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

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Well Spencer, your argument will only be correct if Federer has no read on Sampras serve. But judging from the way Federer handles all the big servers 140++ and 120 & 130 ++ serves, he is reducing the ace count of his opponents,
he has a better read of serves than Agassi. I have seen Federer on many occasions, once he is very familiar with his opponent's 1st or 2nd serve, he just steps around his forehand, and just blast and fly the return down the line for winner in consecutive games. On his backhand wing, Federer is the only player I watched that can LUNGE at full stretch on a serve return and block it back with a strong wrist, giving pace, spin and depth and do a mini-body turn back to a jump-hop position near the center marking position, ready to hit the next ball. (All these sequence in seconds...)

So your assumption that Sampras's serve will hurt Federer, but now my assumption back to you is : "what if Federer's uncanny ability to read Sampras' serve and blast winners off his forehand wing, and even deadly dipping backhand crosscourt returns will make Sampras look defenseless at the net, will Sampras still serve and volley? eg. Hewitt vs Sampras match at US open, where Hewitt just keep passing Sampras. It is possible that Federer can do that to Sampras. Sampras will never experience such deadly returner like Federer, likewise Federer will never experience a deadly serve & volley like Sampras. So I feel that you undermined Federer's returns too lightly.

You cannot compare Ivanisevic & Becker to Federer. You mentioned that Sampras could break these 2 opponents' serves which was better than Federer, so Sampras can break Federer's serve more easily than Federer could break Sampras. Federer also can break the world's fastest server Roddick who is definitely on par or slightly better than Ivanisevic / Becker in the serving department. The 2nd reason that Federer's serve harder to break than Ivanisevic & Becker is that his mental strength to hold serve and not be broken is one of the highest in today's game. Federer's mental strength is in the same league as Sampras and definitely a notch above Ivanisevic, Becker or Roddick.

Federer has the ability to change his game and make his opponent uncomfortable and force his opponent to try new strategy, new game plans, new strokes, new ways to irritate Federer, etc. If Sampras cannot get his way with Federer at the net, and Federer is simply using Sampras as a target board and keep passing him, Sampras will likely switch to plan B, which is to rally baseline to baseline with Federer and wait for a short ball to approach deep and win with a volley. It is something like when Agassi was at his peak and winning Sampras for a small stretch of time, Sampras will revert to playing baseline ralleys with Agassi. But the thing about Federer that is different from Agassi is that Federer will sense this change in Sampras strategy or any other opponent who changes strategies, and channel it into positive energy and his mental game become stronger, Federer will seize the opportunity and tighten his stranglehold and play with less unforce errors & more winners. Most of the legends including Sampras will kill off an opponent when he feels the opponent is frustrated, losing, big gap in scoreline. But Federer starts killing off his opponent earlier, once he detects a change in game strategies, some loose unforced errors, a small lapse in concentration. He has the uncanny ability to see into the mind of his opponent and detect distress & distracted signals better than anyone I have seen. To me, Federer is a better "chess" player on court compared to Sampras. Sampras is outstanding, comparable to Agassi when both were at their peak, but the current Federer just seemed to be thinking a few steps or several moves ahead of his opponent. "What if he hits here, should I angle it, flatten it, mega-spin it, inside out it..." at the same time Federer will move into position gracefully to match his thinking process, always looking out for his opponent's possible returns....Sampras is like a Karpov, while Federer is like a Kasparov.
So if Sampras' serve cannot hurt Federer, and Federer's return can hurt Sampras, and with his superior backhand and superior thinking mind, his utmost renewed motivation & killing instinct will arise when Federer sense a change in Sampras' strategy to a baseline rally & short ball approach game, all these reasons will give Federer a higher chance to break Sampras.

Do you realise that Sampras find it hard to play his mirror-image opponents?
Eg. Kracejek, Federer, Edberg (peak, before 1994), Becker (peak, before 1992).

The opposite stands true to Federer, he loves to play his mirror-image opponents and he seeks revenge if he loses. Eg. Gasquet, Hewitt

Federer's mental strength is not given its due. At his early career, he lost to nalbandian, tim henman, hewitt, canas, etc, but from mid-2003 onwards, he is able to start turning these deficits around and start beating these opponents consecutively in streaks. This is no easy task and against different opponents, to overcome painful early defeats and start turning the head-to-head into more respectable results. Hewitt is definitely struggling to overcome his deficit against Federer. On the outside, Federer looks cool, but inside he is fiery creature, 8-0 vs Hewitt and no let-up. 21-2 in terms of sets won-loss for these last eight matches. So even if Sampras wins Federer early in their 1st few match-ups, Federer will brainstorm and find a way to defeat Sampras and just be relentless and turn the Head-to-Head around, just like what he is doing to Hewitt. Prior to mid 2003, Hewitt was 7-2 against Federer, Hewitt was 3-0 vs Roddick. I would say Federer 2003 would have a lousier record against Hewitt than Roddick. But now Federer 2005 has turned it around to 10-7 and Roddick still keeping his losing streak to Hewitt at 6-1.
Federer vs Roddick 9-1 matches, 22-4 in sets win-loss.
You may say that Sampras can be relentless as well, but look at all Sampras' close opponents, eg. Chang, Agassi, Courier, Ivanesevic, Becker, he had many 4 & 5 sets matches and won at most 4 in a row, and his opponents won him 2 or 3 times in a row, so more closely contested between his opponents.
Then you may say, Federer's opponents are lousier. Ever since the open era
started, the top 5 ranked male tennis players have been very competitive and the standard of the top 10 players were either former no.1s, up-and-coming players, all these top 10 players could beat the no.1 player if they played their best. New, young talents will arrive each year and old players will retire each year and this has been a continuous process for the last 30 to 35 years.
So there is no reason to say that the present old players are lousier because we have one of the best oldest player still around ie. Agassi, compared to Connors at 39 reached US open in 1992 (if I am not wrong). We have fierce new bloods like Nadal, Gasquet who are entering ATP at even younger ages nowadays. The top 10 players today are as competitive to the no. 1 player as compared to 1960, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s.

