Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.
abmk, Do you speak about yourself?
he´s torturing himself for, being an Indian, he was too young to appreciate Vijay Amritraj...
The obsession of the Anti-Rosewall Armada is as disgusting as that of the Federer Armada. It's fitting that these two groups are identic...
and just he is complaining about those who are ignorant about the past. One of tennis history's cruel ironies...
Just stating the facts, I have no ill feeling towards Ken. I even place him top 4 all time.
NatF, That honours you indeed.
Kooyong was not the number one event in 1958 and 1960, but it determined the number one player.
In this selection, I have not necessarily included the most famous venue, for example I chose Nottingham for 1955, because the top two pros that year played a realistic final (unlike Cleveland where an unusual scoring system marred the final).
What event should be chosen for 1958 or 1960 apart from Kooyong?
In 1958, the Forest Hills event was inconclusive, and in 1960 there was no tournament at Forest Hills.
Kooyong wins by default, being the most prestigious grass final after Forest Hills.
In 1972, the top two guys squared off in the Wimbledon final.
Let's see, he's the 5th or at worst 6th GOAT in my book and I "diminish Schubert totally" or somehow don't rank him very high? You want me to chant his Gloria at an altar or something?
From what I've gathered you seem to be well into your retirement yet wont to display a mentality befitting that of the Fed worshippers you love to moan about. Part of maturity is being able to disagree without misrepresenting the other side or accusing them of impure motives unless you have a solid ground for it. I've already told you Schubert is one of my favorite composers and prefer him to Brahms even though I tend to rank the latter higher.
BTW the throbbing piano accompaniment of Op. 100's 2nd movement is indeed based on the Swedish folk song, but not the main theme on cello, which turns a good wistful tune into a timeless dirge of the most profound grief and yearning. IMO it's one of the top 4-5 greatest melodies ever written, another candidate being Schubert's own Serenade (or Ständchen for you Austrians/Germans).
I never said Schubert didn't write masterpieces in the longer forms. My only point was that he was for the most part not as comfortable with the extended forms as, say, Bach, Mozart or his hero Beethoven. This has been acknowledged by his champion Dvorak in an otherwise highly complimentary article (written before Schubert's music became widely recognized, I should add) and by none other than the Grove Dictionary. I'm by no means being blasphemous here.
I'll have to revisit the match sometime, but that wasn't exactly my impression. Also I think Fed tanked the 4th set to gear himself up for the 5th. It almost turned out to be the right decision... until he rolled in an overly safe 1st serve out wide on his 1st MP and Djoko made him pay with that big return seen around the world.
I definitely think Murray would've done better (all other things being equal, of course). I've said this before but Murray is the best returner of this era, above Djoko. To me this becomes clearer when I see them play each other.
A fun factoid: in all of Fed's Wimby finals Murray is the only opponent who won more than half of Fed's 2nd-serve points. In Pete's Agassi was the one. Each I'd say is the best returner of his generation.
Yeah, Nole is the one pick of Flink's that had my head scratching, and I say this as a fan (of both guys).
As you may recall I don't think the stats support the common (mis)conception that there's this big difference between "fast" and "slow" HCs. But if we're talking about the AO in particular I can see Djoko giving Pete all he could handle, though I'd still favor Pistol in the finals.
Let's say the player who won all his matches at the YEC was to receive some bonus points, enough to push Fed over Roddick. This would be a pretty "objective" system, don't you think? And that's just one among many possibilities.
To be clear I don't mean to discount the official ATP rankings completely. I remember Fed admitting that nerves got to him in his loss to Roddick at the Canada MS, as he was just about to become the official No. 1 for the 1st time in his career. Obviously there's no telling that Fed would've swept the YEC that same year had he been under the same pressure. Still that's not enough to make me treat the official rankings as some kind of a canon, because the ATP ranking system has seen and will likely see numerous changes over the organization's history--unlike, say, the prestige of the majors which has remained more or less the same since their inception (except for the AO) or, even better, that of the CYGS or the year-end No. 1 ranking (official or not) which, of course, carries a certain sociological weight limited not only to tennis.
Again let's say you give bonus points for beating the world's No. 1, even more for repeating the same over and over. You can say this is too subjective, but if you think about it we do this all the time when trying to judge the level of competition, the most impressive victories, etc.
Another thing to keep in mind is that rankings aren't there solely to assess the achievements of each and every player, but also to organize the tour and keep the tournament directors happy. That's why I disagree with the understandable but misguided view that the majors should carry more ranking points than under the current system, because such a heavy emphasis on the Slams would make players slack off even more at the smaller events than they do now. At the same time becoming a Slam champion is simply a huge milestone: though she/he was officially No. 1 many fans rightly didn't consider Wozniacki superior to Serena or Clijsters, or Rios to Sampras or Rafter. One can accept the current rankings for organizational purposes but devise their own for the "real" placements of the players.
Also, there's no rule set in stone that says there must be a single No. 1 for the year. I'm perfectly fine with Agassi sharing the prize with Pete in '95 & '99 (though, again, I do think Pistol was better), Vilas and/or Connors with Borg in '77, etc. In fact this is exactly what happens in a fair number of rankings for the previous years, and some of us "historians" err in applying this compromise to the old-timers but not to the more recent candidates.
But is the '60 championship all that different from, say, the YEC, where the top four players with the best H2Hs advance to the SFs? And was Pete not the best player until he himself became inactive... and also after he came back when he thrashed Agassi in the '99 YEC final? And what is tennis if not a collection of H2Hs? After all it's an individual game with only two opponents.
