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Moose Malloy
02-24-2007, 04:19 PM
Just reading this book, Tennis:Myth and Method by Ellsworth Vines, pub 1978
Great read, with chapters on strategy, technique, tactics, etc. Most of the book is devoted to players Vines considers among the "First Ten"- a term used for the best amateurs prior to the open era that were listed in the Spalding Year Book of Tennis, which apparently ensured a lot of opportunties for players that were listed in the book. He lists the best post Tilden players & provided a lot of detail on their game, how they matched up with the others, & their accomplishments(much of it their pro tour achievements, a lot of which I wasn't aware of)

1 Don Budge
2 Jack Kramer
3 Pancho Gonzales
4 Rod Laver
5 Pancho Segura(chaognosis, he also agrees with Kramer that his 2 handed forehand was the best shot in the history of the game)
6 Bobby Riggs
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Lew Hoad
9 Frank Sedgman
10 Tony Trabert

He's not a big fan of the "big game myth" as he calls it, saying that that myth has created a mentality that one should S&V always, & when it isn't working you have nothing to fall back on because you haven't perfected your groundstrokes. Apparently he thinks that many top players in the early years of the open era experienced a lot of upsets because they relied too much on the big game. Likes that Connors & Borg in the 70s are changing this myth. Think he would have loved Federer.

pj80
02-24-2007, 06:42 PM
Just reading this book, Tennis:Myth and Method by Ellsworth Vines, pub 1978
Great read, with chapters on strategy, technique, tactics, etc. Most of the book is devoted to players Vines considers among the "First Ten"- a term used for the best amateurs prior to the open era that were listed in the Spalding Year Book of Tennis, which apparently ensured a lot of opportunties for players that were listed in the book. He lists the best post Tilden players & provided a lot of detail on their game, how they matched up with the others, & their accomplishments(much of it their pro tour achievements, a lot of which I wasn't aware of)

1 Don Budge
2 Jack Kramer
3 Pancho Gonzales
4 Rod Laver
5 Pancho Segura(chaognosis, he also agrees with Kramer that his 2 handed forehand was the best shot in the history of the game)
6 Bobby Riggs
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Lew Hoad
9 Frank Sedgman
10 Tony Trabert

He's not a big fan of the "big game myth" as he calls it, saying that that myth has created a mentality that one should S&V always, & when it isn't working you have nothing to fall back on because you haven't perfected your groundstrokes. Apparently he thinks that many top players in the early years of the open era experienced a lot of upsets because they relied too much on the big game. Likes that Connors & Borg in the 70s are changing this myth. Think he would have loved Federer.


bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

chaognosis
02-24-2007, 08:04 PM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

Then you are an idiot.

Hey, Moe!
02-24-2007, 08:40 PM
Ellsworth Vines was a heck of a player, back in the day. He was extremely athletic, and had a lot of success in his day. BTW, he turned his attention to golf later on, and became am extremely comptetive golfer (not with the elite of the day, but not far behind).

IMHO, he had a keen sense for talent. For that reason, I don't have a problem with his list. If you take a close look at his list, everyone there had to play to survive.

It would be fun to put that group in a fantasy tournament against the players from the '70s on. In my simple mind, the person who could challenge the "legends" is Federer. I don't see a weakness there.

A can of balls? Couple of bucks.

A pair of shoes? 40-80 bucks, if you're not stupid.

Watching Federer playing Laver/Budge/Kramer? PRICELESS!

joe sch
02-24-2007, 09:52 PM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

All of those players would win almost every point against you and that is with them playing a standard head woodie and you playing your modern fly swatter :)

BeckerFan
02-24-2007, 10:05 PM
I find the praise heaped on Segura's two-handed forehand to be somewhat surprising. I haven't seen it myself, though I'm sure it was a phenomenal shot ... but there are obvious weaknesses to any two-handed stroke. I saw an interview with Don Budge not long ago, and he said he felt 'sorry' for all the players who grow up today and learn the two-handed backhand. Strange, then, that so many of these guys consider Segura to have had the best FH of them all.

Of the 'old timers' I've seen, I think Vines and Perry had the best FHs. A nice study in contrasts, the two of them: Vines with the deep, flat 'go-for-broke' shot hit at the top of the bounce; Perry with the wrist-flick shot hit on the rise. Kramer modeled his FH after Vines's, and it showed. As for Perry's game, it was supposedly modeled after Henri Cochet's, and I've heard some critics say it was a huge detriment to British tennis ... coaches tried to model whole generations of youngsters after Perry's strokes, but hardly anyone could actually pull off his highly personal style.

urban
02-24-2007, 11:58 PM
In a good book by Richard Schickel, World of Tennis, of 1975, he gives an interesting theory on Vines: Vines had too much power for his own sake, he couldn't quite control the new power of the flat strokes he generated, and therefore broke down in his last amateur year. He was tall and lanky, but not too athletic built, and had stamina problems. In some Davis Cup matches he collapsed and ended up on a stretcher. In his pro years he learnt to control his game better, and even overweight and out of form he gave new pro Budge a tough battle in 1939. I still think, that Perry in his prime in the mid 30s, was probably the toughest and most dangerous player of the 3 greats Vines, Budge and Perry. Vines with his flat style was probably at his best indoors and on hard courts, Perry with his lower balance point better suited for grass. The best of the 30s on clay however was von Cramm, who is always a bit underrated because of his Wimbledon losses.

BeckerFan
02-25-2007, 09:02 AM
By virtue of the Grand Slam alone, I would say that Budge probably deserves his reputation as the greatest player of the decade ... however, the first time I saw clips of Fred Perry, it was truly a revelation. There is no doubt in my mind that Perry would be one of the fastest players in the world even today. Jack Crawford called Budge the 'best' player he had met, though he also said that Perry was the toughest to beat at Wimbledon.

Kramer is IMO way too harsh on Perry. In his book 'The Game', he estimates that if Vines had not turned pro, Perry would have won Wimbledon and the US Open only once each. By contrast, he gives Vines five Wimbledon titles and six US Open titles. He thinks Budge would have won Wimbledon twice and the US Open seven times, including six in a row. In a particularly self-promoting sentence, he says that HE, rather than Perry, would have been the first modern player to win three Wimbledon titles in a row ... in fact, he gives himself four straight, plus a later fifth. So from the 1931-1953, Kramer thinks Wimbledon and the US Open would together have been won by a non-American only three times!

chaognosis
02-25-2007, 10:49 PM
A very interesting, if somewhat idiosyncratic list. Laver seems a bit low at No. 4. It is perhaps strange that Vines dislikes the Big Game but includes its two greatest practitioners in his top three--though I suppose it can be argued that Kramer, at least, had the groundstrokes to back up his predominantly serve-and-volley game. I am always a little surprised by the high ranking of Riggs in the minds of so many players of that era. He was a phenomenal player by all accounts, but better than Rosewall and Hoad? Certainly, most players and observers since then would disagree...

stormholloway
02-27-2007, 09:30 PM
Seems like it's agreed that Hoad was better than this list points out.

