Greatest mens tennis player of all time

Raoul

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Having followed tennis for about 30 years now, I'd say its Federer. More slams than any other player, more consecutive weeks at number one, and one of the very few who has won all four slams. Not with standing the actual grand slams that Budge and Laver won, they weren't nearly as consistent as Federer. Connors has won more singles titles but only half the slams as Fed. Sampras has one more Wimbledon (7) but never managed the French.

For me the top five would be:

1. Federer
2. Borg
3. Sampras
4. Laver
5. Nadal

Who are your top five of all time and why ?
 

BaldwinLegend

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I'd have said Federer till recently too, but the fact that Nadal's record against him over the last 2-3 years is so strong needs to be factored in I think.

Nadal has dominated him the last couple of years and yet is a Nr 5 on your list. I accept that Federer's career needs to be looked at as a whole, but the fact that Nadal came along and dominated him while he was at an age that should have been his peak makes it hard for me to unreservedly declare him the greatest ever. Federer was 27/28 when Nadal begun to assert his dominance - if he had been into his 30's I think his earlier record could have stood unaffected but as it is Nadal's dominance of him casts a shadow IMO.
 

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1. Sampras
2. Federer
3. Borg
4. Connors
5. Nadal

Of course my ranking has a bearing on what players I have seen in the flesh, hence why I put Sampras top. Federer might have won more Wimbledon titles but it was a pleasure to see Sampras perform at Wimbledon. Serves. :drool:

That said, Djokovic has probably had the best ever tennis season.
 

Raoul

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1. Sampras
2. Federer
3. Borg
4. Connors
5. Nadal

Of course my ranking has a bearing on what players I have seen in the flesh, hence why I put Sampras top. Federer might have won more Wimbledon titles but it was a pleasure to see Sampras perform at Wimbledon. Serves. :drool:

That said, Djokovic has probably had the best ever tennis season.
Sampras won Wimbledon 7 times. Fed has "only" won it 6 times.
 

Raoul

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I'd have said Federer till recently too, but the fact that Nadal's record against him over the last 2-3 years is so strong needs to be factored in I think.

Nadal has dominated him the last couple of years and yet is a Nr 5 on your list. I accept that Federer's career needs to be looked at as a whole, but the fact that Nadal came along and dominated him while he was at an age that should have been his peak makes it hard for me to unreservedly declare him the greatest ever. Federer was 27/28 when Nadal begun to assert his dominance - if he had been into his 30's I think his earlier record could have stood unaffected but as it is Nadal's dominance of him casts a shadow IMO.
Not taking anything away from Rafa, as he's definitely already (at 25) one of the all time greats. But Fed's record speaks for itself, and Rafa's domination of him for the most part occurred after Fed had peaked and began to taper off. Its a bit like suggesting Djokovic deserves consideration because he's dominated Rafa recently.
 

crappycraperson

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I would have said Federer if he had won the French open beating Nadal in the final. You can not take the one he won away from him but beating someone like Nadal there to complete the slams would have really sealed it for me. Problem with me now saying he is all time greatest layer is that I simply do not believe him to be better than Nadal... so I will just go for Bjorg going on history for now
 

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Nadal's domination over Federer stems mainly from the fact Federer consistently reaches Finals on Clay Courts but Rafa doesn't reach finals as consistently as Federer on Federer's favoured surfaces, until recently at least.
 

crappycraperson

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Not taking anything away from Rafa, as he's definitely already (at 25) one of the all time greats. But Fed's record speaks for itself, and Rafa's domination of him for the most part occurred after Fed had peaked and began to taper off. Its a bit like suggesting Djokovic deserves consideration because he's dominated Rafa recently.
If yo are going to use that argument then most of Fedrer's GS during his supposed peak came during a period when he had no real competitor and thus gobbled up those Grand Slams unlike others in the past. So I do not think you can then just use those stats to call him GOAT.
 

crappycraperson

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Nadal's domination over Federer stems mainly from the fact Federer consistently reaches Finals on Clay Courts but Rafa doesn't reach finals as consistently as Federer on Federer's favoured surfaces, until recently at least.
Errr.. Nadal has beaten Federer on a grass GS, Federer has not beaten Nadal on clay one. In fact the first wimbledon final Fed won against Nadal was closer than any RG final they had and IMO Nadal ought to have won that one anyway.
 

