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

Max G.

Legend
drexeler said:
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.
However, he was playing bad enough to have lost to Todd Martin earlier that year in the Australian open. Up until that point, Sampras had been 17-2 against Todd Martin.

Still think Sampras was playing well that year?

He hadn't won a tournament for a year (since the last Wimbledon), and would not win a tournament for another year and a half - he was literally right in the MIDDLE of one of the worst periods of his career, results-wise.

I see that result as being about as indicative as, say, Marat Safin beating Andre Agassi at the French open at 18-19 years (or somewhere around there). Certainly an indicator that they're close in caliber and that Fed had loads of potential, but nowhere near a reflection of how they'd do in their primes.

Certainly that one match does not give anywhere near enough information to predict who would win in their primes if they played many times. Or do you really think that you can back up a "Federer was playing further from his prime than Sampras was" claim well enough to draw such a sweeping from a match that was decided by a point or two here or there?
 

drexeler

Rookie
Max G. said:
However, he was playing bad enough to have lost to Todd Martin earlier that year in the Australian open. Up until that point, Sampras had been 17-2 against Todd Martin.

Still think Sampras was playing well that year?

He hadn't won a tournament for a year (since the last Wimbledon), and would not win a tournament for another year and a half - he was literally right in the MIDDLE of one of the worst periods of his career, results-wise.

I see that result as being about as indicative as, say, Marat Safin beating Andre Agassi at the French open at 18-19 years (or somewhere around there). Certainly an indicator that they're close in caliber and that Fed had loads of potential, but nowhere near a reflection of how they'd do in their primes.

Certainly that one match does not give anywhere near enough information to predict who would win in their primes if they played many times. Or do you really think that you can back up a "Federer was playing further from his prime than Sampras was" claim well enough to draw such a sweeping from a match that was decided by a point or two here or there?
In his later years, Pete's performance at the AO and especially the smaller tournaments was never an indication of his performance at Wim & USO. He never gave his best effort there. He hadn't won the AO since 1997 and got beat by Karol Kucera of all people in 98. Sampras was always motivated to the maximum level at Wimbledon and USO. In 2001, he had the extra motivation of equalling Borg's 5 straight Wim wins. During this worst period you call (2000-2002), his record at these two slams was 4 finals out of 6 (2 wins).

In 2000 Wim, Sampras came in much worse physical condition (hadn't practiced much following his injury in late 1999) and yet ended up winning the tournament. In 2001, if he got past Fed, he would have certainly been the most likely to win. (So record could've been 5 finals/3wins)

Safin hasn't done anything at FO to warrant an analysis of his match against Agassi. This match is more like a 19-yr old Sampras's win over Lendl (the previous dominant champ) at USO in 1990.

I use this match to refute newnuse's claims that Fed would be no match for Pete on grass. If you read my first message, I said it's a tossup at Wimbledon.
 

Max G.

Legend
drexeler said:
I
I use this match to refute newnuse's claims that Fed would be no match for Pete on grass. If you read my first message, I said it's a tossup at Wimbledon.
Oh, okay. I certainly agree that it would be a tossup. Sorry 'bout that.
 

dearingfilm

New User
fedex is the more complete player and can really take the heart out of a great opponent, but sampras could lift his level above anyone in his prime... his net game was normally darn good but it became magical when he was clicking.
 

sarpmas

Rookie
If it takes a genius to beat another genius, it's all good for me!!

Having said that, I believed that Sampras will still be able to hold his ground if both are playing at their best. I strongly feel that the pre-dominating baseline players in today's game really do Federer a great injustice. The lack of great attacking SV and all-court players simply do not pose enough challenges to Federer. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not implying Federer's peers are not as good as Sampras's.

I'm a pretty decent baseline player. When I'm playing against a baseline player, I do not feel much pressure. When I'm under attack by a baseline player, I know I can always float the ball back deep and buy myself time to get back into the rally, because my opponent will most definitely be at the baseline. However, If I playing an attacking SV or all-court player, I do not have this luxury anymore. If I'm under attack, I know I have to come up with a winner because my opponent will be at the net waiting for my return. The challenge is totally different.

In no way I'm comparing myself to a Pro, but the idea is the same. The pressure that an attacking SV or all-court player that is putting on you is relentless. You'll always be rushed. I just feel that if Federer is playing a great SV or all-court player, it will not be as easy as many of you may think.

Edit - Forgotten to mention the below:
Regarding the 2001 match between Sampras and Federer, I believed Federer was ousted by Henman in the Quarters after his huge win against Sampras. With this, I have reason to believe that in one match, Federer may be playing one of his best matches against Sampras at that time. Do remember that prior to that match, Federer has already been touted as an immense talent lacking in consistency. So, beating a possibly slower Sampras in a tight 5 sets match really doesn't tell anything.
 
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laurie

Guest
It was mentioned that Sampras made extra efforts at Wimbledon and US Open later in his career. In 2001 Sampras went into Wimbledon without any tournament wins. There was a lot of talk of his decline. I remember reading newspaper articles discussing this and an interview with him in the Times Newspaper where he talked about no longer been no1 in the world. I saw him at Queens that year and he looked quite relaxed (until the semi v Hewitt!)

At Wimbledon itself Pat Cash said just before the tournament on radio 5 that the players in the locker room felt that Sampras could be taken that year because he wasn't the player of the past.

Then in round two Sampras got taken to five sets by Barry Cowan, a qualifier from Lancashire who was a fan of Liverpool football club (during changeovers he listened to You'll never walk alone on his walkman, Liverpool anthem for you Americans out there) Sampras asked after that match what he was listening to?

Against Federer, when Sampras lost the first set on the tiebreak, I remember getting very nervous. But I knew he would fight to the end, which is what he did.

For me the biggest difference in that match and tournament from previous years was that Sampras wasn't hitting the ball cleanly. In previous years Sampras always hit a lot of return winners in the big matches and in 2001 that dried up considerably. For me that only means one thing, he was not confident and not going for his shots. The missed smash break point down in the third set is another indicator.

Federer played a great match. Sampras didn't play as well as he could that day. I'm not sure it would have been enough to see off Henman or Rafter or Goran in 2001.
 

Galactus

Banned
Andres Guazzelli said:
Nalbandian is 5-2 against Federer. I think Henman too is ahead in their head-to-head ;)
Damn - you're right! However, I see a 'Federer-Hewitt-esque' scenario from this point onwards: Hewitt was beating Federer 9-2 up to mid-2003 (the same time Nalbandian last beat Fed) and look what's happened...Hewitt gets routined each time they meet now (the last 8 have gone to Fed and he's only dropped 2 sets)
As for Henman, you're right again: he's 6-4 up and if only he had that extra 'oommph' to his game, I feel he'd still be causing Federer problems with his S&V game.
 

Dirky

New User
2001 Wimbledon Sampras Interview 07/02/2001: (excerpts)

Q. What emotions are playing out in your head now?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, just very -- I'm very disappointed obviously. I lost to a really, really good player today. He played great. He's a great shot-maker. He won the big points.
I had my chances throughout the match, had a couple breakpoints there in the fifth. You know, he came up with some really good stuff at huge times. He played a great game to break me. I give him a lot of credit. He really played very well.

Q. As Centre Court debuts go, have you ever seen anyone quite so composed as that?
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, he was very relaxed. His demeanor on the court is pretty similar to mine. He's pretty relaxed. Goes out and plays. Doesn't get too emotional, too many highs and lows.
He's got a great backhand, serves well. He's definitely got a good all-around court game. Doesn't have any holes in his game. Great athlete. I mean, he really played really well.
You know, just getting off the court, I'm disappointed, I mean, obviously. You know, I had a few chances. I felt like I had it at 4-All. Hit a good return. You know, wasn't to be. You know, I came up a little bit short.

Q. You said against Cowan that you didn't think you were going to lose the match, even when it got to 2-2. Did you feel like you were in danger, down 2-1 today? That is a big difference?
PETE SAMPRAS: Two sets to one?

Q. Yes.
PETE SAMPRAS: Yeah, I mean, I let it slip a little bit in the third set, missed that overhead. You know, I felt like I had pretty good control of the match in the third. He came up with some good stuff. You know, down two sets to one, the way he was playing, I knew it was an uphill battle. But I played a really, really good tiebreaker. I tied it up and played really well.
The fifth set, you know, we were both playing pretty solid, and he got the break. I mean, he really made me play on that last service game. But I can only know I had my chance there at 4-All in the breakpoint - backhand there, kind of hit it back to him.
You know, it's tough out there. And he definitely has got a great future. I mean, he's already proven that he's a great player. He's got a good chance to maybe go all the way.

...

