Sampras never created such controversy and division among tennis fans

terribleIVAN

Professional
Reading the threads today, almost all of them have to do with the big 3 and who's greater or not in relation to the slam record, held by Federer.

Which brings me to the man Fed replaced at the top of the record books, Pete.

Pete only had Agassi and Becker to contend with, and many people complained about his boring style of play, yet he never created such controversy among tennis fans as the one permeating Federer.

I wonder why is that ?

Is Federer a more controversial and divisive player than Pete ?
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are PR guys since long time ago.
Sampras was only interested in winning in the court and despised everything behind the scenes.
Zero drama, unlike the other 3.
It is one of the most admirable features of "Pistol" Pete.
His authenticity.
And in the world of appearances and spectacle, Sampras did not fit that mold, unlike Agassi, for example.

 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Many Nadal and Djokovic fans hate Federer because their idols are one dimensional grinders. They go on the attack with a kind of small man syndrome.
Agassi was a grinder, by today's standards. But there is no reasonable question about who dominated between Pete and Andre.

Debates about the talent, level and dominance of the Big 3 are complicated and there is no clear answer about who is clearly the best among reasonable people - and there are very few of those in this forum who post a lot.

I could easy make reasonable and convincing arguments supporting any one of the Big 3 as being the best. For me it would all be written masturbation, and I wouldn't not believe a word of my own nonsense. ;)
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are PR guys since long time ago.
Sampras was only interested in winning in the court and despised everything behind the scenes.
Zero drama, unlike the other 3.
It is one of the most admirable features of "Pistol" Pete.
His authenticity.
And in the world of appearances and spectacle, Sampras did not fit that mold, unlike Agassi, for example.

Saint Petros avoided controversy because he was the best of his era. No one was arguing that any of the number of clay beasts were on his level because none won enough to be in the argument. Agassi took himself out by never really establishing dominance until Pete was gone, and even then only in a sort of tennis slot, before Fed and after Pete.

Fed ruled the world up to 2008, and if things had remained that way Nadal would have carved out his place as clearly #2 except on clay. So PR and hype for Fed was easy. Nadal's clay dominance was a foreshadow of things to come, but about 15 years later things are very different. Fed is by far my favorite of this era and my favorite player since Pete retired, but he does not have the same kind of clear dominance as Pete had. It is likely that in the future Pete's stock is going to go up again as people put what has happened since into perspective.
 
1st, no internet then yet, or at least it was only on its initial phase


2nd. ..There were no forums during their time yet for the fan bases to grow and conglomerate. Or it was just beginning.

3rd, Rafa and Fed made tennis so popular

4th ESPN and all these Sports media and apparel maneuvered all these shenanigans with GOAT **** and all that
 
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tonylg

Rookie
Many Federer fans hate Nadal and Djokovic because they are apparently "one dimensional grinders". They go on the attack with a kind of small man syndrome.
I don't hate the players, but I do very much dislike what poly strings have done to the game (and that includes Federer).

The difference is I think Federer could dominate without poly, but the other two not.
 

Tshooter

Legend
...I wonder why is that ?...
Because it took time and trouble to “dial up” at 300bps (1200bps if you were a power user) to Compuserve or alternative and if you bothered to post to a forum you didn’t get a near instant response (it might take hours or days) or any “likes.” It was also relatively expensive. All of which discouraged pointless arguments and general trolling.
 
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Nadal_Django

Hall of Fame
Sampras wasn't dominated by his biggest rivals.
Sampras didn't suffered imaginary decline and oldness at the age of 25.
Sampras wasn't shoved down the fans trouts as the tennis ultimate god and invincible divinity.
Sampras wasn't an establishment and media darling.
Sampras wasn't a choker and mentally soft in tight situations.
Sampras didn't cry after tough losses.
Sampras didn't feast on weak era.
Sampras hypothetical H2H is not 1347:0... etc, etc...
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Sampras wasn't dominated by his biggest rivals.
Sampras didn't suffered imaginary decline and oldness at the age of 25.
Sampras wasn't shoved down the fans trouts as the tennis ultimate god and invincible divinity.
Sampras wasn't an establishment and media darling.
Sampras wasn't a choker and mentally soft in tight situations.
Sampras didn't cry after tough losses.
Sampras didn't feast on weak era.
Sampras hypothetical H2H is not 1347:0... etc, etc...
I agree with some of this, but this is wrong:
Sampras wasn't an establishment and media darling.
Sampras is the reason the whole GOAT stupidity we are now involved in got started. It was media driven, and that's when and how winning the most number of slams got hyped to the one and only meaningful criteria. That's what we are now stuck with. Not Sampras's fault either. It's the press that did it and still keeps pushing it.

