Where would Rafter rank had he won AO & WMB?

BGod

Legend
Both in 2001 where I think he had the best opportunity at both. Obviously in the final against Goran there were chances in the 5th but I think he'd have been better winning the 3rd and taking the match in 4. Then the Agassi match was a killer because he was up 2-1 and even though it was a semifinal he almost certainly beats Clement.

I think this hypothetical carries a lot of features:

1. He would have 4 Slams, which of course is a separate of sorts, tying him with Courier, Vilas for OE (Rosewall too but he won more prior).
2. He would have 3 of 4, something only 10 players in the achieved in the OE prior to his retirement and only 4 more after. The difference here being Borg, McEnroe and Courier not doing this and Vilas/Newcombe accomplishing this in a much weaker AO era.
3. Maybe ends up with YE #1 which he never did or another YE #2 and almost certainly more weeks at #1.

I think he would have been held above Courier and Vilas in my mind but perhaps I'm wrong. He would of had an even more impressive record against Agassi in big matches for one and a novelty of 4-1 Slam Finals record.
 
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galain

Hall of Fame
I think he could have taken Sampras at Wimby as well. He had chances to go up 2 sets to love - that second set was a close one.

I think he'd be above Courier too.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Pretty crazy that he could have had 3 more Slams from 2000 onwards, when he was really a shadow of his former self post-USO1999

Great player, could have been quite something were he not so injury-plagued
 

NAS

Hall of Fame
I think he could have taken Sampras at Wimby as well. He had chances to go up 2 sets to love - that second set was a close one.

I think he'd be above Courier too.
What I saw from that match, he was still loosing in five, his sharpness was gone after second set and score was still 1-1 each set
 

galain

Hall of Fame
What I saw from that match, he was still loosing in five, his sharpness was gone after second set and score was still 1-1 each set
We have no way of knowing but a two sets to love lead on grass....he'd have had to have been feeling pretty confident if he'd taken that second tiebreak.
 
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McLovin

Legend
I mean he won 2. What's the point of asking if he won 4? He didn't win 4. He won 2 because he wasn't good enough to win 4.
While I may agree w/ the first portion of your statement, I wouldn't go so far as to say he wasn't 'good enough' to win 4. He was a 2-time Wimbledon finalist and a semi-finalist at the Aussie AND Roland Garros (his worst surface). I'd say that made him clearly 'good enough' to win more than 2 majors.
 

urban

Legend
I find all those threads pretty obsolete, which count hypothetical wins on a speculative basis. Who knows, what Rosewall had won without Hoad, or Hoad without Rosewall. Courier could have well won more slams, too, at Wim and RG, Vilas at RG and har tru Forest Hills. I think, as it is, Rafter did pretty well in his career. When he came up, top players like Boris Becker regarded him as a better journeyman. Through hard work, his high kick serve and his very fine forehand volley, he improved his game in later stages of his career, and in 1998 he was imo the best player of the world, due to his hard court successes (also over Sampras). On grass he never was the same force, because his kicker stayed lower and was easier to return. His game was steady, but a bit predictable. A real underachiever was imo Flipper, who had many more weapons especially from the baseline, but never managed to come through.
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
While I may agree w/ the first portion of your statement, I wouldn't go so far as to say he wasn't 'good enough' to win 4. He was a 2-time Wimbledon finalist and a semi-finalist at the Aussie AND Roland Garros (his worst surface). I'd say that made him clearly 'good enough' to win more than 2 majors.
Yes ok. I was surprised he retired so soon. He could have given Wimbledon another try.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
I think he could have taken Sampras at Wimby as well. He had chances to go up 2 sets to love - that second set was a close one.

I think he'd be above Courier too.
I was a Rafter fan, but even in this hypothetical scenario I cannot see how he could be above Courier.

Both would have four slams but Courier would have two additional finals including the feat of making final at every slam while Rafter still missing a final at the French. Courier stayed 58 weeks at No.1 which Rafter most likely would not reach in that hypothetical if all other things remain equal. Courier would also still lead in masters (5-2), in total tournaments (23-13) and also have the better results at YEC. This does not even factor in that he had to face better competition imho.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
I was a Rafter fan, but even in this hypothetical scenario I cannot see how he could be above Courier.

