Sampras vs. Federer - at their best, who would win?

Sampras vs. Federer - at their best, who would win?

  • Sampras

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • Federer

    Votes: 4 57.1%

  • Total voters
    7

newnuse

Professional
As a player gets older, the number of good days decreased. You tend to have more bad days because of age. It takes longer to recover between matches. Your reflexes, speed etc decrease. One match with an aging Sampras does not tell you anything.

You make a point about how vunerable the Sampras serve can be vs a good returner, than point to the fact that Agassi could not break Sampras at the US Open. Andre's return game is one of the best ever.

The return of serve is not a weapon, even if you are Agassi. It's a defensive shot against a big server. I don't care how good of a returner you are. If Sampras was on, his serve did not get broken on grass. The guy would win matches without facing a single break point at Wimbledon. I'm not talking about 1st or 2nd round matches either.
 

drexeler

Rookie
Federer's return/ability to read serves is not a weapon by itself, but it neutralizes a big server's biggest weapon. Agassi maybe the best returner ever, but he guesses more, goes for more, has less reach, less flexibility, and thus gets aced more. His style is murderous against good servers but not nearly as effective against a great server like Sampras. I would take Federer's and Hewitt's defensive return style vs. big servers anyday.

I think you would agree that Pete's peak years were 93-95. As I mentioned before, during his 3 wins in these years, he lost 9 sets and was pushed to 5 sets twice. Whereas Fed lost only 4 sets (no 5 setters) in his 3 wins. So either Pete got broken more or lost more tiebreak sets than Fed in a comparitive time frame. I point this out because you keep mentioning Pete was unbreakable in his prime (although in the Finals, he has a great serving record, having been broken only 4 times in 7 matches).
 

Chadwixx

Banned
u ppl make sampras sound like he was 40 years old with a cane.

i got some tape of agassi vs sampras at the 1990 us open, and the lvl of play isnt near what it is today. agassi makes coria look like a power player in that match.
 

Chadwixx

Banned
newnuse said:
You make a point about how vunerable the Sampras serve can be vs a good returner, than point to the fact that Agassi could not break Sampras at the US Open. Andre's return game is one of the best ever.
id take hewitt's return of serve of agassi's any day. hewitt had little problems with the sampras serve, but does struggle with feds.

agassi's return of serve is just hyped up to make the rivalary more marketable. how many times did u hear the announcers talk about the greatest server vs the greatest returner?
 

teedub

Rookie
drexeler said:
In a post in some other thread, Laurie had listed whose side former players/experts were on. Well add Hrbaty to Fed's corner. Here's what he said:
"For sure, it would be a tight match," Hrbaty said. "Sampras would beat him sometimes, but I think Roger would win most of the time."

Full article:
http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~28541~2986632,00.html
"(Sampras) has a big serve, but so does (Andy) Roddick," Hrbaty said. "Sampras would have the same trouble with Federer that Roddick does. The only way to beat Roger is to be fast around the baseline and make him move."

mmm...not quite hrbaty..he's just tooting his own horn a bit, be fast around the baseline and make him move? right thats why hewitt owns fed...sampras definitely has the game to give fed lots of problem, plenty of power from the back court, awesome serve, and great net game
 

Chadwixx

Banned
pete doesnt hit nearly as hard as the guys who play now adays. back when pete was playing 130mph was tops, now its common. hewitt was serving like 110 when he beat pete at the us open, now he is hitting up to 135. times have changed.

sampras cannot compete with fed from the baseline, his only chance would be his serve and volley, but he couldnt break federer. he isnt playing agassi, a chip return isnt gonna cut it. fed has proven (matches vs roddick) that he can return a serve bigger than pete's.

pete was the best player for the 2nd half of the year during the 90's.

what was pete's hardest clocked serve? any sampras fans know?
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Chadwixx said:
sampras cannot compete with fed from the baseline
You cannot be serious. Sampras in his prime could compete with Agassi in his prime from the baseline. Agassi took Federer to five sets last year and was the only person with a real chance at beating him at the Open.

Sampras vs Federer in both their respective primes is a great thought. I'm with the other posters as to when exactly Federer's prime is/was. Is, as FedererHoogenbandFan has put forth, Federer already in decline? Is he still improving? Has the rest of the field caught him? Three Grand Slams last year versus one this year is hardly a sign that his game is on the upswing. IMO, we have to wait until Federer calls it a career before his prime is assessed. If his best year, and I suspect it will be, was last year, then I think Sampras' best year is better and Sampras is the better player. Right now, I don't think there's any discussion that for the life of his career, Sampras was the better player. He was on top longer than Federer has been and went out his final year winning the U.S. Open which is by all accounts, the most equitable of the Grand Slams to both s/v and baseline players.

Remember this, Federer couldn't do the things to Sampras that he does to other players. Sampras has too much offense. Sampras is too good at net and Sampras moves a lot better than people here give him credit for. Passes? No one hit a running forehand better than Pete Sampras. IMO, there were guys who hit better volleys than Sampras, but the only one since Sampras was a guy named Rafter. Sampras' serve is hands down better than Federer's. Remember, Venus Williams hits 120, but I doubt she'd dent John McEnroe on court. It takes more than MPH to make a great serve and a winner. If that was the case, Roddick would have won at least one against Federer.

The only trend I notice in any of these discussions is that to discredit the accomplishments of the past to glorify the ones of the present. I said this several years ago when this very discussion was being held about Sampras versus McEnroe or Laver or any number of former champions. In my view, the greatest player to ever pick up a racket in the Open era was Borg. The greatest of all time was probably Pancho Gonzalez. From a strictly objective standpoint, I go with Laver.

By the way, and Kevin Patrick can back me up on this, this defense of Sampras comes from a guy who rooted for Agassi every time they played. But, to use a baseball analogy, Sampras is the Ted Williams of tennis. Grand Slam last time up just like Williams homer on his last at bat.
 

dozu

Banned
It's never a valid discussion yet it pops up again and again. most of the guys here are casual fans and don't have a clue what the pros' game is all about. the only way to get a gauge is from the players' own perspective.

as I have posted previously regarding Safin's comments, along with Hrbaty's comments, it's clear that the game has evolved to another power level.

therefore if you take the sampras at his peak and put him on the same court with Roger today, there is no question that the match would go as Hrbaty predicts.

