Ellsworth Vines vs Lew Hoad

Vensai

Professional
Both of these players had a reputation as being unbeatable when on, though inconsistently so. Kramer had the opinion that: "Both were very strong guys. Both succeeded at a very young age.... Also, both were very lazy guys. Vines lost interest in tennis (for golf) before he was thirty, and Hoad never appeared to be very interested. Despite their great natural ability, neither put up the outstanding records that they were capable of. Unfortunately, the latter was largely true because both had physical problems."

Who do you believe ranks higher overall?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
So you'd rank him higher than Hoad on a hypothetical GOAT list?
I would personally, both had much hyped levels of play when they were on. But Vines won more and Hoad was unfortunate with injuries. The competition at the top of the pro game in the late 50's/early 60's was abit higher though with Gonzales and Rosewall. But I'd still put Vines above Hoad.
 

kiki

Banned
Vines had the better career by some distance IMO.
Put a Marketing Agent in your life and your life will look as brilliant as Elsworth´s.:)

Hoad had a much tougher field to deal with.But Vines did very well against the likes of Perry and Budge.

Anyhow, Hoad spent many of his best years injuried.
 

Vensai

Professional
It sounds like between these inconsistent players, Vines was more consistent. But considering that Pancho Gonzales himself considered an on Hoad as unbeatable, I suspect Hoad's peak > Vines' peak. Unless someone has any clarifying counter evidence?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Put a Marketing Agent in your life and your life will look as brilliant as Elsworth´s.:)

Hoad had a much tougher field to deal with.But Vines did very well against the likes of Perry and Budge.

Anyhow, Hoad spent many of his best years injuried.
We don't know how Hoad would have done against better competition though. I prefer to go by achievements.

Hoad was definately unfortunate with injuries.

Funnily enough I've recently entered a career in marketing ;)
 

kiki

Banned
We don't know how Hoad would have done against better competition though. I prefer to go by achievements.

Hoad was definately unfortunate with injuries.

Funnily enough I've recently entered a career in marketing ;)
I wish you to find a new Vines for your career¡¡
 

urban

Legend
Both are tough to rank. Vines' Wim win over Bunny Austin in 1932, and Hoad's annihilation of Ashley Cooper in 1957 were seen as peak performances in Wim finals for a long time. Both had a meteoric rise in one year (1932, 1956), but fell apart the next year. Hoad was more compact built, but was prone to injuries, like other muscular players as Cash, Flipper or Becker. Vines resembled a bit on Sampras, with a comparable swift serve and a swinging big forehand. In some big five set matches he showed stamina problems, like Sampras later. Vines was longer pro nr. 1, especially against an aging Perry, was wasn't imo the factor as he pro he had been as an amateur. Hoad never really could dethrone Gonzalez, and in the early 60s, he was surpassed by Rosewall. So for the record maybe Vines, for allround, allcourt ability, especially regarding clay, Hoad.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Both are tough to rank. Vines' Wim win over Bunny Austin in 1932, and Hoad's annihilation of Ashley Cooper in 1957 were seen as peak performances in Wim finals for a long time. Both had a meteoric rise in one year (1932, 1956), but fell apart the next year. Hoad was more compact built, but was prone to injuries, like other muscular players as Cash, Flipper or Becker. Vines resembled a bit on Sampras, with a comparable swift serve and a swinging big forehand. In some big five set matches he showed stamina problems, like Sampras later. Vines was longer pro nr. 1, especially against an aging Perry, was wasn't imo the factor as he pro he had been as an amateur. Hoad never really could dethrone Gonzalez, and in the early 60s, he was surpassed by Rosewall. So for the record maybe Vines, for allround, allcourt ability, especially regarding clay, Hoad.
urban, excellent analysis (as always, I would like to add).