Q. There are other Roger Federers out there, as you well know. Jim Courier says they're coming out of the woodwork, young players with a lot of talent. For you, do you now redouble your efforts, work even harder, or do you sit down sometime after the emotions have passed and start considering what you want to do in the future?
PETE SAMPRAS: Well, sure, there are a lot of young guys coming up, and Roger is one of them. But I think he's a little extra special than some of the other guys. I mean, he's got a really good all-around court game. You know, all I can try to do is rebound from kind of a disappointing year and get ready for the summer. It's going to take me a while to get over this one.
But just keep trying to work hard, do the training, put in the practise hours on the court, and hopefully I can have a good summer. Maybe The Open can be a little bit better than here. It's disappointing. It's a tough, tough loss, you know, to deal with.

...

Q. A decade ago you had a match against Lendl at Flushing Meadows that you had your breakthrough on, similar round I think, too. Did this match have that kind of feel, but you were on the other end of it?
PETE SAMPRAS: I mean, not really. That match -- no. I mean, I really haven't thought about that. You know, I lost to a talented player that's a great shot-maker, similar to the way I was when I was younger, and still today. He's got a great grass court game. He's got all the tools.

Q. You hit with Roger before. When he beat our guys in the Davis Cup, did you ask Todd or Jan-Michael about him at all?
PETE SAMPRAS: I've seen Roger play. I've practised with him. I had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do out there. You know, he's got a good all-around court game. Doesn't have any holes. It's a little different when you compete against him. His serve, I couldn't really get ahold of. His shots, he was on. You know, I've seen him play enough over the years to kind of know what to expect.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Rabbit said:
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.
Firstly, Federer is not in a decline. Just because he won 3 GS in 2004, and now he reached 2 semis and won Wimbledon, he is declining? Comeon, Sampras may have string together 3 GS in a row before but he also average 1 Wimbledon a year and maybe add a US open some years, always faired badly in French Open and mediocre at Australian Open. For the next few years, Federer will keep reaching semi-finals of GS and winning GS. He is definitely a more consistent player than Sampras at winning top 10 players. In all sports, you measure greatness with the previous record. Like in swimming and in track and field, when you just beat the previous record by a few milli-seconds, what so great about that? But if you win it by a huge margin like micheal johnson 200m dash, that is greatness. Sampras just increased the record of GS from 13 to 14...what so great about that? just one more...Do you know the previous record for finals winning streaks? 12 finals wins for both borg & mcenroe...now Federer almost double it at 21 finals or is it 22 now? That is a huge difference. That's greatness. How about the record against top 10 players winning streak? Federer also broke that record by a huge margin. Federer is also the only player to be 5-0 for his 1st five GS finals. Federer is also 76-6 winning record last year, 58-3 this year, won all his matches at the Tennis Masters cup 10-0 for 2 years, none of this achievements I saw when Sampras was his age. Sampras 7 Wimbledon wins is just 2 wins more than borgs' 5 wins, but borg won 6 French open, that's more impressive. Federer has an equal or slightly better start of his career than Sampras and was even more dominating than Sampras when Sampras was 23/ 24.

As for Sampras has more offense than Federer. Federer will returns serve even better than Agassi and Hewitt. His return of serve is really underated. He reads big serves so well that all these big servers have so much lesser aces when playing Federer. Scenerio 1, If Sampras crushes his forehand inside-out to Federer's backhand. Scenerio 2, If Federer crushes his forehand inside-out to Sampras' backhand. For Scenerio 1, Federer can still defend because his backhand is extremely versatile and mixed with slice, defensive lob, offensive lob, topsin drive, lunges, etc. For Scenerio 2, Sampras' backhand will falter against Federer's forehand onslaught. Sampras has a good backhand but I just believe Federer will come up on top, when Scenerio 1 vs Scenerio 2 battles out. This to me is the key of the match. If Sampras serves and volleys, Federer keeps hitting unbelievable passing shots and low balls like what Hewitt did in the past to Sampras, Sampras will look extremely silly at getting passed continuously at the net. Then Scenerio 1 & Scenerio 2 will happened and both Federer & Sampras will play baseline games with Sampras looking for the odd ball of coming to the net. That is how Sampras played against Agassi when Agassi was red-hot for a period of time when Agassi owned Sampras for a short while. In Sampras's era, there is nobody that can serve as big as him, volley as well as him, groundies as big as him. (Combination of all 3). When Edberg was at his peak, his net game was superior than Sampras, and Sampras lost to Edberg. But Federer has just the same offense on his serve compared to Sampras; his Volleys are not inferior to Sampras, his groundies are as good, adding his backhand is more potent and versatile. Sampras will not have a clue on how to defeat a player who plays the same way as himself.

Lastly, Federer is like a shape-shifter or chameleon. He can play & hurt Sampras like a Sampras, Edberg, Krajeck: "Serve & Volley". Or he can play Sampras like a red-hot Agassi or Hewitt/Chang at their best, but even better than both of them combined: "Baseline game, hit on the rise (Agassi), Counterpuncher & running for ever dying balls (Hewitt/Chang), Super-consistency & Mechanical Stroke-Play (Lendl)" Lendl had a good head to head with Sampras and Sampras hardly won Lendl when Lendl was at his prime. Federer can alter his game to many of the greats in the 80s, 90s, 2000s. Some of his chip and charge, backhand low volleys at Wimbledon resembled Edberg. Even if Sampras is 2 sets up, Federer can find a way to use the different playing styles of players that Sampras had difficulties with to play against him, eg. Agassi, Hewitt, Lendl, Edberg, Krajeck. He can either combined all of them or play a specific style of these players. Federer is able to back his serve much better than Sampras. Why Krajeck can have a winning record against Sampras? Because Krajeck plays like Sampras but with a stronger backhand. Federer plays like Krajeck but Federer's backhand is more versatile and stronger and he is far more consistent a player than Krajeck.
Sampras does not like to play a Krajeck or a Federer who plays exactly like himself. Sampras is dumbfounded and perplexed on how to play his mirror image opponent. But Federer simply loves the challenge of playing his mirror image opponent, which can be seen when he revenged his loss on Gasquet who plays quite a good all-round game like himself.

Federer's mental is also underated. He has losing records early in his career (1999 ~ 2002) to Hewitt, Nalbandian, Henman. All 3 of these players beat him like 4-5 times more, but yet Federer was able to overcome these hard losses & mental hurdles and start to form winning streaks against these 3 players in recent times, 2003-2005. This means that Federer will eventually find a way to neutralize his opponents' strengths and capitalize on their weakness and his mental is so supreme that he can turn losing records by creating new streaks against his nemesis. I don't see Hewitt able to turn his losing streak against Federer, but don't forget how Hewitt was 7-2 up in Head-Head early in their careers, and yet Federer just overcome this mental hurdle and have a 8 game winning streak. It's just a matter of time for Federer to understand players that he has a losing record at the present moment, eg. Nadal, Hrbaty and turn it around with the same winning streak he is enjoying with Hewitt, Nalbandian, Henman. So against Sampras, in the long run, Federer will have a winning head to head record if both of them are the same age, playing in the same era. When Sampras played against his top 5 opponents in GS semis or finals, there is still a sense of uncertainty and fear that he may lose to these top 5 players, Agassi, Chang, Rafter, Ivanesivic, Becker, Edberg, Courier all the close matches, 4 or 5 sets; I got to go and support & cheer Sampras on to win. But Federer does not give me this kind of anxiety. When he plays Roddick, Hewitt, Agassi, Coria, Gaudio, Moya, Ferrero, it's either 3 sets or 4 sets win for Federer. Only playing Safin or Nadal, then I will worry for Federer with the same sense of uncertainty and fear like when I supported Sampras. Federer is simply too consistent against his peers, that's why he had such a good (vs top 10) winning streak. Occasionally, Sampras can lose to low ranked players (> 100 ranked) especially at French and other small tournaments but Federer does not at this moment. Federer 9-1 (23-3 in Sets) against Roddick. Sampras 12-6 (31-24 in Sets) against Ivanisevic. Roddick should be comparable to Ivanisevic in terms of skills, but Federer is just dominating Roddick way better than Sampras was dominating Ivanisevic until Roddick has no mental capability to fight any more. If Ivanisevic & Roddick forms the same baseline to compare Federer & Sampras, Federer is definitely feared by his peers more and is definitely a greater player at crushing his top 5 ranked opponents.

So all said and done, it should be Federer winning Sampras more times at Australian (10-6), French (10-0), Wimbledon (10-Eight) and US Open (10-7).
 

drexeler

Rookie
ctbmar said:
Federer is like a shape-shifter or chameleon.
I like this quote. Recently I read that when he won Wim in 2003, he was S&Ving 60% of the time, this year it was 19%. Both times he blazed through dropping only one set. It reminds me of the quote about the (American) football coach: "He can take his team and beat you, he can take your team and beat you".
 

Oscar

New User
I like both players a lot, i am sure Federer will be one of the greatest in the game along with Sampras, Borg and Laver. But, although this would be a very closed match, Sampras in his prime was untouchable. The nod for Sampras here.
 
