Fifth set Wimbledon 2008, replace Federer with Sampras in those very same conditions, what happens?

Who wins the fifth set?


  • Total voters
    46

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
The start of the match aside, when they were playing in the fifth set, I felt both were playing more freely, Federer for the first time in a long time felt like he believed, Nadal who was fighting his own demons recomposed himself and started to believe also. Some fantastic play in the fifth set, both hitting the ball well, the darkness that evening and Nadal's more 'safer' game was tipping the balance, as his safety margin for clearing the net was much better in those conditions than Federer.

At the end of the day, Nadal rightfully won the match. Now IMO, choking from both aside, Federer in the first two sets, Nadal in the next two, the fifth was a fight of equals. Now, if Sampras was in that situation with Nadal, playing the fifth set in the diminishing light, could he have done what Federer couldn't do that day? Keep in mind, slower grass conditions, and Pete also having a lower net clearance like Federer, however a better net game, better second serve, how would that outcome have played out.

Was Rafa taking it that day, or would the Pistol bring out the heavy guns.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Peak Pete beats any version ever created of Nadal on grass. And peak Pete beats 2008 Federer at Wimbledon as well. And I say this as someone who detested Sampras and was a fanatical Agassi fan.

Sampras and Nadal walk out to play a fifth set at 2008 Wimbledon? Pete takes the set 6-4 and the match as well.
 

Sunny014

Hall of Fame
Peak Pete beats any version ever created of Nadal on grass. And peak Pete beats 2008 Federer at Wimbledon as well. And I say this as someone who detested Sampras and was a fanatical Agassi fan.

Sampras and Nadal walk out to play a fifth set at 2008 Wimbledon? Pete takes the set 6-4 and the match as well.
How can Pete beat Federer on Grass ? His serve troubling Federer ? Federer is faster, has more stamina, doesn't mind big servers and also is a much better baseliner, so how does Sampras go past Federer when Federer doesn't have any weakness vs Pete's strengths ? Nadal might have weakness vs Pete's strength (serve) but then on a high bouncing grass Nadal can also target the backhand with his speed, remember Nadal is faster and his forehand will find the backhand too....... Pete would have to depend on serving out Nadal .... unlikely... passing shots would be too much, Fedal would maul Pete in these conditons I feel...
 

ADuck

Hall of Fame
I mean obviously Sampras, but this hypothetical is obviously very advantageous towards him. Nadal would need time to adjust to Sampras' style.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
What grass do they play on? If it’s modern grass with poly PETE gets wrecked watching passing shots fly past him as he’s just reaching the T.

Old grass, Pete takes the set like 6-2.
 

Yugram

Legend
Nadal is GOAT volleyer after all, so he’d obliterate Sampras both off the ground and at the net. Federer at least could cope with Nadal from the baseline.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
lets keep the greatest tennis match of all time out of such discussions.........there are no ifs and buts for this if you ask me..........that evening belonged to fedal, it was their show..........
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
If Pete plays with gut and hops right onto the high-bouncing post-2001 (heck, even post-2004) court, I’d expect Nadal to pull out the win.

Conditions level (which is, admittedly, a hard thing to assume), I’d hand it to Pete.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
Sampras v Nadal on grass in any year if both at their best would never get to 5 sets. Would be at best for Rafa a 4 set loss
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
The only version of Pistol that Bull would have more than a puncher's chance against on the Centre Court is '98. '93 and '00 might make the cut due to his then injuries, but Pete played increasingly better in the latter final while he found a second wind after seemingly running out of gas vs. Courier. Suppose you could say his condition would worsen by the 5th set vs. peak Rafa, or assume extra pressure on his part to boot, but that's what makes these comparisons rather nonsensical to begin with.

No iteration of Rafa is pushing '94, '95, '97 or '99 Pistol to 5, so that hypothetical is DOA.

P.S. Just so you jokers know, Pistol had an average 50.8% of his serves unreturned in his Wimby finals, which allowed him to hold serve a mind-boggling 96.9% of the time vs. "only" 95.5% in all seven rounds. (Yes, he's almost certainly the only multi-champ ever who a higher % of service games in his Wimby finals than during the whole tourneys.) Even if Rafa somehow manages to cut that % down by about 5% - a big if, considering even Fed could keep Pete down to just 45.0% while punching well above his (then) age - that's still a lot of free points he'd have to contend with.