I only disagree that Vines dominated an aging Perry. Perry then was only 28 and 29, in that era arguably the best time for a player.
 

urban

Legend
Domination is imo the wrong word for the pro encounters between Vines and Perry. Ray Bowers, who studied those years closely, often ranks them both Nr. 1, if i remember it right. The hth tours were always very close, with Vines overall having a slight edge. I know, that Kramer stated, that Vines carried Perry, to make more public and money, but this is speculation. I nevertheless think, that Perry had lost a bit of his sting, turning pro in 1937. While Vines and Budge had probably better stroke production, Perry's geatest asset was his supreme fitness, which he aquired by training with Arsenal. Perry was at his best in tough, intense five setters on grass. Like Emerson and Borg later, he relied on physical fitness and stamina. Budge described that quite convincingly in his account of the 1936 Forest Hills final. I would have liked to have seen Perry in best of five Wimbledon and Forest Hills finals vs. Vines in the years 1934-1936. Sadly the pro-am split prevented this. What would have this a great year in 1937 with Perry, Vines, Budge, von Cramm and Nüßlein all in the field, and all near their prime.
 

Rosewall

Rookie
I read the Wiki on Ellsworth Vines. How does Bud Collins know Vines had a curious 360 degree windmill forehand starting with the racquet held high like he was going to serve? Bud was in diapers when Vines was winning championships. Is there another source for that comment? I understand it was common in that era to exaggerate getting the racquet head up high like a batter in baseball before swinging. If he had it held so high it looked like he was going to serve, that is some serious momentum with those heavy racquets. No wonder his flat forehand was feared.
 

urban

Legend
I think, Bud Collins studied video material, and some of the older players bios in his hsitory books came from Allison Danzig, the great sports writer of the 30s. to 60s. There was a video out in the US "The Greatest Tennis Players" with Glenn Miller music, where detailled films of Vines and Budge, Tilden and Kramer were shown. Some posters like Joe Sch know, what i am talking about. It was only for US systems, so i never could see it on my recorder. I have also a video by Fred Perry "Golden Moments of Tennis", where he talks about the alltime greats, including video material of Vines.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Domination is imo the wrong word for the pro encounters between Vines and Perry. Ray Bowers, who studied those years closely, often ranks them both Nr. 1, if i remember it right. The hth tours were always very close, with Vines overall having a slight edge. I know, that Kramer stated, that Vines carried Perry, to make more public and money, but this is speculation. I nevertheless think, that Perry had lost a bit of his sting, turning pro in 1937. While Vines and Budge had probably better stroke production, Perry's geatest asset was his supreme fitness, which he aquired by training with Arsenal. Perry was at his best in tough, intense five setters on grass. Like Emerson and Borg later, he relied on physical fitness and stamina. Budge described that quite convincingly in his account of the 1936 Forest Hills final. I would have liked to have seen Perry in best of five Wimbledon and Forest Hills finals vs. Vines in the years 1934-1936. Sadly the pro-am split prevented this. What would have this a great year in 1937 with Perry, Vines, Budge, von Cramm and Nüßlein all in the field, and all near their prime.
urban, the 1938 tour was not close.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I read the Wiki on Ellsworth Vines. How does Bud Collins know Vines had a curious 360 degree windmill forehand starting with the racquet held high like he was going to serve? Bud was in diapers when Vines was winning championships. Is there another source for that comment? I understand it was common in that era to exaggerate getting the racquet head up high like a batter in baseball before swinging. If he had it held so high it looked like he was going to serve, that is some serious momentum with those heavy racquets. No wonder his flat forehand was feared.
Rosewall, Bud Collins was 10 years old when Vines won his last championship...
 
I read the Wiki on Ellsworth Vines. How does Bud Collins know Vines had a curious 360 degree windmill forehand starting with the racquet held high like he was going to serve? Bud was in diapers when Vines was winning championships. Is there another source for that comment? I understand it was common in that era to exaggerate getting the racquet head up high like a batter in baseball before swinging. If he had it held so high it looked like he was going to serve, that is some serious momentum with those heavy racquets. No wonder his flat forehand was feared.
Here's some very good old footage of Ellsworth Vines facing off against Fred Perry in 1931. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/wonderful-tennis-1/query/ellsworth+vines
His forehand is fearsome! He hits it very hard and very flat, just so that it barely clears the net. I can see how on a good day that stroke could be absolutely devastating. He does have a good loop to it, unlike Perry who just takes the racquet straight back.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
urban, the 1938 tour was not close.
In 1937, Vines beat Perry on the big tour by 32-29. Perry beat Vines by 6-3 on a short British tour.