Both would have four slams but Courier would have two additional finals including the feat of making final at every slam while Rafter still missing a final at the French. Courier stayed 58 weeks at No.1 which Rafter most likely would not reach in that hypothetical if all other things remain equal. Courier would also still lead in masters (5-2), in total tournaments (23-13) and also have the better results at YEC. This does not even factor in that he had to face better competition imho.
Well, the OP was also considering Rafter winning the AO when he was thrashing Agassi until he started cramping. That and two hypothetical Wimby wins (which I'm maintaining were very close losses) plus his US crowns would have put him past Courier I think.
 
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BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Well, the OP was also considering Rafter winning the AO when he was thrashing Agassi until he started cramping. That and two hypothetical Wimby wins (which I'm maintaining were very close losses) plus his US crowns would have put him past Courier I think.
OP was clearly describing a scenario where Rafter has four slams, AO 2001 and Wimbledon 2001in addition to his USO crowns in which case there is no way to put him above Courier. In the scenario you are describing Rafter would have 5 slams in which case yes, he would be arguably above Courier.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
What I saw from that match, he was still loosing in five, his sharpness was gone after second set and score was still 1-1 each set
To hear Rafter talk about that match, it’s pretty clear he was mentally shot after choking away the second set

Had he kept his nerve I think sets 3/4 would have played out very differently

Rafter wasn't better than 2 slams. Just leave it at that.
Must be blissful to be this ignorant
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
Must be blissful to be this ingnorant
He wasn't. That's it. Choked to an extent in Wim 00 final.
Got lucky to an extent with Sampras injury in USO 98 semi, unlucky to an extent in AO 01 semi with a little physical issue, lucky with Agassi messing up in 2001 Wim semi in the first place (2000 Wim semi was better/more convincing from Rafter). Goran was the better GC player and deserved that Wimby a little more than Rafter did, IMO.
But ok, enlighten all of us.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
He wasn't. That's it. Choked to an extent in Wim 00 final.
Got lucky to an extent with Sampras injury in USO 98 semi, unlucky to an extent in AO 01 semi with a little physical issue, lucky with Agassi messing up in 2001 Wim semi in the first place (2000 Wim semi was better/more convincing from Rafter). Goran was the better GC player and deserved that Wimby a little more than Rafter did, IMO.
But ok, enlighten all of us.
The guy was an injury crock, was about to break through in 1995 but had repeated wrist and ankle problems that destroyed his 1996 season. Then at the 1999 USO he wrecked his shoulder which permanently destroyed his serve. 2001 onwards he was also battling stress fractures.

It’s amazing Rafter won as much as he did given he only had about two years of his career that weren’t badly injury affected

If the bloke had the same physical durability as most of the players above him in the slam count, he’d have several more major titles
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
The guy was an injury crock, was about to break through in 1995 but had repeated wrist and ankle problems that destroyed his 1996 season. Then at the 1999 USO he wrecked his shoulder which permanently destroyed his serve. 2001 onwards he was also battling stress fractures.

It’s amazing Rafter won as much as he did given he only had about two years of his career that weren’t badly injury affected

If the bloke had the same physical durability as most of the players above him in the slam count, he’d have several more major titles
Yes, Rafter was affected significantly by injuries. But the thread doesn't talk about that. It only talks about rafter being able to clinch the close matches he lost.

If not for injuries, yeah, maybe Rafter could've won another slam. Surely would have won more titles than he did. But that's not what the thread asks.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Yes, Rafter was affected significantly by injuries. But the thread doesn't talk about that. It only talks about rafter being able to clinch the close matches he lost.

If not for injuries, yeah, maybe Rafter could've won another slam. Surely would have won more titles than he did. But that's not what the thread asks.
The post I responded to was your statement that Rafter wasn’t better than 2 slams
 

Drob

Professional
The guy was an injury crock, was about to break through in 1995 but had repeated wrist and ankle problems that destroyed his 1996 season. Then at the 1999 USO he wrecked his shoulder which permanently destroyed his serve. 2001 onwards he was also battling stress fractures.

