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Who was the best of these all time greats?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A follow up to my other career comparison threads, who do you believe is the best of the men that I believe to be the second tier of greats in tennis history. This one will be difficult as it spans different eras across the course of a century:

Tilden:

Big Bill was the dominant force of tennis outside clay Majors in the 1920s amassing an all-time record 7 US Championships and 3 Wimbledons as well as 3 Pro Slams. Very strong on all surfaces at all levels with a powerful serve.

HONORING PHILLY TENNIS LEGEND BILL TILDEN A NO-BRAINER | Fast Philly Sports


138 Amateur Titles including 10 Grand Slams (7 US Championships and 3 Wimbledons)
15 Pro Titles including 3 Pro Slams (2 US Pro Championships and 1 French Pro Championship)
1 World Hard Court Championship (held on clay)
7 Davis Cups
6 years at World Number 1

Gonzalez:


Pancho was the man at the head of Pro tennis in the 1950s and played at the top of that tour right until the end. His playstyle was defined by his big serve, volley and forehand. He won the US Championships twice in the 40s before dominating the US Pro Slam in the 50s. He carried on into the Open era, finally retiring in 1974.

Tennis Legends - Greatest Tennis Players Throughout History


17 Amateur titles including 2 Grand Slams (2 US Championships)
85 Pro titles including 3 Tournaments of Champions and 12 Pro Slams (4 Wembley Pro and 8 US Pro)
10 Open era titles
8 Years at Number 1

Rosewall:


The great Australian was another player with great longevity successful as an amateur, but supreme as a professional in the late 50s and 60s, and played well into the Open era. Nicknamed Muscles ironically for his size- he was a player who used his footspeed, touch and backhand to tremendous effect. Winner of 4 amateur slams, 15 Pro Slams and 4 Open Era slams.

Ken Rosewall: Tennis legend Muscles reflects on career, looks forward to  sport's strong future - ABC News


26 amateur titles including 4 Grand Slams (2 Australian Championships, 1 French Championship and 1 US Championship)
64 Pro titles including 15 Pro Slams (5 Wembley Pro, 8 French Pro and 2 US Pro)
43 Open Era titles including 4 Grand Slams (1 French Open, 2 Australian Opens and 1 US Open)
2 WCT Finals
4 Davis Cups
4 Years at Number 1?

Sampras


The last truly great serve and volleyer in tennis, a man who would be synonymous with the grass of Wimbledon and the Hard courts of Flushing Meadows alike, Pistol Pete would be the most dominant force in tennis in the 1990s. Though lacking on Clay, on fast courts he was simply the best, having the most slams, weeks at number 1 in the Open Era and Wimbledons at the time.

364026


64 Open Era titles including 14 Grand Slams (7 Wimbledons, 5 US Opens and 2 Australian Opens)
5 Year End Championships (plus 2 Grand Slam Cups)
286 Weeks at Number 1
11 Masters
2 Davis Cups



An impossible choice I know given how far apart they are, but I think they all have a case here- over to you who was the greatest of these?
 
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2nd tier?

For me the parallels of the trio of Fed/Nadal/Djokovic and Gonzales/Laver/Rosewall cannot be underestimated. Then we have Sampras and Tilden, yes, in other timelines. So that is the top 8 for sure, and you cannot really say one is better or other other, I have them all on the top tier
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2nd tier?

For me the parallels of the trio of Fed/Nadal/Djokovic and Gonzales/Laver/Rosewall cannot be underestimated. Then we have Sampras and Tilden, yes, in other timelines. So that is the top 8 for sure, and you cannot really say one is better or other other, I have them all on the top tier
Thats a fair assessment, though I place Laver, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic just above these guys
 
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Peak Sampras would have beaten them all, peak Rosewall v peak Gonzalez would be very close but that's missing the point really. Jesse Owens would not reach the current Olympic 100m final.
 

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Peak Sampras would have beaten them all, peak Rosewall v peak Gonzalez would be very close but that's missing the point really. Jesse Owens would not reach the current Olympic 100m final.
But what if Jesse Owens was born in 1990 with all current equipment and science? I daresay he'd be the best or at worst one of the best
 

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Meh, the Big 3 will beat all those guys, plus Laver and others. You can call me recency bias, but I am not. Your eyes can't fool you. I respect the greats from prior eras though.

Big 3's athleticism, dedication, passion, physical and mental toughness, etc. has been at the highest level. They set the bar for the future generations. The GOAT is from the Big 3, for sure.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Meh, the Big 3 will beat all those guys, plus Laver and others. You can call me recency bias, but I am not. Your eyes can't fool you. I respect the greats from prior eras though.

Big 3's athleticism, dedication, passion, physical and mental toughness, etc. has been at the highest level. They set the bar for the future generations. The GOAT is from the Big 3, for sure.
I agree, that is why I consider these guys as the best of the rest, what is your view of them?
 

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Gonzalez for me. The man was an absolute beast. A nightmare to play against. These guys leave the big three in the shade. Laver is all time GOAT just ahead of these guys.
 
