Did Sampras play in a weak grass era? - MensTennisForums.com

View Poll Results: Did Petros Sampras play in a weak grass era (1990s)
yes- and ill tell you why 29 63.04%
no- and ill tell you why 17 36.96%
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Edberg and Becker past their primes

Agassi - grass his weakest surface- and yet he still won it!
the clay specialists didn't know how to play on grass

krajicek and Stitch inconsistent, yet still held vital edges over Sampras, and had they been more consistent would have threatened him more

Ivanesevic a hopeless mental midget

John McEnroe going on deep runs because the field was so weak.
from 1985 to 1988 Mac couldn't get past the QFs, the field was so strong during his prime
in 1992, when he was a washed up has been, he made the SEMI FINALS OF WIMBLEDON!!!!!

39 year old loser of the century, connors making the semi finals of the US OPEN in 1991!

only cedric 'the mighty' pioline held the usual french resistence (read: surrendered instantly)

to really emphasis how weak the 90s era was, just look at Sampras prime year

in 2000, Sampras won wimbledon even though he was getting injections, and he made the final of the US OPEN, it probably would have been his best year since 1997

and yet, he got his ass handed to him by a green safin- the same safin who was Federer's pigeon

doesn't this just prove sampras played in a weak era?

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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 03:31 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?







































Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophicalarf View Post
Armstrong says in-competition testing will never catch anyone, only out-of-competition testing and the blood passport can.

Tennis has no blood passport system, and does basically no out of competition testing.

The methods and drugs used by Armstrong in 1999 would work in tennis right now, with zero chance of being caught (not slightly surprising to anyone familiar with the topic, btw).
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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 03:36 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

A weak era thread!
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 03:39 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

No, it was not a weak grass era. However it had grass that suited Sampras playing style, Federer is playing in a weaker grass era but also on very slow high bouncing grass which doesnt suit him as much as fast grass. On fast grass I think Federer would be unbeatable in this era, really unbeatable.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 03:56 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

I Fed played on that low bouncing fast ass grass of the 90's, poor Pete wouldn't sniff a single grass court slam title...I'd feel sorry for him and his tards then

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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:05 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Waiting for SetSampras... the guy just can't miss a weak era thread...

8th day of July 2012: 7-time Wimbledon champion!

Once upon a time there was a myth about strong and weak eras. On this glorious day the clownery was eventually unmasked: 30 y.o. past-prime daddy Fed became #1 once again in the supposed strong "Spartan" era with his rivals at their peak.
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:20 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Obviously it was weak era, there has never been a strong era. That won't happen until all players are at least 6'6" and there are athletic 7 footers who grew up playing tennis at top academies. All records are meaningless until then.

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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:30 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Federer plays in a weak grass era

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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:33 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Well, whom did he beat? Taking it from 4th round on at Wimbledon, we have:

1993: Andrew Foster (British wild card), Andre Agassi (defending champ), Boris Becker (past peak but still good), Jim Courier (at peak though hardly a grass-courter).
1994: Daniel Vacek (who?), Michael Chang (decent player, not a grass-courter), Todd Martin (good but not great), Goran Ivanisevic (good on grass).
1995: Greg Rusedski (ranked 60th at the time), Shuzo Matsuoka (one for the connoisseurs, shall we say?), Goran Ivanisevic, Boris Becker (past peak, still would win another slam next year though).
1996 he lost to Krajicek in the quarters.
1997: Petr Korda (decent player, hardly a demon on grass), Boris Becker (past it by now), Todd Woodbridge (doubles specialist), Cedric Pioline (decent, far from great).
1998: Sebastien Grosjean (ranked outside Top 100 at the time), Mark Philippoussis (good, not great), Tim Henman (ditto), Goran Ivanisevic (ranked 25th at the time but still dangerous on grass).
1999: Daniel Nestor (?), Mark Philippoussis, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi (resurgent & playing very well on surfaces at the time).
2000: Jonas Bjorkman (doubles specialist), Jan-Michael Gambill (overhyped journeyman), Vladimir Voltchkov (journeyman), Pat Rafter (nearly great).
2001 lost to 19-year-old Federer in the 4th round.

On this evidence, anybody who says Sampras played in an exceptionally strong grass-court era is deluded. On the other hand, you can't call it a weak era: Becker, Agassi, Ivanisevic, Rafter were all very good grass-court players, & guys like Henman, Philippoussis, & Pioline could all play on the stuff.

