The biggest myth in the ongoing Sampras-Federer debate....

biaggi35

New User
Ljubicic was a rival for about a year, two tops. Stop acting like he was a consistent presence in the top 10.

During Federer's best years Ljubicic was a consistent top player. I remember when he and Nalbandian were fighting for number 3 in the rankings. And besides that, you can't say he wasn't one of Federer's biggest rivals when they have played more than 15 times (more than Fed - Safin and Fed - Agassi for example) and had some great matches in the Masters events (IW '05, TMC '05 and Miami '06 come to mind). Actually, I think Ljubicic is a superb tennis player, but the fact that he couldn't even get to a match against Federer in the Slams, shows you that Sampras' rivals weren't more inconsistent.
 

Indio

Semi-Pro
For the record:
2004: Ljubicic wasn't in the Top 20

2005: Finished at #9, with a record of 57-24, 2W and a majors record of 7-4. He also played and won a Challenger event.

2006: Finished at #5, with a record of 61-20, 3W, and a majors record of 11-4, which includes a QF at the Australian and a SF at the French.

2007: Finished at #18, with a record of 44-23, 2W, and a majors record of 6-4.

2008: IL wasn't in the Top 20
2009: IL wasn't in the Top 20

2010: Finished at #17, with a record of 26-19, 1W and a majors record of 4-4. That W was a big one: Indian Wells.
 
M

monfed

Guest
I think Sampras is the greatest fast grasscourt player in tennis history. His explosive game and clutch serving was tailor made for it. But that's also the biggest reason why he's not a GOAT contender, versatility was his problem just like it's Ralph's(who is even less versatile than Pete actually).

This is why the top tier is Fed and Borg with Fed leading the pack, in short Fed's the GOAT.
 
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RF 2004-06: Your assessment of GI's physical skills in no way comes close to matching the reality, and I'm talking about what ultimately counts in sports--the wins and losses columns. If GI actually had the things you credited him with, he surely would have done better than to finish his career with a 599-333 record, to go with 22 titles. Of those 22 victories, 15 came indoors. I trust you can draw the proper conclusion. In addition, his outdoor hardcourt winning % is a meager 58.2, one of the worst I could find for a Top 10 player. Finally, his clay-court % is 61.8. Even the much-maligned Andy Roddick did better, at 63.6. That mental toughness must have been absent far too often.

I love how you cite those numbers as if they're bad, or help your case in the slightest.

How many French Open quarterfinals did Roddick make? How did he do in Rome? Monte Carlo? Roddick only played Monte Carlo twice. It kind of helps your percentage when you skip most clay court tournaments and then make a couple fluke runs to the semis in Rome.

Winning percentage for a career is utterly meaningless. Guys who take longer to reach their primes, or who play well past their primes, accumulate more losses that are, ultimately, irrelevant in a discussion like this.

Marat Safin's career record was 422-267 (61.3%). Ivanisevic's career record was 599-333 (64.3%). Ouch. So much for the percentage argument.

Nobody cares about Ivanisevic 1999-2004, unless you're talking about the only tournament he showed up in during that span, which was 2001 Wimbledon.

Goran would have accumulated more titles during his prime, but guys like Sampras and Agassi were kind of better. Ya know?

That doesn't change the fact that he was far, far, far from "the most one-dimensional Top 10 player in history." That's one of the most idiotic things ever said in the history of the world.

What did Thomas Muster do off clay? Look it up and post it here.

What did Wayne Ferreira do? He finished in the Top 10.

Thomas Enqvist. How did his career go? How did he do on grass and clay?

How did Sergi Brugeura do off clay?

How about Jonas Bjorkman and Magnus Norman?

The list of Top 10 guys inferior all-around to Ivanisevic goes on and on and on.

Andy Roddick definitely had a better career than Ivanisevic, but Ivanisevic had more talent. Roddick was much stronger mentally.

But Roddick is also far from being the most one-dimensional Top 10 player ever.

If you want to defend Federer's competition, great...but don't go knocking legitimate top players in Sampras's era to do it.
 

