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sandy mayer
05-22-2007, 02:41 PM
Controversially the ATP top 3 rankings for 1977 were:

1. Connors
2. Vilas
3. Borg

This was controversial because Connors didn't win any grand slams, and won 7 tournaments while Borg won Wimbledon (and 11 tournaments in total) and Vilas won the French and US Opens (and a staggering 16 tournies in total).

The reason the computer made Connors 1 is clear: he got to the finals of by far the 2 most important tournies at the time (Wimbledon and US Open. In those days they were in a league of their own and far more important than the other 2 grand slams). Therefore Connors had the best record over the course of those 2 tournies, winning 12 matches compared to 9 for Vilas, and 10 for Borg. Connors also won the Masters and Dallas WCT, at the time far more important than the Australian Open and in all seriousness virtually as important as the French.

However, it's impossible to give the no.1 spot to Connors, because Vilas and Borg won 1 of the big 2 each, as well as having a great year outside the big 2. I'm a Connors fan and am convinced that he played a higher level of tennis than Vilas for most of the year (and I feel Connors was easily a greater player than Vilas) , but feel Connors must have the no.3 spot because when it comes down to it, we must decide rankings on results rather than performances.

Many say Vilas should be no.1 for 1977, but I don't. I give it to Borg, with Vilas 2. Here's why:

1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills. Vilas' win against Connors at Forest Hills was very impressive, but there still is a a very major question mark over what would have happened had Borg faced Vilas at the US Open. There is no question mark over Borg's 77 Wimbledon victory.


2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins.

2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different. I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

3. Borg was more versatile:
In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass.

4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills.

5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French.

Arafel
05-22-2007, 02:48 PM
Controversially the ATP top 3 rankings for 1977 were:

1. Connors
2. Vilas
3. Borg

This was controversial because Connors didn't win any grand slams, and won 7 tournaments while Borg won Wimbledon (and 11 tournaments in total) and Vilas won the French and US Opens (and a staggering 16 tournies in total).

The reason the computer made Connors 1 is clear: he got to the finals of by far the 2 most important tournies at the time (Wimbledon and US Open. In those days they were in a league of their own and far more important than the other 2 grand slams) and therefore had the best record over the course of those 2 tournies, winning 12 matches compared to 9 for Vilas, and 10 for Borg. Connors also won the Masters and Dallas WCT, at the time far more important than the Australian Open and in all seriousness virtually as important as the French.

However, it's impossible to give the no.1 spot to Connors, because Vilas and Borg won 1 of the big 2 each, as well as having a great year outside the big 2. I'm a Connors fan and am convinced that he played a higher level of tennis than Vilas for most of the year (and I feel Connors was easily a greater player than Vilas) , but feel he must have the no.3 spot because when it comes down to it, we must decide rankings on results rather than performances.

Many say Vilas should be no.1 for 1977, but I don't. I give it to Borg, with Vilas 2. Here's why:

1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills.


2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins.

2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different. I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

3. Borg was more versatile:
In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass.

4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills.

5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French.


Interesting post. I'm a huge Connors fan. Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"

To my mind, there is no way a healthy Connors loses to Borg that year. Also, Connors didn't play the French in 77, so Vilas won that tournament without having to face EITHER of the two best players in the world. Connors was, in fact, a fairly accomplished clay court player, maybe not in Borg's league, but no slouch. He beat Borg the only times they met on clay in a Grand Slam (75 and 76 US Opens.)

The US Open that year was a debacle. Connors received a death threat (or maybe it was a bomb threat; I can't remember), and the crowd was HEAVILY Argentinian, something that really shook Connors.

I would put Connors over Vilas, but I'm not sure about Connors over Borg. You can make an argument for either.

Moose Malloy
05-22-2007, 03:26 PM
along those lines:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=130373

I think WCT events probably offered more ranking points than other events & Connors did better at those than Vilas or Borg in '77.

Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11.

I was looking at Vilas' 46 (or 50?) match win streak a few months ago, it was interesting, he was racking up all those claycourt wins without Borg entered in most of those events. In fact while Vilas was winning 46 in a row(only on clay), Borg was winning 30 in a row(on clay & carpet) at the same time at tournaments with better fields!

Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia.

Keep in mind if slams were all equal back then, the fields would have been stronger, so who knows if Vilas would have even made the finals in Australia in '77.

He made the finals of the '77 Australian(held in January) losing to Tanner. here were the top 10 seeds that event(their year end ranking for '76 are in parentheses)
1. Vilas (6)
2. Tanner (11)
3. Ashe (12)
4. Rosewall (13)
5. Edmondson (35)
6. Ruffels (27)
7. Stockton (15)
8. Crealy (38)
9. Dent (37)
10. Case (45)

amazing, a slam with only one top 10 player entered. and where players ranked in the 30s get top 10 seeds.

noeledmonds
05-23-2007, 04:43 AM
I agree largely with what is being said here, however I belive that Vilas defenitly deserves the number 1 year end ranking. While both Connors and Borg have a greater pedigree than Vilas this was Vilas's year. Vilas's 16 tournaments are the 2nd most won in a single year in the open-era (after Laver's 1969). Vilas won 2 grand slams compared to Borg's 1. Borg beat Connors at SW19 but Vilas beat Connors at the USO. The performance by Vilas at the USO final was remarkable. The bagel he gave Connors in the 4th set was one of the best induvidual sets of tennis you will see. Vilas did win both slams on clay but red clay in Europe is very different from green clay in the USA (just ask Borg). Vilas also had his record breaking streak and clay court streak (clay court streak has since been exceeded by Nadal). Without Nastase's use of the spaghetti racket with streak would likely have been far longer. Vilas also made the final of the AO, which although had a weaker field than larger events, still shows Vilas's versitility to win on grass.

Ultimately I think there is confusion on what being world number 1 means. I don't think it means "being the best player in the year", I think it means "having the best results of the year". While I accept that Borg would have been very likely to win the FO (had he participated in the event). Borg did not participipate and Vilas captilased on this. Likewise if Federer quit tennis he could not be the number 1 player this time next year, even if he was the best player. You need to win the events to prove yourself best and you need to beat players from an entire draw, not just your fellow number 1 competitors.

Moose Malloy
05-23-2007, 10:18 AM
One other note about Vilas in '77:

He won the '77 French without not only Borg in the field, but without Orantes & Gerulaitis(who won the '77 Italian) in the field either.

Surprisingly, Vilas didn't have that great a claycourt season leading into the French that year, losing early in Rome & Hamburg, while getting destroyed by Borg in Monte Carlo.

Gizo
05-23-2007, 10:34 AM
Based on Sandy Mayer and Moose's very informative posts I would have lean towards Borg over Vilas.

Here is surface breakdown (from the ITF website as the ATP website is very unreliable for this sort of information) of Borg and Vilas's titles that year:
Borg - 5 on clay, 5 on carpet, 1 on grass
Vilas - 14 on clay, 1 on carpet, 1 on hard
So in my opinion Borg was the more versatile player across the different surfaces that year.
On a side note, It could be said that Connors was also a hollow year end world no. 1 in 1978, as Borg was clearly better than him that year as well.

federerfanatic
05-23-2007, 10:51 AM
Interesting post. I'm a huge Connors fan. Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"

To my mind, there is no way a healthy Connors loses to Borg that year. Also, Connors didn't play the French in 77, so Vilas won that tournament without having to face EITHER of the two best players in the world. Connors was, in fact, a fairly accomplished clay court player, maybe not in Borg's league, but no slouch. He beat Borg the only times they met on clay in a Grand Slam (75 and 76 US Opens.)

The US Open that year was a debacle. Connors received a death threat (or maybe it was a bomb threat; I can't remember), and the crowd was HEAVILY Argentinian, something that really shook Connors.

I would put Connors over Vilas, but I'm not sure about Connors over Borg. You can make an argument for either.

You cant take anything you are pointing out into consideration into where people deserve to be ranked. You cant evaluate Connors results at Wimbledon or the U.S Open as anything other then what they are. Runner up finishes. Things like losing the match due to injury or due to an unfriendly crowd are for another discussion. No way should they come into consideration for what ranking a player deserved for the year.

Andres
05-23-2007, 02:50 PM
OK, sounds about right... but it's a subjective.
We could never know who would have win between Borg and Vilas at FO (Most likely Borg)... so we can't use that.

With the modern ranking points, 16 titles and 2 Grand Slams plus a runner-up would have sufficed for Vilas to be #1 that year.

navratilovafan
05-26-2007, 11:03 PM
Connor's being #1 this year was a complete crock. Everyone knows he was a distant #3 this year. I would go with Vilas over Borg since he won 2 slams, yeah I know about what ifs, but wins are wins.

Wuornos
10-25-2007, 03:15 AM
Controversially the ATP top 3 rankings for 1977 were:

1. Connors
2. Vilas
3. Borg

This was controversial because Connors didn't win any grand slams, and won 7 tournaments while Borg won Wimbledon (and 11 tournaments in total) and Vilas won the French and US Opens (and a staggering 16 tournies in total).

The reason the computer made Connors 1 is clear: he got to the finals of by far the 2 most important tournies at the time (Wimbledon and US Open. In those days they were in a league of their own and far more important than the other 2 grand slams). Therefore Connors had the best record over the course of those 2 tournies, winning 12 matches compared to 9 for Vilas, and 10 for Borg. Connors also won the Masters and Dallas WCT, at the time far more important than the Australian Open and in all seriousness virtually as important as the French.

However, it's impossible to give the no.1 spot to Connors, because Vilas and Borg won 1 of the big 2 each, as well as having a great year outside the big 2. I'm a Connors fan and am convinced that he played a higher level of tennis than Vilas for most of the year (and I feel Connors was easily a greater player than Vilas) , but feel Connors must have the no.3 spot because when it comes down to it, we must decide rankings on results rather than performances.

Many say Vilas should be no.1 for 1977, but I don't. I give it to Borg, with Vilas 2. Here's why:

1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills. Vilas' win against Connors at Forest Hills was very impressive, but there still is a a very major question mark over what would have happened had Borg faced Vilas at the US Open. There is no question mark over Borg's 77 Wimbledon victory.


2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins.

2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different. I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

3. Borg was more versatile:
In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass.

4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills.

5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French.

Really interesting post.

The Elo ratings I calculate measure markedly different aspects of performance from those used for the official rankings, but out of curiosity I ran the system to produce data for the current standings at the end of 1977.

Based on who each individual played, their results and a declining emphasis on historical performances, the elo ratings agreed with the ATP exactly for the top 3 although for very different reasons. i.e.

1. Jimmy Connors 2702
2. Guillermo Vilas 2682
3. Björn Borg 2674

Elo does not place different emphasis on various tournaments other than the quality of oppostion faced. Therefore Elo gives greater weighting to majors etc based on the premise that if more high ranked players are present the quality of opposition faced will be higher. (i.e. the current elo rating of the individual players concerned.)

Based upon the above Vilas probably had the better results with the confines of the single year of 1977 as his rating cimbed by a huge 56 points from 2626 to 2682, while Connor's and Borg's ratings only improved by 6 and 3 respectively. However a single year is not a sufficient sample for rating outputs to have a confidence level fit for purpose. In order to achieve this it is necessary to include greater than a single years results and for more recent data to be given greater emphasis.

This allows us to achieve a 95% confidence interval on the data being generated. It is therfore possible for us to say that while Borg and Vilas had good years the evidence was not sufficent for them to have proved themselves as superior to Connors at the top of the game.

If the evidence had been greater which we can achieve by replicating the results of 1977 into 1978 and rerunning the Elo application software we can see that this would then be sufficient to prove that Connors was not the true number 1 of mens tennis. i.e.

1. Guillermo Vilas 2719
2. Jimmy Connors 2707
3. Björn Borg 2676.

As it is though and for different reasons to my statistical approach I feel that the ATP regarding Connors as the current number 1 of men's tennis in 1977 is probably a true reflection of all the evidence available at that time.

We now know of course that 1978 wasn't like this and Guliermo Vilas was unable to follow 1977 with simlar results and consequently dropped 12 points in the ratings in a way showing that the the single year approach is a little over optimistic in having a sample size that is small enough for chance to play to greater part.

Within the Elo ratings 1978 saw Björn Borg climb to within 1 point of Jimmy Connors and finally over take him in the early months of 1979. By this time despite having won the Australian open since 1977, Guilerma Vilas was statistically a distant 3rd behind both Connors and Borg but with Vitas Gerulaitis only a distant 4th:

1. Björn Borg 2716
2. Jimmy Connors 2715
3. Guillermo Vilas 2685
4. Vitas Gerulaitis 2635

Take care

Regards

Tim

CyBorg
10-25-2007, 06:45 AM
So, am I to understand that Elo grants special preference to the Australian Open as it is a major? (even though it was a second-rate event at the time?)

Overall, your Elo results are so nonsensical and your explanations of your calculations so broad that frankly I don't see how what you say has any weight whatsoever.

The fact of the matter is that Vilas won two major events that mattered in the French and the US Open, but won essentially nothing else of any vitality. He routinely skipped big events like Dallas and Philadelphia in order to rack up points in mickey mouse tournaments.

I don't know how Elo accounts for this, but my guess is that it doesn't do it particularly well at all.

Wuornos
10-26-2007, 02:50 AM
So, am I to understand that Elo grants special preference to the Australian Open as it is a major? (even though it was a second-rate event at the time?)

Overall, your Elo results are so nonsensical and your explanations of your calculations so broad that frankly I don't see how what you say has any weight whatsoever.

The fact of the matter is that Vilas won two major events that mattered in the French and the US Open, but won essentially nothing else of any vitality. He routinely skipped big events like Dallas and Philadelphia in order to rack up points in mickey mouse tournaments.

I don't know how Elo accounts for this, but my guess is that it doesn't do it particularly well at all.

Thanks for your interst Cyborg.

Concerning your first point of the Australian Open. Elo ratings do quite the opposite from what you have assumed in connection to the Australian Open. Elo adjusts each event depending on the players present. You see players receive points based on who they play and what their elo rating is at that time. Therefore , no Connors and no Borg equals less points available to gravitate towards the players in the final stages at these events. Therefore winning the Australian has much less weighting in the 1970s than it does now. No tournament has a n assigned weighting all events are self adjusting by the weight of the elo rating points of the player present.

On your second point of my Elo results being nonsensical I find it difficult to discuss a simple statement like that if you fail to say why they are none sensical. I am genuinely sorry you feel like that though as I do value peoples opinions on my work.

On your third point about my explanations being so broad I have to hold my hands up. I deliberately didn't go into any great depths as there is already a thread on this site that discusses the validity or not as the case may be of the Men's elo ratings and I didn't really want to post all that again.

The Elo rating system has been in use for 37 years within chess and is used within other sports mainly because of the sound basis it has in statistical probability theory. Unfortunately I am not the inventor but I can understand why you might feel the way you do when you say you don't see how the results can have any weight at all. It is abit of a quantum leap in tennis for fans to look at a qualtitive result system when they have been so used to a volume based reward system for players rating points in the past.

Your anyalsis of Vilas in 1977 is exactly right. Vilas won the French and the US open. They were big events and most of his gain would have been gained from these two performances. Does the fact that he went on to dominate in minor events mean he was a weaker player than when he won these two events. The elo system wouldn't see it that way. It would just say he was chancing his arm as losses in the minor events would have greater negative value than losses in bigger events dependent upon the opponent. The elo rating concludes that because of the smaller events the evidence was not sufficient for Vilas to overtake Connors as number 1. I then roled the 1977 data on into 1978, This showed that Vilas might have made the grade if he had more evidence, but as you have quite rightly pointed out he didn't as his tournament selection for 1977 failed to provide sufficient quality in oppsition for him to provide adequate proof.

To be honest I can see where your coming from when you say 'He routinely skipped big events like Dallas and Philadelphia in order to rack up points in mickey mouse tournaments', but the Elo system doesn't work like this. Elo points go up for big achievements like winning the US and down for losing in weaker events. Winning the small events would have had very little impact upon Vilas' Elo rating. The elo system did not give disproportionate credit for minor events.

Finally my conclusion was not that Vilas was the number 1 in 1977, it was that Vilas never provided sufficient evidence to be regarded the number 1. I'm not sure how to put this. In a thread that was asking who was the genuine number 1 in 1977, not the ATP rating point number 1, I conclude it was Connors by citing a well proven statistical evaluation tool for which numerous posts have been made at this site and extensive entries exist within Wikipaedia.. Your criticism of my post then seems to be based around the idea that Vilas wasn't the number 1, even though I was agreeing with you, and you defend your statement by quoting the problems that existed within the ATP system, with which again I agree with you.

I am perhaps misunderstanding your post and would like to hear from you again regarding this issue as I honestly believe that the ELO rating system does has great validity for tennis.

Sorry we didn't seem to see eye to eye on this, or did we, I'm not sure.

Anyway take care and keep the posts coming.

Regards

Tim

pabloJD
11-04-2007, 08:27 AM
Finally my conclusion was not that Vilas was the number 1 in 1977, it was that Vilas never provided sufficient evidence to be regarded the number 1. I'm not sure how to put this. In a thread that was asking who was the genuine number 1 in 1977, not the ATP rating point number 1, I conclude it was Connors by citing a well proven statistical evaluation tool for which numerous posts have been made at this site and extensive entries exist within Wikipaedia.. Your criticism of my post then seems to be based around the idea that Vilas wasn't the number 1, even though I was agreeing with you, and you defend your statement by quoting the problems that existed within the ATP system, with which again I agree with you.


Aren't the ELO ratings saying that Connors was the best player (almost tied with Borg) at the end of 1977, not that he was the best player based on what he accomplished during (and only during) 1977? I guess the ELO system provides a method for ranking players at a certain point in time but has little to do with ranking players solely for what they did over a relatively short period of time.
If Vilas had started the year ('77) with more ELO points he would have probably surpassed Connors and Borg with the exact same performance.
I think a better way of determining number 1 for 1977 is weighing the tournaments according to their status (or field strength) at that time and using a similar system to what is used now by the ATP.

SgtJohn
11-04-2007, 03:35 PM
I fully agree with Pablo.

Using the ELO rankings to determine year-end #1s can have plenty of 'bizarre' consequences, that few people would consider legitimate.
For instance in 1999, Agassi never 'proved' he was better than Sampras. He was beaten every time by Pete (except in a Masters round robin match), and beat few great players at RG and the USO. Sampras was injured most of the year and had few defeats, so according to the ELO rankings he didn't lose many points because of defeats and won a lot each time he beat Agassi. Then Sampras would be the 1999 #1...
This approach is interesting, but cannot be put on a part with year-end rankings, I think...

Jonathan

chaognosis
11-04-2007, 04:09 PM
Good post, SgtJohn. I agree that year-end No. 1 is a very important (and seemingly underrated) measure, especially insofar as it is the only factor by which we can compare players going back to pretty much the very beginnings of tennis. Of course, some years do not have a true, undisputed No. 1, and it is hard to compare a year like Willie Renshaw's 1883--when he went undefeated by winning only a single match in the Wimbledon challenge round, and so was the No. 1 player that year--with, say, Tilden's 1924 (also undefeated but with much more match play) or Laver's 1969 (a fair number of losses, but an even more rigorous schedule). So it's not a perfect criterion by any means, but maybe yet the most important one we have, in that it "holds up" better throughout time than major titles do.

That said, on the topic of this thread, 1977 is one of the very hardest years to rank. I like to work with sources, and in this case I think the best ones slightly favor Borg--the French Tennis Magazine named Borg No. 1, while World Tennis picked Vilas, but Borg also received the ATP award, and Connors was favored only by the computer. Perhaps an even closer year was 1970, with Newcombe, Rosewall, and Laver all chosen by different sources. I'm currently looking at the early 1950s, an era which is usually (and uncritically) given to Kramer, but where in fact several years may belong to the underrated Segura. Of course, the truly impossible years are the mid-1930s, when the pro game really ascended w/ Vines but Perry was king of a still-formidable amateur circuit... since the two were nearly even when Perry finally turned pro, I don't see how any consensus can be reached for the previous years.

Wuornos
11-05-2007, 12:52 AM
Aren't the ELO ratings saying that Connors was the best player (almost tied with Borg) at the end of 1977, not that he was the best player based on what he accomplished during (and only during) 1977? I guess the ELO system provides a method for ranking players at a certain point in time but has little to do with ranking players solely for what they did over a relatively short period of time.
If Vilas had started the year ('77) with more ELO points he would have probably surpassed Connors and Borg with the exact same performance.
I think a better way of determining number 1 for 1977 is weighing the tournaments according to their status (or field strength) at that time and using a similar system to what is used now by the ATP.

That's absolutrely correct Pablo.

I think the problem is that I hadn't fully appreciated that the Number 1 of 1977 had to be based purely on the evidence of 1977. Had I understood that I would never have recommended ELO as the best indicator.

Good point well made.

Regards

Tim :)

SgtJohn
11-16-2007, 02:14 AM
I read some archive articles on websites, that give interesting insights on the criteria of this time.

Apparently, the fact that the Masters was organized at the MS Garden that year for the first time made it suddenly a very important event. Some newspapers seemed to 'discover' that this tournament existed when it moved to NYC. That of course gave more weight to Connors' victory and his, today controversial, #1 ranking.

The NY Times says: 'Tennis fans came here [at the Garden] in search of a #1 and they got one tonight.' So the event was widely seen as decisive for the year-end honours...

Another paper interestingly says : 'Connors was king of men's tennis. in 1977, however, Borg and Vilas blossomed and Connors was shut out at both Wimbledon and The US .', which shows that it was admitted at the time that a player could be #1 without a Slam title.

Funnily enough, Connors said:'This tournament didn't settle anything. We're gonna have to play it again because (Guillermo) VILAS beat me [in round robin], BORG beat him and I beat BORG.' ,which shows that the head-to-head between top players was often seen as significant as actual tournament results (which is ironic because Connors was 0-2 against Vilas for the whole season and 1-2 against Borg, so he unconsciously rules himself out for #1).

Anyway, I wondered how people could actually think that Connors was #1 in 1977 and I got some answers with these articles. His win in the WCT finals obviously played a role too. By the way, does someone know why Borg didn't take part in it? Did he qualify at all?

