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View Full Version : Who's a more dominant sport's figure: Federer or Woods?


Frustrated Wonderer
12-01-2006, 06:07 PM
Roger Federer

or

Tiger Woods.

I would give the heads up to Federer, due to his sheer dominance of the sport starting in 2004.

What do you guys think?

Antinor01
12-01-2006, 06:09 PM
As a non-sports type person I would say Woods. Mostly because I've never heard of Roger Federer.

Frustrated Wonderer
12-01-2006, 06:21 PM
Really? You've never heard of Federer. Even if you don't like sports, go to youtube.com and watch some highlights.

asterion
12-01-2006, 06:44 PM
Federer is really really good. But I think Woods dominates his field more consistantly in a sport where it's hard to dominate. I mean, how many other really good tennis players are there right now compared to how many really good golfers?

Frustrated Wonderer
12-01-2006, 06:52 PM
Well, Federer has won 8 out of 12 grandslams, only losing, something like 19 matches since the olympics of 2004.

He has only lost 5 times this season, and only to two players, 4 times against the world #2 Nadal (even though Federer beat him twice, in there last 2 encounters) and only once to Andy Murray.

Mickelson is good. Garcia is good. Vjay Is Good.

In tennis, the 40th player in the world, can on a good day, beat anyone...

cmosdes
12-01-2006, 07:36 PM
At this very moment, probably Federer. If you want to compare Federer today to Woods of 2000, then probably Woods. However, Woods has won the last two majors so perhaps he is peaking again.

In any given tournament, Federer faces 1 opponent at a time. The first 2 or 3 opponents are often lower ranked and he doesn't need to play his best to win. He can have a somewhat off day and still win the entire tournament.

Woods, on the other hand, is battling 10 other top players every single day. 1 off day during a tournament and he is likely not going to win the tournament. This is particularly true in the majors.

Bryan Ekers
12-01-2006, 07:44 PM
Gretzky owns 'em both.

garygnu
12-01-2006, 08:24 PM
Gretzky owns 'em both.
Solo game vs. team game. Too hard to fairly compair. Good benchmark, though.

Federer for heads-up dominance of his sport in his time, but Woods has transformed the entire game of golf.

MadTheSwine
12-01-2006, 09:08 PM
In tennis, the 40th player in the world, can on a good day, beat anyone...


You mean in golf?

What Exit?
12-01-2006, 09:59 PM
Do you mean more dominant in their sport or dominating the sports world as a hugely popular figure.

If the first I would agree that Federer had dominated Tennis more than Woods has dominated golf lately.

If the second, Woods is the best known sports figure in the US & Canada. He is the highest earning player in the world including endorsements.

For the record I am neither a Tennis nor Golf fan.

Gretzky owns 'em both.
I think Jordan has a huge edge over the Great Gretzky in living team sports figures. I would put Ruth way ahead of Gretzky in addition.

Jim

John DiFool
12-01-2006, 11:40 PM
Federer is really really good. But I think Woods dominates his field more consistantly in a sport where it's hard to dominate. I mean, how many other really good tennis players are there right now compared to how many really good golfers?

More to the point, I think the luck of the bounce (and all that entails) figures into
golf more than tennis. In golf if you have a few putts which hit spike marks and just
miss the hole, you probably played yourself out of contention. While the luck factor
undoubtedly figures into tennis, there you have 2 athletes in a controlled environment
playing each other exclusively. In golf you can have a dozen people in contention
going into the last round, all playing in a semi-controlled environment, and one could
be a journeyman who just has a hot putter at the right time.

So that said I am more impressed with Tiger. We haven't seen his like since Jack
really. We've seen Federer's recent equal in Pete Sampras. [Small sample size
warning I'll admit]

John DiFool
12-01-2006, 11:47 PM
I think Jordan has a huge edge over the Great Gretzky in living team sports figures. I would put Ruth way ahead of Gretzky in addition.
Jim

If you mean fame, then yeah (I guess... :shrug: ) in terms of sheer dominance of
their respective sports Wayne is most certainly the equal of the other two, tho
Jordan was better in his 30's than Gretz was. In terms of championships, statistical
domination, leadership, or what have you I don't see where Michael has any edge
at all. For the extra rings Jordan has we can probably put the blame on Peter
Pocklington

Marley23
12-02-2006, 02:22 AM
We've seen Federer's recent equal in Pete Sampras.
I'm going to start by agreeing with you, and then disagree with you a little. ;)
If you compare Sampras and Federer at age 25, they are roughly equal in the most important measures. Federer has won 9 Grand Slam titles and 45 titles overall, and finished three years at #1, Sampras had won 8 slams and 44 overall titles and been #1 four times up to that point in his career. If you look a little closer, I think you'd have to give Federer the edge and say he dominates more thoroughly than Sampras ever did - Sampras never won three Slams in a year, which Federer has done twice, and Federer reached the finals of the French Open this year (which Sampras never did), and thus came within inches of holding all four Slam titles. Federer's best year to date, 2006, is certainly better than Sampras' (1994): three Slam titles to two, 12 championships to 10, 92-5 vs. 85-16. In terms of what they do on the court, Federer makes even the top matches look easy in a way Sampras never did. Sampras had guts and loads of talent, but Federer makes it more obvious that he is kicking ass. It's a judgment call to this point, but Federer at his best (if this is his best) has better results than Sampras did. The question then becomes "did they play against equal competition?"

John DiFool is right that Woods' dominance might be more historic, but right now, Federer is more in control of his sport than Tiger is. Federer reached the finals of every major this year - I don't know what the comparable achievement is in golf, but Tiger missed the cut at one major, so he didn't do it - has reached the finals of six straight majors and the semifinals of ten in a row. Tiger won six tournaments in a row this year; Federer reached the finals of 16 of the 17 tournaments he played this year and won 12 of those. And he's been at that same level, pretty much, for three years. Tiger has come in and out a few times - "the slump" only ended at the 2005 Masters, and he's won four of the last eight majors.

Little Nemo
12-02-2006, 06:50 AM
I'd rank Ali up there with Gretzky. Woods is big but I think golf was too established for him to dominate it like those two did there's. And I'm another person who never heard of Federer, which I think shows where he ranks.

Ellis Dee
12-02-2006, 07:52 AM
In terms of who is the best at what they do, Federer stands alone in the world of sports. Numbers show that he is the most dominant tennis player ever, but his method is what makes it so unbelievable. He's not a big hitter winning with an avalanche of aces; he wins with ball placement and court position. He can return anything with such precise placement as to boggle the mind.

That many casual fans haven't heard of him doesn't say anything about his virtuoso ability; Anna Kournikova wasn't the greatest women's player either. (She was very, very good, though, and much maligned without cause.) Federer is not a minority breaking new ground, nor is he elevating an insecure city in a popular team sport. And while he's (by all accounts of his peers) a genuine, nice and affable guy, he is the opposite of charismatic.