It was easy then. He had the most majors, and it looked like that would stand for a long time. Little did people know then what would happen.

What is happening now is much more like Gonzalez, Rosewall and Laver. Or Connors, Borg and Mac. Or Mac and Lendl. In all these cases it has never been 100% settled as to who was clearly the best in these eras. Debates continue.
 
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Druss

Hall of Fame
Reading the threads today, almost all of them have to do with the big 3 and who's greater or not in relation to the slam record, held by Federer.

Which brings me to the man Fed replaced at the top of the record books, Pete.

Pete only had Agassi and Becker to contend with, and many people complained about his boring style of play, yet he never created such controversy among tennis fans as the one permeating Federer.

I wonder why is that ?

Is Federer a more controversial and divisive player than Pete ?
For starters, Becker was not the same 'force' post 1993 when Sampras started winning big...he was no better than Agassi of 2003-05. Which really leaves us with Agassi as his true 'main' rival. Sampras was clearly better than AA, so there was no need of tennis fanbase wars. The same can not be said of the Big 3, who are much closer to each other in terms of level and achievements.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
For starters, Becker was not the same 'force' post 1993 when Sampras started winning big...he was no better than Agassi of 2003-05. Which really leaves us with Agassi as his true 'main' rival. Sampras was clearly better than AA, so there was no need of tennis fanbase wars. The same can not be said of the Big 3, who are much closer to each other in terms of level and achievements.
I agree about Becker in 93, but remember that we were still in the time when peaks were around age 24, and it had been that way for a long time. Not anywhere in that year. Right at the point between 23 and 24. Becker aged fast. Fed had started to fade by that age. You can't see it in the results, but it shows in the stats. 2008 was not totally inexplicable.

I don't know how old you are. The monster Becker was when he first won Wimbledon was beyond belief. He seemed to come out of nowhere, but after that he aged fast. Edberg was even older, so he was 5 years older than Sampras. People forget that. Their peaks really did not intersect. But yes, Agassi was Sampras's main rival.
 
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Enga

Hall of Fame
I really cant imagine how much fan debates would happen in the pre internet eras. People could argue at the stadium yes, but at the end of the day they go home and they don't speak to each other still over the internet. Now we can open up the app or the browser and just argue to our hearts content. That really blows up the whole GOAT debate into much bigger than it could have been. I mean, in the days of Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, though I wasn't a witness to it personally, if you look at the records there are some arguments that could be made in favor of one or the other. If what happened between those players were happening now, it would be a huge debate on these forums.

I don't think human nature has changed. Only the tools at our disposal.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Saint Petros avoided controversy because he was the best of his era. No one was arguing that any of the number of clay beasts were on his level because none won enough to be in the argument. Agassi took himself out by never really establishing dominance until Pete was gone, and even then only in a sort of tennis slot, before Fed and after Pete.

Fed ruled the world up to 2008, and if things had remained that way Nadal would have carved out his place as clearly #2 except on clay. So PR and hype for Fed was easy. Nadal's clay dominance was a foreshadow of things to come, but about 15 years later things are very different. Fed is by far my favorite of this era and my favorite player since Pete retired, but he does not have the same kind of clear dominance as Pete had. It is likely that in the future Pete's stock is going to go up again as people put what has happened since into perspective.
Sampras never had real dominance, let alone clear dominance. Remember he won just one Slam outside of Wimbledon after being 25 (his last tournament, the 2002 US Open). He "only" dominated Wimbledon in that time. And he also didn’t win a single ATP tournament between Wimbledon 2000 (still being 28 years old!) and this 2002 US Open in 34 tries!

But I know what you mean. In his time no single player came close to his number of Slams, because the Slams (or any tournaments) he didn’t win were quite evenly distributed between many players. That isn’t something within his powers though. He didn’t win anything big besides 4 Wimbledons from mid-1997 until mid-2002. So he couldn’t influence who would win the 3 other Slams (and never had influence on RG anyway). Put a Nadal or Djokovic in his era, and they would easily take these opportunities often enough to top 14 (and also would beat him in some of the Slams he actually won).

Compared to the field any of the Big 3 was much more dominant than Sampras, and then on top of that they had to compete against each other.
 
