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GOAT Debate

Post by Adam D on Tue 07 Oct 2014, 8:48 am

For all GOAT debate posts, good or bad, better or worse, sickness and health.
We'll move stuff in here from other future threads, to keep it all together.

LF & JHM

Edit - I guess if this is to be for people who really want to have a GOAT debate, we'll have to remove posts from people who think the GOAT debate is worthless. So no opportunity for satire, humour or dismissiveness at the expense of the debate. Let's leave it to those who take it seriously and post accordingly. I think any poster's absence from this thread can be interpreted as having no interest in it. JHM.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by laverfan on Tue 07 Oct 2014, 3:49 pm

I had even offered to create a sticky for such a debate. Wink

I think JHM would also agree to this. It would keep other discussions live rather than getting overwhelmed by the internecine wars and tribalism.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by temporary21 on Tue 07 Oct 2014, 7:23 pm

Just one minor off topic point to ask, can you take GOAT threads that crop up on the forum and pile them into the sticky, maybe with a subtitle?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by laverfan on Tue 07 Oct 2014, 10:57 pm

Let us see how other threads evolve, T21.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 12:53 pm

OK this is a question I myself am not convinced either way, it came up earlier:

Henman Bill wrote:If he had played the peak of his career in 1980s -2006, he might also not have done as well.
This is something I've thought about at real length, and I yet haven't been able to convince myself of either point of view.

2 opposing opinions would be:
a) A great is a great- he would if needed be able to adjust to a specific set of conditions. For example if Nadal was told the courts would dramatically change one way or another from 2015, it may be with his skills and talents he could go out on court, change his game, and still come out with effective gameplay adjusting for that dramatic change.
So despite him with his current style struggling on 1990's grass, the question is not whether that would be the case (it is palpably true), but whether he would be able to adjust accordingly.

b) A player is great, but he is also fortunate that the current conditions have played out in the way which suited their DNA/coaching setup/ technique etc.
So it could be if you transferred the whole top 1000 back in time to 1980's with totally different rackets, the whole top 1000 would be in unrecognisable order.

Which of these two opinions seem more convincing ?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 2:20 pm

Ah yes the transformation theory.

You have to replicate the exact conditions at the time. In the 80's Slam seeds were restricted to 16 and not 32 like today. Varying surfaces and court speeds. String technology was not so evolved. Balls are bigger and fluffier. Diets and supplements not so advanced as they are now. Some of the Grand Prix events were BO5 in the finals. Things like footwear and clothing not so engineered like they are now.

I can't think of player today that could adjust to those conditions. It is pure speculation. Some would throw out Llodra or Stepanek. Yes great net players in their own right, but give them a racquet 90in and natural gut and see how good they really are. Increase the pace of the court and see if they can retrieve balls that they can today. Like I say pure speculation.

The closest I have seen to transitioning is McEnroe from wooden racquet to metal and still remain competitive if you look past the results and how Agassi adjusted post 90's to the 00's.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by lydian on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 3:49 pm

Great post LK. Tennis is quite narrow these days in being baseline oriented, even "ultra attacking" Federer is primarily pinned to the baseline. Llodra and Stepanek would be average volleyers in the 80s/90s.

The other problem with GOAT debates is the de facto assumption that slam count trumps all else...that's ok for MSOAT...most successful of all time...but does that equally mean best player of all time? I'm not so sure. Like LK says, times were different before the 2000s, it was much harder to win on different surfaces...these days its more straight forward...we have 2, nearly 3, guys who have won all slams in the past 10 years...when guys for the previous 40 couldn't do it. Are this crop head and shoulders above the previous crop...I don't believe so...its just easier for someone to dominate now in my opinion.
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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:00 pm

Exactly lydian. The titles count of many players sometimes isn't truly representitive of the talent that goes behind it. Fully agree that nowadays it is much easier to dominate because of how conditions have alligned to a basic skill set. In the 80's and even 90's, mutli-surface champions at the highest level were few and far between. Borg's achievements for example doing the French Open and Wimbledon double for years is just spectacular. I don't think Borg even played a grass event leading into Wimbledon. Makes it even more mind boggling.