The best description of Federer playing tennis is the one Joe Mantegna used in Searching For Bobby Fischer:
"He's better at this ... than I've ever been at anything in my life... He's better at this ... than you'll ever be, at anything."

As far as Tiger goes, he's phenomenal. But in the past several years there have been schmoes nobody's ever heard of winning major tournaments. That simply doesn't happen in tennis; either Federer wins it all, or a big name beats him out in the finals. Federer isn't missing any cuts, which would be the equivalent of losing a match in the first week of a slam. In fairness, Tiger is five or so years older than Federer, so it remains to be seen if Roger can maintain the pace whereas Tiger dropped off a bit.

Also, I disagree that it's harder to win at golf for many reasons. First is that there is no human applying active defense to your shots. Second is that Tiger can -- and does -- have a bad round and then come back strong in later rounds to win it. Tennis is a single elimination format; after a bad round you go home, not to the clubhouse to get your mind right. I would point out that Tiger is only average at match play. That is, when he plays straight up against an opponent he doesn't perform any better than anyone else. Federer excels at that exact type of competition.

Tennis, as a sport, is very open about the mental component to the game. You can hear bigtime players talking openly about how they've choked. Andy Roddick had an entire ad campaign about trying to get his mojo back, fer chrissakes. The closest Federer comes to choking is only winning a set in the finals of a grand slam on his worst surface. In the words of Ivan Drago: "he is like a piece of iron." As a sports fan, I'm all about admiration of "the best", and Roger Federer is the most perfect personification of "the best" I've ever seen in my life.

If I were to make a Mount Rushmore of sports, I would put up Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Roger Federer. Of those four, Ruth and Federer would be the least arguable. Right now it is admittedly premature to put Federer up there, since he's only 25 years old and has a lot of career still ahead of him. But by the time he hits 30 I have no doubt that he will have earned the spot.


...said the huge Federer fan.

Frustrated Wonderer
12-02-2006, 10:56 AM
I bet you hate Rafael Nadal, don't you?

John DiFool
12-02-2006, 11:19 AM
John DiFool is right that Woods' dominance might be more historic, but right now, Federer is more in control of his sport than Tiger is. Federer reached the finals of every major this year - I don't know what the comparable achievement is in golf, but Tiger missed the cut at one major, so he didn't do it - has reached the finals of six straight majors and the semifinals of ten in a row. Tiger won six tournaments in a row this year; Federer reached the finals of 16 of the 17 tournaments he played this year and won 12 of those. And he's been at that same level, pretty much, for three years. Tiger has come in and out a few times - "the slump" only ended at the 2005 Masters, and he's won four of the last eight majors.

My point was that it is easier for a great player to dominate tennis than it is for a
great player to dominate golf (because of the luck factor). Yes the statistics you
quote are all true, but it doesn't adjust for luck at all. I do think that in many cases
Tiger's challengers seem to "wilt" toward the ends of tournaments, for whatever
reason (aforementioned bad luck, intimidation, etc.).

Consider a tennis serve to a golf drive. Yes there's luck involved in where exactly
the serve lands, but that's nothing compared to the golf drive. In tennis you are
trying to hit a fairly small patch of court 60 feet away, but very few outside
influences might cause the stroke to go awry-for the most part it's your skill
deciding if it is in or out (and if it is out you get a second chance!).

The golf drive tho-you are trying to hit a 20 yard square patch of fairway (I am
assuming the golfer is trying to not just hit the fairway but is aiming for a certain
part of the fairway to give him a good angle for his 2nd shot). But a gust of wind
could catch it. It could hit a knob in the fairway and skip into the rough. It could
end up in a divot. A golfer hits 270-280 strokes per weekend, any of which could
be subject to outside influences which he has no control over. A tennis player
hits THOUSANDS of strokes per tournament. One bad bounce then in golf is much
more (potentially) damaging than it would be in tennis. You hit a crappy serve?
Do over. You hit a crappy drive into the lake? Effective 1-2 stroke penalty, which
could mean the difference between 1st and 3rd.

If you could minimize or eliminate the bad breaks in golf (not suggesting that at
all as it is part of the charm of the game) I'm sure Tiger would rule over his sport
to a much greater extent than he already does. No I don't want golf to be played
in antiseptic indoor arenas full of artificial turf-but if it was I'd put my money on
Tiger every single time.

Ultimately I don't think you can compare the 2 sports directly, for this (and other
reasons). Historically the two men are both doing what has been done very
rarely, which is enough in my eyes to pretty much make them equal. In the end
Tiger will have more majors, but that is because golfers have a much longer
competitive period (in terms of age) than tennis stars do.

Annie-Xmas
12-02-2006, 11:20 AM
People who know nothing about any sport whatsoever know about Tiger Woods. I wouldn't know sports if they bit me inthe ass, but I know Tiger Woods. If you say "tennis" I think Arthur Ashe or John Mcinroe.

Woods is to sports what Bobby fisher is to chess.

John DiFool
12-02-2006, 11:29 AM
As far as Tiger goes, he's phenomenal. But in the past several years there have been schmoes nobody's ever heard of winning major tournaments. That simply doesn't happen in tennis; either Federer wins it all, or a big name beats him out in the finals. Federer isn't missing any cuts, which would be the equivalent of losing a match in the first week of a slam. In fairness, Tiger is five or so years older than Federer, so it remains to be seen if Roger can maintain the pace whereas Tiger dropped off a bit.

Precisely. That it is Roger, or some other big name winning each week, while in
golf we can have "no-names" winning is exactly because talent trumps luck to a
much greater extent in tennis than it does in golf. Thanks for making my point for
me. :cool:

Nobody since Byron Nelson, against a war depleted field in 1945, has won over
half the tournaments he's played in golf in a given year (I think Tiger came close).
In tennis it is not unusual for the dominant player of the era to win 60-80% of the
tournaments he plays in (/year).

Also, I disagree that it's harder to win at golf for many reasons. First is that there is no human applying active defense to your shots. Second is that Tiger can -- and does -- have a bad round and then come back strong in later rounds to win it. Tennis is a single elimination format; after a bad round you go home, not to the clubhouse to get your mind right. I would point out that Tiger is only average at match play. That is, when he plays straight up against an opponent he doesn't perform any better than anyone else. Federer excels at that exact type of competition.

Again read above. An upset in a golf match play tournament is much more likely
than it is in tennis, for reasons already stated. And the times a player overcomes
a truly horrid round to come back and win are rare; you spot the field an 8 stroke
edge after two rounds and, while you are still playing, your chances of winning
are virtually zilch.

