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Would Federer have dominated Sampras?

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So, Pete Sampras thinks Roger Federer would not have dominated him like he does his current rivals?

For my money, the Sampras who beat Andre Agassi in the 1999 Wimbledon final could have held his own against Federer.

That was a truly phenomenal display.

Having said that, he would need the grass to be as fast as it was eight years ago, which made his serve better than that of anyone Federer faces today.

But on a hard court, Federer's all-court strength would have been too much for the American and on clay, well.... no contest.

I'd give Sampras the edge on serve and volley, just, but Federer is stronger on forehand, backhand and, crucially, movement.

What are your thoughts?

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posted Oct 29, 2007

Tennis Masta, I think you have distorted the facts somewhat, Courier, Rafter, Kafelnikov, Becker, Agassi were all multiple slam winners, and Pete always had their number, Muster, Stich, Kraijeck, Chang etc were all grand slam winners, and Pete killed them all, look at win/loss record against them.
The only great Fed has to contend with Rafa, who actually has his no, the rest are not in the same league as the guys Pete faced, the only one who has a slam to his name is Roddick, hardly a great, Hewitt is way past his best anyway, the likes of Gonzalez, Davedenko etc are not true Grand slam champs, in my opinion Pete's era was much tougher and yet he always came through, als Fed never has faced a truly great serve-volleyer at his peak, they all play to his strength and don't challenge him

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posted Oct 29, 2007

Itís impossible to say how good/successful the likes of Roddick, Safin, Hewitt might have been if they werenít so completely dominated by Nadal on clay and Federer everywhere else, though.

Do you really think Rafter and Kafelnikov would have won GS titles playing against Federer or Nadal? Címon. Even Courier would have been like Davydenko Ė winning plaenty of tournaments, very fit, always tough to beat but a genuine GS contender on any surface.

Incidentally both Stich and Krajicek have winning H2H v SamprasÖ

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posted Oct 31, 2007

Well Rafter, Stich and Krajiceck had games that would trouble Fed and Nadal, they were all serve/ volley experts, as I said everybody tries to beat Fed at his strength which is crazy, Roddick, Hewitt etc can't put him under any pressure because they can't volley. Trying to beat Fed from the baseline is just crazy, you have to take him out of his comfort zone, which nobody has the ability to do.
Stich and Krajiceck did have winning H2H's against Pete, true, but isn't it the slams that really count? Canas, Murray and Gasquet have all got good records against Fed too, also I don't feel guys like Courier who won 4 slams and was no 1 can be discounted, I personally feel that Kafelnikov was a different league to Davedenko his record proves it

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posted Oct 31, 2007

I completely agree that the likes of Stich, Rafter and Krajicek would have troubled (and regularly beaten) Nadal; Iím less convinced they would have troubled Federer Ė he didnít seem to mind playing Sampras at Wimbledon!

In general, though, I agree with your point that the lack of variety in todayís game plays into Federerís hands and means he doesnít have to counter a number of different playing styles. Part of the problem is that the current playing surfaces and racket and ball technology all mitigate against serve-volley tennis.

People take the mick out of Roddick but at least the last couple of times he played Federer he tried to do something different by volleying more (the problem is that he isnít very good at it biggrin). The likes of Davydenko and Hewitt just carry on doing what they always do despite all the evidence that it isnít going to work! Doh

PS i liked Lendl too, wonder what he would have tried against FedererÖ

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posted Oct 31, 2007

"People take the mick out of Roddick but at least the last couple of times he played Federer he tried to do something different by volleying more (the problem is that he isnít very good at it)."

Perhaps that explains why Tim Henman had such a good record against Federer for so long (up to 2004). Mind you, when Roger finally worked Tim out, those volleys started coming back with interest as passing shots with increasing regularity!

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posted Oct 31, 2007

Might well do, Phrasmotic. I think part of Federerís genius is his ability to work out how to play particular opponents. There are a few players he had trouble with initially then started to beat on a regular basis.

About the only exception appears to be Nadal on clay, which I put down to the young Spaniardís supreme ability on that surface.

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posted Nov 2, 2007

SportsRep, I agree with you Stich, Rafter, Becker, Edberg, Sampras all great serve volleyers would have beaten Rafa consistently on any surface but clay, as great as Rafa is and I think he is a great athlete, competitor and player, he has also never faced a great serve volleyer and I think he is vulnerable to that.
Fed's win over Sampras at wimbledon I don't take that seriously because I think Pete was way past his best, imagine the Sampras of Wimbledon 99 playing Fed, I don't think there has ever been a better grasscourt display than that, Agassi looked like a beginner! If Henman could trouble Fed, I think the Becker's, Sampras's, Edbergs would have given him plenty to think about, I also think Lendl would have given Fed hell on clay and hard courts, he was a great tactician too!

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posted Nov 2, 2007

"Fed's win over Sampras at wimbledon I don't take that seriously because I think Pete was way past his best"

...and who won the US Open in 2002?

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posted Nov 5, 2007

You have to remember Pete was in major slump and hadn't won a tournament for 33 months before the 2002 Open, in fact people and players were calling for his retirement, he only came out of that slump at the open, another sign of tempermant and greatness, how many players ended their careers with a slam?

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posted Nov 20, 2007

To me, the real question is how would either Sampras or Federer have fared against Borg, Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, etc.? Neither faced nearly the competition that these guys did.

I have to agree that Sampras faced a wider variety of playing styles and more champions than Federer. I love watching both. They are both tremendous champions.

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