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Is this the worst tennis article of all time ?

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Post by It Must Be Love Thu 11 Feb 2016, 5:21 pm

One of the worst articles I've ever read, on why the current era is weak, I think the writer should resign from talking about tennis with immediate effect.

http://sportpulse.net/content/congratulations-to-djokovic-for-dominating-but-this-is-a-weak-era

Clearly a very jealous Nadal or Federer fan who can't come to terms with the fact NO1E is the new King of Tennis.

On a serious note, what I would say is this:
Djokovic throughout his career has had to face some amazing players in the form of Nadal and Federer; and even Murray when mentally focused can be very tough to beat. If not anything you could argue he deserves a break and have some more moderate opponents in Slams.
However with Federer and Nadal declining (Federer should be given extra credit though as he's older and playing better than Nadal), and no young players emerging; I do think that Djokovic for the next few years could be where Serena is in the women's game: his biggest enemy could be himself.

Or a young player could turn out to be incredible and end up making me look silly. Let's see.

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Post by Jahu Thu 11 Feb 2016, 5:43 pm

Everything is true.

Fed is old.
Nadal has expired.
Murray is busy impregnating.

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Post by lydian Thu 11 Feb 2016, 5:51 pm

lol...I wonder who wrote that!
Clearly he's peaked at a very good time given Nadal and Federer have many more miles on the clock irrespective of ages. The key for Djokovic is that he's not having to modify his game for differing surfaces...he probably has the best "average" style that can be easily taken from one surface to another...he's the perfect combination of precise ball striking without too much or too little spin who can stand near the baseline and apply his trade very effectively being the best mover on tour. He's as talented as hell but the current conditions favour his game beautifully too.
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Post by socal1976 Thu 11 Feb 2016, 6:45 pm

It is hilarious then what would you call one shot Andy and empanada Dave? I knew once Djokovic started winning a lot of people who scoffed at the notion of such a thing when Fed was in charge would start weak era type arguments. When you listen to their complaints that competition is down there are no good young players etc., you know they want to say weak era but can't because of how vehemently they boxed themselves into a corner.

Ny judgement on this period is that it is down from the peak of the Golden age of the big 4 09-13. At that time you had Fed, Murray, Djokovic, Nadal all at or near peak at the same time. Fed was not as old and broken down in that period as expletive continually painted. That being said the current period is still pretty tough when compared to the long term average and certainly tougher to the rollover generation fed faced.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 11 Feb 2016, 7:12 pm

How I see it? What Fed ends and Djoko ends up with in terms of slam wins will be equally meritorious. Roger had his weaker opponents in the early to mid 2000s and stronger period as has Djoko as in strong era from around 2009 to 2014 but a little weaker now.
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Post by Henman Bill Thu 11 Feb 2016, 7:59 pm

Agree with the above comment, that is spot on.

Is there some in joke I'm missing here, is IMBL or some other 606er the writer of the article?

The article is perfectly fine in most of its substance, apart from its headline, and yes if you agree with it you have to down rate Federer 04-07.

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Post by bogbrush Thu 11 Feb 2016, 8:54 pm

socal1976 wrote:It is hilarious then what would you call one shot Andy and empanada Dave? I knew once Djokovic started winning a lot of people who scoffed at the notion of such a thing when Fed was in charge would start weak era type arguments. When you listen to their complaints that competition is down there are no good young players etc., you know they want to say weak era but can't because of how vehemently they boxed themselves into a corner.

Ny judgement on this period is that it is down from the peak of the Golden age of the big 4 09-13. At that time you had Fed, Murray, Djokovic, Nadal all at or near peak at the same time. Fed was not as old and broken down in that period as expletive continually painted. That being said the current period is still pretty tough when compared to the long term average and certainly tougher to the rollover generation fed faced.
An achievement of self-contradiction par excellence.

blah blah.
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Post by Guest Thu 11 Feb 2016, 9:09 pm

An era debate?

Shocked

For me it's amusing when Agassi is brushed off because he was 35 when Federer beat him and yet we can't discount a 34 year old Federer. Because we look at the prestige of 17 time slam winner and what it brings to someone else's legacy. A rookie mistake by all would GOATers.

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Post by Born Slippy Thu 11 Feb 2016, 9:31 pm

Agassi was clearly nowhere near the force he had been. Great run though it was at the Open 05 the only seed he beat was the 32nd.