Marley23
12-02-2006, 01:45 PM
Tiger's challengers seem to "wilt" toward the ends of tournaments, for whatever reason (aforementioned bad luck, intimidation, etc.).
I don't fault you for watching more golf than tennis, but Federer's opponents generally pull the same disappearing act. The players talk about him like he is way above their level. After the semifinals of Wimbledon, his opponent said the following: I felt like I played a guy who was near as perfection as you can play the game. He just made it look so easy. I had the best seat in the house in a way." I remember a match against James Blake where Blake, by the end, was audibly saying "too good" and clapping at Federer's best shots. This goes beyond politeness; these people simply don't think they can beat him.
Precisely. That it is Roger, or some other big name winning each week, while in golf we can have "no-names" winning is exactly because talent trumps luck to a much greater extent in tennis than it does in golf. Thanks for making my point for me
You're only talking about the big-name tournaments, though. There are always multiple events going on.
In tennis it is not unusual for the dominant player of the era to win 60-80% of the tournaments he plays in (/year).

Not true. Federer has done that for the last three years, but Sampras, for example, never won 50 percent of his tournaments in a year. Lendl did it, I think, twice. Today's players often don't play quite as many tournaments anyway.

astorian
12-02-2006, 03:46 PM
If you go by winning percentage, Federer is more dominant. But I'd still go with Woods because...

1) There have been other tennis players (Rod Laver, for instance) who showed dominance comparable to Federer's for short periods of time. I don't think even Nicklaus in his prime was as dominant in golf as Tiger Woods is now.

2) Roger Federer is a VERY versatile player, and close to unbeatable on most types of court, but has not shown an ability to win on clay. Tiger Woods has shown an ability to win on all kinds of golf courses. He can win with his driver, he can win with his irons, he can win with his putter.

To put it simply, Federer has one Achilles heel- clay. Woods has no apparent weaknesses.

Marley23
12-02-2006, 04:48 PM
2) Roger Federer is a VERY versatile player, and close to unbeatable on most types of court, but has not shown an ability to win on clay.
He hasn't won the French Open, but he can win on clay.

Bryan Ekers
12-02-2006, 04:49 PM
Also, I disagree that it's harder to win at golf for many reasons. First is that there is no human applying active defense to your shots.

What about your opponent going *cough*PSYCHE*cough*?

Least Original User Name Ever
12-02-2006, 05:02 PM
Woo. Time to hijack this thread.

Jordan doesn't beat out Wilt or Russell.
As far as golf goes, it's Woods, Hogan, and Nicklaus.
For hockey, it's Howe over Gretzky. Howe was more dominant in every way with a more potent talent pool because there were only 6 teams. If Gretzky did what he did when there were 6 teams, then it's Gretzky, hands down. He didn't, so it's Gordie Howe.

I don't follow much tennis. I do know that Federer is amazing and I recognize what he's doing. I can't say definitely that his accomplishments are bigger than Tiger's.

I CAN say that Tiger helped transform the nature of the game. Federer didn't do that (and that's not a knock against Federer). Tiger is a cultural icon at this point.



By the way, I didn't say anything about baseball, because if it's not Ruth or Ted Williams, you could make a case for it being Christy Mathewson or Cy Young. Baseball's harder to pick out because of its history. Golf has a similar problem.

John DiFool
12-02-2006, 05:47 PM
[Further hijack, as I've said everything on the golf vs. tennis thing I can]

If they were having a draft of all the best baseball players ever (say in Heaven or Frank
Tipler's Omega Point or whatever), and everyone had access to the same training techniques,
supplements, etc., I'd choose Honus Wagner, without question. Here you have a guy who
was an incredible defensive player, by all accounts, could run fast, and was a great hitter
too. And let him play with a lively ball, and I am sure he's going to hit a lot of home runs
too, something he didn't have an opportunity to do in the dead-ball era. Closest thing
we've had to him is A-Rod, when he was playing shortstop. Only knock if you compare him
to Ruth, Bonds, and Williams is that he didn't draw a large number of walks-but again there
wasn't that fear of the dinger back then and walk rates were much lower than they would
become.

Least Original User Name Ever
12-02-2006, 06:56 PM
Honus Wagner was an amazing player. Also, I think Nap Lajoie should be in consideration.

Quartz
12-02-2006, 07:03 PM
Woods will be winning tournaments long after Federer is history.

Baron Greenback
12-02-2006, 07:15 PM
Woods will be winning tournaments long after Federer is history.

More a function of the length of a golf career compared to a tennis one surely? Tennis being far more of a physical game, no?

Marley23
12-03-2006, 12:09 AM
Considering tennis players almost always quit by the time they're 35, and golfers don't even qualify for the seniors tour until they're 50, I'd say it's obvious that Tiger will be winning longer. What's that worth?

Jimmy Chitwood
12-03-2006, 12:18 AM
Jordan doesn't beat out Wilt or Russell.

On what theory?

DKW
12-03-2006, 03:57 AM
Federer. Not by a whole lot, but definitely ahead. What this guy's doing is just freakish. Didn't he have a total of 3 losses last year? There have been a few players who've been this dominant on the women's side, most recently Steffi Graf, but never on the ATP tour. And tennis, remember, takes place on a completely even court with almost no equalizers (wind, maybe the surface).

Woods...I dunno...I've seen the way he wins the majority of the time, and while his tremendous ability is without question, I just don't see the indestructible, blow-the-doors-off-of-everybody vibe I get from Federer. A lot of times the closest competition chokes or has a bizarre screwup. I actually think Mike Tyson is a more valid comparison, because a key to his success is unnerving the hell out of his opponents. He is consistently up there, though (IMO, his podium finishes...top 3, top 5, what have you...will, in the long run, be a lot more impressive than just his wins).

And forget Michael Jordan (the Joe Montana of basketball). Y'know what, screw it, I'll say it right here: He was NOTHING without Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Phil Jackson, and lots of really generous officials. I'd put even Hakeem Olajuwon above him, simply because he was more well-rounded and carried a franchise on his back for a long time.

I discount Wayne Gretzky for similar reasons. Also, does it matter that he has phenomenal personal stats but didn't accomplish much with the Kings? How about the relatively minor status of his sport?

Right now, I know of only one man who can give Federer a run for his money...Asashoryu. 19 championships and counting. Healthy, focused, and determined. No other sumotori with even 75% of his ability. He has a very realistic shot at becoming the greatest yokozuna of all time by all metrics.