However, in all fairness to Pete, for the superb athlete with superb competitiveness he is, if he would be in his prime TODAY, we would probably see a Sampras who plays even better than his own prime, a Sampras who hits even harder, serves even bigger, and probably play with a 90" head instead of the PS60 85.
 

teedub

Rookie
Chadwixx said:
pete doesnt hit nearly as hard as the guys who play now adays. back when pete was playing 130mph was tops, now its common. hewitt was serving like 110 when he beat pete at the us open, now he is hitting up to 135. times have changed.

sampras cannot compete with fed from the baseline, his only chance would be his serve and volley, but he couldnt break federer. he isnt playing agassi, a chip return isnt gonna cut it. fed has proven (matches vs roddick) that he can return a serve bigger than pete's.

pete was the best player for the 2nd half of the year during the 90's.

what was pete's hardest clocked serve? any sampras fans know?
have you seen his forehand? i'd say he hits it harder than hmm....maybe 8,9 out of the top 10 currently? of course we'll never know as back when pete was playing they didn't speed gun his forehand. and another thing about his forehand, it was relatively flat...it flies through the court it doesn't jump up a bit making it even harder to reach especially those cross court running fh's.

i'd say pete's fastest ever was probably a bit north of 135. but yeah you're going to tell me everybody nowadays places it better than sampras? has more variety on the serve than him? roddick served faster than sampras, easily, but was his serve more effective? when he strings together an 80+ service game hold at US open get back to me...his serve isn't nearly as effective as sampras'. boris becker had more effective serve than roddick.

yes fed can block back roddick's serve because they're pretty poorly placed, when roddick is tired and isn't getting the upper 130's to 140s on serve people don't have as much of a problem returning his serve. saw that against ginepri just recently and at wimbledon. and as you say chipping a return isn't gonna cut it...with sampras' serve and sweep style you're absolutely right, fed chipping that serve back to sampras ain't going to cut it...

anyways i don't think sampras would dominate fed at wimbledon or us open style hardcourts at their best, but he would have a winning record against fed, something along the lines of what federerhoogenband whatever said.
 

newnuse

Professional
The Sampras serve was very heavy. It's just not about mph as mentioned above. His serve has very hard to read. The 2nd serve was devastating. It was better than some players' 1st serves.

Fed's and Hewitt's defensive returns work great against guys that do not S&V. You block back a return against a S&V'er and you will lose the point. That's assuming you can get to the ball to return it in the first place. Sampras would simply put away an easy volley. Against a fellow baseliner, the point becomes neutral after few groundstrokes. This does not happen against a S&V'er.

Oh yeah, "today's game" is so much more powerful that a fossil like Agassi is still hanging with the big boys. Gimme a break.

Today's racket technology is so superior... yada yada yada. Fed supposedly uses an 88" version of the ProStaff. The same racket Sampras uses. Wow, that 3 inches makes all the difference in the world. Pro's always have plenty of power. It's control they are after.

Pete's groundies were vastly underrated due to his serve. He could hang with Agassi from the baseline. When he is on, I've seen him stay back and pound out clean winners vs fast guys like Chang & Agassi. Go watch the US Open semifinal match vs Chang. I don't remember what year it was, but Pete destroyed Pioline in the finals afterwards. Chang threw everything at Sampras, moon balls, slices, net approaches... Sampras just stayed backed and hit clean winners after clean winners.
 

drexeler

Rookie
newnuse said:
Fed's and Hewitt's defensive returns work great against guys that do not S&V. .
Hewitt's record against serve-and-volleyers:
vs Sampras: 5-4 (2-1 on grass)
vs Ivanisevic: 3-0 (all on grass)
vs Krajicek: 1-0 (indoor)
vs Rafter: 3-1
vs Henman: 8-0 (3-0 on grass)
vs Philippoussis: 3-1 (1-0 on grass)
vs Dent: 4-1 (2-0 on grass)

And several of these wins came in 1999,2000 when Hewitt was a scrawny teen and hadn't hit his prime yet. This is an exceptional record against serve and volleyers. Hewitt, like Fed, can put a lot of returns back in play, and he can really kill the SVers on their 2nd serves by getting the return low making them hit up on the volley, then use his quickness, and exceptional passing shots & lobs to win the point majority of times. Also, if you have the ability to read serves like Fed and Hewitt do, even on a 1st serve, on an out-wide serve, you can hit the return down the line and get a clean winner as the server is approaching the net down the middle. This was exactly the winning shot in the Federer-Sampras 2001 match.
 

D-man

Banned
that's so wild... everytime i come on this thread it's dead even.. was 37/37 then 49/49 now 59/59 [heh maybe that's the answer huh]
 

Chadwixx

Banned
newnuse said:
Go watch the US Open semifinal match vs Chang. I don't remember what year it was, but Pete destroyed Pioline in the finals afterwards. Chang threw everything at Sampras, moon balls, slices, net approaches... Sampras just stayed backed and hit clean winners after clean winners.
chang hits softer than todays women, of coarse pete looked good against him, he had a day and half to set up for every shot.

pete's ground game was basically a pusher til he saw an opening, then approached or hit a winner. smart, but it wouldnt work vs fed.

grass is the only surface where pete could play close to fed, due to the style of play on the surface. on a hardcourt fed destroys hewitt from the baseline, hewitt destroys pete from the baseline, what do u think would happen with a pete vs fed?
 

Max G.

Legend
Chadwixx said:
pete doesnt hit nearly as hard as the guys who play now adays. back when pete was playing 130mph was tops, now its common. hewitt was serving like 110 when he beat pete at the us open, now he is hitting up to 135. times have changed.
Times have changed, and the radar guns have changed with them...

John McEnroe, in an exhibition match recently, hit a serve at 125. At what is he, 45 years old now? In his prime, and even in the early 90s, 125 would be unthinkable - maybe 110-115 for his biggest biggest serve.

Are you saying that now, at 45, McEnroe hits his serve faster than he did 15 years ago? (And he wasn't serving with wood either, he had modern racquets.)

Back in Sampras's very first USOpen final, his serve maxed out in the 115 range. By the time he retired, he was routinely hitting 130s, and hitting second serves in the 110-115 range. Did SAMPRAS'S serve really improve in pace that much?