It's not criticising the current era, it's just a reflection on the difference in skill sets required back then to what they need now.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:19 pm

In the past 3 of the 4 slams were played on grass only the FO was played on clay. Players just had to specialize on grass play in order to pick up slams. Then later the US Open changed to clay for a bit so there were still only two slam surfaces.

In the 80's Borg may well have completed the tricky channel slam but he never picked up a hard court slam (I believe the US Open and the AO were on hardcourt during his time). In the 90's Pete ZZzzz Sampras never won the clay slam. So they are not in the same slam surface league as FEDAL. Have any players other than Federer and Nadal won slams on 3 different surfaces?  

Of course Federer has also completed the tricky channel slam. Nadal has done it twice... He is also I believe the only player to win slams on three different surfaces in one calender year (2010). The tricky "Surface Grand Slam" king

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:46 pm

OK a few points to address, I'll start with what LK said-

legendkiller wrote:Ah yes the transformation theory... I can't think of player today that could adjust to those conditions. It is pure speculation. Some would throw out Llodra or Stepanek. Yes great net players in their own right, but give them a racquet 90in and natural gut and see how good they really are. Increase the pace of the court and see if they can retrieve balls that they can today. Like I say pure speculation.
Good point OK I have to say, like you I have more sympathy for the opinion b) (check my post at 12:53 pm on the two differing opinions on this)

One point I was going to make, and I think you also made it was this: it's very difficult to tell if a player could adjust to a play in another decade. Fans of top players seem to make comments such as 'oh look Dubai is playing fast, my favourite player is doing well there; the surfaces in the 1990 was fast, so my player would have done as well there too' or 'oh look Monte Carlo is slow, my favourite player is doing well there; the clay conditions in 1980 were slow, so my player would have done well there too' etc.
It's firstly speculation, but that aside it's also flawed as it ignores the fact string technology and other things have dramatically changed. It could very well be that with the same equipment and conditions as the 1980's- the whole top 100 would be totally different.

Who disagrees with me ? Lydian I remember you saying last year the line 'All Time Greats would be able to adjust with different technology'.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:50 pm

OK the second thing I pick up here is this:

Lydian wrote:The other problem with GOAT debates is the de facto assumption that slam count trumps all else...that's ok for MSOAT...most successful of all time...but does that equally mean best player of all time? I'm not so sure.

legendkiller wrote:The titles count of many players sometimes isn't truly representitive of the talent that goes behind it.
We had a debate earlier on whether most successful necessarily means best player; see my OP on the 'Discussion of W/L ratio' thread. I don't think there was any rational or reasonable response to what I was arguing- that most successful doesn't necessarily mean best player.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 4:59 pm

Legendkiller, Lydian; in terms of technologies and how they relate to GOAT debates- I think it's very easy to get confused between two different concepts- and I think you have to draw the distinction.

Firstly:
a) The fact some players had to adjust more from tournament to tournament. This I think absolutely does impact GOAT debates, as it is easier to accumulate better statistics if you do not have to adjust. (Keep in mind though... did players have to make big adjustments between Australian, Wimbledon, and US Open in the 80's ?)

b) What LK called the 'transformation' theory. I don't think this has much relevance in GOAT debates. Could Borg win slams at all if he had to play with the same racket and courts as the past decade ? Arguably not. But I don't think this at all affects him in any debate when judging if he is the greatest.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by lydian on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 6:34 pm

Apparently AO, Wimb and USO on grass used to play completely differently...AO was a dustbowl and more higher bouncing...probably more akin to Wimb these days if not slower.

Yes, GOATs can adjust their games but they still have a preferred surface based on the style they grew up with. In reality it might shuffle the number of slams won up/down a degree. But the current greats would probably still be the current greats.