Again there are many ways to look at this. The ATP ranking system is just one of them.
Always a good approach... as long as you restrain restraining yourself at times.
yeah, federer didn't try that much in the 4th set after he got broken until the 2nd last game where he tried his best to hold so that he could serve first in the 5th . But that was the only 'bad' set from either player in the match
on a scale of increasing surface speed/quality of serve, murray's return slowly overtakes djoker for me.
we'd have to disagree on this : examples of hewitt, kafelnikov, sampras, djoko etc show quite a bit of contrast. I'd definitely put djoker's peak at the AO above that of sampras and of course vice versa at the USO.
I'd agree though that the gap b/w sampras/agassi at the AO/USO is a bit mis-represented by their h2hs there.
yeah, agree, the ATP system is just one way of looking at things. You could look at a lot of other things as well . I do think the points given to majors right now are fine as they are.
fed/roddick/ferrero in 2003 weren't that far off from each other. I see your point for that year - that it was close and maybe things would be different under a different system.
But in case of sampras/agassi in 1999, I don't really see the closeness at all unless you give a lot of emphasis on the h2h.
the ATP rankings are of course not some sort of gospel. But they do indicate many things correctly a lot of times. agassi ended 99 with 5048 points at #1 and sampras ended 99 with 3024 points at #3. that's a vast difference . I don't think with any sort of objective system, you'd get them close based on performance alone.
I think that's doing disservice to agassi's RG win where he beat defending champ moya , medvedev whereas sampras went down to medvdev
I'd disagree about tennis being a collection of h2hs per se. murray's W/L record in 2009 for example was superior to federer's, but federer was far an away the better player because of the vast chasm in the performance at majors.
I think the importance of championships in 60 relative to the pro majors was more than that of the YEC to the majors in 99. that's the major difference
You might call this approach to tennis ranking "The High Noon at Centre Court" method.
This is where tennis reaches its greatest drama, two men squaring off for supremacy, like two grizzlies fighting for turf.
lol, hook , line and sinker. I expected you/kiki to post the very same.
and no, I know quite a bit about tennis in the past and am not ignorant. Unlike you or kiki about the modern era.
the first part is perfectly applicable for guys like you and kiki though.
what are you on about ? Vijay was a good , talented player, had fine touch. But very inconsistent. I've seen matches of him.
But I've seen many more talented and better players than him and tennis isn't that much 'nationalistic' as say cricket. So why should I be a big fan of him ? jeez ...
Dan, For 1958 and 1960: Wembley.
In 1972 it's not evident that Smith and Nastase were the two top players. Rosewall would probably have been seeded No.1 for Wimbledon. Wimbledon had a reduced field, all WCT players missing. US Open had the full field.
NonP, Thanks for answering me. But why so unfriendly words? By the way, I'm not retiring...
Do you have proof for the cello melody of opus 100 is not a Swedish folk song?
Knowing abmk, Arthur Ashe once wrote that Amritraj was more talented than Borg and Connors. Ken Rosewall praised Vijay as "great touch player"...
I chose Wembley for 1949, 1952, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964 because these were the best available tournaments for those years IN WHICH THE TOP TWO GUYS SQUARED OFF.
In 1958, Hoad did not play Wembley, and in 1960 Gonzales did not play Wembley.
Their biggest showdowns took place at Kooyong in 1958 and Forest Hills in 1959.
For 1960, the match of the year was on January 1, at Kooyong.
I doubt that Rosewall would have won at Wimbledon in 1972. His last big slam win came at Forest Hills in 1970.
Dan, Frank Sedgman told me that the Wembley tournament was the World's pro championship.
Rosewall would have had good chances to win at Wimbledon in 1972 as he had won the WCT Championships shortly before. His last big Slam win came in 1971 (AO).
I would say that Wembley was the world championship in 1949, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964 when the top two players squared off in the final.
Sedgman himself gets my top ranking for 1953 based on his Wembley win over Gonzales.
But in 1958 and 1959, the top two guys squared off at Kooyong and Forest Hills.
As you recall I've already covered Sampras. As for the other guys, Hewitt has admitted on record that he felt the pressure of having to win on his home turf, and before he began his 3-peat Down Under the USO was actually Djoko's more successful HC major. Kafelnikov did do significantly better at the AO, yes.
Even more tellingly, though, I've seen the officlal court speed readings in the '90s actually rate the AO faster than the USO, and IIRC the two had virtually identical %s of service games won as recently as last year. Neither supports the common perception that the USO clearly plays faster than the AO.
I think the real reason why the AO seems to retain this outlier status is its timing and unpredictable conditions. That is, since the event is held shortly after New Year's the top players don't have much time to get into a groove and impose their game right off the bat. Add in the blazing heat, which means fitness and stamina play a bigger role than at the USO. Also it used be be played on Rebound Ace, which reportedly could turn sticky under the sun and produce more uneven bounces (and presumably more upsets) than the current Plexicushion.
As for Djoko vs. Sampras, granted Pete never dominated an AO from start to end like Nole in '08 and '11, but in the two years he won he was zoned in from the SFs. I do think that Pete would be a very tough nut to crack even for peak Djoko. (Of course I'm assuming that there's hardly a big difference in court speed between the two HC majors.)
It's not just the #s in the H2H, but the comprehensive way Pete dominated Agassi that clinches it for me. Also Dre for all his consistency never went on a tear in '99 like Pete did in the summer.
I do think Agassi's FO title is a big plus over Pete that year. But Pete got his big win at the YEC too, against... of course... Agassi himself, in a thorough demolition to boot. In fact Dre in his book talks about how he felt he wasn't the best player in the world after yet another beatdown by his rival. (Of course he came back strong a couple months later at the AO, finally taking out Pete in perhaps his clutchest performance ever.)
