No Lists: Is It Reasonable To Compare Tennis Players of Different Eras

Ropo SubbyContributor IJanuary 1, 2010

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01:  Australian tennis legend Rod Laver consoles Roger Federer of Switzerland after the men's final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day fourteen of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on  February 1, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Federer? Laver? Borg? Sampras? Many people have declared the "Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time." In my opinion, you cannot compare players from different Eras. (I have violated this, but now that I really come to think about it, so instead of saying Federer is the best, or Laver is the greatest, I see that it's very difficult to compare. I will put forth a few arguments from my point of view.

Let's start with the the tools. The tennis racket evolved a from wood to the modern racket precisely because the modern one is better. What would Federer be like with a wooden racket? What would Laver be like with the modern racket?

It's like comparing a cook with a good spatula with a cook with a broken spatula.

Second, the opponents. There was no Nadal in Laver's time nor a Rosewall in Federer's time. We can't tell how a Nadal-Laver or a Rosewall-Federer match would have fared.

This is something that only concerns Laver, but in some of his career, good players wouldn't play in Melbourne for the Australian Open.

This might have changed the results of the tournament.

In conclusion, I say that we should not make a list of all-time greats, but say that there are many masters of tennis.

Download the app for commentsGet the B/R app to join the conversation

Related

    Kim Clijsters Announces 2020 Comeback After 7-Year Absence

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Kim Clijsters Announces 2020 Comeback After 7-Year Absence

    Gianni Verschueren
    via Bleacher Report

    Murray Targets Australian Open

    Andy Murray expecting to be in good shape for first Grand Slam of 2020

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Murray Targets Australian Open

    Andy Murray expecting to be in good shape for first Grand Slam of 2020

    Kevin Mitchell
    via the Guardian

    Madrid Want Nadal vs. Federer

    President Perez plans to stage tennis match at Bernabeu

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Madrid Want Nadal vs. Federer

    President Perez plans to stage tennis match at Bernabeu

    Rory Marsden
    via Bleacher Report

    Nadal Wins US Open 🏆

    Rafael Nadal wins his 19th Grand Slam title in five sets against Daniil Medvedev

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Nadal Wins US Open 🏆

    Rafael Nadal wins his 19th Grand Slam title in five sets against Daniil Medvedev

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report