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post #1 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

Nov. 12, 2006, 11:25PM
TENNIS NOTEBOOK
Federer's competition not impressive


By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle


Rafael Nadal owns six of the 10 victories against 38 losses — the Masters Cup field has cumulatively managed against Roger Federer since the Swiss began his relentless ascent to the top with his breakthrough victory at Wimbledon in 2003.

Against Nadal and David Nalbandian , who defeated him in last year's Masters Cup final, he is only 10-8 (after Sunday's win over Nalbandian). But against the other five, he's 29-2.

And he owns seven-match winning streaks against Andy Roddick and Nikolay Davydenko.

The eight seniors who played at River Oaks for the past week share the utmost respect for Roger Federer's talents and all concede he's one of the greatest players.

But none is ready to pronounce him the greatest. Why? Mostly because they aren't enamored with the quality of Federer's competition. Names such as Nikolay Davydenko, Ivan Ljubicic and Tommy Robredo — all ranked in the top 10 and all part of the elite Masters Cup field in Shanghai this week — don't send too many shivers down their spines.

"When Tommy Robredo makes (the Masters Cup)," the outspoken Goran Ivanisevic said, "something's wrong."

Added Wayne Ferreira, who retired with a 10-6 career record against the Masters Cup participants (and beat Federer in two of their three meetings, all in 2001): "I won't mention any names, but when you see some of the guys at the top and you remember how they played ... it's hard to believe they could have improved so much."

John McEnroe specifically laments Federer's shrinking serve-and-volley game, saying he doesn't use it as much as he once did because there's no need to. He wins easily by just staying at the baseline, a simpler and sufficient tact given the cowed state of the competition, save for Rafael Nadal.

McEnroe is also critical of a rankings system that he says rewards grinding it out week after week over rising to the occasion in big events. Davydenko is No. 3 in the world despite getting as far as the semifinals in just one of the Slams. But he has won 67 matches by entering 31 tournaments, the same number Guillermo Vilas played in 1977 when he won an Open era-record 130. Ljubicic? The world No. 4, has been as far as the semis just once in 29 majors.

Also galling to the Outback Series gang is the disrespect the top players show the Davis Cup competition. Most of them were fervent supporters of their national teams, none more so than McEnroe, who represented the United States for 12 years, winning 59 of 69 matches as the Americans won five championships.

Federer and Nadal have begged off for what could have been a monumental first-round meeting next year between Switzerland and Spain, with Nadal, 20, saying, "I don't usually play the first round."

"He's 20 years old and he doesn't play the first round?" McEnroe said with a smirk.


All OK at RO
Although the crowds weren't nearly as big as Jim Courier would have liked for the Stanford Cup at River Oaks last week, he insists the event exceeded expectations in every other way.

"Just a perfect venue, a beautiful club," Courier said of River Oaks. This was the first seniors event here and it won't be the last.

The Outback Champions Tour has a contract to return for the next two autumns and nothing happened to jeopardize that, all parties contend.

"The best marketing is always word of mouth," Courier said. "We hope the people who came and enjoyed themselves will come back and bring their friends next year."

Van Barry, the tennis director at River Oaks, said the club was delighted to have Courier and friends on site.

"They brought different faces and a different feel from our spring tournament," Barry said. "We're very pleased with how everything worked out."

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, a company co-owned by Courier and Jon Vennison, staged a trial run at Westside Tennis Club here last fall and grew into a full five-tournament circuit this year. No easy task, to be sure, but the River Oaks stop went off remarkably gliche-free for what Courier said was "for all practical purposes a new event."

The only "negative," Courier conceded, was his not winning the championship.


Tiger-Federer redux
Tiger Woods attended the U.S. Open final as Roger Federer's guest, watching his host defeat defeat Andy Roddick.

Last week, Federer repaid the favor in Shanghai, where he was preparing for the Masters Cup and Woods was playing in the HSBC Championships.

Federer tagged along for most of Tiger's first round, after which Woods said: "Obviously he's getting ready for his tournament, so for him to take some time out to watch me slash it around a little bit was very nice."

dale.robertson@chron.com
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post #2 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:33 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataQT View Post
"When Tommy Robredo makes (the Masters Cup)," the outspoken Goran Ivanisevic said, "something's wrong."
nice quote.

wat.
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post #3 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:39 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

I think there is a little bit of the 'the older I get, the better I used to be' mentality going on here. But you gotta Goran--subtlety was never his forte.
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post #4 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:55 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

I have mixed feelings about this. Whilst I do think that the powergame of today would eclipse players of the past eras, this has quite a bit to do with equipment as much as better fitness and training. Some of the winners being hit today from the back of the court would have been impossible with the wooden and early graphite rackets.

