Rafter or Edberg? Who was better?

Rafter gets underrated here. His volleys were on par and his serve was better than Edbergs. Edberg had the better ground game but not by much his forehand was pretty mediocre. He had slightly better returns and passing shots, but Rafter was the better athlete.
wasn't rafter also injured a lot early in his career and thus had a rather late and short peak?
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
Without looking at statistics i felt Edberg was all round slightly better, watched them both serve volleying at wimbledon, Edbergs first volley following in his serve was very impressive, great footwork.
Statistics SHOULD count more than anything. Both Stefan and Rafter are two of my all time favorite players, still, I would say that Edberg was the more consistently great player than Rafter. Again, check out the statistics.
 

California

Rookie
Rafter could not break Sampras serve in the wimby final 2000 and also not at us open 2001.

Edberg won his titles when there were no two handed backhands. No Courier, no Ivanisevic. And Agassi was so stupid to not play in wimbledon till 1991. Edbergs serve was very attackable for two handed backhands.
Well he beat Courier in the 1991 US Open final in a straight set lesson.... not sure what you are talking about.
 

California

Rookie
Said no statistician ever.


It is a more nuanced answer than that when you talk about a player as compromised by injury as Rafter.

Unfortunately that brief period between his return from wrist surgery in 1997 and his shoulder injury at the 1999 USO was the only time we got to see him at full capacity.
Those stats I quoted are career stats, when Rafter was healthy enough to play, not when he was injured off the tour which he was a couple times with wrist and shoulder injuries. Are you saying when he was healthy enough to play he was still injured so that stats aren't representative of his play? I don't even believe Rafter would agree with that opinion. He would probably say if he was out there he was good to go. No excuses, give it your all and see what happens... he was a great competitor and guy.
 

Cashman

Professional
Are you saying when he was healthy enough to play he was still injured so that stats aren't representative of his play?
I’m saying that:
  • pre-1994 he hadn’t broken through
  • 1995 was badly impacted by recurring wrist problems
  • 1996 he was off the tour post-surgery
  • FO 1997 to Cincinnati 1999 he was actually able to perform
  • USO 1999 he did his shoulder, which killed his serve and he was never the same player again
which means that his career statistics incorporate too many external factors to be a decent summary of his abilities at any given point in time.

[QUOTE="California, post: 13662824, member: 3347"I don't even believe Rafter would agree with that opinion. He would probably say if he was out there he was good to go. No excuses, give it your all and see what happens... he was a great competitor and guy.[/QUOTE]
Nonsense logic. There is a big difference between fit to play and representative of a player’s overall ability.
 

California

Rookie
I’m saying that:
  • pre-1994 he hadn’t broken through
  • 1995 was badly impacted by recurring wrist problems
  • 1996 he was off the tour post-surgery
  • FO 1997 to Cincinnati 1999 he was actually able to perform
  • USO 1999 he did his shoulder, which killed his serve and he was never the same player again
which means that his career statistics incorporate too many external factors to be a decent summary of his abilities at any given point in time.

[QUOTE="California, post: 13662824, member: 3347"I don't even believe Rafter would agree with that opinion. He would probably say if he was out there he was good to go. No excuses, give it your all and see what happens... he was a great competitor and guy.
Ok, you win. I am done.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Um, Edberg? not sure why this would even be a question. Still, Pat was very, very good. Should have snagged a Wimby in my opinion.
 

