History Obsession..

The-Champ

Legend
Question to tennis historians:


Were legends such as Borg, Johnny Mac, Laver, Rosewall etc obsessed of their place in history as Federer and Sampras are? If not, could they have won more slams if they were as 'record-hungry' as the two biggest titans of the last two decades?

Would Borg retire prematurely if history was on the line? Would former greats still skip Australian Open?

Discuss!!
 
In the Borg/Connors/McEnroe era, the AO was not routinely played at all by the top players. Borg played it in '74 once when he was 18 (lost 3R on grass). Connors won it in '74, but lost in the final in '75. McEnroe never played it until 1983, when he lost in a SF on grass to Wilander there. He only played it once in his prime before making one more return to the AO late in his career, when he got defaulted in 1990:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-52G_eaAni4

Lendl won 8 majors (FO, USO and 2 AO). During the late 1980's the AO had gained some traction and he played it several times and took 2 titles there. In the late 1970's-early 1980's and even before, during the earlier Rosewall/Laver years, the AO was not considered a "Major major" by the players, though the Australian Tennis Federation "campaigned" for such standing. Even Australians didn't play it many years during the 1970's. Laver only played a few slams in the early 1970's and then there were no more slams played for him (complicated "Tour" commitments/contracts may have been a cause).

So, you can remove that as a "viable" Slam to be garnered by Borg and McEnroe. With Connors, he won it with a thin draw in '74 beating Phil Dent in the F and then lost a close final to Newcombe in '75. Yet, he never played it again after that during so many "prime" years.

Rod Laver was considered the "greatest" ever until Borg started racking up Slams. Then, it was Borg or Laver? Who is the greatest between those two? Yet, Tilden, Budge, and Gonzalez were also discussed some, but not so much as Laver/Borg.

So, Laver was the measuring stick and he had two GRAND SLAMS in 1962 and 1969. He won all 4 majors twice, with '69 being the most impressive since '62 was the Pre-Open era. Yet, remember he finished with 11 slams, while Roy Emerson had 12 GS titles (again pre-Open era, when you had "amateurs" and "Pros"). Emerson was winning Slams against other amateurs and not the best players in the world.

Many players and experts, including Arthur Ashe, considered Borg the greatest ever by the time he won Wimbledon #5 in a row. He took GS title 11 at the 1981 FO and never played another major after the '81 US Open (he was 25 then).

So, there was talk of chasing two things: GS titles at the FO, W, and AO (he won 11 of those GS, and reached 4 USO finals). Had he won a USO along with W and the FO, he would have surely gone for "Laver's GS". Yet, he didn't. So, none of the top players played it.

Then Sampras came along. He had NO chance at the FO, so NO GS possible. He started racking up Wimbledons and US Opens and now AO titles too (2). So, lots of majors but no calendar "Grand Slam" was possible. Yet, he could pass Emerson and he did when he won his 13th Slam at Wimbledon, which was talked about a lot. THAT was when the shift occurred as far as "counting GS" totals to try and compare players ACROSS eras. He then went on to win his 14th at the US Open.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCL0KHenHXk

So, once Federer came along, the "measure" had become getting to 14 slams and passing that total. No one would say Emerson is better than Laver and Borg because he has 12. Yet, there is a new paradigm now, with TOTAL GS titles being a big, overall measure of who is the "greatest". So, yes, the "goalposts" have moved around a bit. Yet, a couple of things have been consistent, big goals for all time greats such as Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer. Namely (1) trying to win the calendar Grand Slam (Laver in '69) or (2) racking up FO, Wimbledon, and US Open titles. That's basically how things played out for all these Greats over these different eras in terms of the last 50 years or so from 1960-2010. First Laver, then Borg, then Sampras, and now Federer. Each have been considered the "greatest" during their respective eras.
 
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Raphael

Semi-Pro
In the Borg/Connors/McEnroe era, the AO was not routinely played at all by the top players. Borg played it in '74 once when he was 18 (lost 3R on grass). Connors won it in '74, but lost in the final in '75. McEnroe never played it until 1983, when he lost in a SF on grass to Wilander there. He only played it once in his prime before making one more return to the AO late in his career, when he got defaulted in 1990:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-52G_eaAni4

Lendl won 8 majors (FO, USO and 2 AO). During the late 1980's the AO had gained some traction and he played it several times and took 2 titles there. In the late 1970's-early 1980's and even before, during the earlier Rosewall/Laver years, the AO was not considered a "major" by the players, though the Australian Tennis Federation "campaigned" for such standing. Even Australians didn't play it many years during the 1970's. Laver only played a few slams in the early 1970's and then there were no more slams played for him (complicated "Tour" commitments/contracts may have been a cause).