I can't believe that so many back up Federer. Federer is an awesome player, but Sampras is still something else. Sampras' serve is arguably the most daunting serve ever to hit a tennis court. Not only that, but for many years from the beginning of his career, Sampras was number one. Federer took longer to get his act together, and in the beginning, the mental side killed Federer. Sampras would win this fantasy match, though I do think it would be a tight 4-5 sets. I may change my mind if I see what Federer can accomplish in the future.
 

sarpmas

Rookie
ctbmar said:
... When Sampras played against his top 5 opponents in GS semis or finals, there is still a sense of uncertainty and fear that he may lose to these top 5 players, Agassi, Chang, Rafter, Ivanesivic, Becker, Edberg, Courier all the close matches, 4 or 5 sets; I got to go and support & cheer Sampras on to win. But Federer does not give me this kind of anxiety. When he plays Roddick, Hewitt, Agassi, Coria, Gaudio, Moya, Ferrero, it's either 3 sets or 4 sets win for Federer. Only playing Safin or Nadal, then I will worry for Federer with the same sense of uncertainty and fear like when I supported Sampras...
Man! The way you're describing Fed's game, if you did not 'estimate' the matchups against Sampras at the end of your post, I would have thought no one in this universe is going to beat Fed! Pardon me for saying this, I think you are really underestimating Sampras's game at his prime.

From your quote above, can you tell me what is the difference between Sampras's group of challengers and Federer's group? Like I said in my earlier post, basically all of them are baseliners! And compare that with Sampra's, a good mix of SVers, all-courters and baseliners. The challenges presented by these variety of players are quite significant! It is not Federer's fault, but I believed he is not being tested fully. Baseline game for a great player like Federer is too predictable.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
sarpmas said:
Man! The way you're describing Fed's game, if you did not 'estimate' the matchups against Sampras at the end of your post, I would have thought no one in this universe is going to beat Fed! Pardon me for saying this, I think you are really underestimating Sampras's game at his prime.

From your quote above, can you tell me what is the difference between Sampras's group of challengers and Federer's group? Like I said in my earlier post, basically all of them are baseliners! And compare that with Sampra's, a good mix of SVers, all-courters and baseliners. The challenges presented by these variety of players are quite significant! It is not Federer's fault, but I believed he is not being tested fully. Baseline game for a great player like Federer is too predictable.
Besides Edberg & Becker at their prime could beat Sampras when Sampras started out, there are no other players in the S&V category that could match Sampras' consistency when Sampras was in his prime.

When Sampras was in his prime
------------------------------
1) S&V players : Edberg (getting old)
Becker (getting old)
Ivanisevic (just got a big serve, plays like Roddick)
Krajecek (met 10 times, lost 6)
Tim Henman (still in Federer's era)

2) All court players? who was an all court player? Seems only Sampras or Krajecek....The Scud? (Also in Federer's era)

3) Baseliners : Chang, Agassi, Courier, Muster, Corretja, Norman, Moya, Kuerten, Martin, and many other Spanish baseliners.

I don't see any difference in Federer's opponent group compared to Sampras.
A tired Taylor Dent / older Tim Henman is similar to a worn out Becker/Edberg.
Ivanisevic is better than a Roddick?
Krajecek & Scud are too inconsistent to reach the later stages of big tournaments and GS, so what competitions do they provide Sampras?
Basliners in Sampras group are better than Hewitt, Roddick, Nadal, Safin, Gaudio, Coria, with so many young players with bigger forehands & serves???
I give you the benefit of the doubt, I say this group is equal.
When a champion is just blistering the field, you just say he lacked the competition from his opponents. That's extremely lame. When Micheal Jordan & Tiger Woods were blistering their opponents, any critics said their opponents are weak? No matter how strong their opponents are, there will still be a gap between the no. 2 ranked player because these 2 are Gods. Likewise this phenomenon is happening in tennis. Please be enlightened....
 
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laurie

Guest
I wouldn't compare great players with incredible technique to Taylor Dent and Tim Henman. Taylor Dent's backhand and groundstrokes are not very good. Edberg had a great backhand.

In 1990 US Open semifinals these were the four particpants and their ages:

Andre Agassi age 20 V Boris Becker age 22
John McEnroe age 31 v Pete Sampras age 19

Note there is a three year age gap between the three semifinalist.

In 1992 US Open final Sampras age 21 played Stefan Edberg age 26.

All these players played eachother when they were extremely competitive. The head to heads are:

Sampras v Becker - 12:7
Sampras v Goran - 12:7
Sampras v Edberg - 8:6

I've seen Guillermo Coria play at the French Open last year. Guillermo Coria does not have a big serve or a big forehand. He's a consistent and talented player who uses a lot of topspin on his shots to keep the ball deep so he cannot be attacked. He's yet to win a major.

Rafael Nadal does not have a big serve.

Sampras beat Marat Safin at the US Open twice in 1998 & 2001.

Both eras has its merits. Lets not forget the likes of Michael Stich, Micheal Chang, Jim Courier, Pat Rafter, Yefgeny Kafelnikov, Petra Korda; all players who won big tournaments with different palying styles. I think the 1990s player mentioned have more variation than now at the very top level.
 

35ft6

Legend
Oscar said:
But, although this would be a very closed match, Sampras in his prime was untouchable. The nod for Sampras here.
Federer wasn't there to touch him. Federer at his best is more untouchable than Sampras and on more surfaces.
 
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laurie

Guest
Not so, Sampras was much more successful on indoor surfaces than Federer at the same age. He was also much more successful than Federer on hardcourts at the same age.

Federer has yet to win Cincinatti. Sampras won it and was in one final. Sampras won Key Biscane twice to Federer's one. Sampras won the US open twice, plus was a losing finalist, to Federer's one. Sampras also won Indianapolis twice by 1995 and Los Angeles in 1991 plus Indian Wells twice, plus the hardcourt tournaments in Hong Kong & Japan. Won the Aussie Open, played in a final plus a semifinal.

Sampras won indoor tournaments in Philadelphia, Lyon, Paris Bercy. Federer has yet to win Paris Bercy. Not to mention the ATP finals which were indoor then in Germany.

Federer has won indoors in Holland, Milan and Bangkok.

Federer has the edge over Sampras on clay. He's won Hamburg three times to Sampras' Italian Open but at the moment Sampras has an overall better French Open record up to 1995.
 
Didn't federer beat pete in wimbey? that should shut you all up. That means federer is the better player.

Oya the way federer is going he lookes more then untouchable!
 

drexeler

Rookie
Sampras fans like to throw around names such as Edberg, Becker to make it sound as if Pete had to wade through champions whereas Federer only has to deal with clowns. But upon closer inspection, most of these players were either from an earlier generation (Edberg, Becker), past their primes (Courier), or had success in years after Sampras's prime (Goran). Ultimately the only great player who was in the prime together with Sampras was Agassi. Even that was only from late 94 to 95, and then after 99.

Lets compare Wim 93 - Wim 95 period to Wim 03 - Wim 05 period. During this period, both Pete and Fed 5 out 9 slams. The other 4 in Pete's era were won by Bruguera, Agassi, Agassi, Muster. So, discounting the clay slams, Agassi was the only one good enough to win slams that Sampras couldn't. During the Fed era, the 4 slams were won by Roddick, Gaudio, Safin, and Nadal. And Hewitt lost to Federer 4 of these 9 slams, and lost in the final of a 5th one. So, the current 2, 3, 4, 5 players have shown they have the capacity to win slams when Fed doesn't. Furthermore, all these 4 are young and in their prime. And 3 of these 5 reached Wim semis, 2 of 5 FO semis, 4 of 5 reached the semis of most recent AO, Masters Cup, and USO. This top 5 is as consistent as the group of Lendl, Wilander, Becker, Edberg in the late 80's.

So, you have 5 consistently great players now vs. 2 in Pete's prime. As for Becker of 95-97, he is comparable to Agassi of 2003-2005. Both won one slam - the AO- in this period. As for Rafter, he emerged only after 1997. By that time Fed could face the likes of Gasquet, Monfils, Murray etc. As for big servers like Goran, it's worth noting Goran didn't have a final anywhere other than Wimbledon. There are tons of big serving guys (in the lower tiers) around now - Ancic, Joachim Johansson, F. Lopez, Max Mirnyi, Ljubicic, Karlovic etc. They just haven't had much success because there are lot of great returners around (Fed, Hewitt, Nalbandian etc.) with great movement, anticipation, passing shots, and lobs. One could conceivably see Ancic and F. Lopez having more success at Wimbledon in the 90's (where guys like Stoltenberg, Mal Washington, Pioline were reaching later rounds).

I am not knocking Sampras's competition here. He beat all comers. He should get a ton of credit for preventing Agassi from becoming a higher tier champion (Agassi lost it mentally after the bitter loss to Pete at 95 USO). I just wrote this to illustrate that Fed's competition isn't as weak as it he makes it seem. For instance take the case of Roddick - he won Queens 3 times in a row, 32-0 against players other than Fed on grass, SF & 2 consecutive finals at W, no 1 on ATP for 2 straight yrs in holding serves at 92%. But his confidence was shattered after playing his best and losing to Fed in 2004 Wim Final. Ever since he's been tinkering with his game - instead of sticking to his strengths - and losing ground (similar to Agassi after 95). If not for Fed, he arguably could have 3 Wim (and 1 USO) at age 22. Hewitt could have 3 slams (1 Wim, 2US), Safin 3 slams (1US, 2AO).
 