If Sampras is the same age as Federer, same right-handed, same demeanor on court, I don't see anything special about these characteristics that will give problems to Federer. In other words, Federer will have no problems dealing with Sampras as compared to all the top 5 players on tour today except Nadal. Why Federer will have some resistance in finding a breakthrough in beating Nadal? Comparing with a Sampras that we imagine to be the same age as Federer, Nadal is still 5 years younger, left-handed, shouts & pump fist spanish bull style with flashy clothings, muscular physics that intimidates, equally as high mental endurance. In 5 years time, people will be debating whether Nadal at his peak will beat Federer at his peak.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
federerhoogenbandfan said:
He was not even close to his prime, or "coming into it" in 2001, you are the only one who seems to think that, you would not find a single expert on the game who would back your opinion up.
Let's see, Wimbledon is in June - July. He was then 18 months away from 2003 when he won 7 titles including the Master Cup and Wimbledon. Unless you quantify "coming into it" as the week before the first win of the first tournament of 2003 then we have a somewhat subjective disagreement here. If you were to name a date, then I could just as easily say that he didn't hit stride until the day/week/month before or after. Tell me, Davey, how does one quantify coming into stride?

With regard to an expert on the game, how many have you talked to? I remember as far back as 2000 that the experts of the game were saying to watch Federer. The knock on him was he folded in the big matches. I would think that winning a big match like the Sampras match would indicate that he was beginning to hit his stride. Who was doing what physically is/was unimportant, it was the realization that mentally, he put it all together to beat one of his idols.
 

Spencer

New User
Ctbmar,

I have one question for you. Who has the advantage in the game of tennis, the guy serving or the guy returning? Of course, the advantage goes to server. A top player always win more games by holding serve than breaking their opponent's serve, and that holds true for Federer. You cannot even begin to compare Roddick's serve to Pete's. Here is why

Head to Head

Agassi vs Sampras (14 - 20)
Agassi vs Roddick (5 -1)
Federer vs Roddick (9-1)

Do you see the logic here? A 35 year old Agassi has a 5-1 winning record against Roddick means that he has figured out how to break his serve on a regular basis which Federer also has done. However in as early as 2002, Agassi out blasted Hewitt to meet Sampras in the US Finals only to lose to him in 4 sets. I do not think that Federer has a better return than Agassi, and even if he does the advantage still goes to Pete's serve. Roger's serve is better than Agassi which would make him a good matchup for Pete, but his return would not stand against Pete's serve. In tennis a good serve should always trump a good return and in a big way.

Pete's Grand Slam finals

Wins (14)
Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1990 US Open Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
1993 Wimbledon Jim Courier 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3
1993 US Open Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
1994 Australian Open Todd Martin 7-6, 6-4, 6-4
1994 Wimbledon Goran Ivanisevic 7-6, 7-6, 6-0
1995 Wimbledon Boris Becker 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
1995 US Open Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
1996 US Open Michael Chang 6-1, 6-4, 7-6
1997 Australian Open Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
1997 Wimbledon Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
1998 Wimbledon Goran Ivanesevic 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
1999 Wimbledon Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
2000 Wimbledon Patrick Rafter 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2
2002 US Open Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

Can you look at these numbers and tell me that Pete did not dominate his competition too? Granted he wasn't beating them 6-0, like Federer does against Hewitt, but I think that reflects more negatively on Hewitt's lack of resolve and composure under pressure to lose so many serves than it says positively about Federer's game.

Like I mentioned before a top level tennis player should never lose as many service games consecutively as Hewitt has to ANY PLAYER. A great serve will always trump a great return which is why the advantage shifts to the athlete who is serving. A GOOD serve may be a good match for a GREAT return but all else being equal the numbers all side with the Serve. When Pete served well, Agassi couldn't even get his racquet on the ball most times, much less attempt a return. Just ask yourself this, did Federer have trouble with Safin's serve on route to losing to him at the Australian this year? Is Safin's serve better than Pete's? (If you say he serves harder, re-read Roddick above) :D
 

Spencer

New User
For everyone who says that Federer can only get better, I say HOW? If he is so light years beyond everyone else on tour, who will pressure him and force him to improve to get better? If he is that much better, he would not improve but only continue to play at the same level and still dominate.

