Andre vs Pete: The Argument That's Won't Go Away! [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Andre vs Pete: The Argument That's Won't Go Away!

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 08:10 PM
And of course, the fact that I'm making a new thread about the never-ending Andre vs. Pete argument, just helps keep it going doesn't it? :angel: :lol:

For those of you who love to endlessly argue over who was the better player: Andre or Pete, check out the war going on in the BBC forums. For three days straight, it's been all Pete and all Andre. :haha: The recent ATP events (Rotterdam, Buenos Aires, and Kroger St Jude) have taken an undignified backseat to two aging legends who still cause a commotion among tennis fans. Too funny! :banana:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/wimbledon_2003/have_your_say/2763033.stm

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 08:34 PM
The BBC board posts don't stay up on the link for long so I'll put them here for future reading. :)

To that person who talked about the serve as if it was not a tennis shot, you need to read your post again and then excuse yourself :)Do you remember the US Open QF b/w Sampras and Agassi in 2001 where Sampras had 3 set points in the first set..0-40 on Andres serve and Agassi saved two with big serves and one when Pete put an easy forehand in the net?

The problem with people like you is that you have selective memory. Andre had 0-40 at the Wimbledon final and was unable to convert. Whether Pete hit three unreturnable 1st serves is irrelevant. After all, how did Andre get to three breakpoints in the 1st place?

He returned the serve well. He was simply unable to do the same on the breakpoints. If Andre was not making good use of his strength which is the early return he would never have gotten to 0-40 in the first place.

So how about we ask Andre to not take the return so early so Pete can get to the net to hit a volley instead of a half volley?! Laughable. Pete should not use one of his strengths: a big serve so that what? Fans like you can see a rally?

The mark of a great player is to make the difficult look easy. Do you know the mental strength and the supreme confidence in ones serving technique you need to have to save three consecutive breakpoints in a Wimbledon final against one of the greatest returtners of all time on a high after completing a career slam?

And you mention that like it's a bad thing Sampras did. I tell ya, there's just no pleasing some people. Really laughable.

The serve is the starting point of any tennis match. Why are baseliners like Agassi and Hewitt having sleepless nights trying to improve their serves? Without the first serve every and any tennis player is no tennis player at all. Agassi needs a big first serve or a well placed first serve to set up his ground strokes.

All of you that moan big servers seem to forget that you can have a big serve but if it's not well placed with the surface/balls/racquets of today, it will fly past you. Ask Philippoussis. It's amazing how Agassi fans seem to speak of Sampras's serve like it was the only thing that stopped Agassi from beating him. That's laughable.

Laver and Emerson being two who are in awe of Pete's game and accomplishment.
---Sande Clarkson, London

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Andre has spectacular records against big servers. Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Phillipoussis, Dent, Becker, you name it. Agassi has a good record against them all. Why does he not have such a record against Sampras?

Because even when that serve is returned Sampras has an array of shots to punish Agassi with. I quote Agassi" The thing about big servers is that you can have a great serve and a good hold game or you can have a great serve and a great hold game.

Pete has a great serve and a great hold game" Pete Sampras beat Agassi when necessary because he was not intimidated by the power of Agassi's returns or shots. He knew he had the volleys to nullify the returns and he knew he had the pace on the forehand to move Agassi around and the slice on the backhand to keep the ball low.

The great Sampras just knew how to play Agassi and was simply the better tennis player. I advise Agassi fans or Sampras nay sayers to get over it. It's been done. The proof is in the pudding.

How silly to suggest that you cannot say who the greatest ever is by how much they've won, well, maybe not, but when this person has all the tennis shots, won the most slams, consistently top player for 6 years and retired beating the same man he beat to win his first slam in the same spot he won his first slam.

A tennis purist can't ask for more and those who have a problem with Sampras being called the best player ever due to the lack of a slam on clay need to start following cricket or fishing or some other sport. Why? If you keep watching tennis you WILL keep HEARING that Sampras is the best ever player.

The same way some of you think a lack of the French is his down fall is the same way a majority of tennis players/fans/reporters etc can't get over the fact that a single player in this modern age won 14 slams and stayed number 1 for 6 years. A fantasy surely?

Nope, it happened and the man to do it was the now legendary Sampras. Case closed. I think even having these arguments are an insult to Sampras's legacy. You argue about Sampras with names like Laver, Hoad, Tilden, Emerson, and Borg.

The greatness of Sampras is that he betters all the above I have mentioned and some of them have acknowledged it. Laver and Emerson being two who are in awe of Pete's game and accomplishment. You don't argue about Sampras with Agassi.

Thats a moot point. Sampras left Andre in his wake half a decade ago. Amandeep, I mentioned Borg's boring FO finals not to take away anything from him but simply to make whatever point I was making at the time. I forget what it was now and can't be bothered to read back. I bet if you read it in context you will see that your riposte was unnecessary :)
---Sande Clarkson, London

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First of all, I'm not going into any "depth" debate, I think we had enough of it. There are some good and bad things in tennis. Well you are probably right about one thing Darius when you mention the "excess baggage" in the WTA.

This isn't coming only from me, but I actually heard that one of the commentators in the US Open was saying that it was probably the last chance Capriati could have won (OK first luggage out), Seles for instance was a great player before the incident, thanks for the great time, but something died in her that day (second luggage out), Pierce, two Grand Slams, FO (in front of her public, still not accepted by the french a bit like Rusedzki) and the first real powerplay, hasn't won a tournament since (third luggage out), Davenport wasn't winning against the top anymore and said she wanted to stop , etc.

Sampras actually did the right decision to stop at his glory and not play another Wimbledon; it's actually quite an achievement of Agassi and Navratilova to play at a competitive level today.

If I may start a top ten ranking based purely on fighting spirit (taking into account physical size) it would be: Sanchez-Vicario, Hénin-Hardenne, Seles, Graf, Clijsters, Evert, Hingis, Capriati, Navratilova and Sabatini.

On the men's side I would choose (same criteria): McEnroe, Muster, Agassi, Chang, Sampras, Bruguera, Courier, Hewitt, Lendl, Kafelnikov. To be perfectly clear it's not the best of all times but those who where a joy to watch because they where going for every ball and showing an irresistible urge to win.

One side note: Tedi, please stop using CAPS, no one wants to read through that nonsense. No one can deny that Sampras was the best in his lifetime, but stop with that TOUrette's SYNdrome style of writing.
---Grizzly "Free Silje", Brussels, Belgium

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Thought I'd wade in with my two pence even if it's been covered over and over again further down the page. Lyle from Vancouver and Tedi from NYC, you guys would be Sampras fans am I right? Or maybe just anti-Agassi?

Either way you are biased in your view of Sampras just as I am biased towards Agassi as a long-time fan. We could sit here all day and debate the fact that Pete's won 14 slams and Andre's won 'only' 8 or the fact that Pete was year-ending world number 1 for six or seven years in a row whilst Andre held rank as the oldest-ever world number 1.