The discussion gets much harder when you try to pin down who was the actual best out of Fed, Nad, Djo, Samp, Agassi, Lendl, Connors, Mac, Borg, Laver (ie. Open Era). Then there are too many variables to compare including the fact that before 2000 guys didn't even take regular entry to all slams seriously. It was Federer who changed all that.
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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 08 Oct 2014, 10:28 pm

lydian. But your not suggesting the difference was as much as that between hard court and grass which is what it is now are you?

Prior to the open era players didn't train as they do now and top players came from a small select group who could be financially self supporting. When the likes of Borg and Conners were young the idea that you could make a living let alone become rich from hitting a ball wasn't thought of. Didn't Borg only take up tennis when he was 11 or 12 after playing table tennis when he was younger. I can remember hearing Conners talk about how when he was practicing with his mother neither imagined it would lead to a career.

It's only really the generation after that who's parents might have envisioned a career and invested time and money into teaching a 3 or 4 year old to play. I'm thinking of Agassi with his crazy father and the Williams sisters who as the story goes were conceived with the intention of training them up as tennis players. Whatever the rights or wrongs of very young children taking a game so seriously I think it's fair to conclude that to train from an earlier age than previous generations will give the present generations an advantage over past ones. Add in the much larger pool that pro players are drawn from today because it is seen as a potential career and it's enough for me at least to conclude that the standard is higher today.

I also think the competition is tougher today because players take all the slams seriously and in addition their calendars are dominated by Masters level tournaments. They are forced to always compete with the best and my guess is that would improve their skill level. In contrast in many of the huge number of tournaments Conners won he didn't face any top players.

It's just subjective but I would rate Federer and Nadal above the others in your list for those reasons. But who cares? it's more interesting to figure out who is the best now. The fun part about that is we can actually watch them play under the same conditions and best of all watch them play each other.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 11:53 am

IMBL,

Any debate on any GOAT is always flawed from the very get go. Now if you asked 100 who the GOAT is in tennis I hedge a bet that 70% would say Federer on the grounds of his Slam tally. Now if we took that further afield, wouldn't Graf be the GOAT based on Singles Slams count. But wait, if we did total Slam count across all forms, Navratilova would come out on top. Wait a second. A woman as GOAT of dual-sex sport? Never! The whole issue becomes equality based and there is still a bias in sport that exists. Men are superior to Women. Unfortunately in all sport there isn't a single athlete that dominates it's sport in it's entirety. I mean own all the stats there are to own. Not a single athlete. So on that basis a pure GOAT is out of the question. If you took the 4 Slams and took the 2 most successful champions from each sex, you wouldn't get one player that features in all 4.

GOAT debates are primarily contests. Who's favourite is better than the others. So you do infact compare era's, competition, technology, talent, cultural impact and try to draw a comparison. See lydian feels Federer brought a professionalism to the Slams and importance. I disagree. I think that Lendl was the chief arcitect of that mould.

Federer plays the game in way never seen before his time and likely never seen again after his time. The only player that I can think of who had a similar impact was Borg. They tick all the boxes of an all court game and the closest I would say to being the complete player. Henin another example of a great all court player that never gets the credit she deserved.

I would put Nadal in the bracket of Sampras, Navratilova, Graf. Serial winners. Not the most graceful players the sport has seen, but a natural born winner. Relentless ambition and confidence. All sports have them.

Back to the GOAT. Look at Cricket. Bradman deemed the greatest, even though he didn't score the most runs or play all forms of the game. Ali deemed the greatest in Boxing despite not having the best W/L record or fighting in different weight divisions.

GOAT's just add no value to the sport or any discussion. Sports evolve. Move on. Not many get stuck in the same conditions. Trying to determine an absolute greatest is impossible.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:03 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:

Federer plays the game in way never seen before his time and likely never seen again after his time.

No! Federer plays a classical style of tennis and by definition his game has been seen many times. What he does is do it very well. It's Nadal who plays the game in a way it's never been seen before Smile

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:09 pm

hawkeye wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

Federer plays the game in way never seen before his time and likely never seen again after his time.

