OBJECTIVELY: What are your main "GOAT" criteria / career ranking system?

RaulRamirez

Legend
I know this seems like just another GOAT thread, and maybe it is, but:

Independent of specific players and rooting interests, how would you explain (as objectively as possible) how you go about ranking players' careers?
What are your main criteria, and what weight do you assign to each?
Do you arrive at a number (a la ultimatetennisstatistics dot com, and there may be others that do so as well)?
What is your "calculus"?
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
it's just a game man.


every thread is exactly the same.

Of course, it's just a game, but I haven't (in my couple active months here), seen too many articulate how they go about rating/ranking players - mostly just advocacy of players or metrics designed to help certain players.
 

Djokodalerer31

Hall of Fame
1.Number of slams (1st criteria)
2.Cumulative total as world number one (2nd criteria)
3.Career Grand Slam (3rd criteria)
4.Grand slam winning span and overall career longevity (4th criteria)
5.Individual GS tournament all-time/open era records (5th criteria)
6.Additional factors (various combinations of calendar slams, consecutive weeks as world number one record, masters 1000 related records, olympic gold, ATP Finals etc...)

If first two criterias check, then other four are unnecessary!
 

Big Bagel

Professional
It's not just objective. Part of it is objective, such as grand slams, weeks at number one, masters 1000s, longevity, etc, and part of it is subjective, such as overall likability, game style, off-court actions, foundation/charity work, etc.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
1.Number of slams (1st criteria)
2.Cumulative total as world number one (2nd criteria)
3.Career Grand Slam (3rd criteria)
4.Grand slam winning span and overall career longevity (4th criteria)
5.Individual GS tournament all-time/open era records (5th criteria)
6.Additional factors (various combinations of calendar slams, consecutive weeks as world number one record, masters 1000 related records, olympic gold, ATP Finals etc...)

If first two criterias check, then other four are unnecessary!

Thank you for conceding, using your own metrics, that Sampras is greater than Novak Djokovic.

:p
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
Thank you for conceding, using your own metrics, that Sampras is greater than Novak Djokovic.

:p
maxresdefault.jpg


Now say "But Djokovic has the Golden Masters!"
 

Djokodalerer31

Hall of Fame
Thank you for conceding, using your own metrics, that Sampras is greater than Novak Djokovic.

:p

According to my metric, Djokovic achieved career slam, non-calendar year grand slam, misplaced him from 4th place for consecutive weeks as world number one record and tied his slam tally...according to my metric there too many tie breakers in favor of Djokovic...case closed!...BtW back in 2009 Federer was at 237 weeks as world number one, when he leveled with Sampras at 14 each and nobody was saying he still needs to win his 15th or overtake his ranking records in order to be considered greater player! The whole Media and tennis pundits where already behind the idea of dubbing him as the GOAT...double standards much, eh?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Well subjectively I'll say I look at a combination of dominance and longevity, with a slight slant towards dominance.

In a nutshell, lots of majors and time at #1.
 

Pheasant

Legend
I'm trying to put myself in a player's shoes. What would I want personally?

I would want the most points in the rankings because it pays the most money and it gets me to world #1. Using this criteria, it gives far more weight to reaching a slam semi than it does getting knocked out in the first round. And it should, since a 5-1 record is far better than 0-1. Also, reaching a slam semi these days pays about 800K more than getting knocked out early in the first round. Using this criteria puts Stan Wawrinka way above Murray in my book in the rankings, despite being tied at 3 slam titles each. I would look at going deep in all tournaments as being more impressive than getting bumped early.

I.e, I would look at adding up all of the rankings' points for each tournament of the GOATS over the players' career. I would use the current ATP formula. I like this better than using year-end #1. Year-end #1 to me isn't huge at all. If player A ends the year with 8000 points and player B ends at 7990, then I wouldn't think that player B was that much worse than player A.

I would also love a CYGS. That to me should add a ton of bonus points. A CYGS is the ultimate accomplishment. Laver arguably won 3 of these, when looking at his amateur CYGS, his pro CYGS, and his Open ERA CYGS. And those wins weren't cheap ones for Laver. Laver isn't even in my top 20 of favorite players ever. But he's got a massive case for GOAT, based on this.