But there's no way a two handed forehand was the best shot in the game. That shot makes no sense. Sorry, but it's true.

andreh
02-27-2007, 11:55 PM
All of those players would win almost every point against you and that is with them playing a standard head woodie and you playing your modern fly swatter :)

Actually, some of them are no longer with us. He'd win by default!:)

Moose Malloy
02-28-2007, 03:28 PM
I haven't seen it myself, though I'm sure it was a phenomenal shot ... but there are obvious weaknesses to any two-handed stroke. I saw an interview with Don Budge not long ago, and he said he felt 'sorry' for all the players who grow up today and learn the two-handed backhand. Strange, then, that so many of these guys consider Segura to have had the best FH of them all.


But there's no way a two handed forehand was the best shot in the game. That shot makes no sense. Sorry, but it's true.

From reading the book & what others said about Segura, I get the sense that they think he's the only guy who could pull of this shot because of his unique talents, not that they consider a 2 handed forehand a good idea for anyone else to try. Kind of like saying Mac's the best volleyer of all time, but not teaching anyone his unorthodox style. Apparently Segura hit more winners than any of his contemporaries off the forehand side.
Segura did coach Connors, I wonder if Jimmy asked him about that shot.

More from Vines on Segura:

"Segura could do more with a forehand than any other player. His 2 hand technique(developed in Ecuador as a child because he had rickets) allowed Segura to pull the ball across a net opponent at the last second, drive it down the line, hit a surprise lob, or knock it through him.

llgc8080
03-18-2008, 01:56 PM
Thanks For The Post!

forlino
03-19-2008, 03:16 PM
To Chaognosis, who was wondering why Laver was rated only 4th, may I respectfully suggest that he (and everyone else) read the following cogent little article by David Hernandez about Gonzales (also with a brief mention of Emerson): http://www.neta.com/~1stbooks/PG_.htm

Of all the tennis I've seen on TV (since I started watching the sport in the 1960's), Laver is the greatest player I've ever seen; but I've never seen any tennis matches from the 1950's or prior so I think there've undoubtedly been several who were better.

The reason, by the way, that Vines didn't include such luminaries as Tilden, Cochet, Lacoste, Crawford, Perry, Cramm, et al. was that, as he explains on Page 5 of the book, he was limiting his list to "post-Tilden" players (i.e., the era from Budge onward) -- in other words, "The Modern Game". I also feel it was quite modest of him to have omitted his own name in his top-10 list(!)
I found a number of used copies of Vines's book, both paperback and hard cover, in Amazon for very low prices. Regarding why Riggs was rated so high on his list, one absolutely MUST read Vines's 11-page chapter on Riggs.

Re Norman Brookes, I first read about him in R.S. Whitington's wonderful book "An Illustrated History of Australian Tennis". He was the true master of his time (at least among Australians). Tilden barely beat him in a match (when Brooks was in his 40's and way past his young prime), and after the match Tilden made the comment that Brooks was the single most "intelligent" player he'd ever known. Whitington's book is not confined only to Australian players.

BeckerFan writes: "Of the 'old timers' I've seen, I think Vines and Perry had the best FHs..." May I just ask: Did you actually see these players yourself? Or rather on film?? If the latter, can you give me any advice on where and how I could see any of them?! I'd give anything to see films of tennis greats in 1920's through the 1950's. There's a videotape being sold, titled: "Tennis: The Greats" -- http://www.abc.net.au/abccontentsales/s1176274.htm --- But I'm not sure about buying it because I've read that it really doesn't have all that much in the way of pre-W.W.II players, save for a few not-very-long snippets/clips.

>> Paul (forlino@ca.rr.com)

hoodjem
03-19-2008, 05:51 PM
We've discussed that Hernandez article, and concluded that he inflates many of his "facts" about how good Gonzales was.

To me the cogent factor that explains the top three on Vines's list is that these were all pre-1960s players (or late-30s through middle-50s).

For a book published in 1978, it seems odd to make no mention of Borg and Connors. I wonder when the book was actually written, maybe a few years earlier.

Here's what Jack Kramer said about Vines the player: "And here is Ellsworth Vines, 6'2-1/2" tall, 155 pounds, dressed like Fred Astaire and hitting shots like Babe Ruth."

AndrewD
03-20-2008, 04:28 AM
1 Don Budge
2 Jack Kramer
3 Pancho Gonzales
4 Rod Laver
5 Pancho Segura
6 Bobby Riggs
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Lew Hoad
9 Frank Sedgman
10 Tony Trabert

I'm surprised he couldn't find room for another 4 American players.

hoodjem
03-20-2008, 06:46 AM
True. The list does seem weighted in favor of Americans.

forlino
04-09-2008, 12:03 PM
Re my previous mention of Vines's 10-best list including only "post-Tilden" players, here's something interesting: Here were his choices of the top 5 players of all time, and his comments, in a 1990 interview in the L.A. Times:

1. Tilden -- "He was just the best. He could play all the shots. Was way ahead of his time."

2. Perry -- "Very fast -- covered the court so well. He didn't have TREMENDOUS speed on his shots but he got them all back. He also had a marvelous forehand drive."

3. Budge --- "He had an all-court game. He could do most anything with his marvelous backhand, but most of the time he hit it down the line. He had a real will to win." (Budge's power was said to be amazing, of course, and hard for any opponent to deal with.)

4. Crawford --- "He could play on any court. You couldn't get a shot past him. Could hit from either side and hit winners. He was underrated for what he could really do."

5. Kramer -- He could beat any of these younger players today. His best shot was a forehand drive to the backhand. That gave the other players problems, and how!"

I should say that perhaps he was thinking quickly and off the cuff during that interview, because in his book he said he would place Crawford alongside Rosewall and Hoad (on the post-Crawford/Perry/Tilden 10-best list).

Vines did write the book around 1978 and DOES mention Connors and Borg...... For those relatively new players he reserved judgment (though he does discuss their great strengths) and suggests that time will tell...

-- Re the idea that Vines's list seems "weighted" in favor of Americans, 4 of the 10 are Australians; and Segura was Ecuadorian (originally); and for "11th" place Vines said he might have ranked Emerson.

I recall reading in one of my tennis books a few years ago a comment by one old-timer tennis authority (I've GOT to try to find out where I read this and should have marked it down!); he was answering an interviewer's question about Budge, and he said that while Budge and Kramer were wonderful players, "they were certainly not the equal of Tilden."

In Sports Illustrated (7/5/93, pg. 56) --- an interesting comment: "In the 1930's, only Perry and Budge were Cramm's superiors are players." That might be true except that I think Vines was inadvertently left out, or perhaps the writer was referring basically to the middle and late 30's.

Kramer rated Budge and Vines as the best; followed in 2nd place by Tilden, Perry, Riggs, and Gonzales; and then in the next category such stars as Laver, Hoad, Rosewall, Cramm, Crawford, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Borg, Connors, et al., and said that he was unsure of how accurately he could rank Lacoste and Cochet but they definitely MUST be ranked way up there with the greatest.