Indio

Semi-Pro
Fed04-06: You love how I cite numbers?? I love how you ignore the more relevant ones and focus on those that you think you can re-shape to bolster your weak case. What's with all the attention on Roddick's and GI's clay court results? The clay court action was the least important part of my comparison. My interest in GI as an opponent for Sampras has little to do with clay-court results--you know as well as I do that the likelihood of them having met in a late round at the French was remote at best. And I love how you claim that AR's good results in Rome were flukes. Naturally, GI's successes on clay were all well-earned victories. If you want to prove (and I do mean prove, not offer up one unsubstantiated opinion after another), that GI was better than the stats suggest, turn your attention to his mediocre hard-court record.
Speaking of idiotic statements, your claim that GI would have won more tournaments had Sampras and Agassi not been around is a classic. Do I have to explain it to you, or can you work it out for yourself?
If you believe there are some valid points to be made by examining details of various players' careers, do not ask me to look up the information and present it. YOU DO IT.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
^^

get real, ivanisevic wasn't anywhere close to being the most one-dimensional player in top 10 ....
 

Towser83

G.O.A.T.
Yea but Fed's wins over Nadal on grass came BEFORE Nadal was the grass player he would be come later from 2008 and 2010 etc. I wouldn't say Diaper rash Nadal in 2006/2007 is superior to Stich or Peak Goran, in the mid 90s at wimbledon.

In fact, I wouldn't even say baby Nadal is better then mid 90s, 1999 Agassi on grass either.

Even in 2007, Nadal had the match but he choked it away. In 2006, he was only in his 4th or 5th grass court tournament ever at wimbledon.. So the Nadal that Fed beat at wimbledon, was not the "great" Nadal of wimbledon he would later become.

Fed didn't beat Nadal after 2007. So did Fed actually have to deal with a supposedly "Greater" Nadal then Goran, Stich, Agassi etc..? Pete had to deal with Goran, Becker, Agassi a few times.

I would still say Older Becker is certainly more formidable on grass then a baby Nadal is

Fed's grass peak coincided with a diaper rash Nadal still learning how to play off of clay, Roddick, Hewitt, Phillipousisis, then later on with Murray and Nole ( who isn't that good on grass). I dont think thats better then Goran, Stich, older Becker, Agassi, Rafter etc.

Gotta love how Nadal with a Wimby final under his belt is diaper rash nadal in 2007 but after a year of not playing any grass matches he suddenly became the great Nadal of Wimbledon in 2008. Amazing how he made that change in one year without playing on grass in the meantime. I mean then it's obvious, it was geriatric Federer in 2008 compared to prime Fed in 07.

And let's not forget the other thing Saptards go on about when the subject of Wimbledon is raised. The grass. It wasn't real grass in Fed's era was it? So someone like Nadal became a lot trickier. So he IS better than the people Sampras was playing, because who did he play? The best slam champion after him was Agassi who won a lot of his slams at the end of Sampras's career in a weak gap before Federer started playing his best and still won less than Nadal. And then you put Agassi who is less great than Nadal, on a surface that suits Sampras down to the ground and doesn't suit Agassi at all.

So in one case you have a player who is good, playing on a surface that gives him little chance against the top dog (Agassi vs Sampras at Wimbledon) and in the other case you have a better player than Agassi on a surface that has been slowed down which gives him a better chance than Agassi (Nadal vs Federer). Federer has it tougher.

There were players who could play on fast grass, but they weren't big time slam winning players. So they were never going to be consistant threats. I mean Murray is technically a better HC player than Nadal but has he bettered Nadal at the HC slams?. Hell, there are many players who are better hc players than Nadal, but they don't have a champion's heart and mind.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
sampras is currently the GOAT but nadal will overtake him in the future.......

in sampras time, too many differences between surfaces and a field that always had a surprise player or two up its sleeve at almost every tournament.......for example, arazi.......his overall career stats may not be all that great but he scored some legendary wins.......there were too many players like that and that made up for a great overall field.......

the cherry picking *******s as usual pick consistency and glory numbers against a bunch of goons from 2003 - 2006 on homogenized surfaces as the measuring yardsticks for GOAT debate........

no GOAT candidate was ever owned by his rival in history........nadal has tied fed to his shoelaces and swept almost every big tennis court in this world.......such is the pwnage.......

federer has failed at overcoming the nadal challenge........whereas nadal after getting clobbered in 7 finals, turned it around like a true warrior and showed the world that he's up for anything in tennis........

