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Federer at Wimbledon: No Sampras

nobama
07-12-2005, 06:54 PM
I'm curious what people think about this article...falls behind Pete in nearly every catagorey? Tell that to the pros like Ivanesevic & Krajicek who have both Roger said is better than Pete (even if he doesn't win as many slams). Or Rod Laver who said he's honoured to be in Roger's company. Or McEnroe who said during the Wimbledon final that Roger was the best shotmaker that ever played the game. And Jim Courier who said in Sports Illustrated magazine that Roger is the only player he would pay to watch. I think it's pointless to get into hypotheticals about if Pete was in his prime and played Roger today who would win, or which era had a better crop of players, ect. And I'm certainly don't think we can ever say who the best is, because the players, eras, technology are so different. But this article makes it sound like Roger is just some average player who only looks great because the rest of the field sucks - all couched around the fact that there are more baseliners than serve/volley players. I think that's way off the mark.

http://www.thedartmouth.com/article.php?aid=2005071203010
Federer at Wimbledon: No Sampras
By Baird Hull
Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2005

For the third consecutive year, Roger Federer won Wimbledon. This has brought to bear the inevitable discussions of Federer's greatness and his place in history. Announcers have claimed that Federer possesses the complete game and that he could be the greatest talent ever to have played. The Swiss sensation is only 23, and has won five majors, which puts him on par to possibly reach Pete Sampras' record of 14 slam titles. At Wimbledon this year, Federer was never seriously challenged and beat Andy Roddick with apparent ease. Federer is the only player since Sampras to enter Wimbledon each year as the overwhelming favorite.

Despite Federer's record at Wimbledon and the other slams, his accomplishments are less impressive when one looks at the lack of diversity in the men's game today. Namely, the tour lacks serve and volleyers, who are especially dangerous on the grass at Wimbledon. At this year's Wimbledon, the three semifinalists other than Roger Federer were Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Thomas Johansson. All three of these players are basically baseliners. Lleyton Hewitt is essentially a grinder -- he wins matches by running from side to side at the baseline. Andy Roddick, despite his powerful serve, also resides at the baseline, trying to mask a backhand which is shaky at its best. Thomas Johansson is pretty much the standard male baseliner of the 1990s who had a hot tournament.

None of these men possess the talent to have made it to the second week of Wimbledon during earlier generations. If one looks at the recent list of champions, one will find that John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras clearly dominated the event over the past 25 years. All three of these champions possessed great all-around games and were capable of dominating at the net. Other players with notable Wimbledon careers were Goran Ivanesevic and Patrick Rafter. Ivanesevic was an all-around player with a great serve, while Rafter was an all-around player with a great volley.

There is great evidence that these players were far greater grass court players than the players that are dominating Wimbledon these days.

To begin with, Thomas Johansson, Wimbledon semifinalist, has been playing grand slams since 1994. In all of his years, he was never able to make it past the fourth round. In his younger, fresher days he was always stopped short of truly making it deep into the tournament by better players. Also, Roger Federer, who had already been picked as the next potential great, lost to an aged Goran Ivanesevic in 2001 in the middle of a run which put him as the favorite to win Wimbledon that year. This alone is clear evidence that Roger Federer would not have been able to dominate in years past.

The best way, however, to judge the competitiveness of today's grass court players versus the competitiveness of grass court players in years past is by a stroke by stroke analysis. Andy Roddick, who has indisputably been the second-best grass court player over the last three years, essentially possesses two strokes: the serve and the forehand. On both shots he possesses mind-numbing power. Unfortunately, he has neither a backhand nor a volley to provide a strong supporting cast. Even on his serve, his most feared weapon, he clearly lags behind players in the past. Although he can hit a 150 mph rocket, he has never put up the numbers that Sampras and Ivanesevic were able to do with 125 mph serves.

Even Federer himself is not a strong matchup against players of the past. Federer is often praised as an all-court player who is great at every shot. Federer does possess a good serve, which has gotten better over the last few years, a good volley, a good backhand, and a great forehand. However, he does not possess nearly as good a serve as Ivanesevic, who won Wimbledon only once, nor does he possess nearly as good a volley as Rafter, who never won Wimbledon. In addition, he falls behind Sampras in nearly every category. Sampras indisputably possessed a better serve, a better volley and a better half volley. Federer is probably a better overall groundstroker, being that he has a better backhand, but his forehand is not as punishing a stroke as was Sampras'.

