Roger Federer Heads Tennis Channel’s List Of Top 100 Greatest Of All Time
by Staff | March 24th, 2012, 12:23 am
  • 164 Comments

Tennis concluded it’s five-night countdown of the Top 100 tennis players of all time Friday evening, and 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was named the greatest.

Federer beat out No. 2 Rod Laver, No. 3 Steffi Graf, No. 4 Martina Navratilova and No. 5 Pete Sampras.

Other active players listed were Rafael Nadal No. 6, Serena Williams No. 14, Venus Williams No. 22, Novak Djokovic No. 40, Kim Clijsters No. 45, Lleyton Hewitt No. 63, Maria Sharapova No. 71 and Andy Roddick No. 94.

The final rankings, which included both men and women, were determined by an international panel of tennis experts, historians and others (see promo video for further explanation).

Here’s the full Top 100 list as released by the Tennis Channel:

The Top 10
10 – Billie Jean King, F, USA
9 – Chris Evert, F, USA
8 – Margaret Court, F, AUS
7 – Bjorn Borg, M, SWE
6 – Rafael Nadal, M, ESP
5 – Pete Sampras, M, USA
4 – Martina Navratilova, F, USA/CZE
3 – Steffi Graf, F, GER
2 – Rod Laver, M, AUS
1 – Roger Federer, M, SUI

#11-100:
100 – Michael Chang, M, USA
99 – Ann Haydon Jones, F, GBR
98 – Henry Bunny Austin, M, GBR
97 – Pat Cash, M, AUS
96 – Manuel Orantes, M, ESP
95 – Thomas Muster, M, AUT
94 – Andy Roddick, M, USA
93 – Nicola Pietrangeli, M, ITA
92 – Svetlana Kuznetsova, F, RUS
91 – Shirley Fry Irvin, F, USA
90 – Bill Johnston, M, USA
89 – Dorothea Lambert Chambers, F, GBR
88 – Amelie Mauresmo, F, FRA
87 – Mary Pierce, F, FRA
86 – Tony Wilding, M, NZL
85 – Yannick Noah, M, FRA
84 – Norman Brookes, M, AUS
83 – Jan Kodes, M, CZE
82 – Yevgeny Kafelnikov, M, RUS
81 – Vic Seixas, M, USA
80 – Marat Safin, M, RUS
79 – Gabriela Sabatini, F, ARG
78 – Ashley Cooper, M, AUS
77 – Molla Mallory, F, USA
76 – William Renshaw, M, GBR
75 – Pauline Betz Addie, F, USA
74 – Tony Roche, M, AUS
73 – Jaroslav Drobny, M, CZE
72 – Gottfried Von Cramm, M, GER
71 – Maria Sharapova, F, RUS
70 – Patrick Rafter , M, AUS
69 – Louise Brough , F, USA
68 – Helen Hull Jacobs , F, USA
67 – Fred Stolle , M, AUS
66 – Bobby Riggs , M, USA
65 – Pancho Segura , M, ECU
64 – Ellsworth Vines , M, USA
63 – Lleyton Hewitt , M, AUS
62 – Hana Mandlikova , F, CZE
61 – Neale Fraser , M, AUS
60 – Virginia Wade , F, GBR
59 – Margaret Osborne Dupont, F, USA
58 – Alice Marble , F, USA
57 – Jennifer Capriati , F, USA
56 – Stan Smith, M, USA
55 – Gustavo Kuerten, M, BRA
54 – Manuel Santana, M, ESP
53 – Tracy Austin, F, USA
52 – Jack Crawford, M, AUS
51 – Doris Hart, F, USA
50 – Tony Trabert, M, USA
49 – Ilie Nastase , M, ROM
48 – Frank Sedgman, M, AUS
47 – Jean Borotra, M, FRA
46 – Henri Cochet, M, FRA
45 – Kim Clijsters, F, BEL
44 – Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, F, ESP
43 – Lindsay Davenport, F, USA
42 – Jim Courier, M, USA
41 – Guillermo Vilas, M, ARG
40 – Novak Djokovic, M, SRB
39 – Althea Gibson, F, USA
38 – Maria Bueno, M, BRA
37 – Evonne Goolagong Cawley, F, AUS
36 – Rene Lacoste, M, FRA
35 – Pancho Gonzalez, M, USA
34 – Jack Kramer, M, USA
33 – Mats Wilander, M, SWE
32 – Lew Hoad, M, AUS
31 – John Newcombe, M, AUS
30 – Martina Hingis, F, SUI
29 – Helen Wills Moody Roark, F, USA
28 – Arthur Ashe, M, USA
27 – Maureen Connolly Brinker, F, USA
26 – Justine Henin, F, BEL
25 – Stefan Edberg, M, SWE
24 – Suzanne Lenglen, F, FRA
23 – Fred Perry, M, GBR
22 – Venus Williams, F, USA
21 – Boris Becker, M, GER
20 – Ken Rosewall, M, AUS
19 – Monica Seles, F, USA
18 – Ivan Lendl, M, CZE
17 – Roy Emerson, M, AUS
16 – Bill Tilden, M, USA
15 – Jimmy Connors, M, USA
14 – Serena Williams, F, USA
13 – John McEnroe, M, USA
12 – Andre Agassi, M, USA
11 – Don Budge, M, USA


Also Check Out:
Novak Djokovic: I’m Glad To Be Ranked No. 1 Again [Video]
Pete Sampras On GOAT Debate: Federer’s The Greatest, But Nadal’s Now In The Conversation
Serena Williams Admits She’s Never Sang Karaoke To RedFoo
Top 10 Tennis Strokes of the Decade
Marin Cilic Reads The Letterman Top 10 List During US Open Media Tour [Video]

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164 Comments for Roger Federer Heads Tennis Channel’s List Of Top 100 Greatest Of All Time

Jeanius Says:

There you have it. ROGER. FEDERER the greatest of all time


Wog boy Says:

I don’t get it. Can somebody tell me how, on the earth woman with more than 62 GS titles including 24 singles is behind Steffi Graf and Martina Navratiliva?
If Federer is GOAT because he has most GS, what is fair , than what is wrong with Margaret Court 62 (24) GS titles and she did that while giving birth to two kids when the third one was about to come out she called a day. The only reason I see why not, is her not PC comments.
What she has achived in her life, during and after tennis, is something extraordinary.


Wog boy Says:

Jeanius, are you stalking me?:)


Wog boy Says:

Correction:

It is 62 GS titles and not ” more than 62″


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed. Greatest. GOAT!!!!!
Not that he ever needed more validation. His critics have always been….unqualified. The peers in the industry are united in there facts and opinions.

Shhaaammmon!


Jeanius Says:

Wog boy I am just following the latest write ups. Unless we know the criteria for doing the analysis and assessment will we know how the results came about.
It could bE a.o
1. The era they were playing
2. The strength of the field
3. The conditions and type of court etc etc

I think all these areas receive a certain point weighting, hence these interesting results.
I mean now how could you win 62 titles and what does that say about competition. Hell no that’s unreal


Wog boy Says:

I thought about that, nut in that casr Rod Laver would be out or top20, don’t you think so and in 20 years they can use same argument to knock Federer of his pearch and to give it to somebody who doesn’t have records and numbers like Federer has, don’t you think so. Somebody can say that for Navratilova, acually Wozniacki said that.
Numbers are numbers and titles are titles. There is more in to it but Margaret Court wouldn’t care less.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Though I personally don’t think there could be a single GOAT, I think the 4 guys who should be in the same category would be

Roger Federer
Rod Laver
Sampras
Borg

I believe the rest follows them. Different people would choose one of these as their GOAT.


Wog boy Says:

To many typos, blame the iPhone:)


jc Says:

Hingis should have been placed higher than Venus and Justine, imo.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

In your list, the odd one out is Sampras. How can you call a player GREATEST when he has never won one of the important Majors namely French Open. Moreover, Sampras record at Rolland Garros is pathetic reaching just one semi-final in his entire career and losing mostly before the quarter final stage. His record in other Clay court tournaments is also very mediocore. If this is the case, I am wondering how can you include him in the list of GREATEST ??


Michael Says:

I am surprised that Pete Sampras is ranked above Borg and Nadal. He just doesn’t deserve it is my humble opinion.


Sienna Says:

Rafa 6 with women combined?? It ‘s a joke a hoax. Doesnt anybody paid any attention the last few weeks. It has been explained over and over again. On Tennis X we are in mutual agreement about the places and how the players stand in history. Nadal is not making top 10 on a list combined with the Greatest woman.


Jeanius Says:

@ Wog boy. Not that I disagree with you, just that the criteria should remain the same. Hypothetically do you think a clay court is worth more than grass and hc. It becomes relative depending on your tennis upbringing.
I must add however that it will be hard to bring the FED down. LOL. The benchmark for tennis perfection. I think his package in its entirety pulled him througj


Ajet Says:

The tennis channel top-100 is a feminist list keeping lot of undeserving female players over much more deserving male players.
Steffi. Navratilova, Evert and Margaret Court(even Billie Jean King) above JMac, Connors, Lendl, Becker, Agassi, Edberg, Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad, Rosewall, Wilander, Riggs, Kramer, Djokovic and numerous others????????!!!!!!!!!!!
WTF!!!!!

Well, prepare the real greatest-100 list of all time and give us a break from feminism!

I mean, these so-called women greats wouldn’t be able to win a game or point from the many illustious men that we’ve, thanks to their natural physical limitations in comparison to men! so give us a true great list, all of whom are men! and may be a separate list for women might be made.

TOP-20

1.Roger Federer
2.Rod Laver
3.Bjorn Borg
4.Pete Sampras
5.Rafael Nadal(his position may solidify or fall depending on how he performs in the future, he’s by far the greatest over-achiever in tennis)
6.JMac(sublime talent)
7.Agassi(versatile and quick shot-maker, greatest returner ever)
8.Lendl(consistency and second greatest over-achiever)
9.Connors(versatility and consistency)
10.Edberg
11.Becker
12.Pancho Gonzales
13.Lew Hoad
14.Rosewall
15.Tilden
16.Fred Perry & Don Budge
17..Wilander
18.Djokovic
19. Willie Renshaw & Courier
20.Nastase, Roy Emerson & Guga

sorry guys, just couldn’t leave out some, so added two/three players in some rankings! ;)

But the top-4 are irreplaceable!

