Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Nathaniel_Near, Jul 22, 2012.
You also could have mentioned Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall as Pancho's most prominent open era victims
Gonzales had that famous win over Laver at Madison Square Garden in the $10,000 winner takes all match in February 1970. What was Gonzales' biggest win over Rosewall in the open era?
Gonzalez even beat Laver in 1970 in four sets in the Las Vegas final.
Pancho defeated Muscles in the 1969 Los Angeles (PSW) tournament by 6-4,11-13,7-5. At Las Vegas he again beat Rosewall 6-4,1-6,6-3 in his toughest match. I still wonder that Gonzalez was able to demolish Newcombe 6-1,6-2 and also Ashe 6-0,6-2,6-4 in the same event.
On a given day, one fast carpet or wood, a fit Gonzales could beat anybody just on his serve.
It's certainly doesn't hurt to have arguably the greatest single weapon in the history of tennis.
Please note, that this was not the semi-final of the event, where Gonzales was whipped by Laver, but merely the opening match of a long series. Laver WON the event! He was not eliminated by Gonzales.
These were majors? Sorry to poke holes in your argument.
Mmmm, I'm going with Federer's forehand for that title. Although, with a modern frame, Gonzales' serve might have been even greater than Sampras'.
I never claimed these wins were achieved in majors. The discussion was about Pancho's biggest win over Rosewall in open era. L.A. and Las Vegas did be his biggest wins against Rosewall in open era.
do you know if Gonzales met Kodes anytime, anywhere, anyhow?
Kodes did play, when at his prime, most of late 60´s-early 70´s greats.I don´t know about Pancho.I know he owned Gimeno.
I guess they never met but I can be wrong.
I know I am losing the very few friends I made on TT...but, again, there is so much - mostly deserved - praise on Gimeno, and he always said playing Kodes was very tough for him...
why not bring out Gimen0? the man is under svere finatial trouble but a good serve and BH, a good volley and one of the best lobs, and attacking FH in the 60´s shall be recognized, ain´t it?
plus, he was a true gentleman.Laver, who really was a sentimental guy and Rosewall, who was thought being an ice man, were really good friends with him...
Didn't Nadal and Ferrer do a fundraiser for Gimeno a couple of years ago?
Vic Braden, the noted tennis coach who also does computer analysis of tennis player strokes said he had no doubt that Gonzalez would serve in the 140 mph range with the racquets of the time and that was in 1998! He also thought it was a smoother stroke than Pete's because there was less strain on the shoulder.
Is it a better serve than Sampras? Who knows, but it clearly was one of the all time great serves.
Andres Gimeno once asked me to lend him much money but I had to refuse because I'm not rich.
But meanwhile Spanish Federation has being helping...
Yes, see my later post.
Sorry for my error.
You know,Kodes would never do such a thing¡¡¡¡
Kodes certainly has the edge over Gimeno there. Kiki, while some get mad at you here (not me by the way) I think there is an argument that you toss out some of the best one liners on the forums.
I know a bit about Gimeno´s troubles, which start with his own tennis club, which was probably the first pto managed ever club in Spain, which he launched around 1974 or 1975, just after retiring.Gimeno has always been a nice, friendly guy but that has nothing to do with this forum.It´s always been very very intriguing the spanish rivalries, and how many pressured Orantes to support either Gimeno or Santana, just a few lines abbout it...(Orantes had it very clear, though)
I strill wait your unvaluable contribution on the best lovers thread...I heard about Noah,Pecci,Arias,Mac but I think Newcombe,Emmo and Stolle match them all in their primes (BTW Newcombe had a severe pre heart attack a few years ago?)
Yes, it appears so.
In 1958, Gonzales led 5 to 4 through the first Kooyong match.
Then, Hoad won the 80-game marathon second Kooyong match, which started a 15 to 3 run of victories (including the Kooyong tournament decider).
This is where the 15 to 3 number derives from, not from 1959.
Although in 1959 Hoad led in their series by 13 to 5, losing 8 of the last 10 matches for a final score of 15 to 13.
Poll results are very close.
BobbyOne, you will be glad to know I voted for Rosewall.