Everyone's serve got faster. Part of it is the players. But much of it is the measurement techniques.
 

Max G.

Legend
Chadwixx said:
grass is the only surface where pete could play close to fed, due to the style of play on the surface. on a hardcourt fed destroys hewitt from the baseline, hewitt destroys pete from the baseline, what do u think would happen with a pete vs fed?
Oh, I disagree that hewitt destroys pete from the baseline. We're not talking about 2000s Pete - the question is IN HIS PRIME, how would Pete do.

Agassi and Hewitt are pretty evenly matched from the back of the court.

In his prime, Sampras was pretty evenly matched with Agassi from the back of the court, in his prime at least, and had the one extra gear on the rest of his shots that Agassi didn't.

I'm guessing that if Hewitt played in Sampras's prime, it would be similar - he'd have a slight advantage in baseline rallies, though not a big one, and would be at a severe disadvantage in serves and in volleys.

I have no doubts that Federer would destroy post-2000 Sampras, but if he played the 1995 Sampras then it would be a close match.
 

Chadwixx

Banned
Max G. said:
Times have changed, and the radar guns have changed with them...

John McEnroe, in an exhibition match recently, hit a serve at 125. At what is he, 45 years old now? In his prime, and even in the early 90s, 125 would be unthinkable - maybe 110-115 for his biggest biggest serve.
sounds like a conspiricy to me, juiced radar gunz, lol. if radar gunz were producing higher results as time passed did roscoe tanner hit a 200mph serve?

maybe mac can hit harder due to the new racket technology. he likes to mention that in his commentary.

unlike agassi, hewitt has the ability to move in and finish off the point, which puts additional pressure on pete during the ralley. agassi's volleys were terrible back then. he made roddick look like edberg.
 

Max G.

Legend
Chadwixx said:
sounds like a conspiricy to me, juiced radar gunz, lol. if radar gunz were producing higher results as time passed did roscoe tanner hit a 200mph serve?
No idea. Doubt it.

Not a conspiracy, just technology improving - the earlier the radar gun can measure the ball's speed, the higher it's going to be, since it loses its speed pretty quickly after impact. I thought this was pretty well-documented.

Dunno how to verify this though - if I had the average serve speeds of individual players over the course of the past decade than this would be confirmable or refutable. Anyone that watched more tennis in the early 90s wishes to contribute?

I, for one, think it is kind of silly to imagine that Agassi was having trouble returning 105 MPH serves then, and then as the game improved by 15 mph over a decade his reflexes got that much quicker and suddenly a 105 mph looks like a sitting duck.

Or do you think Sjeng Schalken now serves at the same speed that most players served in the early 90s?

maybe mac can hit harder due to the new racket technology. he likes to mention that in his commentary.
Maybe. Maybe not.

unlike agassi, hewitt has the ability to move in and finish off the point, which puts additional pressure on pete during the ralley. agassi's volleys were terrible back then. he made roddick look like edberg.
Unlike Agassi, Hewitt can't put away points for the back of the court as well, and so he'd have to come to net and give Pete a perfect chance to pass him with his favorite running forehand.


Or maybe he wouldn't. How the heck would we know if we've never seen them play when they were both anywhere near their best?
 
I think the best opinion we could EVER get on this topic is to ask Agassi, but not with something like "Andre, who would win??"... He's played against them both at their best, and who better to compare their forehands and serves?? Maybe after he retires, he'll host a website: www.askagassi.com...

I'm sure we could all think of a few more questions to ask him!! :roll:
 

Galactus

Banned
Grand Slams and opponents at same stages of career:
SAMPRAS:
1990 - USO vs Andre Agassi:
at this stage of his career he was something of a colorful character who got to the semis and not much else...
1993 - Wimbledon vs Jim Courier: clay-court specialist and a bit of a 'bum' on grass...
1993 - USO vs Cedric Pioline: can we say less-than-stellar opposition?
1994 - AUSO vs Todd Martin: see above
1994 - Wimbledon vs Goran Ivanisevic: great S&V 'choker' who finally got a GS at the end of his career
1995 - Wimbledon vs Boris Becker: pretty much a 'shot' Becker at this point
1995 - USO vs Andre Agassi: great victory as both Agassi and Sampras were approaching their respective peaks (Sampras in particular)

Agassi in 1999 at Wimbledon where Agassi was at absolute his peak and got totally blown away. It's this '99 final that I feel Sampras was at his absolute peak. To beat someone like that in such a manner at their peak is nothing short of incredible.


Let's break down FEDERER's Grand Slam opponents:
2003 - Wimbledon vs Mark Phillipousis: an easy first Slam...
2004 - AUSO vs Marat Safin: former USO holder and consistent achiever in all Slams, yet blown away in straight sets
2004 - Wimbledon vs Andy Roddick: current USO holder at the time
2004 - USO vs Lleyton Hewitt: with 2 Slams of his own (on grass and hardcourt, no less) but a 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 scoreline???
2005 - Wimbledon vs Andy Roddick: World's current #2 swept aside easily

Federer's GS victories have al been straight-sets and with apparant ease...and against players in their primes. He's pretty much owned the rest of the men's ATP.

No question, Federer is at a higher level of tennis playing than Sampras was at the same stage. It's up to Safin and Roddick to 'up' their games now (I think Hewitt is shot, with regards to beating Federer), and press the issue on stopping Federer

Whether or not he eclipses 14 Slams is a whole different thread...
 
U

Ulong

Guest
Let the time proof it...

Free your mind

Everything does not last forever...
 

Grimjack

Banned
ucd_ace said:
I think Federrer's best tennis is still ahead of him so I'll have to wait and see how well he's playing then to make my decision.
I won't. If Fed gets better, it just means Pete has even LESS chance of taking a set off him.

At RG -- Fed in straights.
At Aussie or USO -- Fed in straights...maybe four, if Pete's on fire.
At newer, slower Wimby -- Fed in straights.
At older, faster Wimby -- Fed in five -- because we've already seen it. And yeah, yeah, I know Pete was past his prime, but he was playing a hell of a lot closer to the best of his career at that point than Fed turned out to be. I'm giving Pete two sets at old Wimby out of respect.

