H2H against top players more important than weeks at #1?

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Sure, but this is not just another H2H. This is a H2H vs. an opponent who is fast closing the slam count. IOW, this H2H directly influences slam count of both guys.

Look at this way: shouldn't the better guy win a higher percentage of the matches overall ? That's how it usually is.



Sure, it doesn't, but it does make you think.



FWIW, I don't think he's weak. I never said that either. IMO, he's a little more fragile compared to those guys.
Good points. Well considering he is mentally more fragile and still has the records, this surely means his skills are far greater compared to Nadal and Sampras, to be able to compensate for his frailty that much.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
This is mostly just opinions. You can't even measure mental tougness. It's all relative anyway.

If Sampras had this, had that. If Fed had Agassi, Fed would also be sitting on 2 CYGS and 24 majors right now.

I mean you are just stating mostly opinions. You can't prove Sampras had tougher competition. You can't prove winning was harder in his time. How can you measure this? Or mental toughness?

Results are the sum of all things. Mental toughness, talent, skills... And they say Fed is the best. Mental toughness is already incorporated. Results are what matters.

We can't look beneath the numbers. Because any look beneath the numbers is subjective. Nobody has proven that it is tougher to dominate era with more dimensions. More dimensions mean, they are more shallow. One dimension means that this dimension will be deeper.

And conditions are the same for everyone. If it's easier for Fed to be consistent, so is for his competition and it evens out. Basketball is only one court. So, I guess dominating in basketball is easy. Jordan doesn't deserve any credit.

Results are what they are. You can't just use subjective opinions saying Fed's 17 aren't 17.

Your arguments can't be proven. Mental tougness can't be measured. Tougher/weaker eras can't be measured.

I mean I can say Roddick wins 20 majors in the 90s, he is mentally tougher than Pete.

You have no scientific basis to back up your claims as to why 14 is greater than 17.
Touchy. Except you didn't address some of the valid points I made - diversity in surfaces, diversity in playing styles. How come ?

There were more S/V'ers during Sampras era ? Yes or No ?
The grass at Wim was different during Sampras' era ? Yes or No ?
Carpet was more prevalent during Sampras' era ? Yes or No ?

If the answers to all these was "Yes", how can you so coolly disregard them from the equation ?

Here we're comparing different ERAS, so you have to look beneath the numbers. If we are comparing Fed to Roddick, sure we can just look at the numbers.

And, FWIW, if Fed had Agassi, I don't think he would be sitting on 24 slams. The 2004 and 2005 USO matches between them should itself show you that.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Yes, excellent post.
A few comments to the bolded parts - it's an interesting theory (one being good at all, but not an all time great in any), that I've never heard uttered before, but a) does it hold water over a significant sample size? and b) isn't Fed's forehand an all time great shot?? (But I suppose in this theory, Nadal both have one of the best forehands and the best ever defense).

As to Sampras and the backhand bullying - I don't think Nadal's CC forehand with the most topspin and bounce in the history of the game is comparable to Agassi's two-handed backhand. Novak has a great backhand, certainly as great as Agassi's I would say. And he tries to bully Fed with it. Yet, I wouldn't say, Fed had a match-up problem vs. Nole.
Also, Agassi has said that with Sampras (and his era of players), there was always a place to go. With Federer, there was nowhere (until Nadal that is). So Agassi couldn't bully Fed the same way Nadal could. I'm pretty sure, Pete would have big difficulty handling Rafa's forehand as well. Even at the net. (two of the best ohb's on tour is a combined 0-25 against Nadal, Gasquet and Wawrinka with the latter being 0-26 in sets. Gasquet has at least won 3 sets or so).

As to: "It's curious how Nadal didn't "allow" for the reverse - Fed's FH CC to Nadal's BH"
I think Fed is partly to blame for this. And Nadal's speed around the court. Nadal is so fast, that unless the ball is hit hard, he can run around any backhand and turn it into a forehand. And with his forehand, he can go inside-in or inside-out depending where the best option is. Moreover, Fed has, at least in this era, a world class slice that he uses to great effect against Nole, Delpo etc. Against Nadal, it's useless, because of Nadal's topspin.

But yes, if Fed could convince himself that he needed to shed some of his variety and play consistently to Nadal's backhand, I think he would have had a better chance of winning a bit more. I think he's been too stubborn in that regard and too much of a 'I play the way I want and that's good enough against everyone, if I execute well'-kind of player. Nadal recognized that his chance was to break the backhand down and sticks to that tactic - even when Fed's backhand is on like in the Indian Wells match last year.
But yes, I agree with you that Fed is in doubt about the tactics. Partly because he doesn't 'like' sticking to 'play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand', but also because what would be an option - coming to the net - is simply harder now than it was in the 90's, because of the strings. A guy like Rafter has said so much at least. And Nadal's shots - with the amount of power and spin that the strings and his shots allow for - is very difficult to handle at the net.

As for the S&V, yes, probably Fed is not completely natural at it. Could he have been? Maybe. I don't think it's a disqualifier that he doesn't have the S&V's mentality after not having played S&V for almost his entire career. He's better suited to it than most contemporary players, but whether he would have had a more of a Sampras style in the 90's is hard to say definitively.
As for the field, it's certainly possible that he would not have been able to have his streaks with faster conditions. But he would likewise have been more able to hit through Rafa and Novak 2.0.

Overall, I still feel that Nadal presented a more formidable challenge than Agassi did. And that Fed is therefore at least partly excused for failing. But only partly. He could and should still have done more, tried going 100 % for the Nadal backhand, been mentally tougher etc. etc. etc.
Great stuff. I will only ad a few sentences. I agree that Fed is not jack of all traded and master of none. Fed has goat footwork, forehand and slice.
His serve is close to the top too. I mean Roddick was having god-mode serving day at W 09 and Fed served more aces. Fed's serve is a bit slower but has so much variety and the placement is crazy. Even his 2nd serve is great.

I guess Fed doesn't stick to tactics. I don't know why. He is an artist, maybe he gets bored with hitting to backhand 20 times. Or is overconfident believing his best can beat Rafa's best. That his talent is enough or something.

The thing is some matches he sticks to the plan and really owns Rafa. Madrid 09, WTF, Indian wells. Then he thinks he has him solved and the next match they play he reverts back to his old self. Or sometimes the same strategy doesn't work one match because of other factors and he abandons it. Or he wins a set vs Rafa then changes his tactics. He does this vs others a lot too. Maybe he wants to look good first before winning.

Even Rafa said Fed is not so good in tactics. Maybe Rafa is lucky he has Toni who taught him those tactics. Toni is very smart.
 

msc886

Professional
Time spent as no.1 is based from H2H vs the entire field (including top players). Its obvious that time spent at no.1 is more important.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Touchy. Except you didn't address some of the valid points I made - diversity in surfaces, diversity in playing styles. How come ?

There were more S/V'ers during Sampras era ? Yes or No ?
The grass at Wim was different during Sampras' era ? Yes or No ?
Carpet was more prevalent during Sampras' era ? Yes or No ?

If the answers to all these was "Yes", how can you so coolly disregard them from the equation ?

Here we're comparing different ERAS, so you have to look beneath the numbers. If we are comparing Fed to Roddick, sure we can just look at the numbers.

And, FWIW, if Fed had Agassi, I don't think he would be sitting on 24 slams. The 2004 and 2005 USO matches between them should itself show you that.
Specialists are easier to defeat.

It's like this. If you speak 3 languages you will be better than the guy who speaks only one language at his language. Because those additional languages raise your IQ and you can use additional neural pathways formed in your brain from 2 languages.