Adding up the points to me takes care of the weeks at #1 as well Of course, this method takes a ton of time. As far as adding points for CYGS, I won't know how I'd do that. But I think a CYGS all by itself is better than any season so far. I.e, I think that a CYGS should add at least another 5000 points to the rankings for that year. It is that impressive.

A CYGS is the ultimate accomplishment in tennis now and it comes with the ultimate amount of pressure. Steffi Graf spoke volumes about the pressure she faced in 1988. Serena appeared to have it in the bag until she choked at the USO in 2015. She had no right losing that semi. But she was way off of her game. The pressure eventually caused her to cave.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
According to my metric, Djokovic achieved career slam, non-calendar year grand slam, misplaced him from 4th place for consecutive weeks as world number one record and tied his slam tally...according to my metric there too many tie breakers in favor of Djokovic...case closed!...BtW back in 2009 Federer was at 237 weeks as world number one, when he leveled with Sampras at 14 each and nobody was saying he still needs to win his 15th or overtake his ranking records in order to be considered greater player! The whole Media and tennis pundits where already behind the idea of dubbing him as the GOAT...double standards much, eh?

Federer was in GOAT discussion, even leading it, in 2006 when he had 9GS. In my book, Djokovic is GOAT as it stands due to 9+4+1. He is the only player to get everything. He was successful to open every door and skilful to resolve every puzzle.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
Just to add this. When Djokovic won RG2015 tennis press was largely unfair to him. Most reported that he won career GS neglecting the fact that he actually got hold of all 4 at the same time, which, for me, is equivalent to CGS. The only person I heard to emphasize that was Andy Murray. Other mostly ignored that fact. Imagine what would happen if Federer held at any time point all 4GS. This is also the reason why I am glad that Djokovic has done 9+4+1 to become GOAT.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Just to add this. When Djokovic won RG2015 tennis press was largely unfair to him. Most reported that he won career GS neglecting the fact that he actually got hold of all 4 at the same time, which, for me, is equivalent to CGS. The only person I heard to emphasize that was Andy Murray. Other mostly ignored that fact. Imagine what would happen if Federer held at any time point all 4GS. This is also the reason why I am glad that Djokovic has done 9+4+1 to become GOAT.
Will The Mummy Return at the AO? That is the question as Halloween approaches or will the mummies tomb be looted?!
 

Pheasant

Legend
I know this seems like just another GOAT thread, and maybe it is, but:

Independent of specific players and rooting interests, how would you explain (as objectively as possible) how you go about ranking players' careers?
What are your main criteria, and what weight do you assign to each?
Do you arrive at a number (a la ultimatetennisstatistics dot com, and there may be others that do so as well)?
What is your "calculus"?

I like this thread. You are asking specifically for a formula. I haven't seen this asked yet. Also, you have a right to start a thread like this. If others don't like it, then they can skip. it. I have skipped my fair share of threads. But I like this one and I'm also curious to see if others have a formula. And maybe there are some calculators out there that can add up the rankings points, which is the formula that I would use if it weren't so time-consuming. Hopefully, we can all learn from each other without this turning into another pizzing match.

Anyway, keep up the good work!
 

xFedal

Legend
Will The Mummy Return at the AO? That is the question as Halloween approaches or will the mummies tomb be looted?!
Federer might win his 7th Australian Open..... Or we might have a new winner.... either way its the end of the Mummy.... Feds comeback was better than Mummys 3/4 slams won!!!
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
1.Number of slams (1st criteria)
2.Cumulative total as world number one (2nd criteria)
3.Career Grand Slam (3rd criteria)
4.Grand slam winning span and overall career longevity (4th criteria)
5.Individual GS tournament all-time/open era records (5th criteria)
6.Additional factors (various combinations of calendar slams, consecutive weeks as world number one record, masters 1000 related records, olympic gold, ATP Finals etc...)