It’s amazing Rafter won as much as he did given he only had about two years of his career that weren’t badly injury affected

If the bloke had the same physical durability as most of the players above him in the slam count, he’d have several more major titles

Let’s see what Petros Sampras has to say about Rafter:

“But Pat was like one of those NFL running backs who averages six or seven yards per carry for five years and suddenly falls off the radar, averaging one and a half for the next few years. That happens because those backs just get beat up and softened up; they lose a little something. That is what I think happened to Pat.

‘Pat had to work very hard to win his matches, for reasons having to do with his style and technique. Many of the things I said about Lleyton Hewitt apply to Rafter as well, although they had very different styles and did their grinding in dramatically different ways. Rafter was a serve-volley daredevil, a great mover and athlete, always flying around the court, lunging, spearing volleys, making those joint-bruising changes of direction. It’s just awfully difficult to work that hard for four or five years and keep coming back for more.
‘Pat won his matches by attacking the net and then, when receiving, scraping by from the backcourt, always looking for a way to get to the net. He hit his kicker with a lot of effort, kind of contorted. It wasn’t as limber and easy a delivery as Edberg’s. He worked very hard to hold, because even though he loved to rush the net, he didn’t have a huge serve. Unlike other successful attackers, Pat couldn’t pop the aces and service winners to make his life easier. Pat fought and struggled for everything he got.”

Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo, A Champion’s Mind, p 289
 
He wasn't. That's it. Choked to an extent in Wim 00 final.
Got lucky to an extent with Sampras injury in USO 98 semi, unlucky to an extent in AO 01 semi with a little physical issue, lucky with Agassi messing up in 2001 Wim semi in the first place (2000 Wim semi was better/more convincing from Rafter). Goran was the better GC player and deserved that Wimby a little more than Rafter did, IMO.
But ok, enlighten all of us.
I think peak Goran was a better grass player than Rafter, but I don't think 2001 Goran was. I think it was a victory of will, he simply wanted it a bit more, even though Rafter wanted it badly as well.

And while he might have got a bit lucky to come back and beat Agassi, he was more unlucky for the rain delay in the Henman-Ivanisevic other semi. I am almost certain Henman wins that otherwise. Ivanisevic had fallen apart already in that match before the rain. And he is 0-4 vs Henman before that match, so he is obviously a bad match up for him. And I am fairly sure Rafter then beats Henman in the final, not 100%, but I think more than likely.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
I think peak Goran was a better grass player than Rafter, but I don't think 2001 Goran was. I think it was a victory of will, he simply wanted it a bit more, even though Rafter wanted it badly as well.

And while he might have got a bit lucky to come back and beat Agassi, he was more unlucky for the rain delay in the Henman-Ivanisevic other semi. I am almost certain Henman wins that otherwise. Ivanisevic had fallen apart already in that match before the rain. And he is 0-4 vs Henman before that match, so he is obviously a bad match up for him. And I am fairly sure Rafter then beats Henman in the final, not 100%, but I think more than likely.
yeah, I was talking about better GCer considering whole career.
 
yeah, I was talking about better GCer considering whole career.
How do you think the other alternate finals would have gone.

Rafter vs Henman
Agassi vs Ivanisevic
Henman vs Agassi

That was an intriguing year with 4 players who all stood a good shot at winning entering the semis. I think I would go with:

Henman vs Rafter- I see Rafter winning. He beat Henman very easy in Australia that year, which isn't even a particularly good surface for Rafter (although not really for Henman either). Their head to head is 3-2 though and Henman won the only time they played at Wimbledon. I still see Rafter winning though, probably in 4 sets. That is why I say IMO Rafter was unlucky, since I am pretty certain watching the Ivanisevic-Henman semi, Henman wins that without the rain delay. Ivanisevic had just lost the 3rd set 6-0 to go down 2 sets to 1 and had virtually shut down mentally, and I think Rafter probably beats Henman in that hypothetical final.