A guy who plays only tennis his entire life vs a guy who plays 80% tennis and in addition some other sports. Second guy will come on top, as long as the ratio is not too huge and sports are similar.

Think about it. Why aren't specialists dominating their surfaces if they are specialists? Because of reasons above. More dimensions own one dimension.
Because even if that dimension is bigger, you can expand it when you arrive in it.

Too bad most of tennis players don't know this. They think being a specialist is better and they don't develop more dimensions.

That's why champions are rare. They have higher spiritual awareness and know those things.
 
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shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Yes, excellent post.
A few comments to the bolded parts - it's an interesting theory (one being good at all, but not an all time great in any), that I've never heard uttered before, but a) does it hold water over a significant sample size? and b) isn't Fed's forehand an all time great shot?? (But I suppose in this theory, Nadal both have one of the best forehands and the best ever defense).
Yes, it does, provided the opponent is comparable in talent and can force this to come into play.

As to Sampras and the backhand bullying - I don't think Nadal's CC forehand with the most topspin and bounce in the history of the game is comparable to Agassi's two-handed backhand. Novak has a great backhand, certainly as great as Agassi's I would say. And he tries to bully Fed with it. Yet, I wouldn't say, Fed had a match-up problem vs. Nole.
Also, Agassi has said that with Sampras (and his era of players), there was always a place to go. With Federer, there was nowhere (until Nadal that is). So Agassi couldn't bully Fed the same way Nadal could. I'm pretty sure, Pete would have big difficulty handling Rafa's forehand as well. Even at the net. (two of the best ohb's on tour is a combined 0-25 against Nadal, Gasquet and Wawrinka with the latter being 0-26 in sets. Gasquet has at least won 3 sets or so).
True, but that's not the only reason why Nadal is able to pin Fed onto his BH. Sampras prevented that in two ways: 1. by taking more risks with his BH. He rarely kept rallying with the BH. He went DTL and came to the net or did chip-charge etc. Fed eschewed such risks, partly because coming to the net at every opportunity (or half-opportunity) was not in his comfort zone. And that allowed Nadal to keep going to that wing. 2. Sampras had a better running FH. So, during his peak, this allowed him to camp on the BH side and hit inside-out FH's instead of having to hit a lot of BHs, and it allowed him to expose the FH side because the opponent has to hit a really good/hard DTL shot to Sampras' FH to get it past his (Sampras') running FH.

So, sure, technically/theoretically, Sampras would have the same problem vs. Nadal, but I'm confident he wouldn't allow Nadal to abuse that strategy to the same extent.

As to: "It's curious how Nadal didn't "allow" for the reverse - Fed's FH CC to Nadal's BH"
I think Fed is partly to blame for this. And Nadal's speed around the court. Nadal is so fast, that unless the ball is hit hard, he can run around any backhand and turn it into a forehand. And with his forehand, he can go inside-in or inside-out depending where the best option is. Moreover, Fed has, at least in this era, a world class slice that he uses to great effect against Nole, Delpo etc. Against Nadal, it's useless, because of Nadal's topspin.
I think Nadal also gets around this by hitting his own BH DTL as well. Further, Fed should approach the net every time he stretches Nadal on the BH side. He doesn't do it at all, or does it very rarely. Sure, Nadal is going to pass him a few times, but that shouldn't deter him.

But yes, I agree with you that Fed is in doubt about the tactics - and that he lacks a go-to pattern against Nadal, whereas Nadal has a template that works unless Fed is really on or the surface is fast or indoor. Partly because he doesn't 'like' sticking to 'play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand, play to the backhand', but also because what would be an option - coming to the net - is simply harder now than it was in the 90's, because of the strings. A guy like Rafter has said so much at least. And Nadal's shots - with the amount of power and spin that the strings and his shots allow for - is very difficult to handle at the net.
Hmm, while I agree that coming to the net is a little bit more trickier now than in the 90's, I think Fed's problems are compounded due to the flaws/limitations in his net game (see my earlier post about his FH volley). Apart from the technical aspects, there are other aspects of the net game - where to hit the volley, should you hit an angled volley or a punch/drive volley, how to anticipate/cover the pass after your 1st volley. All these become instinctive only after repeated usage in real match play. You cannot expect to be just good at them during practice, and then expect it to work well in real matches. It doesn't work that way. So I disagree that these guys (including Fed) are just as good as the great net players of yesteryear, but choose not to play it. When you focus on one aspect of the game, it's natural that you neglect other aspects.

As for the S&V, yes, probably Fed is not completely natural at it. Could he have been? Maybe. I don't think it's a disqualifier that he doesn't have the S&V's mentality after not having played S&V for almost his entire career. He's better suited to it than most contemporary players, but whether he would have had a more of a Sampras style in the 90's is hard to say definitively.
As for the field, it's certainly possible that he would not have been able to have his streaks with faster conditions. But he would likewise have been more able to hit through Rafa and Novak 2.0.
Agreed.

Overall, I still feel that Nadal presented a more formidable challenge than Agassi did. And that Fed is therefore at least partly excused for failing. But only partly. He could and should still have done more, tried going 100 % for the Nadal backhand, been mentally tougher etc. etc. etc.
Agreed, again.
 

Raz11

Semi-Pro
More weeks at number is more important. When Nadal had a better record against Federer during 05-07, no one considered Nadal the better player since Federer won 8 Slams compared to 3 as well as other titles and records.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Great stuff. I will only ad a few sentences. I agree that Fed is not jack of all traded and master of none. Fed has goat footwork, forehand and slice.
Nadal has as good, if not better, footwork, FH too.

His serve is close to the top too. I mean Roddick was having god-mode serving day at W 09 and Fed served more aces. Fed's serve is a bit slower but has so much variety and the placement is crazy. Even his 2nd serve is great.
Fed's serve, 1st and 2nd, is not good as Sampras'. Fed's 2nd serve is very good, reliable, but he doesn't use it the way Sampras did. Sampras used to go for 120 mph aces on his 2nd serves too.

I guess Fed doesn't stick to tactics. I don't know why. He is an artist, maybe he gets bored with hitting to backhand 20 times. Or is overconfident believing his best can beat Rafa's best. That his talent is enough or something.

The thing is some matches he sticks to the plan and really owns Rafa. Madrid 09, WTF, Indian wells. Then he thinks he has him solved and the next match they play he reverts back to his old self. Or sometimes the same strategy doesn't work one match because of other factors and he abandons it. Or he wins a set vs Rafa then changes his tactics. He does this vs others a lot too. Maybe he wants to look good first before winning.

Even Rafa said Fed is not so good in tactics. Maybe Rafa is lucky he has Toni who taught him those tactics. Toni is very smart.
I find this notion of mixing artistry with talent intriguing. Nadal is probably just as talented as Fed. It takes talent to impose your game on your rivals, which is what Nadal does. Fed is more artistic, I give you that.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Nadal has as good, if not better, footwork, FH too.



Fed's serve, 1st and 2nd, is not good as Sampras'. Fed's 2nd serve is very good, reliable, but he doesn't use it the way Sampras did. Sampras used to go for 120 mph aces on his 2nd serves too.



I find this notion of mixing artistry with talent intriguing. Nadal is probably just as talented as Fed. It takes talent to impose your game on your rivals, which is what Nadal does. Fed is more artistic, I give you that.
You are right. I think Nadal is better than Sampras. Which is crazy. Fed has a rival who is better than Sampras. Think about it.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Yes, it does, provided the opponent is comparable in talent and can force this to come into play.
Once again, it's nice to actually have a tennisrelated, respectful conversation on this forum!
What I meant by sample size was whether it applied to Borg-McEnroe, McEnroe Lendl, Lendl-Wilander, Becker-Edberg, Sampras-Agassi etc. etc. as well. That's not how you understood my question right?


