Who will still be considered a GOAT contender in 100 years' time?

mattennis

Hall of Fame
Well, yes, sometimes the Year-End-Nº1 is a close battle between two (sometimes even three) players (for example, Courier-Edberg-Sampras in 1992, Sampras-Agassi in 1995, Sampras-Rios in 1998, Roddick-Federer-Ferrero in 2003, Federer-Nadal in 2009, Nadal-Djokovic in 2013...).

But close finishes also happen in GS tournaments. Nadal-Federer Wimbledon 2008 was almost a tie. Do you want to make them co-winners of 2008 Wimbledon? Do you want to make Nadal and Djokovic co-winners of 2012 Australian Open too?

One unique player has to be the one who wins a given GS tournament, and also one unique player has to be the one who amasses the most ranking points during any given year.

Another different thing is that you may not like the ranking-system for a given period. For example, many people don't like the ATP ranking prior to 1990, when it was an average of points obtained in sanctioned tournaments. But whether you like it or not, Connors was the one who obtained more points (under that averaged ranking system) in 1977 and 1978 (some people try to give those years to Vilas and Borg respectively saying that in a non-averaged ranking system they would have been above Connors; it may be true, but players competed under those rules then and I think it is unfair to change it retrospectively).

For example, if in 2020 they change again the ranking system (because it has been changed so many times, it could happen again) and under that new system some people evaluate past years and they find that, for example, in 2003 Ferrero would have been the nº1 under the new system. Do you think it would be fair to Roddick to "give" (retrospectively) that Year-End-Nº1 to Ferrero?.

Players (top-players) knew (in their time) what kind of results (during the last weeks of every year) they had to achieve to get their Year-End-Nº1 (under the ranking system they were playing), so it is unfair to take out or give Year-End-Nº1 based on ranking system of the future (or any period of time different than that of those players).

Anyway, I don't even try to compare players from different eras. For me the only sensible thing is comparing players from the same era and call some players "the best of their era".
 

ARFED

Professional
I find it strange that people often talks about co#1 (1961,64,70,71,99 are just examples) but omit the latest, somehow controversial, year. What about 2003? If Sampras was the number 1 for 1999 then Federer has a case for 2003. After all he leads the hth with Roddick for that year 2-1. He won 2 of the top 5 tournaments of the year, beating Roddick in both. If the ATP rankings didn`t exist in 2003 Federer probably would had been regarded the #1 player of that year.

BTW i do believe that Roddick deserves the number 1 spot, but if players like Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez, Sampras, etc, are being awarded with the benefit of the doubt, then why not apply the same logic with Federer and the 2003 year.
He had a very similar year as Ashe in 1975 who is widely regarded as the top plyer for that year
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
My apologies, NatF. I was skimming the thread and it does look like I misunderstood you.

BobbyOne, on the other hand.... :twisted:

NonP, What should BobbyOne apologize for? I'm convinced he did understand your's and other's posts including even a few curious ones from pc1 recently....
 
My all time rankings are:

1. Laver
2. Gonzales
3. Nadal
4. Federer
5. Rosewall
6. Tilden
7. Budge
8. Borg
9. Sampras
10. Lendl and Kramer
 
For women:

1. Navratilova
2. Serena
3. Evert
4. Court
5. Seles (was better than Graf, results before stab proof)
6. Graf
7. Lenglen
8. Wills Moody
9. Henin
10. Venus, Connoly, King all tied
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
I really don't think that's necessary, again for the simple reason that it was all but impossible to rack up that many titles in more recent years. I mean, players don't even enter 18 events in a single year these days, let alone win them all.

And even if that were possible it'd be a quixotic undertaking now. You can't penalize today's tour for not being jam-packed with mandatory work like a sweat shop, just as you can't penalize yesterday's system for featuring one-on-one tours. Again the important thing is having some common frame of reference, otherwise comparisons are futile.

Abmk,

It was a number I thought that would be impressive to the layman tennis fan a century from now. There's no need for deep analysis or thought. It looks impressive like Cy Young's 511 wins in baseball. You're doing too deep an analysis on this. It's opinion and you could pick something else. It's not really that important. I just think it's the toughest record of Laver's to break. I think his two Grand Slams are more vulnerable but that's just my opinion.

This reminds me how the French deeply analyze the depth and meaning behind Jerry Lewis films when Jerry Lewis said all he wanted to do was be funny.
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/07/french-love-jerry-lewis-paris

I don't follow baseball much, so giving me those comparisons is futile. :)

As far as the number being impressive is concerned, that precisely is the 'problem' -- it shouldn't be taken at face value ....nor any other numbers for that matter.

I'd want to see the strength of the fields for those titles, compare with rosewall/gonzales -- at around the same time ... to see how much further Laver was in that regard

NonP, you surely know that I know that. That wasn't the point of me wanting to look into it in more detail ---- it was more so for a comparison within that time-frame itself ...
 

Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
Actually my point was that the year-end point is NOT arbitrary. Why do you think a 52-week (not a random number) rolling system has existed for so long? What's in fact arbitrary is downgrading the importance of one time-honored institution while embracing another. That's the irony and self-contradiction I talked about.

Also these arguments weaken the value of the official rankings. One can and does have different criteria for their own rankings, and with good reason.

A 52-weeks rolling system is arbitrary but not random. It is derived from the calendar, which is a very strong institution. That's the same reason for the end of year bilan. Making a bilan at that time is arbitrary, but comes from the tradition of the calendar.

Now what to me is very arbitrary and only semi-useful for the sake of analyzing tennis is: why being number 1 at a precise time in the year has more value than being number 1 at another time of the year?

Let's say we put on the pedestal the week just following Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament: I'm sure the "map" of the year end number 1 would be very different. Yet these new YE number 1 would be evaluated on the last 52 weeks of tennis played, just as it is now, with the final line being set at a different place (for the same length of race).

And of course your arguments weaken the official ranking which have many faults, especially in comparison of several decades. But frankly I have never seen someone say that Federer should be ranked higher on a Goat list because he has more weeks number 1! This statistics is only used for players who played after its introduction, and with prudence for the 70's (although I like Mattennis views on this).

But recently have you a strong problem with the ranking system? Do you feel it didn't identify the best player accurately?
 

Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
The probably with weeks at #1 though is:

1. They didnt even exist until 1975. How can you compare that stat for Laver, Gonzales, Rosewall, Tilden, Budge and many others.

2. In reference to some people, but Borg imparticular, there is no way to look at his weeks at #1 as a valid total. Connors spent far more time at #1 than Borg, even though most everyone believes Borg was the best player of that era and the best in the world a longer period of time than Connors was. There are lesser instances too like Nadal getting credited for only about 10 weeks at #1 in 2013 despite clearly being the best player that year, but the Borg case is really extreme. Connors was #1 all but 1 week until sometime in mid 1979 (from when he first took it sometime in 1974) and that was plainly put crazy and an injustice to Borg (and others such as Vilas and Ashe), and cant be even partially reflected to reality.

1. You don't compare that stat for Laver, Gonzales, etc. You don't compare the Master 1000 either, not the MC, etc.

2. For Borg and Connors, see my post above. For Nadal, it is normal that he was credited for only a few weeks in 2013 despite being (to me) the clear cut best player of the year precisely because of how the ranking system work: it doesn't give an accurate picture of the form of the moment, but of the form of the last 52 weeks. And Nadal had missed so many weeks that he had to wait a long time before taking the top spot. And don't worry for him: he will ripe the reward of his 2013 season in 2014, because he will get a lot of week at number 1 thanks to his incredible summer 2013.
 