So, you can remove that as a "viable" Slam to be garnered by Borg and McEnroe. With Connors, he won it with a thin draw in '74 beating Phil Dent in the F and then lost a close final to Newcombe in '75. Yet, he never played it again after that during so many "prime" years.

Rod Laver was considered the "greatest" ever until Borg started racking up Slams. Then, it was Borg or Laver? Who is the greatest, with only perhaps Tilden, Budge, or Gonzalez also discussed some, but not much. So, Laver was the measuring stick and he had two GRAND SLAMS in 1962 and 1969. He won all 4 majors twice, with '69 being the most impressive since '62 was the Pre-Open era). Yet, remember he finished with 11 slams, while Roy Emerson had 12 GS titles (again pre-Open era, when you had "amateurs" and "Pros". Emerson was winning Slams against other amateurs and not the best players in the world). Many players and experts, including Arthur Ashe considered Borg the greatest ever by the time he won Wimbledon #5 in a row. He took GS title 11 at the 1981 FO and never played another major after the '81 US Open (he was 25 then).

So, there was talk of chasing two things: GS titles at the FO, W, and AO (he won 11 of those GS, and reached 4 USO finals). Had he won a USO along with W and the FO, he would have surely gone for "Laver's GS". Yet, he didn't. So, none of the top players played it.

Then Sampras came along. He had NO chance at the FO, so NO GS possible. He started racking up Wimbledons and US Opens and now AO titles too (2). So, lots of majors but no calendar "Grand Slam" was possible. Yet, he could pass Emerson and he did when he won his 13th Slam at Wimbledon, which was talked about a lot. THAT was when the shift occurred as far as "counting GS" totals to try and compare players ACROSS eras. He then went on to win his 14th at the US Open.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCL0KHenHXk

So, once Federer came along, the "measure" had become getting to 14 slams and passing that total. No one would say Emerson is better than Laver and Borg because he has 12. Yet, there is a new paradigm now, with TOTAL GS titles being a big, overall measure of who is the "greatest". So, yes, the "goalposts" have moved around a bit. Yet, a couple of things have been consistent, big goals for all time greats such as Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer. Namely (1) trying to win the calendar Grand Slam (Laver in '69) or (2) racking up FO, Wimbledon, and US Open titles. That's basically how things played out for all these Greats over these different eras in terms of the last 50 years or so from 1960-2010. First Laver, then Borg, then Sampras, and now Federer. Each have been considered the "greatest" during their respective eras.
Great insightful post!
 

urban

Legend
Agree with the paradigm-change to major count, illustrated by Borg Numer One. Older guys like Budge, Kramer or Gonzalez had big egos, not built on majors, but on head to head competition in the pro ranks. They were cocky guys, who simply said, we were the best, we could beat anybody, who came later. And many believed them: Pancho was heralded as the best of the 50s, without winning one major in the 50s. Others saw 'Golden Boy' Lew Hoad as the epitome of tennis. He had the looks, the game, but never quite the perfect record.
But regarding their place in history, they all had one problem: that was Big Bill Tilden, whose mythical status as best of all time was cemented in the eyes of all older writers and observers, who were much more traditional in their thinking than the current generation of tennis writers, who often saw only the present crop of players. Tilden's reputation was built not on his game alone, but even more on charisma, his writings, his theatrical, Oscar Wilde like personality. Tilden had the aura, Laver had the record, the two GS. Its difficult to get those two things out of mind.
 
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hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Question to tennis historians:


Were legends such as Borg, Johnny Mac, Laver, Rosewall etc obsessed of their place in history as Federer and Sampras are?
The short answer is NO.
So, once Federer came along, the "measure" had become getting to 14 slams and passing that total. No one would say Emerson is better than Laver and Borg because he has 12. Yet, there is a new paradigm now, with TOTAL GS titles being a big, overall measure of who is the "greatest". So, yes, the "goalposts" have moved around a bit. Yet, a couple of things have been consistent, big goals for all time greats such as Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer. Namely (1) trying to win the calendar Grand Slam (Laver in '69) or (2) racking up FO, Wimbledon, and US Open titles. That's basically how things played out for all these Greats over these different eras in terms of the last 50 years or so from 1960-2010. First Laver, then Borg, then Sampras, and now Federer. Each have been considered the "greatest" during their respective eras.
All too true.

