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Who is the greatest tennis player of all time?

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  • Per Andersen
    replied
    I still go Laver, Federer, Nadal in that order. Rosewall never won Wimbledon, Borg and Lew Hoad never won the US Open, Sampras, McEnroe and Connors never won at Roland Garros (Chang did) Djokovic needs to get his head together. Too much stuff going on with him right now. He needs to focus more like Nadal.

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  • bambam1729
    replied
    Originally posted by AFTERBURNER View Post
    And on the women's side, does anyone still believes that Serena Williams will ever surpass Margaret Court with 25 majors?
    I don't see her making it to even 24 - getting old, injuries piling on. Gets tough to recover from those at 39 yo, and that only gets worse. She has Achilles tendinitis and said she would be ready in 6 weeks. I first got Achilles problems at about 42 yo, and finally got rid of it after my 2nd surgery in 2014 (62 yo), so only took me 20 years.

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  • jazzcyclist
    replied
    Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

    No, disagree. Laver is stronger than Owens, which is saying something. Two calendar year Grand Slams - only in tennis or golf ever to do that. Then missed 5 years in his prime when pros couldn't play the Grand Slams. Until Federer came along he was almost universally acclaimed as the GOAT
    In comparing him to Owens I mean we have to extrapolate what he might have done because of the limited opportunities in his era. We don't know that Owens would have racked up as much hardware as Lewis if two Olympics didn't get cancelled, there had been World Championships in those days and the sport had professionalized but we believe he would have. Similarly, we don't know that Laver would have won 20+ Grand Slams if he had been born 10-15 years later but we believe it.
    Last edited by jazzcyclist; 10-15-2020, 04:01 AM.

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  • AFTERBURNER
    replied
    And on the women's side, does anyone still believes that Serena Williams will ever surpass Margaret Court with 25 majors?

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  • J Rorick
    replied
    Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

    No, disagree. Laver is stronger than Owens, which is saying something. Two calendar year Grand Slams - only in tennis or golf ever to do that. Then missed 5 years in his prime when pros couldn't play the Grand Slams. Until Federer came along he was almost universally acclaimed as the GOAT
    Not quite true. Laver was universally acclaimed as the GOAT for at least 10 years after his retirement, but many experts gravitated to both Borg and Sampras in the next 20 years, until the rise of Federer changed the equation. Now both Nadal and Djokovic have entered the picture (though Djokovic is currently just in the margin).

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  • bambam1729
    replied
    Originally posted by TN1965 View Post
    What makes that match more important than 2017 Australian Open? Most people thought Federer was "done" by that time, and he proved all the doubters wrong (including myself). Nadal was up a break in the fifth and Federer won the last five games of the match.
    The 2017 Australian Open was a great match but does not compare to the epic 2012 Aussie Open final between Djokovic and Nadal, which Djokovic won in 5 sets, 7-5 in the 5th, after 5 hours and 53 minutes on court in stifling heat. Neither player could stand for the victory ceremony.

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  • bambam1729
    replied
    Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post
    I'm not going to get into a silly game of semantics when I'm pretty certain you and other folks here understand what I'm talking about. Phelps may be the GOAT but he also has a body of work that Laver doesn't due to the era he played in. Laver is more comparable to Jesse Owens than he is to Phelps or Usain Bolt.
    No, disagree. Laver is stronger than Owens, which is saying something. Two calendar year Grand Slams - only in tennis or golf ever to do that. Then missed 5 years in his prime when pros couldn't play the Grand Slams. Until Federer came along he was almost universally acclaimed as the GOAT

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  • bambam1729
    replied
    Originally posted by TN1965 View Post
    Well, Emmo was certainly more noteworthy than Neal Fraser. (No disrespect to Fraser.)

