ARE WE WITNESSING TENNIS’ GREATEST GENERATION? PART TWO
May 4, 2012, 2:47:30 AM | by
After raising the subject and hearing from Ivan Lendl and Ken Rosewall in part one, here is the conclusion to my blog of Are We Witnessing Tennis' Greatest Generation? Pete Sampras says this generation...
After raising the subject and hearing from Ivan Lendl and Ken Rosewall in part one, here is the conclusion to my blog of Are We Witnessing Tennis' Greatest Generation? Pete Sampras says this generation is “probably the strongest top to bottom” but there are “still only a handful of players winning Slam titles”. Just reflect on the era that Sampras was part of. With him there was Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang. A stunning group of players, so where do you put them in a comparison with let’s say Rosewall, Laver and John Newcombe? You see how tough it is to make the distinction between the generations but you, the tennis fan, will have your thoughts and ideas and we want to know what they are. “It is impossible to say which generation is the greatest as there are so many elements and variables involved in that question,” Sampras said. “I definitely think that this generation is appealing but as an American it would be great if one of the top players winning Slams was an American, but this is more of a patriotic pull for me.” Roger Federer’s stunning effort in winning 16 Grand Slam crowns (by the way seven years ago I predicted he’d finish with 18), making ten straight Slam finals and reaching 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals may never be broken. He won at least one Grand Slam title for eight consecutive years a feat only equalled by Borg and Sampras in the Open-era. He was the sixth player in history to earn a career Slam something Bjorn and Pete never did. Since Roland Garros 2007 five times at the Grand Slams and the year-end championships have Federer, Murray, Nadal and Djokovic all been in the semi-finals and during that time on five other occasions at the Slams, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were in the final four. Rafa Nadal is the youngest player in the Open-era to have won a career Slam and is just one away from tying Federer, Borg and Sampras with one major a year for eight consecutive years. You would have to reckon he will achieve that at the French Open as he attempts to win a record seventh title at Roland Garros. He was the seventh player in history to win a career Slam and what was fascinating and had never happened before in history was the way a World No.2 (Nadal at the time) so dominated an incredibly dominant World No.1 (Federer at the time). And then there is Novak Djokovic who last year had one of the most amazing runs in modern tennis and has won five of the last six majors. He was undefeated till the semis of the French Open and had won 43 consecutive matches dating to the 2010 Davis Cup final. All round good guy and American Davis Cup captain Jim Courier feels it is “too soon to conclude where the top three stand in the big picture” as they will add significantly to their haul of majors in the coming years. He said: “I am in awe of the consistent domination from the top three players, both at the majors and in the other tour events. Given the international depth of the sport and the increasing physical demands, these players are doing a remarkable job both on and off the court, in taking the game to greater heights.” So we get to the current guys and both Federer and Nadal would not agree that they are part of the greatest generation and Federer made it clear that it is not up to him to call that shot. He suggested a couple of years ago people indicated that it was not such a strong era but now “all of a sudden it’s supposed to be the strongest”. “I’m always going to disagree with journalists who thought it was, except the top two, a weak era back then and now all of a sudden they think it’s a great one,” Federer said. “I always thought Novak and Andy and so many players are great, great players. But it’s just an opinion anyway from people. “I mean I am amazed how deep we go in every tournament, the four of us, since a long time now. That’s what I’ve been most amazed of. “But then again, the surface sort of allows us to do that too. It’s just a different time. And we’re very good players, but like I said, it’s a different time back then, so can’t compare.” So now you have your say about tennis’ greatest generation. It’s a fascinating subject.