Great news. Sounds to me like a late Wimbledon win for Muscles...
To be serious: I rate Rosewall only a little bit above Gonzalez, both among my top four.
It's very close between the two. I switch them back and forth in my own list all the time.
pc1, Do you agree that both deserve a top five place?
No doubt. The records of both are too impressive not to merit the top five places in my opinion.
I think Pancho Gonzalez would be very intimidating to many players today not just because of his demeanor but because of the many attacking weapons in his game like his practically peerless serve, his great mobility, his superb forehand and his strong volley.
Incidentally it always amuses me when I see players that have been around for two seconds and are called the GOAT. I think to myself there are guys like Gonzalez who were fantastic for twenty years and yet some think a new player can surpass them in just a few years. I say to myself, "What are these people thinking?"
I love the play of Novak Djokovic and I think he does have a chance to be among the all time greatest but he's not even close to players like Gonzalez in accomplishments and I'm not just writing about majors.
I think 20 years for Gonzales is pushing it - more like 10 years.
Sure he has great accomplishments but they were in a split field in smaller draws than today's majors, and even there, he never won a clay major.
He seems to me to be a Sampras equivalent but from a weaker era.
I rank him at #7 all-time, and yes, behind Federer and Nadal. (though obviously not behind Djokovic)
I know you will say I underrate him but I hope you will not find this too offensive, unlike the Tennis Channel list which had him way outside the top ten and behind Emerson...
Pancho Gonzales was around for a lot longer than Pete Sampras. Even into the early 1970s, he could be a formidable opponent. In February 1970, Gonzales beat Rod Laver at Laver's peak in 5 sets, in a $10,000 winner takes all match at Madison Square Garden. Gonzales was 41 at this time.
The man played (with a couple of years retirement) from the late 1940's to early 1970's. In the early 1970's he was to beat guys like Laver, Stan Smith, John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg. Yeah, twenty years is about right. He's a taller, perhaps better Sampras with more stamina and maybe even better strokes overall.
Phoenix1983, I know you're an intelligent and reasonable person so don't make the mistake of using the Tennis Channel list.
Ha! Are you trying to buy me with flattery?
I never said I did use the Tennis Channel list, that was my point, that it ranked him too low. :-?
Nevertheless I can't rank him any higher than about #6 or #7. When I said 10 years I was talking about his time dominating the game - he may have played until the early 70s but was basically a non-factor from the early 60s on, in terms of things that could add to his 'GOAT status'. All top players hung around to their late 30s/early 40s then, so that achievement doesn't impress me as much as you might think it should...
Mustard, Yes, and Pancho also beat Laver in May, 1970, at Las Vegas in four sets, after a SF win in three against Roche. Gonzalez was 42 then.
Phoenix, Here I must contradict. Gonzalez was, like Rosewall, an exception from the usual great players. Only he and Rosewall were in the top three for 16 years. He was yet a factor in the 1960s, being No.3 in 1964 and 1965 and still No.6 in 1969. Pancho won tournaments in 1972 at 44 thus outdoing even Rosewall.
Actually no. I wouldn't write that about some others who aren't willing to be reasonable. I may disagree with you but at least I know you at least consider what I am writing. Some just post with an agenda and when you give an excellent argument (not just me but others) refuting their points totally they simply don't acknowledge it and continue with their agenda. I wouldn't write that about these people.
What actually annoys me is not necessarily someone who disagrees with me but one who refuses be at least acknowledge the arguments that I hope are reasonable. At least you're open to other people's opinions.
Remember that Gonzalez dominated much of the 1950's and crushed many all time greats in tours. Remember that it won 14 or more major, depending on how you rate the Tournament of Champions. Remember Gonzalez won over 130 tournaments. He was still extremely strong in 1964 and a bit later but especially 1964.
Please take into account the head to heads were bigger than majors and Gonzalez won all of them except for his first against Kramer. That is unbelievable.
I have a problem with the head-to-heads. As I've posted before, if the current tour had been run on head-to-heads, Nadal would be considered the greatest player of the last 10 years, but we all know that Federer is greater against the whole field.
