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Who is the greatest between this BIG THREE ?

  • Jimmy Connors

  • John McEnroe

  • Ivan Lendl

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CONNORS, MCENROE or LENDL ?
The BIG THREE of the 80es.

Jimmy Connors (1974 - 1987) = 14
GS - 8 titles
1x AO (2/12 played)
0x FO (4x SFs, did not play it for 5 years)
2x WIM
5x USO
109 titles
268 weeks as No. 1

John McEnroe (1978 - 1985) = 8
GS - 7 titles
0x AO (1x SF, 5/15 played)
0x FO (1x F)
3x WIM
4x USO
77 titles
170 weeks as No. 1

Ivan Lendl (1981 - 1991) = 11
GS - 8 titles
2x AO
3x FO
0x WIM (2x F)
3x USO
94 titles
270 weeks as No. 1

Young people do not realise that all of them could have at least 3-5 more majors just by attending the Australian Open on a regular basis as they do nowadays. That means between 8-13 GS-titles, not far away of Sampras and around Borg or better. They are great ALL-TIME-GREATS and legends of American, Czech and world tennis.

And how would you rate and rank Agassi compared to them ? I put him out cause he was never really a direct rival during their prime time.
In terms of weeks as No. 1, overall titles he is inferior to them. The only thing what speeks for him is his complete set of gs-titles. But Connors and McEnroe could had that easily as well, if they had played all of them.

Andre Agassi (1988 - 2005) = 8
4x AO
1x FO
1x WM
2x USO
60 titles
101 weeks as No. 1

To me it is clear that

JIMMY CONNORS is my number one among them. Fearless competitor who compared to Lendl only played 2 AOs and would have therefore definitely won more than just 8 GS titles. I see him at minimum 11 GS titles.
He has more titles, longevity was superior,

So my rank between these Americans would be:

1) CONNORS
2) LENDL
3) MCENROE
4) AGASSI

I excluded Borg and Sampras in this comparison because that was not their era (Sampras), they have clearly more than 8 GS titles and in Borg's case he never was an American and of course because most would agree that they are greater than these gentlemen.

Have fun. I will enjoy your comments and take on that.
 

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Good question and tricky title.

Connors is number 1, but John Mcenroe 1984 is as close to GOAT as you can get. Lendl is probably number two, thing is he could be much higher but faltered in quite a few finals.
 
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Young people do not realise that all of them could have at least 3-5 more majors just by attending the Australian Open on a regular basis as they do nowadays. That means between 8-13 GS-titles, not far away of Sampras and around Borg or better.
You seem to forget that Borg could have won 5-7 more majors attending AO.
 

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You seem to forget that Borg could have won 5-7 more majors attending AO.
Or not retiring so young. Or not being screwed at the USO to favor McEnroe/Connors.

He could have been in the GOAT debate, at least he is the greatest non-big 3 open era player.
 

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He won 5 W and 6 FO, it's plausibile that he could have won 5, 6 or even 7 AO.

It's a pity he lost interest in tennis in 1981 (according to his ex-wife). Basically he was retired already at 25.
 

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You seem to forget that Borg could have won 5-7 more majors attending AO.
Only in a dreamland, he was too green to win a grass slam in the beginning and was either injured or tired and with niggling injuries a few times by the end of his career to fight fresh Aussies down under, so, you presume that a relatively young player would've been capable of winning 16-18 slams by his 25th birthday given his already very tough schedule and huge success (11 slams, 15 masters, 2 WTF) and his problematic life style by the end of career (101% dedicated Fedalovic with the huge help of modern medicine and technology have won their 17th slam being 31,32, 32.5 y.o. respectively, Laver & Rosewall their 15th being about 30 & 29 respectively, counting their pro slams too).

IMO by playing AO he could've as easily finished his career with less slams, by winning e.g. one or two AO and then being tired or with niggling injuries to win those close RG and Wimb rubbers he won on the way to the title.

The only time Sampras entered RG SF in 1996 he has failed to win Wimb, winning it for three consecutive seasons before and four consecutive seasons thereafter, and after winning AO'94 & '97 he lost USO 4R that year, instead of winning it like in 1993, 1995, 1996.

It takes a lot of physical and mental energy to prepare well for and then to make it deep at any slam, staying injury free for lower tournaments thereafter, let alone for all the four, year in year out.
 

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You seem to forget that Borg could have won 5-7 more majors attending AO.
Would have, could have, should have. But, he didn't. He had 11 majors. He would have won 0 AOs if he had attended it. It is what it is. He would have won nothing more and nothing less than 11.
 

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Would have, could have, should have. But, he didn't. He had 11 majors.
I was answering the OP who stated that Connors and McEnroe could have won more slams than Borg if they attended AO. But if they attended AO, Borg also could have attended (and win) it.
 

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Obviously I am biased, but Lendl for my money.
Ivan actually attended the AO more frequently, lost a final on grass as well.
Connors was banned from the French for a number of years as well. (he had more chances there than Mac for instance)
But Lendl revolutionised the game in the mid 80s, and put the bad defeats behind him, turning the tables on Mac and Connors.
He should have won more French titles as well, if he wasn't so damn obsessed with his ultimately failed attempts to win at Wimbledon.
All 3 are absolute legends of the game.
 

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Weeks at no.1 is irrelevant. How often were each YE1?

Of the three Connors by far the best and its not even close. He was closer in age to Borg so was unfortunate to have peak Borg during his best years. Mcenroe peak was after Borg had gone and Connors was past his best. Connors and Borg at a different level and a much higher one than Mcenroe and Lendl.

Mcenroe v Lendl is much harder to separate. I would lean towards Mcenroe as back then Wimbledon was bigger than FO.
 

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Well ATP rankings were very biased to Connors back in those days, 268 is a bit inflated, many many of those weeks belong to Ashe, Vilas, and Borg

Lendl for me is the best of the lot, followed by Connors, then Agassi, then McEnroe
 
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