If not for the YEC I'd easily name Agassi the sole No. 1 for 1999. But as things stand I think Pete edges it out by a hair, or at least shares the prize with Dre.
I don't think tennis is just a collection of H2Hs myself, and I've commented before on how Fed should be considered the best HC player of 2009 over Murray because Andy failed to deliver when it counted.
Granted the context is different, but the main idea is the same: arguably the best player (Gonzales/Sampras) was barely active outside of a limited time period, but such was his dominance that he deserves consideration for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Again I perfectly understand why one would rank Agassi over Pete for '99, not unlike why Rosewall often gets the top billing over Gonzales for '60.
My tone could've been more pleasant, but I was making a genuine suggestion. You shouldn't object so vehemently to every slight disagreement out there. Not everyone will agree with you all the time.
The proof is in the music. YouTube doesn't seem to have the folk song... but if you do listen you'll see that the main cello theme isn't part of the original. It's a splendid tune, even by Schubert's standards which is saying something.
djoker's problems at the AO in 09, 10 were heat/health related, not to do with the slowness/speed of the surface.
I don't recall exactly where I saw it, but till the last year, the trend was that break % at USO was clearly lesser than at the AO , only last year, they came pretty close.
I don't see hewitt performance at the AO actually being lesser because it was it his home tournament. Au contraire, he was fired up more in places/circumstances like those ; Davis Cup performances show that as well. I'm sure you've read his multiple list of complaints regarding the AO surface being pretty slow ?
you could add examples of roddick, rafter being clearly more threatening at the USO than at the AO.
for sampras, I recall you mentioning some amount of bad luck and heat/stamina problems, but I did reply to the 'bad luck' part showing he was no luckier at the USO.
too subjective IMO. In any objective system, considering the context of the era, sampras wouldn't be #1, wouldn't be close either.
yes, exactly my point.
maybe it deserves a second thought/consideration, but the context of the era tilts it more in favour of gonzales vs rosewall ( relatively ) when compared to sampras vs agassi
NonP, Thanks. But I have the right to claim that you underrate Schubert. Every person has his or her opinion. You are not forced to agree.
Listening alone is no proof for your thesis. The accompaniment is hardly a melody or a folk song.
Wembley's importance was weakened in 1950 and 1951 by the absence of Kramer.
Wembley was not held in 1954 and 1955.
In 1957, 1958, and 1959 Wembley was overshadowed by the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions and the creation of a world tournament championship which included Forest Hills, Roland Garros, Kooyong, White City, the L.A. Masters, but did not include Wembley or Cleveland.
Wembley and Cleveland were not managed by the Kramer tour, and were not a part of the series.
The outdoor grass events at Kooyong in 1960, Forest Hills in 1963, Longwood in 1965 and 1966, Wimbledon in 1967 all had greater prestige than the Wembley venue, and featured the top two players in the final.
The 1964 Wembley final was a pivotal matchup between Laver and Rosewall, and has a special status greater than the inaugural U.S. Pro at Longwood that year.
yes, an excellent touch player, but very inconsistent.
more talented than borg/connors ? No, just no.
Yes, but this supports my earlier point about the AO's unpredictable conditions. As you just noted Djoko's problems Down Under probably had more to do with the heat than with the court speeds per se. And though New York isn't exactly a paradise in the summer (I say this as a former resident) the weather at the USO isn't quite as unforgiving.
I don't have all the stats handy, but here are a few pertinent ones I was able to dig up:
A couple points:
- As you can see the break %s at the '09 USO and the '10 AO were virtually identical, 22.6 vs. 22.8. The '08 USO did have a low 19.4% on average, but that seems to be an outlier. Overall the USO break %s seem to hover around 22%, give or take a few depending on the conditions, and probably not too far off the AO's own %s.
- Notice how Wimbledon, despite all the moaning about the "green clay," is still by far the most serve-friendly of the four majors.
- By a similar token, though the USO DecoTurf courts were supposedly slowed down in the early '00s and, according to a few self-anointed online experts, even more so throughout the rest of the decade, the break % in '98 (21.53%) was merely 0.34% lower than in '07 (21.87%).
- The same wannabe experts love to drone on and on about how Miami or IW is the slowest court out there, but if we're to go by the break %s per game (granted they're only from one year) there's hardly any difference at all between the major HC events! Cincy is the only exception here (1 break every 5.2 games vs. 4.3-4.7 for the other events), and maybe Paris if we're including indoors.
Now there's a possible problem with my contention that major differences exist between different types of surface rather than different courts of the same type, namely that the break %s on clay don't seem all that different from those on HCs. But this problem disappears when you look at the %s of points won by aces:
- Wimbledon 06-08, 8.9%
- U.S. Open 06-08, 7.8%
- Australian Open 06-09, 7.3%
- French Open 06-09, 5.5%
So the USO seems to produce more free points on serve than the AO by a small margin (the missing data for the '09 USO notwithstanding), but still nowhere near to the same degree compared to Wimby or the FO.
And there are plenty of counterexamples of players expected to thrive more on supposedly faster courts but doing the opposite in reality. Long story short I just don't think there's much evidence to suggest that the seeming discrepancy between the USO and the AO is due to their different court speeds. I say it's got more to do with the AO's timing and conditions.
It's possible Hewitt was simply providing a facile excuse for his failures at the AO, but if we're going to take his words at face value he was also quite enthusiastic about Plexicushion, which is often considered slower than Rebound Ace.