Moose Malloy
11-19-2007, 10:11 AM
His win in the WCT finals obviously played a role too. By the way, does someone know why Borg didn't take part in it? Did he qualify at all?

Dallas was played in May of that year, Borg skipped the French that year to play WTT, so he may have already been involved in that at the time of Dallas.
He played no events between late April & the start of W that year, maybe there were injury issues as well.

Dallas was missing Vilas that year as well. The field that year:Connors,Panatta,Nastase,Dibbs,Gerulaitis,Fiba k,Stockton, & Drysdale.

jean pierre
02-08-2008, 09:21 AM
There is no question about 1977 !!! Vilas won 16 tournaments and won 46 matches consecutively (it's the record). He won 2 Grand Slam and played the final of another : Borg won only 1 Grand Slam. I don't understand how some people can consider that Borg was n° 1 !!!

jean pierre
02-08-2008, 09:33 AM
With the actual system of ATP, Vilas would be n°1 during many monthes ! Vilas is the champion of the world in 1977.
Borg won their head to head 3-0. But it's a detail. The champion of the world is the guy who has the best palmares, who won Grand Slams, that's the only point (in 2006, the N°1 was Federer, even if he lost almost always against Nadal !).
Some people say : yes, but Borg wasn't at Roland-Garros and US Open. But it's not the problem of Vilas !! And it's impossible to say : if Borg was there, he should have won. How can be sure ?? So, if Borg didn't play one match in 1977, he would be the n°1 because we can say : if he played, he won ?? That is absurd ! Excuse my english, which is very bad ! But there is really no question : Vilas is n° 1 in 1977.

urban
02-08-2008, 10:06 AM
I think, Borg played the USO at Forest Hills. He hurt his shoulder in a surfing or water-ski accident just before the event started, and retired in the quarters vs. Stockton (trailing in the third and deciding set). It was his own fault, not the right preparation. PS: What i didn't like about Borg, or better about his guru Bergelin, was, that Bergelin very often declared Borg as invalid or injured. When Borg won his first Wim in 1976, it was said, that he got cortison injections for a stomach muscle injury. But he served like crazy.

Moose Malloy
02-08-2008, 10:18 AM
When Borg won his first Wim in 1976, it was said, that he got cortison injections for a stomach muscle injury. But he served like crazy.

I watched that final recently, Borg was spraying his stomach on changoevers with a cooling liquid, something was bothering him.

And I think he didn't play a match inbetween Wimbledon & the USO that year, so it was probably a legit injury.

CyBorg
02-08-2008, 03:58 PM
I watched that final recently, Borg was spraying his stomach on changoevers with a cooling liquid, something was bothering him.

And I think he didn't play a match inbetween Wimbledon & the USO that year, so it was probably a legit injury.

You mean 1977? In 76 Borg at least played in Boston.

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 04:51 AM
I'm 72 years old and I saw a lot of tennis in my life, i saw alive greates players (yeah, i was present in a lots of tournaments and Grand Slams, not TV!). Here i see that the conversation is not clear.
Not even Vilas, himself, discuss Borg is better player than he!
The point is that in 77, the facts says that "Willy" was the number 1.

My answers to the writers are in BOLD...

To sandy mayer:

"1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured (NOT TRUE, NOT INJURED). So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills (suposing?? then what happened if Connors compete in Roland Garros 74? Borg would win?) Vilas' win against Connors at Forest Hills was very impressive, but there still is a a very major question mark over what would have happened had Borg faced Vilas at the US Open (Borg loses before QF!) There is no question mark over Borg's 77 Wimbledon victory (Connors injured...)


2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins (that's not all true, maybe some tournaments yes, but no all!!!).

2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different.(So Nadal is better than Federer in 2005 and 2006???) I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. (this is a offense! you don't know much about tennis seems like; Vilas was named 24 greates player -man and woman- by a recognized magazine) and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

3. Borg was more versatile:
In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass (Vilas was finalist in the Australian Open!!!).

4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills. (AGAIN??)

5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French. (Australia was always a Grand Slam, like Roland Garros)


To Arafel:

"Interesting post. I'm a huge Connors fan. Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"

To my mind, there is no way a healthy Connors loses to Borg that year. Also, Connors didn't play the French in 77, so Vilas won that tournament without having to face EITHER of the two best players in the world (it's not Vilas fault!!!). Connors was, in fact, a fairly accomplished clay court player, maybe not in Borg's league, but no slouch. He beat Borg the only times they met on clay in a Grand Slam (75 and 76 US Opens.)

The US Open that year was a debacle. Connors received a death threat (or maybe it was a bomb threat; I can't remember), and the crowd was HEAVILY Argentinian, something that really shook Connors (excuses only, I was present on the court that day!!!)

I would put Connors over Vilas, but I'm not sure about Connors over Borg. You can make an argument for either.

To Moose Malloy:

"I think WCT events probably offered more ranking points than other events & Connors did better at those than Vilas or Borg in '77.

Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11.

I was looking at Vilas' 46 (or 50?) match win streak a few months ago, it was interesting, he was racking up all those claycourt wins without Borg entered in most of those events (it's not Vilas fault!!!). In fact while Vilas was winning 46 in a row(only on clay), Borg was winning 30 in a row(on clay & carpet) at the same time at tournaments with better fields! (not true...)


Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia.

Keep in mind if slams were all equal back then, the fields would have been stronger, so who knows if Vilas would have even made the finals in Australia in '77.

He made the finals of the '77 Australian(held in January) losing to Tanner. here were the top 10 seeds that event(their year end ranking for '76 are in parentheses)

1. Vilas (6)
2. Tanner (11)
3. Ashe (12)
4. Rosewall (13)
5. Edmondson (35)
6. Ruffels (27)
7. Stockton (15)
8. Crealy (3
9. Dent (37)
10. Case (45)

Amazing, a slam with only one top 10 player entered. and where players ranked in the 30s get top 10 seeds." (not Vilas fault too!!!)

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 08:04 AM
Vilas didn't win Mickey Mouse tournaments, you're pretty wrong about that... Besides that, he was finalist in Palm Springs and in Baltimore too... Borg lost quickly in Philadelphia WCT and in Washington, for example...

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 08:11 AM
So, Marsella 07 or Hamburg 06 don't count because the better playeres were absent??? Big mistake. Dubai 08 deserves more points because the top players go? Like I said, the discuss wasn't about the greatest player; just about number one or not!!!

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 09:34 AM
I think, Borg played the USO at Forest Hills. He hurt his shoulder in a surfing or water-ski accident just before the event started, and retired in the quarters vs. Stockton (trailing in the third and deciding set). It was his own fault, not the right preparation. PS: What i didn't like about Borg, or better about his guru Bergelin, was, that Bergelin very often declared Borg as invalid or injured. When Borg won his first Wim in 1976, it was said, that he got cortison injections for a stomach muscle injury. But he served like crazy.

From what I know this is true. Borg served much harder and altered his serve shortly before the event which led to some muscle tightness/soreness. The injury part is probably exagerrated. Then again I don't recall anyone calling it an injury - I believe Bergelin simply stated that Borg played in pain.

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 09:42 AM
NOT TRUE, NOT INJURED)

Borg played through a shoulder injury at the 1977 US Open.

(suposing?? then what happened if Connors compete in Roland Garros 74? Borg would win?)

Most likely. The red clay was Jimmy worst surface and he had lost in the first round at RG in 1973. There were no indicators of a breakthrough. Jimmy had his chance to prove himself at RG 1979-onwards and never did reach the final.

(Borg loses before QF!)

Not to Vilas.

(Connors injured...)

This is true. Connors was playing hurt at the 1977 Wimbledon final, according to reports.

(that's not all true, maybe some tournaments yes, but no all!!!).

Why don't you look yourself at the types of events Vilas had entered in 1977? You will see that he skipped most of the vital non-grand slam events and those that he did enter he didn't win.

Vilas was named 24 greates player -man and woman- by a recognized magazine)

Who cares?

(Vilas was finalist in the Australian Open!!!)

A relatively minor event if you look carefully at the draws.

(Australia was always a Grand Slam, like Roland Garros)

Australia was skipped by most top players regularly from the mid-70s until 1983 and by some for a few years thereafter.

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 11:50 AM
This is nonsense but.. I repeat, Borg before QF in US Open, i'm sorry (a pain is not a injury...)...
Sampras was named by this important magazine ahead of Borg, I CARE!!! Sorry again, CyBorg...
Borg never win the Aussie Open, not even the US Open, sorry again... it hurts???
Borg returns in 1991/2, being destroyed by all his opponents, sorry...
Connors skip Aussie Open because he won once...
We can say that Nadal "skipped" Hamburg until 2007 or Rotterdam until 2008???
Do you know that Borg is one of the players with most abandoned matches at that time???
More respect in your answer would avoid this...

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 12:21 PM
CyBorg, I agree that BORG is better player than VILAS, always was, but in 77 the results says another thing! You makes me very angry, my sons and wife are Argentines, I was born in Mexico but since 1940 live in USA, but, you know, i'm a grandfather and i'm old...

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 12:23 PM
And i don't need to see the tornaments players entry, I WAS PRESENT ON THOSE TOURNAMENTS; NOT LIKE YOU IT SEEMS...

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 01:19 PM
This is nonsense but.. I repeat, Borg before QF in US Open, i'm sorry (a pain is not a injury...)

Borg had a shoulder injury. I just wanted you to know this. So that you don't embarass yourself next time. You're welcome.

Sampras was named by this important magazine ahead of Borg, I CARE!!! Sorry again, CyBorg...

Who cares? I see nothing wrong with rating Sampras above Borg.

Borg never win the Aussie Open, not even the US Open, sorry again... it hurts???

I didn't know this. Thanks for the info.

Borg returns in 1991/2, being destroyed by all his opponents, sorry...

1991, 1992, 1993 if you want to be specific. Nice non sequitur.

Connors skip Aussie Open because he won once...

You've asked him?

We can say that Nadal "skipped" Hamburg until 2007 or Rotterdam until 2008???

We can say this at the risk of sounding ********.

Do you know that Borg is one of the players with most abandoned matches at that time???

Another quality sentence. Good work.

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 01:20 PM
CyBorg, I agree that BORG is better player than VILAS, always was, but in 77 the results says another thing! You makes me very angry, my sons and wife are Argentines, I was born in Mexico but since 1940 live in USA, but, you know, i'm a grandfather and i'm old...

Oh, I get it. You're a biased Argentinian. Clears things up.

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 01:30 PM
Oh, I get it. You're a biased Argentinian. Clears things up.

You're going too far, don't you? I see that Hall of Fame qualifies you by the number of messenges, not your quality...
You spoke in another forums of legends that you really don't know... not even close...

I will not waste my time with you again.

Sometime you take a raquet in your life??? Bye...:confused:

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 01:31 PM
You're going too far, don't you? I see that Hall of Fame qualifies you by the number of messenges, not your quality...
You spoke in another forums of legends that you really don't know... not even close...

I will not waste my time with you again.

Sometime you take a raquet in your life??? Bye...:confused:

I never claimed to be a good poster, but at least my blinders aren't as tinted as yours.

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 04:14 PM
CyBorg,i lie to you about my wife and kids are argentines, they're all americans... My point is that if i'm say that I or my family was from Arg or something, you would say what you say... ALWAYS happened. Look, I'm a fan of Gonzalez, Rodney, Ken, Nastase, Bjorn, Crazy Mac, Pistol... They are great champions, and VERY BEST PLAYERS THAN VILAS... NO DOUBT AT ALL... I saw Borg alive, he was shocking!!! The thing is that in this post the discuss turns about N° 1 of 1977, by facts. It' probably that Borg win to Willy in clay, BUT YOU CAN'T SAY THAT IT WILL HAPPEN... Like i said i am an old grandpa (that's true) and see many surprises, i'm pretty sure that Borg would play in Aussie open more than once, he would will win!!!

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 04:20 PM
Connors was a monster, i'm not his fan but, WHAT A D.. PLAYER!!!! And for you to know, for me dosen't count that loses when he back to tennis in 1991/2/3, he wasn't Borg, years passed. Yes, Borg was injured in US, you have right, but you can quit value to Vilas for that, he's not responsable... Besides CyBorg, it's only one year you know, and for example the record of Vilas - Borg is... 5-12!!! i'm old for discuss and you are very interested in tennis history, i'm very very glad. Greetings from California, sun land...

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 04:29 PM
CyBorg,i lie to you about my wife and kids are argentines, they're all americans... My point is that if i'm say that I or my family was from Arg or something, you would say what you say... ALWAYS happened. Look, I'm a fan of Gonzalez, Rodney, Ken, Nastase, Bjorn, Crazy Mac, Pistol... They are great champions, and VERY BEST PLAYERS THAN VILAS... NO DOUBT AT ALL... I saw Borg alive, he was shocking!!! The thing is that in this post the discuss turns about N° 1 of 1977, by facts. It' probably that Borg win to Willy in clay, BUT YOU CAN'T SAY THAT IT WILL HAPPEN... Like i said i am an old grandpa (that's true) and see many surprises, i'm pretty sure that Borg would play in Aussie open more than once, he would will win!!![/B]

You cranky old fart.

Welcome to the team. *passes bottle*

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 04:40 PM
Thank you cyborg for OPEN MINDS (I hope specially young minds). All posters has valid points here, but you seem to be a hugh fan of tennis! I congratulate you, but I CATCH YOU SON!

Andres
03-05-2008, 05:30 PM
Since when does it matter WHO did you have to play to win the tournament? Does beating better ranked players grant you more points? no!

Is Gaudio's 2004 French Open or Ivanisevic's 2001 Wimbledon more worthy than Fed's 2003 Wimbledon? No!

USO and Wimbledon may have more prestige back then, but the four of them were slams, so it doesn't matter if a guy won Wimby or Roland Garros.

You have a guy who won two slams, runner-up in a third (on grass) and besides that, racked up points from 14 extra titles! Mickey Mouse events or not, he played 150 matches that year! 150 freaking matches!

You can't argue with numbers.

OK, Borg didn't play French Open, but was that Vilas' fault? Does that take anything away from the fact he won 7 matches to win the title?

urban
03-05-2008, 10:34 PM
I think, the 1977 question was decided in January 1978, when Borg lost to Connors at the NY Masters. Borg would have to win the Masters, to have a legitimate claim. So it remained a 'patt', Borg bt. Vilas, but Vilas bt. Connors (in one of the best matches of the 70s indoors), and Connors bt. Borg. All in all, Vilas had by far the best numbers for 1977, actually one of the best open seasons.

noeledmonds
03-06-2008, 02:03 AM
I think, the 1977 question was decided in January 1978, when Borg lost to Connors at the NY Masters. Borg would have to win the Masters, to have a legitimate claim. So it remained a 'patt', Borg bt. Vilas, but Vilas bt. Connors (in one of the best matches of the 70s indoors), and Connors bt. Borg. All in all, Vilas had by far the best numbers for 1977, actually one of the best open seasons.

I concur fully with this. Vilas won 16 tournaments in 1977 (including 2 of the 3 "biggest" grand slams) and had a winning percentage of over 91%. Vilas had a winning streak of 46 matches accross all surfaces and a streak of 53 matches on clay. Both streaks were broken contraversially by Nastase using the spaghetti rackset (a racket which was later banned from the ATP tour).

Ultimately we can only speculate about who was the best player in 1977. However, what is clear is that Vilas had the best results in 1977. Therefore Vilas deserves the number 1 year end ranking.

Tennis old man
03-06-2008, 06:54 AM
I agree with urban and noeledmonds like you already know. Besides that, thank to Moose, Arafal, Sandy for your opinions.

CyBorg
03-06-2008, 08:41 AM
I think, the 1977 question was decided in January 1978, when Borg lost to Connors at the NY Masters. Borg would have to win the Masters, to have a legitimate claim. So it remained a 'patt', Borg bt. Vilas, but Vilas bt. Connors (in one of the best matches of the 70s indoors), and Connors bt. Borg. All in all, Vilas had by far the best numbers for 1977, actually one of the best open seasons.

Very, very debatable and much less clear than that. The whole Connors beat Borg and Vilas beat Connors stuff is fallacious.

I give you this to chew on and it's very simple: Vilas was not the best player on any one surface. Not clay, certainly not grass, certainly not carpet. Borg was the best on both grass and clay.

Borg won much deeper, more respectable events in Monte Carlo, Denver, Boca Raton, Barcelona and Wembley. Aside from his two majors Vilas won mostly smaller events in which Borg and Connors did not participate. 16 titles is an inflated figure. It doesn't happen today precisely because a player cannot skip important tournaments to play somewhere else and stack up on titles.

Vilas did precisely this. His two majors still mean that his had a great year. No doubt about it. But it is not one of the top 10 years in the open era and I already made a good case about this here before.

llgc8080
03-06-2008, 02:02 PM
It's obvious the all thing about CyBorg, he's a big fan of Iceman. But I do believe taht Vilas deserves N° 1 in 77 too...

CyBorg
03-06-2008, 04:42 PM
It's obvious the all thing about CyBorg, he's a big fan of Iceman. But I do believe taht Vilas deserves N° 1 in 77 too...

Vilas finished with titles at the French Open (where neither Borg nor Connors appeared) and the US Open.

Borg won Wimbledon as well as events like Monte Carlo and Wembley.

Connors won the Masters, Dallas and Las Vegas.

Borg has the most varied and consistent results. He has wins on carpet, clay, hardcourts and grass.

Vilas' non clay titles are Springfield, Virginia Beach and Johannersburg. Mickey Mouse events at best. You wouldn't see Connors/Borg caught dead there.

Add the fact that Vilas was 0-3 against Borg and got manhandled by him in Nice and Monte Carlo (events leading up to RG) and I don't see how anyone can say Vilas was the true #1. It doesn't compute. One could make the argument that there is a three-way tie, but even that doesn't make sense all things considered.

llgc8080
03-07-2008, 04:15 AM
yeah, whatever CyBorg... you seemed a parrot repeating the same always... you seemed to worried about this theme!!!.. I gree with the oldy that says..."Besides that, he (Vilas) was finalist in Palm Springs and in Baltimore too... Borg lost quickly in Philadelphia WCT and in Washington" I say too that didn't win Brimingham or La Costa for example... The thing in ranking is about POINTS, not "possible games" that never were played...

llgc8080
03-07-2008, 04:25 AM
And you always quit value to Australian Open. Who is tinted in the opinions??? End of discussion for me.

Andres
03-07-2008, 02:12 PM
Plus, who cares who did he beat? He won 145 times that season and lost 14. Does it matter if those loses were against the world's #1 or the #100?

Benhur
03-07-2008, 03:47 PM
Vilas finished with titles at the French Open (where neither Borg nor Connors appeared) and the US Open.

Borg won Wimbledon as well as events like Monte Carlo and Wembley.

Connors won the Masters, Dallas and Las Vegas.

Borg has the most varied and consistent results. He has wins on carpet, clay, hardcourts and grass.

Vilas' non clay titles are Springfield, Virginia Beach and Johannersburg. Mickey Mouse events at best. You wouldn't see Connors/Borg caught dead there.

Add the fact that Vilas was 0-3 against Borg and got manhandled by him in Nice and Monte Carlo (events leading up to RG) and I don't see how anyone can say Vilas was the true #1. It doesn't compute. One could make the argument that there is a three-way tie, but even that doesn't make sense all things considered.


I've come to appreciate your posts, but on this you are very very much off the beam.

1977 record

Vilas: 16 titles: including 2 slams
Runner-up: 5 tournaments, including AO

Borg: 11 titles, including 1 slam
Runner up: 1 tournament (Masters)

Add to this his amazing 91% winning percentage over more than 150 matches played.

The difference is really considerable. And you say that "it doesn't compute"???

You dismiss this blizzard of *facts* by referring to the Virginia Beach and Springfield tournaments as "mickey mouse." And yet he beat Nastase in the Virginia beach final, and he beat Stan Smith in the Springfield final, not exactly mickey mouse players in my book. In other finals he beat, among others, Connors, Fibak, Gottfried (who was in a great number of finals that year), Kodes, Tanner, Higueras and Fillol. Mickey mouse players? Not really. How about Borg beating Corrado Barazzuti in the Monte Carlo final, or John Lloyd in the Basel final? If this is a Mickey Mouse contest, who are the Mickeyest?

Sorry, but the fact that Borg did not play the French that year is not something that should be counted in Borg's favour (!!!) -- by reasoning that if he HAD played it, he may well have won it, which seems to be your approach. What kind of reasoning is that???

This is not even close. It's a case of severe blindness. The record clearly and overwhelmingly shows that Vilas had by far the best results in 1977. It's the record that determines who was the best player, not subjective considerations about who one thinks was the best player. I know you are a big Borg fan, and so am I, but the facts are what they are in 1977, and you should get over it.

CyBorg
03-07-2008, 04:59 PM
Vilas: 16 titles: including 2 slams
Runner-up: 5 tournaments, including AO

Borg: 11 titles, including 1 slam
Runner up: 1 tournament (Masters)

I know all of this and none of this is representative of how good these players were in relation to each other because unlike in today's era a player could pad his results significantly by playing many smaller events in place of deeper, popular events where all the big boys were.

Add to this his amazing 91% winning percentage over more than 150 matches played.

It is an inflated percentage. Inflated by playing in smaller events where Borg and Connors and many more great players weren't.

You dismiss this blizzard of *facts* by referring to the Virginia Beach and Springfield tournaments as "mickey mouse." And yet he beat Nastase in the Virginia beach final, and he beat Stan Smith in the Springfield final, not exactly mickey mouse players in my book.

Stan Smith was an old man by this time. He was 30 years old and won a single title that year, a minor one in Los Angeles. Nastase reached the age of 31 in 1977 and was past his prime. He was still a pretty good player, but barely stayed within the top 10.

In other finals he beat, among others, Connors, Fibak, Gottfried (who was in a great number of finals that year), Kodes, Tanner, Higueras and Fillol. Mickey mouse players? Not really.