that is what makes for a GOAT in my book.......djokovic still fears only one player and that is nadal.......
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
is that PS faced considerably better opposition during his reign than RF faced during his. The standard tactic of the PS advocate is to exaggerate the quality of PS's opponents and to minimize that of RF's, and to someone who hasn't done much research on the subject, it can be fairly convincing. I know that in my own case, it did raise enough doubt to cause me to dig deeply into what actually took place and to come up with the facts.
As I see it, strong opposition comes mostly from players who are having good years, with good match W-L records, several tournament wins, few 1st and 2nd round losses, and good results in the majors, preferably, but not necessarily, three or four. And a player's resume surely makes no differerence whatsoever. If, for example, Player A has won some majors in the past, and Player B hasn't, how is Player A's performance superior to Player B's if both he and Player B have similar results in a particular year?
In addition to players having good all-around years, there'll be clay-court and grass-court specialists (although there don't appear to be any of the latter anymore), and there'll be players making unexpected runs to finals despite having otherwise mediocre years. PS himself is an excellent example of this in his US 2002 win. The more power there is at the top of the rankings,as there is now, the less likely it is that there'll be a surprise finalist.

PS's peak period was from 1993 to 1997, when he won two majors per year, with the exception of 1996, and RF's was from 2004 to 2007, when he won three majors per year, with the exception of 2005. Let's begin with PS's opponents. Were they the tennis giants that PS supporters claim they were?

Courier: Contrary to popular belief, Andre Agassi wasn't PS's chief rival during his best period--JC was. Fron 1993 to 1997, PS was 5-1 vs JC in majors, but only 2-1 vs AA. JC did have a great year (in the majors) in 1993, winning the Australian and reaching the finals of both the French and Wimbledon, but it was to be his last great year. Here are his results in the majors from 1993 to 1997:
1993 W F F 4
1994 SF SF 2 2
1995 QF 4 2 SF
1996 QF QF 1 --
1997 4 1 1 1

Edberg: PS was 0-2 against SE in majors.

Stich: They played only once in majors, PS winning in 1992 at Wimbledon.

Ivanisevic: GI was surely the most one-dimensional Top 10 player in the Open era of tennis. He did well at Wimbledon when his serve was on, but was exposed for what he really was at the hard-court majors, reaching the SFs just once, in 24 tries. He beat no Top 10 players in a major between Wim. 1995 and Wim. 2001. Only once did he lose fewer than 21 matches in a year. He did actually go 77-26 in 1996, winning five titles, but played 29 events to do it. On grass, he had a winning percentage of 72. Andy Roddick, usually the favorite target of the PS advocates, had one of 79.6.

Becker:
1991 W SF F 3 3 of 15
1992 3 -- QF 4 6 of 20
1993 1 2 SF 4 12 of 23
1994 -- 1 SF 1 10 of 21
1995 1 3 F SF 5 of 19
1996 W -- 3 -- 9 of 19

As you can see, BB's results dropped off sharply in 1992, so that, with the exception of a three-majors recovery from Wim. 1995 to Aus. 1996, he achieved some success only at Wimbledon, and even that was less impressive than it had been, when, with the exception of 1987, he was either a winner or a finalist. The final column of the table shows the number of early defeats in tournaments. It speaks for itself.
PS was 3-0 vs BB in majors, but one of those came at Wim. 1997, when BB was clearly near the end of the line.

Chang: MC won French 1989, but then made only one SF or QF run per year until 1995, when he did well in three majors. In fact, in 1996 and 1997, he was probably PS's biggest rival, finishing at #2 in 1996 and #3 in 1997. PS won three majors in those two years. How many do you think RF would likely have won had MC been his biggest worry?
MC was a very good player, but never a great one. I believe he's comparable to the Andy Murray of 2008 to 2010, at least in terms of results.

Krajicek: RK beat PS in the Wim. 1996 QFs and went on to win the title, the only time in his career that he reached the finals of a major, and the only tournament of any kind he won in 1996. At the end of the year, with a W-L record of 46-28, he was ranked #7, the only time he finished higher than #10.
Despite the less-than-stellar career, RK was PS's nemesis. After losing their first match, he won six of the next seven, from 1993 to 1999, which includes all of PS's years at #1. PS won the final two, including US 2000.

