My analysis of Pete vs Roger

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Let's separate achievement from this discussion since Federer just started. Federer matures a little bit later than Pete.

Most of the discussion on this board don't compare Pete's game at same stage of his career at Federer. Pete had improved his game througout his career especially his volley and return, mental aspect as well. Federer certainly can improve those as well.

Serve: Pete 10, Federer 8.

Return: Federer 9, Sampras 8. Those who say Federer can only chip return on hard serve obviously didn't watch Sampras vs Federer at Wimbledon 2001. Federer has remarkable flat or topspin return. Against Roddick, he didn't have to take any risk in return.

Volley: Sampras 8 Federer 7. However early stage of Pete's career, he didn't come to net much - his volley was wristy back then, and many people criticized him. Pete came to net more often at later stage of his career. His volley skill had improved the most through his career. Sampras at the same stage of his career as Federer, volley Sampras 6 Federer 7.

Forehand: Sampras 9 Federer 10. Sampras hit more flat thus more power, but less consistent, less variety, also hit much more later than Federer.

Backhand: Sampras 7 Federer 8.

Variety: Sampras 8 Federer 10.

Improvisation/creativity: Sampras 9 Federer 10. Sampras better at net while Federer better anywhere else.

Movement: Sampras 10 Federer 10. Both are great movers with Sampras a little bit more explosive while Federer more smooth.

Anticipation: Sampras 9 Federer 10. Sampras anticipates better at net while Federer better anywhere else.

Fitness: Sampras 7 Federer 8.

Mental toughness: Sampras 10 Federer 10. They both play better when the stakes are the highest. Pete definitely improved his mental toughness throughout his career. He wasn't when he started, neither Federer.

Overall:

Grass at Wimbledon: 50-50. We saw at 2001 when neither of them at their peak. So it is difficult to say. Sampras has the edge at power and Federer has the edge in adaptibility and variety.

Fast hard court at US Open: I give the eage to Sampras 55-45 simply because the court favors flat stroker a little bit more.

Slower hard court at Australia Open: I give the edge clearly to Federer 60-40.

Fast claycourt at French: I give the edge more to Federer: 65-35.

Indoor carpet: I give the edge clearly to Sampras 60-40.
 
Tennis guy - for such a long post I think you are spot on on most everything.

The only quibble I would have is movement. No way is Sampras on par with Fed. Movement/anticipation is what Fed does best. Its his trademark. Effortless. Cat-like. Sampras's movement wasn't bad, but it was never his trademark.

Other than that I agree with all the rankings - if not the actual scores. Good analysis.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Thanks Tiger. I believe Sampras' movement is underrated. He doesn't move as smoothly as Federer, but he certainly moves more explosively as I said, thus he moves better at the net than Federer.
 

Bhagi Katbamna

Hall of Fame
I agree with giving Sampras a 10 on movement. In his peak years, no one was moving better. He made it look like he wasn't doing anything.
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
This comparison is comparing opinions of Pete's best against opinions of Federer's best so far. Unless I'm mistaken Federer will improve much more in the next 2/3 years.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
True AAAA. If Federer can improve his serve, volley, and backhand in the next a few years, then his game will be another league. I don't think he can improve his forehand, movement much.

Borg might moved better on the baseline, he certainly didn't move better at the net.
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
The tennis guy said:
Borg might moved better on the baseline, he certainly didn't move better at the net.
I agree with that. Borg was no McEnroe, Sampras or Edberg at the net.
 

fastdunn

Legend
Federer's 2nd serves are weakest part of his game, IMHO.
Especially his 2nd serve on ad court are quite bad.
I serious doubt he can win more than 10 slam with that kind of
2nd serves.

It is pre-mature to compare these two exceptional players.
Federers backhand and return game have not been fully tested,
IMHO because todays tennis does not really have many notable
serve and volleyers(with huge serve) and lefties (no top 10
lefities right now!!!)

Sampras's return game was the weakest link in his game.
But not many people know that he overcame it. You can not
win 6 Wimbledon with weak serve returns !!!