Rafter I see, but I'm not sure Roddick did all that much worse at the AO. Yes, he made more QFs or better at the USO, but if we're talking SFs and up he actually did better at the AO, 4 times vs. 2 at the USO, and in two of them he ran into Fed and once to in-form Hewitt. (Even the '03 loss to Schuttler wasn't so bad, considering his famous marathon match against El Aynaoui in the previous round).
Yes, I remember. But I still think Pete was less fortunate at the AO. For one thing he missed it more often, and another thing is the external factors I've talked about. My reasoning is, if only the courts were swapped between the AO and the USO we'd probably be singing a different tune about Pete w/respect to the court speeds.
We'll have to disagree then. Let me just add that I think the usual distinction between "best" and "most accomplished" is a false dichotomy. After all what's the point of trying to decide the year-end No. 1 if not to see who was the best for the year? IMO Pete's dominance in '99 was enough to challenge Agassi's edge in consistency and perhaps surface versatility. In fact I'd argue that Pete was better on both grass & HCs, and Agassi obviously on clay.
I agree, but I'd say Pete's summer run makes for a fair comparison with Gonzales' own in the championship.
You're certainly free to make that claim. What I objected to was your hyperbole, as in this case saying I "totally" underrate Schubert even though I've ranked him 5th or 6th all time and called him the greatest tunesmith ever. Disagreeing is fine, making a caricature or misrepresentation of the other side's position is not. Something tells me you hear that a lot. :twisted:
I meant you should listen to the folk song itself if you were skeptical. Since you live in Europe it shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on a recording.
yeah, so overall one can say that the surface at the AO clearly suits djokovic more than the one at the USO, right ?
also you have windy conditions at the USO many a times, leading to more breaks.
the break %s at the USO are still 0.5 to 1% lesser than that at the AO
as far as wimbledon is concerned, its still the fastest slam, also the return games won % has quite with footing on the surface, movement etc etc.
I will also say that the mentality of SnVing on grass on most of the 2nd serves , even those who didn't have strong 2nd serves was a distinct factor in the breaks in the 80s and 90s.
Though its nowhere as close to 'green clay', the speed has slowed down and the bounce is more consistent.
they had begun making the balls heavier since the 94 final .
and obviously IW/miami are faster than clay. can't imagine roddick/ljubicic beating rafa on clay for instance ... ( of course movement is also a major factor )
the miami match in 2010 was hilarious in some ways, rafa looked totally lost when roddick changed from full passive mode to hitting fh and volley winners everywhere
coming back to the AO and USO, there are differences within the years as well, AO was sped up in 2000 to help mark/rafter. was visibly faster this year compared to the previous few years.
was faster in 2008 compared to 11 for example. see the W/UE ratio and the AMs for federer/djokovic SFs in both those years. significantly lesser in the 11 . overall tournament, the break %s were higher in 11 when compared to 08 as well IIRC.
generally speaking, aces % is one indicator. But tbh, the total no of unreturned serves is a better indicator and that is a rarely tracked stat, which is downright stupid IMO. would be nice to have return winners+errors directly forced by the return as well.
yeah, that was initially, I don't think he was actually that happy with plexicushion either , was he ?
look at who he beat in the QF at the USO to get to the semis though : el ayanoui in AO 03 - a very good one, but davydenko in AO 05 who retired, mardy fish in AO 07, djokovic in AO 09 who retired.
on the contrary, he was stopped twice in the quarters in 07, 08 by federer and djokovic , the best and the 2nd best players in those tournaments respectively.
tbf, he was stopped by safin in AO 04 QF, the 2nd best player in that tourney.
Can you imagine roddick holding for 2 full sets vs federer without facing a single breakpoint at the AO like he did in the USO 07 QF ? just don't see it.
he was beaten convincingly in the AO 09 SF and of course no one who's seen that match will forget the carnage that was the AO 07 semi.
of course he made 2 finals at the USO, winning one
no final at the AO in comparision.
quite clearly better at the USO, though he does get under-rated at the AO . I've seen posts proclaiming ferrer as better than him at the AO. heh !
sorry, I don't see this at all.
look at his records at those respective places :
AO : 45-9
USO : 71-9
8 finals at the USO, winning 5 of them
3 finals at the AO, winning 2 of them ( make it 4 'finals' if you want to consider the AO 2000 SF as the de facto final )
Lets also check the records vs the top 10 , top 15 players .
at the AO, vs top 10 players : 3-3
at the USO, vs top 10 players : 16-5
at the AO , vs top 15 players : 9-5
at the USO, vs top 15 players : 21-6
which is in line with his success at those places
as far as skipping is concerned,
he skipped the AO thrice : AO 91, AO 92, AO 99
USO once : 99
but realistically, he wasn't going to win AO in 91,92
that leaves with us with realistically AO 99 and USO 99, he'd have a good shot at both.
as far as the 'bad luck' is concerned , lets revisit :
AO : coach diagnosed with cancer in AO 95, missed AO 99 because of overplay in the end of 98, injured in AO 2000 SF
USO : almost no practice before USO 94, injured vs rafter in USO 98 SF, injured before USO 99 when he was on a hot run that summer, brutal draw in USO 2001 - rafter, agassi, safin ( the three previous USO winners ) and hewitt
eh, I don't see it at all.
would say agassi was the more accomplished player on clay, HC (given he won the USO, while pete didn't play both HC slams ) ; pete on grass, indoors ( given he won the YEC )
the distinction between best and most accomplished becomes blurred if they've played similar amount/set of conditions , but that's not the case here. see borg/vilas in 77 for another example where there is quite a bit of difference. I don't see vilas beating borg at RG had they met there, whereas I'd give agassi a much better shot vs pete at the USO in 99 in comparison.
the point of #1 is to decide who has accomplished the most in the year, not necessarily 'level wise' the best player
Actually, I'd say just the opposite. Keep in mind that we're discussing whether Djoko's (or anyone else's) disprepancy in results can/should be attributed to the difference in court speeds, not overall conditions. The fact that he had more consistent results at the USO before his gluten-free days doesn't exactly support the common wisdom, does it? I mean, how can that be the case if Nole's conditioning was presumably a bigger factor back then?