L

laurie

Guest
I for one am not saying Federer has weak competition. However, usually people try to make out competition in the 1990s was weaker, which of course is nonsense.

By the way chap with the long name, they played one match. Aren't you clever?!
 

35ft6

Legend
laurie said:
I for one am not saying Federer has weak competition. However, usually people try to make out competition in the 1990s was weaker, which of course is nonsense.
But it's literally true. Perhaps not by a huge amount, especially at the very top, but certainly true if you consider what would happen if the guys ranked 50 to 100 now played their counterparts, the guys ranked 50 to 100, in 1994. I think today's group would handily beat those guys.
 

BigboyDan

Semi-Pro
I have no idea if Sampras would beat Federer in their primes - but I do know this: Federer's competition sucks, except on clay.
 
OK, So, if pete is greater then federer as you say he is. He should have been able to win that match.


Okay, you're probably going to come and say ooomm ohh pete wasn't at his prime. well, neither was fed! so doesn't that makes it an even match up? guess what? federer won fair and square.


Another thing, how much endurance do you need to win wimbledon? IMO the least out of the other 3 slams. I think most people will agree on that much. I think it takes more skills and experience to win wimbey than stamina. So you can't say that pete got tired and lost because he was old or at the end of his career.


Pete had the strokes, serves and expiernce to win that match at that year. why didn't he beat federer? well, simple logic, federer just out played pete at his best surface.
Sorry sampras fans. the sun will rise tomorrow and you can't do anything about it. Im sure there will be more greater players than federer and federer's game too, will go down. but Im just glad that fed has beaten pete even if it was only ONCE.

Why federer's competition on clay is good because he lost in that surface more than any others? well you just wont quite until the man goes down. you want to see federer getting beaten on every surface,suffer and then you will say "O Ya here some competition for me to enjoy". Well, he wants to be the best and it will not happen soon. so, just watch something else when federer's match is on tv.

IMO Because federer can shut everybody down on the court and pete couldn't is the biggest reason for me to believe federer is the real bigger deal than pete.
 

sarpmas

Rookie
ctbmar said:
Besides Edberg & Becker at their prime could beat Sampras when Sampras started out, there are no other players in the S&V category that could match Sampras' consistency when Sampras was in his prime.

When Sampras was in his prime
------------------------------
1) S&V players : Edberg (getting old)
Becker (getting old)
Ivanisevic (just got a big serve, plays like Roddick)
Krajecek (met 10 times, lost 6)
Tim Henman (still in Federer's era)

2) All court players? who was an all court player? Seems only Sampras or Krajecek....The Scud? (Also in Federer's era)

3) Baseliners : Chang, Agassi, Courier, Muster, Corretja, Norman, Moya, Kuerten, Martin, and many other Spanish baseliners.

I don't see any difference in Federer's opponent group compared to Sampras.
A tired Taylor Dent / older Tim Henman is similar to a worn out Becker/Edberg.
Ivanisevic is better than a Roddick?
Krajecek & Scud are too inconsistent to reach the later stages of big tournaments and GS, so what competitions do they provide Sampras?
Basliners in Sampras group are better than Hewitt, Roddick, Nadal, Safin, Gaudio, Coria, with so many young players with bigger forehands & serves???
I give you the benefit of the doubt, I say this group is equal.
When a champion is just blistering the field, you just say he lacked the competition from his opponents. That's extremely lame. When Micheal Jordan & Tiger Woods were blistering their opponents, any critics said their opponents are weak? No matter how strong their opponents are, there will still be a gap between the no. 2 ranked player because these 2 are Gods. Likewise this phenomenon is happening in tennis. Please be enlightened....
Did I say Federer's competition is weak? In fact, I'm a believer that tennis is always evolving, new generation of players will always be faster and stronger than the older generations. What I'm trying to put across is, the current era of players are predominantly baseliners. Federer's closest competition are basically all baseliners, they are not giving Federer a different look, more importantly, a different challenge. The original topic is who wins, Pete vs Federer at their best? I'm saying Pete can hold his ground. Please don't be so sensitive...

obackvalobasha said:
Didn't federer beat pete in wimbey? that should shut you all up. That means federer is the better player.

Oya the way federer is going he lookes more then untouchable!
Hrbaty is 2-0 against Federer, most recent win was in 2004, where Federer won 3 Slams that year. So if Hrbaty retires now, is he a better player than Federer? LMAO!
 

All Court

Rookie
backvalobasha, Pete was close to the end of his career then. Not to mention that people thought Federer was a one time wonder then, as he lost most of his matches after that big win.

And yeah, according to your logic, Hrbaty should be the legendary player out there right now. ;)

backvalo...did you ever watch one of Sampras' matches during his prime? Were you there when he began winning? Or are you jumping on a bandwagon because Federer is the only one of the two on tour at the moment?
 

Max G.

Legend
obackvalobasha said:
OK, So, if pete is greater then federer as you say he is. He should have been able to win that match.
Yep. Just as he should have won plenty of matches that year, which he didn't.

Okay, you're probably going to come and say ooomm ohh pete wasn't at his prime. well, neither was fed! so doesn't that makes it an even match up? guess what? federer won fair and square.
Yep. That makes it an even matchup, which Federer won. However, we're talking about who would win if they both played in their primes. I find it pointless to say "Federer would beat Sampras if both of them were in their primes - as proof of this I offer a match in which neither of them were in their prime!"

Another thing, how much endurance do you need to win wimbledon? IMO the least out of the other 3 slams. I think most people will agree on that much. I think it takes more skills and experience to win wimbey than stamina. So you can't say that pete got tired and lost because he was old or at the end of his career.
Sure I can. It's the same reason that he lost to George Bastl the next year (can you imagine THAT happening in Sampras's prime?). It's the same reason he lost to Todd Martin that year at the Australian Open (changing Martin's record against Sampras from 2-17 to 3-17). It's the same reason that he was taken to FIVE SETS by Barry Cowan in the second round that year. He was a step slow (btw, being a step slow will hurt you on all surfaces), wasn't producing his best tennis at the biggest moments like he used to (missed overhead on breakpoint) and, overall, WASN'T PLAYING AS WELL AS HE USED TO (even the players in the locker room were saying that this was the year in which Sampras was more vulnerable than ever).

Pete had the strokes, serves and expiernce to win that match at that year. why didn't he beat federer?
Because he didn't play well enough to win. He had the strokes, serves, and experience to win tournaments, and yet he didn't win a single tournament all year that year.

well, simple logic, federer just out played pete at his best surface.
Exactly. And this discussion is aiming to find out whether the same thing would happen in pete's prime. You have yet to provide a reason why it would.

Sorry sampras fans. the sun will rise tomorrow and you can't do anything about it. Im sure there will be more greater players than federer and federer's game too, will go down. but Im just glad that fed has beaten pete even if it was only ONCE.

Why federer's competition on clay is good because he lost in that surface more than any others? well you just wont quite until the man goes down. you want to see federer getting beaten on every surface,suffer and then you will say "O Ya here some competition for me to enjoy". Well, he wants to be the best and it will not happen soon. so, just watch something else when federer's match is on tv.

IMO Because federer can shut everybody down on the court and pete couldn't is the biggest reason for me to believe federer is the real bigger deal than pete.
Well, good for you then. We'll see how the comparison works when all is said and done - until Federer surpasses Sampras's achievements, the fact that he potential to doesn't really make your case.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
drexeler said:
Lets compare
Good post. Interesting take. But, let's go back to the original premise of Sampras and Federer’s first 7 years of their professional careers and re-examine their competition and their hardware. (I've included the WCT Dallas, Year End Singles Championship and Tennis Masters Cup as they are the year's best vs. the best tourney from each year) Do lets compare (in 2 parts):

Part I
Sampras: d.o.b. 8/12/1971; turned pro 1988; first major USO 1990; 7 majors thru 1995.

Sampras Competition:

1) Edberg: d.o.b. 01/19/1966; first major Wimby 1988; 4 majors thru 1995;
1988 thru 1995 he won 28 of his 42 titles and reached 26 of his 36 other finals including:

1988 Wimby champion; WCT year end Singles Championship finalist
1989 Roland Garros finalist; Wimby finalist
1990 Wimby champion
1991 US Open champion
1992 US Open champion; Aussie finalist
1993 Aussie finalist

2 of Edberg's 4 majors came after Sampras won his first, coming at ages 25 and 26. Another 2 months prior. Major finals at 26 and 27. When was Edberg's prime again?