What does all of this mean? Roger Federer is an extremely talented player, but his dominance at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club has come at a time when the competition is far less tough. Federer has emerged as the king of a new breed of baseliners who cannot take advantage of the grass as in days past.

Purple Rainbow
07-12-2005, 07:26 PM
That is a ridiculous article, let's dismantle it by pointing out the flaws....

Other players with notable Wimbledon careers were Goran Ivanesevic and Patrick Rafter. Ivanesevic was an all-around player with a great serve, while Rafter was an all-around player with a great volley.

All-round game? Especially Goran was strictly serve and volley. Roger would have eaten him for lunch at the base-line.

To begin with, Thomas Johansson, Wimbledon semifinalist, has been playing grand slams since 1994. In all of his years, he was never able to make it past the fourth round.

Not knowing that ToJo won the Australian Open in 2002 calls for some serious shaming from the author. :o


Also, Roger Federer, who had already been picked as the next potential great, lost to an aged Goran Ivanesevic in 2001 in the middle of a run which put him as the favorite to win Wimbledon that year. This alone is clear evidence that Roger Federer would not have been able to dominate in years past.

The author clearly forgot that take into account that Roger anno 2001 wasn't half the player he is now. That's some serious comparison error. Calling that clear evidence is both pathetic and hilarious.

However, he [Federer] does not possess nearly as good a serve as Ivanesevic, who won Wimbledon only once, nor does he possess nearly as good a volley as Rafter, who never won Wimbledon.

Does that make Rafter and Ivanisevic better players than Roger? According to the author it does. Even if one can make the case that Goran had a better serve and that Rafter had a better volley, than that doesn't mean that they were overall better players.

In addition, he falls behind Sampras in nearly every category. Sampras indisputably possessed a better serve, a better volley and a better half volley. Federer is probably a better overall groundstroker, being that he has a better backhand, but his forehand is not as punishing a stroke as was Sampras'

That is the author''s opinion. He is entitled to his opinion, but using the word indisputably to make a point which is somewhat controversial is a sign of weakness, as anybody who had a course in text writing can tell you.

What does all of this mean? Roger Federer is an extremely talented player, but his dominance at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club has come at a time when the competition is far less tough

Roger has to deal with his competition, Pete had his own. You can argue about the level of competition but that is pretty useless. One thing I have to say about the subject is that it seems to me that the people who are complaing about the lack of competition for Federer are the same that have been hyping Roddick as the next best thing in tennis.

I wonder who this Baird Hull character is. Doesn't sound like he ever played professional tennis himself.

Tennis_Mad
07-12-2005, 07:29 PM
I am lead to believe a Mr T.Henman beat Roger at Wimbledon 2001 in the 1/4s?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/in_depth/2001/wimbledon_2001/1422557.stm

Fed can only beat who he plays against and he does that very well (expect Nadal and Safin before fans of those lads point out!)

Purple Rainbow
07-12-2005, 07:41 PM
Just found out that this is an article written for a college paper. :lol:
This guy has got a lot to learn and will probably have a boner if he finds out that we are actually discussing his article here! ;)

RonE
07-12-2005, 10:22 PM
Also, Roger Federer, who had already been picked as the next potential great, lost to an aged Goran Ivanesevic in 2001 in the middle of a run which put him as the favorite to win Wimbledon that year.

This guy gets an A++ for research :yeah:

Seriously though, he does have a point to a certain extent. What made Pete's dominance at Wimbledon truly brilliant was the depth on grass at his time- Ivanisevic, Becker, Rafter, Krajicek, Henman etc. It was the combination of serve and volley tennis with amazing power that his generation introduced to the game and that combination was not seen before and thus far since. I know many people will not like to hear this but even Roger's match against Pete in 2001- he could have easily lost that match even against a Sampras who was a shadow of his peak self, but I do take into account that Roger was only 19 at the time and had not developed the remaining technical not to mention mental aspects of his game that make him the great player he is today.

But still, it is not Roger's fault that the variety of grass court competitors stands at what it is today nor is it his fault that the courts have been slowed down.