Agassi vs Ivanisevic- I see Agassi probably winning if I had to guess. He beat Ivanisevic in 92 when Goran was probably a lot better. He also does not seem to have nearly the problem reading and returning Goran's serve he does Sampras's. It is still a close call but I would go with Agassi in 4 or 5.

Agassi vs Henman- Honestly this is the one I am really 50/50. Not sure here.
 

Crocodile

Legend
I would sought put Pat Rafter as the 1990’a evolution of Pat Cash from the 1980’s. Cash’s Davis Cup record is excellent with memorable victories over Nystrom and Pernfors whereas Rafter came close to winning Wimbledon and losing semis to Andre.
 
On par with Courier for sure. As he took down Agassi at Wimbledon I believe too. Injury plagued career but he was a great player. barring injuries, he would have been around Becker/Edberg level
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Who cares? The guy had one of the most beautiful games to watch ever. That serve, those volleys - so pretty. I never get bored watching Rafter matches. Oddly enough, though, I agree with Pete and think he was spot on about Rafter - perhaps his playing style contributed to his injury problems. It was worth it, IMO, though. Happy for him to win the slams he did. Sad his body couldn't keep it up. I think, when he lost those matches, he was thinking he had more time. No one knows how much they'll get...
 

BGod

Legend
How do you think the other alternate finals would have gone.

Rafter vs Henman
Agassi vs Ivanisevic
Henman vs Agassi

That was an intriguing year with 4 players who all stood a good shot at winning entering the semis. I think I would go with:

Henman vs Rafter- I see Rafter winning. He beat Henman very easy in Australia that year, which isn't even a particularly good surface for Rafter (although not really for Henman either). Their head to head is 3-2 though and Henman won the only time they played at Wimbledon. I still see Rafter winning though, probably in 4 sets. That is why I say IMO Rafter was unlucky, since I am pretty certain watching the Ivanisevic-Henman semi, Henman wins that without the rain delay. Ivanisevic had just lost the 3rd set 6-0 to go down 2 sets to 1 and had virtually shut down mentally, and I think Rafter probably beats Henman in that hypothetical final.

Agassi vs Ivanisevic- I see Agassi probably winning if I had to guess. He beat Ivanisevic in 92 when Goran was probably a lot better. He also does not seem to have nearly the problem reading and returning Goran's serve he does Sampras's. It is still a close call but I would go with Agassi in 4 or 5.

Agassi vs Henman- Honestly this is the one I am really 50/50. Not sure here.
Rafter beats Henman in 4.
Agassi beats Goran in 4 if he ends Rafter in 4, but if he just wins 7-5 or 8-6 then he probably goes 5 against Goran but still wins
Agassi beats Henman in 4.

Henman's problem was his ceiling. He just wasn't good enough on skill to beat the best, especially if they were firing. Maybe he could have won 98 if he gets past Sampras or 02 if he gets past Hewitt but obviously both situations are huge what ifs.
 
Rafter beats Henman in 4.
Agassi beats Goran in 4 if he ends Rafter in 4, but if he just wins 7-5 or 8-6 then he probably goes 5 against Goran but still wins
Agassi beats Henman in 4.

Henman's problem was his ceiling. He just wasn't good enough on skill to beat the best, especially if they were firing. Maybe he could have won 98 if he gets past Sampras or 02 if he gets past Hewitt but obviously both situations are huge what ifs.
So basically the only time the winner would not have come out of Rafter-Agassi was the one that actually happened: Rafter-Ivanisevic. And even that match Rafter probably should have won, having Ivanisevic down 0-30 serving to stay in it, and missing a makeable return (even if it was a good 2nd serve).
 

TheRed

Hall of Fame
Let’s see what Petros Sampras has to say about Rafter:

“But Pat was like one of those NFL running backs who averages six or seven yards per carry for five years and suddenly falls off the radar, averaging one and a half for the next few years. That happens because those backs just get beat up and softened up; they lose a little something. That is what I think happened to Pat.