2) Becker: d.o.b. 11/22/1967; first major Wimby 1985; 5 majors thru 1995
1988 thru 1995 he won 32 of his 49 titles and reached 19 of his 28 other finals, including:

1988 Wimby finalist; WCT year end Champion
1990 Wimby finalist
1991 Aussie champion, Wimby finalist
1992 year end Singles Champion
1994 year end Singles Championship finalist
1995 Wimby finalist; year end Singles Championship finalist

*1996 Aussie champion; year end Singles Championship finalist

Only 1 major for Becker '90-'95 coming at age 23 and 2 other major finals at 22 and 27. BUT, 1 major in '96 at 28. 2 majors after Sampras won his first. When did Becker actually fade from the scene?

Now Sampras’s ABSOLUTE contemporaries:

3) Agassi: d.o.b. 4/291970; first major Wimby 1992; 3 majors thru 1995
1988 to 1995 he won 30 of his 60 titles and reached 11 of his 28 other finals, including:

1990: US Open finalist; year end Singles Champion
1991: Roland Garros finalist
1992: Wimby champion
1994: US Open champion
1995: Aussie champion; US Open finalist

3 majors '90-'95. 3 other major finals during the same period.

4) Courier: d.o.b. 8/17/1970, first major RG 1991; 4 majors thru 1995 by age 22.
1988 to 1995 he won 18 of his 23 titles and reached 12 of his other 13 finals including:

1991: Roland Garros champion; US Open finalist; year end Singles Championship finalist.
1992: Aussie champion; Roland Garros champion; year end Singles Championship finalist.
1993: Aussie champion; Roland Garros finalist, Wimby finalist

4 majors and 3 other major finals for Courier.

Sampras was 16-4 lifetime against Courier. Sampras was 7-1 v. Courier in majors alone! The 7 wins over Courier in majors?:

1991: US Open F
1992: US Open SF
1993: Wimbledon F
1994: Aussie SF
1995: Aussie QF
1995: US Open SF
1996: Roland Garros QF

The one major loss? 1994 Roland Garros QF

All of Courier's majors came after Sampras won his first. Who exactly did you think pushed Courier “past his prime” and when did Courier actually pass it, again? Also, please keep this in mind when I discuss Hewitt in the next post.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
drexeler said:
Lets compare
Part II
Federer; d.o.b. 08/08/1981; turned pro 1998; first major Wimby 2003; 5 majors with a good chance to win a sixth in 2005.

Federer's “superior” competition:

1) Safin: d.o.b. 01/27/1980; first major US Open 2000; 2 majors to date.
To date 15 titles, 9 other finals including:

2000 US Open champion
2002 Aussie finalist
2004 Aussie finalist
2005 Aussie champion

2 majors, 2 major runner-ups. Biggest threat to Federer of the bunch. If he can stay out of an asylum he could be Federer’s “Agassi”.

2) Roddick: d.o.b. 08/30/1982; first major US Open 2003; 1 major thru 2005.
To date 18 titles, 9 other finals including:

2003: US Open champion
2004: Wimby finalist
2005: Wimby finalist

1 major, 2 major runner-ups. Thin. If he fails to repeat at the USO, it will be over two years since his last/first major. Ivo reached 4 Wimby finals winning one.

3) Hewitt: d.o.b. 02/24/1981; first major US Open 2001; 2 majors thru 2005.
To date 24 titles, 12 other finals including:

2001: US Open champion, Tennis Masters Cup champion
2002: Wimby champion, Tennis Masters Cup champion
2004: US Open finalist, Tennis Masters Cup finalist
2005: Aussie finalist

2 major wins, 2 major runner-ups. Now, if Courier was past his prime as you claim at 23, a year after having won one major and being runner-up in two others, where does that place Hewitt at 24 having not won a major in over 3 years?

4) Nadal: d.o.b. 06/03/1986; first major RG 2005; one major to date.
To date 9 titles, 2 other finals including:

2005: Roland Garros

Great talent. Remains to be seen if he can do it on any other surface. Even with the 5 year age disparity I'll give him to you as a "Federer contemporary", but you have to give me Edberg and Becker.

Gaudio...Gaudio?! You looked long and hard for that 5th champion which Federer must fight through on his way to 15 majors. But..........No. You say Gaudio? I say Chang. Gaudio wins another? I say Bruguera. C'mon.

You did forget one Federer rival though. I’m surprised you left him off your list as he has the most successful record in majors during Federer’s pro campaign to date. Just from 2000 (the year of Safin’s first major) to date, he has 26 titles and 15 other finals including 3 major wins, another major final as well as two Tennis Masters Cup runner-ups.

ANDRE AGASSI. Oh yeah, he’s a SAMPRAS contemporary and past his prime, too.

Of Federer’s major rivals could you please point out a serve and volleyer.

Look, I am a huge fan of both Federer and Sampras. I do believe Federer is the most talented player I’ve ever seen. But, Sampras has set the bar and a pretty high one at that. If Fed fails to win the US Open in 2005, he’ll then need to win 10…..that’s 10 majors in the second half of his career to overtake Sampras’s slam record. It’s a tall order either way.

In the head to head fantasy match between Sampras and Federer in their respective primes, who knows. We obviously never will. I feel one way others here feel differently.

But, when the rivals each have faced are re-examined in the BIG PICTURE, rather than peering through a keyhole, I think it puts Federer's "superior competition" into proper perspective.

Sampras 1st Seven Years 1988-1995

Sampras 36 championships 13 finals 7 majors 2 major finals
4 rivals 108 championships 68 finals 12 majors 14 major finals

Federer 1st Seven Years 1998-2005

Federer 30 championships 8 finals 6? majors 0 major finals
4 rivals 66 championships 32 finals 6 majors 6 major finals

Good post drex. This is fun.
 

Galactus

Banned
I think a good benchmark as to how 'shot' Sampras was in 2001 (when Federer beat him at Wimbledon) is the last three wins he had over Agassi in 2001-2002.
Consider then, that it's now 3 years on and Agassi is still in the ATP Top 10 and has the following record:
AUSO: Winner; Semi-finalist; Qtr-finalist
Roland Garros: Qtr-finalist
USO: Semi-finalist; Qtr-finalist
4 x ATP titles
111-32 record

Now let's look at Agassi, circa 2002-2005 vs Federer:
Federer 7 - Agassi 0

So, going back to Wimbledon '01, yes, Sampras wasn't the force he was in 1995-2000, but if his talents have diminshed within that time-frame, we must assume then Federer's talent has improved just as well between 2001-2005.

Sampras (at his peak) vs Federer 2005 (probably not at his peak)
Federer bts Sampras in 4 sets
 
L

laurie

Guest
35 ft, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you. Yesterday I mentioned top ten players from the 1990s who all have significant achievements. However, there were many players in the top 50 who made significant contributions to the world of professional men's tennis:

Cedric Pioline - two time slam finalist, twice Davis Cup winner, won Monte Carlo super nine. Very talented player

Todd Martin - two time slam finalist, solid Davis cup player and good all court player

Magnus Laasron - davis Cup winner and Grand slam cup winner. Dangerous man in draws at big events

Malavai Washington - first black Wimbledon finalist since Arthur Ashe. Talented player

Alex Corretja - Davis Cup winner, French Open finalist, ATP world champion in 1998 (beat Sampras in the semis)

Marcelo Rios - Australian Open finalist, won Indian Wells and Miami in 1998. Could have achieved more

Alberto Berasetegui - French Open finalist, had real western forehand

Greg Rusedski - US Open finalist, Grand slam cup winner, Paris Bercy champion (beat Sampras in the final in 1998)

Mark Phillipousis - slam finalist, Davis Cup winner twice, should have achieved more

These players could easily have had one or two slams if things went their way. They are as talented as players like Krajicek, Kafelnikov, Rafter, Korda, Moya etc etc. In fact, Pioline is one of the most talented players I've ever seen and wished he had more self belief and killer instinct. Rios was also very talented.

I've been going to live events since 1995. There is hardly any player I haven't seen play live. I've seen them all including even the likes of Arazi (extremely talented), Schrichapan. In the women I've seen everyone including Graf, Navratilova, Sabatini, Pierce, Hingis, Sanchez Vicario, Novotna, Mauresmo, Seles, Capriati, Clisters, Henin, Davenport to the Russians including Myskina and Sharapova. I would defintely say starting around 1998 that the Williams Sisters helped changed the women's game. However, its ironic that Davenport who lost in the 1994 Masters to Sabatini in New York is still around and is back at number one again. It shows talent with hard work pays no matter what era.

As for the men, I love to watch Coria and Nalbandian play. When I watched Coria play Moya last year in Paris I thought this is great, the way how he puts spins on his drop shots and how he keeps the ball deep because he knew Moya likes to get to net on his big forehand. However, having been to so many tournaments I really can't say these players have moved the game on from what is just a few years ago. There is a slight difference in playing style because there are more baseliners but all the players are still using customized graphite rackets with lead tape. They have the same tools.