DMP

Professional
Well, yes, sometimes the Year-End-Nº1 is a close battle between two (sometimes even three) players (for example, Courier-Edberg-Sampras in 1992, Sampras-Agassi in 1995, Sampras-Rios in 1998, Roddick-Federer-Ferrero in 2003, Federer-Nadal in 2009, Nadal-Djokovic in 2013...).

But close finishes also happen in GS tournaments. Nadal-Federer Wimbledon 2008 was almost a tie. Do you want to make them co-winners of 2008 Wimbledon? Do you want to make Nadal and Djokovic co-winners of 2012 Australian Open too?

One unique player has to be the one who wins a given GS tournament, and also one unique player has to be the one who amasses the most ranking points during any given year.

But there is a fundamental difference, which is that for a tournament everything is equal - all players enter and it is played at a known date. Whereas over a year players can, and do, enter different tournaments with different degrees of difficulty. In those circumstances can you reall say that Player A with 12,200 points has clearly shown themselves better than Player B with 12,000?

And that is my point. I notice that what I will call 'old' metrics - such as total tournaments won, or Pro majors won - are subject to questioning. As they should be. But 'modern' shiny metrics like slam total, weeks at #, and YE #1 get more of a free pass. Yet those last two can be massaged, especially if things are close.

So coming back to the OP I think pertinent questions are

- what do 'modern' metrics like slam total, weeks at #1, and YE #1 actually mean?
- are they robust measures of achievement?
- will they survive as metrics for 100 years?

100 years is a veeery long time. If you had asked 50 years what metrics people would use to judge great players, and who would still be considered, how many of the 'modern' metrics used now would have been mentioned?
 

Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
But there is a fundamental difference, which is that for a tournament everything is equal - all players enter and it is played at a known date. Whereas over a year players can, and do, enter different tournaments with different degrees of difficulty. In those circumstances can you reall say that Player A with 12,200 points has clearly shown themselves better than Player B with 12,000?

And that is my point. I notice that what I will call 'old' metrics - such as total tournaments won, or Pro majors won - are subject to questioning. As they should be. But 'modern' shiny metrics like slam total, weeks at #, and YE #1 get more of a free pass. Yet those last two can be massaged, especially if things are close.

So coming back to the OP I think pertinent questions are

- what do 'modern' metrics like slam total, weeks at #1, and YE #1 actually mean?
- are they robust measures of achievement?
- will they survive as metrics for 100 years?

100 years is a veeery long time. If you had asked 50 years what metrics people would use to judge great players, and who would still be considered, how many of the 'modern' metrics used now would have been mentioned?

You point another weakness of the ranking system. It is very dependent of the results of the other players: how are the points distributed between rivals?

Typical exemple is 1998, whith Sampras winning Wimbledon and 3 other small tournaments, Rios who failed at slams but won several Masters 1000, Corretja who was consistent, etc.

On the other hand, Nadal in 2005 won more than 10 tournaments, including one slam and several masters 1000 (4 I think), yet it wasn't enough for him to get to the top spot.

So every week at number 1 and especially every year end ranking doesn't mean the same: 1999 YE is not equivalent to 2000 YE or 2004 YE.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
If you had asked 50 years what metrics people would use to judge great players, and who would still be considered, how many of the 'modern' metrics used now would have been mentioned?

The answer is almost none of them - only exception possibly being how many Wimbledon titles somebody had won.

50 years ago, things like winning the head-to-head tours in the pro game, and winning the Davis Cup in the amateurs, were of great importance. Being considered the #1 was still important, but there were no official metrics to determine that status. Slam counting was not important. And of course, Masters/YEC had not even been invented.

100 years is a veeery long time.

It is.

Tilden was probably first considered the GOAT around about the mid-1920s, so he has been part of the discussion for 90 years. He will probably be the first man about whom we can legitimately say, "he was still a GOAT contender 100 years after his prime".
 

mattennis

Hall of Fame
You point another weakness of the ranking system. It is very dependent of the results of the other players: how are the points distributed between rivals?

Typical exemple is 1998, whith Sampras winning Wimbledon and 3 other small tournaments, Rios who failed at slams but won several Masters 1000, Corretja who was consistent, etc.

On the other hand, Nadal in 2005 won more than 10 tournaments, including one slam and several masters 1000 (4 I think), yet it wasn't enough for him to get to the top spot.

So every week at number 1 and especially every year end ranking doesn't mean the same: 1999 YE is not equivalent to 2000 YE or 2004 YE.


Heck, you can say exactly the same about GS tournaments. If a player wins a GS tournament without losing a single set, some will say he had it very easy because everybody else was playing like crap (as many say about some of Nadal's RG titles), and when one player wins a GS tournament having won several gruelling 5 setters some will say it was amazing to win that GS tournament in such a strong field of players (like Edberg in 1992 US OPEN).

With the Year_End_Nº1 it is the same. If Nadal wins 11 tournaments (1 GS and 4 M-1000 ) and still ends nº2, some will say the nº3-nº20 were absolutely crap to allow the top-2 to win that much. Whereas if one year the top-5 (or top-10 ) end very similar in points neither of them winning more than 5 tournaments, some will say it was an amazing competed year.

Of course some will say exactly the opposite.
 

Steve132

Professional
Well, yes, sometimes the Year-End-Nº1 is a close battle between two (sometimes even three) players (for example, Courier-Edberg-Sampras in 1992, Sampras-Agassi in 1995, Sampras-Rios in 1998, Roddick-Federer-Ferrero in 2003, Federer-Nadal in 2009, Nadal-Djokovic in 2013...).

In 2009 Federer won two majors and lost five set finals in the other two. You could say that he was two sets away from completing a calendar year Grand Slam. Nadal won one major and did not reach another final. Neither won the WTF, but Federer had a substantial lead in ranking points. As far as I know there has never been any controversy about who was No. 1 for the year. Why should this be considered a close race?
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
In 2009 Federer won two majors and lost five set finals in the other two. You could say that he was two sets away from completing a calendar year Grand Slam. Nadal won one major and did not reach another final. Neither won the WTF, but Federer had a substantial lead in ranking points. As far as I know there has never been any controversy about who was No. 1 for the year. Why should this be considered a close race?

There has been no controversy and IMO federer was well and truly #1 , but

IIRC, if nadal had won the YEC and federer had lost every RR match, nadal would've been YE #1 in 09.

difference being that nadal's performance in master series tournaments was clearly better ....
 

NonP

Legend
I am going to start by apologising for having a bit of a rant above :). I really, really, hate YE #1, :) and how it is used.

Anyway...the answer to your comment above is Yes you are right, but...

To simplify things imagine 2 players A,B, and C. They compete for 36,000 ranking points in a year.

Year 1: They have identical records and each gain 12,000 points, but player A chooses to play an extra small tournament and picks up 200 additional points. So they end up with A- 12,200 points, B- 12,000, C-12,000. Year end #1 is Player A.

Year 2: Similar end of year, but this time player C plays a different extra tournament and gets an extra 200 points. So they end up with A- 12,000 points, B- 12,000, C-12,200. Year end #1 is Player C.

Year 3: A repeat of Year 1

Year 4: A repeat of Year 2.

At the end of 4 years Player A has been YE #1 twice, and Player C also twice, but Player B has zero YE #1. Yet what is the real difference between the players?

