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Borg vs. McEnroe

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by Bunter, May 11, 2006.

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  1. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    I love Safin, just as I loved Goran. But they are not American. Where are the rivalries a la McEnroe-Borg? Neither Fed nor Nadal are American either, and Fed-Roddick or Fed-Blake is too one-sided. It's too bad, because the level of play, as any commentator and true fan would note, is higher than ever.
     
  2. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    I think with tennis (and to an extent golf as well), the modern equipment is certainly a factor.

    koji
     
  3. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    I think with tennis (and to an extent golf as well), the modern equipment is certainly a factor.

    koji


    Modern equipment and modern training and conditioning. I always think comparisons of great athletes from different eras has limited value. If Roger Federer were transported back to the '70s and early '80s to face Borg, Connors, and McEnroe, he'd be using wooden or aluminum small faced racquets and wouldn't be privy to the last 25 years of athletic training and conditioning knowledge (apparently, he would also have to wear REALLY tight tennis shorts). Same with transporting Borg et al forward. The idea that Federer or Sampras would blow Borg and McEnroe off the court (or vice versa) when all were in their primes and if all had equal access to equipment and conditioning doesn't seem logically correct to me. More likely, everyone would win some and lose some. Perhaps Federer will end up being the best of all time. Perhaps Sampras already is. However, without all things being equal, it's hard to make a head to head comparison amongst any of them.
     
  4. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    Modern equipment and modern training and conditioning. I always think comparisons of great athletes from different eras has limited value. If Roger Federer were transported back to the '70s and early '80s to face Borg, Connors, and McEnroe, he'd be using wooden or aluminum small faced racquets and wouldn't be privy to the last 25 years of athletic training and conditioning knowledge (apparently, he would also have to wear REALLY tight tennis shorts). Same with transporting Borg et al forward. The idea that Federer or Sampras would blow Borg and McEnroe off the court (or vice versa) when all were in their primes and if all had equal access to equipment and conditioning doesn't seem logically correct to me. More likely, everyone would win some and lose some. Perhaps Federer will end up being the best of all time. Perhaps Sampras already is. However, without all things being equal, it's hard to make a head to head comparison amongst any of them.

    All excellent points; the most valid comparison point (for me at least), between athletes of different eras is how thoroughly they did or did not dominate their peers in their own timespan--Borg and McEnroe certainly did, as did Sampras.

    koji
     
  5. Tyto

    Tyto Senior member

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    I think with tennis (and to an extent golf as well), the modern equipment is certainly a factor.
    koji

    I think this is only true to a limited extent, but it's becoming more of a factor--many of the younger players even now honed their strokes on older, more flexible frames and still tend to prefer them for their consistency, complete with natural gut (which hasn't changed so very much in the last decade), often strung at tensions that exceed the manufacturer's specs and further dilute what little inherent power the frame might have had. This also tells you how hard the current players hit to generate the power that they do.

    Some (particularly women) have switched to widebodies and this trend will likely continue, but I think the bigger factors are the more serious (and technologically advanced) conditioning regimes, better footwear technology, and faster courts.
     
  6. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    If the measure of a player is how well they dominate their peers, then there is no one else like Federer. He dominates the game (at one time having something like 31 victories in finals out of 32 matches), at a time when the game is so unbelievably competitive.

    His strokes are incredibly consistent. I've heard from more than one tennis player that Mac had some of the ugliest strokes ever. Back then there was no standard technique, so just as in golf, you can see some pretty wonky swings.
     
  7. Mr. Checks

    Mr. Checks Senior member

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    The answer lies in the song, and it doesn't go:

    "I'll serve 'ya ass like Bjorn Borg / if your girl steps up / I'm smackin' the, er, ah, ... 'dorg'"
     
  8. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    If the measure of a player is how well they dominate their peers, then there is no one else like Federer. He dominates the game (at one time having something like 31 victories in finals out of 32 matches), at a time when the game is so unbelievably competitive.

    His strokes are incredibly consistent. I've heard from more than one tennis player that Mac had some of the ugliest strokes ever. Back then there was no standard technique, so just as in golf, you can see some pretty wonky swings.


    Which is why I think Federer is the greatest of all time.

    koji
     
  9. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    Which is why I think Federer is the greatest of all time.

    koji


    Good, one other sane person here.
     
  10. dusty

    dusty Senior member

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    Good, one other sane person here.

    Sheesh, who are you, Federer's dad?
     