Fed has levels of game Pete never dreamed of. That's no slam on him -- today's best is always the best ever, unless there's some radical rule change that alters the face of the game. The new guys have the benefit of knowing what advances in technique and training worked best in the past, and can build upon that. So the motivated of today ALWAYS leave yesterday's best in the dust when you stack them up head-to-head.

"Greatest" is a far different matter. It's like in science or academia. Who's the greater physicist: Einstein or some 2005 grad student at MIT? Unquestionably, Einstein. But take each in his prime, and who knows more physics? The MIT kid knows more physics by the time he's a senior in college than Einstein learned in his life. Because he can stand on the shoulders of giants. He doesn't have to go through all the trial and error to learn the old breakthroughs. He accepts them as his own, and builds from there.

Same in tennis. Pete's "greater." For now. Fed would own him on court.
 

Galactus

Banned
Grimjack said:
I won't. If Fed gets better, it just means Pete has even LESS chance of taking a set off him.

At RG -- Fed in straights.
At Aussie or USO -- Fed in straights...maybe four, if Pete's on fire.
At newer, slower Wimby -- Fed in straights.
At older, faster Wimby -- Fed in five -- because we've already seen it. And yeah, yeah, I know Pete was past his prime, but he was playing a hell of a lot closer to the best of his career at that point than Fed turned out to be. I'm giving Pete two sets at old Wimby out of respect.

Fed has levels of game Pete never dreamed of. That's no slam on him -- today's best is always the best ever, unless there's some radical rule change that alters the face of the game. The new guys have the benefit of knowing what advances in technique and training worked best in the past, and can build upon that. So the motivated of today ALWAYS leave yesterday's best in the dust when you stack them up head-to-head.

"Greatest" is a far different matter. It's like in science or academia. Who's the greater physicist: Einstein or some 2005 grad student at MIT? Unquestionably, Einstein. But take each in his prime, and who knows more physics? The MIT kid knows more physics by the time he's a senior in college than Einstein learned in his life. Because he can stand on the shoulders of giants. He doesn't have to go through all the trial and error to learn the old breakthroughs. He accepts them as his own, and builds from there.

Same in tennis. Pete's "greater." For now. Fed would own him on court.
That's a good post - but you can apply to most sports in that today's players are always going to come out on top due to the radical changes - but due to what?

In tennis, I realise the changes have alterered the game from the 70s to the 80s (wood-to-graphite racquets, massive serve, complete fitness), but from 1995 up to today, has tennis changed that radically?

That's why a Sampras '95 v Federer '05 is more of a debatable matchup than say, Borg 76 vs Becker '86.
 

Galactus

Banned
newnuse said:
Agassi, Chang, Courier etc.. all had graphite sticks. I saw them look defenseless against the Sampras serve on grass and hardcourts as well. I'm not a Sampras fan, but I have to acknowledge how great he was. When he was on, I've never seen anybody as good. His serve was great, but the rest of his game was very good as well.
Sampras never really owned any of his contemporaries:
20-14 vsAgassi
12-8 vs Chang
16-4 vs Courier
12-4 vs Rafter
12-6 vs Ivanisevic
12-7 vs Becker

Federer just about hammers everyone in the ATP:
9-1 vs Roddick
10-7 vs Hewitt (looks ok, but Fed's won the last 8)
7-2 vs Safin
7-3 vs Agassi
7-0 vs Johannsson

The remaining 6 or 7 of the top ATP opposition havent beaten Federer once...part from one guy: Rafael Nadal who 2-1 up on a clay and slow-as-clay Miami hardcourts. Put this guy against Federer in the AUS or US Open and you'll see Federer obliterate him...
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
Galactus said:
Grand Slams and opponents at same stages of career:
SAMPRAS:
Galactus said:
1990 - USO vs Andre Agassi:
Galactus said:
at this stage of his career he was something of a colorful character who got to the semis and not much else...
Yeah but, Agassi finished 1990 at #4 and Sampras at #5.
Galactus said:
1993 - Wimbledon vs Jim Courier: clay-court specialist and a bit of a 'bum' on grass...
Courier finished 1992 #1, had four GS titles at the time, had been a finalist at the US Open (fast surface) in 1991, had just reached his third RG final and finished 1993 at #3.
Galactus said:
1993 - USO vs Cedric Pioline: can we say less-than-stellar opposition?
Less than stellar yes, but finished 1993 at #10.
Galactus said:
1994 - AUSO vs Todd Martin: see above
Exactly, finished #10 in 1994.
Galactus said:
1994 - Wimbledon vs Goran Ivanisevic: great S&V 'choker' who finally got a GS at the end of his career
Always a favorite at Wimby. Sampras helped to hang that tag on him beating him two of the four finals Ivo reached.
Galactus said:
1995 - Wimbledon vs Boris Becker: pretty much a 'shot' Becker at this point
Not really. Becker finished '95 at #4 and '96 at #6. Between 1985 and 1996 he hovered betweent #2 and #6 most of the time. And by this time was a 5 time slam winner. Becker would win his sixth the Aussie Open a few months later in 1996.
Galactus said:
1995 - USO vs Andre Agassi: great victory as both Agassi and Sampras were approaching their respective peaks (Sampras in particular) Agassi was a 3 time slam winner by now and finished '94 and '95 at #2.
Here, we agree.

Galactus said:
Agassi in 1999 at Wimbledon where Agassi was at absolute his peak and got totally blown away. It's this '99 final that I feel Sampras was at his absolute peak. To beat someone like that in such a manner at their peak is nothing short of incredible.
Again, we agree, but I think this was the end of the peak.


Galactus said:
Let's break down FEDERER's Grand Slam opponents:
2003 - Wimbledon vs Mark Phillipousis: an easy first Slam...
Flipper actually finished 2003 at #9. But, no slams.
Galactus said:
2004 - AUSO vs Marat Safin: former USO holder and consistent achiever in all Slams, yet blown away in straight sets
Safin had 1 slam at the time finished out of the top ten in '03 and #4 in '04. As far as consistency goes, we're talking about the same Marat Safin who lost to Thomas Johansson in the '02 AO right?
Galactus said:
2004 - Wimbledon vs Andy Roddick: current USO holder at the time
At this time A-Rod is a top player yes but a 1 slam wonder.
Galactus said:
2004 - USO vs Lleyton Hewitt: with 2 Slams of his own (on grass and hardcourt, no less) but a 6-0, 7-6, 6-0 scoreline???
Yep, Hewitt had and still has 2 slams.
Galactus said:
2005 - Wimbledon vs Andy Roddick: World's current #2 swept aside easily
At this time A-Rod is still a top player yes but a 1 slam wonder. Still.