If first two criterias check, then other four are unnecessary!

Thanks for being the first one to reply. In my opinion, I think you're overvaluing the first couple at the expense of everything else - many of which you listed. In posting this, I didn't only have The Big 3 (and maybe, Laver, Sampras and Borg) in mind, but, say, how would one rank, Berdych, Ferrer and Tsonga. Or, Becker v. Edberg, or Stan v. Andy, etc.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
It's not just objective. Part of it is objective, such as grand slams, weeks at number one, masters 1000s, longevity, etc, and part of it is subjective, such as... off-court actions, foundation/charity work, etc.

This has absolutely nothing to do with GOATdom. Zero. Nada.

Using this logic, because Agassi opened a bunch of charter schools for inner city kids and does philanthropy, he vaults ahead of the other two guys who also have 8 majors (Connors and Lendl)? Similarly, Fed could run over a handicapped child tomorrow and make light of it and he'd still be GOAT. Off court antics/private lives/charity have absolutely nothing to do with who is the greatest tennis player.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Federer might win his 7th Australian Open..... Or we might have a new winner.... either way its the end of the Mummy.... Feds comeback was better than Mummys 3/4 slams won!!!
Not sure about wimbledon 2017 tho. 2018 was awesome the anderson isner match and nadal djokovic was good stuff. Altho wanted to set myself on fire and hang myself by the end of the isner candy match. Ha.
 

Big Bagel

Professional
This has absolutely nothing to do with GOATdom. Zero. Nada.

Using this logic, because Agassi opened a bunch of charter schools for inner city kids and does philanthropy, he vaults ahead of the other two guys who also have 8 majors (Connors and Lendl)? Similarly, Fed could run over a handicapped child tomorrow and make light of it and he'd still be GOAT. Off court antics/private lives/charity have absolutely nothing to do with who is the greatest tennis player.
To me, being the GOAT is more about just being the best tennis player. Based purely on that, you really can't use anybody from the older eras, as they wouldn't stand a chance going up against a prime Djokovic.

Muhammed Ali is knows as "The Greatest" yet probably the majority of people would say he wasn't the best boxer of all time. He's known as "The Greatest" partially because of his boxing career, but also his fight for equality and how he stood up for his religion and all the good he did off the court. You might not take those things into consideration for GOAT, but I do. We don't all have to have the same exact metrics for determine who is the GOAT.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
According to my metric, Djokovic achieved career slam, non-calendar year grand slam, misplaced him from 4th place for consecutive weeks as world number one record and tied his slam tally...according to my metric there too many tie breakers in favor of Djokovic...case closed!...BtW back in 2009 Federer was at 237 weeks as world number one, when he leveled with Sampras at 14 each and nobody was saying he still needs to win his 15th or overtake his ranking records in order to be considered greater player! The whole Media and tennis pundits where already behind the idea of dubbing him as the GOAT...double standards much, eh?

According to your criteria, Sampras and Novak Djokovic are tied on your most important criteria, and Sampras wins on your second criteria. As you stated at the bottom of your post, these two criteria trump all else.

Thus you conceded that Sampras is greater than Novak Djokovic in your view (I know this was unintentional, but you still did it).
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
I like this thread. You are asking specifically for a formula. I haven't seen this asked yet. Also, you have a right to start a thread like this. If others don't like it, then they can skip. it. I have skipped my fair share of threads. But I like this one and I'm also curious to see if others have a formula. And maybe there are some calculators out there that can add up the rankings points, which is the formula that I would use if it weren't so time-consuming. Hopefully, we can all learn from each other without this turning into another pizzing match.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Thank you. I am trying to get beyond the player advocacy and certainly the name-calling, if only for this thread. I've recently "discovered" the site I mentioned, for which you may be familiar (ultimatetennisstatistics.com) which has a GOAT list, if only for the Open Era (for instance, Laver and Rosewall are scored/ranked but only from mid-1968 on), and without studying their methodology too closely, it seems to be a good-faith attempt to try to quantify stats objectively. There may be other sites that do this.