Now the list of greatest ever under-achievers

1.Nalbandian
2.Safin
3.Murray
4.Andy Roddick
5.Rod Laver!(yes, coz he missed so many years of professional tennis slams!)
6.Roger Federer!(at least 5-7 slams denied by nadal) ;)


roy Says:

the reason sampras is above somebody like nadal or borg is that sampras won all his majors on grass and hardcourt and they are the only real surfaces.

see even though nadal made five wimbledon finals he’s really just a clay grinder and since he won most of his majors on clay they don’t really count.
his record technically is just 4slams. and that’s pretty shit. also he lost some finals on non clay surfaces which proves he’s not very good on other surfaces. the olympics doesn’t count either because the smog in beijing slowed the courts too much making it unfair to federer.

that’s why sampras completely lopsided record is more valid.
because again, if your record is lopsided towards fast surface it’s valid, but if it’s the other way, it isn’t.

in a way it’s a bit like federer. his record is very well rounded because he won all his slams on two surfaces, the fast ones.
except that one clay one he got when nadal wasn’t there and he played a first time finalist.
he proved that wasn’t a fluke though, by winning a total of zero RG since.

but at least fed can really play on clay. unlike sampras who’s record speaks for itself.
and the only reason he made that one semi at RG is because of the no.1 seeding.

but yeah, lucky clay isn’t a real surface. otherwise nadal might be rated a bit higher.


Ajet Says:

of course it’s my TOP list in the previous post! ;)


Jeanius Says:

Ajet Shhhhhh the noise between your ears. Don’t jump to conclusions unless you know the criteria. Create a blog where you can question and answer yourself


Ajet Says:

Importanace-wise, to me
7 wimbledons(on old surface)>>>>>>6 FOs
7 Wimblesons(on old surface)>>>> 7 FOs
7 Wimbledons(on old surface)>>> 8 FOs
7 Wimbledons(on old surface)>> 9 FOs
7 Wimbledons(on old surface)>10 FOs

So Sampras> Rafa… :)
Its simple :)


Ajet Says:

”genius” toddler, the criteria is talent(mcenroe, edberg, becker, gonzales, hoad, rosewall; and these guys achieved too); consistency(tilden, perry,budge, renshaw, courier, wilander, djokovic) and over-all achievement(emerson)! ;)

not to mention, fed, borg, pete, laver had all the three elements imbibed in them in tons!

genius toddler still learning! ;)

and create your own genius tiny tot tennis website so that we can have all your squirms! ;)


Ajet Says:

genius toddler,

now cheer up baby boy/girl, whatever you’re!
uncle ajet gonna get toffies for you! ;)


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael, I think Sampras era was different compared to Roger’s era. Now there is very minimal difference between most surfaces, compared to Sampras era. Today you see good clay courters perform well in HC’s and even in grass. I don’t think you can hold back Sampras because of FO. When the guy played his best on any court outside clay, I don’t think anyone could have beaten him. He was a 200% version of John Isner. Look at what John can do to Roger and Novak on his best day.

Let’s be fair to Sampras. The guy has won 14 GS, and also the most slam in the most important GS ie Wimbledon (7). What more do you want?

But it’s absolutely a personal opinion right? From your perspective you may be right that he has not won FO.

But what about 6 year end No 1, most weeks as No 1 and many many WTF titles.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael, I also remember Rafa or Roger sometime said, it’s impossible to play well on clay unless you had practiced from you very young years. Both Roger and Rafa had grown up playing in clay, including guys like Novak and Murray.

It’s not like they become great clay courters later in their career. They grew up on clay.

But Sampras was different. He was brought up in US, where he started in HC, not like Europeans who start in clay.

I give benefit of doubt to Sampras. Had be born in one of European countries, he would have been as good as any other great players.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

roy says : he reason sampras is above somebody like nadal or borg is that sampras won all his majors on grass and hardcourt and they are the only real surfaces.

Ok, but what about Sampras complete body of work.

Maximum year end No 1
Maximum weeks as No 1
I believe 5 WTF titles
14 GS titles.

You think all these are small achievements, compared to winning one FO.


Wade Says:

Yea I agree with some other users here, If your adding women into the mix aswell sorry but Margaret Court, Steffi Graff beats out Federer.. And wow Rafa number 6 nice:)

As for Top underachievers my list goes:

7)Federer – Yep even though rated GOAT should of could of had more GS.

6) Nalbandian -Backhand that should of handed him some slams or more masters at least.

5)Borg – Never played Aus Open could had more Slams

4)Edberg -Started off like Murray not winning a slam for many years but made up for it later in his career by winning a few GS

3)Laver – Poor old bloke played most of his career in the so called old era so most his grand slams don’t count.

2) Rosewell -Same as Rod Laver Played in mostly in the Old era with many years missed due to war. Made 4 Wimbledon Finals never won one

1)Murray -I mean come on defo a grand Slam talent but his mind says otherwise.


Yousuf Says:

The correct No.1. Rod Laver considers him the best too. Nadal’s greatness is tarnished by the fact that he has won 6 of the slams on Clay (and a whopping 70%+ ATP titles on Clay). His 18-10 record vs. Fed includes a 12-2 edge on Clay. He may win 16 slams, but he will have won 9 or 10 on Clay that would still make only make his the greatest Clay courter ever. All things equal, Roger would still be better simply because of his consistency and his near perfect play.


Yousuf Says:

Another kicker that would always put Roger above Nadal: Roger has six year end titles. They may not be 6 slams but they are darn close to it considering you must win at least 4 of 5 matches against top 8 opponents. It is something Nadal hasn’t been able to do. And of course did I mention 70%+ of Nadal’s ATP titles are on Clay? Pretty lop sided, no? It’s like Sushi, where 70% of it really is rice. I prefer Sashimi ;)


Stella Says:

The “list” will always be controversial because of we fans who are often blind to other greats. Also I can’t begin to imagine that woman in the video with her flowing skirt and ballerina like leap playing against a Serena Willimas…pleeze!
It’s all “in fun” and great to speculate but completely fanciful!!!


Raymond Says:

There will always be disagreements as to where someone should be ranked when making up any kind of list as everyone has their own ideas. Poll a thousand people and you will have a thousand different lists.


skeezerweezer Says:

Funny, when it comes to Fed, fans are goofy headed about determining if he is GOAT. More than likely its all how they personally feel, like that is a determining factor.

Repeatedly the long time tennis writers, the tennis greats of past and present state who the GOAT currently is. Roger Federer. Sure, it can be a moving target as time marches on, but as time goes on he will further be cemented in immortality.

It should be recognized(GOAT) as no one has the records he has and is still accumulating!

Most of the anti GOAT ers are basically either jealous or anti Fed. There is nothing left to argue so they resort to achoolyard talk like Fedtards, arrogant, and so on. Keep it comin, it won’t change a thing regarding the man, the legend, the greatest of all time.


Andy Says:

Too bad they’ll have to revise this list in a few years when Rafa passes Fed’s GS titles. All that work for nothing!


Ajet Says:

Michael:

The post of mine at 3.14 am is also just my opinion. i’m surely biased in favor of pete and against nadal!


VTA Says:

Precise rankings are meaningless. Just gives people something to argue about (which they love to do).
Good promo for tennis, though.


Ajet Says:

wade is very correct!

borg is also underchiever, never played AO!who is to say he wouldn’t have won one!


VTA Says:

I read above that clay us not a “real surface”! What?! This is why these discussions/opinions are stupid, like comments on YouTube. Don’t know why I’m here.


Ajet Says:

forget about slams, even in intangibles like popularity, versatility, tennis aestheticism, unparalleled game level, incomparable playing style, global appeal etc. fed far surpasses rafa!


Ajet Says:

federer is the one who raised tennis popularity in even a country like india to an extent, nobody can even dare imagine!!!


skeezerweezer Says:

Too bad they’ll have to revise this list in a few years when Fed passes Fed’s GS titles. All that work for something more!

Whens and ifs are for pretenders.


skeezerweezer Says:

Ajet &Wade

Talk about what ifs an under achievers Borg ended at 25/26? But Mac seemed to have his number there in the end….he surely would have had to re prove himself against him…..still, in his short reign, he put together some unreal achievements on some very different surfaces in his time…


Sienna Says:

Lendl is top 5 all time.

The man sacrificed several Garros victories just to try and become a better serve volley player. His efforts were titanic. The fact that he did not succeed is actually making his effort even more wordwhile. (not for him I feel)

He would pealed the double off like Borg himself if the courts where like now back then.


Ernest Says:

Martina Navratilova should be #1. Overall, she won the most titles combined (singles, doubles, mixed). And she had longevity that spanned 4 decades. That’s a no brainer.


raul Says:

USA sponsored/created/inflated/sided list.
nothing to watch here, move on!!!


Ajet Says:

Lendl was definitely amazing player, far more exciting to me than nadal! He’s very close to top-5. One thing though will act in favour of lendl that nobody played in a more difficult era with the players of the caliber of legends like borg, edberg, becker, jmac, connors, wilander etc being his opponents and all of them were at their peak/near peak! and despite all this, lendl still managed to win 8 slams and many year ending championships etc., this definitely amazes fans!


Bobbie Says:

I have so much respect for the legends,but I think even they would agree that even with her so called melt downs Serena is simply the best she and her sister changed the game and filled the stands.Everyone started going to the gym.I am old and have been watching tennis for a long time at least sixty years and graf and Martina should be listed high,but Serena deserves to be right up there with them.I love Chris and Monica and Billy and all of them,but Serenahave the game that would beat them all.Ask them.


sheila Says:

i’m a huge federer fan, but i was hoping he wouldnt get #1 on gr8tst tennis players because now he will be under the microscope everytime he loses, especially to nadal. i personally feel there is no goat player. i think federer is the most “naturally” gifted player & has the most variety of
shots but, wow, how do u pick goat. too many gr8 players & as was said on show repeatedly, technology is different from generation 2 generation. nadal & federer have such contrasting style of play, and although i’m not a fan of nadals style of play, the guy is a gr8 player so 4me there is no goat.


Sienna Says:

If Lendl would have focused on winning slam other then Wimbly he would easiley have gotten 10+ slams.


Brando Says:

WOW! Rafa is deemed as the 6th best of all time- the 4th best male!

Bravo rafa!

He’s an active player too, so hopefully by the time rafa finishes he’ll have moved up the list!

Either way, this rafa fan is more than happy with rafa’s place in the game’s history!

Vamos rafa!


jane Says:

Nole is 40th, woot! ;) I like Ajet’s list better because Nole is 18th and Muzza is one of the top under-achievers, although the latter I hope will change soooooooon!


skeezerweezer Says:

Raul, a little reverse bias and discrimination? How many pro sports has the top 100 best of all time with such a variety of countries been represented?

“The final rankings, which included both men and women, were determined by an international panel of tennis experts, historians and others (see promo video for further explanation).”

USA? Uh uh…..sure.

Your welcome to post any other reputal media reported list.


alison hodge Says:

Brando yeah ditto,delighted to see him even make the top 10,and that was more than enough for me as a fan,against some very talented players,stand back and beware of the sienna backlash though lol,anyway vamos rafa,and hopefully like you say,he will go up even higher in the list eventually.