Ellis Dee
12-03-2006, 10:13 AM
People who know nothing about any sport whatsoever know about Tiger Woods. I wouldn't know sports if they bit me inthe ass, but I know Tiger Woods. If you say "tennis" I think Arthur Ashe or John Mcinroe.Again, I feel this "datapoint" that casual fans have never heard of Federer to be meaningless. The only way it could be relevant is if you want to argue that Anna Kournikova was the best women's player. If not, then you must concede that market penetration is unrelated to talent. (Which is particularly true in tennis.) I bet you hate Rafael Nadal, don't you?It's a love hate thing. I need Nadal to be great in order for Federer to have a worthy adversary. You can't be the best ever against subpar competition.I don't think even Nicklaus in his prime was as dominant in golf as Tiger Woods is now.This is an interesting side debate. I think Nicklaus was more dominant, and by a decent margin. Not being a big golf fan, I ask for a little help on these facts, but my understanding is that at this point Tiger is in the same league as Nicklaus as far as wins. (Slightly ahead even, possibly.) But Nicklaus has something like 19 second place finishes to Tiger's almost none.

On other words, Jack crushes Tiger for top 2 finishes, while Tiger just edges Jack out in top 1 finishes. Jack was always there in the end, no matter what. Tiger is a feast or famine player.

Similar to Jack, Federer is always there at the end. This is IMO the true mark of greatness.

Marley23
12-03-2006, 10:57 AM
Federer. Not by a whole lot, but definitely ahead. What this guy's doing is just freakish. Didn't he have a total of 3 losses last year?
He lost five matches this year, four last year, and six in '04. He's won nine majors in 3 1/2 years, while Tiger has won 12 in a little less than ten years.

John DiFool
12-03-2006, 11:08 AM
Federer. Not by a whole lot, but definitely ahead. What this guy's doing is just freakish. Didn't he have a total of 3 losses last year? There have been a few players who've been this dominant on the women's side, most recently Steffi Graf, but never on the ATP tour. And tennis, remember, takes place on a completely even court with almost no equalizers (wind, maybe the surface).

Right. Which I've already made crystal clear favors the tennis player by a large
margin when comparing him to the golfer.

Woods...I dunno...I've seen the way he wins the majority of the time, and while his tremendous ability is without question, I just don't see the indestructible, blow-the-doors-off-of-everybody vibe I get from Federer. A lot of times the closest competition chokes or has a bizarre screwup. I actually think Mike Tyson is a more valid comparison, because a key to his success is unnerving the hell out of his opponents. He is consistently up there, though (IMO, his podium finishes...top 3, top 5, what have you...will, in the long run, be a lot more impressive than just his wins).

Following golf closely like I have I most certainly get that "killer" vibe from Tiger
when he is going good-during his Tiger Slam he completely blew everyone away in
the 4 tournaments which count the most (alright he had to thwart a journeyman
in the PGA), and ended up winning 7 majors in 11 opportunities. His down times
were due to his virtually unique tendency to reinvent his swing periodically-few
other athletes I can think of do that-success tends to breed complacency.

And forget Michael Jordan (the Joe Montana of basketball). Y'know what, screw it, I'll say it right here: He was NOTHING without Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Phil Jackson, and lots of really generous officials. I'd put even Hakeem Olajuwon above him, simply because he was more well-rounded and carried a franchise on his back for a long time.

More well-rounded? I wonder if you actually watch these sports. Jordan was one
of the most versataile players of all time-he could play the point, sinks threes,
play D spectacularly, rebound and score inside, etc. Jordan had Bill Freakin'
Cartwright playing center for several of his championships. And it's not like Hakeem
didn't have any help either during his championships (both of which happened I'll
point out when Jordan was out of the league). Not sure what the crack about the
officials is about-they say the same thing about Greg Maddux ("He gets all the
close calls on the corner") but I think that's all just bogus sour grapes by people
who don't like a player.

I discount Wayne Gretzky for similar reasons. Also, does it matter that he has phenomenal personal stats but didn't accomplish much with the Kings? How about the relatively minor status of his sport?

Last point irrelevant. He simply dominated his sport in a way that very few have.
Yes he had talent around him, and a coach who was wise enough to build a
system around his best player-so what? I'll point out that Ruth only won four
World Series when he was with the Yankees (tho he did have 3 more with the
Red Sox). And I certainly don't think team championships should count for as
much as you're implying when talking about individual athletes

Marley23
12-03-2006, 11:17 AM
Right. Which I've already made crystal clear favors the tennis player by a large
margin when comparing him to the golfer.
So you're saying it's impossible that weather conditions, or surface conditions, can help some golfers while hurting others?

Least Original User Name Ever
12-03-2006, 12:51 PM
On what theory?

Um, partially based on the theory that both Wilt or Russell could do more than Jordan and influenced games more than Jordan and partially because Jordan is more recent, and therefore, the sexier pick. It's also based on the theory where it's my opinion.

If we're making a top 50 list of basketball players, Jordan is AS BEST third. Also, are you going to say Magic was under Jordan? There's an argument, there.

Yookeroo
12-03-2006, 01:40 PM
How about the relatively minor status of his sport?

You could ask the same about Federer.

PunditLisa
12-03-2006, 01:44 PM
Both are technical masters at their respective sport, something which is absolutely critical to dominate in either sport. And both have that x factor which goes beyond mental toughness. Perhaps the secret to their dominance is that neither of them rests on their laurels. I know that Federer is still trying to improve his game and is known to have an incredible work ethic.

Or perhaps it's far simpler than that. Perhaps they're both dominant because they both have stable and happy home lives. Perhaps it's because both men are fine taking time off from time to time and just enjoying their lives. Maybe it's that balance that gives them the edge over other players.

Which one is MORE dominant? They're both incredible athletes and fine human beings. What else do we need to know?

Least Original User Name Ever
12-03-2006, 01:50 PM
Wellllllllllllllll we don't know that. I'm not schooled on Federer's life, but I do know that Tiger is very secretive. He doesn't usually do interviews, he doesn't release many statements, etc. He seems to prefer to keep things simple, which is admirable.






And his wife is a dime.

The Swan
12-03-2006, 01:58 PM
I think it might be easier to dominate a sport in which your play has a direct affect on your opponent. Tiger can do nothing that will have a direct bearing on the rest of the field. Federer has a great deal of control over how his opponents fare, and often reduces them to Jello.

John DiFool
12-03-2006, 03:40 PM
So you're saying it's impossible that weather conditions, or surface conditions, can help some golfers while hurting others?

Jeez. :rolleyes: My point was perfectly clear (I thought) and exactly the opposite: in
general, luck (in whatever form it takes-things outside the players' control
basically) tends to reduce the effect of talent. Silly illustrative example: if field goal
kickers had to kick field goals while dealing with 100 knot hurricane winds, then the
skill of the individual kickers matters hardly at all. About the only significant outside
agency in tennis is the wind-on a grass court, arguably bad bounces (doesn't stop
Federer there)-you could have argued the refs before this season, but instant replay
pretty much eliminated that. In golf there could be tons of little things-in all a golfer
doesn't have quite the control of his outcomes that a tennis player does-and he
has fewer chances to make up for the bad bounces which do come his way.