Having been going to Wimbledon since 1995 I can say for sure that the game has actually slowed down at Wimbledon, never mind some of the serves we see on the speed gun. On Television you don't really get a sense what the players are doing on the court because of the high camera angles etc. You get part of the picture. Amplified sound doesn't help either. For instance, the acoustics in the complex at Paris Bercy indoors is fantastic. Thats also true at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. However, when the players hit the ball, there's a lovely crack but it doesn't sound like gunshots like is does on TV where the sound really seems to be over amplified, giving the impression players are murdering the ball etc. When you see these people play live, for instance putting away mid court winners, its much more controlled agression and caressing of the ball than the banging impression people seem to have.

Anyway, these are my thoughts on this. I reiterate players of the 1990s are as good as they are today.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
FiveO said:
Part II
Federer; d.o.b. 08/08/1981; turned pro 1998; first major Wimby 2003; 5 majors with a good chance to win a sixth in 2005.

Federer's “superior” competition:

1) Safin: d.o.b. 01/27/1980; first major US Open 2000; 2 majors to date.
To date 15 titles, 9 other finals including:

2000 US Open champion
2002 Aussie finalist
2004 Aussie finalist
2005 Aussie champion

2 majors, 2 major runner-ups. Biggest threat to Federer of the bunch. If he can stay out of an asylum he could be Federer’s “Agassi”.

2) Roddick: d.o.b. 08/30/1982; first major US Open 2003; 1 major thru 2005.
To date 18 titles, 9 other finals including:

2003: US Open champion
2004: Wimby finalist
2005: Wimby finalist

1 major, 2 major runner-ups. Thin. If he fails to repeat at the USO, it will be over two years since his last/first major. Ivo reached 4 Wimby finals winning one.

3) Hewitt: d.o.b. 02/24/1981; first major US Open 2001; 2 majors thru 2005.
To date 24 titles, 12 other finals including:

2001: US Open champion, Tennis Masters Cup champion
2002: Wimby champion, Tennis Masters Cup champion
2004: US Open finalist, Tennis Masters Cup finalist
2005: Aussie finalist

2 major wins, 2 major runner-ups. Now, if Courier was past his prime at 22 as you claim, having won one major and being runner-up in two others, where does that place Hewitt at 24 having not won a major in over 3 years?

4) Nadal: d.o.b. 06/03/1986; first major RG 2005; one major to date.
To date 9 titles, 2 other finals including:

2005: Roland Garros

Great talent. Remains to be seen if he can do it on any other surface. Even with the 5 year age disparity I'll give him to you as a "Federer contemporary", but you have to give me Edberg and Becker.

Gaudio...Gaudio?! You looked long and hard for that 5th champion which Federer must fight through on his way to 15 majors. But..........No. You say Gaudio? I say Chang. Gaudio wins another? I say Bruguera. C'mon.

You did forget one Federer rival though. I’m surprised you left him off your list as he has the most successful record in majors during Federer’s pro campaign to date. Just from 2000 (the year of Safin’s first major) to date, he has 26 titles and 15 other finals including 3 major wins, another major final as well as two Tennis Masters Cup runner-ups.

ANDRE AGASSI. Oh yeah, he’s a SAMPRAS contemporary and past his prime, too.

Of Federer’s major rivals could you please point out a serve and volleyer.

Look, I am a huge fan of both Federer and Sampras. I do believe Federer is the most talented player I’ve ever seen. But, Sampras has set the bar and a pretty high one at that. If Fed fails to win the US Open in 2005, he’ll then need to win 10…..that’s 10 majors in the second half of his career to overtake Sampras’s slam record. It’s a tall order either way.

In the head to head fantasy match between Sampras and Federer in their respective primes, who knows. We obviously never will. I feel one way others here feel differently.

But, when the rivals each have faced are re-examined in the BIG PICTURE, rather than peering through a keyhole, I think it puts Federer's "superior competition" into proper perspective.

Sampras 1st Seven Years 1988-1995

Sampras 36 championships 13 finals 7 majors 2 major finals
4 rivals 108 championships 68 finals 12 majors 14 major finals

Federer 1st Seven Years 1998-2005

Federer 30 championships 8 finals 6? majors 0 major finals
4 rivals 66 championships 32 finals 6 majors 6 major finals

Good post drex. This is fun.
You can't simply compare the number of tournament wins and say Sampras is a better player. I can debate this "Superior" statistics as i) Sampras' competition was weaker, so he won more times... ii) Connors won 109 tournaments, the most in the era, so Connors is a better player than Sampras? There are a few others who won more tournaments than Sampras during their careers, so they are better players than Sampras?
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
ctbmar said:
You can't simply compare the number of tournament wins and say Sampras is a better player. I can debate this "Superior" statistics as i) Sampras' competition was weaker, so he won more times... ii) Connors won 109 tournaments, the most in the era, so Connors is a better player than Sampras? There are a few others who won more tournaments than Sampras during their careers, so they are better players than Sampras?
Then is the metric whatever you determine would make Federer come out on top? Five-0 is merely pointing out, if I understand his post correctly, that the reference to Sampras' opponents as has-beens was unfounded. Clearly, all of Sampras' opponents mentioned above are either in the Hall of Fame or headed to the Hall of Fame.

Roddick to date has one Grand Slam title. Everyone on these boards, well nearly everyone, agrees that his #1 ranking was about as contrived as you can get. I think at best he was a fill in. Roddick has not gotten better.

So, in the final analysis, who exactly has had the harder finals? I understand that it's not Federer's fault. If the competition isn't there then it just isn't there. But let's not take anything away from Sampras' wins.

What Five-0 also does is show where both are at the same point in their respective careers. What better measure is there?

Great post(s) Five-0!
 

35ft6

Legend
sarpmas said:
Did I say Federer's competition is weak? In fact, I'm a believer that tennis is always evolving, new generation of players will always be faster and stronger than the older generations. What I'm trying to put across is, the current era of players are predominantly baseliners. Federer's closest competition are basically all baseliners, they are not giving Federer a different look, more importantly, a different challenge.
They may mostly be baseliners today, but style aside today's players are stronger overall. As in they would beat the players of old even if their game isn't as aesthetically pleasing by some standards.

By your logic, if S and V tennis was a challenge and a different look back then, it's even more so now. But they're not doing so hot. The game has evolved, just like you said. I think it's evolved to the point where serve and volley tennis isn't as effective anymore.
 

35ft6

Legend
laurie said:
35 ft, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you. Yesterday I mentioned top ten players from the 1990s who all have significant achievements.

...

Anyway, these are my thoughts on this. I reiterate players of the 1990s are as good as they are today.
And I respectfully disagree with you. I think the guys who are between 50 and 100 today are tougher than the guys who were 50 to 100 ten years ago. Just about every pro that I've ever heard comment have said the same thing. In fact, I can't remember a single pro saying in the past 5 or 10 years anything but "the tour gets tougher and stronger every day/all the time." I've never heard anybody say "the guys are weaker now... they are not in good shape... they are hitting softer and running slower, thank goodness."

Likewise, the top 100 guys in 1995 were on average tougher than the top 100 guys of 1985, and 1985 guys were tougher than 1975. To me, this isn't even worth disputing (to me), and the more interesting question is "but are the players of 1995 more skilled?" What about the guys from 1985? Yeah, on average I think the top 100 is less skilled but MORE EFFECTIVE.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
ctbmar,

That's not what I'm saying at all. There was a case made by several posters that the top competitors Federer has faced up until this point in his career (his first seven years as a pro) HIS contemporaries are far superior to those faced by Sampras in the first seven years of his career.

Quoting myself from the post you cited:

"In the head to head fantasy match between Sampras and Federer in their respective primes, who knows. We obviously never will. I feel one way, others here feel differently."

The point of my two posts was to dispute the assertion that Sampras's main rivals were already past their primes. In my view, if anything, Sampras consistently faced tougher competition, relatively, up until this point in his career. That in and of itself was not intended to prove Sampras in his prime beats Federer in his prime.

It is my opinion that Sampras would prevail against Federer on any surface but clay. But that was not the point of posts 130 and 131 in this thread.
 

Galactus

Banned
FiveO said:
Look, I am a huge fan of both Federer and Sampras. I do believe Federer is the most talented player I’ve ever seen. But, Sampras has set the bar and a pretty high one at that. If Fed fails to win the US Open in 2005, he’ll then need to win 10…..that’s 10 majors in the second half of his career to overtake Sampras’s slam record. It’s a tall order either way.

In the head to head fantasy match between Sampras and Federer in their respective primes, who knows. We obviously never will. I feel one way others here feel differently.
I'm 100% with you here: big fan of both, although Sampras appeared somewhat 'robotic' as Federer is 'graceful'.
To be honest, I don't see Federer getting 15 Grand Slams: he's pointed out thus year that he may concentrate more on clay-court events in order to get the Roland Garros title. This might affect his standard on hardcourt/carpet/grass, etc, if he gets into certain clay-court habits.
(unless, that is, he pulls a 'Borg' and translates effectively from grass-to-clay and back again).