    And I think you are underestimating Rosewall, like most other people. He was 22 when he turned pro. Two years younger than the age Laver turned pro. He was 33 when he got to play the Grand Slam again. He won a record 15 pro majors in between. I once went into a very extended argument with an Aussie guy over whether Laver or Rosewall was the GOAT (this was before Federer reached his prime). Although neither of us convinced the other, we ended up agreeing that those two were the two greatest. (Hoad was better in their amateur careers, But his back injury prevented him from matching Rosewall in pro and open careers.)
    Agree about Emmo and Neale Fraser - not really sure why I included him in this discussion. He's another level down

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  • jazzcyclist
    replied
    Originally posted by Trickstat View Post

    Phelps, like a T&F athlete, can be assessed by the clock (or 'tape measure' on the field) as well as the titles he won.
    Even in T&F and swimming hardware is a better measuring stick than the clock lest we believe that Bolt was 0.47s better than Hayes in the 100 and Phelps was 10s better than Spitz in the 200.

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  • Trickstat
    replied
    Originally posted by Atticus View Post
    You are confusing rivals with peers. He had plenty of great rivals, just no peers (though Rosewall was superb). It'd be like downgrading Phelps because no one could beat him. No one could beat him because he was the GOAT.
    Phelps, like a T&F athlete, can be assessed by the clock (or 'tape measure' on the field) as well as the titles he won.

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  • Atticus
    replied
    Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post
    Obviously that was hyperbole. 😃
    Getting too far out on the tightrope and then walking it back.

    https://thumbs.gfycat.com/SparklingW...der-mobile.mp4

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  • jazzcyclist
    replied
    Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

    Pancho Gonzales, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Neale Fraser - some pretty big names there in the all-time pantheon of tennis players. Are they at the level of Fedalovic? No, but this has never occurred before.
    That's my point. I'm hard pressed to think of any sport where 3 Mount Rushmore candidates got to compete against each other in their prime. Of course that's not Laver's fault.
    Originally posted by bambam1729
    But calling Gonzales, Rosewall and Hoad bums of the month is not even close to the truth.
    Obviously that was hyperbole. 😃

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  • Powell
    replied
    Originally posted by Atticus View Post
    You are confusing rivals with peers. He had plenty of great rivals, just no peers (though Rosewall was superb). It'd be like downgrading Phelps because no one could beat him. No one could beat him because he was the GOAT.
    The point is Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are 3 players who are contemporaries and would all feature in any discussion on who the tennis GOAT is. We can only speculate on whether nobody else from Laver's era achieved the same status because Laver was too good or because they weren't good enough.

    It's somewhat easier to judge these things in swimming and T&F, since we have objective measures of performance. I can safely say Harald Schmid would be considered one of the all-time greats in the 400H if Edwin Moses didn't exist.

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  • TN1965
    replied
    Originally posted by jazzcyclist View Post
    I'm not going to get into a silly game of semantics when I'm pretty certain you and other folks here understand what I'm talking about. Phelps may be the GOAT but he also has a body of work that Laver doesn't due to the era he played in. Laver is more comparable to Jesse Owens than he is to Phelps or Usain Bolt.
    Well, unlike Owens, Laver had a very extended competitive record after leaving the amateur ranks in 1962. He joined the pro tour, and got schooled by Roswwall, Hoad and Pancho in the first few months. By the end of the year, he made two major finals, losing to Rosewall in both. In the next four years, he was the #1 player. winning eight pro majors (four UK, three US and one French). In 1967, he became the second player (after Rosewall) to sweep all three pro majors. And that's before rejoining the Grand Slams in the Open era.

    We can choose to pretend the pre-Open era pro tennis had never existed. Many in tennis establishment did for decades. But that does not make it go away. When I got into that extended argument with an Aussie guy mentioned above, there was not much published information about that era. The Aussie guy taught me a lot about tennis history I had not known about. Now there is abundant information about the era, and it's entirely up to each one of us whether we choose to be informed.

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  • TN1965
    replied
    Originally posted by 502CD View Post

    Surface doesn't matter. Look at the epic 2008 Wimbledon on Federer's surface. Both couldn't play much better quality tennis and yet still when it was absolutely needed at the end it was Nadal who rose and took it.
    What makes that match more important than 2017 Australian Open? Most people thought Federer was "done" by that time, and he proved all the doubters wrong (including myself). Nadal was up a break in the fifth and Federer won the last five games of the match.

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