GOAT Debate

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GOAT Debate

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

First topic message reminder :

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 summerblues on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 2:37 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
-Summerblues, I feel these two factors are the most significant.
I can see that Smile

But there will be plenty of tennis fans (presumably many of them Fed fans) who will be equally happy to claim that the most significant factors are biased in the exactly opposite direction.  If one puts their mind to it, it is not hard at all to come up with arguments favoring one's player that are at least vaguely plausible and that are just about impossible to disprove.

You need to provide some evidence that you are not cherry-picking your arguments.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 6:50 am

LuvSports! wrote:
It Must Be Love wrote:
Johnyjeep wrote:I asked why Nadal gets extra credit for Federer being better at avoiding injury? You have closed the gap because of this. By that rationale if Federer had more injuries he would have been seen as a better player. You haven't explained this anywhere.
No, I have never said Nadal should get extra credit because Federer is better at avoiding injuries.
And I've not closed the gap, the gap is still there.
I am saying one of the two factors which explains/ accounts for the 3 slam gap is the fact that Nadal has been worse than Federer at avoiding injuries.

Johnyjeep wrote:Not 2004 - 2007. OK so he won 4 of them. Again - should we scrub them? Yes he played Roger Federer. But Roger Federer can't rightly play himself can he.
3 actually, as Luvsports took pleasure in pointing out Wink
Well Federer won the majority of his slams against easier competition, and when it comes to his only rival who is a GOAT candidate, his biggest rival, his record is 2-9 in Grand Slams.
But that is another story, my point was that Nadal had harder competition. Whether you like it or not, he had to beat Fed/Djo for 12 of his 14 Slams.
Even if Baghdatis/Gonzalez had managed an unlikely win against Federer I wouldn't see them at the level of competition Nadal had to face. What really points to this is the stat I showed- how Murray has a teenager was more successful than all Federer's rivals his age put together. It's not a case of Murray being better than Federer, but it shows the paucity in world class challenge Federer had to face.

Murray fans will disagree with me on this, but I don't set too much store by these wins because I feel that Murray's type of tennis wasn't around much. I feel there were a lot of players who were more talented than Murray but not many in terms of retrieval, defence and variety.
The younger generation usually learn how to beat those before them but for me its harder to do so now based on the current game and the strengths you need to be at the top.

Wait wait.

The Murray results don't merit any weight because of the brand of tennis?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by LuvSports! on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 8:51 am

The first bite!
Not at all. I'm saying that it was a different style of tennis that beat feds but imo not a better one.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 9:01 am

Tennis is littered with greats beaten by tennis which wasn't better. Bad day at the offices are other reasons.

It is extremely rare you get 'pure' performances in terms of total tennis perfection. Very rare have I seen it in many players. Federer on Hard and Grass. Nadal on Clay. Sampras on Grass. Those are the only exceptions I can think of. LF could probably find others from the past.

It's even rarer that 2 greats play at their pomps at the same time in the same match. Borg/McEnroe Becker/Edberg are the only 2 that spring to mind that produced excellent and entertaining tennis.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Johnyjeep on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 9:05 am

Yes BS, I take your point. Statistics aren't everything. I'm not suggesting they are. But they are the main factor.

My main issue is how a players metrics are used. It is completely arbitrary. Saying Nadal is better the Federer (despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary) and showing a some random stat showing winning % in the first 39 slams entered. When Borg's is shown to be better than Nadals, some metrics are thrown in about longevity. So those metrics are OK to use now to determine Nadal is better than Borg?

Well Federer has incredible longevity? Surely they count for something? No one is defined by their career match win %. Federer has 996 match wins at 81.4%. Nadal has 706 at 83.5%. Which is better? Impossible to say because fairly obviously, it gets harder to win as you get older. What will Nadal's be when he gets to 996 match wins? Neither player is on the same timeline. Is that factored in? No. Dismissed. I would suggest also that if Nadal's was lower - we would here the injury card. Again.

And career w/l doesn't determine how good a player was. I'll ask again, is Steve Davis a worse snooker player because he cannot retire? Would Roger or Rafa be worse at tennis if they both wanted to play till 40? Of course not. This is why career match w/l has, and will never be used. Quick - what was Pete Sampras match win record? Or Borg's? Or Lavers? No one cares.

In every sport I know, what counts is total accumulation. Not, average. The average is the consequence. Not the cause.

People aren't suggesting Federer is GOAT just because of his major wins. Or because he is perfect.  It is because of the accumulation of his achievements. Across more than just one surface.

The injury line for Nadal doesn't stack up. Never has. It is alternate universe stuff. Or - as no one has counter pointed yet - Nadal has benefited by having periods of rest. His career shows he struggles to win multiple slams in a season without periods of rest in the preceding season. That is not a criticism. It is a fact.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 9:48 am

Johnyjeep wrote:Federer has 996 match wins at 81.4%. Nadal has 706 at 83.5%. Which is better?
For the W/L ratio I actually did the analysis age by age, and Nadal is also ahead for his respective age.

Johnyjeep wrote:The injury line for Nadal doesn't stack up. Never has. It is alternate universe stuff.
What ? How many times do I have to emphasise that my argument is not based on hypotheticals, and you're the only person to bring up alternate universes.
I am saying that Federer's slam gap with Nadal is due to 2 reasons, and one of them is that he has kept his body in better shape and avoided injury better than Nadal. The second is easier competition.
And of course Nadal has needed rest, that is the point, when injured hes needed to rest to recover his body. That underlines my point further.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 9:50 am

Summerblues- http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence
Wink

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 9:53 am

Born Slippy wrote:Lets imagine in 20 years time Fed's twins become top players. One is sadly injury prone. However, he is also nigh on unbeatable. He only manages to play 10 slams in his career but wins all of them. He has a 20-0 record against his brother but never reaches number 1.