In this case, if, over the next 2-3 years he can add say, 2 more Wimbledons, 1 more USO or AUSO and 2 Roland Garros (5 GS's out of a possible 12) which is seriously possible) then he's all-time #1, and the becnh-mark has risen even higher.

This is all mere supposition though! ;)
 
L

laurie

Guest
35ft. Lets agree to disagree. However, instead of keep saying what the pros say, what is your opinion? In the sense that, do you make your own judegments or go by other people's thinking?

Not all pros say that, I saw Goran play Hewitt at Wimbledon last year in his last ever match before retirement. In the press conference that day, he said the technical level of the game has gone down. He was a bit disappointed by that. My thinking on why he said that would be lack of volleying technique and the best male server's not putting slice on the ball when serving at 125mph. Also using the slice as a tactic as well. These are all technical skills that are not as prevalent in today's game as they were in the 1990s with Stich, Sampras, Krajicek etc etc.
 

35ft6

Legend
laurie said:
35ft. Lets agree to disagree. However, instead of keep saying what the pros say, what is your opinion? In the sense that, do you make your own judegments or go by other people's thinking?
Spare me the condescension. Like all rational people, I'm not afraid of allowing the opinion of experts inform my own opinions.
Not all pros say that, I saw Goran play Hewitt at Wimbledon last year in his last ever match before retirement. In the press conference that day, he said the technical level of the game has gone down. He was a bit disappointed by that. My thinking on why he said that would be lack of volleying technique and the best male server's not putting slice on the ball when serving at 125mph. Also using the slice as a tactic as well. These are all technical skills that are not as prevalent in today's game as they were in the 1990s with Stich, Sampras, Krajicek etc etc.
I said in my last post that I think the skill level has gone down. I suspect Goran may have been alluding to the same thing if he said "technical level." And it's interesting that you would paraphrase Goran after the question you asked.
 

Galactus

Banned
laurie said:
35ft. Lets agree to disagree. However, instead of keep saying what the pros say, what is your opinion? In the sense that, do you make your own judegments or go by other people's thinking?

Not all pros say that, I saw Goran play Hewitt at Wimbledon last year in his last ever match before retirement. In the press conference that day, he said the technical level of the game has gone down. He was a bit disappointed by that. My thinking on why he said that would be lack of volleying technique and the best male server's not putting slice on the ball when serving at 125mph. Also using the slice as a tactic as well. These are all technical skills that are not as prevalent in today's game as they were in the 1990s with Stich, Sampras, Krajicek etc etc.
I can see where you're coming from here....however, that could also be applied to say, a modern-day football team being so boringly one-dimensional and defensive that they go 40 games unbeaten (20 wins/20 draws)...as opposed to an older offensive team that look great, score goals but are unbeaten for 30 games (25 wins 5 draws).
Both end up with the same amount of points - but who's better?
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
Rabbit said:
Then is the metric whatever you determine would make Federer come out on top? Five-0 is merely pointing out, if I understand his post correctly, that the reference to Sampras' opponents as has-beens was unfounded. Clearly, all of Sampras' opponents mentioned above are either in the Hall of Fame or headed to the Hall of Fame.

Roddick to date has one Grand Slam title. Everyone on these boards, well nearly everyone, agrees that his #1 ranking was about as contrived as you can get. I think at best he was a fill in. Roddick has not gotten better.

So, in the final analysis, who exactly has had the harder finals? I understand that it's not Federer's fault. If the competition isn't there then it just isn't there. But let's not take anything away from Sampras' wins.

What Five-0 also does is show where both are at the same point in their respective careers. What better measure is there?

Great post(s) Five-0!
Exactly. Thank you Rabbit.
 

35ft6

Legend
Galactus said:
I can see where you're coming from here....however, that could also be applied to say, a modern-day football team being so boringly one-dimensional and defensive that they go 40 games unbeaten (20 wins/20 draws)...as opposed to an older offensive team that look great, score goals but are unbeaten for 30 games (25 wins 5 draws).
Both end up with the same amount of points - but who's better?
The thing about sports is that the more skilled person doesn't always win. That's what's so interesting about it. There are so many intangibles that come into play. A superior athlete with a horrible stride will totally destroy an inferior athlete with superior running form in a 50 yard dash. A super skilled player, with genius instincts for constructing points to boot, will lose to players that aren't even on the same planet as Santoro in terms of skill, but then Fabrice will turn around and beat perhaps the most physically gifted power player in the game (Safin).

Right now the game is mostly about power baseline play, but maybe at some point this style will reach its end, maximum density, and people will have to get creative again. A mutation of sorts. I'd like to think Federer is the first of this next phase of the game but I doubt it. He's one of a kind right now.
 

Galactus

Banned
35ft6 said:
The thing about sports is that the more skilled person doesn't always win. That's what's so interesting about it. There are so many intangibles that come into play. A superior athlete with a horrible stride will totally destroy an inferior athlete with superior running form in a 50 yard dash. A super skilled player, with genius instincts for constructing points to boot, will lose to players that aren't even on the same planet as Santoro in terms of skill, but then Fabrice will turn around and beat perhaps the most physically gifted power player in the game (Safin).

Right now the game is mostly about power baseline play, but maybe at some point this style will reach its end, maximum density, and people will have to get creative again. A mutation of sorts. I'd like to think Federer is the first of this next phase of the game but I doubt it. He's one of a kind right now.
Somebody always comes along...i.e. Borg, circa 1976-1979 and then a certain somebody came along to change everything!! ;)
 

35ft6

Legend
Rabbit said:
What Five-0 also does is show where both are at the same point in their respective careers. What better measure is there?

Great post(s) Five-0!
Agreed. Great posts. But comparing their respective accomplishments at the same point in their careers is NOT the best measure. They didn't play the same people, which I thought was the meat of the point Five-O was trying to make. Maybe not a perfect analogy, but likewise if I were to post a 15-3 record playing in the Big Ten, it's not the same as going 15-3 in the Pac Ten. It's not that the numbers are lying, just that they only tell part of the story.

I've watched Pete play quite a bit in his prime, and from what I've seen, there's little doubt in my mind that the Federer of today is the better player. I'm bored.
 

35ft6

Legend
Galactus said:
Somebody always comes along...i.e. Borg, circa 1976-1979 and then a certain somebody came along to change everything!! ;)
Kafelnikov once said something like "X was better than me... then Medvedev came along, and he's better than me... and then Safin came and he's better than both of us." Boris I think said something similar, about how Lendl came out hitting harder than everybody, then he/Boris came hitting harder than Ivan, then Goran (yeah, he said Goran) came out hitting harder than him/Boris, then Safin came.

The amazing thing is people weren't expecting to see anything like a Sampras again in their lifetime, and then Federer came into his own just two years later. And now I'm saying I'm never see a player as complete and beautiful as Federer, but considering how that went with Pete, I wonder who's out there right now.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
laurie said:
I wouldn't compare great players with incredible technique to Taylor Dent and Tim Henman. Taylor Dent's backhand and groundstrokes are not very good. Edberg had a great backhand.

In 1990 US Open semifinals these were the four particpants and their ages:

Andre Agassi age 20 V Boris Becker age 22
John McEnroe age 31 v Pete Sampras age 19

Note there is a three year age gap between the three semifinalist.

In 1992 US Open final Sampras age 21 played Stefan Edberg age 26.

All these players played eachother when they were extremely competitive. The head to heads are:

Sampras v Becker - 12:7
Sampras v Goran - 12:7
Sampras v Edberg - 8:6

I've seen Guillermo Coria play at the French Open last year. Guillermo Coria does not have a big serve or a big forehand. He's a consistent and talented player who uses a lot of topspin on his shots to keep the ball deep so he cannot be attacked. He's yet to win a major.

Rafael Nadal does not have a big serve.

Sampras beat Marat Safin at the US Open twice in 1998 & 2001.

Both eras has its merits. Lets not forget the likes of Michael Stich, Micheal Chang, Jim Courier, Pat Rafter, Yefgeny Kafelnikov, Petra Korda; all players who won big tournaments with different palying styles. I think the 1990s player mentioned have more variation than now at the very top level.
Come, lets do a match up competition.
You said Michael Chang.
I counter with a Hewitt...
Definitely Hewitt is better than a Chang... Do you agree?
You said Jim Courier.
I counter with a Nadal...
This match up is closer but Spanish bull just keeps running...
Nadal vs Jim Courier on clay...Nadal is stronger, no...?
Hewitt vs Courier on hard courts...50-50
You said Micheal Stich...
I counter with Roddick or Safin...
Micheal can win???
You said Pat Rafter...
I give you a Joachim or Ljubicic. 50-50
Pat Rafter 4-12 against Sampras, so hardly a contest.
You mentioned Korda...1 hit wonder,
so to be fair I mention Coria or Gaudio or Gasquet.
Gasquet will beat a Korda at AO, US open; Coria & Gaudio will beat Korda on clay.
You mentioned Yefgeny Kafelnikov.
I give you Davydenko. 50-50.