I've never been to the AO, but I think it safe to say that the conditions over there are more extreme than at the USO. And again there's also the scheduling factor. Simply put the AO is more unpredictable, as one can gather from recent history (at least on the men's side).
Which doesn't mean much. That's actually the same difference in break % between the '06 and '07 USOs.
And even in % of points won by aces, the USO average doesn't incorporate data from the '09 edition, and the '08 USO (per the stat) played unusually fast. So if '09 was just like the other years the USO % would probably drop a couple tenths to about 7.5%. Again a negligible difference from the AO % (compared to 8.9% for Wimby and 5.5% for RG).
That may well be the case, but the "slowdown" effect is probably offset if not exceeded by other factors. You might have seen me point out that the top players have been holding serve more often, NOT less, since the '90s. And while I haven't broken down the stats by surface my guess is that grass-court tennis has followed the same overall trend.
Again this bolsters the point I can't make often enough: we really miss the big picture when we blame the courts for just about every real and perceived ill of today's tennis. The godawful homogenization began well before the so-called surface slowdown (or string revolution).
I remember that match quite well. Roddick S&Ved judiciously and like you said Rafa went into panic mode. (As you may know this isn't exactly news to those of us who have closely followed Rafa's career.)
The weather also plays a big role. It's virtually impossible to say a tourney played fast or slow just because the courts were sped up or slowed down. Anyway I certainly don't deny that there can be and have been differences between these events, the '08 USO being another good example.
Agreed, and I admit I was pretty much in the dark myself until slice serve ace brought it to our attention. It definitely should be one of the regularly tracked stats in tennis.
If you're not happy with your results, chances are you're not happy with just about anything. :twisted: But seriously, his struggles would've most likely influenced his judgment. Ditto with anyone else. Players are human and just as impressionable as the next know-it-all pundit.
Of course luck has quite a bit to do with a player's draw and result, and I don't disagree that Roddick also had some tough luck at the USO. I'll just add that the individual examples should cancel each other out for the most part and that the seeming gulf between Roddick's AO and USO resumes isn't so big upon closer inspection, which was my main point.
And again I note that there are players whose careers belie what one would expect from the common AO/USO dichotomy. Becker is one who had better results in Melbourne than in Flushing Meadows. Goran is another (though he did go one round better with his SF run at the '96 USO).
I think we're getting a little off track here. The question was not whether Pete did better at the USO than at the AO, which nobody would dispute, but whether his inferior AO record can be mainly attributed to its supposedly slower courts.
I've already explained why the AO tends to produce more upsets than the USO, namely that its unpredictable conditions and early timing don't reward consistency as much. The unpredictability is especially important in Pete's case, because in his book he attributes his relative shortcomings in Melbourne not just to its court speeds but also its wild weather swings, sometimes sticky Rebound Ace and variable balls, and that he actually preferred Miami to IW because, despite the Magic City's thick air (which would presumably make for slow tennis), he felt he had greater control.
Another thing I haven't mentioned is the USO's potential home-court advantage. For the record I don't think this was a big factor in Pete's USO prowess, but we shouldn't discount it completely.
Not sure if I pointed this out in my previous post, but the '96 & '98 (not to mention '91 and '92) AOs also probably had something to do with injuries. To recap, Pete pulled out of the GS Cup with an ankle injury shortly after his heroics in the '95 DC finals, and he retired from his 2nd-rubber match in the '97 DC (again) finals with a leg injury that left him sidelined for several weeks.
Now imagine the AO were held in the middle of the year like the other 3 majors, giving Pete more time to recover and get into a groove. Of course this doesn't mean he would've necessarily won or gone much further, given how well both Philippoussis and Kucera played (especially Flipper), but I think it fair to say that the AO's timing was definitely a factor in Pete's case.
Eh, I'm not a big fan of breaking down HC like this. Not that there's no difference between outdoor and indoor HC, but IMO the "indoor" distinction is useful only when viewed in the context of a build-up to the YEC, which of course Pete won. Also I say Pete earns bonus points for his back-to-back wins over Dre in the summer (yes, on outdoor HC).
Some clarification is in order here. If "most accomplished" is THE criteria, then there's no need to consider who would win in xx match, right? And on paper it's clear that Vilas accomplished more than Borg in '77, but some of us (correctly) note that it's not that simple. How come?
(Just to be clear I understand that opting to play WTT for considerably more cash isn't the same thing as being forced to pull out due to an injury. These questions are purely rhetorical.)
I'll just add this final note. Normally you would have points distributed uniformly across the board. So a Slam = 2000 points, a MS = 1000, a 500, a 250, etc. But some circumstances call for a different distribution: '73 Wimby due to its depleted field, also the whole year of '77 because of the chaotic tour structure at the time. And one might assign fewer points for runner-ups and below or eliminate them altogether because, they figure, it's the wins that should count. Or add bonus points for dominance or important H2Hs because quality trumps quantity. You get the picture.