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If yo are going to use that argument then most of Fedrer's GS during his supposed peak came during a period when he had no real competitor and thus gobbled up those Grand Slams unlike others in the past. So I do not think you can then just use those stats to call him GOAT.
Granted, but that wasn't down to anything Federer did or didn't do. He simply dominated the cards that he was dealt for longer than anyone else in tennis history and amassed more slams as a result of it.
 

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Errr.. Nadal has beaten Federer on a grass GS, Federer has not beaten Nadal on clay one. In fact the first wimbledon final Fed won against Nadal was closer than any RG final they had and IMO Nadal ought to have won that one anyway.
Comparing them head to head is a bit of a pointless task given that they began and rose to the top at different times. You have to take their collective accomplishments and compare them.
 

crappycraperson

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Granted, but that wasn't down to anything Federer did or didn't do. He simply dominated the cards that he was dealt for longer than anyone else in tennis history and amassed more slams as a result of it.
True that is why no one will take away those slams from him but to simply use that as a barometer then along with how many weeks he was number 1 etc is also not right.

Your competition make you the greatest in tennis IMO. Sampras left no doubt that he was better than Agassi ( I say that when Agassi is my all time fav. player), Federer has not even been close to doing that with Nadal. I do not agree with you anyway that he played Nadal after his peak. He is not at his peak right now but till 2009/10 he was or should have been given his style of play.
 

crappycraperson

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Comparing them head to head is a bit of a pointless task given that they began and rose to the top at different times. You have to take their collective accomplishments and compare them.
Collective accomplishments that once again have come under different level of competition.

Are you seriously telling me Federer had to play as two tough matches as Nadal did in semi and final in this very Aussie Open to win a GS in his peak? He did not. Nadal has had to cope with Federer and Novak and still has 10 GSs!

IMO Federer is only GOAT if you are going to blindly use the number of GSs as a barometer.
 

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True that is why no one will take away those slams from him but to simply use that as a barometer then along with how many weeks he was number 1 etc is also not right.

Your competition make you the greatest in tennis IMO. Sampras left no doubt that he was better than Agassi ( I say that when Agassi is my all time fav. player), Federer has not even been close to doing that with Nadal. I do not agree with you anyway that he played Nadal after his peak. He is not at his peak right now but till 2009/10 he was or should have been given his style of play.
Again, the overlap of their careers has to be factored in. If they both started at the same time and had identical career trajectories then Rafa's head to heads would have more weight. Its like comparing McEnroe with Becker or Edberg with Lendl based on head to heads. Sure, they played each other many times, but they started and peaked at different times.
 

Raoul

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Collective accomplishments that once again have come under different level of competition.

Are you seriously telling me Federer had to play as two tough matches as Nadal did in semi and final in this very Aussie Open to win a GS in his peak? He did not. Nadal has had to cope with Federer and Novak and still has 10 GSs!

IMO Federer is only GOAT if you are going to blindly use the number of GSs as a barometer.
We're not using slams as the only indicator, just a very significant one. The others are the fact that he's won all four of them AND was number one for longer (consecutive weeks) than any other player in the history of the game. When you combine all three factors, no one else comes close.
 

crappycraperson

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Again, the overlap of their careers has to be factored in. If they both started at the same time and had identical career trajectories then Rafa's head to heads would have more weight. Its like comparing McEnroe with Becker or Edberg with Lendl based on head to heads. Sure, they played each other many times, but they started and peaked at different times.
Federer has been playing Rafa since 2004... when exactly did he lose his peak?

Besides I already explained your argument. If you are going that way then cheap GSs picked up by Federer are not going to make them GOAT.
 