The flaw is that what you state is only true if they play exactly the same tournaments, and they don't have to. Hence you can get discrepancies like I describe above, and hence my intense dislike for YE # 1 as a metric, because it is flawed and because it is so often seen as a hard cut-off when differences between players can be small.

Now in fact YE # 1 can be an accurate measure of who is the # for the year, but I am probably giving my age away because I much prefer the 'old' measure of Number One for the Year, and especially the argument for shared years, because I believe that is a more accurate representation of how things actually do work out.

I thought you made a typo and were referring to weeks as #1 when you said "for the year." I see your point now, and we don't really disagree much then. As mattennis pointed out YE #1 and #1 for the year mean pretty much the same thing in practice, if not necessarily in theory, and when I say someone was YE #1 for a particular year I always mean he was #1 for the year.

Now there are certainly instances where the differences are small between the top contenders. I've actually said before that I can support awarding co-#1s in such instances... provided that we apply this standard across the board, to all years in question. One of the beefs I have with some of our fellow posters (yes, the "historians") is that they assign co-#1s to pre-Open era guys like Tilden and Rosewall but fail to do the same for post-'68 candidates, which naturally makes the old-timers look better (and, of course, the Open-era guys worse) than they really are, and which in turn makes for misleading comparisons.

So yes, shared #1 years are fine as long as they're assigned consistently. Again the important thing is having a common frame of reference that allows you to draw educated conclusions.

Another different thing is that you may not like the ranking-system for a given period. For example, many people don't like the ATP ranking prior to 1990, when it was an average of points obtained in sanctioned tournaments. But whether you like it or not, Connors was the one who obtained more points (under that averaged ranking system) in 1977 and 1978 (some people try to give those years to Vilas and Borg respectively saying that in a non-averaged ranking system they would have been above Connors; it may be true, but players competed under those rules then and I think it is unfair to change it retrospectively).

For example, if in 2020 they change again the ranking system (because it has been changed so many times, it could happen again) and under that new system some people evaluate past years and they find that, for example, in 2003 Ferrero would have been the nº1 under the new system. Do you think it would be fair to Roddick to "give" (retrospectively) that Year-End-Nº1 to Ferrero?.

Players (top-players) knew (in their time) what kind of results (during the last weeks of every year) they had to achieve to get their Year-End-Nº1 (under the ranking system they were playing), so it is unfair to take out or give Year-End-Nº1 based on ranking system of the future (or any period of time different than that of those players).

Now these are good points, and I definitely agree that official rankings shouldn't be dismissed wholesale. The example I've brought up before to make this very point is Fed losing to Roddick at '03 Canada Masters reportedly because he was too nervous about becoming #1 for the first time. Now would the outcome have been any different had there been no #1 ranking to pursue back then? Perhaps, but what's clear is that the absence of pressure makes it a (literally) different ball game.

But I don't think it necessarily unfair to question the official rankings as long as there's reasonable ground for this "revisionism," and perhaps more importantly, as long as it's based on the standards of the time in question, not on today's rules or, even worse, what will happen in the future. As usual stats should be used as a guide only and there are many legitimate ways to interpret them.

I find it strange that people often talks about co#1 (1961,64,70,71,99 are just examples) but omit the latest, somehow controversial, year. What about 2003? If Sampras was the number 1 for 1999 then Federer has a case for 2003. After all he leads the hth with Roddick for that year 2-1. He won 2 of the top 5 tournaments of the year, beating Roddick in both. If the ATP rankings didn`t exist in 2003 Federer probably would had been regarded the #1 player of that year.

BTW i do believe that Roddick deserves the number 1 spot, but if players like Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez, Sampras, etc, are being awarded with the benefit of the doubt, then why not apply the same logic with Federer and the 2003 year.
He had a very similar year as Ashe in 1975 who is widely regarded as the top plyer for that year

I actually do have Fed as #1 for 2003 for the reasons you stated. Also don't forget Ferrero, who came pretty darn close, too. (I covered 2003 in another post not too long ago. If interested people can click on my name, go back and look.)

And as I just explained I don't mind shared years as #1, either. I personally try to avoid them in my own rankings, but obviously people will have different opinions about particular years, if not different approaches in general altogether.

NonP, What should BobbyOne apologize for? I'm convinced he did understand your's and other's posts including even a few curious ones from pc1 recently....

Bobby, first of all I was tallking about me possibly apologizing, not you. And second... it was a joke! When people make faces you should know they're not being too serious.

NonP, you surely know that I know that. That wasn't the point of me wanting to look into it in more detail ---- it was more so for a comparison within that time-frame itself ...

Gotcha. I thought you were about to start a massive research project. :)

BTW do they even broadcast baseball in India? (On major cable channels, I mean. I know you can stream just about everything online.) I'm guessing cricket is the hot sport in your neck of the woods, and baseball near the rock bottom of the totem pole.

A 52-weeks rolling system is arbitrary but not random. It is derived from the calendar, which is a very strong institution. That's the same reason for the end of year bilan. Making a bilan at that time is arbitrary, but comes from the tradition of the calendar.

Now what to me is very arbitrary and only semi-useful for the sake of analyzing tennis is: why being number 1 at a precise time in the year has more value than being number 1 at another time of the year?

Let's say we put on the pedestal the week just following Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament: I'm sure the "map" of the year end number 1 would be very different. Yet these new YE number 1 would be evaluated on the last 52 weeks of tennis played, just as it is now, with the final line being set at a different place (for the same length of race).

Except that this new "calendar map" won't have the strength of centuries of practice to back it up. Also keep in mind that we're still dealing with the same if tweaked calendar year, the same 52 weeks' period. That should tell you that the year-end demarcation isn't entirely arbitrary (or random, if you prefer).

But recently have you a strong problem with the ranking system? Do you feel it didn't identify the best player accurately?

Usually the ATP rankings provide a pretty accurate summary. It's when the differences are small that things get hazy, especially if they don't conform with one's own standards (or bias, depending on your view). For example there's nothing that can convince me that Rios or Wozniacki was the true #1 at any point in time, despite what the rankings say. For me that one major title is the hurdle that a player must overcome to prove him/herself, and no Slamless wonder deserves to be ranked above a proven champion. (Now things would be rather different if we were talking 2 Slams vs. 1, but I digress.)
 

NonP

Legend
You point another weakness of the ranking system. It is very dependent of the results of the other players: how are the points distributed between rivals?

Typical exemple is 1998, whith Sampras winning Wimbledon and 3 other small tournaments, Rios who failed at slams but won several Masters 1000, Corretja who was consistent, etc.

On the other hand, Nadal in 2005 won more than 10 tournaments, including one slam and several masters 1000 (4 I think), yet it wasn't enough for him to get to the top spot.

So every week at number 1 and especially every year end ranking doesn't mean the same: 1999 YE is not equivalent to 2000 YE or 2004 YE.

It's a specious comparison, and let me elaborate since '98 tends to come up a lot in YE #1 discussions.

The fallacy, again, lies in using the standards of one era to evaluate another by direct transposition of results, which presents several problems:

- For this comparison to be fair one must assume that players A and B (Pete and Rafa in this case) played in similar conditions, but of course this is never the case. So the usual hypothetical is, let's place Pete in Rafa's stead and vice versa. That should take care of the problem, right? (Never mind that it's a hypothetical to begin with.) Well, no, because Pete was #1 and Rafa was not, so in this scenario Pete would be competing against his supposedly strongest rival (Fed) while Rafa would be playing relatively weaker contenders (no Pete to worry about).