True, but that's not the only reason why Nadal is able to pin Fed onto his BH. Sampras prevented that in two ways: 1. by taking more risks with his BH. He rarely kept rallying with the BH. He went DTL and came to the net or did chip-charge etc. Fed eschewed such risks, partly because coming to the net at every opportunity (or half-opportunity) was not in his comfort zone. And that allowed Nadal to keep going to that wing. 2. Sampras had a better running FH. So, during his peak, this allowed him to camp on the BH side and hit inside-out FH's instead of having to hit a lot of BHs, and it allowed him to expose the FH side because the opponent has to hit a really good/hard DTL shot to Sampras' FH to get it past his (Sampras') running FH.
So, sure, technically/theoretically, Sampras would have the same problem vs. Nadal, but I'm confident he wouldn't allow Nadal to abuse that strategy to the same extent.
Good points. I agree with the analysis. However, I'm not sure, he would be more successful despite trying to hit his way out of it. For example, when Fed has tried to chip and charge against Nadal, he's mostly been punished. And to what extent it's harder to volley against Nadal, I cannot say, but from what I've heard guys like Rafter say, the difference is substantial. And Rafa's passing shot is almost as strong on the backhand side as on the forehand. This decade, players like Nadal and Djokovic are making shots on the run with such power that they were nearly unthinkable 20 years back with the strings of yore.


I think Nadal also gets around this by hitting his own BH DTL as well. Further, Fed should approach the net every time he stretches Nadal on the BH side. He doesn't do it at all, or does it very rarely. Sure, Nadal is going to pass him a few times, but that shouldn't deter him.
Yes, but it's difficult. See above.



Hmm, while I agree that coming to the net is a little bit more trickier now than in the 90's, I think Fed's problems are compounded due to the flaws/limitations in his net game (see my earlier post about his FH volley). Apart from the technical aspects, there are other aspects of the net game - where to hit the volley, should you hit an angled volley or a punch/drive volley, how to anticipate/cover the pass after your 1st volley. All these become instinctive only after repeated usage in real match play. You cannot expect to be just good at them during practice, and then expect it to work well in real matches. It doesn't work that way. So I disagree that these guys (including Fed) are just as good as the great net players of yesteryear, but choose not to play it. When you focus on one aspect of the game, it's natural that you neglect other aspects.
It's a bit like the chicken and the egg. Would Fed's game had been more netbased had he played in the 90's? Most likely. Would he have been better at the net? Most likely. In this era, the netgame isn't as necessary and isn't as profitable. So Fed realised he could beat everyone from the back court with occasional trips to the net. So he doesn't develop it enough.
Then comes Nadal. Later Djokovic and Murray too. Now they can play at least as good as Fed from the baseline, certainly these days. But Fed's netgame is not good enough/trained enough to make the difference. Perhaps combined with volleying being harder.
So, yes, I also agree with this - or rather, it's not me, you are disagreeing with: So I disagree that these guys (including Fed) are just as good as the great net players of yesteryear, but choose not to play it
 
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jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Agassi and Sampras are totally different situation. Nadal is miles better than Agassi. Nadal is even better than Sampras. And Nadal is 5 years younger.
So Sampras was in his prime, so he was able to take advantage of Agassi more. And Agassi was not a lefty.

Federer had to deal with a guy who is better than Sampras, who is a lefty and was able to take advantage of Fed declining due to age.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Specialists are easier to defeat.
That's a very simplistic assessment without taking surfaces into consideration. How about defeating clay specialists on clay ? Is that easy ? Hint: look at Fed-Guga and Fed-Nadal for answers.

Now, if the surfaces were more disparate, like in the 90's, you had to beat clay specialists on clay, or grass specialists on grass. To do that, you had to be a specialist yourself.

A guy who plays only tennis his entire life vs a guy who plays 80% tennis and in addition some other sports. Second guy will come on top, as long as the ratio is not too huge and sports are similar.

Think about it. Why aren't specialists dominating their surfaces if they are specialists? Because of reasons above. More dimensions own one dimension.
Because even if that dimension is bigger, you can expand it when you arrive in it.
:D, this is too far fetched. I guess Fed should've reduced the time spent on tennis and taken up some other sport to have got the edge on Nadal ?

Too bad most of tennis players don't know this. They think being a specialist is better and they don't develop more dimensions.

That's why champions are rare. They have higher spiritual awareness and know those things.
You are incorrect. That's why the Nadal-Fed equation played out as it did.

On a neutral surface, the specialist can impose his style of play better than the guy who is not a specialist.

NO human can be equally good at every thing in his profession.

If you have 6 hrs of practice any given day, and you choose to divide it into 6 1-hr sessions for 6 strokes, and you have a guy who is close in talent to you and who practices 2 hrs each for 3 strokes, the other guy will be better than you in those 3 strokes, while you will be better than him in the other 3.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
That's a very simplistic assessment without taking surfaces into consideration. How about defeating clay specialists on clay ? Is that easy ? Hint: look at Fed-Guga and Fed-Nadal for answers.

Now, if the surfaces were more disparate, like in the 90's, you had to beat clay specialists on clay, or grass specialists on grass. To do that, you had to be a specialist yourself.



:D, this is too far fetched. I guess Fed should've reduced the time spent on tennis and taken up some other sport to have got the edge on Nadal ?



You are incorrect. That's why the Nadal-Fed equation played out as it did.

On a neutral surface, the specialist can impose his style of play better than the guy who is not a specialist.

NO human can be equally good at every thing in his profession.

If you have 6 hrs of practice any given day, and you choose to divide it into 6 1-hr sessions for 6 strokes, and you have a guy who is close in talent to you and who practices 2 hrs each for 3 strokes, the other guy will be better than you in those 3 strokes, while you will be better than him in the other 3.
Rafa is not a clay specialist. And Guga is only one match. I mean you were saying sample size is too small with Fed vs Sampras on clay. Yes, Fed is more dimensional, so he should be Nadal on clay. But Nadal on clay is better than Fed on other surfaces. If Fed dominated HC/grass as much as Nadal dominates clay, Fed would also beat Rafa on clay. All things being equal, talent, both in their primes, both righties. Actually my theory is if Rafa wouldn't be left handed and both play at their best, Fed would win even on clay.

Don't mock me. I think you don't understand me. I said as long the ratio is not too large. Of course if player A trains 10% tennis and trains table tennis 90%, he won't beat top guys in tennis. But if he maybe trains 95% tennis and 5% table tennis, he will beat the guy who trains 100% tennis, if they are the same talent.

Because doing one thing too much can be counter-productive.

No, the guy with 6 strokes will be the better player in the end. Because when you practice backhand you practice forehand at the same time. Because neural pathways from doing different things stimulate your brain and raise your iq. So, you learn faster and practice more intelligently and also use that intelligence in the game.

I don't know the exact rations, depends. But if one guy practices forehand for 57 minutes and backhand for 3 minutes and another guy practices only forehand for 60 minutes, the first guys will have the same or even better forehand than the other guy in addition to his backhand. But the ratio has to be correct and activities have to be similar enough to stimulate similar neural pathways.

This is like training biceps for 10 hours but the other guy trains his entire body for 10 hours. The guy with full body workout will have even stronger biceps or at least the same.

Of course there are limits and you have to maximize your ratio. I mean of course if a guy only does 1 hour of full body, he probably won't have bigger biceps.