‘Pat had to work very hard to win his matches, for reasons having to do with his style and technique. Many of the things I said about Lleyton Hewitt apply to Rafter as well, although they had very different styles and did their grinding in dramatically different ways. Rafter was a serve-volley daredevil, a great mover and athlete, always flying around the court, lunging, spearing volleys, making those joint-bruising changes of direction. It’s just awfully difficult to work that hard for four or five years and keep coming back for more.
‘Pat won his matches by attacking the net and then, when receiving, scraping by from the backcourt, always looking for a way to get to the net. He hit his kicker with a lot of effort, kind of contorted. It wasn’t as limber and easy a delivery as Edberg’s. He worked very hard to hold, because even though he loved to rush the net, he didn’t have a huge serve. Unlike other successful attackers, Pat couldn’t pop the aces and service winners to make his life easier. Pat fought and struggled for everything he got.”

Pete Sampras and Peter Bodo, A Champion’s Mind, p 289
I loved Rafter but I have to admit, he really outdid himself just to win 2. Sampras was "sour grapes" but these quotes are spot on. For a long period, early in his career, Rafter just hung around the top 20. I always thought of him as a top 15 guy and no more until he had those us open years when he played pretty consistently year round. Stroke by stroke, he was pretty average. Average forehand, pretty bad backhand (even the slice wasn't as biting as edberg's), average serve and very good volleys. I feel in some ways his volleys were even overrated. His forehand volley was very good, backhand volleys were just solid and pickup volleys were just solid and touch around the net was surprisingly not great. He made up for all that averageness by being a big fairly athletic guy who was above all else - relentless. He's like that guy in a fight who no matter how hard you hit him in the head, he keeps coming at you. Guys like that win their fair share but it's hard to have long careers like that.
Sampras was probably better if we just compare volleys but we know Sampras had a much superior serve, forehand and better backhand. It's crazy to think that he can ever beat Sampras being worse in every department but rafter did and did it getting under Sampras' skin.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
The only way he could have won Wimbledon in 2000 was if he didn't have to face Sampras. The increased bounce making the kick serve more effective at Wimbledon was what helped him suddenly pull out a run of great Wimbledon runs but that also played into Sampras' hands because it profited HIS kick serve too. His best chance was in 2001 and he wasn't far off from beating Goran but faltered.
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
I loved Rafter but I have to admit, he really outdid himself just to win 2. Sampras was "sour grapes" but these quotes are spot on. For a long period, early in his career, Rafter just hung around the top 20. I always thought of him as a top 15 guy and no more until he had those us open years when he played pretty consistently year round. Stroke by stroke, he was pretty average. Average forehand, pretty bad backhand (even the slice wasn't as biting as edberg's), average serve and very good volleys. I feel in some ways his volleys were even overrated. His forehand volley was very good, backhand volleys were just solid and pickup volleys were just solid and touch around the net was surprisingly not great. He made up for all that averageness by being a big fairly athletic guy who was above all else - relentless. He's like that guy in a fight who no matter how hard you hit him in the head, he keeps coming at you. Guys like that win their fair share but it's hard to have long careers like that.
Sampras was probably better if we just compare volleys but we know Sampras had a much superior serve, forehand and better backhand. It's crazy to think that he can ever beat Sampras being worse in every department but rafter did and did it getting under Sampras' skin.
Rafter was a better volleyer than Sampras. Also his serve was hardly average. It was well above average.
 

TheRed

Hall of Fame
Rafter was a better volleyer than Sampras. Also his serve was hardly average. It was well above average.
I don’t disagree totally. You’re right his serve was above average. He was much more aggressive at the net than Sampras but I’m not sure he was better in skill.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
I don’t disagree totally. You’re right his serve was above average. He was much more aggressive at the net than Sampras but I’m not sure he was better in skill.
Sampras especially in his pre-1999 full S&V years probably made more sloppy errors up at net compared to Rafter, where Sampras excelled was the half volleys and hitting volleys from around the service line. Perhaps Rafter was a bit better at net in the traditional sense but Sampras' hand skills complemented his game in a way I'm not sure Rafter's would have e.g. the fact he often gave himself less time to get into net on account of his serve.
 
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