Who is the second greatest US player?

Second greatest US player?

  • Agassi

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Connors

    Votes: 15 42.9%
  • McEnroe

    Votes: 4 11.4%
  • Gonzales

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • Tilden

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Someone else

    Votes: 3 8.6%

  • Total voters
    35
#1
Most would agree Pete is number 1 but who is second?

Some candidates:

Andre agassi: 8 slams, 60 titles, 101 weeks at number 1

Jimmy Connors: 8 slams, 109 titles, 268 weeks at number 1

John McEnroe: 7 slams, 77 titles, 170 weeks

Pancho Gonzalez: 2 slams (plus 12 pro slams), 111 titles

Bill Tilden: 10 slams, 138 titles
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
#2
Jimmy Connors takes this one easily, IMHO. He had 268 weeks at #1, which is incredible. he also played in 6 slam events in 1974-1975 and he went to the final for each event. And his 3 slam titles in 3 slam events played in 1974 was incredible as well.
 
#3
POST WARII
1) Gonzalez
2) Kramer
3) Sampras
4) Connors
5) McEnroe

ALLTIME (a joke)
1) Tilden
2) Gonzalez
3) Kramer
4) Sampras
5) Budge
6) Connors
7) McEnroe
8) Vines
9) Riggs
10) Agassi
 
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#4
Jimmy Connors takes this one easily, IMHO. He had 268 weeks at #1, which is incredible. he also played in 6 slam events in 1974-1975 and he went to the final for each event. And his 3 slam titles in 3 slam events played in 1974 was incredible as well.
I think it’s close between him and Mac. But I give the edge to Connors because of what he did for the game here. He was always a crowd favorite and his 1991 US Open will be remembered for a long time.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
#5
I think it’s close between him and Mac. But I give the edge to Connors because of what he did for the game here. He was always a crowd favorite and his 1991 US Open will be remembered for a long time.
Mac was my favorite player growing up. I loved the way that he played. Also, he was 3-1 in slams vs Borg. And Mac had arguably the best season ever by going 82-3 in 1984. But Connors' longevity and ability to go to a slam semi at age 39 was unreal, along with his 268 weeks at #1. But either way, I'd have no problem with somebody picking Mac over Connors. I loved tennis in the 1980's. I like it even more now, mainly due to the fact that I can watch so many more matches on the tennis channel, along with having access to internet to learn more about the players.
 
#6
Mac was my favorite player growing up. I loved the way that he played. Also, he was 3-1 in slams vs Borg. And Mac had arguably the best season ever by going 82-3 in 1984. But Connors' longevity and ability to go to a slam semi at age 39 was unreal, along with his 268 weeks at #1. But either way, I'd have no problem with somebody picking Mac over Connors. I loved tennis in the 1980's. I like it even more now, mainly due to the fact that I can watch so many more matches on the tennis channel, along with having access to internet to learn more about the players.
Mac is my favorite all time player. And I disnt even start watching tennis until he was well past his prime. So fun to watch on so many levels. But I gave the edge to Connors because without him I don’t think we get the tennis boom of the 70s and 80s.
 
#11
Yes and while we’re at it let’s make it clear. The greatest basketball player isn’t Jordan or James it’s George Mikan

The greatest football player isn’t Tom Brady or Joe Montana it’s Jim Thorpe

Tiger woods isn’t the greatest golfer either. Bobby Jones obviously.

And the greatest baseball player isn’t Mays or or DiMaggio. It was Ty Cobb or maybe that guy who played first base for the 1879 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Did you know he played with a 128 oz bat?

I mean in all seriousness how is Gonzales a GOAT candidate if Sampras isn’t? And Tilden? Really? Ok I’m sure he was good but they played tennis in pants in those days. How hard could they really have been playing?

Now cue the guys who will tell me I’m an idiot and I don’t know anything about tennis and blah blah blah.

This isn’t to dis Pancho. I think the dude was nails but film of him playing is pretty hard to find. And call me crazy but I think the reports of his contemporaries might not be the most objective way to assess how he compared with people playing a game that was much larger and more globalized than the pro tour he played on which was sooooo much smaller than the ATP tour Sampras played in.
 
#12
Most would not agree Pete is number one. Most knowledgable people would have Gonzales at #1.