Well, we know that he beat Connors at Forrest Hills. It's quite an accomplishment. The other guys you've listed are all pretty good players but are mostly the kinds of guys you would see attend events like Washington, Valencia or Chennai. Good, but not elite, although Gottfied was a really strong player and was probably around his peak at this time. A closer look at the draws shows that the really big names are missing. The Kitzbuhel draw for example where Vilas played Kodes (a washed up player by this time) is weak. As is the Washington draw. Louisville, South Orange, Columbia - all of these are minor events. What was stopping Vilas from playing in Boston, Indianapolis or Cincinnati? You're also neglecting to mention that most of these wins were on Vilas' favorite surface - clay. He played on his best and favorite surface all year 'round, something that one cannot do today.

How about Borg beating Corrado Barazzuti in the Monte Carlo final, or John Lloyd in the Basel final? If this is a Mickey Mouse contest, who are the Mickeyest?

Look at the Monte Carlo draw. You'll find that Borg beat Vilas on the way to the Monte Carlo final. Barrazzutti was a strong player. Better than Kodes, Fillol or Fibak. Would you feel differently about Monte Carlo if Borg faced Barrazzutti in the semi and Vilas in the final? What's the difference?

Sorry, but the fact that Borg did not play the French that year is not something that should be counted in Borg's favour (!!!) -- by reasoning that if he HAD played it, he may well have won it, which seems to be your approach. What kind of reasoning is that???

The reasoning is simple. Borg was better on clay than Vilas.

This is not even close. It's a case of severe blindness. The record clearly and overwhelmingly shows that Vilas had by far the best results in 1977. It's the record that determines who was the best player, not subjective considerations about who one thinks was the best player. I know you are a big Borg fan, and so am I, but the facts are what they are in 1977, and you should get over it.

You're taking way too much offense to this. I have presented a clear and concise argument. I actually think that this is relatively close. Anyone who thinks that this isn't is being a little bit too emotional.

Benhur
03-07-2008, 05:35 PM
I know all of this and none of this is representative of how good these players were in relation to each other because unlike in today's era a player could pad his results significantly by playing many smaller events in place of deeper, popular events where all the big boys were.



It is an inflated percentage. Inflated by playing in smaller events where Borg and Connors and many more great players weren't.



Stan Smith was an old man by this time. He was 30 years old and won a single title that year, a minor one in Los Angeles. Nastase reached the age of 31 in 1977 and was past his prime. He was still a pretty good player, but barely stayed within the top 10.



Well, we know that he beat Connors at Forrest Hills. It's quite an accomplishment. The other guys you've listed are all pretty good players but are mostly the kinds of guys you would see attend events like Washington, Valencia or Chennai. Good, but not elite, although Gottfied was a really strong player and was probably around his peak at this time. A closer look at the draws shows that the really big names are missing. The Kitzbuhel draw for example where Vilas played Kodes (a washed up player by this time) is weak. As is the Washington draw. Louisville, South Orange, Columbia - all of these are minor events. What was stopping Vilas from playing in Boston, Indianapolis or Cincinnati? You're also neglecting to mention that most of these wins were on Vilas' favorite surface - clay. He played on his best and favorite surface all year 'round, something that one cannot do today.



Look at the Monte Carlo draw. You'll find that Borg beat Vilas on the way to the Monte Carlo final. Barrazzutti was a strong player. Better than Kodes, Fillol or Fibak. Would you feel differently about Monte Carlo if Borg faced Barrazzutti in the semi and Vilas in the final? What's the difference?



The reasoning is simple. Borg was better on clay than Vilas.



You're taking way too much offense to this. I have presented a clear and concise argument. I actually think that this is relatively close. Anyone who thinks that this isn't is being a little bit too emotional.

I am not taking it emotionally. I am just amazed that you don't acknowledge Vilas' results are clearly much better. All your arguments to counter it are purely subjective (inflated percentage and so on). By this method we could probably question a good number of year end number ones and engage in endless subjective arguments. There is a reason ability in sports is measured by results. I used to follow chess a bit, and there are endless similar arguments where people attempt to dimiss results in favor of "beauty" or "style" and so on. Karpov, one of the top two or three players in the history of the game, with a precise, boa-constrictor, "cerebral assassin" style (as someone felicitously said in the Lendl-Sampras thread) and more tournaments to his name than anyone else in the modern era, is often dismissed in favor of nutcases like Fisher because the latter had a flashier style and was an unpredictable crank. You have to let the numbers speak for themselves.

CyBorg
03-07-2008, 05:44 PM
I am not taking it emotionally. I am just amazed that you don't acknowledge Vilas' results are clearly much better.

They are not better. You're placing value to quantity over quality. Quantity of titles over quality of titles. Mine is a valid argument, one that pertains very specifically and appropriately to the era in question.

All your arguments to counter it are purely subjective (inflated percentage and so on). By this method we could probably question a good number of year end number ones and engage in endless subjective arguments.

My argument isn't subjective and is actually very consistent with my posting philosophy. For example I have argued endlessly that Ivan Lendl's year in 1986 is one of the greatest years in Open era tennis and much, much better than Vilas' year. Lendl that year won only 9 titles. But once one looks closely at the quality of the titles won, across all surfaces and the kind of competition faced it becomes quite apparent. Good knowledge of the context of the era also helps in recognizing why players couldn't win 13 titles on clay in one year anymore.

There is a reason ability in sports is measured by results. I used to follow chess a bit, and there are endless similar arguments where people attempt to dimiss results in favor of "beauty" or "style" and so on. Karpov, one of the top two or three players in the history of the game, with a precise, boa-constrictor, "cerebral assassin" style (as someone felicitously said in the Lendl-Sampras thread) and more tournaments to his name than anyone else in the modern era, is often dismissed in favor of nutcases like Fisher because the latter had a flashier style and was an unpredictable crank. You have to let the numbers speak for themselves.

I follow chess as well and this analogy is sheer nonsense. I am not knocking Vilas for his style. In fact I find his game quite aesthetically pleasing.

I am making a simple argument that can be broken down into the following statement: Vilas was not even the best player on his best surface and thus was not the best player. To boot, I also think that Vilas would not have the most ranking points among the three under modern standards for reasons already mentioned.

P.S. I'm more of a Karpov guy than a Fischer guy, but that's probably because I'm Russian.:-)

Benhur
03-07-2008, 06:34 PM
They are not better. You're placing value to quantity over quality. Quantity of titles over quality of titles. Mine is a valid argument, one that pertains very specifically and appropriately to the era in question.

I am making a simple argument that can be broken down into the following statement: Vilas was not even the best player on his best surface and thus was not the best player. To boot, I also think that Vilas would not have the most ranking points among the three under modern standards for reasons already mentioned

I still disagree on all counts. I don't think the quality of Borg's titles was better that year.
Nobody would argue that Vilas was a better clay court player than Borg. Of course he wasn't. But we are talking of a specific year, and that year Borg did not play the French, which is not Vilas' fault.
I also don't see how Vilas would not have had the most points with those results, under any standards. His 2 slams + 1 runner-up slam + the other 14 titles would probably make his ranking points even higher under today's standards.

I agree that the style argument is not applicable to the point you are making, but more to a general line of subjective argumentation where, for example, Nadal is deemed a bad or mediocre hard court player because of his style, when last year he had better results on hard courts than all players except Federer and Djokovic. I guess I tend to look more at actual results.

P.S. I'm more of a Karpov guy than a Fischer guy, but that's probably because I'm Russian.:-)

I love Karpov *because* of his style. Kramnik said of him: ‘When Karpov had an advantage he would maintain the status quo and thereby mysteriously increase his advantage! Nobody before or since him has managed to do this.’

This is perhaps my favorite Karpov game: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1067846

CyBorg
03-07-2008, 06:53 PM
Nobody would argue that Vilas was a better clay court player than Borg. Of course he wasn't. But we are talking of a specific year, and that year Borg did not play the French, which is not Vilas' fault.

You know who else didn't play? Connors, Gerulaitis, Orantes, Stockton. No, it isn't Vilas' fault that they didn't play, but is also isn't his fault that the Australian Open had poor draws. That doesn't mean that event holds as much value as it does today. The French was still a strong event, but it was depleted.

I also don't see how Vilas would not have had the most points with those results, under any standards. His 2 slams + 1 runner-up slam + the other 14 titles would probably make his ranking points even higher under today's standards.

The runner-up was at the Aussie, which had worse draws than Memphis.

What you don't realize above is that today Vilas would not be unable to amass 16 title wins and would play significantly less.

First of all, there are fewer clay events today. There is less clay in the summer and almost no clay in the fall. In the 70s there was a full fledged clay court season in the fall. Borg stopped playing there after 1975 and spent his time concentrating on carpet instead.

Second of all, masters series events are mandatory, unlike big events like Dallas and Philly, which got the strongest draws in the 70s. Vilas wouldn't be able to avoid events like this and therefore would have to compete against Connors and Borg regularly.

Take all of this together and Vilas would struggle to amass 10 titles. He would still have a solid year, most likely and I do not discount his US Open victory which, although it was played on clay, was played on faster clay which was very different from the red one we know so much about from the spring stretch.

I agree that the style argument is not applicable to the point you are making, but more to a general line of subjective argumentation where, for example, Nadal is deemed a bad or mediocre hard court player because of his style, when last year he had better results on hard courts than all players except Federer and Djokovic. I guess I tend to look more at actual results.

I have tended to defend Nadal most of the time here. I agree that the criticisms against him are unfair, but consider why.

Nadal has gone about 7-8 months without winning a singles title. The reason this happened has a lot to do with his tournament schedule and the way the ATP is organized today. First of all, there is no clay after the summer stretch. He won Stuttgart and that's it for the rest of the year. What remains is hardcourts and carpet. And that frankly doesn't favour Rafa. Now, in 1977 Rafa would still be amassing titles from July to December if he was so inclined by playing clay court events, many of them small ones. This spring Rafa avoided the South American stretch in order to play in Rotterdam and Dubai.

Little things like tell you a lot about how good a player is. Rafa could have easily had over 30 career titles by now. But he doesn't because of where he chooses to play. Without knowing these little details one can falsely conclude that there's something wrong with him.

I think this says a lot about how good Borg was, because his results translate better to today's more balanced tennis schedule. He won on all surfaces. Consistently.

I love Karpov *because* of his style. Kramnik said of him: ‘When Karpov had an advantage he would maintain the status quo and thereby mysteriously increase his advantage! Nobody before or since him has managed to do this.’

This is perhaps my favorite Karpov game: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1067846

There was a nice clip of Karpov and Kasparov on Youtube circa 2001 where Karpov destroyed Kasparov in blitz chess. Kasparov's face afterwards was priceless. He was still relatively dominant at the time.

Benhur
03-08-2008, 05:11 AM
You're placing value to quantity over quality. Quantity of titles over quality of titles. Mine is a valid argument, one that pertains very specifically and appropriately to the era in question.

My argument isn't subjective and is actually very consistent with my posting philosophy.

The fact that something is consistent with your posting philosophy does not exempt it from being subjective. Your arguments are extremely subjective because they are based on the notion that the value of titles, (including slams) ought to be determined by a subjective examination of the strength of the field on each occasion, and on who played who. That's okay for one's own personal ranking system. But it would turn into a theater of the absurd if the organization that decides whom to choose for the award for best player on a given year, were to hold meetings to discuss things like how much value to assign each particular slam, and each particular tournament, based on the field and on who played who and so on. Ranking systems cannot work that way.
Based on the record for that year, it would seem highly reasonable to most people that the award be given to Vilas for 1977. It is what makes the most sense, based on the record.

You are of course entitled to your subjective views, but you should not claim they are not subjective.

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 08:02 AM
The fact that something is consistent with your posting philosophy does not exempt it from being subjective. Your arguments are extremely subjective because they are based on the notion that the value of titles, (including slams) ought to be determined by a subjective examination of the strength of the field on each occasion, and on who played who.

Let me some up what this is really like:

My argument: Connors, Vilas and Borg were all close in 1977 but Bjorn Borg had the best year for reasons already mentioned.

Your argument: Vilas had the best year. There is no doubt about it.

If you review this you would see that I am being much more flexible. I do not think that Borg's year trumps Vilas' nor Connors' for that matter. But it is a better year for a variety of very specific reasons such as Borg's ability to win on four surfaces, the quality of his titles and his domination of Vilas.

That's okay for one's own personal ranking system. But it would turn into a theater of the absurd if the organization that decides whom to choose for the award for best player on a given year, were to hold meetings to discuss things like how much value to assign each particular slam, and each particular tournament, based on the field and on who played who and so on. Ranking systems cannot work that way.

Ranking systems are fluid and change from era to era. There is no objective method to mathematically calculate who had a better year, although some attempts are being made. One I have seen calculates points based on the depth of fields. You're simply content to add up the titles.

Based on the record for that year, it would seem highly reasonable to most people that the award be given to Vilas for 1977. It is what makes the most sense, based on the record.

Based on the sheer number of titles alone Thomas Muster was a better player than Sampras and Agassi in 1995. But, whoops, he won in places like Sankt Polten and San Marino.

You are of course entitled to your subjective views, but you should not claim they are not subjective.

Everything is subjective, but some views are more rational and better researched than others.

krosero
03-08-2008, 09:15 AM
I haven't studied 1977 at any length, but I just want to say that there is more than subjectivity when Borg is picked as #1. The opening post had this:

Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. It would be interesting to see how many victories Vilas and Borg each had over Top Ten players.

It's an objective measurement -- no less objective than measuring a tournament's depth by simply looking at how many top ten players attended.

I have a hard time giving Vilas #1 for the year when I see the arguments that he played lesser tournaments. To be called #1 for the year, I think, you have to beat all comers, at least in a general sense. (If you're too strict about it you get absurd results like putting Nadal over Federer in 2005-06). The number of Top Ten scalps that you collect in a year is a measurement of that.

One thing in Sandy Mayer's post that I disagree with is his opinion that Borg's win over Connors at Wimbledon was more impressive than Vilas' win over Connors at the U.S. Open. His argument is that Connors was regarded as possibly the best grasscourt player in the world. But Connors was the defending champion at the Open, and a great player on that surface, in that venue. He had proven himself there at least as much as he had at Wimbledon. When he walked out to face Vilas in the final he'd already beaten him there, as well as Orantes, and Borg (all in straight sets, not counting one additional tough victory over Borg in the '76 final).

jeffreyneave
03-08-2008, 09:33 AM
The point about the 1977 it was organised in an awful way. There were far too many events. There was a Grand prix which ran for the first time from the start to the end of the year, a rival WCT tour and WTT in the summer.

There were far too many weeks with 3 or more events to play. I would suggest the only 2 events which come close to super 9 level in '77 were philadelphia and memphis. The rest belong to the 35 to 50 points level in today's system. Outside the slams and the masters, Borg connors and vilas were never in the same field; neither were connors and vilas. Borg and connors only twice.

In contrast Laver, newcombe and rosewall were in 8 outside of the majors in 1970; laver and Rosewall 16; that's the way tennis should be played.

The debate about the relative fields Borg and vilas can be ilustrated by the wins over top players they obtained. If you give 4 ponits for a win over a top 3 player; 2 for rest of top ten; 1 for a player ranked 11 to 17 faced you get these results :

Borg 44
connors 42
vilas 39

These are the results over the majors and the 14 best results. borg finishes top but entirley due to the 20 points for his 5 top 3 wins. Vilas had only two top 3 wins and Connors only one. On this basis Connors probably played in slightly stronger fields, but really theere is very litte between them.

If the majors count anything like they do today in the rankings Vilas is easily the number one. If one gives US 200 ; Wimbledon 200; French 150 ; Aussie 100 and WCT finals 100, Borg is trailing way behind.

Vilas 435
Connors 380
Borg 230


I counted the aussie and WCt as alternative majors. The aussie had some good grass court players Tanner, roche, Rosewall Alexander , Ashe and Stockton (who had the greatest year of his career winning Philadelphia and runner-up to connors in the WCT finals). Throughout the early to mid 70's , the WCT was a prestige event and often regarde cvas more important than the Auusie open).

Counting top wins as 25% of the total (30% to majors and 45% other 14 - the same ratio as today's points system). Vilas is a very easy winner with Borg just edging out Connors for 2nd place. Even rasing top wins to 40% of the total compared to the other two categories, Vilas is still an easy winner.

This was a year whem players avoided each other. Vilas and connors both played the US summer circuit but avoided each other until the US open as vilas racked up his 50 match wining steak. Borg's decision to play WTT really hurts his chances. Of the 5 majors available he only played 2, one of which he retired injured from.

jeffrey

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 10:14 AM
The point about the 1977 it was organised in an awful way. There were far too many events. There was a Grand prix which ran for the first time from the start to the end of the year, a rival WCT tour and WTT in the summer.

There were far too many weeks with 3 or more events to play. I would suggest the only 2 events which come close to super 9 level in '77 were philadelphia and memphis. The rest belong to the 35 to 50 points level in today's system. Outside the slams and the masters, Borg connors and vilas were never in the same field; neither were connors and vilas. Borg and connors only twice.

In contrast Laver, newcombe and rosewall were in 8 outside of the majors in 1970; laver and Rosewall 16; that's the way tennis should be played.

The debate about the relative fields Borg and vilas can be ilustrated by the wins over top players they obtained. If you give 4 ponits for a win over a top 3 player; 2 for rest of top ten; 1 for a player ranked 11 to 17 faced you get these results :

Borg 44
connors 42
vilas 39

These are the results over the majors and the 14 best results. borg finishes top but entirley due to the 20 points for his 5 top 3 wins. Vilas had only two top 3 wins and Connors only one. On this basis Connors probably played in slightly stronger fields, but really theere is very litte between them.

If the majors count anything like they do today in the rankings Vilas is easily the number one. If one gives US 200 ; Wimbledon 200; French 150 ; Aussie 100 and WCT finals 100, Borg is trailing way behind.

Vilas 435
Connors 380
Borg 230


I counted the aussie and WCt as alternative majors. The aussie had some good grass court players Tanner, roche, Rosewall Alexander , Ashe and Stockton (who had the greatest year of his career winning Philadelphia and runner-up to connors in the WCT finals). Throughout the early to mid 70's , the WCT was a prestige event and often regarde cvas more important than the Auusie open).

Counting top wins as 25% of the total (30% to majors and 45% other 14 - the same ratio as today's points system). Vilas is a very easy winner with Borg just edging out Connors for 2nd place. Even rasing top wins to 40% of the total compared to the other two categories, Vilas is still an easy winner.

This was a year whem players avoided each other. Vilas and connors both played the US summer circuit but avoided each other until the US open as vilas racked up his 50 match wining steak. Borg's decision to play WTT really hurts his chances. Of the 5 majors available he only played 2, one of which he retired injured from.

jeffrey

There's a number of problems with your approach:

1) Your first totals provide wins over top players with a specific ranking. The problem is that you provide totals, but not percentages. Let me illustrate why this is a problem:

Let's say Player A plays seven events and meets a top 10 player 6 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 2-4 against top players. That's two victories.

Let's say Player B plays four events and meets a top 10 player 4 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 3-1 against top players. That's three victories.

By simply comparing victories we conclude that player b was slightly ahead of player A. By comparing percentages we discover that player B was much better than player A.

Borg played no tournaments between Wimbledon and the US Open. Vilas played a bunch of smaller ones. In terms of ranking points Borg is certainly penalized for having done so, but if our goal here is to figure out which player had the better year we should be very careful to place all emphasis on rankings alone. And we should also be careful on giving Vilas credit for playing top players more often and avoiding the percentages.

Now, one can say that it's Borg's own fault for not having played in the summer after Wimbledon. But this is mostly uninformed - those aware of this point in time know that Borg in fact played almost all year round. Many of the events he played are unlisted by sources such as the ATP. These are the so-called exhibitions; events like Hilton Head. Important events at the time, but those virtually forgotten today. This is another problem with an approach which favours totals over percentages. It doesn't take into account all information and it simply isn't able, because a lot of the information is missing.

2) Giving the Aussie as many points as you did is a mistake. Not only was it not on par with a WCT event it was not even on par with an event like Memphis.

Allow me to sum up: any kind of approach which favours totals over percentages favours Vilas in this case, so no matter what you do you will have Vilas on top with that kind of system in mind. That doesn't make him the true number one of 1977, unless all we are interested in are flawed ranking points which do not adjust for factors such as surface distribution. The reason why the ATP has altered its ranking system for 2009 and beyond (in limiting the amount of 500-point events) is precisely to prevent players from stacking up on points in smaller events and to ensure that only the best players sit atop the ATP points race. To boot, we already know of the way surfaces are allocated throughout the year, that clay, grass and hardcourts seldom intersect and that mandatory events exist to prevent players from padding their ranking.

jeffreyneave
03-08-2008, 11:35 AM
reply to cyborg

The point is that in these results you chose the 4 majors plus 14. they play the same total events unlike your example.

However doing your ratio busines of counting losses leads to

44 -8 borg
39 -19 vilas

That sounds great for borg, but the point of the other system is that vilas 19 point losse are distributed to other players in the top 17. Its a matter of choice. Even with your ratio system Borg fails to win at 25% share for top wins as a proportionh of the total. At 40% he just scaps home.

The aussie is a slam. It had strong field of grass court players. I'm only giving it a hundred points not 200. Memphis might be a super 9 but with so few to choose in 1977 , there is no point in using that methodolgy. Borg gets extra points for beating Gottfried at the event but its not important in the scheme of things. Even with its weaker field people still new it was a slam and a prestige event


jeffrey

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 11:54 AM
reply to cyborg

The point is that in these results you chose the 4 majors plus 14.

Highly flawed. You shouldn't be choosing four majors, when one was a non-factor.

they play the same total events unlike your example.

Don't follow. If you go on what has already been posted Borg played top 10 players in 10 of his events, Vilas in six. I guess what you are saying is that if one incorporates 11-17 they wind up with the same amount of counted events. But all things considered the percentages still show very clearly that Borg fared better against the top guns than Vilas did. If Vilas was truly the clear #1 wouldn't he at the very least do as well as Borg in that regard?