With all this said, I don't really like the trend (and not all that recent) of having to declare a GOAT for everything, especially in sports. At the same time, I can't help diving in, as I've been ranking teams and players since well before I even considered GOAThood. I also don't want all the GOAT talk to diminish the joy of watching a great sport, and enjoying a variety of players.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
To me, being the GOAT is more about just being the best tennis player. Based purely on that, you really can't use anybody from the older eras, as they wouldn't stand a chance going up against a prime Djokovic.

Muhammed Ali is knows as "The Greatest" yet probably the majority of people would say he wasn't the best boxer of all time. He's known as "The Greatest" partially because of his boxing career, but also his fight for equality and how he stood up for his religion and all the good he did off the court. You might not take those things into consideration for GOAT, but I do. We don't all have to have the same exact metrics for determine who is the GOAT.

I got you, but Ali was the best boxer. There are boxers with better numbers than him, but taking into account competition he is the best. This also makes a great case for Djokovic. When you see who he beat to get his titles you can just say wow.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
I'm trying to put myself in a player's shoes. What would I want personally?

I would want the most points in the rankings because it pays the most money and it gets me to world #1. Using this criteria, it gives far more weight to reaching a slam semi than it does getting knocked out in the first round. And it should, since a 5-1 record is far better than 0-1. Also, reaching a slam semi these days pays about 800K more than getting knocked out early in the first round. Using this criteria puts Stan Wawrinka way above Murray in my book in the rankings, despite being tied at 3 slam titles each. I would look at going deep in all tournaments as being more impressive than getting bumped early.

I.e, I would look at adding up all of the rankings' points for each tournament of the GOATS over the players' career. I would use the current ATP formula. I like this better than using year-end #1. Year-end #1 to me isn't huge at all. If player A ends the year with 8000 points and player B ends at 7990, then I wouldn't think that player B was that much worse than player A.

I would also love a CYGS. That to me should add a ton of bonus points. A CYGS is the ultimate accomplishment. Laver arguably won 3 of these, when looking at his amateur CYGS, his pro CYGS, and his Open ERA CYGS. And those wins weren't cheap ones for Laver. Laver isn't even in my top 20 of favorite players ever. But he's got a massive case for GOAT, based on this.

Adding up the points to me takes care of the weeks at #1 as well Of course, this method takes a ton of time. As far as adding points for CYGS, I won't know how I'd do that. But I think a CYGS all by itself is better than any season so far. I.e, I think that a CYGS should add at least another 5000 points to the rankings for that year. It is that impressive.

A CYGS is the ultimate accomplishment in tennis now and it comes with the ultimate amount of pressure. Steffi Graf spoke volumes about the pressure she faced in 1988. Serena appeared to have it in the bag until she choked at the USO in 2015. She had no right losing that semi. But she was way off of her game. The pressure eventually caused her to cave.

I'm still trying to work out my own formula, though I tend to look more at Year-end #1 than weeks at #1. Your point, though, is well-taken.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
I got you, but Ali was the best boxer. There are boxers with better numbers than him, but taking into account competition he is the best. This also makes a great case for Djokovic. When you see who he beat to get his titles you can just say wow.

But how can you quantify this and (/or) is it worth trying to?
 
I got you, but Ali was the best boxer. There are boxers with better numbers than him, but taking into account competition he is the best. This also makes a great case for Djokovic. When you see who he beat to get his titles you can just say wow.
SUGAR RAY
U
G
A
R

R
A
Y
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
According to your criteria, Sampras and Novak Djokovic are tied on your most important criteria, and Sampras wins on your second criteria. As you stated at the bottom of your post, these two criteria trump all else.

Thus you conceded that Sampras is greater than Novak Djokovic in your view (I know this was unintentional, but you still did it).
Sampras is equal right now IMO. Prob stats favor djokovic tho.
 

Pheasant

Legend
I'm still trying to work out my own formula, though I tend to look more at Year-end #1 than weeks at #1. Your point, though, is well-taken.