No! Federer plays a classical style of tennis and by definition his game has been seen many times. What he does is do it very well. It's Nadal who plays the game in a way it's never been seen before Smile

Name me someone who played the exact way Federer did?

Nadal's style was done before him and after him. Don't kid yourself. Laugh

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:28 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
...It's Nadal who plays the game in a way it's never been seen before Smile

Name me someone who played the exact way Federer did?

Nadal's style was done before him and after him. Don't kid yourself. Laugh
Bizarre observation.


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:30 pm

Lydian wrote:Apparently AO, Wimb and USO on grass used to play completely differently...AO was a dustbowl and more higher bouncing...probably more akin to Wimb these days if not slower.
I'm sure how far apart they were in terms of suitable styles to win at a certain event has fluctuated throughout the decades.
My other point was that the conclusion of this is that someone like Borg had it harder than Nadal to win the career Grand Slam.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:33 pm

legendkiller wrote:A woman as GOAT of dual-sex sport? Never! The whole issue becomes equality based and there is still a bias in sport that exists. Men are superior to Women.
The GOAT debates for men and women tend to be separate. So the man GOAT is Fed/Nadal/Sampras etc. and the women GOAT is Graf/Serena etc.
In terms of overall GOAT, you could have both joint; but many will look at it simply and accurately say 'Federer would beat Serena 6-0 6-0' so how can Serena be the joint GOAT.
Bit of a controversial thing you've brought up actually Wink

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:42 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
...It's Nadal who plays the game in a way it's never been seen before Smile

Name me someone who played the exact way Federer did?

Nadal's style was done before him and after him. Don't kid yourself. Laugh
Bizarre observation.

Not really.

The only thing Nadal has innovated is topspin and the ridiculous levels of spin he can generate. The whole aesthetics of his game is nothing new. HE's point of Federer's game being 'Classical' is a rather lazy view. I can't think of anyone that played the game the way he does.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 3:45 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
legendkiller wrote:A woman as GOAT of dual-sex sport? Never! The whole issue becomes equality based and there is still a bias in sport that exists. Men are superior to Women.
The GOAT debates for men and women tend to be separate. So the man GOAT is Fed/Nadal/Sampras etc. and the women GOAT is Graf/Serena etc.
In terms of overall GOAT, you could have both joint; but many will look at it simply and accurately say 'Federer would beat Serena 6-0 6-0' so how can Serena be the joint GOAT.
Bit of a controversial thing you've brought up actually Wink

It shouldn't be seperate as the sport is still the same. There's only finite measures between them and that's at the Slams when Men play 5 sets. If we are to annoit a GOAT I think all things should be equal and that it applies to all it's participants Smile

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 4:17 pm

legendkiller wrote: Men are superior to Women.

No! Women are superior to Men....  censored oh sorry I mean Men are equal to Women  Wink

You have made me think of something. Federer plays more like a woman. Graff, Henin, Goolagong to name a few off the top of my head. But only a man could play like Nadal  Smile

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 6:27 pm

legendkiller wrote:Not really.
Beyond ridiculous logic though, if you think about it.
HE said Federer's classical style of game had been tried before, and you replied to that by saying 'name me someone who played the exact way federer did'. So then surely if you apply the same standards to Nadal, one could ask 'name me someone who played the exact way Nadal did.'  


You then said 'Nadal's style was done before him and after him. Don't kid yourself'; but now say:
legendkiller wrote:The only thing Nadal has innovated is topspin and the ridiculous levels of spin he can generate.
Well surely then you concede that 'name me someone who played the exact way Nadal did' cannot be answered satisfactorily.
And secondly, Nadal based his game around his grip which is very unique, and as well as that his use of topspin which had not been done before. So how you could say 'his style has been done before' is beyond any rational explanation.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by LuvSports! on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 9:48 pm

Cop out answer but both are unique no?
I don't know enough about the history of the sport to compare styles but surely today's styles cannot be replicated simply because of the racket technology of today. Rpm on topspin, bend on the ball for round the net shots or shots way outside the tramlines.
Was Borg one of the first to employ topspin especially on the bh?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 10:10 pm