Sampras's fitness was a real problem that he never overcame, IMHO.
People suspect his blood condition(with low red cell count?)
In mid 1990s, many people doubted whether he is fit enough to win more.
It did not help him for French Open with a game that already
does not fit FO well...


than 10 slams.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
gustavo33,

The score is in relative term. There are many better volleyers out there, like Edberg, McEnroe - I would give them 10, I'd give Rafter volley 9. 10 is the best. Sampras and Federer are not the best in every skill department. It is the combination that separate them from the rest.

fastdunn,

Thanks, I'll add fitness in there. Sampras has iron deficiency in his blood - amenia.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Good analysis tennis guy,
I followed Pete very closely since the '89 Open & Fed since I first saw him play Ferrero at the '00 US Open.
I love watching Fed play & think he's the most complete & talented player I have ever seen(& I've been following the game for over 20 years) But if I had one player to play for my life (on hard or grass) I'd pick Pete. And if Pete in his prime played the Fed of today, I have no doubt Pete would prevail.

As far as mental toughness goes, Fed is great but Sampras was in a different league (even at the same age)
In yesterday's final Fed gave up his one break lead in the 2nd set against Hewitt. That would never, ever happen with Pete. One break a set is all he ever needed. In the W Final vs Roddick, Fed was broken 4 times, including twice in one set. Nerves were a factor in both sets. Guess how many times Sampras was broken in 7 Wimbledon Finals total? 4!! That's 4 times in seven matches against Courier, Ivanisevic,Becker,Pioline,Agassi,& Rafter. 4 times in 26 sets of Grand Slam final tennis(& he wasn't too shabby at the US Open either) No one even got to break point in 4 of those finals.

I also disagree with Fed's forehand being better than Pete's. I've seen Pete challenge so many great baseliners like Chang, Courier, & Agassi to hit to his forehand. He would stand so far back & let them pound at his backhand relentlessly. Finally they couldn't resist & pounded one to his forehand side. This was the most amazing shot I've ever seen. Pete would sprint so far behind the baseline so fast & absolutely crush his forehand as hard as I've ever seen. Often his opponent would still be at the baseline & have absolutely no play on it whatsover. Fed loves using his forehand to control the center of the court. There's a lot of spin on it, but that would fit perfectly in Sampras' effectiveness on the running forehand. Often a shot like that is worth more than just one point. How can one not get discouraged(& I've seen many throw in a couple errors after Pete would do that) when your opponent challenges you to hit your best shot & you get burned like that?

As far as movement goes, I'm not so sure Fed would get the edge.
Many posters are too young or have short term memories. From '93 to '95 Sampras was as good a mover from anywhere on the court as I've seen. Age took away his speed & when he hooked up with Annacone(that guy took chip&charge to a ridiculous level as a player) he became more of a ServeVolleyer & got a little lazy with his footwork from the baseline.

I also disagree with Fed's volleys being better. Sampras volleyed a lot more at any stage in his career than Fed does now. He took the net away from McEnroe at 19 in 1990 very effectively. While his volleying wasn't as pretty as some, it was very effective. Often his first volley was hit as a perfect setup for the next one. Fed seems more content to stay at the baseline & only venture forward for sitters.

Ultimately, I think Pete would have the edge on grass, & fast or slow hardcourts. Power beats finesse. Federer is a rhythm player. Pete wouldn't give Fed a chance to be Federer. He would serve every serve like a 1st serve (with perfect speed, spin & placement), take huge chances early in any rallies, making a lot of winners & errors. This type of play can be very frustrating, Federer won't get a chance to play. Even Pete's errors will throw him off. Remember all Pete needs is one break a set. It wouldn't necessarily be pretty but it would get the job done.
I've seen Pete beat so many great players at their own game over so many years. He could hold his own from the baseline against Agassi, Kafelnikov, Courier, & Chang. He could beat Becker Krajicek, Stich, Edberg, & Ivanisevic on ridiculously fast surfaces at their own games(has Fed had to deal with the type of pressure from today's players? they're all predominantly baseliners)

Federer is a unique player with his versatility. Sampras is a unique champion with his drive & single-mindedness. Ultimately, we'll never know, but you have to admit if "intangibles" were the ultimate deciding factor with these great champions, wouldn't you think Sampras would have the edge on anyone?