In 1938, Vines beat Perry on the big tour by 49-35. The short British tour was tied at 4-4.

In the 1930s, I consider the top professionals and top amateurs to be very neck and neck in terms of quality. There wasn't much difference between them. It's not until Kramer became the dominant professional player in the late 1940s that a big gap started to open up.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
In 1937, Vines beat Perry on the big tour by 32-29. Perry beat Vines by 6-3 on a short British tour.

In 1938, Vines beat Perry on the big tour by 49-35. The short British tour was tied at 4-4.

In the 1930s, I consider the top professionals and top amateurs to be very neck and neck in terms of quality. There wasn't much difference between them. It's not until Kramer became the dominant professional player in the late 1940s that a big gap started to open up.
Mustard, urban wrote about the main tour, not about any small tours.
 

kiki

Banned
Maybe, and it is a big maybe, the difference betwen both is that Vines had two of the mightiest ever shots (Serve and FH) while Hoad didn´t have a real dominant stroke.He was good at every shot.
 

kiki

Banned
Hoad like Safin?
You made a big backwards step here
But you were heading the right way in your last posts
You may reach our Golden Era shore through trial and error;-)
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Hoad like Safin?
You made a big backwards step here
But you were heading the right way in your last posts
You may reach our Golden Era shore through trial and error;-)
They are very similar in that they're both considered to be "unbeatable at their best", but their achievements pale in comparison to their contemporaries.

Also they were both renowned as ladies' men.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I am starting to believe that this would be a stupendous match.

One for the ages!
The thing about this match is that historically these two seem to get the most votes for who is the greatest ever for one match.

Vines probably had the bigger serve and bigger forehand.

Hoad probably had the bigger backhand but Vines' backhand was awesome also.

Both has excellent volleys and overheads. Both were great athletes. Vines was a top college basketball player, a baseball player and later became one of the best golfers in the world.

Kramer to used said that if Vines was on you were lucky to get your racquet on the ball.

It's tough. I used to favor Vines and then I favored Hoad. Now I'm back on Vines' side again. Some who favor Vines at his best are Lott, Kramer, Bob Falkenburg, Danzig, Julius Heldman and many others.

People who favor Hoad are Ted Schoeder (who also thought Kovacs was better than Vines) and a number of others I can't remember. I know Vines himself (probably not including Vines) wrote that Hoad was invincible when "on" his game.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Vines was certainly more dominant. He was the best in the world for years. Towards the end of his tennis career, soon after Budge deposed him, it sounds like Vines had lost all interest in tennis and decided to play golf instead.

It suggests that Vines played his best tennis more often than Hoad did.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Vines was certainly more dominant. He was the best in the world for years. Towards the end of his tennis career, soon after Budge deposed him, it sounds like Vines had lost all interest in tennis and decided to play golf instead.

It suggests that Vines played his best tennis more often than Hoad did.
Vines had a lot of injuries around his shoulder area when he was playing Budge. It was not indicative of his true strength. I have some information that makes that very clear. He could barely lift his right arm at times. Vines knew at the time that unless he healed miraculously he wouldn't stand a chance against Budge. At time the first tour was close at 22 to 17 or 21 to 18.
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
Vines was certainly more dominant. He was the best in the world for years. Towards the end of his tennis career, soon after Budge deposed him, it sounds like Vines had lost all interest in tennis and decided to play golf instead.

It suggests that Vines played his best tennis more often than Hoad did.
I don't know if it was the golf but it is clear that he didn't want to play tennis much anymore at that time and wanted to go home to his family.

I think athletics came easily for him and he needed new interests and challenges.
 
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BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Vines was certainly more dominant. He was the best in the world for years. Towards the end of his tennis career, soon after Budge deposed him, it sounds like Vines had lost all interest in tennis and decided to play golf instead.