He also had to go life and death with Ginepri in the SF and had finished his QF versus Blake at 1am as well. Remember this was back in the days of Super Saturday. He then outplayed Fed for most of the first 3 sets before clearly running totally out of gas. If that happened now, and Novak won in those circumstances, it would be asterisked to death.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Thu 11 Feb 2016, 9:50 pm

Only by those people who believe in such daft things as asterisks Smile

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Post by hawkeye Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:05 pm

IMBL. You didn't have an option in your poll for the article is only stating the obvious.

Novak is a great player. Well ahead of the rest but clear 3rd best after Federer and Nadal. Sure he's had some fantastic results in 2015 but in terms of level of play he is not playing better than 2011 or 2013. What made the difference is that Federer is near enough old enough to play on the senior tour and after beating Novak in the final of RG Nadal was out with a wrist injury, appendicitis and surgery and since he came back has not played at the same high level. Because he was clear ahead of the rest and there have been no young break through players it's hardly surprising that with the lack of top level competition he's doing so well. Pfft!

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Post by HM Murdock Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:19 pm

This can't be a weak era because Federer is playing better than ever.

Pat Cash said so.

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Post by It Must Be Love Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:21 pm

hawkeye wrote:IMBL. You didn't have an option in your poll for the article is only stating the obvious.
Sometimes you have to just vote for the least worst option Hawkeye.

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Post by HM Murdock Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:24 pm

IMBL, on another note, are you thinking about dusting off your "Nadal is the seventh favourite for Roland Garros" line this year? Wink

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Post by It Must Be Love Thu 11 Feb 2016, 10:29 pm

HM Murdock wrote:IMBL, on another note, are you thinking about dusting off your "Nadal is the seventh favourite for Roland Garros" line this year? Wink
The betting companies would probably get there before me this time.

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Post by laverfan Fri 12 Feb 2016, 2:37 am

Using 606v2 to promote your articles, IMBL? warning warning

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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 7:04 am

Born Slippy wrote:Agassi was clearly nowhere near the force he had been. Great run though it was at the Open 05 the only seed he beat was the 32nd.

He also had to go life and death with Ginepri in the SF and had finished his QF versus Blake at 1am as well. Remember this was back in the days of Super Saturday. He then outplayed Fed for most of the first 3 sets before clearly running totally out of gas. If that happened now, and Novak won in those circumstances, it would be asterisked to death.

That's the point I am making. Agassi at 35 sensibly is being judged as a 35 year old player past his peak at that time. I seldomly see that applied to Federer currently when the strength of competition is called into play.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 7:50 am

Agassi won 8 slams and was older than Federer is now who has won twice as many slams. Agassi also never had slam consistency (compared to other legends) in his career for one reason or another so to try to compare Agassi with Federer just because of their comparative similar age is unfair.
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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:05 am

But it does make you wonder about the relativity of present/past players. It's also kind of related to my peak thread yesterday. If Djokovic is so great, ie. Has so-called raised the bar, why can a 34 yo Fed live with him now (beat him three times in 2015) and then if we apply further "theories of relativity" (there's a good article/thread title!) then we can also say Agassi was able to equally live with a prime Fed as a 35 year old. I watched that too BS and Agassi had Federer on a string at times as only Andre could.

So peak Djokovic vs peak Agassi? Well there isnt and hasn't been a better pure ball striker in my opinion than Agassi... But then remember if we follow the relativity arc that he got often owned/smothered by Sampras on HC too...so just remember when we laud the latest and greatest that many before have played the game to arguably at least as high a level, if not higher. I continue to maintain that the single individual highest level tennis I've ever seen played was by Sampras vs Agassi in Wimbledon 1999 final. It was a breath-taking destruction of a multi slam winner with about as out and out as aggressive a display you'll ever see. Sampras said it was his career high play too.

So is this era now weak...well if you judge it by lack of strength in depth or lack of talented newcomers then perhaps yes...it's been the same old names dominating everything for around 10 years...and that isn't actually good for the long term of the sport. I fear we're headed for a Serena Williams/anonymous Women's Tennis type period.
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:38 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:Agassi won 8 slams and was older than Federer is now who has won twice as many slams. Agassi also never had slam consistency (compared to other legends) in his career for one reason or another so to try to compare Agassi with Federer just because of their comparative similar age is unfair.