The other brother is also exceptional. He has a 15 year career and never misses a match through injury. He accumulates 25 slams out of the 60 he plays. He is WN1 FOR 400 weeks.

Brother B has the greater achievements but it would be hard to argue he was the better player than Brother A.

Obviously, that is taking hypotheticals to the extreme but it emphasises how it can be possible to be clearly the better player with lesser achievements. As mentioned above, Rosewall above Emerson would also be a no brainer despite the slam titles being heavily in favour of Emerson.

Federer/Nadal is more finely balanced but I would still say Nadal is the better player.
Yes, that is an interesting way of putting it, some very valid points there.

As for your last line, I tend to agree that Nadal may be better when healthy, but Federer has sustained himself without injury for longer.
I think the stat showing Nadal is 9-2 up in their slam meetings is quite telling.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:05 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
Johnyjeep wrote:Federer has 996 match wins at 81.4%. Nadal has 706 at 83.5%. Which is better?
For the W/L ratio I actually did the analysis age by age, and Nadal is also ahead for his respective age.

Johnyjeep wrote:The injury line for Nadal doesn't stack up. Never has. It is alternate universe stuff.
What ? How many times do I have to emphasise that my argument is not based on hypotheticals, and you're the only person to bring up alternate universes.
I am saying that Federer's slam gap with Nadal is due to 2 reasons, and one of them is that he has kept his body in better shape and avoided injury better than Nadal. The second is easier competition.
And of course Nadal has needed rest, that is the point, when injured hes needed to rest to recover his body. That underlines my point further.

Your assumption is thus that Nadal would have narrowed the difference if he had not been injured. That is hypothetical. No?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Johnyjeep on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:19 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
Johnyjeep wrote:Federer has 996 match wins at 81.4%. Nadal has 706 at 83.5%. Which is better?
For the W/L ratio I actually did the analysis age by age, and Nadal is also ahead for his respective age.

Johnyjeep wrote:The injury line for Nadal doesn't stack up. Never has. It is alternate universe stuff.
What ? How many times do I have to emphasise that my argument is not based on hypotheticals, and you're the only person to bring up alternate universes.
I am saying that Federer's slam gap with Nadal is due to 2 reasons, and one of them is that he has kept his body in better shape and avoided injury better than Nadal. The second is easier competition.
And of course Nadal has needed rest, that is the point, when injured hes needed to rest to recover his body. That underlines my point further.

You are giving Nadal credit (saying the difference is not significant (even though it exists in Federer's favour) and should be discounted in analysis) because Federer is better at something (staying fit) than Nadal? It makes no sense. Surely the implication being if Nadal was fit, there would be no gap (or as you have said previously - Nadal would clearly be comfortably ahead!).

And for the last time w/l percentage is the consequence not the cause. Accumulation is what matters. If Nadal played till his 40's, completely ruining his career w/l, would he be a worse player? Of course not. And Nadal will be ahead at respective age. That just shows he was an early bloomer when compared to Fed. Doesn't tell us anything other than that.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:32 am

JuliusHMarx wrote:
It Must Be Love wrote:
Johnyjeep wrote:Federer has 996 match wins at 81.4%. Nadal has 706 at 83.5%. Which is better?
For the W/L ratio I actually did the analysis age by age, and Nadal is also ahead for his respective age.

Johnyjeep wrote:The injury line for Nadal doesn't stack up. Never has. It is alternate universe stuff.
What ? How many times do I have to emphasise that my argument is not based on hypotheticals, and you're the only person to bring up alternate universes.
I am saying that Federer's slam gap with Nadal is due to 2 reasons, and one of them is that he has kept his body in better shape and avoided injury better than Nadal. The second is easier competition.
And of course Nadal has needed rest, that is the point, when injured hes needed to rest to recover his body. That underlines my point further.

Your assumption is thus that Nadal would have narrowed the difference if he had not been injured. That is hypothetical. No?

That was my thinking too. Aren't we speculating Nadal's form in the tournaments he has missed through injury/rest? Also aren't we speculating about the quality of Federer's opponent based on achievements? chin

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Johnyjeep on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:38 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
And of course Nadal has needed rest, that is the point, when injured hes needed to rest to recover his body. That underlines my point further.

It does the opposite I'm afraid. Without the rest - his record shows he would have really struggled to be a multi-slam winner in any season.

He managed it once in 2008 when he did the W/FO double. Other than that, unless he can rest the season before hand i.e. miss portions of the season, he does not win multiple slams in a year. That pattern is there for all to see. So missing those slams has helped him. When the rest of the tour were playing - he was re-charging his batteries. I have absolutely no problem with that. Good for him. I genuinely think its helped him win what he has.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:40 am

We might be giving Rafa credit for beating a woeful (on the day) Federer, but taking credit away from Federer for beating a brilliant (on the day) Baghdatis. Unless we watch each match and objectively evaluate the performance of the opponent, then we are being hypothetical in our credit-giving. Yes?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:50 am

JuliusHMarx wrote:We might be giving Rafa credit for beating a woeful (on the day) Federer, but taking credit away from Federer for beating a brilliant (on the day) Baghdatis. Unless we watch each match and objectively evaluate the performance of the opponent, then we are being hypothetical in our credit-giving. Yes?
The competition debate is different from the injury debate.
If you say that you think all slams are equally hard to win in terms of competition, then that may be using hypotheticals because you are 'speculating' that the competition is equal throughout slams. It is very unlikely that the competition throughout all the slams has been equal, it's almost certain that there has been some variation and fluctuations in difficulty of winning slam events.