Raoul

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Federer has been playing Rafa since 2004... when exactly did he lose his peak?

Besides I already explained your argument. If you are going that way then cheap GSs picked up by Federer are not going to make them GOAT.
The thing is there no such thing as a cheap grand slam, they all count the same.
 

crappycraperson

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We're not using slams as the only indicator, just a very significant one. The others are the fact that he's won all four of them AND was number one for longer (consecutive weeks) than any other player in the history of the game. When you combine all three factors, no one else comes close.
So basically instead of just one stat you are using three, three which could be break down as

- Winning French when Nadal was not there- No Surprise (Still Lost to Nadal on grass GS final ) to complete the slams

- Was number 1 for so long due to garbage like Hewitt and Roddick being about as his closes competitors.

- Won cheap GSs due to the same reason
 

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Of Federer's 16 Slams, 3 have been against Nadal or Djokovic in the final (4 against Roddick), whereas 7 of Nadal's 10 have come against Federer or Djokovic. I don't know what that proves if anything but I thought it was interesting! Of course Federer came on to the scene earlier so something like that is to be expected.
 

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The thing is there no such thing as a cheap grand slam, they all count the same.
Maybe once people forget the level of Tennis they saw. Since I have seen all the tennis with my own eyes in last decades, I very well know how Federer was just walking to those GS wins before Nadal broke in.
 

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So basically instead of just one stat you are using three, three which could be break down as

- Winning French when Nadal was not there- No Surprise (Still Lost to Nadal on grass GS final ) to complete the slams

- Was number 1 for so long due to garbage like Hewitt and Roddick being about as his closes competitors.

- Won cheap GSs due to the same reason
Well yes, winning the most slams, being number one for the longest time ever, and winning all slams are major factors on why someone might be considered the best ever.
 

Raoul

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Maybe once people forget the level of Tennis they saw. Since I have seen all the tennis with my own eyes in last decades, I very well know how Federer was just walking to those GS wins before Nadal broke in.
And Nadal deserves a lot of credit for his amazing career. His accomplishments just haven't yet measured up to Fed's. The head to heads not withstanding.
 

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I'd go with

1) Federer
2) Nadal
3) Sampras
4) Borg
5) Laver

I think Nadal will overtake Federer. Djokovic is the best player I have seen though, but I don't know if he can get to Federer's number of slams. It's unbelievable how good Novak has been over the past year. Phenomenal.
 

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Borg's achievements are somewhat underrated.

5 straight Wimbledons for a clay courter when the grass surface was much quicker than today. Not to mention 6 French Opens. Two extremely contrasting surfaces at the time. 3 times doing the French and Wimbledon "double".

That and he was cool as feck too.
 

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Not taking anything away from Rafa, as he's definitely already (at 25) one of the all time greats. But Fed's record speaks for itself, and Rafa's domination of him for the most part occurred after Fed had peaked and began to taper off. Its a bit like suggesting Djokovic deserves consideration because he's dominated Rafa recently.
Was Federer really 'tapering off' or did Rafa just gain the upper hand in his own right?

Will be interesting to see how this goes - its hard to ascribe Nadal his place in history when he's only at the mid point of his career. I actually think he might stick around long enough to see off Djokovic's challenge and get the better of him. I thought he'd win today actually. I don't think Djokovic will keep this up though and I think Nadal and Murray will capitalise on him tiring, rather than Fed.
 

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Borg's achievements are somewhat underrated.

5 straight Wimbledons for a clay courter when the grass surface was much quicker than today. Not to mention 6 French Opens. Two extremely contrasting surfaces at the time. 3 times doing the French and Wimbledon "double".

That and he was cool as feck too.
Borg would be number one had he played in the Aussie Open. Unfortunately, he "boycotted" it to take some rest time during the Dec/Jan months. I get the feeling he would've won a few of those had he decided to show up.
 

Raoul

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Was Federer really 'tapering off' or did Rafa just gain the upper hand in his own right?

