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Discussion Starter #1
from the Tennis Mailbag, by Jon Wertheim

The ATP Tour has a multitude of young, talented players, such as Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Gustavo Kuerten and Tommy Haas. Who do you think has the most potential to be the greatest player of his generation? Which player will be the greatest of his generation?
—Josh Silverman, Blacksburg, Va.

Thanks for the making the distinction, because they really are two different questions. Strictly on potential, I'd cast my vote for Safin. He hits the ball beautifully; with the exception of Roddick, he hits the hardest serve; and he doesn't really have a weak surface. If he could ever get his inner circuitry wired right, he'd retire with a trunkload of Slams. It still could happen, but right now it looks as though Hewitt will be the greatest of this generation. More than any other player you've mentioned, he has filled the breach. Guga, of course, has more Slams to date, but I'd have to say that 1 Wimbledon title + 1 U.S. Open title > 3 French Open titles.

(OK, that was just an excuse to use the ">" character, which doesn't get much play on the keyboard.)

Seriously, in addition to being a good deal younger the Kuerten, Hewitt has also spent more time at No. 1. I should note that there is still time for a lot of New Balls to make their respective moves before the home stretch. (Remember that Agassi didn't win his first Slam until he was 22.) But right now, Hewitt has a sizable lead.
What do you guys think? Is the math right and 1Wimbledon+1USOpen > 3French Opens? Please be objective and try not to base your opinions only to your fave's benefit...
 

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How?!?! is one Wimbly title and 1 US Open title greater than 3 French Opens? Because Hewitt won Slams on two different surfaces and Guga only on one?!

:rolleyes: Yeah, because the structure of the Slams are so different between the Australian, the French, Wimbly, and the US. It's not like, you know, a player has to win 7 matches to win each or anything :rolleyes:

Sounds to me like another reason to "look down" on good clay-court players.
 

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Don't you think that finding Guga in the list of "young and talented" players is bit of a stretch?
 

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Ys - no more than Guga being a "new ball" after having won a slam 3 years earlier, was a stretch ;)

As for the question - Guga has not only won 3 of them, he has succesfully defended his crown.

This is clearly a failed attempt, to take credit away from a clay great :p

Nice try John.
 

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YS, if you think Guga is talented a bit stretch, I doubt how many matches you have watched Guga played.

And I agree with Becca, Mr. Hewitt has still to successfully defend his GS title.
 

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Well, I am not sure. Guga is a great claycourter. Perhaps Top 5 in Open Era. But even with his hardcourt Masters title, and indoors Masters Cup title, he is still a one trick pony, because of his inability to get further than QF in non-clay GSs. Like it or not, that's one' s performance at Grand Slams that matters. In my book, Hewitt has already passed Kuerten, Kafelnikov and Rafter on greatness scale.
 

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leecal - I think he was refering to Guga as being "young" as being a stretch.
Thank you, Becca, for figuring that out.. Given that Guga is just 2.5 years younger than Kafelnikov, and Kafelnikov is as good as retired, calling him "young" is almost an insult to his achievements. In fact, given his style and a degree of reliance on his stamina and speed, I don't expect him to be anywhere close to the top of the game in 3, perhaps even in 2 years.
 

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no 3 is greater than 2. always. only when they're equal should they look at the break-down.

can't stand it when people say that agassi's achievements surpass sampras, just because he won all four slams rather than just 3.

slam assessment should be done on quantity, not subjective stuff about quality. we already hear that AO+FO is not equal to WB+US. the tournaments may differ in exposure, popular imagination, history, but they're too close in stature to make these sort of distinctions.
 

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Of course, AO+FO is less than WB+US. Just look at who was winning AO or FO, say, last 5-6 years. Korda,Johansson, Costa, Moya. They all are good players, but nowhere close to being elite players. While all WB and US winners were clearly elite. In terms of prestige, AO or FO is nowhere near W or US. Like it or not.
 

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Hmm... May be we should not count those AO & FO titles that Sampras, Bjorg, Connors, etc. win.

No wonder Safin didn't win last year AO. May be he don't want to put in those non-elite player list.

It's better Hewitt don't try to win 2003 AO too.
 

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:) I agree w Hackie and leecal. If RG is worth less than Wimby and USO, why does it have the same # of points then???!!!:p

Besides, this is a dumb statement from JW...!!! and he does say dumb things now and then!

Actually I find RG and Wimby the most interesting slams, given the surface. USO is the least interesting with the most # of American players.
 

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I think it's all subjective, really.

To me, winning slams on two different surfaces (with the exception of the US and AO, which are pretty similar) signifies more diverse ability. But like Scott said, I wouldn't trade 3 for 2.

Providing he's able to get rested and healthy again, I think Guga can win the FO a couple more times. I don't see him winning any other slams. Lleyton can certainly also win a few more slams. As far as determining who ends up having had the better career, we'll have to wait until they both retire. :p
 

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y_s said:
Of course, AO+FO is less than WB+US. Just look at who was winning AO or FO, say, last 5-6 years. Korda,Johansson, Costa, Moya. They all are good players, but nowhere close to being elite players. While all WB and US winners were clearly elite. In terms of prestige, AO or FO is nowhere near W or US. Like it or not.
you provide a circular argument i'm afraid.

WB+US are better because elite players won them

these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them

these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
these players are elite because they won US + WB

WB + US are elite because elite players won them
 

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someone on WTA world was saying that Anna's losses to Anna Smashnova were not that surprising because Smashnova has risen up the rankings this year.

well, how did anna smashnova rise up the ranking this year? partly by beating Anna K to win those titles.

anna smashnova was not expected to beat anna k at the time. you can always look back and justify once the victor has improved in the ranks.
 

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Besides, this is a dumb statement from JW...!!! and he does say dumb things now and then!
I read him because he is entertaining at points, and I didn't find his book too bad.

But yes, he does say stupid things at times.

I noticed conveniently, that after sticking his neck out for Ferrero in his predictions this year, that I can count the number one times on one hand he's bothered to talk about him again.

I also have noticed he is biased against "clay courters". Which is not a surprised - much of the media, and even some fans, are quite ignorant about clay vs hardcourt.

I love how players who cushion their rankings with hardcourt points aren't critisized (even when they are number one), but ones who apparently cushion their rankings with clay points (even though they won more matches on hardcourts) are.
 

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I'd still have 3 Slam titles rather than two
but Hewitt will win alot more than Guga in his career ( i hope not though)

Look at the US Champions
every single one has been World #1 at some stage since the early 70's

ys.... Moya is on a different level to Costa/Johansson and Korda.
 

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OK, to put it simple - when was the last time that a claycourter won a Slam on another surface? Hardcourt specialists do win RG from time to time ( Agassi, Kafelnikov, I expect Safin to win it one day. Look at most of fastcourters of recent time - Sampras, Agassi, Kafelnikov, Hewitt, Rafter, Safin - every single one of them ( with exception of Goran, and we know that he is an exception in about everything ) is a big threat on at least one another surface. Claycourters - Moya, Costa, Kuerten, Muster, Bruguera - what do they have in common? Right. The only Slam they've ever won is RG. Other promiment claycourters of recent times - Corretja, Ferrero - what did they manage to achieve in other Slams? Clay is the surface that differs most from any other surface. It is like a different sport. Samrpas, Agassi and Rafter made semis or better on a;; 4 Slams. Safin and Kafelnikov - semis or better on all but one , and even in that one they reached quarters. What about claycourters? From what I know, the only player from the list above that reached semis of Slam other than RG is Moya, right?
 
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