By the way, Hoodjem, can you help me a bit --- do you happen to remember roughly the date of the posted message(s) regarding how David Hernandez tended to inflate Gonzales's reputation? I'd love to read the comments, to get a better understanding of Gonzales, but I had trouble locating it on the message board. Thanks.

Paul

hoodjem
04-09-2008, 01:09 PM
By the way, Hoodjem, can you help me a bit --- do you happen to remember roughly the date of the posted message(s) regarding how David Hernandez tended to inflate Gonzales's reputation? I'd love to read the comments, to get a better understanding of Gonzales, but I had trouble locating it on the message board. Thanks.

Paul

I'll go digging.

I found it. It goes on for three pages. Here it is:
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=183807

forlino
04-09-2008, 03:11 PM
Thanks, Hoodjem, for the Hernandez link !!!

-- Paul ("forlino")

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
08-24-2009, 03:34 AM
Just reading this book, Tennis:Myth and Method by Ellsworth Vines, pub 1978
...
He lists the best post Tilden players
...


Hello,

Vines didn't exactly listed the best post Tilden players in that book but I would say

"the best post ... Vines players" (or the best players born since 1912-1915, Vines being born in 1911 and Budge in 1915)

because he restricted the list to the players who played very well since WWII and he considered that Budge was the only great pre-WWII player who still played at a high level after that same WWII
so Vines excluded himself (who didn't play at all after 1940) and of course older players than him such as Perry (born in 1909), Crawford (born in 1908 ) or Tilden (born in 1893) (and I don't speak of the Dohertys & al).

Vines also excluded the great players who were in their mid-career, such as Connors and Borg, when he published that book in 1978.

So the chosen era was roughly 1937-1978.

I am reading that book (and many others simultaneously which explains why I have only read 16 pages of that book for the moment) and I agree with you that it is a very very interesting one (with some slight errors at the start of the book in particular about Rosewall's wins in the open era : for instance Rosewall didn't win the Wembley tourney in 1969 as suggested by Vines or Vier the co-author, and Kenny didn't beat Newcombe and Nastase and Amritraj in one and only tourney in 1975.

nfor304
08-24-2009, 03:52 AM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

any of them would double bagel you and 10 + friends playing together

pc1
08-24-2009, 04:00 AM
Hello,

Vines didn't exactly listed the best post Tilden players in that book but I would say

"the best post ... Vines players" (or the best players born since 1912-1915, Vines being born in 1911 and Budge in 1915)

because he restricted the list to the players who played very well since WWII and he considered that Budge was the only great pre-WWII player who still played at a high level after that same WWII
so Vines excluded himself (who didn't play at all after 1940) and of course older players than him such as Perry (born in 1909), Crawford (born in 1908 ) or Tilden (born in 1893) (and I don't speak of the Dohertys & al).

Vines also excluded the great players who were in their mid-career, such as Connors and Borg, when he published that book in 1978.

So the chosen era was roughly 1937-1978.

I am reading that book (and many others simultaneously which explains why I have only read 16 pages of that book for the moment) and I agree with you that it is a very very interesting one (with some slight errors at the start of the book in particular about Rosewall's wins in the open era : for instance Rosewall didn't win the Wembley tourney in 1969 as suggested by Vines or Vier the co-author, and Kenny didn't beat Newcombe and Nastase and Amritraj in one and only tourney in 1975.

Nice to have you back Carlo.

There's a lot of errors in that book. For example Vines mentions that Gimeno only defeated Rosewall once and that he wrote was a fluke. As you and most people here know Gimeno defeated Rosewall numerous times.

The tournament Vines was discussing was the Tucson tournament in which Rosewall did beat Vijay Amritraj but lost to Nastase in three sets in a match Rosewall was serving for the match in the second set. Rosewall didn't play Newcombe in that tournament.

The list is interesting and I found the book fascinating however and it's very nice to read about Vines' opinions of many of these players.

There was an interview that Vines gave several years later (1985) and in it he was asked "Who were the top five players in the world, thus far?" He said "Tilden and Budge and Kramer. Then Laver and ...up to now I guess McEnroe. No, not McEnroe, Borg."

So close to the end of Vines' life he thought these were the top. Now we have to assume these were off the cuff answers and he could have forgotten great players like Gonzalez, who he rated ahead of Laver in his book or he may have changed his mind and decided Laver was superior to Gonzalez at the end. Still it is interesting how high he ranked Borg and McEnroe. You would guess from the tone of the conversation that he would have ranked McEnroe around sixth.

krosero
08-24-2009, 05:10 AM
Hello,

Vines didn't exactly listed the best post Tilden players in that book but I would say

"the best post ... Vines players" (or the best players born since 1912-1915, Vines being born in 1911 and Budge in 1915)

because he restricted the list to the players who played very well since WWII and he considered that Budge was the only great pre-WWII player who still played at a high level after that same WWII
so Vines excluded himself (who didn't play at all after 1940) and of course older players than him such as Perry (born in 1909), Crawford (born in 1908 ) or Tilden (born in 1893) (and I don't speak of the Dohertys & al).

Vines also excluded the great players who were in their mid-career, such as Connors and Borg, when he published that book in 1978.

So the chosen era was roughly 1937-1978.

I am reading that book (and many others simultaneously which explains why I have only read 16 pages of that book for the moment) and I agree with you that it is a very very interesting one (with some slight errors at the start of the book in particular about Rosewall's wins in the open era : for instance Rosewall didn't win the Wembley tourney in 1969 as suggested by Vines or Vier the co-author, and Kenny didn't beat Newcombe and Nastase and Amritraj in one and only tourney in 1975.Good to see you back, Carlo.

Borgforever
08-24-2009, 05:18 AM
Great to see you back, Carlo.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
08-24-2009, 05:57 AM
Good to see you back, Carlo.

Thanks, krosero.

I had much professional work and then I took long holidays (one entire month).

Q&M son
08-24-2009, 07:35 AM
Thanks Carlo for coming back.

Lucio.

Idzznew
08-24-2009, 08:59 AM
Good to see you back Carlo!

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
08-25-2009, 04:51 AM
Thanks Carlo for coming back.

Lucio.

Thanks Lucio in particular for your "BS AS means Buenos Aires." answer in Wiki

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
09-01-2009, 12:51 AM
Good to see you back Carlo!

Thank you Idzznew

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-08-2009, 12:47 AM
...Kramer is IMO way too harsh on Perry. In his book 'The Game', he estimates that if Vines had not turned pro, Perry would have won Wimbledon and the US Open only once each. By contrast, he gives Vines five Wimbledon titles and six US Open titles. He thinks Budge would have won Wimbledon twice and the US Open seven times, including six in a row. In a particularly self-promoting sentence, he says that HE, rather than Perry, would have been the first modern player to win three Wimbledon titles in a row ... in fact, he gives himself four straight, plus a later fifth. So from the 1931-1953, Kramer thinks Wimbledon and the US Open would together have been won by a non-American only three times!

