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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kramer seems to assess himself as better than most the great players of his time.

So how great was Kramer or did he embellish his assessments?

In his 1979 autobiography, The Game: My 40 Years in Tennis, Kramer calls Helen Wills Moody the best women's tennis player that he ever saw. "She was the champion of the world, when I was 15 and played her. – she won Seven Forest Hills and Eight Wimbledons.... I beat her, but Helen played a very good game."

He always has to add a comment about being better than a player.
 

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Let's ask our resident history experts, @Johnny Groove and @masterclass
Well Kramer was and interesting case. Was already playing US Nationals at 15, but at 22, he lost finals of USO in 1943 while on leave from the Coast Guard. Still made the finals despite food poisoning, but lost to Joe Hunt who unfortunately did not survive the war. Hunt by the way the only male ever to win the U-15 Nationals, the U-18 Nationals, college Nationals, and the actual US championship.

Kramer meanwhile never ascended to the top before the war. So when he came back after 1945, he was still very hungry. Won 5 total slams 1946-1949, and was YE #1 for 5 years, same as Fedalovic

But he had to retire in early 30's due to back injuries and became the biggest promoter of the game until well into the Open Era. Without Kramer, pro tennis as we know it today would not exist
 

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I concur with @Johnny Groove; . American John "Jack" or "Jake" Kramer was a great player, a superb server with a great volley game, first and second serve, to back it up. In his amateur days, winner of 3 singles majors, he was also a superb doubles player, winning 6 major championships in men's doubles and a mixed. During the pro barnstorming tours, vs. Bobby Riggs, Kramer won the tour, 69-20, and stayed in action while Riggs took over as the promoter and signed young Pancho Gonzalez to challenge Kramer. But nobody was good enough for Kramer in the late 1940's. He bruised the rookie Gonzalez 96-27 on the longest of the tours. Kramer made $85,000 against Riggs as his percentage, and $72,000 against Gonzalez.







In 1952 Kramer took over as promoter, boss of pro tennis, which lasted into the 60's. And one of his former victims, Gonzalez, became strongman of the pro tour in the 50's, and dominated for about 7 years.


Kramer and Richard Alonso "Pancho" Gonzalez


As one of the smartest and shrewdest operators in the game, he was a relentless advocate for Open Tennis in the 60's. After the Open Era began, the innovative Kramer was responsible for designing the Grand Prix series in the early 70's, a prelude to the Masters series that we have to this day. It was a series of tournaments leading to a Masters Championship for the top eight finishers, and a bonus pool to be shared by more than a score of the leading players. In 1972, he helped form the ATP, basically the men's tennis union, and was its first executive director (unpaid at his request), and he led the 1973 Wimbledon boycott, which didn't endear him to the British media at the time.

Jack Kramer wheeling and dealing...



The 1st year of the Open Era at the Empire Pool (Wembly Stadium), UK, Kramer welcomes (L-R) Cliff Drysdale, Ken Rosewall, Nikola Pilic, Pancho Gonzales (1928 - 1995), Raymond Moore, Tony Roche, Andres Gimeno, Marty Riessen, John Newcombe, Fred Stolle, Earl 'Butch' Bucholz, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver.



L>R Top - Cliff Richey, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, and L>R bottom - Nikki Pilic talk to Jack Kramer about boycotting 1973 Wimbledon due to Pilic's month's suspension by ITF for refusing to play for Yugoslavia in the Davis Cup.




Finally, for many years of his life the Hall of Famer was a top tennis analyst, in high demand for the most important broadcasts.

There is no doubt about it, Mr. Kramer was a giant in the world of men's tennis.


Respectfully,
masterclass
 

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It's impossible to say, I do think Kramer had a real arrogance about him but his pro record is undeniable. More people on here should read tennis biographies & autobiographies it really puts in perspective the different eras; Kramer's autobiography is a great & important read for any tennis fan.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I concur with @Johnny Groove; . American John "Jack" or "Jake" Kramer was a great player, a superb server with a great volley game, first and second serve, to back it up. In his amateur days, winner of 3 singles majors, he was also a superb doubles player, winning 6 major championships in men's doubles and a mixed. During the pro barnstorming tours, vs. Bobby Riggs, Kramer won the tour, 69-20, and stayed in action while Riggs took over as the promoter and signed young Pancho Gonzalez to challenge Kramer. But nobody was good enough for Kramer in the late 1940's. He bruised the rookie Gonzalez 96-27 on the longest of the tours. Kramer made $85,000 against Riggs as his percentage, and $72,000 against Gonzalez.







In 1952 Kramer took over as promoter, boss of pro tennis, which lasted into the 60's. And one of his former victims, Gonzalez, became strongman of the pro tour in the 50's, and dominated for about 7 years.


Kramer and Richard Alonso "Pancho" Gonzalez


As one of the smartest and shrewdest operators in the game, he was a relentless advocate for Open Tennis in the 60's. After the Open Era began, the innovative Kramer was responsible for designing the Grand Prix series in the early 70's, a prelude to the Masters series that we have to this day. It was a series of tournaments leading to a Masters Championship for the top eight finishers, and a bonus pool to be shared by more than a score of the leading players. In 1972, he helped form the ATP, basically the men's tennis union, and was its first executive director (unpaid at his request), and he led the 1973 Wimbledon boycott, which didn't endear him to the British media at the time.

Jack Kramer wheeling and dealing...



The 1st year of the Open Era at the Empire Pool (Wembly Stadium), UK, Kramer welcomes (L-R) Cliff Drysdale, Ken Rosewall, Nikola Pilic, Pancho Gonzales (1928 - 1995), Raymond Moore, Tony Roche, Andres Gimeno, Marty Riessen, John Newcombe, Fred Stolle, Earl 'Butch' Bucholz, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver.



