Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by spam, Nov 12, 2004.
Go to telegraph.co.uk -sports section ,if you want to read the article
Unfortunately one has to register to read.
Fortunately, there is bugmenot.com
Here it is (I tried to insert the pictures and links):
'Rocket' believes Federer has the whole world in his hands
By Mark Hodgkinson
Rod Laver was so extraordinary a tennis player that it was said he could hit aces with a frying pan. However, there was much more to his game than giving the ball a fearful clump: he also had style and grace, and is the only man to have achieved two grand slams. Laver is still known as 'The Greatest'; Roger Federer is now challenging for that title.
The Australian, who often called himself "a runt", believes Federer could instead be the greatest player to have twirled a racket. "Oh, I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger," Laver said. "He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time." But this was not Laver's famed modesty speaking. Laver totally bamboozled his opponents during the racket-swinging Sixties, and is sufficiently self-aware to recognise his place in tennis history. However, the four-time Wimbledon champion still follows the game closely, and knows real talent when he sees it on his television set in California. One generation was anointing another yesterday.
The entertainers: Federer's (right) combination of skill and power has drawn comparisons with Laver
When Federer triumphed at Wimbledon last year, his first Grand Slam title, the early transmission times did not bother Laver, now 66. Laver would sit up in bed with the remote control and a sense of awe. He will be watching next week's coverage from Houston, where the Swiss will complete his remarkable season at the Tennis Masters Cup, the year-end showpiece.
Federer will want to win his 13th final in a row, a run that started in 2003. Federer, 23, has four grand slam titles to Laver's 11, after winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon again, and the US Open this season. Federer believes that he can one day win the French Open, and his ambition next year is likely to be matching that calendar sweep, which Laver achieved in 1962 and 1969.
"Roger knows that he has the shots to beat anybody," Laver said. "A lot of the time you watch him, and realise that he is sizing up an opponent before he strikes his winner. He always seems to be in control. When he gets in the groove, Roger knows that he can really hurt an opponent. What he has achieved, has all been down to confidence, he is a real confidence player." But it is not just about numbers. Laver has long lamented the lack of touch and control, "the robots" taking over "an increasingly one-dimensional sport", and sees Federer as pure entertainment. As Laver said, Federer is the one, way above all the rest, whom fans want to watch.
`The Rockhampton Rocket' had quick hands, and when a serve arrowed towards him he had five different ways of playing the return. Federer is just as quick-witted, and can improvise to great effect. "That is such a rare gift. So much of what he does is on instinct. You can't coach a lot of what he does as it is just natural talent," Laver said. "A lot of the shots that he produces are just totally uncanny." Federer's backhand is the one that gets this aficionado purring. "His backhand is the best shot he plays, as he can roll his racket over the top of the ball, or hit it straight. I don't know how he manages to hit the ball so cleanly all the time," Laver said.
Laver suffered a stroke in 1998. It was feared at the time that he would not survive, but he was fortunate that when the blood vessel burst in his brain he was doing a television interview next to one of the leading medical facilities in Los Angeles. He has made a remarkable recovery, and plays golf to a low handicap, and occasionally makes an appearance on the tennis court.
Laver and Federer have the same kind of aura about them, one without the pretence or bombast of lesser players, but which only relies on their on-court mastery. Laver said that, after the racket-hurling and cursing of Federer's juniors days, the world No 1 now has the mental approach needed to dominate the tennis world, a `Mr Nice Guy' but with the quiet menace of his shot-making.
"He knows that he is good, but he does not shout about it," Laver said. "He looks calm, but I think there is fire under the surface. But he plays well under pressure. And Roger does not want to get involved in stirring things up, and being controversial. All he wants to do is play tennis and win grand slam titles." Laver would have won more grand slam titles if he had not been banished from the oldest tournaments for five years after turning professional before the start of the Open era in 1968. He believes that only injury or disillusionment will prevent Federer from realising his talent. Laver does not believe that Federer needs a rivalry to sustain his enjoyment of the sport. "He pushes himself hard anyway," Laver said.
Federer had an amicable split with Swedish coach Peter Lundgren last year, and although there are rumours that he has approached Australian Tony Roche for a hands-off relationship, he is fast making tennis coaches unfashionable.
Laver said that Federer will prosper on his own. "There could be a worry that Roger gets fed up with all the travel. If you have a coach then you may be pushed into more tournaments and other commitments. But Roger is free to play when he wants, so there is not the same risk of burn-out."
Laver had gone way over the time he had given for the interview, but he would not stop talking about Roger Federer. "It seems like he has every intention of being around for a long time. If he is, he can achieve whatever he wants to achieve," he said. "Roger is such a great player and such a great champion. Roger could be 'The Greatest'."
Roger Federer Rod Laver
Australian Open: 2004. Australian Open: 1960, 1962, 1969.
Wimbledon: 2003, 2004. French Open: 1962, 1969.
US Open: 2004. Wimbledon: 1961, 1962, 1968, 1969.
US Open: 1962, 1969.
Born: Aug 8, 1981. Born: Aug 9, 1938.
Nationality: Swiss. Nationality: Australian.
Plays: Right-handed. Plays: Left-handed.
Height: 6ft 1in Height: 5ft 84in
And thanks for the bugmenot.com tip Tennis Guy. i just read a paper which has really been bugging me by now asking me to register ( & provide info so they can send me e-mails forever asking me to subscribe) he he
yes roger is like laver
but can he win the grand slam??