Again you are making the mistake made by others. Going by the number of Slams. The point I am making is that Agassi was dis-regarded by many because of age and best days behind him. Which is rational. However, Federer at 34 is not being measured as the player he is at 34. He is being measured by the Slams and achievements. Federer now is not that player he was 10 years ago. Which is what I believe many measure him by when talking about the state of competition today.

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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:42 am

Agree, we're in a period obsessed by metrics. It's all about slam count now when before 2000 it never was. Judging true greatness by this alone is not the complete package, and the focus on it denigrates the greats of the past who in relative terms arguably played at least as good tennis.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:46 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:Agassi won 8 slams and was older than Federer is now who has won twice as many slams. Agassi also never had slam consistency (compared to other legends) in his career for one reason or another so to try to compare Agassi with Federer just because of their comparative similar age is unfair.

Again you are making the mistake made by others. Going by the number of Slams. The point I am making is that Agassi was dis-regarded by many because of age and best days behind him. Which is rational. However, Federer at 34 is not being measured as the player he is at 34. He is being measured by the Slams and achievements. Federer now is not that player he was 10 years ago. Which is what I believe many measure him by when talking about the state of competition today.

Agassi cannot be looked upon as a like for like with Federer though and I am not just talking purely on slam wins. He had 19 (yes 19) first week exits in slams in his career whilst Federer has had 13 (most of them being in his formulative years). I keep hearing how he is not the player he was from his fans whilst experts say he is looking as good as ever. Take your pick who you believe - one group will say he isn't the player he was to explain why he is getting beaten whilst the other group can be accused of trying to bum up the quality of play around today.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:48 am

lydian wrote:Agree, we're in a period obsessed by metrics. It's all about slam count now when before 2000 it never was. Judging true greatness by this alone is not the complete package, and the focus on it denigrates the greats of the past who in relative terms arguably played at least as good tennis.

Slam count/titles won have always been the slide rule of measuring greatness but if we wish to bin that idea then great. Step forward the new GOAT - Andy Murray. thumbsup
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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:51 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:Agassi cannot be looked upon as a like for like with Federer though and I am not just talking purely on slam wins. He had 19 (yes 19) first week exits in slams in his career whilst Federer has had 13 (most of them being in his formulative years). I keep hearing how he is not the player he was from his fans whilst experts say he is looking as good as ever. Take your pick who you believe - one group will say he isn't the player he was to explain why he is getting beaten whilst the other group can be accused of trying to bum up the quality of play around today.
But that then becomes an absolute peak vs absolute domination argument...there is a difference. As a tennis fan, I'm not particularly excited by domination but I am in watching the greats play at their peaks. When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.


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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 8:55 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
lydian wrote:Agree, we're in a period obsessed by metrics. It's all about slam count now when before 2000 it never was. Judging true greatness by this alone is not the complete package, and the focus on it denigrates the greats of the past who in relative terms arguably played at least as good tennis.

Slam count/titles won have always been the slide rule of measuring greatness but if we wish to bin that idea then great. Step forward the new GOAT - Andy Murray. thumbsup
Yes but not to the media hungry extent it is today CC and you know it. It's not just tennis, it's everywhere in sport. Everything is "best ever..." now. Yes slam count is important but you and I know that counts in 60s vs 70s vs 80s vs 90s vs 00s vs 10s are simply not comparable so lauding comparative greatness on purely quantitative, not other qualitative, means is a facile and short-sighted pursuit I'll leave to others thanks.
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 9:00 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:Agassi won 8 slams and was older than Federer is now who has won twice as many slams. Agassi also never had slam consistency (compared to other legends) in his career for one reason or another so to try to compare Agassi with Federer just because of their comparative similar age is unfair.

Again you are making the mistake made by others. Going by the number of Slams. The point I am making is that Agassi was dis-regarded by many because of age and best days behind him. Which is rational. However, Federer at 34 is not being measured as the player he is at 34. He is being measured by the Slams and achievements. Federer now is not that player he was 10 years ago. Which is what I believe many measure him by when talking about the state of competition today.

