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Topic Title: Insensitive Sports Writer--does it really matter that Sampras is balding?
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Created On: 11/24/2007 04:09 PM
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 11/27/2007 08:02 AM
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burf16
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From wiki about Tilden...

"In 1931 his serve was timed at 163.3 miles per hour, although the figure has been questioned, given the technology available at the time, and also because hitting a serve that hard with the wooden rackets of the era would have been exceedingly difficult. (By way of comparison, Andy Roddick holds the modern, unassailable record, measured by radar, of 155 miles per hour.)"

Wiki also said that he fondled boys nobs.

Edited: 11/27/2007 at 08:02 AM by burf16
 11/27/2007 08:14 AM
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Peter Mac
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Quote

Originally posted by: burf16
From wiki about Tilden...



"In 1931 his serve was timed at 163.3 miles per hour, although the figure has been questioned, given the technology available at the time, and also because hitting a serve that hard with the wooden rackets of the era would have been exceedingly difficult. (By way of comparison, Andy Roddick holds the modern, unassailable record, measured by radar, of 155 miles per hour.)"



Wiki also said that he fondled boys nobs.


 11/27/2007 08:36 AM
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JohnM
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Quote

Originally posted by: burf16
From wiki about Tilden...



"In 1931 his serve was timed at 163.3 miles per hour, although the figure has been questioned, given the technology available at the time, and also because hitting a serve that hard with the wooden rackets of the era would have been exceedingly difficult. (By way of comparison, Andy Roddick holds the modern, unassailable record, measured by radar, of 155 miles per hour.)"



Wiki also said that he fondled boys nobs.


The 163 may not be accurate, but how large a margin of error could it have? There were many more clocking it at 140. It's believable, one time they tested Phillippoussis serving with a wooden racket and they measured it in comparison to his serving with graphite, about equal. The issue is that with wood it's much harder to get the ball in accurately at those speeds, so they have to slow it down a bit. But what's even more important is that it's harder to generate spin (larger heads) for second serves, so they weren't nearly as reliable back then. Because of that, they tried to get first serves in at a very high percentage (like 75%) so they wouldn't have to risk it on the second serve.
 11/27/2007 09:07 AM
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Peter Mac
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Quote

1. Bill Tilden

2. Pancho Gonzalez

3. Rod Laver

4. Bjorn Borg

5. Roger Federer

6. Don Budge

7. Ken Rosewall

8. Henri Cochet

9. Pete Sampras

10. Ellsworth Vines
John McEnroe who knows a thing or two about tennis listed the following players as the top 6 of all time:

1. Roger Federer
2. Pete Sampras

in no particular order for 3-6:
Rod Laver
Bjorn Bog
Andre Agassi
(Open--insert Bill Tilden if you have to here)

How can you put Laver and Borg ahead of Federer? How?
Fact: Federer has more grand slam titles than either of them
Fact: Federer tied Borg's Wimbledon streak
Fact: Federer beat Jimmy Connors' record for most consecutive weeks at number 1
Fact: Borg couldn't win on the hard courts

Borg himself thinks Federer is a better player than he was so I don't really understand how you came up with your list.

Sampras really should get a transplant. He would look pretty good with one. He's starting to look really a lot older with his hair loss.
 11/27/2007 10:25 AM
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JohnM
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Quote

Originally posted by: Peter Mac
Quote

1. Bill Tilden



2. Pancho Gonzalez



3. Rod Laver



4. Bjorn Borg



5. Roger Federer



6. Don Budge



7. Ken Rosewall



8. Henri Cochet



9. Pete Sampras



10. Ellsworth Vines
John McEnroe who knows a thing or two about tennis listed the following players as the top 6 of all time:



1. Roger Federer

2. Pete Sampras



in no particular order for 3-6:

Rod Laver

Bjorn Bog

Andre Agassi

(Open--insert Bill Tilden if you have to here)



How can you put Laver and Borg ahead of Federer? How?

Fact: Federer has more grand slam titles than either of them

Fact: Federer tied Borg's Wimbledon streak

Fact: Federer beat Jimmy Connors' record for most consecutive weeks at number 1

Fact: Borg couldn't win on the hard courts



Borg himself thinks Federer is a better player than he was so I don't really understand how you came up with your list.



Sampras really should get a transplant. He would look pretty good with one. He's starting to look really a lot older with his hair loss.