Year-end #1 is cool. But look at this:

2019: Player A ends the year #1 with 6000 points. Player B ends the year #2 with 5990 points.
2020: Player B ends the year #2 with 10000 points. Player A ends the year #19 with 1100 points

Player B in this scenario has dusted player A over the two year span(15990 total points vs 7100(. However, Player A leads player B 1-0 in year-end #1. This was my justification. However, I'm not saying that I'm right here either. And I certainly won't trash anybody for using year-end #1 as a huge criteria. After all, this site would be extremely boring if we all agreed with each other. Hopefully, we can all learn from each other. I have just recently stopped playing a huge emphasis on weeks at #1 as well, although that's still a cool accomplishment too. I will hopefully continue to learn things from other posters.

With that being said, welcome to the site.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Laver and Pancho have more weeks at No.1 than Fed.

Pancho for sure, Laver maybe too though there was no running computer in those days. This was pre-open era though, so while I do give those guys a lot of credit Pancho being #1 for 8+ years doesn't make him automatically much greater than Federer considering it was a split and less competitive field overall.

I do however tend to think Pancho is the GOAT and greater than Laver at least. I think he was the best player of that era and even if I don't quite view his stretch at number one the same as if it took place in the OE it's still quite insane, he also taught himself tennis...

I put it in a nutshell earlier but perhaps I should go into a bit more detail re. Federer vs Laver, Federer has much better longevity than Laver, I think he was more consistent and dominant as well - he lost 3 times in straight sets in pro major finals to Rosewall in his peak years. Don't see that happening to Federer when aside from 2008 he took a set from Nadal everytime he played on even his worst surface at a major. I have Laver at #1 for 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 and 70 so 6 years, not a big difference between him and Federer in that regard. Then there's the Grand Slam and his insane number of titles etc..., so it's close but Laver being done contending in slams at an age Federer had at least 5-6 more years still winning them is a compelling reason for me to side with Federer.
 

Big Bagel

Professional
I got you, but Ali was the best boxer.
Just take a look at what Im(moral) Winner and swordtennis have said. While Ali was phenomenal for his time, there's plenty of guys out there who would say that he is not the best boxer to ever set foot in the ring. Greatest trash talker, sure, but not necessarily best boxer.
But how can you quantify this and (/or) is it worth trying to?
It would be very difficult and quite subjective to quantify it, so I don't think that it is worth trying to quantify it.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
But how can you quantify this and (/or) is it worth trying to?

My theory is that you have to watch the player live to be able to comment. I can't comment on Ray Robinson as I did not watch him live. However, I watched Ali. The best footballer I watched was Maradona. The best basketball player I watched was Jordan. The best tennis player I watched is Djokovic.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Just take a look at what Im(moral) Winner and swordtennis have said. While Ali was phenomenal for his time, there's plenty of guys out there who would say that he is not the best boxer to ever set foot in the ring. Greatest trash talker, sure, but not necessarily best boxer.

It would be very difficult and quite subjective to quantify it, so I don't think that it is worth trying to quantify it.
I loved Ali. But there tends to be a mythical love affair with him. He was not a great boxer really. He did not really know how to fight. He depended on the big bruisers that moved forward for him to look great. When he had to actually dictate and take the fight to his opponents he looked really wacked out. Jimmy young fight ken norton joe frazier etc...larry holmes was a greater fighter and boxer. Now to me lennox lewis is the goat heavy. Huge fast and massive power. He also is a beast mentally. Knocked out cold twice demands rematches and goes in and destroys them.
 
D

Deleted member 757377

Guest
I got you, but Ali was the best boxer. There are boxers with better numbers than him, but taking into account competition he is the best. This also makes a great case for Djokovic. When you see who he beat to get his titles you can just say wow.
Rocky Marciano is up there too.

Started to boxe late, no great technique, small size, ended undefeated with 49 wins and 43 of knockouts.
 
Just to note, although many forum members already know, at http://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/goatList you can configure the weights yourself and then publish your list with the permalink button.
You can remove the points category that you think is not important at all (by using x0 factor), and you can emphasize what you think is more important (by using the x2, x3 or more factors).
If you need more configuration in this, please let me know to see what are your thoughts and what can be actually done.
 
