Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.
Better in what way?
You may not want to, but, in my view, there is a compelling argument that Laver's open career, standing alone, is one of the all time great open careers that deserves to be recognized as such. Although his career as a whole is GOAT worthy, his open career is greater than many who played only in the open era and are regularly listed as all time greats.
overall career : considering # of slams, time at #1, other tournaments etc.
abmk, The fact that you did not include Laver in your list...
I knew you meant Sedgman but how can I know that you know his correct spelling when you use a wrong one? It's not a drama you spelled wrongly and not a drama I (indirectly) corrected you. I just dislike when poster use wrong spellings.
I think I have valid points to make since four years. I gave you reasonable counter-arguments just as Rosewall's great wins against Gonzalez and Laver in major encounters.
that was by mistake. Laver is there in my list. Make that 13+5 .
yes , it is drama. Its not that big a deal to most.
and like I pointed out, quite a few of them were due to Laver being nowhere close to his best & that you put tournaments that mainly help your arguments ..
oh and not to say the least, the tons of observations from players, commentators, experts themselves, including Laver who put him #6 in the list of pre-open Era players as far as level is concerned and who said that if he(Laver) was at his best, he'd beat Rosewall, no matter how well Rosewall was playing.
It's NOT a drama.
It's an excuse that Laver was not at his best when losing several important matches to Rosewall. You could make that argument for ANY losing player including Rosewall.
I only have considered tournaments that were acknowledged as the true majors: French Pro, US Pro, French Open, WCT Finals. I did not put in any smaller events.
It's a fact (ignored by you, Limpinhitter and a few others) that Rosewall and Laver each won four pro majors when both players were in their prime at the same time: 1964 to 1966. It's an old fairy-tale that Laver dominated Rosewall in major encounters as long as the latter did not decline (what he did in 1967).
As you surely know Bud Collins, I can tell you (as I have written several times already) that Bud (not the least expert) rated Rosewall as GOAT candidate several times even though he was Laver's closest friend and admirer.
With all respect for the Rocket, his statement about his best is not convincing as it comes from one of the two involved players. Rosewall might see the case differently such as Laver claims he was the 1964 No.1 and Rosewall claims he (Muscles) was the 1964 No.1... All these are not objective statements. And I find it strange that GOAT Laver was off his best in so many big encounters against "Non-GOAT" Rosewall from 1963 to 1972.
By the way, I guess you meant " ...he'd beat Rosewall, no matter how well ROSEWALL was playing.
it was 5 pro majors for Laver compared to 4 for Rosewall from 64-66, not 4 each.
I did mean Rosewall in that last sentence.
I'll address the rest of your points later.
abmk, Not regarding their personal encounters.
In the open era:
- Laver was #1 for 3 straight years (possibly 4),
- 74 total open era titles,
- The one and only open era Grand Slam,
- 5 total open majors,
- The Dunlop International (some say the true AO of 1970),
- Two TCC's (possibly bigger than open majors),
- In 68' he won 10 titles, in 69' he won 18 titles (an open era record), and in 70' he won 15 titles, for a total of 43 in his first 3 years in the open era,
- Numerous Masters 1000 equivalent titles,
- Numerous former pro majors,
- The only Wimbledon pro.
I think he has a very strong case.
Excellent argument. I would also add (again), that peak level of play, although not as susceptible of objective measurement as hard statistics, is an accomplishment in itself.
strong case for what ?
certainly these 9 are better :
With mac having 7 slams, many YECs/Dallas wins, 3 years at #1, being a top 3 player for 7 years - 79 to 85, a more dominant year in 84 than any Laver had ( yes, including 69 )
lendl has 8 slams, many YECs, 4 years at #1, being a top 3 player for 8 years.
connors has 8 slams, year end #1 for 3 years, crazy longevity
agassi has 8 slams, including the career slam when surfaces at slams were the most polarized and crazy longevity
what hurts Laver's case in the open era is his slam results after 1969 at Wimbledon and USO - the two most valued slams - just got to 1 QF in both of them combined.
you can't have the TCC as well as WCT as well as Dunlop as majors in 70/71...you can have 4 major tournaments per year at most ....
of course there is also the factor that TCC had ample rest b'w the matches as far as I know ...slams didn't.
now lets come to the weakest of those - Becker, Wilander, Edberg ...-- one major factor of course is that they had better slam results for far longer than Laver did in the open era ..they also played in a tougher, more competitive and more importantly non-fragmented era unlike the early years of the open era.