If you say, well look he can be beaten by Safin and Nadal so he is not without strong competition then it negates another argument used by many of Federer supporters who say Federer cruises through his competition whereas Sampras won just so barely by the hair on his nose. (see my post above regarding Sampras' number of straight set championship victories)

Also with regards to the fact that Federer could raise his game and adjust, improve to compete against anyone and find a way to beat them? Sampras could do the same and better than most. One does not hold 14 championships because they are robotic and cannot learn, improve, adjust to their opponents and their games. ;)
 

Spencer

New User
Pete's Grand Slam finals

Wins (14)
Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1990 US Open Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
1993 Wimbledon Jim Courier 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3
1993 US Open Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
1994 Australian Open Todd Martin 7-6, 6-4, 6-4
1994 Wimbledon Goran Ivanisevic 7-6, 7-6, 6-0
1995 Wimbledon Boris Becker 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
1995 US Open Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
1996 US Open Michael Chang 6-1, 6-4, 7-6
1997 Australian Open Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
1997 Wimbledon Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
1998 Wimbledon Goran Ivanesevic 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
1999 Wimbledon Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
2000 Wimbledon Patrick Rafter 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2
2002 US Open Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

Looking at the numbers again, out of his 14 championship matches, against the greatest champions of his time, Pete only had 1 match that went the distance to 5 sets, against Goran. Even then it was not competitive at 6-2. It can be argued then that Sampras too dominated his opponents and was never really challenged when he played well.

I frankly do not know who would win more if Sampras/Federer were in the same era, but I just don't like it when people discount Sampras so easily. People saying ridiculous things and claiming Federer, even Hewitt, Roddick, Safin would dominate him today because of technology and improvements of time, clearly forgetting that an old Sampras did beat these guys at the maturity of their games but not 3 years ago. The only person he did not beat and who was not playing at their peak during that time was Federer. Thus we are all left to wonder. However, we shouldn't let Federer's greatness detract from Pete's accomplishments.
 

Galactus

Banned
ctbmar said:
Federer's mental strength is not given its due. At his early career, he lost to nalbandian, tim henman, hewitt, canas, etc, but from mid-2003 onwards, he is able to start turning these deficits around and start beating these opponents consecutively in streaks.
Correct - Federer gets beaten, then comes back and ruins his major opponents:
Roddick 9-1 (last 5 in a row)
Hewitt 10-7 (last 8 in a row)
Safin 7-2
 

drexeler

Rookie
Spencer said:
You cannot even begin to compare Roddick's serve to Pete's. Here is why

Head to Head

Agassi vs Sampras (14 - 20)
Agassi vs Roddick (5 -1)
Federer vs Roddick (9-1)

Do you see the logic here? A 35 year old Agassi has a 5-1 winning record against Roddick means that he has figured out how to break his serve on a regular basis
Don't agree with this analysis. First of all, the 5-1 H-H is misleading. 4 of Agassi's wins are mid-2003 and before. (Note that Agassi also had a 3-0 record over Federer at this time). They are 1-1 in their last two matches (2004 Cin, 2003 Queens). And Agassi broke only 2 times in these two matches - i.e. 2 breaks in 6 sets, doesn't sound to me as if he has "figured out" a way to break Roddick's serve. (BTW, Roddick fired 29 aces past Agassi in that Queens match whereas he managed only 4 aces against Federer later in W SF that year).

There is a misconception going on that Roddick's serve isn't that great. Totally false. He is holding 92% of his serves this year (1st in ATP), last year he held 91% (2nd in ATP behind Federer's 92%). The main reason that Roddick hasn't had more success is (1) because his return game is weak (2) misfortune of running into Federer 3 times at W, otherwise he could have had 3W & 1USO by age 22. (This claim is reasonable because he is 32-0 against all other players on grass, and won Queens 3 consecutive times.)

To re-iterate, there is nothing easy about Roddick's serve. See this link that discusses wimbledon serve statistics from 1994-2003:
http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2004/wimbledon_stats.pdf
Highest holding % for Sampras was 91% (97,2000). Roddick held 90% of his serves in 2003. (And I am sure in 2004 W, he held more than 90% as he lost only set before the final). Also note that Krajicek held "only" 85% during his 96 W win, Goran 87% in 2001. These are lower holding rates than Roddick.

In summary, Roddick's hold rates compare favorably to any player before; it is not easy to break his serve.
 
L

laurie

Guest
Talking about a proper rival for Federer over the next five years, it looks as though Rafael Nadal is the man. Judging by his performance in Canada and earlier in the year in Miami.


The big difference with Federer's other opponents, he's not afraid of Federer. Vital in a one on one sport.

As nice a guy Roddick is, mentioning him as a rival causes big problems for people who think the game at the top doesn't have the depth it should have.
 
L

laurie

Guest
Its amazing isn't it. Sampras hasn't played a tennis match for three years and yet people can't stop talking about him.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
drexeler,
that list is %'s for how Wimbledon champs did throughout that season, not just Wimbledon. Sampras only lost serve twice in 1997 Wimbledon, that percentage is much higher than 91%. Krajicek & Goran's hold rates were also much higher during their Wimby campaigns than their % for the season.
 

newnuse

Professional
People, how many times does it have to be said. The returner is in a very defensive position. I don't care how good of a returner you are. I've seen the best (Agassi, in my opinion) just get blown off the court by the Sampras serve.

I don't care how fast you are, how well your "read" the serve, how fast you react, if Sampras blast a 120mph serve down the middle to the Ad court, you are not gonna touch it.

