Rankings of Greats by tennis experts

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Good post. I know I'm responding years late but I wanted to toss out something that occurred about Agassi and your opinion on it. I think on paper Agassi, with his incredible stroking ability on both sides is comparable or superior to many of the all time greats. He had a very good although not great serve and he was fast enough although he wasn't as quick as greats of recent years like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic to gave a few names.

    My thought is this, on paper with Agassi's super strokes on both sides, great return, very good serve and just plain machine-like power groundstrokes that he should be competitive with perhaps any player that ever lived on any surface. Could it be that we often tend to rank him on what he should have been? He was great but I think he should have done so much more.
     
  2. thrust

    thrust Professional

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    I agree that Agassi is often ranked on what he should or possibly could have been. Fact IS Andre has 8 slams, Pete-14, Nadal-15, Novak-12. IMO, Agassi is somewhat overrated.
     
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Counting major titles is a very superficial analysis of greatness.
     
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  4. deacsyoga

    deacsyoga Professional

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    On paper maybe but we already know from the evidence that exists this is almost certainly not the case. Agassi is a combined 0-6 vs Sampras at Wimbledon/U.S Open. A combined 0-9 at Wimbledon/U.S Open/YEC semis and finals (excluding RR non elimination matches). We know factually peak to peak he isnt competitive with Sampras on any faster surface really, as he doesnt get far enough to play Sampras anytime he isnt playing well. So there is no way he is competitive with any player that ever lived on every surface.

    As talented as Agassi was a closer breakdown of his career shows he is only truly elite in a historical sense on hard courts, although being in an era where hard courts is the dominant surface that is still significant. On grass, clay, carpet, he did very well to become a major champion on each, but even in his own era he is barely in the bottom end of the elite group.

    I dont entirely agree. It is perhaps a flawed way to measure exact quality, but it is the most objective data available, and it also the only way to exlude personal bias and agendas which nearly all fans have for and against certain players. And especialy when comparing players of the same era, it is almost irrefutable.
     
  5. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I believe you misinterpreted what I meant. I believe Agassi was very strong on all surfaces at his best. He had all the strokes. Perhaps he wasn't as fast as some but he was fast enough. I believe for example Agassi's former brother in law Pancho Gonzalez would beat him the majority of the time on grass but it wouldn't mean that Agassi would not be there with a chance to win and a danger to upset the great Gonzalez. I think Agassi could be very tough on red clay against almost any great clay player with the exception of Nadal and Borg. And even then I could see him winning if they are off their game. On hard surface Agassi would be tough against Ivan Lendl but I think Lendl at his best would win the majority if it was played at Flushing Meadow.

    Agassi could be a bit of a head case. I don't think he mentally was nearly as strong as Sampras. I didn't say he was going to be the favorite in all matches on all surfaces but he did win all four majors on every surface but he was not going to be wipe out without a chance of winning against most greats. The 1993 Wimbledon is a perfect example. Sampras won the match but in five sets on a surface which may have been Sampras' best surface. Sampras won 6-2 6-2 3-6 3-6 6-4.

    For pure stroking technique you would be hard pressed to find anyone better than Agassi.
     
  6. deacsyoga

    deacsyoga Professional

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    I think I mostly get what you mean, but I still dont entirely agree. I agree his pure ball striking talent you would think that should be the case. Just as someone who followed his career (and btw was a huge Agassi fan back in the day, the 95 U.S Open final defeat was my most crushing result ever at the time) and appreciated how talented he was, and how well he could play at his best, I still dont entirely agree.

    Even at his best on clay he wasnt as formidable as people like Courier, Muster, Bruguera at their best in his own era. I have a hard time following his career and even his best performances on clay to see him being a real tough out for everyone bar Nadal and Borg on clay. Federer and Djokovic for instance I would see beating Agassi pretty much almost every match on clay, even during his rare hot spells on the surface. On grass he was pretty far below Sampras even when playing at his top generally speaking, and his best was less unplayable than Ivanisevic, Krajicek, oldish Becker even at their best. On carpet he generally wasnt that formidable despite doing well to win a YEC early in his career and make another final there.

    Things just dont always play out exactly how it seems they should potentially. Maybe if he were coached better or by someone better than Bollitieri when he was younger it would be different, I dont know. The fact his serve is just good, far from exceptional, combined with his speed and ability to play defense being again just good far from exceptional, is a tough combination to go around, even with the best ball striking talents. Especialy when joined with not having much net skills, and not having the mental toughness of most of the greats either.
     
  7. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Actually a good question is what player would be competitive on all surfaces against the player famous for being the all time great on that surface? For example for argument's sake "Let's say Let's say Agassi is the all time number one on slow hard court for the Australian, Nadal the all time great on red clay, Sampras (I know Federer won more Wimbledons but I'm picking Sampras for a different name since I'm picking Federer for the US Open Hard court) the all time great on grass and Federer for the US Open hard court. What player could stand in there with at least a decent chance at beating all of them? You can pick one year like McEnroe in 1984, Hoad in 1959, Tilden in 1925, Laver in 1967 or Federer in 2006 for example.

    Edit-I haven't done any in depth study on who is the best necessarily on each surface, I was throwing out some names to use for the example for the best on a surface. I knew a number of them were super on that surface.
     
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  8. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    If you turn back the clock to the fifties and earlier, most of the great players were great on all surfaces, Tilden, Vines, Budge, Riggs, Kramer, Segura, Trabert, Hoad, Rosewall, Laver, Emerson won important titles on clay as well as grass.
    Even Gonzales and Sedgman had some important runner-up finishes at Roland Garros, twice each.

    Somewhere along the line, all-round ability was sacrificed.
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I was actually thinking a guy like a healthy peak Hoad would stand a decent shot against any player on any surface on his day also. I remember Soederling overpowering Nadal at the French one year with his serve and powerful groundstrokes. Hoad certainly at his best would possibly be able to do that. On grass of course he would have a shot against anyone and on hard court also.

    Just imagine a healthy peak level Hoad who has explosive power and has a good chance to go into the zone playing Nadal. Let's say Hoad can play at top level 35% of the time for a full match. Actually we would have the excitement of a possible upset of Nadal.

    I'm not necessarily saying I have the peak Hoad would beat Nadal but some player of that type, if there is such a player. Some might argue Ellsworth Vines was that type.

    Arthur Ashe said that Pancho Gonzalez would be in every match because of his overpowering serve. Perhaps Gonzalez may be chosen. Who knows? It could be the obvious choices in the all-time greats like Federer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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