Federer is the greatest of all time . . . this week.
 
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Thanks Raphael, Urban, and Hoodjem for your posts above.

Krosero, on McEnroe, thanks for pointing out that he did play the AO a few more times after his play there in 1983. It looks like he played it 5 times total.

I was wrong above when I was recalling that it was just 1 more visit to the AO for McEnroe after 1983. So, here's McEnroe's AO results. Borg/Connors/McEnroe would have been interesting to see at the AO in the late 1970's-early 1980's, but that never happened for a myriad of reasons. Of course, McEnroe was not the same player he was by the time he made his late visits to the AO. His 1985 loss is the shocking one in my mind, but Zivojinovic was a big, strong, and excellent fast court player, who pushed Lendl to the brink at Wimbledon one year, before falling in 5 sets.

1983 AO SF- Wilander d. McEnroe 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 on grass.
1985 AO QF- S. Zivojinovic d. McEnroe 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-0
1989 AO QF- Lendl d. McEnroe Ivan Lendl (USA) 7-6, 6-2,7-6
1990 AQ QF-Pernfors d. McEnroe 1-6, 6-4, 5-7, 4-2 DEF

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z8IACYeL-c (McEnroe defaulted)

1992 AO QF - W. Ferreira d. McEnroe 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
There have been a number of article written on this basic problem, how the standard for looking at a great player's record varies from decade to decade?

A lot of the problems had to do in the beginning with simple transportation. Players like Bill Tilden in the 1920's wouldn't want to venture overseas to play great tournaments like Wimbledon, the Australian and the French because they would have to travel by boat and that would take forever. In traveling there they would get out of top tennis shape, have to adjust to the new time zone and environment and be very vulnerable to defeat. Ellsworth Vines blames his poor 1933 season on his journey to Australian that year. So players from the past couldn't or wouldn't play as many majors as a Sampras or Federer today. It's easy for players today to compete in every major because of the airplanes we have today. Tilden was capable of winning many more majors than his excellent total of ten if he was allowed to fly overseas.

Another major reason is the amateurs, who were the other ones who could play the majors would be banned from the majors if they turned pro. So how can you add to your majors total if you aren't allowed to play them. How many majors would Rosewall, Gonzalez or Laver have won if they were allowed to play in those days? It's not unreasonable for them to have totals in the twenties.

Clearly to me majors is just a part of the criteria to look at tennis history and examine a player's greatness. Like Borg Number One wrote earlier, if majors were the only criteria, why isn't Roy Emerson ranked with the greats? My personal opinion is that Andres Gimeno was a superior player over his career than Emerson. Unfortunately Gimeno played on the Old Pro Tour against Laver, Rosewall, Sedgman, Hoad and Gonzalez among others. Yet despite this he was perhaps the third or fourth best player in the world during a good portion of the 1960's. If he was allowed (assuming he maintained his level of play) to play the majors, I think there was an excellent chance Gimeno would have won more majors than Emerson.

Players like Sampras and Federer are undoubtably great players and they play in an era where majors are counted very heavily in the rankings. And obviously the rankings mean a lot to them in prestige and money. So they play virtually every major every year. Sampras won 14 majors, a superb number. However he won it in 52 attempts in the majors. Not quite as impressive when you see that. It's still great but is it as good as Budge's six majors in 11 attempts. Perhaps, considering Vines, Nusslein and Perry were pros and couldn't play but by percentage it isn't.

Is it as great as Borg's 11 in 27 attempts? By percentage Borg is far ahead.

We have to examine the circumstances of the time also. The Aussie wasn't that important in the 1970's to early 1980's. Borg, Connors and McEnroe rarely played the tournament. How many Australians would Borg have won if he played the tournament from 1974 to 1981, even assuming all the top players entered? It's not unreasonable to speculate that Borg would have won 3 to 5 Australian Opens, considering that Borg was the dominant grass player for most of that time. During those days the players were playing three majors a year and other tournaments like the Masters, the WCT may have been considered more important.