Obviously it is very hard for me to take a one-sided stance on the subject since these are my two favourite all time players so you can now all feel free to rip me apart :p

Skyward
07-12-2005, 11:35 PM
Roger is 2-0 against Ivanisevic

http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/headtohead/head2head.asp?player1=Federer&player2=Ivanisevic

and they've never met at Wimbledon.

Hewitt has a good record against Sampras, Ivanisevic, Henman, but somehow he's not good enough to beat Roger at Wimbledon.

Comparison with Ivanisevic/Rafter is ridiculous. Both players had glaring weaknesses in return/ground strokes area, not to mention mental aspect.

Skyward
07-13-2005, 12:39 AM
They are quick to change. It's Henman now instead of Ivanisevic. The author must be lurking on this board. :p

SUKTUEN
07-13-2005, 03:29 AM
yes Roge lost to Herman in those year in wimby

nobama
07-13-2005, 04:20 AM
I don't think this guy has much of a clue what he's talking about. Or maybe he's a big Sampras fan and doesn't want to think about someone challenging his dominance on grass. This is what some of the top players of the past have said about Roger. According to this clown all these guys are just wrong? Or maybe he thinks Roger's slipping them something under the table to say this...

"It is difficult to look beyond another successful defence of the title by Federer. "He will have his challengers in Lleyton Hewitt and Tim Henman but he is in such good form I would be surprised and shocked if he didn't secure his third title in a row.

"I can recall when I played him at Wimbledon. I'd heard about him, I'd seen him play a little bit but I didn't know much more than that.

"But I have to admit he was impressive back then. He seemed to have a flawless game. I was impressed with his serve, his return. He had all the shots and all the answers."

Sampras sees a lot of himself in Federer and wouldn't be surprised to find his record eventually coming under threat from the 23-year-old.

"I could see the potential in his game. He had a similar temperament to me and I knew this guy was going to be around for a long time to come.

"And, if he remains at the top of his game, time is on his side. He will believe that eventually he can go on and smash my record out of sight." - Pete Sampras, June 2005
"Oh, I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time." - Rod Laver, November 2004
"There's probably not a department in his game that couldn't be considered the best in that department. You watch him play Hewitt and everybody marvels at Hewitt's speed, as well as myself. And you start to realize, `Is it possible Federer even moves better?' Then you watch him play Andy [Roddick], and you go, `Andy has a big forehand. Is it possible Federer's forehand is the best in the game?' You watch him at the net, you watch him serve-volley somebody that doesn't return so well and you put him up there with the best in every department. You see him play from the ground against those that play from the ground for a living, and argue he does it better than anybody." - Andre Agassi, March 2005
"He's the most gifted player that I've ever seen in my life. I've seen a lot of people play. I've seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players - the Samprases, Beckers, Connors', Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all." - John McEnroe, September 2004
"Roger Federer is the only guy I watch for his strokes. He is just beautiful. He can hit every single shot you could ever think of. John [McEnroe] and Ilie [Nastase] were very talented but you always knew there were some shots they couldn't hit. Not with Federer. I would go and watch him practise, he's so good." - Ivan Lendl
If I had to choose one to watch today, I think Roger Federer is the most exciting player to watch out there because he plays an all-over-court game. He plays serve and volley, can play from the back of the court. At least that is what I like to see out there....You know, he's got all the weapons that is needed to win on all four surfaces. He's proved that he can play really well on the clay, which obviously is going to be the toughest one for him to win. But, you know, if he can stay physically healthy here and not having too many injuries over the next couple of years, I think he's a player that really could dominate the game a little bit, the same way as Pete Sampras did for a while. He really has a lot of potential. It wouldn't surprise me if he can at least win one of the four Grand Slams. To do it in one year, it's nearly impossible today, I think, but he would be the only one I think today that can do it. - Stefan Edberg, May 2004
Roger Federer is the ideal player. He plays beautifully from the baseline, he can serve and volley when he feels like it or the situation calls for it, he can chip and charge or sneak in during a rally when he sees the opponent in trouble - in other words he can do it all. Mind you there used to be a bunch of players who could do it all, but they didn't do it as well as Federer. - Martina Navratilova, June 2005
"I've never enjoyed watching someone playing tennis as much as Federer. I'm just in awe. Pete Sampras was wonderful but he relied so much on his serve, whereas Roger has it all, he's just so graceful, elegant and fluid - a symphony in tennis whites. Roger can produce tennis shots that should be declared illegal." - Tracy Austin, September 2004
"Roger Federer is most probably a better player than Pete Sampras was. I think Federer can win all four (Grand Slams)." - Mats Wilander, September 2004
Does he subscribe to the widespread view that Federer is destined to become the greatest tennis player of all time? "Yes," he says. "I hit with him when he was 15, during a tournament in Basle, and I knew then he would be good, but not this good. If he stays healthy, it will actually be a miracle if he doesn't win more Grand Slams than Pete [Sampras]. The way he picks his shots is unbelievable. He is fast, he has a great volley, a great serve, great backhand, great everything. If I was his coach, what can I tell him? He is a magician with a racket. Even when he is playing badly, which is rarely, he can still do things with his racket nobody else can do.

