Poll: Will Novak Djokovic Reach Roger Federer On The All-Time Grand Slam Leaderboard?
by Staff | September 15th, 2015, 1:44 pm
  • 450 Comments

By winning the US Open, Novak Djokovic becomes the third active player to win double-digits Grand Slam titles. With 10 now to his name, Djokovic is now just four wins behind Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras who has 14 and seven away from matching Roger Federer’s 17.

Djokovic is just 28 and in the prime of his career. And with Federer aging, Nadal on the decline, and few threats other than Andy Murray, who he has beaten 8 of out 9 times, Djokovic is going to be favored to win many more Slams to come.

But will he?

Federer has won two more Slams after turning 28. Sampras also only two, but Andre Agassi did win five, the most anyone has won after turning 28.

Djokovic, who has already won two after 28, would need three more to equal Andre’s then break that record by another two to match Federer.

All Time Grand Slam Titles
Roger Federer 17
Rafael Nadal 14
Pete Sampras 14
Roy Emerson 12
Bjorn Borg 11
Rod Laver 11
Bill Tilden 10
Novak Djokovic 10


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450 Comments for Poll: Will Novak Djokovic Reach Roger Federer On The All-Time Grand Slam Leaderboard?

Ben Pronin Says:

No.

Also we should stop mentioning that other guy with 10 slams. Please.


brando Says:

Wow, 43% vote yes: surely not the new york crowd right?lol


chris ford1 Says:

No, but Slam Count may not always be the relevant measure.
If you come by 20 years from now, and look at the stars and hear the below on each, which would you want to be?????

*This player was the best ever on Clay.
*This other player was American and had the best serve of any major player.
*This Swedish guy was 26 when he left with 11 Slams and was the 1st true international superstar of tennis?
*An option is to prefer the American who hated everyone but was a winner and a true gritty Tennis Animal with more wins than anyone.
*The man who was the best all-round player who finally broke through a two legends duopoly to establish his own era.
*An elegant highly popular Swiss with the most wins at the 4 most media covered events but losing records with several peers..
*The Czech-American who never smiled but beat his peers and took hard work at training and conditioning to a new level..
*A smaller star of the past who won two Grand Slams before and after a 6 year ban for helping turn tennis into a global pro sport.

Who would you choose?
Or would you go with a “scoring system” of how well a player has done that factors Slams in, but a ton of other things the pros do? Masters 1000s, time at #1, year end championships, most adjusted points won in their best 8 years, their peak?? Or would that, like Slam Count, be just a guide – because after looking at tapes, etc. you just like Borg or Andy Murray or Jim Courier or Roy Emerson the best??

My guess is that 20 years from now, it will still be a subjective, individual fan choice. Same on the woman’s side.
But also that Slam Count, invented by Pete Sampras fans and lazy media as the sole metric that matters – will have gone away.


Wog Boy Says:

Not realistic. Agree about that pedophile, he shouldn’t be in the company of such a great players, but he won those ten:(


Gypsy Gal Says:

I think the most realistic goal would be passing Nadal first,its unrealistic and only relevant if and when it gets close to happening,domination is a today thing but not neccassarily a tomorrow thing,best to actually just enjoy the here and the now….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Wogboy yeah me too,that man should be stripped of all his titles and honours,even if he is dead,it all needs removing from public view….


Ben Pronin Says:

CF1, you put the most ridiculous spin on all those players, I can’t odd.

I don’t care what he won. He’s not a part of tennis history, as far as I’m concerned.


Eric Says:

No, it seems extremely unlikely. Novak would need to continue winning 2-3 slams a year for another three seasons, which history suggests is not very likely. His 2015 has been amazing, however. So anything is possible. But five years ago who thought Roger would only hit 17? (And I am now incredibly pessimistic about his chances to win an 18th.)

Can we just take a moment, though, to observe that Djokovic has a truly sick and insane lead in the rankings points? 16,145 points. Roger has 9405. Depending on how you convert past points totals, Novak’s is either the highest ever or very close to it. He is making a very strong case for being placed in the same league as Federer in his prime; all that remains to be seen is whether he can stay at this level for long enough to surpass Roger’s accomplishments. And I just don’t think he can.


Wog Boy Says:

I red somwhere that after conversion this is better than Roger’s best year (point wise), but don’t quote me on that, it could be disinformation..cominig from Courbon’s government in making, and his propaganda unit or “agitprop” as it was known.


Ben Pronin Says:

Anyone see Djokovic on Colbert?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=98&v=BMpmamZD9hY

Djokovic sounds so tired.


Ben Pronin Says:

I think up to this point Djokovic has the most points ever. However, that includes last year’s End of year results. So we have to wait and see what he ends up with.

Either way, he’s had one of the best seasons of all time.


elina Says:

Novak is a machine!!! How he could tune out that biased and interfering crowd is admirable to say the least.

If, in the next 12-24 months he reaches 13-14 slams or, alternatively, say only 11-12 slams plus some combination of a Gold medal, more Masters and/or a winning record vs Nadal, many could argue he’s even greater than Nadal!


Wog Boy Says:

I’ve seen that one, it could be from (over)celebration, but was amazes me with Nole he looks so tiny and fragile compare to most of his top opponents but yet he has such endurance and worrior mentality.


brando Says:

Damn had to check up on the Tilden thing. Did not know about that. Surprised his records still get respected.


Ben Pronin Says:

Wog Boy, Novak is tiny. But he’s definitely not fragile. The guy might actually be made out of rubber band, to be honest. If he wasn’t one of the best athletes in the world he’d probably be considered unhealthy. I almost wonder if he’s looking forward to pudging out once he retires. Although something tells me he’s still going to follow similar rituals for the rest of his life.


Markus Says:

I like Federer but it borders on idolatry when after Djokovic won his 10th, a writer would suddenly invoke his record and completely bypass Nadal’s 14th. Maybe Borg’s and Laver’s 11 are too easy for Novak to pass but 4 slams to equal Nadal’s and Sampras’ is not by any means a forgone conclusion. Give those two some love…if that’s too much to ask, how about some respect?


Ben Pronin Says:

Markus, if Djokovic doesn’t catch up to or surpass Federer, then his whole career is a failure and he’ll go down as a terrible player.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Brando exactly no me neither,when Rafa won his 10th GS i remember thinking at the time isnt it fantastic hes equaled Bill Tilden,then i heard about this and thought YUCK dont want Rafa to be in that same company,and hope he gets his 11th GS….


Wog Boy Says:

Agree Ben, and he will have a hole and incomplete career if he doesn’t win FO.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Agree with you Markus no disrespect to Novak and nobody is saying hes a failure, but what about all the other all time greats its not just about Federer lets show them some respect too,or are they now failures and irelevant all of a sudden?….


Daniel Says:

It just needs to go to Fed’s bio and sum his points from finals and titles in 2006. I also know he lost CIncy second round to Murray and did not play Hamburgo nor Paris, won 12 titles and lost 4 finals to Nadal (Dubai, MC, Rome and RG) so:

7200 pts from Grand Slams + 4000 pts from 4 Masters + 1200 pts for 2 Masters finals + 1500 pts from 3 ATP 500 (Tokyo + Basel + Halle) + 300 pts for final in ATP 500 Dubai + 1500 for WTF + 250 pts form Doha + 45 pts Cincy R32 + Davisc Cup points (don’t know how many but it was few) = 15.995 pts + Davis Cup.

If he won 150 pts from Davis Cup, Djoko and him are tied. If it is more, his 2006 year is still better than this Djoko. If it is less, Djoko better.

I think Djoko is better because he didn’t pay enough DC to have more than 100 pts. But this is his overall ranking at the end of 2006


brando Says:

” if Djokovic doesn’t catch up to or surpass Federer, then his whole career is a failure and he’ll go down as a terrible player.”: who said that? I know someone did: giles? Fedexpress?


Eric Says:

But, Daniel, even as recently as 2006 not every tournament had the same categorization. So if Roger won a 250 in 2006 and it’s now a 500, do you count it as 250 or 500? Arguments on both sides. I guess a more sophisticated way to compare would be to look at ratios of theoretical maximum points on tour in that year, but it’s always going to be kind of debatable since there are so many optional events. Anyway, the bigger point is that they are certainly close. But Djokovic 2015 definitely has the chance to go down as the greatest season in men’s tennis; it’s already in the top five or ten, no?


Temple Says:

“Djokovic is now just four wins behind…”

Never seen such an understatement for grand slam wins.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I don’t believe 17 slams is within reach, but most weeks at #1 might be, and certainly most Masters.

We could be singing a different tune though if Novak’s 2016 is similar to 2015. And why couldn’t it be? The only one to stop him this year was Stan, who is already 30, so another year may begin to slow him down some.

I agree with Ben and Gypsy’s sentiment that its asinine to think a player has “failed” if they don’t match certain metrics. You see people on here all the time who think Rafa is obsessed with reaching 17 and will be a failure if not, or that somehow Roger is obsessed with getting one more slam, and Novak with the French Open. No. Only the fans are obsessed with this stuff. Rafa and Novak and Roger will all be pretty damn proud of their careers even if tennis stops tomorrow.


Wog Boy Says:

I think Daniel was counting points for Roger’s tournaments as if he was playing them this year, which is fair.


Ben Pronin Says:

Winning slams is easy. Djokovic won 3 this year. He’ll probably win 4 next year, and 5 the year after that. I think next year he’ll make sure to win 2 or 3 French Opens to make sure his career is extra complete. That way he won’t have any pressure when he wins 5 in 2017.


Eric Says:

Wog Boy, except that if fewer good players played a tournament when it was a 250 (which is a “logical” but not necessarily true assumption), then it’s not fair to count it as a 500. The points lie in the quality of the opponents, in the rigor of the tournament–not in its name.

Conversely, it’s not really the case that 500 level tournaments (necessarily) boast stronger fields.

Basically there’s no simple answer because the structure of the system itself has changed, if not much. Whichever total is highest after adjustment, the bigger point is that they are very close. Roger’s may have been better in some ways, Djokovic’s in others. That’s OK; we can’t look to a number to tell us everything.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes Eric, I didn’t think that way.


Gypsy Gal Says:

TV Thanks,i always thought it unfair when Rafas career gets pulled to pieces because 9 of his 14 GS happen to be on clay,people say without clay whats he got?hes still got 5 GS,good enough for any other all time great so why not Rafa?also why take out clay anyway when its a tennis surface like any other tennis surface?end of rant lol….


Eric Says:

By the way, here’s an interesting graph. It shows 538′s calculation of select tennis player’s Elo ratings, synced to their age. It seems to suggest that Djokovic is due for a dip. But Federer’s own trajectory shows that decline can be resisted vigorously.

https://espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/morris-bialik-mens-tennis-elo-1-11.png?w=610&h=475

Elo ratings are not the be-all, end-all, either (especially since they are subject to inflation, which 538 doesn’t seem to deal with, and since Elo was designed for chess, where every match is equal, which is far from the case in tennis), but it’s still interesting. Here’s the source article (not itself that interesting): http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/djokovic-and-federer-are-vying-to-be-the-greatest-of-all-time/


chris ford1 Says:

Pronin – “CF1, you put the most ridiculous spin on all those players. I can’t odd. I don’t care what he won. He’s not a part of tennis history, as far as I’m concerned.”

==================
Ben, translation please. I am mystified on what “I can’t odd” means and who is not a part of tennis history, that I referred to..did you mean Laver??


Wog Boy Says:

CF1,
Second part of Ben’s post was response to mine, refering to Bil Tiden.


Ben Pronin Says:

Some people can’t even. I took it a step further, can’t odd.


chris ford1 Says:

4:24 – Funny, Ben!!


jane Says:

i’d say no; i am amazed he has double digits! if he surpasses borg and gets to 12 or even reached pete’s and nadal’s (current) 14 then wow. i can’t even. i never imagined this kind of success for novak.

i do believe he could tie or pass rafa in masters and he’s already passed weeks at number 1 and is guaranteed to j-mac too. so he should hit 200 weeks which would be amazing too.

==========

ben i missed colbert; thanks for sharing.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Jane i like your use of the word Nadals current 14,like you still believe even with his form this year that he could actually add to his tally,thanks for that vote of confidence ;)….


RZ Says:

I’m going to say no to the most grand slams. However, I think Nole will end up with the most Masters 1000 titles. He also could very well pass Fed for the most appearances in grand slam semis.


Daniel Says:

Eric, I countes converting to today’s standard. Back them finals for example worht 1400 for Slams and 700 for Masters. Just with this 2 chamges and Fed had more.


chris ford1 Says:

Only end of year points matter, not a rolling 365 day total? If one guy is #1 for 50 weeks and someone else gets 2 weeks at the end of the year – is the one with 2 weeks the “true’ #1 for that year??? Come on!

Another silly argument is Serena never won the Grand Slam – because she never one 4 in a row that exactly coincided with her getting an AO trophy 1st. Williams won 4 Slams in a row twice 2002-03 and 2014-2015. That’s two Grand Slams to me. Just as difficult a feat as one that happened to start down in Australia. And no less prestigious. I’m not a big fan of Serena’s, but be honest, if Fed had done it, writers and his legions of fans would be bending over backwards to say he was a bona fide Grand Slam winner.


jalep Says:

CF1

Was just reading this from ATP Website:
The list (this particular perspective) is listing #1 players who have held the rank for every week in an ATP calendar season.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/q3-review-2015-djokovic-the-king

Of course there are other ways of looking at #1 – like career cumulative total weeks at #1
- and, most consecutive weeks at #1
_________________

4 GS in a row is a feat in its own right equal to a ‘calendar’ Slam = 4 slams in one calendar season/year. But agree with you, the wording is only an arbitrary distinction between the two.


jane Says:

jalep interesting link. i should read that whole piece but i stopped at this quote:

” Djokovic is guaranteed to be the first player to hold the top spot in every week during a season since Roger Federer in 2007, joining Lleyton Hewitt, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors as the only men to achieve the feat. ”

hewitt seems like a bit of an anomaly on that list to me. he won 2 slams, right? were they both in the same season, perhaps? or maybe trophies / rankings were more evenly dispersed that year?


jalep Says:

Off the top o my head not sure about how Hewitt did it, jane.

Yeah – the whole article is interesting – talks about achievements by others in 2015.

But 2015 is really the Novak Djokovic show at this point. Still quite a lot of points up for grabs but – not a threat to No.1e. Year end ranking is all set.

Other than number 1, lots could still happen in the rankings.


chris ford1 Says:

The “Weak Era” really started with Hewitt’s 75 weeks of dominance, than Fed got good enough to beat him, then Rafa arrived, plus even more competition by 2005.
And Hewitt was out of the Top 10 in Jan 2006, never to return.
The “Weak era” ended in 2007.


jalep Says:

^^ cf1, going to pretend I didn’t read that bit.


Markus Says:

My conclusion is that any era where one player dominates is a weak era because by definition, a strong era should be constituted by several strong players none of which should dominate the others because the domination by one negates the supposition of a field of strong players.


Daniel Says:

Djoko only possible chance is if he wins 3 Slams next year again, minimum. Which will be very hard to replicate.

Let’s see how he perform in AO, where he won 4 out of last 5. That would give a better indication. If he wins it, he is in the right way.

Fed had 5 years with multiple Slams (04′, 05′, 06′, 07′ and 09′), 3 of those were 3 Slams. So far Djoko had 2 years with 3 Slams, He will need minimum 2 more years with Multiple Slams


jalep Says:

‘Weak era’ label is used as a derogatory the way CF1 uses and places parameters on it, Markus. It’s the typical put-down to Federer’s prime achievements.

So let’s say it’s true. (gosh, can’t believe I’m going there…)

Let’s say it’s true, which means also that weak era Federer was Rafa’s main rival. How does that reflect on Rafa’s accomplishments in that time frame? Easy Street. He won his FO’s during a weak era versus over-rated Federer. And when did that weak, over-rated era end? One could say this year, when finally at long last, Rafa had a true rival at FO in Novak and Murray found enough clay game to rival Rafa at a clay masters.

Or, perhaps there can be a case made since Novak developed his game to the point in 2011 where he could truly contest Rafa for clay season winnings. 2011 was the most competitive clay season in years.

But basically Rafa cleaned up in a weak clay era. It’s a derogatory to Rafa as well.

And now? Headed into another weak era, it could be argued with Federer being 34, Rafa in question and Andy Murray and Wawrinka sort of rivals in the mix but not terribly consistent or reliable, as witnessed this US Open.

Wawrinka got a GS this year sure and Murray snagged 2 masters so far. But no one from the ‘lost generation’ is doing much, and the younger ones are still too inexperienced and likely not to be competitive for some years.

These useless and weak eras, when will they end. There was a brief reprieve from the blight from 2012 to 2014 maybe, just maybe. It’s a bleak picture, the weak era problem. If it’s to be believed.

Weak era is not factual — it’s subjective (a matter of biased opinion not unlike GOAT) and too slippery to define in tennis. But very certain weak era is not going away any time soon as a cool idea. We’ll be on this hypothetical road to nowhere a long, long time :D Because…it’s fun and a good use of time!


Tennisfan Says:

It would be cool if Roger won an olympic singles gold next year. That would basically complete his resume.
But, with Novak so dominant and the surface being hard court, I doubt he will.


jane Says:

jalep and by some it’s being used as a put-down for novak’s achievements as well, although novak had only 2 dominant years – 2011 and 2015. the other years when he was in the mix and still ending #1, he wasn’t as dominant as he won only 1 slam those years.

and what is an “era” anyhow, 2 years, 3? 4? 5? it’s all too general. you have to look at opponents, their achievements, etc. and then it can get all tangled up in subjective opinions as you note

——-

i am interested in the rankings – what do you think will happen? is rafa a shoo-in for london? will fed or murray finish #2? i honestly haven’t looked lately – i should

——-

as for hewitt, i think roddick also won his slam within that period. for a year or a year and a half it looked like roddick-hewitt could be the next thing in tennis.


peter Says:

Possible, not likely.

He will have to win one slam at a time, and to reach 14 is already a great feat.

It will mostly depend on two factors

1. How long he will maintain his health and fitness.

2. Who will step up (improve) and stop him.

I believe we are entering a weaker era (ie. No.2 does not apply) so it all depends on no.1. Keep that going for a few more years and anything is possible. If not he is still one of the greatest.


roy Says:

consider he has never had serious injury problems or surgery. sounds a bit like federer, doesn’t it?
i think he has a good chance if he bags at least 4 in the next 2 years. but it will likely be a photo finish if he does it because he wasn’t as efficient with his slam finals.


jalep Says:

No doubt jane. My future posting is going to be defending Nole against weak era theorists if he has another blockbuster year or more. It comes with the territory — greatness and great criticism.

I’ve looked at rankings and race to London pages. It all depends on who has takes the lion’s share during Asian Swing and Paris-Bercy. Berdych, Kei, Rafa and Ferrer are between 3-4K points and have the best shot.

Gasquet, Anderson, Isner are between 2-3K points then it’s tight between Cilic, Raonic, Simon, and Tsonga.

Who likes Asian hc and indoor season? If the Nole continues his excellent year – maybe no change in the 1-8 order.


Michael Says:

It is difficult to conjecture at this stage as to the likely shape of Novak’s future career. But right now, he is potentially all set to overhaul Rafa’s record assuming that Rafa doesn’t add more to his grand slam tally from here on. But, chasing Roger’s record will really be a challenge and there is a shade of possibility that Novak can even overtake even that record if all things goes well and he stays energetic and fit.

He still has two good years left in him and much depends on the way he utilizes these two years and how productive it turns out to be !!

But, certainly the record of Rafa looks shaky at the moment with Novak tantalizingly close to overhauling it !!


danica Says:

Rafa and Pete’s record may be possible, but reaching or surpassing Federer – no chance!

Really, just like some of the posters here are tired of reading about how Nole doesn’t have the crowd love, I am tired of reading the prognosis of his career and counting chicken before they hatch. Suddenly, everyone asks if Novak can reach Federer number of slams. Let’s be realistic here: it is incredibly difficult and not very probable.


Nolefam Says:

Its possible. He has fastest 5, 10, 15, 20 masters 1000 at this moment. Since 2011, he has lost 6 finals (7 if you count Nadal French semis as final as it was because of Rafa’s ranking they met in semis), out of which 4 are at Roland Garros, FOUR. It all depends on how much Rafa can improve from today but he is Novak’s main opponent there, along with Stan now, but how consistent is Stan, and how consistent he would be when he himself is past 30 in future, I don’t know.

Most amazing thing is he won last two Wimbledons, which was considered his worst surface. Even 50 something aces of Anderson were not able to stop him in best of five. If he can win one more wimbledon, its in his favor of going to 17.

Australian Open, he has 4 of last 5. The surface suits him a lot, and he will have hiccups in future but still very good chances there. USOpen, he has 6 finals, and has lost one too many times there. But the roof construction on AA suited him a lot.

Now, lets look at current crop. No one younger than Novak has even won masters 1000. Kyrgios, a great talent is 42 in the world, Dimitrov is 19, and Nishikori is NEW no 6. It would be huge surprise if any of these guys become no.1/2 in next year.

Novak is currently sharing slam real estate basically with Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal. It will depend on what they will do a lot but if they can’t (Roger may never beat Novak in BO5 now), then its possible to dream 17.


courbon Says:

Danica, you absolutely right. Just to ad this:He maybe can reach Sampras record ( big maybe ) but I belive Rafa will have another ( or two ) GS to his name so that will be almost imposible


FedExpress Says:

fed will win all the 4 GS next year and the gold medal and retire after the WTF. #wishfulthinking


Felipe Says:

Djokovic will have a better resume than Nadal. Nadal leads by 4 slams (tha hardest to get), 3 M1000 (The easiest to get), for those who value HTH..Nadal still leads 23-21 (depends on Nadal showing up, this year only two matches between them, of course, on clay), Overall titles 67-55 Nadal…Nadal career slam, Djokovic still missing the French….since all the stats in which Nadal has an advantage will eventually be closer (Djokovic will turn the tables in a couple of those)..the other stats will also be considered..Year end number 1..Djokovic 4-3, calendar year number 1..Djokovic 1-0…Weeks as number 1…Djokovic minimun 200+..Nadal 141…WTF..Djokovic 4-0.
Nadal must get himself toghether and give his all at Roland Garros 2016


peter Says:

To be fair nadals time at no.1 was always going to be numbered given his time is sandwiched between two all time greats. One could argue he had the toughest competition of the 3. It has never occurred before in history that we have 3 double digit slam winners only within a 6 year age gap. Nadal was always competing against an in prime double digit slammer throughout his career. The only opening he had was 2010 when fed and Nole were off their best (made one slam final each).

Time at no.2, no.3 also counts. Nole spent 4 years no.3, that is also a great acheivement considering roger and rafa were in their primes. Same goes with Roger now who is no.2 at 34 just behind the in prime Nole. Nadal has spent an enormous amount of time at no.2 behind a prime fed and later prime Nole. He hasn’t been the best player most of the time but has been racking up his slams (mostly RG) for a long period of time. Out of 14, only 2 of his slam wins didnt go through fed or Nole (not surprisingly, that was 2010), both of whom are all courters and no slouches on clay either.


Giles Says:

I have a sneaky feeling joker will NEVER win the FO so where will that leave him in the history books? It will surely be an incomplete resume!! #WishfulThinking


Giles Says:

Joker fan dreaming 17. Lol. Keep dreaming!!