All of these schemes are as valid as any "objective" criteria. The fact that the ATP has been tweaking its ranking system should tell you that the very notion of "most accomplished" involves a fair degree of subjectivity. We think it's the most objective one there is because we're accustomed to it, and that certainly carries a lot of weight. But as I pointed out last time, these points aren't there just to rank the players. They serve other organizational purposes and as such should not be the end-all of all year-end discussions.
...and little master hould know.Amritraj defeated him in 1973 or 1974, I recall...
I'm not sure I follow this. The surface speed at the AO suited novak more than the one at the USO, but his conditioning ensured he was less consistent at the AO before 11. not sure how that's not a coherent argument ?
agree with the schedule/timing part. But not so sure about the conditions being that much more unpredictable.
the difference b/w wimby and RG stats are as expected. the difference b/w USO and AO are nowhere as pronounced of course . For the AO/USO, contd below ..
well, its not just the courts, the strings, the style of players ( coaching ) themselves etc are a big part of the reason as well
but serve hold % is not necessarily in direct relation with the overall speed/bounce/conditions , is it ?
for instance rafa could've easily have better hold % on clay than on HC in a few years (haven't checked the stats for this though )
yeah, many factors at play, its not simple in many cases.
well, I didn't seach extensively for those stats, but was aware of the importance before.
An example that highlighted the importance of unreturned serves was the krajicek-sampras match in wimby 96. krajicek had 28 aces to sampras's 8 aces. While krajicek was serving better, the gap was nowhere close to as massive as the ace counts indicate.
agreed, but since even you agree that hewitt's performance at the AO wasn't lesser because of the home pressure, what explains the gap b/w his performance at the AO and the USO ?
Do you see hewitt having a remote remote chance of demolishing kafelnikov at the AO with the loss of just 4 games. I don't ...
again subjective and objective analysis both tell me that hewitt's game was far more effective at the USO than at the AO, subjectively the main reason IMO is the difference in speed/bounce.
yeah, there are exceptions, of course, no doubt.
What I don't agree with are that the individual examples cancel out for most part.
you were arguing for subjective analysis in other cases ( see : sampras-agassi in 99 below ).
But this is a case where subjective analysis comes into the picture more.
you see roddick getting absolutely demolished at the AO in 07, then you see him holding serve for 2 straight sets without facing a single break point at the USO in the same year - vs the same opponent in federer !? I mean the court speeds do have a part to play in that , no ?
even USO 11 and AO 12 finals , the pace of the match seemed distinctly faster in USO 11 final ( even with the USO being slowed down from 10 IMO ), novak/rafa were making more sharp twists/turns in that match than in the AO 12 final.
now , AO 13 was faster than AO 12 and I think many observed that and even the players commented on the very same.
I was just pointing that the end results which showed a wide , distinct gap b/w pete's performance at the AO and the USO were not an anomaly. his record vs top 10, top 15 are perfectly in line with that gap.
You are arguing vociferously for 'subjective' analysis for rankings. Well how about the subjective analysis for pete on slow HC and fast HC ? I think and most would agree with me on this - there's a big enough distinct gap for pete on these 2. The AO/USO is the biggest part that showcases that.
the no of top players that pete beat at the USO is simply far more than what he did at the AO .... the no of "impressive" performances he's put up on fast HC is considerably more than on slow HC. ( not just the majors, but other events as well )
as far as the bad luck goes, I'll say that is one area where I'd have to completely disagree with you. See below.
the only thing I'd agree with on is the timing of the AO playing its part - as it is the beginning of the season.
eh, this is seriously illogical. If he had an injury in the middle of the year, he'd have serious problems as well . See his injury in summer 99, forcing him to skip USO. Just about recovered in time for USO 94, but the injury took its toll and he lost to yzaga.
really can't attribute his AO losses in 96 and 98 to injury, the effects didn't seem anywhere near significant.
As far as 91 and 92 AO are concerned , like I said before, he'd have only a very remote shot at those.
ok, but even then, agassi with a hard court GS, YEC final, 4R at the AO trumps sampras' YEC win+ back to back h2h wins ( including going on to win those titles ) + no play at 2 major HCs - results wise. The biggest thing being sampras doing absolutely nothing at the 2 HC majors, not sampras' win at the YEC or the summer wins.
I should've put it this way. If borg was there in the draw, I'd give vilas a much lesser shot at winning RG than I'd give andre if sampras was there in the draw.
I'm not saying the present system or any of the systems in the past are perfect or can't or shouldn't be tweaked at all.
subjective analysis is especially useful in some cases where it is close - borg/vilas/connors in 77, federer/roddick/ferrero in 03 etc.
but agassi, sampras in 99 ? just take the results at the events. I'd like to see a sane ranking system that would put sampras even in the vicinity of agassi that year - taking the results as they are.
kiki, In 1973 and 1974 always Rosewall won. His only defeat to Vijay came in 1977 in London (2-6,2-6). Rosewall is 6:1 against Amritraj.
OK WCT tour 1977
I think I understand you now. So your argument was that Novak was less consistent at the AO than the USO before '11 DESPITE the surface because of the former's more unforgiving conditions? But then I ask again, isn't that exactly what I've been arguing myself from the very beginning? That is, Pete's (and others') relatively inconsistent AO resume had less to do with the courts themselves than with other external factors?
I don't think there's a huge difference. At the same time I think it fair to say that the conditions in Melbourne tend to be more predictable. The facts and secondhand testimony support this impression.
True, and I've said before that there's no practical way to measure court speeds conclusively. (Even the official ratings, which too many of us tend to accept at face value, have their own flaws.) That's why I take pains to point out that we're missing the forest for the trees with all this fixation on the courts. Like you said I think the main culprit is coaching, and that's an even more complicated matter than the "slowdown."