Bella Says:

Great list. I do think it’s a crime though that nadal is placed in front of borg. Thats just not right.


Brando Says:

@Alison:

Lol, thanks for the heads up re sienna.

I expect nole to gatecrash into the top 20 on that list by the time he is done.

Lendl seems a bit low at 18, considering he has got 8 slams and also, more importantly, influenced future players in regards to taking care of their fitness, a consistent baseline game etc.

He is much more influential than the credit he’s been give here on the list IMHO.


alison hodge Says:

brando yeah agree about Llendel,just out of interest,been a brit was Fred Perry on the list,i did not see his name?


Ajet Says:

”If Lendl would have focused on winning slam other then Wimbly he would easiley have gotten 10+ slams.”

This is where the harsh truth sets in, nobody was asking lendl to lose some 10 or 12 slam finals(most of them by choking, and lendl won his 1st slam also by courtesy of macenroe unravelling with tantrums). And nobody can be credited for what he could have done, but actually basing on what he has done. The greatness of Agassi stems from the fact of his veratility, he’s won each of the slams in that fast court era, despite his baseline style. Agassi didn’t choke away his chance to win wimbledon, but lendl choked away!
And it can also be said that agassi by taking to drugs and going to a short hiatus from tennis spoiled 4 of his young years, if he were focussed at that time, may be he could have added even more slams!

And it can also be said that only if Jmac hasn’t been so uncalm, and had he suddenly not lost his focus after a year or two of dominance, then he too would have had many more slams considering what a sublime talent he was! JMac is probabaly the most talented guy besides pete, fed, laver and pancho gonzales/lew hoad. only if he were a bit more cool in demeanour instead of all time being hot-headed, his tennis was wnderfully great enough to let him pass 10 slam mark, but whatever the reason is, he didn’t. but being the sublime talent that he was, he showed his mettle in doubles, and davs cup, when he lost his hunger for singles, and etched his name as one of the greatest and most legendary doubles player, legendary singles player he already was!
so jamc kinda made up for his loss of motivation for singles by wining many doubles slam titles!
lendl may be everything, but he was not a very strong guy mentally. and he lost wimbledon like crazy in finals! and jmac has won multiple wimbledons and us opens, the most prestigious tennis tournaments. that’s why he deseves to be placed above lendl even though lendl may have won one more slam, but lendl won only FOs, whereas jmac won wimbys!. historically wim is more important than FO!

moreover it was always crystal clear that at their respective bests,

jmac>lendl!!!

considering all this, it’s only just and reasonable that agassi and jamc rank higher than lendl, in my book at least!


alison hodge Says:

^oh yeah fred perry 23 sorry^.


Ajet Says:

Jane:

Indidn actually a big mistake by placin safin above murrayn in list of underachievers, actually murray is the second greatest underachiever. nalbadian is the greatest underachiever though!


carl b. Says:

Okay…great job with the whole presentation of the countdown…Here are my disagreements with some of the rankings: #39-Althea Gibson (ranked too low), #34-Jack Kramer (ranked too low), #33-Mats Wilander (ranked too low), #20-Ken Rosewall (too low), #18-Ivan Lendl (too low), #17-Roy Emerson (too high…did not beat the best of his day who were professionals in his time of dominance), #15-Connors (should be in the top 12), #14-Serena Williams (give me a break on that 1 are you kidding me!…sounds lke biased voters…too low!…#13-Johnny Mac (should be in the top 10)…I agree with ranking the men along side of the woman…well done…hard to measure who’s the greatest of all of the era’s…


VE Says:

Comparing the men and the women is as difficult as comparing between eras. Ultimately, what you have to do is forget the “Fantasy Matchup” scenario because players today are stronger, more knowledgeable and have better tools than those who came before. You have to look at how they performed versus the competition that was in front of them. The only true high water mark is the one you have to swim to.

Here’s how I made my criteria:

http://www.blacklabeltennis.com/2012/03/what-makes-goat.html


Sienna Says:

Lendl overcame his demons and still managed to win 8 slams.
Doesnot matter what you think of him. I know what he had to do and overcome to be the best of his generation.


Sienna Says:

I am only reading youre post now…
You are actually crediting a player who lost years of his tennislife due to taking drugs?
Youre such a two face Ajet.


Sienna Says:

This is where the harsh truth sets in, nobody was asking lendl to lose some 10 or 12 slam finals(most of them by choking, and lendl won his 1st slam also by courtesy of macenroe unravelling with tantrums….

You did not see that final I guess? You did not experience the utter determination and anxiety which Lendl threw in that game from 2 sets and a break down. The birth off a champion. A true Great of tennis was born that day.


Ajet Says:

am not crediting agassi for losing 4 years due to drugs, i’m only giving the ”what if” scenario back to you! but its you who’s crediting lendl for apparently letting away FOs(which he had much better chance of winning) for the sake of wimby(which of course he failed to do)! now that’s a two-face from you!


Sienna Says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xAPwx3z950

Watch Lendl choke this match away against Mac…

Does that hurt? is the commentator’s respons.


Sienna Says:

Ajet Says:
am not crediting agassi for losing 4 years due to drugs, i’m only giving the ”what if” scenario back to you! but its you who’s crediting lendl for apparently letting away FOs(which he had much better chance of winning) for the sake of wimby(which of course he failed to do)! now that’s a two-face from you!

Yes it is quite the same to lose chances on slams due to adapting your style of play which had to be done in order for him to succede ion gras as to a player who kept hidden his loss of hair with a wig for years and took drugs . So that is really just a great discussion we have and then giving the edge to the guy wio took drugs etc.

Oh men get real.


Sienna Says:

Lendl is bigger then all of the mens players except Roger, Laver, Borg, Sampras.


Ajet Says:

Sienna

Everybody including me has seen and knows that macenroe handed the match to lendl on a platter in that FO final, by losing concentration due to tantrum! that’s one of the best examples of chokes coming from jmac! if jmac’s level had not dropped, he’d have easily won!
granted that lendl was a champion, but the guy on the other side was also a high-profile champion(and was far more talented), thus nobody who knows tennis would tell that lendl would win the match after losing 1st two sets from a player of caliber of jmac, unless jmac himself contributes to his downfall(which he promptly did courtesy of loss of concentration due to tantrums)!

you even see the match and read their analysis or just argue for the sake of arguing???


Ajet Says:

”Sienna Says:
Lendl is bigger then all of the mens players except Roger, Laver, Borg, Sampras.”

just a subjective opinion from you and nothing more!

and yeah, that’s why many people call lendl a choker, not a great adjective that champions would like!

and btw, no denying that jmac as well as lendl could unravel at times and choke and lose, but lendl>>jmac(CHOKER!). And that’s why they both aren’t in the top-5 today! ;)

And what real, you get real, had agassi not lost his motivation in between and taken to drugs and vanished for 4 years, then he too mighta won more slams perhaps as he was the second best player most of the time when pete was there, that’s why the sampras-agaasi rivalry! so it’s legitimate to assume that agassi’d have won slams during those 4 years as he was second to none other than pete! that means if pete fumbled in any slam then, it’s no eway foolish to bet your money on agassi to win the slam! heck, even agassi had lamented that if he had played AO more(he hasn’t entered all AOs in his playing years) or hasn’t lost his interest in game midway(though he has even said that tennis never interested him much!), then he definitely coulda won more slams!

i don’t understand why it’s so difficult for people like you to accept this thing!!


Ajet Says:

means may be many, but end was the same: lendl and agassi lost chances to win more slams and are not making it to top-5 today! ;)


Sienna Says:

LOL no not LUL maar wel bijna…
Yioure a funny guy. Have a good rest big day tomorrow.


Maso Says:

Women and men should have separate lists… Nothing sexist about it, it’s just not comparable. Not the same tournaments, best of 3 for women in GS vs best of 5 for men. Martina and Steffi deserve to be on a list where they are either #1 or #2, and Connors, McEnroe and Agassi should be in the top 10 of their respective list. Mixing the two together seems like a really poorly thought out concept… But in any case… ROGER #1!!!!


Sienna Says:

My last post for the day. It has been funny Ajet I’ll give you that/ EVen when you have nothing more to gain ypou keep hammering those forehands obviously mile s long they are. But nice trying anyhow…

Lendl is bigger then all of the mens players except Roger, Laver, Borg, Sampras.”

just a subjective opinion from you and nothing more!

That is the joke of the day. Look at the stats Lendl brings to the table easily fits in TOP 5 all time.
He has about 100 weeks more #1 then Mac. Oh yes that was not important to you.He has won over 1000 matches but no he is ranked at 16 all time ROFL

Have a good one. I will see all the latest comments in the morning…..
funny man.


Maso Says:

Agreed, Sienna, that Lendl should be in the top 10, he’s another name I should have listed alongside Connors, McEnroe and Agassi. Lendl outside the top 10 is a joke!


skeezerweezer Says:

Although it makes for interesting fodder talk, the men and women should have been separated. I mean, if that is the case, shouldn’t they have competed ( men vs women )? Women play the women, not the men, so who can you put them together. There should be the 50 greatest men, and 50 greatest women. C’mon even the tennis rules are slightly different!!

That said, the women’s side is really noteworthy. I mean Steffi with 22 slams, and the only record ANY tennis player holds, the golden slam. And Martina, geez…you could write a novella on her achievements….


skeezerweezer Says:

“So who..” meant to say “So how…” :(


skeezerweezer Says:

Lendl never won Wimby……ya gotta figure they took that into consideration. Anyone listed in the top ten who didn’t win it? He got to plenty of semis and 2 finals there, however. Borg never won the USO, but his 5 Wimbys and 7 years in a row winning either the FO or Wimby carried his greatness for the day. He did make it to 4 USO Finals. And did you know he never played AO in his career?
I know, Mac never won FO, either did Sampras, so we can argue that….me just thinks the voters might have also been rating the Slams…??

VE,

Read your write, was good stuff and was spot on. Still think the ladies and guys should be separated though, and if you did that your ratings imho are still spot on.


Ed Says:

Connors should be #1. Won far more tournaments than anyone else. Spent forever at #1 in the toughest era in men’s tennis (Connors/Borg/McEnroe/Lendl. Would have had many more Grand Slams if he had decided to play Australia because very few of the top men did back then. The one year he did play Australia, he won it. And was a shoe in to win the Grand Slam in 1974 until the ATP banned him from playing in the French.


SHon Says:

Hard to say who is the greatest of all time…got people to discuss so worth the effort. If I had to do the list, def separate men and women…
Jimmy connors-top 5 (among men)
Monica Seles-top 5 (among women)


Humble Rafa Says:

Amazing that one surface wonders like your Humble Highness can figure in the top 10 GOAT. Besides your HH has never defended a non-dirt title.