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Gonzalez for me. The man was an absolute beast. A nightmare to play against. These guys leave the big three in the shade. Laver is all time GOAT just ahead of these guys.
In spite of their greatness which I deeply respect, an in-depth analysis could show you that neither Laver nor Rosewall, not even the great Pancho won as much important matches as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Even if you include in Rosewall's and Laver's tallies their pro, amateur and open slam wins, or if you considers that playing the pro league lowered their numbers because there were only 3 slams per year with only 4 matches required to win it, so you decide to interpolate their best years pre- and post- professional era, you'll never be able to give them as much as Federer's 362 slam match wins, or even Nadal's 326 ones. By the way, Laver's 206 tournament wins is inflated by a greater amount of small tournaments than his GOAT rivals : his average path to victory is made of only 3.9 while Fereder's, for instance, is 5.5. The difference is huge.

Big 3's athleticism, dedication, passion, physical and mental toughness, etc. has been at the highest level. They set the bar for the future generations. The GOAT is from the Big 3, for sure.
I couldn't agree : Johnny Groove just gave the best answer just before your message. You could also try to figure how the Big 3 would compare if they were born in the 40's, with wooden raquets and the nutrition, mentality, etc. from that era.
 

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In spite of their greatness which I deeply respect, an in-depth analysis could show you that neither Laver nor Rosewall, not even the great Pancho won as much important matches as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Even if you include in Rosewall's and Laver's tallies their pro, amateur and open slam wins, or if you considers that playing the pro league lowered their numbers because there were only 3 slams per year with only 4 matches required to win it, so you decide to interpolate their best years pre- and post- professional era, you'll never be able to give them as much as Federer's 362 slam match wins, or even Nadal's 326 ones. By the way, Laver's 206 tournament wins is inflated by a greater amount of small tournaments than his GOAT rivals : his average path to victory is made of only 3.9 while Fereder's, for instance, is 5.5. The difference is huge.



I couldn't agree : Johnny Groove just gave the best answer just before your message. You could also try to figure how the Big 3 would compare if they were born in the 40's, with wooden raquets and the nutrition, mentality, etc. from that era.
Your argument is completely undermined by the number of Calendar Year and Career grand slams held by Laver via a vis the big three. Not to mention his success at all of the big tournaments - on a wider variety of surfaces than the said big three. Laver's 200 titles also set the bar far too high for the big three, on that we agree.
The big three are ruled out of GOAT contention by the fact that they never won a CYGS against their peers: if you cannot dominate even one year at slam level you can't be GOAT. The notion is a logical fallacy of the highest order. If you can't win a slam on every surface more than once the same is true. These three never even dominated each other. If they weren't the current top guys that are firmly in living memory, people would point this obvious conclusions out and laugh at claims that they were even GOAT contenders...
 

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With all due respect to the past legends but the sport they played doesn't even compare to what tennis has become. And this applies to multiple levels, not just the game itself, but the overall structure of competitions, draws, organizations, competitiveness, professionalims, etc.

I see a lot of people giving credit to Rosewall, Laver and Gonzales and I agree they were great players but the game evolved too much. The technology and athleticism of modern game puts it on another level. So the thing that's keeping these past legends in the conversation are the raw numbers but those numbers are flawed due to the surface distribution, smaller draws, the amateur/pro distinction and so on.

I consider Pete Sampras by far the best of the bunch.
 

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Is it just me or???
And no offense to OP. Hes a great lad.

I just have no interest in players i never saw. Maybe thats ignorant but it just doesnt do anything for me
 

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Your argument is completely undermined by the number of Calendar Year and Career grand slams held by Laver via a vis the big three. Not to mention his success at all of the big tournaments - on a wider variety of surfaces than the said big three. Laver's 200 titles also set the bar far too high for the big three, on that we agree.
The big three are ruled out of GOAT contention by the fact that they never won a CYGS against their peers: if you cannot dominate even one year at slam level you can't be GOAT. The notion is a logical fallacy of the highest order. If you can't win a slam on every surface more than once the same is true. These three never even dominated each other. If they weren't the current top guys that are firmly in living memory, people would point this obvious conclusions out and laugh at claims that they were even GOAT contenders...
You mean in one season. Because Djokovic dominated one year at slam level between 2015 and 2016.

For you dominating is winning all major matches but dominating does not need to mean that. You can lose once for example.

Because everybody says and knows that Federer dominated 2006, 2007; Djokovic 2011 and 2015. These two failed to dominate on the surface clay in best of five against one particular opponent / rival each.

To your definition was there ever a GOAT contender since Laver ? In theory every active player is still contending for GOAThood because they could still achieve it. Players in the 70s and 80s did not all care for Australia. It was played in December. So they can not be GOATS ? All pro players during the amateur era can not be a GOAT despite being the dominating best ?
 

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Because everybody says and knows that Federer dominated 2006, 2007; Djokovic 2011 and 2015. These two failed to dominate on the surface clay in best of five against one particular opponent / rival each.
In the years you're referring to Djokovic actually lost to Federer and Wawrinka respectively.
 

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Is it just me or???
And no offense to OP. Hes a great lad.

I just have no interest in players i never saw. Maybe thats ignorant but it just doesnt do anything for me
Well you could see them if you want on tape. And its pretty impressive.

In my case for example I am interested in these excellent players from the past whom I did not see during their play and peak.
 
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