  11. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    Sheesh, who are you, Federer's dad?

    If someone was comming in here saying that Hugo Boss makes the best jacket in the world, you'd be all over that. What people are saying in this thread is almost as outreagous in the context of tennis...
     
  12. Bradford

    Bradford Senior member

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    Which is why I think Federer is the greatest of all time.

    koji


    You cannot be serious!
     
  13. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    You cannot be serious!

    I used to say it was definitely Sampras, but I think Federer has a slightly better all-around game. That's certainly a dream match though (and on the Center Court at Wimbeldon).

    koji
     
  14. dusty

    dusty Senior member

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    Nice avatar Koji.
     
  15. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    I am amazed at Federer: he seems soooooooo smooth on court. Rarely displays emotion of any kind. Sort of like Bjorn in that regard. Really a complete game. But I'm not sure, Koji, if Roger is the best of all time. Johnny Mac was erratic, tempermental and prone to taking himself out of matches with his temper. He was a killer, though. If Federer had more competition I'd be more prone to agree with you. Mac played in what I'd say was the golden age of open tennis. He beat the other "greats". I don't think Roger has done that yet.
     
  16. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    I am amazed at Federer: he seems soooooooo smooth on court. Rarely displays emotion of any kind. Sort of like Bjorn in that regard. Really a complete game. But I'm not sure, Koji, if Roger is the best of all time. Johnny Mac was erratic, tempermental and prone to taking himself out of matches with his temper. He was a killer, though. If Federer had more competition I'd be more prone to agree with you. Mac played in what I'd say was the golden age of open tennis. He beat the other "greats". I don't think Roger has done that yet.

    How does Federer not have any competition? Back in Mac's day, there were just a few dominant players. Now #400 in the world is phenomenal. People don't understand this. Also this whole idea of that being the "golden age" of tennis is completely wrong. That's just because it's been mythologized by office workers with pot bellies who are jealous because the 20 somethings can crush their moonballs at the country club on saturday morning. There was nothing golden about that time in tennis... the technique, ability, and pretty much everything was on a lower level. The level of competition was way lower. It's all illogical nostalgia.

    Also, Federer's groundstrokes are quite a bit better than Sampras's. And at Wimbeldon, Federer would probably win. He's already proven that he can put up with a missile of a serve (he's totally dominated Roddick over the last few years), which was the weapon Sampras used to win Wimbeldon like 12 times.
     
  17. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    Nice avatar Koji.

    Merci (Tom Baker RULES, btw).

    koji
     
  18. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    I am amazed at Federer: he seems soooooooo smooth on court. Rarely displays emotion of any kind. Sort of like Bjorn in that regard. Really a complete game. But I'm not sure, Koji, if Roger is the best of all time. Johnny Mac was erratic, tempermental and prone to taking himself out of matches with his temper. He was a killer, though. If Federer had more competition I'd be more prone to agree with you. Mac played in what I'd say was the golden age of open tennis. He beat the other "greats". I don't think Roger has done that yet.

    Mac was the ultimate competitor; gotta love that.

    koji
     
  19. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    I'd argue that the golden days you so viciously malign were, in fact, populated by more talented players than today. They played with equipment that required more finesse and technique; players couldn't simply wind up and hit the sh** out of the damn ball, aiming for corner after corner after corner. Go back and watch some old matches. Watch Mac, watch Bjorn. Hell, watch Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker. These guys poured their entire bodies into a match, diving to stop passing shots, running down lobs and crashing the net.

    I am not denying there is a lot of talent on the tour today, but it is a bunch of automatons wielding spaceage racquets at hyped up balls. Roddick (as much as I love him) is a symptom of what is wrong with tennis today: big serve but only a so-so game after that. That is why Federer has had such an easy time with him.

    I'm saying Federer's relative rank is lessened because he's not had to beat other "greats" week-in week-out like Mac, Connors, Bjorn, Edberg, Wilander, Becker, et al. The talent pool today may be deeper...but the number of potential champions at the start of a tournament today is far less than it was in the golden years you so snidely denigrate.

    Yes Federer is an incredibly talented champion. He hasn't anyone pushing him, which means to me he is not the best of all time.
     
  20. bachbeet

    bachbeet Senior member

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    Well, I've already voted for Borg. I do admit I know less about tennis than I do about basketball or baseball. And, anyone who tries to tell me Willie Mays was not the GOAT, will really be disgraced! [​IMG]
     
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