- Notice that we're just talking about competition and haven't even taken into account the different courts, technology, etc. Do keep in mind, according to the armchair critics Rafa would barely be an upgraded version of Bruguera in the '90s whereas Pete would struggle to crack the top 10 today. Now frankly these people are just clueless and I've pointed out many times that the effects of the so-called slow surfaces and advanced racquets are grossly exaggerated (the stats do bear this out), but you can see how this hypothetical would be distorted by one's bias.

- But let's say such a hypothetical is an acceptable way to compare the two players. OK, so we got one year taken care of. But why stop there? Since we're talking about these two players competing in diferent eras it's only fair to see how they'd do across the whole time frames, no? After all one result affects what happens next, which in turn affects the next outcome, and so on, and it's not fair to award one extra title or achievement based on this hypothetical but not take away another that the player might well have lost under the new circumstances. So Rafa might have ended one or two more years as #1 but also lost one or two Wimbledons or even FOs in the '90s, while Pete could have fallen short of his (official) record 6 straight years as #1 but at the same time bagged an extra Wimbledon or USO. And who's to say which scenario is more likely?

All this is why it's nonsensical to claim, "If not for player A or factor X he would...." A player's achievements can only be evaluated in the context of his own era, and comparisons with other eras should be based on, again, a common frame of reference or set of standards.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Now there are certainly instances where the differences are small between the top contenders. I've actually said before that I can support awarding co-#1s in such instances... provided that we apply this standard across the board, to all years in question. One of the beefs I have with some of our fellow posters (yes, the "historians") is that they assign co-#1s to pre-Open era guys like Tilden and Rosewall but fail to do the same for post-'68 candidates, which naturally makes the old-timers look better (and, of course, the Open-era guys worse) than they really are, and which in turn makes for misleading comparisons.

this ....

same applies for the amateur and pro slams - 'double counting' - a bias that is even more prevalent from what I've seen

BTW do they even broadcast baseball in India? (On major cable channels, I mean. I know you can stream just about everything online.) I'm guessing cricket is the hot sport in your neck of the woods, and baseball near the rock bottom of the totem pole.

I've seen it being broadcast in the sports channels. India has quite a few sports channels and the coverage of sports is pretty good.
 

NonP

Legend
this ....

same applies for the amateur and pro slams - 'double counting' - a bias that is even more prevalent from what I've seen

I actually think most people understand that amateur Slams weren't quite the same as the pro ones, and here the bias is very clear. The number of years as #1, on the other hand, is less well known and harder to dispute, which of course makes the bias even more dangerous.

I've seen it being broadcast in the sports channels. India has quite a few sports channels and the coverage of sports is pretty good.

I see. So what would you say is the most popular sport in India? I used to live in the Far East and still go back occasionally, and I can say baseball is huge in (South) Korea and Japan, in a way even more popular than football/soccer because it's probably the most popular spectator sport in both countries, with thriving pro leagues and tournaments and all. I suppose the same might be the case in India with regard to cricket and football.
 

Vensai

Professional
This also depends on how drastically the game changes in a 100 years. The courts might even get slower than now.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I thought you made a typo and were referring to weeks as #1 when you said "for the year." I see your point now, and we don't really disagree much then. As mattennis pointed out YE #1 and #1 for the year mean pretty much the same thing in practice, if not necessarily in theory, and when I say someone was YE #1 for a particular year I always mean he was #1 for the year.

Now there are certainly instances where the differences are small between the top contenders. I've actually said before that I can support awarding co-#1s in such instances... provided that we apply this standard across the board, to all years in question. One of the beefs I have with some of our fellow posters (yes, the "historians") is that they assign co-#1s to pre-Open era guys like Tilden and Rosewall but fail to do the same for post-'68 candidates, which naturally makes the old-timers look better (and, of course, the Open-era guys worse) than they really are, and which in turn makes for misleading comparisons.

So yes, shared #1 years are fine as long as they're assigned consistently. Again the important thing is having a common frame of reference that allows you to draw educated conclusions.



Now these are good points, and I definitely agree that official rankings shouldn't be dismissed wholesale. The example I've brought up before to make this very point is Fed losing to Roddick at '03 Canada Masters reportedly because he was too nervous about becoming #1 for the first time. Now would the outcome have been any different had there been no #1 ranking to pursue back then? Perhaps, but what's clear is that the absence of pressure makes it a (literally) different ball game.

But I don't think it necessarily unfair to question the official rankings as long as there's reasonable ground for this "revisionism," and perhaps more importantly, as long as it's based on the standards of the time in question, not on today's rules or, even worse, what will happen in the future. As usual stats should be used as a guide only and there are many legitimate ways to interpret them.



I actually do have Fed as #1 for 2003 for the reasons you stated. Also don't forget Ferrero, who came pretty darn close, too. (I covered 2003 in another post not too long ago. If interested people can click on my name, go back and look.)

And as I just explained I don't mind shared years as #1, either. I personally try to avoid them in my own rankings, but obviously people will have different opinions about particular years, if not different approaches in general altogether.



Bobby, first of all I was tallking about me possibly apologizing, not you. And second... it was a joke! When people make faces you should know they're not being too serious.



Gotcha. I thought you were about to start a massive research project. :)

BTW do they even broadcast baseball in India? (On major cable channels, I mean. I know you can stream just about everything online.) I'm guessing cricket is the hot sport in your neck of the woods, and baseball near the rock bottom of the totem pole.



Except that this new "calendar map" won't have the strength of centuries of practice to back it up. Also keep in mind that we're still dealing with the same if tweaked calendar year, the same 52 weeks' period. That should tell you that the year-end demarcation isn't entirely arbitrary (or random, if you prefer).



Usually the ATP rankings provide a pretty accurate summary. It's when the differences are small that things get hazy, especially if they don't conform with one's own standards (or bias, depending on your view). For example there's nothing that can convince me that Rios or Wozniacki was the true #1 at any point in time, despite what the rankings say. For me that one major title is the hurdle that a player must overcome to prove him/herself, and no Slamless wonder deserves to be ranked above a proven champion. (Now things would be rather different if we were talking 2 Slams vs. 1, but I digress.)

NonP, I know it was a joke but a rather strange one. You obviously suggested that I'm not able to understand what serious posters write...

If you really want to make a joke in that sense, you could rather address pc1 (for his recent posts towards me. I do know that pc1 is generally spoken a top tier poster, by the way)...

You seem to be a little devil ;-)
 

HRB

Hall of Fame
100 years? Probably some kid not even born yet...that's way too long of a time period to project. By then we may have a whole new landscape...the rise of the Asian Players, at the same time the sport declines in the Western World. A 5th or heck, even a 6th slam (Dubai, Beijing, South America)?

If American viewership continues to dwindle, and no American men rise there may even come a time when the US Open drop's and it get's taken away and re-located South of The Border or to Asia!!!

As it stands now if it wasn't for streams I wouldn't be able to see 10% of the tennis I watch, and only 10% that would be live.

It's my favorite sport to play and watch...as I imagine it is for all of us...but we are all tennis nerd's (affectionately..not an insult)...but I fear for the future...then I remind myself...I got 20-40 more years at most...SO WHO CARES..LOL!!!:twisted:
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
I actually think most people understand that amateur Slams weren't quite the same as the pro ones, and here the bias is very clear. The number of years as #1, on the other hand, is less well known and harder to dispute, which of course makes the bias even more dangerous.

oh some may understand it, but it does get disregarded many times ....the # of slams is a much more discussed thing than # of years these days. That's why I said its more prevalent.

