Is Roger Federer the greatest of all time? Yes- John Lloyd, No-John Barrett [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Is Roger Federer the greatest of all time? Yes- John Lloyd, No-John Barrett

WhataQT
06-21-2006, 04:56 PM
Debate

Is Roger Federer the greatest of all time?

Wednesday June 21, 2006
The Guardian


Yes - John Lloyd, former British No1
I believe in records, and obviously Roger doesn't have as many wins yet as some of the true greats, but if he can win the French Open and a couple of other slams he will really be there.

I've seen quite a few great players, and what they could do, Federer can do. He doesn't have a major weakness and because of his technique and the weapons he has at his disposal, some of the shots he can play defy the imagination. Andre Agassi, for example, said he was the best he ever played, that he could hurt you from every part of the court, and Andre's a pretty good judge of these things.

Federer has great speed, obviously, and his serve is great. It's not perhaps as potent as Pete Sampras's, say, in terms of the number of aces that he hits, but while he may not be unreturnable he sets himself up so well for his own second shot. His forehand is awesome and his backhand is very good - perhaps there might be a very slight vulnerability on the high backhand which Rafael Nadal alone can exploit. His volleying is very good and getting better. His variety is fantastic and his imagination is superb - he creates shots of his own and is capable of carrying them out. Physically he's in very good shape and he's deceptively powerful. His temper and his demeanour are very good as well.
At Wimbledon, I think he can beat Bjorn Borg's five titles in a row. The amazing thing is what the bookies are doing this year; the second favourite is out at 20-1. I don't remember that happening before; he could certainly be the greatest grass-court player of all.

He has a great will to win and he has great faith in his ability. He has an unnerving look, even if he's down a set. You look across the net at him you think, "Christ, he's coming after me, he's not worried". His attitude is very much "you've got to beat me". He fills courts everywhere he goes. People go to watch him because they expect genius, and they get it. There will be a couple of shots that defy the imagination.

I think it's fair to say that there is greater depth in the men's game as a whole now. In years past you had a couple of rounds to work your way into a tournament but you don't have that now, and to win the four major championships in this era is the mark of an exceptional player.

Therefore the French Open is the test for him, and he's much closer to the standard than Sampras ever was, for starters. Within that, the test is to beat Nadal. It's difficult to seem to be downgrading him by saying this - it's almost insulting, he's so good - but this year he played a flawless set and was wiping the floor with Nadal and then he had a sloppy game from 40-0 on his own serve and went into a slide.

In a way, in Paris, he was a victim of his own greatness. He needs to learn to hold back sometimes. I think he can do that and he will - and once he's won in Paris he will be the greatest ever player.

No - John Barrett, former Davis Cup player

Roger Federer is unquestionably the world's best player at the moment but it is premature to say he is the greatest ever. There are three ways of assessing greatness: on the number of titles won, on which titles are won, and in the way the tennis ball is hit.

Federer has a massive choice of shots, the same sort of range that Rod Laver had. Laver had all the other qualities that made him a great champion - a burning ambition to be the best, the superb physical condition of a natural athlete, breathtaking speed about the court, lightning fast reflexes, an instinctive ability to change tactics.

Federer seems to have those qualities. Laver was certainly the greatest of his era. After looking at the championships he won - 11 major titles that included two grand slams - you must also consider those he might have won when he was a professional, between 1963 and 1968. In the first year of open tennis, 1968, Rod lost to Ken Rosewall in the final at Roland Garros but in 1969 he reversed that decision on the way to his second grand slam, seven years after his first, a unique achievement.

But how do you do compare such different eras? You can't with any certainty. All great champions are as good as they have to be in their time. Laver, Borg, Sampras and now Federer have all been great champions, though Sampras and Federer have struggled on clay.

The depth in men's tennis has never been greater, so competition is stiffer now. That is because the game has changed, particularly in terms of racket technology. With wooden rackets skill was at a premium. There was room for a variety of styles. Today's players are more one-dimensional.

Would Laver be a success today, given the same opportunities as the rest? I think he would. He was such a good shot-maker. Personality and character also make a great champion. It has been interesting to watch Federer developing those qualities of self-belief. He used to panic when things were going wrong. Now he doesn't. He is confident that he can change his tactics to suit the occasion.

The rivalry developing between Federer and Rafael Nadal - not just on clay - is a fascinating one. The young Spaniard has the same qualities as a match player and has built a psychological edge - witness Federer's two missed forehands on his two match points in the Rome final. But that loss and the defeat at the French Open will have hurt Federer. He now knows that to conquer Nadal he must be at his very best. He cannot afford lapses of concentration.

That is one of many challenges facing Federer in the years ahead. It will be fascinating to watch his progress.

http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/comment/0,,1802222,00.html

rofe
06-21-2006, 04:59 PM
Agree with Barrett. He is the best player now but only time will tell if he becomes the greatest ever. In fact, Roger himself agrees with that.

oneandonlyhsn
06-21-2006, 05:18 PM
Too early to tell, I wish the media would leave him alone and let him play tennis. They are putting way too much pressure on the bloke

mangoes
06-21-2006, 05:33 PM
Completely agree with John Barrett...........