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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:59 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

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Originally Posted by Sophocles View Post
Well, whom did he beat? Taking it from 4th round on at Wimbledon, we have:

1993: Andrew Foster (British wild card), Andre Agassi (defending champ), Boris Becker (past peak but still good), Jim Courier (at peak though hardly a grass-courter).
1994: Daniel Vacek (who?), Michael Chang (decent player, not a grass-courter), Todd Martin (good but not great), Goran Ivanisevic (good on grass).
1995: Greg Rusedski (ranked 60th at the time), Shuzo Matsuoka (one for the connoisseurs, shall we say?), Goran Ivanisevic, Boris Becker (past peak, still would win another slam next year though).
1996 he lost to Krajicek in the quarters.
1997: Petr Korda (decent player, hardly a demon on grass), Boris Becker (past it by now), Todd Woodbridge (doubles specialist), Cedric Pioline (decent, far from great).
1998: Sebastien Grosjean (ranked outside Top 100 at the time), Mark Philippoussis (good, not great), Tim Henman (ditto), Goran Ivanisevic (ranked 25th at the time but still dangerous on grass).
1999: Daniel Nestor (?), Mark Philippoussis, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi (resurgent & playing very well on surfaces at the time).
2000: Jonas Bjorkman (doubles specialist), Jan-Michael Gambill (overhyped journeyman), Vladimir Voltchkov (journeyman), Pat Rafter (nearly great).
2001 lost to 19-year-old Federer in the 4th round.

On this evidence, anybody who says Sampras played in an exceptionally strong grass-court era is deluded. On the other hand, you can't call it a weak era: Becker, Agassi, Ivanisevic, Rafter were all very good grass-court players, & guys like Henman, Philippoussis, & Pioline could all play on the stuff.
Lets do the same with Federer:

2003: Feliciano Lopez (avarage player), Sjeng Schalken (underrated, but quite easy for the big players), Andy Roddick (good on grass), Mark Philippoussis (good, not great)

2004: Thomas Johansson (decent player on grass), Ivo Karlovic (Obviously tricky on grass with his serve), Lleyton Hewitt (A former champ and good grasscourter), Grosjean (decent on grass), Roddick (good grasscourter, nearly great)

2005: Nicolas Kiefer (decent player on grass), Ferrero (quite good on slow grass), Gonzalez (decent on slow grass), Hewitt (good grasscourt player), Roddick (same as above)

2006:Richard Gasquet (can be dangerous on grass), Tim Henman (past peak good grasscourt player), Nicolas Mahut (one of the last grasscourt specialists), Tomas Berdych (decent, dangerous sometimes), Mario Ancic (good on grasscourts), Nadal (very dangerous on slow grass, but had not reached his peak yet)

2007: Del Potro (junior Del Potro), Marat Safin (always dangerous, not very good on grass), Tommy Haas (good talented player on grass), Ferrero (decent), Gasquet (talented but a headcase), Nadal (one of the greats on slow grasscourts, here he was very confident on grass)

2008: Söderling (dangerous on grass), Hewitt (past peak champ), Ancic (always dangerous on grass), Safin (past peak but having a great tournament here), lost to Nadal (a great Nadal at his absolute peak, playing his best tennis and with confidence skyhigh defeats Fed in a marathon 5 set match)

2009: Kohlschreiber (decent player), Söderling (playing great tennis, good on grass), Karlovic (dangerous), Haas (good grasscourt player slightly past his peak), Roddick (at his absolute best almost beats him).

Judge for yourselves, I mean it is not that great distance between them. Becker was the name which maýbe in the end really made Sampras draw look more difficult.

IMO:

Sampras 93>Federer 03
Sampras 94<Federer 04 (Hewitt>Chang, Roddick=Ivanisevic)
Sampras 95>Federer 05 (Becker>anything, Roddick=Ivanisevic)
Sampras 97<Federer 06 (Becker really past prime<young Nadal on slow grass+rest of the draw a joke for Sampras)
Sampras 98=Federer 07 (Ivanisevic on fast grass on level with Nadal on slow grass, rest of the draw quite easy for both)
Sampras 99=Federer 09 (Agassi on grass=Roddick on grass, rest of the draw quite difficult for both)

Result: 2 ties and 2-2, makes it a draw. But we still have:

Sampras 96<Federer 08 (losing in straight sets to Krajicek on gast grass<Federer losing in a heroic 5 set marathon final against an absolute peak Nadal on slow grass)

Giving Federer some advantage

But....

Sampras 00>Federer 2010 (because winning a 7th title against Rafter in the final>a tournament that hasnt been played yet)

So Sampras still is the best grasscourt player of all time, for now....

Last edited by marcRD; 03-09-2010 at 05:18 PM.
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post #11 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 05:25 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

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So Sampras still is the best grasscourt player of all time, for now....
Decent analysis. It's clearly more even than extremists on either side allow. Becker does feel like the difference, though having said that, Becker during Sampras's reign was no longer a Becker who was winning Wimbledon; on the contrary, he made only 1 final. This may be down to Sampras, but then in that case Noughties players' inferior Wimbledon records may be down to Federer.

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post #12 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 05:27 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

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Originally Posted by tennis-hero View Post
Edberg and Becker past their primes

Agassi - grass his weakest surface- and yet he still won it!
the clay specialists didn't know how to play on grass

krajicek and Stitch inconsistent, yet still held vital edges over Sampras, and had they been more consistent would have threatened him more

Ivanesevic a hopeless mental midget

John McEnroe going on deep runs because the field was so weak.
from 1985 to 1988 Mac couldn't get past the QFs, the field was so strong during his prime
in 1992, when he was a washed up has been, he made the SEMI FINALS OF WIMBLEDON!!!!!