And before you say he can make up for it on 2nd serves where his superior groundies would prevail, Pistol also won 60.6% of his 2nd-serve points across his 7 finals, just a hair below Fed's 60.7% in his 8 Ws (or even above 60.1% in his 1st 7 victories, if you take out the last one vs. a hobbled Cilic). In fact Agassi is the only one who was able to keep Pete below 50% (48.6%). Now maybe you think Rafa can do as well as Dre or perhaps even better, but their career % of return games won on grass - 25.8% vs. 23.2% - suggests quite the opposite. (And that's not even taking into account the fact that Dre had to deal with a whole lot more S&V, which almost certainly brought down his average.)

Simply put prime Sampras was practically unbreakable in the final round of Wimbledon, and did I say he also won a higher % of his return games than Fed (18.3% vs. 17.9%) in their respective Wimby finals (again Ws only)? Maybe he'd struggle to break Rafa more than the other way around, but I doubt it.
 
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ibbi

Legend
The grass of 2008 is not the grass of Sampras' day. He played one Wimbledon after they changed the grass and he was terrible. Yes, this is far from his best years, but he was still tennis player enough to win the US Open a couple of months later. It's not like this is comparable to the 2001 loss either in a classic match with a half decent prospect, he got beat in the fifth by a lucky loser who got trounced in the next round

Add that to the fact that playing his kind of lower percentage precision based tennis is harder in the dark. Yeah, he managed it in 2000 (hurt even), but Rafter served like a bag of trash in that 4th set, Nadal didn't in the fifth in 08.

I'm not saying Rafa wins it, but between the surface tipping a little more his way, the conditions being more suited to his game (even if the slickness of the grass at night works totally against him) and the fact that Nadal is not a Rafter like bottler, and it could easily go either way.
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
Very good question, but Pete on 2008's grass might not have done much better. Pete could've served a little better, but Nadal only needs one break anyway. He would still moonball to Pete's BH and force UEs.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
The only version of Pistol that Bull would have more than a puncher's chance against on the Centre Court is '98. '93 and '00 might make the cut due to his then injuries, but Pete played increasingly better in the latter final while he found a second wind after seemingly running out of gas vs. Courier. Suppose you could say his condition would worsen by the 5th set vs. peak Rafa, or assume extra pressure on his part to boot, but that's what makes these comparisons rather nonsensical to begin with.

No iteration of Rafa is pushing '94, '95, '97 or '99 Pistol to 5, so that hypothetical is DOA.

P.S. Just so you jokers know, Pistol had an average 50.8% of his serves unreturned in his Wimby finals, which allowed him to hold serve a mind-boggling 96.9% of the time vs. "only" 95.5% in all seven rounds. (Yes, he's almost certainly the only multi-champ ever who a higher % of service games in his Wimby finals than during the whole tourneys.) Even if Rafa somehow manages to cut that % down by about 5% - a big if, considering even Fed could keep Pete down to just 45.0% while punching well above his (then) age - that's still a lot of free points he'd have to contend with.

And before you say he can make up for it on 2nd serves where his superior groundies would prevail, Pistol also won 60.6% of his 2nd-serve points across his 7 finals, just a hair below Fed's 60.7% in his 8 Ws (or even above 60.1% in his 1st 7 victories, if you take out the last one vs. a hobbled Cilic). In fact Agassi is the only one who was able to keep Pete below 50% (48.6%). Now maybe you think Rafa can do as well as Dre or perhaps even better, but their career % of return games won on grass - 25.8% vs. 23.2% - suggests quite the opposite. (And that's not even taking into account the fact that Dre had to deal with a whole lot more S&V, which almost certainly brought down his average.)

Simply put prime Sampras was practically unbreakable in the final round of Wimbledon, and did I say he also won a higher % of his return games than Fed (18.3% vs. 17.9%) in their respective Wimby finals (again Ws only)? Maybe he'd struggle to break Rafa more than the other way around, but I doubt it.
I'd say 93,98 and 00 would be Nadal winning or going 5 for sure. Nadal is signifcantly more grass savvy than Courier and most certainly more capable of keeping up level than 2000 Wim final Rafter.

99 final Pete would win anyways. The question there is not Agassi's returning, which was very good, but rather his serving - 44% first serves.
That's where Nadal would do better - service game. Which is why that probably goes 4 sets with Pete winning.