"I have played him twice, and lost both times. At Wimbledon this year I hit with him, because he was playing Bogdanovic and he wanted some practice with a leftie. I am much older but it was still an honour to practise with him. If I had a young player I was coaching I would take him first to watch Federer. - Goran Ivanisevic, September 2004
"Federer is on top of his game and at the pinnacle of his career right now - we are watching greatness unfold. It really is a privilege to be a part of this whole time - this year he was supreme out there, he was oozing confidence and I can't believe the way he played in the final. He is different class to everyone else, he has raised the bar and everybody has got to look up to him. But the bad news is Roger is only going to get better. He is only 23 and he has got another three or four years of great tennis in him at least." - Boris Becker, July 2005
If you are only looking at the tennis and what he has done last year, you will think that he is better than Pete. Which, maybe, he is. But Pete had the desire to play at the highest level for so many years. That is very difficult, mentally. That in turn is the biggest question for Federer. Can he maintain the high level over six-seven years to break the record of 14 Grand Slams? Will he be able to remain world number one for five-six years in a row?

That is actually the only thing he is yet to prove. But if he continues to play tennis like this, he will definitely break Pete's record. Federer can be the best ever; he has the potential. The only question is whether he has the desire. - Richard Krajicek, Nov 2004

Puschkin
07-13-2005, 10:04 AM
But still, it is not Roger's fault that the variety of grass court competitors stands at what it is today nor is it his fault that the courts have been slowed down.

Exactly. He can only play against those on the other side of the net and on the court which is put up.


Obviously it is very hard for me to take a one-sided stance on the subject since these are my two favourite all time players so you can now all feel free to rip me apart :p

I also adored Pete's tennis. But I prefer current Roger to a taped Pete, as I did with contemporary Pete compared to a taped Borg. We live in the presence after all ;) .

TheMightyFed
07-13-2005, 01:20 PM
I'mTo begin with, Thomas Johansson, Wimbledon semifinalist, has been playing grand slams since 1994. In all of his years, he was never able to make it past the fourth round.
Just :o :rolls:

In addition, he falls behind Sampras in nearly every category. Sampras indisputably possessed a better serve, a better volley and a better half volley. Federer is probably a better overall groundstroker, being that he has a better backhand, but his forehand is not as punishing a stroke as was Sampras'.
Pete 2nd serve was certainly better, but we can debate on the first when we see how difficult it is for excellent returners like Hewitt to handle it. Footwork is also possibly better and we can ask guys on tour if Fed's FH is not "punishing" :rolls:

What does all of this mean? Roger Federer is an extremely talented player, but his dominance at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club has come at a time when the competition is far less tough. Federer has emerged as the king of a new breed of baseliners who cannot take advantage of the grass as in days past.
Wow, the guy has diiscovered Rog is talented, thanks man... the dominance of Federer is quite sever these days on grass, he's second after Borg in his winning streak since 2003, he left what, 8 sets en route. I mean he has quite a margin. An Ivasinevic or a Rafter could be beaten, Edberg-Becker on a good day, and Sampras, mmmh, he did it ! on a quite fair basis IMO as Fed was young and Pete was old, but still on a winning streak... ;)

Whistleway
07-13-2005, 03:25 PM
Pete and roger are gonna get compared for a long time. I am about to post an article to that effect. But, do remember, Sampras won his half of the slams (7) at his 8th year as a pro at the age of 23, the same age as Federer, at 1995 and Federer has 5. So, no question, that sampras is ahead of the game.