Fed can get away with defensive returns vs baseliners, but not against Sampras. He can break Roddick's serve simply by getting it back. Roddick does not have much game backing his serve once it comes back. Sampras is a whole different story.

Spencer,
Sampras at his best was as untouchable as I've ever seen. The argument people make about today's players, racket technology, training..etc being vastly superior to the Sampras era is a load of crock.
 

Spencer

New User
Drexeler,

I am not saying that Roddick's serve is not that great. It is great but it cannot be compared to Pete's serve. Roddick serve is good enough to give him a winning % over every tennis player on tour but the very best returners.

But...

Agassi vs Roddick (5-1)
Hewitt vs Roddick (6-1)
Federer vs Roddick (9-1)

It would seem that the 3 best returners in the game can deal with Roddick's power. These numbers are alarming and should tell you there is something missing there if not mechanically then mentality with Andy's game. Remember he doesn't have any major weaknesses and on paper should be able to beat any top player on any given day. But he doesn't...

Roddick may have the biggest serve in tennis right now but not the best. I say that honor belongs to Federer, who has the ability to ace himself out of trouble very reminiscent of Sampras.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Spencer, You only showed the finals that Pete won. How about the finals and semi finals that he lost? I was referring to his matches with all his worthy opponents, eg. Chang, Agassi, Ivanesivic, Becker, Edberg, Courier. If you check all their head-to-head matches, they are rather close....Sampras never beat any of them more than 4 times in a row. Federer beats up his no. 2 & 3 ranked players BRUTALLY....the standards of no. 2 & 3 and top 10 players are relatively the same throughout the open era. I don't regard Pioline, Moya, Martin as worthy opponents for Sampras in the GS finals. If Sampras is that dominating, why isn't he close to the record of winning finals set by borg & mcenroe??? 12 finals consecutive...This record was broken by Federer by almost twice and he had a twenty-something winning streak against top 10 players. Sampras was never that consistent against his top 10 opponents.
These 2 records is actually a very good gauge of how big the gap is Federer is separated from no.2 & no.3 ranked players, separated from top 10 players, separated from previous no. 1s, separated from Sampras' excellence.
It's either Federer's whole field of opponents are so lousy or he is setting too high a standard. I can agree with those who says that the top few are playing badly against Federer, but the whole ATP professionals is playing badly against Federer, giving him chance, fearing him, they are lousy, ---> really hard to swallow and believe....Federer must have spike their drinks or cast some evil spell on his opponents...you really believe that?

I guess you never watched Agassi play against Sampras when he was red-hot in 1995. I was supporting Sampras for all his matches against Agassi in the 90s. For some hard court matches and AO, Agassi after a long lay-off returns with a bald look, leaner and meaner, black out-fit, he was blasting winners off his returns and Sampras could do nothing about it and Sampras lost those matches. Sampras looked rather silly trying to come in behind his 2nd serve and keep getting passed. Yes I agree with you that the serve is the 1st initiative to cause damage to your opponent, but if your opponent can neutralise your serve, it's a 50-50% game. If Agassi when he was playing his best or at his peak, he can beat Sampras, even when Sampras was playing at his prime. 1995 was the year I believe both Sampras & Agassi were playing at their best because they kept trading no.1 ranking, keep trading win-loss, and I remembered clearly of the excitment when they played each other and it was definitely not a sure win for Sampras with his big serve in 1995.

If Federer finds a solution to beat his opponent, whether it is Sampras, he will eventually find the solution with or without a COACH. He is a pure genius who can win 3 GS in a year without a COACH, anyone done that before?
Another person I failed to mentioned of Federer's turnaround Head-to-Head is Agassi. Agassi is a super competitive player. He has so many peaks in his career....1995, 2000/2001 and he is still playing like a top 5 player since Sampras retired. Agassi can still beat Hewitt; Roddick cannot win Agassi, Agassi thrash Coria, defeat players he never played prior to 1st meeting, eg. Joachim, but yet he has no answer to Federer. Federer turned a deficit 0-3 into the current 7-3 Head-To-Head, 7 match wins in a row. You may argue that Agassi is getting old, but Agassi has gained alot in experience and strategies, and he compensates his slightly slower mobility with other factors.
His standard has not drop much. He beat Gilles Muller at the LA championships, when the year before he lost to Gilles Muller at Washington. Agassi is still beating most players except Federer and he is still 50-50% on par with Hewitt. In other words, I cannot picture Sampras beating Agassi 7 matches in a row. The game of tennis is not all about the serve. Even when Sampras was playing his best, he can still lose to Agassi's pin-point accurate returns. The problem is Agassi keeps laying off or gets injured, so he did not have a consistent result against Sampras. But Mr Federer is different from Agassi because once he discover how to beat Sampras, it will be a matter of time, he will give Sampras 7-0 in a row, because Federer is very consistent and he also minimize his errors just as well as Agassi & Hewitt. If service is so crucial to you, then when Edberg was at his peak, was his serve worse than Sampras? But if you look at the matches played before 1994, especially at the US open, Edberg's kick serve and superb net play just killed Sampras. I think that match, Sampras must have told himself he wanted to master his volleys. Sampras's volleys were played well, but Edberg's volleys were simply instinctive and exquisite. So Edberg vs Sampras prior to 1994 and red-hot Agassi in 1995, 2000/2001 show that if a player has a weapon that is superior to Sampras, he has an excellent chance of defeating Sampras, eg Edberg's super kick serve & net play and Agassi pin-point accurate returns. Which leads me to say....let alone Federer who has many weapons to hurt Sampras.
Federer's backhand will hurt Sampras, his movement around the court, his on the rise baseline hitting like Agassi, his hussle play and defence like Hewitt & Nadal, and many more weapons as compared to Agassi & Edberg. You are betting heavily on Sampras' serve alone to beat Federer, but for Federer, I can diversify and divide my bet equally in all his weapons. End of the day, Federer has simply too much firepower than Sampras. Sampras can serve and volley, so can Federer, that was how Federer beat Sampras in 2001 by copying Sampras exact tactics by S&V.