TheRed

Professional
Rafter gets underrated here. His volleys were on par and his serve was better than Edbergs. Edberg had the better ground game but not by much his forehand was pretty mediocre. He had slightly better returns and passing shots, but Rafter was the better athlete.
I would disagree with your breakdown starting with Rafter being the better athlete. Edberg wasn't as muscular as Rafter but he moved better than Rafter (not that Rafter was bad) and covered the net better. Just because his movement was so smooth and effortless doesn't mean he wasn't incredibly athletic and fast. Edberg had a much better backhand volley and is very close with Rafter on the forehand side. His ground game, including the return was significantly better than Rafter. Rafter wasn't very good on either wing. Edberg had one of the best one handed backhands and his forehand was ugly but fairly consistent. Tennis magazine had a breakdown of this groundstrokes years ago and the stats showed that his forehand actually hit more winners than the backhand. Rafter was not a good returner. Edberg was in fact known as a good returner.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
I would disagree with your breakdown starting with Rafter being the better athlete. Edberg wasn't as muscular as Rafter but he moved better than Rafter (not that Rafter was bad) and covered the net better. Just because his movement was so smooth and effortless doesn't mean he wasn't incredibly athletic and fast. Edberg had a much better backhand volley and is very close with Rafter on the forehand side. His ground game, including the return was significantly better than Rafter. Rafter wasn't very good on either wing. Edberg had one of the best one handed backhands and his forehand was ugly but fairly consistent. Tennis magazine had a breakdown of this groundstrokes years ago and the stats showed that his forehand actually hit more winners than the backhand. Rafter was not a good returner. Edberg was in fact known as a good returner.
Disagree with the assessment of their respective volley. Rafters volleys were as good as it can get IMO. There are a lot of highlight videos and I also watched all his important matches (Agassi Wimbledon semis, Sampras US 98, Goran etc.) during his prime and in all of them he volleys superb. Edbergs volley on the other hand I always found a little overrated given that it is mostly put on par with Mac’s as best of all time. Even in their three matches in 95 I got the impression that Rafter was the better volleyer in those. Anyways, even if we come to the conclusion, that Edberg was ahead in terms of volleying it sure as hell wasn’t “clearly” or “much better” as stated here by some. Rafters return was worse than Edbergs but during his prime years it was actually quite good, way better than what he is given credit for. As for athleticism, Rafter was a very elegant mover and also very quick to the net on top of having a great fighting spirit. I cannot really put him behind Edberg here.
 

TheRed

Professional
Disagree with the assessment of their respective volley. Rafters volleys were as good as it can get IMO. There are a lot of highlight videos and I also watched all his important matches (Agassi Wimbledon semis, Sampras US 98, Goran etc.) during his prime and in all of them he volleys superb. Edbergs volley on the other hand I always found a little overrated given that it is mostly put on par with Mac’s as best of all time. Even in their three matches in 95 I got the impression that Rafter was the better volleyer in those. Anyways, even if we come to the conclusion, that Edberg was ahead in terms of volleying it sure as hell wasn’t “clearly” or “much better” as stated here by some. Rafters return was worse than Edbergs but during his prime years it was actually quite good, way better than what he is given credit for. As for athleticism, Rafter was a very elegant mover and also very quick to the net on top of having a great fighting spirit. I cannot really put him behind Edberg here.
I agree. Edberg's volleys were not clearly better. I thought Rafter's forehand volley was more forceful, more suffocating and made less mistakes. Edberg's backhand volley was the best I've ever seen. Rafter was also clearly the better server. What made Edberg better was his groundstrokes and returns, especially the returns. Rafter was sorta of an "annoying" returner, where if he gets hot, he'll return a few in a row, some as winners, almost lucky in a way, as a byproduct of his aggression. Edberg was a more consistent returner. Frankly, I modeled my volleys after Edberg but I really wanted to be Rafter, in that balls out, I'll never die fighting way
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
I agree. Edberg's volleys were not clearly better. I thought Rafter's forehand volley was more forceful, more suffocating and made less mistakes. Edberg's backhand volley was the best I've ever seen. Rafter was also clearly the better server. What made Edberg better was his groundstrokes and returns, especially the returns. Rafter was sorta of an "annoying" returner, where if he gets hot, he'll return a few in a row, some as winners, almost lucky in a way, as a byproduct of his aggression. Edberg was a more consistent returner. Frankly, I modeled my volleys after Edberg but I really wanted to be Rafter, in that balls out, I'll never die fighting way
I think we both agree that Edberg was the better player both more successful and also had the higher peak. However, I find Rafter gets sometimes a little underrated here which is why I raised this points. You are completely right on his return, it was sometimes a little do or die, with many errors but could also produce lots of winners when on (just one example the 4R match against Becker at Wimbledon 99).
 

Rui Lopes

New User
To be honest , this question by itself, makes the person who asks it look really stupid...If you try to watch tennis with your eyes open, you will know the answer with 0 doubts...
Don´t wan´t to be offensive , but that´s really it...
Pat Rafter was an awesome player thought...
 
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