So let's re-cap. 7 years after turning pro:

Federer: Five slam championships vs. finalists with a total of four slam wins between them at the time.

Sampras: SEVEN slam championships vs. finalists with a total of TWELVE slam wins between them. Let alone the Edbergs, Lendls and Changs dispatched along the way during those years. Not good players, greats.

Looking at it this way the answer IMO becomes clearer. I believe Sampras reached his absolute peak from 1995 thru 1998. Frighteningly, I don't believe Federer has played his best tennis yet. But, if comparing the Sampras of 1995 to the Federer of 2005 on anything but clay, its Sampras, easy, hard and everything in between. On clay, Federer, obviously.

JMO
 

Galactus

Banned
FiveO said:
Galactus said:
Yeah but, Agassi finished 1990 at #4 and Sampras at #5.

Courier finished 1992 #1, had four GS titles at the time, had been a finalist at the US Open (fast surface) in 1991, had just reached his third RG final and finished 1993 at #3.

Pioline - less than stellar yes, but finished 1993 at #10.

Martin - finished #10 in 1994.

Ivo - always a favorite at Wimby. Sampras helped to hang that tag on him beating him two of the four finals Ivo reached.

Becker finished '95 at #4 and '96 at #6. Between 1985 and 1996 he hovered betweent #2 and #6 most of the time. And by this time was a 5 time slam winner. Becker would win his sixth the Aussie Open a few months later in 1996.

Sampras - Agassi USO '95: here, we agree.

Sampras - Agassi Wimbledon '99: again, we agree, but I think this was the end of the peak.

Flipper actually finished 2003 at #9. But, no slams.

Safin had 1 slam at the time finished out of the top ten in '03 and #4 in '04. As far as consistency goes, we're talking about the same Marat Safin who lost to Thomas Johansson in the '02 AO right?

A-Rod is a top player yes but a 1 slam wonder.

Hewitt had and still has 2 slams.

At this time A-Rod is still a top player yes but a 1 slam wonder. Still.

So let's re-cap. 7 years after turning pro:

Federer: Five slam championships vs. finalists with a total of four slam wins between them at the time.

Sampras: SEVEN slam championships vs. finalists with a total of TWELVE slam wins between them. Let alone the Edbergs, Lendls and Changs dispatched along the way during those years. Not good players, greats.

Looking at it this way the answer IMO becomes clearer. I believe Sampras reached his absolute peak from 1995 thru 1998. Frighteningly, I don't believe Federer has played his best tennis yet. But, if comparing the Sampras of 1995 to the Federer of 2005 on anything but clay, its Sampras, easy, hard and everything in between. On clay, Federer, obviously.

JMO
Nice post! Ii stand corrected here and there, however:
1 - Given that Sampras and Agassi, at that time, were on equal terms, I'll agree with Agassi in '90

2 - Courier: I guess I can agree to this too - even though his performance on grass was 'okay'.

3 - Pioline and Martin: nope, sorry. I'm not having that. Pioline getting to that final must have been a completely unique experience cos he sure as hell didn't do anything before or after that (his win-lose ratio speaks for itslef). Martin, a bit better having reached a couple of semis also. These guys wouldnt have lasted 3 sets against the likes of Roddick, Safin or Hewitt...or even Nadal for that matter...

4 - Ivanisevic: has any big server/volleyer been favoured so much at Wimbledon tournament and yet achieved so little? (er...yes, Tim Henman, actually...LOL) Anyway, as for his efforts at the AUS, US and French Opens - the less said, the better.

5 - Becker at #4 in 1995 - kinda like Agassi in the Top 10 in 2003-04. The best days were over for sure...

6 - Sampras-Agassi at Wimbledon '99. Again, to me, that was a game I watched in almost bemusement: here, in Agassi was a guy who was in the midst of his 2nd best year (2 Slams, 3 ATP majors and a 63-14 record), yet I remember no matter how well he played that day, he wasn't beating Sampras. One of the most one-sided finals ever.

7 - I think we'll have to disagree on Federer's Grand Slam victims in last 6 years, all Slam winners (bar one). IMO, they stack up better than the Piolines, Martins of this world and 'on-the-slide' Becker and a 'green' Agassi.

8 - I liked your post, Five0...and I agree that we havent see Federer's best - but having a '05 Sampras beat a '05 Federer is such a tough call to make.
I think we'd have seen a great Wimbledon final, a Federer win on clay, a pick 'em at the USO and a puick 'em at the AUSO.

(p.s. you don't rate Wimbledon '99 as Sampras' most impressive Slam?)
 

newnuse

Professional
Yes, I've seen the light. Today's players are so superior to players of the Sampras reign. I've done in depth studies.

Today's players reflexes and reaction times are 27.4% faster. This is due to human evolution and little bit of superior training techniques (better pushups, situps) and nutrition. The Sampras serve that blew away Agassi, Chang, Becker would be returned with ease now. The same serve that he would go matches in a row without dropping a single service game, the same one where he would win matches without facing a single breakpoint.

The players are also much stronger and faster due to human evolution. Hewitt is huge. How could a little runt like Chang, Becker, Courier compete against him???

The racket technology has also has changed so much. I mean how can Sampras and his tiny 85" ProStaff compete against Fed's 88" ProStaff??

Those dinosaurs wouldn't stand a chance. Agassi should retire. The guy couldn't hang with any top 100 players today even if he was 25 again.
 
FiveO said:
Galactus said:
Grand Slams and opponents at same stages of career:

Courier finished 1992 #1, had four GS titles at the time, had been a finalist at the US Open (fast surface) in 1991, had just reached his third RG final and finished 1993 at #3.

JMO
As well in 1993, Courier had just beaten Edberg in the semis in spectacular fashion with his crackling service returns. The final was also very competitive, with Sampras taking the first two sets in tie-breaks, and Courier breaking Sampras' serve twice (I think). Maybe the only other tougher final for Pete was the '98 one against Ivo that went five sets.

