Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.
I'll read the article again later today but I got the impression that Danzig thought it was the fading champion against the new invincible defensive baseliner. But I can see how one could think it was the greatest match ever. You could be correct Dan.
I'll try to check not only the article but see if Danzig writes about it in later years.
Dan, I see you are very knowledgable also in classic music. That's fine.
I don't know if Schubert and Mozart would have improved yet when living longer. At least Schubert had already climbed up the Mount Everest. But at least it's probable that they would have added many more great works.
Schubert composed a new symphony in his last months which is also unfinished. But it anicipated Gustav Mahler!
Dan, Bach's Matthäuspassion is at least as sad as the Winterreise.
I love Brahms' 4th symphony, especially the last movement.
Bach's Matthauspassion is concerned with vicarious suffering, of Christ on behalf of humanity, the most positive subject in history.
One could add along the same lines Fidelio and Parsifal.
The Brahms' Fourth finale is likewise concerned with overcoming and fulfillment in spite of suffering.
This is so different from the gloom and despair of Wozzeck, Lulu, Winterreise, Erlkonig, etc...
He outlasted them over the course of their careers, not in these matches from 1927.
Of course he thought the match was at a very high level of play, with two such great champions meeting each other. When I said "I don't think Danzig was referring to peak level of play" I meant that I don't think he was referring to Tilden's peak level. That seemed to be what you were arguing -- that Tilden, in Danzig's view, was still at the peak of his powers in 1927; your support for reading Danzig this way is the fact that Danzig regarded this one match as the greatest he had ever seen.
But a person may regard a match as the greatest of all time, and it does not necessarily follow, at all, that he regards the two players as both being at their peak. A lot of things go into the appreciation of great matches. Level of play is just one. Danzig, in his report for the Times, describes at length all the other things that made the match so great for him: it was, in his eyes, a great drama of age against youth. That is the CENTRAL theme of his report. Yes he praises the high level of play a few times. But he devotes far more space, and certainly more detail, to the drama of Tilden fighting on even though his strength was failing him: that is what he appreciates the most about the match.
Honestly I don't see how you could read Danzig as saying that Tilden was still at the peak of his powers, when he says repeatedly that Tilden no longer was.
And he doesn't just state it; he specifies. He notes that Tilden can no longer go all-out for two consecutive sets; he notes Tilden's movement slowing near the end of the first set, then the power on his forehand diminishing, and finally little more than nervous energy and exhaustion in the third set.
Your argument is very unclear, so please clarify:
1) Do you think that Danzig regarded Tilden as being at the peak of his powers in 1927?
2) Do you regard Tilden as being at the peak of his powers in 1927?
It does not have to be one or the other. Dan is framing the debate this way, but there is no necessary contradiction. Danzig obviously regarded the match both as a contest between age and youth and as one of the greatest single matches he had ever seen -- perhaps even the greatest. That is no contradiction, because the "unequal battle between youth and age," as he calls it, is what made the match so memorable for him; Tilden fighting against losing odds, and to the limits of his failing strength, is what made Tilden's fight the greatest of his career, in Danzig's view.
I'm not sure what the problem is here. If I regard the 1980 Wimbledon final as the greatest match of all time, does that mean that I think that McEnroe was at his peak in 1980? Does it mean that I think that Borg, in that particular match, played the best tennis he was capable of for five full sets? He clearly didn't in the first set which he lost 6-1.
Or let's say someone picks the 1977 semifinal between Borg and Gerulaitis as the greatest of all time. Does that mean that he regards Borg's peak as falling in 1977?
Or if someone regards the 2008 Wimbledon final as the greatest match of all time, can you conclude that this fan regards Federer as being at his peak in 2008?
Dan quotes Danzig as saying that Tilden threw everything he had at Lacoste and still lost. Fine, but how does that mean that Danzig was specifying 1927 as Tilden's peak? McEnroe certainly threw everything he had at Borg in 1980 and still lost. So am I forced to conclude that McEnroe's peak was in 1980?
For me, a match should be between two great players who are both playing at or very close to their absolute career peak, otherwise it is less meaningful.