Also one last observation. Many of you are convinced that players of today are faster, fitter, hit harder & are so much better than players of even a few years ago. Keep dreaming. I was courtside during the '97 Davis Cup SF & saw Rafter-Sampras(one of Pete's finest moments, great net play) & Chang-Philippoussis(Chang's returns were amazing that day). I also saw many matches at the Mercedez-Benz in LA this year including Agass-Haas & Fish-Saulnier. The power & speed is no different, if anything Philippoussis & Sampras were serving harder then than anyone I saw at LA. Chang was certainly faster as well.
 

Mikael

Professional
I think many tournaments (especially indoors) had much faster surfaces like 5-10 years ago. I think the balls have changed too. You see much more rallies these days. And there are no more Krajicek-Rusedski type finals. Sometimes I even see Spanish baseliners getting deep into an indoor tournament, and I know they're not doing it by serve and volleying... So the conditions have definitely changed.

That has to be taken into account, I think, when comparing Federer and Sampras in their prime. The conditions are not the same. Sampras' game was perfect for reaching the no1 position during the 90s. Federer's game on the other hand is perfect for the 00s. Had Federer's game been maturing in the early 90s, I think his serve and volleys would be bigger at the expense of his groundstrokes. The same could be said of Sampras... With the slower conditions these days, Federer has the perfect game. Serving and volleying more would be nice to see, but ultimately it would hurt his efficiency.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Kevin,

"As far as movement goes, I'm not so sure Fed would get the edge.
Many posters are too young or have short term memories. From '93 to '95 Sampras was as good a mover from anywhere on the court as I've seen. Age took away his speed & when he hooked up with Annacone(that guy took chip&charge to a ridiculous level as a player) he became more of a ServeVolleyer & got a little lazy with his footwork from the baseline.

I also disagree with Fed's volleys being better. Sampras volleyed a lot more at any stage in his career than Fed does now. He took the net away from McEnroe at 19 in 1990 very effectively. While his volleying wasn't as pretty as some, it was very effective. Often his first volley was hit as a perfect setup for the next one. Fed seems more content to stay at the baseline & only venture forward for sitters."

You are wrong on those two regarding my position unfortunately. I didn't give Federer edge in movement, they are equal to me. I didn't give volley edge to Federer, I gave it to Sampras. At similar stage of their careers, they came to the net the same amount. They came to net more against serve and volleyer. There are fewer serve and volleyers today.

As of Sampras not giving up breaks. I saw matches Sampras gave up break lead. Neither of them do it often. I agree with the next poster that condition has changed. I know Wimbledon grass is slower today than when Sampras played. However, I didn't know it is that slow until this week Henman and others said grass at Wimbledon this year is much slower than US Open this year which is why Federer hasn't serve and volley that much at Wimbledon.

I think analysis doesn't equate reality. Pete did play Roger at Wimbledon 2001 when neither of them at their peak, and Federer won. Both of them played great, both of them serve and volley on both serves because of the condition. I put more weight on that match than any imagined analysis.

As of power over finesse, Sampras' power is not that much more than Federer. Pete's first serve in high 120s and low 130s, Federer is similar maybe 2-5 mph slower.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Good point Mikael,
But the game was being slowed down as early as 1993. The US Open slowed down the courts that year considerably(putting more sand in it) because of concern over power. That certainly helped Agassi in '94, but Pete was able to win '93, '95, '96. Since Ashe Stadium opened in '97 the courts have been considered extremely fast in comparison. Pete won in '02. Fed in '04
Also Wimbledon started using much heavier balls in '95(causing some players to complain) Pete still won that year & beyond.
Indoor carpet tourneys though have been nonexistent since '99.
Conditions are a factor, but you're seeing more rallies mainly because most players are baseliners nowadays.
Sampras & Federer have played with slow balls & fast/slow/medium hardcourts enough that a comparison is valid.
I think they would do fine in both eras, but the opposition being so different makes it harder to judge Fed, he's playing just baseliners. Sampras played every kind of player.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
There is no question faster condition would favor Sampras more than Federer. Grass is different type surface, it is also favor great shot makers.

I also take consideration of opinion of players who have played both Sampras and Federer: Henman, Agassi, Ivanesevic all stated diplomatically that Federer is better, while Hewitt refuses to say.

