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Study claims Connors is best player of all time

Study claims Connors is best player of all time

The scientific journal PLoS ONE releases a study that claims Jimmy Connors is the best player of all time based on a mathematical formula that emphasizes quality wins. The study analyzed all men's matches played beginning in 1968, and awarded each player a "prestige score" based on victories over so-called quality opponents, but discounting where the matches were played (i.e. the Grand Slams).

Connors is said to have won 178 quality matches, Ivan Lendl 134, John McEnroe 129, Guillermo Vilas 93, Andre Agassi 79, Stefan Edberg 78, Roger Federer 39, Pete Sampras 37 and current No. 1 Rafael Nadal only 21. Bjorn Borg, who won 11 Grand Slams, also scores low, but he had a relatively short career.

The study does note that "in general, players still in activity are penalized with respect to those who have ended their careers."

The study also states that its aim “is not to replace other ranking techniques, optimized and almost perfected in the course of many years. Prestige rank represents only a novel method with a different spirit and may be used to corroborate the accuracy of other well established ranking technique."

Some of the study's reasoning appears specious, as Nadal has beaten 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer 14 times and two-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic 16 times (and he owns wins over Agassi, a Grand Slam champions who has beaten Connors), so the Spaniard receiving only 21 quality wins appears to at least partially dismiss the true quality of the competition.

The Wall Street Journal also addressed the study.—Matthew Cronin

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