Excellent post, FiveO!
 

JUSTlN7

New User
Federer would win against Sampras in his prime. Federer's fitness is better, his baseline game is better, his reading and anticipation of the game is better, his speed around the court is better. Sampras gets volleying and serve just about, but Federer has the most under rated serve in tennis. Funny how he serves aces when he needs to.
Federer has pretty much mastered the game of tennis. He almost has the ability (mental understand and logic) to understand what to do in each situation to come out on top, dominate and win the point. It's quite scary, he hasn't needed to perform at his highest level in months, if not years, and still wins every tournament he chooses to.
 

fastdunn

Legend
If they keep playing macthes each other for a long period of time like 10 years,
I would bet my money on Sampras winning more matches (like 60 out of 100
matches). Sampras just has a few more solid and reliable weapons that
can be used time and time again. Federer uses more magic varieties and
plays some unreal level of tennis but I don't think it can last a decade.
All great players had a few years of brilliance. No one lasted as solid as
Sampras. It's because Sampras cut down flashy shots and polished
his game with a few set of solid weapons for longevity. Federer's game has
more varieties and more defense game but in a way he needs them.
Sampras did not really need magic shots most of the time. He cruised
his service games nonchalantly and just needed to assemble a string of
a few points to make 1 break per set. Everyone values Federer very high
but Federer's greatness will be tested next couple of years...
 

Max G.

Legend
Grimjack said:
I won't. If Fed gets better, it just means Pete has even LESS chance of taking a set off him.

At RG -- Fed in straights.
At Aussie or USO -- Fed in straights...maybe four, if Pete's on fire.
At newer, slower Wimby -- Fed in straights.
At older, faster Wimby -- Fed in five -- because we've already seen it. And yeah, yeah, I know Pete was past his prime, but he was playing a hell of a lot closer to the best of his career at that point than Fed turned out to be. I'm giving Pete two sets at old Wimby out of respect.
Hm, I'm going to disagree with that analysis of their one Wimbledon match.
First - Sampras was certainly pretty far from his prime. Sampras in 2001 didn't win a single tournament. At the Australian Open, he lost to Todd Martin, against whom he was, up to that point, 17-2. And it's not like Todd Martin was that young either. The next year he lost to George Bastl at Wimbledon - I think that says it all. But then again, that was a year later, so who knows?
Federer - similar deal. I don't know how well he played in that match. Back in the early days, he was inconsistent - on some days, he'd show brilliance, but he'd melt down when faced with someone that just grinded him down, or maybe if he just got up on the wrong side of the bed and couldn't seem to be consistent. That's what changed between then and now. I have no problem believing that for a single match against Sampras, Federer brought a level close to what he plays at now, though certainly not as good.

So, what would happen if they played in their primes? No clue. On clay, Federer, but on the other surfaces - we'd have to see it to know.

Fed has levels of game Pete never dreamed of. That's no slam on him -- today's best is always the best ever,
I suppose I can see that point of view, though I don't really agree with it. That seems to make "greatest ever" a pretty pointless distinction, if it's equivalent to "current world #1."

I tend to view a player's level as being only comparable to those he plays against - and it's true that Sampras never dominated quite as much as Federer has over the past two years, but Sampras certainly came close.

Federer seems to dominate everyone right now. Sampras seemed to be able to play better than all of his competition, and do so year after year after year. If they played in their primes, one of those streaks would not be the case, and I have no idea which one.

unless there's some radical rule change that alters the face of the game.
Well, do changes in technology count? Also, changes in court surface, the average surface now seems to be a bunch slower than it used to be. A change in the equipment or court seems like it could be just as much a factor as a change in the rules.

The new guys have the benefit of knowing what advances in technique and training worked best in the past, and can build upon that. So the motivated of today ALWAYS leave yesterday's best in the dust when you stack them up head-to-head.
I see your point. It certainly seems that that should be the case. But how do we know that it actually is the case?

Because near the end of their careers, the greats of the previous generation start losing? No duh. They get older, lose half a step.

"Greatest" is a far different matter. It's like in science or academia. Who's the greater physicist: Einstein or some 2005 grad student at MIT? Unquestionably, Einstein. But take each in his prime, and who knows more physics? The MIT kid knows more physics by the time he's a senior in college than Einstein learned in his life. Because he can stand on the shoulders of giants. He doesn't have to go through all the trial and error to learn the old breakthroughs. He accepts them as his own, and builds from there.

Same in tennis. Pete's "greater." For now. Fed would own him on court.
Hehe. I certainly like the analogy.

I tend to argue against people in this discussion rather than for them, since in my opinion there IS no correct answer, but in my opinion there isn't a correct answer to the who-would-win question as well as the who-is-"greater" question.
 

drexeler

Rookie
fastdunn said:
If they keep playing macthes each other for a long period of time like 10 years,
I would bet my money on Sampras winning more matches (like 60 out of 100
matches). Sampras just has a few more solid and reliable weapons that
can be used time and time again. Federer uses more magic varieties and
plays some unreal level of tennis but I don't think it can last a decade.
All great players had a few years of brilliance. No one lasted as solid as
Sampras. It's because Sampras cut down flashy shots and polished
his game with a few set of solid weapons for longevity. Federer's game has
more varieties and more defense game but in a way he needs them.
Sampras did not really need magic shots most of the time. He cruised
his service games nonchalantly and just needed to assemble a string of
a few points to make 1 break per set. Everyone values Federer very high
but Federer's greatness will be tested next couple of years...
I have the opposite view. Sampras will have better chances of winning if it's a one-off or an occasional match by surprising Fed with his tremendous power and relentless attack. Over the long haul, Fed will figure out a way (with his greater variety and versatility) to counter Pete's more or less single-minded game.

I disagree that Federer doesn't have the weapons of Sampras. I think he has the weapons of Pete - serve, supreme confidence/metal toughness, forehand - and more (return, magic shots and defense as you say).

Federer's greatness could be short-lived as you say. But how about for another view: what if he continues his current level of dominance, and acquires it on clay as well (he certainly showed signs - won a Masters series clay title and reached FO SF without dropping a set).
 

GotGame?