That's why I don't put as much importance on them as some do.
Again if Nadal won head to heads perhaps that proves his overall dominance against all. If a player is truly the GOAT, the different variety of surfaces would let the player display his true strength. Federer fans have always argued that the Nadal head to head is deceiving because so many have been played on clay. So if Federer is truly the GOAT he would have beaten Nadal if they played a variety of surfaces.
Another thing in Federer's favor against Nadal is the style of play. Federer's style tends to take less out of him so if it was a match every day or every other day Federer may very well wear down Nadal. Gonzalez was one of those players with a very smooth style.
The other argument is this, if a player cannot adapt to the surfaces he plays on and the opponent, then that player cannot be as good as they say and perhaps isn't worthy of GOAT discussion. I'm talking about any potential great.
In chess, tournament results are important but many if not most believe the true strength of a player is in the match (head to head) results when the players play over a series of games, twenty-four, ten, twenty etc.
Head to head tours and I'm not talking about tournament head to heads are extremely important and shows tennis strength. No player in history did it better than Pancho Gonzalez. He was able to beat all players with different styles on different surfaces from Trabert, Hoad, Segura, Rosewall, Sedgman, Cooper, Anderson, Olmedo etc. He beat players in the 1940's to the 1970's. I cannot see how Gonzalez can be ranked as low as 7th.
Phoenix, Gonzalez from a weaker era than Sampras? I mean to dream. Or do YOU dream with your claim that the older decades had weaker competition, as most younger fans do?
I agree with Dan that the late 1950s had the strongest ever competition (six all-time greats playing each other in the pro events).
pc1, It's fine that you give Phoenix credit for his reasonable way to discuss. But I must say that our younger friend sometimes is not so reasonable. He does not accept that there is no blame in the fact that Rosewall did not win at Wimbledon...
Of course I disagree with him there but at least I believe he's flexible in his opinions. Like I wrote some are here to state an agenda. There is no discussion in these cases.
pc1, I agree here.
Well, you and the other older posters are being equally biased by always claiming that the era of the 1950s/1960s was the strongest ever and that the top 3-4 players of all-time were all playing during that period. I consider my GOAT list rather balanced as the top 10 are mainly from different eras (other than Federer/Nadal, Laver/Rosewall). However many of the older posters' lists have Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, Hoad, Kramer etc. all in the top 10 and usually filling most of the top 5!
That for me is biased...You personally I think have Rosewall, Laver and Gonzales as 3 of your top 4 for instance. Very unlikely that 3 of the top 4 players ever all peaked at around the same time...
And yes I think the pro tour was weaker than today, I have stated why before but it boils down to:
1). The pro majors were the same as playing the QF/SF/F of the Open Era slams, without having to face the 'lesser' players in the earlier rounds who could still, on their day, win. Thus players had to face fewer obstacles i.e. guys like Rosol beating Nadal at W last year.
2). My objections about using H2H as a measuring stick for greatness, as I pointed out to pc1.
Perceptions about strength of field is always debatable. Frankly outside of the big four I really am not impressed by the so called depth of the field today. What is very clear to me and again this is very subjective but there is evidence I believe in my opinion is that Gonzalez and Rosewall were at worst around the same level. Who was better depends on the person's opinion. You can easily argue that Gonzalez was superior to Rosewall even as late as the early 1960's when he beat Rosewall easily on a multi player tour individually by 15 to 4. Overall on that tour Gonzalez beat Olmedo, Segura and Rosewall by an incredible score of 49 to 8. Just a year later he defeated Gimeno, Hoad, MacKay, Olmedo and Buchholz by 33 to 14. The top two played off and Gonzalez defeated second place finisher Gimeno by 21 to 7.
Rosewall in 1960 was at or at least around his peak yet Gonzalez defeated him. We know old Rosewall was one of the top players of the early Open Era even with a decline in playing level from the early to later 1960's. So where does that put the Great Gonzalez who beat everyone he was supposed to beat and won a huge amount of tournaments to boot.