Last edited:

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
My theory is that you have to watch the player live to be able to comment. I can't comment on Ray Robinson as I did not watch him live. However, I watched Ali. The best footballer I watched was Maradona. The best basketball player I watched was Jordan. The best tennis player I watched is Djokovic.
1960s ali was a sight to behold agreed. However he relied 100% on speed and youthful exuberance. His fighting skills were exposed in the 1970s. Still great but he did get by with the rope a dope and favorable judges. Now the last round of the manila bout was an exception. He fought basically and died in that match.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
I loved Ali. But there tends to be a mythical love affair with him. He was not a great boxer really. He did not really know how to fight. He depended on the big bruisers that moved forward for him to look great. When he had to actually dictate and take the fight to his opponents he looked really wacked out. Jimmy young fight ken norton joe frazier etc...larry holmes was a greater fighter and boxer. Now to me lennox lewis is the goat heavy. Huge fast and massive power. He also is a beast mentally. Knocked out cold twice demands rematches and goes in and destroys them.


I can't explain in words what that moment meant.

Alss this one

 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Rocky Marciano is up there too.

Started to boxe late, no great technique, small size, ended undefeated with 49 wins and 43 of knockouts.
185 pounds! Unreal power in that right hand. The power of a 250 pounder. That power was genetic man.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
I watch those matches at least 2 times a year. Also love the rants with dan sheridan and cosell. Ali was the greatest. Maybe not the greatest fighter but just The Greatest. Unreal mental strength.

When you watch Djokovic vs Nadal AO2012, RG2013 and W2018 it is like watching this. How much human spirit and body can take.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
If I answered my own post (Mini-spoiler: I'm not there yet), here's how I would try to go about it:

  • I would confine it to those who played (entirely?) in the Open Era...50/51 years and counting
  • It would have to work not only to determine #1 (to that point in time) but also to compare and rank, say, Cilic and DelPotro, or Ferrer and Tsonga.
  • While it may influence my personal preference, there is no way to objectively quantify style of play, influence or any of that other purely subjective stuff
  • "Big Titles" would be a huge component, though not the only thing. I would agree with most that not all Big Titles have the same value. I would probably weigh majors (slams, if you will) 1.5 to 2x more than 1000s, and I would equate 1000s to Olympic Gold and WTFs.
  • What to do with 500 and below? Not sure, but if considered, 500s would (at most) be given half the weight of 1000s...I may not consider 250s - not sure..
What else...and other Dilemmas (that, and I need more business/work and life):
  • I'd want to factor in, to some degree, both weeks at #1 and year-end #1. I tend to prefer the latter, but not entirely sure.
  • Head-to-Head? I don't know how to factor that in, so I probably would not. But put it this way: If Rafa beats Fed (or vice versa) that h2h win is already helping them with respect to (probably) Big Titles won, and winning percentage, and perhaps, winning percentage versus Top 10's, which I may wish to include.
  • Distribution of Titles - I hear this discussed a lot here, but it really doesn't do much for me. To be more blunt, who really cares, and how would you quantify that? I may make an exception by giving a slight bonus for Career Grand Slam, and more still for 4 in a row...and just a little more for CYGS, but not enough to make a huge difference.
  • Dilemma: Many such lists either favor "Peak Value" or "Career Value". I think this list should favor the latter of the two. Someone like Borg (who, essentially retired at age 26) presents a dilemma. Of course, he did still win 11 majors, but he didn't rack up the longevity stats of Connors, Lendl, The Big 3, etc. Still, one can't just award him more than what he accomplished.
  • Lastly, for now, injuries: Similarly, there's just no way to factor them in objectively.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
I remember 1974. No one, I mean no one, thought that Ali would survive 2-3 rounds. Possibility that he could win never crossed anybodies mind. Foreman destroyed Frazier and Norton in an incredible fashion. People were writing to Foreman begging him not to kill Ali. Seeing this outcome was seeing a miracle.
 
Top