I do believe that given the circumstances of today, players of the past would have won far more majors. So when we seen the larger totals of majors today, yes it is impressive but it really isn't a quantum leap above the players of the past because they weren't allowed to play the majors and the circumstances were different.

I believe players like the Dohertys, Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver, Borg etc would have won far more majors if they were allowed too. Rosewall, including Pro Majors won 23 majors for example.
 

akv89

Hall of Fame
I've always been curious, what was the measuring stick back in the 60's and 70's. Clearly the number of majors was not as important. Based on what I've read on this board, the rankings weren't given that much importance either. So what was most valued from a historical context 40-50 years ago? Was it prize money, the number of titles, or winning the biggest titles (Wimbledon and USO)?
 
Generally speaking, even 40-50 years ago (during the 1960's for example), the top players focused on winning the biggest, or so called "Major" Titles, especially Wimbledon, the US Open, and The French Championships (Later called the French Open) was the goal for amateurs.

When the Tour became Professional, and everyone could play in the Majors, this remained the single biggest objective of the world's top tennis players. Yet, Laver's Grand Slam in 1969 created a new big goal to shoot for. Emerson's total of 12 majors was not used as THE yardstick, because folks knew that he did not win them against the best professional players of the time. Then, Laver's Grand Slam caught the attention of Tennis fans.

Prize money was key for the Pros in the days of Pros vs. Amateur (parallel groups of players, each in their own league so to speak pre-1968). Meanwhile, winning a large number of titles, and then comparing the total titles (majors and smaller tourneys) has been less of a measuring stick, in my opinion, versus wins at the major championships.

In the Open Era, getting the #1 ranking, or trying to achieve the Grand Slam, as Laver did in 1962, as an amateur and in 1969 as a pro, has been viewed as more important than simply winning the most number of titles. Connors is a prime example of that. In my opinion, total number of titles is very indicative of a player's longevity and staying power. Such consistency is remarkable in the ever changing game of Tennis.
 

urban

Legend
When you got onto the tour as an amateur in those days, the biggest goals were Davis Cup and Wimbledon, for the Americans the US Nationals, too. Since Budge, the GS shined as the ultimate overall achievement on the horizon, as described by Gordon Forbes. Those wins gave you the entry card for the pro circuit, controlled by Kramer. On the pro tour the biggest goal was to become pro World Champion. This title was traded like a World Boxing title, from one champ to another, from Tilden, Vines over Budge, Riggs, Kramer, Gonzalez, Rosewall to Laver. Since we have the book by McCauley, we have much more detailled information about the results of he pro tour. So to measure a player of those years, you had and have to measure their results and rankings in the separate enviroments of amateur and pro tennis.
 
If Lendl didn't...er...choke away all those Finals one would be hard pressed not to put him as the GOAT.
He would at the very least be mentioned more often.

The FATHER of the Modern Game.
 
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DMan

Professional
There have been a number of article written on this basic problem, how the standard for looking at a great player's record varies from decade to decade?

Clearly to me majors is just a part of the criteria to look at tennis history and examine a player's greatness. Like Borg Number One wrote earlier, if majors were the only criteria, why isn't Roy Emerson ranked with the greats? My personal opinion is that Andres Gimeno was a superior player over his career than Emerson. Unfortunately Gimeno played on the Old Pro Tour against Laver, Rosewall, Sedgman, Hoad and Gonzalez among others. Yet despite this he was perhaps the third or fourth best player in the world during a good portion of the 1960's. If he was allowed (assuming he maintained his level of play) to play the majors, I think there was an excellent chance Gimeno would have won more majors than Emerson.

Players like Sampras and Federer are undoubtably great players and they play in an era where majors are counted very heavily in the rankings. And obviously the rankings mean a lot to them in prestige and money. So they play virtually every major every year. Sampras won 14 majors, a superb number. However he won it in 52 attempts in the majors. Not quite as impressive when you see that. It's still great but is it as good as Budge's six majors in 11 attempts.
That's rotten apples vs sour oranges. Therefore an irrelevant argument!
Why did Don Budge only play in 11 majors in his career? Because the circumstances were completely different in the 1930s than they are today!!
Also, Budge did not have to contend with the best players in the years ahead of him, since it was the custom to turn pro, and thus be ineligible to compete in the 4 major championships during Budge's day.