Pete might be 2nd to Gonzales, but even that you could argue as Tilden, or even McEnroe or Connors.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#15
Open era it's JC. While Mac was more talented and Andre had the career slam, JC won more events consistently over a long period of time. Andre played nearly as long, but was not very consistent in the early-to-mid segment of his long career. JC also did win GS on 4 surfaces, even w/out the FO. Beating Borg on green clay (2 yrs in a row, actually) should not be discounted. And, getting the better of Mac in a Wimbledon final is/was impressive. Pre Open, you have to consider Tilden and Gonzales. Both were giants, with troubled personal lives, unfortunately.
 
#19
I'd probably debate on you that one and counter with Jack Nicklaus, but otherwise I pretty much agree :)
Nicklaus is way over Tiger. He played in a much tougher era- his main rivals were all time greats Palmer, Player, Ballesteros, Watson, while Woods faced no all time greats, and still has more majors and probably always will have more majors.

People are scared to point out Tiger played in an unusually weak era with second tier golfers like Mickelson, Els, Love as his biggest rivals since they are scared of bogus racism charges probably.

I would put Bobby Jones over Tiger too, and possibly Palmer.
 
#20
I'd put Gonzales 1st, Tilden 2nd and Sampras 3rd.
Everyone on this forum puts Gonzales up there with Federer and Laver now. It's like posters are not people, but sheep, who blindly follow the accepted forum wisdom of those three as the all-time top 3.

I've seen nothing to convince me that Gonzales was greater than Sampras. He's basically a pre-Open Era version of the same player, IMHO.
 
#21
Wasnt Bill Tilden both a pedophile and gay though?
Firstly, I wouldn't rank players by their character, so Tilden's being a paedophile wouldn't affect where he was placed on my GOAT list (I understand that some others would not feel the same way though).

Secondly, what does the fact that he was gay have to do with anything?
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#22
Everyone on this forum puts Gonzales up there with Federer and Laver now. It's like posters are not people, but sheep, who blindly follow the accepted forum wisdom of those three as the all-time top 3.

I've seen nothing to convince me that Gonzales was greater than Sampras. He's basically a pre-Open Era version of the same player, IMHO.
no, its just you who refuses to see even when things are right in front of him.

Firstly Gonzales' longevity was considerably better than Sampras'.

Secondly Gonzales was #1 for longer than Sampras was. (52,54-60)

Thirdly Gonzales was clearly better than Sampras on clay, something which you refuse to consider as significant.

the first part is speculation, upto you. But the 2nd part isn't true.

Gonzales was clearly better than Sampras on clay.

Gonzales won atleast 18 tournaments on clay - 3 as an amateur + 15 in the pros (including 2 over Laver and 2 over Rosewall).

made 2 pro tour finals on clay (losing to Trabert in 5 and Rosewall in 4 respectively).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Gonzales_career_statistics

Sampras in comparison won a measly 3 titles on clay and best he did at RG was a SF.
Gonzales made a SF at RG at 40 years of age in 68, beating Emerson in the QF.
to which your response was :

Neither man won a clay major. No discernible difference in their clay prowess to me.
ok, so Soderling (who beat prime Nadal and Federer at RG) = Roddick on clay ?
no discernable difference since neither of them won a clay major.

just because you don't see want to see that as a significant enough difference doesn't mean others can't.

and this is with Gonzales not being able to play clay majors consistently at his peak.
Otherwise, its very likely he'd have won atleast 1 clay court major.
 
#23
no, its just you who refuses to see even when things are right in front of him.

Firstly Gonzales' longevity was considerably better than Sampras'.

Secondly Gonzales was #1 for longer than Sampras was. (52,54-60)

Thirdly Gonzales was clearly better than Sampras on clay, something which you refuse to consider as significant.
His longevity was greater, but it's not as if those extra years really added much to his legacy - he wasn't winning major titles in his 30s like Federer and Rosewall were, for instance.