Okiegal Says:

I wonder if the players sit around and worry about their records being overtaken as much as their fans
do? I watch Rafa because I like his tennis style. I’m not too concerned if he ends his tennis career as a GOAT or almost a GOAT….Rafa, please play on, winning or losing!


sienna Says:

it is easy to think he will keep on winning. It only takes a minor drop in level and he will lose more matches.
If he wins 8 more he is slam leader. Easy


sienna Says:

Fedal were forced to get 5set finals for Master and did not have luxuary to byes for significant period of time. So hardly compairable master titles between three of them.


Markus Says:

@Okiegal, these guys are well aware of the history of the sport and the records so I think that they think about it when they are still actively playing but I doubt if they worry much about it. Only the insecure would worry about something they don’t have complete control of.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..You’re probably right. I’m sure it crosses their mind, but I really don’t think they stress out about it as much as the fans do…..


madmax Says:

Incredible achievement by Novak.

He has every chance of beating Roger’s slams and if he does, then congratulations! What a champ!

Nadal has the same chance in my view. Who knows when his resurgence will begin?

We just don’t know.

As for Bill Tilden. I disagree. We cannot close our eyes to these people and what they have done/ continue to do.

Will always be a talking point and should be in the public domain.

We should not close our eyes to history because it is disgusting, or wrong, or bad – then we go silent. Say nothing and this is something that should never be forgotten. Ever.

Try telling historians to forget history. Keep it in the public domain and make sure that these things are discussed; to erase them means to forget.

No. That cannot be right.

Federer, oh Federer! We love you. We love you and we hope for the next win a slam final, against Novak!

Enjoyed the match so much though! I really did.


madmax Says:

Just thinking. Isn’t it possible to dissociate what BT achieved on the tennis court, to what he did in his private life, disgusting though it was and is? (and have those rumours been proved or not?)

The guy was sick. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t play tennis.

But let’s not forget what he supposedly did, and if we don’t talk about him, then he “gets away with it”. His name should be out there.

It is an interesting discussion. I love some of Michael Jackson’s music. Weird though he was. Nothing ever substantiated and I think that was the same with Tilden. (not entirely sure though).

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/sports/tennis/31tilden.html?_r=0

“as a public figure, perhaps a more apt comparison for Tilden is to the pop star Michael Jackson, whose musical legacy, while unassailable, was mitigated for some by his conduct.

“I think that’s a very good analogy,” Deford said in a telephone interview, adding: “Tennis people tried to hush up Tilden’s personal life. They actually were afraid it would hurt the sport. I think that’s why nobody ever celebrates any of his achievements.”

The United States Tennis Association has not immortalized Tilden with a trophy, a stadium court or a statue despite the fact that in 1920, when he was 27, he became the first American to win Wimbledon, and seldom lost for the next six years.

“He was a great, great champion,” said Kramer, a two-time national singles champion and the world No. 1 in the late 1940s and early 1950s. “He carried the game in the ’20s and early ’30s.”

His name should be out there for many reasons.


Markus Says:

Bill Tilden lived during the time when homosexuality by itself was treated as a crime. If your homosexuality was revealed or suspected, you become a target of persecution. He signed confessions admitting to his guilt but I don’t know under what circumstances they were obtained. I don’t condone sex with minors but I find it hard to judge him considering that he lived in a very different time. What I can judge without prejudice was that Bill Tilden was an outstanding tennis player with remarkable achievements. His sexuality was not his fault but it tortured him in his life and even in death by dismissing his great contribution to the sport.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Madmax the difference is Bill Tilden was convicted of his crimes,but Michael Jackson i thnk to the best of my knowledge was cleared of all charges?,JMO but human beings know the difference between right and wrong,by leaving his name out there is for all the wrong reasons and a bad example,records mean nothing,its more important to be a decent human being rather than been a great tennis champion,this is just my opinion sorry….


courbon Says:

Madmax, just before match I thought you and jatin are very good double act.And thank you for all wheater updates.


madmax Says:

courbon ha ha!!! I know…brits and the weather. Jatin and I were joined at the hip! India and the UK.

Marcus,

This is what I mean. YOU can differentiate between sport and crime and I think that is important. Not one decent human being would disagree that the act with children is despicable.

gypsy,
can’t find anything except rumour.

Should we close our eyes to Hitler? To Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung because of their horrific contribution to world history, or do we keep the names out there, for discussion.

I digress. I apologise.

Tilden – I have to look a bit more and deal in fact, not rumour.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t care that Tilden was gay, but he was a pedophile. It is similar to Michael Jackson except I don’t recall MJ actually having sex with anyone, just that he slept in the same bed as them (weird, but not nearly as bad).

Tilden solicited young boys for sex. He signed a confession without his reading glasses so we can’t be sure if it’s true? Please. He did the same thing again after getting arrested. And he was shunned by the community as a result. Not because he was gay, but because he was paying underage boys to sleep with him.

No I will no separate the player from the man. He was disgusting no matter how well he played tennis. He should not be remembered for being a great champion and as far as I’m concerned, Djokovic stands alone with 10 slams.

Tilden shouldn’t be forgotten overall, though. We still see the same problem in sports like the NFL where child beaters and wife beaters are pardoned because they can run fast and score good or intercept balls and tackle real good. So we should definitely consider him in the way of “that scum bag who was lucky enough to be great at his sport still served jail time for his crimes, but still not enough”.

Let’s discuss the countless athletes and celebrities who get away with illegal bs because of their popularity and we can mention Tilden all day. But I refuse to discuss him as a tennis player. I don’t care about the talents of a pedophile.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Serena has the career GS what 3 times now?and 21 GS in total so i doubt shes losing much sleep over Novak having a better year somehow….


madmax Says:

Hi Gypsy,

I found this. It’s interesting at least.

http://www.outsports.com/2014/6/24/5836830/bill-tilden-gay-tennis-wimbledon-history

“Tilden seems to adopt the rhetoric of his age. He uses terms like “condition” and refers to a “psychoneurosis or other psychological disturbance” that he blames for his act. Rather than “degeneracy,” he refers to “an illness; in most cases a psychological illness.”

Seems he has written an autobiography.

Then there was a photograph taken of Tilden, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, fine actors of their time, yet rumours (and fact) abound at their indescretions with young girls and boys.
Does that detract from both of them from winning film or best actor awards?

It doesn’t stop with Tilden that is for sure.


madmax Says:

Gypsy Gal Says:
Serena has the career GS what 3 times now?and 21 GS in total so i doubt shes losing much sleep over Novak having a better year somehow….

September 16th, 2015 at 1:30 pm

I agree Gypsy.

Also,

Why does it matter what Serena thinks anyway?


Temple Says:

My beloved Giles strikes again… Have you read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of darkness”? I doubt it, because your every post reeks of lack of cultivation. In any case, i will help you. When Novak wins (and it’s going to be all Novak in 2016) learn how to dramatically look up in the sky and cry “The horror! The horror!”.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Madmax it is an interesting article ill admit,sexuality means nothing to me as i have gay friends,but when it ivolves minors the whole thing makes my skin crawl and i feel sick to the stomach TBH….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Moderation hell why tennis-x?when you let Bens post through when he said more or less which amounts to the same thing as my post….


elina Says:

Novak is 28.

3 slams in 2016
2 slams in 2017
1 slam in 2018
1 slam in 2019 … his 17th in Australia still just 31 years of age.

He is one of the best of all time so why not?

Ajde Nole!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

My post was also moderated at first. I’m guessing some keywords trigger the moderation.


Dan the Man Says:

This question will be forgotten in a year or two. Time and history have shown that not only will Djokovic not get 7 more to tie, he’ll probably be lucky to get 4 more to tie 14. He’s a great player but he’s had the opportunity in the last 5 years to pile up the slams but he hasn’t taken advantage of them. If he had, he would be in that discussion, but time will show he isn’t. I think this year was the 5th out of 6 times he came into the U.S. Open as the favourite to win, and he won 2 of those 5. Same with the French this year. Probably the 5th straight year he was the best during the run up to the French and he has turned out to be 0/5 as winner. Injuries, and new emerging players will come up in the next 2 years for sure. He’s near the end of his peak, although one more great year is possible, but that’s it. I have nothing against the Djoker, he is maybe the best mover and defensive player the game has seen, but history is now about to turn the page for him.


chris ford1 Says:

When their careers are all done, I believe that all three will concede the other two were just as good and they won’t argue on why any of them are “better” than the others based on Slam trophies. And Nole and Fed may continue to say Andy Murray was an equal talent despite his lower stat tallies.
And like now, continue to smile and stay above the fray.

============
Bill Tilden – like Oscar Wilde, a pederast, not a pedophile. One of course is sex with young children. The other is inducing sex from willing adolescent gay boys by payment and favors. Jailbait, as it is called.
But whatever Tilden was, he didn’t have a rent boy out there playing his tennis. He won his trophies fair and square. I personally hate this modern trend of trying to eradicate history or awards because a pre-Islamic temple OFFENDS ISIS so they dynamite it to dust, or some monument to Confederate soldiers at a battlefield OFFENDs a black activist who is completely ignorant of the battle itself. Or the Obama way of trying to remove medals of valor like Silvere Stars from soldiers who earn them but later run seriously afoul of leaders. Or the people trying to ban Michael Jackson music from airplay and download because he was so creepy later in his life.

Pederast Bill won 10 Slams. Legitimately. No PEDs tainting the competition, so no Lance Armstrong or FloJo situation calling for a stripping of trophies. Deal with it. They will stand in the tennis record books. His morals did not impact play, any more than stars use *shudder* recreational drugs off-court.

—————

We don’t know the future for the Big 4.


J-Kath Says:

Dan the Man

New and emerging players are likely to come up in the next 2 years – but this doesn’t mean they will immediately go on to win Grand Slams. Like everyone else they’ll have to do their time – there are no miracles awaiting exciting new talent – it’s a tough game and nowadays it needs a lot of commitment, dedication, fitness and some awesome determination to surge to the top and remain at the top.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,
Nicely said.


Markus Says:

Djokovic’s competition will be the same for next year and maybe the year after that: an even older Federer, a questionable Nadal (I would not be suprised if he starts playing very well again) and Murray who will probably his toughest competititon (with a coach of Lendl’s caliber). I don’t see anybody else. The younger set is called the lost generation and I doubt if they’ll ever find their way. The teen-agers can wait until the Big 4 retire. They won’t win any majors until that happens. So, 2 to 3 more slams is a good estimate but I would not rule out a bit more. 17 may be a stretch. But then again, Djokovic stretches really well.


Ben Pronin Says:

When Djokovic won 3 slams in 2011, he was 23 years old with 4 slams to his name. Some fans knee-jerked saying he was gonna blast past Federer’s 16 (at the time) and become the GOAT. At that time, I thought 10-12 slams was a more reasonable outcome.

Fast-forward 5 years later and Djokovic is at 10 slams, but near the end of his prime and what should have DEFINITIVELY been the Djokovic Era. So last time Djokovic won 3 slams in one season he reacted by winning only 1 in the next 3 seasons. But this time, at 28 going on 29, he’s going to do even better?

It’s laughably unrealistic no matter who his competition is. I’ll say it again, he’ll win 2 slams next year at best.

As a fan, all I want is for him to win 1 French Open. Not because of it’ll “complete” his career or some nonsense, but because he’s been so unbelievably great on clay for so long now it would be a damn shame if he didn’t have the biggest clay court title to show for it.


peter Says:

@Ben, how can you assume Novak is actually at the end of his peak and not the start of it?

This year he has already done better than 2011, if you look at him reaching all 4 major finals. I am nearly 100% sure this year is better, espescially when at the tail end of 2011 he got injured and kept losing matches, including at the round robin of WTF. That won’t be happening this year.

If this is his best year, then Novak is actually starting to peak now, a sCary thought indeed. According to history players don’t usually peak at 28. But look at the top 10 now. Average age is 29+. That implies the players now are peaking at around 29.


madmax Says:

Federer is the only male player to reach at least six consecutive finals at two different Grand Slam tournaments (2003–09 Wimbledon, 2004–09 US Open). Add to that, this year 2015 US Open. (though not consecutive, I will throw it in!).

During the Open era, only Federer (2006–09), Nadal (2005–08 & 2010-14), Lendl (1984–87), and Borg (1978–81) have reached four consecutive French Open men’s finals. And now, look at Novak’s achievements:

Ben:
As a fan, all I want is for him to win 1 French Open. Not because of it’ll “complete” his career or some nonsense, but because he’s been so unbelievably great on clay for so long now it would be a damn shame if he didn’t have the biggest clay court title to show for it.

Ben,

similar to Fed, when he reached 5 finals overall, winning one of them. We all”willed him to win!”.

How great would this be? Fed on 17, Rafa on 17,Novak on 17.

Then what would we have left to discuss!?


peter Says:

I would add that in 2011 Novak was just one point away from only winning Two slams, so 2015 is definitely a better slam year for him, no doubt.

Reaching his peak at 28… if players are now peaking at 29, is Nole gonna do better next yr??


Bob Lewis Says:

Probably not, but it will fun watching him try. Nole will do whatever it takes to improve.

Another poll: will Federer fire Edberg? just kidding. But Federer needs someone to help him play big points better. He seems weak in this area.


Daniel Says:

Agree with you elina, that scenario you posted seems possible, but it all depends if he wins 3 or 4 next year. If he doesn’t win AO, basically think this discussion will end, because he’ll have to win 7 being 29, 30 and 31.


peter Says:

So much depends on the competition. If Nole is 32, and the rest of the top 10 are also 32, then there’s no reason to believe he won’t add more slams at that age. Once Nole gets older than the average age of top 10, then we can start talking about him declining. Coz I think he will outlast pretty much everybody in the current top 10 except (maybe) Nishikori. Nole is actually the second youngest player in top 10!

You really need the young guns to breakthrough to stop him. And there’s really nobody in sight at this moment.


skeezer Says:

This question is a joke right? Just for hits?
No way no how not even close does Nole get to challenge the GOAT. Not happening.
Nole is havein a great year and all, but his career vs Fed has serious flaws. Come back in 3 years and bring the topic up again. What will happen? Fed will shine even more.


chris ford1 Says:

Skeezer – If Fed sticks around another 3 years, his h2h with the other 2 All-Time Greats will hardly be shining brighter.

========================
If you think, what are Djoko’s short term priorities and then 2016 priorities?

2015 – As he was celebrating, he was also reminding media the year does not end with the USO. 4 events to go, with importance to Nole. He wins Beijing then Shanghai, he makes it to 1 year making the Final or above in every major event he entered. And ties his and Rafa’s record for 5 Masters wins. (He currently holds titles to 3 Slams, the YEC, and 6 of the 9 Masters – a record.) He goes to Paris-Bercy, one of his favorites, with a chance to equal of exceed the 5 Masters in a year record. Then YEC at Barclays, seeking to tie Pete and Lendl with 5, have a shot at Fed’s 6, and be the 1st to win 4 straight. And also in all that, have a decent chance of finishing with the most points ever in a year.

Heady stuff.

2016 prospects? NOle would get a Grand Slam (non-calendar) by winning the AO and French Open. I think nothing would short-circuit the minds of Slam Count is Everything!!! fans more than Nole getting his Grand Slam.

In the middle of US hardcourt season after WImbledon is done and another Djoker win is not out of the question – the Olympics. Rio is going to be hardcourt – chosen instead of Brazilian clay, to avoid disruption. Only 750 points, but growing in prestige more and more. Djoker has a bronze from 2008. But this Olympics will be the last one with Djoker in his peak years and a gold or silver would be a big deal for Djokovic and Serbia. Happens between Montreal and Cincinnati.


chris ford1 Says:

Skeezer – If Fed sticks around another 3 years, his h2h with the other 2 All-Time Greats will hardly be shining brighter.

========================
If you think, what are Djoko’s short term priorities and then 2016 priorities?

2015 – As he was celebrating, he was also reminding media the year does not end with the USO. 4 events to go, with importance to Nole. He wins Beijing then Shanghai, he makes it to 1 year making the Final or above in every major event he entered. And ties his and Rafa’s record for 5 Masters wins. (He currently holds titles to 3 Slams, the YEC, and 6 of the 9 Masters – a record.) He goes to Paris-Bercy, one of his favorites, with a chance to equal of exceed the 5 Masters in a year record. Then YEC at Barclays, seeking to tie Pete and Lendl with 5, have a shot at Fed’s 6, and be the 1st to win 4 straight. And also in all that, have a decent chance of finishing with the most points ever in a year.

Heady stuff.

2016 prospects? NOle would get a Grand Slam (non-calendar) by winning the AO and French Open. I think nothing would short-circuit the minds of Slam Count is Everything!!! fans more than Nole getting his Grand Slam.

In the middle of US hardcourt season after WImbledon is done and another Djoker win is not out of the question – the Olympics. Rio is going to be hardcourt – chosen instead of Brazilian clay, to avoid disruption. Only 750 points, but growing in prestige more and more. Djoker has a bronze from 2008. But this Olympics will be the last one with Djoker in his peak years and a gold or silver would be a big deal for Djokovic and Serbia. Happens between Montreal and Cincinnati.


chris ford1 Says:

Don’t know why this double-posted!


Markus Says:

@CF1: I’d like to know why that happens (re: double posts).

I’m looking forward to what Djokovic will do next year. I think he is going to amaze everyone, even his detractors. He is very capable. And the field is weak…well, compared with Djokovic right now.


skeezer Says:

And IF Nole sticks around long enough his H2H stats against somebody will diminish his career also, no? Blabbergasty.
This is why your titles is your career baseline, not who you have a winning record over.
What matters is Slams, then titles, years and # 1, etc. acheivements against the field of players. You are bringing up the Rafa argument, which has been hammered to death. Ugh. Again and againd CF1, you play against a field of players, not one guy.


Markus Says:

Correct, skeezer!


peter Says:

Well, consider two players have exactly the same no. Of titles and everything else, except that A’s h2h against B is 10~0. Who is the better player?

I will say A. Which means h2h is a factor in determining greatness. Its not just titles. Everything counts.

Its hard to say somebody is the greatest if he consistently loses to another player. Great champions always find a way to beat every single opponent. They solve problems. If B consistently loses to A that means B has a weakness that A is able to exploit. This implies B is not a “perfect” player. The perfect player should have a positive record against all players.

The h2h is espescially relevant when other greats, such as rod laver, who has dominated every major rival in his career, exists.


Wog Boy Says:

I found this on another forum, if these two players were to stay on 10GS each who would be better since opposition was of slightly different standards:

Federer opponents first 10 slam wins

Philippoussis
Marat Safin
Andy Roddick
Lleyton Hewitt
Andy Roddick
Andre Agassi
Marcos Baghdatis
Rafael Nadal
Andy Roddick
Fernando González

Djokovic opponents first 10 slam wins

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Roger Federer
Roger Federer


Wog Boy Says:

And this what apparently Paul Annacone said, from the same forum”

‘No disrespect to Ferrero, Safin, Philippoussis, Moya, Hewitt, etc., but they are not quite in the same class as Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, and that made it easier for Roger to probably grab a number of titles earlier in his career compared to Novak.’


peter Says:

@wog boy

Good one. In fact out of noles 10 wins, all of them had to go through at least one Big 4 player. 8 out of 10 wins need to go through 2 greatest of all time players, either nadal or federer. 2 went through Murray, a multiple slammer. All slam wins went through a top 4 ranked player.

No other player in the history of the sport had to beat their major rivals so many times in their slam wins.


Tennisfan Says:

I doubt Annacone would say something like that about Hewitt, Safin etc.


Wog Boy Says:

^^Why, do you know Anacone personally?


peter Says:

Just last week annacone said things like this, implying roger benefited from beating non legendary players 10yrs ago.

http://www.newsday.com/sports/tennis/us-open/paul-annacone-marvels-at-the-adjustments-roger-federer-has-made-1.10839975

“He’s a different player against different competition,” Annacone said. “Ten years ago he was a dominant player against players who weren’t dominant players. These last few years, he ran up against legendary players . He needed to do something, and after that , where his back really hurt, he worked to improve.


Tennisfan Says:

It’s pretty disrespectful to those players. I doubt a coach within the industry will be that blunt publicly.


Wog Boy Says:

@peter,
Thanks, my point was that it is stupid to say “this one has 17GS and until the other one reaches 17GS the first one is the best ever,” there is so many things that are supposed to be looked at to come to conclusion who is the best ever, not just GS titles. Nole doesn’t have to reach #17 to be considered in discussions for the GOAT, 15 will do it, for obvious reasons. I personally think that 15 is long shot but I am more than happy with his achievements so far considering all circumstances.


Tennisfan Says:

That’s not the same as singling out names of the players like in the quote from the forum. People tend not to do that publically.


Wog Boy Says:

“It’s pretty disrespectful to those players.”

Sorry, it is called “truth” and not “disrespect “.


Tennisfan Says:

The two aren’t mutually exclusive lol. My point is that Annacone seems too diplomatic to publicallycite a list of players he thinks are weak or something.
It’s not like I don’t think Roger didn’t benefit from having opponents he could easily dominate. So stop being so defensive lol.


Wog Boy Says:

I am very rarely defensive, though you need good defense in order to have better offense, first rule of every game;)


mat4 Says:

About the Tilden discussion:

Don’t forget that in Ancient Greece, his behaviour would have been considered quite normal.

But also, that in most part of the modern world, his behaviour is considered as an illness, or the consequences of a special family environment.

Anyway, most of the world rightly believes that minority shouldn’t have more rights than the majority, and that every positive discrimination causes a negative discrimination of the majority.

France, the cradle of modern democracy, has fought for years against it. It’s called “comunautarisme”. But we lost that battle for equality of rights under the pressure of the anglo-saxons and mighty lobbies.


Margot Says:

@mat4
I myself have never forgiven William of Normandy for imposing the feudal system on Britain. It condemned us to a rigid class system which is alive and well today.
Harold is a hero of mine. Britain pre 1066 was a much fairer society in spite of endless invasions.


Ahfi Says:

I am amused by this kind of discussion but I guess we need to write something. After the US Open I predicted that 2016 will not be the same for Djokovic. Being an Olympic year, more people are going to try to get fitter. Let’s face it, Djokovic really did not have much opposition in his draw. Don’t get me wrong – it happens from time to time with other players also who are lucky with their draws even though I would say, at times, the draws simply do not make any sense. At one US Open a few years back, one top player did very little work until he got to the finals. And, of course, he won. Back to Djokovic. At a different time, I would have sworn that within two years, Djoker would catch up with Nadal since seriously there seems to be nobody challenging him. But, I had previously made the following prediction with another player, and boy, am I still eating my words, (even though it might not be too late). I remember about 2 years ago saying to a friend who is a Nadal supporter that it should be very easy for Nadal to catch up with Federer. I boldly declared that, all he needed to do each year, was to win one of the other slams in addition to his regular Roland Garros trophy. It looked that straightforward to me and I thought, hey, no problem. Well, we see what is going on with him now. I am only predicting next year because it is an Olympic year – it’s gonna be a wild one. No one person is going to win 2 or 3 slams next year. I will be floored if that happens and especially if it is Djokovic.


calmdownplease Says:

`I found this on another forum, if these two players were to stay on 10GS each who would be better since opposition was of slightly different standards..`

You’re just aware of this now?!
It’s the basis of the `weak era` argument
We can wax and wane on that on but the evidence that Fed had it considerably easier is incontrovertible!