I haven't Kramer's book to hand but his opinions were sometimes more or less debatable : he shared the 1967 titles (Wimby and Forest) between Rod and Kenny a year when Rod was almost omnipotent (Laver won every major and in all 17 tourneys while Kenny won "only" 7). Kramer only ranked Kenny #3 in 1963 behind Gonzales and Laver whereas Gorgo just played and lost the US Pro and Laver didn't win either Wembley or Paris or Forest Hills, all events won by Rosewall. Kramer also gave Hoad a title in 1957 whereas Hoad won nothing in the pro ranks that year (Hoady even asked Chatrier during the French tour some advices because he was beaten by every pro even the old Pails; Hoad couldn't play percentage tennis and even after the French stops, Lew lost to granpa' arthritic Kramer at Wembley). Kramer gave himself a title in 1952, a year when he was clearly dominated in the pro ranks by Gonzales and Segura (Kramer entered two tourneys and won none that year whereas Gonzales won 4 tourneys out the 5 he entered and Segura 3 out of 7; Kramer was beaten three times by Gorgo in three meetings, twice at Philadelphia and once at Wembley and once out of two matches in Philadelphia by Segoo). Kramer also gave Budge the Forest Hills title in 1941 when Don was clearly not the best pro that year (I concur with Ray Bowers who ranked Budge only 6th in a pro-amateur ranking : Budge entered 3 tourneys and won none that year), etc ...
Other example : Jake shared both titles between him and Riggs in 1947 though previously in the same book he clearly explained that on fast surfaces Riggs was better than him before mid-January 1948 that is before Jack made a dramatic change in his game by adopting the serve&volley game in order to overcome Riggs (and on slow surfaces Riggs was still better) so in 1947 Kramer was below Riggs and not more or less Bobby's equal. Kramer chose Budge and Vines in 1938-1939 but added a comment stating that Perry could have been better than his two rivals though the records clearly show that in these years not only Budge and Vines were better than Perry but Nüsslein was probably at least Perry's equal (I think that at least in 1939 Hans was better than Fred).
So Kramer's list is highly debatable.

Wuornos
10-08-2009, 07:00 AM
Just reading this book, Tennis:Myth and Method by Ellsworth Vines, pub 1978
Great read, with chapters on strategy, technique, tactics, etc. Most of the book is devoted to players Vines considers among the "First Ten"- a term used for the best amateurs prior to the open era that were listed in the Spalding Year Book of Tennis, which apparently ensured a lot of opportunties for players that were listed in the book. He lists the best post Tilden players & provided a lot of detail on their game, how they matched up with the others, & their accomplishments(much of it their pro tour achievements, a lot of which I wasn't aware of)

1 Don Budge
2 Jack Kramer
3 Pancho Gonzales
4 Rod Laver
5 Pancho Segura(chaognosis, he also agrees with Kramer that his 2 handed forehand was the best shot in the history of the game)
6 Bobby Riggs
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Lew Hoad
9 Frank Sedgman
10 Tony Trabert

He's not a big fan of the "big game myth" as he calls it, saying that that myth has created a mentality that one should S&V always, & when it isn't working you have nothing to fall back on because you haven't perfected your groundstrokes. Apparently he thinks that many top players in the early years of the open era experienced a lot of upsets because they relied too much on the big game. Likes that Connors & Borg in the 70s are changing this myth. Think he would have loved Federer.

I love this post for two reaons.

1. It provides a persoanl rating where the best player in the world prior to the open era was not Pancho Gonzales.

2. The oriiginal writer considers players losses as being detrimental to their reputation as well as their successes being a credit to them. As in his criticsim of the the "big game myth".

Thanks Moose.

Tim

Q&M son
10-08-2009, 01:34 PM
I will try to get this book, any ideas where can I find it?

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-09-2009, 03:02 AM
I will try to get this book, any ideas where can I find it?
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?author=Vines&title=Tennis+Myth+and+Method&lang=en&submit=Chercher&new_used=*&destination=fr&currency=EUR&binding=*&isbn=&keywords=&minprice=&maxprice=&mode=advanced&st=sr&ac=qr

hoodjem
10-09-2009, 09:54 AM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

I think any of these players would spread you on toast . . . and call it a most unsatisfying breakfast.

hoodjem
10-09-2009, 09:58 AM
Just reading this book, Tennis:Myth and Method by Ellsworth Vines, pub 1978
He lists the best post Tilden players & provided a lot of detail on their game, how they matched up with the others, & their accomplishments(much of it their pro tour achievements, a lot of which I wasn't aware of)

1 Don Budge
2 Jack Kramer
3 Pancho Gonzales
4 Rod Laver
5 Pancho Segura(chaognosis, he also agrees with Kramer that his 2 handed forehand was the best shot in the history of the game)
6 Bobby Riggs
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Lew Hoad
9 Frank Sedgman
10 Tony Trabert
Vines was a great himself. Certainly on my GOAT-list.

I do detect a curious chronological bias here, although it is difficult to formulate its exact nature.

pc1
10-09-2009, 10:15 AM
I think any of these players would spread you on toast . . . and call it a most unsatisfying breakfast.

No doubt you're right.

Vines was a great himself. Certainly on my GOAT-list.

I do detect a curious chronological bias here, although it is difficult to formulate its exact nature.

Hoodjem,

Vines just a few years later around 1984 mentioned his all time list at that time. It was Tilden, Budge, Kramer, Laver and Borg. He at first said McEnroe instead of Borg but changed his mind. It was off the top of his head because the interviewer asked Vines what his top five were all time. I noticed he forgot about Gonzalez so you can assume he either changed his mind about Gonzalez or he just forgot about Gonzalez.

Since he mentioned Borg I would say that Vines may have tried to be fairly objective. I think many ex-players tend to favor their contemporaries.

A lot of the ex-players are so biased it almost makes me sick. One ex-player who is often mentioned on GOAT lists was interviewed by a friend of mine while he was watching Sampras play. He mentioned how great Sampras was. Anyone my friend asked him how he would do against Sampras and he told my friend Sampras wouldn't win a set off of him! Now that is some ego.

Q&M son
10-09-2009, 02:47 PM
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?author=Vines&title=Tennis+Myth+and+Method&lang=en&submit=Chercher&new_used=*&destination=fr&currency=EUR&binding=*&isbn=&keywords=&minprice=&maxprice=&mode=advanced&st=sr&ac=qr

Thanks Carlo... again.

AndrewD
10-09-2009, 02:53 PM
So from the 1931-1953, Kramer thinks Wimbledon and the US Open would together have been won by a non-American only three times!

Hence the reason why Jack Kramer's opinion has to always be taken with a grain of salt (and Ellsworth Vines'). He's part of those unfortunate generations who are either completely blinded by parochialism or think that the American public couldn't bear to hear that someone from another country was better than them at anything.

the little dasher
11-19-2009, 12:59 PM
Hence the reason why Jack Kramer's opinion has to always be taken with a grain of salt (and Ellsworth Vines'). He's part of those unfortunate generations who are either completely blinded by parochialism or think that the American public couldn't bear to hear that someone from another country was better than them at anything.