Gonzales' 8 years as No 1 in a split field is no more impressive than Sampras's 6 years as No 1 in an Open field, IMHO. (Of course, they are both extremely impressive - but the point is that Gonzales' feat isn't on a higher plane than Sampras's).



to which your response was :



ok, so Soderling (who beat prime Nadal and Federer at RG) = Roddick on clay ?
no discernable difference since neither of them won a clay major.

just because you don't see want to see that as a significant enough difference doesn't mean others can't.

and this is with Gonzales not being able to play clay majors consistently at his peak.
Otherwise, its very likely he'd have won atleast 1 clay court major.
Oh lord, you've gone into digging up my old posts - no surprise given your obsessive and dogged nature. However, you shouldn't state hypotheticals to elevate another player ("he'd very likely have won at least 1 clay court major") - that's the sign of a poor analyst.
 
#24
8 years at #1 definitely > 6. The best players in the world were always pro at the time so it is not like anyone who was amateur would have denied Gonzales any of his 8 years at #1 anyway. Hoad and Rosewall couldnt even do it those last few years after going pro, older, and presumably better players, they wouldnt have done it earlier. Considering Sampras's 6th YE #1 was the poorest one in history, it makes the difference even more clear.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#25
His longevity was greater, but it's not as if those extra years really added much to his legacy - he wasn't winning major titles in his 30s like Federer and Rosewall were, for instance.
oh yes, they did.
Sampras won his 2nd last title in Wim 2000 at ~29 years of age.
Making 2 USO finals and winning USO in the end were his significant achievements after that. No Masters 1000, no YEC final.


In his 30s (counting only from 59 onwards when he was 30.5), Gonzales :

Won World series 59, US Pro 59, Sydney 59, LA Masters Pro, world #1
Dominated World series 60, world #1
Dominated World series 61, won (depleted) US Pro in 61.
Won White Plains 64 (arguably the most important tournament of 64 after the 3 pro majors), US Pro final in 64.
Won CBS Pro TV series 65
LA Pro Ch. 68
Pacific Southwest Open, Las Vegas in 69
Las Vegas 70
Pacific Southwest Open 71

All of these are 1000 level or above.

59, he managed to hold off Hoad in the World series
60 , he dominated prime Rosewall in the World series
The fact that he did that are really important parts of his legacy.

Also, the players admired Gonzales for his longevity for sticking through at such an old age and still doing well, including playing phenomenal in some matches. Read Laver's book to see examples of that.

Federer's 2014-2015 added to his legacy. As did Agassi's 04-05. So did Gonzales' later years.


Gonzales' 8 years as No 1 in a split field is no more impressive than Sampras's 6 years as No 1 in an Open field, IMHO. (Of course, they are both extremely impressive - but the point is that Gonzales' feat isn't on a higher plane than Sampras's).
The best players in the world were in the pros. So its unlikely any of the amateur guys would've unseated/helped unseat Gonzales from #1 spot.
Its one thing for amateurs to cut into some tournaments by winning some of them, but that wouldn't likely take away Gonzales from #1 spot.


Oh lord, you've gone into digging up my old posts - no surprise given your obsessive and dogged nature. However, you shouldn't state hypotheticals to elevate another player ("he'd very likely have won at least 1 clay court major") - that's the sign of a poor analyst.
no, its not. It needs to be mentioned when comparing them on a surface when its not an apples to apples comparision. (even considering split fields, the difference in # titles for Gonzales/Sampras is too much)
Also notice I first stated the clear difference in their actual claycourt achievements ....then only went to the hypothetical.
 
#26
oh yes, they did.
Sampras won his 2nd last title in Wim 2000 at ~29 years of age.
Making 2 USO finals and winning USO in the end were his significant achievements after that. No Masters 1000, no YEC final.


In his 30s (counting only from 59 onwards when he was 30.5), Gonzales :

Won World series 59, US Pro 59, Sydney 59, LA Masters Pro, world #1
Dominated World series 60, world #1
Dominated World series 61, won (depleted) US Pro in 61.
Won White Plains 64 (arguably the most important tournament of 64 after the 3 pro majors), US Pro final in 64.
Won CBS Pro TV series 65
LA Pro Ch. 68
Pacific Southwest Open, Las Vegas in 69
Las Vegas 70
Pacific Southwest Open 71

All of these are 1000 level or above.

59, he managed to hold off Hoad in the World series
60 , he dominated prime Rosewall in the World series
The fact that he did that are really important parts of his legacy.