I agree with your later statement.


I see. So what would you say is the most popular sport in India? I used to live in the Far East and still go back occasionally, and I can say baseball is huge in (South) Korea and Japan, in a way even more popular than football/soccer because it's probably the most popular spectator sport in both countries, with thriving pro leagues and tournaments and all. I suppose the same might be the case in India with regard to cricket and football.

cricket and no other sport comes close ..... next would be football ...
 

DMP

Professional
oh some may understand it, but it does get disregarded many times ....the # of slams is a much more discussed thing than # of years these days. That's why I said its more prevalent.

I agree with your later statement.
...


I am glad to read your comments and your discussion with NonP. Also other comments on my posts. I think everyone understands what I was saying.

I do have some sympathy for posters who write YE #1 because it is easier and quicker than writing eg 'Sampras has X years as #1 or co-#1'. Also YE #1 is a fact, not an opinion. It is just when it appears to be used as a grenade without qualification that I get concerned. I don't mind when it is used on the GPPD forum, but on this forum I expect (and enjoy) more informed discussion.

I don't think it is always necessary to qualify statements because, as you say, many achievements are generally recognised in this forum as having qualifications. It is just that I felt that YE #1 was in danger of getting too much of a free pass.

But most importantly for me, to use #1 or co-#1 for the year is to use a measurement which is universal and ties players of now to someone like Tilden all those years ago. I value it very highly.
 

Blocker

Professional
I agree Sampras is definitely not top 3 all time. Phoenix1983 is the only one I have seen recently who ever put him that high. How can be top 3 all time when most have Laver, Federer, Gonzales, Nadal, Borg, all above him. Rosewall should be too but is so underrated maybe he isnt. In any case even if you argued Sampras being ahead of 1 or 2 of those 5 who the vast majority have him below, it is hard to see him being above 3 of those. Like most things Phoenix is living in his little fantasy land on that one. Sampras was probably considered top 3 all time right after he retired but with Federer eclipsing all his most important records, and several more guys excelling across all sufaces (even in this homogenizd courts era) he definitely isnt anymore.

The more knowledgable people in the Former Pro section have all done extensive Sampras vs Borg breakdowns and I have yet to see one yet that could come to a logical conclusion that Sampras deserves to be above, even by those who like him more.

1) Sampras never lost to the same player 3 times in the two most important events.

2) Borg lost to a serve volleyer in the 3 finals mentioned above. Sampras is arguably the serve and volley GOAT. If McEnroe can roll Borg at Wimbledon and the USO, what do you think Sampras would have done to him.

3) Borg would have struggled with Sampras' pistol like serves, especially at Wimbledon.

4) Sampras won 6 year ending number 1s, Borg did not.

5) Sampras didn't have to retire because he couldn't handle the thought that someone could keep beating him.

You can argue all you like that Borg had to player McEnroe most times on McEnroe's favourite surfaces, but McEnroe's favourite surfaces just happened to be the surfaces of the tour's 2 most important tournaments. They also happen to be Sampras' 2 favourite surfaces.
 

NonP

Legend
NonP, I know it was a joke but a rather strange one. You obviously suggested that I'm not able to understand what serious posters write...

If you really want to make a joke in that sense, you could rather address pc1 (for his recent posts towards me. I do know that pc1 is generally spoken a top tier poster, by the way)...

You seem to be a little devil ;-)

I was actually taking a shot at myself for misreading NatF's post. The joke was that I could never do the same with your posts. It was indeed a devilish joke. :twisted:

cricket and no other sport comes close ..... next would be football ...

Thanks for the confirmation. I must say I have yet to see a cricket game in full, nor do I quite understand the rules yet. Maybe I'll be finally forced to take the plunge next time I travel to India. :)

I am glad to read your comments and your discussion with NonP. Also other comments on my posts. I think everyone understands what I was saying.

I do have some sympathy for posters who write YE #1 because it is easier and quicker than writing eg 'Sampras has X years as #1 or co-#1'. Also YE #1 is a fact, not an opinion. It is just when it appears to be used as a grenade without qualification that I get concerned. I don't mind when it is used on the GPPD forum, but on this forum I expect (and enjoy) more informed discussion.

I don't think it is always necessary to qualify statements because, as you say, many achievements are generally recognised in this forum as having qualifications. It is just that I felt that YE #1 was in danger of getting too much of a free pass.

But most importantly for me, to use #1 or co-#1 for the year is to use a measurement which is universal and ties players of now to someone like Tilden all those years ago. I value it very highly.

To add to your parting comment, I've noted before on the timelessless of the yearly #1 rankings myself. To wit: when you peruse these rankings throughout the history of tennis you can see that the very greatest players spent at least 5-7 years at the top of the ladder in their career (Borg just misses out at 4, and Nadal is the outlier with 3). This constant has hardly changed as recently as in the last 10-20 years, which belies the common wisdom that the game has absorbed so many "advancements" (be they physical, technological, etc.) that what today's players have accomplished cannot be compared with what the genteel establishment produced in the past. That's just one of the many lasting remnants of history that the youngsters remain willfully oblivious to.
 
1) Sampras never lost to the same player 3 times in the two most important events.

2) Borg lost to a serve volleyer in the 3 finals mentioned above. Sampras is arguably the serve and volley GOAT. If McEnroe can roll Borg at Wimbledon and the USO, what do you think Sampras would have done to him.

3) Borg would have struggled with Sampras' pistol like serves, especially at Wimbledon.

4) Sampras won 6 year ending number 1s, Borg did not.

5) Sampras didn't have to retire because he couldn't handle the thought that someone could keep beating him.

You can argue all you like that Borg had to player McEnroe most times on McEnroe's favourite surfaces, but McEnroe's favourite surfaces just happened to be the surfaces of the tour's 2 most important tournaments. They also happen to be Sampras' 2 favourite surfaces.


1. McEnroe was one the greatest serve and volleyers ever, and his serve was one the best ever. Plus, you wouldn't have the lefty serve dynamic with Sampras. Borg's passing shots are superior to say Agassi's. Plus, Borg is faster than any player Sampras has faced. Look at Sampras losses as well, such as the one sided losses to Hewitt in the U.S Open final and other early round losses. Borg has significantly better winning percentages. Borg won more total tournaments, if you look at official and unofficial tournaments. They both won 64 official tourneys, while Borg did it through the age of 25.

2. Borg played against players like Tanner who hit harder serves than Sampras. Borg took out many big servers at Wimbledon, when it was played on the fast grass, with rackets that tilted in favor of the server. With graphite frames, big difference, as the dynamics started tilting more in favor of the returner. Add poly and graphite frames for Borg as a returner, and Sampras has never faced such a player.

3. Borg made three finals in the 4 hard court majors he ever played. Plus, he has extremely good results indoors, including indoor hard court tourneys, so his "worst surface" was also one where he has far superior results relative to Sampras' results on clay. Then, if you look at Wimbledon, Borg excelled there as well, with his record 41 match win streak there, 5 titles in a row, 6 finals in a row. He also won the 1976 Wimbledon without losing a set. Sampras never did that there.