Is the era than really weaker than today? Could be but tennis has many variables as opposed to other sports. The racquets allow players, even players like me to easily hit heavy backhand topspin. I can hit sharp angles now I wouldn't have dreamed of years ago and I make fewer errors off the ground because the racquet surface is larger plus the racquet is lighter by far. Wood racquets, imo may allow a player to learn different skills not used today by players growing up on today's racquets. It never fails to annoy me when some player like a Roddick or Nadal won't volley a soft floater and chooses to let it bounce deep on the baseline and hit a heavy topspin drive. Is tennis now a ground of attrition? Does it have to be?
Maybe it's better today. I love watching Djokovic, Nadal and Murray play especially Murray and Djokovic's backhands. But I see no players with the shotmaking ability of Nastase who combined touch, angle, volleys and speed brilliantly. Perhaps I should rephrase, no one today who uses their shotmaking ability. Perhaps the closest to me is Murray but he doesn't utilized those gifts as much as I would like. Nastase was unique of course but there were a number of players that had a lot of versatility a number of years ago.
Anyone bottom line is that if you argue Gonzalez is at least on the level of Rosewall, how can anyone think he wouldn't have been dominant in the early Open Era which had many many strong players. Players like Newcombe, Roche, Okker, Laver, Rosewall, Connors, Vilas, Borg, Nastase, Smith, Ashe, Gimeno, Santana etc. Laver was dominant early and many believe Gonzalez was superior to Laver.
This is all very interesting (I mean that sincerely), but I still can't use H2H's as the main indicator of greatness.
I rate Rosewall > Gonzales as he won on all surfaces. Gonzales won nothing on clay.
This is all true but this is more to do with styles of play etc. rather than strength of competition.
Gonzales is on the same level as Rosewall - I rank them as #7 and #6 all time respectively.
Anyone who argues Gonzales > Laver is being a bit silly though. Laver dominated all surfaces at his peak, something Gonzales could never do.
The more I read about Gonzales, the more I think he may have been the greatest player ever, but I think Rosewall's career just has the edge, with him being able to win big into the Open era and still reaching Grand Slam finals in his 40th year. They both had great longevity.
Actually Rosewall and Hoad rank Gonzalez ahead of Laver. As does Jack Kramer and Ellsworth Vines. Now it may not be true and I think Laver is ahead of Gonzalez (close however) but it's not silly. Gonzalez accomplished so much that his record may exceed anyone's.
Now there is a difference. Do you rank Gonzalez as the greatest player but also do you think Rosewall accomplished more? Not sure exactly what you mean. Can you clarify your statement?
My personal opinion is that Gonzalez today would perhaps even have a better more consistent serve than John Isner today. That alone would make him very tough to beat for anyone. But Gonzalez would have so much more in that he had great mobility, a great volley and overhead, smoothness in all his shots. A great forehand plus a good backhand. Yes I could easily see Gonzalez as the top player in tennis today.
No way, not when Federer and Laver won on the biggest stages on all surfaces.
Phoenix, Head-to-heads may not be THE main indicator of greatness but are surely A main indicator.
Xavier G, I agree totally.
You do realize that Gonzalez won many clay court tournaments in his career and has beaten Rosewall and Laver in many clay tournaments. He won the big clay tournament the National Clay Courts in the late 1940's. Gonzalez was a superb clay court player. Greatness is when you know the player was great on all surfaces and Gonzalez was. Let's say Martina Navratilova by a series of bad events never won the US Open. Does that make her any less great on hard court? Evert won more US Opens than Navratilova. Does it make her a better hard court player than Navratilova? I don't think so. And if Navratilova was not allowed to enter the US Open during her best years she may have never won it. Gonzalez could not entered the French during his best years.
I guess Tilden MAY have to rank ahead of all since he won the World Hardcourt, the world championship of clay and was more dominant than anyone.
Read up on Pancho Gonzalez and what he accomplished. Read up on what was the prerequisites to be World Champion. It's an interesting read. He's a fascinating individual to say the least. I understand that they are again looking into the possibility of making a movie about Gonzalez's life. They were thinking of it years ago with Benjamin Bratt playing Gonzalez but it didn't work out.
Separate names with a comma.