I don't know why, but this is how our brain works. The more you know, easier you remember because you have more associations. It's like a hard drive which is expanding when you put more data on it.

There is a reason why all-courters dominate in all eras in tennis and table tennis. They seem to practice each element less, but they can do every element as good as other guys.
 
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shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Once again, it's nice to actually have a tennisrelated, respectful conversation on this forum!
What I meant by sample size was whether it applied to Borg-McEnroe, McEnroe Lendl, Lendl-Wilander, Becker-Edberg, Sampras-Agassi etc. etc. as well. That's not how you understood my question right?
Oh, okay. :) No, I thought you were talking about number of matches. In the context of your question, yes, technically it applies there too. Note that some of the examples you chose were between two opposite specialists and so that's a different scenario (Borg-Mac, Sampras-Agassi, Mac-Lendl etc.). Further, for reasons I've already explained, the 80's and 90's had more specialists of both varieties.

Becker-Edberg is a pretty good example. Edberg was the specialist here while Becker was the more "jack-of-all-trades". In the big matches that they played, Edberg prevailed more often (3/4 slam matches on grass, clay).

Agassi-Becker, Agassi-Stich are other examples.

Good points. I agree with the analysis. However, I'm not sure, he would be more successful despite trying to hit his way out of it.
My take is he (Sampras) would be making more errors than Fed, but he would also hit more winners. Which is better ? Your opponent keeps going to your 1HBH and you do very well most of the times - hit 7,8, ... 10 shots successfully off that wing but you hit an UE on the 11th shot (or hit a weak reply so your opponent can pounce on it) ? At the end of a set, you have only 5 UE but also only 3 winners off that wing. The rest of the time, your opponent won the point because after the umpteenth shot, you always ended up giving a weak reply. OTOH, you try to hit out every 3rd or 4th shot (or you try to chip-charge at every half-opportunity) and you end up hitting 15 UEs, getting passed 6 times, but you also have 6 winners off the BH, and you forced 3 errors off your opponent because of the chip-charge?

For example, when Fed has tried to chip and charge against Nadal, he's mostly been punished. And to what extent it's harder to volley against Nadal, I cannot say, but from what I've heard guys like Rafter say, the difference is substantial. And Rafa's passing shot is almost as strong on the backhand side as on the forehand. This decade, players like Nadal and Djokovic are making shots on the run with such power that they were nearly unthinkable 20 years back with the strings of yore.
Fed has tried to chip-charge against Nadal very few times. And almost always, once Nadal passes him a couple of times, he eschews that tactic.

Partly, Fed's approaches are to blame.

Most players these days hit with more topspin than the players of yore. This makes it easier for the passer to get under the ball for the pass. Also, the approach shot should typically be a DTL flat shot or a BH chop CC. The goal is to keep the ball low and make the passer hit up to pass you. Players today make the big mistake of typically hitting an inside-out FH as an approach shot. This is disastrous in most cases except in cases where the shot is really close to both the lines and is a near winner. When you hit an inside-out FH as the approach, you advertise your intentions because you have to run around your BH, you also end up having to cover more ground to get close to the net, and lastly, you end up leaving a passing lane wide enough for a truck on your FH side. I see that Fed makes similar errors during his approach shots (as Roddick used to do against Fed) against Nadal.

Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1yfWb0-jqQ&t=5m22s

Fed approaches off a topspin BH that lands near the service line and when Nadal is clearly in position. Fed often makes ill-judged approaches.

This is not to say that Nadal does not hit great passes often. But then if you watch the highlights of just Agassi passing Sampras, you would think, "No way in hell that Sampras would've won". :D

In this era, the netgame isn't as necessary and isn't as profitable. So Fed realised he could beat everyone from the back court with occasional trips to the net. So he doesn't develop it enough.
Then comes Nadal. Later Djokovic and Murray too. Now they can play at least as good as Fed from the baseline, certainly these days. But Fed's netgame is not good enough/trained enough to make the difference. Perhaps combined with volleying being harder.
So, yes, I also agree with this - or rather, it's not me, you are disagreeing with: So I disagree that these guys (including Fed) are just as good as the great net players of yesteryear, but choose not to play it
Correct, pretty much.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Agassi and Sampras are totally different situation. Nadal is miles better than Agassi.
Think about this:

Between 2003-2005 at the AO+USO, the W/L for some of the top guys was:

Fed: 32-3
Agassi: 31-5
Roddick: 25-5
Hewitt: 27-6
Nalbandian: 22-6
Safin: 13-2 (not counting AO in 2003, USO in 2005)

Agassi outperformed all of Fed's peers on HC during that three yr period. He pushed Fed to 5 sets at the 2004 USO, and almost did the same the next yr as well.

And this was an Agassi who was 5 steps slower than he was in 1994-1995, and 2-3 steps slower than he was in 1999-2001.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Touche ! Fed is guilty of making his rival as good as him. :)
You are right. Maybe Fed should have lost 1st round at every RG. That would make Fed's h2h with Rafa 2-2 in major finals. Why didn't Fed do that. That would solidify his goat status.

But Fed the lesser player that he is had to reach all those RG finals to destroy his legacy :).

I guess Pete is the goat not having a bad record vs his rival.
 
You are right. Maybe Fed should have lost 1st round at every RG. That would make Fed's h2h with Rafa 2-2 in major finals. Why didn't Fed do that. That would solidify his goat status.

But Fed the lesser player that he is had to reach all those RG finals to destroy his legacy :).
Are you aware that what you are proposing is a false dichotomy? How about Fed showing up for the final and also winning for a change?

But in the end it doesn't matter, as I believe the H2H "problem" will be moot once Nadal beats the slam record.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
You are right. Maybe Fed should have lost 1st round at every RG. That would make Fed's h2h with Rafa 2-2 in major finals. Why didn't Fed do that. That would solidify his goat status.
Not necessary. All he had to do was win the 2008 Wim F and 2009 AO F. That would've sealed the debate.

I guess Pete is the goat not having a bad record vs his rival.
At least, Sampras was the unanimous best player of his era. The same cannot be said of Fed.
 
At least, Sampras was the unanimous best player of his era. The same cannot be said of Fed.
Yes. The thing is Fed is not ahead of Nadal even in hardcourt, which supposedly is one of his strong surfaces and one of Nadal's weak surfaces. And Nadal was winning against him from day 1 on hardcourt.

So how about cutting the "clay just skews the H2H" argument and accept that vs the logical outcome that would have taken place had Nadal reached more hardcourt finals against Fed, which would be having them probably tied in the slam count already? Because anybody who thinks Nadal wouldn't have been able to win against Federer in more hardcourt finals is clearly being delusional.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Think about this:

Between 2003-2005 at the AO+USO, the W/L for some of the top guys was:

Fed: 32-3
Agassi: 31-5
Roddick: 25-5
Hewitt: 27-6
Nalbandian: 22-6
Safin: 13-2 (not counting AO in 2003, USO in 2005)

Agassi outperformed all of Fed's peers on HC during that three yr period. He pushed Fed to 5 sets at the 2004 USO, and almost did the same the next yr as well.

And this was an Agassi who was 5 steps slower than he was in 1994-1995, and 2-3 steps slower than he was in 1999-2001.
You are convincing me that Agassi actually underachieved. I mean he wasn't dedicated during Pete's prime. And Agassi won career golden slam. In era you say when W and FO was impossible to win. And he was unlucky he ran into peak Fed.

Also h2h between Sampras and Agassi is skewed because Pete avoided him on clay. And Pete retired avoiding him when Agassi was doing great vs Fed's generation. So, h2h should be in favor of Agassi actually.