4. The ATP ranking system was extremely imprecise in the late 1970's especially. For example, look at 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1980. Who was arguably the best player all those years? Then, you had Borg in 1976, when he won Wimbledon, and 1981, when he won the Masters 1980 YEC in Jan. 1981, and the French Open for a sixth time, then lost in the finals of '81W and '81 U.S Open.

5. Borg's heavy playing schedule for many years, from his years as a prodigy and a huge star, made tennis big internationally. He ushered in big money sponsors in a Golden Era of tennis, along with stars such as Connors and McEnroe. Sampras never did that for the game. That heavy schedule led to Borg's burnout and some injuries he faced by 1981, so he wanted to focus on the majors primarily for at least a few years. The Tour said the he would have to qualify for Wimbledon and the French Open during 1982 negotiations in Monte Carlo and elsewhere. The players were behind him. The Tour refused and he retired in 1983. Big mistake by the Tour and Borg was not one to just comply either. Later, I think he also experienced some regret for being so stubborn. In 1983, the WCT an ATP split. Tour politics played a big role.

Borg was 7-7 overall with McEnroe, with matches only indoors, on hard courts, and on grass. With Sampras, you would not have the lefty righty dynamic which likely contributed to McEnroe's success. That dynamic would be gone with Sampras. Borg would likely dominate either on clay, where his results are not even in the same stratosphere as Sampras' clay results. In 1980-1981, Borg won 5 of the 8 biggest titles (2 Masters YEC, 1 W, and 2 French Opens and made the finals of the other three: 2 US Opens a 1 W). Those results are the best of any player. Meanwhile, McEnroe was not doing as well versus Lendl and Connors as Borg was. Overall, I think they are both class acts and two all time greats. I consider Sampras in the first tier of greats, along with players such as Gonzalez, Laver, Rosewall, Borg, Federer, and Nadal.
 
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poofytail

Banned
1) Sampras never lost to the same player 3 times in the two most important events.

In this day in age Wimbledon and U.S Open are not anymore important than the French Open, arguably not even the Australian Open. Sampras never had a rival of even McEnroe or even Connor's caliber on fast surfaces. Agassi is not an amazing fast court player, and Becker was well past his prime when playing Sampras. Sampras even met Cedric freaking Pioline in both a Wimbledon and U.S Open final (I could see once, but twice at two different slams), and Ivanisevic was his toughest career rival at Wimbledon. Meanwhile Borg was an excellent player on all surfaces and a much better player at this worst slam- U.S Open, than Sampras ever was at Roland Garros. Sampras playing Nadal or Borg in a French Open final would probably be a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 loss, but of course there was no hope in hell of him making it that far. Borg atleast made U.S Open finals to lose to someone like McEnroe in 4 or 5 sets vs what Sampras did at RG, and finally lost to McEnroe at Wimbledon after winning 5 straight titles there, something Sampras whose best surface by far is grass (unlike Borg's whose best is clay) couldnt even do. Sampras could not put together a stretch of duplicate dominance of Wimbledon and the U.S Open that compares to Borg at the French and Wimbledon, and the former is FAR easier to have done. In fact nobody has done what Borg did at the two polor opposites of the French and Wimbledon, not Federer, not Nadal, not even Laver who only won the French Pro once as well, and it wasnt even played on clay; and Federer and Nadal had the benefit of playing in the era of all but a green clay court too.

A good way to compare them is by far their best of 3 major surfaces downwards:

Best surface for both: Borg (clay) = Sampras (grass). Neither is even considered the GOAT anymore, Borg has been overtaken by Nadal and Sampras by Federer.

Middle surface for both: Borg (grass) >> Sampras (hard courts). No contest here. Sampras averages 3.5 slams at the 2 hard court slams, and only won 2 at one of them. He took 13 years to compile his 5 U.S opens. Borg quit at 25 having already won 5 Wimbledons, and all 5 in a row, reaching the final of a 6th right after that streak.

Weaker surface for both: Borg (hard courts) >>>>>>> Sampras on clay. This is a joke to even try to compare and vs every other great Sampras would come last here.

Then there is the 4th surface that existed then, which was carpet. By far the least important even then with no slams and fewer tournaments than clay or hard courts, but anyway Borg was excellent and probably atleast on par with Sampras.

On my GOAT list Borg is well above Sampras:

1. Laver
2. Gonzales or Federer
3. Gonzales or Nadal
5. Borg
6. Rosewall
7. Tilden
8. Sampras or Budge
10. Lendl or Connors

I even think I might be underplacing Borg though. I am quite sure I have Sampras in the right place however.
 
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Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
^ LOL what a joke. I hope you enjoy your trolling, placing Sampras at 8th or 9th.

By the way Borg on grass is not greater than Sampras on hard courts. Both have 5 titles on the biggest event on that particular surface (W and USO, respectively). Borg had greater concentrated dominance, but Sampras had much greater longevity.

Also on carpet, I submit that Sampras was greater than Borg.

Borg may have reached finals on his weakest surface but he never won on it. At the GOAT level, it's ridiculous to argue about someone having a massive advantage because they reached the final rather than the semi. It's all about winning at that level.
 
All the all time great players have pluses and minuses, including Sampras, Borg, Federer, Nadal, and Laver. So in this discussion, we can all agree that they have many more pluses than minuses. Yet then it becomes subjective as to assessing the weight of each piece of criterion, including minuses. For each of these greats, one can try to weigh positive achievements. For Borg another huge positive is the fact that he won three Channel Slams in a row between 1978-1980, when the surface speeds at the FO and W were more polarized. Bjorn Borg did not play the 1977 FO due to his choice to play WTT that year. The FO did not allow WTT players to participate at their major in those years. He won the 1978 FO in dominating fashion, losing only 32 games at that tourney, which is another record at a major for him. Another subjective factor is impact on the sport. Borg surpasses Sampras in that department. Look at the blueprint for playing style these days, and look at Borg's strokes relative to anyone else in his time. Then, look at impact on the game's popularity and playing styles. Borg was a superstar, and perhaps the greatest star tennis has ever had.
 
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President

Legend
^ LOL what a joke. I hope you enjoy your trolling, placing Sampras at 8th or 9th.

By the way Borg on grass is not greater than Sampras on hard courts. Both have 5 titles on the biggest event on that particular surface (W and USO, respectively). Borg had greater concentrated dominance, but Sampras had much greater longevity.

Also on carpet, I submit that Sampras was greater than Borg.

Borg may have reached finals on his weakest surface but he never won on it. At the GOAT level, it's ridiculous to argue about someone having a massive advantage because they reached the final rather than the semi. It's all about winning at that level.

Borg reached 4 USO finals. Sampras reached 1 Roland Garros Semi. Big difference..
 
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Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Borg reached 4 USO finals. Sampras reached 1 Roland Gaross Semi. Big difference..

1 of those finals was on clay, but yes, 3 F > 1 SF, of course.

But the point is, at the GOAT level, we can't use things like a guy having his best result being the final, vs. another guy's best result being the semi-final, to rank the former guy higher. At the GOAT level, it should all be about winning (defined as majors won, time spent as No 1, tournaments won, etc.)

No-one denies that Borg was stronger on his weakest surface than Sampras was on his, but he still didn't manage to win the big title on that surface. Therefore I don't see a huge advantage to Borg here, as some do.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
To wit: when you peruse these rankings throughout the history of tennis you can see that the very greatest players spent at least 5-7 years at the top of the ladder in their career (Borg just misses out at 4, and Nadal is the outlier with 3).