Agassi cannot be looked upon as a like for like with Federer though and I am not just talking purely on slam wins. He had 19 (yes 19) first week exits in slams in his career whilst Federer has had 13 (most of them being in his formulative years). I keep hearing how he is not the player he was from his fans whilst experts say he is looking as good as ever. Take your pick who you believe - one group will say he isn't the player he was to explain why he is getting beaten whilst the other group can be accused of trying to bum up the quality of play around today.

Yes he can.

Why? Because when Agassi seemed the only challenger in town, this was demonstration that competition was week.

Federer will be 35 this year. However, this is not a demonstration of diminished competition.

Look past the achievements. Look at the players. You cannot tell me that a 34 year old Federer is anything like his former dominant self 10 years ago. It's comparing like for like is what I am doing. Agassi reaches a Slam final, crikey it's a weak era. a 34 year old Federer reaches a Slam final, my god this is a 17 Slam champion btw. It's a flawed argument.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 9:11 am

Look at what happened to your 2005 perennial challengers when Rafa, Andy and Novak emerged. They faded from contenders into virtual non contenders. Why?
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 9:27 am

There are many reasons.

Hewitt for one was dogged by injury. Roddick piled on the muscle and his mobility suffered as a result. Wasn't until Stefanki came on board, trimmed him down and he nearly pulled Wimbledon out of the bag. Safin was well Safin. madcap as anything. These guys are Slam winners, but seen as inferior competition. Why is that? Safin and Hewitt 2 time slam winners and former world number 1's seen inferior to Murray and Wawrinka? We like numbers right? Wink

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

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Post by HM Murdock Fri 12 Feb 2016, 9:39 am

lydian wrote:When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.
Lydian, what do you like about Agassi that you don't see in Djokovic?

I see them on as being on the same branch of the tennis family tree.

I liked Agassi back in the day and much of what I like in Djokovic is what I liked in Agassi - a player up on the baseline, taking the ball early, changing direction effortlessly and causing all sorts of trouble with a ridiculously good return of serve.

Agassi perhaps struck a cleaner, flatter ball... but then he couldn't slide into the splits and hit an open stance backhand!

I'm big a fan of both players.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:00 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:There are many reasons.

Hewitt for one was dogged by injury. Roddick piled on the muscle and his mobility suffered as a result. Wasn't until Stefanki came on board, trimmed him down and he nearly pulled Wimbledon out of the bag. Safin was well Safin. madcap as anything. These guys are Slam winners, but seen as inferior competition. Why is that? Safin and Hewitt 2 time slam winners and former world number 1's seen inferior to Murray and Wawrinka? We like numbers right? Wink

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

People put stock in different things though. People are enamoured by Hewitt's long stay at No.1 which he managed to do with stats less impressive than Murray's who has never been to No.1 in his life. Others that were slam finalists in the mid 2000s largely sunk as well such as Nalbandian and Baghdhatis. Safin perhaps is not looked upon in the same light as other dual winners as he lacked longevity and consistency of others.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:03 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:10 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:There are many reasons.

Hewitt for one was dogged by injury. Roddick piled on the muscle and his mobility suffered as a result. Wasn't until Stefanki came on board, trimmed him down and he nearly pulled Wimbledon out of the bag. Safin was well Safin. madcap as anything. These guys are Slam winners, but seen as inferior competition. Why is that? Safin and Hewitt 2 time slam winners and former world number 1's seen inferior to Murray and Wawrinka? We like numbers right? Wink

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

People put stock in different things though. People are enamoured by Hewitt's long stay at No.1 which he managed to do with stats less impressive than Murray's who has never been to No.1 in his life. Others that were slam finalists in the mid 2000s largely sunk as well such as Nalbandian and Baghdhatis. Safin perhaps is not looked upon in the same light as other dual winners as he lacked longevity and consistency of others.

Exactamundo.

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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:11 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:17 am

HM Murdock wrote:
lydian wrote:When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.
Lydian, what do you like about Agassi that you don't see in Djokovic?

I see them on as being on the same branch of the tennis family tree.

I liked Agassi back in the day and much of what I like in Djokovic is what I liked in Agassi - a player up on the baseline, taking the ball early, changing direction effortlessly and causing all sorts of trouble with a ridiculously good return of serve.

Agassi perhaps struck a cleaner, flatter ball... but then he couldn't slide into the splits and hit an open stance backhand!

I'm big a fan of both players.