R.Federer
06-21-2006, 05:37 PM
Agree with Barrett absolutely
What is with this desperation to talk about "greatest EVER"??? Can't they wait till he's retired before making an assessment?

madmanfool
06-21-2006, 05:54 PM
I love john Barret and John Lloyd, can't wait for Wimbledon. Their commentary is so good, and what to think of Mcenroe, cash, becker, ... yah:)!

Kip
06-21-2006, 06:17 PM
Agree with Barrett. He is the best player now but only time will tell if he becomes the greatest ever. In fact, Roger himself agrees with that.

Then why not simply 86 these idiotic beaten horse
topics and wait until the man's career is over to
continuously keep going on and on and on! :cool:

DrJules
06-21-2006, 06:24 PM
John Barrett is correct that it is almost impossible to compare generations. However, based on observations of their games, which you can compare through recordings, Federer is certainly the most complete players since Rod Laver.

It seems that John Lloyd is advocating Roger Federer while John Barret still considers Rod Laver the greatest based on his achievements. Almost certainly if tennis was open Rod Laver would probably have won more grand slam than any other player based on his domination for many years of all other players.

Bilbo
06-21-2006, 06:29 PM
The answer is no.

He hasn't won Paris, Davis Cup and Olympic gold yet

Only Agassi has it all

yuffchen
06-21-2006, 06:42 PM
The answer is no.

He hasn't won Paris, Davis Cup and Olympic gold yet

Only Agassi has it all

Do you want to say that Agassi is the greatest of all time? :p

alfajeffster
06-21-2006, 06:48 PM
...Almost certainly if tennis was open Rod Laver would probably have won more grand slam than any other player based on his domination for many years of all other players.

I'm the first to say that I totally respect Rocket. I've had the chance to meet him a couple of times, and he is beyond all the hype and publicity that many top players get built-up from press agents hawking their gentlemanliness. Rod Laver is a gentle man in the truest sense of the word. He is also a very honest and accurate man when it comes to viewing history. He'll be the first to tell you he didn't have to play clay court specialists when he won the French, and the other three were on grass- his best surface. He'll also remind you (because the press seems to have forgotten this) that yes, he may have won a handful more majors had he been able to play 1962-1967, but people forget that Ken Rosewall was his nemesis, and actually has a winning h2h record against Rocket. Throw an aging Lew Hoad and Pancho Gonzales into the 62-65 seasons, and suddenly it's not the cakewalk everyone says it would have been for Rod.

It also amazes me how quickly people forget Pete Sampras. Pete himself made an astounding observation about Federer about two months ago- said that nobody out there is attacking him, forcing him to come up with passing shot after passing shot. They're all basically trading groundstrokes from the baseline with him and not going after him and forcing the issue. In that sense, as talented as he is, he's playing in fortunate times, competition-wise.

Bilbo
06-21-2006, 06:52 PM
Do you want to say that Agassi is the greatest of all time? :p

definately yes

but anyone has a different opinion on this

DrJules
06-21-2006, 07:20 PM
I'm the first to say that I totally respect Rocket. I've had the chance to meet him a couple of times, and he is beyond all the hype and publicity that many top players get built-up from press agents hawking their gentlemanliness. Rod Laver is a gentle man in the truest sense of the word. He is also a very honest and accurate man when it comes to viewing history. He'll be the first to tell you he didn't have to play clay court specialists when he won the French, and the other three were on grass- his best surface. He'll also remind you (because the press seems to have forgotten this) that yes, he may have won a handful more majors had he been able to play 1962-1967, but people forget that Ken Rosewall was his nemesis, and actually has a winning h2h record against Rocket. Throw an aging Lew Hoad and Pancho Gonzales into the 62-65 seasons, and suddenly it's not the cakewalk everyone says it would have been for Rod.

It also amazes me how quickly people forget Pete Sampras. Pete himself made an astounding observation about Federer about two months ago- said that nobody out there is attacking him, forcing him to come up with passing shot after passing shot. They're all basically trading groundstrokes from the baseline with him and not going after him and forcing the issue. In that sense, as talented as he is, he's playing in fortunate times, competition-wise.


To a large extent I agree about the competition from Rosewall, Hoad and Gonzalez although it is noticable from the big 3 professional events:

Wembley - Laver won 4 out of 5 times 1963-67 inclusive
US Pro - Laver won 3 out of 5 times 1963-67 inclusive
French Pro- Laver won 1 out of 5 times 1963-67 inclusive

In reality these were the best players in the world at the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Pro_Championship

Federer has like Sampras gained from the limited number of grass court players. Remember Sampras arrived just as Becker (peak period 1985-1991 and a bit heavy footed after that period), Edberg (peak period 1988-1991) and McEnroe last semi-final 1992 were in decline. Of his major threats Ivanisevic was mentally very vunerable and, of course, if Sampras had played Krajicek more at Wimbledon in the 90's his results may have been different (from August 19933 to March 1999 Krajicek won 6 of his 7 matches which included matches on hard court, carpet and clay against Sampras including Wimbledon 1996)

R.Federer
06-21-2006, 08:04 PM
Federer has like Sampras gained from the limited number of grass court players. Remember Sampras arrived just as Becker (peak period 1985-1991 and a bit heavy footed after that period), Edberg (peak period 1988-1991) and McEnroe last semi-final 1992 were in decline. Of his major threats Ivanisevic was mentally very vunerable and, of course, if Sampras had played Krajicek more at Wimbledon in the 90's his results may have been different
But that's like saying agassi may have won fewer majors if he had run into Sampras in those finals (Sampras had the advantage in major finals over agassi).
Sampras didn't play krajicek more in the later stages of Wimbledon, because krajicek didn't get there. He matched up well against Pete, but not against others
Of course that's an unfair thing to say in either agassi's or sampras's case ecause you play the person who gets to the final like you.