Martin: TM had a big year in majors in 1994, with a Final and two SFs, but his record in the 2nd tier of tournaments, the Masters, was a pathetic 3-5. This is probably why he was ranked only #10 at the end of the year. He didn't have another big year in the majors till 1999.

Rafter: PS didn't score a majors win over PR until 2000, so he doesn't really fit into this part of the presentation.

Agassi: I'll save most of my AA comments for the RF section of this presentation, if I do one.
PS played AA (in majors) only three times between 1993 and 1995, and not at all from 1996 to 1998. AA did have his greatest year in 1995, going 73-9, with seven Ws in 16 events, and only one early knockout. He and PS split Ws at the Australian and the US. Inexplicably (yes, I have read his book), he fell to 38-14 next year.

That's more than enough for now. I believe that I've shown (and I have a hell of a lot more data) that PS's road to tennis glory wasn't quite as challenging as his advocates say it was. If there's enough interest in this thread, I'll continue with the RF part.

has it ever occurred to you why players today outside top 4 have literally stopped winning grandslams? the real competition has moved to the topmost chunk and that's easily because of homogenization and slowing down of surfaces.......top 4's rivals today are no one else but themselves.......they are all slow court kings pampered by ITF and enjoy a lot of advantages over the inferior players below them.......

now, what you are trying to paint as sampras's rivals is quite different to what really constituted for "rivals" during those times.......

if you were sampras on grass, you easily had two relatively nobodies with big serves breathing down your neck in the earlier rounds on slick grass.......then you had specialists waiting for you in the second week.......same with clay and other surfaces........you will not find a hardcourter making multiple finals on grass or a grasscourter making roland garros finals........simply because the field was a lot more spread out on each different surface.......

see where i am getting at? your attempt to "make up" lesser rivals for sampras and show them in poor light using numbers in comparison to federer's rivals (who are basically top 4), leaving aside all the factors which lead to multiple players outside the top 10 making semis and finals, unlike just the top 4 today........well that's not even funny........
 
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TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
^
Your homogeneous theory is a flaw because Borg was consistently winning RG and Wimbledon back-to-back. You can argue homgeneous sufaces is even tougher to win because the entire field can compete at high level, unlike specialists where there's a few players that are contestant to win on certain surfaces(lol). All rounds are tough today because they are great baseliners on all surfaces. I suppose you believe it would be better for Sampras had every surfaces played like Plexi:))). And even specialists in the 90s weren't always making the final(eg Courier who isn't a grass specialist yet made the 1993 Wimbledon final). That's proved there's holes in the 90s where the window of oppotunities for non-great players can win a slam. Unlike today, all surfaces are heavily guarded. There's no weak players sneaking in to grab the slam.

Don't forget even though the surfaces are more homogeneous today, the players still have their best and worst surfaces. For Nadal is clay and hc, Roddick is hc and clay, Roger is grass and clay, etc....
 
sampras federer........give me a break .......at their peaks fed would whip him ......

lets say they played on hard, clay and grass samp would only beat him on the grass i.e. wimby and that only due to his far superior serve.....

movement groundies volleys fed peak was perfection
 

mattennis

Hall of Fame
This has been discussed ad nauseam.

You can not compare different eras, even if conditions had stayed the same (like 90s vs 80s), much less when conditions have changed that much (current era vs any previous era).

My take is that, even when conditions stayed basically the same, for example 90s vs 80s, it is senseless to say that Sampras was "better/greater" than Lendl or McEnroe, because 10 years apart is too much, they are from different eras, so nobody has a clue about how many great tournaments+YE nº1 would McEnroe or Lendl have, had they been born 10 years later, or had Sampras been born 10 years earlier.

The current era is even more problematic because for the first time in tennis history, all tournaments conditions are quite similar, medium to medium-slow, and it obviously produces a very low number of different GS winners (basically the best two or three players of the moment) and because of that those "top-players" numbers will be clearly inflated (the argument is called "the Decathlon example" as I have stated many times).

So almost the only sensible thing to say is that X player was the best or most successful player of Y era, Z player was the best or most successful player of W era, maybe C player was the second best or second most successful player of H era,.....