If you want me to explain why I think Nadal has had harder competitions in the slams he has won then I can do that in detail.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:52 am

Johnyjeep wrote:It does the opposite I'm afraid. Without the rest - his record shows he would have really struggled to be a multi-slam winner in any season.
He needed the rest to recover from his injuries, if not for the rest which is vital to his recoveries from injury he would not have recovered from injuries.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:54 am

Johnyjeep wrote:You are giving Nadal credit (saying the difference is not significant (even though it exists in Federer's favour) and should be discounted in analysis) because Federer is better at something (staying fit) than Nadal? It makes no sense.
I believe the fact Federer has kept his body in better shape and avoided injury better than Nadal is one of the two reasons he has more slams than Nadal.
Federer should get credit for the fact he has been able to avoid injuries better than Nadal, but I don't think that particular category is very important in determining who is the better player.

Johnyjeep wrote:And for the last time w/l percentage is the consequence not the cause. Accumulation is what matters.
That is your opinion. I think looking at both averages and accumulation is important and gives us a broader view when seeing who is better.
It is a fairly narrow minded position to firstly say you won't even look at averages, and then when looking at accumulation ignore any argument which shows that external factors such as injuries or competition could have influenced accumulation.


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 10:56 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
JuliusHMarx wrote:We might be giving Rafa credit for beating a woeful (on the day) Federer, but taking credit away from Federer for beating a brilliant (on the day) Baghdatis. Unless we watch each match and objectively evaluate the performance of the opponent, then we are being hypothetical in our credit-giving. Yes?
The competition debate is different from the injury debate.
If you say that you think all slams are equally hard to win in terms of competition, then that may be using hypotheticals because you are 'speculating' that the competition is equal throughout slams. It is very unlikely that the competition throughout all the slams has been equal, it's almost certain that there has been some variation and fluctuations in difficulty of winning slam events.

If you want me to explain why I think Nadal has had harder competitions in the slams he has won then I can do that in detail.

I'd prefer it you said "No, I'm not using hypotheticals" or "Yes, I am being hypothetical". It's fairly obviously the latter, but I'm not sure if you are able to recognise it.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:01 am

I am making a judgement that I think Nadal's competition was harder than Federer's competition, and I did not use a hypothetical.
If you say automatically by making a judgement I am using a hypothetical, then I could say the same of anyone of an opposing viewpoint- i.e. people who say that they think the competition was equal are also using hypotheticals.
Whether we can twist someone else's argument into making it seem like they are using hypotheticals or not is irrelevant, try and debate the substance of what I am saying.


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:04 am

But you are. In terms of the injury factor.

How can you prove something that never happened? Headscratch

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:06 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:But you are. In terms of the injury factor.

How can you prove something that never happened? Headscratch
I am not claiming to be able to prove anything, it would be unreasonable to demand that.
But once again, how can you prove that if Nadal had Federer's injury record that he wouldn't have been able to get 17 slams ?

The question is not who can prove what, and we do not even need a hypothetical.
My point is very clear: the slam gap exists for 2 reasons- the fact Federer has been able to look after his body better than Nadal, and because he has had easier competition.
I am off for a while now, but during this time perhaps people can debate the substance of what I am arguing rather than looking at different ways of presenting my argument.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:09 am

It's impossible to debate with someone who denies being hypothetical when they are clearly being hypothetical. There's no point.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:15 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:But you are. In terms of the injury factor.

How can you prove something that never happened? Headscratch
I am not claiming to be able to prove anything, it would be unreasonable to demand that.
But once again, how can you prove that if Nadal had Federer's injury record that he wouldn't have been able to get 17 slams ?

The question is not who can prove what, and we do not even need a hypothetical.
My point is very clear: the slam gap exists for 2 reasons- the fact Federer has been able to look after his body better than Nadal, and because he has had easier competition.
I am off for a while now, but during this time perhaps people can debate the substance of what I am arguing rather than looking at different ways of presenting my argument.

That right there contradicts your point.

Your not being hyperthetical yet (to you at least) it is fact that Nadal has not achieved more in his career due to injury, thus speculating he would've won more without those injuries.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Johnyjeep on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:24 am

It Must Be Love wrote:

Johnyjeep wrote:And for the last time w/l percentage is the consequence not the cause. Accumulation is what matters.
That is your opinion. I think looking at both averages and accumulation is important and gives us a broader view when seeing who is better.
It is a fairly narrow minded position to firstly say you won't even look at averages, and then when looking at accumulation ignore any argument which shows that external factors such as injuries or competition could have influenced accumulation.

Not narrow minded at all. Nadal's average is between 2-3% better than Federers? Yet Federer has 300 more  wins. (and everything that comes with). I'll take more match wins every day.

Ask a cricketer what he'd prefer? 10,000 test runs @ 48 or 7000 @ 50. It's a no brainer. I would look at them if everything else was equal. But they are clearly not.

I'll ask again. Is Steve Davis considered a worse snooker player because he won't retire? Thus his career w/l continues to decline? Would Nadal be a worse player if he played till 40 just because he wanted to? Accumulation is more important than averages. Always has been. Always will be.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Johnyjeep on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:26 am

JhM and LV2

clap you explain things much better than I!

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 12:49 pm

This is meant to be a GOAT debate, rather than a technical one about what type of argument you could twist someone else's into being.
That being said, I will make one last post on this issue, which will completely clarify my position on this. If you want to keep discussing this after it, you can do so but I won't respond and will just point you to this post. If it's really bugging you, drop me a PM and I can clarify further. However after this I will continue with a 'GOAT debate' as the OP title says.

