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Steve R.

Men's Tennis - Who Is The Greatest Of All Time?

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42 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I got caught up in this article, and realized it should probably be here:

"No One Better than Novak Djokovic at his Best: Andre Agassi" on timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Andre has an interesting perspective. As a huge Sampras/ Fed guy this bums me out, but I can see his point. Thought about waking up early to watch the Australian open final but didn't as I don't care for Djokovic or Nadal. Then had to go back and watch once I saw the scores. What a systemic beat-down! Never see Nadal get handled like that. Makes me think Andre has a solid point.

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I'm not enough of a fan or tennis historian to name all these players, but per the blurb I saw on my FB feed all of the men in this photo were at one time ranked #1 in mens tennis.   Can you name them?736779632_Number1rankedtennisplayers.jpg.707c21520a23eeb1b769c7d1c2f9271e.jpg

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3 hours ago, DaveO said:

I'm not enough of a fan or tennis historian to name all these players, but per the blurb I saw on my FB feed all of the men in this photo were at one time ranked #1 in mens tennis.   Can you name them?736779632_Number1rankedtennisplayers.jpg.707c21520a23eeb1b769c7d1c2f9271e.jpg

Left to right: Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Ilie Nastase, Gustavo Kuerten, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt

Interestingly, just yesterday I looked up Marcelo Rios - he’s the only player in the open era to be ranked #1 without ever having won a Grand Slam.

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29 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Left to right: Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Ilie Nastase, Gustavo Kuerten, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt

Interestingly, just yesterday I looked up Marcelo Rios - he’s the only player in the open era to be ranked #1 without ever having won a Grand Slam.

I know that for at least part of one year Boris Becker was ranked #1 in tennis.  He isn't in the photo.  How many other pro's going back to the earliest #1 in the photo (I'm guessing Conners or Nastase) were ranked #1 at some point and are not in the photo?

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On 4/23/2019 at 7:02 PM, DaveO said:

I know that for at least part of one year Boris Becker was ranked #1 in tennis.  He isn't in the photo.  How many other pro's going back to the earliest #1 in the photo (I'm guessing Conners or Nastase) were ranked #1 at some point and are not in the photo?

Nastase is the earliest #1 in the photo; Laver is the first #1 in the Open Era (1968 and after) - I think the only one on this list no longer alive is Ashe, and that was just due to terrible luck [DaveO's reply here] - note that the list is for year-end #1s only; people like Rios, Safin, etc. were #1 mid-year, as the rankings were updated on a rolling basis.

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A classico in the making? 

Wimbledon 2019 Men's Semifinal

Who: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal

When: Friday, July 12, 2019

Time: 8 a.m. EDT

TV: ESPN, BBC One and BBC Two (UK)

Livestream: WatchESPN

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Absolutely.  And then, most likely followed 2 days later by another classic with the winner vs. Djokovic.

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9 minutes ago, Steve R. said:

Absolutely.  And then, most likely followed 2 days later by another classic with the winner vs. Djokovic.

"Enjoy these while you can - there won't be many more."

-- Don Rockwell, 2008

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looks like Djokovic is playing now (8am) followed by Federer v Nadal, with an estimated start time of 10:30am.

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1 hour ago, Tweaked said:

looks like Djokovic is playing now (8am) followed by Federer v Nadal, with an estimated start time of 10:30am.

Watching Djokovic serve at 3-1 in the first set, it seems almost unfathomable that Roberto Bautista Agut beat him twice this year on outdoor hard court. That said, despite the score, Djokovic is missing a lot of shots he normally doesn't miss.

Want to know what's cool? Djokovic lives - for the moment - in Monte Carlo (gee, I wonder why?) - 2 1/2-years ago, I ate at the restaurant he opened there. Some interesting details about it (and him) here.

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Still watching?  Can you now see how this guy can beat him?  I’d be surprised if Djokovic doesn’t win, but he better figure out a way to keep up his rhythm & concentration over the long haul in order to do it.

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33 minutes ago, Steve R. said:

Still watching?  Can you now see how this guy can beat him?  I’d be surprised if Djokovic doesn’t win, but he better figure out a way to keep up his rhythm & concentration over the long haul in order to do it.

Yep, it's 1-all in sets now - Bautista Agut upped his game in a big way, and Djokovic is playing as poorly as I've seen him play in quite awhile. It's interesting that Djokovic doesn't seem to match up well with Bautista Agut: Djokovic's flat baseline game plays right into Bautista Agut's strengths; Nadal's topspin would give him more trouble, and Federer's net threat would also get him out of rhythm, but Djokovic's ball machine-like style isn't hurting Bautista Agut (who is hitting a *lot* of short balls, but Djoker refuses to come into net).

These two look very different, but they're actually playing a very similar style of tennis, and Bautista Agut seems perfectly willing to go toe-to-toe with Djokovic, hustling after shots, and getting a lot of balls in play - I'm certain Djokovic is hitting the ball deeper into the court, but he's not taking advantage of it.