For example, Federer has been the most successful player in the current era (last decade or so), Nadal the second most successful, Djokovic the third (and being able to order them is possible only because they play in the same era). Or for example Sampras was the most successful player of the 90s, Agassi the second most successful, Courier the third.....

And even that simple thing is tricky, because sometimes an "era" is not well defined at all and is totally subjective.

The most funny thing about all this is that Sampras fans hated me ten to fifteen years ago when I told them this sensible view of things, and now Federer fans will hate me because of the very same reason (not all, in fact I know for a fact that many Federer fans actually agree with me wholeheartedly, some of them from these forums as well).
 
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RF_fan

Semi-Pro
What?? Courier has 4 slams and was deadly at his peak.. Hes got more slams then Hewitt, Roddick and Davydenko COMBINED.

And he accomplished all this in a shorter career really compared to what those guys had.. Especially prime for prime

And how many slams would Roddick, Hewitt and Davydenko would have if it wasn't for Federer? Besides Sampras couldn't compete with Courier on clay.
 

wangs78

Legend
Back then every top player was in danger in the first rounds of Slams because of the faster conditions. When you consider this, you realize Courier and Becker's stats were very good. Ivanisevic was one-dimensional, but he was a beast at Wimbledon (look at his results) and that's where Sampras won half of his GS.

Great point. I think people on these boards often forget that had they not made the grass at Wimbledon slower, we'd still be seeing players like Philippoussis, Ivanisevic, etc. making it deep into tournaments with little more than a booming serve. I for one am happy we don't see that anymore, because let's face it, that isn't tennis. And while Sampras was an all-round player - a HUGE part of his success was due to that booming serve. Without it, he'd have 5-6 slams, MAX. Maybe even none, because it was that serve that allowed him to S&V with success. He didn't win his points off of groundstrokes like Agassi. He was also not like Edberg who utilized a CRAZY kickserve to pull his opponent wide and give him time to approach the net.
 
Fed04-06: You love how I cite numbers?? I love how you ignore the more relevant ones and focus on those that you think you can re-shape to bolster your weak case. What's with all the attention on Roddick's and GI's clay court results? The clay court action was the least important part of my comparison. My interest in GI as an opponent for Sampras has little to do with clay-court results--you know as well as I do that the likelihood of them having met in a late round at the French was remote at best. And I love how you claim that AR's good results in Rome were flukes. Naturally, GI's successes on clay were all well-earned victories. If you want to prove (and I do mean prove, not offer up one unsubstantiated opinion after another), that GI was better than the stats suggest, turn your attention to his mediocre hard-court record.
Speaking of idiotic statements, your claim that GI would have won more tournaments had Sampras and Agassi not been around is a classic. Do I have to explain it to you, or can you work it out for yourself?
If you believe there are some valid points to be made by examining details of various players' careers, do not ask me to look up the information and present it. YOU DO IT.

I have no idea where you're even pulling those surface stats from. Give me the website you're pulling them from and I'll be glad to post them here.

The point is, Ivanisevic isn't even close to being the most one-dimensional Top 10 player in history. That was an incredibly ignorant, idiotic statement.

You're the one who made the extreme claim, and you have yet to go through all the Top 10 players in history and show how Ivanisevic is somehow more one-dimensional than them. You can not be asked to prove a negative. You made the claim, it's your responsibility to back it up.

Roddick's clay court results do not compare to Ivanisevic's overall. Winning percentage means nothing in this case. Goran kept showing up in plenty of clay events even after he was past his prime. Roddick, even in his prime, was doing his best to duck playing on clay.

When talking about who is more "one-dimensional," bringing up how they perform on different surfaces is kind of part of the argument. You're clearly one of those clueless *******s who thinks Ivanisevic was some sort of Karlovic/Isner clone - nothing but a serve - who somehow got to #2 in the world and finished Top 10 6 years in a row.
 

helloworld

Hall of Fame
And how many slams would Roddick, Hewitt and Davydenko would have if it wasn't for Federer? Besides Sampras couldn't compete with Courier on clay.

How many slams would Courier, Agassi, Becker, etc. have won without Sampras? MANY!!
And Sampras did beat Courier at the French Open, biggest clay tournament on earth.
 

ultradr

Legend
is that PS faced considerably better opposition during his reign than RF faced during his.