I don't think the opinions of 2 such greats of the game should be so lightly dismissed. Besides; we all tend to be biased towards our own favourite era and boyhood heroes. Atleast with Vines and Kramer they had the cache of being superb players themselves as well as good judges who viewed the parade of players they are commenting upon.

the little dasher
11-19-2009, 01:31 PM
In a good book by Richard Schickel, World of Tennis, of 1975, he gives an interesting theory on Vines: Vines had too much power for his own sake, he couldn't quite control the new power of the flat strokes he generated, and therefore broke down in his last amateur year. He was tall and lanky, but not too athletic built, and had stamina problems. In some Davis Cup matches he collapsed and ended up on a stretcher. In his pro years he learnt to control his game better, and even overweight and out of form he gave new pro Budge a tough battle in 1939. I still think, that Perry in his prime in the mid 30s, was probably the toughest and most dangerous player of the 3 greats Vines, Budge and Perry. Vines with his flat style was probably at his best indoors and on hard courts, Perry with his lower balance point better suited for grass. The best of the 30s on clay however was von Cramm, who is always a bit underrated because of his Wimbledon losses.

I beg to differ. Vines was exceptionally athletic. He had a great build for tennis. Tall and wiry he gathered up the energy in his body and whipped the serve and fh at great speeds. Addirionally he was a fine basket baller and golfer which is further proof of his athletcism.

I can only find one DC match where he retired. Against Perry and down 6-7 in the 5th. I can't find any other instance where he brokedown so the problem wasn't recurring and his stamina was probably superior to most players.

Vines did suffer back problems but it didn't seem to affect his willingness to fight. An incredible come back win from 2 sets down against Cochet in a '32 DC rubber and his 39 win in the US pro against Perry played in tyrannical shows that at both ends of his career he had plenty of stamina. He also played many head to head tours on the pro circuit which would've tested a player's stamina.

I can't find any reference where Vines weighed more than 80 kilos. Still well within his BMI. And for him to run Budge so close when the latter was thought to be all but invincible proves he was in great form in 1939.

It is true that Budge beat him 15-5 in a mini tour at year end which made their overall score in 1939 37-22 to Budge. But I think there is a pattern that Vines used these mini tours as practice and conditioning for the subsequent major head to head tour following in the new year. After all he lost and drew with Perry and then lost to Budge in the mini tours but won all his major tours with the exception of 1939 to Budge 17-22.

kishnabe
11-19-2009, 09:06 PM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.

Use the same equipment as them, I bet you would cry for a point. Also no using of physical knowlodge of training that is discocvered in these times. Just use the stuff in those times, You won't win ubless u have ability.

chalkflewup
11-20-2009, 02:04 AM
Bobby Riggs? Does he belong here? Can anyone elaborate?

Dean
11-20-2009, 07:16 PM
Wow Hernandez doesn't really hold anything back for poor Rod Laver. Sure i agree his 1962 Grand Slam has only small weight, but to say that as a pro "he was not in any strict sense dominant from 1963 to 1969" and that "Perhaps his major claim to fame is the two grand slams" is really quite harsh and ridiculously wrong.

I mean what does he have to do. He won the pro slam in '67 and then Open slam in '69 and holds the record for most titles in a season as an amateur, a pro and in the open era and of course overall career.

Henandez also explains that: "For all practical purposes Laver was burnt out after he won his pro grand slam in ’69 at age 31."

Is he kidding??? I think he was still the best player in the world in 1970 and '71. Just look at those Champions Tennis Classic whitewashes. was it 12 or 13 straight wins in '71? sure he wasn't winning slams anymore but he only played 5 or maybe 6 slams from 1970-75.

It's ironic that Hernandez doesn't mention that apart from a handfull of losses here and there, Laver owned Gonzales.

Anyway Vines has him at No.4 and it wreaks of Kramers' evaluation of Laver as a 2nd tier player. Sour grapes i think.

ttbrowne
11-20-2009, 08:24 PM
Ellsworth Vines was a heck of a player, back in the day.

Moe, Yes...but BACK IN HIS DAY.

I think I could take the guy..........
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4059

Steady Eddy
11-20-2009, 08:28 PM
Bobby Riggs? Does he belong here? Can anyone elaborate?Seems like Bobby Rigg's fate is to be eternally underestimated. I read a biography about Riggs, "The Last Sure Thing". By the end of WWII Riggs had learned to consistently beat Budge, and Budge is #1 on this list! Everyone remembers that Riggs "lost" to BJK, (it's quite possible that he guaranteed her the win to get her to play, then she refused a rematch, good call for her!), but people forget how easily he beat Margaret Court 1 and 2. Even when he was the second best player in the U.S. he still wasn't invited to play Davis Cup.

I think the reason for all this is that Riggs used consistency, not power, as his weapon. People just don't like seeing that kind of tennis. They even insist that "you'll never get very far playing that way", but it's not because power triumphs over consistency in tennis, it's just that people don't think it should. Riggs was the greatest pusher of all time.

hoodjem
11-21-2009, 07:23 AM
bs....i dont think i would lose a game against any of these players.
You would not win a single point.

pc1
11-21-2009, 10:01 AM
Seems like Bobby Rigg's fate is to be eternally underestimated. I read a biography about Riggs, "The Last Sure Thing". By the end of WWII Riggs had learned to consistently beat Budge, and Budge is #1 on this list! Everyone remembers that Riggs "lost" to BJK, (it's quite possible that he guaranteed her the win to get her to play, then she refused a rematch, good call for her!), but people forget how easily he beat Margaret Court 1 and 2. Even when he was the second best player in the U.S. he still wasn't invited to play Davis Cup.

I think the reason for all this is that Riggs used consistency, not power, as his weapon. People just don't like seeing that kind of tennis. They even insist that "you'll never get very far playing that way", but it's not because power triumphs over consistency in tennis, it's just that people don't think it should. Riggs was the greatest pusher of all time.

Riggs was a super player. I have the video "Kings of the Court" and I love watching the videos of Riggs. He had beautiful form. Riggs, before his peak only lost to Budge on tour by 15 to 10 and defeated Budge later on two close tours. I am a bit suspect on the closeness of the tours considering Riggs went out to a big lead and "held on" to win. I kind of wonder if Riggs tanked a bit to make the tour close. He wasn't beyond that sort of thing.

If it makes you feel better Kramer (who was a great friend of Riggs so he was very biased) considered Riggs barely behind his top players that included Vines and Budge. He thought Riggs was superior to Gonzalez, Laver and Rosewall.

hoodjem
11-22-2009, 07:05 AM
If it makes you feel better Kramer (who was a great friend of Riggs so he was very biased) considered Riggs barely behind his top players that included Vines and Budge. He thought Riggs was superior to Gonzalez, Laver and Rosewall.

I've always found Kramer's list very suspiciously subjective. It seems fascinatingly fraught with personal likes, dislikes, and biases, (and maybe more than a little self-aggrandizing).

the little dasher
11-22-2009, 01:50 PM
Riggs was a super player. I have the video "Kings of the Court" and I love watching the videos of Riggs. He had beautiful form. Riggs, before his peak only lost to Budge on tour by 15 to 10 and defeated Budge later on two close tours. I am a bit suspect on the closeness of the tours considering Riggs went out to a big lead and "held on" to win. I kind of wonder if Riggs tanked a bit to make the tour close. He wasn't beyond that sort of thing.