Ahfi Says:

Regarding what Annacone supposedly said (I did not check the link), can somebody tell me which legendary player Djokovic defeated on his way to winning this US Open final? I think, at times, people just over think things. I remember on a number of occasions in the past few years, at the end of slam finals, just chuckling to myself, and asking myself, whom did this person really play in this tournament before getting to the final and winning? And I know on those occasions, I was not referring to Roger Federer. That is why people should not be saying stuff like that. It’s this same weak era thing – which we can say about right now because there is really nobody challenging Djoker and it doesn’t make Djoker less of a player. He is a great player. It’s not his fault that other players are not fit enough to give him a tough challenge.


calmdownplease Says:

`It’s this same weak era thing – which we can say about right now because there is really nobody challenging Djoker and it doesn’t make Djoker less of a player…`

I just don’t think this weak era is as weak (thanks to Wawa and Cilic, NOT Federer), nor will it last for 4 years..
2016 shall bring surprises
I’ve seen it all with Novak.
At one point it was `will he ever win a 2nd sla?m` (not THAT long ago actually), then it was `well, he can only win the AO he’s useless everywhere else!`
And now he is the GOAT in waiting, time brings perspective on these things particularly once the heat off a slam win has worn off…
Still, he’s racking em up regardless to what any body else is saying/claiming.


Ahfi Says:

I am too lazy to look up anything right now so can’t remember when Fed won his first grand slam – I am thinking 2003/04/05? Weren’t Nadal, Djoker, Murray and Gasquet around at some point? All I remember was Hewitt, Safin and Roddick were very tough competitors for him. But regarding Djoker, Nadal,Murray and Gasquet, I guess the argument would be that they were not yet in their prime so it was easy for Fed to defeat them. But there were other people in their prime challenging Federer. If those were easy times for Federer, what about now, that Djoker is in his prime, Federer is ‘old’ (had about how many break chances and could not even make half of them?), Murray is on and off, so is Wawrinka. Tsonga, Monfils etc. on and off. Nadal is having problems. The same argument can be made that Djokovic is having it easy. I think we need to get off that weak era business because the argument can always be made for every period as we are seeing now. Don’t even wanna talk about Cilic’s performance. Dmitrov, Raonic? It could be considered a weak era too or at the very least a VERY weak year…Right?


calmdownplease Says:

`I think we need to get off that weak era business because the argument can always be made for every period as we are seeing now..`

No, its not all relative.
Some periods are much stronger than others.
3 of Fed’s slam final opponents never saw another slam final again and that was their first!
Agassi was past it, and none of the others had won more than 2 slams.
There, some objective standards to apply for starters.
But get out of here if you are suggesting that 2003.2007 was some kind of similar period to the last 5 years!
There is no comparison fed fan!


elina Says:

Annacone nailed it.

But I wonder if he plays tennis. :)


madmax Says:

Can’t find the precise words that Annacone was supposed to have said Wogboy and tbh, it is pretty disrespectful if he did say it.

These players were champions, and yet to criticise them for the part they played in tennis history IS disrespectful. I can’t imagine Anacone would say that, but then again, I don’t know him. Would be great if you could state precisely where this was supposed to be reported.

The weak era argument is flawed. Always has been, always will be. There are so many opinions out there.

I cite a few here that have been around for a few years :

A lot of people like to talk about the ‘weak era’ Federer played in. This argument has many, many, many flaws. To highlight a few:

-A lot of people believe Roddick to be better than Djokovic on grass.

-Baghdatis was a tougher Australian Open finalist than Murray was for Roger. (Despite Murray being a better player and having a better CV, Baghdatis’ level of play was higher.) Just check out the final results during that match.

-Roger becoming world number one a month shy of his 30 birthday during the peaks of Nadal, Murray and Djokovic.

You can’t argue with that (well, you can!)

-He had the clay goat who was the match up from hell.
-Post prime he has had to deal with tough players (others can still pick up slams easier while older due to weakness of competition

beating so called ‘Strong Era’ opponents comfortably shows it is flawed.

Here is the list of Roger’s victories over the ‘Strong Era’ opponents

Djokovic FO 2011
Murray Wimbledon 2012
Murray AO 2014
Nadal WTF 2011 ( 6-3 6-0 )
NAdal ( Hamburg,Madrid , bagelled on clay also )
Nadal Wimbledon 2006 and 2007.
Djokovic Cincy 2012 ( Bagelled ) 2015
Murray ( AO 2010 ,USO 2008,)
Djokovic ( USO 2008 , 2009 )

and countless other victories over them though all of them 5-6 younger than him. Well done to Federer! Respect.

Whatever you think about Roger’s “weak era”, is an excuse. Any excuse to devalue his efforts at winning a slam.

Novak is definitely in the GOAT arena, imo, for many reasons, but steady on. We are talking about the Fed here.

If a guy dominates, of course his rivals will win less tournaments and thus look “weaker”, it’s simple logic.

This was and still is to some extent, the beauty of Fed’s game. Making everything seem effortless. This should not detract from the fact that other players mentioned, Safin, Hewitt, etc., were wonderful champions, players and highly respected.

Today, we are talking about the highest of players with incredible abilities on court, Murray, Nadal, (he is still in the mix in my view), and yet Federer has still beaten them at various tournaments over the last few years, in the STRONG ERA…

As I am writing, am thinking that Federer is still beating players and yet still being criticised for having done so .

Crazy argument!


jane Says:

good for andy margot. i assume we’ll have a dc thread soon too.


jane Says:

i saw that same post wog boy’s talking about at tennis.com. someone posted a video of annacone below it and in the video he definitely mentions hewitt and safin. but it’s not quite as negative as the quote. you can see him discussing these issues from about 9:30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGKi6vCU8EA


skeezer Says:

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/09/no-one-likes-novak-djokovic-us-open-win-roger-federer

Just the messenger.

Of course the stats always tells the story.


peter Says:

The weak era theory is simple. If an era has more than one dominant player, then the era is relatively strong. If an era only has one or less dominant players, then the era is weak. A dominant player is one who consistently beats the rest of the competition, who dominates a weak era but can still win slams in a strong era.

Baghdatis, phillipousis are joke finalists. Players were so inconistent in those days federer got the luck of the draw and often play against seedless players. In the first 10 slams federer mostly won against Hewitt, or roddick, all one or Two slammers who has a worse resume than Andy Murray, who is only the no.4 player in 2008~2014. Murray is way more consistent than any of feds opponents.

Slams are not equal when u compare them across eras. Federer winning a slam against baghdatis just means he is a better player than bagdatis. Nole winning a slam against fed means he played better than federer. How could you reasonably think the difficulty of these are actually the same? You can’t say their achievement is the same, when all federer proved was that he played better tennis than a perennial top 20 player, while Nole proved he not only is better than an all time great, but also the no.2 player at the time as well. The greater your opponent, the more you prove if you win.

You only play the guy across the net, feds numbers are great, but they just prove he can consistently beat hewitts and roddicks, not nadals and djokovics. In fact federer has failed to even have one great year against strong competition, while nadal and Djokovic have.

the big 3 are all legends and provided the same circumstances will have similar achievements. The only reason they have differnt achievements is due to luck, the fact that some have had a bigger window of opportunity with the competition they face.

Weak and stRong eras exist. we are entering a weaker era, and that is the biggest reason Nole has a good chance of getting more slams than nadal, who had a really small window of opportunity.


jane Says:

ahfi, i’d say fed is “legendary” and novak beating him in the final was great because of that – & the crowd antagonism – but more importantly because fed is playing so well that he’s #2. he had not dropped a set prior to the final and he gave stan a bagel? or a breadstick? in the semis. clearly, he was in form. in all of his slam finals but one, novak beat rafa, fed or murray. and even in 08, he had to beat fed in the semis to get to tsonga. not exactly easy methinks.

that said, i really dislike and avoid weak era arguments because they are too sweeping – as madmax’s post shows by looking at circumstances – and somewhat subjective be it by fans or pundits.


jane Says:

andy, fed and stan all played consistently excellent tennis this year. fed upped his game even more than in 2014, and reached 2 slam finals. andy was in a slam final and reached semis or 2 others. stan won a slam and went deep in the others. only rafa out of the usual “big 4″ was subpar. so why do people think novak will have no competition? i don’t get it. where is murray going? or stan or fed? they’re going to be fighting for slams next year too.

and who knows how guys like 4-k or coric or zverev will do next year, with a full season or 2 on the tour; they could break out and start getting some bigger wins.

i just think it’s impossible to predict the future. for one thing, i could easily see rafa making another comeback next year.


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic hit his peak when Federer was 30. Nadal when Federer was 29. Not only does Federer occasionally beat them (I know it’s been a while with Nadal but still) he also keeps it close. And at 34, he’s able to make multiple slam finals in one year.

If in 2013 you wanted to argue that Federer was lucky to play in a weak era, there was some merit because he looked horrible.

But now, it’s pretty clear Federer dominated because he was that good. He denied other players the chance to make his era appear competitive.

I’m not going to argue that Fernando Gonzalez or Marcos Baghdatis are anywhere near as good as Djokovic or Nadal or Murray. But they’re comparable to Berdych or Soderling or Tsonga.

Federer was 7-0 in slam finals until 06 when he played Nadal at the French. Since then he’s 10-10. Nadal was 9-2 until 2011. Since then he’s 5-4. Djokovic won his first slam after Nadal had already played in 3 finals. He’s 10-8. Murray is 2-6.

There’s no question Djokovic has faced the toughest, on average, opponents in finals. But that doesn’t diminsh the wins Nadal or Federer got over easier opponents.


J-Kath Says:

Yes, heard it on the radio, Margot, I think what I also liked about it was the unique link with tennis which interested 3 of Andy’s sponsors to join.

See Evans playing the other DC singles (evidently he once beat Tomic) – slightly wish it was Ward – but Leon had difficult choice.
Fingers crossed Andy doesn’t play doubles….he was not well on Wednesday – cripes…..

Andy playing with Heather Watson at Rothman Cup.


Ben Pronin Says:

Wait, Federer failed to have 1 great year against the rest of the Big 3 and Murray?

In 2009, Nadal was number 1 and Djokovic already had a slam. Federer reached the finals of all 4 slams and won 2. I know, Nadal was injured, blah blah blah, but if Nadal’s 08 run was grueling enough that it forced him to skip time, that’s on him.

However, what about 2012?? Federer won a slam and reached number 1 over Djokovic AND Nadal! And before everyone starts with the Nadal was injured excuse, keep in mind Federer reached number 1 right after winning Wimbledon which happened to be Nadal’s last event of the year. In other words, Nadal was there for all 52 weeks in which Federer was able to accumulate enough points and titles to become number 1. And he beat Djokovic, the defending champ and then number 1, and Murray, back to back, to win Wimbledon. He also beat Djokovic in Cincy and I think he beat Murray again in London before losing to Djokovic in the final.

So again, it goes to show how good Federer is. That after 30 years old he can win a slam AND reach number 1 over the other big 3 and Murray.

What’s especially hilarious is that if Federer is such a fluffed up champion, then you can’t say it’s impressive that Nadal and Djokovic beat him to win slams. That just means they were lucky to face a fluff-champion rather than a “real” one. You diminish one, you diminish them all.


calmdownplease Says:

`I’m not going to argue that Fernando Gonzalez or Marcos Baghdatis are anywhere near as good as Djokovic or Nadal or Murray. But they’re comparable to Berdych or Soderling or Tsonga`

I can’t see how anyone could claim that. Bagdhatis is/wasn’t anywhere near Berdych or Tsonga
These are extremely good top players!
Its not even close in my view!
Novak has been beating Fed for a long time now, not as long as Andy but more crucially in slams
AND he beat a prime Nadal on all surfaces in 2011.

`Baghdatis was a tougher Australian Open finalist than Murray was for Roger..`

So what? Murray didnt show up for that one AT ALL
He was a disgrace in fact.
Many players with less baggage & much lower that just went for it could have
Still wasn’t an impressive opponent for a slam final.


calmdownplease Says:

I’m not trying to say Roger isn’t one of the greatest ever or something.
I just also think that, well, he was pretty lucky in the earlier part of his career
It’s pretty straightforward really…


jane Says:

ben if you listen to annaconne’s comments he kind of makes sense. he says fed could play more or less how he wanted because he was better than most of his competition and so he dominated. but he says that when nadal, novak and andy came up fed had to begin to be more strategically conscious, more thoughtful about match-ups, and he had to evolve more as a player, which annaconne thinks is great because it made him even better. it’s actually a really interesting video, and i think annaconne meant no disrespect. you should watch it; as a fed fan or tennis fan it’s insightful.


courbon Says:

Skeezer, you know in Western movies they often shot the messenger?
Joking aside,It’s a good article and tells how it is.


elina Says:

Nadal’s easier opponents? Must’ve missed something.

Federer occasionally beat them? Not Rafa in slams on any surface since 2007. 0-5 since.


madmax Says:

As simple as this:

There is no weak era because Federer transcends eras.


madmax Says:

Then there are the members of the “weak era” who did win majors, such as Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero. And let’s not forget two-time major champion Marat Safin, who many observers back at the turn of the century thought would dominate the sport for a decade. Sure, Safin didn’t take the game as seriously as the top players today, but he could beat any of them. (He topped Djokovic at the 2008 Wimbledon, long after his best days were behind him.) He just might have won more major titles if not for Federer, who beat the big Russian in four of their five Grand Slam meetings.

http://www.oregonlive.com/the-spin-of-the-ball/index.ssf/2014/10/the_roger_federer_and_rafael_n.html


madmax Says:

elina,

there is a lot of information out there about the so-called weak era. Personally? I don’t think it ever existed.

Regarding Nadal, this is what has been said, but we all have our own opinions on it. The weak era argument from 2 years ago:

The weak era still is useless.

First of all look at fed’s records vs the others (minus Nadal)

Djokovic: 16-15 and 6-5 in GS

Murray: 10-11(winning 8 of their last 13 matches) and 4-1 in GS

Del Potro: 15-5 and 5-1 in GS

Tsonga: 10-4 and 4-2 in GS

Berdych: 11-6 and 4-2 in GS

So basically the only player that has troubled Fed is Nadal. His record against Nadal skews his overall H2H vs the others. Otherwise, he still has proven to be the best of the new generation.

And if you want to talk about weak era look at Nadal’s draws at the USO when he won the titles. Federer had to beat much tougher players on his way to pretty much all of his finals at the USO.

Furthermore, there is another argument here about draws, but not going there. :)

My philosophy – you play the opponent other side of the net and you either beat him or you win against him.

Doesn’t matter who it is. Job done. Keep doing it. Get to the final. Win the trophy. Add to your collection.

Be happy.


madmax Says:

“lose against him”. Oops.


calmdownplease Says:

Look, the reality of the situation is that most people in the know (like Annacone and by suggestion Roger himself), excluding many died in the wool Fed Fans, KNOW this era is one of the strongest ever, or was until recently, and 2003 was..shall we say, less so.
Maybe we should rename it, the `less strong era` or a inbetween era or something (sadly with less of a ring), because it had it moments and there were some pretty good players going for it.
`Weak Era` might be a little unfair.
But it was most definitely the weak-er era…


calmdownplease Says:

`There is no weak era because Federer transcends eras.`

This comment has a strange religious overtone to it.
mmmm


Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, I didn’t see the video or the comments. But that makes a lot of sense and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Federer literally toyed with his opponents for 3 years and only lost 15 matches. Then Nadal poses a match up problem. Djokovic and Murray learn from Nadal and pose their own problems. Suddenly Federer has to figure out how to undo what they figured out. And it’s made for some of the best matches we’ve ever seen between all of these guys.

CDP, you should look at Baghdatis’ 2006 run. Finals of Australia beating quality players. Then semis of Wimbledon losing to Nadal (who always beat him). He was a very good player. But he didn’t dedicate himself to fitness enough. That’s what sets Berdych a part. Because until 2010 he was pretty much the same as Baghdatis. Just a talented guy not doing anything. Then he got fit and made deeper results. But he still only has 1 slam final and still always loses to the top players.

Tsonga isn’t that dissimilar either. He also only has 1 slam and has made some deep runs here and there. However his problem has been injuries more than anything. I believe Gonzalez also dealt with a lot of injuries throughout his career, and I think that’s why he retired relatively early.

And yeah, in 2010, Nadal played Soderling, Berdych, and a serve-less Djokovic to win his slams. 1 combined slam between those 3. How different is that from Federer beating Baghdatis, Nadal, and Roddick in 06 (3 combined slams)? Or Gonzalez, Nadal, and Djokovic in 07 (3 combined slams)? Or even Safin, Roddick, and Hewitt in 04 (4 combined slams)?


elina Says:

madmax, by that reasoning if Nadal is the only player to trouble Roger, then who troubles Nadal?


calmdownplease Says:

Apologies,
But I am just going to agree with Roger Federer and Paul Annacone and say that this era is considerably deeper and more competitive than Fed’s early one.
Sorry!


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer’s generation: Haas, Ferrero, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian. For the most part, right?

Going into 2004, Ferrero, Roddick, and Federer held 3 of the 4 majors, the other being a still very good Agassi. Roddick was number 1, with Federer and Ferrero close behind. Nalbandian had a slam final and Safin had 1 slam and 1 final. Federer also had losing records to Ferrero, Nalbandian, and Hewitt. Winning records over Safin and Roddick.

At the Australian Open, Federer beat Hewitt, Nalbandian, Ferrero, and Safin in that order to claim his second slam and the number 1 ranking. He set the freaking tone for what was to come. From there, he sprinted past all of them. Ferrero, unfortunately, got sick at some point and never recovered. Nalbandian never dedicated himself to fitness. Safin was both a head case and had various injuries. Hewitt fought for a while but eventually had his own injuries and, like Roddick, limitations in his game.

Federer was fit, almost never had injuries, and had a game that was successful everywhere. He was simply the best. And he accumulated the records to position himself as the best of all time.

It wasn’t a transition era. It wasn’t a weak era. It was the Federer era.


calmdownplease Says:

`Then he got fit and made deeper results. But he still only has 1 slam final and still always loses to the top players..`

I think not (quite).
And he has beaten fed in a slam (inc Wimbledon) twice
And Andy at the FO, for example.


elina Says:

semantics.


Margot Says:

@Kath
I was really surprised they’re playing Evans. Kind of disappeared off the radar this year, due to injury I believe.
The doubles pairing is Jamie and Dom.
So nice if they could win!
Good Luck Team GB!


calmdownplease Says:

`It wasn’t a transition era. It wasn’t a weak era. It was the Federer era.`

Yes, a Fed era against, as you say, Ferrero Roddick and Hewitt
Philipoussy, Bagdhatis etc


calmdownplease Says:

`So nice if they could win!`

They should do
They’ve just come off the semis and the final of a slam!
It can’t be just won by Andy
It’s not fair and it really messed him up too.


Ben Pronin Says:

Berdych’s win over Federer and Murray came in quarterfinal rounds. His only semifinal round win came against Djokovic. It was also his best slam run where he beat Federer and Djokovic back to back, only to lose to Nadal in straight sets in the final. He hasn’t even come close to replicating that kind of run since then, 5 years now. He’s a “dangerous” player and nothing more. He can barely, if at all, win small titles. I’m not saying he’s worse than Baghdatis, but the level of play is certainly comparable when looking at their best results.


Ben Pronin Says:

Guys who would’ve ended as great players if Federer wasn’t so much better. It took 3 guys 5-6 years younger than him to push him out of his comfort zone and challenge him at his level. Yes, a few guys from Nadal’s generation were stronger than Federer’s generation. But guys like Blake, Gonzalez, Roddick, Nalbandian still gave the younger players plenty of fits. Ferrer has been in the top 10 for ages and he’s closer to Federer’s generation than to Nadal’s.

No one had ever dominated the way Federer had. And at 34 Federer still dominates the rest of the field except for the number 1 ranked player 6 years younger than him (who he’s 2-4 against this year). I don’t know what your expectations are but there’s little doubt that Federer is the GOAT.


calmdownplease Says:

Berdych only beat them at the quarterfinal
Is it better to lose against a top player in a slam final like Baggy than beat one in a QF?
Don’t think so
We are chasing our tails here
Let’s agree to disagree,
Shall we?
:)


jane Says:

one thing about berdych and tsonga; to their credit, both of them have beaten all of the “big 4″ in a slam, and both have reached the finals of a slam by taking out one or more on the way there (in fact i think both took out 2 of the big 4 on their way to the finals, but the last hurdle was too much… )


jane Says:

i’d say berdy did come close to that run ben. at us open 2012, he reached semis (taking out fed) and then pushed murray rather hard in the semis. that’s “close”? this year, too, he took out nadal at the AO and gave andy a fairly decent match in the semis. it’s always been that “second” step that’s been hard for tomas, but he’s fairly often put himself in contention.


Ben Pronin Says:

Berdych is better than Baghdatis. But he’s not a good example of how strong this era is.

In 2010 he reached a slam semi and final, just like Baghdatis did in 06. Since then Berdych has 3 additional slam semis, never more than 1 in the same year. Baghdatis is known for being a fatty like Nalbandian. Berdych is known for having tree trunk legs. My point is, they’re not that far a part as far as the level of tennis they can produce. The difference is Berdych worked on his fitness and it allowed him to remain near the top of the game. So yeah, he’s snagged some wins over the top 4. Upsets happen.


jane Says:

skeezer my comment about chris chase’s article is this:
enough with the stupid unloved articles.

firstly, they are not entirely true. i know tons of people who love novak and he has 6 million plus fans on FB. so yeah.

second, and more importantly, tennis is not a popularity contest. it’s a sport. the “who cares?” part is the best part of the article, only he then goes on to expound about something he says we shouldn’t care about, lol. ironic no?

it’s so freaking STUPID and once again this sort of focus merely circumvents what novak has accomplished on the court – in his game! – and makes it about what he hasn’t done, thus perpetuating a negative perspective.

please, enough!

he’s having on of the greatest seasons EVER matching things that fed did in 06, mac in 84, and even reaching 4 slam finals like laver/fed.

it’s backward and juvenile to focus on popularity. sure, the crowd were belligerent. we’ve said it. that had more to do with a kind of fervour than a dislike, perhaps.

now can we talk about tennis achievements?


Ben Pronin Says:

What does it say about the era if Nadal’s only loss to Baghdatis came in 2010? When he was at the peak of his powers?


elina Says:

“It took 3 guys 5-6 years younger”

And they did it while that was a disadvantage.

No doubt about GOAT? Ask Agassi.


elina Says:

It says anyone can have an off day out of 10 years.


Ben Pronin Says:

How was it a disadvantage? Nadal won his first slam at 19 and Djokovic his at 20. At the time, 20 was considered late. Federer won his first slam at 21 going on 22? He was considered a late bloomer. I think Murray reached his first final at 20, too.

Being young wasn’t a disadvantage in tennis until the last few years when Nadal and then Djokovic made fitness the highest priority. But not just that, none of the younger players have shown the necessary fight and resolve to compete with the best players. Raonic is actually the only who but he’s had injuries and game limitations.

Gasquet, Nadal, and Berdych won their first matches against Federer. Obviously Nadal turned out to be extra special but that was the norm. Young talented players upending the top guys because the top guys didn’t know their games yet. Murray was the top-10 killer until 2008 when he finally became top 10 himself. He was often criticized for not showing up against lesser players but doing well against the top 10. I remember reading how if the rankings still gave out bonus points for beating higher ranked guys Murray would be well inside the top 10 inside of middling on the outside.


sienna Says:

it is relative easy for Djokovic to get master tournee. He doesnt have to play 5set final to start tuesday 1th round week after first master.
So master can never be used in goathood.


jane Says:

true; novak won his first slam at 20, but it took 3 more years until he was really physically/mentally ready to challenge for more. and same with murray; it took him 4 more years after reaching a final to win one. and same with rafa even; other than at the french, it took him until 08/09 to triumph at other slams. so i don’t know…maybe they weren’t ready until early 20/mid 20s just like fed?


skeezer Says:

@Courban
lol! ;)


skeezer Says:

“It says anyone can have an off day out of 10 years.”
This is true, Check the stats, or Agassi.


jalep Says:

Unbelievable. Haven’t been big fan of Federer winning since 2009 – really thought Murray was ready to beat Federer 2010 AO and definitely after AO 2010, absolutely thought it was time for Rafa to take over as #1. What happened at the US Open 2010 was that Novak beat Federer at US Open semi-final and it was a big boost to Novak, though losing the final to Rafa. Novak went gluten-free, won Davis Cup and the combination catapulted him both in mind and body into a zone and to the player to grab #1 and the tennis game to get the best of Rafa and Federer with increasing success.