We could go on about how Pete was superior at the US Open four times and at Wimbledon twice (I wonder what the outcome of that 93' quarter final might have been had Agassi's dodgy wrist held out for a 3-set comeback instead of just the two?) and Andre was superior at the French Open once and the Aussie Open twice.

The two of them (Sampras and Agassi) by themselves have managed many many great achievements FOR themselves, surely they achieved even more TOGETHER for the game of tennis
---Lowey, London

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We could talk about Andre's superior number of Master's titles to Pete's (and everybody else's!) We could say that Pete's won a record number of Wimbledon's and Andre has won all four Grand slams at least once in his career!

And figured in two or more finals at each of these events. We could discuss how both have been through the extremes...Pete battling through vomit and flu one minute, and emotional distress at his coach being terminally ill the next and still go on to win...and Andre digging one almighty hole for himself that bore down to the deep places of the ATP rankings at number 147, before hauling his arse back out (and up!)again to also go on and win.

We could spend the next ka-jillion years debating the subject and all the while we'd be avoiding the simple fact that whilst the two of them by themselves have managed many many great achievements FOR themselves, surely they achieved even more TOGETHER for the game of tennis.

There was a period during 1995 where if there was one, there was the other...whether it was off-court in the world of advertising or on-court at pretty much every single tournament final put before them(except Wimbledon where Boris Becker stopped what surely would have been one hum-dinger of a final!)

We can judge all we want as respective fans of both players but at the end of the day they provided so much more than just titles, records and the ability to stick two fingers up in the face of defeat.

They provided tennis with a spectacle that we may not see again... Right, enuff said...I'll leave it there and hope I made some sense! (The web-site comments box is wickedly small!)

Oh yeah, on another note....who says that the Aussie Open is no good? Not prestigious enough? I'd say that playing in the height of an Australian summer with the temp at 37oc and running around on a hard rebound ace surface for all hours of the day would make it one of the most desired. So what if it's in Melbourne as a pose to London, NYC or Paris. That's just geography!
---Lowey, London

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Hate to do this, but somebody's got to point out the facts. Not unusual but true. Mike Havant is actually right about Grizzly writing (and forgetting within a space of just 3 forum pages) about how interesting the current women's game is, and the lack of depth in the men's.

Case of grave amnesia. Presumably Grizzly's dream of having new blood in the women's game is while this new blood labour to get themselves up to scratch, and with the top American players wished off to retirement, the Belgian duo would dominate the entire season by practically walking over the present old but non-contenders anyway?

What an absolutely terrifying tennis future to contemplate! I enjoy watching all the top players play, but for comparison, if the previous finals were uninspiring, the present ones are simply excruciating.
---Darius L, Singapore

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WTA IS interesting. Anybody who says it isn't does not watch the WTA. Some players are out right now so it seems boring. Imagine the ATP with Roddick, Federer, Fererro, Safin out?! It will still be interesting but lack a certain something.

Of course, the ATP has more top level players than the WTA but the WTA is no slouch. It's a diff ball game. I love women's tennis. We have the Williamses, the Belgians, Davenport, Seles, Capriati, Dementieva (who I love to watch), Sharapova(who is very exciting to watch), Myskina, Hantuchova, Zvonereva, Schnyder, Dokic, Petrova, Mauresmo, Rubin and some up and coming exciting players like, Safina, Harkleroad, Danilidou etc.

You've got to watch it to understand. I believe the women should be paid equally because it's about the draw. What you bring in, not about how many sets you play. So, when Agassi is cruising in the 1st round of the Oz open, should he be paid less than Schuettler who may play a 5 setter? No, because people go to watch Agassi.

In that vein, its absolute nonsense to suggest that when the crowds flock in to see the star female players, the money the organisers make from that, should be used to pay the men's higher wage simply because they are playing 5 setters. No way. That's unjust.

Men are men. Women are women. God created us differently. Men are physically stronger and all that childish talk of Navratilova and muscles means nothing. She is still a woman with female hormones, etc. It's not about muscle.

In fact, muscle is a detriment to playing tennis rather than a help. If you see Venus or Serena hitting power shots, it's because of perfect timing. That Serena is muscled means it's just the way she is. That she can move so well carrying all that muscle shows what a supreme athlete she is. Equal pay and both tours are interesting in their own way.

Hewitt is of no interest to me. He belongs in the lower regions of the top 25 and only because of his never say die attitude. On tennis talent/skills he should be ranked lower. So, his recent rant is irrelevant.

I love watching Fererro play and that's the only reason I watched the Rotterdam final. I NEVER watch Hewitt. His game leaves me inconsolable. The most unattractive game on the tour and there's just nothing to it.
---Sande Clarkson, London

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In fact I said if Laver had the opportunity to play an all surfaces he would have won on all four surfaces...therefore he would have been the greatest, BUT I suppose it depends on how you judge greatness. The amount you win or how you win, on what surface you win.

Borg never won the Australian or US open (please correct me if I'm wrong,), Wilander, Lendl never won Wimbledon, Becker, Connors, McEnroe, Sampras never won the French. Surely to be seen as the greatest you can't ignore the fact that these guys never mastered (at the highest level) a certain type of playing surface.

Agassi has...that's all I'm saying!! Sampras was a genius with a racket no-one can deny it but not winning the French is a huge hole on his trophy mantlepiece.
---Iain, Luton

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Somebody here made a comment criticizing Bjorn Borg for the 'boring' tennis at the French open. Is this guy for real?

If Borg played for 4 hours and ended up winning easily in straight sets, don't hate the player, hate the game. Had he tried to knock off quick points against the likes of Vilas, he would probably have ended up losing.

If anything, the fact that he could consistently come up on top in long, gruelling rallies for that length of time, speaks to the mental toughness of the Swede. The serve and volleyers - Becker, McEnroe, Sampras - were never able to tune their aggressive games down to the tone required to make success on the slow clay likely. Compare that to Borg, who would switch to one touch tennis in a matter of weeks when Wimbledon and the grass court season came around! If anybody can claim the spot of greatest player ever away from Sampras, it is Bjorn Borg, king of the clay and the grass.
---Amandeep Kalsi, Nicaragua

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Grizzly - I have read your piece again and the only point to it seems to be the denigrating of the men's game. What were the catalyst to bring up Goran (definitely not boring - the Wimbledon final in 2001 was one of the most entertaining ever) and the Dutchman?

I haven't seen their names mentioned in this forum for a long time. I am glad, however, that you recognised in your latest email that there is a need for a new force to burst onto the ladies scene. I would wager that the vast majority of fans welcome the healthy state of the men's game and would love for the current complete domination of Justine and Kim in the ladies to be challenged. Finally, have a drink on me mate - any offence caused was not intended.
---Mike, Havant

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To Lyle from Vancouver - your picky criticism of Andre Agassi doesn't make much sense in the wider scope of things. Agassi has won both Wimbledon and the US Open while Sampras was in the same tournament. It's hardly Agassi's fault if Sampras couldn't make it through the rounds, now, is it?

