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Who is the greatest tennis player of all time?

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  • Originally posted by Atticus View Post
    it was intended to point out a significant fact about the MODERN era. None of today's Top 3 can claim it.
    It is interesting to me, however, how Fedalovic have each dominated one of the slams so completely

    Federer - 8 Wimbledons
    Djokovic - 8 Australians
    Nadal - 13 French

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    • Originally posted by user4 View Post
      The level of knowledge of tennis among you guys is off the charts. The senior track fan stands head and shoulders above all other sports fans in breadth of sports knowledge.
      Might seem odd that I know a lot about tennis, but tennis has always been my favorite sport to watch - in person or on the tube. Started in the early 60s when the Boston PBS affiliate started showing the National Claycourt Doubles Championships from Longwood Cricket Club with Bud Collins announcing - that;s where he got his start in television. Have loved tennis since then.

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      • Originally posted by Per Andersen View Post
        It's hard to do this ranking but I just can't see Rosewall as third when Lew Hoad is not even in the top 10. When Hoad turned pro after the 1957 season he had the series with Gonzales and had had him on the ropes, was leading when the his back gave out and unfortunately he was never the same. Thinking back I think Gonzales also had problems against Jack Kramer.

        One thing about Roy Emerson, he was quite an athlete. His Long Jump best was about 24-8.
        Did not know that about Emmo - neat trivia. I have a hard time with Rosewall 3rd also, but TN1965 has some inside info from an Australian tennis expert and is a big Rosewall supporter. Rosie was also hurt turning pro so early and missing the Slams for so many years, so 3rd for him may not be off.

        Hard for me to put Hoad in the top 10 with such a short career, obviously due to his back problems.

        It relates a bit to a baseball terms when they discuss "greatest ever" - do you use WAR (wins above replacement) or WAR7 (WAR for best 7 years of career). Using only WAR favors those with long careers - Fedalovic in tennis.

        Going to golf, if you asked me who is the greatest ever, I would give 3 answers.

        GOAT 1 year - Tiger Woods 2000
        GOAT 5-7 years - Ben Hogan 1948-53
        GOAT Career - Jack Nicklaus (1962-86 basically)

        When you're discussing GOATs you probably have to do that (unless you're talking cycling and then the answer is simply Merckx, Merckx, Merckx). So here goes for tennis:

        GOAT 1 year - Rod Laver 1969
        GOAT 5-7 years - Rod Laver 1962-69
        GOAT Career - Roger Federer

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        • Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
          GOAT 1 year - Rod Laver 1969
          GOAT 5-7 years - Rod Laver 1962-69
          GOAT Career - Roger Federer
          Interesting. I agree on the concept and your choices (golf too).

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          • Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
            GOAT 1 year - Rod Laver 1969
            GOAT 5-7 years - Rod Laver 1962-69
            GOAT Career - Roger Federer
            One thing, however - Laver's best year might have been 1962, although he did not play against pros. But he won something like 24 tournaments that year alone, and I seem to recall he was national champion of about 10-12 nations - US, Wimbledon, French, Australia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, and a few others. I have the bio on him by Bud Collins that lists his wins that year but not at my main library now to look it up.

            But I picked 1969 because he was playing against everybody, even though arguably 1962 was a better year for him.

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            • Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

              Might seem odd that I know a lot about tennis, but tennis has always been my favorite sport to watch - in person or on the tube. Started in the early 60s when the Boston PBS affiliate started showing the National Claycourt Doubles Championships from Longwood Cricket Club with Bud Collins announcing - that;s where he got his start in television. Have loved tennis since then.
              In the early '60s, I enjoyed going to the US Open tennis in Forest Hills, NY. And then I learned that the West Side Tennis Club, which hosted the events in Forest Hills, had discriminatory membership policies. I stopped going to Forest Hills. The WSTC changed their membership policies many years ago,but by the time they did that, my interest in tennis had waned.