The magical matchup is hard to realise because of their different eras that they were born in. And only 1 match up, cannot determine anything, says all Sampras fans. But this is the only match that we can all base our analysis on, so please make use of it, don't deny its existence. The fact that an 80% prime Federer is playing a older Sampras who had won 4 Wimbledon and has not won much tournament, given he lost also 20% of his fitness / skill, then a 80% prime Sampras is competiting against a 80% up-& coming Federer who many never took notice of him until he beat Sampras. This match up cannot be more perfect, because if a 16 yr old Federer were to meet a 26 yr old Sampras, the experience Sampras will cream the young Federer. Likewise if the match was played 5 years later, a 25 yr old Federer will definitely thrash a 35 yr old Sampras. So a 20 yr old Federer (80%) vs a 30 yr old Sampras (80%) is the perfect match up. I don't believe Sampras is not putting his best in 2001, because he wanted to equal Borg's record of 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles in a row and Wimbledon is Sampras's holy ground, his playground, his turf, his manhood, his possession. Sampras simply raises his game when he played at Wimbledon, even if the rest of his year was lousy, Wimbledon will make him a competitive, hungry, deadly server. So if all his groundstrokes were to be rusty, his volleys were not as sharp, definitely nobody is rushing his serve, distracting him from serving aces & blistering serves to Federer, that one weapon of his ---- SERVE should stay true to him. So base on your arguement, why then was the match extended to five sets? Sampras should have served out the match in 3 sets, or win in 3 tie-breaks. Quote from Newuse: "Sampras will keep serving out of Agassi's reach"....Man, you think Sampras is a robot??? His arm will not feel tired??? Keep serving aces for all his service games??? Then why Sampras have so many 4 sets and 5 sets matches with all his best opponents??? After serving, Sampras should place his racket on the ground, because his serve was a sure-win. Tennis is not just about the serve. Sampras was dominating because he was able to backup his good serves with good net play. But if Federer like an Agassi could consistently trouble him with passing shots at the net, then Sampras will feel the pressure of Federer's returns and go for more placement & pace on his serve and hence making more errors as a result. At the back of Sampras mind, if his biggest weapon is being neutralized by Federer and he does not have other weapons to compete against Federer, Federer will have a psychological edge over Sampras because Federer will sense that Sampras is in trouble, frustrated, distress, anxious, due to over-reliance on his serve as a weapon. Federer will just defeat Sampras, the way Sampras defeated Becker at Wimbledon. Knowing that S&V tactics will not work, Sampras will keep trying until he loses the match. The next year return to Wimbledon and try baseline rallying & short ball approaches and still lose to Federer. The difference of Sampras and Federer is, the 10 years that I watched Sampras, his skills were almost the same in 1990 up to 2000. But Federer seems to be slowly improving and absorbing other people's strengths. His transformation itself is astounding. So even if Sampras owns Federer at the start of their Head-to-Head, like all those opponents like Nalbandian, Hewitt, Agassi, Canas, Henman....Federer will just takeover and own Sampras relentlessly until their end of their careers.
 

Spencer

New User
Federer will just takeover and own Sampras relentlessly until their end of their careers
Ctbmar,

While you make some good points, you lose a lot of credibility by making such a foolish statement.
 

Spencer

New User
This below article is from John McEnroe. Both he and Becker agree that Sampras would have an edge over Federer on grass, however John thinks that today's field has more depth and Becker thinks that the 90's had more depth. (not posted, but a Becker opinion I read in another article)



Depth may put Sampras record beyond Federer
By John McEnroe
(Filed: 03/07/2005)

In pics: Day 12 action from Wimbledon
Wimbledon seedings in full
2005 singles draw

This may not be the right time to say it, with Roger Federer on the verge of claiming his third Wimbledon title, but I think as time goes by we will see what a remarkable achievement it was by Pete Sampras to win here seven times. I don't think the Swiss, maybe even a better player than Sampras when compared on all surfaces, will surpass his record.

I'm not saying it's impossible and I do believe that he will win, maybe, as many as five Wimbledon titles, I just think that there is more depth in the game today than there was in Sampras's era, guys who could step up on the grass, like Rafael Nadal and Marat Safin. The big Russian threatened to do so this time, but in the end, as usual, left the Championships prematurely. When Federer gets to five then we can start talking about his chances of overhauling Pete, but not before.

Power and physical strength will always be the greatest threat to Federer because he has just about everything else in his game and, of course, no little power himself. It's why Andy Roddick has a chance in today's final. A puncher will always have a chance. Power can be paralysing as I found to my cost towards the end of my career. It can shut you down.