To clarify:
-I am aware that my argument can, hypothetically, be presented in the way of a hypothetical.
-However I have not presented my argument as a hypothetical, and my argument did not rely on being presented as a hypothetical.
-Nevertheless, if you claim that my argument must be a hypothetical, then I can immediately show how any opposing argument is also a hypothetical.
-Let me demonstrate what I mean with an analogy, and I will make clear how that links to the debate we are having.

Some stats for Federer vs Nadal:
-Nadal on average has won 36% of the slams he has entered. Federer has won 28%. When Federer had played the number of slams Nadal had, he had won 33% (so 3% less than Nadal). So on average for the respective number of slams, Nadal wins more per slam than Federer
-Federer however has won 17 slams compared to the 14 of Nadal overall.

Analogy:
-Let's say we have Plant A and Plant B.
-Plant A and Plant B are put into two different rooms. Both these rooms have the same light intensity.
-Plant A grows at 1cm per hour, and after 4 hours is 4cm taller. Plant B grows at 2 cm per hour, and after 4 hours is 8cm taller.
-However after 4 hours, the light in the room plant B is in is switched off. The light in Plant A's room stays on. (Most plants need light to grow)
-For the next 6 hours Plant A grows at the same rate, becoming 6cm taller than before (and 10cm in the 10 hours overall)
-Meanwhile Plant B doesn't grow, so overall only 8cm in the 10 hours
-You are then asked to report on this experiment with the question: did Plant A growing 2cm more in these 10 hours (which is did, 10cm vs 8cm), conclusively show you that under the same light intensity Plant A grows faster than Plant B ?
-You could have two answers to this question:
-Either: Yes, it does show that Plant A grows faster than Plant B under the same light intensity, because the results are Plant A grew 2cm more. I hypothetically assume that even if they had been under the same light intensity for 10 hours Plant A would have grown more anyway, even though when they were under the same light intensity it grew less on average.
-Or, and this is my position in the Fedal debate: No, this does not show that Plant A grows faster than Plant B. The factors which meant Plant A grew more are mainly due to the fact they were placed under different light intensities for the last 6 hours where the light in Plant B's room was switched off. Furthermore on average when they were under the same light intensity, Plant B grew quicker; so just using aggregate figures and claiming they are conclusive is very misleading.

Edit: The crucial point is this
The question related to the Federer vs Nadal debate is: Considering that we know Federer looks after his body better, who is the better player when they are actually healthy? Are the statistics conclusive ? Who would have won more with the same injury record ?
-Just looking at gross figures is unreliable, as they may not give the whole picture as to who is better when healthy. This is because Federer has kept his body in better condition than Nadal, and not been as injured as much in their prime. So you're left with two options.
-You could say yes, conclude that Federer would have won more even if Nadal and Federer had the same injury record, despite Nadal having more on average
-Or you could say that the external factors of injury explain the slam difference and therefore the stat is inconclusive when seeing who is the better player.

It is my position which is the only reasonable one here, I say that the theory that Federer has 3 more slams than Nadal means he is a better player when healthy is inconclusive; because of the external factors of injury and competition. I never claim to prove any hypotheticals, because it is impossible to do so.

That will be my last post on the technical aspects of this debate, and whether it is a hypothetical or not. If you have been someone who is confused about this (and a few from what I see above), please read this whole thing very carefully. Further questions and I will simply point you back to this post.
Now, back onto the GOAT debate...


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Silver on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 12:53 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:It's impossible to debate with someone who denies being hypothetical when they are clearly being hypothetical. There's no point.

I agree. I've thought about joining the debate but it seems pointless. IMBL is incredibly intransigent to boot.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 12:59 pm

Silver, you said earlier that you did not want to pick a GOAT, but if you had to choose it would be Laver. However in terms of aggregate Slams, Laver has won 6 less Grand Slams than Federer
So surely then be logical extension you agree with my conclusion that GOAT debates can be influenced by: a) circumstances and external factors or b) by average stats ?

Edit: On your point itself, I do agree with you that Laver (like Federer and Nadal) for me is on the 'GOAT' tier.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Born Slippy on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:21 pm

Johnyjeep wrote:
It Must Be Love wrote:

Johnyjeep wrote:And for the last time w/l percentage is the consequence not the cause. Accumulation is what matters.
That is your opinion. I think looking at both averages and accumulation is important and gives us a broader view when seeing who is better.
It is a fairly narrow minded position to firstly say you won't even look at averages, and then when looking at accumulation ignore any argument which shows that external factors such as injuries or competition could have influenced accumulation.

Not narrow minded at all. Nadal's average is between 2-3% better than Federers? Yet Federer has 300 more  wins. (and everything that comes with). I'll take more match wins every day.

Ask a cricketer what he'd prefer? 10,000 test runs @ 48 or 7000 @ 50. It's a no brainer. I would look at them if everything else was equal. But they are clearly not.

I'll ask again. Is Steve Davis considered a worse snooker player because he won't retire? Thus his career w/l continues to decline? Would Nadal be a worse player if he played till 40 just because he wanted to? Accumulation is more important than averages. Always has been. Always will be.