Thank you Tennis Channel. May good karma be on your side. I hope you get promoted to the $59.99 Top 250 Channel Line up soon.


Polo Says:

The only thing I like about this list is that Federer was number one among the men and Steffi was first among the ladies. Everything is really very arguable. It is very subjective and does not really mean anything to get so riled up about. I don’t know why they listed the men and the women together. Steffi has achieved so much more than Federer, so if you go by achievement, Steffi is in reality is way ahead of Federer.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

How can you be a complete player if you cannot compete on Clay ? It is the natural surface of Tennis. Agree the Courts were fast and different during Sampras era but still if an Agassi is able to complete a career slam, why can’t Sampras ?? That cannot be an excuse. Look at the other list of GREATS, they are able to play on all the Courts. Borg, Nadal, Connors and even Mcenroe who made one final and almost beat Lendl only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I would not have minded if Sampras had even made a final at Rolland Garros. The point is he didn’t even make one final and his only performance to show there is a semi-final show-up. That is awful especially for a player like Sampras who was No.1 for the maximum No. of weeks and has 14 major titles. This surely limits his stature amongst the GREATS. Ofcourse it is a matter of opinion only. But I have strong justification to deny Sampras his glory in the list of GREATS. And just look at his record at Rolland Garros apart from that one semi-final. It will look very gloomy often being beaten in the 2nd,3rd and 4th rounds. That doesn’t bring you points when you are placed in the list of GREATS.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Was Agassi born in an European Country ? Mcenroe a volleyer made one final at Rolland Garros to almost beat Nadal. Even Connors was a very good player on Clay even beating Borg several times. Remember in those times of Mcenroe and Connors the Courts were even more fast than during the Sampras era. Take a player like Lendl, he couldn’t play on Grass. But still he makes two finals and two semis. That is a very good record according to me. Borg is in the list of Greats despite not winning US Open is because he has won a lot of hard court titles and he made four finals in US Open and also two-semis there. On the other hand, you have Sampras whose performance in French is dismal as we know but even in other Clay court tournaments his performance is nothing home to write about. To my knowledge, he just won one Clay court title in his entire career and ie. the Italian Open. That is too bad in my opinion.


Michael Says:

I am sorry Mcenroe did not almost beat Nadal. He almost beat Lendl. I stand corrected.


Michael Says:

Polo,

It is improper to seperate the male and female Tennis. The dynamics are totally different. If not, the females too will be competing with the Males. I remember Connors at Age 42 beating Martina with just one serve for him.


Polo Says:

Micheal, I could not follow your reasoning. There must be some error there because your explanation is not congruent with your opening statement.


Bom Kelvin Says:

Wow. At least some true official statements saying Federer is GOAT . Not the gibberish debate among different fans. So Tennis Channel acknowledged the awesome achievements of Federer :
* Most Grand slam title (16 )
* Most Year End Championship ( 6)
* Most Master 1000 titles (19)
* Most 500 series titles (12)
* Most Stefan Eberg’s awards (7)
* Most Fan’s favourite awards (9)
* Most Laureus sportman of the year ( 4)

So what can we ask more from him? Which player got such kinds of achievements above altogether without mentioning others several records ? That guy Federer is truly blessed.


Ajet Says:

Sienna:

You’re both funny and childish, that’s why keep babbling about your imagination instead of facts to determine the top-5 in tennis and are so eager to include lendl in it! too bad, people can see things as it is and have put your much hated Nadal, JMac and Connors above Lendl!

On the one hand you are bringing down rafa for winning mostly FOs and not winning many wimbys, even though everybody knows how impresssive nadal has been in wimby! but on the other hand, you keep crying as to how great is lendl even though he has done nothing great at wimby. The guy doesn’t have a single wimby and mserable safina-like performances in wimby against edberg and becker! and all that you show is weks at no.1! may be we should include caroline wozniacki as well among greats, lol!

and i again repeat, by winning many doubles slams, jmac has shown that he is incredible and multi-faceted tennis player! and the only FO ahe reached, he lost in 5 sets unlike lendl who chickened out at the sight of edberg and becker!
and talentwise as well jmac>>>lendl
the artistry of jmac is why he’ll always be prized as a gold in tennis!

moreover wimbledon is most prestigious and john has many, lendl has none, suck it up! and keep showing your 100 more weeks at no.1!
wozniacki will support you in this regard! ;)

no wonder, lendl was placed below jmac, agassi and nadal. it woulda been a joke if it had happened otherwise!
bye bye dear sienna, keep dreaming of lendl! ;)


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael, I understand your point. Just that I side with many greats who are willing to give benefit of doubt to Sampras, because he was supreme on everything else. He was not a great player like Mac or Lendl in faster courts, he could probably be the greatest player in both Grass and faster HC.

Every great player has a negative to point too. So Sampras has FO, Roger has Nadal, Nadal has his records scewed more towards Clay but he is not done yet so we need to wait. Probably Novak could end up for Nadal what NAdal was for Roger. Lendl never won Wimbledon. I don’t think Rod Laver won slams on different surfaces during his time.

But you do have a point. It’s an individual opinion. But looks like majority seems to give Sampras a pass because of his body of work. Sampras was supreme on two surfaces not just one. That helps the argument for him.

It’s absolutely an individual opinion. Though I’m not changing my opinion, but I like your points though. Good Post.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Ajet: Nice posts by you backing up Mac. I’m a big fan of him, my best 3 players to watch along with Roger and Boris.

I’m in between Ajet and Sienna. But I do think Lendl at 18 is ridiculous. The guy may not be liked by many, but his body of work in probably the toughest era of tennis is mind boggling. Though he did not win Wimbledon, but his record in faster courts are amazing. Just that he ended up in a wrong era where some of the greatest grass court players were playing.

It’s more like Roger ending up with Rafa in FO. History will never justify Roger’s greatness in clay, only because of Rafa. I believe same is applicable to Lendl. He is an amazing player and definitely a Top 10. Not many people hold FO against Sampras, eventhough he did not have to fight against the greatest players on clay like Lendl did on grass.


Dave Says:

Many rankings on Tennis Channel’s list are highly questionable or even wrong, if you understand your tennis history. TC’s incompetent rankings were probably influenced by politics and favoritism.
http://www.tennischannel.com/goat/gallery4.aspx
http://www.tennischannel.com/goat/71.aspx
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=417683&page=13

I can make a solid case for why Federer is the greatest of all time, and so could most of the all-time greats who support Federer as GOAT.

However, for example, it’s a travesty to rank Nadal so highly at No. 6 (**at this point in his career** — he hasn’t accomplished enough, but does not preclude him from future accomplishments thatjustify a 6 or higher ranking for Rafa) as well as Agassi at No. 12. Both of them are overrated at the expense of past greats who deserved it more.

Margaret Court won not just a Calendar Year Grand Slam, but also 62 grand slam titles (including 24 singles slams!). Or take Ken Rosewall at No. 20, Pancho Gonzales at 35, Jack Kramer at 34, Ellsworth Vines at 64 — all ridiculously low compared to Agassi and Nadal. Even Budge at No. 11 and Lendl at 18 deserve a bit better. Some players were not on the list such as Frank Parker and Ted Schroeder.

Let’s consider Ken Rosewall. The article in link explains why Rosewall deserves to be considered among the top five greatest male players of all time (note the article does contains a few flaws, e.g. , giving equal weighting to the 3 Pro major tournaments with usual 4 Grand Slam tournaments). After reading the article ask yourself: what has Nadal or Agassi done to supersede Ken Rosewall, who probably would have won over 16 slams had tennis been open while he was a pro in the closed era from age 22 years to 33.5 years (Rosewall won 8 grand slam championships and 2 WCT Finals outside that age period; during that age span he was barred from the grand slam championships, but won a record 15 professional majors)
http://www.woodtennis.com/rosewall/rosewall.txt

You can assess greatness of any tennis player using seven measures (major titles and No. 1 are of course more important than other meausres):
(1) the number of titles won
(2) which titles were won, ability on all surfaces, rate/pace winning titles
(3) duration as World No. 1, duration as top 5, overall dominance against top 10, season winning % when No. 1:
(4) depth and quality of competition
(5) other career/season records or streaks
(6) completeness as tennis player and talent in hitting the tennis ball
(7) impact on the tennis world and the global sportsworld.

As an example, let’s assess Nadal’s greatness as a tennis player using these seven measures:

WHY NADAL IS NOT NO. 6 OR EVEN TOP 10

Nadal is an all-time great player. However, it is not just premature but plain wrong to rate him at No. 6 at this point in time. He simply hasn’t accomplished enough in his career to date compared to a number of other all-time greats. According to the TC summary on Nadal, he has 10 major singles finals (15 finals), career grand slam, 2 years No. 1, 3 Davies Cup titles (see link)
http://www.tennischannel.com/goat/gallery4.aspx

Using the seven measures I listed in my last post, let’s assess Nadal’s greatness as a tennis player.

(1) the number of titles won: only 46 total titles [he has failed to make the top 10 list of even the ATP era since 1973, so he is definitely not in the top 10 in all tennis history since the 1870s]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#ATP_Singles_Titles_and_Finals

(2) which titles were won:
- major titles: 10 Grand Slam championships [6 players Federer, Sampras, Emerson, Borg, Laver, Tilden have as many or more GS titles; several players from the closed era before mid-1968 such as Ken Rosewall (23), Pancho Gonzalez (14), Rod Laver (19), Bill Tilden (14), Budge (10) etc also won combined GS and Pro Majors;

- 0 World Tour Finals Year-End Championships [since 1970s, YEC were won by all great players on top ten list of No. 1 players (except Nadal) and with at least 5 slams (except Nadal, Wilander and Newcombe). Even claycourters like Borg, Vilas, Nastase won YEC titles]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_Finals#Past_finals

- 3 Davies Cup titles [Nadal owes his DC titles to Spain's strong team. Nadal missed 11 of Spains 25 DC ties, including 4 ties in winning 2009 and 2011 DC titles. Nadal showed up mostly for DC ties on clay and at home in Spain. Nadal failed to play even one away tie outside Europe in his career even in big ties against critical teams, e.g., Nadal skipped 2011 DC tie in USA which Spain-without-Nadal won against American players ranked higher than finalists Argentina, skipped the 2008 DC final in Argentina which Spain won one of three DC titles (he was photographed enjoying water sports in a Mauritius resort while his team mates were in Argentina), skipped 2008 DC tie in Peru, skipped 2007 DC tie in USA which Spain lost.]