Up till 1994, after 1995 downhill for Becker & Edberg
--------------------------------------------------
Becker (4 years older than Sampras) won 5, lost 6 to Sampras
Edberg (5 years older than Sampras) won 6, lost 5 to Sampras

i) It's either Becker/Edberg were fierce competition to Sampras or a young Sampras skills is so talented to match up with them, OR
ii) Becker/Edberg growing old and losing steam, giving a young Sampras a close competion prior to 1995.

Moya vs Sampras : 1-3
Moya is 5 years younger than Sampras, and Moya is 5 years older than Federer. Federer vs Moya 6-0

You said Goran.
I counter with Roddick. Roddick should be stronger.
If you say Agassi,
I counter with Hewitt. 50-50
Goran is born in the same year as Sampras, Agassi is a year older than Sampras. Roddick is 1 year younger than Federer & Hewitt is the same age as Federer. Judging that Goran & Agassi is similar to Roddick & Hewitt, but during their careers, the competition Sampras had over Goran & Agassi is much closer than Federer vs Roddick (9-1) & Hewitt (10-7, but 8-0 for the past 2 years, did Sampras have such a streak against Agassi & Goran?) Roddick & Hewitt are dominating players against other players; Hewitt has a 3-0 record over Nadal. Roddick 32-0 on grass vs other players besides 0-3 vs Federer.
This clearly shows that Federer's greater skills is the difference to his dominance over his no.2 & 3 players and the rest of the field. A player like Ferrero & Moya former no.1s are fighting so hard and still deadly players are ranked no. 28 & 29. Gasquet (reaching prime) is ranked no. 19, Ljubicic (prime) no. 17, Joachim (reaching prime) no. 16. . I can't remember any players in Sampras' era ranked no. 16, 17, 19, 28, 29 that were as good as these five players. Can we pull out the ranked no. 16, 17, 19, 28, 29 players in 1995 and compare??? Well, I made a search.

August 2005
16 Johansson, Joachim (Federer 0-0)
17 Ljubicic, Ivan (Federer 7-3)
19 Richard Gasquet (Federer 1-1)
28 Ferrero, Juan Carlos (Federer 6-3)
29 Moya, Carlos (Federer 6-0)

March 1995
16 Andrei Medvedev ( Sampras wins 5-1 as of August 1995)
17 Thomas Enqvist ( Sampras wins 6-0 as of August 1995)
19 Thomas Muster ( Sampras wins 6-1 as of August 1995)
28 Richey Reneberg ( Sampras wins 3-2 as of August 1995)
29 Marcos Ondruska ( Sampras wins 1-0 as of August 1995)

January 1996
16 Goran Ivanisevic ( Sampras wins 7-5 as of August 1995)
17 Marcelo Rios ( Sampras wins 2-0 as of August 1995)
19 Stefan Edberg ( Sampras wins 8-6 as of August 1995)
28 Brett Steven ( Sampras wins 1-1 as of August 1995)
29 Todd Woodbridge ( Sampras wins 4-1 as of August 1995)

If we play a round-robin match 2005 vs Mar 1995 / Jan 1996, the ranked 28 & 29 in 1995/1996 group are not so famous, doubles players, etc will lose to 2005's ranked 28 & 29. The ranked 16, 17, 19 in all 3 groups looks pretty even to me with some former no. 1s in the 95/96 groups.

The depth of today is better than Sampras' era in my opinion based on the top 20, 30 players. Sampras did not fair too good against players like Reneberg & Steven who were not well-known to me, heard their names before, no idea how they looked like, doubles players? Would Federer have performed as bad against Reneberg & Steven? Sampras had closer matches against Edberg & Goran (August 1995), compared to Federer against Moya & Ferrero (August 2005) who were all former no. 1, no. 2 players prior to August 1995/2005. IMO, Federer (2005) will beat Sampras (1995) more times on all surfaces.
 

NY12345v

New User
Alberto Berasetegui

Alberto Berasetegui in his prime was the best player of all time. Too bad his prime only lasted a couple of months.
 
L

laurie

Guest
ctbmar said:
Come, lets do a match up competition.
You said Michael Chang.
I counter with a Hewitt...
Definitely Hewitt is better than a Chang... Do you agree?
You said Jim Courier.
I counter with a Nadal...
This match up is closer but Spanish bull just keeps running...
Nadal vs Jim Courier on clay...Nadal is stronger, no...?
Hewitt vs Courier on hard courts...50-50
You said Micheal Stich...
I counter with Roddick or Safin...
Micheal can win???
You said Pat Rafter...
I give you a Joachim or Ljubicic. 50-50
Pat Rafter 4-12 against Sampras, so hardly a contest.
You mentioned Korda...1 hit wonder,
so to be fair I mention Coria or Gaudio or Gasquet.
Gasquet will beat a Korda at AO, US open; Coria & Gaudio will beat Korda on clay.
You mentioned Yefgeny Kafelnikov.
I give you Davydenko. 50-50.

Up till 1994, after 1995 downhill for Becker & Edberg
--------------------------------------------------
Becker (4 years older than Sampras) won 5, lost 6 to Sampras
Edberg (5 years older than Sampras) won 6, lost 5 to Sampras

i) It's either Becker/Edberg were fierce competition to Sampras or a young Sampras skills is so talented to match up with them, OR
ii) Becker/Edberg growing old and losing steam, giving a young Sampras a close competion prior to 1995.

Moya vs Sampras : 1-3
Moya is 5 years younger than Sampras, and Moya is 5 years older than Federer. Federer vs Moya 6-0

You said Goran.
I counter with Roddick. Roddick should be stronger.
If you say Agassi,
I counter with Hewitt. 50-50
Goran is born in the same year as Sampras, Agassi is a year older than Sampras. Roddick is 1 year younger than Federer & Hewitt is the same age as Federer. Judging that Goran & Agassi is similar to Roddick & Hewitt, but during their careers, the competition Sampras had over Goran & Agassi is much closer than Federer vs Roddick (9-1) & Hewitt (10-7, but 8-0 for the past 2 years, did Sampras have such a streak against Agassi & Goran?) Roddick & Hewitt are dominating players against other players; Hewitt has a 3-0 record over Nadal. Roddick 32-0 on grass vs other players besides 0-3 vs Federer.
This clearly shows that Federer's greater skills is the difference to his dominance over his no.2 & 3 players and the rest of the field. A player like Ferrero & Moya former no.1s are fighting so hard and still deadly players are ranked no. 28 & 29. Gasquet (reaching prime) is ranked no. 19, Ljubicic (prime) no. 17, Joachim (reaching prime) no. 16. . I can't remember any players in Sampras' era ranked no. 16, 17, 19, 28, 29 that were as good as these five players. Can we pull out the ranked no. 16, 17, 19, 28, 29 players in 1995 and compare??? Well, I made a search.

August 2005
16 Johansson, Joachim (Federer 0-0)
17 Ljubicic, Ivan (Federer 7-3)
19 Richard Gasquet (Federer 1-1)
28 Ferrero, Juan Carlos (Federer 6-3)
29 Moya, Carlos (Federer 6-0)

March 1995
16 Andrei Medvedev ( Sampras wins 5-1 as of August 1995)
17 Thomas Enqvist ( Sampras wins 6-0 as of August 1995)
19 Thomas Muster ( Sampras wins 6-1 as of August 1995)
28 Richey Reneberg ( Sampras wins 3-2 as of August 1995)
29 Marcos Ondruska ( Sampras wins 1-0 as of August 1995)

January 1996
16 Goran Ivanisevic ( Sampras wins 7-5 as of August 1995)
17 Marcelo Rios ( Sampras wins 2-0 as of August 1995)
19 Stefan Edberg ( Sampras wins 8-6 as of August 1995)
28 Brett Steven ( Sampras wins 1-1 as of August 1995)
29 Todd Woodbridge ( Sampras wins 4-1 as of August 1995)

If we play a round-robin match 2005 vs Mar 1995 / Jan 1996, the ranked 28 & 29 in 1995/1996 group are not so famous, doubles players, etc will lose to 2005's ranked 28 & 29. The ranked 16, 17, 19 in all 3 groups looks pretty even to me with some former no. 1s in the 95/96 groups.

The depth of today is better than Sampras' era in my opinion based on the top 20, 30 players. Sampras did not fair too good against players like Reneberg & Steven who were not well-known to me, heard their names before, no idea how they looked like, doubles players? Would Federer have performed as bad against Reneberg & Steven? Sampras had closer matches against Edberg & Goran (August 1995), compared to Federer against Moya & Ferrero (August 2005) who were all former no. 1, no. 2 players prior to August 1995/2005. IMO, Federer (2005) will beat Sampras (1995) more times on all surfaces.
True, just your opinion.
 
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