However doing your ratio busines of counting losses leads to

44 -8 borg
39 -19 vilas

Exactly. It looks close when you only look at the wins. It is lopsided as a percentage.

That sounds great for borg, but the point of the other system is that vilas 19 point losse are distributed to other players in the top 17. Its a matter of choice.

I fail to see how this is relevant or changes anything.

Even with your ratio system Borg fails to win at 25% share for top wins as a proportionh of the total. At 40% he just scaps home.

Please be more specific. What total?

The aussie is a slam. It had strong field of grass court players. I'm only giving it a hundred points not 200.

The draw is weak-weak-weak. McNamee, Saviano, Passarelli, Case, Alexander leading into Tanner. Ken Rosewall made the other semifinal? You can't be serious.

Memphis might be a super 9 but with so few to choose in 1977 , there is no point in using that methodolgy. Borg gets extra points for beating Gottfried at the event but its not important in the scheme of things. Even with its weaker field people still new it was a slam and a prestige event.

The Aussie lost its prestige in the mid-70s. If it was still a prestige event the top guns would attend.

New York Masters was a prestige event. That I can understand and agree with. The competition backs it up.

hoodjem
03-08-2008, 12:59 PM
Cyborg has always trashed the Aussie Open, at least BF. That is before Fed, now that Federer plays there, it's a legit GS tourney.

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 01:07 PM
Cyborg has always trashed the Aussie Open, at least BF. That is before Fed, now that Federer plays there, it's a legit GS touney.

haha, no. It started to get back on track in 1983.

hoodjem
03-08-2008, 01:36 PM
Who went in '83 to make it legit?

Andres
03-08-2008, 02:10 PM
There's a number of problems with your approach:

1) Your first totals provide wins over top players with a specific ranking. The problem is that you provide totals, but not percentages. Let me illustrate why this is a problem:

Let's say Player A plays seven events and meets a top 10 player 6 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 2-4 against top players. That's two victories.

Let's say Player B plays four events and meets a top 10 player 4 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 3-1 against top players. That's three victories.

By simply comparing victories we conclude that player b was slightly ahead of player A. By comparing percentages we discover that player B was much better than player A.

Borg played no tournaments between Wimbledon and the US Open. Vilas played a bunch of smaller ones. In terms of ranking points Borg is certainly penalized for having done so, but if our goal here is to figure out which player had the better year we should be very careful to place all emphasis on rankings alone. And we should also be careful on giving Vilas credit for playing top players more often and avoiding the percentages.

Now, one can say that it's Borg's own fault for not having played in the summer after Wimbledon. But this is mostly uninformed - those aware of this point in time know that Borg in fact played almost all year round. Many of the events he played are unlisted by sources such as the ATP. These are the so-called exhibitions; events like Hilton Head. Important events at the time, but those virtually forgotten today. This is another problem with an approach which favours totals over percentages. It doesn't take into account all information and it simply isn't able, because a lot of the information is missing.

2) Giving the Aussie as many points as you did is a mistake. Not only was it not on par with a WCT event it was not even on par with an event like Memphis.

Allow me to sum up: any kind of approach which favours totals over percentages favours Vilas in this case, so no matter what you do you will have Vilas on top with that kind of system in mind. That doesn't make him the true number one of 1977, unless all we are interested in are flawed ranking points which do not adjust for factors such as surface distribution. The reason why the ATP has altered its ranking system for 2009 and beyond (in limiting the amount of 500-point events) is precisely to prevent players from stacking up on points in smaller events and to ensure that only the best players sit atop the ATP points race. To boot, we already know of the way surfaces are allocated throughout the year, that clay, grass and hardcourts seldom intersect and that mandatory events exist to prevent players from padding their ranking.Your problem is that you give extra points for beating a top10, when you shouldn't. It doesn't matter if you face #4 or #58. A win is a win.

You can't argue about who was #1 because of the players he faced, and against whom he loses.

Or does that make Federer's year better than everyone else's? After all, his two defeats came in hands of Djokovic #3 and Murray #11

Pffff... Nalbandian lost to Ferrero #22 and Almagro!! (and their YTD records are 5-2 for Fed and 12-2 for Nalbandian)

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 02:17 PM
Who went in '83 to make it legit?

Decide for yourself...

1983: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Australian_Open_-_Men's_Singles

1982: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Australian_Open_-_Men's_Singles

CyBorg
03-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Your problem is that you give extra points for beating a top10, when you shouldn't. It doesn't matter if you face #4 or #58. A win is a win.

Sure it does.

Glad we cleared this up.

urban
03-08-2008, 10:33 PM
Jeffrey is on the line of the older computer ranking. Actually, in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the ATP computer gave extra points for beating top players. This factor was in the ranking points. I don't know at the moment, when the ATP threw it out.

jeffreyneave
03-09-2008, 05:13 AM
Highly flawed. You shouldn't be choosing four majors, when one was a non-factor.



Don't follow. If you go on what has already been posted Borg played top 10 players in 10 of his events, Vilas in six. I guess what you are saying is that if one incorporates 11-17 they wind up with the same amount of counted events. But all things considered the percentages still show very clearly that Borg fared better against the top guns than Vilas did. If Vilas was truly the clear #1 wouldn't he at the very least do as well as Borg in that regard?



Exactly. It looks close when you only look at the wins. It is lopsided as a percentage.



I fail to see how this is relevant or changes anything.



Please be more specific. What total?



The draw is weak-weak-weak. McNamee, Saviano, Passarelli, Case, Alexander leading into Tanner. Ken Rosewall made the other semifinal? You can't be serious.



The Aussie lost its prestige in the mid-70s. If it was still a prestige event the top guns would attend.

New York Masters was a prestige event. That I can understand and agree with. The competition backs it up.




Remember the system is 14 best performances plus majors.

In vilas's case you can drop his losses. outside of the majors he won 14 times
In otherwords he played a perfect year in regular events. You treat wins as postive results. With top wins counting as 25% of the total shjare of points you get results like

Borg Wimbledon 216
vilas Us open 190
Borg Memphis 66 (only gottfried counts)
Vilas Washington 82 (wins over dibbs gottfried better than borg's win)
Borg monte carlo 106
Vilas French open 152
Vilas aussie open 52
vilas louisville 66
borg nice 82
borg grand slam 67
borg witc 43
vilas springfield 50
vilas south orange 58
vilas tehran 66
borg la costa 35
borg wembly 66

you can see the 25% share for top wins kicking in these examples.


so the points are:

Top14 Vilas 700 Borg 601
Majors Vilas 326 borg 172
top wins Vilas 288 Borg 352
Masters bonus Vilas 30 borg 64

Total Vilas 1344 borg 1189

Vilas dominates two of the three categories. borg only one.
in terms of top ten wins borg had 14; vilas 14
" 10-17 wins borg had 6 vilas 7

There is no advantage to borg on actual wins achieved; its only because of his win over vilas that he wins this category

Despite your snipes at the aussie open in the 70s it was a prestige event and still a slam with a decent field (tanner beat roche rosewall and vilas all quality players in the top 17) . When borg won memphis the only decent win was gotfried. there's nothing to get excited about borg's wins, only monte carlo stand out.

jeffrey

jean pierre
03-09-2008, 05:56 AM
I can't understand that there is a discussion ! Look at the palmares of Borg and Vilas in 1977 ! This is really a joke ! Vilas is n° 1 !!

random guy
03-09-2008, 06:35 AM
Very interesting discussion, but I think with the logic that cyborg is using the best thing that Roger Federer can do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up to any. After all, we all know he's the best.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 08:47 AM
Remember the system is 14 best performances plus majors.

In vilas's case you can drop his losses. outside of the majors he won 14 times
In otherwords he played a perfect year in regular events. You treat wins as postive results. With top wins counting as 25% of the total shjare of points you get results like

Borg Wimbledon 216
vilas Us open 190
Borg Memphis 66 (only gottfried counts)
Vilas Washington 82 (wins over dibbs gottfried better than borg's win)
Borg monte carlo 106
Vilas French open 152
Vilas aussie open 52
vilas louisville 66
borg nice 82
borg grand slam 67
borg witc 43
vilas springfield 50
vilas south orange 58
vilas tehran 66
borg la costa 35
borg wembly 66

you can see the 25% share for top wins kicking in these examples.


so the points are:

Top14 Vilas 700 Borg 601
Majors Vilas 326 borg 172
top wins Vilas 288 Borg 352
Masters bonus Vilas 30 borg 64

Total Vilas 1344 borg 1189

Vilas dominates two of the three categories. borg only one.
in terms of top ten wins borg had 14; vilas 14
" 10-17 wins borg had 6 vilas 7

There is no advantage to borg on actual wins achieved; its only because of his win over vilas that he wins this category

Despite your snipes at the aussie open in the 70s it was a prestige event and still a slam with a decent field (tanner beat roche rosewall and vilas all quality players in the top 17) . When borg won memphis the only decent win was gotfried. there's nothing to get excited about borg's wins, only monte carlo stand out.

jeffrey

jeffrey,

There are a few very simple things for which you are not accounting:

a) The system does not account for the fact that 13 of Vilas' titles were won on clay .. yes, if the system is set up the way you have it it favours Vilas, but the way you have it set up is highly flawed .. a more modern advanced scheduling system would not allow Vilas to play so many small clay court events all year round, while skipping prestige events .. your rankings do not adjust for these glaring aspects and provide highly questionable results. You give Vilas credit for beating particular players of a particular ranking while treating the surface elements as fixed. However it should be admitted that Vilas was beating these players, by and large, on his favorite surface.

For example: you would not discriminate between a Vilas victory over an opponent on clay over a Vilas victory over the same opponent on another surface. These are not identical. The whole issue with Vilas' year is that he stacked up on wins on his best surface and did his best to avoid other surfaces.

b) Here's the Memphis draw in 1977 .. http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/vault/draws.asp?tournamentID=402&tournamentyear=1977 .. better, deeper than the Australian Open .. the other flaw to your argument is that you merely look at the ranking of the opposition faced in a tournament rather than observing the quality of the draws of the respective tournaments .. this brings up an interesting scenario:

In semifinal A Bjorn Borg beats an unidentified player.

In semifinal B the third-ranked Brian Gottfried loses to the 25th ranked player... let's say "Bob Smith".

Bjorn Borg beats Bob Smith in the final. Under your system Borg's win over Smith has significantly less value than a win over Gottfried would. However I would posit that Borg's win is no less impressive considering that he beat the guy who beat Gottfried. Therefore Smith happened to be better than Gottfried at this point in time, regardless of what the ranking tells us.

This is why one looks at the quality of the fields. Another reason why one does this is that what happens in an event is often decided by the luck of the draw and the occasional career-defining moments where lesser-ranked players best higher-ranked players.

c) The Aussie was not a prestige event. For reasons already stated. The event had no mystical, supernatural powers which made it something it wasn't. You are claiming to have a mathematical approach and yet you are granting this event an aura that isn't there.

d) The Masters event was one of the top four events and yet you assign it almost no value. This doesn't make any sense.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 08:52 AM
I can't understand that there is a discussion ! Look at the palmares of Borg and Vilas in 1977 ! This is really a joke ! Vilas is n° 1 !!

Palmares? That sounds delicious.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 08:54 AM
Very interesting discussion, but I think with the logic that cyborg is using the best thing that Roger Federer can do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up to any. After all, we all know he's the best.

Under the modern system Federer would not be skipping anything unless he was ill. The ATP today sets up mandatory events where one has to explain his absence if one isn't to show up.

In the 1970s players routinely skipped the Australian Open because it was a joke event and in 1977 particularly a handful of elite players skipped the French.

Vilas skipped almost every masters series-quality event in 1977.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 09:06 AM
Very interesting discussion, but I think with the logic that cyborg is using the best thing that Roger Federer can do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up to any. After all, we all know he's the best.

No matter how one slices it, Vilas has the best results in 1977 by far.

The only way to arrive at a different conclusion is by beginning with the conclusion and then working one's way toward it by engaging in a cherry-picking exercise, and a gratuitous dismissal of results. The notion that most of Vilas wins that year are mickey mouse while Borg's are solid epic endeavors does not stand scrutiny. It's just an assertion. What's even more hilarious is that Borg's *exhibitions* are presented as important while Vilas' wins in real tournaments are dismissed.

Ditto for the dismissal of the FO win on the grounds that Borg wasn't there. Even funnier is the dismissal of the US Open win, by one poster, on the grounds that boisterous Argentinean fans had taken over New York and so Connors was uncomfortable, he felt lost in a hostile foreign land, poor thing. And everybody knows the AO final is a poor result because it was a mickey mouse tournament coinciding with the period when Borg didn't play there.

It should also be noted that the precaution not to judge 1977 results by 2008 standards is only followed when convenient for the argument: namely, dismissing the importance of winning 2 slams and reaching the final of another (say, 2.5 slams). This in itself would decide the issue today; but it's an illusion, you see, because in 1977 it was equivalent to one slam, if that much. Yet when talking about the importance of winning 16 titles in 1977, we dismiss it by saying that 16 titles would have been impossible in the 2008 format. So there. The 2008 format now invalidates those 16 titles.

It's all a joke. And it is a pity because cyborg does have good knowledge and analytical skills, when not clouded by the religious fervor to defend the untouchable greatness of godly Borg. But here he is stretching things into self-parody. I agree with the poster who brings this kind of logic to a neat reductio ad absurdum: all Federer has to do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up at any slams for a whole year, and then claim clear victory, since everybody knows he would have won them all if he had chosen to attend.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 10:53 AM
Palmares? That sounds delicious.

Vilas 1977 (source wikipedia)
Delicious palmares
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Vilas

In 1977, Guillermo Vilas played 31 ATP Tour singles tournaments, entered 22 finals (including 3 Grand Slam Tournaments) and won 16 titles - the Record of number of singles titles won by one player in a year in the Open Era (including 2 Grand Slam titles).

He also had a 46 singles winning streak in any surfaces in ATP Tour (within July-September 1977, including 2 Davis Cup singles win over Australia which is not shown in ATP Profile.) [2] - the longest overall winning streak in Open Era.
The ATP record of 53 matches winning streak on clay (including unofficial tournaments), finished within 1977, was broken by Rafael Nadal in May 2006.

He is still the only player to win ATP singles titles in five different continents in the same year - Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. (1977)
Singles Titles (16)
Springfield, U.S.A. - Carpet
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Clay
Virginia Beach, U.S.A. - Hard
Roland Garros (French Open) - Clay
Kitzbuhel, Austria - Clay
Washington, U.S.A. - Clay
Louisville, U.S.A. - Clay
South Orange, U.S.A. - Hard
Columbus, U.S.A. - Hard
U. S. Open - Clay
Paris, France - Clay
Tehran, Iran - Clay
Bogotá, Colombia - Clay
Santiago, Chile - Clay
Buenos Aires-2, Argentina - Clay
Johannesburg WCT, South Africa - Hard
Singles Runners-up (6)
Australian Open - Grass
Baltimore, U.S.A. - Carpet
Palm Springs, U.S.A. - Hard
Johannesburg, South Africa - Hard (not held)
Nice, France - Clay
Aix en Provence, France - Clay
Total Win-Loss : 128-14 (Most win recognised by ATP within the same calendar year, not including Davis Cup)

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 10:57 AM
It's just an assertion. What's even more hilarious is that Borg's *exhibitions* are presented as important while Vilas' wins in real tournaments are dismissed.

Not quite. The point is that outside of prestige events like Dallas, Philly, Las Vegas, etc there were many smaller events some of which are counted by the ATP and some aren't. Ultimately they are all rather minor.

Ditto for the dismissal of the FO win on the grounds that Borg wasn't there.

Actually jeffrey is pretty fair in this regard. If I am understanding correctly he grants slightly less value to the French than Wimbledon and the US Open on these grounds.

It should also be noted that the precaution not to judge 1977 results by 2008 standards is only followed when convenient for the argument: namely, dismissing the importance of winning 2 slams and reaching the final of another (say, 2.5 slams). This in itself would decide the issue today; but it's an illusion, you see, because in 1977 it was equivalent to one slam, if that much. Yet when talking about the importance of winning 16 titles in 1977, we dismiss it by saying that 16 titles would have been impossible in the 2008 format. So there. The 2008 format now invalidates those 16 titles.

It isn't really my argument that Vilas' victories at the French Open and the US Open should be unworthy of being considered as 'major' victories. Even jeffrey acknowledges, however, that different value should be allotted to these events based on the quality of opposition. My view is slightly different as I feel that the quality of draws should also be of utmost consideration.

It's all a joke. And it is a pity because cyborg does have good knowledge and analytical skills, when not clouded by the religious fervor to defend the untouchable greatness of godly Borg. But here he is stretching things into self-parody. I agree with the poster who brings this kind of logic to a neat reductio ad absurdum: all Federer has to do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up at any slams for a whole year, and then claim clear victory, since everybody knows he would have won them all if he had chosen to attend.

I am always accused of this, which is why I tend to be very careful when debates about Borg arise, but in this case I am very firm because I know for a fact that Borg was significantly better than Vilas in 1977. This is objectively true.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 11:06 AM
Vilas 1977 (source wikipedia)
Delicious palmares
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Vilas

Thomas Muster's titles in 1995:

6 March 1995 Mexico City, Mexico Clay Fernando Meligeni 7-6, 7-5
10 April 1995 Estoril, Portugal Clay Albert Costa 6-4, 6-2
17 April 1995 Barcelona, Spain Clay Magnus Larsson 6-2, 6-1, 6-4
1 May 1995 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Boris Becker 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6, 6-0
22 May 1995 Rome, Italy Clay Sergi Bruguera 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3
12 June 1995 French Open, Paris Clay Michael Chang 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
26 June 1995 Sankt Pölten, Austria Clay Bohdan Ulihrach 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
24 July 1995 Stuttgart Outdoor, Germany Clay Jan Apell 6-2, 6-2
14 August 1995 San Marino Clay Andrea Gaudenzi 6-2, 6-0
28 August 1995 Umag, Croatia Clay Carlos Costa 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
18 September 1995 Bucharest, Romania Clay Gilbert Schaller 6-3, 6-4
30 October 1995 Essen, Germany Carpet MaliVai Washington 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Wow - he was so much better than Sampras.

He reached the #1 ranking in February 12, 1996 and unlike Vilas he was at least the best player on his best surface.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 11:49 AM
Thomas Muster's titles in 1995:

6 March 1995 Mexico City, Mexico Clay Fernando Meligeni 7-6, 7-5
10 April 1995 Estoril, Portugal Clay Albert Costa 6-4, 6-2
17 April 1995 Barcelona, Spain Clay Magnus Larsson 6-2, 6-1, 6-4
1 May 1995 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Boris Becker 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6, 6-0
22 May 1995 Rome, Italy Clay Sergi Bruguera 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3
12 June 1995 French Open, Paris Clay Michael Chang 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
26 June 1995 Sankt Pölten, Austria Clay Bohdan Ulihrach 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
24 July 1995 Stuttgart Outdoor, Germany Clay Jan Apell 6-2, 6-2
14 August 1995 San Marino Clay Andrea Gaudenzi 6-2, 6-0
28 August 1995 Umag, Croatia Clay Carlos Costa 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
18 September 1995 Bucharest, Romania Clay Gilbert Schaller 6-3, 6-4
30 October 1995 Essen, Germany Carpet MaliVai Washington 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Wow - he was so much better than Sampras.

He reached the #1 ranking in February 12, 1996 and unlike Vilas he was at least the best player on his best surface.


Meaningless comparison. The comparison runs better if you invert the terms.
Sampras in 1995 still won 2 slams and was runner up at a third. Same as Vilas in 1977.
Aside from his performance at slams, Sampras won Indian Wells, Queens, Paris Indoor, and was runner up at Key Biscayne, Montreal and Lyon.

Muster won 1 slam in 1995. Was runner up at none.
Same as Borg in 1977

IN ADDITION to his 2.5 slams, Vilas won 14 other tournaments and was runner up at 5.

As I said, meaningless comparison. Clutching at straws.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 11:53 AM
I am very firm because I know for a fact that Borg was significantly better than Vilas in 1977. This is objectively true.

That’s an “objective fact” based exclusively on your personal beliefs. It may even be true, but it relies exclusively on dismissing results in favor of intrinsic and pre-established “betterness”. It does not cancel the results. We are about measuring the performance during one particular year, not about who was the better tennis player.

Federer was still better than Canas after the latter beat him twice in a row last year. But Canas still won those matches. Your approach would lead us to conclude that the real winner of those matches was Federer, and that the fact that he lost them is only an accidental interference of factual reality into eternal tennis truth. After all he was the better tennis player.

On the other hand, the fact that Vilas had clearly better results than Borg in 1977 is much closer to a real, palpable, measurable, objective fact than anything dealing with intrinsic betterness.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 12:52 PM
That’s an “objective fact” based exclusively on your personal beliefs. It may even be true, but it relies exclusively on dismissing results in favor of intrinsic and pre-established “betterness”. It does not cancel the results. We are about measuring the performance during one particular year, not about who was the better tennis player.

This is not very fair, as I do not dislike Vilas. I have no reason to feel bitterness here. I think that it is objective that Borg was the better player. He was the better player on every surface. I don't know how one can deny this. I can accept the argument that Vilas is #1 under a particular kind of a ranking system, but these are frequently flawed.

Federer was still better than Canas after the latter beat him twice in a row last year. But Canas still won those matches. Your approach would lead us to conclude that the real winner of those matches was Federer, and that the fact that he lost them is only an accidental interference of factual reality into eternal tennis truth. After all he was the better tennis player.

I fail to see how this analogy is applicable to the discussion at hand. Federer was a better player than Canas in 2007 in spite of those losses, but he wasn't the better player in those specific matches. I don't know where you are going with this.

On the other hand, the fact that Vilas had clearly better results than Borg in 1977 is much closer to a real, palpable, measurable, objective fact than anything dealing with intrinsic betterness.

What I have been trying to show here is that Vilas didn't have better results than Borg in 1977 and I have provided a number of very good arguments, such as Borg's consistent results over four surfaces and Vilas' consistent domination on one surface over everyone not named Borg.