It's not the question of better or worse.


IMHO, RF faced fewer competitions during this pocket of somewhat void period(2004-2006).

  • 2001-2004, tour condition drastically changed. Some of top players either failed
    or struggled to make transition to new slower conditions.
  • New homogeneous condition of baseline tennis all year long helped him collect large number
    of slams in short time until 5 year younger generation matures: Nadal,
    Djokovic and Murray.

RF is definitely one of the greats but grossly over-appreciated.
 
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mental midget

Hall of Fame
^
Your homogeneous theory is a flaw because Borg was consistently winning RG and Wimbledon back-to-back. You can argue homgeneous sufaces is even tougher to win because the entire field can compete at high level, unlike specialists where there's a few players that are contestant to win on certain surfaces(lol). All rounds are tough today because they are great baseliners on all surfaces. I suppose you believe it would be better for Sampras had every surfaces played like Plexi:))). And even specialists in the 90s weren't always making the final(eg Courier who isn't a grass specialist yet made the 1993 Wimbledon final). That's proved there's holes in the 90s where the window of oppotunities for non-great players can win a slam. Unlike today, all surfaces are heavily guarded. There's no weak players sneaking in to grab the slam.

Don't forget even though the surfaces are more homogeneous today, the players still have their best and worst surfaces. For Nadal is clay and hc, Roddick is hc and clay, Roger is grass and clay, etc....

a variety of surfaces meant you had proportionally less players specializing in the metronomic low-error baseline game we see today. that, coupled with the fact that the surfaces were generally faster across the board meant upsets were more likely—a guy could get hot and ride it to victory. these days even a 'zoning' player is forced to contend with slower courts, generally, and statistically speaking, the competition on the other side of the net is likely to be more consistent off the ground than in years past.

while it's true some of the top players have their preferred surfaces, the fact is that playing style has indeed become more homogenized. it's a more grueling style of play, no question, but it takes some variables off the table as well, and at the end of the day, the guys who are incrementally better at that style enjoy a year-round advantage over the field, whereas in the past the advantage would shift more markedly from season to season, surface to surface. today's grass is slower, and it's still quite different from HC—the problem is, though, the guys approach both with roughly the same game plan, and that is the leveling influence.
 

Indio

Semi-Pro
To those who insist that the courts in the four majors play more or less similarly, explain the following:
1 Why did Andy Roddick reach just the 4th rnd at the French, and then only once, yet succeeded in reaching the QFs or better 19 times at the other three?
2 Why did Tim Henman, from 2001 to 2004, reach three SFs and one QF at Wimbledon, yet succeeded in going beyond the 4th rnd at other majors only in2004?
3 Why did Coria reach the 4th rnd only once at Wimbledon, but made the QFs or better four times at the others?
4 Carlos Moya, from 2003 to his retirement, played Wimbledon only twice, once reaching the 4th rnd. In the other majors, he reached the QFs four times.
5 Davydenko has reached the 4th rnd at Wimbledon only once, but at the other three majors, he's reached the QFs or better ten times.
6 David Ferrer has reached one QF at Wimbledon. At the other three, he's reached ten QFs or better.
7 Del Potro has done no better than two 4ths at Wimbledon, but at the others he has reached the QFs or better seven times.

Obviously the changes made to court surfaces, Wimbledon in particular, have had some effect but it appears that that effect is being exaggerated by those who fail to appreciate the high level of tennis produced by today's top players.
 

Indio

Semi-Pro
Fed2004-06: I'm tired of your insulting, abrasive style of conducting a debate. You aren't worth the time and the effort.
 
Fed2004-06: I'm tired of your insulting, abrasive style of conducting a debate. You aren't worth the time and the effort.

Typical passive-aggressive internet behavior. You make an outrageously idiotic statement, and when someone has the "nerve" to call you on it, you play the, "who, moiiiii?" card.

Whenever someone says someone "isn't worth the time and effort" on the internet, they are admitting defeat, without actually "admitting defeat," because I guess that hurts their pitiful pride or something.

Stop being a myopic ******* and read up on the history of tennis for a change, rather than starting imbecilic, inflammatory threads. Everyone else here is tired of you.
 
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