It's all subjective HMM and its a relative statement but I'll simply list as follows:
- Agassi was a far better ball striker...remember no helping/forgiving poly strings in the 90s either!
- Djokovic is a good striker but I just can't help but find his play metronomic whereas Agassi had more inventiveness and flare IMO
- No-one, again IMO, could take such an early ball as Agassi...he had an other-worldly hand/eye co-ordination. The way he hit the ball at fast-grass Wimbledon 92 on his first appearance there had people gasping in the crowd, it was unheard to hit the ball the way Agassi did.
- yes both amazing returners but Andre would send back obliterating returns, not just deep ones. The guys don't return like that any more tbh, again it's all much more % oriented now.
- Djokovic is the better athlete for sure, that's the basis of the biggest difference essentially...Agassi the best ball striker, Djokovic the best athlete.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:36 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

Murray's peak came in 2013 for me. He has not quite reached that pinnacle since then.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:39 am

lydian wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:
lydian wrote:When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.
Lydian, what do you like about Agassi that you don't see in Djokovic?

I see them on as being on the same branch of the tennis family tree.

I liked Agassi back in the day and much of what I like in Djokovic is what I liked in Agassi - a player up on the baseline, taking the ball early, changing direction effortlessly and causing all sorts of trouble with a ridiculously good return of serve.

Agassi perhaps struck a cleaner, flatter ball... but then he couldn't slide into the splits and hit an open stance backhand!

I'm big a fan of both players.

It's all subjective HMM and its a relative statement but I'll simply list as follows:
- Agassi was a far better ball striker...remember no helping/forgiving poly strings in the 90s either!
- Djokovic is a good striker but I just can't help but find his play metronomic whereas Agassi had more inventiveness and flare IMO
- No-one, again IMO, could take such an early ball as Agassi...he had an other-worldly hand/eye co-ordination. The way he hit the ball at fast-grass Wimbledon 92 on his first appearance there had people gasping in the crowd, it was unheard to hit the ball the way Agassi did.
- yes both amazing returners but Andre would send back obliterating returns, not just deep ones. The guys don't return like that any more tbh, again it's all much more % oriented now.
- Djokovic is the better athlete for sure, that's the b7asis of the biggest difference essentially...Agassi the best ball striker, Djokovic the best athlete.

All very interesting. However, since courts are so much slower now then Adre's hitting would seem more powerful given the nippier court speeds.
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:49 am

lydian wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:
lydian wrote:When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.
Lydian, what do you like about Agassi that you don't see in Djokovic?

I see them on as being on the same branch of the tennis family tree.

I liked Agassi back in the day and much of what I like in Djokovic is what I liked in Agassi - a player up on the baseline, taking the ball early, changing direction effortlessly and causing all sorts of trouble with a ridiculously good return of serve.

Agassi perhaps struck a cleaner, flatter ball... but then he couldn't slide into the splits and hit an open stance backhand!

I'm big a fan of both players.

It's all subjective HMM and its a relative statement but I'll simply list as follows:
- Agassi was a far better ball striker...remember no helping/forgiving poly strings in the 90s either!
- Djokovic is a good striker but I just can't help but find his play metronomic whereas Agassi had more inventiveness and flare IMO
- No-one, again IMO, could take such an early ball as Agassi...he had an other-worldly hand/eye co-ordination. The way he hit the ball at fast-grass Wimbledon 92 on his first appearance there had people gasping in the crowd, it was unheard to hit the ball the way Agassi did.
- yes both amazing returners but Andre would send back obliterating returns, not just deep ones. The guys don't return like that any more tbh, again it's all much more % oriented now.
- Djokovic is the better athlete for sure, that's the basis of the biggest difference essentially...Agassi the best ball striker, Djokovic the best athlete.

I agree with very much all of that.

Even towards the twilight of his career he was sending back returns with no regard for the ball!

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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 10:54 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

Murray's peak came in 2013 for me. He has not quite reached that pinnacle since then.

So we have 2 out of the current top 4 not in peak as well as Wawrinka who is the unknown quantity.

Not a ringing endorsement of strength in this era chin

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Post by Born Slippy Fri 12 Feb 2016, 11:50 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

Murray's peak came in 2013 for me. He has not quite reached that pinnacle since then.

2013 was probably his worst year since 2007 - bar Wimbledon. He is way better now.