Laver also had the advantage of playing in the pros - unlike the young challengers in Ashe, Roche, Newk and even Nastase ..If they were as battle hardened as Laver was by playing in the pros - they'd be taking away more of his majors when the open era came.
If you are stretching/grasping and ignoring the above factors that actually mattered, you could at best put his open era career with Becker/Edberg/Wilander ..but doesn't come close to the other 9 ..
I've answered many of these things in my reply to Limpinhitter.
In 68, Wimbledon, French Open and USO were well-regarded tournaments, well-filled ones ( as far as players go ) as well...I'm not sure I see a big point in bringing in US Pro and French Pro in that year.
I think Djokovic has to win one more major to go past Nadal, two more to go past Borg and 3 more to go past Sampras.
You need to fix 4 major tournaments per year :
1970 - I think we can pretty much agree that RG,Wimbledon,USO were 3 of them. 4th one is either Dunlop or AO or TCC. AO field was depleted that year. If you want to go with Dunlop, that makes Ashe a 2 slam winner. You can't have both Dunlop and TCC for Laver that year.
1971 - I think we can pretty much agree that Wimbledon & USO were 2 of them. 1971 AO had all of Rosewall, Laver, Newk, Roche, Ashe, Emerson ....So I think we can have that as the 3rd.
The 4th one has to be among RG or Rome or WCT or TCC. If I had to take out RG, I'd do it in favour of WCT, which was widely regarded.
So that leaves Laver with 6 open era majors - 5 actual ones and the Dunlop one .
TCC in 71 for Laver could be regarded akin to a Year Ending Championships ...
that's not what you said earlier :
"It's a fact (ignored by you, Limpinhitter and a few others) that Rosewall and Laver each won four pro majors when both players were in their prime at the same time: 1964 to 1966."
there wasn't a mention of h2h there.
that's based on achievements, not necessarily peak level.
Here are some of the other quotes regarding Rosewall :
"He became better as he got older, more of a complete player. With the exception of me and Frank Sedgman, he could handle everybody else. Just the way he played, he got under Hoad's skin, but he had a forehand weakness and a serve weakness." - Pancho Gonzales
In 2006, Bud Collins had as his top 5 :
Tilden, Gonzales, Borg, Sampras, Laver ( not necessarily in that order)
Here's some of the rankings that @pc1 had compiled :
Rosewall does appear, but not that much, does he ?
Top Eleven (Open Era) in alphabetical order
Sorry but I wasn't sure whom to eliminate.
Women - All Time (as few were penalised by tennis becoming Open)
I did in fact criticise it. If you didn't read or don't remember it doesn't change the facts. I'm no harsher with you than any other poster I disagree with. If you frequented the General section you would know this better.
I don't see the link between incorrect spellings and incorrect logic or facts. The essence of a post riddled with spelling errors can be more correct than one without. I believe Limpinhitter is quoting urban's list of matches in best 3 out of 5 set matches, not 5 set matches.
Well I'm telling you how your criticism comes across to me and likely others. But I don't really want to discuss this further, maybe it's just one of your quirks
On the subject of Laver he does have arguments for being in a top 10 Open Era list based on what he achieved there. However I think considering the majority of his career occurred before it's better to keep him separate or just do an all time list.
As far as Bud Collins' rankings are concerned I asked Bud I would guess about three or four years ago does he rank Laver (who he told me was number one) over Federer, he hesitated and stated Laver was still number one. His wife Anita indicated to me that he ranked Federer in the top few. My guess from viewing Bud's expression and hesitation was that he ranked Federer at that point number two all time. I have no idea which player Federer pushed out of the top five but Federer was definitely in Bud's top five imo.
Thanks for sharing. Cool to know Bud ranked Federer so highly - perhaps as high as #2.