His achievement in winning titles on at all the grand slams is unmatched in modern times, by Sampras and anyone else. As for the supposed lack of weight the Australian Open carries, you're talking about a bygone era. For the last fifteen years or so, the players have taken it just as seriously as any other major.

If anything, the Australian and the US Open are the two biggest slams - because the surface doesn't give the obvious advantage to any one style of play. The common belief that Wimbledon is the biggest of them all is based purely on historical and emotional reasoning - not scientific or practical ones.

Andre Agassi, though not the player Sampras was, is an all-time great and should be recognized as one.
---Amandeep Kalsi, Nicaragua

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Well, this debate on who's the best ever is heating up! If you like a player you tend to see their achievements through rose-tinted glasses. Here's another aspect: how much does the player rely on a huge serve to win matches?

I think its unfair to compare modern players with those of twenty years ago and more. If you hit an unreturnable serve, it is just that, unreturnable. Remember Agassi's three break points in the 1999 Wimbledon final?

Now all I'm saying is that its much harder to win on a fast court if you (for height reasons) don't have a big serve but your game is based around the return - such as Agassi and Connors. Sampras was a great player but a lot of his success was the serve-ditto Ivanisevic and many others. The sheer numbers of titles won is not always the true test of achievement or skill.
---Alan, N.Ireland

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A "minor" detail maybe on the Sampras/Agassi topic :
1999 - Agassi was on a high, just won the FO to complete his unique "career slam" (but which was preceded TWICE in terms of winning on ALL modern surfaces though not ALL titles, by Wilander and Connors who each won on ALL surfaces on 3 slams) .

Agassi is #1 coming in to Wimbledon - Sampras "walked on water" in the Finals - no matter what Agassi did or could have been expected to do as a former grass court champion himself-- Agassi's own words on Sampras' performance.

From then on - and this is in the DECLINING years of Sampras - Sampras pretty much had Agassi by the throat through the hardcourt season leading up to the USO where it was clearly Sampras' USO to LOSE.

What happens? Sampras tweaks his back or hip during practice , withdraws, and it's coast is as clear for Andre OR any player with arguably the BEST USO champ since Connors and McEnroe out of contention - four previous times a proven champ and as likely as anything to have added his fifth USO as EARLY as 1999.

Imagine what Sampras might have done (IFS being just IFS) to follow a possible win in 1999 to precede the following PROOFS of ABILITY to reach the finals three ADDITIONAL times until 2002!!

And that's from a PROVEN champ on hardcourts of many years. we might never have seen the two-year low period, loss of confidence, but even IF he would never have won another slam -- that would still have become the 14th and fifth USO -- right there.

Result over-all in slam hauls?
SAME as they stand now -- 14! And likely again at Agassi's EXPENSE! Just like it was in Wimbledon 1999, and the hardcourt season lead up to the USO.

Pattern remains the same.
Sampras trumps Agassi at their best.
---Tedi, New York

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Reality - matches are played in physical actuality, and become memories. Records result from those realities. Pictures encapsulate what those records reflected in those realities.

The reality is that the records created by Sampras, beyond and against Agassi stands as the greatest single achievement by a male player in history.

A few pictures symbolize what Sampras was all about -- the GREATEST. (Hope pasting these pics from BBCsportstennis' own galleries is OK, to make the point and to encourage people to remember what 'greatest' looked like where Agassi will never come close to such a demonstration of)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39229000/jpg/_39229559_wim95_btbecker_300.jpg
http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39229000/jpg/_39229437_wimbledon98_300.jpg
---Tedi, New York

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Hopefully, those that would like to support Agassi's claims as being "better" or "greater" than Sampras because Sampras lacks the FO, and whatever else reasons people have thrown in all these many years regarding the topic AGAINST Sampras, don't think that counterarguments are not necessarily aimed at trying to diminish Agassi's position and career which is in fact one of the greatest careers.

The reality is that the records created by Sampras, beyond and against Agassi stands as the greatest single achievement by a male player in history
---Tedi, New York

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The problem is that Sampras has created a swath over men's tennis with such supremacy , breadth, consistent excellence and has done that while undergoing AND passing through so many tests that AGASSI , among others, can not be conceived to have survived unscathed -- much less to even come to just half of what Sampras actually accomplished.

Putting the shoe in the other foot - WHAT would Agassi REALLY have done HAD Sampras not been around to stop him for SIX of the slams they met in? ANY of those - FOUR USO meetings, 2 Wimbledons were conceivably well within Agassi's grasp HAD SAMPRAS not been better! And we would be talking about Andre Agassi with 14 slams today.

BUT WHY DID AGASSI have NONE of those? And WHY did Agassi manage to sustain mere WEEKS as number one compared to Sampras' YEARS - while the opponents that surrounded them both were the SAME tough players they each had to protect their positions from?

There is no question - NOT the Lavers nor the Borgs, nor the McEnroes, NOT the Agassis, Kuertens, Safins, Hewitts and Federers have either accomplished OR shown the promise.

No matter how powerful or "hot" they have been, especially the young ones today - to create a career AGAINST such tough, varied, and consistently difficult fields that Sampras RULED OVER for years and years!

NO ONE could possibly suggest that Rod Laver would SURVIVE the field Sampras played and STILL win 11 grand slams, or even to win ONE TRUE grand slam!

NOR might Borg have survived SIX years of FO opponents of the likes that HIS era never had the kind of breadth or "modern" fitness levels (muster was an example as well as Lendl) that was already WELL IN PLACE by the time Sampras reached the FO quarters.

NO ONE can possibly suggest that EVEN the so-called "future of tennis" players today - with their huge racquets, their SLOWED DOWN surfaces (even including Wimbledon SINCE 2000) their imposing physiques, etc, etc, etc, - would DARE to WISH upon themselves the kind of distresses that were the challenges TO SAMPRAS against which HE accomplished what he accomplished!

GIVE us ONE player from all of history that could have possibly COMBINED both the athletic artistry that Sampras displayed WHILE at the same time showing the kind of fierce competitiveness and consistency he showed through his courageous accomplishments

Against a backdrop of such difficult opponents that could easily have done as much damage to players of any era as other era players would do to THEM.

And ALL ABOVE THAT -- SAMPRAS achieved the greatest singles career of any man in the history of tennis.

MERE PARTS of his career are the equivalent of the MEAT and POTATOS of any other player who would easily be called "one of the greatest".

IN SAMPRAS was combined the most nearly perfect player ever seen and he saw to it that within HIS own limitations, which were STILL in good standing against the BEST "specialties" of many others.

Especially clay courters and baseliners, what he created, the combination of the 14 slams, the greatest dominance on ANY surface (make that at least 2 surfaces) by ANY one man in ANY era since Bill Tilden at the USO Grass courts, topped off by the most difficult 6 consecutive year dominance.

