05-06-2020, 11:22 AM
#1
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If you're sitting around like me waiting for the wife to cook the beans and rice before watching another episode of Money Heist, you may start to think about some all time fantasy tennis matches.
Who would you choose?

Men's singles - recent history has given us more than our share of terrific matchups (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic)
I'd like to see Laver at his prime vs. Connors, Borg, McEnroe and the three above. Maybe any combo of the men mentioned might do it for doubles too.

Women's singles - Martina Navratilova at her prime vs. Serena or Venus. Add Evert and we've got our doubles match.

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 05-06-2020, 02:31 PM
#2
  • DanLaw
  • Just an old slow fat man
  • Peachtree City, GA
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Don't neglect Sampras with his squash racket popping strings at night or Agassi when he could focus for more than a day

Suspect Navratilova and especially Evert wouldn't stand a chance as they played a female's game with a female's body

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 05-06-2020, 03:37 PM
#3
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Interesting topic. I think the game changed completely when racket technology evolved and made it possible to relentlessly bash the ball from the baseline and generate high ball velocity without that much effort. With earlier rackets, one had to expend more energy to get ball velocity. Hence, since the 2000s I can't think of any great serve-volley style players in the mold of Edberg, Rafter, etc... Sampras was that rare player who was an excellent serve-volley player, but was also excellent on the baseline. Federer is excellent at the net in the early part of his career, but as time has progressed and players have been able to just bash from the baseline, he also has been mostly a baseline player who can use the net for change the nature of the game and unsettle his opponent. 

I wonder what Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Martina Navratilova, Evert, Graf, etc in their peak would be able to do with current rackets. Would the serve-volley players of past still be serve-volley players with current rackets? Would their baseline games improve? 

I would have loved to see:

1) Sampras vs Federer. Both in their primes, both excellent servers, Sampras the better serve volley player, Federer the better player from the baseline. I would think Federer in his peak would have the edge because of his versatility and incredible touch. 
2) Sampras vs Nadal. Sampras struggled against Marcelo Rios and Thomas Muster at times and I think he would have a hard time against Nadal. But one can never discount the effect of the legendary Sampras serve, especially on grass. Should we even talk about on clay?
3) Much more of Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles before the stabbing. Seles was brilliant before the stabbing and an equal to Graf. She was never the same after. The stabbing was a tragedy. Sadly, in a way, the guy got what he wanted. He broke Seles. 
4) Give Serena an older racket and lets see Serena vs Graf. Conversely, give Graf a modern racket and lets see Graf vs Serena. Both in their primes of course.

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 05-07-2020, 04:06 AM
#4
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I purposely omitted Graf. Martina bested Graf and considering Martina was nearing retirement this means alot.
Seles I omitted by accident and would have definitely added her with Martina and omitted Evert. We'll never know but Seles was probably the GOAT.

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 05-07-2020, 05:10 PM
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(05-07-2020, 04:06 AM)jackgoldman123 Wrote: I purposely omitted Graf. Martina bested Graf and considering Martina was nearing retirement this means alot.
Seles I omitted by accident and would have definitely added her with Martina and omitted Evert. We'll never know but Seles was probably the GOAT.

I don't think it is fair to say that Martina bested Graf. The link below has stats of their head to head and it is an even 9-9 out of 18 matches. Martina won 5 of their first 6 matches and then 2 of the next 3, to make her winner of 6 out of their first 9 encounters. This is when Martina was at her peak and Steffi was very young and emerging. Conversely, Steffi won 6 of their next 9 matches when she would have been peaking and Martina would have been waning. To me this is 2 champions separated by close to a decade in age. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graf%E2%80...va_rivalry

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