Marley23
12-03-2006, 04:21 PM
About the only significant outside agency in tennis is the wind-on a grass court, arguably bad bounces (doesn't stop Federer there)-you could have argued the refs before this season, but instant replay pretty much eliminated that. In golf there could be tons of little things-in all a golfer doesn't have quite the control of his outcomes that a tennis player does-and he has fewer chances to make up for the bad bounces which do come his way.
So in golf, a player's chances are affected by the surface, the weather and potential bad bounces, while in tennis, they're affected only by the surface, the weather and bad bounces. Gotcha. ;)

I don't really disagree with what you're saying about the bad bounces - in golf, the size of the field alone makes for a greater number of possible winners, and the nature of the games (playing against a course vs. playing against a single opponent) changes a lot of things. Still, I don't see any way you can say Tiger's year (or his last two years, or three) was better than Federer over the same period.

Jimmy Chitwood
12-03-2006, 05:39 PM
Um, partially based on the theory that both Wilt or Russell could do more than Jordan and influenced games more than Jordan

Do more? Only one of the three could guard the other team's best player, bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense, score from the post, score from the perimeter, score on dribble drives, and distribute the ball. Only one of the three could create offense on his own. Only one could make a jumper, or for that matter, a god-damn foul shot. Bill Russell was a great rebounder, a great defender, and was very good at starting and finishing the break. But he was a 14 point a game scorer, on 45% shooting... considering that by far, the most valuable thing a player can do for his team is get a basket when it's needed, I'd say that alone disqualifies him. Wilt, ultimately, was a big deal because of his scoring numbers, but he scored less than Jordan. There really isn't much of an argument to be had here, and I haven't even gotten to the part that made Jordan really special.

and partially because Jordan is more recent, and therefore, the sexier pick. It's also based on the theory where it's my opinion.

If he's more recent, he can't be the best? Or does this mean you don't really buy into your own argument, or what?

If we're making a top 50 list of basketball players, Jordan is AS BEST third. Also, are you going to say Magic was under Jordan? There's an argument, there.

Only in the sense that if you say something, it's there, regardless of how wrong it is. If we're making a top anything list of basketball players, Jordan was, at worst, first. Not even Magic Johnson would say that Magic Johnson was a better player than Michael Jordan. Hell of a player, obviously, but it's not close.

Statistically, taking everything into account, Jordan was arguably the best ever; but arguably not. Now add to that the fact that he did things physically that nobody else ever did; that he played the game at a level of athletic efficiency that didn't even seem real. More importantly, add to that the fact that, once Jordan got on top, he won every single NBA title that was contested while he was in the league, save for his time with the Wizards. He was never beaten, and in each and every one of those playoffs he personally was the difference between winning and losing. And while I'm at it, this --

And forget Michael Jordan (the Joe Montana of basketball). Y'know what, screw it, I'll say it right here: He was NOTHING without Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Phil Jackson, and lots of really generous officials. I'd put even Hakeem Olajuwon above him, simply because he was more well-rounded and carried a franchise on his back for a long time.

is the current leader in the clubhouse for the falsest thing ever said. It's so violently false I'm vomiting all over myself as I type. Scottie Pippen was a nice player. Dennis Rodman was an incredible physical force; extremely underrated for what he did on the court. It's safe to say, I think, that if you replaced those two with, say, me and my brother, the Bulls wouldn't have won all those titles. But to say that those guys made Michael Jordan, rather than the other way around, is silly.

What exactly do Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, and Horace Grant have to recommend themselves other than the fact that they were on the court while Jordan hit the shots that won all those championships? Why else would you even know those guys' names? OK, Pippen had some game, he'd have been a very useful all-around guy on any team; the others were incredibly replaceable. What did they ever do individually? I can tell you what Jordan did without any of them -- averaged 37/5/5, 3 steals, and a block and a half while dragging a team full of guys whose names we've already forgotten into the playoffs. As a 23 year old. Then he averaged 44/6/6 in the playoffs (swept by Bird in his prime... what can you do?). Shit, if that's nothing, I don't even want to know what things are.

John DiFool
12-03-2006, 06:37 PM
So in golf, a player's chances are affected by the surface, the weather and potential bad bounces, while in tennis, they're affected only by the surface, the weather and bad bounces. Gotcha. ;)

I don't really disagree with what you're saying about the bad bounces - in golf, the size of the field alone makes for a greater number of possible winners, and the nature of the games (playing against a course vs. playing against a single opponent) changes a lot of things. Still, I don't see any way you can say Tiger's year (or his last two years, or three) was better than Federer over the same period.

I'm saying you can really say anything, either way-the sports are too different, and
not just in this way. Tiger's best period was 5-6 years ago (tho his recent
performance likely is almost as good). I can probably get away with comparing Tiger
to Jack, tho I have to make an estimate as to the relative strength of the fields-
Tiger's contemporaries were deeper overall than Jack's but I get the feeling that
more people-Trevino, Watson, etc.-rose to the challenge against Jack than have
against Woods. But I probably can't really say much comparing Tiger to someone
in another individual sport. So far nobody's risen to Roger's challenge either,
FWIW (you could argue Mickelson did for a couple of years but he seems to
have cooled off).

Ellis Dee
02-06-2007, 12:41 PM
Sorry to bump, but I have another thought on this debate.

Federer plays all the friggin' time, almost to a fault. He feels it's his duty to play as many tournaments as he can in order to help the sport and give the fans their money's worth. Tiger doesn't play as many of the tournaments, but he does still play in non-major events.

Tiger doesn't win a lot of the non-majors, and in response to criticism about that his reply was that he only cared about the majors, so you should only judge him in the majors. Federer, OTOH, is every bit as dominating in the podunk events as he is in the slams.

This past week, for example, while Federer dominated the Australian by winning it without dropping a single set -- a feat unmatched in the last 27 years for any slam -- Tiger failed to win a minor tournament. "Federer failed to win a minor tournament" is not something you can say very often.

Gangster Octopus
02-06-2007, 01:07 PM
Until Federer wins the French Open (which he may do this year) I will go with Tiger.

DragonAsh
02-06-2007, 01:08 PM
Tough comparison, just because Federer's career is still relatively short. But Woods had a rough spot for a couple of years where people were telling him to stop tinkering with his swing, sportscasters were noting that 'the other golfers didn't fear him anymore, etc'. He's broken out of that slump, and might be in the midst of another dominant phase equal to the one 5-6 years ago (come on, who doesn't get goosebumps watching him walk after his ball, finger-stabbing it as it goes in the hole?). But the fact is, Woods hasn't had an unbroken stretch of dominance.

