FanDuel - WFBC

September 10, 2005

What's bigger? Connors in '91 or Agassi today?: who has accomplished the bigger feat?

posted by ny knicks to tennis at 01:31 PM - 24 comments

(Some Spofites may be biased on this one. Heh.) Agassi at 35 & Connors at 39 have put similar mileage on their careers, but Agassi's playing better tennis against better opponents, Connors came out of nowhere. I didn't realize Connors was ranked 174th in the world when that tournament began. And frankly, though it's not part of the question, I never liked Connors. Too smarmy, too cloying, too much of an attention whore. Agassi got that out of his system in his 20's, and now he's settled down with his family and just goes about his business. I'm with Jim Courier: the two achievements are comparable now. If Andre beats Federer, then his would probably be the bigger accomplishment.

posted by chicobangs at 02:15 PM on September 10

I remember watching that match of his against Krickstein, and was hoping time after time that Aaron would drill him with a forehand. Just do something to shut him up. Connors was a classless jackass who lived his entire career only to glorify himself. From his lawsuit against Arthur Ashe, to his childish and often profane gestures on the court, to his snubbing of invitations to play on the US Davis Cup side, and generally his unwillingness to be an ambassador for the game when the spotlight wasn't fixed on him... I was glad when he retired: the game was better for it. Yes, Agassi was a bit of a punk as a kid, but he's matured into a great guy. If you noticed him during the match today with Ginepri, every time he hit an uncanny shot, and when he busted his ass to get to a great drop shot a 0-40 and hit a winner (he pushed the game to deuce, but lost it eventually) he never pumps his fist, yells or ever tries to show up an opponent. He busts his but on every point, and is genuinely classy both in victory and defeat... never as nearly smug and falsely gracious as Sampras was and Federer is. When Agassi retires, it will be a huge loss for the sport.

posted by psmealey at 03:03 PM on September 10

I'm willing to believe that Sampras and Federer were and are both genuine in their humility in the face of being the dominant player in their sport during their prime. They both have egos, but they pour that ego into improving themselves as players and as people. I agree that Connors never had that level of class, and that Agassi didn't come by it naturally, even though he has certainly managed to learn it in the last few years. Blake seems to have been born with it, which is why it's so satisfying to cheer for him and see him come back and do so well.

posted by chicobangs at 05:02 PM on September 10

I'm with Agassi. The guy's my age, 35. And they call him "old". Go on, old man. Show'em what for. Show the kids how it's done.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:20 PM on September 10

"I'm with Agassi. The guy's my age, 35. And they call him "old"." Yeah, well. You're both snot-nosed whippersnappers. Now get off my lawn.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 08:20 PM on September 10

Class? What a stupid thing to care about when it comes to competition or deciding who's achievements are greater. I never understand the antipathy when it comes to athletes like Tyson, T.O., Bonds, or guys like Connors. Who gives a shit about their attitude? Judge the way they dominate a sport and nothing else. Being a jackass comes into strategy for some, also. Judge performance, not candor. QED

posted by charlatan at 08:40 PM on September 10

Charlatan: nihil erat demonstratum... it's just a different way to appreciate the game. You've got yours and I've got mine. Though honestly, I couldn't care less about TO, Tyson or Bonds. My impression is that most people seem mostly to dislike those guys for what they do off the field. My main gripe with Connors is about what he did on it. Connors antics may have won him a point or two here and there (bullied judges), but he had so much fight, tenacity and talent, he didn't need to do what he did. He just made you feel kind of dirty for rooting for him. Point conceded, chicobangs. I went a bit far with trashing Roger and Pete. It's just hard to root for them. Federer is so incredibly good (as Sampras was overwhelming in his day), when I watch him it is with a sense of awe, but I don't find it entertaining. Excuse the poorly timed similie, but rooting for him is a bit like rooting for a natural disaster. 98% of the time, you know he's going to win, it's just a question of how valiantly the victim will meet his defeat. I will likely be screaming at the TV tomorrow pulling for Andre, but I'm not expecting much. Hopefully it will be a competitive match.

posted by psmealey at 08:58 PM on September 10

Being a jackass comes into strategy for some, also Well, it worked for Pierce against Dementieva. Good that Clijsters overcame her in the end.

posted by owlhouse at 10:45 PM on September 10

charlatan, I choose to ignore you until you say one thing that you genuinely mean. Jaded post-ironic trolling is so 2003.

posted by chicobangs at 03:47 AM on September 11

I miss Connors because of the sight of his Prince Valiant hair as he made mad scrambles around the court. But the comparison between what he did as a 174th-ranked player in 1991 and what Andre Agassi is doing as the 9th-ranked player seems like a stretch. Agassi was mentioned as a contender before the tournament; Connors came out of nowhere.

posted by rcade at 09:40 AM on September 11

From what I recall, the buzz over Connors's run was a lot louder than the current interest in Agassi's performance. In sum, I agree with Chico's and Rcade's perspectives on this, in so much as Connors's run being that much more surprising.

posted by ajaffe at 11:05 AM on September 11

You know, pulling out the "troll" card seems to be the new lazy defense any time anyone has a dissenting opinion. "Oh my, he has an opinion, it's communicated passionately, and it's different from mine....troll!" Let's grow up and stick to the issues.