The Pete vs Fed returning in W finals won is pretty misleading since Fed faced clearly tougher service games (Scud, Roddick 04, Roddick 05, Nadal 06, Nadal 07, Roddick 09, Murray 12) than (Courier, Goran 94, Becker 95, Pioline, Goran 98, Agassi, Rafter)
 
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NedStark

Rookie
93,98 and 00 would be Nadal winning or going 5 for sure. Nadal is signifcantly more grass savvy than Courier and most certainly more capable of keeping up level than 2000 Wim final Rafter
Unfortunately, Nadal would have most likely lost from 2R or 3R, especially before 1999.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Pete, just like Rafa and Djoker doesn't lose finals at his pet slam.
Obviously this isn't an airtight comparison as Rafa and Novak are still going strong, but there might be something to the notion that these three were almost born to win their pet majors. Would be very interesting to see if Rafanole end up keeping their perfect record in their respective FO/AO finals.

Of course that also gives me a chance to revisit my matchless insight about the USO being the most difficult/physically demanding of 'em all:

I used to buy into the chestnut about clay being the most physically demanding surface myself, but not anymore. Or at least I no longer buy that the FO is the most grueling of the 4 majors. Yes, as the least serve-friendly surface/major clay/RG demands more baseline rallies, but it's also the least stressful on the lower part of your body which should facilitate longevity and possibly offset the aforementioned stress from all that extra running. And as the slowest surface/Slam it also gives relatively lumbering giants like Gomez, A. Medvedev, Norman, Verkerk and Soderling more time to set up for shots, a luxury missing from the other three Slams.

So what's the correct choice? I say it's the USO, and yes I'm for real. The proof, to paraphrase another chestnut, is already in the pudding: we've got Rafa/Evert as the King/Queen of RG, Novak/Court at the AO, Fed/Pete/Navratilova at Wimbledon and... who at the USO? Guess you could go all the way back to Tilden, but no one among the more recent guys/gals stands out, at least not to the same extent as at the other majors. But how come? DecoTurf, supposedly faster than Rebound Ace/Plexicushion, should be more conducive to attacking tennis which in turn should have led to more consistent dominance, but that's not what we actually have so far. Then maybe it's the higher bounce? Not when you peruse the resumes of such dirtballers as Muster, Moya, Costa, Berasategui, etc. Then what?

The answer, I think, is none other than the USO's physical demands, more precisely its late schedule which places it smack at the end of the long outdoor HC season. By then there's enough wear and tear across the board to make flashes in the pan less likely, while momentum players like Rafa and Guga tend to succeed more than you might expect from their surface-specific records. That I say more than anything is why it's been historically so hard to dominate the USO as much as the other three majors, and also what makes, respectively and arguably, Jimbo's insane consistency, Pistol's record # of finals and Fed's 5-peat at the event their single (mid-term) greatest achievement.

So it's not quite as simple as HC > clay or even the USO > the rest in terms of physical demands, but then reality never is. And that concludes yet another NonP (mini-)dissertation. :cool:
Next reply:

I'd say 93,98 and 00 would be Nadal winning or going 5 for sure. Nadal is signifcantly more grass savvy than Courier and most certainly more capable of keeping up level than 2000 Wim final Rafter.

99 final Pete would win anyways. The question there is not Agassi's returning, which was very good, but rather his serving - 44% first serves.
That's where Nadal would do better - service game. Which is why that probably goes 4 sets with Pete winning.
You know, after I updated my post I was beginning to think maybe I was too confident about '03 or '00 Pistol beating '08 Rafa, mainly cuz Pete never liked playing lefties (relatively speaking, of course - nobody likes to play lefties, including lefties themselves). So yeah, I can see '93 and '00 also being pushed to 5, with the caveat that Courier's return was smoking that fortnight.