I am not sure about your cricketing analogy. Bradman is regarded as the all-time greatest because of the 99.94 average. Tendulkar (I think) holds the record for most test runs but I couldn't tell you the figure. Having the most runs or wickets is a nice stat but its the averages which generally are regarded as more important at cricket. A player with 8000 runs @ 50 would be seen as superior to one with 10000 runs @ 40.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:33 pm

Born Slippy wrote:

I am not sure about your cricketing analogy. Bradman is regarded as the all-time greatest because of the 99.94 average. Tendulkar (I think) holds the record for most test runs but I couldn't tell you the figure. Having the most runs or wickets is a nice stat but its the averages which generally are regarded as more important at cricket. A player with 8000 runs @ 50 would be seen as superior to one with 10000 runs @ 40.
Yes, good point. I do understand why some say Tendulkar is the greatest, but personally I give Bradman the edge.
Even in terms of stats, both average and aggregate the comparison is interesting with cricket. For example Cook may go on to become the highest run scorer in Tests, but comparisons with past batsmen from decades ago may be inconclusive as an external factor has changed: the game is now more batsman friendly.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Matchpoint on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:43 pm

Who's It Must Be Love wrote:
It is my position which is the only reasonable one here
Says who?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:46 pm

Blue Moon wrote:
Who's It Must Be Love wrote:
It is my position which is the only reasonable one here
Says who?
That was btw not me saying you have to agree with me on the GOAT debate on the whole, if you read the post I used that line specifically to talk about hypotheticals, and the answer to the question as to who would do better if they had the same injury record. I felt that it is unreasonable to assume that Federer would do better and say that's conclusive. Of course people are entitled to disagree, that is what forums are for.

Edit: I do think that the only reasonable conclusion you could reach is that the slam count is inconclusive if trying to point you in the direction of who would have more slams if they had the same injury record. That doesn't necessarily mean I think it's not possible that Federer would have had more slams, but the slam count itself is inconclusive.


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:49 pm

It is unreasonable to assume that Nadal would do better and say that's not hypothetical.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 1:52 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:It is unreasonable to assume that Nadal would do better and say that's not hypothetical.
If I said that the slam count is 'inconclusive'- then that is not hypothetical. If I wasn't clear in the past, read my longer post for clarification on what I exactly think.
If I used a hypothetical as I used in the other thread (the Nadal one), then yes that is a hypothetical- because I've specifically said 'I believe it's likely Nadal would have had more slams with a similar injury record'.
However as I pointed out, the opposing argument is also a hypothetical; it is impossible to 'prove' who would have better Slam stats if they both had the same injury record.
Saying you believe that Federer would have had more slams if they had the same injury record is also a hypothetical.
What we do have, and doesn't require hypotheticals, is the average figures. And on average for the number of Slams played, when Federer had played 39 slams like Nadal has currently, Nadal has won a higher percentage of Slams entered.

Moving it onto the GOAT debate, as I promised to do earlier:
-Julius (and others) who do you feel was the best player in the Open era pre-2000 ?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 2:02 pm

I'm tempted to say Richard Krijacek. If he hadn't been injured so much then he might have won more Wimbledons than Sampras. Of course, that's hypothetical - or it is inconclusive?

I will go as far to say that my favourite players of that time (Connors, Agassi - and Henman obviously) do not feature in my list of best players pre-2000, which I would say are Borg, Laver and Sampras.

I realise that not arguing for one's own favourite player(s) is alien to the culture of this forum, but there you have it. Perhaps that says more about me than about the forum though.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 2:05 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:This is meant to be a GOAT debate, rather than a technical one about what type of argument you could twist someone else's into being.
That being said, I will make one last post on this issue, which will completely clarify my position on this. If you want to keep discussing this after it, you can do so but I won't respond and will just point you to this post. If it's really bugging you, drop me a PM and I can clarify further. However after this I will continue with a 'GOAT debate' as the OP title says.

To clarify:
-I am aware that my argument can, hypothetically, be presented in the way of a hypothetical. -However I have not presented my argument as a hypothetical, and my argument did not rely on being presented as a hypothetical.
-Nevertheless, if you claim that my argument must be a hypothetical, then I can immediately show how any opposing argument is also a hypothetical.
-Let me demonstrate what I mean with an analogy, and I will make clear how that links to the debate we are having.

Some stats for Federer vs Nadal:
-Nadal on average has won 36% of the slams he has entered. Federer has won 28%. When Federer had played the number of slams Nadal had, he had won 33% (so 3% less than Nadal). So on average for the respective number of slams, Nadal wins more per slam than Federer
-Federer however has won 17 slams compared to the 14 of Nadal overall.


This is my last take on it.

Proclaiming a player has achieved more partly because of injury factors is hypothetical. It makes the assumption that sustained level of play for that exact tournament and that exact time. It's impossible to quantify. Saying it's not hypothetical doesn't mean it isn't. Using stats (which you stated earlier didn't indicate the best) to then try and quantify this was even more bizarre. Just because Nadal's win % at this time is 83, doesn't mean it will be when he is 33. This is the point. He is 5 years behind Federer and playing catch up. If you want to make an exact comparison using the stats, then by definition Nadal would have to have played in the same amount of Slams as Federer. Smile

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Matchpoint on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 2:29 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
Blue Moon wrote:
Who's It Must Be Love wrote:
It is my position which is the only reasonable one here
Says who?
That was btw not me saying you have to agree with me on the GOAT debate on the whole, if you read the post I used that line specifically to talk about hypotheticals, and the answer to the question as to who would do better if they had the same injury record. I felt that it is unreasonable to assume that Federer would do better and say that's conclusive. Of course people are entitled to disagree, that is what forums are for.