Is it as great as Borg's 11 in 27 attempts? By percentage Borg is far ahead.
So why did Borg only play in 27 majors? I mean it is easy to claim a high percentage of winning majors when you skip the events where you would have lost anyway, and to retire because you got beat a few times.

How many Australians would Borg have won if he played the tournament from 1974 to 1981, even assuming all the top players entered? It's not unreasonable to speculate that Borg would have won 3 to 5 Australian Opens, considering that Borg was the dominant grass player for most of that time.
An absolutely preposterous comment! Borg was the "dominant grass player" for most of 1974-1981?!?!?!?! As his buddy Johnny Mac once said: You CANNOT be serious!!! First, Borg was NOT the dominant grass player from 1974-1981. He may have won Wimbledon but the Australian grass was completely different from Australia. And if Borg was so supremely confident in his ability to win on grass, why didn't he play Australia more often? He certainly had no trouble traveling to every corner of the globe to play in every possible exo and tournament that would pay him during those years. But not the Australian Open. Things that make you go, hmmm.....

Now Borg was considered the best clay court player from 1975-1977, and yet he NEVER won the US Open when it was held on clay during those years! So you can see how his being the so-called best player on grass argument doesn't hold up too well.


I believe players like the Dohertys, Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver, Borg etc would have won far more majors if they were allowed too. Rosewall, including Pro Majors won 23 majors for example.
See, no one was stopping Borg from playing majors. With the possible exception of 1977, when Borg, of his own free will, signed a million dollar deal to play exos with World Team Tennis, and costing him an opportunity to play int he French. (And I dare someone to say he would have been a lock to win it that year anyway, considering the way Vilas was playing.) Borg chose not to play many majors, plain and simple. Unlike Federer, who doesn't duck opportunities and the challenge of playing majors, and consistently reaching the final of nearly every single one!
 

doom

Banned
Borg no. 1, I recently read about the aus opens kooyong years, and apparently the borg who came in 74 was a bit different to the borg we all know. He smashed his racquet during his first round and after losing to dent in the third round announced, 'I might go to the beach now. Today was a bad day. I'm tired mentally and gave up trying in the third set .'

Apparently the tournament promoter was also promoter of the sydney event the previous week and insinuated that borg did not give 100 percent at either tournament, and described him as 'appathetic'.

Just thought you would enjoy that story as a borg fan.
 
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doom

Banned
Also in '75 borg made the trip to australia and played and won the south australia title, played the grand prix masters at kooyong, lost in an early round in sydney the week before the open but then went home for christmas instead of playing the aus open. Seems he, like many other players, treated the aus open like just another stop on the tour.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
That's rotten apples vs sour oranges. Therefore an irrelevant argument!
Why did Don Budge only play in 11 majors in his career? Because the circumstances were completely different in the 1930s than they are today!!
Also, Budge did not have to contend with the best players in the years ahead of him, since it was the custom to turn pro, and thus be ineligible to compete in the 4 major championships during Budge's day.
DMan, if you check my post I wrote that Budge didn't play the top players like Vines, Nusslein and Perry. You cut the quote off just before that. The general point of the paragraph was that the conditions in which they played top flight tennis change and I don't think you can deny that.

Here's the part you left out in bold. I was trying to be perfectly fair.
Players like Sampras and Federer are undoubtably great players and they play in an era where majors are counted very heavily in the rankings. And obviously the rankings mean a lot to them in prestige and money. So they play virtually every major every year. Sampras won 14 majors, a superb number. However he won it in 52 attempts in the majors. Not quite as impressive when you see that. It's still great but is it as good as Budge's six majors in 11 attempts. Perhaps, considering Vines, Nusslein and Perry were pros and couldn't play but by percentage it isn't.
I understand that Budge's numbers may not be that impressive since he only played the amateurs and that is why I pointed out the above about Vines, Perry and Nusslein. I'm not a Budge fan but used his numbers to point out the obvious, that the more majors you can play, the greater the chance of winning more of them. Especially if you are a top player like Sampras and some others.

