human endeavour involve major achievements which occupy only a fraction of a career.

Nobel Prizes concentrate on major breakthrough achievements which influence the entire field. These achievements usually occupy only a tiny fraction of the total career, but they constitute the basis of what the individual is remembered for.
I used to be like you before I came here. I learned so much once I decided to look at tennis history in a less superficial way.
Most people are pretty darn ignorant and don't mind staying so. I can guarantee you that those in the very top level of the discipline of physics, of similar stature in that field, who were capable of understanding the ideas Charles Kao ( the, winner of the 2009 Nobel) was exploring, knew a hell of a lot more about the Nobel laureate his past successes and failures, before they read the details of his groundbreaking study of optics and light transmission in 2009! Whether they knew him as a colleague or competitor, or just another genius fanatic, they undoubtedly read his other research, and they will keep a tab on him as long as he is active in science.

So the question is just how much do you want to learn about tennis. If you are satiated with just the 30 second soundbite of a career encapsulated in a series of trophy presentation I can look up online in a wiki paragraph. I won't be learning very much from you here. I want a lot more depth than you can offer me.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I used to be like you before I came here. I learned so much once I decided to look at tennis history in a less superficial way.
Most people are pretty darn ignorant and don't mind staying so. I can guarantee you that those in the very top level of the discipline of physics, of similar stature in that field, who were capable of understanding the ideas Charles Kao ( the, winner of the 2009 Nobel) was exploring, knew a hell of a lot more about the Nobel laureate his past successes and failures, before they read the details of his groundbreaking study of optics and light transmission in 2009! Whether they knew him as a colleague or competitor, or just another genius fanatic, they undoubtedly read his other research, and they will keep a tab on him as long as he is active in science.

So the question is just how much do you want to learn about tennis. If you are satiated with just the 30 second soundbite of a career encapsulated in a series of trophy presentation I can look up online in a wiki paragraph. I won't be learning very much from you here. I want a lot more depth than you can offer me.
I want to hear of the great achievements, it starts there. Punching the clock over some decades does not do it for me.

A player without a Wimbledon title or a U.S. title has some explaining to do to enter the discussion.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Peaks are very deceptive and rather susceptible to distortion secondary to bias, agenda etc. But when you flesh out the details.....
For example,it turns out that Virginia Wade had a rather short 'peak' 1968-72 as measured by results (as opposed to best play), and that was years earlier than that 1977 renewal to peak form that particular spring-summer ( it was a marvelous season for her and a culmination of a life's dream) , but you can see the exact shape, size and duration of both, by looking at her career upside down!
Who has a 4-year peak? That's practically an oxymoron in itself.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I want to see at least one great season for a player.

What metrics make for a great season?

As a baseline necessity:

Winning the top tournament + winning 100 or more matches.

That is indisputably a great season, and very few players have achieved it.

That cuts down the field by a huge factor, and makes it possible to begin comparisons.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
That's the current ATP-WTA in a nutshell.

Aside from that, Graf didn't even win 100 singles matches in her '88 run.
100 wins used to be the marker for a great season, but in recent decades the players have reduced the amount of play they will accept.

Several great players posted multiple 100-win seasons in the past.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
100 wins used to be the marker for a great season, but in recent decades the players have reduced the amount of play they will accept.

Several great players posted multiple 100-win seasons in the past.
Though how far back are we willing to go?
 
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