- rate/pace at winning major titles: Nadal won his first 10 slams at the rate of only 40% [10 from 25 available slams] in 5.75 years. That is inferior to several players, examples: Federer won his his record 16 slams at the rate of 59.26% [16 from 27 available slams] in a span of 6.75 years (Roger won his first 10 slams at the rate of 66.67% [10 from 15 available slams] in 3.75 years). Rod Laver won his first 11 slams at the rate of 61.11% [11 from 18 available slams] in 4.5 years. Bjorn Borg won his first 11 slams at the rate of 52.38% [11 of 21 available slams in 5.25 years]. Roy Emerson won his first 12 slams at the rate of 66.67% [12 from 26 available slams] in 6.5 years. Several other players won majors/slams at a faster pace than Nadal.

- ability to win on all surfaces: 1 career grand slam [6 other players won the career grand slam -- Laver and Budge won the Calendar Year GS, Budge won 6 consecutive slams, while the other winners of Career GS were Perry, Emerson, Agassi, Federer. However, since 2001-2002, winning the Career Grand Slam and French-Wimbledon double is not longer the miraculous feat it used to be in the past. Claycourters like Nadal have benefited from the homogenization of court surfaces to slower speeds and consistent bounces of all court surfaces (clay, grass, hard) and conditions (outdoor, indoor) as well as from high-tech racquets and co-poly strings. It's unlikely Nadal would have won a Career Grand Slam on the grass or hard courts of the Borg, Sampras or Lendl eras. On the other hand, complete and talented players like Federer and Laver could probably compete in any era regardless of racquet, strings or court conditions.

Jason Goodall's WSJ article "Scratching the Surfaces" proves that Federer's 126 mph first serves hit at 2003 Wimbledon with 2008 Wimbledon are reaching the returner at slower speeds in 2008 Wimbledon. Wimbledon's chief groundskeeper Eddie Seaward admitted that Wimbledon made the grass courts slower and more consistent to attract claycourters like Nadal: "You have to look at the overall picture as far as I’m concerned... If we can get the right sort of players, the clay-court players, the Agassis and the Nadals to come here, then that’s going to be better for tennis and much better for the spectators, because they’re seeing all the stars... We hope that with time it may encourage more of the clay court players to come... We want to help them get over the mind barrier (against grass). It would be good for the tournament and good for the game."

Hard courts have also slowed even to the speed of clay courts: After Andy Murray lost to to No. 92 and claycourter Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opening match at Indian Wells hardcourt Masters 1000, Murray observed: "'It almost felt like playing the match on a clay court. I wasn't able to hit through the court". A few days later Federer concurred: “I think (Indian Wells) and Miami probably plays best for Rafa on hard court, you know, because it’s very slow... Just the slowness of the courts helps his play. He has such great movement that obviously this is a court that works well for him. I think also the results show he’s been incredibly consistent here particularly here over the past years."

Nadal's unbalanced resume of titles are skewed to clay, which makes up only 25% of the season for top players: 60% of his 10 slam titles are clay (6 clay, 2 grass, 2 hard); 70% of his 46 total titles are clay (32 clay, 3 grass, 11 hard) [several other great players have a more balanced resume of titles on all surfaces. Nadal's glaring failure to win indoor titles contrasts with all time greats who won many hard court titles: McEnroe (22), Lendl (30), Sampras (36), Connors (44), Agassi (45), Federer (51)]

Nadal’s unbalanced resume of titles are skewed to outdoors: 98% of his 46 total titles are outdoor (his only 1 indoor came in Spain). [Nadal's glaring failure to win indoor titles contrasts with all time greats who won many indoor titles: Borg (23), Federer (20), Sampras (23), Becker (30), Lendl (41), McEnroe (51), Connors (52). The pros of the open era such as Laver, Rosewall, Pancho Gonzales and Jack Kramer won many indoor titles. Historically, indoor tennis (including the Year End Championship) was and still is a significant part of the tennis calendar until tennis writers downplayed indoor tennis and YEC partly because Nadal had problems winning indoors. Tennis was originally an indoor sport for centuries before it evolved outdoors into 'lawn tennis'.]

(3) duration as World No. 1, duration as top 5 player, overall dominance against top 10 players, season winning percentage when No. 1:
- 2 year-end No. 1 [6 players in ATP era since 1973 have been rated No. 1 longer than Nadal; 24 players in tennis history have been rated No. 1 longer than Nadal]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-number-one_male_tennis-player_rankings#Male_tennis_players_World_Number_One_or_Co-Number_One_since_1877

- 102 weeks No. 1 [only 7th on ATP list, probably worse than 20th in overall tennis history since 1870s]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#ATP_Rankings_.28since_1973.29

- 374 weeks in Top 5 [in tennis history, many other players have been in Top 5 much longer than Nadal's 7 years]

- 63.8% versus top 10 players in ATP era [5th in ATP era behind Lendl, Becker, Federer, Borg. Probably worse in overall tennis history]

- during his No. 1 years, Nadal’s winning percentage was only 88% (82–11 in 2008 and 71-10 in 2010) and his losses were in double digits. In comparison, Djokovic’s 2011 season of 92% winning percentage barely got him in at No. 10 on top 10 list of seasons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#Single_Season_Records

Contrary to myth, an analysis of Nadal’s losses do not support the claim that he is the game’s best competitor.
- Since January 2010, Nadal has had 28 losses, Federer 27 losses and Djokovic 25 losses. In the losing final set of those losses, Federer had significantly more close 6-7 and 5-7 sets (11 close set losses), significantly less 0-6 to 3-6 sets (8 weak set losses) and no retirements while losing. In comparison, Nadal had 4 close-set losses, 15 weak-set losses and 1 loss due to retirement while losing. Djokovic had 6 close-set losses, 12 weak-set losses and 3 losses due to retirement while losing.

- Since January 2008, Federer had 54 losses compared to Nadal in his prime’s 53 losses. Federer had 22 close-set losses, 20 weak-set losses and no retirements while losing. In comparison, Nadal had 10 close-set losses, 29 weak-set losses and 2 losses due to retirement while losing.

- Nadal has lost twelve 0-6 sets during his career since 2004 (he was bagelled three times in 2011). Federer has lost just one 0-6 set since 1999 in his ATP career.

- Since 2010 Halle, Nadal in his prime lost 6 matches to players ranked No. 20 to No 53. during this same period, Federer has not lost to any player outside the top 19 since his loss at 2010 Halle to No. 32 Lleyton Hewitt (a former No. 1 and Wimbledon champ who has won more grass court matches than either Sampras or Federer). Thus, Federer’s win over Harrison was his 83nd consecutive win over players ranked outside the top 19 (includes three walkovers). Fed’s only loss to a No. 19 player was to the rising Tsonga at 2011 Wimbledon. In 2005 and 2006 Federer in his prime lost just one match per year to a player outside the top 19 (Gasquet in 2005 and Murray in 2006).

(4) depth and quality of competition
There is consensus that the depth in tennis has generally increased with each generation. Where there is disagreement is in the quality of the top players of each generation. Much subjective debate on the issue of quality of the challengers. This disagreement comes partly from the belief some have that certain challengers (top rival players) were superior to challenegers in other generations as well as from the belief that challengers with more slam titles were tougher opponents (this is not necessarily true in eras with a truly exceptional dominant player).

(5) other career/season records or streaks
This link enables comparison between players in ATP era since 1973. But consider the accomplishmnets, records and streaks of other players between 1870s to before 1973.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records

(6) completeness as tennis player and talent in hitting the tennis ball
Where would the great players subjectively rank Nadal in terms of completeness and talent?
E.g., Jack Kramer, a great player, major tennis promoter, ATP founder/director who has seen, played against, hired and known all the great players since the 1930s: “Roger is a complete player. What he has, and it’s not luck, is the ability to change his game slightly as to what his opponent’s doing to him.” “I thought Ellsworth Vines and Don Budge were pretty good. And Gonzalez and Hoad could play a bit, too, but I have never seen anyone play the game better than Federer. He serves well and has a great half-volley. I’ve never known anyone who can do as many things on a court as he can.”
Nick Bollettieri: “Roger Federer is the most talented tennis player I have ever seen.”
John McEnroe: “He’s the most gifted player that I’ve ever seen in my life.”

(7) impact on the tennis world and the global sportsworld.
Federer has a record four Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year awards, while Nadal and Djokovic have one each — indicating these players have made an impact on the global sportsworld.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laureus_World_Sports_Award_for_Sportsman_of_the_Year

But before 2008 Wimbledon (Federer-Nadal) or 1981 Wimbledon (Borg-McEnroe), the 1972 WCT Final (like the WTF) between Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver was considered one of the greatest matches ever played — and it drew over 21 million TV viewers in the USA alone — popularizing tennis throughout USA, etc.
http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/2181


Yousuf Says:

Someone made a comment about Williams playing that lady with the free flowing dress. You have to imagine in that era, heavy wooden racquets, very low power was the norm. It’s ridiculous to suggest that she would be obliterated by a power hitter from the modern era. The playing style, equipment wasn’t evolved at that time.


Ajet Says:

considering that in fact connors had won wimby twice, and wimby is more important than FO, I’d make a slight change in my top-20 list of men and place connors at 8th place and lendl at 9th place on my personal list. thus i don’t mind tennis channel list placing jamc, agassi and connors above lendl, they deserve to!

moreover, it’s not bout what i like or dislike, if that were so, I’d as well place becker and edberg above lendl, but reality says a different story and i have at place lendl at 9th place and edberg and becker come after him.

nirmal:

i don’t think we should bother about the women placed alongside men in the list! i’m quite convinced that the best ever women player at her absolute best will be no match even to the 1000th best male player(all things remaining same)! thus, all i pick up from the list is men, and as such see lendl is placed twelve. I would definitely not place don budge/emerson anywhere near lendl, lendl is way ahead of them(considering the competition, technique etc.)!
then it only leaves tilden placed above lendl and only tilden comes in between lendl and connors(laced below cnnors but above lendl)

from wht i know about tilden, he was an exciting player of his tims, was no.1 for many years, won many USOs and mportant tournaments, and there’s also claims by peple of his times that he was a rocket server! though debatable whether tilden has the fastest ever serve in history of tennis(offcially roddick holds the record though), but at least it is said that he has hit serves that are fastst in history! so may be he was something good, but too old back in those tmes for us to know mor about him to be able to rank him properly. but even though we dunno, may be experts know something and that’s why may be they placed him high(though i still mantain i personally would place him below lend and many others)…


Dave Says:

I’ve posted a long post above that’s awaiting a mod’s approval when he/she wakes up. In the meantime here is the TC list divided into men and women.
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=417683&page=13


Marvin Says:

In my opinion, Ivan Lendl should receive a better ranking than both John McEnroe and Andre Agassi. Lendl dominated the game longer, won more overall titles (94 titles), he was ranked # 1 much longer, and he had a more lasting influence on the game. Plus he had a clear winning record against both these guys (21-15 against McEnroe [7-3 in Grand Slams] and 6-2 against Agassi). On another note, where is Sergi Bruguera on this list? He reached 3 GS finals, winning 2 of them, and won a total of 14 ATP titles.