Federer has been at the top of the tennis world for going on four years and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Federer beat Sampras back in 2001, when Sampras was going for his fifth-straight Wimbledon victory; at the time he noted that Federer was something special.

It's flat-out harder to dominate in tennis: one bad half-hour, and you go home. One semi-bad round in golf, and you can come out the next day and try again (not to mention that your competition could blow it and come back to you instead of extending the lead).

Major wins: 10 majors in four years, versus 12 in 10 years. Total tour victories: Federer has 46 since 2001, Woods has 55 since 1996.

That should pretty much end the debate, really.

Quint
02-06-2007, 01:14 PM
Woo. Time to hijack this thread.


For hockey, it's Howe over Gretzky. Howe was more dominant in every way with a more potent talent pool because there were only 6 teams. If Gretzky did what he did when there were 6 teams, then it's Gretzky, hands down. He didn't, so it's Gordie Howe.

The hockey fans in this hijack are forgetting the most beautiful skater and most talented hockey player to ever play the game. I'd say the top three are clearly Bobby Orr, followed by Gretzky, followed by Howe. Orr was the true complete player, who would out-skate, out-hit, out-punch, out-score, and out-hustle. When has a defenceman ever won the league scoring title? How is that even possible?

John DiFool
02-06-2007, 01:48 PM
Okay once again...

1. It is easier to dominate tennis than it is to dominate golf. Reasons?

A. The "luck" factor figures into the results of a golf tournament more than it does a tennis
tournament. Many things can go here, including weather, "rubs of the green" (a golf course is
a much more uncontrolled environment than a tennis court), etc. etc. Thus talent has a
greater say over the outcome in tennis than it does in golf, where a few inches here and
there can mean the difference between 1st and 6th place.

B. Golfers can be dominant for a much longer time than tennis players can. Who was the
oldest to win a tennis major? Andre at 34-35 IIRC. For golf many 40 somethings have won
majors, including Jack at 46.

C. The competition is more wide-open in a stroke play golf tournament than it is in a single-
elimination tennis tournament. On a typical Sunday Roger only has to worry about the guy
across the net. On a typical Sunday Tiger has to worry about upwards of a dozen other
players possibly.

D. Tennis tournaments have a much larger number of strokes (thousands) per
player than does golf (270-300), which makes it easier for talent to trump luck.

Upshot it is easier to dominate tennis for a short period of time-a number of players have
ruled for half a dozen years, but that seems to be about it for a prime peak. Golfers can
dominate for a short period at a seemingly lesser level, but some can dominate for upwards
of two decades. Even then we still have golfers who can win 3 out of 4 majors in one year.
Look at Grand Slams (or Tiger Slams, or Steffi Slams if you like): 3 in 80 years in golf, some-
thing like half a dozen in 40 years of tennis (tho I am going to be late for work and will
research that when I get home).

Ellis Dee
02-06-2007, 02:29 PM
Even then we still have golfers who can win 3 out of 4 majors in one year.
Look at Grand Slams (or Tiger Slams, or Steffi Slams if you like): 3 in 80 years in golf, some-
thing like half a dozen in 40 years of tennis (tho I am going to be late for work and will
research that when I get home).Ignore women's tennis. The field there is as thin as it is in women's golf. Women's sports in general are much easier to dominate because of the inferior competition. Unless you want to include LPGA numbers, WTA numbers are unfair to bring up.

If it is easier to dominate a sport, then in general the greats will be more dominant, not less. For example, Annika Sorenstam was more dominant than Tiger. So is Federer. Compare winning percentages against the rest of the tour. Federer wins virtually everything, whereas Tiger wins a plurality of events. That makes Federer indisputably more dominant.

You make a better case for which dominance is more impressive, though I'd probably still offer a counter-argument. But in terms of dominance, quite frankly it isn't even close. This is mostly a GQ type question with a factual answer, which DragonAsh already provided:Major wins: 10 majors in four years, versus 12 in 10 years. Total tour victories: Federer has 46 since 2001, Woods has 55 since 1996.

Asimovian
02-06-2007, 02:43 PM
Sorry, but I think Walter Ray Williams, Jr. beats all other competitors mentioned in this thread. Complete dominance in TWO professional sports? Beat that!

...

...

...

What? :)

Gangster Octopus
02-06-2007, 03:01 PM
Well, you know what I am willing to concede Federere is more dominant. But Tiger's "lesser" dominance is more impressive, IMO. It's like saying, Ripkin's streak is longer but Favre's is more impressive.

Dinsdale
02-06-2007, 04:10 PM
Tho I am definitely more a fan of golf than tennis, I have no opinion on whether Woods or Federer is more dominant. But I wanted to comment on one aspect that I don't think has been discussed much in this thread. Is there any way to assess the level of competition on the golf vs tennis tours, and would that make a difference?

I haven't gotten into the stats lately, but I seem to remember that golf scoring stats can be pretty consistent pretty deep. The difference between player #1 and player #50 may be as little as 1 or 2 strokes per round over the course of an entire year. Is there any way to assess things this way in tennis?

It has been mentioned above that "no name" golfers can win tourneys - even majors, whereas it is my impression that rarely if ever happens in tennis. It seems to me that that fact might attest to the strength of competition for golfers. In tennis, how many different players win tournaments in a given year? It seems to me as tho it has always been the case where a relatively small number of players - maybe less than 5 - would win the majority of tourneys they entered. I'm not sure the same has been true in golf.

If there is a large gap between the top tennis players and everyone else, the seeding should help amplify that. In a tournament, Federer need only play the #2 and 3 players once - if they both make it to the final. In golf, every player's score counts every day.

Final observation, as a golf fan, tho I'm amazed at Woods' accomplishments, I would prefer it if he were not so dominant. For me, it really pisses me off when I see the competition fade down the stretch. Growing up, Nicklaus was tough, but there were also Player, Trevino, Miller, Watson, and a couple of others who would go head to head with him (at least for stretches in his career). As a fan, I'd prefer to have a strong ongoin rivalry, than one player dominance. Any similar thoughts form tennis - or other golf - fans out there?

John DiFool
02-06-2007, 07:52 PM
Ignore women's tennis. The field there is as thin as it is in women's golf. Women's sports in general are much easier to dominate because of the inferior competition. Unless you want to include LPGA numbers, WTA numbers are unfair to bring up.

If it is easier to dominate a sport, then in general the greats will be more dominant, not less. For example, Annika Sorenstam was more dominant than Tiger. So is Federer. Compare winning percentages against the rest of the tour. Federer wins virtually everything, whereas Tiger wins a plurality of events. That makes Federer indisputably more dominant.