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tudwell

Legend
I agree about Becker in 93, but remember that we were still in the time when peaks were around age 24, and it had been that way for a long time. Not anywhere in that year. Right at the point between 23 and 24. Becker aged fast. Fed had started to fade by that age. You can't see it in the results, but it shows in the stats. 2008 was not totally inexplicable.

I don't know how old you are. The monster Becker was when he first won Wimbledon was beyond belief. He seemed to come out of nowhere, but after that he aged fast. Edberg was even older, so he was 5 years younger than Sampras. People forget that. Their peaks really did not intersect. But yes, Agassi was Sampras's main rival.
It blows my mind that Becker had 3 Wimbledon titles at the age of 21 and then never won another. Tennis was pretty much a different sport back then.
 

tudwell

Legend
Sampras wasn't dominated by his biggest rivals.
Sampras didn't suffered imaginary decline and oldness at the age of 25.
Sampras wasn't shoved down the fans trouts as the tennis ultimate god and invincible divinity.
Sampras wasn't an establishment and media darling.
Sampras wasn't a choker and mentally soft in tight situations.
Sampras didn't cry after tough losses.
Sampras didn't feast on weak era.
Sampras hypothetical H2H is not 1347:0... etc, etc...
If you you're so upset about what the tennis media is shoving down your "trout"... maybe you shouldn't read and/or watch it?

I hardly consume any real contemporary tennis media outside of watching live matches on television (and posting here). Works fine for me. I honestly couldn't tell you what most "analysts'" opinions are on the GOAT debate after Nadal winning his 19th. I just don't care.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Sampras never had real dominance, let alone clear dominance. Remember he won just one Slam outside of Wimbledon after being 25 (his last tournament, the 2002 US Open). He "only" dominated Wimbledon in that time. And he also didn’t win a single ATP tournament between Wimbledon 2000 (still being 28 years old!) and this 2002 US Open in 34 tries!
I'm too tired to say much here, but the 90s was the most irregular, unpredictable decade in Open tennis. You can say that the top players were less dominant, but you can also postulate that there were more very good players who were exceptional for brief periods who were competitive and dangerous. The latter is my view. To me it was the exact opposite of what we see right now.

Yes, the Big 3 have to compete against each other. But in the 90s the talent was spread out more. It was just different. Regardless, Pete was the best of that era, clearly. What he did outside of slams is less important given the mindset of the times, which was to makes those slams the be all and end all of tennis. As for length of careers, just about everyone used to have shorter peaks even if they continued to play for a long time.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
I'm too tired to say much here, but the 90s was the most irregular, unpredictable decade in Open tennis. You can say that the top players were less dominant, but you can also postulate that there were more very good players who were exceptional for brief periods who were competitive and dangerous. The latter is my view. To me it was the exact opposite of what we see right now.

Yes, the Big 3 have to compete against each other. But in the 90s the talent was spread out more. It was just different. Regardless, Pete was the best of that era, clearly. What he did outside of slams is less important given the mindset of the times, which was to makes those slams the be all and end all of tennis. As for length of careers, just about everyone used to have shorter peaks even if they continued to play for a long time.
You are right that in the 90s there were more second tier dangerous players, but still Sampras lost too often against any kind of random players to call it dominance. At least Sampras had none of the caliber of Federer/Nadal/Djokovic against him, so he should have dominated more.

It was just more difficult to dominate with his style I guess. He didn’t have the point construction of the Big 3, but rather played a gambling serve-and-volley style. Other players could do this as well, and while overall they might be weaker than him, it was easy to find a day here and there where the few big points worked for them. The Big 3 have the ability to generally not be dependent on a few points here and there. That’s the reason why they are dominant.

I agree to what you said about the importance of Slams though. But for me this is another instance where Sampras showed his non-dominance. He clearly communicated that he wanted to break Emerson’s “record” of 12 Slams as soon as possible. And then he converted only at Wimbledon from mid-1997 until 2000. Maybe some fans are right when they say he lost motivation AFTER reaching 13 at Wimbledon 2000. But the problematic time were the 3 years BEFORE it. He wanted it at all costs and still couldn’t win a hardcourt Slam.
 

mika1979

Professional
Reading the threads today, almost all of them have to do with the big 3 and who's greater or not in relation to the slam record, held by Federer.

Which brings me to the man Fed replaced at the top of the record books, Pete.

Pete only had Agassi and Becker to contend with, and many people complained about his boring style of play, yet he never created such controversy among tennis fans as the one permeating Federer.