PLUS having done that with TWO SIMULTANEOUSLY playing World Championships (no longer in effect)AND a personal record of having the FEWEST opponents that could dominate HIM and one simply must acknowledge, grudgingly or not, that Pete Sampras IS the greatest male tennis player that has ever existed. And it will be EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible to match that career.

The "talent" was there, and long acknowledged by the greatest players (including the curious fascination of Emerson and Laver WITH Sampras but HARDLY ever with Agassi -- why?) and it was a talent that did not stop at JUST "being talented" -- but actually created a career the heights of which has never really been seen , and might very well be very, very difficult to come around again.

I would say that those that never really liked or admired him while he was at it -- it's their LOSS.

It was like the rarest, most valuable gem, right under their noses - and they found it "boring" and consequently found many arguments against appreciating it when it was there.
---Tedi, New York

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 08:53 PM
And the Andre-Pete arguments posed in Jon Werthem's SI letters section:

Please comment on this: Agassi was Top 5 before Sampras was even close. He's Top 5 after Sampras has retired. And Agassi has won all four majors. How can Sampras be considered the greatest of all time when there is one slam he couldn't/wouldn't ever win? Isn't Agassi greater? --Matt Waters, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Here are three reasons Sampras has the richer legacy:

1) Sampras has won a good many more majors.

2) Whereas Agassi started strong and is ending strong, there was the Blue Period, when he fell to a triple-digit ranking. Sampras was a benchmark for consistency whose six straight years at No. 1 remains one of tennis' most underrated achievements.

3) Sampras more or less owned Agassi head-to-head and routinely beat him on the biggest stages.

Here's some food for thought. One of the knocks against Sampras is that he lacked a rival who regularly tested him and pushed him both physically and emotionally. Sure, Sampras is linked with Agassi but they never took on the dimensions of Borg-McEnroe, Chrissy-Martina, or even, one could argue, Becker-Edberg. Sampras led Agassi 20-14, but was 6-2 in majors. Perversely, had Sampras lost more often to Agassi -- enough so that they could truly be regarded as rivals -- might it have helped his legacy in the long term?

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Now that he is "officially" retired, where do you think Pete Sampras stands in history? How much does not winning the French Open affect his all-time status? Can we now say that he is the best ever? --David Friedman, Great Neck, N.Y.

To answer your question, in reverse order we say: yes; some, but not as much as you'd think; at the top. We hate comparing players from different eras. And we should respectfully pay homage to Rod Laver. But let's stop kidding ourselves. Sampras should be anointed as the best ever. His record 14 Slams is only the half of it. How about Sampras finishing at No.1 for six straight years -- a terminally underrated statistic -- which speaks to his focus, his intensity, his commitment to the inherent excellence of his game, and serves as a fierce rebuttal to questions about his health and fitness? How about Sampras' 14-4 record in Grand Slam finals, a testament to his neurological gifts and ability to elevate his game when the stakes were highest? How about the fact that he won Wimbledon -- rightly or wrongly considered the sport's premiere event --seven times? How about his unparalleled athleticism? As a press room crony once said in making the case that the Pete was the best ever, "God bless Laver, but he didn't hit too many slam dunk overheads or have the serve to ace Agassi 20 times in a match." How about Sampras' 2002 U.S. Open title, which not only bespoke an ability to overcome a slump but, in a weird way, humanized him and made him more sympathetic.

Sampras will always have his detractors. "He didn't win the French," they will say. Though they are right, the event is played on the surface of least significance to Sampras. And he did reach the semis one year and win a Masters Series event on dirt. But, more important, in the face of his other achievements it is a relatively small mark against him. "His Davis Cup commitment was half-hearted," they will say, forgetting that he once single-handedly won the Cup for the U.S. -- on clay, no less. "He was uninspiring," they will complain, never stopping to think 14 Slams ought to be more inspiring than snappy soundbites, loud outfits, look-at-me hairstyles and a manicured image.

Some athletes are regarded as kings while they play and are quickly forgotten once they retire. Sampras will meet the opposite fate. Just as he became more popular as he became more vulnerable, garnering what he was never accorded when he deserved it most, his appeal will grow with time. As men's tennis remains a sea of parity -- the likelihood of any current player winning more than four or five Slams in his career awfully faint -- as even a comprehensively dominating player the likes of Serena Williams can't finish two straight years at No.1, and as player after player retreats at 4-4 in the fifth set, Sampras' star will only shine brighter. Just you wait.

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 09:01 PM
Their Head-to-Head stats

MisterQ
02-24-2004, 09:10 PM
And the Andre-Pete arguments posed in Jon Werthem's SI letters section:
Sampras led Agassi 20-14, but was 6-2 in majors.

6-3 actually.

MisterQ
02-24-2004, 09:26 PM
I'm too tired to go into this in detail, lol.

summary:

They were both absolute masters of the game.

Pete's record is better (only Laver and Borg can compete imo), but Andre's is also up there in legendary status.

Pete's playing style matched up well against Andre's. offense vs. defense

There are a million hypotheticals to consider (what if Andre had dedicated himself more to tennis earlier, what if he had won a few of those finals against Pete, etc.) but they are all ultimately hypothetical.

While none of these factors imo bring him quite up to Pete's level of accomplishment, the following will add great value to Andre's legacy:

1. his ability to hang with the top players for 18 (or more?) years (1997 excluded, lol!), as the game changed and several new generations moved in.

2. his French Open title, giving him the career slam. I don't think it compensates for Pete's 14 titles, but it is worth something.

3. 16 Masters Series titles, a year-ending championship and Olympic Gold.

4. His reputation as the greatest returner, and his frightening precision and consistency as a groundstroker. Ability to change direction of the ball so well. Flawless footwork too! Mental strength, especially in later years.

5. The influence that the following aspects of his game can have on younger players:

A) his court positioning (standing on or inside the baseline, taking balls very early)

B) his fitness and philosophies regarding what fitness can do for one's game

C) His particular manner of dictating from the baseline and strategy of "wearing down" the opponent.

6. His story: fall from grace and subsequent redemption, maturing before the public, etc. people love this stuff!

7. Only player in history to heavy metal long hair and baldness within his career.

8. The denim shorts.

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 09:27 PM
Some suppositions as to where Andre will stand in comparison to other tennis legends.

After watching Andre Agassi fall tantalizingly short at the U.S. Open, I've begun to consider what his historical legacy will be. I am in agreement with you that Pete Sampras' victory cements his status as the greatest player of the Open era, but what about Agassi? He does have seven Slams, but he has been maddeningly inconsistent at times, has almost always lost to Sampras on the big stages and, truth be told, has never really been considered the best player in the world for more than fleeting stretches (e.g., 1995, 1999-2000). I would place him in the same class as Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, a touch below Mats Wilander and a few notches below Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, who to me were simply more dominant players. (I place Sampras and Bjorn Borg at the top of the heap.) What are your thoughts?
—Jonathan Cantor, New York

Wertheim responds: As is always the case when we compare players from different generations, we're faced with the question: Do we assess the player in absolute terms or do we look at him relative to his contemporaries?