Rookie
fastdunn said:
If they keep playing macthes each other for a long period of time like 10 years,
I would bet my money on Sampras winning more matches (like 60 out of 100
matches). Sampras just has a few more solid and reliable weapons that
can be used time and time again. Federer uses more magic varieties and
plays some unreal level of tennis but I don't think it can last a decade.
All great players had a few years of brilliance. No one lasted as solid as
Sampras. It's because Sampras cut down flashy shots and polished
his game with a few set of solid weapons for longevity. Federer's game has
more varieties and more defense game but in a way he needs them.
Sampras did not really need magic shots most of the time. He cruised
his service games nonchalantly and just needed to assemble a string of
a few points to make 1 break per set. Everyone values Federer very high
but Federer's greatness will be tested next couple of years...
I agree. Sampras was the one who set the bar for extended domination in an era of numerous different styled players. Like fastdunn said, the test of time will tell for Federer, and I think that is how you can measure who would win if this contest did occur. Sampras had two weapons and no weaknesses. All parts of Federer's game stick out, but do his 'weapons' stick out as much as Sampras'? IMO, for a player to succeed, he must have a weapon and no weaknesses. Agassi has that with his forehand as his weapon and solidity in the rest of his game.
 

fastdunn

Legend
drexeler said:
I have the opposite view. Sampras will have better chances of winning if it's a one-off or an occasional match by surprising Fed with his tremendous power and relentless attack. Over the long haul, Fed will figure out a way (with his greater variety and versatility) to counter Pete's more or less single-minded game.

I disagree that Federer doesn't have the weapons of Sampras. I think he has the weapons of Pete - serve, supreme confidence/metal toughness, forehand - and more (return, magic shots and defense as you say).

Federer's greatness could be short-lived as you say. But how about for another view: what if he continues his current level of dominance, and acquires it on clay as well (he certainly showed signs - won a Masters series clay title and reached FO SF without dropping a set).
I did not really said Federer's greatness would be short-lived.
His current level of game would go down within 1 or 2 year.
Every player in history did that. Sampras got 3 straight slams.
McAnroe lost 3 matches in entire year.
They never achieved same level again in their career.
Those brilliances do not mean to last forever.

What kind of game Federer would have when that happens ?
Basically solid baseline game. I'm not convinced he has solid
net game. I just don't think Federer will have longevity of
Sampras. He is OK for now. But when more variety of talents
comes along, you'll need solid alternatives, not magic shots.
At this point, his net game is in question.

Federer's game, with probably the greatest talent in history,
will enjoy Borg type of briliance for up to maybe
5-6 years ( 2 years by now ), IMHO.
Borg game burned super-brilliantly for 5 years and disappeared
when S&Ver's challenged.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Just wondering why the pros of the 80s are saying that technology is aiding players in today's context. When in the 80s, I am sure people who played with wooden rackets will say that players in the 80s are gaining power by graphite rackets. Each generation will surpass the next generation in terms of technology. Older pros and their supporters should lighten up. It's the same example with Grandparents, parents, yourself, and your kid. Your grandfather will say that he suffered alot in his times, earning few bucks compared to your father and your father is a spoilt brat, had it easy. Then your father says you that he earns a few hundred bucks, and you are a spoilt brat. Then you say to your son, I earn a few thousand bucks, and you are going to be a spoilt brat because you have it easy with all these nice toys that I can't enjoy. Comeon, guess what your son will say to his son....
 

araghava

Rookie
If Federer wants to have Sampras's longevity he needs to shorten the points. One of the reasons Sampras was able to win slams into his late 20's is that win or lose he kept points short. He didn't wear himself our mentally or physically by playing gruelling baseline points.

Federer keeps talking about playing more serve and volley and getting to the net more. He will have to put that into action if he wants to have success over the long term.
 

Galactus

Banned
fastdunn said:
If they keep playing macthes each other for a long period of time like 10 years,
I would bet my money on Sampras winning more matches (like 60 out of 100
matches). Sampras just has a few more solid and reliable weapons that
can be used time and time again. Federer uses more magic varieties and
plays some unreal level of tennis but I don't think it can last a decade.
All great players had a few years of brilliance. No one lasted as solid as
Sampras. It's because Sampras cut down flashy shots and polished
his game with a few set of solid weapons for longevity. Federer's game has
more varieties and more defense game but in a way he needs them.
Sampras did not really need magic shots most of the time. He cruised
his service games nonchalantly and just needed to assemble a string of
a few points to make 1 break per set. Everyone values Federer very high
but Federer's greatness will be tested next couple of years...
Forget service games, Federer cruises his matches.
Since January 2004: 132 won 9 lost (just 30 sets dropped)
 
newnuse said:
FHBF,

I see that you finally realize the errors of your ways. :mrgreen: You are a good sport.
Actually you are quite incorrect. I see no error in my ways. I still believe Roger would have won very close to 1 of 3 matches with Sampras on grass, whereas for you it is something more like 1 out of 20.

I do think the guys like Krajiceck/Ivanisevic had the best chance against Sampras. They would need to have a good serving day. Service breaks would be minimal (if any). Hold serve and take your chances in the tiebreakers.
Actually I gave both of those 3-7 as well, which would be about the same as Roger, in my estimation. Of course Krajiceck has a winning head to head with Pete, but they didnt play in alot of grand slams, only 2, and Pete is much tougher to beat in those. I am thinking more if that met that many times at Wimbledon.



I don't think Sampras would beat Seles on clay
Which Seles, the pre-stabbing or post-stabbing Seles? The pre-stabbing Seles, the one who would have smashed Chris Evert's French Open record of 7, I might agree. :p
 

newnuse

Professional
federerhoogenbandfan said:
Actually you are quite incorrect. I see no error in my ways. I still believe Roger would have won very close to 1 of 3 matches with Sampras on grass, whereas for you it is something more like 1 out of 20.


Actually I gave both of those 3-7 as well, which would be about the same as Roger, in my estimation. Of course Krajiceck has a winning head to head with Pete, but they didnt play in alot of grand slams, only 2, and Pete is much tougher to beat in those. I am thinking more if that met that many times at Wimbledon.