You are making a great argument that Agassi is better than Sampras.

Toni Nadal said that Agassi/Sampras/Nadal are 2nd tier and Laver and Fed are 1st tier.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Yes. The thing is Fed is not ahead of Nadal even in hardcourt, which supposedly is one of his strong surfaces and one of Nadal's weak surfaces. And Nadal was winning against him from day 1 on hardcourt.

So how about cutting the "clay just skews the H2H" argument and accept that vs the logical outcome that would have taken place had Nadal reached more hardcourt finals against Fed, which would be having them probably tied in the slam count already? Because anybody who thinks Nadal wouldn't have been able to win against Federer in more hardcourt finals is clearly being delusional.
Rafa is a lefty in the land of righties. IN the land of the blind a guy with one eye is the king.

I guess it's not Rafa's fault. But comparing h2h between a lefty and a righty is just absurd. It isn't even playing field. The system is broken.

If they were the same age and Rafa wasn't a lefty, this would be even playing field. And Fed would destroy Rafa. And most experts know this, that's why they say Fed is better than Rafa.

And the title of your thread. Being nr.1 is h2h vs top rivals. That is what this actually is. You can't win 17 majors and 302 weeks without dominating your rivals. It's mathematically impossible.
 
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jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Not necessary. All he had to do was win the 2008 Wim F and 2009 AO F. That would've sealed the debate.



At least, Sampras was the unanimous best player of his era. The same cannot be said of Fed.
I have one question. You seem to be an expert. You do know that the system is broken and lefties have an advantage because there is less of them. It isn't an even playing field. So comparing a h2h between a lefty and a righty is not logical.

Also they are not the same age.

Age and lefty. It's not an even playing field, so comparing h2h between Fed and Rafa is absurd.

You do know also it is mathematically impossible to have 302 weeks at nr.1 and 17 majors without dominating your rivals? So Fed did dominate his rivals the most anyway.
 
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BrooklynNY

Hall of Fame
Also h2h between Sampras and Agassi is skewed because Pete avoided him on clay. And Pete retired avoiding him when Agassi was doing great vs Fed's generation. So, h2h should be in favor of Agassi actually.

You are making a great argument that Agassi is better than Sampras.
All Matches: Sampras 20–14
Hard courts: Sampras, 11–9
Grass courts: Sampras, 2–0
Clay courts: Agassi, 3–2
Carpet courts: Sampras, 5–2

They've played on clay 5 times, that's not avoiding. Nor is that overwhelmingly convincing for Agassi - considering how 'terrible' Sampras is on clay according to most here.

Neither of them are clay courters, if anything you can say they are hard court specialists, because of the ratio of titles. They just both were not as consistent on the surface as they were on HCs and there were many clay specialists doing well during this era, but they both won clay titles.
 
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eldanger25

Hall of Fame
Weeks at #1 is absolutely more important (though H2H is meaningful on its own), and should be considered Fed's strongest argument for having a greater career than Nadal even if he falls behind on slam count. Only Connors - 244 out of 245 weeks at #1 between 1974 and 1979 - and Lendl - 237 out of 257 weeks b/w 1985 and 1990 - can really compare in terms of defending the top of the mountain from all comers for that long of a stretch.

It's a pretty substantial psychological investment to maintain #1 - there are a myriad of distractions, and for every opponent entranced by the aura, there's another trying to make a name for himself at the #1's expense.

Long story short, it's good to be the king, but it's also quite difficult, and neither Nadal nor Djokovic have ever exactly mastered it. I mean, Nadal wins his 4th slam in 5 tries in June 2011, and is #2 a month later; Djokovic wins his 4th slam in 5 tries in Jan 2012, and hands the #1 ranking over to an aging Fed less than half a year later. Both guys had their reasons, ranging from battle weariness to blue clay to the accident of being born within a year of one another. Nevertheless, it's human nature to relax just slightly in the aftermath of reaching the top, and it's to Federer's eternal credit that he didn't, and beat back all comers for so long throughout the mid-aughts.

Let's see what Nadal does in 2014 - if he can string together a long stretch at the top across two calendar seasons (and with a whopping 10 points to defend in Melbourne, Miami, and SW19, he has a chance to do so), and even get himself within shouting distance of Johnny Mac in terms of total weeks at #1, that to me really closes a key gap in his resume relative to Fed.
 
Rafa is a lefty in the land of righties. IN the land of the blind a guy with one eye is the king.

I guess it's not Rafa's fault. But comparing h2h between a lefty and a righty is just absurd. It isn't even playing field. The system is broken.

If they were the same age and Rafa wasn't a lefty, this would be even playing field. And Fed would destroy Rafa. And most experts know this, that's why they say Fed is better than Rafa.

And the title of your thread. Being nr.1 is h2h vs top rivals. That is what this actually is. You can't win 17 majors and 302 weeks without dominating your rivals. It's mathematically impossible.
This is getting ridiculous. Now Rafa is a lefty.

First of, Nadal is naturally right handed, and plays with his left hand because it was a conscious decision from Toni from the very beginning to train him to do that. Nothing would have prevented Federer from doing the very same thing.

Besides this, there has been many illustrious lefties (Laver, Connors, John MacEnroe), and I don't remember anybody complaining about them.

Hey, the next thing you could do is complain that somebody is a little too tall, too agile, or maybe his visual acuity is too good. Perhaps we should force Fed to play with an eye patch since his eye/hand coordination is so good. Does that sound OK now?

As I said, this is just getting too ridiculous now. :)
 
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jg153040

G.O.A.T.
All Matches: Sampras 20–14
Hard courts: Sampras, 11–9
Grass courts: Sampras, 2–0
Clay courts: Agassi, 3–2
Carpet courts: Sampras, 5–2

They've played on clay 5 times, that's not avoiding. Nor is that overwhelmingly convincing for Agassi - considering how 'terrible' Sampras is on clay according to most here.

Neither of them are clay courters, if anything you can say they are hard court specialists, because of the ratio of titles. They just both were not as consistent on the surface as they were on HCs and there were many clay specialists doing well during this era, but they both won clay titles.
But Fed is a clay courter. That's why he is better than them.

I could argue that Borg is better than Sampras/Agassi too. I mean at his peak he retired and he never played AO. On HC he didn't win because he had really tough opponents in finals. But Pete didn't win the FO because he was weak there. And Borg was also amazing indoor.

Sampras/Nadal/Agassi all have some surface they just look helpless and average there. Sampras/Agassi clay, Nadal indoor.

That's why I rate Borg/Fed above those guys. They are comfortable anywhere. Had Borg not retired at his peak and was playing AO, he would be having 15-17 majors right now. That is the only reason I give the slight edge to Fed over Borg.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
This is getting ridiculous. Now Rafa is a lefty.

First of, Nadal is naturally right handed, and plays with his left hand because it was a conscious decision from Toni from the very beginning to train him to do that. Nothing would have prevented Federer from doing the very same thing.

Besides this, there has been many illustrious lefties (Laver, Connors, John MacEnroe), and I don't remember anybody complaining about them.

Hey, the next thing you could do is complain that somebody is a little too tall, too agile, or maybe his visual acuity is too good. Perhaps we should force Fed to play with an eye patch since his eye/hand coordination is so good. Does that sound OK now?

As I said, this is just getting too ridiculous now. :)
This is genetical in your brain. It's luck. Most righties can't just start playing with the left hand. Otherwise they would. But in this case righties would have an edge if there would be more of them. Fed said this and all experts know this. That is why some people use Laver best left handed player in history. And experts do take this into an account in the h2h between left handed and right-handed players.