In either respect, I think you're judging Agassi way too severely. First, your logic is a bit circular: If we concede that Sampras is the greatest player in the Open era, naturally Agassi will have had only fleeting stretches of dominance. Yes, Agassi has been maddeningly inconsistent, but how much does this really cut against him? In my mind, his career revival -- his odyssey from Challengers to Grand Slam winner's circle -- adds to his legacy and speaks to a will and resolve that other players you've mentioned could be accused of lacking. (Take McEnroe, who won his last Slam at age 25, or Wilander, who didn't so much as reach a Grand Slam final after turning 25.) Also, when your career spans nearly 15 years, there are bound to be some valleys. Agassi gets points for longevity: Twelve years ago, Agassi was a top player, as he is today.

Perhaps above all, I think you have to give Agassi all sorts of credit for the career Slam, a feat that none of the players you mention above, obviously including Sampras, has achieved. Put it all together (and add subconscious bonus points for his flair and je ne sais quoi) and I think you could make the case that, after Sampras, he is the best player of the past 20 years. Better than Wilander and even better than Lendl, Connors and Mac.

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Lots of you wrote in with thoughtful and measured responses to the question of where Andre Agassi ranks among players of the past 25 years, and how he matches up against Bjorn Borg. Let's say this up front: Comparing players from different vintages is the most inexact of sciences. A million variables come into play. How much better would Rod Laver have been had he been forced to embrace fitness and nutrition or had he played with a high-tech thunderstick? How much worse would he have been playing against opponents who stood 6-foot-6 and could serve him off the court? Would Sampras have won 14 Slams playing with a wooden racket? Traveling in coach class (or by bus) to tournaments? Or would he have won more than 14 playing foes who had pot bellies and couldn't jump over the net? In hopes of lasso-ing the discussion a little bit, I'll lay out some factors to consider:

* Raw numbers: Who won more trophies? The nod here goes to Borg, but it's hardly a landslide. The Swede won 62 titles and 11 Slams. Agassi entered the year with 49 titles (he has since picked up four more, but it's doubtful he'll win another 10) and seven Slams (highly doubtful he has four more in him).

* Special numbers: Do any numerical achievements warrant extra dispensation? For Borg, his five straight Wimbledons -- a feat unmatched even by Sampras -- his six French Open titles and, perhaps above all, the three years in which he won both are the stuff of legend. Agassi gets brownie points for winning all four Slams, but again, the nod to Borg.

* Glaring omissions: In other sports, a player's failure to win a title (see: Ewing, Patrick, for a timely example) detracts from his legacy. In tennis, a failure to win on a particular surface -- say, Sampras on clay -- can exact a price. In this case, Borg's failure to win a single hard-court Slam sticks out. Agassi's Taco Bell bender that sent him out of the top 100 might count against him, but he's won all the biggies. Advantage: Agassi.

* Longevity: In music, stars Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix get a boost for early demises. Not so, sports. We don't want our athletes to stay around like unwanted party guests, but neither do we want them to flame out like comets. Save an ill-fated comeback, Borg was gone by age 25. Agassi is going strong at 32. Advantage: Agassi.

* Where do they stack up relative to the competition and conditions? This is tough. Borg spent more time at No. 1 than Agassi and had far fewer "bad losses" than Agassi. In his prime, he was, unquestionably, more dominant.

On the other hand, he never had to play Sampras. Perhaps more important, he never had to play journeymen in the early rounds of Slams -- guys like Wayne Arthurs, who bombs in 130-mph lefty serves, or Guillermo Cañas, who has the endurance of a Kenyan marathoner. By my count, Agassi has won 14 Masters Series events -- on all surfaces, no less. This is such an underrated achievement. These events entail winning five (sometimes six) matches in a week against the world's best players at a time when the field has never been deeper. Let's call this "deuce."

* Absolute terms: George Mikan, the former NBA center, averaged 20-some points for his career and won five NBA titles in six years. Despite empiricals that match up favorably, you'll seldom hear his name bandied about as one of the NBA's great players. Why is this? Because he scored his points against 6-7 centers, he couldn't jump over a credit card, and he wore horn-rimmed glasses. Just kidding about the last one, but put Mikan circa 1950 in the NBA today and he'd be lucky to get garbage time. There's a natural progression in sports: As technology and training advance, so does the level of play. Billie Jean King was great in her day, but as she admitted to me a few years ago, "The only way I would have gotten a game off of Venus or Serena is if they hit four double faults." Certainly, men's tennis isn't exempt from progress either. Watch tapes of Borg and there's no question his groundstrokes were things of beauty wrought by impeccable technique. But look at how many times he hit his opponent a short ball and didn't pay a price. Look at how many points he won off of lobs (almost a lost art, given the athleticism of today's players). Look, too, at the velocity and placement of his serve. Even if Borg were armed with a space-age racket, try to imagine what a returner as gifted as Agassi would do with meatballs to the middle of the box. Surface would matter to some degree, but if we're being honest with ourselves, I think we have to admit that, in a vacuum, Agassi beats Borg, much as Tiger Woods beats Jack Nicklaus, Oscar De La Hoya beats Sugar Ray Leonard, and Shaquille O'Neal dominates Mikan. (Sounds disrespectful, I know, but it's the truth.) Is this dispositive proof that the modern player will be recalled more favorably in history? No. But it's a valid criterion to consider when we make our assessment.

FINAL ANALYSIS: So who ranks higher in tennis' pantheon, Borg or Agassi? We'll take Borg, but it's a three-setter.

A sampling of your thoughts. Sincere thanks to everyone who wrote in:

Borg went a combined 100-6 at the French Open and Wimbledon, dominating for his entire career two of the three Slams that really counted in his era (the Aussie wasn't played by most of the top players). His winning percentage in Slam matches was 89.8 percent, by far the best in the modern men's game. By the way, here is how other greats of the Open era compare in Slam winning percentage:

Pete Sampras: 84.2 percent
Jimmy Connors: 82.6 percent
Ivan Lendl: 81.9 percent
John McEnroe: 81.5 percent
Andre Agassi: 81.2 percent
Boris Becker: 80.3 percent
Mats Wilander: 79.6 percent
Stefan Edberg: 79.1 percent
—Maria Jose Andreotta, Miami

Borg would have eaten Agassi alive. One thing people forget about tennis is the difference that modern equipment has made; Borg used wooden rackets his entire career. Borg was supremely fit, had flawless ground strokes, had a better-than-adequate serve, could volley at Wimbledon, and, last but not least, had nerves of steel. The only edge Agassi has would be on the forehand, and not a big edge at that. Six French Opens and five Wimbledons in a row are a tremendous total, and the only reason he did not win a U.S. Open was two losses to McEnroe and two to Connors, at their peaks. Plus, Borg played the Aussie Open just once; people don't remember that in those days most players didn't consider Melbourne worth the trip! So discount the Aussie Open, and their Slams stand at 11-4 in favor of Borg.
—Reuben Jacob, New York

I was disappointed not to see the name of Stefan Edberg in your discussion of Agassi's place in history. Edberg made it to the final of all four Grand Slams, outclassed Becker 2-1 in three Wimbledon finals, and won six in all. Not to throw in another feeble argument, but Edberg also won the junior Grand Slam. I still consider Sampras' loss to him in the U.S. Open final many years ago as Sampras' worst whipping (never mind Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin). By omitting Stefan Edberg, you have committed tennis blasphemy!
—Anandam Mamidipudi, Boxborough, Mass.