posted by charlatan at 04:01 PM on September 11

I dunno about the use of "troll", but would you disagree with the spirit of what Ufez said? Your comment amounted to: "all that counts in sports is the final score". If that's the case, there's no need for us to be here and the site should be shuttered. What would we discuss with you? Couple of good articles from today's Globe: Is Tennis Less Fun? and Bud Collins on Agassi as Willie Loman. It's amazing to me I'm sitting here flipping away from football's opening weekend to pull for a middle-aged guy with about as good a life as you could get. Mainly because Federer looks unbeatable, and yet, here we are.

posted by yerfatma at 04:41 PM on September 11

After that first set, I didn't think Agassi must have had a chance, but maybe holding off seven (or was it eight) set points opened the door a crack. He's really playing well, and Federer seems almost human. One set apiece wow.

posted by psmealey at 04:54 PM on September 11

duh, anybody who shagged Brooke Shields has got to be better

posted by MNJ1193 at 07:17 PM on September 11

I was pulling for agassi. It would have been nice to see him win. I guess i dislike federer the same way i disliked M.Jordan. I'm a roddick fan.The same way i was a charles barkley fan. You think maybe oneday they can slay the giant. I just saw a stat on espn that made me respect federer even more. 24 yrs old with a record of 71-3.23-0 in the finals. thats just ridiculous. I think what charlatan was trying to say was, I never understand the antipathy when it comes to athletes like Tyson, T.O., Bonds, or guys like Connors. Who gives a shit about their attitude? Judge the way they dominate a sport and nothing else. There is so much crying about good athletes attitudes. You get these uppity/high and mighty sports writers/critics that spend every waking moment trying to find something negative about a guy who might be deemed "cocky" or "arrogant". Think about it, what would sports be like if everybody acted like tom brady/pete sampras/tim duncan. Its almost like they actually "hate" people like TO/tyson/Johnny Mac/cassius clay/charles barkley. Hey, do you actually expect everyone to act as "you think" they should?Imagine if you woke up everyday and all you saw was YOU. I guess the point is,when does discussing an event or a player go from debating their performance to personal judgment.Saying you "hate" to see a guy(or girl) win because you dont like the way they act? I felt kind of dirty rooting for connors? Do you think his kid felt dirty? Or his Parents?Sorry i didnt know Jesus Christ himself was a member here. I swear you would think that these type of people got their ass kicked by somebody in high school that looked like T.O or Connors etc..and this is their revenge. Seriously,focus on your families and your life, because trust me, There is someone out there(a coworker/your trashman/the guy who cuts your lawn/the girl at the gas station) that thinks you're an "asshole" too and you dont deserve shit in life either. Where does it end? I'd rather have a bunch of connors/to's/tysons/ and anybody else thats brutally honest(and sometimes and ass) rather than having 1 crybaby/sissy/bad sport/judgmental/jealous/last kid picked at kickball/non athletic failure.

posted by Web_Spiner at 06:30 AM on September 12

Hey, do you actually expect everyone to act as "you think" they should?Imagine if you woke up everyday and all you saw was YOU.... Sorry i didnt know Jesus Christ himself was a member here. That's fucking ridiculous. I think you might be looking a bit too far into this. Some people love those guys (Tyson/Connors/TO) for the spirit and attitude they bring to the game; I don't. So what? Vive la difference. Get off your fucking high horse, jack ass.

posted by psmealey at 06:41 AM on September 12

Web_Spiner: The position you're taking makes no sense. You celebrate "brutal honesty" when it comes to obnoxious celebrity athletes, but when anyone here expresses an honest opinion critical of those athletes, you throw a fit. If it's OK for you to dislike Federer for being so good so young, maybe you should cut some slack for people who dislike an athlete for being an ass.

posted by rcade at 09:55 AM on September 12

Will you ever not be so hypocritical? You're "expressing an honest opinion". Im "throwing a fit". I've seen you exaggerate before, but this is crazy.Its like some people are "looting" and some are "eating to survive". Stop hating man. Where does it end? I'd rather have a bunch of connors/to's/tysons/ and anybody else thats brutally honest(and sometimes and ass) rather than having 1 crybaby/sissy/bad sport/judgmental/jealous/last kid picked at kickball/non athletic failure. I think i hit a nerve with the "last kid picked at kickball reference".Thank God (i guess)for someone inventing this type of forum(to give that kid picked last somewhere to vent) jerry rice-football mark messier-hockey rcade-spo fi?

posted by Web_Spiner at 11:50 AM on September 12

You might want to reconsider your decision to make every single comment a personal attack, Web_Spiner. The admins of this site were picked third-, second- and last at kickball, and we've been biding our time for years, hungering for revenge.

posted by rcade at 11:57 AM on September 12

I killed at kickball. A force on and off the field - championships, parades, women, drugs, cars, I lived above the law, but sadly forgot who I was and where I came from, and most importantly - why I loved the game. Success is such a bitch goddess.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:02 PM on September 12

I was quite good at kickball and a master of dodgeball (though we played a variation called Bombardment because simple dodgeball wasn't violent enough for us Northern stock raised on raw red meat). I also made varsity lacrosse even though I wasn't very good. I hit people very, very hard.

posted by yerfatma at 01:09 PM on September 12

My prowess at Capture the Flag made sixth graders from five counties tremble at the mere mention of my name. I tried to come back after the point-shaving scandal, but my rep was just too tarnished.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:13 PM on September 12

Not to spoil the kick ball nostalgia and retribution, but are we really to compare a Quarter Final stunner, followed by a trouncing, and an impressive Finals appearance against the de facto king of tennis after 3 consecutive 5-setters?

posted by garfield at 09:20 AM on September 13

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