So why did Borg only play in 27 majors? I mean it is easy to claim a high percentage of winning majors when you skip the events where you would have lost anyway, and to retire because you got beat a few times.
You're moving away from the point of the argument and it really has nothing to do with Borg. The Borg percentage number was an example. It was simply to show that if you play more majors, you have a better chance at winning more majors. I could have used another player as an example. Don't get so upset.
An absolutely preposterous comment! Borg was the "dominant grass player" for most of 1974-1981?!?!?!?! As his buddy Johnny Mac once said: You CANNOT be serious!!! First, Borg was NOT the dominant grass player from 1974-1981. He may have won Wimbledon but the Australian grass was completely different from Australia. And if Borg was so supremely confident in his ability to win on grass, why didn't he play Australia more often? He certainly had no trouble traveling to every corner of the globe to play in every possible exo and tournament that would pay him during those years. But not the Australian Open. Things that make you go, hmmm.....
DMan, you are totally digressing from the point and focusing on Borg.
That example was used to just point out that players like Connors, Borg and McEnroe could have gone down to Australian and perhaps win there and add to their majors total. I could have used Connors or someone else as an example. DMan, do you really think Borg wouldn't have won even one Australian Open if he played the Aussie during that eight year period? And a lot of players like Borg and Connors didn't play the Aussie because it wasn't that important at the time. Incidentally, if you don't think Borg was the dominant grass court player for most of the 1974 to 1981 period, I would be curious to find out who you think is?
Now Borg was considered the best clay court player from 1975-1977, and yet he NEVER won the US Open when it was held on clay during those years! So you can see how his being the so-called best player on grass argument doesn't hold up too well.
Again, you are digressing from the point but fine I will discuss it.
Three years is not much and the surface was Har-Tru, not red clay which would favor Borg more. I think Connors was superior to Borg on Har-Tru in 1975 and 1976 but not in 1977 when Borg was hurt. Another question for you, if the US Open stayed on Har-Tru from 1978 to 1981, do you think Borg would have won the US Open?

Here's Borg against Connors on Har-Tru in 1979.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY
See, no one was stopping Borg from playing majors. With the possible exception of 1977, when Borg, of his own free will, signed a million dollar deal to play exos with World Team Tennis, and costing him an opportunity to play int he French. (And I dare someone to say he would have been a lock to win it that year anyway, considering the way Vilas was playing.) Borg chose not to play many majors, plain and simple. Unlike Federer, who doesn't duck opportunities and the challenge of playing majors, and consistently reaching the final of nearly every single one!
And yes you are correct that no one was stopping Borg from playing majors and that is exactly my point. Was anyone playing the majors like the Australian Open? Didn't Chris Evert miss a French Open because of WTT as did a number of other players? It was a different time and also different values.

I was just using Borg as an example to prove my point. I could have just as easily used Connors or Laver. I just happened to remember the Borg and Sampras numbers and used them just to save time looking up the other numbers on other players. Why all the anti Borg attacks?:confused:

Anyway bottom line is that I was trying to use examples on how things were different in the past. Maybe next time I'll use Jimmy Connors as an example instead of Borg for that era.
 
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Gary-Visaman

New User
My read on tennis history.

Mythic title of greatest of all time -
First half of 20th century: Tilden
Mid part of 20th century: Gonzales
By Late 60's: Laver
80s: Borg
By 90s: Sampras
21st century: Federer

Guys close to the very top and somewhat under-rated historically: E. Vines, D. Budge, Lew Hoad, K. Rosewall

As others said, total GS titles is one very important factor, but there are many others, like most dominance in their era, winning-est overall percentage, etc.

Can you imagine a tournament (on another world) in which these guys competed against each their IN THEIR PRIMES AND PLAYING AT THEIR RESPECTIVE PEAKS?

I think it would come down to Tilden and Federer, and I think Fed. would take the final title.

Until the next generation comes out with someone of higher caliber still...

By the way, Check my profile for my free tennis blog...

G.

www.timelesstennis.net
 
^^ In some Star Trek episode where all the top players in their primes would battle in the Arena...I doubt Federer would win without polyester string. I know he uses it as a cross and not a main...and for that I've always commended him. But poly is still poly.

The aliens would hand out equal racquets of their choosing to all the competitors. Factors like weight and balance can be customized and will be given consideration. Grip sizes, etc. etc.
Sampras would decimate everybody...trust me. :twisted:

And the racquets shall consist of natural gut. The players must give they're all-out efforts...or they shall be destroyed.
 
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Chopin

Hall of Fame
^^ In some Star Trek episode where all the top players in their primes would battle in the Arena...I doubt Federer would win without polyester string. I know he uses it as a cross and not a main...and for that I've always commended him. But poly is still poly.

