Originally Posted by tennisvideos
Your point is relevant if you are discussing who could be competitive in today's game given the equipment that is available etc. It certainly does favour the players with brute power.
However, if we are discussing the greatest ever, then we should stick to the achievements of the players in their era under the conditions they played and against their opponents. Trying to consider how you think they may translate into another era is pointless really. Of course it can be fun and nothing wrong with it as long as you are not trying to suggest who is the best based on how they would go today. And if you are going to do it, then try the reverse point as well - how would today's players go in an era of wooden rackets and the game on predominantly 2 surfaces - grass and clay. Once again, it's all conjecture... I guess you have a bit of fun imagining it ... but it means nothing compared to the truth - which is how a player actually performed in their given reality.
That is so well said, tennisvideos. I'[m going to copy this, so I have it in hand when folks make these conjectures of how a champion of the 60s would fare against today's champions. It's what someone accomplishes in their own time that tells you how good they are, not some meaningless comparison that can never be proven. To me, Sampras' ability to finish No. 1 for six consecutive years seals the deal. But Laver's two grand slams under such odd circumstances and seven years apart makes it a neck-and-neck race. I loved Borg, but can a non-U.S. Open winner really be the third best ever, even when he had three chances to win that title on his beloved clay? Hmmm. I'm not sure I have the discipline to do a top 10 of all time, but here goes my best shot at it -- open era only:
1. Sampras, 2. Laver, 3. Borg, 4. Lendl, 5. McEnroe, 6. Connors, 7. Agassi, 8., 9. and 10. you pick 'em: Edberg, Becker, Newcombe, Rosewall, S. Smith, Wilander, Nastase, Federer. Rosewall may be a sentimental pick here, but that WCT win over Laver was just phenomenal. And Smith and Nastase are also borderline.