Posts Tagged ‘Sampras’


November 26, 2007

I was asked why I didn’t say anything about the three matches played in the far east. First reason is that the only thing I’ve seen is the clips on youtube. But from what I’ve seen…:

People have got to start to talk about the matches as if they are EXHIBITION matches, nothing more, nothing less. There’s almost no point in comparing the two in trying to find the best. People have mentioned reasons like age diff of 10, Pete has not competed in a pro setting since 2002, he has gained a little weight I think?, and other obvious little facts.
My problem is that you cannot compare Federer on his best with Sampras five years after retiring. And certainly not in a show-match! If this was a Wimbledon-final… well first of all Pete would not be able to win the 6 matches to get there, but IF it were to happen, Federer would destroy the American with a lot of breaks.

One thing I noticed was the willingness to try to play for the audience rather than trying to win every point. That applies for both but especially for Federer. Sampras could have gotten more returns if a Wimbledon trophy was at stake, and Federer would not let Sampras get those beautiful volley shots he made if he REALLY wanted to do serious damage.
But Sampras surprised me in how fit he is and how his footwork is ALMOST the same as it was in the early 00s. I did not see the big difference, but he came to the net very easily and seemed to be a greater threat to Federer at the net than most other current players. That just shows what kind of generation we left behind in the 80s and 90s.

Federes’s claim that Sampras could beat top 5 players is obvious. Sampras brilliant serve-volleying is a threat at any age, and it seems to be the style that never grows old in the being offensive-sense. Sampras would never get bagaled against other top 5 players if he gives 100% today. His placement of the serve and the volley is still on the highest level. In reality I think stamina is the only critical factor that prevents Sampras from being able to still be a top player.

Another thing is that I really believe Federer is stronger mentally. Regardless of who hits the best and nicest shots, Sampras often showed weakness in situations he perhaps shouldn’t have. Federer does not fit that description at the same level. I’m certainly not referring to the exhibition matches, but in comparison as dominant tennis players Federer seems to have a mental edge. Yes, this is not a strong argument but if you just compare the years Sampras dominated 93-98 with Federer’s 04-07 there’s a clear pattern that Federer is more likely to both go far into the tournament or win it than Sampras. Competition? I would say Sampras had more but weaker competition in comparison to Federer’s Nadal and Djokovic and other fire crackers like Nalbandian. And Sampras didn’t lose only to Agassi.

The only big difference between the two, besides their somewhat different playing styles, is their record on clay. Sampras was not once dominant on clay. Federer is dominant on clay where there is not Nadal, and just imagine how many clay titles Federer would have if Nadal wasn’t around!

But what matters is, who is the best?
I think the match in 2001 says it all. Sampras was GOOD! Federer was not as good as today, but during that match, every aspect of Federer’s game came out and he was able to press out every talent-unit he had in him. Federer played great, Sampras played great, great match, great win by Roger. And today’s Roger is even better! His groundstrokes were not as good as today and that includes that match in 2001. But I STILL don’t want to compare them!!

Sampras was the best player of 1990s.
Federer is the best player of 00s, and will continue for a few more years.

That’s a frickin’ wrap!!


Greatest player of all time?!

October 4, 2007

This discussion is very active due to the fact that we have Mr. Federer potentially high up on that list. I think it is no point in trying to determine this. There is not one stat or result or achievement in the time period 1900-2007 which can rank one above the other. Is Laver the best, is Sampras the best, is Tilden the best, is Federer actually better than all of the above?

My initial thought is that it is impossible to compare two players from different eras. I claim that it is harder to achieve a 1st spot on the ranking today than it was 20-30 years ago. It is harder to win slams, and it’s harder to reach the ATP level. If you rank players from achievements one needs to consider this. If Federer wins all four slams in one calendar year, it is a greater achievement than Laver’s. In this pro environment, tennis is not a hobby anymore, it’s one of the toughest sports to succeed in. I am not saying that Laver gets to much credit, but it is important to separate different eras. In my opinion, the stat that should weigh the most is W-L ratio, % of tournaments won of those entered, Grand Slam W-L ration (as we now this is a priority in any time age)….

It’s hard to compare Laver and Federer for one more reason. Ranking is a necessary evil to separate the best from the 2nd best. Laver did not have to focus too much on every single tournament. Like I’ve said, even though people would disagree a lot, tennis was more hobby-like than it is today.(Which is true of many other sports as well).
I am going to try to compare those who have had a significant impact on tennis from 1968.
I will use the list on called legends.

Agassi: Won 76% of matches, won 60 titles between 86-06, 8 slams and all four
Ashe: won 76.83%, 33 titles last one in 78, 3 slams not in FO
Becker: 76.91%, 49 titles (1984-1999), 6 slams not in FO
Borg: 82.6%, 96 titles (61 ATP) (1973-1981), 11 slams not in AO & USO (uso final 4 times!!!)
Connors: 81.8%, 138 titles (109 ATP)(1975-1995), 8 slams, no FO
Edberg: 74.9%, 42 titles (83-96), 6 slams, not in FO(1 final)
Laver: 79.8%, 39 titles, 11 slams, won all four in 62 and 69
Lendl: 81.8%, 94 titles, 8 slams, not in Wimbledon (twice in final)
McEnroe: 81.8%, 98 titles (76 ATP), 7 slams, not in AO and Wimbledon
Nastase: 72.6%, 88 titles (53ATP), 2 slams, no record in AO, no Wimbledon (2 finals)
Newcombe: 75.9%, 68 titles (32 ATP), 5 slams, not in FO
Rafter: 65.2%!!, 11 titles!, 2 slams, only USO
Roche: 67.33%, 7 titles!, 1 slam in France
Rosewall, 74.7%, 121 titles, 8 slams, not in Wimbledon but 4 finals there!
Sampras: 77.4%, 64 titles (only ATP), 14 slams, not in France
Stan Smith: no % found, 35 titles, 2 slams
Bill Tilden: won a lot!
Vilas: 76.5%, 62 titles, 4 slams, not in Wimbledon
Wilander: 72%, 33 titles, 7 titles, no Wimbledon

Roger Federer: 80.4% (this will rise!), 51 titles (also up), 12 slams (up, up and up)

OK! I think there are a few who stand out in terms of dominating a period of time and winning a lot. The play on the court is also considered.
Bjorn Borg (was unbeatable in W and FO the few years he played, won a lot elsewhere too)
Jimmy Connors (incredible stats and won very very much! long career still over 80% ratio!)
Rod Laver (very dominant, especially in the slams)
Ivan Lendl (long career, a lot of wins)
McEnroe (over 80%, touch competition with Lendl, Connors, Edberg, Wilander+++)
Sampras (dominated the 90s. Would have been even more dominant without Agassi around)
Federer (has dominated the 00s so far, more so than Sampras did in the 90s, will probablt continue to dominate till 2010 and maybe even after that.)

There you have it! All of these could in one way or the other be claimed as the Greatest of all time. I think that Impressive stats from ATP era 1968- should be rewarded slightly more. The conclusion in 2015 I think will be that Federer could well be the Greatest Ever.

 And I forgot! The stats on winning streaks are just as important. Federer got to 41 or something before Canas took him down in California. Villas has 46! Lendl has 44, Borg 43, McEnroe 42, Muster! 35, Sampras 29, Agassi 26, Rafael Nadal 26.
Laver and the old guys are certainly not included here as this is only open era.