Nadal will probably make a 4th year this year.

The biggest outlier however is Rosewall with just 2 years as No 1...
 

President

Legend
1 of those finals was on clay, but yes, 3 F > 1 SF, of course.

But the point is, at the GOAT level, we can't use things like a guy having his best result being the final, vs. another guy's best result being the semi-final, to rank the former guy higher. At the GOAT level, it should all be about winning (defined as majors won, time spent as No 1, tournaments won, etc.)

No-one denies that Borg was stronger on his weakest surface than Sampras was on his, but he still didn't manage to win the big title on that surface. Therefore I don't see a huge advantage to Borg here, as some do.

So making major finals has little value, in your eyes? I totally disagree, and think it's a tremendous achievement.
 

poofytail

Banned
Being an at best fair player on a major surface is a huge knock against you, and Sampras is probably the only top 20 player all time you could say that about, as for a top 8 player all time it looks awful. Borg's dominance of both clay and grass is more impressive than Sampras's dominance of grass and much lower dominance of fast hard courts anyway.
 

poofytail

Banned
^ LOL what a joke. I hope you enjoy your trolling, placing Sampras at 8th or 9th.

Well everyone else here thinks you are a total idiot placing Sampras above Borg at all, let alone a full 4 spots higher (3rd to 7th, ROTFL) so I am just fine with my realistic rankings vs your own "phoenix little fantasy world" ones that nobody agrees with but you. Placing Sampras at 3rd and Nadal and Borg down at 6th and 7th is just too comical for words.

And yes Borg is definitely better on grass than Sampras on hard courts. No contest. First of all there are 2 hard court majors and Sampras won only twice at one of them. While we cant know for sure how Borg would have done at a 2nd grass major, we still have to say Sampras's combined performance at 2 was significantly below Borg on the one he did play. Anyway 5 in a row and total dominance >>>> 5 stretched out over 12 years and only defending your title once ever. Unless you are going to say Sampras at the U.S Open > Federer at the U.S Open.

Sampras on carpet was great but not neccessarily any better than any of McEnroe, Becker, Lendl, or Borg.
 
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NonP

Legend
Nadal will probably make a 4th year this year.

The biggest outlier however is Rosewall with just 2 years as No 1...

I'm not sure if you're trying to get under BobbyOne's skin (which I don't mind at all), but for the record nearly all tennis historians (real ones, not amateur ones here) would say Rosewall spent more time as #1, even if you take away some of the disputed years.
 

DMP

Professional
1) Sampras never lost to the same player 3 times in the two most important events.

5) Sampras didn't have to retire because he couldn't handle the thought that someone could keep beating him.

I would be very careful about the arguments you use for and against players.

I, for instance, could argue that Sampras and Agassi both ran away from their big challenges. Sampras ran away from the French Open and basically gave up. An early defeat there makes it much easier to mnake the transition to grass. Therefore you could consider his Wimbledon titles 'padded' by his choosing to m ake them easier.

And Agassi ran away from competition completely.

So between them they gave the weakest performance in meeting their challenges of any #1 and #2 combination that I can recall. What does that say about them as GOAT contenders?
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Well everyone else here thinks you are a total idiot placing Sampras above Borg at all, let alone a full 4 spots higher (3rd to 7th, ROTFL) so I am just fine with my realistic rankings vs your own "phoenix little fantasy world" ones that nobody agrees with but you.

So basically, you just go along with what you think everyone else thinks, rather than coming up with your own thoughts. OK.

(Of course, not everyone else thinks I'm an idiot for ranking Sampras above Borg, and everyone knows you are just trolling and looking for a reaction for stating that. At least you have spelt world with a small "w" though!)


Placing Sampras at 3rd and Nadal and Borg down at 6th and 7th is just too comical for words.

I've explained my rankings a number of times, don't care if you disagree really.

Look let's be honest, if I came up with a scientifically provable formula that said Sampras was greater than Borg, you would still dismiss it and say it was just a "fantasy" of mine.

Everyone knows you are only here to troll and be a fanboy towards your favourites (with your various usernames which you change every few months, but I don't know why you bother as it's always obviously you). This is why you're always stating that Nadal is Top 3 all time and literally just behind Federer, when everyone reasonable knows that he is still a fair distance behind.

And yes Borg is definitely better on grass than Sampras on hard courts. No contest. First of all there are 2 hard court majors and Sampras won only twice at one of them. While we cant know for sure how Borg would have done at a 2nd grass major, we still have to say Sampras's combined performance at 2 was significantly below Borg on the one he did play.

LOL, you can't do a comparison that way - as Sampras obviously prioritised the USO over the AO.

Anyway 5 in a row and total dominance >>>> 5 stretched out over 12 years and only defending your title once ever. Unless you are going to say Sampras at the U.S Open > Federer at the U.S Open.

This is a debatable point - I can see why 5 consecutive could be considered greater, but then again, you could say winning 5 in 13 years shows both dominance (3 in 4 years from 93-96) and longevity (winning his first aged 19 and last aged 31). Could be argued either way really.

Sampras on carpet was great but not neccessarily any better than any of McEnroe, Becker, Lendl, or Borg.

Sampras was certainly the best of his generation on carpet, not sure that Borg was.
 

NonP

Legend
I, for instance, could argue that Sampras and Agassi both ran away from their big challenges. Sampras ran away from the French Open and basically gave up. An early defeat there makes it much easier to mnake the transition to grass. Therefore you could consider his Wimbledon titles 'padded' by his choosing to m ake them easier.rs?

I see your point, and it's a reasonable one previously made by Stephen Bierley of The Guardian:

In 1996 Sampras appeared to be on the way to completing the same feat [of winning a career Grand Slam]. In the second round in Paris he defeated Spain's Sergi Bruguera, the French Open champion in 1993 and '94, over five sets. He then reached the last four with two more gigantic five-set victories over fellow Americans - Todd Martin in the third round and Jim Courier, another two-times French champion, in the quarter-finals - with a more elementary one against Scott Draper between. It really did have the feel that history was in the making.

But later that evening Boris Becker's former mentor Ion Tiriac, the man who shoots bears for fun, had no doubts. "Pete's blown," he said over supper. "His tank is empty. He's running on vapour."

So it proved, the young Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov brushing him aside in straight sets. Worse still, a few weeks later Sampras lost to the Dutchman Richard Krajicek in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Though Sampras never admitted to it, any further serious efforts to capture the world's premier clay-court title might well have prevented him winning a further four successive Wimbledon titles. Quite simply he gave up on clay.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2003/may/20/tennis.comment

Still I think it a bit unfair and misleading to claim that Pete "gave up" on clay. That term implies that he all but tanked his clay matches just to gear himself up for the grass season and beyond, and tanking to me is the worst thing (short of outright cheating) one can accuse a professional athelete of. Besides I seriously doubt this actually was the case because he explicitly says in his book that he never "packed it in" regarding his worse surface and one could clearly tell he wasn't in the best of moods after his upteenth early exit from RG in his later years. (In fact he also reveals in the book that his relatively poor results at Queen's were due in part to his disappointing clay seasons.)

I think what actually changed was his mindset. Early in his career Pete had this belief and swagger that allowed him to say to himself, "I'm gonna go out there and show them I'm Pete Sampras and they're not." One example that comes to mind is his reaction after his loss to Bruguera at RG (in '94 I think, but could be '93). While the handshake was respectful he had this look that seemed to indicate, if not outright annoyance, at least something along the lines of "I should not be losing to this dirtballer on any surface."