I was surprised at how close some of these %s were. Another interesting thing I've noticed is that this stat (given sufficient sample sizes) more or less confirms our usual rankings of the top servers.
First of all, it's always a good idea to be wary of using a single match like this to draw sweeping conclusions. That match was Hewitt at his best and Kafelnikov at his worst. If you take a close look at their H2H you'll see that none of their other 7 matches were that one-sided (except Yevgeny's own demolition of Hewitt at '00 Dusseldorf, but that was on clay).
Second it's a simple fact that, for whatever reasons, Hewitt was better at the USO and Yevgeny at the AO, so it's no surprise that Lleyton did have the edge in Melbourne. You think the main reason was the difference in court speed, but again I point you to contrary examples like Becker and Goran, and also more baseline-oriented cases like Guga who in theory should have thrived more at the AO but didn't.
As to your question, hard to say. One explanation is that, though a baseliner, Hewitt did better at the USO because net-rushers also did better there and he matched up well against them, but of course that raises the question about the net-rushers themselves. I'll just add that this might have been more placebo than anything else: the USO was SUPPOSED to play faster than the AO (though, again, the official court speed ratings said otherwise and the % of return games won is inconclusive), so the majority of players reacted accordingly. The same effect I think can be seen in today's decline of S&V.
What I meant was that the individual examples cancel each other out in terms of deviations. Obviously Roddick's results show that he was more successful at the USO.
And again I caution against using individual matches to generalize, but let's look at the ones you brought up. As you know Fed's performance in the '07 AO SF is generally (and correctly) touted as one of his best, and against a mediocre Roddick it was bound to result in a beatdown. Likewise, Andy's own performance (especially on serve) in the '07 USO QF is often considered among his most notable in a losing effort. Pit that Roddick against '07 AO Fed and I see a more competitive match, yes on the same supposedly slower Plex court.
Also the Rafa-Nole examples kinda reinforce my point, no? I mean, when you say this year's AO final played faster than last year's you're acknowledging that court speeds can and do change within a year even at the same venue. Then how can anyone say that in general one event is faster than another, when the courts at the same one event don't stay consistent over such a short period of time?
I don't have a big beef with you or anyone thinking this way. Again I think this focus on the courts tells only a small part of the story, but it's not something I can prove or disprove, either. In fact that's precisely the point I make in this particular discussion: there's no conclusive way to measure court speeds, especially when the few "measurements" we do have show such small differences as in the AO/USO case. And of course my bigger point is that this "slowdown" discussion distracts us from the REAL issue, namely that it's the players rather than the courts or racquets that are driving this so-called death of the "big game."
We're talking past each other here. My argument was not that the same level of injury would or did hurt Pete more at the AO than the USO. Obviously any injury at any time of the year is bad. Rather I was making an "as is" argument, simply that he happened to have these injuries at the year-end, and their timing hurt his chances at next year's AO which, back then as they do now, started with little run-up after New Year's.
Also the '94 USO case was very much like the '98 AO: injury keeps him sidelined for a few weeks (he was taken off the court in a wheelchair in the '97 DC finals), and he goes on to lose in the 1st EVENT (not just his 1st major) he enters upon his comeback.
I mentioned '91 & '92 AO as examples of his tougher luck Down Under, not in terms of big missed chances (obviously neither was as significant as '99 USO).
And I say quality trumps quantity. A 4R finish (yes, even at the majors) might be a fairly big deal if we were talking about some random top 10-20er, but not when we're trying to name the world No. 1. The runner-up trophy at the YEC is more significant, yes, but we both know who had his number in the end.
I do think the H2H can serve as a TB in this case. And it's not just their matches against each other that put Pete over Agassi in my mind. If you look at their HC matches in '99--against the entire field, not just each other--it's pretty hard to say with a straight face that Dre was the one to beat on the hard stuff when he never went on a tear like Pete and when they did meet it was Pete all the way to the end (with a minor bump in the RR of the YEC).
I did see what you meant. I was just making the point that the playing-level argument should have no bearing at all if we're talking "most accomplished" as it's generally understood. Also Borg/Vilas in '77 isn't actually so close if we're talking pure numbers (which is why those who fail to dig further can't seem to understand how anyone other than Vilas could be named the legit No. 1 of '77). Not that different from '99, I'd say.
As for your Borg-Vlias/Pete-Dre comparison... keep in mind that the two Americans played each other 4 times at the USO and Pete emerged victorious in every single one of them. :twisted:
We'll never see eye to eye on this, and again I wasn't arguing for Pete based on any kind of "system," but if I were to devise one that would put Pete right up there with Dre I'd dish out big ranking points to titlists only and allocate significantly more points to dominant runs or individual H2Hs between the candidates than to any non-title finishes.
It just occurred to me that I've been going off the topic of this thread for some time now. If anyone cares what I think, and I still maintain that ranking players from different eras is a mug's game, I think Nadal now deserves a place alongside Tilden, Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer. (BTW I used to call 'em the Magnificent Seven thanks to my fecund imagination. What should we call them + Rafa now?)
