Best career comebacks in the open era - MensTennisForums.com
View Poll Results: Greatest tennis career comeback? Vote NOW!
C*nty Connors - 1991 0 0%
Agassi 'my friend made me do it' - 1999 8 20.00%
Pistol Pete - 2002 1 2.50%
Rafa loves the dirt - 2013 3 7.50%
Federer is betterer - 2017 26 65.00%
Other (explain in thread) 2 5.00%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Best career comebacks in the open era

Jimmy 'the c*nt' Connors - 1991

At the venerable age of 39, when most tennis players have long since given up the tennis whites for the commentary box to rehash tired cliches about 'digging deep', Connors stormed through the field at the US Open, reaching the semis and defeating his arch rival McEnroe en route. He lost, eventually, to a much younger and ginger(er) Jim Courier.

Andre 'The Punisher' Agassi - 1999

Having fallen down the rankings to 141 in 1997 - due to a combination of wrist injury, failing celebrity marriage, general ennui and, of course, a fondness for meth - Agassi reinvented himself with a rigorous conditioning and training programme, entry into Challenger Series events, and thus rediscovered his passion for the game. The approach paid off - by the end of 1998 he was back in the top ten, having won five titles that season. The comeback culminated, gloriously, in a five-set victory against Medvedev, having been two-sets down, in the 1999 Roland Garros final, and completion of the career slam.

'Pistol' Pete Sampras - 2002

Having failed to win a single tournament since 2000, and having crashed out of his beloved Wimbledon by the fourth round in 2001-2, Sampras entered the 2002 US Open an unfancied 17th seed. He went on to beat a young Tommy Haas, next year's winner Andy Roddick, and his old enemy Andre Agassi in the final to win his 14th and last major. It proved to be his swansong in the men's game, but what a way to go.

Rafael 'Rafa' Nadal - 2013


Recuperating from knee tendinitis having missed the Olympics, the US Open in late 2012 and Australian Open at the start of the season, having been written off by many as physically finished, Nadal stormed back to capture both RG and the US Open in 2013, getting the better of his closest rival Djokovic in both tournaments. He ended the year as n.1. In total he won 10 titles, including five Masters series events.

Roger 'Tennis' Federer - 2017

Having lost his footing and his confidence against Raonic in Wimbledon semis in 2016, leading to an abrupt halt to his season to rest a troublesome knee, many speculated Federer might just, finally, be done at top-level tennis events. How wrong they were. After getting his feet wet once more at the Hopman Cup in early 2017, Federer got betterer and betterer in the first major of the season, beating Nishikori, Wawrinka and - astoundingly - his greatest rival Nadal in five-set matches to clinch the title, his record 18th major. He followed that up just a day ago with an Indian Wells title, becoming the oldest ever men's Masters 1000 champion in the process. Incredibly, he beat Nadal once more, fairly convincingly, to to turn the match-up on its head. Federer's massively improved backhand has been instrumental in his recent success.

Which is the best? Discuss.

Last edited by Han Solo; 03-20-2017 at 02:20 PM. Reason: pics
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:57 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

Fed is already impressive but he didn't even complete his comeback. I'll wait to see if he can do more and then I'll vote.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:58 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

First of all Roger comeback isn't over,but for now it's pretty impressive.
For me it's Rafa.. after he injured in late 2012 i thought he could not go back to his good form.. but he came back strong than ever
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:58 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

Winning slam at 35.5 yo and becoming the oldest ever Masters champion beat em all.
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VamosRafa123 View Post
First of all Roger comeback isn't over,but for now it's pretty impressive.
For me it's Rafa.. after he injured in late 2012 i thought he could not go back to his good form.. but he came back strong than ever
When you are younger, it's much easier to recuperate and come back. Fed had mono in 2008, and complete CGS the next year and returning to no. 1.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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Originally Posted by zdravkelja View Post
Fed is already impressive but he didn't even complete his comeback. I'll wait to see if he can do more and then I'll vote.
Granted he could still do more this season, but how does it fair now against the others, given his age, etc?
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:44 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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Granted he could still do more this season, but how does it fair now against the others, given his age, etc?
I think all are pretty impressive, but I'd probably go with Nadal because he managed to get to No.1 in the end. Fed is on a good track to surpass it though.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:50 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

Glorious though it was, I wouldn't describe Connors' 1991 run as a comeback. It's not as though it presaged a return to anything close to his highest position in the game; on the contrary, making the semis as the U.S.O. was relatively routine throughout his career, in good times & bad. And there's a difference between a comeback, implying as it does a career resurgence, and a swansong, such as Sampras's U.S.O. 2002. Nadal in 2013 was still R.G. champion; he'd had an injury break, true, but that's hardly unusual for him; in real terms, had he really been away?

In terms of the height of the mountain climbed, Agassi's got a good case. To rise from 147 playing Challengers to complete the career slam, having last reached the R.G. final 8 years before, going on to claim his first & only year-end No. 1 & remaining a top player & slam contender pretty much for the rest of his career, is astounding if you think about it.

But in terms of the public profile, the stakes, & the unexpectedness of it all, it's hard to top what Federer has done this year. I don't know if we've seen anything like it in any sport since the Rumble in the Jungle.