Sampras vs Federer at 2001 Wimbledon is like the same person played against each other. Federer won because his a touch better shot making ability.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
tennis guy, you wrote:
"Sampras at the same stage of his career as Federer, volley Sampras 6 Federer 7"

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I assure you Pete came to net more at 23(not just against S&V players) than Federer does today. I remember Mary Carillo & Tony Trabert just gushing over his volleys in 1990, saying he was the most exciting & complete player since McEnroe. And Pete was only 19. Maybe he could have come to net more, but he seemed to have pretty good instincts.

As far as Pete giving up breaks, perhaps, but he never gave up a break lead in any set in any Grand Slam final at any age. Federer has done this 3 times this year. Yes he won those sets, but do you think he can get away with that sloppiness against Pete? If Sampras had a break lead in any important match, that set would be over. Federer is just not an automatic with that lead like Sampras was.

At Wimbledon '01 they played a great match. In my opinion, that was one of the worst returning days I've seen Pete play on grass. But he still had makeable returns to break & serve for the match & shanked them.
Federer was 19, Sampras was one month shy of 30. Do you honestly think that match is a fair comparison? Yes he had won 7 out of 8 W's at the time, but age is huge factor in tennis, mentally as well as physically. Pete was recently married & thinking about starting a family. He wasn't (Jim Courier commentated recently that Pete wasn't training as hard from '00 to '02) 100% focused on tennis. Let's see how good Fed is at that age.

As far as power goes, this has been remarked by many on these boards. Radar guns have been clocking everyone higher nowadays, even Agassi & you know he's not serving faster than he was 5-10 years ago. Pete serves a lot harder than Fed.
Sampras' 120 serve in the '90s is 130 today. Plus its not just the first serve, as you know Pete went for 2nd serves at 120 consistently in Grand Slam finals.
Power over finesse isn't the only factor I pick Sampras, he beat so many types of players so many different ways(even at 23) that it's hard to not think he would find a way to win. That's what he was born to do.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Also tennis guy,
I think Henman, Agassi, Ivanisevic say Fed is better because they have played him recently & Pete's been retired for 2 years. People always give more props to a great recent champion than a former one. Those players can't be expected to remember how Pete played the game from '93 to '97, adding different things, beating players in different ways. They're remembering Pete from '99 to '02 who had great days but more bad ones & who relied more on his serve most of the time.
I find it interesting that Hewitt doesn't say. He absolutely thrashed Pete in '01 US Open & '02 Indian Wells. But deep down inside he knows that Sampras was a different player when he was younger.
I like his response after the final when asked "do you think any player can beat Fed when he's playing like this?
He answered, "No active player. Maybe Sampras."
Maybe indeed.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
I think you are assuming there. I don't think Agassi would forget how well Sampras played in his prime. I don't think Agassi would give more props to Federer than to Pete at all. Neither do Henman and Ivanesevic who lost to Sampras many times at Sampras' prime.

I trust Hewitt statement less simply because he didn't play Sampras at Sampras' prime like the other three.

That's the difference in our perspective.

By the way, I watched Sampras agaisnt Courier in 1993 the other day, Pete came to net just as infrequently as Federer. I do agree Pete has better net instinct than Roger, but Roger has better technique than Pete at same stage. As I said, Pete's volley was very wristy back then. He improved greatly since then.

I also agree 2001 Wimbledon isn't ideal judgement for those two. You emphasize Pete wasn't great back then, but you forget to say Roger was nowhere as good as he is today. He was quite raw back then. Unfortunately, that's the only time they played. I like both of them.
 

bee65n

New User
At Wimbledon, with conditions like today, I would give a slight edge to Federer. At the USOPEN, because of the conditions and the crowd factor, I would give the edge to Sampras. At both the Australian and French Opens, I would give a slight edge to Federer.

Many of you are convinced that players of today are faster, fitter, hit harder & are so much better than players of even a few years ago. Keep dreaming.
funny, because even many of the pros seem to agree that today's players are faster, fitter, and hit harder.
 
R

raghu

Guest
bee65n said:
At Wimbledon, with conditions like today, I would give a slight edge to Federer. At the USOPEN, because of the conditions and the crowd factor, I would give the edge to Sampras. At both the Australian and French Opens, I would give a slight edge to Federer.