Sienna Says:

To ridicule someone like Lendl and to put him aside as a choker Well that just shows the full stupidity of those postings. Even Nirmal is acknowledging that fact by stating to doubt between the two of us. He would never choose against you.
Lendl has been a gamechanger. He raised the bar for professional tennis. Of course Mac and Connors are also tennis Greats. They are right behind the top 5 elite players. It is really not so difficult to comprehend. Even you canunderstand it if you only tried.


Alex Says:

With 16 slams, it’s hard not to put Roger on the top of the list.

Wait a minute, why is Emerson ranked ahead of Rosewall?


Yousuf Says:

VTA, I’m glad you’re gone. Someone saying “Clay is not a real surface” is only symbolic. Of course it is a surface but it’s ridiculously slow, unpredictable, and not rewarding at all if you possess a variety of skills, like a big serve, big forehand, serve and volley, not to mention it’s extremely difficult for a finesse player to time the ball. It takes away everything you have and rewards only endurance, that’s it. Precisely the reason I believe Nadal is way too overrated. 70%+ of his titles have come on clay.


Ajet Says:

it’s obvious that lendl is great! and within top-10 players of all-time, just below macenroe, connors and agassi!!!

many people think macenroe, agassi or connors is above lendl, i’m one of them!

and if you can call nadal as not among great for not winning more slams/staying no.1 for more weeks(forgetting that he played in rogerfederer era), where’s the problem in calling that lendl choked and wasted his chances, or he woulda been with more slams!! its fair enough!

what about macenroe’s unmatched 81-3 record! what about him not winning just 7 singles slams but also many doubles slams! what about him dominating borg in slams! what about him winning 7 singles, 9 doubles and 1 mixed doubles slam! what about him winning 19 championship series(precursor to Masters 1000, lendl has just three more)! what about him winning 8 season ending championships(3 Masters and 5 WCT)! what about him being called as ”one of the greatest doubles player of all time”! not a mean feat!

what about connors! 148 titles including 104 listed by ATP! lendl won 144 titles(94 listed by ATP)! what about connors holding 268 weeks at the top(just 2 week less than lendl)! what about connors winnign doubles at WIM and USO! sure not lesser achievement then lendl considering that he won the most prestigious wimby 2 times, lendl didn’t even once! he also reached 15 slam finals in singles! what about him being the only player apart from nadal/fed/wilander and djokovic to win 3 slams in a year! get a grip on it! what about him being in the exclusive club of fed, nadal, agassi and wilander to havev won slams on all 3 surfaces: grass, clay and hard!
no way, JUST NO DAMN WAY he’s lesser than or equal to lendl, just better!!!

and coming to agassi, what about his 8 slam wins including 7 finals making it total 15 slam finals! what about him being the only player apart from nadal to have a career golden slam! what about him being the ”only player” to win the career golden slam+WTF! what about him being te only guy apart from fed/rafa/connors/wilander to have won slams on all 3 surfaces: clay,grass and hard! what about his 17 Masters 1000 which was a record until fed and rafa surpassed! surely if he had not played in the era of pete and had not gone outta tennis for 4 years having drugs or had he attended AO form beginning of his career, he coulda held the no.1 ranking for longer time! so he deserves to be ranked above lendl imo!


Sienna Says:

Doubles? I like doubles to play myself. It is fun to watch from time to time. But we cannot give credit for doubles for determining greatness among single players.

Mac played doubles because it kept him in shape for the singe tournemenst and it helped his game. Ok great for him Ivan took the bull by the horns as we call it and decided to change everything he does. He changed his training he changed his eating his life everything and it paid off because he became a slamwinner. The last change to become and serve volley champion failed but it died in beauty.

Mac is Great but behind Lendl the selfmade tennis all time great.

ANd get over Nadal will touch the greats but not yet he needs to proff something. I already explained and as a matter of fact that is my opinion. As a tennis great you have to conquer also adversiray. Nadal is inthe midst of his and he has not yet succeeded to overcome it. I


Ajet Says:

actually lendl tried his hands on doubles, but couldn’t succeed as he was not as gifted as jmac, but jmac succeeded both in singles as well as doubles! thats why he’s greater than lendl! Simple!

————————-

Then coming to nadal, we don’t need to argue why’s greater than lendl, it’s there for all to see!

TEN REASONS WHY NADAL>LENDL:

1.Nadal is lendl’s daddy on clay!

2.Wimbledon was most prestigious in lendl’s time and is even now! And it’s nadal who’s with 2 wimbys and 3 more finals(with 2 losses only to greatest ever in peak)! What a champion!

3.Nadal has 10 slams already by age 25 and he’s far from done. Lendl has only 8!

4.Nadal has career golden slam, Lendl hasn’t!

5.Nadal has 8-2 record in slams(3-2 winning record in non-clay slams) and 18-10 record overall against the greatest player of his era(and also the greatest ever) i.e. Federer, but Lendl doesn’t winning record against the greatest player of his era i.e. Borg; he’s 2-6 losing recors vs Borg. Lendl has just 4-3 record in slams with a 0-2 losing record in slam finals against a 7 years older Connors! Only against JMac, he’s 7-3, and as sienna will say how most of nadal’s wins vs fed came on clay, I say 3 of lendl’s 7 slam wins came against jmac on clay at FO! ;)

6. Nadal has won consecutive slams on clay-grass-hard in same year and 6 FOs, its far impressive than winning 5 WTFs or anything like that!

7.Nadal also holds record for most masters 1000 in his era, like lendl held record of 22 championship series in his own era!

8.Nadal has comfortable winning records against all the slam winners of his era, lendl hasn’t, he has losign records against Borg and Edberg.

9.Nadal was no.2 for a record 160 just behind the greatest ever player playing tennis from 2005-08 and despite playing in federer era still wrested the top slot from federer, remained there, then lost and again regained it! And nadal has remained at no.1 for almost two years(102 weeks) though some can’t realize! Add to that, he has remained at no.2 for a record 227 weeks! Just speaks volume as to what would have happened if federer was not there! I doubt even fed or Sampras could boast of remaining 329 weeks within the top-2, but nadal has done it and shows no sign of slowing down!

10.Nadal has reached all the slam finals at least twice and has won all the slams at least once(that too on clay, grass and hard), Lendl hasn’t done that!

Last but not the least, Nadal has an asteroid named after him, lendl hasn’t!!! ;)


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Sienna says “Even Nirmal is acknowledging that fact by stating to doubt between the two of us. He would never choose against you.”

Sienna..that’s never the case. Everyone will have a diff of opinion at some point, but we just need to keep it civilized. So it’s not fair to say I never choose against Ajet.


Sienna Says:

hehe youre using Fed in more then 50% of the points youre trying so desperately to inforce on us. Lendl has several stats showing he as accomplist so much more then Rafa. It easily falls to his side. The only thing in favor of Rafa is time, but that is running out on him. So he will have to make a stand this year or the next.
If he fails from this point on to dominate tennis again he will not reach top 5 all time.It is that easy. You understand because youre posts are getting filled with doubt and semi arguments for Nadal being greater then Lendl. It just hasnot happened. (yet)


Sienna Says:

Nirmal apologies.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

As far as Mac and Lendl are concerned, this is how I see them

In terms of pure talent Mac >> Lendl.
In terms of accomplishments Lendl >> Mac.

This is based on Singles, not doubles. Just my opinion.


Sienna Says:

When was Lendl able to compete for gold medal? Please enlighten me Ajet. Youre claiming a golden slam.


Ajet Says:

nirmal and sienna:

it’s ok guys: sienna thinks lendl is greater and i think jmac/connors/agassi! I admit though that am a bit impulsive at times and lose control over heated discussions! ;)
time to be happy with our respective choices! :D

The best thing is Roger has been again reclaimed the greatest ever, and three of our(nirmal’s sienna’s and mine) top faves(fed, laver and sampras) have been ranked above nadal in the list! only borg missed out, but the champion that he’s, a ranking system doesn’t need to tell us sometimes as to who’s the greater(borg>nadal)!

move on from this onto miami!


Sienna Says:

Well I think without a doubt Mac is the greatest talent tennis has ever seen. Maybe Roger comes close, but JPM just edges the talent factory.

But talent only gets you that far. Lendl despiote lesser talent he is the greater player as to big Johnny Mac.


Sienna Says:

Thats nice to hear yu say that for a while…Maybe I will loosen my stands on the greatnes of Nadal…;-)

But I feel he will have to up his game/level one more time to belong to the true greats of tennis.


Ajet Says:

hmm, right sienna, that’s career grand slam only that nadal has!

and it’s nice to see sienna getting on well with nirmal finally! enjoy guys!

I have indicated in the very first list ienna that although i think nadal is no.5 in my list, his future performance will depend on whether he rises or falls in my list in future when i hopefully will have to revise with fed winning a slam or two more!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Ajet, I missed your ranking of players at the Top. Though I’m bit sad that My Fav Boris did not make it to Top 10 (just edged by Edberg), it looks a fair one.


Ajet Says:

Its fine sienna! ;)

however, i also feel bad about getting into a brawl with Dave here. he called my arguments flawed, then i became a bit harsh to him. may be it’ll be better and he’ll start responding to me. it’s not in my nature to be harsh. i’ll get angry sometimes and tell you a thing or two, but i am far from being the backstabber/ill-wisher in real life. and am not even rude in real life, to be honest. impulsive yes, but never harmful!


Ajet Says:

Nirmal:

I’m also primarily a fan of fed, laver, borg, sampras, edberg and becker DUE TO THEIR SUBLIME TALENT. but i found it hard to place boris/stefan above jamc/lendl/connors/agassi/rafa due to what the above guys had done in comparison.


Sienna Says:

Dave I am so glad that youre post has come through the moderator. I like the fact you can mix in the pre open tennis greats. They are very important in the scheme of things.

Give us youre top 10 if you want to?


Michael Says:

Ajet,

I agree to your point. Nadal is greater than Lendl in terms of slam wins. But Lendl has won 95 tournaments while Nadal has just 46 and yes he still has miles to go. We will see at the end of their career how much they have achieved. My list of top five male players will go like this and I do not want to include Rod Laver here because he belonged to a different era and it is difficult to find a balance :-

1. Roger Federer
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Jimmy Connors
4. Rafael Nadal
5. John Mcenroe

I place Nadal above Lendl because I am sure he has achieved so much in such a young age and deserves that position.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

The three most talented players in Tennis are namely Illie Nastase, John Mcenroe and Roger Federer.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Thanks. I still maintain that according to me Sampras is a very good player and not a great player.


skeezerweezer Says:

BEN PRONIN where are you??