If it makes you feel better Kramer (who was a great friend of Riggs so he was very biased) considered Riggs barely behind his top players that included Vines and Budge. He thought Riggs was superior to Gonzalez, Laver and Rosewall.

Has to be said though that Budge wrecked his shoulder while serving in the military in 1943 and wasn't the same player thereafter. So Riggs was up against a crocked player past 30 by the time he started beating him regularly from 1946.

Riggs lost 15-10 to Budge in 1942 when he was 24 and had 3 slam titles to his credit. Budge had come off a bad year with injuries an ill health. Both men would have been close to their respective peaks in that year and considering the disadvantages imposed on Budge that score probably uderscores the latter's superiority over Riggs.

the little dasher
11-22-2009, 01:52 PM
Moe, Yes...but BACK IN HIS DAY.

I think I could take the guy..........
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4059

Sorry; but what point are you trying to make via that footage?

pc1
11-22-2009, 03:14 PM
Has to be said though that Budge wrecked his shoulder while serving in the military in 1943 and wasn't the same player thereafter. So Riggs was up against a crocked player past 30 by the time he started beating him regularly from 1946.

Riggs lost 15-10 to Budge in 1942 when he was 24 and had 3 slam titles to his credit. Budge had come off a bad year with injuries an ill health. Both men would have been close to their respective peaks in that year and considering the disadvantages imposed on Budge that score probably uderscores the latter's superiority over Riggs.

Yes Budge hurt his shoulder in the military and never was the same.

pc1
11-22-2009, 03:20 PM
I've always found Kramer's list very suspiciously subjective. It seems fascinatingly fraught with personal likes, dislikes, and biases, (and maybe a more than a little self-aggrandizing).

I agree. The most ridiculous choice in my mind was his choice of Ted Schoeder (perhaps his best friend) as being on the same level as Laver and Rosewall in the second tier of all time greats. He admitted Schoeder had to serve and volley because he had unreliable groundstrokes. How does a player who has unreliable groundies be equivalent to Laver, Rosewall, and some other greats?

He said Riggs was superior to Gonzalez. It's well known Kramer didn't care for Gonzalez and was a good friend of Riggs.

His book is fascinating but I found his choices to be a little unusual.

ttbrowne
11-23-2009, 05:56 AM
Sorry; but what point are you trying to make via that footage?

It had been stated that someone wouldn't win a point off of these so-called greats. I'm 3.5-4.0 and I could win a point off of these guys.

My point; Quit comparing these guys to players today. They were good for "their day" but now it's like putting a classic T-Model Ford up against a new Mustang....ridiculous.

dh003i
11-23-2009, 06:00 AM
It had been stated that someone wouldn't win a point off of these so-called greats. I'm 3.5-4.0 and I could win a point off of these guys.

My point; Quit comparing these guys to players today. They were good for "their day" but now it's like putting a classic T-Model Ford up against a new Mustang....ridiculous.

Try playing with a wooden racket (i.e., with their technology) and then see how superior you feel to them. I suspect this is just outright bragging, and that the pros of the 50s or 60s could beat you or any other non-pro player with a frying pan. No, you couldn't win a point off of them, even if they used old technology and you use new technology.

the little dasher
11-23-2009, 01:08 PM
It had been stated that someone wouldn't win a point off of these so-called greats. I'm 3.5-4.0 and I could win a point off of these guys.

My point; Quit comparing these guys to players today. They were good for "their day" but now it's like putting a classic T-Model Ford up against a new Mustang....ridiculous.

So humanity progresses. Big deal. We all know that. So what is your point actually contributing?

No doubt if I could go back in time I could command a modern army and thrash Hannibal's Carthiginians. Armed with the knowledge of his tactics at Cannae would make it even more of a sure thing.

Doesn't make me a better general though does it?

It simply isn't fair to compare the older generation against modern stds. For example we might be arguing the merits of Federer against the derision of our grand kids...hell kids even. And we know they'd be just as wrong as those who saw Vines and Crawford play know that we are wrong being skeptical about them.

The true comparison should be made by transporting the modern player's birth date into the past: Can you honestly say that if Fed was born in 1911 (as was Vines) he'd be the same player he is now without the benefits the modern era gives him?

He wouldn't. He would still be a champion but his stds would be on par with the other champions of the era he found himself in.

In fact if you reversed the assumption and teleported Fed into the future he'd most likely get his butt whipped. You'd expect that if tennis kept improving wouldn't you?

So I don't take these comparisons across eras seriously. Being transported into the past or the future will determine if you are the terminator or catweazle.

hoodjem
11-23-2009, 04:59 PM
I agree. The most ridiculous choice in my mind was his choice of Ted Schoeder (perhaps his best friend) as being on the same level as Laver and Rosewall in the second tier of all time greats. He admitted Schoeder had to serve and volley because he had unreliable groundstrokes. How does a player who has unreliable groundies be equivalent to Laver, Rosewall, and some other greats?

He said Riggs was superior to Gonzalez. It's well known Kramer didn't care for Gonzalez and was a good friend of Riggs.

His book is fascinating but I found his choices to be a little unusual.

Good points. Riggs and Schroeder don't belong in the same group as Laver, Rosewall, and Gonzales.

Heck, you can barely get Borg, Fed, and Sampras in that company.

krosero
05-30-2014, 07:57 AM
Vines was often named as possibly the best player of all time on his best day, and one of the greatest overall. Alice Marble gave her own list of the best of all time and talked at length about Vines, Budge and Tilden in an interview from March 4, 1941.

This was during the middle of a long tour of one-night stands in which Marble was the headliner. At each stop on the tour Marble would play against Mary Hardwick of England while Budge would take on Tilden, followed by mixed doubles.

LOS ANGELES (AP). Miss Alice Marble had a miserable cold, and, being neighborly, I fixed up a basket of cookies, wild haw preserves, chicken broth and Kleenex, and paid her a visit. After eating up most of what I brought her, I delicately maneuvered the conversation around to tennis and asked her to name the greatest player of the game she had ever seen.

"Well," she answered, "I'm traveling around on my professional tour with two of them-Bill Tilden and Don Budge. I know, there can’t be but one greatest player, but how are you going to choose between Bill and Don? As a matter of fact, in naming the greatest tennis player who ever lived, I think you’ll have to take three names into consideration. Bill, Don and Ellsworth Vines.”

While I finished off the cookies, Miss Marble and her friend and teacher of many years, Eleanor Tennant, figured out how they would rank the veteran Philadelphian, the California redhead, and the lanky Vines, who has abandoned tennis for golf. They decided that Vines, for one match, was the best of all time. They rated Budge as the greatest player over a stretch of a year. They put Tilden at the head of the great players over the years.

“Vines was unbeatable when his game was absolutely under control," Miss Marble said. "This wasn’t often, because Elly allowed no margin for error. He hit every shot with everything he had—went out for a winner on every ball. On those rare occasions when everything went right, there was simply no beating him, or even coming close to beating him."