Fast forward to the late '90s and his post-match expression was not one of prideful vexation but rather of resignation. I think by this point he had lost that hunger and self-confidence. Not that he'd go through the motion exactly, but his pre-match thought process was now more like "I'm gonna go out there, do my best and see what happens," which was far removed from a champion's mentality and certainly didn't help his already fast diminishing chances on clay. I think he was really flabbergasted by that shock loss of his to Delgado at the '98 FO, especially since he'd just beaten him recently in Atlanta (if on green clay). And he says as much in his book.

So yes, in a way Pete did "give up" on clay, though I'd use a less misleading term to explain his dismal post-'97 results. I just wish he'd put in more effort in his later years, because now he's often thought of as Roddick of his era though he was in his prime much better on the surface. I'd like to do a more statistical analysis sometime, but I've wasted too much time already. :)
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Nadal will probably make a 4th year this year.

The biggest outlier however is Rosewall with just 2 years as No 1...

Phoenix, You forget at least 5 more years of Muscles as No. 1 when he was tied with one or even two other players. For instance Rosewall was AT LEAST a tied No.1 in 1970, together with Newcombe and Laver.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I'm not sure if you're trying to get under BobbyOne's skin (which I don't mind at all), but for the record nearly all tennis historians (real ones, not amateur ones here) would say Rosewall spent more time as #1, even if you take away some of the disputed years.

NonP, If you would read in this forum more often you would know that young "bird" Phoenix intentionally tries to make a fool of me as often as he can. He uses to post absurd statements in order to upset me such as claiming Rosewall cannot be GOAT because he never won Wimbledon....

You don't mind when a poster is behaving so immaturely toward a seasoned fellow poster? This I cannot accept as a "joke" as it is just an insult. Hope you will again more concentrate to good and awe-inspiring music like Bach's fourths cantata ("Christ lag in Todesbanden"),but ONLY in Karl Richter's interpretation, probably the GOAT cantata, or Mozart's 488 concert, arguably the saddest piano work ever (only the second movement), or Beethoven's Largo from his sonata opus 10/3, or Schubert's divine piano fantasia in f-minor which moves me more than all Beethoven and Bach piano works.

Thanks that you are more reasonable in the estimation of Rosewall's achievements than Phoenix seems to be.
 

kiki

Banned
He owes much of his longevity to his unique and amazing qualities and also to keep injury free
His dedication,fitness,simple technique and fluent stroke production.
But also his smarts,because in terms of tennis intelligence and game comprehension he ranks up there with the other privileged minds:Tilden,Lacoste,Kramer,Pancho Gonzales.
Finaly,his exceptional footwork,placement,quickness and sense of anticipation remain unequalled
After having seen him live, all I have to say about Rosewall is that, I don' t care what is his all time ranks.All I know is he was unique and completely amazing and that is enough to me
Rosewall is one of those very rare players that you just cannot forget if watched live
He is in his own category nichee
 
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TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
Longevity is rare for an athlete today since the game is more physically demanding, and most tournaments are play on hard court which accelerate the wear and tear. Tennis wasn't that stressful on the body in the old days so it's no secret that players can play up to their 40s. Also the depth and level of completion wasn't high in the 60s so an aging players can still remain high ranking which they pursue to play longer. OTOH, players today in their 30s decline sharply so they end up retiring early. Roddick, Safin for example retire early because they know they can't win anymore continue. A lot of players in their 30s still love for the game and end up playing on the senior tour.
 

NonP

Legend
NonP, If you would read in this forum more often you would know that young "bird" Phoenix intentionally tries to make a fool of me as often as he can. He uses to post absurd statements in order to upset me such as claiming Rosewall cannot be GOAT because he never won Wimbledon....

He's simply wrong on the Wimbledon issue, and I believe other posters have called him out on it. You should leave it at that. After all I don't pester you on a certain musical issue all the time. :twisted:

Hope you will again more concentrate to good and awe-inspiring music like Bach's fourths cantata ("Christ lag in Todesbanden"),but ONLY in Karl Richter's interpretation, probably the GOAT cantata, or Mozart's 488 concert, arguably the saddest piano work ever (only the second movement), or Beethoven's Largo from his sonata opus 10/3, or Schubert's divine piano fantasia in f-minor which moves me more than all Beethoven and Bach piano works.

Masaaki Suzuki's more recent recording of the Bach cantata is also pretty good (unfortunately not available on YouTube).

The sadness of the Mozart concerto borders on the salon variety. That's where Chopin reigns supreme, and of course like Mozart he could transcend merely playing the heartbreaker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYa9lChkjVI

The Fantasia is one of Schubert's meatiest pieces, but not even that can knock off Bach's very greatest keyboard works, like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0CTqMOv7Y4

Thanks that you are more reasonable in the estimation of Rosewall's achievements than Phoenix seems to be.

I may favor a few GOAT candidates over others, but I like 'em all.
 
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Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
He's simply wrong on the Wimbledon issue, and I believe other posters have called him out on it. You should leave it at that. After all I don't pester you on a certain musical issue all the time. :twisted:

I concede that I do mention the Wimbledon issue sometimes to wind up the Viennese Visionary (BobbyOne).

However, I do genuinely believe it precludes Rosewall from being the GOAT. Just as some believe that Federer's H2H against Nadal precludes him from being the GOAT. I haven't just made it up as a reason for the sole purpose of annoying people.
 
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Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Phoenix, You forget at least 5 more years of Muscles as No. 1 when he was tied with one or even two other players. For instance Rosewall was AT LEAST a tied No.1 in 1970, together with Newcombe and Laver.

Viennese Visionary,

Co-No 1 rankings are absurd, they don't happen since the ATP devised a proper computer ranking. It's just a way for historians to give players of the past many years ranked as No 1...
 
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Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
1 of those finals was on clay, but yes, 3 F > 1 SF, of course.

But the point is, at the GOAT level, we can't use things like a guy having his best result being the final, vs. another guy's best result being the semi-final, to rank the former guy higher. At the GOAT level, it should all be about winning (defined as majors won, time spent as No 1, tournaments won, etc.)

No-one denies that Borg was stronger on his weakest surface than Sampras was on his, but he still didn't manage to win the big title on that surface. Therefore I don't see a huge advantage to Borg here, as some do.

Frankly that's a pretty poor argument. To separate players who are close, all kind of achievements can be meaningful, including reaching 3 finals instead of one SF.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
By the way, I do now believe that BobbyOne is a tennis historian and that he has been in touch with people like Bud Collins and former players. I have worked out who he is.

However, it still doesn't mean I agree with his opinions on several issues.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
By the way, I do now believe that BobbyOne is a tennis historian and that he has been in touch with people like Bud Collins and former players. I have worked out who he is.

However, it still doesn't mean I agree with his opinions on several issues.

You've read his work?
 

TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
NonP, If you would read in this forum more often you would know that young "bird" Phoenix intentionally tries to make a fool of me as often as he can. He uses to post absurd statements in order to upset me such as claiming Rosewall cannot be GOAT because he never won Wimbledon....

No matter how hard you try to defend Rosewall, it's not going to change the fact that Wimbledon will always be remain the holy grail in tennis. Rosewall didn't win Wimbledon. Lendl gets docked for not winning Wimbledon which many experts put Connors/JMac/Agassi above him.
 
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