However, being able to play a more powerful game of tennis is hardly the same as being better than the players of previous generations especially when it comes down to determining who is the greater talent. I do believe that there have been more talented crops of players in the past. The years between 1985 and 1995 saw a juxtaposition of some pretty fine tennis talents from 2 sometimes 3 different generations. The top 10 in 1985

1 Lendl, Ivan (TCH)
2 McEnroe, John (USA)
3 Wilander, Mats (SWE)
4 Connors, Jimmy (USA)
5 Edberg, Stefan (SWE)
6 Becker, Boris (GER)
7 Noah, Yannick (FRA)
8 Järryd, Anders (SWE)
9 Mecir, Miloslav (TCH)
10 Curren, Kevin (USA)

That's a pretty strong list. Connors from the 70s stioll going strong. Mac and Lendl from the current generation at the top of their game. Wilander, Edberg and Becker as the rising teenage stars. All arguably top 10 greats of the open era. And in amongst that you had guys like Mecir/Curren/Noah who would go on to make GS finals or win 1.

Or look at 1995

1 SAMPRAS, PETE
2 AGASSI, ANDRE
3 MUSTER, THOMAS
4 BECKER, BORIS
5 CHANG, MICHAEL
6 KAFELNIKOV, YEVGENY
7 ENQVIST, THOMAS
8 COURIER, JIM
9 FERREIRA, WAYNE
10 IVANISEVIC, GORAN

Again u see multiple GS winners and the rest being made of single slam winners and guys who reached GS finals.

Fast forward to 2005

1 Federer, Roger
2 Nadal, Rafael
3 Roddick, Andy
4 Hewitt, Lleyton
5 Davydenko, Nikolay
6 Nalbandian, David
7 Agassi, Andre
8 Coria, Guillermo
9 Ljubicic, Ivan
10 Gaudio, Gaston

Still a very talented bunch of players but the number of multiple slam winners is less. And far fewer would make the top 10 of the open era list. Whether this is due in part to Federer's outstanding talent or whether it is because the guys are less talented then the crop of years past is a question that can never be answered.

FWIW, the dominance of Pete and Roger have made lists like the 2005 one the norm and it's because of this that they sit at the very top of all time greats lists. I think it is facetious for the same commentators to call Pete and Roger amongst the greatest ever and then to say but it's because of the lack of talent.

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Last edited by JustmeUK; 11-14-2006 at 02:11 AM.
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post #5 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:01 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

What you see on those earlier top 10 lists is a mix of serve and volleyers and baseliners. That mix made in harder for one player to dominate the year from beginning to end. Now everyone plays pretty much from the baseline all the time. If you are a baseliner and not as good as the baseliners ranked ahead of you there's not much you can do.
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post #6 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:08 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataQT
"When Tommy Robredo makes (the Masters Cup)," the outspoken Goran Ivanisevic said, "something's wrong."
Goran had a very incomplete game and he was a head case......and he's going to pick on Robredo.

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post #7 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:08 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

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What you see on those earlier top 10 lists is a mix of serve and volleyers and baseliners. That mix made in harder for one player to dominate the year from beginning to end. Now everyone plays pretty much from the baseline all the time. If you are a baseliner and not as good as the baseliners ranked ahead of you there's not much you can do.
I think S&V is dying as a result of the modern power game. It's just so much easier to hit passing shots unless the approach is impeccable. Anything less than that and u are playing your first volley off your shoelaces and if u do make that, you can bet that the pass is come and gone. The margins for error on S&V are much less than in years past.

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Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Rafa hater. I am, however, a RAFATARD hater and therefore take endless delight in each Rafa loss as it allows me to sock it hard to his tards. Do try and understand the difference (TARDS)! Don't get me started on Choke-ovic though. Him I do despise. And his TARDS are the lowest of the low .
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post #8 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:19 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

i dont get this, why some of the modern players arent multiple slam winners is because roger wins all of them. people expect roger to win 20 slams to be great but his competition need to win 5 each as well. there is only 4 slams a year, if hes dominating its a bit hard for the other players to win slams. takeaway roger and all most of those players would have multiple slams.