I asked Miss Tennant if his three set victory over Henri Cochet in the national finals at Forest Hills was on one of those days. I saw that match and the mighty Frenchman was bewildered by the ferocity and precision of Vines' shots.

"Yes, that was one of the days," Miss Tennant answered. “No one who ever held a racquet could have beaten him that day.” On the other hand, Miss Marble pointed out that, over a period of a year, playing, say, two matches a week, Budge would gain a decided edge over Vines.

"Budge's game is marvelous every day. He is never in-and-out. He hits no patchy streaks. Since we have been on this tour, and I have had a good chance to watch him, I have yet to see him have an off day. He has an amazing temperament, too. Nothing upsets him, nothing excites him. He just goes out day after day and plays magnificent tennis.”

Tilden Rated Tops

As for Tilden, Miss Marble couldn’t say enough. "Bill is unbelievable. He is 48, and has been playing tennis for more than 20 years, but every time he steps out against Budge he firmly expects to beat him. ‘I’ll get that young man tonight,’ he’ll say, and twice he has beaten Don, and beaten him when Don was playing beautifully. He has twice as much stamina as any of the rest of us. He works all day at his job with a sporting goods company, and then plays singles and mixed doubles at night. Then he gets in the car and drives to the next engagement. He thinks nothing of driving 900 and 1,000 miles a day and then playing five sets of tennis. Over the years, there never has been one like him. And he picks up all the checks. When we all go out to dinner we have to warn the waiter in advance not to let Bill get the check. He’d buy all our meals every day if we’d let him.”

Miss Marble believes the veteran Helen Jacobs will again win the national women's title this year. "Helen plays as well as any of the youngsters, and she has the experience that is needed at Forest Hills. As for the men, it’s a tossup between McNeill, Riggs, Kramer and two or three others."

hoodjem
05-30-2014, 08:00 AM
Well said!

For one match--
“Vines was unbeatable when his game was absolutely under control," Miss Marble said. "This wasn’t often, because Elly allowed no margin for error. He hit every shot with everything he had—went out for a winner on every ball. On those rare occasions when everything went right, there was simply no beating him, or even coming close to beating him.

No one who ever held a racquet could have beaten him that day.”

krosero
05-30-2014, 08:05 AM
In October 1945 Norman Brookes voted for Tilden, Budge, Vines and McLoughlin, in that order, as “the finest player of all time” (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gv4tAAAAIBAJ&sjid=k5gFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4268%2C3670162).

pc1
05-30-2014, 08:24 AM
One little point by the way, when Marble made those comments regarding Vines and Budge, Vines was or was about to be 30.

Vines was but a shadow of what he used to be at that point. He had some injuries, was more into golf and I believe in 1941 he was heavier. At one point in 1939 during a tour against Budge he weighed 187 lbs, about 20 to 30 lbs heavier than his peak weight.

krosero
05-30-2014, 08:45 AM
˄˄I assume Vines was completely retired from tennis at that point. I think he played a few matches in 1940, not sure if he played any tennis afterwards.

Towards the end of the tour incidentally Budge was telling the press that he was ready to retire from tennis too and was going to concentrate on his business. He said there was "no future" for pro tennis (this was at the start of WWII, of course, with no end to the war in sight). He did say that he would first finish his tour with Tilden.

krosero
05-30-2014, 08:47 AM
What I find most interesting about these greatest-of-all-time lists is that they talked about players' games, rather than counting up titles, the way we do.

krosero
05-30-2014, 10:17 AM
In June 1941 Karol Kozeluh was asked to name the greatest of all time. Kozeluh --

famous international tennis professional, adds his name to the long list of experts who think Bill Tilden rates as the greatest tennis player of all time. Kozeluh thinks Tilden, Lacoste, Cochet, Budge and Perry rate in that order, with Tilden and Lacoste as standouts. Suzanne Lenglen is his choice as the greatest of the gals, followed by Helen Wills Moody Roark, Alice Marble and Molla Mallory. He doesn't think Alice Marble would have had a chance against the great Suzanne.

krosero
05-30-2014, 10:18 AM
In February 1945 Tilden (excluding himself, of course) picked Budge:

“For 365 days out of the year, Don Budge,” he replied. “He was superior to Ellsworth Vines and demonstrated it. Vines could attain a higher peak, but not often. Sustained quality is greatness. When Vines was bad he was awful. Even when he was off, Budge was great. The test of a champion is the ability to prevail when he is not right.”

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2194&dat=19450222&id=sf8uAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EdwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6416,3746573

krosero
05-30-2014, 10:26 AM
Vines' own choice of Budge as #1 apparently goes all the way back to '39, though it's a little difficult to know what to make of the statements made by the players to the press in the midst of tours that needed to be promoted. Some comments seem designed to stir up interest: Vines and Perry both announced flat-out, before their tours with Budge, that they would beat him; when Vines lost his tour he predicted just as adamantly that Perry would beat Budge.

Yet on April 22 -- with Budge now leading Perry 19-8 in their series, on the way to a dominating 28-8 victory -- Vines said this to the press:

Budge is the power-house of modern tennis and has been compared by many experts with Big Bill Tilden. Ellsworth Vines, who was defeated by Budge for the professional championship, declares that Budge is the all-time great of tennis. The red-headed Californian blasted Vines off the courts with his straight power-hitting.

http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/23739780/

Again, even that could be taken as part of the smack-talk that you would expect in those circumstances -- except that this turned out to be Vines' real opinion, as reflected in his book.

pc1
05-30-2014, 10:29 AM
Krosero, you know what I find odd, the facts point that Vines was extremely strong in winning his matches. For example he won 14 straight tournaments. He also has the second highest winning percentage in tennis history in majors if we include Pro Majors. He never lost to Cochet while I believe Budge lost at least once to him.

I can name a number of other things also but I typing from my phone while parked in my car now so it is a bit of a pain.

I can see Vines level of playing varying in a match but the bottom line is that he generally won. Budge of course generally won also but I've noticed that he lost a lot more than I expected when I first looked at some of his records.

pc1
05-30-2014, 10:33 AM
What I find most interesting about these greatest-of-all-time lists is that they talked about players' games, rather than counting up titles, the way we do.

They discuss level of play which I find perfectly okay.

When you think about it, isn't achievements just a way to look at a great player's level of play. How do we quantify Jack Kramer's World Championship Tours compared to a major or a Pro Major?

pc1
05-30-2014, 11:10 AM
Vines' own choice of Budge as #1 apparently goes all the way back to '39, though it's a little difficult to know what to make of the statements made by the players to the press in the midst of tours that needed to be promoted. Some comments seem designed to stir up interest: Vines and Perry both announced flat-out, before their tours with Budge, that they would beat him; when Vines lost his tour he predicted just as adamantly that Perry would beat Budge.