I wonder why is that ?

Is Federer a more controversial and divisive player than Pete ?
No Pete had less competition
 

deaner2211

Semi-Pro
1st, no internet then yet, or at least it was only on its initial phase


2nd. ..There were no forums during their time yet for the fan bases to grow and conglomerate. Or it was just beginning.

3rd, Rafa and Fed made tennis so popular

4th ESPN and all these Sports media and apparel maneuvered all these shenanigans with GOAT **** and all that
If Rafa and Fed made tennis so popular then explain how the popularity of tennis decreased after Sampras in the biggest tennis market the USA?
 

chicagodude

Professional
To be honest, there was quite a rivalry between the Agassi and Sampras fans back then as well.
And for those who say well Sampras was clearly better, make no mistake that there were still plenty of discussions on whether Agassi was greater due to having won all slams.

The fact that there were no online communities for them to gather however is a big reason there was no general feeling of great division and controversy.
Today's incredible polarization also has a lot to do with how close all 3 are in terms of accomplishments, you can easily pick and choose stats to your liking to 'defend' any of them to be the greatest: Fed's slam, WTF and #1 weeks records, Djokovic's non-CYGS and H2Hs, Nadal's 10-year streak of winning slams, MS1000 record and OG, etc.

With Sampras the only argument for Agassi was really his FO slam and that's it, so even among his ardent fans it was relatively rare for someone to really claim him as greater than Sampras in terms of accomplishments.
 

Sunny Ali

Hall of Fame
Saint Petros avoided controversy because he was the best of his era. No one was arguing that any of the number of clay beasts were on his level because none won enough to be in the argument. Agassi took himself out by never really establishing dominance until Pete was gone, and even then only in a sort of tennis slot, before Fed and after Pete.

Fed ruled the world up to 2008, and if things had remained that way Nadal would have carved out his place as clearly #2 except on clay. So PR and hype for Fed was easy. Nadal's clay dominance was a foreshadow of things to come, but about 15 years later things are very different. Fed is by far my favorite of this era and my favorite player since Pete retired, but he does not have the same kind of clear dominance as Pete had. It is likely that in the future Pete's stock is going to go up again as people put what has happened since into perspective.
Nailed it! Great post! :)

Sampras was peerless while Federer has 2 other players as good or better than him.
 

Raphael Nadal

Semi-Pro
Many Nadal and Djokovic fans hate Federer because their idols are one dimensional grinders. They go on the attack with a kind of small man syndrome.
I don't think Rafa fans have a problem with Federer.
Rafa fans have a problem with Federer fans :)
Federer never had anything that Rafa fans wanted Rafa to have, so Federer can't be the problem.
Federer was always seen as a bit of a servebot, and known for shanking a lot.....so the opposite of Rafa.
 
If Rafa and Fed made tennis so popular then explain how the popularity of tennis decreased after Sampras in the biggest tennis market the USA?
What parameters are you using to say that tennis popularity decreased ? And fyi, USA is not the end all and be all of Tennis popularity. There's a big World out there, Missy.
 

deaner2211

Semi-Pro
What parameters are you using to say that tennis popularity decreased ? And fyi, USA is not the end all and be all of Tennis popularity. There's a big World out there, Missy.
There is a big World but it starts with the US. Where do people from around the world bring their young talent for training? Where does the world wants to play college tennis? Which country has the most Masters tournaments? Since tennis is not very popular in the US the quality of tennis has decreased and if Rafa and Fed made it more popular then explain why?
 

marc45

G.O.A.T.
I agree about Becker in 93, but remember that we were still in the time when peaks were around age 24, and it had been that way for a long time. Not anywhere in that year. Right at the point between 23 and 24. Becker aged fast. Fed had started to fade by that age. You can't see it in the results, but it shows in the stats. 2008 was not totally inexplicable.

I don't know how old you are. The monster Becker was when he first won Wimbledon was beyond belief. He seemed to come out of nowhere, but after that he aged fast. Edberg was even older, so he was 5 years younger than Sampras. People forget that. Their peaks really did not intersect. But yes, Agassi was Sampras's main rival.
Edberg is five years older than Pete
 

el sergento

Hall of Fame
Hello OP, and welcome to the internet.

Funny story, it turns out that instead of creating a global village where ideas and opinions could flow freely and thus bring us all closer together, the internet instead supercharged our deeply rooted tribal impulses and made even the most inane subjects, such as who one's favourite tennis player is, into deeply divisive issues used to gauge who gets to be a part of our group/tribe.