It would have been tough for me to beat Federer in my prime because while I had an all-round game like him it wasn't quite as good as his. I would have come at him, but I would have posed him less of a threat than someone like Sampras or Boris Becker. These guys had serious power. I remember playing Becker in an exhibition match in Atlanta in 1985 when he had just turned 18 and thinking, "How does a guy serve this big at this age?" He had the biggest serve in the history of tennis.

He would have played his game against Federer and come at him. I would love to have seen it. I know Sampras lost to Federer here in 2001 but he was a little past his best. He had, of course, a better serve than Federer - second serve particularly - and he would hit the lines with it, too. Even if you got the ball back it was not as if the point was won, you then probably had to deal with his volley. I know Boris shares the view with me that Sampras would still have had the edge over Federer on grass.

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ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Spencer said:
Ctbmar,

While you make some good points, you lose a lot of credibility by making such a foolish statement.
Well, Federer is owning people that he has tough losses with early in his career. No reason why he won't own Sampras if he figures Sampras out.
Okay, if you don't believe what I say, lets view the coming years when Federer figures out Nadal, let's see the outcome.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
Spencer said:
This below article is from John McEnroe. Both he and Becker agree that Sampras would have an edge over Federer on grass, however John thinks that today's field has more depth and Becker thinks that the 90's had more depth. (not posted, but a Becker opinion I read in another article)

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If you use famous tennis players to backup your argument, I find that really like "hiding behind someone's skirt". Please just be proud of your own arguments. Using famous tennis quotes, adds more power to your reasoning?
That is their opinions, I just want to hear your opinions. Are their opinions correct??? Holy opinions??? Their opinions are just like ours, laymen, the average joe....Mcenroe & Becker thinks Sampras has the slight edge? I think Federer has the slight edge. By the way, Mcenroe & Becker were beaten by Pete badly in their careers, so they still feel the pain inflicted upon them by Sampras. But Mcenroe & Becker never played Federer before, so how they know how it feels like to be bashed up by Federer? The best people to judge is Hewitt, Agassi, Roddick, and all those ATP professionals that played against both Sampras & Federer in their careers. I wonder what those who played both Sampras & Federer would say.... Federer is better or Sampras is better??? I know their comments, you decide....
 

Spencer

New User
If you use famous tennis players to backup your argument, I find that really like "hiding behind someone's skirt". Please just be proud of your own arguments.
So I don't have an opinion on the issue? Have you not seen my huge essay like posts? Or can I not post someone's else opinion without having my own? I'm sorry but I take McEnroe and Becker's opinion over yours anyday. LOL!

By the way, Mcenroe & Becker were beaten by Pete badly in their careers, so they still feel the pain inflicted upon them by Sampras.
MARAT SAFIN (8/27/2002): He's the greatest one. He's the best, the best player of all times. For me, the way he controls tennis for last six years, is amazing. Six years No. 1 in the world, 13 Grand Slams. Just I cannot even talk about him, it's like talking about God, you know? The guy is the best one. He will be the best one. I don't think that there will be another Pete Sampras.

Leyton Hewitt (9/12/04, US Open after losing to Federer very badly): QUESTION: Slow hard court, who would you pick, Pete or Roger? ANSWER: Oh, mate, it's hard to say. You know, we're fortunate that Roger could take, you know, after Pete's left, then Roger comes in. You know, that could help tennis in the big picture... Pete had an awesome serve, you know. It's very hard for anyone to break his serve. Whether Roger could do that at the best, it's hard to say. Q. Do you feel like anyone today, with him playing like that, could have done much better than you did?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I don't think anyone in the -- anyone in the actual tournament (laughter). I don't know. Maybe. Maybe Pete Sampras, you know. As I said, it's very hard to, you know, obviously with their serve and whatever...


Andre Agassi (1/26/2003): I can tell you in my opinion that Pete is the best player I've ever played against. That's what I can tell you... to talk about the new players is, to me, no different than talking about Laver and all the greats... there's just no way of knowing. But I know what I feel when I'm on the court against players. Pete's the best I've played.

Brad Gilbert (12/24/2003): If I had to win one match as a coach, I'd say (Bjorn) Borg on red clay, maybe Sampras on grass, maybe Andre on another kind of surface at the Australian Open

Goran Ivanisevic: (6/25/2004)QUESTION: Does he [Federer] have a greater range of talents than Pete? How would you explain? ANSWER: Some things he does better than Pete. I mean, on the court he's like magician. Pete was destroying. Pete was serving. Nobody talked ever about Pete's serve. They were only talking about my serve. But when you play Pete, you couldn't touch his serve, you know. Even when you returned, then he hits forehand winner and the point is finish. But Federer, the way he plays, he's back, he comes in. When you look him, you think tennis is very easy sport, but it's not. But to be No. 2 behind Pete Sampras, for me that's biggest honor because he is the best player in the history of tennis.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov: (11/15/04) Federer is good on all surfaces, very universal. Maybe his weakness is clay, but he can be successful there too. The best ever? For me, it is hard to think that anyone could be better than Sampras, not even Federer.

Juan Carlos Ferrero: (2/13/05): QUESTION: In terms of sheer talent, who do you think is a better player: Roger Federer or Pete Sampras? ANSWER: I prefer Sampras. He does everything so easily in the court. Roger does too, but I prefer to watch Sampras.