Yet on April 22 -- with Budge now leading Perry 19-8 in their series, on the way to a dominating 28-8 victory -- Vines said this to the press:

Budge is the power-house of modern tennis and has been compared by many experts with Big Bill Tilden. Ellsworth Vines, who was defeated by Budge for the professional championship, declares that Budge is the all-time great of tennis. The red-headed Californian blasted Vines off the courts with his straight power-hitting.

http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/23739780/

Again, even that could be taken as part of the smack-talk that you would expect in those circumstances -- except that this turned out to be Vines' real opinion, as reflected in his book.

I'm not sure if Vines picks Budge or Tilden as number one. In his book he writes Budge is the best of those who played after World War II. I'll find the quotes later which put some doubt on that.

Edit-Vines writes in his book "Tennis Myth and Method"-All kinds of lists select Tilden as the greatest player who ever lived. I can't argue with them. His record is amazing. The next page Vines writes about Tilden-From personal experience I can vouch for his all-around game. I played a tour against him in 1934 abd was glad to win 47 out of our 73 matches, even though he was 41. In our Madison Square Garden debut, in which he beat me 8-6 6-3 6-2, I was not only overawed by him personally but also by his game. I was coming off a rather poor amateur season in 1933 and simply wasn't prepared for a player of his accurate strokes and experience. He had a cannonball serve, heartbreaking length and angles plus the energy of a junior. I gradually improved on the tour as I became more familiar with the indoor courts; yet I had never played anyone who could do as much off both wings. His return of service was superb; he could blow you off the court with his drives and at the same time was a master of spins. His energy was amazing for his age. I remember on grueling match in Los Angeles which lasted over three hours before I took it in the fifth after losing an earlier set 23-21.

krosero
05-30-2014, 12:02 PM
Krosero, you know what I find odd, the facts point that Vines was extremely strong in winning his matches. For example he won 14 straight tournaments. He also has the second highest winning percentage in tennis history in majors if we include Pro Majors. He never lost to Cochet while I believe Budge lost at least once to him.

I can name a number of other things also but I typing from my phone while parked in my car now so it is a bit of a pain.

I can see Vines level of playing varying in a match but the bottom line is that he generally won. Budge of course generally won also but I've noticed that he lost a lot more than I expected when I first looked at some of his records.Well both of them are straining a bit against their reputations in a way. You can see from these quotes that very early on their reputations were already basically in place: Vines was referred to as the one who could be invincible one day and a total amateur the next, while Budge was the super-consistent one who could rarely be defeated, except occasionally on Vines' best days. But the truth is probably somewhere in between. Vines was more consistent -- and Budge more often beatable -- than their reputations would suggest.

Maybe back then, since they were paired off against one another in a heavyweight championship, they were contrasted as opposites. And there's a lot of truth, I think, to their reps: Vines was more powerful and high-risk, while Budge was more consistent.

But it's not like Budge was hitting with the topspin consistency of Borg. From our perspective Budge and Vines look very similar; to me they both look like flat power hitters who could be vulnerable to really consistent players who got the ball back enough. You can see that in their losses to Bitsy Grant.

Both men were at their weakest on clay. Vines took maybe the single biggest lost of his career, to Borotra in Davis Cup, at Roland Garros. Three of Budge's four losses to Grant were on clay; and Budge's most significant loss of '39 was probably the one at Southport, again on clay, to Tilden in three straight sets.

I think both of these men would have been awesome on today's hard courts; and on any indoor surface.

krosero
05-30-2014, 12:10 PM
I'm not sure if Vines picks Budge or Tilden as number one. In his book he writes Budge is the best of those who played after World War II. I'll find the quotes later which put some doubt on that.

Edit-Vines writes in his book "Tennis Myth and Method"-All kinds of lists select Tilden as the greatest player who ever lived. I can't argue with them. His record is amazing. The next page Vines writes about Tilden-From personal experience I can vouch for his all-around game. I played a tour against him in 1934 abd was glad to win 47 out of our 73 matches, even though he was 41. In our Madison Square Garden debut, in which he beat me 8-6 6-3 6-2, I was not only overawed by him personally but also by his game. I was coming off a rather poor amateur season in 1933 and simply wasn't prepared for a player of his accurate strokes and experience. He had a cannonball serve, heartbreaking length and angles plus the energy of a junior. I gradually improved on the tour as I became more familiar with the indoor courts; yet I had never played anyone who could do as much off both wings. His return of service was superb; he could blow you off the court with his drives and at the same time was a master of spins. His energy was amazing for his age. I remember on grueling match in Los Angeles which lasted over three hours before I took it in the fifth after losing an earlier set 23-21.Yes, there's no doubt Vines' list purposely starts post-Tilden, and that he holds Tilden perhaps as the greatest of all. He never faced peak Tilden, but he had so much trouble with an aging Tilden that he had to know how great Tilden in the '20s must have been.

A lot of Tilden's high reputation seems due to what he did in his declining years, not just against the Musketeers but in his pro tours against Vines and Budge. Everyone back then seems astounded by how well he could still do.

It makes me wonder how great Tilden would have been regarded, if he had not continued playing well into his decline. If he had "gone out on top", I'm not sure his reputation would have been as great.

krosero
05-30-2014, 12:16 PM
Here's Budge talking about Tilden (May 1, 1941, near the end of their tour):

Budge Is Best

Budge is so far the best tennis player in the world that watching him play has long since become an exhibition of skill rather than a contest. At present he has played Tilden 55 matches and beaten that remarkable old gaffer 50 times. Marble has lost only three times to Hardwick in about as many matches.

"When he decides to get off the dime,” Budge told us, speaking of Tilden, "he can still play some pretty amazing tennis. Bill's forty-eight years old, you know, but those times he beat me he really beat me. There wasn't any laying down on my part, either. He just began to move around as he must have done in the early nineteen twenties, when nobody could touch him. Took the play away from me, hit harder and truer than I can, and made me look like a sap. He beat me six-one, six-one in Dallas, what’a you think of that?”

Tilden Great Showman

“But win or lose, Bill's been a great show. Let me tell you what happened in Toronto. You never see a guy beef very much in tennis if a lineman is making mistakes in the other guy's shots, do you? But Bill did. I had hit three or four good ones in that Toronto match. They were pretty plainly in the court, but each time the lineman said [out]. Well, I didn't care. But Tilden was indignant, even though he was the fellow the lineman was helping.

"Finally he stopped the play and said to the umpire, ‘I want that lineman removed.' Well, you know about the good neighbor policy, and all that, but darn near everybody there in the stands stood up and began booing Bill. But it didn't stump him a bit. He walked over to the umpire's chair, took the loudspeaker and made a speech.

"He said: ‘The usual British custom is not to condemn a man until he has been proven wrong. For your information I'm not defending myself. I'm here defending Don Budge against this atrocious officiating. This linesman has been wrong so often that he should be removed, not only for the good of Budge but for the good of the match. I don't know just what you want to see, but I have an idea that it is a fair match, where each man has the benefit of accurate officiating. As it is now, I'm getting all the breaks, and it's just not fair.'

"In the end there wasn't a peep out of the gallery. He's quite a guy, that Tilden. No thought of quitting the game, at 48, and still able to beat anybody, if he decides to get off the dime."