I agree with you totallly. All these people who say sampras would have prevailed against federer never consider the surface for their convenience. :x
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
.
I also take consideration of opinion of players who have played both Sampras and Federer: Henman, Agassi, Ivanesevic all stated diplomatically that Federer is better, while Hewitt refuses to say.
Johnny Mac and Becker also think Federer has more talent.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
tennisguy,
I don't know which '93 Courier-Sampras Wimbledon final you saw, but Pete S&Ved on every 1st & 2nd serve in that match.
Fed never S&Ved on any 2nd serve last year or this year & against Roddick didn't always S&V on 1st serves.
A lot of Pete's serves in that final were unreturned so it might seem like he isn't volleying as much, but he is approaching the net, much more so than Fed is now.

As far as Agassi & his comments, he played an older Pete at Australia '00 & the famous US Open '01 match. Those were incredible matches, probably the best they had played against each other. Pete played 2 of his best matches ever against Andre at his best, but do 2 matches really reflect how much faster & complete a player he was in '95? I'm sure he hasn't forgot how differently Pete beat him when they were younger, but its hard not to remember the way he played in those recent matchups, especially considering that Agassi thinks more of his own game in '00 & '01 compared to say '95. When a player is retired, former players/analysts like to generalize the great aspects of the game without getting into specifics & how many different ways a great player was able to adjust match to match, etc. I think this is a problem with fans & players like McEnroe & Becker, etc. You think they remember all the shots Pete was capable of hitting? You think they've watched tapes & compared Fed & Sampras? No, Sampras is just big serving & power in many peoples mind because that's how he often won.

For the record, I said that I think Fed is the most talented player I've ever seen. Just because someone is more talented does that make them better? I think that's irrelevant if you really break down the matchup. Just because Fed plays a prettier game doesn't mean it's the most effective game. Does that mean Leconte or Arazi or Rios at their best would beat Pete?

bee65n & raghu: As far as Fed beating Sampras at Wimbledon? Do you really believe this? Yes conditions there have slowed but its still the fastest court in the world. Betting against a 7 time champ who only lost serve 4 times in those 7 finals vs a 2 time champ who lost serve 4 times in 1 final. Not good odds IMO.

And bee65n,
sure some players are fitter. Everytime Federer, Roddick, Fish & Nalbandian change their shirt and show their soft stomachs off, I'm reminded of the washboard abs of Edberg, Lendl, Sampras, & Courier.
When I see Gaudio & Coria serve like Dementieva in a French Open final, I think of Courier's 120 mph serves in the '91 & '92 finals.
When Roddick serves 150 with a juiced radar gun & I look at tapes of Philippoussis serving 140 in '97, I think man was the game slow then, it's like watching Bill Tilden.
When I see anyone except Hewitt on the run, I think wow that Chang was slow as molasses.
Yeah you're right athletes of the past suck. Willie Mays & Wilt Chamberlain & Mark McWire & Michael Jordan are chumps compared to today's superior athletes.
 

fastdunn

Legend
Kevin Patrick offered lots of insight into Sampras' game, IMO.

Sampras moved like a cat. If Federer is more of creative genius
Sampras was quintessential atheltic genius. He aimed at
optimal output and ideal combination of pace and maximum
efficiency for all of his strokes. Sampras had so much of weapons,
I claim he had luxiory of having to break only once per set.
He would rarely bagel his oponent unless he thinks his oponent
is challenging his reign seriously.
Sampras truely behaved like a true dominator for 6 years.
I'm not sure if Federer can develop that kind of luxiory.
At least Federer's weaponry is not defined as clearly as Sampras', IMHO...
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Kevin,

I think most of your comments are going to subjective matters now. On one hand, you claimed you remember how great Sampras was - I know I do, I watch those tapes all the time - while you believe the likes of Agassi, Henman, Ivanesevic , McEnroe, Becker don't. I just don't think that's a fair statement.

I like both of them. I watch the tapes of matches at their similar stages of their career. I just conclude as objectively as I can that Sampras better on faster court - indoor carpet, US open, while Federer better on medium to slow court - Australia and French, and Wimbledon grass as wash. Yes, grass is fast. But it is different from indoor carpet and US open. Spin is effective there when it is combined with power which is why Federer is so good there.