In my view, Laver has a strong case for: (1) the highest peak level of play in the open era, and (2) the highest level of accomplishment in the open era. No stretching, grasping or ignoring is needed to make the case as I have made above. Laver's record speaks for itself, and it speaks very loudly. For example, who among your list, won the Grand Slam? Who won 43 titles in 3 years? Who has won anything like the TCC? No one has matched this record before, or since. Laver won more titles in those 3 years (68', 69' 70'), than Wilander and Edberg won in their entire careers. Further, Laver's astonishing athleticism, unprecedented shot making ability, combined with his dogged competitiveness and dominating record, sets him apart from all who came before and after. It seems that you have been engaged in some ignoring and denying.
Moreover, the reason for Laver's Grand Slam tournament results after winning the Grand Slam in 1969 is well known by those who understand the history of that transitional era. First, neither the players nor the tennis public were as obsessed with counting major titles as the measure of a player's greatness as they are today. Second, after winning the one and only open era Grand Slam (four ATG's have come close, but, none have been great enough to duplicate it, making it all the more remarkable with each passing shortfall), Laver had nothing left to prove by continuing to focus his efforts on the ridiculously low paying, 2 week long, majors. Laver was a pro, he played for money, and in the later quarter of his career, he knew that his prize money making time was limited. Therefore, he skipped many majors and focused on the highest paying events, primarily the high paying WCT tour, and came out the highest earning player in the history of tennis for a career and for a lifetime to that point.
abmk, You are right. I'm sorry.
Limpin, Some good points but Laver was never No.1 in 1971; TCCs were never greater than majors, especially 1970; Wimbledon Pro was not in open era.
Limpin, They say I'm a Rosewall fanboy. What are you then?
If the majors provided little money and Laver concentrated on the "rich" events, why did he participate in Wimbledon 1970 and 1971, US Open 1970, 1972 and 1973, AO 1971 where he always failed? Of course Rod did try because it was f.i. a case of honour to defend his 1969 Wimbledon and US Open titles.
NatF, Yes, Bud ranked Federer very high, as every expert does. He once compared Roger's and Ken's backhand slice (praised both of them ) but he added that Rosewall had the better volley.
Thanks for this extra information. No disagreements on the volleys, Rosewall was one of the truly great volleyers.
NatF, No, you did not critisize Limpinhitter's behaviour, especially his mean lie which was a much bigger "crime" than my criticism of wrong-spelling!
Every reader can see that you attack me much more often than ANY other poster in this forum (maybe not in the other though).
You don't want that posters try to write the names of the great players correctly? It was a shame f.i. how superficially kiki spelled many names.
I have not more quirks than you have.
Limpinhitter- as so often, also today in his Laver list- wrote a wrong thing and never corrected it ("5 set matches"). I know what he meant but he formulated falsely.
Perhaps you get criticised the most because you're the most difficult? I mean you're essentially calling me a liar now and you have the nerve to play the victim.
Again if you knew what Limpinhitter meant why not simply address his point? Or just ignore it...
abmk, The majority is not always right. Trust me, I'm an Austrian and know what happened in history...
Gonzalez, as often, was wrong. In fact Rosewall had the edge against all his opponents bar Pancho himself and Laver.
You can't be the most successful player in history regarding majors won with a weak service and a weak forehand!!
How subjective players can be you might see at the fact that Laver now claims he was the 1964 No.1 even though Buchholz in 1964/1965 has clearly written that Rosewall was the undisputed No.1 because he won the deciding tour and krosero has brought several quotes in 2016 that Rosewall was ranked No.1 and has won the pro world championships of that year.
By the way, I found it funny (even though it was a scandal properly) that a few posters who all can understand clear English written sentences ignored Buchholz's and krosero's proofs and still claimed that Laver was acknowledged No.1 in 1964...
NatF, Please tell me when you critisized Limpinhitter's behaviour, especially his mean lie??
I did address his wrong point. I even use to address his many wrong points since his come-back!!! But he does not apologize nor correct his wrong claims, as you know!
Bobby, your understanding of "proofs" is exaggerated...we do not deal in "proofs" in tennis history, merely opinion.
One clear fact is Laver's dominance over Rosewall in best-of-five-set matches, which is very telling.
I'm finding this ridiculous now. This thread;
I don't even know what his mean lie is? That you said Rosewall would win 40 majors in Open Tennis?
Believe it or not Bobby it's not my mission to correct every wrong I see. I commented on your spelling correcting because I noticed it a lot that day, that's all.