"As far I know, those who played both Sampras & Federer are simply in awe of Federer and describes Federer as simply better than Sampras."
Who said this? Quote? Source?
 

Spencer

New User
In due time, I too may say Federer is better. With each new victory/championship more people will say Federer is better. Conversely, failure to continue to win slams to rival Sampras could bring scrutiny and swing more people over to the Sampras boat. Neither is really a precise measure of how the 2 would match up at their prime and unfortunately no one will ever know.

But my whole point is that people are comparing Pete to Hewitt/Safin/Agassi when they talk about Federer/Sampras. These 3 guys have faced and defeated Pete, yet even still they themselves do not think they are the equals of Sampras. Do you think Hewitt is being polite? These guys know the Sampras game and have extreme respect for it unlike all the armchair quarterbacks on the boards.
 

35ft6

Legend
newnuse said:
Spencer,
Sampras at his best was as untouchable as I've ever seen. The argument people make about today's players, racket technology, training..etc being vastly superior to the Sampras era is a load of crock.
Not vastly superior, but undeniably stronger. And I'm talking about the whole top 100, which people will say "only the top players matter," but I don't see it that way. These days it's harder to win a Grand Slam because you can lose just about in any round. Even in the early 90's this really wasn't the case.

Again, this thread is titled "at their BEST, who would win?" I've seen both play, too. I've seen Sampras play way more times than Federer, and as much as I think that at his best Sampras possessed the most purely offensive game I've ever seen, I think Federer would beat him. He wouldn't totally spank him, and the margin would depend on the surface, but overall Federer is simply the better player at their respective bests IMO.
 

35ft6

Legend
ctbmar said:
That is their opinions, I just want to hear your opinions. Are their opinions correct??? Holy opinions???
Really? You just want opinions? Ugh. I think that's the problem with message boards are too many opinions NOT backed up by something relatively objective, whether it be statistics, studies, the thoughts of experts, or, at the very least, some solid reasoning. If their reasoning is even self-consistent I'd settle for that.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
"These days it's harder to win a Grand Slam because you can lose just about in any round. Even in the early 90's this really wasn't the case."

Really? Many records involving seeds losing at the Grand Slams were set in the 90s & still remain. 1990 & 1991 saw much lower seeds win slams than in 2003-2005.

1990:
#4 seed Gomez(huge longshot) wins French(#1 & #2 seeds lose in 1st Round!)
#12 Sampras wins US Open
1991:
#9 Courier wins French
#6 Stich wins Wimbledon(a 66-1 longshot)

I could list all the seeds that lost those years, more than today. Clearly depth was great since 1990. I really don't think players have it any harder today.
 

newnuse

Professional
35ft6 said:
Not vastly superior, but undeniably stronger. And I'm talking about the whole top 100, which people will say "only the top players matter," but I don't see it that way. These days it's harder to win a Grand Slam because you can lose just about in any round. Even in the early 90's this really wasn't the case.

Again, this thread is titled "at their BEST, who would win?" I've seen both play, too. I've seen Sampras play way more times than Federer, and as much as I think that at his best Sampras possessed the most purely offensive game I've ever seen, I think Federer would beat him. He wouldn't totally spank him, and the margin would depend on the surface, but overall Federer is simply the better player at their respective bests IMO.
There seemed to be more upsets back then. These days you get all the usual suspects in the semi's, Hewitt, Fed, Roddick, Agassi, Safin, Nadal. It's pretty consistent. Back in the 80/90's, you get more upsets as I recall. I think it was due to the more variety of styles. A top player would go up against a big S&V'er and lose early at Wimbledon.

I don't know if the field is deeper today, wouldn't surprise me, but I recall more upsets back then. It really does not matter. The quality of top players is what matters. Like I said before, I don't care about #30 in the world. Great champions are defined by the top players they beat. I don't remember Mac for beating John Lloyd. He's remembered for beating Lendl/Borg/Connors. I'll put Agassi, Edberg, Becker, Chang, Muster, Goran, Krijeck sp? etc, over Hewitt, Safin, Roddick any day of the week. Let's see about Nadal. The guys has not been around long enough.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
You know, I don't know where this depth issue comes from. Since probably a year after the advent of Open tennis, there has always been depth in men's tennis. Borg struggled with early round opponents at Wimbledon almost every year he played it. I remember him having an easier time with Connors in the finals than Victor Amaya in the 2nd round. John McEnroe was unseeded in 1977 when he made it to the semis of Wimbledon. Matts Wilander came out of nowhere to win the French the year after Borg quit playing it.

First round matches may have been easier in the 70s and 80s, but there were still 6 rounds of tough tennis that had to be played. When we look back, some of the names may not jump out and grab us, but not all professionals are going to the Hall of Fame. So, in twenty years, there will be some people looking back going who is Puerta? But, he still gave Nadal four good sets at the French this year. Still, when you use the words "professional tennis", you are doing so with the caveat that you're talking about the best tennis players on the planet. The best players on the planet, I don't care what era you're talking about.

It's also the defacto standard for yesterday's pros to defer to the "higher" level of today's play. Rod Laver would never say he's the greatest. He has in the past deferred to Pete Sampras. Likewise, Pete Sampras will say that Laver is the greatest. There is a mutual respect among all of the greats (well almost all, McEnroe probably looks in the mirror shaving in the morning and says "We know who the greatest is, don't we sugar?").

