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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Pretty sure this sort of thread has been brought up at some point in the past, but if MTF had a 1$ for each repeated topic..

What are the passing of the torch matches do you recall? It doesn't necessarily have to be all-time greats, but if people won't start digging out challenger players - that'd be nice.

Sampras ---> Federer, Wimby 2001 - the obvious one.

There isn't much to say - ultimate all-time great at the twilight of his career, losing to the up-&-coming ultimate icon of the sport, match being playing at the mecca of tennis world. Both end up with insane achievements of grass & HC, with clay as the Achilles heel.



Safin ---> Del Potro, Bercy 2009 - that one is much less explicit, but a tad cooler to me personally.

Delpo retires Marat in a well-contested match, after Safin had to save career-ending match points vs Thierry Ascione a round earlier. Thank God he did.

Safin is forever my idol & there's just simply no one who'd ever match him as my fav player. I was so out of ideas of who to root for after his retirement that I simply went with Juan on the receiving end of that torch. No regrets.

Both guys had injury-ridden careers, both tall (6'5 on avg), both Grand Slam champs, Davis Cup champs, Masters champs. One can argue that Delpo's 1/1 in Slam finals and just 1 Masters don't compare to Marat's 2/4 & 5, respectively, but dang you have to admit that Delpo had to play those four maniacs in their primes (including 3 Masters finals losses to Nadal-Djokovic-Murray in tight 3-setters).

Also just to put it in perspective - in the 7-year span from 2005 to 2011, Safin & Delpo ended up being the only ones not named Fed-Nadal-Nole to win a slam. So yeah, I'd say there are some similarities.



What other passing of the torch moments you guys recall?
 

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Nadal beating guys like Moya for example?

and Costa?

shame we never got a meeting with Gustavo Kuerten

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Hewitt beating Sampras as well (of course, Lleyton's period of success was shorter and he was already 4th seed in that tournament), but he would ascend to no. 1 and win two slams. He also beat Agassi earlier in 1998 in his hometown of Adelaide.

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Lendl-Chang of course another big moment, the start of Chang's career really.

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Nishikori also beat James Blake and David Ferrer in 2008.

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Nadal beating guys like Moya for example?

and Costa?

shame we never got a meeting with Gustavo Kuerten


Hewitt beating Sampras as well (of course, Lleyton's period of success was shorter and he was already 4th seed in that tournament), but he would ascend to no. 1 and win two slams. He also beat Agassi earlier in 1998 in his hometown of Adelaide.

Lendl-Chang of course another big moment, the start of Chang's career really.

Nishikori also beat James Blake and David Ferrer in 2008.
I know that the lines of the question I'm asking are blurry, but I was gunning for the guys who proceed to have very comparable careers.

Neither Costa nor Moya would ever sniff the level of icon Rafa's become, no matter how much he looked up to them as a kid.

I love your mention of Guga, coz if Rafa were to play and beat him at French or some clay Masters around 2004-05 - that'd be sick. I'm not saying Guga is anywhere near Rafa, but he's certainly closer than the other two guys.

Neither did Hewitt come anywhere near Sampras' achievements, part of the reason I didn't include Safin's whopping of Pete in USO'2000 either.

I loooove your example with Nishikori and Ferrer though - pretty darn similar guys size-wise, certain game aspects-wise, achievements as well (both with a Slam Final). I also know that it is personal for you in terms of Kei (like Safin-Delpo for me), and that's part of what makes this pick so good.

The only issue - it wasn't precisely a Ferrer on the downfall of his career & he reached his Slam final + Masters years later, so not technically a "passing the torch" scenario, but certainly a dawn to Kei's career.
 

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I know that the lines of the question I'm asking are blurry, but I was gunning for the guys who proceed to have very comparable careers.

Neither Costa nor Moya would ever sniff the level of icon Rafa's become, no matter how much he looked up to them as a kid.

I love your mention of Guga, coz if Rafa were to play and beat him at French or some clay Masters around 2004-05 - that'd be sick. I'm not saying Guga is anywhere near Rafa, but he's certainly closer than the other two guys.

Neither did Hewitt come anywhere near Sampras' achievements, part of the reason I didn't include Safin's whopping of Pete in USO'2000 either.

I loooove your example with Nishikori and Ferrer though - pretty darn similar guys size-wise, certain game aspects-wise, achievements as well (both with a Slam Final). I also know that it is personal for you in terms of Kei (like Safin-Delpo for me), and that's part of what makes this pick so good.

The only issue - it wasn't precisely a Ferrer on the downfall of his career & he reached his Slam final + Masters years later, so not technically a "passing the torch" scenario, but certainly a dawn to Kei's career.
Guga would have really struggled against Nadal due to the 1 handed backhand, a match in 2005 would not have been pretty.
 