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              • For what it's worth, Tennis Magazine at the end of 2018 picked the top 25 men and 25 women for the 1st 50 years of the Open Era (1968-2018). Tilden, Budge, Gonzales, Hoad, Connolly, Lenglen didn't fit into that parameter. MEN: 1. Federer; 2. Laver; 3. Nadal; 4. Sampras; 5. Djokovic; 6. Borg; 7. Rosewall; 8. Lendl; 9. McEnroe; 10. Connors. WOMEN: 1. S. Williams; 2. Graf; 3. Navratilova; 4. Court; 5. Evert; 6. King; 7. Seles; 8. V. Williams; 9. Henin; 10. Goolagong.

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                • Originally posted by Per Andersen View Post
                  It's hard to do this ranking but I just can't see Rosewall as third when Lew Hoad is not even in the top 10. When Hoad turned pro after the 1957 season he had the series with Gonzales and had had him on the ropes, was leading when the his back gave out and unfortunately he was never the same. Thinking back I think Gonzales also had problems against Jack Kramer.
                  My ranking is based on the lifetime achievement, not on the peak performance. The latter is even harder to compare across generations than the former (which is hard enough).

                  For the "achievement" I looked at mostly two things. Major titles (amateur, pro, and open majors) and the #1 ranking. The following two wiki pages summarize those two sources. There are 13 players who won at least 10 majors. I dropped Emmo because all his titles were won when the best players were not allowed to play. Then I dropped Couchet, because two of his titles are WHCC and WCCC. Between Budge and Perry, I picked Budge because he dominated both Perry and Vines immediately after turning pro. That indicates he was already the best player when he won the amateur Slam in 1938.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis...ers_statistics
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...tennis_players

                  There are a few additional notes. First is that many pros focused more on tours than tournaments until 1960s. This explain why some players skipped pro majors. So looking at the tour results is also important to understand which pro was better at certain times.

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

                  The second issue is that even after 1968, the four "majors' were not always the four most important tournaments of the year. This is especially true about the Australian Open in 1976-82 (And some earlier years.) If I am not mistaken, they offered fewer ranking points than the other three, and "Tennis" magazine listed the "Three Majors" in their annual summary table. This makes it impossible to compare players' achievement solely based on the four majors even in the Open era.

                  This is already getting long, so I will comment on Rosewall in a separate post.

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                  • Rosewall won a record 15 pro majors and also a record 23 overall majors. This cannot be directly compared to other players' numbers directly, since there were a total of seven "majors" until 1967. If you count who won the four most important tournaments in any given year, that number could go down. However, it is also noteworthy that pros had only three majors compared to four for amateur, so they had fewer opportunity to start with. Also, as I mentioned above, they did not always consider those "majors" as the most important events of the season, they didn't always show up or peak for them. Besides, the actual winners of the four most important tournaments are different from those who would have won if they had been open to every player.

                    So we can only take his 23 "majors" with a grain of salt, just like Laver's 19 "majors." However, he did more than winning majors. He won many tours mentioned in the previous post. He was the undisputed #1 for three years (1961-63) and shared the #1 in three other years. He won "only" 133 tournaments compared to Laver's 200. But that's partly because he was more focused on the tour than the tournaments early in his pro career. He was losing record against both Laver (75-89) and Pancho (86-116), but those numbers were actually closer than most players managed against either of them.

                    I think he is one of the most underrated players of all time, and probably for a reason. When he was an amateur, Hoad had a better career. And then he turned pro at 22, two years younger than the age Laver turned pro. If he had stayed amateur for two more years, he would have won more Slams even if Hoad had also stayed amateur. Then he came back to the Open Slams when he was 33, and he was four years older than Laver. Had he come back to Slams when he was 29, he could have won more titles. Or think of this in another way. If Laver had turned pro at 22, his only amateur Slam would have been one Australian title. And he won his last Slam at 31. Laver was the best amateur before he turned pro, and he was the best pro when the Slams became open. Rosewall didn't pass Hoad until both turned pro, and by the time he came back to Slams Laver had already passed him. So his best years were spent in the pre-open pro years. Laver missed five years of his prime to the pro-am split. Rosewall missed more than twice that.


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