If there was a weak era, it didn’t end in 2007, it ended in 2011. However I’m skeptical.

*digressing alert…side-tracked by nostalgia below*

Words about the mono: there are players that get honest allowance to have mono and respected for time to get over it but Federer in general isn’t one of them — it doesn’t fit anti-Federer narratives. By now however at least players like Petra Kvitova, who also remained playing while getting over it but not at her best level as we see spring and summer – get believed and her mono is a respectable reason for the drop in level of play.

Federer was in his prime in 2008 but was affected by mono (tested and diagnosed with it). For at least the first half of the year: the symptoms hit him enough to impact his level (margins are small at the top) and he had that odd thing, boil, carbuncle, canker sore, whatever it was on his face as a sort of barometer of his health, imo. It had faded mostly by 2008 US Open but he wasn’t in the best shape after 2008 US Open. He had to withdraw from tournaments that fall, tried to play Tour Finals but his back was still a problem. You can try to keep your elite level of fitness with mono – but pushing it is an injury risk – he paid the price. Enough about the mono – but it was real and my point is that anti-feds I think still scoff and dismiss it, which is hypocritical in my view.

The mono is a digression from weak era topic but is relevant to mention because it did accelerate the end of Federer’s prime. Federer would go on to have years with seasonal peaks – and his story isn’t over regards tennis – still playing…

But I’m supposed to be sleeping. Worked nights’ again but can’t wait to get to the list of players from the ‘weak era’; the distortions, perceptions over time, and other reasons why it’s not in itself enough evidence for weak era.

Minister of dis-information/ information has a very selectively permeable membrane when osmosis is taking place reading this thread but first need some sleep. This may have to wait for the weekend – but I’ll be up for it.
Cheers. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Best wishes to Okiegal – thoughts are with you.


elina Says:

Exactly skeezer. Glad you see it that way. It is called a statistical anomaly. Bravo!

Yes Ben but look at when those wet behind the ear young ones won their two first slams when many here would claim that Fed was at his best (even though Fed and myself would disagree).


chris ford1 Says:

I know the weak era argument sets Fed fans on edge, but it is not an argument that claims Fed was a worthless bum, a 130 lb weakling pushing around 100 lb weaklings. Roger is a bona fide all-time great and arguments can be made he is the best all-court player and champion even without factoring in his padded weak era stats.
But I think you cannot just say a Slam is a Slam is a Slam! without accepting that the competition makes a big difference. Or acknowledging Borg skipping the then-not truly Slam level AO when it was grass when Borg ruled grass courts elsewhere made a big difference. Career longevity makes a difference, too. And H2H and accomplishments elsewhere in tennis have to be added in a discussion. Pure H2H is too simplistic.

That Fed is an all-time great player who continued to have significant accomplishments after the weak era ended does not disprove the weak era existed.
It started with Hewitt, really, until Fed’s game came together and he took over from the feisty Aussie runt’s dominance of 75 straight weeks as #1. There were some very good players in the weak era besides Fed. But luck favored Fed in that Safin, Nalbandian, Haas were always injured, mentally out of sorts, rehabbing. Roddick, to my mind, was a great player who was raised to be a great serve and volleyer just when that strategy was being blown up by slower courts and new string tech – and he was unable to adapt – his bad footwork and tactics relegating him to just one Slam.
Until Rafa came, then Muzz and Nole..Fed was effectively the big fish in a small pond.


J-Kath Says:

@ Ben Pronin – I’d have loved Tsonga to win a slam – but don’t think he has. Which One?

At Margo – the doubles depend on early results – it leans towards Andy playing with Jamie if required. Don’t like it at all.


Ben Pronin Says:

I meant Tsonga made 1 slam final.

Some slams are won easier than others. But the padded stats notion is so ridiculous. Why didn’t Sampras pad his stats when Agassi was doing meth? How tough was Borg’s competition outside of like 3 players in winning the French and Wimbledon?

Federer didn’t end Hewitt’s run. In 2003 it was a 3 man race between Ferrero, Roddick, and Federer. And it looked like it would be that way going forward. Hewitt, too. Maybe even Safin. Instead, Federer sprinted ahead of everyone.

Is Nadal that much better than Djokovic or Murray the way Federer is that much better than his generation?

Hewitt was the youngest number 1 because he was able to take advantage of playing during Sampras’ aging generation and his own younger generation being 10 years a part. But once his own generation started to peak, they were above the rest of the field. Then Federer turned out to be above that. That’s why he was being proclaimed the GOAT after only 2 years (04-05).

2003 is basically what 2012 was.


J-Kath Says:

Okiegal

Thinking about you.


J-Kath Says:

Thinking about you.


elina Says:

You guys! When you think about it, other than Roger, it must have been the strongest era of all time because from 2003-07, other than Roger, only Roddick and a wet behind the ears Nadal to more than two slam finals!

2008-2012 four players made more than FIVE slam finals by comparison.


Travis Bickle Says:

Here is my post from another site…

An interesting comparison.
Who had the harder path to his first 10 majors?
Or, which era was weaker?

I say it is not even close – Novak had 6 out of 10 wins against the all-time greats, whereas Fed had only one (Rafa), another one was against “an almost all-time great” (Agassi), and the other eight were against “just OK” players, who are extremely unlikely to make hall of fame.

Here are the stats… draw your own conclusions.

Opponents for the first 10 GS titles for Federer and Djokovic:

Federer:
1. Philippoussis
2. Safin
3. Roddick
4. Hewitt
5. Roddick
6. Agassi
7. Baghdatis
8. Nadal
9. Roddick
10. González

Djokovic:
1. Tsonga
2. Murray
3. Nadal
4. Nadal
5. Nadal
6. Murray
7. Federer
8. Murray
9. Federer
10. Federer


Gypsy Gal Says:

Thinking of you Okiegal if your reading my dear ethereal friend,im saying a prayer and doing some healing for you XXXX….


Markus Says:

A lot of the arguments here won’t pass Wog Boy’s logic 101. That’s what happens when you use parameters that are so variable, non-quantifiable and none are exactly the same for subjects being compared. The conclusions are mostly, if not all invalid.


Emily Says:

These comments and discussions are interesting, but I did have question. i don’t discount any grand slam win, no matter the opponents. I was just wondering whether fed ever beat the number 1 and number 2 players to win a slam, or did that situation never arise? I’m not going to pretend that I’m not asking that b/c that’s what Stan did in both his wins, but I am genuinely interested with the debates over who had the toughest competition.

BTW, don’t remember if I congratulated novak’s fans, but he had an amazing year, especially considering he had more slam wins then Serena. Like most people here, I thought the crowd was disgraceful and Novak was able to block them out by just focusing on his game which would be impossible for most other players. However, I don’t think Novak is a lock for the slams next year, but he definitely has an advantage if he keeps playing like this.

Also, I think the DC should be interesting this weekend, especially GB vs Australia. Whoever wins that will probably win the whole thing. Every match for the Swiss is being played by Fedrinka, which is surprising since they both only just got back from New York. Also, Spain really brought out their A squad, which is a nice change, even if you want to be cynical and say it’s for the Olympics.


Ben Pronin Says:

There’s no question Djokovic has had the most ridiculous slam finals opponents, on average, compared to anyone except (poor) Murray.

Elina, so what makes an era weak? Not having multiple players make multiple slam wins/finals? Isn’t it possible the rest of the field was stronger so it was more difficult to make multiple finals? As compared to the same 4, 5 players constantly making finals over everyone else? Djokovic has often been off or not at his best this year and yet he set a record of not having dropped a single set in the first week of any slam this season. So you can say Djokovic is just that good or the players he’s facing in the first 3 rounds just aren’t that strong.

The focus on who Federer played in slam finals vs the other guys is a really myopic view to begin with. I gave an example of the 2004 Australian Open where Federer beat multiple players who were near or at the top of their games. It’s similar to what Djokovic did at the 2011 Australian Open (beating Berdych, Federer and Murray in straight sets).

But how often does it really happen that you play, and win, a crazy draw like that? Djokovic was 2 sets away from completing one of the most epic slam runs in history at the French this year. But it’s just not that easy. Federer winning 2012 Wimbledon by beating Murray and Djokovic back to back is a crazy accomplishment. Same goes for Djokovic beating Nadal and Federer at the 2011 US Open. Or Murray Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open.

There are great runs. But they’re not the norm. The average top 10 opponents during a slam win is 2. Top 20-15 opponents is 3. So usually you’re playing 3-4 guys ranked outside the top 20 in making a slam semi, final, or win. If it’s harder to make a slam final in a given year, doesn’t that mean the guys ranked outside the top 20 are that much better? Aka the field is deeper? Aka the competition is actually stronger, overall? Aka the era isn’t weak but strong?

Anything can be spun to make your argument look right. Elina, you keep trying to claim that Federer is playing his best tennis. Why? So that you can say Nadal and Djokovic are better than him (or at least Djokovic). But it’s impossible and not the case no matter how hard you want to spin things.


Ben Pronin Says:

Emily, Federer has beaten 1 and 4 back-to-back. And he once beat 5-4-3 back-to-back-to-back. But never 1-2. He’s got the opportunity twice, I think. Both times he lost to Nadal.


elina Says:

That is what I said Ben, isn’t it? I agree with your reasoning. That it was anything BUT a weak era.

2002-07, like you explained, with so many players making just one slam final, players like Johanson, Costa, Schuttler, Verkerk, Philippoussis, Gaudio, Coria, Puerta, Bagdhatis, Gonzalez, just goes to show you that there were so many great players at the same time!


Ben Pronin Says:

Why is the cut-off 01-07? Why not start at 2000 or 1999 when Sampras was no longer number 1?

And I’m guessing 07 is the end because Djokovic became a slamp champ in 08? Or that’s when Federer lost the number 1 ranking?

Shouldn’t we at least start with 03, when Federer won his first slam? Or 04 when he became number 1? And end at 09, the last year he finished number 1? Or 2012, when Murray finally won a slam? Or 2013 when Federer fell out of the top 5?

See how easy it is to make arbitrary cut offs to help your argument?


Markus Says:

We often consider only the protagonists in the finals and overlook that there were other big names entered but never made it that far. When one wins a tournament, you have not beaten only that one man in that finals. You have basically defeated everybody entered that year.


Daniel Says:

Peter,
Hewitt was #1 in a young age, something Murray is yet to achieve. Him ans Nalbandian use to have a commanding HxH versus Fed and they are his contemporanies. Fed was able tomfind way and reverse that agains them.

In case many will jump and say Fed can’t solve Nadal and Djoko, they are 5-6 younger than him. Fed is so good that as he last through 3-4 different generations he is able to play this well and the only one who will have a decisive HxH versus him will be Nadal. Fed and Djoko are 21-21 and even if Fed loses next 5, 26-21 still is a respectable HxH considering the age gap and that the bulk of Djoko’s victory will come after Fed was 28.

So Fed was dominant player whi solve all players frok his generation and dominates them all. Some playera don’t even has a win agaisnt him as Ferrer and Youzhny.

His main problem is that he is too good and not aftaid to lose to Nadal on clay nor Djoko now that he is past his prime and Djoko is in his. No shame at all!!


Markus Says:

not “that year” but rather “in that tournament”.


kriket Says:

It’s too soon and unrealistic to pose such a question now. It is realistic for me that he reaches 14 slams but only if he makes it in the next two seasons.

Beyond that it’s impossible to predict anything with any realistic arguments.


kriket Says:

Đoković has had the most difficult field when he started winning slams and became no.1

He had Federer and Nadal both at their best or near best. And they’re both GOAT candidates if not GOAT themselves.

It’s only natural that the opposition becomes weaker, because it cannot become any tougher than it was.


elina Says:

You can start at any time mentioned. All valid options.

I agree 2000-07 was just as strong as 2001-07, 2002-07 or 2003-07.

I’ve explained 2008-12 because four players made it to more than five finals.

There is an obvious divide.


kriket Says:

People should realise that Federer is still at his best, beating everyone apart for his archnemesis.

First it was Rafa, now it’s Novak.

Federer has some mental issue that prevents him playing at his best against such opponents. His level of play drastically drops when facing them.

It’s clearly a mental issue, not his age not anything else, because he beats everyone else just as easily as 8-10 years ago.

So we should conclude that that’s the real issue with Federer’s game, some kind of mental blockade when facing his archnemesis of the time, Rafa in the past and Novak nowadays. There’s no other explanation that fits.


Ben Pronin Says:

Why is 5 finals the cut off?


kriket Says:

Therefore, Federer can still win a slam, if it so happens that he avoids facing Novak in the finals, or earlier in the tournament for that matter.

Just like when he won the FO for the first time, escaping Rafa. He can win any GS the same way if he escapes Novak.


Markus Says:

Agree, kriket. Novak is the new Rafa (to Roger).


elina Says:

Why not?

Besides, Who said anything about a cut-off. Use three or four if you prefer and the same four players appear.

It was an observation to show the obvious differences before and after 2008. That’s all.

Whether it implies weak or strong is not up to me to decide.


kriket Says:

Yeah Markus. History is only repeating itself concerning Roger and his unexplainable lower performance when playing a certain player who happens to beat him on regular basis.

First it was Rafa, now it’s Novak. And with that being the case, no other explanation is needed. It’s a mental issue with Roger, and having that issue questions his GOATness, because a GOAT should not have mental impediments when facing a particular opponent.

Rafa has been beaten thoroughly ba Novak and yet he came back afterwards and beat him back – he didn’t have any permanent issue with playing Novak. Only Roger had that particular problem.


kriket Says:

One has to admit that Novak had the hardest job in 2011. having to overcome Rafa and Fed to become World No.1 They’re 2 of the best players ever, and he had to beat them repeatedly back to back to win tournaments/slams. That was the strongest era, with 3 or 4 elite players, playing at the same time.

Things could only get easier from then on for Novak.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m gonna choose 4 as the slam final baseline.

From 2000-2007 you have Roddick (4), Hewitt (4), Safin (4), Agassi (5), Nadal (5), Federer (14), and Sampras (4).

That’s 7 players. If we use 3, it might increase by 1 or 2 more players.


kriket Says:

I would even go as far as to claim that if Novak plays Federer in a slam final, he wins that slam.

Everyone else, could trouble him more, be it Murray or Wawa. I think Novak too, if he could choose his opponent in a slam final from those 3, he’s choose Fed everyday and twice on sunday.


kriket Says:

Murray or Stan could have a good day or a bad day, and beat Novak on their good day.

Federer plays consistently good/bad enough in their matches to lose them in 4 sets max.


Daniel Says:

Some of you said that Djoko doesn’t need 17 to be better than Federer, that with 15 and depending on his other records that would do for GOAT.

Question: If Djoko next year reaches 12, with RG will he be better than Nadal than? I don’t include Samoras here because Djoko would still be far from his #1 records. But he already has more weeks as #1 than Nadal, more YE#1 than Nadal, will probably next year have the same or more Masters, also could tie or surpass HxH, more WTF, possible another Olympic, even gold and possible tie number of titles won or be close, with less than 2-3 difference.

Will he than be consider better than Nadal, because the only thing left to achieve would be total majors won and Nadal, if he doesn’t add anymore, will still be clay dependent?! Curious to see what will happen.


elina Says:

Well you are comparing an eight year span to a five year span there.

It makes sense to compare equal periods of time quantitatively.


elina Says:

Yes Daniel, I think one could definitely make an argument once Novak is that close in slam counts given his WTF titles.


Daniel Says:

“he didn’t have any permanent issue with playing Novak”

kirket, ket’s see how that will play out now that Novak is up and Nadla is down. Nadal already has 2 loses, 5 sets lost and he kind of was lucky to avoid Novak in 3 North America tourneys. They are in Beijing, Shangai, Paris and WTF and I would be very surprised if they don’t meet one more time.

Is easier to look at Fed and his rivalry with Nagal and Djoko because he was in his prime, than decrease, than get back to another good level and is still playing. Nadal and Novak haven’t reach their decline yet (at least age wise). The case cold be made that Nadal is somehow in decline since RG 2014 so how he will fare this next couple of years will tell us a lot. History is still being written regarding the 3 of them and is easy to look only from Djoko’s side now.

Fed dominated all players from his generation, even the ones he had bad HxH to begin with (Hewitt, Nalbandian and even Agassi). His fault is being too good for too long and playing 3-4 different generations of players. And if you have a macro look, only 1 payer really dominated him (Nadal), Djoko HxH is still even and even if Djoko wins next 5 it won’t be as bad. Murray he is leading by a small margin and if he ends his career with losing HxH to Nadal (certain), Djoko (very likely) and Murray (possible) it wouldn’t mean much as the bulk of this losses was after he was 28.

In a way Djoko is kind of lucky because there isn’t any future double digit Slam to challenge him right now or in the near future, so he may never have to deal with what Fed did. Of curse he was bad lucky to face 2 all time great on top of him but even so, one nullify the other.

Nadal had to deal with Djoko, which is 1 year younger, and look the damage that was made and possibly increase.


Ben Pronin Says:

03-07 had Federer, Roddick and Nadal make 4 or more plus Safin, Hewitt, and Agassi with 2 a piece.

08-12 only had 4 players make more than 1 final.


J-Kath Says:

Agree CDP – the DCP must not be due to A. Murray irrespective of whether Jamie is/isn’t his partner.

Peter @ 9.26 – Nole the 2nd youngest player – yes – one week younger than Andy.


Wog Boy Says:

Daniel,
It was me that said that said that Nole doesn’t to have 17GS in order to enter discussion (mind you, not to be declared), 15 will do if the other results follow.
To answer your other question, yes, absolutely yes, if he has 12GS including FO, he can be considered even or better than Nadal due to other results.


chris ford1 Says:

I would like to introduce a new perspective on the Nole vs. the field argument.
When Djokovic was a younger player, he “missed” about a year and a half of “Academy-level” instruction compared to others at Niki Pilic’s, due to war disruptions and lack of sponsors. He was also judged to have great gifts in speed and natural ball striking ability – but not be at the talent level of Ernie Gulbis. Pilic said he initially thought Djokovic was going to be a pro, but not a star. But what soon set Nole apart, quickly reaching parity with Gulbis and other teens – was a combination of intelligence, drive, and high coachability all working together.

(Gulbis BTW, is a very, very smart young man – along with his other pluses starting out on his life)

Then when money was tight again, Djokovic missed another 7 months at Pilic’s. A reason why Nole was not out there winning the big Juniors trophies and why he had a about year needed to catch up with his age group peers when he went pro. In the interim, he apparently impressed his Serb teachers quite a bit. A few said they talked to Nole about university if his strange quest for the unknown in Serbia sport of tennis did not work out. They saw his future in law, medicine, or military academy.

To the present – this stuff adds to Djokovics strengths. As does his skill at mimicry. He studies his opponents and picks up the essentials of their strengths and weaknesses readily – much as he intuits what are their most recognizable traits and body language (which had him doing spot-on imitations as early as grade school). In tennis, the good student studies opponents hard, learns the key strengths and weaknesses before a match and adjusts during a match. Djokovic has always been a good student. While his foes are by no means dummies, Berdych, who is also a perceptive sort as proven on Twitter, considers Djokovics greatest strength his ability to understand and anticipate the moves of his foe and where the ball is going.
That’s why Nole eats up players that have predictable patterns – like Tsonga, Ferrer, Nadal in 2011. And why Fed’s matches with him are close and usually very high quality. Roger knows this, and tries not to give Djokovic patterns to exploit.


kriket Says:

I also have to say I disagree with the argument that Novak is “on the wrong side” of his prime, and that his physical decline is just around the corner.

Surely he’s not getting any younger, but he can easily maintain the same level for at least 2 more years if not more, given his physical and mental predispositions.

It’s simply too early to speak of Novak’s post-prime era, although the title of this article calls for such debate, I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere. I think Ben is talking about it.

Just look at Fed. At 34 he is just as sharp as he was at 29. And if it wasn’t for Novak, he would’ve won Wimbledon and USOpen this year.

Novak has the same if not better predisposition to keep playing at the same lvl years from now, just like Federer. He’s not prone to injuries, he is fit, he is lightweight just enough not to lug around any unnecessary body weight, keeping his skeleton in-tact.

And he doesn’t have Federer’s mental impediment when facing his archrival whoever that might be at the time.

So, even if he isn’t as sharp as Roger when playing the rest of the field, he can improve his level in the finals in contrast to Federer who drops his level when facing Novak.

So I don’t know, I think Novak’s “problem” is better than Fed’s.

He’s still only 28, he reached his prime later in his life compared to Rog/Rafa. He didn’t start to dominate in his early 20s as they did, but he doesn’t seem to plan to stop in near future.

They have accomplished, one might say, everything by their late 20s, and Novak too has accomplished much, but I sense that he still wants more, that he isn’t done in any way by far. That he still has that same desire, maybe even moreso now that true GOATness is within his reach.

Btw, I would love to see Federer play in front of such a hostile crowd and see how he does. I know it’ll never happen, but would be curious to see just how he copes.

Some people noticed that he didn’t celebrate his latest victory too much, and even the previous one at Wimbledon. They interpret that behaviour as that Novak doesn’t play for the moment but for the future, where he hopes to become (one of) the best player(s) in history, or at least place himself firmly in that place, in that debate.

That one victory is just a step forward in that direction, but the journey is far from over from his POV, therefore he doesn’t celebrate too much, until he reaches his goal (in his own view, for many people even now recognize him as one of the best ever), and that means being in the top 2 debate.


Daniel Says:

Also, Fed’s longevity could have a negative impact in his resume as it’s already happening with the “can’t beat Djoko in Slam effect”. We don’t know if Nadal or Djoko would be that good in 33/34. In Nadal’s case we already have some indications that he won’t, this 2016 he turn 30 and the “third” phase of his career begins, if he doesn’t keep top 5 Status, never reach anther major finals, play for 2 3 more years and keeps losing to lower ranked players it hardly will effect his career much in the way that he won’t play the top dogs much and some of his records will not be tested. For example, Fed lost his last 3 majors finals, but because he was good enough to reach that far. If Nadal does’t reach anymore he would have won his last, will keep his 14-6 ratio which is one of the tops in mens tennis, and probably lose a few more matches to Fed, Djoko or Murray, or even fellow top 10. He will have a slow decline but his records will still be all there. Not saying that this will happen but if he never return to top form again one can clearly see the impact. He will not go through what Federer is going now (nor even with late success: 5 titles this season including a Masters, 2 slams finals back to back) but h won’t put himself in a position toolset big matches anymore as Federer is.

So, what is better, play high quality tennis for a Spam of 10 year than fade into oblivion (or early retire as Borg) or keep playing at a high level but not close to your former 8-10 best years, for 13-15 years and risk not having the same success as before?!

Which will be consider the greater career? In my eyes, longevity beats, even if you are not the top dog (as it’s clear Djokovic now). We are talking only about Federer but what about Murray who haven’t beat Djoko in a Slam since Wimby 2013. The only one who beat Djoko more than once in Slam last 2 years was Stan and e is not getting any younger and pretty soon father time will knock on his doors as well. He maybe will be able to cause an upset 1 more year, in AO or RG, and that still is a big IF.