For your information, the last two years Wimbledon grass are very slow, with combination of heavier balls, it is slower than US open and indoor carpet. Sampras asked Paul Annacone why Federer only served and volleyed 10% of time while Federer serve and volleyed on all points against him in 2001. Henman said Paul explained the grass are so slow that it is difficult for anyone serve and volley all the time.

People tend to compare Sampras and Federer with their achievements. I don't think that is fair to Federer because he just started. No one knows what Federer will do in the future, so that is a moot point at this point.

Please watch Sampras vs Courier on hard courts back in 1993 and 1994, you'll realize how less often for Sampras coming to the net.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
By the way, why do you think Federer suddenly serve and volley less at Wimbledon in the last two years when he did most of the time in 2001 and 2002?
 

tennisfreak

Semi-Pro
I still contend that Sampras had one thing that he'll always hold over Federer. That is his serve. Pete probably had the best combination of first and second serves ever. It wasn't the pace that got to you, it was the combination of pace, spin and placement. His second serves got so good that he would routinely hit second serve aces. It was almost like he had two first serves. I read somewhere that Sampras first and second serve had more torque than any serve in the pro tour. Combine that with the pace and you are looking at one heavy ball.

Kevin Patrick hit the nail on the head regarding Sampras forehand. He had the most lethal forehand in the game. Sampras left so much room on his forehand side, and his opponent invariably tries to get it by him. You loved it when they tried it, because then you got to see his amazing running forehand. He could hit that baby cross court or down the line, with more pace than any shot I have ever seen, from any player, period.

I didn't know that he was only broken 4 times in his 7 wimbledon finals. I am definitely not suprised. It is something you can only comprehend if you watched Pete play. No one could touch Pete back then.
 

Phil

Hall of Fame
There's a lot to be said for the Fed at this point, but you cannot, in any way, compare the two for mental toughness. Pete was head and shoulders above anyone, so to put them in a dead heat is way off the mark. Also, second serve-Federer's is good, but not even the best in the game NOW. Sampras's was possibly the best in HISTORY. No argument about some of the other comparisons, but let's wait a few years and see if Fed still has the fire. The danger for him, now, is getting too complacent.
 

federerer

New User
I am a huge sampras fan and was so since before he won his first US Open as I saw him play in toronto just before he broke thru. There is some really interesting analysis in this thread but I have to disagree with some of the points being made. Surprisingly most here are pro-sampras. Please keep in mind that despite my user name sampras was my alltime favorite and I patterned my game after him by watching tons of video.

Serve
there is no question sampras was superior here, especially in the second serve.

Movement
Sampras was severely underestimated as an athlete early in his career. However, I think federer moves much better. I'd even say he moves better than borg. he has no wasted motion. Sampras COULD be hit off the court, which of course is why he attacked as much as he did.

Volleys
Sampras definitely. Fed's volleys are over-rated.

Fitness
I don't know people can even compare the two. Sampras has the most heart of any player I've ever seen (remember davis cup or us open vs. correja) but he was not the fittest guy due to his condition. half the time it looked like he was dying near the end of long matches. We have yet to see federer even sweat much.

Return Game
I say game, because (I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet) sampras basically played only for one break. Once he got a break he would pretty much coast for the rest of the set. Federer puts constant pressure on his opponent. He plays for every game.

Mental game
fed is improving but sampras was the best ever.

Forehand
fed's is much better. in every way in my opinion, especially disguise. better spin, better placement, better angle. power is about equal. fed can do so much more wiht his forehand.

Backhand
again, fed's is much much better. sampras couldn't really attack off his backhand side. nothing close to fed.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
tennis guy,
First of all I just want to say I've enjoyed reading your posts & respect your opinions, you obviously have done your homework & I'm not trying to argue with you for the heck of it.
Secondly, I love watching both Fed & Pete both play.
You're right about Agassi & Mac opinions, I'm just stating a theory as to why they picked Fed over Pete. But you have to admit, it's possible that I might be right? They are both former players who obviously know more about the game then us, but I seriously doubt they ever watch a match once its done. Pete was still capable of great performances from '99 to '02, its easy to forget the different ways he played from '93 to '97. I just think its human nature to lean towards the greastest right now. Listen to Cliff Drysdale, he thinks Roddick has the best serve of all time!