For me, an all-time great match is not merely close, exciting, or an interesting spectacle of youth against age, or Europe against U.S.A. or Australia against U.S.A., although these latter considerations contribute to the occasion. It is not just a major final or a Davis Cup match, but should be considered at the very top of absolute playing achievement.
Thus, if Tilden was not at or near his absolute peak in this 1927 Forest Hills final, I would not regard it as a candidate for an all-time great match, however interesting or exciting it was.
Williams best years were 1914 -1916, when he was 23 to 25 years old, and beating Johnston by about the same margin as Tilden would in the early twenties.
Willaims saw military service from 1916 to 1918, and saw frontline combat, being awarded the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honour.
Like another famous athlete, Grover Cleveland Alexander, the best pitcher in baseball, who was wounded in frontline combat, Williams' post-war performance was weaker than before.
This loss of time and the deleterious effects of combat service restricted his career achievements.
krosero, I think that Tilden's peak lasted till 1925 when he was 32.
Interesting that Tilden was able to beat Lacoste on clay one year later in Davis Cup. I guess he had a less strensous schedule that year.
I think you're right but Williams could, even late in his career play at extremely high levels. Vines told of a match he played Williams in the early 1930's and lost the first nine games of the match! Vines could not believe anyone could take his serve so early. Williams cooled off (or maybe the modest Vines cooled him off) and Vines won the next twelve games and the match.
That's fine, we all have our own views on what makes a great match.
You do often see the label of greatest match applied to matches where a long-dominant champion loses his title. Like Borg in 1980, or Federer in 2008. That's an element that adds great drama.
Tilden lost his US title to Cochet in '26 but that was only a quarterfinal. In a way the really "big" matches that toppled Tilden were those two matches he lost to Lacoste in '27, first in the Davis Cup (with the Cup finally wrested from the Americans) and then a week later in the US final.
Thus the 1964 Wembley final must have been a great match full of drama (a few netcords decided the match). Laver overtook the "old" master...
Dan, I am not sure if you can compare Alexander to Williams. Williams was never as consistent as Tilden with his high risk style. Vines sort of compares Williams top game to Hoad. Alexander's career in baseball relatively speaking was far superior to Williams despite the injury. Wasn't Alexander played by Ronald Reagan in a movie?
Yes he was well rested when he beat Lacoste. And he seems to have been particularly inspired to play well after being reinstated to the team following the long controversy over his writings.
1927 looks like an exhausting year for him. Five-set losses in Paris and Wimbledon -- both of them when he was on the verge of victory -- followed by the loss of the Cup and then the US final. And in that last match he lost without even winning a set, which is not surprising considering it was the last match of a long year.
That loss to Lacoste in Paris may have affected the rest of his season. Sometimes when a player puts in an excessive effort at the French, he comes into Wimbledon exhausted. I've been thinking that Tilden's sudden collapse against Cochet may have had a lot to do with physical exhaustion going back to that Paris match.
The Boston Globe described Tilden as essentially dead on his feet in the last three sets against Cochet. The NY Times mentioned the same thing but the Globe really went into detail ("pale and haggard, staggered through the last half hour play with sagging knees"). That's an aspect of the match that I really don't see mentioned very much, when we ask why Tilden's game suddenly deteriorated with a 5-1 lead in the third.
It was when I found the Globe report that I started wondering whether Tilden's reserves had been depleted in that French final. He lost 11-9 in the fifth, and that match is still the longest French final on record, in terms of number of points played. And the rallies were described as going over 40 strokes.
I think such a strenuous effort -- particularly if it's a loss -- could slow down even a younger man for some time afterwards. A 34-year-old might deplete himself and, in the next five-set match, suddenly find all his reserves gone: which I think may really be the reason that Tilden's game suddenly collapsed against Cochet.
Yes that would be another. And Becker beating Lendl in a five-set Masters final at the Garden (netcord on the last point) really turned that rivalry in his favor.
I realize I mentioned 1980 Wimbledon as an example, but I got confused for a second. 1981 was when Borg was dethroned. 1980 is called the greatest but more so because of the tiebreak and McEnroe saving so many match points.