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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:55 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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Originally Posted by VamosRafa123 View Post
First of all Roger comeback isn't over,but for now it's pretty impressive.
For me it's Rafa.. after he injured in late 2012 i thought he could not go back to his good form.. but he came back strong than ever
Nadal was still 20 something when that happened, arguably around his prime years IMO. Sure was a nice comeback, but it was not like he was doing sht before that. He reached 5 straight slam finals between 2011-2012 and he was winning RG as usual.. i don't see as an improbable/much difficult task for him to acomplish.

A service notice for Pete..

Little FEDERER, Roger (SUI) Versus Defending Wimbledon Champ Pete SAMPRAS (USA)
Year Tournament Round Surface Winner Score
2001 Wimbledon 16 Grass (O) R.FEDERER 7-6(7) 5-7 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5


Does he really believes this is the same Federer of then?
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:05 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

How about Muster? After he was struck by that drunk driver, it looked like he might never walk or at least play tennis again. Instead, he came back, won a Major, reached #1, and had his amazing run on clay.
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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How about Muster? After he was struck by that drunk driver, it looked like he might never walk or at least play tennis again. Instead, he came back, won a Major, reached #1, and had his amazing run on clay.
Excellent call. Embarrassed I missed this. Blinded by the more glamorous names. And by Agassi's mental drug habit.
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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Glorious though it was, I wouldn't describe Connors' 1991 run as a comeback. It's not as though it presaged a return to anything close to his highest position in the game; on the contrary, making the semis as the U.S.O. was relatively routine throughout his career, in good times & bad. And there's a difference between a comeback, implying as it does a career resurgence, and a swansong, such as Sampras's U.S.O. 2002. Nadal in 2013 was still R.G. champion; he'd had an injury break, true, but that's hardly unusual for him; in real terms, had he really been away?

In terms of the height of the mountain climbed, Agassi's got a good case. To rise from 147 playing Challengers to complete the career slam, having last reached the R.G. final 8 years before, going on to claim his first & only year-end No. 1 & remaining a top player & slam contender pretty much for the rest of his career, is astounding if you think about it.

But in terms of the public profile, the stakes, & the unexpectedness of it all, it's hard to top what Federer has done this year. I don't know if we've seen anything like it in any sport since the Rumble in the Jungle.
I just wanted an excuse to call Connors a **** in bold.
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:33 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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I just wanted an excuse to call Connors a **** in bold.
Connors has a special position in the game though. Along with Richard Gonzales, he's just about the only great "blue-collar" champion we've had, & I suspect their experience of various kinds of snobbery affected both players' attitudes & demeanour on court. And in any case, Connors was entertainingly humorous more often than obnoxious, at least in the later stages of his career.

But he was a fucking shit coach & commentator. I'll grant you that.
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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:49 PM
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

Federers is best for a number of reasons.

Rafa's 2013 season was super impressive, but he was still in his mid-twenties. I feel this was more about people writing him off very prematurely.

Agassi was more about a player finally taking his talent seriously, showcased by the fact that he played pretty consistently well from 1998 and until retiring in 2006.

Sampras was impressive, especially the way he did it, but again, it was "just" one of the alltime greats clicking at a point in time where he really wasn't THAT old and with a weapon that was fierce on that surface (alltmie great serve on fast hardcourt).

Connors longevity in general was just super impressive - more so than this "comeback" in 1991.

What impresses me about Federer is a number of things:

a) his sheer age.
b) the fact that grand slams had eluded him for 5 years.
c) the fact that he for the first time in his career had a somewhat serious injury.
d) the fact that he had nothing left to prove combined with age and injury, makes it surprising that he even bothered returning.
e) The fact that he beat his arch-nemesis in the final.
f) the fact that he went through numerous 5-setters and strong opponents to pull it off.
g) The way he played. There wasn't anything flukey about it.

Shouldn't Ivanisevic be in the conversation as well?

Proud fan of Olderer, the GOAT.
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best career comebacks in the open era

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Federers is best for a number of reasons.

Rafa's 2013 season was super impressive, but he was still in his mid-twenties. I feel this was more about people writing him off very prematurely.

Agassi was more about a player finally taking his talent seriously, showcased by the fact that he played pretty consistently well from 1998 and until retiring in 2006.

Sampras was impressive, especially the way he did it, but again, it was "just" one of the alltime greats clicking at a point in time where he really wasn't THAT old and with a weapon that was fierce on that surface (alltmie great serve on fast hardcourt).

Connors longevity in general was just super impressive - more so than this "comeback" in 1991.

What impresses me about Federer is a number of things:

a) his sheer age.
b) the fact that grand slams had eluded him for 5 years.
c) the fact that he for the first time in his career had a somewhat serious injury.
d) the fact that he had nothing left to prove combined with age and injury, makes it surprising that he even bothered returning.
e) The fact that he beat his arch-nemesis in the final.
f) the fact that he went through numerous 5-setters and strong opponents to pull it off.
g) The way he played. There wasn't anything flukey about it.

Shouldn't Ivanisevic be in the conversation as well?
Would you care to make the case for Ivanisevic...?
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