Should Djokovic lose this match (and it's currently on-serve in the third set), the next match will essentially be the finals, and will take on an even greater importance.

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As I said, I’ll be surprised if Djokovic doesn’t win.  And, unfortunately (since I’m a Federer fan and like Nadal just fine), I think that Djokovic comes out of this stronger, having had to play real grass court tennis today.

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Now all Federer needs to do is beat Djokovic.

Glad I don't have any heart problems. 

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39 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Now all Federer needs to do is beat Djokovic.

Glad I don't have any heart problems. 

So Sunday Federer has to take on still ANOTHER all time great--Djokovic.  OY

But wait-Djoker also has to take on an all TIME GREAT.

Looking forward to the match.

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The race to be the 'GOAT'

Grand Slam titles year-by-year
  •  
    Federer
  •  
    Nadal
  •  
    Djokovic
  •  

goat.png

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Interesting.  Am I to infer that you closely correlate Grand Slam titles with the GOAT designation?

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44 minutes ago, Steve R. said:

Interesting.  Am I to infer that you closely correlate Grand Slam titles with the GOAT designation?

Well. Ever since Pete Sampras went on a mission to surpass Roy Emerson's record, that has become the benchmark of "greatness." The Hersch would stubbornly disagree if he were still here, but it's true that there's a definite pre-Sampras and post-Sampras measuring stick in the mainstream tennis media. 

Do I think Margaret Court is Serena Williams' equal because they each have 23 Grand Slam singles titles? *Hell no*.

And I think Rod Laver would still be ahead of Roger Federer, had he been eligible in the amateur-only years - he has 11; he was ineligible for 20 more - if he'd won half of those (and I think he would have, because he was healthy and in his prime), he'd be the Babe Ruth of tennis, if he isn't already.

Of course, if they'd started the Live Ball Era in 1915 instead of 1920, Babe Ruth would never have pitched, and he'd have 850 home runs (amazingly, that might have tarnished his legend, since we'd never have known about his superb pitching statistics).

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Okay.  I wasn’t really going after #s of Grand Slams being more important, but unattainable for others (like Laver).  I was more wondering why your “Race To Be The GOAT” title wasn’t followed by more than one graph (comparing Grand Slams won), like one of weeks ranked as #1, record/titles in secondary tournaments, # of titles on different surfaces, etc.  Not asking you to do the research.... just suggesting that stats other than Grand Slam titles would go into my definition of the GOAT. 

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As Djokovic struggles mightily to hold serve at 1-2 in the first set, it's obvious that Federer has caught him off-guard by hitting that damnable, low, slicing backhand to him.

---

ETA: So, as Djokovic prepares to serve at 5-6 in the first set, without any breaks, I ask myself the same question as I did when I saw Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and Pete Sampras, but this time *I really mean it* ... how will tennis possibly achieve a higher level than this?

One time, Jon Karl and I went to the finals of the DC tournament, and saw Andre Agassi barely defeat Yevgeny Kafelnikov - I distinctly remember saying to him that we'd perhaps just seen the finest tennis ever played, and he agreed.

I think players are up against human limits at this point.

As I type this sentence, both players are on-serve in the first-set tiebreaker. We may need Anton Chigurh to come toss a coin - this is ridiculous.

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ETA: Djokovic just won the first set - the forehand miss by Federer when he was up 3-5 in the tiebreaker was enormous - he would have had two serves of his own being up 6-3. At this point, I don't see Federer being able to come back and win three sets against the younger Djokovic.

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ETA: Federer just went up 4-0 in the second set, and Djokovic looks dejected and exhausted - his energy level has plummeted, and he needs some adrenaline, or something ... things are going to be very interesting.

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ETA: Wow. Federer totally guessed which side Djokovic was going to, in order to go up 8-7 in the fifth set.

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ETA: How on earth did Djokovic break Federer to tie it at 8-8?!

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ETA: Greatest match in history?

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The ebb and flow of tennis is one of the sport's more remarkable and fascinating aspects. 

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Over 50 years of watching tennis & I have never seen a better match.  As aFederer fan, it will take a while for me to get over him unsuccessfully serving at double match point - so damn close to winning another major - but all credit to Djokovic for hanging in there and breaking.   They are both truly great players in every way.  I just wish that I could like Djokovic more.  But I don’t.

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Here's a thought I've never heard of anyone proposing before:

When all is said and done, if I was forced to bet at gunpoint, I would put my money on Djokovic to come out on top in terms of "Number of Grand Slam Singles Championships Won."

Nevertheless, it's highly unlikely - but not impossible - that all 3 of the Big 3 could retire with the exact same number, perhaps 20 or 21. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head!

I had an ever-so-slight preference for Djokovic in yesterday's Wimbledon final; I'm going to be pulling hard for Federer in the U.S. Open.

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