Will be interesting to see how this goes - its hard to ascribe Nadal his place in history when he's only at the mid point of his career. I actually think he might stick around long enough to see off Djokovic's challenge and get the better of him. I thought he'd win today actually. I don't think Djokovic will keep this up though and I think Nadal and Murray will capitalise on him tiring, rather than Fed.
In fairness, it was more Rafa's doing when Rafa went through the same surge to the top that Fed went through a few years prior.

Its hard to gauge Rafa's greatness, but at 25 he's still got a few slams left in him. Although, one has to wonder if he's fallen to the same curse with Djokovic, as Fed experienced with him. If Djokovic retains his dominance of last year, who's to say another younger player won't break through and stifle Rafa from winning more big tournaments.
 

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I remember hearing a commentator once talking about female Eastern European players and saying that once they'd had some initial success and got out of their often poverty stricken circumstances it was hard for them to continue motivating themselves.

I can think of a lot of examples in tennis where this seems to ring true and I always thought this had happened to Djoko until he came storming back.

It'll be interesting to see if he can sustain a Federer/Sampras like run though. It's all set up for him to do it if he wants, he's just the right age to dominate for the next few years if he maintains motivation.

The fact that Nadal has Federer's number, and Djoko has Nadal's definitely has to be considered in all this. How is Federer the greatest of all time if he comes 3rd in this era?
 

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The fact that Nadal has Federer's number, and Djoko has Nadal's definitely has to be considered in all this. How is Federer the greatest of all time if he comes 3rd in this era?
For me, head to head match-ups only come into the equation when both players have comparable career records in terms of slams, titles won, whether they've won all slams, how long they were number one for. If there is parity after those factors, then head to head match ups must be factored in as well. Simply using head to heads as the only factor as a replacement for the others tends to give a skewed assessment.
 

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1) Borg
2) Nadal
3) Federer
4) Laver
5) McEnroe

Borg will always be number 1 for me because he could handle the best clay courters like Vilas and Lendl as well as the best grass courters like Connors and Tanner.

I have to put Nadal ahead of Federer now because of their head to head. Djoko will probably crack the top 5 eventually. McEnroe is underrated and could have won more GS's if he'd bothered with Australia and reading his autobiography he never approached the French with the right mind set either. He never went there thinking he could win. And yet he gave Lendl a tough game in a Final once.
 

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It's hard to compare as no one is at their peak at the same time. But I would go:

1. Federer
2.Sampras
3.Laver
4. Nadal
5. Borg

They all kind of have deficiencies in a way. When Laver played 3 of the 4 slams were on grass which would have helped both Federer and Sampras' numbers. Borg never won the U.S. nor Australia; in fact I think he only went to Australia once as no one cared about it that much 30 years ago. Nadal has benefitted hugely from the fact that all the surfaces are slower than they used to be. If you say that Nadal's best surface is clay he has won 6 majors on it and only 4 on other surfaces. If you say Federer's best is grass he has 6 on that and 10 on other surfaces. People say Nadal has beaten Federer so often but now Djokovic owns Nadal so does that make Novak the best? I think we should be grateful to be seeing 3 fabulous players playing at the same time and who knows maybe Murray can join in there one day.
 

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I would love to have seen Laver.
I remember seeing him play in the late 1960s but was too young and not really into tennis at that time to appreciate him. My parents loved him and thought he was marvellous. There were a lot of great players in the 1950s and 1960s like Gonzalez, Hoad, Emerson etc and who knows how they would have stacked up today with modern racquets, shoes and fitness regimes. It's so hard to compare different eras.
 

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Federer has been playing Rafa since 2004... when exactly did he lose his peak?
I think Roger peaked around 2006 -2007 when he played some sublime tennis. If you see some old films of Roger he was much more aggressive and faster. At that point Nadal pretty well only beat him on clay. Nadal probably peaked in 2010 and now it's Djokovic's turn. One thing, I don't see Nadal nor Djokovic getting to semi-finals and being competitive when they're 30 years old.
Roger's style of play, with more net play, means he doesn't have these long punishing ralleys and thus is still going at 30.