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Certainly not Lendl-Chang @RG as they don't share any other characteristic than playing tennis and being right-handed.

The obvious one for me is the Sampras-Lendl USO'90 QF. Lendl fought bravely while he was clearly post-prime, but Sampras' greatness was already shining strong early in the morning of his career.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Guga would have really struggled against Nadal due to the 1 handed backhand, a match in 2005 would not have been pretty.

I know it's all "what if" and "he said she said" type of scenarios but we had a OHBH righty in Gaudio going 2-2 vs Rafa on clay in 2004-05. Just saying.
 

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I know it's all "what if" and "he said she said" type of scenarios but we had a OHBH righty in Gaudio going 2-2 vs Rafa on clay in 2004-05. Just saying.
I specifically mentioned 2005 for a reason, Nadal added a lot of topspin from 2004-2005. Gaudio won in 2005 in Buenos Aires a very different claycourt from the European ones, in Monte Carlo that year Nadal won 6-3 6-0.
 

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Some important changes of #1 position:
Federer ---> Nadal, Wimbledon 2008 (Nadal dethroned Federer soon afterwards)
Nadal ---> Djokovic, Wimbledon 2011 (Djokovic became #1 for the first time after that tournament)
Djokovic ---> Murray, WTF 2016 (Andy became YE#1 but his reign was short though)
 

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A few “passing of the torch” moments for a nation’s tennis:

1.2011 Vienna R1: 18 y.o. Dominic Thiem def. 44 y.o. Thomas Muster 6-2 6-3
This was the passing of the torch between two elite clay-courters representing Austrian tennis, probably a rigged draw by the organizers but still it’s pretty amazing that they met considering their 26-year age difference. Thiem is still far from matching Muster’s achievements, but he has a chance to close the gap in a few years.

2.2009 USO R1: Isner def. Roddick 7-6 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6
Actually only 3 years age difference between the two, but at that point Roddick was beginning to go downhill while Isner had just started his career. This marks the passing of the American servebot torch :p Isner is obviously a worse player than Roddick, but both have been the best US player for many years.

3.2005 Bercy R1: Berdych def. Novak 7-5 6-3
Novak was the best Czech player for 6 years and reached top 5 in his career, but by 2005 he was 30 and going down. Berdych was the talented 20 y.o.coming up, and after winning this match he went on to win the tournament, which unfortunately ended up being his only major title win. Nevertheless, he definitely held the torch of Czech tennis for 10 years and eclipsed Novak’s accomplishments.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A few “passing of the torch” moments for a nation’s tennis:

1.2011 Vienna R1: 18 y.o. Dominic Thiem def. 44 y.o. Thomas Muster 6-2 6-3
This was the passing of the torch between two elite clay-courters representing Austrian tennis, probably a rigged draw by the organizers but still it’s pretty amazing that they met considering their 26-year age difference. Thiem is still far from matching Muster’s achievements, but he has a chance to close the gap in a few years.

2.2009 USO R1: Isner def. Roddick 7-6 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6
Actually only 3 years age difference between the two, but at that point Roddick was beginning to go downhill while Isner had just started his career. This marks the passing of the American servebot torch :p Isner is obviously a worse player than Roddick, but both have been the best US player for many years.

3.2005 Bercy R1: Berdych def. Novak 7-5 6-3
Novak was the best Czech player for 6 years and reached top 5 in his career, but by 2005 he was 30 and going down. Berdych was the talented 20 y.o.coming up, and after winning this match he went on to win the tournament, which unfortunately ended up being his only major title win. Nevertheless, he definitely held the torch of Czech tennis for 10 years and eclipsed Novak’s accomplishments.
Now that's easily the best fit to what I meant by "passing of the torch" - awesome list. Especially the Czech duel of 2005, I would've never picked up on that one.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Some important changes of #1 position:
Federer ---> Nadal, Wimbledon 2008 (Nadal dethroned Federer soon afterwards)
Nadal ---> Djokovic, Wimbledon 2011 (Djokovic became #1 for the first time after that tournament)
Djokovic ---> Murray, WTF 2016 (Andy became YE#1 but his reign was short though)
I like that interpretation as well - change of guard at #1.

Djokovic in 2011 just felt like he was going to take over the #1 spot one way or another, sooner or later, hence to me his Wimby crown was just one of the nuggets from the overall goldmine of a year.

Fedal Wimby'08 was absolutely legendary from historical perspective & hands down deserves a mention.

Murray was at a bit lower scale, but man did he deserve that - beating the current #1, fair & square, in front of his home crowd, ending a long dry spell for Brits at #1.
 
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