We got posters here saying Sampras is a very good player and not a GREAT player? Guess 14 Slams just makes you a very good player…sorry Pete!!

WTF?

Although I am not surprised as this good/great player stuff has got my head in a washer spin cycle……


Michael Says:

Skeezer,

14 slams is a very good achievement. I do not deny that. But I have given my reasons for not labelling Sampras amongst the list of Greats and I am sure you would have gone through that. You just have to gloss through Sampras record at Rolland Garros and other Clay court tournaments to appreciate my position.


Michael Says:

If only Roger had played like Sampras at Rolland Garros and other Clay court tournaments, his H2H would not be lop sided as it is reflecting today. Roger paid for his consistency on the Clay courts and he was pitted against the GREATEST to play the Clay surface.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Boris as an All time Great ??? That guy won how much – may be 7 majors. Is that sufficient to be in the list of All time Greats ? Like Sampras, his performance on the clay surface is pretty awful. If any other has the potential to enter the list of All time Greats soon enough it would only be Novak Djokovic. I expect him to be in the list of All time Greats by the end of next year.


Sienna Says:

1. Federer
2. Borg
3. Laver
4. Sampras
5. Lendl
6. John McEnroe
7. Jimmy Conners

I donot feel the luxuary to continue with # 8 to 10 Because players from the pre open tennis would
be well within reach of those standards. So the Beckers, Edbergs, Agassi or Nadal would be difficult to determine the exact place.
Of course when Djokovic gets another year with 3 or more slamwins he will propel through the ranking. Nadal also can reach high on this list. But he still has some demons to conquer.


Michael Says:

Sienna,

Borg ahead of Laver ?? Many might not agree with that. Also, Sampras at No.4 ??


Sienna Says:

Borg was the first real superstar. I am not old enough to have witnessed it truly myself. I remember flashes of the Borg / MCEnroe rivalry.
He deserves a place in top 3 and Laver I feel falls short to Fed and Borg.
I always feel that there were others who could have made an impact in that time.

Everybody is always talking about the years he missed in playing slams due to the fact of the pro’s. But because the pro’s where not there he could have won his first grandslam. So it all evens out for him in the end.
But I would be denying tennis history to not put him in top 3.
Why should Sampras not be at #4?I seem to remember vividly all the years at WImbly…Veni vidi vici…. thta combined to weeks #1 and the domination of US Open. So he dominated 2 slams.
Those figures rightly set him up for top 5.

So you see that is the main reason Nadal has some work cut out. You need to dominate multiple slams and be the top dog of youre generation.


Ajet Says:

Remember me and Michael virtually bombing each other over the pete sampras issue? ;)

BTW, I’d rather agree with sienna top-5 than Michael top-5!

Anyway, to each his own, and to me my own list is the best! ;)


Ajet Says:

Sienna’s list is overall a good one. not too many flaws there. michael’s list is more controversial. and i’m clearly among those who consider sampras as top-5 all time.

and so far as borg and laver comparison goes, laver was a bit more talented, but borg was also ridiculously great. Not much separates the two imho, laver just above borg in my list coz he mighta won a few more proessional slams if he played probably.

actually federer, laver and borg are the undoubted top-three with sampras a little behind coming at 4.

So top-4 spots are fixd imo with fed, laver, borg and pete. about the rest, jury is still out!


Steve 27 Says:

the greatest is Rod Laver
Federer? He has never won the grand slam
He has a negative record against Nadal in slams (8- 2) and in final of majors (6-2). Until now , he doesnt won all majors twice as Rod Laver.
He only defends a clay tournament once, Hambourg 2005, only because Nadal didnt participate in this master event)


Michael Says:

Sienna and Ajet,

Laver is undoubtedly an all-time Great or some might argue as the “GREATEST” even ahead of Roger. But the question is should we bring him into the Professional era list ?? During Laver’s era apart from him, we had Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Emerson, Pancho Gonzalez who were all GREAT and seasoned players and they too compete for the all time GREAT crown. Moreover, unlikes these times, there were only two courts – Grass and Clay and it was a shade easier to amass Grand slam that it is today when we have four different Courts for the four majors. Also, the professionalism of those days also is a question mark and the Competition didn’t run deep as it is today. Therefore, considering all these, it is better to take the lead from Lendl and divide the two eras -Amateur and Professional. In the Amateur era, we have Laver dominating it and in the professional era, it is Roger.

The point we disagree the most is the inclusion of Pete Sampras in the list of GREATS. Yes, in terms of majors amassed and the seven wimbledon titles he conquered, Sampras is a class of his own. But for me, a GREAT player should be able to play on all the Courts – Clay, Grass, Carpet and Hard. He cannot be a two/three court wonder like Sampras. Despite his achievements what Sampras lacks is proficiency in the Clay surface and this deficiency diminishes his greatness.


Michael Says:

Imagine how much Racquet Laver got for his major victory – Just $ 6,000. Tennis was not paid heavily like it is today. More money into the sport and more competition it has produced over the years.


Michael Says:

Steve 27, Roger inflicted a bagel to Nadal at Hamburg in the final set. Do you know through this victory, Roger ended Nadal’s record run of 81 straight ways on Clay. Incidentally, Roger won the Hamburg Masters a record four times and it is played on clay.


Steve 27 Says:

Michael, check, the swiss only defend a clay tournament ONCE, 2004-2005 Hambourg and Nadal didn’t participate. You are talking about 2007, and you have right, Federer won, but is different history. Nadal won in 2008.


Michael Says:

Steve 27, The point is Roger did get the better of Nadal twice on Clay and it is what 13-2 their H2H on Clay. You are talking about 2004-2005 Hamburg where Nadal didn’t play. But Nadal was only an upcoming player then and there is a question mark if he would got the better of Roger ?? Does one player’s absence make a tournament meaningless ??


Steve 27 Says:

Nadal defeat Roger in 2005 at RG and yes, the Swiss has a great record in Hamburg. If I don’t wrong Nadal plays in 2003, 2007 and 2008 and plays 2 finals winning one, great record too.


mat4 Says:

@skeezer:

Seems some young boys never watched Pete…


Sienna Says:

Michael
I also find it hard to judge the pre open players or the amateurs. Buit the legendary statuis of Laver is enough to carry him into the top 3 for me that is.
There are 4 slams, WTC and the rankings and ATP wins I use to determine my GOATlist. EVerybody hopefully uses somekind of same tools to asses. Daves posts canhelp a lot if in a tight spot.
But in the end ranking someone should be fairly evenly spread among people who have watched and followed tennis over a few years.

But I reaally have no doubt about Sampras belonging to top 5. WHy would we someon who dominated atleast 2 slams in his era. WOn WTC 5 times so of the 5 major tournements in a tennis year he dominates 3 of them.

Roger has dominated 4 out of the 5 major tournements. But here you definately see the lack of domination by Nadal. He only has 1 out of 5 tourney he can claim to be his.

I dont see a claycourt slam for Mac and you still put him in youre list or Connors btw? Or did Connors win AU on clay? His long carreer is just breathtaking fully deserving his place at #7.

And Agassi migth have won ll slams but he only dominated 1 slam. His winning 3 out of 4 year AU Open stands out the most but it is only 1 slam he dominated. I am looking for that X factor in a slam.


mat4 Says:

The standards to be a great player are rising exponentially in the last few years… And most of the time, only stats seem to be relevant: number os slams, number of wins, numbers, numbers, numbers…

Boris Becker is an all time great for everybody who watched him. He had a very complete and aggressive game. At his best, he could blow out anybody from the court, and was a pleasure to watch.


mat4 Says:

And why should there be a goat list? I watched Wilander-Lendl the other day. It is not the same sport.

(The only thing that we can measure is the level of domination a player has achieved in his own era, and for that, Djokovic level in september 2011 was the highest ever, with Federer’s results from 2004 to 2007 immediately after that.)


Michael Says:

Sienna,

Regarding John Mcenroe and Jimmy Connors, John made one final, one Semi and two quarters at Rolland Garros. Actually in the final, John should have won against Lendl as he was leading two sets to love with a break in the third. But a line decision call provoked him and he let loose his temper only to lose that match. Yes, he should be regretting that loss for the whole of his life. It definitely hurt him. However, for Lendl it was a lucky opportunity to win a Major especially when he was choking in the big matches. If he had lost that one to John, Lendl might not have gone to win another one. As regards Jimmy Connors, he beat Borg on the Clay Courts at US Open. You remember US was played on clay earlier. Also, he made four semis and quarters thrice at Rolland Garros which show that he is not a push over on Clay. Compare this to Sampras who made just one Semi and thrice Quarters at Rolland Garros. Moreoften than not he was eliminated in the second and first round. That is a very poor record to boot. Also, Sampras record at other Masters events in Clay is nothing home to write about. He just won one Italian Open in his entire career.


Michael Says:

Sienna,

Regarding Racquet Laver, heeding Lendl’s talk and excluding him from the list of Professionals is the right thing to do. Those two eras cannot just be compared. When it is difficult to compare even the Borg/Connors/Mcenroe era with today, how the hell it is possible to compare two distinctively different eras. Laver deserves respect and he was a Champion who won Grand Slam twice. No mean achievement. But he was helped by the fact that in those days, the Majors hosted only two surface – Grass and Clay. Except for French, all the other majors were played on Grass which should have certainly helped Laver who was a volleyer. Moreover, Laver made one Grand slam in the Amateur era and another one in the Professional era. He also lost a good number of years in Tennis when official tournaments boycotted Professionals. So, there is a lot to be analysed. Also, including just Laver in the list of GREATS will not be appropriate when those era was dominated by players like Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Roy Emerson, Lew Hoad etc. who also deserve their place in the list of GREATS. So it is better to leave out Laver from this discussion to strike a better balance.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

If Becker can be included in the list of GREATS then you are reducing the bar on Greatness and Novak too will be pressing the calling bell.


mat4 Says:

@Michael:

Becker, Guga… were all great players. It is not only the results, you know. Roger Federer in an era with Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Agassi without any doubt wouldn’t have won 16 GS.

A man who has won against Roger Federer ten times and against Rafa Nadal 14 times, and who has had one of the best season ever, with an unrivalled level of domination, is without any doubt a great of our sport already.

Don’t be blind. In the last five years, we have had the pleasure and privilege to watch three players among the very best in the open era, playing an exceptional, unequalled brand of tennis, bringing each a new dimension to the game in terms of tennis, physicality and will to dominate. Just look at Murray, who would have been a multiple slam winner without them.

And since you seem to be Roger fans, if something makes of him the GOAT one day, it’s the slams and tournaments he won since 2008, with a Nadal and a Djokovic at their respective peaks, his H2H against Djokovic and his also honorable H2H against Nadal, who, whatever you may write, is among the top 5 in the open era, and a tough match up for Roger.