In other words, if Sampras and Agassi were playing today, Samp-t@rds and Agassi-t@rds would be at each other's throats in a vicious battle over who the HOAT is (hairiest of all time).


This is all going to end very well.
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
Reading the threads today, almost all of them have to do with the big 3 and who's greater or not in relation to the slam record, held by Federer.

Which brings me to the man Fed replaced at the top of the record books, Pete.

Pete only had Agassi and Becker to contend with, and many people complained about his boring style of play, yet he never created such controversy among tennis fans as the one permeating Federer.

I wonder why is that ?

Is Federer a more controversial and divisive player than Pete ?
It's simple. The sports media wasn't nearly as biased. They didn't campaign to have Sampras worshiped. I believe RF haters don't really hate RF that much, as they hate the media worship of Federer.
 
Sampras' career concluded before everyone had high speed internet, before everyone had a smartphone, and before there were tons of online forums for anything and everything; before "comment culture" had exploded. If the Sampras era existed with those things, I'm sure it would have been similar - there would have been plenty of debates, trolling, online freakouts, etc. -- to a large degree. Maybe not as much as this era, which is unique in that there are three ATGS, possibly all GOAT candidates, playing simultaneously - hence the increased tension among the fans.
 
There is a big World but it starts with the US. Where do people from around the world bring their young talent for training? Where does the world wants to play college tennis? Which country has the most Masters tournaments? Since tennis is not very popular in the US the quality of tennis has decreased and if Rafa and Fed made it more popular then explain why?
If you want to base it on the attendance of the US Open, check the finals' record breaking attendance . Check the ever growing attendance of Masters 1000 like the Indian Wells etc. No need to explain why Rafa and Fed made Tennis more popular. Use your common sense
 
Unfortunately, this message board has a bad reputation for this.

If you simply search "Talk Tennis" on google, you'll quickly see a reddit thread with people shocked how immature and divisive it is on this board. They noticed that Federer fans were especially toxic, and were excessively degenerative towards Rafael and Novak. I know though there are also hateful posts/threads from all fanbases, including those of the latter two.

All fans here should just turn down the animosity by a few notches. It's ruining the reputation of the great company that runs this board, as well as the image of the players who we are fans of.
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
You are right that in the 90s there were more second tier dangerous players, but still Sampras lost too often against any kind of random players to call it dominance. At least Sampras had none of the caliber of Federer/Nadal/Djokovic against him, so he should have dominated more.

It was just more difficult to dominate with his style I guess. He didn’t have the point construction of the Big 3, but rather played a gambling serve-and-volley style. Other players could do this as well, and while overall they might be weaker than him, it was easy to find a day here and there where the few big points worked for them. The Big 3 have the ability to generally not be dependent on a few points here and there. That’s the reason why they are dominant.

I agree to what you said about the importance of Slams though. But for me this is another instance where Sampras showed his non-dominance. He clearly communicated that he wanted to break Emerson’s “record” of 12 Slams as soon as possible. And then he converted only at Wimbledon from mid-1997 until 2000. Maybe some fans are right when they say he lost motivation AFTER reaching 13 at Wimbledon 2000. But the problematic time were the 3 years BEFORE it. He wanted it at all costs and still couldn’t win a hardcourt Slam.
In 1999 Sampras missed the AO and the US Open due to injury.
He would have won one of them, especially the second.
 

Start da Game

Professional
Reading the threads today, almost all of them have to do with the big 3 and who's greater or not in relation to the slam record, held by Federer.

Which brings me to the man Fed replaced at the top of the record books, Pete.

Pete only had Agassi and Becker to contend with, and many people complained about his boring style of play, yet he never created such controversy among tennis fans as the one permeating Federer.

I wonder why is that ?

Is Federer a more controversial and divisive player than Pete ?
no internet back then......kept things simpler......
 

deaner2211

Semi-Pro
If you want to base it on the attendance of the US Open, check the finals' record breaking attendance . Check the ever growing attendance of Masters 1000 like the Indian Wells etc. No need to explain why Rafa and Fed made Tennis more popular. Use your common sense
[/QUOTE
[/QUOTE
Back in the 80's and 90's tennis was a top 5 sport in the US. Now it is barely in the top ten. Hockey and NASCAR are more popular than tennis. If Rafa and Fed made tennis more popular then why it is not a top 5 sport like before? So use your common sense.
]
 
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