39 year old loser of the century, connors making the semi finals of the US OPEN in 1991!

only cedric 'the mighty' pioline held the usual french resistence (read: surrendered instantly)

to really emphasis how weak the 90s era was, just look at Sampras prime year

in 2000, Sampras won wimbledon even though he was getting injections, and he made the final of the US OPEN, it probably would have been his best year since 1997

and yet, he got his ass handed to him by a green safin- the same safin who was Federer's pigeon

doesn't this just prove sampras played in a weak era?
Ivanisevic, Becker, Pioline, Henman, Krajicek, Stich >>>>>>> Nadal, Djokovic, Roddick, Murray, Gasquet (on grass).

Now go home dumbass.

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post #13 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 05:44 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

I don't think we have come up with a satisfactory metric that can objectively determine whether or not an era is comparatively 'weak'. Even if Edberg and Becker were past their primes, there were still some very competent players on grass, as the performance of Ivanisevic (1W, 3F, 2SF) and Agassi (1W, 1F, 3SF) show. Even Krajicek (1W, 1SF) and Stich (1W, 1SF) was a formidable threat on the surface and Rafter (2F, 1SF) was unlucky not to win one himself. Honourable mention to Tim Henman as well, who I think was very unlucky to reach the SF 4 times but never progress to the champtionship match. Pioline and Philippoussis - both one time finalists - were unlucky to respectively meet the two men I consider to be the greatest grass court players in tennis history.

As of now, I'd probably rank Ivanisevic a better player on grass than Nadal although that could change very soon, and Roddick a better player at Wimbledon than Rafter. Hewitt has been more consistent at on the grass than Krajicek or Stich - his counterpart single-time Wimbledon champions. I'm not a believer in the weak era hypothesis and there appears not to be any significant difference in terms of quality between the present generation and Sampras'. By the end of their careers, I fully expect Murray and Djokovic (possibly Del Potro also) to have success at Wimbledon which is comparable to that of Agassi.

Of course the change in the composition of the grass complicates matters when we even begin an attempt to comapre eras. But all competitors participating in a given year must play on the same surface so it is a bit futile to talk about what would happen if the grass was not slowed down etc. Surface changes are exogenous variable in an analysis of how strong or weak and era is and hypothetical posturing along with the endless 'what if' questions are irrelevant. You can only conclusively make judgements on the basis of what has happened, not what might have been.
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post #14 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 05:56 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Mal Washington in a Wimbledon final. QED.


(more seriously, early 90s was really strong, by 95 weakened a lot, by late 90s it sucked).
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post #15 of 53 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 06:28 PM
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Re: Did Sampras play in a weak grass era?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophocles View Post
Well, whom did he beat? Taking it from 4th round on at Wimbledon, we have:

1993: Andrew Foster (British wild card), Andre Agassi (defending champ), Boris Becker (past peak but still good), Jim Courier (at peak though hardly a grass-courter).
1994: Daniel Vacek (who?), Michael Chang (decent player, not a grass-courter), Todd Martin (good but not great), Goran Ivanisevic (good on grass).
1995: Greg Rusedski (ranked 60th at the time), Shuzo Matsuoka (one for the connoisseurs, shall we say?), Goran Ivanisevic, Boris Becker (past peak, still would win another slam next year though).
1996 he lost to Krajicek in the quarters.
1997: Petr Korda (decent player, hardly a demon on grass), Boris Becker (past it by now), Todd Woodbridge (doubles specialist), Cedric Pioline (decent, far from great).
1998: Sebastien Grosjean (ranked outside Top 100 at the time), Mark Philippoussis (good, not great), Tim Henman (ditto), Goran Ivanisevic (ranked 25th at the time but still dangerous on grass).
1999: Daniel Nestor (?), Mark Philippoussis, Tim Henman, Andre Agassi (resurgent & playing very well on surfaces at the time).
2000: Jonas Bjorkman (doubles specialist), Jan-Michael Gambill (overhyped journeyman), Vladimir Voltchkov (journeyman), Pat Rafter (nearly great).
2001 lost to 19-year-old Federer in the 4th round.

On this evidence, anybody who says Sampras played in an exceptionally strong grass-court era is deluded. On the other hand, you can't call it a weak era: Becker, Agassi, Ivanisevic, Rafter were all very good grass-court players, & guys like Henman, Philippoussis, & Pioline could all play on the stuff.
Agreed totally.

Courier's weakest surface was grass.

Rafter did not actually have the ideal serve for grass and his top spin serve was more of a liability on grass and more effective on fast hard courts i.e. US Open.

When looked in detail I sometimes think the differences in calibre of the players Federer and Sampras played was not that much different. Possibly Sampras had slightly better players at the top end of the rankings, but Federer had to deal with greater depth as tennis has become more global and players coming from a wider talent pool.

Last edited by DrJules; 03-09-2010 at 06:35 PM.
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