Wertheim responds: I humbly repent. Edberg does indeed deserve more than passing mention in any discussion of the best player of the last 25 years. But I was just answering the question posed. You lay a convincing case for Edberg's enshrinement and add another: His 18 doubles titles are more than Lendl, Borg and Andre Kirk combined. Further, Edberg gets subconscious bonus points for his aesthetically pleasing style and his general good-guy-ness. (Remind me to tell you my childhood Edberg story sometime.) Still, all things considered, I give the nod to Agassi.

Borg won on the slowest and fastest surfaces. He showed he was more adaptable to surface than Sampras. Borg actually had to PLAY the points to win his matches. He never had a serve that would allow him to get away with not playing 33 points per match. Borg won 11 Slams before the age of 26, and played the Australian Open only once. He also made an interesting point about Grand Slam totals: If Sampras had played three out of four Slams on grass like Rod Laver did, Sampras would probably have 20 Grand Slam titles. Likewise, if Borg had played three out of four Slams on clay, he would have about the same amount.
—James, Corpus Christi, Texas

Wertheim responds: This would be a great match between two of the all-time best. My analysis is as follows:

Grass: Borg.
Hard court: Agassi.
Clay: Borg.
Overall: Borg.

Agassi has more power on his strokes and more of an attacking baseline style (better equipment helps him). Borg simply had the best groundstrokes of anybody at any time, period. Plus, Borg had a better serve than people realize, and he improved his net game enough to win a mere five Wimbledons. In terms of the history books, I rank Borg at No. 3 behind Laver and Sampras. (Laver gets No. 1 with two Grand Slams.) Borg's five consecutive Wimbledons (something Sampras never did) and six French Opens (four consecutive) speak volumes, especially since they came on two completely different surfaces. If Borg had won a U.S. Open, he might get the nod for the No. 2 spot. Borg is the MAN.
—Peter Fleming, Atlanta

Wertheim responds: Thanks. Especially since you're unsparing in your analysis of your former doubles partner, McEnroe.

There has always been this huge American bias against Lendl. Agassi better than Lendl? That's some kind of a joke. Lendl won eight Slams and made 11 other finals, was No. 1 for more weeks than anybody save Sampras, and won more tournaments than anyone except Connors. So to recap, Lendl has more Slams than Agassi and his rivals in terms of dominance in tournaments and weeks at No. 1 are only Connors and Sampras. The top four players of the past 30 years would have to be Borg, Connors, Lendl and Sampras (though not necessarily in that order).
—Vamshi Gade, Fresno, Calif.

Wertheim responds: I'm with you that Lendl gets the short shrift. To some extent, I think that indifference about Lendl's personality bled over into indifference about his achievements. (Agassi probably benefits from the converse.) Another point against Lendl in the court of public opinion: He had a losing record in Grand Slam finals (8-11). It's a pretty meaningless statistic (he did get there, after all) but when you hoist the runner-up trophy more often than the winner's trophy, it affects public opinion. (Any Atlanta Braves fans out there?)

I agree that it's tight, but I'll stick with Agassi here. Lendl never won Wimbledon, which, for better or worse, is still the sport's holy grail. Agassi's career was longer, too. We can debate whether there was more competition at the top then vs. now. But unquestionably, there is more competition in the middle now. No way were there unseeded floaters with the dangerous game of a Max Mirnyi, a Greg Rusedski, a Clement in Lendl's day.

It's nice to see Andre Agassi get the credit he deserves for a career of historic proportions. However, I am dumbfounded at your failure to even mention Laver, still considered by many, if not most (including McEnroe and Sampras), as the greatest of all time.
—Harv Mintz, Manchester, Vt.

Wertheim responds: A few of you wrote in about this. Again, just to lasso the comparisons a bit, we're sticking to the past 25 years. To me the Sampras-Laver debate is getting perilously close to apples and drywall (nevermind oranges).

I think Andre Agassi is a far more interesting player to watch than Pete Sampras. Sampras may have won more tournaments, but only because of his serve, which is like watching grass grow. Sampras can't win on clay, whereas Agassi can win on any surface, which makes him a better overall player in my mind. Also, Agassi has to work much harder to win, whereas Sampras relies on his serve to preserve his energy. Who do you enjoy watching more, Sampras or Agassi?
—Andrew Yarumian, New York

Wertheim resonds: Interesting question. In terms of watching an individual athlete, I prefer Sampras. When he was in his prime (two weeks ago?), the ease and grace and utter efficiency he betrayed were mesmerizing. Once he entered the zone, the opponent was almost irrelevant. Sure, there were lots of blink-and-you-miss-it aces, but each match also provided a five-star tasting menu of sick stab volleys, running forehands and whipsaw backhand passes.

In terms of watching a player compete, I'll take Agassi. Particularly against bigger servers, his style matches up well. While Sampras often looks to be coasting, Agassi is a laborer -- more gritty than he's given credit for being -- who moves his man side-to-side. As you note, his matches last longer and often entail more of a battle.

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 09:32 PM
I'm too tired to go into this in detail, lol.

summary:

They were both absolute masters of the game.

Pete's record is better (only Laver and Borg can compete imo), but Andre's is also up there in legendary status.

Pete's playing style matched up well against Andre's. offense vs. defense

There are a million hypotheticals to consider (what if Andre had dedicated himself more to tennis earlier, what if he had won a few of those finals against Pete, etc.) but they are all ultimately hypothetical.

While none of these factors imo bring him quite up to Pete's level of accomplishment, the following will add great value to Andre's legacy:

1. his ability to hang with the top players for 18 (or more?) years (1997 excluded, lol!), as the game changed and several new generations moved in.

2. his French Open title, giving him the career slam. I don't think it compensates for Pete's 14 titles, but it is worth something.

3. 16 Masters Series titles, a year-ending championship and Olympic Gold.

4. His reputation as the greatest returner, and his frightening precision and consistency as a groundstroker. Ability to change direction of the ball so well. Flawless footwork too! Mental strength, especially in later years.