LuvSports! wrote:Cop out answer but both are unique no?
Cop out it may be, but I tend to agree with you.
However a counter point could be Federer is 'orthodox perfected'- so unique in how it's used but not the style itself.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by LuvSports! on Thu 09 Oct 2014, 10:23 pm

Nadal deffo took the game to unprecedented levels of physicality. In that sense certainly unique. He set the trend imo for what is the case now. Perhaps Hewitt started it (with maybe Lendl before him in terms of a professional mindset and preparation) but he powered it home.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by temporary21 on Fri 10 Oct 2014, 3:28 pm

Coria, Fererro, Borg, Brugera, etc all played a style like Rafas, but noone hits topspin like he does that I remember. He was also the first guy I saw who could literally make jaws drop with the passes about 10 feet behind the baseline.

This might not be too liked, but Federer plays like an improved modern Sampras, big serve, big forehand, aggressive intent to get to the net. Fed even modelled his serve partly on Pistol Pete, people forget how Pete used to play in the early 90's.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Sun 12 Oct 2014, 9:55 am

temporary21 wrote:Coria, Fererro, Borg, Brugera, etc all played a style like Rafas,


Really?

temporary21 wrote:

This might not be too liked, but Federer plays like an improved modern Sampras, big serve, big forehand, aggressive intent to get to the net. Fed even modelled his serve partly on Pistol Pete, people forget how Pete used to play in the early 90's.

I think Fed plays more like Rafa than he does like Pete Zzzzz Sampras

I stopped watching Mens tennis completely in the 90's because of the likes of Sampras and co. It was only when I saw Federer play in 2003 that I took a little interest again. So even on a subjective level I believe their styles are completely different.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Sun 12 Oct 2014, 10:08 am

As far as the GOAT debate...

Roger and Rafa have lot's of stats that can be used to back up their respective claims but if anyone wants to use the fact that Roger has a more healthy appendix than Rafa in an attempt to prove he is a better player I am not sure I would be able to resist laughing.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by LuvSports! on Sun 12 Oct 2014, 10:14 am

I haven't watched his match vs Sampras in a while to definitely say, but I think he s&v'd most points in that match.
Using a similar tactic to what he used 13 years ago.
I would agree I think he is closer to Nadal's style of play but more in the sense of baseline play (as basically all do now) rather than his actual style of play which is very different... and better Wink

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 12 Oct 2014, 10:33 am

I wonder if those criticising Sampras ever saw him play off grass? He had an exceptional baseline game and I would say his style was very similar to Fed's (obviously a bit more aggressive).

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 10:06 am

Slightly out of date (it does not include Fed or Nadal) but an interesting take on the top 15 of all time by someone who played most of them:

http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/6007

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 11:24 am

Born Slippy wrote:Slightly out of date (it does not include Fed or Nadal) but an interesting take on the top 15 of all time by someone who played most of them:

http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/6007

Yes, that is interesting. Not entirely surprised to see Don Budge at the top, although Laver down in 5th is somewhat unexpected.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 2:15 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Slightly out of date (it does not include Fed or Nadal) but an interesting take on the top 15 of all time by someone who played most of them:

http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/6007

It's an interesting view, but again it comes back to the issue of era's and even a pro dating back as far as he could would make it extremely difficult to judge the current era. I did share one of the sentiments by one of the comments that said the list was rather 'American'

I find the tennis history fascinating, like when looking at Fred Perry who over a 27 year didn't rack up the matches that players of the pro-era have. You had him turning pro which prevented him competing at Slams and also the war. Add in the limits of travel. Who knows what players in that era could've achieved without the restrictions they had.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 10:49 am

I think that's a fair point. Its likely that the slam record would be far higher if all players had played all slams as they do now. I think Tilden was unbeaten for several years for example. Its what makes trying to decide who is the greatest such a fascinating topic in tennis.