So, don’t underestimate Roger’s opponents. The greatness of Nadal and Djokovic makes Roger’s greatness.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

To clear the air, I am not a blind supporter of Roger. I am a great fan of Novak too. I know well that he is the one who was able to break the duopoly of Roger and Rafa in majors and I give full marks to him. It is an outstanding achievement without any commas to put and I stand by it. Having said that, I still stand by my statement that Novak needs more to achieve to prove his greatness. Just five is not enough in my opinion. He needs to scale that up to atleast 9 to come on the discussion table of judging the Greats. Numbers do matter and you are judged by the number of majors you amass and also your achievement in other smaller tournaments. Boris won a total of around 49 tournaments in his career. Three World Tour finals and 5 Masters is all that he has to show. Moreover his performance on the Clay surface is also a big question mark ??? That is just not enough in my opinion.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

On Greats, I am talking about the top 5 or may 10. If you are going to extend that to 50 or 60 then there will be many players who will vie for honours. Regarding your assumption that Roger would not have won had he played in the era of Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Edberg, Lendl etc. You should remember that Becker and Edberg was five years older and Lendl was 11 years older to Sampras. Playing with such a huge age difference with just Agassi at the other end with a similar age, don’t you think it would have given a huge advantage to Sampras ?? Yet many including you claim this as a stronger era ?? As regards Roger’s performance if he played in that era, how could anybody make a guess or claim that he could not have won 16 majors. I say he would have even won more Rolland Garros titles because Nadal would not have been there and Sampras, Becker, Edberg well we know how good clay court players they were in their career. So no need to demonstrate otherwise, their records on that surface speaks for themself. True Nadal is a tough match-up for Roger and I do not want to deny the obvious. Such abnormalities do exist in Tennis and Nadal for sure is one of the Greats and more so the GREATEST on the clay surface.


Brando Says:

I agree with michael re nole. If his career stopped today, whilst it is brilliant and enough to put him in the top 20 of all time, it’s not enough for top 10 YET. You could say his career highlights were: a brilliant start to 2008 were he won AUS, Dubai, IW, then won YEC. YET despite that, everyone still sees nadal as the main man in 2008. Then this season- which is in it’s early stages. And of course 2011. So far he has had 1 monster season, then a 2008 where he was 2nd best arguably at it’s end, and this season so far- it’s no where near enough for him to be placed in the top 10 YET. I think he will be by the time he finishes, but atm he doesn’t rank there yet.


Ajet Says:

The greatness of Federer stems from the fact that he sickeningly dominated his own age group with guys like roddick, safin, nalby, hewitt having frustrating records against roger, they weren’t even close! The only guys wo’ve shown sone sign of matching federer after his decline is a 5 year younger nadal and a 6-year younger djoker.

Djoker’s 2011 season may look phenomenal, but his playing level of 2011 is not even close to federer’s level from 2004-07. Federer beat a peak djokovic in 4 sets in a slam!
At his peak, Federer wouldn’t concede more than one set per match in slams to anybody except nadal, let alone matches! sorry djoker fans!

And btw, we can’t say that federer couldn’t have done this good if he had this great or that great or all the greats playing against him. nobody has faced everybody in his career, so why should roger!

that said, becker, edberg, guga are without a smidgen of doubt great players, legends. But just not better than the guys who are even greater!

BTW, I agree with michael that illie nastase is said to be one of the most talented players ever to play, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s more talented than becker or edberg. that’s debatable.

However list of some of the most talented players in tennis history in no particular order.

federer
mcenroe
laver
sampras
becker
edberg
nastase
safin
nalbandian
murray
marcelo rios
guga

you can just look at these guys and say they’re so talented, coz they make extremely difficult tennis look so easy and effortless!


Ajet Says:

At his peak, Federer wouldn’t concede more than one set per match in slams to anybody except nadal, let alone matches!(I MEAN IN HIS OWN ERA OF COURSE)


Ajet Says:

And am very sorry not to have included pancho gonzales, lew hoad and jack kramer in the list of most talented players ever, they’re right there with the above mentioned talented guys list!


Josh Says:

Anyone surprised by steffi over Martina? While Steffi’s numbers look great it seems to me that she had more rivals that were her equal and at times her better (for short stints) during her career than did Martina, who was just dominant and, in a way, more important for the history of the game.

My numbers were pretty close to TC’s. I had Sampras ahead of Laver and McEnroe and Agassi reversed but other than that my top 10 was identical.


chrisw Says:

There will always be arguments as to the exact order in any listing if “the greatest” and overall this list isn’t at all bad.

However, anyone who places Virginia Wade above Louise Brough needs an immediate brain transplant!


Josh Says:

and when I say my lists were very close, I mean in breaking them down the top 10 women and top 10 men. I have no idea how to intersperse them in one list (in fact I don’t even understand the logic in doing so, other than to be able to say neatly “The Top 100 Players of All-Time”)


Ajet Says:

martina is my all-time fave woman player. i would have placed her at the top of women’s list if i had the authority to do so.


alison hodge Says:

Ajet i wonder why they didnt do two seperate lists,top 50 women,top 50 men,totally different thing,best of 3 sets and best of 5 sets?agree about martina whos done it all singles,doubles,mixed doubles,roger is undoubtedly the greatest male singles player,and martina the greatest female singles player.


mat4 Says:

@RFFs:

I can’t write about Laver, or Pancho Gonzalez, or Hoad. I have never watched them. But I can write about players I have admired and liked.

It is a bit too very easy to dismiss a player and to reduce greatness to the number of slams won. How many Roland Garros would have Guga won with a good health? How many times would have Becker won at Wimbledon without Sampras? Had Connors play the AO regularly, how many slam would he have won?

What about the racquets, the strings, the diet, the surface … ?

You can’t really compare players from different era, and you can’t really rely on numbers. But if you are doing that exercise just to demonstrate once more that your fav is the goat, so be it.

@Michael: one of the tricks of dirty arguing is the false quotation. You are almost a master of if.


Dave Says:

Dave’s Greatest Players OF All Time (Top 10)
Ponder while you listen to this clip (my list makes even more sense if you do)…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doBxLZJzLsE

1 Roger Federer (MARS)
2 Rod Laver (AUS)
3. Ken Rosewall (AUS)
4. Bjorn Borg (SWE)
5. Pete Sampras (USA)
6. Pancho Gonzalez (USA)
7. Ivan Lendl (USA)
8. Don Budge (USA)
9. John McEnroe (USA)
10.Jimmy Connors (USA)

Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door: Rafael Nadal, Bill Tilden, Jack Kramer, Lew Hoad, Andre Agassi, Fred Perry, John Newcombe, Stefan Edberg, Ellsworth Vines, Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Roy Emerson, Novak Djokovic, William Renshaw, Reggie Doherty. Ponder while you listen to this clip…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTt7eCq02hM

If you disagree with my list…

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-number-one_male_tennis-player_rankings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam_men%27s_singles_champions
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_professional_tennis_tournaments_before_the_Open_Era


Ajet Says:

Dave:

Your list is actually a very good one.

BTW those disagreeing with federer not being the greatest ever, fine, no problem, its your opinion.

But its actually the opinion of all the majority of past/present tennis players and legends including experts and sports journalists worldwide(and most importantly also my own) that at his best, Federer is the undisputable greatest. And I made federer as the greatest not coz of his slams, but coz of how he plays when at his best! If Federer and the other greats collided(all things remaining neutral, neither advantageous to fed nor to his rival greats) then I’m sure that Federer’ll always beat them more than they’d beat federer. That, above all, is why federer is my best guy.

At his best, Federer is the most invincible player in tennis… THAT IS GREATEST!!!


Ajet Says:

Thanks dear alison!

Its nicest to know that you and I both think federer and martina as respective greatests in their fields,and I can tell you that you’ve made the fairest choice from among the men and women.

I think what martina has done, just cannot be matched in women field.
at least roger’s records have chances to be surpassed(except that consecutive slam semi streak).


skeezerweezer Says:

I think when you have the undeniable GOAT before Fed ( Laver ) come out and say Fed is now the best ever, well, what more do you need? People can come out and say this or that without any posting of qualifications to justify it….fine. But Laver’s qualifications are better than anyones I may add…..and everyone thought Laver was the best ever for a very very long time…..


Josh Says:

Ajet,
Most invincible at his or her height is a factor to be put in there and an important one, I agree. So do you drop Steffi bc of it? And do you raise Monica?

Here’s a fun question: you have one grand slam tournament, played on hard court and magically appears in their primes (with comparable equipment and opportunities for body training :-}). Who plays in the finals and who wins?

I got Roger beating Pete in 4 and Martina beating Monica 3.


Michael Says:

Mat 4,

Michael: one of the tricks of dirty arguing is the false quotation. You are almost a master of if

There is no point in using filthy words. Correct me where I am wrong.


Michael Says:

Dave,

You have put up a very nice list.

Where I might disagree is the inclusion of Amateur era players in the list of Professionals. But still you have tried your best to bring out a fine balance. What I am bit surprised is the absence of Nadal in your list ? I do not know the reason why you have excluded him. Doesn’t he deserve even the 10th place ??


Michael Says:

Ajet,

Regarding the most talent players, there was one player named Miloslav Mecir. I am not sure you know about him. But he had such surprise element that no one knows in which direction the ball is going. Always the players used to run on the wrong side. But surprisingly he didn’t win many tournaments although he was a very good player and has beaten all the top players including Mcenroe, Lendl and Connors.


Ajet Says:

No no, I have heard about miroslav mecir. yeah, he was also greatly talented!


alison hodge Says:

Ajet@7.50pm march 26th i know im going slightly off topic here,but i think Martinsa is also a true insperation to all wonen out there too,in over coming breast cancer,a real fighter on and off a tennis court.


Nuts6000 Says:

Agassi won fewer slams than Lendl as well as Serena, Jmac, Connors… Have no clue why he is so high… Another example of style over substance


Michael Says:

Nuts6000,

Agassi, Lendl and Connors are even in winning slams, 8:8. Mcenroe had made 7 majors while Serana doesn’t fit the bill here. Presumably Agassi has the edge over Lendl because of his grandslam record. But I think it is wrong to just take a count of the majors accumulation. You should also taken into account the number of World tour finals, Masters series events and 500 rated tournaments to have a holistic view.


Eduard ValAlex Says:

the best argument against the fact that federer is the GOAT is the weak era argument. it’s really really solid. it’s about facts. roger had roddick, nalbandian, hewitt, davydenko, haas, henman in his era to play with. it’s like a man playing with children. nadal had federer, djokovic, murray, del potro and let me add one more time, federer and still managed to win 10 slams. so, if federer would have had the bad luck to be the same age as rafa, roger federer would be just another top 10 name, like ferrer or berdych.

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