5. The influence that the following aspects of his game can have on younger players:

A) his court positioning (standing on or inside the baseline, taking balls very early)

B) his fitness and philosophies regarding what fitness can do for one's game

C) His particular manner of dictating from the baseline and strategy of "wearing down" the opponent.

6. His story: fall from grace and subsequent redemption, maturing before the public, etc. people love this stuff!

7. Only player in history to heavy metal long hair and baldness within his career.

8. The denim shorts.

:lol: :rolls: I agree 100% Mr Q. :worship:

I'm tempted to create a website that puts all this Andre vs Pete crap in one place. "How to Win the Andre-Pete Argument." That way, the tennis geeks will have one resource to go to to impress all their friends with their vast Agassi-Sampras knowledge. Hee! ;)

tangerine_dream
02-24-2004, 09:37 PM
Hey, speaking of Andre's Olympic gold medal: how come Pete never competed in the Olympics? He played Davis Cup for a while (maybe he didn't play during an Olympic year?) Was he not interested in winning a medal? (how could anyone NOT want an Olympic medal??) :scratch:

tangerine_dream
02-25-2004, 06:34 PM
The bickering continues on the BBC. :lol:

I don't know who the 'greatest' of all time was (I'm partial to McEnroe myself). Perhaps there isn't one. I do know that Sampras spent by far the most weeks (286, Borg a mere 109) at number one, most years (6!) at number one, had the most Grand Slam titles (14), managed to win an important title (Italian Open) on clay, and held a decided edge against his chief rivals (Agassi, Becker, Courier, Chang, Ivanisevic) when it counted most. It's hard to argue against Pete.
Troy V., Texas

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Even if Sampras had won the French, someone would fault him for not having won the Grand Slam twice, like Laver. In the court of public opinion, Sampras can never win. Give him a break.
Manson, Ohio

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A frequent current among Sampras' naysayers is that they simply found Pete boring. Too bad. Their loss, I say.
Dennis F., Cambridge

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Pete Sampras might not have been the best clay-courter in the world, but his accomplishments on that surface were far from 'ordinary.' Ordinary players do not win an Italian Open, reach the semi-finals of the French Open beating two former champions in five-sets along the way, carry a Davis Cup team on his shoulders in a tie on clay, and manage to beat Agassi (twice) and several natural clay-courters in the course of a career.

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Sure, the guy was not raised on clay and one might argue that Agassi's game was more suited to the surface (as much as Pete's wasn't), but Sampras acquitted himself quite well.
Ines G, Seville/US

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Are there any Aussies/Americans out there who could enlighten the British public as to why you kick ass in sports compared to us?
Jacob, Birmingham

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I wonder how Sampras would have done had he played against Connors, Borg, McEnroe and Lendl in their prime or had started his career when Becker and Edberg were just beginning theirs?? Or how he would do now were he just coming up with Federer, Roddick, Safin, Hewitt, Ferrero and so many other outstanding players.

Though I think he would have held his own against all of them--I don't believe he would have dominated the men's tour nor would he have won even half of his Grand Slam titles!!

Let's face it-Pete Sampras is "one of the best"...but clearly not the "best ever"...while he competed against some fine players during his "era", he was never truly tested by a depth of talented players the way say Connors was during his "era" -or the way Federer is today. Perhaps we shouldn't even try to attempt to name one greatest player of all time.
J. Duncan, USA

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Both Sampras and Agassi had impeccable records. Why can't we just leave it at that?
Paolina, US (from Argentina)

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If domination is the criterion by which one shall judge the 'greatest' player ever, then we'd have to argue for one of the four: Tilden, Laver, Borg, and Sampras.
Henry Orono, Canada

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Hey, I thought we established a while ago that Federer was the greatest player ever.
Evan, Miami

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If we exclude Bill Tilden for now, the uppermost tier of tennis greats would have Laver, Borg, and Sampras on its roster.
Frank P., St. Louis, US

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To Mike from Havant: McEnroe has certainly never been overlooked in my book (I had discussed him in earlier boards). I don't think people knock Johnny Mac down so much for his on-court behavior (though some did and still do), but it is rather tough to isolate his accomplishments in light of his two biggest rivals, Borg and Connors, and what they achieved.

Three greats all playing at the same time, and then throw Lendl into the mix, just makes it harder to realize just how great McEnroe was. Frankly, Laver was tremendous but John McEnroe was the greatest 'all-around', i.e. singles and doubles player we've seen.
John, Boston

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To Jakob, Phillip - thanks for the comments. I take the point about population being an unreliable indication of achievement, perhaps I should have said "all other things being equal" then US would naturally have more top players. I'd be interested to hear from any Australians how their school sports work, and how talent is spotted, because we really need to learn from them.

Still not convinced about the weather aspect though, as tennis can be played indoors too. Even though it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, I still think that you have to engage youngsters from an early age. Golf for example is, let's face it, really dull.

It's also not taught in schools, is ridiculously expensive to get started in and to my knowledge there are no golf academies set up in the UK. And yet it's crazily popular and the UK does well internationally. The only reason I can see for its success is that it gets shown on TV week in, week out.

I can remember trying sumo and even kabbadi at school because we saw it on TV. When Wimbledon is on, local courts have queues outside, which disappears a couple of weeks after it's finished. If I was in charge of the LTA, one of my priorities would be to campaign for greater access to tennis coverage, as the death of it is killing off the game.

PS Sampras is better. PPS Hingis may not be considered an all-time great, but she was great to watch and I miss her style of play.
Pete, UK

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Amandeep, I totally agree re Borg's achievements all the more amazing that he played on grass from the back court. Sande: I never said that Agassi was a better player than Sampras just making the point that you should take everything into account not just numbers of titles.

Yes Sampras dominated the game during his era, but so did Borg and others. You say categorically Sampras was the best ever but when compared to Borg for the reasons given earlier by Amandeep, he's not. I'm not suggesting Borg was by the way, Sande, it's just not that clear cut.
Alan, N.Ireland

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Ok let's finally once and for all stop this who is greater Sampras or Agassi debate. Everyone knows that the claims that Agassi is greater is just a wind-up!!
Sam, London

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To Grizzly: who is to say that Sampras made the right decision in retiring before playing another Wimbledon? Look at what he did at the US Open in 2002, his last tournament ever. For all we know, Pete might have pulled another trick out of his tennis bag. I wouldn't have bet against him.
Kjell R., Oslo

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I'm not old enough to comment on Bill Tilden or Don Budge. So I won't. I always thought Laver was the best I had seen, but then came Borg, McEnroe and Connors, and my mind began to waver just a bit. It wasn't until I saw Pete Sampras in full bloom, oh around 1996 or 1997, that I changed my mind.
David Enger, San Francisco

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To LOWEY, London. I can't say that I am "anti Agassi". In fact I support him nowadays no less than I do a player whose style I might prefer. What I do NOT support are the arguments whose main and essential reasons to be are, by trying to support Agassi, to try and diminish the fact of just how great Sampras truly was.