In my view, Spencer's post with McEnroe and Becker's opinion is just as valid if not more than anyone else's on this thread and reeks of common sense. It's what some of us have been trying to say all along. You can't define Federer's prime until he's done. It may very well be, and I'm not stating this is a fact Davey, that Federer's best year was 2004. If that's the case, then that's his prime. Again, Davey, I'm not saying that 2004 was 100% Federer's best year. Why? Because he isn't done with tennis yet. I also agree that based on what we've seen now, Sampras has 6 W's and Federer has 3. Sampras gets the edge. In 3 more years if Federer has won 6 straight, then we'll have to rewrite these posts, but not until then.

As for me, I'll be rooting against Federer to win any more Grand Slams. Why? So I can watch Davey meltdown.....again. :)
 
L

laurie

Guest
Rabbit & Spencer, Jimmy connors also said that along with Pat Cash. Cash was saying that all through wimbledon here in England.

I'm amazed there is still more to be found to be said on this topic (which hasn't been said before)

Whats the record number of posts on one thread?
 

GotGame?

Rookie
I think the comparison is getting more fair. Federer's play at this past USO showed brilliance that I don't think I've ever seen, and to repeat back to back slams is a feat. What to look out for is if the Fed-man can get over those hurdles like Safin and Nadal of this year, and capture that coveted Grand Slam of tennis next year..... It's not like the competition isn't stiff either as seen through the numerous five set matches at the Open this year.
 

krazeekevin

New User
If federer is on his game...if hes on one of his "good" days hes unstoppable...his match against roddick in the 05 wimbledon was pretty scary....federer in 4 sets
 

Will888

Semi-Pro
I think that Petes serve would be extremely effective against federer, and Sampras is just, the best. pete is my hero. it would go 5 sets.
 

SAMPRAS

Semi-Pro
HEY we can't say who will winn because SAMPRAS was the best tennis player of the 20 century and FEDERER is the best of 21 century And SAMPRAS play some old game FEDERER play like SAMPRAS but with upgrates
 
I'm not saying it's impossible and I do believe that he will win, maybe, as many as five Wimbledon titles, I just think that there is more depth in the game today than there was in Sampras's era, guys who could step up on the grass, like Rafael Nadal and Marat Safin.
This part of a statement is the funniest of all. If Federer does not equal Pete's Wimbledon record, which is very possable he wont of course(or possable he will to some), it certainly will not be because of Safin or Nadal. You wouldnt even imagine anybody was talking about grass, unless you read the words Wimbledon.
 

Tenez

New User
Kevin Patrick said:
"These days it's harder to win a Grand Slam because you can lose just about in any round. Even in the early 90's this really wasn't the case."

Really? Many records involving seeds losing at the Grand Slams were set in the 90s & still remain. 1990 & 1991 saw much lower seeds win slams than in 2003-2005.

1990:
#4 seed Gomez(huge longshot) wins French(#1 & #2 seeds lose in 1st Round!)
#12 Sampras wins US Open
1991:
#9 Courier wins French
#6 Stich wins Wimbledon(a 66-1 longshot)

I could list all the seeds that lost those years, more than today. Clearly depth was great since 1990. I really don't think players have it any harder today.
I'm with you.
If anything, things were harder in the 90s. With only 16 seeds at the GS events, there was a greater chance of a seeded player running into a dangerous floater in the early rounds.
--Tenez
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Tenez said:
I'm with you.
If anything, things were harder in the 90s. With only 16 seeds at the GS events, there was a greater chance of a seeded player running into a dangerous floater in the early rounds.
--Tenez
See, that's the problem when you are comparing different things. Yes, there was only 16 seeds, then more potential upsets in early rounds. Does this tell you there were more depths in 90s, or it just says seed 32 players has changed grand slam tournaments a little bit?
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Well someone could look up how often the top 16 were beaten in slams by players outside the top 32. I'm sure many of the upsets were by players that wouldn't be seeded under the current system anyway.
 

dozu

Banned
Tenez said:
I'm with you.
If anything, things were harder in the 90s. With only 16 seeds at the GS events, there was a greater chance of a seeded player running into a dangerous floater in the early rounds.
--Tenez
You need to have the basic concept of statistics to make such arguments, just a few samples are just not good enough,

How about gathering stats on the average seed number winning the title in all ATP events, in the '90s vs. in the '00s

example, for the 500 events in the '90, on average seed number 3.1 wins the titles, and in the '00s, seed number 4.6 wins, then we can argue that there are more depths in the '00s
 

Tenez

New User
dozu said:
You need to have the basic concept of statistics to make such arguments, just a few samples are just not good enough,

How about gathering stats on the average seed number winning the title in all ATP events, in the '90s vs. in the '00s

example, for the 500 events in the '90, on average seed number 3.1 wins the titles, and in the '00s, seed number 4.6 wins, then we can argue that there are more depths in the '00s
Statistics, right. Interesting that you would hold me to these exacting standards while droves of posters on these boards routinely present opinion as fact. All I did was forward a plausible-sounding hypothesis. You want to gather the data? Hey, knock yourself out.
--Tenez
 
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