This is why I think that Vilas' year in 1977 is comparable to Muster's in 1995, except that Muster was actually the best player on his best surface, while Vilas wasn't.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 12:53 PM
Meaningless comparison. The comparison runs better if you invert the terms.
Sampras in 1995 still won 2 slams and was runner up at a third. Same as Vilas in 1977.
Aside from his performance at slams, Sampras won Indian Wells, Queens, Paris Indoor, and was runner up at Key Biscayne, Montreal and Lyon.

Muster won 1 slam in 1995. Was runner up at none.
Same as Borg in 1977

IN ADDITION to his 2.5 slams, Vilas won 14 other tournaments and was runner up at 5.

As I said, meaningless comparison. Clutching at straws.

Was Muster better than Agassi?

random guy
03-09-2008, 01:08 PM
Wov cyborg, you really got a lot of energy!! I kind of respect that but it's a little bit tiring to read you stating the same over and over again and not taking into account what virtually everyone else is saying (well you do actually, but just to deny it)

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 01:11 PM
Wov cyborg, you really got a lot of energy!! I kind of respect that but it's a little bit tiring to read you stating the same over and over again and not taking into account what virtually everyone else is saying (well you do actually, but just to deny it)

Could you be more specific? What am I ignoring?

noeledmonds
03-09-2008, 01:33 PM
I feel this issue has been rather overcomplicated. You can argue for as long as you want who the better player was in 1977 but ultimately it is the player with better results that gets the number 1 ranking. You can't give players the benefit of the doubt in events they have not competed in. Otherwise you are saying that the favourite for an event can achieve as much credibility by skipping an event as by winning it.

In terms of who did have the best result then, why is it neccesary to look further than Vilas's 2 grand slams to Borg's 1? I know that the French Open had a depleted field but that is not Vilas's fault. You can't give the benefit to Borg because he was the favourite but did not turn up.

Vilas had better results than Borg. Perhaps Borg was a better player but to gain the number 1 ranking he needs to prove this by winning the biggest events.

There are several examples of the same thing hapenning in other years. Take Agassi in 1999. Sampras beat Agassi on all their significant encounters in 1999. However Agassi won more grand slams. Perhaps Sampras would have won the US Open had he competed, perhaps he would not but he did not. Anything else is speculation. Agassi is world number 1 for 1999.

Results are hard evidence and the only objective measure.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 01:47 PM
Actually jeffrey is pretty fair in this regard. If I am understanding correctly he grants slightly less value to the French than Wimbledon and the US Open on these grounds.


Jeffrey is more than fair, giving Borg 216 points for Wimbledon and Vilas 152 for the French, 192 for the US Open, and only 52 for the AO final. He counts top wins as 25% of total points.

Even with that, Vilas comes clearly up on top. There is no question about it.

The problem is that, in your mind , *every* ranking system is automatically flawed for 1977 *unless* it shows Borg on top. In other words, you start with the conclusion, and if the results don't bear it out, the results must be wrong or they are being measured the wrong way. Jeffrey's post is pretty conclusive and I copy it below.
--------------

Originally Posted by jeffreyneave:

Remember the system is 14 best performances plus majors.

In vilas's case you can drop his losses. outside of the majors he won 14 times
In otherwords he played a perfect year in regular events. You treat wins as postive results. With top wins counting as 25% of the total shjare of points you get results like

Borg Wimbledon 216
vilas Us open 190
Borg Memphis 66 (only gottfried counts)
Vilas Washington 82 (wins over dibbs gottfried better than borg's win)
Borg monte carlo 106
Vilas French open 152
Vilas aussie open 52
vilas louisville 66
borg nice 82
borg grand slam 67
borg witc 43
vilas springfield 50
vilas south orange 58
vilas tehran 66
borg la costa 35
borg wembly 66

you can see the 25% share for top wins kicking in these examples.

so the points are:

Top14 Vilas 700 Borg 601
Majors Vilas 326 borg 172
top wins Vilas 288 Borg 352
Masters bonus Vilas 30 borg 64

Total Vilas 1344 borg 1189

Vilas dominates two of the three categories. Borg only one.
in terms of top ten wins borg had 14; vilas 14
" 10-17 wins borg had 6 vilas 7

There is no advantage to borg on actual wins achieved; its only because of his win over vilas that he wins this category

Despite your snipes at the aussie open in the 70s it was a prestige event and still a slam with a decent field (tanner beat roche rosewall and vilas all quality players in the top 17) . When borg won memphis the only decent win was gotfried. there's nothing to get excited about borg's wins, only monte carlo stand out.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 01:51 PM
I feel this issue has been rather overcomplicated. You can argue for as long as you want who the better player was in 1977 but ultimately it is the player with better results that gets the number 1 ranking. You can't give players the benefit of the doubt in events they have not competed in. Otherwise you are saying that the favourite for an event can achieve as much credibility by skipping an event as by winning it.

In terms of who did have the best result then, why is it neccesary to look further than Vilas's 2 grand slams to Borg's 1? I know that the French Open had a depleted field but that is not Vilas's fault. You can't give the benefit to Borg because he was the favourite but did not turn up.

Okay, I like this. Then you basically admit that it's best to strip it down to the results in majors. I find this attractive because we put the other tourney stuff to rest. Both guys won a lot of titles, Vilas played a bit more and thus won a few more. Focussing on the biggest four events that matter we have Vilas with two majors and Borg with a major and a runner-up at the Masters. Hence, advantage: Vilas.

I respect this, because at least it seems to me that you're not suggesting that Vilas' 16 titles is somehow a number that matters and separates him from Borg. All in all I don't agree with your post, but I respect the way you narrow this down.

There are several examples of the same thing hapenning in other years. Take Agassi in 1999. Sampras beat Agassi on all their significant encounters in 1999. However Agassi won more grand slams. Perhaps Sampras would have won the US Open had he competed, perhaps he would not but he did not. Anything else is speculation. Agassi is world number 1 for 1999.

This is very interesting and, in my opinion, worthy of debate.

Agassi wins two majors, one without Sampras (who had won Cincinnati). They have roughly equal number of overall titles. Sampras' head-to-head against Agassi is 4-1. Both do little at the Aussie. Sampras wins the Masters.

I think it's close. I wonder if folks like the Tennis Magazine awarded Agassi with player of the year partly because they were sick of Sampras winning it year after year. Something to consider.

Results are hard evidence and the only objective measure.

I see a few examples of hard evidence in regards to Vilas and Borg. RG, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Masters. As well there's the head-to-head, performances across all surfaces and arguably their respective performances against top ranked players.

If you ignore the last three you give it to Vilas. If you don't, things get a little bit more interesting.

For the record, the ATP and Tennis Magazine both awarded Borg player of the year for 1977.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 01:54 PM
Jeffrey is more than fair, giving Borg 216 points for Wimbledon and Vilas 152 for the French, 192 for the US Open, and only 52 for the AO final. He counts top wins as 25% of total points.

Even with that, Vilas comes clearly up on top. There is no question about it.

With those facts alone, yes Vilas does come out on top. I never denied this.

The problem is that, in your mind , *every* ranking system is automatically flawed for 1977 *unless* it shows Borg on top. In other words, you start with the conclusion, and if the results don't bear it out, the results must be wrong or they are being measured the wrong way. Jeffrey's post is pretty conclusive and I copy it below.

You are being very aggressive and frankly I don't appreciate this. I am not being aggressive towards you.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 02:11 PM
This is not very fair, as I do not dislike Vilas. I have no reason to feel bitterness here.
[...]
I fail to see how this analogy is applicable to the discussion at hand. Federer was a better player than Canas in 2007 in spite of those losses, but he wasn't the better player in those specific matches. I don't know where you are going with this.


Neither do I dislike Borg. Nor am I a fan of Vilas. I don't need to be convinced that Borg was a better tennis player than Vilas. But we are talking about results for one specific year.

The Canas analogy is something I brough up in order to make precisely the point you are making, on a smaller scale. Just like you say: Federer was the better player for the year, by far, but he wasn't better on those two specific tournaments.
Likewise, over their entire careers, Borg was much better than Vilas (had better results, which is what "being better" means). No question.
But on that specific year (1977) Vilas had better results than Borg. So he was "better" in that sense.

Benhur
03-09-2008, 02:23 PM
With those facts alone, yes Vilas does come out on top. I never denied this.

You are being very aggressive and frankly I don't appreciate this. I am not being aggressive towards you.

Sorry if you think am being aggressive. It is certainly not my intention. I do believe you are completely off the mark on this and am trying to show you why.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 02:28 PM
Neither do I dislike Borg. Nor am I a fan of Vilas. I don't need to be convinced that Borg was a better tennis player than Vilas. But we are talking about results for one specific year.

Not true. Read the initial post by the thread-starter. He's talking about the #1 player as the best player and provides five reasons for rating Borg as the best of the three. His arguments trascend ranking-oriented analysis.

The Canas analogy is something I brough up in order to make precisely the point you are making, on a smaller scale. Just like you say: Federer was the better player for the year, by far, but he wasn't better on those two specific tournaments.

Likewise, over their entire careers, Borg was much better than Vilas (had better results, which is what "being better" means). No question.
But on that specific year (1977) Vilas had better results than Borg. So he was "better" in that sense.

Actually I'm not convinced Vilas had better results. Again, the factors I see herein are as such:

- The four most important events (sort of the SgtJohn system)
- H2H
- Performance across different surfaces
- Success against other top players or success in tournaments where other top players participated

You place pretty much all of the weight on the first aspect (and you're also impressed with Vilas' 16 titles, which you see as particularly impressive). I think that the other factors narrow the gap and actually give Borg the edge.

The Agassi/Sampras '99 topic is interesting as well, although I should point out that Sampras has a clear blemish there, which is his clay court results. Borg doesn't have one as glaring as that.

noeledmonds
03-09-2008, 02:44 PM
Okay, I like this. Then you basically admit that it's best to strip it down to the results in majors. I find this attractive because we put the other tourney stuff to rest. Both guys won a lot of titles, Vilas played a bit more and thus won a few more. Focussing on the biggest four events that matter we have Vilas with two majors and Borg with a major and a runner-up at the Masters. Hence, advantage: Vilas.

Advantage Vilas indeed.

I respect this, because at least it seems to me that you're not suggesting that Vilas' 16 titles is somehow a number that matters and separates him from Borg. All in all I don't agree with your post, but I respect the way you narrow this down.

I agree that Vilas having 16 titles is overvalued generally. They are an impressive achivement but not worthy the world number 1 ranking in themselves.

This is very interesting and, in my opinion, worthy of debate.

Agassi wins two majors, one without Sampras (who had won Cincinnati). They have roughly equal number of overall titles. Sampras' head-to-head against Agassi is 4-1. Both do little at the Aussie. Sampras wins the Masters.

I will not digress into this debate now but let it be suffice to say that Agassi's 2000 Australian Open victory over Sampras showed that he could beat Sampras over 5 sets on hard courts around this time. This puts too much doubt over Sampras at the US Open to give him the benefit of the doubt. Agassi reached 3 grand slam finals winning 2 of them. Sampras entered 2 grand slams, winning one of them.

I think it's close. I wonder if folks like the Tennis Magazine awarded Agassi with player of the year partly because they were sick of Sampras winning it year after year. Something to consider.

I would hope that Tennis Magazine were a little more responsible than that. I see no reason why they would hold a grudge against Sampras's dominance. The ATP ranking system game Agassi the number 1 ranking also.

I see a few examples of hard evidence in regards to Vilas and Borg. RG, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Masters. As well there's the head-to-head, performances across all surfaces and arguably their respective performances against top ranked players.

If you ignore the last three you give it to Vilas. If you don't, things get a little bit more interesting.


Regarding the last 3 points. I agree these are somewhat signifcant and can be regarded as result based anlaysis. Head to head performances are the least significant in my opinion. Some people's games fit together well to benefit one player over the other. For example, take Federer and Nadal. Nadal dominated Federer though the early part of 2006 but Federer was still the deserved world number 1. Vilas's game fitted into Borg's because their games were very similar in many respects but Borg's was generally better. Vilas's strong victories over Connors and later McEnroe show that Borg was not as far ahead of Borg generally as their head-head would suggest.

The surfaces is a intersting point. I agree that versitility is important accross the surfaces. However, I feel that you have overlooked a significant point here. This is that red clay and green clay played so differently from each other that they really should be clasified as different surfaces. Just look at Borg's results on green clay compared with red clay. So Vilas's results are more impressive on green clay and on red clay in 1977. Borg's results are more impressive on grass and carpet in 1977. Hard court is less clear. Borg won Wembley over Lloyd. Vilas won Virginia beach over Nastase and Johannesburg WCT over Mottram.

Performances against other top players it pretty even to if you discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg. If you don't discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg then you are using this head-to-head in 2 of your 3 catergories. This would be a manipulative and misleading use of an analysis.

For the record, the ATP and Tennis Magazine both awarded Borg player of the year for 1977.

Tennis Magazine is a credible source but other credible sources give Vilas the overwhelming nod over Borg. Bud Collins said that "His [Vilas's] 1977 was a monumental year in the game’s history". There is no doubt who Collin's viewed as the number 1.

Finally, I am suprised not to see the mention of the Davis Cup thus far in this thread. The Davis Cup was a far bigger event back then than it is viewed today. Vilas's won 2 crucial singles rubbers in the Davis Cup semi-final to lead Argentina to the Davis Cup Final in 1977. Borg did not compete in Davis Cup this year.

On balance I feel that Vilas does definately deserve the number 1 ranking in 1977, not by a massive margin, but none the less by a perceptable margin.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 02:59 PM
I would hope that Tennis Magazine were a little more responsible than that. I see no reason why they would hold a grudge against Sampras's dominance. The ATP ranking system game Agassi the number 1 ranking also.

I'm not saying that there was a grudge, but just that Agassi seemed to have a particular kind of 'commercial' value at the time. He was always more popular than Sampras. I think the decision to rate him #1 was very much a corporate decision in part.

That said, I still think that Agassi deserved to be rated ahead of Sampras. If we look at his performances across all surfaces he has more consistent results.

Regarding the last 3 points. I agree these are somewhat signifcant and can be regarded as result based anlaysis. Head to head performances are the least significant in my opinion. Some people's games fit together well to benefit one player over the other. For example, take Federer and Nadal. Nadal dominated Federer though the early part of 2006 but Federer was still the deserved world number 1. Vilas's game fitted into Borg's because their games were very similar in many respects but Borg's was generally better. Vilas's strong victories over Connors and later McEnroe show that Borg was not as far ahead of Borg generally as their head-head would suggest.

Here's why the Nadal/Federer analogy doesn't fit. Federer actually has a very good h2h against Nadal on non-clay surfaces. I would say a representative record.

On clay, however, Nadal dominates. Most likely also a representative record.

We have to realize that there is no such thing as Roger Federer the tennis player. There exists Roger Federer the hardcourt/carpet player, Roger Federer the grasscourt player and Roger Federer the clay court player. Same for Nadal.

From this we can posit that Rafael Nadal the clay court player trumps Roger Federer the clay court player 6 to 1. I think this is very fair.

On other surfaces it's a completely different story. Thus this is where the h2h is actually quite accurate once one analyzes it a bit more deeply.

What makes the h2h of Borg/Vilas interesting is that Borg was 2-0 against Vilas on clay; Vilas' best surface and I would say his defining surface for the year.

The surfaces is a intersting point. I agree that versitility is important accross the surfaces. However, I feel that you have overlooked a significant point here. This is that red clay and green clay played so differently from each other that they really should be clasified as different surfaces. Just look at Borg's results on green clay compared with red clay. So Vilas's results are more impressive on green clay and on red clay in 1977. Borg's results are more impressive on grass and carpet in 1977. Hard court is less clear. Borg won Wembley over Lloyd. Vilas won Virginia beach over Nastase and Johannesburg WCT over Mottram.

The green clay stuff is an interesting wrinkle. Borg skipped most of the summer and thus may not have played any green clay results outside of the US Open. I am not sure what this tells us.

Performances against other top players it pretty even to if you discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg. If you don't discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg then you are using this head-to-head in 2 of your 3 catergories. This would be a manipulative and misleading use of an analysis.

Good point and I agree, but if you discount the h2h Borg still has a percentage much higher than Vilas' against top players.

Tennis Magazine is a credible source but other credible sources give Vilas the overwhelming nod over Borg. Bud Collins said that "His [Vilas's] 1977 was a monumental year in the game’s history". There is no doubt who Collin's viewed as the number 1.

Bud Collins? That old senile fart? Okay, just kidding.

Finally, I am suprised not to see the mention of the Davis Cup thus far in this thread. The Davis Cup was a far bigger event back then than it is viewed today. Vilas's won 2 crucial singles rubbers in the Davis Cup final to lead Argentina to the Davis Cup in 1977. Borg did not compete in Davis Cup this year.

To be honest I am not sure what to say about this either. In all likelihood, if Borg did play Davis Cup he probably would have had a less active fall indoor campaign.

On balance I feel that Vilas does definately deserve the number 1 ranking in 1977, not by a massive margin, but none the less by a perceptable margin.

At the very least this makes for a nice debate. The Vilas supporters certainly want their boy to have that one year of glory to himself and I can understand that. It was a great year.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 03:05 PM
A request for some clarification from those who may know:

- of the 13 titles won by Vilas in 1977, how many were won on green and how many on red? This would be very nice to know.

Moose Malloy
03-09-2008, 04:09 PM
I think this is a rather complicated issue, and have no real strong feelings about who should have been #1 that year, but think it is incredibly simplistic to just judge 1977 in the context of what is now important in 2008(& using the way ranking points are now allotted as some sort of 'proof' as to who was really the best player that year is rather absurd if you think about it)

If you play that 'what if' game you have to acknowledge that Borg, Connors, etc would have played a dramatically different schedule in 1977 if everything back then was like it is now. The facts are that is was a very different tennis world back then, & the top players played the game & set their schedule for far different reasons than they do today.

And there are some facts that simply can't be denied, namely that the AO was not treated like a real major by the players, for the most part, in the 70s(& I just don't mean the top players. Consider this - when Mark Edmondson won the 1976 AO, he was ranked 212, but yet still got direct entry into that event! And the event was only a 64 player draw, so what does that say about the stature of that event? this isn't just about Borg or Connors not playing it, we're talking about a significant % of the top 100 who skipped it. Even Newcombe said the only reason he played the AO in '75-which he won- was because Connors entered it & he wanted to get a chance to play him. I can't imagine him saying that about the others majors of the time, certainly not W or the USO. And you can see the approx world rankings of the seeded players at the time '77 AO on the 1st page of this thread as well. Some rather surprisingly low ranked seeds for a big event, no?)

And I did recently discover some info about the ATP rankings of that time(from old tennis magazines). WCT events did not count for the ranking back then, yet these were some of the most important events on tour at the time. We shouldn't forget that all the majors back then offered less prize money than several events on the WCT tour & the Year end Masters(which also did not count for ranking). Not surprisingly, WCT events got great draws because of that $$. Doesn't it seem strange that the 4 majors in 1977 didn't offer the biggest purses on tour? Says a lot about that era, & why all the majors didn't consistently draw the best players. Money was very much an issue back then(moreso than today when many have a nice life without having to worry too much about winning, if they have endorsements to fall back on, etc), so players understandably went where the money was back then.

The champion of the 1982 WCT Dallas event(only an 8 player event) got $150,000 for winning it. By contrast the 1982 USO champ only got $90,000. Does that seem right? Look at the difference in prize money today between winning a masters series & winning a major, it's massive. The reason all the majors started getting great fields in the mid 80s, was that the majors finally started giving out major prize money. From 1975 to 1983, prize money at the majors increased very little year to year. In the mid 80s it started exploding, like almost doubling year to year. That's why the 'most majors' record is suddenly considered important today imo. Money changed the way players treated the majors.

I'm trying to find the top prize money events of the 70s & early 80s(would appreciate any help, I know Steve G has the total purse of each event on the calendar starting in '78, but I'm interested in specifically seeing what the champion of each event on tour got that year. It may help in this debate, if we see what kind of events Borg, Vilas, & Connors were playing, money wise, that year. Right now my only source is old magazines & NY times articles)

It would also be interesting to see how the AO compared to the other majors in terms of prize money back then (& if you look on the atp site -under player activity- you will see even in the 80s/ 90s the AO was offering less money & ranking points to its champion compared to the other majors- here is an example:
1989 Major Champs & Ranking Pts received for winning that event:
Lendl AO, 335 pts
Chang FO, 455 pts
Becker W, 488 pts
Becker USO, 466 pts
They did give quality pts as well back then, but when you look up other years, you will see that the AO was significantly behind the other majors in terms of ranking points, even taking flucuations in quality pts into equation. Though the AO was clearly now considered an important event again by the players, apparently the ATP thought it was still worth less than the other majors, which I thought was interesting.

Going back to 1977, since so many keep saying they are just dealing in 'facts,' well these are the facts:

Official Year End ATP Rankings:
1. Connors
2. Vilas
3. Borg

So for all these facts that some say 'prove' Vilas was #1, the ATP ranking of the time disagrees, which in some way should prove that this isn't clearcut at all, like some here make it seem.

I wonder if WCT events(or the year end masters) were counted in '77 what the rankings would have been. It seems like Vilas played less WCT than Borg or Connors that year. Monte Carlo was a WCT event back then.

All in all, the most important conclusion is this: tennis in the 70s was really messed up in its organization(the schedule today looks like it makes perfect sense in comparison, its funny to hear players today complain, they are treated so well in comparison to the players of the 70s, in terms of a less crowded calendar) I can't imagine how fans had any idea of what was really an important event(& according to several books/magazines of the time- most fans & even journalists thought exhibitions were on the level & meant something back then, so it was pretty confusing indeed)
And yet the game was at its peak of popularity. Go figure.

of the 13 titles won by Vilas in 1977, how many were won on green and how many on red

I assume only the 5 he won in the US were on green clay, & the rest were red clay. I've never heard of a green clay event used in Europe.

Vilas's won 2 crucial singles rubbers in the Davis Cup final to lead Argentina to the Davis Cup in 1977.

Argentina didn't win the DC in '77. They've never won it.