But, I don't think, statistics can explain roger's influence on the game. There are things that Roger does that makes him so special. Not just his style, but his influence and inspiration on others. Federer may never win any more slam, and still would be loved by fans, i think ;)

Check out this cool article:

Federer, sunny side up
Charles Bricker, Sports Columnist

July 10, 2005

I loved Pete Sampras' guts and pure confidence on the court and am still not convinced that Roger Federer could beat him if both were at the top of their games at Wimbledon.

In fact, there wasn't much I didn't like about Pete, though there was one thing: He was an interview recluse, a man who was talkative enough in his postmatch news conferences but who wasn't available to reporters in a one-on-one situation unless you carried credentials from ESPN or Sports Illustrated.

Even if you knew more about tennis and could talk tennis more intelligently than anyone who worked for those two high-profile media giants, there was no entree to Sampras. He was, as his agent liked to tell reporters, unavailable.

But now Federer ... vive la difference. He's not going to cut short a beachfront vacation to take your call, but he is so natural, so genuine and so down to earth that it is impossible not to admire him in ways you couldn't admire Sampras.

A few days before the Wimbledon final, I ventured into the players' cafeteria, where Federer was at the salad bar, picking at strands of lettuce and plucking tomatoes into his bowl.

There ensued a short conversation about grazing. "I love salad. Any kind of salads," he said. I explained to him that in the United States, when we have salads, it's called grazing, as cows do in pastures. "Grazing," he repeated, amused. "OK." He filed that away in his list of American idioms, which might come in handy in the coming weeks, when he arrives in the United States to work up to the U.S. Open.

And then, the day after he won his third straight Wimbledon, Federer invited reporters to his rented home in Wimbledon for breakfast, and to sit and chat, about anything, much the same as he did the day after he won the 2004 U.S. Open. That never happened with Sampras. In fact, the idea of Sampras asking reporters to his rented home would have been laughable.

You come away from one of these tête-à-têtes with Federer not really thinking so much about his tennis, which we all know is fabulous, but the way he fits in so easily with ordinary people.

That's why he's a greater champion than Pete.

Charles Bricker can be reached at cbricker@sun-sentinel.com.


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/columnists/sfl-brickten10jul10,0,93526.column?page=1

TheMightyFed
07-13-2005, 03:37 PM
Pete and roger are gonna get compared for a long time. I am about to post an article to that effect. But, do remember, Sampras won his half of the slams (7) at his 8th year as a pro at the age of 23, the same age as Federer, at 1995
I have other info:
Wimby 95 was pete's 6th GS, he turned 24 on the 12th of August this same year... still ahead but not that much !

Whistleway
07-13-2005, 03:52 PM
mdhubert,

Yup. you are correct. If roger can win USO, then he would narrow his gap. For a more detailed, see my draft post here:
http://federermagic.blogspot.com/2005/07/roger-federer-vs-pete-sampras.html

But, the main point, i was trying to get across is, it just doesn't matter.

For e.g. Michael Jordan's legacy extends more than his six rings.

TheMightyFed
07-13-2005, 04:04 PM
mdhubert,

Yup. you are correct. If roger can win USO, then he would narrow his gap. For a more detailed, see my draft post here:
http://federermagic.blogspot.com/2005/07/roger-federer-vs-pete-sampras.html

But, the main point, i was trying to get across is, it just doesn't matter.

For e.g. Michael Jordan's legacy extends more than his six rings.
It's kinda sad to think Fed is already at the middle of his career... :sad:

Puschkin
07-13-2005, 04:10 PM
It's kinda sad to think Fed is already at the middle of his career... :sad:
The glass can be half full or half empty ;) .

TheMightyFed
07-13-2005, 04:15 PM
The glass can be half full or half empty ;) .
I know I'm in a pretty half empty glass period these days, appart from Rog winning W :sad:

SUKTUEN
07-13-2005, 06:02 PM
we can take a good rest ~~