Players with dominant H2H records over all main rivals in the 70s, 80s, 90s

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
There’s not many of these players around.

Am I right in thinking that
70s Borg
80s lendl Becker
90s Sampras

Really is a select few and to me it’s massive.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Lendl leads Becker 11-10, so Becker does not lead everyone. He did exceptionally well against the big ones though, being at least on par with everyone except Agassi, Sampras and Lendl including H2Hs of:
Ivanisevic 10-9
Edberg 25-10
Connors 6-0
McEnroe 8-2
Stich 8-4
Chang 6-1
Courier 6-1
Gilbert 6-4
Wilander 7-3
Noah 4-2
Mecir 7-2
Korda 6-0
Muster 2-1
krajicek 4-4
Kafelnikov 4-2
Hewitt 1-0
Rafter 2-1
Henman 2-0
Kiefer 2-0
Bruguera 2-2
His problem was more that he lost a lot of times against lesser players and also has negative H2H at slams against top players he was dominating outside of slams (being the reverse in his rivalry with Lendl).
Sampras was 4-5 against Stich and 4-6 against Krajicek however I wouldn’t call them his rivals given that he played them a total number of three times at slams. I think the only one who really does not have any meaningful negative H2H (meaning one of a considerable sample size of matches) would be Borg, some might argue though that he would have ended with a losing score against Mac most likely had he continued playing.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
Lendl is 13-14 against Edberg, including 4-5 at slams. He's also 2-6 against Borg, but given that they didn't play after 1981, I wouldn't call him a main rival.

Borg was 7-7 against McEnroe but only 1-3 against him at slams.

Sampras is probably the best example I can think of although he has a few notable negative head to heads, including against Hewitt (4-5), Safin (3-4), Stich (4-5) and Krajicek (4-6).

It's actually very difficult to have a dominant head to head against all of your main rivals, largely because younger ATGs will usually come onto the scene and start winning (Connors-Lendl being an excellent example). Sampras had the advantage of no younger ATGs coming on to the scene until after he'd gone, and he was too good for Agassi. That being said, he came onto a field with ludicrous strength, including Edberg, Becker and Lendl all playing well.

Djokovic is perhaps a similar example, coming into an even tougher field but also having no younger ATGs to surpass him
 
Last edited:

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Lendl is 13-14 against Edberg, including 4-5 at slams. He's also 2-6 against Borg, but given that they didn't play after 1981, I wouldn't call him a main rival.

Borg was 7-7 against McEnroe but only 1-3 against him at slams.

Sampras is probably the best example I can think of although he has a few notable negative head to heads, including against Hewitt (4-5), Safin (3-4), Stich (4-5) and Krajicek (4-6).

It's actually very difficult to have a dominant head to head against all of your main rivals, largely because younger ATGs will usually come onto the scene and start winning (Connors-Lendl being an excellent example). Sampras had the advantage of no younger ATGs coming on to the scene until after he'd gone, and he was too good for Agassi. That being said, he came onto a field with ludicrous strength, including Edberg, Becker and Lendl all playing well.

Djokovic is perhaps a similar example, coming into an even tougher field but also having no younger ATGs to surpass him
Borg might be 1-3 in slams but we should also keep in mind that their rivalry favors Mac in the sense that they only ever played on grass/hard and carpet which are Macs preferred surfaces. Had they played a couple of times on clay and at the French he would be leading this H2H. I really think Borg comes closest to what OP is asking.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
Borg might be 1-3 in slams but we should also keep in mind that their rivalry favors Mac in the sense that they only ever played on grass/hard and carpet which are Macs preferred surfaces. Had they played a couple of times on clay and at the French he would be leading this H2H. I really think Borg comes closest to what OP is asking.
Oh, certainly, I think this is unfairly skewed in Mac's favour. He would have had no chance at RG against Borg, even in 1981. But because McEnroe was younger and they never played on clay, the H2H is even and the slam H2H favours McEnroe. So Borg doesn't have a dominant head to head against all his main rivals, as per OP. However, you may be right that he probably comes closest, given almost no one had a positive H2H against him.
 