Moose Malloy
03-09-2008, 04:50 PM
Going back to that prize money issue I mentioned, here was the total purse offered by some of the non slam events that Borg, Vilas, & Connors won in 1977.
These are all the 100,000 & above events they played that year. I think this is a better way to make a guess as to what events were 'better' than others of that time than debating Gottfried vs Lloyd or something.

Borg:
Memphis (according to steveg, total purse in '78 was 225,000)
Pepsi Grand Slam(from atptennis, 200,000 & this was only a 4 man event)
Wembley(175,000 from steveg)
Barcelona(175,000 from steveg)
Madrid(100,000 from atp tennis)
Denver(100,000 from atp tennis)
Monte Carlo(100,000 from atp tennis)

Vilas:
Tehran (150,000 according to atptennis)
Johannesberg (150,000 from atptennis)
Washington(125,000)
Louisville(125,000)
Columbus(125,000)
Virginia Beach(100,000)

Connors:
Masters(400,000 - steveg)
Las Vegas (200,000 - steveg)
Dallas WCT (200,000 -steveg)
Birmingham (175,000 - steveg)
St Louis (100,000 - atptennis)
Maui (100,000 - atptennis)

I think this shows how 'minor' a lot of the events Vilas won in '77 were(nonetheless he did finish atop the prize money list for '77)

Connors won the 2 biggest money events on tour that year(both of which didn't count to atp ranking) the Masters & Dallas.

As jeffrey mentioned, Borg was hurt by choosing to play World Team Tennis(& we all know why -$$) instead of some significant events in the spring(Dallas for one)
I believe he skipped the French in order to prepare for Wimbledon.
Then he got injured & wasn't able to play any events between Wimbledon & the USO. Again, I think the #1 was a close call that year.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 05:02 PM
I think this is a rather complicated issue, and have no real strong feelings about who should have been #1 that year, but think it is incredibly simplistic to just judge 1977 in the context of what is now important in 2008(& using the way ranking points are now allotted as some sort of 'proof' as to who was really the best player that year is rather absurd if you think about it)

You have to admit that the atp scheduling as it is today provides for a much more accurate way of ranking players than what we had in the 1970s. This is why this is important.

The 2009 ATP calendar reflects an attempt on the part of the body to rate players that much more accurately than in the past, hence the creation of 2000-events, 1000-events, 500-events and 250-events. Reason: discouraging players from skipping high profile events to make up the same amount of points in places like Sopot.

CyBorg
03-09-2008, 05:04 PM
Going back to that prize money issue I mentioned, here was the total purse offered by some of the non slam events that Borg, Vilas, & Connors won in 1977.
These are all the 100,000 & above events they played that year. I think this is a better way to make a guess as to what events were 'better' than others of that time than debating Gottfried vs Lloyd or something.

Eh, not quite. Going on that Tehran, Iran was more prestigious than Monte Carlo. It wasn't.

Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Thanks for clarifying the green clay stuff.

jeffreyneave
03-10-2008, 09:58 AM
Borg beat gottfried in the final in memphis. He beat the lowly ranked tom gulikson in the sf. He gets points for beating gottfried nothing for Gullikson. In rankings beating a quality like Gottfried (top 50) is worth something. borg's wins over vilas in '77 are always highlighted.He beat john lloyd in 2 finals and they are worth nothing. this sysyem is trying to highligh top wins and so it should. The more restrictive it is the higher empasis for top 3 wins.

About surface. No ranking system has ever distinguished between surfaces. Today's atp system does not. Neither did any of the 70's systems whether by atp, grand prix or WCt. In 1977 clay was king, both the usopen and french wre on clay and all the events leading up to them wre on clay. It was the most important surface.

The atp rankings are a joke in the 70s. Neither WCT or the masters counted anything. Money decided the reltive points and high prize money events like Las vegas was awarded a huge amount of points. In 1977 on the grand prix the slams were awarded 250 points; vegas would be 175 and the field was just ok( 2 top tenners ramirez and connors).; ludicrous. At the unplayed johanaesbrg final both Borg and vilas were awarded 105 points after beating mediocre players because the event put up 150,000. Nice where they both reached the final playing players of a similar qulaity, Borg picked 50 for winning and vilas 35 because the event only put up 50,000. Vilas's achievement was the same in both events as far as i'm concerned. Money does not mean quality.

Now with the super 9 you are guarranteed quality. you can award extra points. In 1997 only one event philadeplhia justified the description. That's why I treated all the rest the same, execept for 4 man event (only 2 matches), and gave them all 50 points and then gave bonuse based on who you actually beat, restricting it to the top 17 with a heavy bias towards the top 3.

Moose malloy sems to have infated some of the events. Barcelona was only 100,000, wembly 125,000, Memphis 175,000. all regular WCT events like monte carlo 100,000.

John Necombe played every Aussie open between 1969 and 1976 (he was injured at the start of 77). No other player matched that. Whatever he said in his book , he regarded it as a prestige event. Tanner's win is his most impotrant and remembered performance along with is runner-up in 1979 at wimbledon. The world of tennis yearbook in 1977 gave as much coverage to the Ausie open as the other 3 slams; a lot more than memphis. Remember I only awarded 75 ppints compared to 150 for Wimbledon, but its still a prestige event as was the WCT finals. Borg had 5 to choose from; he only turned up at 2; he needed to play both the WCT and the french to be competitive given vilas' 17 wins, including 2 slams.


jeffrey
.

Benhur
03-10-2008, 02:51 PM
Borg beat gottfried in the final in memphis. He beat the lowly ranked tom gulikson in the sf. He gets points for beating gottfried nothing for Gullikson. In rankings beating a quality like Gottfried (top 50) is worth something. borg's wins over vilas in '77 are always highlighted.He beat john lloyd in 2 finals and they are worth nothing. this sysyem is trying to highligh top wins and so it should. The more restrictive it is the higher empasis for top 3 wins.

About surface. No ranking system has ever distinguished between surfaces. Today's atp system does not. Neither did any of the 70's systems whether by atp, grand prix or WCt. In 1977 clay was king, both the usopen and french wre on clay and all the events leading up to them wre on clay. It was the most important surface.

The atp rankings are a joke in the 70s. Neither WCT or the masters counted anything. Money decided the reltive points and high prize money events like Las vegas was awarded a huge amount of points. In 1977 on the grand prix the slams were awarded 250 points; vegas would be 175 and the field was just ok( 2 top tenners ramirez and connors).; ludicrous. At the unplayed johanaesbrg final both Borg and vilas were awarded 105 points after beating mediocre players because the event put up 150,000. Nice where they both reached the final playing players of a similar qulaity, Borg picked 50 for winning and vilas 35 because the event only put up 50,000. Vilas's achievement was the same in both events as far as i'm concerned. Money does not mean quality.

Now with the super 9 you are guarranteed quality. you can award extra points. In 1997 only one event philadeplhia justified the description. That's why I treated all the rest the same, execept for 4 man event (only 2 matches), and gave them all 50 points and then gave bonuse based on who you actually beat, restricting it to the top 17 with a heavy bias towards the top 3.

Moose malloy sems to have infated some of the events. Barcelona was only 100,000, wembly 125,000, Memphis 175,000. all regular WCT events like monte carlo 100,000.

John Necombe played every Aussie open between 1969 and 1976 (he was injured at the start of 77). No other player matched that. Whatever he said in his book , he regarded it as a prestige event. Tanner's win is his most impotrant and remembered performance along with is runner-up in 1979 at wimbledon. The world of tennis yearbook in 1977 gave as much coverage to the Ausie open as the other 3 slams; a lot more than memphis. Remember I only awarded 75 ppints compared to 150 for Wimbledon, but its still a prestige event as was the WCT finals. Borg had 5 to choose from; he only turned up at 2; he needed to play both the WCT and the french to be competitive given vilas' 17 wins, including 2 slams.


jeffrey
.

Very good points. Particularly about the surfaces. Clearly clay was a much more important surface in the 70s than today. Hard courts did not began to acquire their current status until the US Open switched to it, and later the AO. Today the balance is very heavily tilted toward hard, of course, to the point where clay is almost seen as a less worthy surface, and the green clay events have almost completely disappeared in the US and are disappearing elsewhere also. This, along with the disappearance of grass from the AO, is one of the most regretful developments of tennis since the 80s. Much more than the change in racquet technology I think. The human body did not evolve to prance and bounce on flat rocks, but rather to glide and dance gracefully on the soft earth and the cushy green grass. Cement is an abomination and an insult to the art of tennis.

Tennis old man
03-11-2008, 08:41 AM
Please guys, take it easy... come on!

Moose Malloy
03-11-2008, 01:08 PM
The atp rankings are a joke in the 70s. Neither WCT or the masters counted anything. Money decided the reltive points and high prize money events like Las vegas was awarded a huge amount of points. In 1977 on the grand prix the slams were awarded 250 points; vegas would be 175 and the field was just ok( 2 top tenners ramirez and connors).; ludicrous. At the unplayed johanaesbrg final both Borg and vilas were awarded 105 points after beating mediocre players because the event put up 150,000. Nice where they both reached the final playing players of a similar qulaity, Borg picked 50 for winning and vilas 35 because the event only put up 50,000. Vilas's achievement was the same in both events as far as i'm concerned. Money does not mean quality.


Great post, jeffrey. You'd provided more specific info on exactly how the ranking system worked in the 70s/80s than anyone else on this board has provided over all the years I've posted here. It seemed like such a mystery.

You confirm some of what I thought - that the big money events (sans WCT) offered pretty big points in the 70s/80s.

I have many questions (maybe you can point in me in the direction of where to find this out, if you don't wish to answer them. I'd love to get ahold of those World of Tennis Yearbooks. I notice you post on wikepedia, do you have any articles detailing the ranking methods/points of the time there?)

You mentioned the slams offered 250 pts in 1977, do you know how long that number was the case? how much did you get for a Runner-Up at the majors in '77? did that number hold true in the early 80s as well? Also you mentioned that Vegas in '77 offered 175 pts, do you have the ranking pts breakdown of all the events that counted for ranking that year for Connors, Vilas, Borg? Was it a close race in the ATP ranking?

I have a Year in Review tennis magazine issue for 1982, that year Mac finished at #1 with a 122.58 average & Connors finished with a 121.47 average for #2, a very close margin. I wondered how many pts Connors got for his W & USO wins that year & how Mac managed to top him.

Also, concerning prize money - I mentioned I was trying to compile a list of the 1st place prize money for majors & other big events over the years, do you know where I can find that? Right now I'm just using old magazines, or the actual videos of the finals to learn how much prize money went to the winner.

For instance, do you know much the AO, FO, W, & USO champions got in '77? or '82? I'm curious if there was a big difference & want to see how much the money increased over the years.

As I mentioned, I thought it was interesting that the WCT finals (& other WCT events that year) offered more prize money to the winners than the USO champion that year. I wonder how long this was the case, that the majors didn't offer the biggest prizes on tour.

Moose Malloy
03-11-2008, 01:19 PM
For the record, the ATP and Tennis Magazine both awarded Borg player of the year for 1977

But in 1978, Tennis Magazine picked Connors as #1!

I have an issue which has all their top 10s until the mid-90s(when they discontinued doing that since their ranking & the atp were now basically the same) They also have what they voted as the top 5 players on all surfaces (clay, indoor, hard, grass) over the years. Some interesting names.

This was the panel that voted on top 10 in the 80s(presumably the same that voted in 1977)

John Barrett
Peter Bodo
Judith Elian
Alexander McNab
Rino Tommasi
Alan Trengrove
Wataru Tsukagioshi

It's too bad I don't have the '77 issue, I'm curious how the vote went(in the 80s issues I have, they listed their specific top 10s as well. In 1982 6 of the 7voted Connors as #1, Tommasi picked Lendl)

This was their top 10 for '77(which didn't differ from the names that finished in the ATP top 10, just in the order)

Borg
Vilas
Connors
Gottfried
Gerulaitis
Orantes
Ramirez
Stockton
Dibbs
Nastase

CyBorg
03-11-2008, 05:07 PM
But in 1978, Tennis Magazine picked Connors as #1!

That was closer than it looks. Connors won a handful of top-level singles titles that year, did not play the French and avenged the Wimby loss to Borg in the US Open.

Philly may have been the fourth biggest event in 1978 and Connors won it.

urban
03-11-2008, 10:45 PM
Tennis magazine had Borg at Nr.1 in 1977, World Tennis had Vilas (he was on the cover with a green Fila shirt). I bought that magazine then in Germany, but don't know, if i still have it. On the internet auction side, several year end magazines of the time are sold at the moment. These magazine rankings were pretty high accepted at the time, in some circles more than the computer ranking.

jeffreyneave
03-12-2008, 12:47 PM
hello moose.

The points on the atp rankings changed each year during the 70's and early 80s due to inflation. The points total got higher as prize money went up. The ratio between a slam and the next tier, usually las vegas or palm springs did not change much. In 1975 A slam was 160; Las Vegas 120.

In 1977 connors did just edge it out . Vilas and Borg suffrerd a bit because the they played some 50,000 events like Nice which only gave 50 points. In 1982 the same problem arises, the slams only have a 1/3 mark up on the next tier. With today's ratio of 2, Connors would be an easy winner over McEnroe. 1982 was a year of dispute. no WCT events counted towards the rankings. Hence Lendl is usually credited with winning 15 of 23 events in 1982, but according to the ATP he only played 12 or 13. Lendl had a far better record than McEnroe.

Highest 1st prize money events:

1970 Champions tennis classic 70000 laver
1971 Champions tennis classic 160000 Laver
1972 WCT finals 50000 Rosewall
1973 WCT finals 50000 Smith
1974 Wct finals 50000 Necombe
!975 WCt finals 50000 Ashe
1976 Avis challenge cup nastase 180000
1977 WCT challenge cup 180000 Connors
1978 WCT challenge cup 170000 nastase

Of the slams the US open, always paid the most In 1970 and 1971 20,000. In 1973 25000. I've forgotten the rest but it rose fairly rapidly. Neither the US open or Wimbledon ever lost their prestige as the most important events, save 1971-73 when there were political disputes. Laver and others openly boycotted '71 US open because of the ITF ban which stopped WCT pros playing Wimbledon 1972; Rosewall and laver regarded their WCT showdown in '71 as more important. In the Borg/connors era Wimbledon and the US open were always the most important events whatever the prize money.

In 1978 Connors won 11/14 ATp events counting events; Borg 7/14. And of courses the French slam had lower ratio to other events as I mentioned at the top. Looking at true competition, Connors won 12/18 and borg 9/18, but Borg won 2 slams to Connors' one. Borg had 2-1 head to head advantage ( or 3-2 depending on the legitimacy of evens).

I would very much like to see the full panel list of world rankings you mentioned from tennis magazine.

jeffrey

SgtJohn
03-13-2008, 02:02 AM
Hi Jeffrey,

Thank you for all this information!

Do you or anyone else have information about the Champions Classic in New York? I couldn't find draws on atptennis nor itftennis.com...

Jon

EDIT: I saw on an older post that it was a winner-take-all series with a final between the best 2, according to urban. Do you know who was in the final? Was it widely considered as the main event of the year (before the Masters)?

I now realize that the early Open Era is probably the period I know the least about. Even for the 1880s or other ancient eras I have a pretty clear idea of the main tournament and their winners, but the 70s are a mess!
Do you have a list of the few top-prize money events for each year, as well as an indication of whether the draws were good (I don't think a huge prize money always leads to stellar draws: I found those of the WCT Challenge cup for the late 70s and they were not remarkable. We could say the same about the Grand Slam Cup in the late 90s).

Thanks!

urban
03-13-2008, 05:59 AM
Maybe Jeffrey has more information, i must go to the World of Tennis yearbooks for results of matches. At the moment this: The Classic Series was played in 1970 and 71 between the top ten pro players in US indoor arenas for then unheard big money. It had a complicated system. The winner of the first match was challenged by the next in line player, the winner subsequently challenged by the next. Loser of first and second rounds of preliminary matches could qualify, to challenge again. Then there was a semifinal and final with the top four qualifiers at the Garden in New York. In 1970 sf, Laver beat Gonzales in straight and Rosewall beat Emerson in a tough five-setter. In July, Laver beat Rosewall 64,63,63 for the crown and 35ooo $. In January to March 1971, Laver beat all comers, Rosewall, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Okker, Ashe again, Ralston, Emerson, Taylor, Emerson again in succession, 11 winner take all matches in all. Then he won the sf over Ralston and the final over Okker (63,63,61), booking another 35ooo $.

SgtJohn
03-13-2008, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the info, urban!

Jeffrey, the atp "vault" website lists the '70 US Open prize money as $137,800...Is it a typo??

Moose Malloy
03-13-2008, 11:05 AM
Jeffrey, the atp "vault" website lists the '70 US Open prize money as $137,800...Is it a typo??

That sounds plausible as the total prize money for a 128 player event with a $20,000 prize for the winner. As far as 100,000+ to just the winner, the USO didn't hit that mark until 1983 or so.

1971 Champions tennis classic 160000 Laver

That's quite an amazing number for just winning one event back then. In an ATP guide I have they have all the prize money leaders year by year, & Laver is at #1 with 292,000 for all of 1971. 2nd place was Rosewall with 138,000.

1976 Avis challenge cup nastase 180000


Do you know who he beat in the final? Trying to see if it is listed on itf or my ATP guide(which has events listed that aren't on the atp site)

I would very much like to see the full panel list of world rankings you mentioned from tennis magazine.


I only have individual lists for the panel for 1982. I have all the overall top 10 lists that tennis magazine listed for 1972-1991(the year they stopped publishing rankings)

What lists do you want to see specifically?

here was 1972:

1. Smith
2. Rosewall
3. Nastase
4. Laver
5. Newcombe
6. Ashe
7. Okker
8. Orantes
9. Drysdale
10. Riessen

SgtJohn
03-13-2008, 11:29 AM
That sounds plausible as the total prize money for a 128 player event with a $20,000 prize for the winner. As far as 100,000+ to just the winner, the USO didn't hit that mark until 1983 or so.


My mistake...:oops: I thought 20,000 was the whole purse.

jeffreyneave
03-13-2008, 01:37 PM
Nastase beat borg in sf and ashe F in 1976


The prize money is for winning the event.

The ATP prize money is always dubious in the 70s. Nastase's win would not have counted in '76. The USTA prize money list is better

I would like to see all rankings between '73 and '83. It always interesting to see a panel vote rather than one man's view

jeffrey

Moose Malloy
03-13-2008, 02:40 PM
1973:
1.Nastase
2.Newcombe
3.Smith
4.Okker
5.Connors
6.Laver
7.Kodes
8.Ashe
9.Rosewall
10.Gorman/Orantes

1974:
1.Connors
2.Newcombe
3.Rosewall
4.Borg
5.Vilas
6.Laver
7.Smith
8.Nastase
9.Ashe
10.Orantes

1975:
1.Ashe
2.Connors
3.Borg
4.Orantes
5.Vilas
6.Nastase
7.Ramirez
8.Laver
9.Rosewall
10.Tanner

1976:
1.Connors
2.Borg
3.Nastase
4.Vilas
5.Ramirez
6.Orantes
7.Panatta
8.Dibbs
9.Solomon
10.Tanner

1978:
1.Connors
2.Borg
3.Gerulaitis
4.Vilas
5.Dibbs
6.McEnroe
7.Gottfried
8.Ramirez
9.Solomon
10.Barazzutti

urban
03-13-2008, 11:03 PM
Thanks for the information, Moose and Jeffrey.

Moose Malloy
03-14-2008, 09:11 AM
here are the rest of the list, jeffrey

1979:
1.Borg
2.McEnroe
3.Connors
4.Gerulaitis
5.Tanner
6.Vilas
7.Solomon
8.Higueras
9.Dibbs
10. Pecci

1980
1.Borg
2.McEnroe
3.Connors
4.Lendl
5.Mayer
6.Vilas
7.Gerulaitis
8.Solomon
9.Clerc
10.Gottfried

1981
1.McEnroe
2.Borg
3.Connors
4.Lendl
5.Clerc
6.Vilas
7.Mayer
8.Tanner
9.Teltscher
10.McNamara

1982
1.Connors
2.Lendl
3.McEnroe
4.Vilas
5.Wilander
6.Gerulaitis
7.Mayer
8.Clerc
9.Noah
10.Higueras

1983
1.McEnroe
2.Connors
3.Lendl
4.Wilander
5.Noah
6.Arias
7.Higueras
8.Vilas
9.Scanlon
10.Clerc

You didn't ask for it, but was a bit surprised at the Tennis rankings for 1988, they dropped Lendl to #4.

llgc8080
03-16-2008, 12:13 PM
Backing 77, don't forget the spaguetti raquet>>> look this post:
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=78496

Michel Sutter, a recognized journalist - tennis historian, choose Vilas over Bjorn too (and the true is that I'm a fan of BORG, he played better for me, but... that year Guillermo take advantage of Iceman injuries and bad choices>>> not Vilas fault, he won the events).

llgc8080
03-16-2008, 01:35 PM
That's an opinion, of course. I don't have thr true.
I really really like Ice (he's the GOAT for me!), but at some point results (always in 77) are more important that "if, would".
Thanks to Moose, Jeffrey and urban for the info.

garcia_doomer
03-17-2008, 12:30 PM
Vilas was the number one!

garcia_doomer
03-17-2008, 12:31 PM
***********

garcia_doomer
03-17-2008, 01:55 PM
Sorry, i don't know how to put an image here. Look his link, Borg, Vilas, Wilander, Cash, all together playing for a while in BsAs after all these years. That's really great! I give you this links...

http://www.ole.clarin.com/notas/2008/03/16/tenis/01629877.html

http://www.ole.clarin.com/notas/2008/03/15/tenis/01628824.html

http://www.losandes.com.ar/includes/modulos/vergaleria.asp?id=349670&id_foto=190750&tipo=noticia

This is the best link:

http://www.tenisdeases.com.ar/

Tennis old man
03-18-2008, 05:18 AM
Well add Garcia, I don't think this is the right place to post it! But thank you!!!