Right handed guys can't get match practice against the elite-lefties because there are no elite lefties, since there is so few of them.

I guess if Fed was able to play only elite lefties 6 matches before every GS final, things would be very different. It's just awkward and you aren't in your comfort zone.

It's tough to play Verdasco too, but he is not elite to take advantage of it.

Have you tried playing any racket sport against lefties?

If there would be more lefties, righties would have the edge.

So, we should have separate categories for lefty goat.
 

jg153040

G.O.A.T.
Nadal playing lefty is an advantage. A big one, at that. That's the reason Uncle Toni taught him to do that in the first place.
I agree partly. Rafa has the edge. But this is not the reason Toni taught him.
They said it both times.

This was an accident a freak of nature. Firstly your brain has to be different in the first place to make this possible.

Rafa was using double handed forehand at first. And somehow Toni saw that subconsciously he wants to use his left hand more.

I have a friend who is strange this way too. He uses mouse and a rifle with his left hand. But plays table tennis and other stuff with his right.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Oh, okay. :) No, I thought you were talking about number of matches. In the context of your question, yes, technically it applies there too. Note that some of the examples you chose were between two opposite specialists and so that's a different scenario (Borg-Mac, Sampras-Agassi, Mac-Lendl etc.). Further, for reasons I've already explained, the 80's and 90's had more specialists of both varieties.

Becker-Edberg is a pretty good example. Edberg was the specialist here while Becker was the more "jack-of-all-trades". In the big matches that they played, Edberg prevailed more often (3/4 slam matches on grass, clay).

Agassi-Becker, Agassi-Stich are other examples.
Becker-Edberg is quite a funny example as Becker actually led 25-10 overall - winning 15 out of the last 18. I was a kid though, so don't remember anything more than actually watching them (their Wimbledon-finals are my first tennis memories - obviously I've seen a quite a bit of them since, and meet Becker!). But Edberg, as you say, won the most important matches. In the Masters Final in 1989, he actually lost the RR to Becker only to beat him in the final!
Nevertheless, on Fed/Nadal. I'm not sure how much I buy that Fed is not all time great at any single thing. He's consistently been as good at holding serve as Sampras was though his serve is obviously not as big. He's forehand is, along with Nadal's, the best the game has ever seen. He's got one of the best slices of this era. And, despite his problems, a very good netgame for this era as well. And, in his prime, some of the best footwork.
Nadal has the forehand, the mad defense (including the footwork and the speed) and the mentality. So I guess he might have more of the all time great stuff, especially considering that his forehand cancels Federer's slice and his passes are good enough to nullify Fed's netgame (along with Fed's approaches, more on that below).

My take is he (Sampras) would be making more errors than Fed, but he would also hit more winners. Which is better ? Your opponent keeps going to your 1HBH and you do very well most of the times - hit 7,8, ... 10 shots successfully off that wing but you hit an UE on the 11th shot (or hit a weak reply so your opponent can pounce on it) ? At the end of a set, you have only 5 UE but also only 3 winners off that wing. The rest of the time, your opponent won the point because after the umpteenth shot, you always ended up giving a weak reply. OTOH, you try to hit out every 3rd or 4th shot (or you try to chip-charge at every half-opportunity) and you end up hitting 15 UEs, getting passed 6 times, but you also have 6 winners off the BH, and you forced 3 errors off your opponent because of the chip-charge?
It sounds likely. Hard to judge which strategy would win more points. That's at the most educated guesses. Nevertheless, most would agree that Fed has a better backhand than Sampras had. But that Pete, with his running forehand, would be better able to protect that side and camp out on the backhand side.


Fed has tried to chip-charge against Nadal very few times. And almost always, once Nadal passes him a couple of times, he eschews that tactic.

Partly, Fed's approaches are to blame.

Most players these days hit with more topspin than the players of yore. This makes it easier for the passer to get under the ball for the pass. Also, the approach shot should typically be a DTL flat shot or a BH chop CC. The goal is to keep the ball low and make the passer hit up to pass you. Players today make the big mistake of typically hitting an inside-out FH as an approach shot. This is disastrous in most cases except in cases where the shot is really close to both the lines and is a near winner. When you hit an inside-out FH as the approach, you advertise your intentions because you have to run around your BH, you also end up having to cover more ground to get close to the net, and lastly, you end up leaving a passing lane wide enough for a truck on your FH side. I see that Fed makes similar errors during his approach shots (as Roddick used to do against Fed) against Nadal.

Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1yfWb0-jqQ&t=5m22s

Fed approaches off a topspin BH that lands near the service line and when Nadal is clearly in position. Fed often makes ill-judged approaches.

This is not to say that Nadal does not hit great passes often. But then if you watch the highlights of just Agassi passing Sampras, you would think, "No way in hell that Sampras would've won". :D
Mostly agree - it's part of Fed's 'dear in the headlights'-approach vs. Nadal - when things are not working out well, he doesn't have a go-to pattern and sometimes runs randomly to the net on bad/short approaches in order to avoid the baseline rallies. Again though, a slice approach against Nadal is not very effective as he eats the slice for breakfast. It may still be better than a topspin forehand on the service line though...
(btw, your video is 'not available in my country').
 
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shakes1975

Semi-Pro
Becker-Edberg is quite a funny example as Becker actually led 25-10 overall - winning 15 out of the last 18. I was a kid though, so don't remember anything more than actually watching them (their Wimbledon-finals are my first tennis memories - obviously I've seen a quite a bit of them since, and meet Becker!). But Edberg, as you say, won the most important matches. In the Masters Final in 1989, he actually lost the RR to Becker only to beat him in the final!
You met Becker ? Lucky you !! He was my fav. growing up until he declined (and I then moved on to Sampras).


Nevertheless, on Fed/Nadal. I'm not sure how much I buy that Fed is not all time great at any single thing. He's consistently been as good at holding serve as Sampras was though his serve is obviously not as big. He's forehand is, along with Nadal's, the best the game has ever seen. He's got one of the best slices of this era. And, despite his problems, a very good netgame for this era as well. And, in his prime, some of the best footwork.
Nadal has the forehand, the mad defense (including the footwork and the speed) and the mentality. So I guess he might have more of the all time great stuff, especially considering that his forehand cancels Federer's slice and his passes are good enough to nullify Fed's netgame (along with Fed's approaches, more on that below).
Keep in mind that we are talking relative here, and not in an absolute sense.

Definitely, Fed's hold game is as good as Sampras' was (better hold % overall due to him being a better clay court player than Sampras was), but the serve, by itself, wasn't as big as Sampras' was. He cannot, at any given time, rely on hitting aces/service winners as much Sampras did (esp. on the 2nd serve where Sampras was willing to take crazy risks).

His FH is one of the best the game has ever seen in terms of variety, combination of flatness + spin (though I think Sampras was better than him in two aspects of the FH - running FH and the short FH approach shot from mid-court), BUT here too it wasn't as flat (and therefore, as big) as Sampras' was, NOR did it have the combination of power + margin for error that Nadal did. IOW, Sampras was more likely to hit a out-cold winner off the FH side while Fed usually maneuvered the opponent a bit before knocking off the winner. As expected, Sampras also made more errors than Fed but his overall gameplan allowed him that luxury. Likewise, Nadal could be relied on to make fewer errors off the FH side than Fed.

His lateral movement and defense is one of the best the game has seen, but Nadal can claim to be as good, and maybe better in defense. Sampras had better forward movement than either Fed or Nadal, though.

He can hit on the rise, but not as consistently and hard as Agassi did.