Edit: I do think that the only reasonable conclusion you could reach is that the slam count is inconclusive if trying to point you in the direction of who would have more slams if they had the same injury record. That doesn't necessarily mean I think it's not possible that Federer would have had more slams, but the slam count itself is inconclusive. 
You didn't actually answer my question because you don't have a single source to back up your ever long-winded hypothesis, which is now sounding more and more unintelligeble: but basically, you're insisting nadal is greater than Federer because he has 13 + many more IMAGINARY GS titles. Laugh A fantasy-hypothesis based on nothing but personal wishful thinking is not something one agrees or disagrees with. I mean what's the point of disagreeing with someone who INSISTS the earth is flat? One can only LaughRun

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Matchpoint on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 2:50 pm

IMBL, the good news for Nadal is that time is on his side. What with stem cell and other medical treatments nadal is constantly pursuing, it's still possible for him to overtake Federer in slam count. But i think what is most significant at the end his career is that, even if he succeeds reaching, say, 20 GS BUT 85% of that won on clay, Nadal will always be considered the clay goat, not an all surface goat like Federer. 
We all know that the criteria for the tennis goat is not just the number of GS won but the consistency with which these were won beating ALL the 7 players across the playing field from R1 to the Final and also across the various surfaces. Thus far nadal has proven his worth in that regard of consistency mostly on clay.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 3:27 pm

^ Blue Moon. Well yes if/when Nadal does pass Federer in slam count the criteria will no doubt shift.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Calder106 on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 3:33 pm

Blue Moon wrote:IMBL, the good news for Nadal is that time is on his side. What with stem cell and other medical treatments nadal is constantly pursuing, it's still possible for him to overtake Federer in slam count. But i think what is most significant at the end his career is that, even if he succeeds reaching, say, 20 GS BUT 85% of that won on clay, Nadal will always be considered the clay goat, not an all surface goat like Federer. 
We all know that the criteria for the tennis goat is not just the number of GS won but the consistency with which these were won beating ALL the 7 players across the playing field from R1 to the Final and also across the various surfaces. Thus far nadal has proven his worth in that regard of consistency mostly on clay.

Not really wanting to be in this GOAT conversation but given the criteria you specify in the next paragraph would this not make Nadal more of a GOAT on grass (2 Wimbledon titles 3 runners-up) than Federer is on clay (1 FO title 4 runners-up). However although both are great players and these records are pretty impressive I don't think they would qualify either of them to be installed as goat's on these particular surfaces.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 3:55 pm

Maybe this is a good point to re introduce an article from the Guardian that perhaps prompted this special sticky for GOAT debates. It proved to be a controversial at the time but I presume it was because some posters dislike discussing who the best player may be. This place is only for posters who like this discussion so it should be of interest Smile I will of course remove it if the moderators feel its upsetting.

It was published this September and is written by Paul Gibson. It's quite long so I've only posted the bit where he compares Federer and Nadal. I think he makes some good points. The title is "Is Roger Federer the greatest ever or the second best of his generation?"

Federer’s position at the head of the pantheon of greats appeared cemented in place when he became the most prolific winner of tennis grand slams in the history of the sport. To the majority of observers, this is the most significant statistic in tennis and the record book reads that Federer currently has 17 to his name, three more than his nearest challengers, Pete Sampras and Nadal. But as the great 19th century American statesman Henry Clay once said: “Statistics are no substitute for judgement.”

The same record book also reads that as well as being 23–10 down to Nadal in head-to-heads, Federer does not have a winning record against Andy Murray after 22 matches between them. Even so, I doubt even the most patriotic Scotsman would argue that Murray is the greater player. It is therefore necessary to look beyond the magic number 17.

A comparative study of the pair must deal with Federer being almost five years older than Nadal. Federer was winning titles while Nadal was still learning the game and it is likely that the Spaniard will keep triumphing in tournaments for several years after his great rival has hung up his racquet. Every tennis player is different, but if we assume that these two entered their peak years around the age of 22 – the time Federer won his first Grand Slam title (Nadal had already won three French Opens before he turned 22) – and both will compete somewhere around this level until their 30th birthday, that gives each an eight-year period at the top of their game. It also allows that both men faced each other in their simultaneous primes from the summer of 2008 until the summer of 2012.

Closer analysis of this window of time is telling. They met 14 times in that period, with Nadal winning on 10 occasions. Federer’s victories came on the clay of Madrid in 2009 and on the hard courts of London and Indian Wells – neither were grand slam events. Among Nadal’s 10 wins, three were on hard courts, one was on grass and the rest were on clay. Notably, four of his victories were when it mattered most, in grand slam finals. They also occurred on three different surfaces - the Mallorcan ceased being a clay court specialist very early in his career.

In total Nadal won eight grand slams in these four years, compared to the five Federer collected, and he amassed 12 Masters titles with Federer winning six. Nadal also won the Olympic gold medal in 2008, and in 2010 he became the only player in history to win three grand slams on three different surfaces in one season. He has already bypassed Federer on the all-time list of Masters triumphs - no one has more than Rafa’s 27 trophies in their cabinet.

It should also be noted that in 2009 Nadal, struggling with tendonitis in both knees, suffered the only defeat of his career at Roland Garros (in the fourth round to Robin Soderling) and was unable to defend his title at the Wimbledon Championships. In his absence Federer won both tournaments and in doing so completed the career grand slam of winning a Major on all four surfaces and broke Sampras’ record number of Grand Slam titles. Few believe he would ever have won the French Open had he had to contend with a fit Nadal.

Clearly, the majority of Federer’s achievements have come when Nadal is not around. Indeed, the Swiss already had twelve Grand Slam titles in the bag before Nadal entered his peak years. This is perhaps not surprising when a quick look at his major rivals pre-Rafa reveals a distinctly different calibre of opponent. Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin were all good players; but certainly no more than that. When one sees the names of Mark Philippoussis, Marco Baghdatis and Fernando Gonzalez also on the list of Federer’s victims in Grand Slam finals, it suggests that this was not exactly a golden age in men’s tennis.

