How much of it is natural talent and how much is opportunities and hard work?
the fact that Andre Agassi is of Iranian/Armenian descent was already mentioned in this board, but his is an example that perfectly illustrates the point of this thread. There is no doubt that Andre has tons of natural talent, but had his family stayed in Iran, and supposing him still being a professional and dedicated tennis player, how would that have affected his career?
In other words, how much does natural talent really account for a player's career and how much consists of good facilities, equipment, coaching, money and hard work? Had Andre Agassi's and Mark Philoppoussis's families not immigrated respectively to the US and Australia, where tennis facilities and opportunities are much more available to talented players than in their ancestors's countries, how good would these players turn out to be?
If you think you would not even have heard of them, then maybe natural talent is less important than having better material conditions. But if you think they would turn out to be good players with good careers no matter how poor and far the tennis courts would be, then maybe talent should account for more than people usually credit it for.
There is no questions that there are lots of extremelly talented players in Third World countries where facilities and daily routines are usually harder to go by. The fact that a few select players from these countries make it in the tour, raises another question: Are these selected few the most talented ones (natural talent) or just the ones with the right financial means to develop their careers?