The aliens would hand out equal racquets of their choosing to all the competitors. Factors like weight and balance can be customized and will be given consideration. Grip sizes, etc. etc.
Sampras would decimate everybody...trust me. :twisted:

And the racquets shall consist of natural gut. The players must give they're all-out efforts...or they shall be destroyed.
What would happen though, would be that Federer would find a substance to use for a poly cross (his Davis Cup coach, watching on a 3D screen would say, "if he has the time") and then Federer would have his racquet strung up, crush Laver, and at match point up, he'd throw down his racquet and refuse to win. "You know, there's no such thing as a GOAT." The aliens would then deem that there was hope for the human race yet and release all the players.

Also, the battle between Federer and Laver would look like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=Z1eFdUSnaQM&feature=watch_response_rev
 
^^ In some Star Trek episode where all the top players in their primes would battle in the Arena...I doubt Federer would win without polyester string. I know he uses it as a cross and not a main...and for that I've always commended him. But poly is still poly.

The aliens would hand out equal racquets of their choosing to all the competitors. Factors like weight and balance can be customized and will be given consideration. Grip sizes, etc. etc.
Sampras would decimate everybody...trust me. :twisted:

And the racquets shall consist of natural gut. The players must give they're all-out efforts...or they shall be destroyed.
Lol...I'll take the guy who is a "martian" per Nastase, Bjorn Rune Borg. He'll run everyone ragged on clay for a while before they even try out grass courts. Plus, he's used to no poly strings. If they went to poly strings to help HIM with topspin shots....forget about it!
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
^^ In some Star Trek episode where all the top players in their primes would battle in the Arena...I doubt Federer would win without polyester string. I know he uses it as a cross and not a main...and for that I've always commended him. But poly is still poly.

The aliens would hand out equal racquets of their choosing to all the competitors. Factors like weight and balance can be customized and will be given consideration. Grip sizes, etc. etc.
Sampras would decimate everybody...trust me. :twisted:

And the racquets shall consist of natural gut. The players must give they're all-out efforts...or they shall be destroyed.
Lol...I'll take the guy who is a "martian" per Nastase, Bjorn Rune Borg. He'll run everyone ragged on clay for a while before they even try out grass courts. Plus, he's used to no poly strings. If they went to poly strings to help HIM with topspin shots....forget about it!
I wasn't going to do this but I can't resist this pun.

Since Star Trek was mentioned, the alien that had to be chosen would have to be THE BORG. Resistance is futile. All of the other players will be assimulated and shall serve THE BORG.:)

And no I'm not necessarily picking Bjorn Borg but he is a great choice in this situation.
 
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Lol...I'll take the guy who is a "martian" per Nastase, Bjorn Rune Borg. He'll run everyone ragged on clay for a while before they even try out grass courts. Plus, he's used to no poly strings. If they went to poly strings to help HIM with topspin shots....forget about it![/QUOTE]

That would be scary.:twisted:
And Borg would have REAL shoes to run around in...watch out! Our mothership is currently locating the proper footwear for all the contestants. Sorry Stan Smith.
 
Lol...I'll take the guy who is a "martian" per Nastase, Bjorn Rune Borg. He'll run everyone ragged on clay for a while before they even try out grass courts. Plus, he's used to no poly strings. If they went to poly strings to help HIM with topspin shots....forget about it![/QUOTE]

That would be scary.:twisted:
And Borg would have REAL shoes to run around in...watch out! Our mothership is currently locating the proper footwear for all the contestants. Sorry Stan Smith.

Too funny. You recognize an oft forgotten point. How would Laver, Borg, McEnroe and Connors have run around with the best shoes of today vs. what they used to wear? More weight, less padding makes a difference, especially at the top level.

Do YOUR shoes make a difference to you at all? Try going from your $100 pair to the ones from the 70's to play a 5 setter, running around like Borg used to, even in his very pricey Diadoras.
 

The-Champ

Legend
Borg chose not to play many majors, plain and simple. Unlike Federer, who doesn't duck opportunities and the challenge of playing majors, and consistently reaching the final of nearly every single one!