As to Wimbledon, I agree that conditions have slowed in the last 2 years. But as to how slow, that might be more perception than reality. The slow balls were first introduced in '95, many players complained about it. I remember Ivanisevic saying "It doesn't matter what ball you put in my hand, I will hit aces."
I believe Fed started serving & volleying less in '03 & '04 at Wimbledon because he realized he didn't have to. No Rafter, no Sampras, no Krajicek, no Ivanisevic to deal with. Fed obviously is more comfortable on the baseline, he likes a rhythm on his shots.
Also Fed & Henman don't serve big enough to S&V consistently on these new Wimbledon courts.

You wrote "Spin is effective there when it is combined with power which is why Federer is so good there."

Sampras had an insane amount of power & spin, & grass no matter what its' speed is perfect for his game. I can understand why some may pick Fed on hardcourts over Pete, but grass?
Sampras can serve big enough to S&V on anything, remember the '02 final against Agassi? The conditions haven't changed there in '04. Slow grass would not be much of an adjustment for him.

And finally you're right about the Sampras-Courier hardcourt matches of '93 & '94. But I was taking about the '93 Wimbledon final which you used as an example of Pete being reluctant to come to net(early in his career), which I just don't see. He came in after every serve 1st & 2nd.
 

ShooterMcMarco

Hall of Fame
where did u guys get the footage of sampras? did you guys record it yourself when it aired 11 years ago? if not where did u get it?
 
Just read most of this thread. Some fine analysis Tennis Guy/ Kevin Patrick and a few others....some of the best I've read on this board by far.
 

JohnThomas1

Professional
Excellent reading guys. I would have to add .5 ratio's to the scoring. Noway is Sampras's volley an 8. I would have to move him up to at least an 8.5. Rafter would nip away at a 9.5. Pat Cash would be thereabouts too.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Federer's volley

I saw the Fed warming up at the Adidas in Sydney (Jan 2002) and I have never ever seen someone hit so many clean volleys in a row. And he was just warming up. Literally, he hit something like 30 or 40 great volleys half a metre from the net. Practice volleys. Then another 30 or 40. His hitting partner threw the kitchen sink at him. They were both laughing because Federer volleyed it all back. Stainless steel volley.

I think diguise is a part of Roger's game. He moves into his shots and it looks hard to tell which way he's going to go. Hewitt pointed this out (post-match interview). He darts like a cat, and arrives compact, and you cannot read by his setup which way he's going to go. Hewitt was flat-footed a few times.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Kevin,

I based on my analysis mainly on my own judgement. However, I do take consideration of what other players say - I like read their interview transcripts. In comparision of Pete and Roger, the current and former top players are almost unanimous except Hewitt (who refuses to say, but he might pick Sampras) and Courier (who says too close to call but give technique to Roger mental toughness to Pete). Could they be wrong? Yes, but the chance of them all wrong is pretty slim.

I never said Sampras not serve and volley on almost every points on grass. He didn't come to net much on any other surfaces earlier in his career which is similar to Federer at this stage. Federer said he didn't serve and volley much there because the court is too slow in the last 3 years, and it is too risky to serve and volley there. That's what he learned from his early loss in 2002. Remember, Pete lost early that year too to Bastl.

I don't think the slowness of grass is just perception. I never played on Wimbledon grass, so I don't know. I do believe Henman and Paul Annacone on that. Wimbledon not just changed balls, they changed the grass COURT completely the last 3 years. As of Pete can get away with serve and volley on any surface, I don't think so. I think you start to show you like Pete better than Roger with statement like that. Pete only won Australia Open 2 times while 5 US, 7 Wimbledon. It shows a pettern he is better on faster courts.

We both agree Pete better on indoor carpet and US Open. I don't know if you agree Roger better at Australia and French. I believe Australia is Roger's best surface - it is odd that it is similar to grass that it takes combination of power and spin remarkable well. Our big disagreement is grass which you think Pete obviously better while I think it is 50-50. Well, they played against each other the last time when the grass was fast, and Roger won. Yes, Pete wasn't near his best, but neither was Roger. I just don't think anyone can judge objectively. By the way, if they hadn't played on grass, I would pick Pete better there simply because his achievement there, and the pattern that he is better on faster courts.