Of course, none of this is Federer’s fault. As the old sporting adage goes, you can only beat what is put in front of you, and many will argue that the merits of Federer’s peers at this time should not be allowed to detract from his early achievements. Nevertheless, those that argue that Federer is the greatest cannot then deny that Nadal never had it so easy in his quest for titles. He has faced a potential meeting with Federer in every Grand Slam he has ever signed up for – indeed he has beaten his Swiss foe in nine of them and lost in only two. Then we have the current world number one Novak Djokovic. Already with seven Grand Slam titles to his name, the 27 year old Serb has more than the combined total Roddick, Hewitt and Safin managed in their entire careers and appears a safe bet to add to his tally before he retires.

So it is a fact that at this point in history, over the course of significantly less time, and with a clearly superior standard of opponent across the net, Nadal is already ahead of Federer in every relevant statistic you can think of - bar the big one. It begs the question, should Nadal go on to claim 18 Grand Slam titles and eclipse Federer’s record, will Federer advocates acknowledge that their man has been usurped?

The answer is probably not. The truth is that people do not like to admit they are wrong. Federer was hastily coronated in the midst of his domination because nobody foresaw the teenage clay-court sensation from Mallorca developing into the complete player. Roddick, Hewitt, Safin et al were happy to provide a tennis press, already enamoured with the multi-lingual Swiss (does anything impress a native English speaking sports journalist more than a sportsperson fielding questions in more than one language?), with monthly quotes extolling the greatness of the man that had seemingly effortlessly despatched them once again. It legitimised their own failings. It lessened their own sense of failure. Why simply say he was too good for me again today when you can wax lyrical about him being too good for anyone, anywhere, at any time?

The mainstream press soon followed suit and so long as Sir Roger kept gracing the manicured lawns of SW19 with his white blazer, Rolex watch and deferential acceptance of the Wimbledon trophy each July, few in the public felt moved to question his position at the head of the table. To backtrack a few years later would make a lot of people look rather foolish.

In an effort to head off the more lazy retorts that it is the way Federer wins that places him above Nadal in the all-time stakes, it is necessary to briefly consider the style dimension of this sporting greatness debate. It is often said that there are few things in the world of sport more aesthetically pleasing to look at than Roger Federer’s one handed backhand. If you ever wondered why striking a tennis ball is referred to as a stroke, then just watch him execute this shot. He isn’t hitting the ball, he is caressing it. It is a thing of beauty and, like almost everything Federer does on a tennis court, it is carried out with an effortless grace that belies the power and speed generated. Nadal on the other hand hits the ball. Relentlessly.

Federer continued his charm offensive in the press conference following his 2011 French Open defeat by disparagingly describing Nadal as being “content to do the one thing for the entire time” during a match. Leaving aside the fact that a one-dimensional tennis player could not possibly win 14 Majors, why on earth would Rafa change a winning style, regardless of what it is or how it looks? While his bludgeoning heavy top-spin blows may not be as easy on the eye, has there been a more devastatingly effective shot than his forehand in professional tennis over the past five or six years? It is hard to think of one. So should Federer’s perceived (beauty is in the eye of the holder remember) extra elegance swing the debate in his favour? I don’t think so.

Style may well constitute a factor to be considered, but only to the degree that other clichéd intangibles such as grit, determination, perseverance and will to win figure in the debate. They are all elements that make up or influence an individual player’s game. But success or failure is determined by the sum of all the parts. By the talent that each possess as a whole. It is not merely Nadal’s strength or passion that beats Federer any more than it is Federer’s flair or ballerina-like movement around the court that beats Nadal. Quite simply, over time, the greater tennis player will win more often than everyone else. For the current tennis generation, that player is undoubtedly Rafael Nadal.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/the-balls-of-wrath/2014/sep/11/roger-federer-greatest-tennis-player-rafael-nadal?commentpage=1

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by hawkeye on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:03 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:

It is extremely rare you get 'pure' performances in terms of total tennis perfection. Very rare have I seen it in many players. Federer on Hard and Grass. Nadal on Clay. Sampras on Grass. Those are the only exceptions I can think of. LF could probably find others from the past.


That's perhaps another criteria for measuring who is the best? What player has produced the highest caliber "pure" performance? Out of the three you have mentioned there is a strong case for Nadal on clay. For example I can remember watching the 2008 RG final and not quite being able to believe what I was seeing it was so awesome.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Silver on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:09 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:Silver, you said earlier that you did not want to pick a GOAT, but if you had to choose it would be Laver. However in terms of aggregate Slams, Laver has won 6 less Grand Slams than Federer
So surely then be logical extension you agree with my conclusion that GOAT debates can be influenced by: a) circumstances and external factors or b) by average stats ?

Edit: On your point itself, I do agree with you that Laver (like Federer and Nadal) for me is on the 'GOAT' tier.

I don't wish to qualify my initial viewpoint any further than I already have.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:30 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:

This is my last take on it.

Proclaiming a player has achieved more partly because of injury factors is hypothetical. It makes the assumption that sustained level of play for that exact tournament and that exact time. It's impossible to quantify.
I am not claiming Nadal has achieved more, and I recognise it is impossible to quantify. I'm not sure if you read that whole post, but that is exactly what I was trying to say.
For the number of Slams they have played, Nadal has won more on average (i.e. when Federer had played 39 slams like Nadal has he had won 3% less than Nadal). So for equal number of Slams, Nadal does better on average.
However Federer does better in terms of an aggregate stats.

I am asking who is the better player when both are healthy. If you claim that you think if Nadal's injury record was the same as Federer, Federer would have had more slams- you are using a hypothetical and also assuming that Nadal's average would go down. If you claim that the current slam count recognises both players with the same injury record, then you are in denial as it is simply obvious that Nadal has a worse injury record than Federer.
So it is pointless to accuse people of using hypotheticals, if you are going to look at it from a hypothetical angle.