Williams won two U.S. titles in three years, but had to enter the military after that, so he was fairly consistent. He played poorly in the 1914 Davis Cup, but improved greatly right after that.
Alexander had a couple of good years after the war, but lingering wounds had reduced his abilities. He was utterly dominant before the war.
Williams must have seen serious combat, judging from his medals, and he never played at his best after the war, or at least not for a complete tournament.
Reagan played Alexander in a 1952 movie bio, with Doris Day as his wife. It changed some of the actual sequence of events, but was a good film.
Williams was also one of the survivors of the Titanic. I believe the doctors thought of amputating his leg.
The bit in the Titanic movie where Jack and Rose shout "shut up!" to the man saying "you'll have to pay for that, you know", it was actually Richard Norris Williams who said "shut up" in real life.
Brahms's two orchestral serenades are also quite wonderful.
But not as wonderful as his marvellous Clarinet Quintett.
back to topic.if one looks at the top ten of a whole decade, maybe it is a clearer picture, becasue density counts a lot when trying to choose an all time great.
IMO, the three best decades were, clearly, and for top 10 purposals, the 50´s, 70´s and 80´s, mixing up both amateur and pros in the case of the 50´s.
If we think about the top 5, then the 90´s and 30´s would also be mentioned, but not if we consider a top ten list.
Here is a top ten list of one of my fav years ever , 1971 .Not in strict order but all thsoe players were just huge:
and all of them were strong whatever the surface.
^ Interesting perspective.
I looked through the modern era of rankings (1973-2012) and in my opinion, these are the years with the strongest YE Top 10:
...and the worst year:
Very good one.I also think 1981 was tremendous, with Borg,Mc Enroe,Connors,Lendl,Gerulaitis,Tanner,Vilas,Clerc,Mayer and Noah or Kriek.Huge.
When you have James Blake and Roddick in the top six with baby Nadal it does look on the surface that 2006 was pretty awful. I could make comments about the others but the best thing I will write is that Nalbanian was very talented. It's all opinion and I'm sure someone may think 2006 was super strong.
yes, 2006 ranking very mkuch sucks, except for Nadal and Federer
Nadal was a kid also. He wasn't nearly the player that he would become. He was 19 when he won the French that year. Nadal was not the player on all surfaces that he would become.
Federer was at his most dominant.
To quote the poster "5555", the following is not opinion but fact:
- In 1992, all 10 of the YE Top 10 won a slam in their career.
- In 2006, 5 of the YE Top 10 never even reached a slam final in their career.
This is an opinion on my part: every man in the 1974 YE Top 10, bar Tom Okker, could be claimed as a great.
Actually even Okker could have some modest claims of greatness. He won over 50 tournaments in his career, won the Italian Open I believe and was in the opinion of people like Rod Laver to be one of the most talented players in tennis, if not the most talented.
Stupid Okker story involving me. I saw Okker at the US Open long after he had retired. I recognized the distinct forehand swing from a long distance and realized it was him. Early that morning for some reason I was watching a video of him playing Ken Rosewall and Rosewall aced him in that short clip. I was chatting with him and I mentioned I saw him play Rosewall that day (forgetting to mention it was on a video) and he give me this totally puzzled look. I explained it but really felt ridiculous.
He was also a great doubles players and as a silly side note, was MVP of the World Team Tennis All Stars. He teamed with Laver and they won 6-1 I believe. I think it was in 1976. Borg and Nastase played the men's singles and Borg won easily.
Super fast reflexes at the net and a truly great forehand. Great speed also.
1974 was really strong: nine players included who were No.1 at a time.
He was quite strong on grass by then. At Wimbledon he posted one of the longest service streaks of the Open Era. And as you saw in my other thread, he had Aggressive Margins over 40%, which is something that very few players can do.
And of course in '06 he was already one of the top claycourters of all time, in terms of skills (not yet in accomplishments). He was right in the middle of an 81-match win streak on clay, the longest of his career and the longest official clay streak of the Open Era. Being 19 was no impediment there at all.
Nadal's only weakness in '06 was on hard courts (though even so he was strong enough to win in Dubai, with a win over the world's top player). He wasn't truly great on hardcourt until '09 AO.