Pete is little bit more powerful than Roger, no question, just a little bit. However, Pete's spin is no where near Roger's. I have watched both of them upclose at both US and Australia Open. Roger's combination of power and spin that the ball just takes off at Australia Open is just as remarkable as Pete's running forehand that penetrates the court at US Open.
 

Stinkdyr

Professional
Federerer nailed it. I was going to write in much the same....but you already said it better. now then, just think if Fed DOES get even more mentally focused and sharpens up his volley. Look out world.
 
T

TS Ramesh

Guest
Great discussion. I know this thread is mainly about Pete vs. Roger, but I'm also struck by the similarities between Pete and Roger, especially if you look at Sampras' 1993-1994 seasons and compare it with Federer's 2003-2004 seasons. If you look at total number of titles, number of grand slam and TMS titles, match winning percentage, and the extent of domination of the field, it's uncanny to what extent Federer is to this decade what Sampras was to his. If the Fed can stay healthy, motivated and focused, there's every reason to hope he will match or exceed Sampras's accomplishments.

--Ramesh
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
I agree it is remarkable to see two great champions resemble each other so much. No wonder Pete only watches tennis to see how Roger is doing at Wimbledon after his retirement.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
tennis guy you wrote:
"I don't think the slowness of grass is just perception. I never played on Wimbledon grass, so I don't know. I do believe Henman and Paul Annacone on that. Wimbledon not just changed balls, they changed the grass COURT completely the last 3 years. As of Pete can get away with serve and volley on any surface, I don't think so. I think you start to show you like Pete better than Roger with statement like that. Pete only won Australia Open 2 times while 5 US, 7 Wimbledon. It shows a pettern he is better on faster courts."

Of course I agree the grass has slowed considerably, but not slow enough for Pete to lose his effectiveness. Henman is not a big server, the slow grass hurts him. But look at this year's Wimbledon, Ancic & Phillipoussis S&Ved to great success all the time because they have huge serves & can back it up. If they can do it, so could Pete with his tremendous spin/pace on his serve.
Pete won the US Open in '02 S&Ving on a much fairer surface with true bounces. I doubt Ancic would be able to make the semis of the US just S&Ving, but he did at Wimbledon.

Also, I do read player transcripts & listen to commentators. McEnroe & Becker have said that Federer is the most talented player they've seen(which I agree with) They didn't compare him with Sampras or say he was a better player. I remember mary carillo saying a while ago that McEnroe was the most talented player she ever saw & Sampras was the best. Those are 2 different things I believe.
Andre put it best without saying who was better, "They are both great players who present different challeges."

There are many factors when trying to figure out who would win. In my opinion, intangibles & mental tougness are the most important when choosing between these great champions.
Sampras basically didn't care about tournaments other than the Grand Slams, so Fed would have the edge in any masters series tournament. Because of the intense pressure he put on himself, and the ability to rise to the occasion I give the edge to Sampras at US & Wimbledon. Australia is 60-40 for Fed, the heat was always a factor in Pete's play there. Fed's slight lapses in losing break leads against Roddick & against Hewitt to me are signs of self-doubt, Pete was the most supremely confident player I've ever seen, even at his low points he still thought he was the best. His will was just so strong. Fed might eventually get there, but if I had to pick one player to play for my life or a lot of money, I'd feel a lot more confident with Pete at the same age than Fed right now.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Ancic is a natural court player. He serve and volley better on clay and grass than on hard court. He looks so uncomfortable on hard court.

I don't believe US Open court is a neutral court. It is the fastest outdoor court anywhere. They even don't use heavy duty ball there anymore to try to speed it up for US players.

Mary Carrillo is a colorful commentator. I don't trust her opinion though. She is so into dancing around questions that need to take sides. I guess she wants to project neutral image. Saying McEnroe is the most talented player is too much smooching to me. Federer and Sampras are the most talented I have seen.

Andre did say Roger is more difficult to deal with at Masters Cup last year. His explanation was Roger took the ball earlier, and more difficult to read.
 
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