Laver is very perceptive. Roger certainly could join Sampras and Laver by the time his career is over.
The greatest ever:
Hype machine is always on full throttle.
"Oh, I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger," Laver said.
Back in the late 70's, early 80's, Laver made the same comment about a then up and coming John McEnroe. If Federer can maintain that level of company, he's going to be alright.
I was also very suprised to see Laver's comment about the "robots" taking over the game. It's very un-Rocket-like for him to make any derraugatory comments about the game in general, but I'm glad he did, because he's 100% correct. To that end, Viva la Max!
It is unlike him, since he is usually more than generous to the current generation. However I have heard him make comments to that effect and I agree with him. It's not so much the dominance of baseline play that bothers me, but the homogenization of stroke technique. Not nearly as much variety anymore....everyone thinks there is only 1 way to hit the ball.
Yep. Also see mailinator.com. They really help prevent spam.
I actually rated Lendl over Becker.
I liked Lendl too. Just talking about the hype. After Becker won Wimbledon in 1985, at the age of 17, the pronouncements about his to be greatness were unreal.
I have a Tennis magazine from 1984 which has an article where Laver calls McEnroe (at the time) "the greatest ever". One funny quote from that article has McEnroe, stating about himself, that "He has no weeknesses". Ha! The next year Lendl started to rope John, and then his back gave out; never trully recovered his greatness from then on. Point being that anything could happen to Federer, not the least of which is a better player coming along...
Good to see a Lendl fan. Lendl did actually reel Mac in for mine, starting right at the 85 USO or just prior. With Roche Lendl would have improved his game at least 10%, and quickly too. His fitness improved to an amazing extent, a slightly lowered service toss made it more consistent and he also learnt how to spot his second serve against Mac in order to open up passing angles. His volley improved a lot tho it stayed a bit stiff, his solid backhand continually got better and his tactics were great.
Laver was always modest. However, it's him that's the greatest ever.
Check a great action picture of him at:
Great Shots section
click on: Who Is The Greatest Player of All Times?
Spot on as usual Data. At hisbest Mac was impenetrable at the time.
Lendl could have been the best ever if he converted more of his chances. He was in a record number of slam finals and slam semis I believe. He should have beaten the aging Conners in the 82 and 83 U.S open finals, he would have won Wimbledon in 89 but for the unfortunate rain delay in the semis with Becker, he could have won the 81 French final, I also am surprised he would lose 3 slam finals to Mats Wilander who is somebody he should overpower.
"anything could happen to Federer, not the least of which is a better player coming along..."
well i think roger is smart enough to adapt..
maybe he'll get a two hander to combat this better player
Bravo Davey bravo!!! He should have definitely beat Connors in one of those. He took an aging Borg to 5 sets in the 81 French you mention too if i remember right. The US opens he lost to Becker and Mats were very tight affairs. He was a choker early on tho before conquering it with Roche at the helm at the 85 US open. At the end of the day tho, and i am Lendl's biggest fan ever, great players should be winning these matches. Admittedly too he was contending with prime Borg (not quite), Mac, Connors, Edberg, Wilander and Becker thru the various stages of his career. Sampras had a lot less people who could beat him when he was playing anywhere near his best.
Just read this thread again John. You might be interested that I read that lendl said that he felt like he was undercredited for those 1st slam finals in that he was labled a choker, but he pointed out that he lost to some pretty darn good players. He also interestingly said that although people point to his french final against Mac as the breakthrough...that was a match even he thought Mac should have won..that Mac lost his concentration and his zoned play and the match. He felt it was his subsequent USO victory where he truly broke through and started his reign. He's probably right that he got a bit too much credit for that FO and too much criticism for his early losses. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Hmmmmm ok. I followed Lendl real hard and i 100% agree his real breakthru was the US in 85, from this he continued to plow forward and didn't ever regress. After his first FO win he went backwards again, and still played very tight in a couple of big matches, losing some he sure as heck should have won. The win in 85 was the culmination of enormous hard work and dedication both fitness wise and stroke wise with Tony Roche. It was his immense improvement that led to this breakthru, not somebodies endurance and concetration hitting rock bottom. I do however think he should have won one of those US's against Connors, he had been beating him enough in the non majors and all but had the match in the palm of his hand. He still however had a fragile psych at that time. He really was in a great position tho.
A very good article on Lendl, perhaps he one you're referring to:
The mental part of tennis separates the highly talented players. Thats why when talking about the greatest players of the game, I think you have to look at Grand Slam achievements. Grand Slams are 2 week, best of 5 set tournaments with big points and money. Pros even adjust their schedule accordingly to have the best shot at a major.
Lendl was probably favored in those US Finals against Connors, but Jimbo was inspired during those matches, esp. in '82, a few weeks after Lendl had drilled him 6-1,6-1.
The '83 Final was very close, Connors won the 3rd(I think Lendl had served for it). The 4th set was a complete tank job from Lendl, he hardly made an effort to move for many balls. The media tore him apart. I'm not surprised he got over his nerves problem, but am a bit surprised that he became such a fighter after that '83 performance.
I didn't see his '83 Australian Final loss against Wilander. Was it a case of choking or Wilander's play? I imagine Lendl was favored, even then he had better grasscourt results than Mats.
Also John, since you're such a big Lendl fan, I was wondering if you roted for him when he played Cash in their many grand slam clashes.
bone bone bone!
roger has it all!
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