However that is not the way I look at it. There is a slam gap of 3 between Federer and Nadal. My opinion is that the reasons for this slam gap of 3 is because Nadal had a worse injury record than Federer, and that Nadal had harder competition than Federer.
Instead of people debating the substance of this opinion, they look it at from different angles, twist what I say and then debate what technique of debate I'm using.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:33 pm

Blue Moon wrote:but basically, you're insisting nadal is greater than Federer because he [size=15]has 13 + many more IMAGINARY GS titles. Laugh 
I'm sorry, what ?
You've just written a post in really big font randomly accuse me of saying Nadal has 13 more than Federer ?

I've said no such thing, please take this back.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:39 pm

OK it seems people did not read my post clarifying my position. Maybe my post clarifying it was too long. Gosh, now I've even been randomly accused of thinking Nadal has 13 more imaginary GS titles than Federer.

This should really make it very clear:
-I recognise that Federer has more Grand Slams than Nadal, and have never said otherwise
-I think there are two main reasons for this; firstly he has kept his body in better shape than Nadal and avoided injury better, and secondly he had easier competition than Nadal
-If people want to use the hypothetical angle to answer the question 'who would have done better if they both had the same injury record'; they are entitled to do so. But beware, those who claim that Federer would have had more slams if Nadal had the same injury record are also using hypotheticals.
-The only way this question could be answered without a hypothetical is if you show that they have the same injury record in reality, in which case the current stats would reflect the answer to my question. However this is evidently not the case, as Nadal has a worse injury record than Federer
-People are allowed to have different opinions on this issue. Born Slippy used the example of cricket, and said how in that sport they use average more to see who the better player is. In the case of tennis Nadal has a better average match record, and on average has won more slams per slam entered (even when Federer had entered 39 like Nadal has now)


Hope this clears up any misconceptions.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:45 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:I think there are two main reasons for this; firstly he has kept his body in better shape than Nadal and avoided injury better.

Am I correct in saying that the inference in that statement is that if Nadal had avoided injury better he would have won more slams. To me that is the inference. Am I a) Correct or b) Incorrect?

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:49 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:
It Must Be Love wrote:I think there are two main reasons for this; firstly he has kept his body in better shape than Nadal and avoided injury better.

Am I correct in saying that the inference in that statement is that if Nadal had avoided injury better he would have won more slams. To me that is the inference. Am I a) Correct or b) Incorrect?
I cannot prove that Nadal would have won more Slams for certain if he had Federer's injury record, as hypotheticals like these cannot be proven.
However I do think given his normal slam percentage is pretty high in terms of slams won/ slams entered; if he had entered more slams he would have won some of them.
As I've answered your question Julius, you answer mine, if Nadal had Federer's injury record and could look after his body like Federer- do you think he would have won more Grand Slams ?

Edit: As I've said, if you choose to frame this debate in terms of a hypothetical (i.e. if you feel Nadal's injury record was as good as Federer, would have won more Slams?), then all opinions in this debate are backed up by hypotheticals. The only way out of it is if you believe that Nadal's injury record is as good as Federer's in which case you can simply point to the stats and say 'see, this would be the slam count if Nadal's injury record was as good as Federer's.'
But the question doesn't have to be asked when making a judgement as to who is a better player when healthy. You are entitled to simply look at the average performance if you want.


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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:52 pm

This is a GOAT debate. What people think players might have done in a parallel universe where things are different has no relevance.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by It Must Be Love on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 4:56 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:This is a GOAT debate. What people think players might have done in a parallel universe where things are different has no relevance.
Nope, see this is where you are simply illogical Julius. It is not about a parallel universe.
For any experiment to be fair, you want the variables to be equal. I've given the examples of plants growing under light, and not growing at all in darkness.
So if you see a plant growing under light, and then another plant not growing at all in darkness; you cannot assume that the plant growing under light would have grown more than the other plant if the 'light' variable was equal and there was equal light intensity.
To say you think the first plant grew more because it had light, while the second plant was in dark so did not grow at all, is not putting yourself in a parallel universe. Similarly, saying that you think the difference in Slam count between Federer and Nadal is because Federer has looked after his body better and had easier competition, is not putting yourself in a parallel universe.

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Re: GOAT Debate

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 5:02 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

This is my last take on it.

Proclaiming a player has achieved more partly because of injury factors is hypothetical. It makes the assumption that sustained level of play for that exact tournament and that exact time. It's impossible to quantify.
I am not claiming Nadal has achieved more, and I recognise it is impossible to quantify. I'm not sure if you read that whole post, but that is exactly what I was trying to say.
For the number of Slams they have played, Nadal has won more on average (i.e. when Federer had played 39 slams like Nadal has he had won 3% less than Nadal). So for equal number of Slams, Nadal does better on average.
However Federer does better in terms of an aggregate stats.

I am asking who is the better player when both are healthy. If you claim that you think if Nadal's injury record was the same as Federer, Federer would have had more slams- you are using a hypothetical and also assuming that Nadal's average would go down. If you claim that the current slam count recognises both players with the same injury record, then you are in denial as it is simply obvious that Nadal has a worse injury record than Federer.
So it is pointless to accuse people of using hypotheticals, if you are going to look at it from a hypothetical angle.

However that is not the way I look at it. There is a slam gap of 3 between Federer and Nadal. My opinion is that the reasons for this slam gap of 3 is because Nadal had a worse injury record than Federer, and that Nadal had harder competition than Federer.
Instead of people debating the substance of this opinion, they look it at from different angles, twist what I say and then debate what technique of debate I'm using.

Your asking the question who would win more when healthy, which is hypothetical as Nadal has not been healthy! No amount of stats or percentages will impact the numbers they have now.

As JHM said, debate the GOAT on what we can measure much rather than what if or could've beens.

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Re: GOAT Debate

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