So it’s not just Federer who is not beating Djokovic in Slams (nobody else is), Fed and Murray lost 3 times to Djoko last 2 years in Slams, Nadal once (won 1) and Wawa lost 2 won 2.


elina Says:

From 2003-07, only three players made it to more than two finals one of which was an 18-20 year old.

2008-2012 four players made more than FIVE slam finals by comparison.

You can obfuscate it any way you want but that is a stunning difference.


Ben Pronin Says:

What about mental burn out? Look at the way Federer’s lost some matches since 2011. Or Nadal since 2013.

Even if Djokovic remains physically fit, which he most probably will, that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to maintain this unbelievably consistent level.

At some point you have to think going deep every week and playing close matches is gonna wear on him. Maybe not next year, but at some point down the line.

Some people think the reason Agassi was so good in his 30s is because he missed so much time during his 20s. Federer, in a way, missed 2013. We’ve seen how strong Nadal has bounced back in the past after missing time on your. Djokovic has been in the final of all but 1 event he’s played this year. It’s not just that he doesn’t have a physical break, but he doesn’t have a mental one either. And this year that seems to have helped him. He said as much after winning Wimbledon. He likes that Wimbledon is so soon after the French because it keeps him in that slam winning mentality. Rather than having time to rue his loss he’s right back to playing intense matches.

At some point, that’s gonna stop being such a benefit.


kriket Says:

Daniel, I completely agree longevity would have to be considered in player’s career accomplishments, more than H2H records.
If a player can maintain top level for more than a decade, that speaks for itself about that player’s greatness.

Federer being the top dog in that aspect at the moment.


Daniel Says:

kriket, agree also ref Djoko’s decline.

I think he can make an even better year next year. If he wins RG, another slam and Olympics gold it would already be a phenomenal year. Add that Cincy (eventually Fed would stop winning those) and he gets everything that is to achieve. Also think with him (following Fed), we’ll see a new trend of players playing high level into their low thirties.

History is still against Fed and Djoko, but they can be the point out of the curve, as Wawa currently solely is.

Wot Boy,

I agree only if he has more than 250 weeks as #1, same amount as year end #1 (5) or more than Fed. Which is almost assure for him to reach 15 Slams, more masters, same or more WTF,and positive HxH, and RG. he’ll need to excel, or be top 3 in all the main categories tone consider GOAT with less Slams.

Also, if he achieve the Djoko Slam holding 4 at the same time and he definitely won’t need tote or pass 17, because will be a feat so unprecedented in today’s game that will eclipse everything else.


jane Says:

“It’s a mental issue with Roger”

i don’t think you can reduce it to ONLY this kriket. i think it’s playing style. both rafa and novak force fed out of his comfort zone and make him run/defend more. with rafa being a lefty it was also about exposing or targeting fed’s backhand. novak actually goes to fed’s forehand almost as much and forces errors from that wing – and it’s not only age because novak did the same thing in the AO 08 semi. you can go back and listen to j-mac or p-mac commenting on how they were surprised to see nole go after fed’s forehand. rafa and novak both also turn defense into offense quite quickly,turning a rally in their favour. i disagree that it’s solely mental. that may be a factor but by no means is it the only one.


Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah, Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer are 3 of the 10 greatest players of all time. All playing near the best of their abilities at the same time. All 3 shared the number 1 ranking and traded off slams and finals.

My issue is the notion of a “weak” era vs a “strong” era. 08-2012 was stronger than 03-07 which was stronger than 99-02. Players get better, the field gets stronger, and in this special case we had the all time player raise the bar to the point where the other 2 all time players had to improve and eventually meet him.

I don’t think Nadal is anything more than a clay court specialist if Federer isn’t around to show him how to be a complete, all-surface player. I don’t think Djokovic improves beyond a capable counter puncher with Nadal and Federer showing him what it takes to be a great champion. All 3 guys credit each other for forcing them to improve. Without Federer there is no Big 3.


elina Says:

And three guys made it to EIGHT finals from 2008-12.


Daniel Says:

Ben, But most of Djoko’s win were “easy” this year. In 2011 I think he was struggling way more and was close to lose several times. Even saved MP’s in his US Open run.

This year he was only tested by Anderson in Wimbledon and played 4 sets with Wawa in RG. This USO he didn’t have a 5 set (yeah, his draw open up), but what if this is the new trend. He is going to win easy now and avoid expending too much energy on court?!
Next AO he is uber favorite having lost once in last 5 years and that in a 5 set 7-9, so if he wins that one in a relative ease manner as this AO, than most of our question will be answered.
Aso, as CF1 pointed he said that still as a lot of tennis to be played this year. In 2011 he kind of burned after USO, last 3 years were not the case and I expect him to replicate that this year as well.

Also he has a very smart schedule as he doesn’t play too many 250 tourneys. he has a 63-5 record this year; 68 matches played; Fed has 51-8: 59 matches; Nadal has 41-15: 56 matches and Murray has 59-10: 69 matches. Murray has ore matches than him and Fed only 9 less as he skipped 3 tourneys. Of course, Djoko was deep in all but once, so this takes something out of it. But don’t see major burn out looming. They will have a break of 3 weeks now until Beijing. Plenty to recover from.


chris ford1 Says:

Pronin – “Without Federer there is no Big 3.”

That’s right. Without Fed there would be a Big 2. Nadal and Nole!!

As for Roger being the Exemplar of Tennis that Rafa and Nole needed to play great tennis themselves….well, yes and no. Clearly Roger set a bar that showed Rafa and Nole how much they had to do to succeed on hardcourt and grass – but both had the speed and ability to win there, frequently, without learning from Rog, when they were just still teens. And Nole, who learned on clay, and was a fine clay player from the outset, had the bar Rafa set.

Both had, and said they had, become better players for Roger being around….but it is hard to see a scenario where either would not have been dominant if Fed had never existed…and say, Murray or Tsonga or Birdy was the boss player instead.


Emily Says:

I agree that Novak has a great read on people and their tactics. Others seem to struggle to subvert his game and even the gimmick that was the SABR didn’t work. I knew from set 1 that Novak was going to win just by being the steadier player. On the other hand, I knew that Stan losing the 1st set in FO wasn’t a disaster bc he was staying with Novak from the baseline. I didn’t know he would then play the 3 sets of his life, but there’s a reason Novak would rather not play him in best of 5. The sad truth is that if djoko could pick his opponent in a final, it would be roger, for all the reasons other people have pointed out.

I do think that nole would have continued to have some battles with delpo if he had stayed healthy, but unfortunately it was not to be. He really is clearly leading the pack right now, and you can’t help but give him credit, even if you are a drunk NY crowd.


Ben Pronin Says:

3 weeks is right now. I’m talking about the long haul. At some point, maintaining the concentration is going to get harder. It does for every great champion.

Also, while he came close to losing at the US Open in 2011, that’s the only time anything was harder for him in 2011. He was dominating his opponents. Handing out bagels like a baker going out of business. This year, he hasn’t been at his best as often as he’d like. At this US Open, he had an easy draw and still struggled in some matches. His only good performances came in round 1 and the semis against a hapless Cilic. It’s the matches where you’re not playing at your best that require more concentration. If he’s zoning, then no problem. But when he’s missing backhands against RBA or Lopez, it requires more mental energy to stay focused, motivated, and to maintain the fight.

That’s where the burn out will come. And that’s when we’ll start seeing him lose to players he dominates. Someone like Cilic or Seppi or even Chardy. Last year in Indian Wells, Cilic won the first set 6-1. Novak fought back and won in 3. But eventually he won’t have it in him to fight back. Not physically, but mentally.

We saw some of this mental fatigue in 2012. He ran the table in 2011, won ridiculous matches to win in Australia 2012, and then started losing some matches. Lost to Murray, Nadal a few times. And it’s not that he lost, but he got handled pretty easily by them. Mental fatigue.


Ben Pronin Says:

CF1, Djokovic and Nadal don’t dominate the way they do if not for Federer.

The last time someone won 3 slams in 1 year was 1988. Federer did it 3 times in 4 years. Nadal didn’t knock Federer off the number 1 spot until he won 2 slams and several Masters titles. He needed a ridiculous amount of points to get there. Same for Djokovic when he overtook Nadal. Even 41 straight matches didn’t help Djokovic get there. He still needed another slam.

Federer set a ridiculous bar of dominance that had never been seen before and hasn’t actually been matched (in a given season, yes, but not over 4 years like he did).

If not for Federer, Nadal would have been number 1 in 05, 06, and 07 with several Masters titles and only 1 slam per year. Federer made it a requirement to win more than 1. This drove Nadal to expand his game as much as possible. The same then applied to Novak. There’s no getting around that.

Yes, they would have been great players, but not at the level we’ve seen. Nadal would have been a clay court specialist and Djokovic would have been a capable counter puncher.


jane Says:

emily, yeah stan is super strong from the baseline, and hard to beat when he’s accurate. sometimes he maybe gives away too many errors, and, at least at the USO, his second serve seemed quite vulnerable, which fed exploited.

as for players being unable “to subvert [novak's] game there’s an interesting article that argues it’s due to novak’s unpredictability…

here’s there link in case anyone feels like reading it. there’s quite a lot of discussion of fed and his game as well.

http://juanjosevallejo.tumblr.com/post/129214949803/14-paragraphs-on-the-difficulty-of-writing-about


Wog Boy Says:

In 2011 Nole shouldn’t have played DC match stright after USO, that is mistake that he made, it was one match to much that costed him the rest of the season, of course it was impossible not to play it being played in his Belgrade in front of the fans that adore him. I am pretty patriotic person but I really hope that from now on he should concentrate on his career he has done enough by winning DC for Serbia.

About SABR, I don’t think it’s fair to Andy to call it SABR since he is playing it for a years on regular basis, should I remind you on Shanghai few years back when Andy made Roger doing four (methinks) double faults in one single game by playing exactly the same shot SABA (sneak attack by Andy).


Ahfi Says:

Ben,I’m glad that you actually find time to look up records (or whatever you do) to bring us the correct information because I do see a lot of false information here. I wish people could look things up first. I know most of the times I feel too lazy to do the same but I do not pretend to know what I don’t know.

Without looking up anything, I remember the days of Hewitt, Safin and others who were great players because I actually watched the tournaments. I remember them like yesterday and lots of people at the time predicted Safin was going to blow everybody off the court. I remember a commentator once said his play was like a horse about to trample on the opponent. Well, he started very well but then I guess each time he won a slam, he probably spent a year celebrating. That’s why we did not get anywhere with him. It only looked easy for Federer because unlike Safin, he worked very hard and took advantage of the situation.

The Roddick case was also clear. As a number of people had said in the past, he had the misfortune of being around at the same time as Federer otherwise he would have won at least another slam.

The fact that people won one slam is NOT really the way to judge their achievements. There are just soooo many things to be taken into consideration. As I write this, I am still surprised that Hewitt did not win more than one slam (or did he?) because he was that good.

Back to Djokovic. I know it is difficult to win slams but right now, unless Raonic, Cilic, Kei, Dmitrov, Delpo and all the others recover from whatever is ailing them, I think Djoker has a chance to clock another 4 slams in the next 2 years IF his body remains the same.

I also believe Nadal still has a slam or two in him. I CANNOT see how Nadal will not do everything within his power to win, at least, another two FRENCH titles. There is no way he is stopping at 14 so let’s stop using that figure already.


Emily Says:

Jane, you’re right, stan’s 2nd serve can be pretty bad and he needs a high 1st serve percentage to win the big matches. It really hurt him at the WTF last year against roger.

I also think the DC scheduling sucks, having it right after the USO. Players who do well in New York pull out, or are like cilic and are still trying to recover


Wog Boy Says:

Ahfi,
Hewitt won two slams.


Ahfi Says:

Hi Jane, I do like your comments. When I asked the question about which legendary player Djoker defeated before getting to the final (because of what Annacone said), obviously, I was not counting the final because I know Federer is legendary. As you may have heard, Cilic, after the semis, did say if it were not for the occasion, he would not have played just because of the condition he was in. If you watched it, that was obvious.

Just to be clear also, I only asked that question because of what Annacone was supposed to have said. I did not go to the link. I trust Annacone’s observation (or whatever it was) but I just wanted to point out the thing about the word ‘legendary’.


Ahfi Says:

Elina, I like your question. Who troubled Nadal? That’s a great question. We know Federer didn’t. We always talk about whom Nadal troubled (Federer, of course). Obviously, since Nadal never won 4 slams a year once he started winning, somebody or some people must have troubled him? Who are these people???? Do we want to know???


chris ford1 Says:

One other player in the weak era that should be mention but who is typically overlooked is Marcelo Rios. He imploded into his own negativity, but he was Nadal 1.0 for a time. Such talent. Wasted.


Ahfi Says:

Regarding H2H, I don’t think Federer is planning to stop playing anytime soon just because his H2H with Djoker might become one sided thereby denting his image? Is it you, Kriket, suggesting that? It can go as lop-sided as possible and Mr. Fed will continue to play. You are either great or you are not. Everybody knows that right now, Djoker is in his prime and Fed is on the other side. This one on one comparison really, to me, is meaningless. One is playing against a whole field of people. You have wins against some members of the field and others have wins against you. It is the totality of everything.

Elina in her earlier comment asked who troubled Nadal? I have not checked any records but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are people who have more wins against Nadal than losses. It still does not matter. At the end of the day, I believe contentment about your achievements or goals that have been reached is what does it.


peter Says:

Well, when hewiTT got to no.1 I was like, how could this player who only runs and pushes the ball back win WB? Then roddick came along and he had only a serve. These players were never nearly as good as Sampras when he was winning. Nor were they as good as edberg, Becker. All of those guys had a serve and a volley. A way to win points off the serve and a way to win points after the serve. It was obvious we were entering a weaker era. Safin was the most talented out of the bunch but kept injuring himself. He’s a delpotro.

As to nadal and Nole not being as good without fed around, the same could be said that fed wouldn’t be as good without heWitt and roddick. Fed needed to improve to beat Hewitt and roddick, while nadal and Nole improved to beat federer. Who is greater? This is funny. Federer actually did mention he learnt how to run more from Hewitt, ie. Have better stamina.

Ifs and buts is useless argument. If fed was playing better, he would have won etc etc. Can you just stick with fact and history.

How many finals did roddick get? Without federer he might have won a few slams, but u can’t even confidently say he could beat Hewitt, safin, or a 35 yr old Agassi LOL. He is not a dominant pLayer over them. Even nadal at 19, 20 who was a clay speciwlist was already a BETTER player than these guys who were supposedly in their primes aged around 25.

Fed never dominated a strong era. 2009 was a joke. No other player in 2009 made 2 slam finals besides roger. Nadal was injured. You can’t call that a year with strong comeptition when your biggest rival isn’t even in the draw! Lol. Nadal dominated federer in 08 and then Djokovic in 2013. Djokovic dominated in 2011 against nadal and then fed in 2015

So the difference is fed kept beating surprise finaliSTS and great players who never dominated and also have no longevity (where are they now??). Nole kept beating double digit slammers… that is the reality nobody could deny.


Wog Boy Says:

Ahfi,
Disagree, Cilic was fine before the match and pretty optimistic in his interviews, when he was beaten black and blue (like previous 10 times) he came out with injury, since he was embarrassed by bagel, breadstick and who knows what.


kriket Says:

We can remember that in 2011. Federer was tougher matchup for Novak than Rafa. Fed beat him in RG, denying him the Grand Slam that year, and played really close matches in USO and elsewhere.

One thing is different nowadays though. In 2011 Novak was not yet in Roger’s head the way he is now.

Back than, for Roger it was still Rafa who was the archnemesis and Novak was still a player to beat in Roger’s mind. Remember how he wouldn’t acknowledge his defeat at the USO, calling Novak’s matchpoint save a lucky noob shot, avoiding to explain/acknowledge his own choke after that shot.

It was only after that Novak got into Roger’s mind the way Rafa did before him. That’s the main difference in Fedole matchup in 2011 and onwards.


kriket Says:

Jane, your analysis of Novak’s gameplan against Fed is all well and nice, but that still doesn’t explain Roger’s sharp decline in level of play.

You could tell it from the very first game in this latest final. Roger’s service game not being quite confident as throughout the tournament. Roger facing break points in the first game of the match (if I remember correctly). Roger dropping more of his service games and facing more breakpoints in the first set than in the whole tournament combined.

His insecurity on his own serve doesn’t have everything to do with Novak’s quality of play, but with his mental incofidence as well. All that put together spells losing the match for Roger.


kriket Says:

Ahfi I’m not suggesting that at all. I think a player should by all means keep playing as long as he fels like it regardless of his H2H or any other stats for that matter.

I’m not the one for thinking too much of those stats at all. Ie. losing a match in order not to face the opponent in the next round so you could maintain you positive H2H record against him.

Not me, I don’t think it’s good thinking for one second.


RZ Says:

@kriket: Here is Jon Wertheim’s take on the final (from this week’s Tennis Mailbag), which is similar to your points here.

“My take on Federer-Djokovic: for six rounds Federer was so relaxed and free and, trite as it sounds, played his game. Against Djokovic he felt so much pressure that he change his risk-reward ratio and gave himself little margin. When you approach a match essentially telling yourself “I have to play damn near perfect to win,” you set yourself up for trouble.”

http://www.si.com/tennis/2015/09/16/post-us-open-mailbag-serena-djokovic-federer


Tennisfan Says:

What a bitter post by Peter. So a tennis season is a joke if your fav doesn’t dominate? I can rant about how Nadal wasn’t even playing like normal this year and how fed was old and way past his prime to diminish Dkokovic’s achievements too. But I have the good sense to see how incredible and talented all three of those players are even if they have benefitted at times from competition they could easily dominate.


kriket Says:

RZ, I’ve read that post article earlier today, and another one on si.com titled:
“Djokovic on pace for historic career as Federer falls short in U.S. Open final” by S.L. Price

It had some pathetic remarks towards the end, having to do with the crowd, trying to somehow abolish them for their hostility towards Novak.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Then, as it does each year, a brisk wind blew in for the first time all fortnight. It tasted of fall. It reminded you that nothing lasts, that time makes great players good and unpopular players lovable. By the time Djokovic finally walked off court Sunday, New Yorkers were yelling, “We love you, Novak!” and “You’re the best, man!”

Just past midnight, Federer walked out of the gates still in his tennis shorts. A few voices called, “Roger…,” across the parking lot as he opened the car door, and he lifted his head. But that was all they had.”

Oh, really? :) And S.L. Price just happened to be there when Roger was entering his car, and just happened to catch those postfestum calls to Novak “You’re the man, we love you (yeah right)”.

It felt rather pathetic reading it, and I have to question “Sports Illustrated’s” genuineness, for it sounds utterly unlikely, to me at least.


jalep Says:

http://www.oregonlive.com/the-spin-of-the-ball/index.ssf/2015/09/why_novak_djokovic_should_be_g.html

A look at the list of greats in tennis if world #1 is the gauge of greatest in tennis, not GS total.

And look who is on it! Hewitt…

It’s a select group that gets a season year-end #1


Markus Says:

These guys, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have now taken turns being at the top. I don’t care for the so-called weak era-strong era concept because one can only play against who they are set up against, not in ghosts of players in the past or those who are yet to come. They are all exceptionally good and worthy of our admiration and respect regardless of who among them we favor most.


RZ Says:

@kriket – I’ve never really liked S.L. Price as a tennis writer. He seems to swing with the times and comes up for/against certain players depending on public sentiment. I remember a few years ago he wrote about the Nadal-Federer rivalry, at the time that Nadal was really starting to dominate. While his points about their game styles and the actual tennis was fine and I couldn’t argue with it, he seemed to take a lot of unnecessary snide comments about Federer about things having nothing to do with tennis. Then after Fed won Wimbledon in 2012, S.L. Price came out with an article going on about how great Fed is without any of those snide comments.


jane Says:

“Roger dropping more of his service games and facing more breakpoints in the first set than in the whole tournament combined.”

kriket, because novak’s a better returner than guys like isner and gasquet, don’t you think?

why mental? why not just simply novak is better than they other guys?

surely his achievements prove that.

sorry, i don’t see a mental glitch when fed face novak. versus rafa, sometimes he would completely unravel when he had leads – even in the FO 2011 final. i believe he was up 5-2 in set one? and still he lost it.

if anything, novak nearly unravels versus roger – look at wimbledon 2014. he lost the 4th set when he was serving for the match. he nearly did it again here, at the us open. maybe it’s nerves. maybe fed upped his level in those occasions too.

players know that when someone steps up to serve for a match – ESP a SLAM FINAL – they are often going to get tight. so they swing out!

novak did that at us open 2010/11 in the semis.
fed did that at wimbledon 2014, and forced a 5th set after he broke novak 2 times and he nearly did it again at this recent final, breaking back once and then having 2 more break points to level the 4th set at 5 all. novak held on, thankfully, from my perspective.

but at 21-21 h2h, with a 5-7 (?) slam match record vs novak, i just don’t think you can argue that novak is in fed’s head the way rafa was/is. (10-23, and 2-5 (?) at slams).


kriket Says:

@RZ – figures. He tries to romanticize his writing, as if it’s the reading for some lonely grandma, looking for some romantic relief in tennis articles.

I don’t know if any even casual tennis fan would find that paragraph of his even remotely believeable, apart for being completely irrelevant.

Like the people who disrespected Đoković, the match, and ultimately both players with their rude behaviour would all of a suddent shout “We really love you Novak, we only tried to dismantle you throughout the match out of love, because we know the crowd’s hate brings out your best game. Really, it was for your own good”.

Or maybe those were some of the scarce Novak fans, although he conveniently failed to mention the behaviour of most of the audience altogether.

It only lacked an appropriate response from Novak in the form of: “I love you too! Looking forward to meeting you same place next year!”

lol


Wog Boy Says:

I will agree with jane, all servers have problem with Nole because of his aggressive deep return, somwhere aroun shoe laces , they know that if serve is not good they are more than likely to find themselves on the back foot pinned few meters behind base lane and that put extra pressure on server, on the other side Roger has great return game but not aggressive, he is chipping (most of the time) ball back just to start the point, knowing he is that good that he will work oponent left and right until he can fire his FH (most of the time), as of late he is more aggressive on return but nowhere near aggressive as Nole is.


jane Says:

jalep, thanks for that link – enjoyed. :) i agree with the premise about “consistent high-level performance” and the importance of number 1. after all, in the grand scheme of things, couldn’t we argue that there are more lucky/flukey/surprise (choose whatever adjective you wish) slam winners than there are “fluke” or surprise number 1s? It’s – generally speaking – more difficult to sustain excellence over the long haul that to be at your peak for a 2 week period.

some might argue, well so-and-so can play a bunch of small tournaments and get to #1, but really! in the ATP you can’t do that. you have to have won some big events. i believe there was only one ATP player to get to #1 without ever having won a big event right? so it is very rare. usually that ranking comes from consistently strong results across the board.

cool – a new perspective on things. i liked it. even if only because it throws a new wrench into one of the debates.

——

that’s a funny description of his writing, kriket; i guess i should stay away from that writer. ;)


Wog Boy Says:

I have to correct myself, Federer made three and not four double faults in a row against Andy few years back in Shanghai, Andy was using SABA regularly then, have a look:

http://youtu.be/_CgUiOzFNlE


jane Says:

he definitely takes a couple hops forward as fed’s hits his second serve wog boy, though andy’s is a different kind of approach than the one fed uses. in any case, it seemed to have the similar effect of unsettling the server.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes jane, Roger approach is deeper and more sneaky, but more risky too…if oponent can hit good lob;)


Wog Boy Says:

^^ or good passing shot.


jane Says:

yep. and it’ll be interesting to see how people respond – novak was clearly ready with that lob – and/or if more people will start using similar approaches/attacks on second serve.