But the thing is that he was already close enough to his peak -- which arguably began in 2008 -- that if he is considered merely a tennis baby, then a lot of older champions are similarly diminished in the other lists.
Borg in 1974 and 1975 was at least as far from his claycourt peak as Nadal was in '06, and imo farther. He certainly was weaker on grass.
Laver and Rosewall were far from their peaks, much more than two years; and if Nadal had a surface weakness in '06 (hardcourt), well neither Laver nor Rosewall had done anything of significance on clay in a number of years. Orantes was genuinely weak on grass; Tanner on clay, etc.
Nastase in '75 was two years from his peak, and not the player he had been. Vilas in '74 and '75 was still a tennis baby, if Nadal was.
Lendl in '92 was over the hill, and years from his peak. Same with Krajicek. Sampras was not yet a mature champion. Etc.
Not that anyone cares but I'll throw my 10 in the ring with the criteria that I consider only the 60's on, not that Tilden and Budge might not be deserving but I have no way of comparison other than what was written by others. These below I have seen grace the court with my own eyes.
borg below connors and lendl ? really ?
The field in 2006 was a bit weaker 'relatively', but not as weak as it looks on paper ...
you had federer,baghdatis, nalbandian, davydenko all playing well at the AO;
nadal,federer,nalbandian playing well at the FO; federer, nadal, ancic playing well at wimbledon; federer,roddick, blake, youzhny playing well at the USO
etc etc ...
the names in 2004,05 and 07 look quite a bit better ..
2004 top 10 :
1 Roger Federer
2 Andy Roddick
3 Lleyton Hewitt
4 Marat Safin
5 Carlos Moyà
6 Tim Henman
7 Guillermo Coria
8 Andre Agassi
9 David Nalbandián
10 Gastón Gaudio
2005 top 10 :
1 Roger Federer
2 Rafael Nadal
3 Andy Roddick
4 Lleyton Hewitt
5 Nikolay Davydenko
6 David Nalbandian
7 Andre Agassi
8 Guillermo Coria
9 Ivan Ljubičić
10 Gastón Gaudio
(13 - Marat Safin)
2007 top 10 :
1 Roger Federer
2 Rafael Nadal
3 Novak Djokovic
4 Nikolay Davydenko
5 David Ferrer
6 Andy Roddick
7 Fernando González
8 Richard Gasquet
9 David Nalbandian
10 Tommy Robredo
I thought Nadal was a terrific player in 2006 but still thought he wasn't the player he would be in 2008. Better overall strokes in 2008 like a more powerful serve, better volley, better backkhand imo.
Hopefully he'll get back to what he was in 2010.
I place an emphasis on longevity and Connors 109 tourney wins vs Borg's 64 and Jimmy's 268 weeks at number 1 vs Borg's 109 gives him an edge, though I realize these numbers were definitely subjectively determined. I won't lose sleep if someone else uses different priorities. Had Borg continued to play, I'm sure he would have been higher, likewise, Nadal may still move up.
longevity I understand, but borg's peak was quite clearly better and that ought to count for quite a bit
and then borg won majors for 8 years straight - 74 to 81 - not a short period ..
and no of weeks at #1, nah.... truly flawed ATP system ..
connors was #1 in 74,76,82 and arguably 75 ..
borg was #1 in 78,79,80 and arguably in 77 (considering quality of play) ( if they had an organized system back then, borg surely would be #1 by points clearly - he did win Wimbledon & would've won the FO most probably )
yeah, so what ? was borg in 74 like he was in 77 and later ?
was laver in 74 close to what he was at his peak ?
was rosewall ?
was lendl in 92 close to his peak ?
Of course not. Borg wasn't as good as he would be later in 1974. He was excellent but he improved greatly in 1977. You are absolutely right.
Laver was top notch but no longer THE Rod Laver. He was still able to beat players like Ashe in 1975, Ashe's number one year but he lost 6-1 6-1 to Borg in one match in 1974.
Lendl was good but on the downside of his career.
Becker I'm not sure of because he was still capable of great things but I think he was mentally burnt out. He was still very young.