Tennisfan!
03-27-2008, 02:47 PM
I agree largely with what is being said here, however I belive that Vilas defenitly deserves the number 1 year end ranking. While both Connors and Borg have a greater pedigree than Vilas this was Vilas's year. Vilas's 16 tournaments are the 2nd most won in a single year in the open-era (after Laver's 1969). Vilas won 2 grand slams compared to Borg's 1. Borg beat Connors at SW19 but Vilas beat Connors at the USO. The performance by Vilas at the USO final was remarkable. The bagel he gave Connors in the 4th set was one of the best induvidual sets of tennis you will see. Vilas did win both slams on clay but red clay in Europe is very different from green clay in the USA (just ask Borg). Vilas also had his record breaking streak and clay court streak (clay court streak has since been exceeded by Nadal). Without Nastase's use of the spaghetti racket with streak would likely have been far longer. Vilas also made the final of the AO, which although had a weaker field than larger events, still shows Vilas's versitility to win on grass.

Ultimately I think there is confusion on what being world number 1 means. I don't think it means "being the best player in the year", I think it means "having the best results of the year". While I accept that Borg would have been very likely to win the FO (had he participated in the event). Borg did not participipate and Vilas captilased on this. Likewise if Federer quit tennis he could not be the number 1 player this time next year, even if he was the best player. You need to win the events to prove yourself best and you need to beat players from an entire draw, not just your fellow number 1 competitors.

Totally agree. The injuries of Connors and Borg are not Vilas problem. And not all the titles won by the argentine were mickey mouse tournies (so... & Pepsi Grand Slam? 4 men draw?), like Borg titles are'nt all "greats". 2 slams, 1 final in a depleted Aussie Open (but a Slam too, and IN GRASS!). Borg or Connors don't won Hamburg or Rome too. A straight run "cuts" by a spaghetti raquet.


I think that some day, ATP will recognize Vilas at number one at least at one "week" in 77. Not today, of course.:)

Tennisfan!
03-27-2008, 02:55 PM
As jeffrey mentioned, Borg was hurt by choosing to play World Team Tennis(& we all know why -$$) instead of some significant events in the spring(Dallas for one)
I believe he skipped the French in order to prepare for Wimbledon.
Then he got injured & wasn't able to play any events between Wimbledon & the USO. Again, I think the #1 was a close call that year.

Not Vilas fault.:)

Q&M son
04-14-2008, 10:12 AM
I saw all the discussion on this thread, very interesting: for me, numbers said that Vilas was the N° 1 in 77. We're talking about points. So... 16 tournies (2 GS) is enough for me.
Greetings.

Lucio.

hoodjem
05-02-2008, 09:45 AM
Bumpity . . bump.

Q&M son
05-02-2008, 10:02 AM
Bumpity . . bump.

Maybe...
All threads in TT "Former Players" are in some point "bumped".:)
The main discussion about this thread was about Feb-March 08, take a look...

CyBorg
05-02-2008, 11:32 AM
Back by popular demand.

I agree that overall Borg was a better player, on clay, grass, and maybe even hard-court. After all, Borg beat Vilas at the FO finals in 1975 and 1978.

Borg was 3-0 against Vilas in 1977 - this is year-specific.

But this debate is just about 1977. In 1977 Vilas had better results: more titles. In 1977 Vilas won the USO dropping only a single set in the entire tournament--in the finals against Connors. He won every other round in straight sets.

Yes, Vilas' US Open victory is very impressive. But Borg's win at Wimbledon isn't less so. Maybe even more so. I think that Vilas' French Open accomplishment is a big deal, but there is a lot of things to keep in mind, in retrospect. It wasn't big enough for Borg to play in, as he went to play World Team Tennis. Vilas' victory there is not more impressive than Borg's dismantling of Vilas in Monte Carlo.

At the USO in 1977, Borg retired in the fourth round trailing Dick Stockton, who was immediately beaten in the quarters by Harold Solomon, who was trounced in straight sets by Vilas in the semis. In 1977 Borg's only major was Wimbledon.

Borg retired due to an injury, while leading.

I find that facts are more convincing than "These are such weak arguments. Borg was a better player on every single surface."

These facts aren't 'objective' in the full meaning of the word, because they are skewed. Vilas gets rewarded for playing more, for being picky with his tournaments and for avoiding the really heavy fields. Borg played less; missed a few months due to an injury; participated in higher profile events and still won 11 singles titles. In a more standardized ATP-led schedule, Vilas wouldn't get to double digits in titles. This is why context is important and it reveals to us that Vilas' year isn't what it was cracked up to be. He dominated on clay the whole year round in events where the real top player was not participating.

Borg, overall was the better player, but in 1977 Vilas was the better player--as indicated by the records of each player.

W-L is a silly way of comparing these guys. I have already explained why.

And I am not only arguing that Borg was the better player. He also had the better year, by having better results on all surfaces than Vilas and by dominating Vilas head-to-head. Vilas' only truly great victory in 1977 was the US Open.

Q&M son
05-02-2008, 01:37 PM
CyBorg is back here! That's the big one!
Thank you!:)

hoodjem
05-03-2008, 05:59 AM
Yes, Vilas' US Open victory is very impressive. But Borg's win at Wimbledon isn't less so. Maybe even more so. I never said it was less impressive. Who did? I regard these as equal.


[The 1977] French Open wasn't big enough for Borg to play in, as he went to play World Team Tennis.


Irrelevant as to why Borg did not play. That's his business, and interpreting it makes no sense. You can't win a world class tournament if you don't play. It was certainly important enough for Borg in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981.

You can't award Borg any credit for not playing and then say Monte Carlo is equally impressive. A win at Monte Carlo is simply not as impressive as a win at the FO. This logic does not hold--take way everything else and suggest that player X beats player Y at Monte Carlo. Player X does nothing else all year. But player Y wins at the French Open. Player Y is and should be ranked higher: he won a bigger tournament and was runner-up in another. All Player X did was win one less-important tournament.



Yes, Vilas' US Open victory is very impressive. But Borg's win at Wimbledon isn't less so. Maybe even more so. I think that Vilas' French Open accomplishment is a big deal.
OK, then Borg has Wimbledon, and Vilas has the USO and the FO.

I certainly do not regard Borg's victory at Monte Carlo as equal to Vilas's victory at Roland Garros.

jean pierre
05-03-2008, 07:07 AM
Just the facts in 1977 :

- Grand Slam :
Vilas : 2 victories, 1 Final
Borg : 1 victory
- ATP Tournaments :
Vilas : 16 victories (almays a record)
Borg : 11 victories
- Matches won consecutively :
Vilas : 46 (always a record)

But Borg is n°1 because he beats Vilas 3 times ??? It's a joke.
OK, so the real n°1 since three years is not Federer, it's Nadal, because he beats Federer a lot of times.

hoodjem
05-03-2008, 07:57 AM
Don't cloud the issue with facts. (What a silly idea :).)

CyBorg doesn't like that--the facts are always against him.

CyBorg
05-03-2008, 09:34 AM
Irrelevant as to why Borg did not play. That's his business, and interpreting it makes no sense. You can't win a world class tournament if you don't play. It was certainly important enough for Borg in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981.

I subscribe to the Bill James mentality on this one.

He's a baseball statistician and writer who wrote about the relative worth of baseball players in the WWII years when many were in the middle of their military service and thus were not playing.

His argument was that these players lost valuable years because of military service, but were nevertheless great players when they were away. He assigned them a fixed value for these years, stating that even though these players were away they were still objectively speaking amongst the best in the world but were affected by circumstances beyond their control. He added that players who had injuries did not have the same excuse.

In my situation Borg's situation is similar in that what matters is that he was objectively better than Vilas on clay and in this case there are results that actually prove this. Now, your argument would be stronger if you could demonstrate that the French Open was as irreplaceable as it is today. But it wasn't - it was not uncommon for a player to skip the event to play World Team Tennis. There were also tremendous restrictions and bannings in place in this era, which speaks to circumstances that were beyond the players' control. Saying that Borg should have foreseen the future and chosen to play at the French Open is frankly unfair. The aspect that is beyond Borg's control is the contemporary perception of the French Open, which sees the event as indispensable, something that wasn't the case 30 years ago.

You can't award Borg any credit for not playing and then say Monte Carlo is equally impressive. A win at Monte Carlo is simply not as impressive as a win at the FO. This logic does not hold--take way everything else and suggest that player X beats player Y at Monte Carlo. Player X does nothing else all year. But player Y wins at the French Open. Player Y is and should be ranked higher: he won a bigger tournament and was runner-up in another. All Player X did was win one less-important tournament.

Weak logic. Player X did do something else all year. Player X was playing World Team Tennis and not merely sitting on his ***. He chose one high profile event for the time over another.

OK, then Borg has Wimbledon, and Vilas has the USO and the FO.

I certainly do not regard Borg's victory at Monte Carlo as equal to Vilas's victory at Roland Garros.

It was better. Borg beat Vilas in Monte Carlo. Vilas beat Gottfried in Roland Garros.

CyBorg
05-03-2008, 09:35 AM
But Borg is n°1 because he beats Vilas 3 times ??? It's a joke.
OK, so the real n°1 since three years is not Federer, it's Nadal, because he beats Federer a lot of times.

Nadal is only objectively better than Federer on one surface.

Weak logic.

hoodjem
05-03-2008, 04:32 PM
It was better. Borg beat Vilas in Monte Carlo. Vilas beat Gottfried in Roland Garros.
Holds little water. Winning at the FO is always better than winning at Monte Carlo: more players, more rounds, more sets, more history.

And don't forget Borg beat Vilas at Nice also. But Vilas's record was better than Borg's record in 1977. Period.

CyBorg
05-03-2008, 04:37 PM
Holds little water. Winning at the FO is always better than winning at Monte Carlo: more players, more rounds, more sets, more history.

Sgt John and I agree on this in principle. See the discussions about Rome vs. French Open in 1971.

Again, standardization began in 1990. Until then few events were objectively better than any others particularly when it came to the French Open up until the 1980s.

It was worse with the women. Evert skipped this event for a number of years in the 1970s. I guess you would also argue that whoever won this title in her absence was better.

And don't forget Borg beat Vilas at Nice also. But Vilas's record was better than Borg's record in 1977. Period.

Platitude.

jean pierre
05-04-2008, 09:23 AM
I subscribe to the Bill James mentality on this one.

He's a baseball statistician and writer who wrote about the relative worth of baseball players in the WWII years when many were in the middle of their military service and thus were not playing.

His argument was that these players lost valuable years because of military service, but were nevertheless great players when they were away. He assigned them a fixed value for these years, stating that even though these players were away they were still objectively speaking amongst the best in the world but were affected by circumstances beyond their control. He added that players who had injuries did not have the same excuse.

In my situation Borg's situation is similar in that what matters is that he was objectively better than Vilas on clay and in this case there are results that actually prove this. Now, your argument would be stronger if you could demonstrate that the French Open was as irreplaceable as it is today. But it wasn't - it was not uncommon for a player to skip the event to play World Team Tennis. There were also tremendous restrictions and bannings in place in this era, which speaks to circumstances that were beyond the players' control. Saying that Borg should have foreseen the future and chosen to play at the French Open is frankly unfair. The aspect that is beyond Borg's control is the contemporary perception of the French Open, which sees the event as indispensable, something that wasn't the case 30 years ago.



Weak logic. Player X did do something else all year. Player X was playing World Team Tennis and not merely sitting on his ***. He chose one high profile event for the time over another.



It was better. Borg beat Vilas in Monte Carlo. Vilas beat Gottfried in Roland Garros.

OK. So, in 2003, Memphis is more important than Roland-Garros, because in Memphis Taylor Dent beats Roddick, and in RG, Ferrero beats Verkerk. Idem in 1986 : Dallas was more important than Roland-Garros, because in Dallas Jarryd beats Becker, and in RG, Lendl beats Pernfors. And in 1983, any tournament is more important than Wimbledon, because McEnroe beats Chris Lewis in final !! ........

CyBorg
05-04-2008, 09:57 AM
OK. So, in 2003, Memphis is more important than Roland-Garros, because in Memphis Taylor Dent beats Roddick, and in RG, Ferrero beats Verkerk. Idem in 1986 : Dallas was more important than Roland-Garros, because in Dallas Jarryd beats Becker, and in RG, Lendl beats Pernfors. And in 1983, any tournament is more important than Wimbledon, because McEnroe beats Chris Lewis in final !! ........

None of this is similar. Read the thread again.

hoodjem
05-04-2008, 10:11 AM
CyBorg,

I respect your opinion in this matter, and I think it's provocative and worthy. But I do not and cannot agree.

I also don't think there is anything to be gained by continuing to debate: I don't believe I will convince you, and I don't believe that you will convince me.

I propose that we agree to disagree.
Salute,
Hoodjem

CyBorg
05-04-2008, 12:41 PM
CyBorg,

I respect your opinion in this matter, and I think it's provocative and worthy. But I do not and cannot agree.

I also don't think there is anything to be gained by continuing to debate: I don't believe I will convince you, and I don't believe that you will convince me.

I propose that we agree to disagree.
Salute,
Hoodjem

Yeah - that's fine. Your position is quite reasonable and partly chaognosis-esque (in that you feel that Roland Garros herein has a particular kind of fixed prestige value).

I think that context provides more complex revelations, which I think explains why much of the world at the time rated Borg's year higher than Vilas' (probably about half-and-half). Ultimately this debate is fairly open-ended, particularly in light of the fact that we cannot approach a year like this by employing common standards.

Q&M son
05-06-2008, 03:04 AM
Bumpity . . bump.

Sorry hood, I suposed you said that I bumped (well maybe I did it!!!) the thread... Have to go on Google and discover the meaning of the word, ha! Apologies Rocket.

Here's a link with points in GP and ATP ranking on 77:
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=130373

Vegito
06-02-2008, 04:04 PM
I have observed the numbers of Vilas in 1977; and I can´t know why he was not #1 in 1977? What do you think? Injustice?

Vilas in 1977:

http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/players/playerprofiles/playeractivity.asp?query=Singles&year=1977&player=V028&selTournament=0&prevtrnnum=0

jean pierre
06-02-2008, 09:54 PM
Yes, incredible injustice. It's totally absurd. The rules of the ATP has changed today, and with the rules of today, Vilas would have been n°1 during several monthes. But everybody (or almost everybody) consider that Vilas is the world champion in 1977, and the magazine "World Tennis", which was the autority at this period, has elected Vilas as the N°1. Some people (but only a few persons) consider that Borg was the N°1 because he beats Vilas 3 times in 1977 : it's absurd, because the n°1 is the guy who has the best palmares, and not the guy who beats X or Y. Vilas won 16 torunaments (record) and Borg 11, Vilas won 46 matches consecutively (record), and in the Grand Slam Vilas has 2 victories and 1 final, and Borg only 1 victory. So, there's no doubt, Vilas is the world champion. Everybody is agree with that.

noeledmonds
06-03-2008, 02:42 AM
See this thread for extensive debate on the topic:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=134666

hoodjem
06-03-2008, 06:13 AM
W-L is a silly way of comparing these guys. I have already explained why.

My favorite.

hoodjem
06-03-2008, 06:15 AM
Not again. . . (pssssttt, don't get Cy riled up).

garcia_doomer
06-03-2008, 08:07 AM
Again with this one? Sincerely, I'm happy: if you discuss today facts of 30 years ago, something wasn't right back then. Vilas should be proud, ha! :)

CyBorg
06-03-2008, 08:11 AM
bah, never mind.

Vegito
06-03-2008, 09:24 PM
Yes, incredible injustice. It's totally absurd. The rules of the ATP has changed today, and with the rules of today, Vilas would have been n°1 during several monthes. But everybody (or almost everybody) consider that Vilas is the world champion in 1977, and the magazine "World Tennis", which was the autority at this period, has elected Vilas as the N°1. Some people (but only a few persons) consider that Borg was the N°1 because he beats Vilas 3 times in 1977 : it's absurd, because the n°1 is the guy who has the best palmares, and not the guy who beats X or Y. Vilas won 16 torunaments (record) and Borg 11, Vilas won 46 matches consecutively (record), and in the Grand Slam Vilas has 2 victories and 1 final, and Borg only 1 victory. So, there's no doubt, Vilas is the world champion. Everybody is agree with that.

Of course. I do not discuss if Connors or Borg were more or less talented than Vilas; or “what would have happened if Borg had played…” (we imagine that Federer is injured and nothing plays in 2009, and Nadal wins everything: Nadal would be #1, although Federer is better) The important thing is what they obtained, and in 1977 Vilas was unquestionably the best one. I don´t have bad thoughts, but I consider that perhaps then(at that time) it was more “business”, “more advisable” than somebody well-known (if he were American, better) was number 1. That is the real reason. I hope that the ATP puts the trousers and recognizes that Willy was number 1.

Vegito
06-03-2008, 09:27 PM
Sorry, I don´t "DESIRE" have bad thoughts

hoodjem
06-04-2008, 07:41 AM
bah, never mind.

I'm with you on this one: bah.

Vegito
08-12-2008, 12:09 PM
Anybody know hoy many points was the tournament of Aix-en Provence in 1977?(winer and final)

ClarkC
08-12-2008, 04:20 PM
Now, your argument would be stronger if you could demonstrate that the French Open was as irreplaceable as it is today. But it wasn't - it was not uncommon for a player to skip the event to play World Team Tennis. There were also tremendous restrictions and bannings in place in this era, which speaks to circumstances that were beyond the players' control. Saying that Borg should have foreseen the future and chosen to play at the French Open is frankly unfair. The aspect that is beyond Borg's control is the contemporary perception of the French Open, which sees the event as indispensable, something that wasn't the case 30 years ago.


Who could possibly foresee that the all-time tennis record books would continue to record the French Open as one of the four grand slams? Why, Borg would have to have been a prophet and a genius to predict that the French Open would be considered more important than ... than ... what was he doing during the two weeks of the French Open?

Total grand slam tennis titles have been counted, and discussed as being important, for a long time. In 1977, every pro player was aware that Roy Emerson had 12 titles in grand slams, Rod Laver had 11, and Bill Tilden had 10. Everyone was aware that calendar year grand slams were what made Rod Laver to greatest of all time as of 1977. If anyone chose to skip the Australian Open or any other slam, it was due to wanting to rest their bodies, etc. It was not due to failing to comprehend that these were still being counted as Grand Slam events.

What was Borg doing at the French Open during the other years that he played it, including the six years he won it? Did he think it was not historic when he was winning it? Sorry, but this aspect of the argument is a crock.

ClarkC
08-12-2008, 05:11 PM
Here were Vilas' scores at the 1977 French Open, just FYI:

G. VILAS (3) d. Z. Franulovic 6-1,6-2,6-4

G. VILAS (3) d. B. Prajoux 2-6,6-0,6-3,6-0

G. VILAS (3) d. B. Mitton 6-1,6-4,6-2

G. VILAS (3) d. S. SMITH (9) 6-1,6-2,6-1

G. VILAS (3) d. W. FIBAK (9) 6-4,6-0,6-4

G. VILAS (3) d. R. RAMIREZ (5) 6-2,6-0,6-3

Final (7th round) - Guillermo VILAS (3) d. Brian GOTTFRIED (6) 6-0,6-3,6-0

Vegito
08-20-2008, 01:36 PM
I don´t understand why Vilas don´t played the most important tournaments or the same that Connors if he(Vilas that year)was better than Connors.

CyBorg
08-20-2008, 01:40 PM
Everyone was aware that calendar year grand slams were what made Rod Laver to greatest of all time as of 1977.

That's not the reason. If you think Laver's accomplishment as an amateur significantly bolstered his all-time status you haven't been reading much about Laver.

The rest of your post falls apart this considered.

pmerk34
08-20-2008, 04:23 PM
Who could possibly foresee that the all-time tennis record books would continue to record the French Open as one of the four grand slams? Why, Borg would have to have been a prophet and a genius to predict that the French Open would be considered more important than ... than ... what was he doing during the two weeks of the French Open?

Total grand slam tennis titles have been counted, and discussed as being important, for a long time. In 1977, every pro player was aware that Roy Emerson had 12 titles in grand slams, Rod Laver had 11, and Bill Tilden had 10. Everyone was aware that calendar year grand slams were what made Rod Laver to greatest of all time as of 1977. If anyone chose to skip the Australian Open or any other slam, it was due to wanting to rest their bodies, etc. It was not due to failing to comprehend that these were still being counted as Grand Slam events.

What was Borg doing at the French Open during the other years that he played it, including the six years he won it? Did he think it was not historic when he was winning it? Sorry, but this aspect of the argument is a crock.


I can see the Australian Open was real important to Borg.

Benhur
08-20-2008, 06:02 PM
Total grand slam tennis titles have been counted, and discussed as being important, for a long time. In 1977, every pro player was aware that Roy Emerson had 12 titles in grand slams, Rod Laver had 11, and Bill Tilden had 10. Everyone was aware that calendar year grand slams were what made Rod Laver to greatest of all time as of 1977. If anyone chose to skip the Australian Open or any other slam, it was due to wanting to rest their bodies, etc. It was not due to failing to comprehend that these were still being counted as Grand Slam events.

What was Borg doing at the French Open during the other years that he played it, including the six years he won it? Did he think it was not historic when he was winning it? Sorry, but this aspect of the argument is a crock.

I agree, especially the last part. One cannot have it both ways. The French Open was a major event since the early 70s. Borg's greatness and status in the history of the game depends very heavily on his 6 wins there. Arguing that it was not important as late as 1977 is rather odd coming from a big Borg fan as CyBorg.

I was just looking in some detail at Vilas' and Borg records from 1977, and I don't see any way to deny that Vilas' record looks pretty much extra-terrestrial. To begin with, the sheer amount of tennis the man played is mind boggling. 31 tournaments, winning 16, plus one DC tie, plus two other minor tournaments also won, beating Nastase in the finals. 130-14 win/loss record (not counting the two extra tournaments). He must have played at least 150 matches that year, that's an average of one match every 2.4 days for a whole year. I used to believe Lendl's 1982 season was the most impressive in the open era in terms of a combination of results plus stamina, but this clearly surpasses it.