You think Mac was greater than Lendl abmk?
I don't think it's so strange tbh. McEnroe has Lendl beat at the most prestigious majors 7 vs 3, had most probably the higher peak, would have potentially won more majors if the AO had been a big deal during his prime - about equal success at the big indoor majors. Lendl has him beat in terms of consistency and longevity but McEnroe is really underrated IMO. He's closer to Lendl than to Agassi for example. Lendl did win many more tournaments though. Mac's career is more appealing to me though.
At McEnroe's peak in 1984 imo McEnroe was superior to Lendl in his peak year. In 1984 he was incredible in the way he could take balls on the rise, serve and volley with great precision etc and of course what great touch. He bulldozed through everyone that year.
Lendl's peak wasn't exactly bad however. He was incredible at his best and overall in his career he won more tournaments, more majors and had a little better winning percentage. I would go with Lendl for overall career level and McEnroe for peak level.
Yes, I think McEnroe's 1984 was a better sustained level than anything Lendl showed against the field. In terms of majors I do think Lendl was helped by the status of the AO, if McEnroe played it during his peak it's likely he would have won a couple. I respect McEnroe's record at the 2 biggest majors of his time, especially at Wimbledon that closes the gap considerably for me.
Great points. That's the problem with those days, the top players often played only two or three majors a year. Borg in 1977 played WTT and didn't (couldn't) play the French. Connors couldn't play the French in 1974 for the same reason. I just remember McEnroe was sort of teasing Vilas about his big win in the Australian when they all were about to play the Year End Masters. Basically McEnroe insinuated that the Vilas win in the Australian wasn't a big deal.
Similar for the top women. Aside from many many top (non Aussie) women missing the AO for years, they also missed the French.
Evert possibly being the greatest casualty of this in terms of majors won and the obsession to use it as the main barometer to measure greatness.
Priorities were different prior to the late 80s.
Laver really isn't the greatest when you think about it. In terms of dominance there are several players who have spent as many years as number 1, including a few who were number 1 longer, most of whom had tougher competition. Longevity-wise Laver is one of the weakest among the main GOAT contenders. In terms of his game there are several throughout history who have been regarded as superior at their best.
He's a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. There is no area he was really the best at. When it comes down to it, put the greatest players of all time in a super tournament and there are always 2 or 3 I would pick before Laver on any given surface.
no, he doesn't have a strong case for highest level of play in the open era . I'd put these above :
borg of 79-80
mac of 84
federer of 2004-06
djokovic of 11
Laver went 5 sets vs crealy at RG and was down 2 sets to love vs Lall in wimbledon 69 ..I know he played a lot of tournaments in 69, but his winning % wasn't that high even taking into account that.
Now Laver of 67 , you could argue had a level as high as any of the above. but not Laver of 69.
As far as # of titles is concerned, like I said, the split fields, no of smaller tournaments, the transition in that era all helped Laver in that regard.
As far as the Grand Slam is concerned, swap Rosewall of 69 RG with nadal of 06 or 07 RG -> federer gets the grand slam and Laver doesn't.
Give Mac the Rosewall of 69 RG final in 84 instead of a high level , determined Lendl and he completes the GS that year as well.
While Laver did actually accomplish the GS..others too could have given let say more fortunate circumstances. That doesn't speak to the level accurately.
As far as "astonishing athleticism, unprecedented shot making ability, combined with his dogged competitiveness and dominating record, sets him apart from all who came before and after. "
umm, no ..I'll just say one word : Federer
I think I was very clear in mentioning Wimbledon and USO - the 2 most prestigious majors at that time. I wasn't talking about AO/RG there. I wasn't talking about slam counting. Even Rosewall was concerned about the money, doesn't mean he didn't have good results in slams once the open era started or after 69. Just one example.
I can only really think of Tilden and Gonzalez spending more time at #1 than Laver - unless you go back even further. I do agree his case for GOAT (while very strong) is often exaggerated. I don't' really think there are that many GOAT contenders, I only consider Pancho, Laver, Federer and maybe Tilden as contenders. He has weaker longevity than Gonzalez and Tilden but not sure about Federer. Rod won the GS at an age where either due to competition or ability Federer was clearly unable to but Federer would have been very productive in the biggest events if not for a peak Djokovic. So maybe it's about even.