You make a better case for which dominance is more impressive, though I'd probably still offer a counter-argument. But in terms of dominance, quite frankly it isn't even close. This is mostly a GQ type question with a factual answer, which DragonAsh already provided:

I just used Steffi as an example of a pseudo Grand Slam, and agree that I'm not really
going to look at either women's tours. [Checking] She actually won the real thing
in 1988.

Well for me relative impressiveness is the only thing which counts, if assessing
the question posed in the thread's header: given what both men have done so
far, have there been other similarly impressive performances in their respective
sports? I.e. the mistake to make is to compare them to each other, ignoring the
vast differences in their fields, when you should be comparing them to both their
peers as well as past greats in their respective sports, and only then returning
to the original comparison.

Only Jack Nicklaus measures up to what Woods has done: Bobby Jones played
against weak amateur fields for half of his majors, and Hogan's run, while
impressive, was not nearly as sustained. I do think some players have wilted
when in there against Tiger, while more people were up to the challenge vs. Jack.
But overall I think Tiger's fields were a bit deeper (IMHO the depth on the PGA
Tour was pretty thin up to around 1960-1970 sometime, and has leveled off since).

I would put Pete up against Federer any day, and (ignoring differences in training
and sportsmedicine across eras which are always problematic) perhaps Laver.
Again like Woods, and unlike Nicklaus and Sampras, Roger has no clear rival. [The
tennis player does suffer when looking back historically because of the strange
no-professionals rule which tennis had up to 1969.] In other words what both
men have been doing for the last several years is very comparable, too close to
call really; they have both dominated their respective sports to a degree rarely
witnessed in either. That's all anyone can really say.

*****

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Slam_in_tennis) lists something called the "Small Slam", which is 3 majors in one year:
including the amateur era, it's been done 9 times in tennis. In golf, it's been
done 3 times, again including the amateur era. I think that does a pretty good
job of showing how relatively difficult it is to dominate each sport like that.

Ellis Dee
02-07-2007, 03:46 AM
Well, you know what I am willing to concede Federere is more dominant. But Tiger's "lesser" dominance is more impressive, IMO. It's like saying, Ripkin's streak is longer but Favre's is more impressive.You win the thread. Perfect analogy.

Dinsdale raised the legitimate depth of field question. Checking the ATP official site, apparently Baghdatis just won something called the "PBZ Zagreb Indoors" after his ranking fell outside the top 20. I'm guessing that not many of the players who made it to the second week of the Australian were in that tournament, though.

The 2006 results (http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/vault/archive.asp?year=2006&caltype=full) show the following players winning tournaments through September 11th:

8 Federer, Roger
5 Nadal, Rafael
3 Blake, James
3 Davydenko, Nikolay
3 Haas, Tommy
2 Clement, Arnaud
2 Gasquet, Richard
2 Ljubicic, Ivan
2 Robredo, Tommy
1 Acasuso, Jose
1 Almagro, Nicolas
1 Ancic, Mario
1 Baghdatis, Marcos
1 Bracciali, Daniele
1 Calleri, Agustin
1 Djokovic, Novak
1 Ferrer, David
1 Fish, Mardy
1 Hewitt, Lleyton
1 Horna, Luis
1 Karlovic, Ivo
1 Melzer, Jurgen
1 Massu, Nicolas
1 Moya, Carlos
1 Murray, Andy
1 Nalbandian, David
1 Nieminen, Jarkko
1 Philippoussis, Mark
1 Rochus, Olivier
1 Roddick, Andy
1 Serra, Florent
1 Stepanek, Radek
1 Wawrinka, Stanislas

Not sure what this data is telling us; is the field strong, or are there just so many friggin' tournaments that most of the top players skip the lesser events? I don't know enough about the tour to speculate.

In any case, the first 54 events of 2006 crowned 33 different players as champion. (For whatever that's worth.)

----------------

ETA: One thought that occured to me is comparing Tiger to the New England Patriots. Both just came in (tied for) 3rd in their most recent tournaments, and since parity is built into the NFL, one could argue that the Patriots are more dominant than Tiger using the same logic that Tiger is more dominant than Federer.

I'm not entirely sure I'd even have a problem with tha logic; just throwing it out there as something to consider.

Dinsdale
02-07-2007, 09:00 AM
Your stats illustrate the difficulty of comparing. There are nowhere near 54 official PGA events in a year. Essentially 1 per week from roughly Jan through Oct. (I could look it up, but this is close enough for now.)

And the average top golfer plays in only a fraction of them. The 4 majors for sure, generally the other "big" tourneys, and then a few others depending on his training schedule, travel preferences, relationship with sponsors, and the like. I believe Tiger might play in no more than 15-20 tourneys a year. Just last weekend he (and Els) was playing in Dubai, instead of the PGA Tour event in Scottsdale. So of course, a wider range of players will win on the PGA tour than might be the case if the top 10 or so entered every event.

Vijay Singh is an exception - he plays just about every week. That led to a dispute a couple of years back when Vijay had more wins (or more earnings) than Tiger. Most people thought Tiger had the better season because his wins were in bigger tourneys and represented a greater percentage of his starts.

Do you have any info on how many tourneys Federer - or an average top tennis player - might play?

I was thinking about a couple of other factors that, to me, made the comparison of golf vs. tennis difficult.

As a famous golfer said one time when asked to compare golf to hitting major league pitching, "Golfers have to play their foul balls." In my mind, a point in tennis is the rough equivalent of a stroke in golf. If a tennis player hits a bad shot into the stands or the net, the result is that he loses that point. And the next point begins from the same pristine starting point. As each serve begins, each player can only gain or lose a maximum advantage of one point. In golf, if you hit it into the trees, weeds, or sand, you have to hit it from there, or take a penalty for a lost ball or unplayable lie. And if Woods bogies or double bogies a hole, any one of the other golfers in the tournament might par, birdie, or eagle that hole, resulting in a 2, 3, or 4 stroke swing.

I mentioned the "pristine" starting position for each tennis point. I understand there are different surfaces, and there can be weather variations, but aren't the basic dimensions for every court/net the same? Golf courses and individual holes can favor people with different games/ball flights. The long hitter, the precision "target" golfer, a preference to play left-to-right or right-to-left, big greens/little greens, links vs woods courses, and many other factors. And different grasses which might be somewhat comparable to tennis surfaces. It seems as tho an argument might be made that dominance in golf requires more versatility than tennis. And I'm not sure there is a style of course Woods has not won on, while I believe Federer has had trouble with clay.

Here's another factor - which may reveal my ignorance of tennis. My understanding is that between 2 closely paired players, the server has a significant advantage such that matches are to a large part determined by who breaks the other's serve more often. A player could win his matches simply by "holding his own" - winning his service games, and losing all but 1 or 2 of his opponent's service games per set. In golf, even if Woods is playing even with his playing partners, the possibility exists that any other golfer in the field could be going low on any holes at any time.