It suggests that Vines played his best tennis more often than Hoad did.
Mustard, That's absolutely true. A different question is who was stronger in their best match?
 

joe sch

Legend
I think, Bud Collins studied video material, and some of the older players bios in his hsitory books came from Allison Danzig, the great sports writer of the 30s. to 60s. There was a video out in the US "The Greatest Tennis Players" with Glenn Miller music, where detailled films of Vines and Budge, Tilden and Kramer were shown. Some posters like Joe Sch know, what i am talking about. It was only for US systems, so i never could see it on my recorder. I have also a video by Fred Perry "Golden Moments of Tennis", where he talks about the alltime greats, including video material of Vines.
Urban, If you still have not viewed the "Kings of the Court tennis video" I can send you a DVD copy that is region free. I know you would enjoy the narrative and video clips.

Joe
 

Dan L

Professional

Dan L

Professional
Both are tough to rank. Vines' Wim win over Bunny Austin in 1932, and Hoad's annihilation of Ashley Cooper in 1957 were seen as peak performances in Wim finals for a long time. Both had a meteoric rise in one year (1932, 1956), but fell apart the next year. Hoad was more compact built, but was prone to injuries, like other muscular players as Cash, Flipper or Becker. Vines resembled a bit on Sampras, with a comparable swift serve and a swinging big forehand. In some big five set matches he showed stamina problems, like Sampras later. Vines was longer pro nr. 1, especially against an aging Perry, was wasn't imo the factor as he pro he had been as an amateur. Hoad never really could dethrone Gonzalez, and in the early 60s, he was surpassed by Rosewall. So for the record maybe Vines, for allround, allcourt ability, especially regarding clay, Hoad.
I would rate Hoad number one pro for 1958 and 1959, if you include the pro season as a whole.
 

Dan L

Professional
Here's some very good old footage of Ellsworth Vines facing off against Fred Perry in 1931. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/wonderful-tennis-1/query/ellsworth+vines
His forehand is fearsome! He hits it very hard and very flat, just so that it barely clears the net. I can see how on a good day that stroke could be absolutely devastating. He does have a good loop to it, unlike Perry who just takes the racquet straight back.
Hoad had a much greater variety of strokes than Vines, using a sawed-off racquet handle and a SINGLE grip for all shots.

Completely different styles.
 

Dan L

Professional
I would rank Vines higher.

Hoad is a bit overrated I think. Sort of like a 1950s version of Safin.
Safin could only win majors on rubber, not grass or clay.

Hoad was devastating on all surfaces, and had a greater variety of weapons.

Hoad was probably much stronger physically than Vines, especially over five sets.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
It's tough. I used to favor Vines and then I favored Hoad. Now I'm back on Vines' side again. Some who favor Vines at his best are Lott, Kramer, Bob Falkenburg, Danzig, Julius Heldman and many others.

People who favor Hoad are Ted Schoeder (who also thought Kovacs was better than Vines) and a number of others I can't remember. I know Vines himself (probably not including Vines) wrote that Hoad was invincible when "on" his game.
That's okay. "The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you realise you really know nothing."

Changing one's mind is not necessarily an indication of failure, inconsistency, or contradiction.

It's a sign of intellectual growth.
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
That's okay. "The more you learn, the more you know."

Changing one's mind is not necessarily an indication of failure, inconsistency, or contradiction.

It's a sign of intellectual growth.
Of course. I have changed my mind on numerous things on tennis. I used to think Jack Kramer was overrated a few years ago and had told a few people of my opinion of him. However in receiving more information about him from experts and people very close to him I revised my opinion. I also realized my parameters for rating greats like Kramer are off and had to be revised. My system of ranking players is often changing due to some improvements and more data. Vines has moved up because I found more information (letters) supporting his greatness. Some others have moved down.

In many ways I like disagreements as long as it's civil. I can always learn more. I never want to be locked into one answer and not be willing to change.
 
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kiki

Banned
That's okay. "The more you learn, the more you know."

Changing one's mind is not necessarily an indication of failure, inconsistency, or contradiction.

It's a sign of intellectual growth.
"The more you know, the more you realise you really know nothing"
 

urban

Legend
Joe Sch, many thanks for the offer. I understand that i could contact You on Your fine webside woodtennis.
 
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