Of course, what makes the Fed and Rafa rivalry so interesting is that they are peers competing at the same time. We therefore can directly compare without having to factor in equipment changes and the like. At present, I think more or less everyone would acknowledge them both as, at a minimum, in the top 5 of the Open era.

What's intriguing is whether the near future will continue to have the type of domination they have produced or whether, instead, we will see a move back to a more level playing field. My personal view is that we are probably not many years away ftom the next CYGS.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by dummy_half on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 11:50 am

The tennis GOAT debate is clearly one of the more complex in sport, because we have to consider both the effects of the amateur/professional split and the changes in technology and playing conditions.

Ultimately, while Federer probably edges the list in terms of 'most successful', even his record is not blemish-free, because of the success Nadal had against him. However, I don't put Rafa quite into the highest echelon of the GOAT debate - astonishingly successful clay courter undoubtedly, but arguably the bigger beneficiary of the narrowing of playing conditions, so allowing him to take his primarily clay and slow hard-court game to success on what were traditionally fast court events.

Sampras clearly makes the discussion, but his relative lack of success on clay probably puts his overall GOAT claims behind Federer, accepting that Sampras had a game suited primarily to fast conditions that no longer exist.

Borg? There has to be a nagging question over his lack of USO success and his premature retirement. Admittedly, the RG and Wimbledon double was a mind-boggling achievement for his time.

Laver? The eternal conundrum. The 1969 CYGS is the only one of the open era, but marked the end of his dominance, most of which occurred in the professional ranks making it hard to judge. The amateur CYGS obviously has to be considered in light of the defection of most of the best players to the pro tour after a couple of seasons of amateur tennis. he other consideration is that his prime is too long ago for most of us to have seen - he may genuinely have been head and shoulders better than everyone else, but we have a lack of objective evidence to base this conclusion on.

I'd rate Rafa probably next below these 4 and then Connors and Lendl about equal, with a group including Djokovic, Mac, Agassi as the next tier down (still obviously mighty fine players

As someone who participated in the cricket section's Hall of Fame thread (which sadly reached a point where we basically ran out of players worthy of induction bar some recent retirees), I would be interested in seeing something similar run here. My recollection is that there were initially about 10 inductees based on consensus, with cases then being made for about 3 or 4 nominees per couple of weeks. One corollary was that inductees must be retired, so we couldn't yet put Fed and Rafa in, although both would clearly walk it when the time comes.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 6:11 pm

dummy_half. Personally I'm less interested in dead GOAT debates including speculation about such things as whether Laver would beat Sampras or how many slams Borg may have won if he could have been bothered to play or indeed if Laver or Borg would have won any if they had all been played on hard court or if Sampras would have won any if they were all played on clay (as they may well be in 2022 if the ATP players council gets their way Wink) because who knows?

It's far more fun to speculate about the two live GOATs we have now especially because we can actually watch them play and best of all watch them play each other under the exact same conditions. It is almost the perfect experimental conditions. If only they were the same age and if only one wasn't so weak physically... sigh... Oh and if Djokovic didn't keep getting in the way...

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 12:45 am

Nice post DH. Really like the idea of a HoF thread.

I can't agree on ranking Nadal below Borg or Sampras though. Whilst we can argue over the extent to which the surfaces have converged, I think winning 9 slams on your best surface and 5 slams split between the other 2 (even if they are slightly closer than they used to be) is still better than having a big gap on a particular surface. I think he has to go into the Fed, Sampras, Borg, Laver group to make the 5 pre-eminent Open era guys.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by dummy_half on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 7:30 am

BS

No issue with you disagreeing, and indeed as I was writing it I could see an argument for grouping Rafa in with the likes of Borg. For me though the two issues with Nadal's record are:
1 - That it is so overwhelmingly dominated by clay success and
2 - He has rarely been the dominant player on tour over the last several years, and indeed has spent more time at #2 in the rankings than any other player, initially behind Federer and latterly behind Djokovic.

