Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

The historian Raymond Lee, as some of you know, does not consider Sampras to have been the greatest before Federer. Here, he chimes in with his thoughts on Federer, Sampras and past greats and discusses the problematics of the so-called record of 14 grand slam titles that was recently smashed by the Swiss great.

http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fulls...newsid=6636241

It's a good piece. Those of you very well familiar with the history of the sport will probably not be surprised by what is said here. Those less knowledgeable will probably find a lot here to be of interest.

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post #2 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:25 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

Useless article since we already know the facts that he wrote!
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post #3 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:47 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

GOAT debate.

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post #4 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:51 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

good article, and sets what will probably be the blueprint argument for the future, now that federer has broken the record and people lean towards measuring federer to records that (taking into account the jaded pro years) could, as the author writes, be set somewhere in the early to mid twenties...

the article is well built in that Court is actually a great gauge for what was possible for greats in that era who didnt turn pro, while Emerson's record should serve as a tally for not as a great, but what was possible for a 2nd or 3rd tier opportunist of the era, thus, to be ranked lower than a Becker or an Edberg imo...

Federer's record is the greatest of our age... without doubt, but... here is a good starter in the fresh wave of arguments to come...

ps hartru: i can see where my inflated pro slam figures came from now re: 3 pro slams/year not 4...

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post #5 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:56 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

No new news in the article but he did do a good job of laying it out. I don't think there will ever be an undisputed GOAT in this sport or any other for that matter. There are plenty of sports without all the issues found in tennis history and they can't determine a GOAT.

Even this article is full of the ole "if" word. Which tells you there is nothing definitive to be found. It all really boils down to a matter of one's opinion.

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post #6 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:01 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

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Originally Posted by fast_clay View Post
good article, and sets what will probably be the blueprint argument for the future, now that federer has broken the record and people lean towards measuring federer to records that (taking into account the jaded pro years) could, as the author writes, be set somewhere in the early to mid twenties...

the article is well built in that Court is actually a great gauge for what was possible for greats in that era who didnt turn pro, while Emerson's record should serve as a tally for not as a great, but what was possible for a 2nd or 3rd tier opportunist of the era, thus, to be ranked lower than a Becker or an Edberg imo...

Federer's record is the greatest of our age... without doubt, but... here is a good starter in the fresh wave of arguments to come...

ps hartru: i can see where my inflated pro slam figures came from now re: 3 pro slams/year not 4...

Har-tru is gone for a while.

The article also reminds people that for basically the first half of the open era the top guys only played 3 slams a year. Most seem to conveniently forget that little tidbit.

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post #7 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:12 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

I've always thought it was difficult to name any one player the GOAT due to the differences laid out in this excellent article. The Aus Open was overlooked by so many of the greats, transport wasn't what it is today... etc... there are just so many variables.

THIEM
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post #8 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:24 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

You can resume the article easily:

- The author doesn't believe in Federer's GOATness - well, who does, except for his gloryhunting fans?
- The author has the nerve to put women's statistics in a tennis discussion - a huge NO GO area.
- He talks as if players turned pro because they had a weapon pointed at them. They decided to turn pro on their own behalves and they definitely knew the consequences.
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post #9 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:35 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

....
<>
The article is good, but nothing new for people who`ve bothered to do a little research [or even check Wikipedia]..
Certainly FED`s 15 or Sampras` 14 need to be put into perspective, considering all the circus that went on in the past and complications going from Amateur-Pro-Open eras..

2 points i think need to be noted that mark FED & LAVER as the best candidates for GOAT:

LAVER-- won the calendar slam 3 times [Amateur Slam 62, Pro Slam 67, Open Slam 69]..
so Laver couldn`t prove himself anymore he managed to completely dominate in each era of competition he faced..

FED-- has held 3/4 slams 4 times [04, 06, 07, 09], one match away from calendar slam twice [06 & 07]..
plus this is clearly the most competitive era in tennis history, in terms of the numbers of players being produced in different countries..
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post #10 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:39 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

Most competitive era in tennis history?

You gotta be kidding me.
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post #11 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 03:46 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

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- He talks as if players turned pro because they had a weapon pointed at them. They decided to turn pro on their own behalves and they definitely knew the consequences.
They turned pro because that was where the money was at. You can hardly blame them.

Fine article, by the way.

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post #12 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 04:09 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

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Most competitive era in tennis history?

You gotta be kidding me.

It is. Players are fitter and faster compared to earlier. Players also have the best experts at hand to help in anyway possible. Just because one person dominates does not mean that an era is weak, It just means that the player dominating is a class above the rest.
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post #13 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 05:26 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

A good summary of the points explaining why 15 slams isn't the final word on Federer being the greatest. Certainly brings up a lot of good arguments about why it's so hard to compare different generations, and why it's nearly impossible to compare pre and post open-era achievements.

I must say that I'm surprised that Lee thought Sampras' record would be broken soon. In 40 years of open era tennis, nobody won more than 14 slams. Even if you account for the fact that the Australian wasn't considered on equal footing with the other majors until much later, in the open era, the only other player even in the vicinity of 14 is Borg. And 40 years is not a short period of time.

I also think that not enough is said about the overall depth of field these days. There are more players playing, the game is undoubtedly more physical, and age certainly appears to be a greater factor than in the past. If we bring up the difficulties of travel to the various slams in the 20s and 30s, we certainly should acknowledge that travel isn't an issue anymore, but increased depth of field is.

Anyway, just my 2c. I agree with the main point of the article that 15 is not a magic number that makes Federer the GOAT. Though I think there's a strong case you could make for him being the best of the open era.
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post #14 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 06:03 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

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I must say that I'm surprised that Lee thought Sampras' record would be broken soon. In 40 years of open era tennis, nobody won more than 14 slams. Even if you account for the fact that the Australian wasn't considered on equal footing with the other majors until much later, in the open era, the only other player even in the vicinity of 14 is Borg. And 40 years is not a short period of time.
And Borg only played the Australian Open once in 1974 and never returned. I often wonder what might have been if he hadn't retired so young.

THIEM
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post #15 of 199 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 06:08 AM
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Re: Raymond Lee's piece on Federer and the GOAT debate

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The article also reminds people that for basically the first half of the open era the top guys only played 3 slams a year. Most seem to conveniently forget that little tidbit.
15-3 = 12 which is Borg +1, which is accounted for by the French title.

If you compare Borg's performance on clay with Federer's on Hard, and Borg and Fed at Wimbly, and Fed's performance on Clay with Borg's on Hard, I think you get the best comparison. Fed is stronger at Wimbly and weakest surface is better then Borg's Hard. His best surface is not quite as strong as Borg, but he'll pass Borg if he wins the USO this year.
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