DrJules
06-21-2006, 08:41 PM
But that's like saying agassi may have won fewer majors if he had run into Sampras in those finals (Sampras had the advantage in major finals over agassi).
Sampras didn't play krajicek more in the later stages of Wimbledon, because krajicek didn't get there. He matched up well against Pete, but not against others
Of course that's an unfair thing to say in either agassi's or sampras's case ecause you play the person who gets to the final like you.

I do not think Sampras ever beat Agassi at the Australian Open or Fench Open. Their results were dependent on grand slam event.

JimmyV
06-21-2006, 09:27 PM
http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/1738/8604370ginepri6ub.jpg

EASILY THE BEST PLAYER EVER, He schooled sampras.

thrust
06-21-2006, 10:01 PM
Barrett is correct. Roger can not be considered the greatest of all time, yet. Sampras was definitely better than Agassi. Had Agassi been a few years younger he probably would have beat Federer in their USO final. I would take Pete^s carrer record over Agassi^s anytime. Besides Roger today, there are practically no real grass court player, never mind a great one.

Kip
06-21-2006, 10:32 PM
Again, why do people insist on having this
inane debate when the man's career is
know where near complete?

Is it to take a shot at Roger?
Nothing better to talk about?
What?

When the man's career has come to a close
or anywhere near it ala Agassi and we've seen
all of what he's accomplished, then have the talk.

dkw
06-21-2006, 10:39 PM
who cares - dkw

heya
06-21-2006, 10:41 PM
"I was lucky to win Wimbledon. Rain delay helped me," said Federer (Atp tennis show).
"I played my best." (nbc) "I'm almost unbeatable," said Federer. (espn)
Apparently, matches are so easy because the level of competition is the best
of all time. There are no mental midgets and laughable fitness levels.

scoobs
06-21-2006, 10:53 PM
I just wish they'd let him concentrate on playing tennis and let history and comparative assessments take care of themselves. I feel all the history around the French Open win and the personal history of his record against Nadal really ended up hurting Roger's mental approach to that match. I'd rather the pressure abated and the fuss about his place in history went away for a time so he can concentrate on playing ball. I suppose that's too much to expect, though.

thrust
06-21-2006, 11:05 PM
Andre did beat Pete in 2 AO finals, the only two times they played there. They only played 3 times on clay, with Pete winning 2 of the 3, once in Monte Carlo and once in Houston. Andre beat Pete in Rome in 1989, when Pete was very new on the tour. Neither of the clay court matches were finals. Pete beat Andre in 3 USO finals and in 1 Wimbledon final.

bokehlicious
06-22-2006, 02:04 AM
The answer is no.

He hasn't won Paris, Davis Cup and Olympic gold yet

Only Agassi has it all

A Davis Cup win doesn't mean anything as tennis is an individual sport. Agassi comes from a big country which has/had plenty of good players to help him in Davis Cup...

Just imagine the perfect tennis player who'd come from a country like Liechtenstein. This player could win 25 Slams (including 3 calendar Grand Slams), 2 Olympic Gold medals but will never be considered as the GOAT because he failed in Davis Cup ? Come on...

Back to topic, I completely agree with Barrett.

anserq
06-22-2006, 04:30 AM
He's the best :D

megadeth
06-22-2006, 04:55 AM
Andre did beat Pete in 2 AO finals, the only two times they played there. They only played 3 times on clay, with Pete winning 2 of the 3, once in Monte Carlo and once in Houston. Andre beat Pete in Rome in 1989, when Pete was very new on the tour. Neither of the clay court matches were finals. Pete beat Andre in 3 USO finals and in 1 Wimbledon final.

wrong. andre beat pete in a GS final only once. AUS '95. he beat pete again in AUS back in 2000 something in the SEMI-FINALS

MisterQ
06-22-2006, 05:03 AM
Andre did beat Pete in 2 AO finals, the only two times they played there. They only played 3 times on clay, with Pete winning 2 of the 3, once in Monte Carlo and once in Houston. Andre beat Pete in Rome in 1989, when Pete was very new on the tour. Neither of the clay court matches were finals. Pete beat Andre in 3 USO finals and in 1 Wimbledon final.

Agassi leads 3-2 on clay.

Agassi won in Roland Garros 1992 (Quarterfinals), Atlanta 1992, and Rome 1989.

Sampras won in Monte Carlo 1998 and Houston 2002.