I say this because each one of them holds at least one big record and Rafa can now claim one for himself (note that many of these "records" are arguable):
Tilden - unreal dominance in the amateur league (which was "amateur" in name only because most of the best players then weren't pros)
Gonzales - the most # of years as the world No. 1 in history
Rosewall - the longevity GOAT (Tilden and Gonzales being the only serious challengers), with the most # of majors/equivalents to boot
Laver - still the only one in the Open era with THE Grand Slam (and IMO the only GOAT candidate, maybe apart from Tilden, without a glaring blemish in his resume)
Borg - 3 consecutive Channel Slams
Sampras - 6 (though I'd say 7) consecutive No. 1 years (comparison with Gonzales' pre-'68 record is obviously tricky)
Federer - I'll let TMF handle this :twisted:
And Nadal is now the only player in the Open era to have won at least one major 9 years in a row, not to mention the only one who has won one of the 4 majors an unprecedented 8 times. I'll defer to the historians in comparing the two, but Wilding is the only guy I can think of who could challenge Rafa in sheer statistical dominance on a single surface.
Still I must add that I'm being rather inclusive here. Nearly all of these guys finished at least 4-5 years as the world no. 1, and nearly all were dominant on more than one surface, neither of which can be said of Nadal. But then not all of these guys have a career GS, either. I'll let y'all decide which resume displays more surface versatility.
again, pete was absent at both the HC majors in 99 because of injuries and not because of some other 'organizational' problems . How can you just ignore that arguing for sampras' summer run or the YEC ? The former is just simply far more important than the latter.
again, 2 majors for agassi to sampras' 1. so again sampras still wouldn't come close I think.
the h2h b/w candidates is a very tricky thing as the ranking is a rolling system and you don't know exactly who will be the candidates. Just another point, if the meetings are b/w candidates most likely to win the title, the one losing is already losing in terms of points, so h2h is essentially double-counting.
the 77 situation is different as the organizational structure was quite a bit different back then. I am not saying only pure numbers matter, but subjectivity should come into the picture only when necessary.
the higher no of matches that vilas played brings in another debate : how many of those should be considered for the ranking and to what proportion . But really that's a matter for another day .
yes, but that's exactly it. I don't think that has been case with Sampras.
yes, and no. The role of coaching/players themselves has been under-rated quite a bit, but I think may be you are over-rating that a bit and under-rating the role of courts/racquets.
even players outside of the top 20 many a times pass from well behind the baseline with ease .... that was much rarer earlier. and many of these are NOT the fault of the net-rusher.
yeah, true ..
I'm not using just one match. Its just my impression having seen many of those matches over the years. I'm just giving some of the examples that come to mind, especially extreme ones. Ones that you wouldn't/can't envision happening at the other HC major.
I don't think the placebo effect could apply for that long and on that many number of players and observers. See the players recognizing that , the same set of players ( djok-murray at AO 13 vs AO 12 ) . Commentators noted that as well .Sure, some of them could be mistaken, but I don't think that would be the case for so many and for so long.
of course, he'd be more competitive. But do you really see him holding for 2 sets without facing a breakpoint ?
yes, but in this case I think plexi courts had been slowed down from what they were in the beginning. But been sped up again a bit this year.
I was talking about the general trend/average. USO speed is distinctly more than the AO ( IMO and in the opinion of most ) and increase in AO's speed still doesn't bring it up to that of the USO.
I don't get this. a break of more than a month at the year end actually gives the player some time to recover at the year end than in comparision to most of the other time periods in the year.
yeah, but its not really significant when you know he only had a remote chance at both. As you know, he said he was happy to get rid of the defending champion 'monkey' off his back in 91 USO after losing to courier.
Those 8 players are my top 8 as well. They should be in everyone's all-time top 10.
Behind them I rank Budge at 9th and Lendl at 10th. However there are many other contenders for the lower rungs of the top 10 (Kramer, Connors, Vines, Perry, maybe McEnroe and Agassi)
Phoenix, I agree.
Kramer himself picked Vines, Budge, Gonzales, Hoad, and Federer in chronological order.
He saw and played against them all.
He excluded Rosewall and Laver from all his lists, presumably due to their smaller physical stature, although Rosewall owned Kramer in 1957. (Kramer had the edge on Hoad in 1957, but Kramer was angry that Hoad gave only a half-hearted effort against his boss.)
Lendl flunked the Wimbledon test. No excuses.
I am not so sure about the presumability here.
Kramer always seem to have a grudge or bias against Laver. He almost always left him off lists or ranked him very low. Not sure about Rosewall.
I know your bias towards Hoad, but I will not be ranking him in, or anywhere near, my all-time top 10.
The fact that Lendl didn't win Wimbledon doesn't diminish from his otherwise superlative career.
I guess this "bias" towards Hoad is also shared by Kramer, Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver and the others who played against him.
Actually, I have no bias, I just follow the facts and statistics to where they lead.
Dan, alas, you don't follow the statistics and facts. Hoad is not a top ten player regarding achievements. Maybe top 15.
I don´t.No Newcombe in the lot.
Attaining a higher level of play than Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Sedgman Trabert, and Gimeno is an unparalleled ACHIEVEMENT.
No, not a top ten achievement, a top ONE achievement.
A simple fact, attested to by these same players.
The definition of achievement should not be restricted merely to what we consider appropriate.
Do you think the mustachioed one is a contender for all-time top 10 status?
based on results, he could mix in there
bothh peak play and achievements, Hoad deserves it.
kiki, There are more than nine greats who have achieved more than Hoad. His record is relatively poor in comparison to a Connors or Lendl. Dan lives in a dream world...
Dan, you always confuse peak play with resume. Awake!
Bobby, there are NO players who have accomplished what Hoad did, play at a higher level than anyone.
There is only room for one name at the top.
Connors or Lendl couldn't tie his shoelaces on a good day.
In terms of record, I have Hoad winning more key showdown matches than his peers, including your idol.
Separate names with a comma.