Okiegal Says:

@Thanks, Gypsy Gal!! We have more test in the morning. We have to be in Norman, Ok at 6:15. I hope we don’t sleep through the alarm!! It is about an hr and 10 minutes away. I’m getting up at 4:00. I’m hoping for some good news…..


Ahfi Says:

Wog Boy, LOL re: Cilic (beaten bagels and breadsticks – that’s really funny). That is still not the issue, though. It was the use of the word ‘legendary’. I don’t consider Cilic legendary just because he was the defending champion. Do you?


Ahfi Says:

Good, Kriket. Roger will keep playing till he makes a decision to quit. I am sure he knows H2H with Djoker will go against him but he will keep trying.


peter Says:

@tennisfan

If you said Djokovic won 3 slams this year because of weaker competition, I would actually agree with you. I don’t see this as an “attack” on my favourite player. Only fans who love their fav too much will become defensive with any sort of criticism against his idol. They just can’t accept any negative comments at all.

My friends who are fed fans know he benefited fron weak era, and just laugh when talking about it. They were happy with what fedeRER achieved and don’t take it negatively. They were happy that their idol got lucky and took full advantage of the competition.

If you just stand back and be an objective fan of tennis, then you realise how true the weak era theory is. Every player goes through some period of strong competition and some weak competition. When PPL say a window of opportunity comes up, that’s when the greatest players prove themselves by dominating. When the competition is strong, they still fight hard and win their fair share.

I am actually delighted and hope the competition gets weaker, so Nole can enjoy a 3~4 yr period that federer had, and take advantage of it by winning many more slams. Without weaker competition Nole doesn’t have a realistic chance of topping 17.


danica Says:

Sorry, I’m trolling this thread but I just wanted to share this cute picture. I love it! Nole is all about explaining something to Rafa and Rafa is so cute and like: “Hmmm, I don’t know about that” :))). Roger is all smiles and laughs too.

http://tinyurl.com/prrlung


Gypsy Gal Says:

Im just speculating here,but im just wondering as many Fed fans actually like Nole and have him down as their second favorite,how they would actually feel if he were to surpass Pete and Rafa in achievements and actually start to threaten Rogers legacy too,some here and also the commies on TV couldnt bear the idea when Rafa won his 14th,id state my last pound coin that they would feel exactly the same way about Nole and turn on him too hmmm????….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Danica yeah nice picture of Nole,Rafa,Roger,and agree with you about Gerard Butler the guy is hot even if he does look the worse for wear in that picture lol….


Daniel Says:

GG regarisng your question, I oarticularly don’t have a problem if Djoko reaches Fed’s status and suprass him because he is having a career similar like Fed.

I had a problem with Nadalmbeing consider GOAT or better than Federer just because he had a positive HxH wifh Fed and because he won almost 10 RG.

If Djoko gets closer to 17 i bet he will be more rounded Slams wise (as he already is with his 10), the #1 records is already showing (so far 1 less YE#1 than Fed, will csurpass 200 weeks as #1), he already has 4 WTF and can close the gap on Fed as well, Masters will be above Fed pretty soon, and he can play well and win all season long, from January to November. He also has the consistency records in recahes Quarters, Semis and Finals in Slams.

This year alone he already emulate Fed in a second year with 3 Majors won (someting Nadal couldn’t do), reached all majors finals in a seson (something Nadal couldn’t do) and so on.

He even tough doesn’t have the 14+ Slams now have a much more balanced and complete resume towards GOAThood than Nadal.

Nadal is clay GOAT who had some sucess in others surfaves as well, But Djoko already is better than Nadal in 3 Slams, second only to Fed in active players. As soon / if he wins RG, things will all fall in place for him. I don’t poace Olumpics Gold as high because it is a “new” thing of the last 10 years, but even so he already got a medal whoch is why they play, to get a medalmfoe their countries

So in my view, which may seems biased for a few, Nadal wouldn’t be a worthy GOAT just because he could beat Fed and win 10-11 Roland Garros.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Daniel fair enough,Rafa has multiple GS on all surfaces,and ATM 5 GS off clay and a career GS,Novak ATM has multiple GS on two surfaces and 3 GS off HCs and no career GS,personally i dont believe in GOAT as theres too many different caveats to the topic,nor do i believe in H2Hs as its what you do against the field that counts,or weak eras as you can only beat the player in front of you,i believe in a number of all time greats,the rest is all a bit self serving to me,as i wouldnt ever pull other players achievements to pieces to make me feel better about my own favorites,theres no right or wrong answer IMO just a matter of perception,no harm or foul,BTW Thanks for what you said to me the other day about my parents left you a post dont know if you saw it?,and to you too PEACE XX….


Daniel Says:

Yes GG. In the end depends on how each approaches it.

Nowadays we just talk too much about it because we are witnessing 3 all time greats olaying together. In 5 years time we’ll be talking about them in the past and I hooe the next one to comes live up to their predecessors.

Thanks for the message on the other thread!!


Daniel Says:

Wog Boy and Jane,

Agree ref Novak’s retunr. That is to me why he is sucessfull in Wimby lately. He basically neutralize the serve with a quick return inna low bounce court. The reaction time on grass to hit the ball back after a great return os harder than HC so he start with the upper hand on point since the get go. Also why he doesn’t need a warm up to win Wimbledon.


elina Says:

“I had a problem with Nadalmbeing consider GOAT or better than Federer just because he had a positive HxH wifh Fed and because he won almost 10 RG.“

Jeez, is that all he did? Could have sworn he did a little bit more than that.

Must have been Nadal’s doppleganger who won those grass and hardcourt slams, not to mention Davis Cups, Gold medal and all of those masters titles plus being the only player with a record against every single current player in the Top 30.

Who knew?


jane Says:

danica – cute picture; they all look so happy.

daniel – do you think novak is “in fed’s head”? or do you think that just sometime both get nervous playing each other, so it’s more just nerves? to me, anyhow, those 2 things are different.


Daniel Says:

No elina but if he reaches 16 the only probable scneario is if he wins RG 2016 and 2017, because he ain’t winning Wimbledon anymore and haven’t last reached a final on HC in Miami 2014 can’t see him being a factor in HC anymore.

The main recorda he had that made him in GOAT contention is HxH versus Fed and his total Slam count at 14 (with 9 RG).

Right now Djoko already is better than him in 3 Slams and he wasn’t even able to get to 3 Slams in hos second best.

Fed, Sampras, Borg, Dioko, Lendl, Mac at least all have 3 or more Slams in 2 different. Nadal is 9-2-2-1. Hence my comment.

Right now genia third best still in a few Slams but I believe in a near future once Murray starta delivering he will be beter than him on HC and Grass Slam as well. 1 win in AO by Murrya and he passes Nadal there as well. One more USO and he ties him there and 1 more win in Wimbleodn with Andy’s other record on grass and he makes a case for him as well.

So yeah, Nadal did better than most not Fed outside clay and now third to Djoko but to me still clay dependent.

Once Djoko wins RG he will also have the career Slam and more Slams outside his best (AO) than Nadal. And all things Nadal fand were using to hos argument will slowly come down.


Daniel Says:

Jane,

Don’t think is mental otherwise Fed wouldn’t be able to beato Djoko convincingly in Concy 3 weeks before their USO final.

But he “fears” and respect Djoko more than others and that kinds of precent him from playing his best. But you know that he still believe because he almost broke back in fourth set. Agaisnt Nadal for example whom he has more mental blocks he wouldn’t be able to creata that mini ressurgence.
Untill Djoko beata him 4 or more straight times, something thatnever happened in their rivalry, I don’t think it’s “all” mental.

Maybe it will be so next tije they face in Slam


jane Says:

thanks for your thoughts on that mental / nerves thing daniel. i figure they can both get tight/nervous against each other, but i don’t feel like either one of them is in the other’s head.


Tennisfan Says:

@Peter All I see is you backtracking from your previous assertion that Nole is better than Roger because he beat more double-GS winners for his slam tally. Now you’re saying he should reach 17 no matter who he beats? When players are as talented and consistent as Fedal and Nole I don’t think any one of them is overall better than the other. They all have things that they’re stronger at compared to each other.
That’s your opinion about my objectivity but if you read my comment properly I never said that Fed didn’t benefit at times from having opposition he could easily beat. But the fact that Nole and Fed had multi-slam years in 2015 and 2009 are admirable feats in themselves which you seem to dismiss quite readily.
Anyways I’ll agree to disagree so we don’t keep arguing.


elina Says:

“The main recorda he had that made him in GOAT contention is HxH versus Fed and his total Slam count at 14 (with 9 RG).”

Former, no. Latter, yes. (please see my previous post for more).

Honestly, I don’t understand why Fed fans make such a big deal out of their head-to-head.

Yes it is one of several significant factors of course but a main factor? No. That’s a bit insulting to both players.


Daniel Says:

elina,

It’s not Fed fans who make a big deal out of HxH, its’s Nadal fans, always has been for years.

If you follow this site long enough you would see that basically every Nadal fan thinks Nadal is better than Federer due to HxH.I think you are the first one who is saying it is not a main factor.

When Nadal’s Grand Slam were getting closer to Fededer’s, they start to believe it more, thinking as Grand Slams is the most important stat that when he reached there, regardless of everything else he could be anointed GOAT. I confess that I never wanted Nadal to get close because I couldn’t accept that he could be called GAT with 10-11 RG. And although some would question this, many would think so, because there were only Fed and Nadal to compare. But now that Djoko storm tennis world, there is a third one in the middle and he will add more variables when assessing other two, already is, hence this thread.

For example, Sampras to me, and to a lot of people also, is regarded better than Nadal, even not having a career Slam (somehting Agassi has but Lendl is regarded far better than Agassi), because he is top 2 in all #1 related categories. Weeks as #1, Year End #1.

My point is also that if Nadal was so good to be even consider GOAT he would’t allow Djokovic to overshadow and be #1 more weeks than him in his prime years, knowing that they are only 1 year apart. Each other successful doesn’t take away past victories from the others but sire changes how their are viewed. It’s also happening to Fed x Djoko dynamics.

The more Djoko wins, worst he makes Fed and Nadal look and vice versa. Because the fact of him closing in all the others achievements it threaten the others legacy.
Until last year, Nadal was the second most successful player apart from Roger, even if we separate his clay results. This year the dynamic shifted and he no longer is as Djoko is slowly and steady surpassing him in other stats.

For example, if Djoko ends next year as #1 again, he will tie Fed with 5 and will be 1 away from Sampras, suddenly Fed won’t be in the same status he once was because another player reached that far or could surpass it.


elina Says:

Sampras is my favourite player of all time but I put him behind Roger and Nadal for the simple reason that he wasn’t even close on clay other than a French semi.

I do follow here for quite some time and TBH I see fedfans bring it up as often if not more than Nadal fans.

With another 3-4 slams combined with a gold medal, there is a good argument that Novak is the GOAT (assuming Nadal and Roger continue to stagnate).

Could happen next year.


skeezer Says:

^If.
” (assuming Nadal and Roger continue to stagnate).” So Nole has to rely on Fed and Rafa ‘Stagnating”?.
Like to hear what some Nole fans say about that. I would hope he has the capability ( he has already proven that ) that it doesn’t matter what Fedal does. Lately, Nole is that good. He has just beaten what some think is Fed playing his “best ever”.


Ahfi Says:

Roger is actually stagnating? He is #2 way ahead of all those 20 year olds. Is he supposed to win everything?


Ahfi Says:

Nadal is the one in his prime, remember? Not Federer (who has been declared ‘dead and buried’ so many times).


Wog Boy Says:

If I remember well Federer has been declared dead and buried only once, in 2013, mostly by his fans, no?


jane Says:

roger’s not stagnating and novak doesn’t need roger and rafa to stagnate. he won 3 slams in 2011 when they were #1 and #2 for half the year (nole didn’t get to #1 until wimbledon). fed played incredibly in 2011, reaching finals of masters and majors, and nearly ousting novak at the US open again after doing at the FO. rafa, too, played incredibly, reaching more finals than in some of his dominant years, but novak was too strong. 2012, fed was playing great and reached #1, but still novak won a slam, some masters, WTF and finished #1. in 2013, rafa comeback after the AO and did great to retake #1 and have one of his best years, but novak still won a slam, some masters, and managed to retake #1 fairly early in 2014 when rafa began to break-down physically, as he’s often done after dominant years (2009, 2012, 2014). andy was winning slams in 2012-13 too. meanwhile, in 2014 fed rose up after a tough 2013, and he played major/masters finals, etc. he’s not really lost a step in 2015, playing arguably better right now. he reached 2 slam finals, did well at masters – IW finals, roma finals. if novak hadn’t stopped him this year, fed could have 2 more slams and 2 more masters. so no, i don’t think he’s stagnating. during 2013-14, rafa and roger have been up and down, but not both at once. but you could say the same about some of their great years. look at the struggles novak had with his serve, his health and his coaching situation in 2009-10.


elina Says:

Didn’t say that Nole needed them to continue stagnating by which I meant nor winning slams, you did.

I said he could pass them as soon as next year.

But then again it was more than likely just another cheap straw man argument.


elina Says:

If Nole continues to dominate then it is just a matter of time which I predicted earlier on this thread where I said he can get to 17.


skeezer Says:

“assuming Nadal and Roger continue to stagnate”
Your words. Quit playing this nonesensecal word play game. You posted it, you said it, everybody here knows it. Now your just getting technical with word play. Own up.
As for as predicting goes, your record is not good, give it a rest for awhile. Make a comback later.


FedExpress Says:

elina, how can nole be the GOAT when he wins 3-4 GS more. just how? he should first win the FO and then we can start the talking.

17 is the benchmark. like or not.


Gypsy Gal Says:

I think people are saying if he wins 3/4 more GS,then he will enter that conversation,especially if one is the FO,but its that word thats been used IF,its all IFs ATM nothing else,none of its relevant unless/until it actually happens,time will tell,i have a feeling Rogers GS winning days might be over,Rafas still a big ? mark,so it might be down to Stan,Andy or maybe a new face to stop Nole threatening Rafas and then possibly Rogers legacies?just wondering if theres anymore news on the Delpo situation,perhaps Emily might have some insight if shes reading????


elina Says:

No you took the phrase out of context for a straw man argument.

Yes agreed he’d need a French title amongst those 3 or 4 ideally of course.


chris ford1 Says:

Fed Express –
“17 is the benchmark. like or not.”

It is a metric created largely by Pete Sampras fans. It has been since used a lot by Fed fans and writers because it is a lazy, simplistic argument. Just 1 number.
In the future, the rating of past tennis players may move past that simplistic case to a more complex algorithm of Masters, Slams, WTFs, OLympic and Davis Cup prowness….with points per year ave of 10 best years, H2H against all rivials, all court ability….factored in.
Another thing that could blow Slamcount up is if a player finally gets a Grand Slam after all those years since Laver’s time (and look at the 6 peak years Laver was banned from playing because he signed up for taking tennis pro and raising compensation 50-fold).

Nafal, Fed, and Nole all came close to non-calendar year Grand Slams.
Nole wins the AO and French, he has that.


peter Says:

@tennisfan I also never mentioned Nole is better than federer. In my book Nole NEEDS to dominate weak competition to be called the greatest. Nole showed he could beat the very best, both federer and nadal. So his peak is greater. He has shown he has done better against stRong competition, but consistently beating the surprise finalists also counts. This consistency will be what brings his slam count above 17, if that happens. His loss against nishikori, for example, was not something fed would have done in his prime.

I view the big 3 as equal, and federer is not the greatest, contrary to what most PPL believe. Laver is winning that argument by far, really. Not even close.


Skeezer Says:

Peter,
This is a point that needs to be considered. Rafa especailly. He has a bery weak record against weak players. Sure his game is formidable against top players(uh…used to be). But being great means you dominant the field in your career, even against W/C, qualifiers and players way down in the rankings and not losing in the early rds.


sienna Says:

Master never will be used for determining goat.

5 Setfinal and bye first round makes it unfair to use as benchmark.
With bye and less fysical 3 SET Federer would entered and be well rested following master up with master.
Let alone Sampras agassi er.
Not usance.


sienna Says:

usable.


Ahfi Says:

Elina, just reminding you that there are only 4 slams a year so even if Djoker wins all of them next year, that will be 10+4 and that will equal 14. That will not surpass Federer.


Gypsy Gal Says:

I think as i said yesterday @6.30am,its all just speculation ATM,people are talking about what Novak will do,but everybody seems to be forgetting the rest….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Meant to add,so i hope and this is nothing against Novak that other players might actually have a say and win some titles too….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Its as Markus said earlier on in this thread,only talk of reaching and surpassing RF,while forgetting theres also 5 other all time greats like Laver,Borg,Emmerson,Sampras,Nadal before even thinking about Roger,IMO there doesnt seem to be much respect when it comes any of those players or their respective legacies….


Ahfi Says:

@Wog Boy, nope, even in 2012 Johnny Mac and Darren Cahill plus some others had already declared Federer over. If you will remember, when Fed beat Andy in that Wimbledon final in 2012 before the Olympics, a teary Andy in his speech, even referred to those type of comments and said to Fed: everybody says you are 30, you are old etc. etc. but I can tell you, you are a great 30 year old (of course, this is not verbatim – I hate to look things up – but that was pretty much what Andy said. I remember because I watched it).


elina Says:

It’s true that Roger dominated weak composition for many years prior to 2008 so skeezer has a point but a winning record against everyone in today’s top 30 is simply more impressive and unprecedented.


skeezer Says:

Its true that Rafa didn’t dominate the weaker competition in the so called “strong era”. Not impressive.


elina Says:

And I thank you for your help but no where did I claim that Novak would surpass Roger in slams.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Lets just say Roger,Rafa,Novak all had strong or weak competition depending on peoples emotional bias….


elina Says:

Unlike losing in slams to guys like robredo, Gulbis, seppi, stakhovsky. Oh wait…


chris ford1 Says:

Ahfi – “Elina, just reminding you that there are only 4 slams a year so even if Djoker wins all of them next year, that will be 10+4 and that will equal 14. That will not surpass Federer.”

If Djokovic won a calendar or non-calendar year Grand Slam, I doubt the conversation would be “Djoker is still short of Roger’s Slam Count”.

A Grand Slam is one of those things that would go into any GOAT discussion. Like if Roger made it to 18 and Rafa and Nole each ended with 16? It would not be so simple as 16-16-18 so Roger was better…

Credit Rafa is the one his pro Tour peers ranked 4 and below said was the toughest player they faced. The one with cruching H2Hs over most players including Roger. And how Nadal was the most dominant player in the history of the Open Era, perhaps history of the sport, on one surface.

Nole? That theoretical Grand Slam you dismiss, Afhi, would be huge. Same with him ending with the most Masters 1000s, best rated defense, and most importantly, achieving the impossible. The impossible being never giving up and one year becoming better that what their fans called the best 2 tennis players ever, in Rogers late prime and in the middle of Rafa’s peak. Starting the 5 years so far, of the Era of Djokovic.


Alexandra Says:

Why even put such a poll. It’s very unlikely Djokovic will catch 17. He is at an age now where he will not automatically win several slams a year. And why make everything about slams anyway. If Stan would win another slam, will that make him better than Murray?
Fed, Rafa and Novak are all greats of the game. Isn’t that enough? And they all played at the same time. I’m seriously worried for the next generation of players.


skeezer Says:

Is that all you can find? Do you really want to compare those names?
After that, lets check and comare the stats at weeks at #1.


skeezer Says:

We can start with Wimbledon;
http://espn.go.com/tennis/wimbledon15/story/_/id/13188462/wimbledon-rafael-nadal-inexplicable-wimbledon-losses

Novak has a great shot at maybe not surpassing Fed, but Rafa for sure. He must conquer FO(he will), otherwise he has plenty of time. If he equals Rafa’s 14 he will be consisered greater by the variety of surfaces he has conquered comparably. This is where Rafa’s majority of Slams ( one Slam-FO ) will come back to bite that coveted “on of the greatest” title as a complete player.
More of a complete player.


elina Says:

No I’ve found and already mentioned many more such as his winning record vs everyone in Top 30 so in fact no player has dominated 2008-2013 like Nadal, like Roger did prior to 2008 and like Novak is doing over the last two years.

But we are talking about Novak’s chances of becoming the greatest of which I said could occur within the next 12 months if he continues to dominate over that period.


Alexandra Says:

I would make the point that all of Rafa, Fed and Djokovic are better than Sampras. He was never close to winning all 4 slams. And who says what the relevant categories are? That is up to debate just like No. of slams. Nothing is set in stone. People often said that Sampras had more competition, but had he really? Federer, Nadal and Djokovic playing at the same time, all of them winning more then 10 slams. That seems like more competition to me. Sampras was clearly the best of his generation.


elina Says:

Not to mention Novak’s legendary 2011, arguably the single most impressive dominant year of all time given the competition.


Alexandra Says:

At the moment Djokovic’s variety isn’t that much greater. Same number of titles at US Open, only 1 more at Wimbledon, none or 1 french, dominating at the AO. Not much difference to me.


elina Says:

I agree with Alexandra that the era from 2008-2013 was the strongest above what Pete faced but Pete’s four slams over Novak still trumps especially when you consider that Pete finished at No. 1 six years in a row which no other player has ever done.

Like Rafa, Pete dominated his competition. Only Richard Krajicek had a winning record of any significance worth mentioning at 6-4, hardly dominant.


skeezer Says:

No I am referring to my 10:18 post. Don’t know what your trying to make up. In fact no top player has had a worse losing record against weak players. Don’t forget he also holds the all time record of losing to the same guy 7 finals in a row. When you want to be called great, you need consistency in most things, not mostly consistent in just one thing.


elina Says:

said the guy that claims head to head doesn’t matter. Apparently now it does!


elina Says:

But if we really want to go there, Roger has lost six head to head slam matches in a row on all three surfaces and has two 5-match losing streaks overall to one player.


skeezer Says:

Every top player has had holes in their career. Who has had less?


skeezer Says:

Twisting again? I said 7 FINALS in a row. Shall we add? In his prime. All those losses @ Wimby? Prime. Are you doing the cherry pick stat thingy again?


Giles Says:

I really am surprised at Tennis X for putting up this poll. It is far too premature IMO. Let’s wait and see if he catches Rafa’s 14 before jumping on all fours towards debating whether he will catch Fed’s 17. This thread should be put up IF he wins another 4 slams tying him with Rafa, and really that is when the debate should start, NOT NOW.
I can tell you something for nothing – joker is already jinxed with this thread!!


elina Says:

I didn’t cherry pick who head-to-head mattered and who didn’t, you did. :)


Ahfi Says:

@chris ford1, Not dismissing anything at all by anybody. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I do watch tennis and I do see the struggle that all these guys go through to win even one slam. That was evident at the just ended US Open. Was simply answering one sentence by Elina on September 18th, 2015 at 10:05 pm – quote: I said he could pass them as soon as next year – end quote.

I was and still am assuming ‘them’ in that sentence was referring to Rafa and Roger so I was merely pointing out that even if Djoker wins all four next year, that would not add up to 17 or 18 (to surpass Roger). It will add up to 14. I was just doing simple maths. In case Elina was not referring to Rafa/Roger or slam counts, then I withdraw my statement.

I know there is a lot of complicated maths going on here of which I do not plan to be a part. I will leave that to the top mathematicians. That was why I took the simpler way out by commenting on something that required an easy addition.