Fair enough and I guess you just saved abmk the bother of responding to my question. Don't even get me started on him thinking Djokovic needs 2 more Slams to surpass Borg and 3 more to surpass Sampras though.
Just a minor comment, Borg in 1978 was pretty incredible also so instead of Borg 1979-80 I would add 1978 to the list. Borg won the Italian, French and Wimbledon that year, the Old World Triple and won the French with the loss of only 32 games. He beat Connors with the loss of only 8 games in the final and I thought Connors played well!
Borg in 1977 was pretty great also in winning 13 of 20 tournaments and winning Wimbledon. He also won over 90% of his matches that year.
I don't think it's unreasonable to rank Borg that highly or Sampras (though I hesitate a little bit when I say Sampras) I think there's something ineffable about the careers of truly great players, things like the context of their careers can be lost in just looking at their achievements.
I do think Borg is really underrated on this board. After Federer I would probably consider Borg the best player the Open Era has produced.
Those who saw Borg play in that era don't underrate him. He is possibly the most amazing athlete I've seen in tennis. I don't think he had a stroke weakness.
He might be the most versatile player we've seen and as you said he was phenomenal athlete. With a modern racquet he'd be a monster.
At a stretch I could understand saying that Djokovic needs one more Slam to be above Borg given the era BB played in but two more just seems silly. And I've no idea why abmk thinks Novak needs 3 more to be above Sampras because if he gets to 14, all Pete would have over him is a bit more time spent at #1 whereas Novak would already have the Career Slam, NCYGS, 4 more Slam finals(at a minimum), at least as many WTFs and about 20 more Masters titles not to mention much better consistency and arguably greater domination as well. I get the impression abmk says these things simply because he much prefers Bjorn and Pete(whether it be their style of play or personality) but IMO when it comes to judging a player's career you have to remain objective at all times and not allow any bias to creep in, as hard as that might be.
tbh I quite like abmk's posts I do think Djokovic will have quite a lot going for him over Sampras if both are on 14 slams, but I also think Sampras was a better player at his best on grass, HC and indoors. Not sure if peak play is a factor for abmk's rankings.
Well Borg has arguably 14 majors as it is with those big indoor titles in place of the AO, he also won 100 or so tournaments and has a peak run that almost matches Federer's. So 2 more slams for Novak to go above Borg (not just draw level) seems fine to me. It's not necessarily how I would have it but I don't think it's so unreasonable.
I disagree with you. I think Laver does have a strong case. Just because you would put other players' peaks above Laver doesn't mean that Laver doesn't have a strong
In my view, your arguments consist of a lot of conjecture and fail to acknowledge the actual record, and the actual peak level of play. In 1969, Laver won the Grand Slam, 18 total events, and 106 matches, in my view, the greatest year in the history of tennis, and arguably the highest level of play ever played. By comparison, in 1984, McEnroe won 3 of 4 Majors, 13 total titles and won 82 total matches. In 2004-2007, Federer came close to the Grand Slam 3 times, but came up short every time. In his best year, 2006, he won a total of 12 titles and had 92 total match wins. Further, in those 4 years, 2004-2007, Federer's absolute peak, he won a total of 42 titles. Compare Laver's 3 years of 68', 69, and 70', in which he won 43 titles. In 2011, Djokovic won 3 of 4 majors, 10 total titles, and had 70 total match wins.
Further, Federer's game, as great as it is, he is a genuine tier 1 GOAT candidate, is lopsided and one dimensional compared to Laver. Unlike Federer, Laver had no weaknesses. In addition to being, arguably, the greatest athlete to ever step on a tennis court, Laver had an all time great forehand, an all time great backhand (perhaps the greatest 1 handed backhand of all time), an all time great ground game, all time great volleys and an all time great net game, and one of the best under 6' serves ever.
You correctly point out that Rosewall also went for the money as did Laver. But, as great as Rosewall was, he played more open majors than Laver and won fewer despite having a much longer and healthier open era career than Laver.
It'll be interesting to see what happens if Djokovic does win two more majors. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if abmk moves the goalposts yet again and thinks of some other reason as to why Borg is still ahead of him.
I think you're just a bit jaded when it comes to abmk man
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