L>R Top - Cliff Richey, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, and L>R bottom - Nikki Pilic talk to Jack Kramer about boycotting 1973 Wimbledon due to Pilic's month's suspension by ITF for refusing to play for Yugoslavia in the Davis Cup.




Finally, for many years of his life the Hall of Famer was a top tennis analyst, in high demand for the most important broadcasts.

There is no doubt about it, Mr. Kramer was a giant in the world of men's tennis.


Respectfully,
masterclass
Who does Kramer think is the GOAT?

Is it either Vines or Budge?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's impossible to say, I do think Kramer had a real arrogance about him but his pro record is undeniable. More people on here should read tennis biographies & autobiographies it really puts in perspective the different eras; Kramer's autobiography is a great & important read for any tennis fan.
A lot of his assessment albeit I've only read extracts of his comments are like "This guy was good but I beat him comfortably".
 

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A lot of his assessment albeit I've only read extracts of his comments are like "This guy was good but I beat him comfortably".
He very much talks about this, he's very much pro players from his era quite critical of the likes of Connors. It charts not only his career but how he helped set up the pro game and its transition into the open era.
 

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Who does Kramer think is the GOAT?

Is it either Vines or Budge?

Nope, Roger Federer.

From an interview of Kramer in early 2008 in Australia by Todd Woodbridge:

"Nearing the end of our chat, I broached the subject of Federer and asked if he compared with the greats of Kramer's era.

Federer is tied with Roy Emerson on 12 grand slam titles and looks set to pass him on Sunday week. You would think Pete Sampras's record of 14 titles looks likely to tumble soon, too.

Having played against and watched every champion since the 1930s, I thought there was no one better credentialed than Kramer to answer the question.

Kramer said Don Budge, Gonzales or Hoad might have been the equal of Federer if they had been able to use Federer's racquet.

Yet he had never seen any player do more with a ball than Federer.

Federer, Kramer said, was the only player he had seen with the complete package; he is a fantastic offensive player, a super server and can play defence.

We all have our dream match-ups we would have loved to see play against each other in their prime.

Mine would be Rod Laver and Federer playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Kramer's is Gonzales taking on Federer using the same racquets.

Kramer finished the interview by saying Federer was simply the best player he had seen play the game.

With credentials as good as his, who are we to argue? "


It is high praise from Kramer indeed, as he had always preferred the players around his generation, such as Vines, Budge, Gonzales, Hoad.


Respectfully,
masterclass
 

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Nope, Roger Federer.

From an interview of Kramer in early 2008 in Australia by Todd Woodbridge:

"Nearing the end of our chat, I broached the subject of Federer and asked if he compared with the greats of Kramer's era.

Federer is tied with Roy Emerson on 12 grand slam titles and looks set to pass him on Sunday week. You would think Pete Sampras's record of 14 titles looks likely to tumble soon, too.

Having played against and watched every champion since the 1930s, I thought there was no one better credentialed than Kramer to answer the question.

Kramer said Don Budge, Gonzales or Hoad might have been the equal of Federer if they had been able to use Federer's racquet.

Yet he had never seen any player do more with a ball than Federer.

Federer, Kramer said, was the only player he had seen with the complete package; he is a fantastic offensive player, a super server and can play defence.

We all have our dream match-ups we would have loved to see play against each other in their prime.

Mine would be Rod Laver and Federer playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Kramer's is Gonzales taking on Federer using the same racquets.

Kramer finished the interview by saying Federer was simply the best player he had seen play the game.

With credentials as good as his, who are we to argue? "


It is high praise from Kramer indeed, as he had always preferred the players around his generation, such as Vines, Budge, Gonzales, Hoad.


Respectfully,
masterclass
Lew Hoad is another one whose top level was top 5 all time, shame about all the injuries
 

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In the pre-open era, he's probably fifth behind Laver, Gonzales, Tilden, and Rosewall. Hoad had the mythical peak level, but not the consistency.
 

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Never heard of him so probably not very good at all
 

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In a 1963 article in World Tennis Rosewall judged Gonzales to be a notch above Hoad but stated that "...the latter is the greatest of all time when he is 'on'."
Yes, Vines is another one whose peak level was up there with the best, but he retired at 27 to be a pro golfer. Think he had 7 slams and 3 YE #1 at age 27 which was on pace for all time GOAThood if he played till 35+
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Yes, Vines is another one whose peak level was up there with the best, but he retired at 27 to be a pro golfer. Think he had 7 slams and 3 YE #1 at age 27 which was on pace for all time GOAThood if he played till 35+
Vines was a successful golfer with 3 PGA Tour wins.

My favourite classic player is Jack Crawford, who was able to defeat Vines at Wimbledon in a great final in 1933.

 

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Vines was a successful with 3 PGA Tour wins.

My favourite classic player is Jack Crawford, who was able to defeat Vines at Wimbledon in a great final in 1933.

Crawford is one who gets forgotten. Won the first 3 slams in 1933 before losing US finals to Fred Perry. Crawford had 2-1 in sets but got drunk on brandy in the ten min break and lost the last two sets 6-0 6-1
 

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What? Why did he even get drunk in the first place?
Crawford had asthma and would drink brandy on the changeovers

It was the 30's, we did not have Gatorade yet


pg 67
 

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Crawford had asthma and would drink brandy on the changeovers

It was the 30's, we did not have Gatorade yet


pg 67
Oh, so it's not sure knowledge... but it makes for a good story.
 
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