Are you kidding me? Dismissive of 14 slams?? Never! I will repeat this statement – in the end the greatest ever will be based on a number of different things and NOT only slam counts. Let’s just wait till we get there. In the meantime, let’s enjoy some great tennis and hope that our ‘champions-in-waiting’ can pull up their socks and show us the stuff they are made of. I think I am more looking forward to that than worrying about Rafa/Roger/Djoker. With these three, it will not take long before things sort themselves out.


kriket Says:

If Đoko manages to win a Grand Slam – which is probably unlikely given that he already had 2 very real shots at it and didn’t make it – that would put him in the GOAT debate firmly – for winning a Grand Slam is a feature none of the other contenders made.

But again, since he didn’t do it already, I doubt he’ll have better chances at it than 2011. and 2015.

I guess he’ll just have to default to the good ole total GS count.


Wog Boy Says:

kriket, but what if Nole wins noncalendar GS, nobody (Roger or Rafa) has done that either, next two slams? I am not saying he will, but he definitely has chance.


jane Says:

“And why make everything about slams anyway. If Stan would win another slam, will that make him better than Murray?”

interesting question alexandra. i’ve been reading some articles lately – speculative, mind – that are asking a similar one.

first there’s this one, which considers the importance of #1, weeks at and year end:

http://www.oregonlive.com/the-spin-of-the-ball/index.ssf/2015/09/why_novak_djokovic_should_be_g.html

(will put others in new post so not held in moderation)


jane Says:

third, there’s this one which considers ELO and competition (a contention issue, i know), i think even h2hs come up here:

https://medium.com/@NateTheSkate/no-djoke-193e69feb9f3

—–

i don’t even agree with GOAT due to the many variables over time that affected different players.

but i think if you want to debate records/ successes, and maybe rank players for the fun of it, then maybe it is good to consider more than solely slam count?

after all, as alexsandra asked, if stan wins one more slam and andy doesn’t, does that make stan greater? it would be hard to prove with andy’s # of titles, masters, olymic medal and possible DC title (though stan has this too).

that’s why maybe numerous variables should be taken into account?
i don’t know…, food for thought though.


Wog Boy Says:

“that’s why maybe numerous variables should be taken into account?
i don’t know…, food for thought though.”

Agree, and we go back to what CF1 has been arguing al along, so far.


jane Says:

it’s interesting that reporters are beginning to say it too wog boy. not just us on here. there are other articles besides these 3 i posted. it’s just a different way to look at things is all…


Wog Boy Says:

They will be saying it more and more often, jane. The reason they were not saying it before is simple, Roger is still active and is such a legend that it is sort of heresy to question certain thing, I don’t have doubt in my mind that ones he retires and if Rafa and Nole can add few slams and record they will start seriously to question it, but Rafa and Nole have first to add some records and as I said before not necessarily to reach #17 to enter discussion who is the greatest ever to hold tennis racket, but first they have to declare Rod Laver honorary GOAT.


skeezer Says:

wog boy,
“but first they have to declare Rod Laver honorary GOAT.”
This I totally agree!


chris ford1 Says:

Ahfi – You may take it as putting words in your mouth, but as this thread’s debate is about GOAT and surpassing Roger, your implication appears to the typical reader that winning all 4 Slams in 2016 would not surpass Fed’s achievement of 17 Slams won.

And I was saying winnng 6 Slams in a row (as you detail winning all 4 in 2016) or even the next two would derail the whole Slam Count criterion.

17 as the only measure would be dead if Nole got a Calendar Year Grand Slam of 6 straight. If it is another 2 in a row, it would also be a Grand Slam..And in context of the tremendous success Nole has had at the WTF and Masters 1000s. Currently, Djokovic holds the title for 5 Masters 1000s, 3 Slams, 2014 Barclays, and an AP 500 event. He skipped one Masters, and made the final in the rest of them since 2014 Paris-Bercy, plus the FO Final.

Wog Boy – You are so right Laver deserves honorary GOAT and the bridge between the amateur and pro era. And every player can look at those paychecks and endorsements and thank Laver and Jack Kramer for huge roles in making the pros legit.
And those 6 years at his peak he was banned from Slams by the Slam owners wanted the money to be theirs if they could keep the sport amateur. The plan was to discredit the pro tour Kramer set up and deter others by banning Laver and the other prominent players that defected.
Rod Laver, honorary GOAT. Why, someone should build a major stadium for the guy!!


skeezer Says:

You know, its funny that posters don’t want to benchmark 17, oh no no no…like it doesn’t count or has the value that it has. Some player has won 17 Grand Slams, but it doesn’t count as the greatest player ever because……….what? Every pro player on the planet will tell you what the most coveted tournaments are.
However, we all know if the fans of Rafa or Nole had 17 Slams, they would be posting ….what? LMAO.


Wog Boy Says:

CH1,
You are right and thos Roy Emerson’s 12 GS titles are joke, if you know what I mean.
As for Rod Laver stadium, there is already one, Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne park, it is sich a nice place for 15.000 people to watch tennis that I can only compare it to Wimbledon. every single chair you have full sight of tennis match going down below, only few seats that I hate and accidentally I bought them one year are the the ones bellow corporate boxes, apart of being with limited legs space, you have to put up with those drunk idiots in corporate boxes who just came to get drunk and to bee seen in corporate boxes, without having a clue what tennis is about.


Wog Boy Says:

# just to declare #17 as the only benchmark has so many flaws that it is not worth discussing it, sorry skeezer. I already proved that #12 has no value, check Roy Emerson’s #12.


skeezer Says:

You haven’t proved anything. It is the starting benchmark, no matter what. You are not a player on tour, are you? Ask them. After that “required benchmark, sure there are weeks at #1, etc. basically a totality of records and achievements. But if you are not a the leader in Slam counts, you better have a hellava argument. As of now, there is none, there is only one. Check Feds wiki,


Wog Boy Says:

skeezer, if your argument is that you have to reach #17 in order to be entered in discussion of being GOAT, then sorry, we have nothing to discuss about. That was your call.


jane Says:

17 slams is amazing.
the one thing that interests me is “fleshing out” a player’s stature by looking beyond *only* slam count.
i am just glad that journalists and fans are starting to think about that anyhow.


mat4 Says:

My two cents.

Lately, I gave here a few links about chess rating adapted to tennis. This one is probably the more important, and you can find the others from Jeff Sackmann’s page:

http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/

What you have to know is that there is a margin of error in ratings, that amounts to +-60 for a player who plays ~70 matches a year. For historical ratings, the margin of error is less, since more matches are taken in account.

There is also a rating inflation. Basically, when more players are rated, the rating is higher. But here, this number is fairly stable. I checked the bases used by Sackmann, and Bialik used the same.

The good side of the rating system is that it allows a comparison between eras — we know that tennis has changed a lot in the last 40 years, that slams are now more valuable that they were, that the structure of tournaments has changed, that there were technological shifts, etc.

What can we conclude from their results:

1. that the number of slams, of course, is not the only important number: the level of opposition has to be taken in account.

2. And here, o surprise, we can see that the so called weak era in tennis were the nineties, the era of Sampras, Agassi, etc. IMHO, it was also a period of denaturation of the game.

3. That the middle of the last decade wasn’t a weak era.

We see from the list (historical peak) that players that had the best seasons against the toughest opposition are Federer, Djokovic and Borg. JMac, Nadal and perhaps Lendl are close enough.

When we complete the rating with the data it came from, we really can assess players: Djokovic, Federer and Nadal played in the toughest era, and their results, week in, week out, were outstanding. We can see that they are in the top when we count slam finals, semi, QF, number of masters won, % of matches won, number of matches won against top 10 opposition etc. etc. etc.

Sackmann makes the other conclusions about surface domination, etc. Here, we can see that Novak’s results on clay are better that we think, although he hasn’t won RG.

So, in the GOAT debate, a balanced view, with all the those factors weighted, would propel Borg and Djokovic in front of Sampras, despite the no of slams.

It would also show why JMac “never found his form again after 1985″ — there was a technological shift, a change in the was racquets were used about that time, and JMac just couldn’t adapt, like Connors didn’t adapt until 1986/7. Connors never learned to hit a FH the way the new racquets made it possible.

IMHO, Novak needs only three more slams (if Rafa doesn’t win more) to be the no 2 in the GOAT debate. At this moment, the list, for me, would be:

1. Federer,

2. Borg,

3. Nadal,

4. Djokovic

and 5. McEnroe, despite only 7 slams won, for the reasons I wrote above.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Hi Mat4 thanks for the link,personally when it comes to GOAT debate its a matter of peoples perception for me theres too many different caveats to the topic,it seems everybody has a different opinion about it ,have to ask though didnt you also put Jimmy Conners up there with his titles won and wins on tour?im just putting him in there for fun,JMO but i think its really amazing that there are so many players past and present,so many all time greats rather than one particular GOAT….


Gypsy Gal Says:

When it comes to Andy and Stan IMO both will add more GS,but comparing the two Andys done better by making multiple GS finals in all the GS barring clay,Stan won the AO but Andys been in 4 finals,so Stan would have the edge there,Andy has more Masters 1000s,and has been ranked higher for most of the decade,Andys two GS and his career has been more consistent and better than Stans so far….


Wolverine Says:

First of all, some have suggested that Djokovic is “tiny”. He isn’t. He stands at 6’2″ (1.88 meters) and 170 LBS (80 KG). Nadal and Federer are both 6’1 (1.85 meters) and 180 LBS (85 KG). They are all roughly the same size, which by tennis standards, is considered ideal.

As for catching up to Federer’s 17 majors, I think Djokovic could very well do it. He is extremely fit and leads a healthy lifestyle. He is also ambitious and is playing with a major chip on his shoulder, courtesy of Federer’s obnoxious fans. Ironically, it is Federer’s fans who are fanning Djokovic’s fire. The only thing that will prevent Djokovic from winning 2-3 majors annually for the next 3 years is the emergence of another dominant player, just as Djokovic and Nadal did to Federer. As it stands, there does not appear to be such a player in the horizon. As long as Djokovic remains unchallenged, he will win majors.


skeezer Says:

mat4,
Nailed it. Also, agree about Borg, but some here never saw that era, so the are going to boo hoo that,


mat4 Says:

GG:

I am a huge fan of Jimmy Connors, but here we have to take in account the nature of the tournaments played in those years: players had the possibility to “duck” their opponents, and Jimmy played more on the American circuit for years.

Then, Borg was clearly better at his best. It was very painful for a Connors fan like myself, but the Swede dominated him easily on clay, on grass, everywhere, and the only place where Jimmy was better was the USO. Borg also dominated Vilas, Gerulaitis, Clerc, Gotfried, Salomon, etc. and almost everybody from his generation, and before definitely retiring, after his WB loss, he continued to train hard and improve, and made short work of JMac in their last match.

JMac and Jimmy Connors were the victims of the change of racquet technology. While Lendl played from the beginning with a lighter racquet, in the middle of the eighties racquets got bigger, players started to use different grips, more topspin, while Jimbo and Johnny Mac used their racquets the way they used the wooden ones. It was crucial for their longevity. Jimmy improved slowly, but then, age was there.

A similar process happened to Sampras when string technology changed: he sank steeply (?) in less than two years, while physically still at his peak. But he just couldn’t adapt.


mat4 Says:

In my previous posts I didn’t mention two things:

1. their is a lack of data from the period before the ATP,

2. and since there were less players, playing less tournament, a clear inflation of rating would happen.

That’s why Jeff Sackmann didn’t include so greats in his list. It’s very obvious for me, but doesn’t have to be for everybody.

IMHO, the GOAT debate is now clearly settled until the end of Fed’s, Novak’s and Rafa’s careers, when we will have a definitive picture of their assessments.


mat4 Says:

… ACHIEVEMENT’S… not assessments.


mat4 Says:

And the GOAT debate IS NOT a matter of people perception. IGNORANCE and BAD FAITH are not an opinion.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 ha ha thanks,just thought id throw him in there for fun given the titles and career wins,what is your take on the Andy/Stan respective careers whos is the more impressive?….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Then i must be ignorant and have bad faith lol,its just it all to me sounds rather self serving,why dont we ever discuss how amazing that they all are,GET THAT ALL ARE?and their own personal different achievements ALL ARE?but we dont as we are all too busy pulling one player to pieces in favour of another,we always discuss GOAT,GOAT,GOAT,but never GREAT,GREAT,GREAT….


mat4 Says:

GG:

The post about ignorance and opinion was not pointed at you — I have many times faced that argument, and I had to react. It’s very difficult to make some assessments, but from a certain point, “opinion” is just a synonym of “lie”, “bad faith”, or “denial”.

Andy’s career was a very difficult one: he played at the time of three of the all time greats (perhaps the 1,2,3). Take a look at his peak ELO: it’s the 7th result ever. On hard, he peaks at the 6th position. That’s how good he is. Other numbers to back the rating: although he won only two slams, he made 8 GS finals, + 9 semis, + 7 QF… won 11 masters, made 4 more finals, etc.

He’s obviously one of the best players ever, although he didn’t win as many trophies as he would have under different circumstances.

Stan isn’t such a versatile player, and I believe he made the most of his abilities.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 no Sir i know,and i didnt take it that way,i said it yesterday at 9.00am,i dont personally believe that theres any right or wrong answer….


mat4 Says:

The link to Bialik/Morris’ article:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/djokovic-and-federer-are-vying-to-be-the-greatest-of-all-time/

They calculated ELO based on sets won, and also on games won. Their conclusions are interesting.

Since I am very familiar with this system as a chess player, his value and limitations, I know that such a system emphasizes consistency, while in tennis consistency is less important for individual players.

But those numbers are, above all, excellent to compare different eras (and that’s probably the only tool we have except different “opinions”). So, it’s time to stop with the thesis that Fed won his slams in a “weak era” — it wasn’t weak at all. And it’s time to reassess Novak’s 10-8 in slams finals, knowing who he played in those finals. It’s also time to reassess Federer’s and Djokovic’s results on clay, e.g.


mat4 Says:

GG:

“i dont personally believe that theres any right or wrong answer…”

Sorry, GG, it’s not a question of believing, and some answers are right while others are wrong. You have to gauge your arguments differently to obtain a different answer. How could somebody write that Nadal isn’t the best clay court player ever? How can this be a matter of opinion? Borg was great, and a few years ago, Dave could argue that Borg was better. But now: Rafa has more slams, more masters tournaments won, more win, more victories against top 10 opposition, etc. etc. Although Sackmann published just some partial lists, we see that Djokovic is also an outstanding clay player (no 3 peak on the list), and Rafa has clearly a better H2H on this surface — so, my recent joke that Rafa played in a weak clay era was just that, a joke.

How can somebody argue against this?

When the margins are tiny, when some elements favour one player and other elements another player, yes, we could have different opinions. But only then.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Outstanding link!


jalep Says:

Goat debate is ridiculous in tennis and makes my head spin – Might as well believe in Santa Claus.

You can declare Rod Laver the GOAT but that would be unsupportable really since tennis now and tennis back then hardly resembles the same sport in too many ways to innumerate. It’s subjective. Pick your GOAT and be happy.

You seriously can compare stats and achievements between players in the day of Connors and Djokovic? Really? Hardly anything is a constant in tennis – it’s ever-changing leaving the numbers looking ridiculous as seen in the context of changes over time.

Chess, sure, baseball, yeah sure, whatever, numbers are more constant over time, greatest ever GOAT, maybe so – if there is little change in the game(s). But in tennis all you can really measure is a small spans of time when tournaments and formats of sets were about the same, balls were the same, rackets – same, court surfaces, advances in training and fitness, recovery, medical treatments used, even average height comes into the picture. sheesh…..never have really looked at stats across the board comparing era to era ……what is an era anyway? It pretty much cancels out anything but comparing very, very small periods of time.

Choose your GOAT in tennis. This fan is not convinced GOAT is anything (in tennis) but an emotional fantasy blended with hero worship and media appeal.

And weak era is even more unconvincing and unsupportable than GOAT – highly based in selling the story, selling to the average tennis fan the reputation of players in competition, plays on poor memories and subjective opinion and again, unsubstantiated by numbers between eras because numbers between eras do lose their credibility due to being too variable, Stuffing guessing, padding – Jeff Sackman on abstract.com admits his estimating and adding to serve stats, serve stats, which should be straight-forward numbers…but it’s not. It’s not a hard science.

Best of a Season in tennis – sure, way more accurate. GOAT of the year – absolutely, very supportable and believable by using numbers.

Over decades? Subjective at best in tennis.

Early morning rant — Over


elina Says:

Not to worry GG, you are in good company.

Andre Agassi is unwilling to capitulate to the mantra that Roger is the absolute GOAT and therefore must have Ignorant and Bad Faith Disease too like so many others.

Please contribute generously to the IBFD Foundation (www.IBFD.org) so that a cure may be found for this rapidly spreading condition.


jalep Says:

Wdll, elina, Federer must be Andre’s personal GOAT….this week…

…that is subject to change, per usual.


elina Says:

jalep,
Nailed it. Like myself, you obviously have IBFD. We may have an epidemic on our hands!


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

Sorry, j., I don’t agree with you, but first there are a few things to clarify.

Here — and in my case certainly — we don’t debate who was the BEST player of all times. It’s futile, tennis has changed at a very fast pace.

Just take two players who played in different decades — Djokovic and Sampras, where the differences in conditions where different strings for racquets. Who would win, let’s say, at the USO? With the news racquets, without doubts, Djokovic (it’s not “an opinion”: already in 2001 and 2002, Pete % of second serves won against even not so good returners was about 40%; you can check this fact on tennisabstract.com). With natural guts, most probably, Sampras. Samparas retired in 2002, Novak was top 10 in 2007. It’s basically only a five years difference!

The GOAT debate focuses on the most “dominant” player ever. Here, ratings like those we use in chess (a sport that has changed tremendously in the last 40 years too) are an excellent tool — since tennis was played without interruption, players careers were overlapping, about 2000 players were taken in account in any period, yes, we can gauge the relative difficulty to achieve certain results in a given period.

So, this debate make sense, just as any debate we could have about tennis.

Then, don’t rant. My wife does it at home all the time, and my daughter has started too especially when she does her homework. Don’t make me write: “Et tu, Brute?” in desperation.


mat4 Says:

@elina:

Heard about the IBDF foundation last year, when they had a congress to once again utter the opinion that the Earth is flat. Was impressed, big fan, you know.


mat4 Says:

BTW, 40% of Americans don’t know where the Pacific Ocean is situated… 85% believed that Yugoslavia was the main city of Dubrovnik, 60% of French are persuaded that American won WWII… etc.

That foundation seems to have a lot of members…


jalep Says:

Hahaha…I do disagree with you, mat4.

Most dominant player of the year? sure. Of the past 5 – 10 years…maybe…

Dominant player of the past 10 – 20 years… no, that doesn’t compute unless you throw in some bias and stuffing. Too many variable in evaluating competition and a host of other elements.

Pick you goat, stick to it and be happy.


Markus Says:

In its strictest sense, there is no such thing as a GOAT because that encompasses all time, and time keeps moving on and everything can change with time. But in a loose sense, implying the best who has ever played so far, the closest thing to that “GOAT” title is Federer. The Federer fans claim that and so do most unbiased tennis fans. The ones who don’t agree are mostly Federer detractors, i.e., fans of other play who are also great. Unlike Federer fans who name Roger as the man, the detractors have a big problem because they cannot name anyone else. First they suggested Nadal simply on the basis of his head to head record against Roger. However, interestingly, Rafa’s name seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the discussion since he started accumulating bad head to head results with teen-agers and other players from the nether ranking region. Then they gave birth to the “weak era-strong era” theory, the sole purpose of which was to devalue the worth of the majors of which Roger has 17 and seemingly out of reach of the other current players. This theory is now currently being used by Federer detractors to boost their new great whatever hope: Djokovic. Like Nadal, they use for argument his current head to head wins over Federer, and also like Nadal, they project that he may (with crossed fingers) reach 17 or pass it but deep within they are are not even sure Djokovic can even equal Nadal’s and Sampras’ 14. So until that time when Federer detractors can name another player to surpass Federer’s accomplishments as a tennis player, Roger remains as the best player who ever.


Markus Says:

…played.


jalep Says:

Already said I have a problem with how Sackman comes up with many of his stats for serving over time…he fills in gaps by estimating. When something having to do with collecting the data – and there’s a gap, Sackman fixes it with is own formula —— that’s dicey at best!!


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

j., as I wrote before, it is very difficult to assess, but ELO ratings are a good tool. I urge you to check how they are calculated if you want to take part in the GOAT debate — it makes the overall picture much clearer.

Then, rating are not the only thing we have: we should also look at other data, and we have a lot of them.

I am OK with “opinions”, but I need the facts upon which those opinions are founded. Then I’ll agree to disagree.


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

I had a look at his data. They seem OK. Then, Bialik/Morris made their own calculations, and Jared Pine made his. I calculated the ELO for 2011, but I included only ATP tournaments, not challengers and futures, and I calibrated it the way it’s done in chess (avg. ELO was 2400). I finally gave a link to a third list (jane gave another link to that same list, and an overall excellent article). On Advanced Baseline, you have another type of ranking made, based on a similar pattern.

I also wrote that the margin of error is about +-50 pts, something Sackmann, nor Bialik, mention, and should be clear.

Just like I wrote, ELO ratings are very meaningful to compare eras. But we have to use them with other data.


jalep Says:

mat4, I have checked ELO out. Some of it is a good tool. It does not apply to tennis imo. Some methods on tennis abstract I think are questionable – how he comes up with serve % between players when time is involved – he adjusts, corrects and fixes for changes and deletions in data collection …too much. It’s trying to make it look right without exactly being accurate.

The best accuracy comes from comparing stats in shorter periods of time due to changes in data collection, numbers of tournaments and formats changes, even changes in the length of time a player stays in competition.

Thus, what one considers as fact does not really equal fact over decades and time in a sport like tennis. But I understand a large number of fans wish it to be true.


mat4 Says:

@Markus:

I utterly disagree with you. See my posts above about “best” and “dominant”.


elina Says:

“The GOAT debate focuses on the most “dominant” player ever. ”

That is your opinion. Others believe it is number of slams, year end No. 1, weeks, masters, davis cup, WTF titles, yada yada yada.

Pick your criteria and, as jalep says stick to it and be happy.

(Speaking of, apparently Andy Murray may skip WTF to focus on Davis Cup.)


elina Says:

As I said to Daniel the other day, despite claiming otherwise, Fedfans (like Markus today, and Daniel the other day) bring up the head-to-head record more often than Nadal fans.

While significant, it really isn’t as important as they make it out to be.


jalep Says:

mat4, can we still be friends? I really do like you – have for years on here. But I do read methods when going to a site like tennis abstract – it’s not all bad but it leaves me with more doubt and questions. It’s impossible over time to trust numbers in a sport like tennis and coming up with lists of best ever.

What I can and do trust is what is numbers that are current with the field of players at the present time. Nole is clearly the best and most dominate.

Over time, comparisons between ‘eras’ become an act of agreeing with a method and a matter of selling the methodology for arriving at the conclusions.


skeezer Says:

“The GOAT debate focuses on the most “dominant” player ever. ”
My opinion also. Lavers also. Agassi? He’s just jealous.


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

My friends are friends forever. I am very conservative in mostly everything. You made your point, I’ll check later those serve stats to see what to make of it, and we will debate… or not.


jalep Says:

Fair enough mat4. I’ll look into Abstract.com and ElO more too. My initial forays into the applications for tennis left me doubtful.

I’m a brute, eh?


mat4 Says:

And don’t forget that English is not my first language, and that while I am very relaxed in these posts, it could look differently.


mat4 Says:

@jalep:

“I’m a brute, eh?”