Which Seles, the pre-stabbing or post-stabbing Seles? The pre-stabbing Seles, the one who would have smashed Chris Evert's French Open record of 7, I might agree. :p
No, I said Sampras would beat Roger handily on grass. I never gave numbers. I would expect Fed to win something along 1 out of 4/5 which is about what I would expect of Goran. Krajiceck would be 1 out 3/4 in my book. I don't think I anybody matches up very well vs Sampras on grass. Becker was terrific on grass and had a similar game to Sampras. Big serve, solid volleys, good hard groundies. We all know what happened when they played on grass. Though I do think Becker was past his prime. I thought from your previous posts you would favor Roger on grass. A thousand apologies...

I was referring to the pre-stabbing Seles of course ;)
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
Galactus said:
Sampras never really owned any of his contemporaries:
20-14 vsAgassi
12-8 vs Chang
16-4 vs Courier
12-4 vs Rafter
12-6 vs Ivanisevic
12-7 vs Becker

Federer just about hammers everyone in the ATP:
9-1 vs Roddick
10-7 vs Hewitt (looks ok, but Fed's won the last 8)
7-2 vs Safin
7-3 vs Agassi
7-0 vs Johannsson

The remaining 6 or 7 of the top ATP opposition havent beaten Federer once...part from one guy: Rafael Nadal who 2-1 up on a clay and slow-as-clay Miami hardcourts. Put this guy against Federer in the AUS or US Open and you'll see Federer obliterate him...
Nalbandian is 5-2 against Federer. I think Henman too is ahead in their head-to-head ;)
 
newnuse said:
No, I said Sampras would beat Roger handily on grass. I never gave numbers. I would expect Fed to win something along 1 out of 4/5 which is about what I would expect of Goran. Krajiceck would be 1 out 3/4 in my book. I don't think I anybody matches up very well vs Sampras on grass. Becker was terrific on grass and had a similar game to Sampras. Big serve, solid volleys, good hard groundies. We all know what happened when they played on grass. Though I do think Becker was past his prime. I thought from your previous posts you would favor Roger on grass. A thousand apologies...

I was referring to the pre-stabbing Seles of course ;)
If you think Fed would do about the same as Ivanisevic vs Sampras on grass, that is not winning handily. Ivanisevic was 1-3 vs Sampras at Wimbledon, close to your odds, however 2 of his 3 losses were extremely narrow 5 set wins for Sampras. Ivanisevic actually had more break points than Sampras but a poorer conversion ratio.
 

newnuse

Professional
I guess it depends on your definition of handily. A 3/4 to 1 ration is pretty handily in my book. That is not much of a rivalry.
 
So in other words you dont think Federer would have been good enough to be a "rival" for Sampras at Wimbledon, the same way you dont think Roddick or Hewitt are good enough to be a "rival" for Federer at Wimbledon now? :p
 

newnuse

Professional
Hey, don't exaggerate. I don't think Federer would be much of a rival to Sampras at Wimbledon, but I didn't say he would be his girlfriend. Roddick and Hewitt should walk onto center court with their shorts pulled down to their ankles when facing Fed.
 
Well either way, even if it is due to them not playing each other in their primes, I think Federer is very likely to atleast equal Borg's 5 straight Wimbledons, and Sampras's 7 total; possably bettering one or both. It will take atleast more than 2 years, for the current field the close the gap enough for him to be in serious danger of losing his title, so I cant see him not winning the next 2. Even if he is challenged by that point, he probably will win atleast another 2 out of the next 4 or 5 after that.

Alot of people are saying how great Nadal will be on grass. I dont think Nadal is even as good on grass right now as Murray, Gasquet, or Monfils; I would have picked any of those 3 over him at this years Wimbledon and they all have more improvement left them him; so as they close the gap on him on non-grass surfaces, they will get even more out of his reach on hard courts. I laugh at the thought of Nadal ever winning Wimbledon, or even beating Federer on grass to be honest.
 
newnuse said:
Hey, don't exaggerate. I don't think Federer would be much of a rival to Sampras at Wimbledon, but I didn't say he would be his girlfriend. Roddick and Hewitt should walk onto center court with their shorts pulled down to their ankles when facing Fed.
That was funny. Can you believe 50% voted for Roddick to win the final on both the NBC and CBS sites. ROTFL!!!!! It is amazing how many Americans still think Roddick is the next Sampras or Agassi.
 

drexeler

Rookie
Saying Fed would win only 1 out 5 matches is wishful thinking. Especially, because we have evidence at hand, which the Sampras fans like to ignore.

In that 2001 match, Sampras was a 4 time defending champ who had a realistic shot of winning the title had he got past Fed, and a guy good enough to beat Rafter, Agassi, Safin handily in the same summer at the USO. On the other hand, Fed was green, raw, basically a rookie at playing big matches, and was playing his first match on center court. Furthermore, he was playing a total S&V game, which is not his most natural style, but ultimately ended up being the winner, showing he has what it takes to handle Pete's serve in the process.
 

newnuse

Professional
federerhoogenbandfan said:
Well either way, even if it is due to them not playing each other in their primes, I think Federer is very likely to atleast equal Borg's 5 straight Wimbledons, and Sampras's 7 total; possably bettering one or both. It will take atleast more than 2 years, for the current field the close the gap enough for him to be in serious danger of losing his title, so I cant see him not winning the next 2. Even if he is challenged by that point, he probably will win atleast another 2 out of the next 4 or 5 after that.

Alot of people are saying how great Nadal will be on grass. I dont think Nadal is even as good on grass right now as Murray, Gasquet, or Monfils; I would have picked any of those 3 over him at this years Wimbledon and they all have more improvement left them him; so as they close the gap on him on non-grass surfaces, they will get even more out of his reach on hard courts. I laugh at the thought of Nadal ever winning Wimbledon, or even beating Federer on grass to be honest.
Nadal is a great clay courter, but has done nothing to even warrant considering him a rival to Federer on grass. Nadal is nothing but a clay court specialist so far. We will see how he does at the US Open. Grass... :lol:

It does not surprise me 50% voted for Roddick. I'm not going to comment on the mental capcity of American fans.

Unfortunately, I think you might be right about Fed breaking Borg's and Pete's records. There are no more great grass court players. I don't see any on the horizon. He will dominate at Wimbledon for awhile, if he doesn't burn out early like Mac or Wilander. Hopefull a young S&V'er will emerge to challenge him at the Big W.
 
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