He can volley well, but not as good as Sampras.

So, all in all, he is close to the best in these categories, but not the best in all of them.

It sounds likely. Hard to judge which strategy would win more points. That's at the most educated guesses. Nevertheless, most would agree that Fed has a better backhand than Sampras had. But that Pete, with his running forehand, would be better able to protect that side and camp out on the backhand side.
I agree, but keep in mind that while Sampras' BH was not as good as Fed's in terms of variety and consistency, BUT, again, because of his mindset, he could hit more winners (with more errors also) because he hit out more often. In the context of his gameplan, it's a very good BH that Sampras had during his prime, esp. in terms of breaking open a point with a single big shot.

Mostly agree - it's part of Fed's 'dear in the headlights'-approach vs. Nadal - when things are not working out well, he doesn't have a go-to pattern and sometimes runs randomly to the net on bad/short approaches in order to avoid the baseline rallies. Again though, a slice approach against Nadal is not very effective as he eats the slice for breakfast. It may still be better than a topspin forehand on the service line though...
(btw, your video is 'not available in my country').
A slice is not the exact word for the BH chip approach. A slice is usually hit while the player is "stationary" and actually has more backspin and so tends to sit up a little. It's more of a chop (like in table tennis) or a combination of slice + drive, usually hit while leaning forward and moving in, so it's flatter with slightly more pace (due to the body weight behind it) and therefore tends to keep lower and is harder to reply against.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
You met Becker ? Lucky you !! He was my fav. growing up until he declined (and I then moved on to Sampras).




Keep in mind that we are talking relative here, and not in an absolute sense.

Definitely, Fed's hold game is as good as Sampras' was (better hold % overall due to him being a better clay court player than Sampras was), but the serve, by itself, wasn't as big as Sampras' was. He cannot, at any given time, rely on hitting aces/service winners as much Sampras did (esp. on the 2nd serve where Sampras was willing to take crazy risks).

His FH is one of the best the game has ever seen in terms of variety, combination of flatness + spin (though I think Sampras was better than him in two aspects of the FH - running FH and the short FH approach shot from mid-court), BUT here too it wasn't as flat (and therefore, as big) as Sampras' was, NOR did it have the combination of power + margin for error that Nadal did. IOW, Sampras was more likely to hit a out-cold winner off the FH side while Fed usually maneuvered the opponent a bit before knocking off the winner. As expected, Sampras also made more errors than Fed but his overall gameplan allowed him that luxury. Likewise, Nadal could be relied on to make fewer errors off the FH side than Fed.

His lateral movement and defense is one of the best the game has seen, but Nadal can claim to be as good, and maybe better in defense. Sampras had better forward movement than either Fed or Nadal, though.

He can hit on the rise, but not as consistently and hard as Agassi did.

He can volley well, but not as good as Sampras.

So, all in all, he is close to the best in these categories, but not the best in all of them.



I agree, but keep in mind that while Sampras' BH was not as good as Fed's in terms of variety and consistency, BUT, again, because of his mindset, he could hit more winners (with more errors also) because he hit out more often. In the context of his gameplan, it's a very good BH that Sampras had during his prime, esp. in terms of breaking open a point with a single big shot.



A slice is not the exact word for the BH chip approach. A slice is usually hit while the player is "stationary" and actually has more backspin and so tends to sit up a little. It's more of a chop (like in table tennis) or a combination of slice + drive, usually hit while leaning forward and moving in, so it's flatter with slightly more pace (due to the body weight behind it) and therefore tends to keep lower and is harder to reply against.
Great reply, I generally agree. Still, I would have liked to see how Sampras handled Nadal's spin on the BH. As for the chip vs. slice - of course! English is not my first language, so from time to time, I don't use the right word for some of the shots. And an effective hit chop/chip could work against Nadal, if there's enough depth on it.
As for Becker, I was more keen on Edberg. But def. like Becker too - he's pretty cool!
 
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Start da Game

Hall of Fame
Weeks at #1 shows consistency and domination of the tour in general. H2H against top players shows consistency and domination against the best players and main rivals. I think there is a case to be made for either one, but the H2H against top players is underrated in comparison.
weeks at #1 is an overrated stat......it is actually a flawed stat......all the weeks at no.1 are not those weeks which the no.1 player plays in.....for example nadal in these months of november and december keeps adding to the weeks at #1 while fishing in mallorca......whereas he cannot add to head to head against federer or djokovic without playing and scoring the wins actually......
 
weeks at #1 is an overrated stat......it is actually a flawed stat......all the weeks at no.1 are not those weeks which the no.1 player plays in.....for example nadal in these months of november and december keeps adding to the weeks at #1 while fishing in mallorca......whereas he cannot add to head to head against federer or djokovic without playing and scoring the wins actually......
That's a very good point. You add number of weeks as #1 without even playing, whereas the H2H reflects just matches.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
You are convincing me that Agassi actually underachieved. I mean he wasn't dedicated during Pete's prime. And Agassi won career golden slam. In era you say when W and FO was impossible to win. And he was unlucky he ran into peak Fed.

Also h2h between Sampras and Agassi is skewed because Pete avoided him on clay. And Pete retired avoiding him when Agassi was doing great vs Fed's generation. So, h2h should be in favor of Agassi actually.

You are making a great argument that Agassi is better than Sampras.

Toni Nadal said that Agassi/Sampras/Nadal are 2nd tier and Laver and Fed are 1st tier.
More importantly, have I convinced you (using the AO+USO W/L in my earlier post) that 33-35 yr old Agassi was a better HC player (vs. the same field) than any of Fed's peers ?

Or are the W/L numbers comparision over a period of 3 yrs and 6 HC slams not enough for you ?

Now imagine if the same Agassi had been 24-25 instead of 34-35 yrs old. What would Fed's struggle be like, looking at how he had quite a tough time in their 2004 and 2005 USO matches with the 34-35 yr old Agassi ?

That was the Agassi that Sampras faced (and beat) in the 1995 USO F.

Your entire premise of Agassi being "undedicated" was centered around that loss to Sampras. If Agassi had won that match, I guarantee you that his career path would've been different. IOW, Sampras was responsible for Agassi's mid-career "walkabout".
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Becker-Edberg is quite a funny example as Becker actually led 25-10 overall - winning 15 out of the last 18. I was a kid though, so don't remember anything more than actually watching them (their Wimbledon-finals are my first tennis memories - obviously I've seen a quite a bit of them since, and meet Becker!). But Edberg, as you say, won the most important matches. In the Masters Final in 1989, he actually lost the RR to Becker only to beat him in the final!.
Becker won all 3 of their matches in Davis Cup finals, 2 of them very one-sided (one of which was in 1989, right after the Masters Final that Edberg won). Becker also won both of their WCT Dallas matches.
 

Crisstti

Legend
Rafa is a lefty in the land of righties. IN the land of the blind a guy with one eye is the king.

I guess it's not Rafa's fault. But comparing h2h between a lefty and a righty is just absurd. It isn't even playing field. The system is broken.

If they were the same age and Rafa wasn't a lefty, this would be even playing field. And Fed would destroy Rafa. And most experts know this, that's why they say Fed is better than Rafa.

And the title of your thread. Being nr.1 is h2h vs top rivals. That is what this actually is. You can't win 17 majors and 302 weeks without dominating your rivals. It's mathematically impossible.
Lol, sure, not a level playing field. There should be a righties ATP and a lefties ATP. And they also should be divided by height, etc.
 