Maybe I'm not adding much to the discussion, but just wanted to offer one golfer's thoughts.

Do tennis fans like Federer's dominance? Or for enjoyable viewing would you prefer him to have more competition?

Dumbguy
02-07-2007, 11:42 AM
Federer has to be the most underrated superstar in the history of sports. Heís so good I hardly even watch the menís draw in the Grand Slams. It all feels like a charade. Iíll burn a hundred dollar bill if he doesnít win Wimbledon and the US Open this year.

Frustrated Wonderer
02-07-2007, 01:54 PM
Serve is an important part in tennis, but is not THE most important. There is a thing in Tennis called the tie-break, and although it may appear the big server has an advanatge on these, it is not necesarily true. Also, on slower surfaces like clay, the serve loses quite a bit of importance.

In a match between two closley ranked players, it is the player who takes the advantage in crucial points that wins the match, not necesarily the harder server. There are too many factors in tennis to be able to pin point in single aspect in the game that will be definitive in close matches. Sometimes, pure luck can be "all" you need to win hard matches.

But mind you, Federer is NOT luck, he is just that good.

Also, Federer ended last year with 12 tournaments. He has managed to win at least 10 tournaments the last 3 years in a consecutive fashion.

Ellis Dee
02-08-2007, 08:16 AM
As a famous golfer said one time when asked to compare golf to hitting major league pitching, "Golfers have to play their foul balls." In my mind, a point in tennis is the rough equivalent of a stroke in golf. If a tennis player hits a bad shot into the stands or the net, the result is that he loses that point. And the next point begins from the same pristine starting point. As each serve begins, each player can only gain or lose a maximum advantage of one point. In golf, if you hit it into the trees, weeds, or sand, you have to hit it from there, or take a penalty for a lost ball or unplayable lie. And if Woods bogies or double bogies a hole, any one of the other golfers in the tournament might par, birdie, or eagle that hole, resulting in a 2, 3, or 4 stroke swing.

I mentioned the "pristine" starting position for each tennis point. I understand there are different surfaces, and there can be weather variations, but aren't the basic dimensions for every court/net the same? Golf courses and individual holes can favor people with different games/ball flights. The long hitter, the precision "target" golfer, a preference to play left-to-right or right-to-left, big greens/little greens, links vs woods courses, and many other factors. And different grasses which might be somewhat comparable to tennis surfaces. It seems as tho an argument might be made that dominance in golf requires more versatility than tennis. And I'm not sure there is a style of course Woods has not won on, while I believe Federer has had trouble with clay.It's true that all tennis courts are the same dimensions. The surfaces have some effect, but it's nowhere near the differences in course layout on a golf course. However, you've got another human across the net returning your shots. Is he going to power it at the baseline, do a drop shot, slice it back to you, aim for your backhand/forehand, go for the passing shot, charge the net for a volley, or what?

So I'd say that while the lie in the golf is always changing while the ball stays the same, in tennis it's the ball (trajectory) that's always changing while the lie stays the same. In the end, I might call that a wash. Especially if you consider what a "pristine reset" even means when you aren't serving. The other guy hitting a 130 mph shot at you isn't really a pristine start, is it?

You mentioned the 54 tournaments in tennis. Remember, that's just through 9/11. The page hadn't been updated with the results of the last couple dozen events yet.

Regarding the serve, in a nutshell you are expected to win your serve. So much so that losing a serve has its own term: the break. A comparison might be a 7 game series in MLB/NBA/NHL where you would expect to win your home games, though it's more pronounced in tennis. Of course, it's possible to play an entire match without either player ever having his serve broken and still declare a winner.

And personally, I love Federer's dominance because of how he wins. He is not a big server; his wins come from carefully constructed points. It's his amazing court coverage and shot making ability that impress me, and those are on full display even when he's crushing his opponent.

Take the Roddick match, for example. Federer made a couple plays there that were so unbelievably good they almost took my breath away. To a large extent, his greatness is not dependent on his opponent's ability.

John DiFool
02-25-2007, 09:10 AM
Thought I'd make one final point, after Tiger's loss yesterday in this week's
Match Play Championship. From ESPN:

Tiger Woods stared only at the four-foot path from his ball to the cup, a birdie
putt on the first extra hole that would allow him to escape with an improbable
comeback Friday against Nick O'Hern in the Accenture Match Play Championship
and take another step toward his eighth consecutive PGA Tour victory.

O'Hern figured the match was over.

Didn't everyone?

"I wasn't watching, to be honest with you," O'Hern said. "I was just waiting for
the sound of ball going into hole."

Only after Woods struck his putt did he notice the ball mark he neglected to
repair, which he said caused the ball to bump slightly off line to the right and slide
by the cup. One hole later, O'Hern made a 12-foot par putt that sent Woods home
without a trophy on the PGA Tour for the first in more than seven months.

The closest you'll get to this kind of thing is at Wimbledon, playing on the grass,
where you might get a bad bounce here and there. But there the serve is so
dominant, and as I said upthread you might have hundreds of shots per match
that would allow you to come back from a bad bounce on a key point. In golf you
only have 70 shots or so thus any one has a greater effect on the outcome of the
match.

In any event I am sure that if golfers played match play all the time that Tiger
probably would only have 6-8 majors by now. One bad bounce and you're out of
the tournament.

Dinsdale
02-25-2007, 10:56 AM
Yeah - I'm sure Tiger is the first golfer ever to blame a missed shot on course conditions, acts of God, or other factors instead of just simply admitting he screwed up! :D

Waiting for the first folk to say, "Yeah, but this was a matchplay event. Tiger's streak of strokeplay, PGA tour wins continues ..."

I read once that one way to "toughen" scoring is to slow down the greens. Sounded sort of counter-intuitive, as most amatures have trouble with faster greens. But the longer the grass, the more inherent - uh - flaws such that a percentage of perfectly stroked putts will miss. They had a machine making identical strokes, and a greater percentage of putts would miss the longer/slower the greens.

Having said that, Tiger is a phenomenal short putter. I remember one year reading he only missed one or none of the several hundred putts he had within 3 or 4 feet or so. Contrast that with Lefty, who missed 2 short putts on each of the back nine during the final 2 rounds last week.

Ellis Dee
05-11-2007, 05:13 AM
Update:

Federer has already lost 4 matches this very young season, after losing 5 matches total all of last season.

Meanwhile, since the tournament immediately following his father's death when he understandably missed the cut, Tiger has won 9 of the 13 tournaments he entered, finishing in the top three 11 out of those 13 times.

Hey, whaddya know, this crow does taste like suck.