This means that, Borg wasn't as obsessed of chasing history as federer is.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Lol...I'll take the guy who is a "martian" per Nastase, Bjorn Rune Borg. He'll run everyone ragged on clay for a while before they even try out grass courts. Plus, he's used to no poly strings. If they went to poly strings to help HIM with topspin shots....forget about it!
Yep. Fed and everyone else would be exhausted before the end of the second set having run 26 miles.

And if Rune had 90 sq. in. and poly-hex strings, he'd put so much topspin on it, they'd still be waiting for the ball to come down into the court in 2011.
 

krosero

Legend
This means that, Borg wasn't as obsessed of chasing history as federer is.
But Borg's choices were hardly unique; nor are Federer's. Back then everyone was attending the events that seemed to be the biggest events of the time -- that is, the events that drew crowds and were financially healthy. They went where the money was. Everyone does the same today.

I mean, why wouldn't the players attend all four Slams today? The money is great, the tournaments are doing well, their future looking bright, the draws strong, the importance of the tournaments clear and unquestioned. There's no reason to question their importance. Not anymore. It would be different if no one was showing up and the prize money was low, or they were scheduled during the Christmas holiday, or the future of the tournament did not look that promising compared to other events.

It's certainly not about Borg personally (or Federer personally). McEnroe and Connors missed a bunch of AO's and FO's. In the early 70s, when the Open Era was really chaotic, even Laver and Rosewall were mostly absent from those two tournaments. They certainly cared about their place in history, but Slam counts just weren't seen the way they are today. Some events (or alternate tours) that no longer exist were seen back then as on par with the AO or even more important (for example, WCT). It was just a different time.
 

Chopin

Hall of Fame
Guys, I'm terribly disappointed in the discussion. What you're failing to note is that Federer's old coach, Peter Carter will appear to Federer as a ghost (cross between Obi-Wan and Spock) and tell Federer how to make Luxilon poly, in order to win the match.

"Damnit Roger, I'm a coach, not a racquet stringer!"
 

Don't Let It Bounce

Hall of Fame
What would happen though, would be that Federer would find a substance to use for a poly cross (his Davis Cup coach, watching on a 3D screen would say, "if he has the time") and then Federer would have his racquet strung up, crush Laver, and at match point up, he'd throw down his racquet and refuse to win. "You know, there's no such thing as a GOAT." The aliens would then deem that there was hope for the human race yet and release all the players.
Bâtard! You ninja'd the very joke I was about to make in response to Sir Sweetspot's post! (And better than I would have made it, too.) "Look around you... Can you form some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

Remember, though, we're just talking human division playoffs. There are a bunch of dudes from the Delta Quadrant that vary the length of their limbs midstroke... Humanity's only hope there is that maybe Ion Tiriac can get them outlawed.
 

newmark401

Professional
I’m not so sure how obsessed modern greats are/were with their place in history, though it’s clear that players like Agassi, Sampras and Federer, Evert and Navratilova are proud of their place in the sport’s history.

I have the impression that the further back you go, the less talk there was about such things because tennis wasn’t a profession as such for most players. In fact, most of the early players (from the infancy of the game, I mean) came from well-to-do backgrounds, were members of the leisure class and didn’t really have to do anything.

Still, a number of them, like the Renshaw and Doherty brothers, Norman Brookes and Tony Wilding, May Sutton and Dorothea Lambert Chambers, were great talents, and, no doubt, proud of their achievements, a number of which still stand today. But those players acted in accordance with a code of conduct which excluded talk of firsts and records. It just wasn’t the done thing.

The aforementioned code of conduct faded as time progressed, and nowadays such talk is quite common, partly because tennis now has such a rich and varied history. I don’t think an obsession with one’s place in history is a good thing, but most great players seem able to look back on their career in a rational manner. It’s not as if they could change it anyway.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
On the pro tour the biggest goal was to become pro World Champion. This title was traded like a World Boxing title, from one champ to another, from Tilden, Vines over Budge, Riggs, Kramer, Gonzalez, Rosewall to Laver.
Is there a listing somewhere of the Pro World Champions?
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Is there a listing somewhere of the Pro World Champions?
Joe McCauley's book, The History of Professional Tennis would have a lot of them. I'm not sure about the early days with Tilden and Nusslein but I would think from Vines' time in the early 1930's on they would have most of them.

Some are odd choices, because I think Kramer would be listed as World Champion but some others like Gonzalez and Segura have had better records in some years.
 
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