Well, the thing is, these great players know a lot about how to play tennis, but they often don't pay very much attention to tennis history. That's the issue. So it'll be skewed towards more recent players. If you ask older players (who also know a thing or two about tennis), you'll see their lists take into consideration the older players. Andre Agassi as a possible number 3? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. I like Agassi a lot, I like him more than Sampras, but he is certainly not one of the 6 greatest tennis players ever. Are you sure he didn't mean the best of the open era? Then that might be a legitimate list. But all time? No way. I'm almost positive Mcenroe was making a list of the greatest tennis players of the open era.

How can you put Laver and Borg ahead of Federer? How?

I think Federer has a legitimate claim to being better than Borg on peak play, and by the end of next year he likely will be clearly ahead. But better than Laver? That'll take a bit more.

Fact: Federer has more grand slam titles than either of them

Note: Borg only played the Australian Open once (when he was just starting out), because it wasn't that imortant. Lave was professional during the peak of his career, and thus was not allowed to play in slams. If you adjust for these things, looking at them winning the 4 most important tournaments of the year, then Borg would have won 13 and Laver would have won 18. This doesn't even take into account that Borg retired at age 25 (not because of physical burnout like most people claim, but because of the ATP's policies in regards to his refusal to play a full schedule). Now, counting "slams" in this way has problems, but it's better than just counting slam totals as if everything was exactly the same 30, 50 years ago.

Fact: Federer tied Borg's Wimbledon streak

Tied...one big difference was that at Borg's time Clay was sloooooow and Grass was FAST. Now clay is slow-medium, grass is medium-fast. So the ability to play on diverse surfaces comes in, considering Borg's Roland Garros/Wimbledon combo record.

Fact: Federer beat Jimmy Connors' record for most consecutive weeks at number 1

That's nice. The rankings started in '71 so you can't compare that with Laver. The rankings have also been changed considerably since Borg's time, and notably Borg was up against Connors and McEnroe. Who's Federer up against? Nadal... (keep in mind Nadal's my favorite player right now). Federer was certainly more dominant than Borg was, I don't deny that. But Laver would have likely been #1 considerably longer if the rankings existed.

Fact: Borg couldn't win on the hard courts

Not true. Reaching the finals of the US Open and losing the the likes of Connors and Mcenroe doesn't mean you can't play on hard. That's like saying Federer can't play on clay. But considering the number of other important titles Borg won on hard (and against these same players), I'd say Borg played better on hard than Federer does on clay. And keep in mind that the surfaces nowadays are all playing more and more like a standard hard court. Borg had to SERIOUSLY adjust his game to the different surfaces. Federer plays about the same way everywhere. Would he be winning on ulta-fast wimbledon grass and roland garros clay that existed in Borg's time? I'm not so sure...
 11/27/2007 02:56 PM
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Peter Mac
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Federer plays about the same way everywhere. Would he be winning on ulta-fast wimbledon grass and roland garros clay that existed in Borg's time? I'm not so sure...
this is total rubbish. The only reason Nadal had a chance last Wimbledon is because they slowed the grass down. Had it been fast grass Nadal wouldn't have had any chance.

 11/27/2007 06:17 PM
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JohnM
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Quote

Originally posted by: Peter Mac
Quote

Federer plays about the same way everywhere. Would he be winning on ulta-fast wimbledon grass and roland garros clay that existed in Borg's time? I'm not so sure...
this is total rubbish. The only reason Nadal had a chance last Wimbledon is because they slowed the grass down. Had it been fast grass Nadal wouldn't have had any chance.


DAMN IT! I just made a really long post but forgot to put in my info. Here's the jist of it, I'm not going to write it agian:

1. You're underrating Nadal, he didn't get to the final and almost beat Federer (literally a centimeter away, since I think Fed would have been completely demoralized if he went a break down) because the grass got slower, it's because he improved his game. Noting that, if the grass was as fast as it was in Sampras' day, then Federer would demolish Nadal. But my point has nothing to do with that, my point is that Federer would also perform worse at those speeds. He's best on medium-fast, still excellent when fast, not so good slow (he's partly getting to the french open finals because of the lack of solid clay competition, partly because he's such a great player overall that it doesn't matter that he isn't a natural on clay).