Now, how much or how little importance you place on this is simply a matter of opinion.

Also, there is something of a question (in a GOAT debate) of how these records will look with the benefit of hindsight - subtleties like Rafa's H2H with Federer or overall superior winning % are less easily seen in the record books than number of slams / slam finals and time spent at #1 in the rankings.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 8:22 am

5 slams off clay is as many as Borg though. Laver has only two slams off grass. As for rarely being the dominant player, that tends to go hand in hand with his health. I would say that, when fit, he has been the player to beat for the majority of time since 2008 (2011 being the exception).

Personally, I think the H2H is going to become a bigger and bigger issue when looked at through history. Its such a rarity in a GOAT debate to be able to directly compare. In 50 years, it will be that and the number of slams won which will be looked at between Fed and Nadal.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Henman Bill on Wed 22 Oct 2014, 4:19 pm

So I had a couple of ideas for threads.

1 A table showing the adjusted number of slams that people would have won had they playe din this modern era where all players play 4 slams a year unless they have a clear injury or major reason not to. E.g. Borg only played 3 slams a year so his slams must be multiplied by (4/3) for fair comparison. Laver missed x years of open era so could have added so many slams to reach a hypothetical total.

2 A table showing the ranking of years spent at no 1, but going beyond the official rankings, and estimating for years from at least about 1950 onwards, so how many years would Pancho Gonzales and Rod Laver have had at no 1, or Rod Laver, had their been computerized rankings in those days, and how does it compare to top players.

Do you think, dear moderators, that those would be acceptable standalone articles in the main forum, or should they be added here as comments to this sticky.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 23 Oct 2014, 9:17 am

That would lead to a forum meltdown!

I like the way you think though! Very Happy

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by lags72 on Thu 23 Oct 2014, 11:24 am

Well.... it certainly offers a somewhat interesting & different twist on things.

I'm inclined to support your suggestion, HB, with the strict proviso that :

a) it definitely IS confined to a sticky (whether the existing sticky, or perhaps a separate new one headed "Parallel Universe Theories on Tennis")

and

b) it incorporates a third table, showing the adjusted number of Slams I myself would have won (the 'non-adjusted' count being zero for those who might not be aware .....), if only I had been born with more talent and spent more time working on my sadly limited abilities.


Last edited by lags72 on Thu 23 Oct 2014, 1:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification)

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by temporary21 on Thu 23 Oct 2014, 12:14 pm

I think thats a cool idea but is definitely sticky material

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Thu 23 Oct 2014, 3:16 pm

If we are to descend into the world of the hypothetical and possiblity, I think it must be stated at the very get go that no opinion given on that subject is 'factually' correct so it doesn't get heated.

Good luck Wink

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Henman Bill on Sat 25 Oct 2014, 2:07 am

the pertinent question is whether I ever get around to it

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Sat 08 Nov 2014, 12:32 pm

http://www.tsmplug.com/tennis/roger-federer-greatest-time-rafael-nadal-second-andy-roddick/

Roddick adds his 2 cents to the debate.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Thu 13 Nov 2014, 11:16 pm

This twitter conversation made me :-) ;-) B1PR is the twitter account of the marketing company that has Rafa on its books.

DavidLawtennis

Can't think of a sports person on the planet whose highest level is high as Roger Federer's. Ever.

B1PR

@DavidLawTennis Rafa Nadal in RG maybe? :-) ;-)

https://twitter.com/b1pr/status/533001682729594880

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 19 Nov 2014, 10:46 am

http://www.tennisworldusa.org/John-McEnroe-Roger-Federer-the-GOAT-Tennis-isnt-the-Same-Without-Rafael-Nadal-articolo21289.html

I did dolly about whether to put this up as I knew it would generate posts which would annoy! Wink

Interesting really as Mac as ever flippant. I remember post Wimbledon 2008 he didn't think Federer would surpass Sampras.

I'd sooner he stuck with Laver as his GOAT. It's what he believed for years prior to Sampras.

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Re: GOAT Debate

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