If necessary, in order to respond to such things, what comes out as "anti-Agassi" has to come out - and that is, following the comparison that Agassi fans like to use (such as FO) - to show that if there are holes in the career of Sampras that people like to ENLARGE, there are PLENTY of holes in the careers of Agassi and many others that are EVEN LARGER without even trying to make them so.
Tedi, New York

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Sande, the question here is the degree to which Sampras can be called the greatest player of all time. Arguably, he definitely is, and I would suggest that anybody who doesn't give him that much isn't worth debating with.

But to think of him as unquestionably the greatest player ever - that's a bit of a stretch and somebody as well informed as you so obviously are should be aware of it.

You talk about how Laver and Emerson admitted that Sampras was better than them. We can forget about Emerson, who isn't really in the race, but while Laver's word counts for a lot, it isn't really decisive. Why, Sampras is of the opinion that laver is the greatest ever! What does this prove?

The problem with Sampras, isn't that he hasn't won the French. Nor did Connors, but he had enough success there, (he also won a clay court grand slam at the US) to prove his clay court abilities.

Sampras on the other hand, hasn't. At the French, he's reached one semi, and couple of quarter in about 13 tries. His clay court record outside of Roland Garros is pretty ordinary to say the least. For my money, that just isn't good enough for a guy with a claim to being the greatest player of all time!

Now think of Borg. He won 6 Frenchs and 5 Wimbledons, and though he never won the US, his hardcourt skills are beyond dispute. There is no achievement in the open-era, not even the awesome six year ending number one spots of Sampras, that can compare to Borg's achievement of dual success at the French and Wimbledon.

While the claim Borg is the greatest ever can be argued against, it would be a folly for anybody to think they can dispel it altogether.
Amandeep Kalsi, Nicaragua

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To 'That Sampras fan' from London- The serve IS far too dominant in men's tennis esp. on fast grass. Experts have been saying so for years. It's the one shot that the player has total control of. Now in Sampras/Agassi matches the main factor on who wins is the quality of the Sampras serve against Agassi return - percentages.

When serving well most big servers will get a lot of aces and unreturnables -known as 'cheap' points. Goran served hundreds of aces in winning Wimbledon which is ridiculous. There's no way anyone could return them not even Agassi.

Even though he got those three break points against Sampras, overall his percentage (Sampras) of big serves was too high - he was also helped by the fast grass. I don't remember many of Sampras/Agassi matches being one-sided- no matter who won -more usually they're classics.

Sampras is a strong contender for the greatest player ever but how good was Agassi since he was the only one who could play him. In fact a win/loss record of 22/14 in favour of Sampras is not that convincing if Sampras really is 'The Greatest'.

I'm not trying to knock him just to be objective in my analysis. Sad to think that with Sampras retired and Agassi probably on his last year that this great rivalry's all over bar the shouting
Alan, N.Ireland

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To Iain, I think you have an interesting interpretation of tennis, and I admire (though disagree) with the way you hold to your argument regarding Andre Agassi. But perhaps you can be a touch more flexible?

The important thing here isn't winning on the four surfaces, its excelling on them. Connors won slams on three different surfaces - hardcourts, grass and clay. The fact that he didn't win on clay at Roland Garros would be a moot point.

Likewise, Borg, though he never won the US Open, was runner-up 4 times, and his ability on the hardcourts beyond question. He's won big tournaments on it and defeated the worlds best.

Lendl never won Wimbledon, but he was a fine grass courter, who had continuous success at Wimbledon, and wins on that surface over the grass court greats of the day - Becker and Edberg. The key thing here is the ability to handle the different surfaces, something Andre Agassi very obviously can, not victory at four different venues.
Amandeep Kalsi, Nicaragua

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To Pete, I agree with almost everything you say but you are very wrong when you say it is obvious that America should have more stars than us due to the population. This is clearly untrue as you only have to look to Australia to realise that population means nothing.

They have a population of about 18.5 million compared with our 60 odd million. The reason why America and Australia do much better than us is the weather and facilities. Australia in particular pump millions of dollars into sports institutes in order to develop young talent into world champions.

They also use the aid of sports psychology which for years we laughed at when they were miles ahead of us. I could go into more depth but it's really not all that interesting. The point is though is that if we have a lack of interest and talent, it is down to a few basic reasons such as alack of funding, lack of school hours spent playing sport, culture differences and weather which also is relevant to public courts etc being able to play all year round. There you go.
Jacob Pollak, Birmingham

RebelNYC
03-12-2004, 06:17 PM
Q, you Crack me Up!
I'm seriously reading all these Andre Vs. Pete and then we get to the
Denin Shorts! I LOVE IT! That's all the proof needed!

J. Corwin
03-14-2004, 10:09 AM
I love reading these Andre v. Pete debates.

rassklovn
03-14-2004, 10:34 AM
Hey, speaking of Andre's Olympic gold medal: how come Pete never competed in the Olympics? He played Davis Cup for a while (maybe he didn't play during an Olympic year?) Was he not interested in winning a medal? (how could anyone NOT want an Olympic medal??) :scratch:

Actually tangerinus Mr Sampras played in the Barcelona Olympics of 92 and he lost in the 3rd round. Ironic that he played his only Olympics when they were on clay, the reason probably down to his own selfishness and not feeling appreciated for representing his country.


R64 Masur, Wally (AUS ) 41 6-1 7-6 6-4
R32 Yzaga, Jaime (PER ) 75 6-3 6-0 3-6 6-1
R16 Cherkasov, Andrei (RUS ) 26 7-6 6-1 5-7 6 3-6

J. Corwin
03-14-2004, 11:46 AM
But then again it adds to his overall career achievements and legacy if he wont it...it'd be for himself too.

tangerine_dream
03-18-2004, 07:50 PM
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/images/smilies/bump.gif

Lalitha
06-04-2004, 07:20 AM
Journalist : Who is your top 5 players of all time?

Andre Agassi : 1. Pete Sampras 2. Pete Sampras 3. Pete Sampras 4. Pete Sampras 5.Pete Sampras.

Andre and Pete have climbed Everest and reached there in their unique way. But I believe Pete was the one who did it consistently. At the same time, one can't put away that Andre was ranked in triple digits before he became the oldest player to reach no.1 ranking.

One can't say that Agassi did'nt perform well against Pete because of his big serve. If Pete had a big serve, Andre was the best returner in the game.

They both had weapons to destroy each other. But it was Pete who always played to his strength.

Roland Garros might have eluded Pete, but how many people care about it??

Tell me, can any one from today's generation can end the year as No.1 for six consecutive years???

But then, I love both of them. :) Watching them play against each other or anybody.

Dirk
06-04-2004, 09:17 PM
I wouldn't give up one of Pete's wimbly for a RG.