2. I'd also add to my Borg comments by saying that he didn't lose the US Open because he had some sort of natural deficiency in his hardcourt game. He was an EXCELLENT hardcourt player, not like Sampras was a crappy claycourter, or even how Federer isn't that good on clay and Lendl wasn't that good on clay (both natural deficiencies overcome because they are such good players in other respects, but they're not naturals). Borg wasn't like that. He didn't win the US Open because of the conditions, the crowds, the lights, the night play. It was a mental thing. Note that two of his US Open finals were when it was on clay.
 11/27/2007 06:19 PM
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JohnM
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Oh, by the way, I think Federer would demolish the current competition at Wimbledon if it was really fast like it was a decade or two ago. I'm just not sure he would fare as well against natural grass courters from those previous times. That's what I meant. It is rubbish to say that Federer wouldn't keep winning Wimbledon if it was faster.
 11/27/2007 08:02 PM
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Peter Mac
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and Lendl wasn't that good on clay (both natural deficiencies overcome because they are such good players in other respects, but they're not naturals). Borg wasn't like that. He didn't win the US Open because of the conditions, the crowds, the lights, the night play. It was a mental thing. Note that two of his US Open finals were when it was on clay.
What are you talking about? Lendl won 3 French Opens. It was Wimbledon he couldn't win.

 11/27/2007 08:26 PM
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JohnM
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Pardon me, I meant grass. I typed up my abbreviated version very quickly. Lendl was great on clay, obviously.
 11/27/2007 10:15 PM
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Peter Mac
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I think greatness is defined by longevity. Federer is not a one year wonder. Let's talk about one year wonders like Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, and Patrick Rafter. They were awesome for a short while, but it didn't last long.

Roger has reigned supreme for three years like no one else ever has. Roger just keeps getting better. People were calling Roger the best ever after his first year of dominance. I said he needs to prove it's for the long run before I'll consider him the best ever. Now he has proven it.
I think he'll win 20 grand slam titles and then we can put to rest all this talk about the greatest ever.

Rod Laver was pretty awesome, but I think Federer is the king of all time. He may just win the slam next year. If he does, will you move him to the top of your list?
 11/28/2007 02:12 PM
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JohnM
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Well, the issue is just that people underestimate pre-open era players, some of whom were even more dominant than Federer has been and for an even longer stretch of time.
But if we are talking open era only, then Federer could certainly be seen as on top. The bulk of laver’s career was pre-open era, so it’s unfair to him, but oh well. I’d make a case for Borg over Federer if Federer never won another slam, or even if he won a couple more slams but never won the french open. If Federer makes the grand slam next year (I really doubt this, I’d say it’s more likely that he’d only get two than that he’d get four), then he would be above Borg. Even then someone COULD make a case for Borg on different grounds, but I wouldn’t. That’s what’s great about this, there’s no set criteria, so you can make a valid case for probably 12 or so players as being the greatest of all time. Each has something particular, depending on your criteria. I mean, someone could look at my list with their mouth agape at the fact that I didn’t put in Kramer or Perry or even McEnroe and Lendl. Kramer seems like a particulary bad omission, wish I could do top 11. But oh well…
Would Federer then be better than Laver if he won the calender slam next year? He’d be better than post open era laver, but better than laver overall? Very difficult. You could argue that between 1966 and 1969, looking at the 4 most important tournaments played each year, that Laver won 12 of them, including 2 calender year slams (1 of them a real slam in the open era and the other being the “professionals” version of the slam). You could also say he won 4 more before those years and 2 more afterwards. So if you look at his peak period, he would be about as good as Federer would be even if he won the calender slam, especially keeping in mind how well he played on all surfaces versus Federer’s 1 french open win. Of course, Laver didn’t play on hardcourts, but he played on very fast grass, very slow clay, and medium speed grass, so I would even give him the nod for diversity. So…tough to say. If Federer won the grand slam next year, I would say he’s better than Laver, but again, just looking at results they’d be close to even depending on criteria.
 12/02/2007 09:00 PM
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Diesel
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Is John McEnroe still playing pro? He was always good to watch...

John McEnroe has a word

John McEnroe throwing a tantrum

Edited: 12/02/2007 at 09:13 PM by Diesel
 12/04/2007 09:24 PM
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Peter Mac
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Quote

Originally posted by: Diesel
Is John McEnroe still playing pro?
are you joking?
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