LOL!


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 i prefer to look at a number of players,and their own respective areas in the greatness of the sport,i mentioned Jim for his titles and wins on tour,likewise Novak if he were to win Cincy and the FO would have won everything once,Rafa has the career GS,a singles gold medal but Novak and Roger have better numbers in 3 of the four GS and the WTF,although people fail to notice that Rafa is actually the only player of the 3 that has multiple GS on all 3 surfaces,and the only player to the best of my knowledge that went unbeaten on grass in 2008,unbeaten on clay in 2010,and unbeaten on the USO HC swing in 2013,yet people claim hes only a CC player,maybe he is but he sure aint no slouch on other surfaces either?Federer well his list of achievements could be listed all day,and Laver has done the CCGS twice,the point is that yes when its all there in black and white it cant be argued,but when its a matter of GOATNESS IMO its all subjective,as theres too many different caveats….


jalep Says:

That made me laugh, too…I love French more than English …but have very little exposure to French – I try because my the manner in which subjects are discussed appears much more subtle and open with humor …I could be wrong.

Ciao, nice doing business with you ;)


Gypsy Gal Says:

I hope it didnt actually sound like i was ranting,as i do enjoying a good debate regarding all thing tennis,GODDESS BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL XX….


elina Says:

Sampras must also be “jealous” LMAO.


Markus Says:

@mat4, you can disagree all you want but until somebody can name another player who has done better than Federer as a tennis player, Federer remains the best ever. “Best” is utterly different from “dominant”. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic: they have all been dominant players at one point during their carreers. But if you look at the total picture right now, Djokovic will be considered good, Nadal better and Federer best. Djokovic is the “dominant” player right now but he still has a long way to go before he reaches the Nadal/Federer level. That should be enough to emphasize the distinction between “dominant” and “best”.


elina Says:

Markus, two-part question here.

1) Is “best” objective or subjective and
B) Same question for “dominant”

Thanks!


sienna Says:

listen the level has been set so high by Federer that only 2 players have been able to get to that level for longer periode. And he himself is also on that same level those other two have elevated.

It could only be done that way. Nadal or Djokovic first would not have taken tennis the way Federer had.
They probably would not have gained or reached the same level Federer reached. They would have been regular #1. Federer has made them into supersonic#1.

By this Federer has made his worst enemy. He has created a monsters and therfore two allong with it who can easiley take a bunch of slams.


mat4 Says:

@elina:

I partially agree with you, partially disagree.

First, I agree that “best” means nothing, and Markus should get a membership in the IBFD foundation, club, whatever.

There’s no way to effectively compare. I gave the example of Sampras vs Djokovic: under a set of conditions, Djokovic is the favourite; in different conditions, Sampras is. On this thread, I mentioned how a technological shift has affected the career of great champions — even when they were embracing the new technology. How can we know how Djokovic, or Federer, would have played with a wooden racquet? So, love means nothing, sorry, best means nothing.

About “dominant”, here, we can reach more objectivity, although the differences remains tiny and could be the product of different historical factors when we take just one criterion in account. But when we take several, then we can make an informed decision. It’s not perfect, of course, some unknowns remain, but, grosso modo, a 90% of certainty can be achieved.

About Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. It’s just like many others things in live: we know what it is, or how it works, but we just can’t quantify it. Yes, of course, Federer had a big influence on both Rafa and Novak, gamewise probably more on Novak. But they also had an impact on Federer.

Here, I accept “informed opinion”, even “opinion”. It could be a great theme to debate, and I am certain that a lot of elements could be made clear in a constructive, creative discussion.

I am very interested in your opinion, ideas, and the underlying facts, elements.


mat4 Says:

@sienna:

Sorry, the second part of my post is an answer to yours. I misread and thought elina wrote the post about the influence of players on each other.


elina Says:

All subjective at best.

Once their careers were over, Sampras and Laver dominated their respective competition like no other retired players.

If Nadal retires today, the same can be said for him.

For some, that makes them GOAT but not for others.

Both can be equally informed (but only if they play tennis of course).


skeezer Says:

If some here don’t play tennis here and need to learn about this subject, just go to Feds wiki and read and ponder for awhile. You’ll be enlightened. Ask Rod, he already knows, and he above would have the most qualified opinion, no?


skeezer Says:

This is an old subject about how everyone should wait till Novak and Rafa’s careers are over. What? If we are talking now( btw the anti-Feds try to make this an always moving target ) based on a body of work there is no doubt who is GOAT.
Yes, in 5-10 years maybe you could say otherwise. But since Fed hit 16-17 Slams awhile ago there is no argument.


elina Says:

No argument? No debate?

Not according to Sampras and Agassi, two very jealous players no doubt.

While they don’t agree on very much, they do agree that Fed ain’t no undisputed GOAT.

I guess they are exempt from having to go to Feds wiki.


mat4 Says:

@skeezer/elina:

A better place is the wiki atp records page, just to compare. But this link is good enough:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Federer#Records


elina Says:

I’ll take Pete and Andre’s word for it, save me some time at reading Roger’s exhaustive accomplishments, arguably the best of all time.

But then again, arguably not.


skeezer Says:

“I think he was the most complete player we’ve seen,” Sampras told Vancouver’s CBC Radio. “He’s won on all surfaces. He’s tough. He moves well. He’s got a big game. He’s got a huge forehand. He just has the whole package. I think he dominated the game a lot more than I ever did.

“You look at the numbers of what he’s been able to do, you have to say he’s the greatest we’ve seen. ”
“Said Sampras: “It’s always been so clear to me that Roger is the greatest. …..”
Thanks Pete.


elina Says:

link please


mat4 Says:

@elina:

Nadal never dominated his competition, except on clay. See my answer to GG at at 8:07 am for this.

At his peak he was dominated by Djokovic on most surfaces. Since 2011 (when Rafa was 25, Novak 24), the H2H is 14-7 for Novak, and on clay it’s 6-5 for Djokovic.

I don’t understand this sentence:

“Once their careers were over, Sampras and Laver dominated their respective competition like no other retired players.”

Once they retired, it seems to me that they didn’t dominate. Did they? Anyway, about 1971, Laver stopped playing slams and focused on tournaments with bigger money and exhibitions.

Sampras never dominated the way Federer, or Djokovic did, or even Nadal in 2010. In slams, he enjoyed home advantage at the USO most of the time, and won half of his slams on grass, where his serve did 99% of the damage. He was a non-factor on clay, winning only Rome and making the semi of RG once. His results in masters are good, but not exceptional. And ELO shows clearly that he played in the weakest period of the Open Era.


elina Says:

“Is there one greatest player of all time? I don’t know,” said Sampras,

“I mean, there’s not one greatest player,” Sampras said.

“When you look at the numbers, Roger has been so dominant. He’s won on all surfaces. He’s a phenomenal player.”

http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8788974


Markus Says:

I noticed that in view of the difficulty of the Federer detractors in trying to disprove the Federer is the best, a new word has been invented to use as an argument against Federer: dominant (as if Federer never dominated).

If we were in a court of law, presenting evidences to a jury this is how it looks:
The Federer side will show all objective data: his majors records, duration of number ones, total tournaments won, etc, etc. All are factual information. All are valid.

The Federer detractors will present the “weak era” theory, the “dominant” theory, the “ifs” theory, the “future end of their careers” theory. The judge will rule them all as allegations, anecdotals and presumptions. That makes them all invalid.

The plaintiff’s case trying to wrestle the title as the best ever from Federer will be thrown out of court for lack of valid evidence.


elina Says:

No active top 30 player has a winning record against Nadal. That’s pretty dominant. Just my opinion.

A reword for mat4…

“Once their careers were over, Sampras and Laver had dominated their respective competition like no other retired players.”


mat4 Says:

@elina:

Thanks for the reword. Don’t forget that English is not my first language and I sometimes misread, or simply don’t understand.

Yes, you’re right, Rafa had a good shot at GOAT status before 2011. Even Novak thought that he was perhaps the best ever, I remember when he said that. But after 2013, it’s almost clear that he won’t make it, and that there is one player in his own generation that is better. It still can change, though, you never know. Clearly, he’s one of the 5 best ever, I put him at the third place, behind Federer and Borg.

BTW, Laver never really dominated in the Open Era.

@Markus:

“dominant” is the right word.

“Best” player? What does then the H2H makes of Rafa?


Markus Says:

Sorry mat4 but your case has been thrown out of court due to lack of valid evidence. You can appeal as soon as Djokovic amasses 17 majors, or Nadal gets to 17 and stops accumulating losses to teen-agers and players in the deep recesses of world ranking.


elina Says:

mat4 no problem. You picked up on my poor wording so you are no slouch with English either way. :)

It is not a matter of right or wrong.

Laver and Agassi disagree yet both are right because it is their informed subjective opinion, nothing more.


elina Says:

Markus, such as No. 114 Delbonis, No. 55 Brands, No. 116 Stakhovsky and No. 46 Seppi.

Oh wait, that was Roger.


elina Says:

And those losses were on all three playing surfaces.


skeezer Says:

elina
If your going to start using ANY player I can go for a field day;
Shall we start:

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/07/roger-federer-greatest-player-wimbledon-ever-john-mcenroe-rafael-nadal-novak-djokovic


skeezer Says:

Fognini (twice), Coric, Zebellos,
2012 – #100 Lukas Rosol
2013 – #135 Steve Darcis
2014 – #144 Nick Kyrgios
2015 – #102 Dustin Brown


elina Says:

I didn’t start it, you did.

My point is, it’s a two way street. Most exaggerated criticisms about Nadal can also be applied to Roger…

Gulbis (twice), Benneteau (twice) both outside Top 30 at the times
2014 – #60 Hewitt
2013 – #42 Monfils
2012 – #87 Haas

All on every playing surface.

Next try arguing the unfairness of Nadal not making it deep enough to play Roger making the h2h unfair and I’ll show you the 32 times it was the other way around.

As I said, two way street. LMAO!


elina Says:

Interesting you bring up Kyrgios who beat Roger less than 10 months after he beat Nadal.

Two way street.


Skeezer Says:

Hard to believe your a Rafa fan, rarely talk about his wonderful last year… you spend most of your time arguing over Feds greatness. Bad pyschology 101.


elina Says:

Actually, I am a Monfils and Gulbis fan!

Ant there are no two ways about ir, Federer is great! Still playing as good as he did 10 years ago just like he claims!


mat4 Says:

@Markus:

You obviously didn’t read my posts, otherwise you would have seen what my take is.

Then, don’t hurry: Rafa needs just one more season like 2010… and then, definitely, it would be only a matter of taste.

There is also another thing I don’t understand: despite my many bias, I acknowledge the greatness of both Federer and Nadal. I have watched tennis for years, and I should be L, BF or D not to see their greatness. By diminishing Nadal and Djokovic, some Fedfans do disservice to their own fav.


elina Says:

Pete Sampras (GOAT IMO at the time) lost to:

2002 – #85 Paul Henri Mathieu, #70 Wayne Arthurs, #145 George Bastl
2001 – #119 Andy Roddick, #96 Chris Woodruff, #76 Blanco
1999 – #100 Medvedev
1998 – #100 Paes, #97 Delgado
1997 – #65 Magnus Norman
1996 – #68 Haarhuis (twice)
1995 – #84 Oliver Gross
1994 – #89 Jacco Eltingh, #205 Karim Alami
1993 – #139 Patrick Rafter, #87 #89 Jacco Eltingh
1992 – #78 Gabriel Markus
1991 = #91 Shuzu Matsuoka

Three way street LMAO!


jane Says:

what about different eras? a number of players didn’t play the AO in the past, so they would have less kicks at the can per season to win a slam. if slams are the only criteria, then again you are limiting your analysis.

i still say it should be a compendium of achievements if you want to argue GOAT (which I still say is a fleeting concept due to changes in time/evolution, etc, what jalep said. and btw, I said that LONG ago, too, when novak had just 1 slam and wasn’t even a blimp on the horizon of this debate, so my view hasn’t changed just because he’s now increased his successes).

as for former pros, it seems like they change their tune on GOAT all the time – j-mac, andre, pete, etc, all seem to vacillate or at least qualify their claims…


mat4 Says:

Hi jane!

I believe that most of the posters here have the same balanced view. It can be summarize in the following points:

1. It’s very difficult to compare players across different eras, for lot of reasons; it’s even very difficult to compare eras globally, since tennis has changed so much; those changes sometimes affected deeply the career of some great players, something to be taken in consideration;

2. we can rely only on results, although those results need a kind of calibration;

3. slams are not the only thing that matters, although they are important; weeks and years at the no 1 rank are important too, consistency, quantity of wins, quality of wins (and here, we have not only to consider the level of the opposition, but also the relative importance of the matches), etc.

We have enough data for an accurate answer to that question, imho. At least, there are only a handful of candidate to that title, and three potential GOAT still play.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes mat4, “slams are not the only thing that matters”, try to tell that to some Fed fanatics and there is few of them here, meanwhile let’s go to Bangkok and watch sellout exhibition match in a few days time, almost all of 15.000 tickets were snapped within few hours:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/sports/681636/thai-fans-quick-to-snap-prized-seats-for-djokovic-nadal-clash


Wog Boy Says:

This one is better, pity I don’t understand Thai:

http://youtu.be/CymJXD91v9w


jane Says:

mat4, interesting; i think it’s great and then a fun and worthy exercise if people can agree on a set of criteria.

of course slams matter hugely! but it’s good to flesh that out, as mentioned.

wog boy, good to hear the exho sold quickly; i’ve read nothing about it. is it for a cause or…?


Wog Boy Says:

I don’t know jane, I have to check that one out. I think it is to kick start tennis season in Asia, Nole and Rafa played once in Bangkok, but not at the same time, and neither of them won.


skeezer Says:

“Actually, I am a Monfils and Gulbis fan!”
You mean now you are. Even so, I know from past experience with you Rafa is your #1, you just don’t want to discuss his past year of greatness.
Whats this with Pete? I am not discussing a non GOAT. If your so convinced Fed is not GOAT, make an argument over Feds records, titles and achievements vs the field of players.


mat4 Says:

Hi, Woggy!

Yes, the “unloved”… is mainly limited to protestant countries. Novak is extremely popular in Italy, in Eastern Europe, in Asia and South America. And in many countries of the world, the fact that he is a Serb is not an inconvenient, but an advantage. His donations to the Church, to his people (from his own pocket) are also well seen in many places.

Uniqlo is rapidly growing in China, and their marketing strategy, focused on the wealthiest country in the world, is successful. Novak played an important part in their efforts there, and to sign him was a masterful move.

So much about his popularity.


elina Says:

skeezer, better for you to ask Agassi. He played more tennis than either of us LMAO.

mat4/WB, yes fun to discuss and slams are most important but certainly not the whole enchilada otherwise there would be no GOAT wars.

And for the idea of people agreeing on criteria?

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one!


Wog Boy Says:

I always loved that song, nice one elina.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4, I think his is pretty popular in Germany too, not as popular than Roger, but more popular than before Boris joined Nole team.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ and India, being Serb helps too.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4, also helps when you have the richest man in Japan as your sponsor. I always maintained that signing with Nike would be disaster and I was proven right. He would be always third fiddle, regardless of his success. Uncle Goran, who is behind most of the decisions has a good business touch (feel).


mat4 Says:

@elina:

As an older person, I don’t think that slams are the most relevant criterion. In the seventies and eighties, only WB and the USO really mattered. Even Bjorn Borg skipped the FO twice to play in the US.

At the end of the eighties, the top players overtook the ATP, and the physiognomy of the Tour changed drastically. IMG, that represented most of them, stabilized the circuit making deals with a handful of tournaments. All the money flew to a handful of players and a handful of tournaments. Since then, no teenager — Nadal excepted — won a slam (we had Borg, Wilander, Cheng before).

You have a good article here

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2015/08/1988-atps-parking-lot-revolution/55447/

although Tignor doesn’t understand the implications of that “parking lot revolution”, that was so destructive.


skeezer Says:

“better for you to ask Agassi. He played more tennis than either of us LMAO.”
No, I would rather take a contingent of GOAT contenders like Rafa, Laver, etc. Agassi? Inconsistent career. He coulda been a contender!! LMAO


jane Says:

i’d love to see “imagine” re-written as a GOAT (or lack thereof) debate. now that would be good fun. ;P


elina Says:

Nadal believes that either Roger or Laver is GOAT. Good choices. You are wise to respect what humble Rafa thinks. I do.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4, thanks for the link, nice read.


Skeezer Says:

elina,
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see your intentions here. Go ahead and take Agassi’s comments and yours to the Tennis bank of all time records and test them, and try to ride off to the sunset of opinionated glory. Ain’t gonna happen.
When Fed does retire, you, I and everyone else are going to see a plethora of platitudes from players, coaches and writers of Fed being the greatest player to ever pick up a tennis raqcuet. And no one will need to play tennis to recognize the simplicity of it all.


Ahfi Says:

Whao, I am looking forward to the time that I will become unemployed or retired so I can have enough time to hang around here with certain people. Geez, is somebody paying anyone for all these comments?

Folks, I think we have finished answering the main question/the subject matter which is:
Poll: Will Novak Djokovic Reach Roger Federer On The All-Time Grand Slam Leaderboard?

I think it is time for everybody to go to bed. Well, pardon me, one person still has my permission to do further research for the next 24 hours to come up with more answers to knock out everybody or to change everybody’s mind. Good night.


chris ford1 Says:

Markus – “But if you look at the total picture right now, Djokovic will be considered good, Nadal better and Federer best. Djokovic is the “dominant” player right now but he still has a long way to go before he reaches the Nadal/Federer level.” (Re: who was best, debate.)
==================
Markus, Djokovic really doesn’t have a long way to go in terms of number of years of high ELO – or his owning the H2H with the other players in the Big 4.
I still think so much has changed in tennis at certain points that ELO is not a tool that neatly transitions from chess with same rules and strategies across generations. Or other sports with a relatively stable equipment tech basis it is played with.
And ELO analysis does not dispense with the well-documented observations and players talent level that the early to mid-2000s were a time when the competition was weaker.


skeezer Says:

This is another reason why Fed is the greatest ever….a personal testimony of unmatchable quality;

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/roger-federer-fan-wakes-from-coma-is-stunned-he-is-still-a-major-player-20150922-gjrzpi.html


Okiegal Says:

I don’t want to be a spoil sport…..but the on going GOAT debate wears me flat smooth out….. :(


skeezer Says:

Ok,
Hows it going on the home front? Sorry to here the troubled times :(


Margot Says:

OK: How are you darling?
I too avoid “GOAT” talk, “weak era” talk like the plague. By happenstance I just noticed you’d posted.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Hi Okie,yeah me too ENOUGH ALREADY,IMO we have a considerable number of all time greats,we should just enjoy that,and enjoy them while they are still here,GODDESS BLESSINGS TO YOU MY DEAR FRIEND XX….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Elina V Skeezer round 20 lol….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Ahfi whos says we are all unemployed anyway,rather rude to just assume that?….


mat4 Says:

The GOAT debate is something to write about when there’s nothing much happening on the tennis horizon… why not?

Then, a lot of misconceptions and common places are cleared out in the process. A lot of young tennis fans believe what they read in the media, articles written by young journalists whose memory is quite short. Others are paid by IMG, the ATP, and they all skew the global picture to promote corporate goals, interests, etc. It’s useful sometimes to point out to those misconceptions.

Let’s see. The GOAT debate was something that suited well Nike and the GS organisers. It focused on slam wins, mainly. ESPN had pictures of Roger and Pete on his front page with the number of slams. Both wear Nike.

When Roger did it and Rafa had his great 2010 season, most of the pundits suddenly proclaimed him the [potential] GOAT (we had a lot of links above). It was probably also a hidden marketing campaign. I guess that JMac, e.g., was honest, but the media repeated his words ad nauseum.

And don’t tell me that the profusion of articles about a Djokovic that doesn’t get the respect he deserves is something done without plan. It’s not the first time the public is against him. In 2011, the same thing happen. The public was in delirium in his semi against Roger. All week, there have been articles about a Fedal, Roger was quoted time and time again: “I was there, it’s not my fault he didn’t make it to the final…” Everybody wanted that final… in Nike apparel.

The two greats that change opinion the most frequently are JMac and Mats Wilander. Both work for television… I am not sure, but, who knows… I feel there’s an agenda here too.


mat4 Says:

How interesting it would be to see the GOAT, Bjorn Borg, in FILA everywhere!

Joking, of course. Or not.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 tis true,but at the risk of repeating myself,and which ultimatly falls on deaf ears most of the time anyway,i prefer and think its amazing that the sport has and that we can recognize so many all time greats,not that anyone cares or takes any notice of that fact,its all GOAT,GOAT,GOAT,why not GREAT,GREAT,GREAT,its all too self serving….


Gypsy Gal Says:

I once looked up on Wiki asking who was the biggest between Elvis Presley or The Beatles,as id had an argument with a guy i was working with,just to see if i could get some sort of clear cut answer,guess what there was no clear cut answer,sometimes there isnt….


mat4 Says:

GG:

Arguing about the goat is an excellent way to mention greats from the recent past.

In my previous post, I reassessed JMac’s career: I wrote that he was the victim of a technological shift after 1985 — it wasn’t a question of bad form.

You will notice that after circa 1992, there was another abrupt generational change — the focus shifted from forehand and serve/volley only to serve. When you compare how JMac played at the net with how Sampras played at the net, you’ll notice that the older player was much more gifted, and had a greater touch. But changes in racquets and strings made it less important.

There almost was two kind of tennis played in the 90: the clay court tennis, and the carpet/grass/hard court tennis. Many posters here believe that Agassi’s career was hampered by his attitude outside the court, but the truth is that the configuration of courts, strings, racquets helped massively the big servers.

A player like Edberg made his last final in january 1993, when he was only 27. He didn’t have a dominant serve, although he was a quite accomplished player.

The so-called “longevity” is something to think about again.


elina Says:

“Whats this with Pete? I am not discussing a non GOAT. ”

Fair enough considering that you do freely discuss Nadal.

Rafa believes in two GOATs too!


mat4 Says:

GG:

BTW, nobody reads my best posts.


jalep Says:

mat4

Oh yes some of us do read your best posts this one was a bright spot in the GOAT debate and even in the moment did not go unappreciated.

BTW, 40% of Americans don’t know where the Pacific Ocean is situated… 85% believed that Yugoslavia was the main city of Dubrovnik, 60% of French are persuaded that American won WWII… etc.

Actually the part about the Pacific Ocean might be a very good guess but 40% does seem a bit low…

But Yugoslavia being a city in Dubrovnik? LOL…
Seriously doubt average American would know how to locate the vicinity where the former Yugoslavia was on a map, let alone know where and what the heck a Dubrovnik is.


skeezer Says:

mat4
I read your posts all the time. I just don’t comment on most of the because, unlike some others, yours makes sense, no need to add. ;)


jane Says:

mat4, love your posts. keep posting. *thumbs up*


Wog Boy Says:

For Nole fans, he officially opened kids festival named “”Drugarijada” (Camaraderie) in Zlatibor, mountain region, the kids are happy to be with Nole:

http://youtu.be/BJt5ZXgam1A


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 i know its late to say this,and sorry i didnt reply straight away as ive been so busy,but just wanted to say i thoroughly enjoy your posts too,we agree sometimes,and we disagree sometimes,and we have a laugh and a joke sometimes,no harm or foul im just putting my point accross,even if some people think i talk nonsense alot of the time,PEACE….


Noonen Says:

I know Roger hates being referred to as ageing and he hates not being No. 1.

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