Crisstti

Legend
This is genetical in your brain. It's luck. Most righties can't just start playing with the left hand. Otherwise they would. But in this case righties would have an edge if there would be more of them. Fed said this and all experts know this. That is why some people use Laver best left handed player in history. And experts do take this into an account in the h2h between left handed and right-handed players.

Right handed guys can't get match practice against the elite-lefties because there are no elite lefties, since there is so few of them.

I guess if Fed was able to play only elite lefties 6 matches before every GS final, things would be very different. It's just awkward and you aren't in your comfort zone.

It's tough to play Verdasco too, but he is not elite to take advantage of it.

Have you tried playing any racket sport against lefties?

If there would be more lefties, righties would have the edge.

So, we should have separate categories for lefty goat.
This is just absurd :)

Sure, it's all due to Rafa playing left handed.

As if there would any player would be getting practice to play an elite player throughout a tournament. If Verdasco doesn't count for practice against alite lefties, who counts as practice against elite righties?.

Btw, there are no "experts" who agree with you on this.
 

helloworld

Hall of Fame
weeks at #1 is an overrated stat......it is actually a flawed stat......all the weeks at no.1 are not those weeks which the no.1 player plays in.....for example nadal in these months of november and december keeps adding to the weeks at #1 while fishing in mallorca......whereas he cannot add to head to head against federer or djokovic without playing and scoring the wins actually......
This post makes no sense. Nadal deserves to be year-end number 1 BECAUSE he accumulates the highest amount of points on the ATP tour in the season. He fully deserves to rest for couple months and enjoy his #1 ranking as long as his ranking points remain the highest. Davydenko has a positive H2H against Nadal. Does that make him greater than Nadal who is the current number 1?
 
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Raz11

Semi-Pro
A Lefty may have an advantage because of the scarcity of Lefties but the main reason is that Lefties generally win more points in the Ad court than the Deuce and visa versa for righties. Since BPs are generally played on the Ad court, lefties have a slight advantage because of the structure of tennis rather than the lack of lefties on tour.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Becker won all 3 of their matches in Davis Cup finals, 2 of them very one-sided (one of which was in 1989, right after the Masters Final that Edberg won). Becker also won both of their WCT Dallas matches.
Ah, thanks. So would you rate Becker higher in their h2h as he had a very substantial lead, won some important ones, but lost 3 out of 4 slam matches?
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
This is just absurd :)

Sure, it's all due to Rafa playing left handed.

As if there would any player would be getting practice to play an elite player throughout a tournament. If Verdasco doesn't count for practice against alite lefties, who counts as practice against elite righties?.

Btw, there are no "experts" who agree with you on this.
He does take the reasoning to an extreme, but there are two advantages for all lefties:
a) most ad points are played on their strongest serve (out wide from the ad court or receiving in the ad court - if they are pulled off court, they have a forehand rather than a backhand) and
b) Even though you can get quality training with lefthanded players, that does not come close to competing against righthanded players day in and day out. Righthanders have to adjust their game, when they meet a lefthander, lefthanders don't when they meet a righthander.

Now, I expect you to jump all over this quote given the two players it involves, but if you try and look at it neutrally, you'll see that it's not only an excuse (although there's possibly a bit of that too), but also a pretty good analysis.

"Well, he's a lefty, number one. That makes everything different. If you compare to yesterday's match and today's match, it's like I have to play two different ways. So for me it's much more of a change. It's not an excuse. But I definitely have to play totally different.
He can play pretty much the same like he plays against Berdych and Stan, so forth. It's definitely more up to me to getting used to the lefty spin quicker. Coming over the return very often instead of chipping it, which I've been doing it all week.
There's always going to be a bit of an up and down from that standpoint. But I thought it was okay at times, you know. But just my court positioning, getting used to knowing exactly the dimension, how things are going to work out is sometimes a bit tricky. That's why I either chose the wrong side or I can't get the read I usually get like you get with del Potro, Gasquet or Djokovic for that matter.
That's why it really changes everything around. He does a good job picking up the slice. He does a good job staying on the baseline when he needs to. He can also play from the back. He has multiple options. That's what makes him so difficult to play against."
http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=94475

Federer, after his loss to Nadal at the WTF.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
A Lefty may have an advantage because of the scarcity of Lefties but the main reason is that Lefties generally win more points in the Ad court than the Deuce and visa versa for righties. Since BPs are generally played on the Ad court, lefties have a slight advantage because of the structure of tennis rather than the lack of lefties on tour.
I would say it is both, see just above.
 

shakes1975

Semi-Pro
"Well, he's a lefty, number one. That makes everything different. If you compare to yesterday's match and today's match, it's like I have to play two different ways. So for me it's much more of a change. It's not an excuse. But I definitely have to play totally different.
He can play pretty much the same like he plays against Berdych and Stan, so forth. It's definitely more up to me to getting used to the lefty spin quicker. Coming over the return very often instead of chipping it, which I've been doing it all week.
There's always going to be a bit of an up and down from that standpoint. But I thought it was okay at times, you know. But just my court positioning, getting used to knowing exactly the dimension, how things are going to work out is sometimes a bit tricky. That's why I either chose the wrong side or I can't get the read I usually get like you get with del Potro, Gasquet or Djokovic for that matter.
That's why it really changes everything around. He does a good job picking up the slice. He does a good job staying on the baseline when he needs to. He can also play from the back. He has multiple options. That's what makes him so difficult to play against."
http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=94475

Federer, after his loss to Nadal at the WTF.
Replying only to the part that I wanted to highlight, but in a different way. This was exactly what I was telling "Jg153040" earlier in this thread, when talking about Sampras and his era.

Sure, Fed has a point about the challenges in playing Nadal after playing a string of RH'ers, but Sampras (and others during his era) had pretty much a *similar* challenge in terms of various playing styles. Playing a guy like Korda followed by a guy like Rafter/Henman/Ivanisevic followed by a guy like Agassi/Courier presented challenges that do not exist today. And the challenges were very similar - court positioning, getting used to knowing exactly the dimension of the court in play, getting a read on their shots etc.
 
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jg153040

G.O.A.T.
A Lefty may have an advantage because of the scarcity of Lefties but the main reason is that Lefties generally win more points in the Ad court than the Deuce and visa versa for righties. Since BPs are generally played on the Ad court, lefties have a slight advantage because of the structure of tennis rather than the lack of lefties on tour.
Yeah this too. It's both actually. Lack of lefties means lefty will always plays vs a righty and in a GS final for example, righty will come in playing vs righties all the time and suddenly he has a lefty in a gs final.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Replying only to the part that I wanted to highlight, but in a different way. This was exactly what I was telling "Jg153040" earlier in this thread, when talking about Sampras and his era.

Sure, Fed has a point about the challenges in playing Nadal after playing a string of RH'ers, but Sampras (and others during his era) had pretty much a *similar* challenge in terms of various playing styles. Playing a guy like Korda followed by a guy like Rafter/Henman/Ivanisevic followed by a guy like Agassi/Courier presented challenges that do not exist today. And the challenges were very similar - court positioning, getting used to knowing exactly the dimension of the court in play, getting a read on their shots etc.
Yeah, I agree. I mean, we've never seen guys be as consistently great on all surfaces as especially Fed and Novak, but certainly also Rafa when he doesn't take a break.
Coincidence? Not quite.

Surfaces and strings - and perhaps better fitness too - have diminished the style's being played. Sampras maintain he could do well playing S&V. Given how good he was, I don't doubt peak Sampras could win a few against today's style. But unless he adapted as well, even he couldn't win most of the time, they way he played - or perhaps the surprise element of suddenly seeing a S&V'er would work in his favor.
 
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