ROGER FEDERER
The Greatest Ever
ANA IVANOVIC
Soon to Be The Greatest Ever
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post #9 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:22 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

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I have mixed feelings about this. Whilst I do think that the powergame of today would eclipse players of the past eras, this has quite a bit to do with equipment as much as better fitness and training. Some of the winners being hit today from the back of the court would have been impossible with the wooden and early graphite rackets.
When you're looking at the early era you are looking at the best of a 10 year span. That's not the same as looking at a random slice in time of one particular year.

Even when you picked Sampras' '95 ....

1 SAMPRAS, PETE
2 AGASSI, ANDRE
3 MUSTER, THOMAS
4 BECKER, BORIS
5 CHANG, MICHAEL
6 KAFELNIKOV, YEVGENY
7 ENQVIST, THOMAS
8 COURIER, JIM
9 FERREIRA, WAYNE
10 IVANISEVIC, GORAN


you happened to pick the year when Agassi was in the mix, but there was a time when Agassi had dropped to the 300's during Sampras era. Likewise, Becker was not in his prime in '95. That list of '95 does not seem to be greater than the list we have today.

Roger Forever !
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post #10 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:24 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

and Wayne Ferreira wtf? you won two masters events and that is it, and you were in the top 10. if you played federer in his prime he would of killed you.

ROGER FEDERER
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post #11 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:28 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

lots of bitterness in that article

as far as serve & volley, well players are far more athletic and faster now so before you get to the net you will be passed up
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post #12 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:30 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamV View Post
When you're looking at the early era you are looking at the best of a 10 year span. That's not the same as looking at a random slice in time of one particular year.

Even when you picked Sampras' '95 ....

1 SAMPRAS, PETE
2 AGASSI, ANDRE
3 MUSTER, THOMAS
4 BECKER, BORIS
5 CHANG, MICHAEL
6 KAFELNIKOV, YEVGENY
7 ENQVIST, THOMAS
8 COURIER, JIM
9 FERREIRA, WAYNE
10 IVANISEVIC, GORAN


you happened to pick the year when Agassi was in the mix, but there was a time when Agassi had dropped to the 300's during Sampras era. Likewise, Becker was not in his prime in '95. That list of '95 does not seem to be greater than the list we have today.
actually I suspect what the commentators are saying is exactly that - becker in 1995 is better than robredo in 2006. and in that they may have a case.

becker reached the final of wimby that year (losing to Pete). he also reached the US open SF (losing to Agassi). on top of that he reached two masters series final in monte carlo (on clay losting to Muster!!) and paris (losing to Pete again). and he did go on to win the yec (ironically losing to Pete in the RR but winning the whole shebang beating Kafelnikov/Ferreira/Muster and Chang). that seems like a pretty fine year to me

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Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Rafa hater. I am, however, a RAFATARD hater and therefore take endless delight in each Rafa loss as it allows me to sock it hard to his tards. Do try and understand the difference (TARDS)! Don't get me started on Choke-ovic though. Him I do despise. And his TARDS are the lowest of the low .
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post #13 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:31 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

players are way fitter then they were even 10 years ago, there wasnt many players who had the athletic ability or were built like nadal or monfils

ROGER FEDERER
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ANA IVANOVIC
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post #14 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:41 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

J Mac used to walk to the tennis court in the snow uphill both ways.
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post #15 of 78 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:43 AM
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Re: Tennis greats say Federer's competition not impressive

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Still a very talented bunch of players but the number of multiple slam winners is less. And far fewer would make the top 10 of the open era list. Whether this is due in part to Federer's outstanding talent or whether it is because the guys are less talented then the crop of years past is a question that can never be answered.

FWIW, the dominance of Pete and Roger have made lists like the 2005 one the norm and it's because of this that they sit at the very top of all time greats lists. I think it is facetious for the same commentators to call Pete and Roger amongst the greatest ever and then to say but it's because of the lack of talent.
I haven't heard any commentators say there is a lack of talent. Whom are you listening to? What do you mean saying that far fewer from today would make it to the top 10 of the Open Era???? We are in the Open Era now and they are in top of the list. The Open Era began in 1968.

Here's what has happened currently. We have Federer who is dominante like Sampras but he is more driven and has more energy than Sampras. He also can't simply win two majors a year and still stay #1. We also have a very dominant #2 player on clay who has won all the big clay tournaments. In effect they have shut everyone else out. I really don't know if it's fair to look solely at who is top 10 in a given week. It's always changing and now a days one big factor is so many injuries. We have someone like Safin for example that is one of the most talented players of all times. He just never made full use of his talent due to injuries.

If you really compare the talent of our top 10 then I think you see that they are as talented or more so than other eras.

Roger Forever !
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