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Post by bogbrush Fri 12 Feb 2016, 11:57 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
lydian wrote:Agree, we're in a period obsessed by metrics. It's all about slam count now when before 2000 it never was. Judging true greatness by this alone is not the complete package, and the focus on it denigrates the greats of the past who in relative terms arguably played at least as good tennis.

Slam count/titles won have always been the slide rule of measuring greatness but if we wish to bin that idea then great. Step forward the new GOAT - Andy Murray. thumbsup

No they haven't!!

I have NEVER heard of Roy Emerson in a greatest ever debate and until Sampras passed him he held the record.
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Post by bogbrush Fri 12 Feb 2016, 12:06 pm

lydian wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:
lydian wrote:When Agassi was at his very peak there haven't been many better sights in tennis IMO...I would always far more watch his peak than say Djokovic's.
Lydian, what do you like about Agassi that you don't see in Djokovic?

I see them on as being on the same branch of the tennis family tree.

I liked Agassi back in the day and much of what I like in Djokovic is what I liked in Agassi - a player up on the baseline, taking the ball early, changing direction effortlessly and causing all sorts of trouble with a ridiculously good return of serve.

Agassi perhaps struck a cleaner, flatter ball... but then he couldn't slide into the splits and hit an open stance backhand!

I'm big a fan of both players.

It's all subjective HMM and its a relative statement but I'll simply list as follows:
- Agassi was a far better ball striker...remember no helping/forgiving poly strings in the 90s either!
- Djokovic is a good striker but I just can't help but find his play metronomic whereas Agassi had more inventiveness and flare IMO
- No-one, again IMO, could take such an early ball as Agassi...he had an other-worldly hand/eye co-ordination. The way he hit the ball at fast-grass Wimbledon 92 on his first appearance there had people gasping in the crowd, it was unheard to hit the ball the way Agassi did.
- yes both amazing returners but Andre would send back obliterating returns, not just deep ones. The guys don't return like that any more tbh, again it's all much more % oriented now.
- Djokovic is the better athlete for sure, that's the basis of the biggest difference essentially...Agassi the best ball striker, Djokovic the best athlete.
Indeed.

And if we're talking about returners, who would fancy standing against 140mph serves (these are nothing new) with a Wilson 2000? There was more feel in a frying pan.
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Post by HM Murdock Fri 12 Feb 2016, 12:29 pm

bogbrush wrote:And if we're talking about returners, who would fancy standing against 140mph serves (these are nothing new) with a Wilson 2000? There was more feel in a frying pan.
Probably a larger head on frying pan too!

I find Connors' return hard to assess technically but in Jimbo, Andre and Novak we have three players with a return that stood above their peers.

To the extent that the "Best Return Ever" exists, I think one of those three possesses it.

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Post by HM Murdock Fri 12 Feb 2016, 12:43 pm

Further to the above, Agassi himself spoke interestingly on Djokovic's return:

When I saw [Lleyton] Hewitt come around who I thought had just one of the really great returns. Didn’t quite hurt you a lot off the first serve return but man he got his racquet on every ball and he was hard to ace, and if you gave him a target by moving forward you almost had no chance.

I was a risky returner, I took educated guesses, I didn’t have a shuffle move to cover defensively, I kind of came at the ball with an angle of attack and figured you’re going to ace me a lot but if I get my racquet on it, I’m going to hurt you.

And now I see a guy like Djokovic who really is a kind of me and Hewitt put together. He can do whatever he wants on the return at any time. His defensive skills are remarkable, the amount of balls he can get his racquet on.

The ability he has to hurt you even from that defensive position is I think unparalleled in our sport from a returning perspective and then he also has the ability to step inside the court and really make you pay, if you get nervous at all hitting a second serve on a crucial point. I look at him as the precedent-setting standard for the return.

And, without wishing to turn this into a Djoko love-fest, Agassi also spoke well about the development of defensive play:

In my day it was (Michael) Chang. Once you had him running, I didn't care. That's great. He's fast. He's just going to get to one more ball, but that's his problem if he wants to run one more time, you know, it's not mine.

And then you see it go to Lleyton Hewitt, you know, who would move even better. If you just were off on one, he would then move forward in the court and turn a point around. Now you've got problems if you don't keep him on the defence.

And then you take that to a guy like Djokovic, who probably was even better than Hewitt ever moved and doesn't need to turn a point around. When he's on defence he can actually win the point with one shot. That's an evolution of the game.