Last edited:

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Oh, certainly, I think this is unfairly skewed in Mac's favour. He would have had no chance at RG against Borg, even in 1981. But because McEnroe was younger and they never played on clay, the H2H is even and the slam H2H favours McEnroe. So Borg doesn't have a dominant head to head against all his main rivals, as per OP. However, you maybe right that he probably comes closest, given almost no one had a positive H2H against him.
I think he isn’t trailing any H2H which has at least 5 meetings or so. Considering that he had to play a lot of ATGs this is actually very impressive. I need to admit however, that his early retirement is also heavily responsible for this. An older Borg against peak Becker wouldn’t have ended well for Borg I guess.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
I think he isn’t trailing any H2H which has at least 5 meetings or so. Considering that he had to play a lot of ATGs this is actually very impressive. I need to admit however, that his early retirement is also heavily responsible for this. An older Borg against peak Becker wouldn’t have ended well for Borg I guess.
Yes Borg was certainly impressive in this respect. In my book, he's a top tier ATG with his surface adaptability being perhaps his most impressive attribute. But had he stuck around, McEnroe would have likely led the H2H, and Becker too, as you suggested, given his level on grass as well as indoors.

This all just shows how difficult it is to dominate ALL your main rivals in normal circumstances. But in the context in which he played, Borg's record is one of the very best (Djokovic being another notable example).
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Yes Borg was certainly impressive in this respect. In my book, he's a top tier ATG with his surface adaptability being perhaps his most impressive attribute. But had he stuck around, McEnroe would have likely led the H2H, and Becker too, as you suggested, given his level on grass as well as indoors.

This all just shows how difficult it is to dominate ALL your main rivals in normal circumstances. But in the context in which he played, Borg's record is one of the very best (Djokovic being another notable example).
I think his best chance would have been had he met Becker and Mac a couple of times on clay. He was way more competitive on their preferred surfaces (carpet and grass) than they were on clay. Djokovic is also a very good example. He only really trails Roddick, however let’s say for how much time he will stick around and how it will turn out once he gets older.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
I think his best chance would have been had he met Becker and Mac a couple of times on clay. He was way more competitive on their preferred surfaces (carpet and grass) than they were on clay. Djokovic is also a very good example. He only really trails Roddick, however let’s say for how much time he will stick around and how it will turn out once he gets older.
Agreed. Borg was an all rounder, who was better than both Mac and Becker on his worst surface than they were on theirs (and I would argue better on his best than they were on theirs). If he managed to meet them a couple of times on clay, he may have stayed ahead. Who knows?

Djokovic has had the misfortune of coming up in the Fedal era. However, he's not had younger ATGs to knock him off the top. But perhaps we'll see that in the next couple of years
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
You listed 'em. PETE'S is no doubt the most impressive after bursting onto the scene of a ridiculously deep field full of ATGs. Impressive how he managed to turn it around against Kracijek there towards the end. Their tiebreaker in the 2000 US Open was legendary.
 

KG1965

Legend
it was truly legendary. Clutchist player of all time
A careful reading says something else: Pete has a much lower percentage of wins than the other ATGs, this means he has just won a lot of matches, but has lost a large number of matches, just a little.
 

KG1965

Legend
90s Sampras
The truth is that between Sampras and the world number 15 the distance was small compared to other ATGs.

Pete was good at maximizing his slam successes, but the domain is relatively weak because he lost a lot in percentage.

Domination is something else, it means winning almost always.
 

serve

Rookie
it was truly legendary. Clutchist player of all time
Although it has to be said, that he largely was clutch in conditions that favored him, at WIM and the USO. He is 12:3 in finals there, which is great obviously. But then, Federer until 2012 is 12:2 at the same tournaments and does not get that recognition. For all his greatness, I feel, that Sampras was a bit lucky with Agassi not putting up a sustained challenge. If they would have played consistently against each other at all 4 majors, the h2h might look quite different for example. Long story short, conditions and circumstances helped Sampras in his “domination”.
 

serve

Rookie
Same thing with Borg by the way. If Nadal for example retires at the same age, end of 2011, he would have retired with a comfortable h2h advantage against anyone as well ...
 
Top