Also, the players admired Gonzales for his longevity for sticking through at such an old age and still doing well, including playing phenomenal in some matches. Read Laver's book to see examples of that.
Gonzales's major winning span was 1948-1961, Sampras's was 1990-2002. I don't see much difference there. Yes he won some Masters equivalents in later years, and played phenomenally occasionally (i.e. in the famous 1969 Wimbledon match vs. Pasarell), but I wouldn't say these things are relevant at the GOAT level.

Federer's 2014-2015 added to his legacy. As did Agassi's 04-05. So did Gonzales' later years.
Not much.

The best players in the world were in the pros. So its unlikely any of the amateur guys would've unseated/helped unseat Gonzales from #1 spot.
Its one thing for amateurs to cut into some tournaments by winning some of them, but that wouldn't likely take away Gonzales from #1 spot.
It's harder to win tournaments and maintain your place at the top of the game, when you're facing a larger field who have greater professionalism. Thus I don't consider Gonzales's 8 years as No 1 more impressive than Sampras's 6.

no, its not. It needs to be mentioned when comparing them on a surface when its not an apples to apples comparision. (even considering split fields, the difference in # titles for Gonzales/Sampras is too much)
Also notice I first stated the clear difference in their actual claycourt achievements ....then only went to the hypothetical.
Sure, Pancho won more clay court titles than Pete - but never a clay major, which is what someone at the GOAT level should do.

Feel free to place him marginally greater than Pete, but not in a different class with Federer and Laver. They are the true big 2 all-time, with Gonzales in the group just behind, along with Sampras and several others.
 
#27
Even if one wants to say Gonzales isnt that superior to Sampras, I doubt anyone can come up with a single concrete reason why Sampras should or even could rank higher than Gonzales.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#28
Gonzales's major winning span was 1948-1961, Sampras's was 1990-2002. I don't see much difference there. Yes he won some Masters equivalents in later years, and played phenomenally occasionally (i.e. in the famous 1969 Wimbledon match vs. Pasarell), but I wouldn't say these things are relevant at the GOAT level.
Firstly, these are relevant , even more so at those ages.
If you don't want to consider them as relevant, that's upto you. Doesn't mean others have to agree with you.
And lets not even compare Sampras' 01-02 to Gonzales 60,61.


oh yes, by a significant amount.
again, same as above.


It's harder to win tournaments and maintain your place at the top of the game, when you're facing a larger field who have greater professionalism. Thus I don't consider Gonzales's 8 years as No 1 more impressive than Sampras's 6.
Just because you don't consider it so (wrongly) doesn't mean others can't consider Gonzales' more # of years at #1 as a clear factor. I've already explained why.


ISure, Pancho won more clay court titles than Pete - but never a clay major, which is what someone at the GOAT level should do.
Except there was no clay major in 52-55, 57. That's 5 chances gone for Gonzales.
he made 2 French pro finals -- 56 (losing in 5 to Trabert) and 61 (losing in 4 to Rosewall). Both competitive finals. And even made RG semi at 40 years of age, FFS.
Won quite a few claycourt titles, including beating everyone of worth on clay -- Rosewall, Laver, Trabert etc. so many times.
What more do you expect from him to prove his claycourt calibre ? You expect him to win a clay major given he lost 5 shots at it when he had a realistic shot ?
He's defo. not at Fed/Djokovic level on clay for instance, but sure as well was good enough to win a CC major, if he had his full set of chances.

IFeel free to place him marginally greater than Pete, but not in a different class with Federer and Laver. They are the true big 2 all-time, with Gonzales in the group just behind, along with Sampras and several others.
I just place it as Federer, Laver, Gonzales, Tilden, Nadal etc...
But to me Gonzales is clearly above Sampras.
 
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#30
8 years at #1 definitely > 6. The best players in the world were always pro at the time so it is not like anyone who was amateur would have denied Gonzales any of his 8 years at #1 anyway. Hoad and Rosewall couldnt even do it those last few years after going pro, older, and presumably better players, they wouldnt have done it earlier. Considering Sampras's 6th YE #1 was the poorest one in history, it makes the difference even more clear.
TennisBase has Hoad gaining number one spot in 1960, Gonzales second.
 
#34
The disputes continue but maybe some guys forgot how the thread is called - "Who is the second greatest US player?"
Next to Gonz, Sampras, Tilden it seems that also Bill Johnston and Don Budge were not Americans.
Is it true that big Mac has Irish roots?
Not sure what your point is with these posts.