I like the historical context of his comments. Djokovic arguably is the best ever in certain respects but he's just  the latest in a line of development.

The time will come when a player builds upon what Djokovic does.

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Post by Born Slippy Fri 12 Feb 2016, 2:00 pm

HM Murdock wrote:
bogbrush wrote:And if we're talking about returners, who would fancy standing against 140mph serves (these are nothing new) with a Wilson 2000? There was more feel in a frying pan.
Probably a larger head on frying pan too!

I find Connors' return hard to assess technically but in Jimbo, Andre and Novak we have three players with a return that stood above their peers.

To the extent that the "Best Return Ever" exists, I think one of those three possesses it.

I'd argue that Murray is a level up on Novak. If you look at his career stats he leads Novak on more or less every return stat. He's got the best "hands" I've ever seen and is unreal against serve volleyers.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 12 Feb 2016, 2:05 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

Murray's peak came in 2013 for me. He has not quite reached that pinnacle since then.

So we have 2 out of the current top 4 not in peak as well as Wawrinka who is the unknown quantity.

Not a ringing endorsement of strength in this era chin

It isn't all about Murray though. Whereas (in my opinion BS) he is certainly not mentally as tough as 2012/2013 other players have stepped forward such as Stan who since then has become a duel slam winner. Nishikori has developed and Raonic is now showing signs of blossoming.
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Post by Guest Fri 12 Feb 2016, 2:12 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

It's a murky and long winded discussion. All I would like is for Federer at 34 to be measured as the player he is now. Not the player he was.

That is fair enough but works two ways. When Federer was in his prime and beating Djokovic then it was Djokovic not in his prime.

So does that mean Murray is not in his prime despite being beaten by a past peak Federer?

Murray's peak came in 2013 for me. He has not quite reached that pinnacle since then.

So we have 2 out of the current top 4 not in peak as well as Wawrinka who is the unknown quantity.

Not a ringing endorsement of strength in this era chin

It isn't all about Murray though. Whereas (in my opinion BS) he is certainly not mentally as tough as 2012/2013 other players have stepped forward such as Stan who since then has become a duel slam winner. Nishikori has developed and Raonic is now showing signs of blossoming.

I know it's not. You don't think Murray is near the level of his Slam winning days and I don't believe Federer is either. Throw Stan in there who is unpredictable.

With that said, in terms of strength of depth. It's not great if that is the wider view. If we then measure them on past merits, it becomes a strong field Wink

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Post by temporary21 Fri 12 Feb 2016, 2:47 pm

You earn your weak competition. By pummelling them constantly.

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Post by lydian Fri 12 Feb 2016, 4:12 pm

Fair comments from Andre HMM, but I can tell you this also - almost without fault Andre denigrates/downplays his own level, ability and achievements. He always has. This is the guy who said he wouldn't be in the top 10 now...yeah right Andre!!! I usually take Andre'a comments which a pinch of salt as he's almost too magnanimous. There is some truth in there undoubtedly but I don't find him a good commentator of the game, far less his own place in it. I mean, there is no way Hewitt is a patch on Agassi and yet Agassi talks like Hewitt moved the game on to another level - again yeah right! In any case, Agassi is again really commenting on the athletic side which I don't disagree with but Agassi'd innate ball striking and hand eye were such that he didn't need to be the best athlete as once he got you on the run (which happened pretty quickly) you had to be a fantastic athlete just to stay in the point. In other words, he more than compensated for any "lack" of ability in movement.
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Post by HM Murdock Fri 12 Feb 2016, 4:48 pm

^I agree about Andre. The guy played in an era of faster courts and huge serves and still ended his career with 56% of 2nd serve return points won!

I tend to agree with him about Novak's defence being an evolution of the game though. I can't think of another player who could hit the shot that ends the rally at 0:24 below. The distance covered, the slide, the open stance on the shot... from a spot where most would probably hit a defensive slice, Novak hits a two-handed winner. Remarkable.


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Post by It Must Be Love Fri 12 Feb 2016, 4:51 pm

temporary21 wrote:You earn your weak competition. By pummelling them constantly.
He's earned his superiority by pummelling them; but I don't think he's made Federer and Nadal get older and decline; or himself stopped the younger generation from having any star players.

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