Here's Borg against Vijay in 1974. As you can see Borg was very good. Vijay was one of those players who could beat anyone. I was at the match and I can tell you Vijay was in the zone in the first set.
It really doesn't matter. I know this, when I see Roddick and Blake play I am not crazy about their style and it makes shocks me to realize both were in the top six one year. I don't think they were that talented or good. Just my taste in tennis. Nalbanian was far more talented in my opinion.
I'll give Roddick this, he had a great serve to keep him in almost every match.
I agree entirely.
(And Tom Okker's was no lucky journeyman.)
After many discussions in this section of the forum, I have decided to update my GOAT list.
As a reminder, here is my original list:
After consideration, I realise I have underrated Rosewall and Gonzales, and, as a result, overrated Sampras, Borg and Nadal. I'm also swapping Tilden and Budge around.
This is my new GOAT list:
My belief that GOAT is still between Federer and Laver, however, still stands. They remain the only men with no holes in their resume.
People will point to Federer's head to head with Nadal.
I've seen that clip before .... some real good fascinating tennis ...borg of course could play on grass even then ... but he improved quite a bit by 76 ...
'similar' thing for nadal in 2006 ...krosero has already pointed out many of those facts ...
again, point of those examples was that it isn't just the 'names',but how those players were playing that also matters ...
blake was at the top for a short while , when he was playing well ..... he wasn't there for that long ... roddick at his prime of course would be in the top 6 in every era ...
nalbandian of course was more talented than roddick, but roddick was just mentally stronger and more consistent ...
rios/mecir were far more talented than chang/gomez/muster .......plenty such examples in tennis history ...
Not sure how anyone could surprised at Roddick being the top 6. Very underrated player.
I just can´t get that Alexander ever got so highly ranked.I figured out that his best ever rank´d be something like 10 or 11, which is already superb.
Actually given that you mentioned Chang, according to pc1 he was a tennis great, a player to be feared (even though Agassi and Sampras both stated they didn't fear him at all and the outcome solely depended on them, I'm paraphrazing) and a tough competition but of course he's shocked Roddick (who is a comparable player to say the least) reached top 6, comedy gold.
Definitely, here's Roddick giving one of the best Wimbledon players in tennis history a run for his money:
2009 Wimbledon F.
2004 Wimbledon F.
Here's him beating "peak" Nadal (so we don't get these he was just a kid, baby etc. excuses):
2008 Dubai SF (notice "just a serve" Roddick won the 2nd set 6-2)
2010 Miami QF, Nadal's best year to date with Roddick being in the twilight of his career.
Here's Roddick beating a "strong era" player Murray in 2009 Wimbledon SF:
Yup, one of the greatest shocks in tennis history, Roddick being ranked inside top 6.
I think it's overstating it to call Chang a tennis great but he was capable of beating Agassi like for example at the US Open. If I did call Chang a tennis great (which I don't recall) then it's incorrect terminology that I did use. But Chang was an excellent player.
Here's the head to head with Agassi leading 15 to 7. Chang was a shadow of himself in the late 1990's and afterward.
If Agassi didn't fear him, he was stupid because he lost some big matches to him. Sampras, after losing the first bunch of matches to Chang really didn't have too much problems with Chang afterwards.
As far as Roddick is concerned, perhaps it's a personal preference. I can't stand his strokes. Only his serve stands out to me and it's fantastic. And of course the serve is the most important stroke. He is an awful mover to boot.
Regardless of what one might think about Roddick's game as far aesthetics go, him being ranked inside top 6 should surprise no one even remotely knowledgable about 2000+ tennis era.
That's great that Chang's H2H with Agassi was 15 to 7, Roddick's H2H with Novak is 6-5 and with Nadal is 3-7, he also has slam wins against all of the big 3 players (Novak, Murray, Nadal) and has beaten Nadal in both of his (Nadal's) best years.
Roddick has flaws in his game but his serve, consistency off the ground, very good FH, excellent fitness and mental toughness make him an excellent player.
Regarding his movement, his anticipation and balance were sorely lacking but he was a pretty fast guy around court, there are far worse movers out there, especially when you compare with other players with the serve of his caliber.
Separate names with a comma.