Unless of course you think all the great tennis players have been African, since all humans originated from Africa ultimately.
 
#37
Phoenix, I can see your points to why Gonzales is not that superior to Sampras after all, I have actually demoted Gonzales on my ranking lists based on reading a lot of your comments. However just out of curiosity what is the specific reason/thing you rank Gonzales over Sampras based upon? I can see the logic for him not being a tier higher or way above Sampras some have, I havent been convinced or shown to a specific reason to rank him higher though. Of course you are free to, I just havent ever seen the specific reason you do, unless it is just gut feeling related.
 
#38
It's a tough call for me between Connors and Agassi.

They both finished their careers with 8 grand slams and also played well into their 30s (Connors was over 40 when he retired.)

I think I'd have to give it to Connors. He had a far more consistent career than Andre Agassi and won nearly twice as many titles.
 
#41
It's arguable that Connors was better than Pete
Few would disagree but I dont think it is as far fetched as some think. Connors > Sampras at the U.S Open which is Sampras's 2nd best slam by far. Connors > Sampras on clay for sure. Connors overall > Sampras on hard courts. Sampras is superior on grass and carpet, but Connors unlike Sampras was excellent on all surfaces. And Connors won 8 slams in an era he basically played only 2.5 per year (he missed almost every Australian, and the French in his best years from 74-78).
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#42
It's arguable that Connors was better than Pete
It's arguable that Connors was better than Pete
That's a little hard to fathom, and I'm a Connors fan. While there are some accomplishments in the JC resume that I'm sure Pete would like to have, I think most put Sampras ahead. Unique to JC are # of titles (obviously) and a GS on clay, albeit green, but over Borg, which is pretty special. And 3 USO surfaces....but I don't think anyone has a shot at that, ever again. Unique timing.
 
#44
That's a little hard to fathom, and I'm a Connors fan. While there are some accomplishments in the JC resume that I'm sure Pete would like to have, I think most put Sampras ahead. Unique to JC are # of titles (obviously) and a GS on clay, albeit green, but over Borg, which is pretty special. And 3 USO surfaces....but I don't think anyone has a shot at that, ever again. Unique timing.
He went a year winning every single Slam match he played. Single season records too.
109 career titles is an unbeatable record (one of the few kept safe from Federer), as well as the match wins record. Winning matches and titles are the fundamental building blocks of tennis, and Connors has the record for both. Also Sampras never did much on clay, while Connors was the first ever to win Slams on all 3 surfaces.
Also very close in weeks at #1. Both dominated for many years on end. This is why Connors and Lendl are heavily underrated; they dominated for so long even though they only won 8 Slams.
I'd say it's nearly a tie between them. Both edge out Borg by a bit for dominance, longevity, and volume-based records.
 
#45
He went a year winning every single Slam match he played. Single season records too.
109 career titles is an unbeatable record (one of the few kept safe from Federer), as well as the match wins record. Winning matches and titles are the fundamental building blocks of tennis, and Connors has the record for both. Also Sampras never did much on clay, while Connors was the first ever to win Slams on all 3 surfaces.
Also very close in weeks at #1. Both dominated for many years on end. This is why Connors and Lendl are heavily underrated; they dominated for so long even though they only won 8 Slams.
I'd say it's nearly a tie between them. Both edge out Borg by a bit for dominance, longevity, and volume-based records.
Career titles are not a good indicator of achievement.

Title = title = title = title? Give me a break.

There has to be some indicator of quality...I would propose wins over top twenty players, for which we have good data allowing a comparison of players over the decades.
 
#49
POST WARII
1) Gonzalez
2) Kramer
3) Sampras
4) Connors
5) McEnroe

ALLTIME (a joke)
1) Tilden
2) Gonzalez
3) Kramer
4) Sampras
5) Budge
6) Connors
7) McEnroe
8) Vines
9) Riggs
10) Agassi
Right idea, Id update as:

PRE-OPEN

1) Gonzalez
2) Kramer
3) Budge
4) Vines
5) Riggs

OPEN

1) Sampras
2) McEnroe
3) Connors
4) Agassi
5) Courier
 
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