And I do think '08 Rafa's edge on serve would be greater than '99 Dre's edge on return. Not by much, cuz RoS is really Rafa's biggest weakness on grass especially vs. attackers, but enough to give him the overall advantage vs. Pistol.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Not sure really, grass was pretty slow and high bouncing by 2008 and Nadal is a much better big match player than anyone Sampras faced in any of his slam finals. I'd favour post peak Sampras but only by a hair, could certainly see Nadal pulling out the win as well.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
The grass of 2008 is not the grass of Sampras' day. He played one Wimbledon after they changed the grass and he was terrible. Yes, this is far from his best years, but he was still tennis player enough to win the US Open a couple of months later. It's not like this is comparable to the 2001 loss either in a classic match with a half decent prospect, he got beat in the fifth by a lucky loser who got trounced in the next round

Add that to the fact that playing his kind of lower percentage precision based tennis is harder in the dark. Yeah, he managed it in 2000 (hurt even), but Rafter served like a bag of trash in that 4th set, Nadal didn't in the fifth in 08.

I'm not saying Rafa wins it, but between the surface tipping a little more his way, the conditions being more suited to his game (even if the slickness of the grass at night works totally against him) and the fact that Nadal is not a Rafter like bottler, and it could easily go either way.
A wise and balanced post. On TT!
 

Sudacafan

Talk Tennis Guru
Peak Pete beats any version ever created of Nadal on grass. And peak Pete beats 2008 Federer at Wimbledon as well. And I say this as someone who detested Sampras and was a fanatical Agassi fan.

Sampras and Nadal walk out to play a fifth set at 2008 Wimbledon? Pete takes the set 6-4 and the match as well.
Why did you detest Sampras? Just because you liked Agassi?
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
The only question that decides everything: Is serve and volley even a POSSIBLE winning option against this Nadal with modern racquets in those conditions? To be honest, I would rule it out. The loss against Brown is no real counterargument, because it was against the worst Nadal since 2005 and what Brown does, well, I would rather call it “serve and chaos” (with a positive meaning, I loved watching him play, much more than Kyrgios). And I see very few options for Sampras in return games.

So Sampras even reaching a 5th set when both play their classic style (and we must assume this, because otherwise they wouldn’t be Sampras and Nadal, but totally hypothetical players) is highly unlikely.

If so, then Nadal still wins. Sampras isn’t especially great in pressure situations if he cannot save everything with his serve already. Nadal would be a nightmare, especially because Sampras would have to break him at some point in the 5th. It would be the same as in real 2008: The question is WHEN Nadal will get the inevitable break after some saved BPs before, but not IF.

And by the way, I like Sampras more than Nadal (he actually is my 2nd favourite after Federer), but it is what it is.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
The Sampras who got straight setted by Krajicek?

Cause if you're taking Samrpas at his best then the same applies to Fed. Fed at his best isn't losing to any Nadal on grass, come on. He barely got it done against a mentally scarred past his peak Fed while Nadal himself was redlining.
 

Sunny014

Hall of Fame
On the New Grass

Draw 1 :

Semi Final 1 :
Peak Federer vs Peak Nadal = Peak Federer wins in 4 or 5
Semi Final 2 : Peak Sampras vs Peak Djokovic = Peak Djokovic wins in 5 sets.

Final : Peak Federer vs Peak Djokovic = Peak Federer wins in 4 sets

Draw 2 :

Semi Final 1 :
Peak Federer vs Peak Djokovic = Peak Federer wins in 4 sets.
Semi Final 2 : Peak Sampras vs Peak Nadal = Peak Nadal wins in 4 sets

Final : Peak Federer vs Peak Nadal = Peak Federer winning in 5 sets

Draw 3 :

Semi 1 :
Peak Federer vs Peak Sampras = Peak Federer winning in 4 sets
Semi 2 : Peak Djokovic vs Peak Nadal = Peak Djokovic in 5 sets.

Final : Peak Federer vs Peak Djokovic = Peak Federer in 4 sets.


On the old Grass


Sampras reaches the final vs Federer but I don't see how he can win, he cannot serve and expect Federer to struggle, he cannot everytime come to the net because that won't work as seen in 2001 on the old grass, I think Federer takes it in 5 sets.
 

Sunny014

Hall of Fame
So basically on the new grass

Federer > Djokovic > Nadal > Sampras

Sorry Pete, your tricks won't work here after the quarterfinals :-D :-D :-D
 

blablavla

Legend
Pete holds serve comfortably until Rafa plays a bad service game, Pete’s constantly chip and charge/top net coverage and aggressive plays wear Rafa down ... 9-7 in 5th.
the one who lost to Krajicek?
or the one who lost to Fed?
or the one who lost to Bastl?
 
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