I think the year clearly belongs to Vilas and it should be acknowledged. Diminishing the importance of the French Open to give the year to Borg does not help Borg's case at all. I am not sure why Borg didn't play the French that year, but the fact is he didn't, and you can't argue it was not a major tournament, and Vilas won it along with the USO and a whole bunch of other stuff that dwarfs the accomplishments of anybody else. Arguing that he played mostly on clay (though he had a good number of wins and finals on other surfaces as well, including the AO on grass) is not a solid argument, since clay was the predominant surface then. When everything is said and done, he won the French and the USO, was runner up at the AO, won a total of 16 tournaments and was runner up in 6. There is no way, absolutely no way, anybody else can be said to match his performance that year.

krosero
08-20-2008, 06:12 PM
There is no way, absolutely no way, anybody else can be said to match his performance that year.

Here's what Sports Illustrated said at the time:

And It Was Still Three For One

Although Jimmy Connors won the Colgate Grand Prix, he failed to settle the vexing question of who's No. 1—he, Borg or Vilas

Curry Kirkpatrick

Whether or not the sport of tennis found its heart or lost its soul in New York City last week is a question that the Colgate Grand Prix Masters tournament can take up just as soon as Jimmy Connors , Bjorn Borg and Guillermo Vilas finish beating up on one another. Or defaulting to somebody else to avoid beating up on one another. For the time being, who's No. 1? How about Bess Myerson?

When Connors defeated Borg 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in as thrilling a match as Madison Square Garden had witnessed since, well, 72 hours earlier when Vilas whipped Connors, all it did was reinforce the notion that these three young men, who are head and racket handle above everyone else in the game, are separated from each other by only the barest of psychological threads.

It may be that for Vilas to climb to the top he needs six more months under the glowering tutelage of Ion Tiriac, who has shown him how to outthink Connors but has been unable to convince him of the vulnerability of Borg . This will be especially difficult now that the Swede has defeated Vilas for the 12th time in their 16 meetings, most recently in the Masters semifinals, 6-3, 6-3.

On the other hand, while Borg dominates his once-close amigo from the Argentine, the pair's mysterious ailments and shameless disregard for the ticket-buying public during the tournament's preliminary round robin demonstrated that neither man (or for that matter, neither of their coaches, Lennart Bergelin and Tiriac, who are the suspected culprits) is prepared to deal with these showdowns without resorting to some connivance, be it a sore ankle, a fever or anything else they can come up with on the spur of the moment. In chronological order, to recover from Connors and to get ready for him, Vilas and Borg , undefeated and having already qualified for Saturday's semifinals, defaulted their third-round matches (Vilas to rest a "strained tendon," Borg to recover from "severe flu") but were allowed to continue in the tournament, presumably because there was no rule against it. All that this medical buffoonery (sing, "I can do anything sicker than you can; I can get sicker, much sicker than you") did was disgrace the sport and—irony of ironies—turn Connors into a white knight. Or, as the Masters sponsor might prefer, the Ultra Brite Knight.

"It's good to see somebody else on the barbecue pit," said Connors, who leads the world in defaults with four in 1977, 13 in the last four years.

And that was not Jimbo's final comment on Borg and Vilas, either. Before his match with Brian Gottfried in the other semifinal, Connors arrived on the court hobbling on a crutch, which engendered loads of hilarity in everybody but Gottfried , who lost a tense 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 struggle.

In the final on Sunday, it appeared as if Borg would need at least a crutch, if not a whip and chair, to stop an aroused Connors. "I wanted to come out creaming everything," said Jimbo. Connors was devastating in the first set, breaking service in the third game as well as strings on two different rackets as he won 6-4. By then, however, Borg 's penetrating first serves were beginning to take effect, and he began to vary his speed and depth of shot, working on Connors' forehand to break serve three times and grab the second set by 6-1. Despite the lopsided score, Borg lamented, "I don't feel 100% O.K. in my head, you know?"

Nonetheless, he went quickly ahead in the final set with an early break and held serve for a 3-1 lead. Then he faltered. Connors broke back to even the deciding set at 3—all with a lunging forehand volley and then a net-cord winner. "It was big point, for sure," said Borg . "Jimmy so tough unless you stay ahead. After that, I feel very strange."

After that, Borg 's first serve deserted him—he missed 27 of 42 in the last set—and he had to fight off three break points in the eighth game. By the time Borg served in the 10th at 4-5, 15-0, both men had won 40 points in the set. But Connors was still hitting some amazing rockets and Borg was not. Jimbo had a few more left: a forehand down the line, a backhand stab drop volley, a cross-court forehand, another volley. It was over.

"That's the best I can play," Connors said afterward. "Who's No. 1? It looks like we'll have to go out and do it all over again, doesn't it?"

Well, yes. Having lost Wimbledon to Borg and the U.S. Open to Vilas, Connors must have looked on the Masters as a close encounter of the third kind. Third place in the world rankings was staring him square in the face, even though the USTA computer ranked him first.

Evan1225
08-20-2008, 06:12 PM
Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"
Connors is quite the man.:)

krosero
08-20-2008, 06:12 PM
continued:

Let's look at the numbers. Though Connors won eight of the 21 tournaments he entered, his match record for the year was only 70-11, not as good as Borg 's (13 victories in 20 tournaments, 78-8 in matches) and Vilas', who played just about every waking minute in compiling his 139-14 match record and 21 wins in 34 tournaments.

Borg 's percentage, then, is slightly the best and he won the world championship as well. But Vilas won the U.S. and French titles and put together a streak of 55 clay victories while winning 83 of 85 matches on all surfaces. But Connors won the big bowl game at the end. What now? Head-to-head? Borg is 5-1 against the other big two, while Vilas is 2-3 and Connors a woeful 1-4.

If the Masters did not entirely decide who is No. 1, it did bring big-time tennis back to the Garden and, in the process, show everybody that the Masters is the Super Bowl of the game and the only real conclusion a tennis season has.

Perhaps because the tournament had only twice graced American soil, the Masters never had caught on. But this year Colgate—those same wonderful folks who invented Dermassage, Handi-Wipes and Dinah Shore—took over the tournament, signed a three-season deal with the Garden, moved the affair to an off-week for pro football, sold it to TV and promised to make the Masters an event. Among other marvelous arrangements, Colgate raised the total prize money to $400,000 and spent another $400,000 on advertising.

The most significant thing Colgate did, however, was persuade the eight best players in the world—Gottfried, Manuel Orantes , Raul Ramirez , Roscoe Tanner and Eddie Dibbs also were on hand—to show up, a feat previously considered impossible unless you guaranteed each of them $100,000 first-place money and a position at the head of the line at Studio 54. When Connors, who had skipped this tournament the past three years, barely qualified for the final berth and agreed to play, tournament organizers knew they had a winner.

The last time New Yorkers had seen—and been obnoxed by—Connors was when he stormed out of Forest Hills last September, claiming that his U.S. Open title had been "stolen" because of rude crowd behavior and bad line calls while he was losing the championship match to Vilas. Connors' return last week was less stimulating. He merely disrupted a player picture-taking session, walked out on a TV interviewer and snapped at a journalist who had the effrontery to ask why Connors was finally gracing the Masters with his presence. "Because I feel like it," he snorted.

Not surprisingly, Vilas, who had won the regular-season Grand Prix points race and its bonus pool of $300,000, did not seem to feel like it.

One day Vilas ripped the tournament to shreds in his soft, charming voice. "This Masters used to mean very much to me when it was in December and changed continents every year," he said. "Hopefully, someday it will be on clay. I don't prepare for this. If I don't have to come to collect $300,000, I no come. How badly I want to win? No badly."

Vilas' last remark would come as a shock to the crowd of 18,590 that packed the Garden on Thursday night to watch his 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 repeat victory over Connors.

To begin with, it was one of those remarkable moments the sporting world comes up with every now and then when whatever game is being played is transcended by the emotion and suspense of the event. Boston , 1975: the Reds-Red Sox sixth game. Augusta , 1975: the Nicklaus-Miller-Weiskopf fourth round. Stuff like that. Andrew Young , over from the U.N. , was on hand, as was Farrah, just out from under the blow dryer. But the attraction was mostly Vilas and Connors, slugging it out and thinking it over down there on the eggshell-blue carpet of the roaring arena.

First, it was Vilas pounding huge serves and floating his sidespin ground strokes into the quicksand where Connors has to use his erratic forehand. Vilas gained two early breaks and ran out the first set. Then it was Connors jumping all over his nemesis in the second set, giving up only two points in the first three games and only five during his five service games.

"I had to change tactics," Vilas was to say later. "It was big casino, but my legs not moving. I no afford to stay back."

So, in the final set the man they call "Willie" became aggressive and occasionally even covered the net after slashing approaches into the corners. Connors had three break points in the third game, but Vilas saved them all at the net and held serve. Next, against Connors' serve, Vilas mis-hit two returns, but Jimbo could handle neither one. overhead, and suddenly Vilas had the break for 3-1.

Vilas took the set to 5-3 and to match point after Connors got a bad call on the baseline. But Jimbo saved himself with a net-cord volley winner. Connors hammered his racket on the net and screamed at the line judge, "That's for you! That's for you!" Not to mention some fairly horrible other words.

By this time the Garden was going wild. One would have thought the Knicks had won another championship or even covered another point spread, such was the thunder from the rafters. "This is as good as the Tiger-Torres fight," said Joe Flaherty of The Village Voice . "The Fleischmann bottles will be coming out of the upper deck any minute."

And so, like a vicious prizefight, the match went on. After a shaken and groggy Vilas double-faulted and was wide with a forehand, the score reached 5-4. After Connors held serve easily, it was 5—all. Abruptly, with the American crowd now clearly favoring the American, Vilas summoned up the heart he had found somewhere last summer.

With love-30 against him, he hit a glorious backhand pass to win the most spectacular point of the evening (now morning) and eventually took the game. Then, after staggering to his chair on the changeover, Vilas went back out to hit one more winning backhand, to watch one more Connors forehand sink into the net and to break serve and win a match that may one day be legendary. It was 42 minutes after midnight. "I hope next time we can do this in a bigger stadium," Vilas mumbled.

They might have done it two days later in the same arena, were it not for some nifty one-downmanship by Borg in the hospital sweepstakes. Knowing that Vilas, who was scheduled to meet Dibbs, had-been granted a default and a day's rest because of his "hurt" ankle, Borg suddenly came up with the flu, defaulted from his match with Gottfried and got a day off himself. Moreover, because a default counts as a loss, he wound up playing Vilas instead of Connors in the semifinals. Hmmmmmm.

"If you not think I am sick, I am sorry," Borg said. The point is that the loose tournament format worked in favor of the two walking wounded, led to cynicism and infuriated both the press and the public.

On Saturday morning when the two sickies began their Profiles in Courage challenge match, what is believed to be tennis' first banner was unfurled near the top of the Garden. It read: BORG AND VILAS. WE WERE HERE LAST NIGHT. WHERE WERE YOU?

Tennis had finally made it in the Big Apple.

Benhur
08-21-2008, 05:20 AM
continued:

Great read. Thanks for that!

CyBorg
08-21-2008, 09:56 AM
I can't figure out why it says Borg won 13 events in 1977. I have 11 events counted by ATP and Hilton Head for a total of 12.

jean pierre
08-25-2008, 09:00 AM
Vilas was incredible in 1977, but he's still today. He played in august the blackrock tour in Portugal and played against Rios ! Rios could be his son ! How old is he, 34 or 35 ? Vilas 56 ! Of course, Vilas defeated, but 6/2 6/2, after a long match : not bad for 56 years.

jeffreyneave
08-25-2008, 09:41 AM
borg's 13


he's probably counting johannesburg as a win; the unplayed final with vilas

jeffrey

CyBorg
08-25-2008, 09:47 AM
borg's 13


he's probably counting johannesburg as a win; the unplayed final with vilas

jeffrey

Makes sense. thx.

Heyford Price
08-25-2008, 11:40 AM
Thanks krosero for share that.

Vegito
09-13-2008, 10:44 PM
Probably was importants the matchs that Vilas loss in Roma and Wimbledon.

sandy mayer
02-17-2012, 09:40 AM
I have changed my mind on who I think was number one in 1977. When I started this thread I said I felt Borg was number one, but now I think Vilas was.

My original argument that Borg would have won the French if he'd turned up and the US Open if he'd not got injured was hypothetical. At the end of the day Borg didn't win these events and Vilas did.

If I had a choice between a 1977 fit Borg or 1977 fit Vilas to play for my life I'd choose the 1977 Borg. However ultimately in determining the number one for a year results must dictate, and Vilas had the best results of anyone in 1977 so he deserves to be considered number one for that year, with Borg 2 and Connors 3.

Benhur
02-17-2012, 10:46 AM
I have changed my mind on who I think was number one in 1977. When I started this thread I said I felt Borg was number one, but now I think Vilas was.

My original argument that Borg would have won the French if he'd turned up and the US Open if he'd not get injured was hypothetical. At the end of the day Borg didn't win these events and Vilas did.

If I had a choice between a 1977 fit Borg or 1977 fit Vilas to play for my life I'd choose the 1977 Borg. However ultimately in determining the number one for a year results must dictate, and Vilas had the best results of anyone in 1977 so he deserves to be considered number one for that year, with Borg 2 and Connors 3.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Saint_Paul.jpg

Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul [i.e. Paul], why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=acts+9-9&version=nrsvae

timnz
02-17-2012, 11:16 AM
Ultimately I think there is confusion on what being world number 1 means. I don't think it means "being the best player in the year", I think it means "having the best results of the year".

Completely and utterly agree.

timnz
02-17-2012, 11:27 AM
I can't figure out why it says Borg won 13 events in 1977. I have 11 events counted by ATP and Hilton Head for a total of 12.

Cincinnati invitational beat laver in the final (3 man event so dont know whether that counts)

krosero
02-17-2012, 08:11 PM
I have changed my mind on who I think was number one in 1977. When I started this thread I said I felt Borg was number one, but now I think Vilas was.

My original argument that Borg would have won the French if he'd turned up and the US Open if he'd not got injured was hypothetical. At the end of the day Borg didn't win these events and Vilas did.

If I had a choice between a 1977 fit Borg or 1977 fit Vilas to play for my life I'd choose the 1977 Borg. However ultimately in determining the number one for a year results must dictate, and Vilas had the best results of anyone in 1977 so he deserves to be considered number one for that year, with Borg 2 and Connors 3.Have to give this post kudos, because it's rare to see someone on a message board admit a change of mind.

And I agree with this much: if Borg's case is made for '77 it has to be made on the basis of actual achievements, not imaginary ones.

krosero
02-17-2012, 08:14 PM
In the world #1 thread I mentioned this article, posted in the Montreal Gazette, July 8, 1978 (“Tennis, Everyone? Even Jack the Ripper had a mean grip”). It's in a section of articles devoted to every aspect of the game of tennis, with a byline of Terry Belford, though it's hard to tell whether he's the author of this piece.

*********************

Money aside, Major, who are the very best?

Jimmy Connors and Guillermo Vilas make more money, but Bjorn Borg, the long-haired Swede, is the world’s best men’s tennis player. So say such top tennis writers as Lance Tingay of London’s Daily Telegraph, Rino Tommasi of Rome’s Tennis Club magazine and Judith Elian of L’Equipe, Paris.

The secret to ranking is who can beat whom, not who earns what. The 21-year-old Borg won 13 of the 20 tournaments he entered in 1977. Against the world’s top 10 players, he posted a 16-3 win-loss record.

Aussie great Rod Laver puts Borg in the Number 1 spot. “He seemed ready to play all comers while Connors played when he wanted to.”


*********************

krosero
02-17-2012, 08:16 PM
An Associated Press article from Dec. 29, 1977:

*****************

“Strictly by record, I would say I’m No. 1,” says Borg, who lives among the posh gambling resorts of the Riviera to avoid paying Swedish taxes. “But I’m sure if you asked Guillermo Vilas, he would say the same thing.” Borg is ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Lawn Tennis Federation, but there is no unanimity in the rankings. World Championship Tennis ranks him third in Grand Prix standings behind Vilas, of Argentina, and American Brian Gottfried. The Association of Tennis Professionals’ computer rankings also place him third, behind Jimmy Connors and Vilas.

*****************

krosero
02-17-2012, 08:18 PM
After Vilas beat Connors at the Garden in the first days of '78, UPI reported that Borg was “top-ranked by several 1977 tennis magazines.” Neil Amdur reported in the New York Times that “Borg already has been named No. 1 in several rankings.” More from his article:

****************************

The confusion over the top spot continued yesterday with the release of still another ranking, that of the United States Tennis Association.

Using a computer based on its ranking system from Oct. 1, 1976 through Sept. 30, 1977, the U.S.T.A. placed Jimmy Connors in the No. 1 spot, with Borg second, Gottfried third and Vilas fourth.

The U.S.T.A. ranking was the fourth to be issued in the last two weeks. The previous three – by Tennis Magazine [France], Lance Tingay of the London Daily Telegraph and Rino Tommasi of Italy – all rated Borg first.

Much of the confusion may clear in the next few days ...

U.S.T.A. Rates Connors No. 1

The United States Tennis Association released its 1977 rankings for men’s singles yesterday and immediately raised as many questions as it answered.

For the second straight year, Jimmy Connors was ranked No. 1 in the world with 14,900 rating points. However, Bjorn Borg of Sweden, who defeated Connors in the Wimbledon final, was ranked second with 13,665.

And Guillermo Vilas of Argentina, who beat Connors in the United States Open final, was ranked fourth with 11,950. Brian Gottfried, who was ousted by Vilas in the French open final, was placed one step ahead of Vilas, in third place, with 12,459. Vilas also had won 83 of his last 84 matches and was considered by many to be No. 1 in the world among the men.

“This is the best system that money can buy,” Slew Hester, president of the U.S.T.A., said yesterday at a news conference announcing the ratings. “I’m sure that when our rankings are published, the players won’t understand it, but they’ll say it’s fair. It’s not designed to compete with the A.T.P. point system, where a player can figure out exactly where he stands by adding up his points after each tournament.”

Bruce Yellin, a systems analyst for the Equitable Life Assurance Society, co-sponsor of the ratings, explained they were based on such factors as weight of the tournament and field, and the rating of the man a player defeated.


****************************

krosero
02-17-2012, 08:25 PM
And from Bud Collins' Encyclopedia of Tennis:

********************

… Vilas won a record 17 tournaments and $800,642 in prize money—more than he had earned in five previous pro seasons. He played the most ambitious tournament schedule of any of the top men and finished with a 145-14 record [.912], including Davis Cup matches….Starting with the French Open, he won 53 consecutive matches on clay ….

But even though World Tennis magazine declared him No. 1 for the year, most other authorities disagreed and bestowed that mythical honor on Borg....The 21-year-old Swede had the best winning percentage for the season -- .920, on a record of 81-7. He won 13 of 20 tournaments he played. Including the Masters -- played in 1978, but considered the climax of the 1977 season -- Borg was 3-0 over Vilas (two victories in the spring, the third in the semis of the Masters, 6-3, 6-3), and 2-1 over Connors, who beat him in the Masters final ....

********************

CyBorg
02-18-2012, 01:54 AM
Have to give this post kudos, because it's rare to see someone on a message board admit a change of mind.

And I agree with this much: if Borg's case is made for '77 it has to be made on the basis of actual achievements, not imaginary ones.

You're committing the fallacy of major-counting, which is like answering universal questions with a singular mentality.

Vilas won more majors. Borg dominated more surfaces.

Benhur
02-18-2012, 03:44 AM
Since this thread has been revived, it seems better to continue these conversations here. The main problem for me with just counting encounters with top 10, top 25 etc, is that it is subject to a lot of chance variations, when lower ranked players beat higher ranked ones in previous rounds. If a player beats someone who has beat a higher ranked player in another round, its seems very odd to punish the winner of this encounter for not having had the chance to play the higher ranked player that was knocked out earlier, as if it were his own fault. Beating the player who beat the other player should be just as good, but it isn’t at all with such a system. It seems like a pretty loose and informal way of measuring anything.

Granted that over the course of many tournaments these chance variations should even out somewhat, but it still looks like a very loose system. I think the only real way to know the strength of the fields they entered would be by having access to the draws and comparing the average ranking of the top 8-10 players in attendance, in their best 12-14 results. But since no such draws seem to be available anywhere, it looks like an impossible task for the moment. It would be a good research project for future historians of tennis. Yet even if it were done one day, the task of assigning a specific weight to each tournament based on those results would be necessarily very subjective. To give an extreme example, how do you weight a 4-man draw with only two rounds involving high ranked players, vs. a 64 man draw where you need to win 6 matches? The problem gets even worse when you start introducing such ethereal notions as relative prestige between tournaments and try to weigh them. We wish that pure objectivity could emerge from the glue and the muck of such a subjective mess, but it doesn’t. We wish for authoritative guidance, but there are no authorities to be found.

From the ATP site I see the following events listed as wins or runner-ups for each of them. Surfaces are red clay or Har-Tru, unless otherwise indicated.

BORG
11 titles
--1 with a 128-man draw (Wimbledon)
--3 with 64-man draws (Memphis [carpet], Madrid, Barcelona)
--5 with 32-man draws (Nice, Denver [carpet], Basel [carpet], Cologne [carpet], Wembley [hard])
--1 with 16-man draws (Monte Carlo)
--1 with a 4-man draw (Boca Raton Pepsi)

Borg also won an 8-man invitational event at Hilton Head, not listed at the ATP site.

2 runner-up appearances: Johannesburg [hard], Masters [carpet]
----------------------
VILAS
16 titles
--2 with a 128-man draw (FO, USO)
--4 with 64-man draws (Washington, Louisville, Columbus, Teheran)
--8 with a 32-man draws (Springfield [carpet], Kizbuhel, South Orange, Paris, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires [april], Johannesburg [hard])
--2 with 16-man draws (Buenos Aires [november], Virginia Beach [hard])

6 runnner-up appearances: Australian Open [grass], Baltimore [carpet], Palm Springs [hard], Johannesburg [hard], Nice, Aix en Provence)

But what do we do with all that? On first impression, the case for Vilas appears very strong. Further investigations may produce convincng reasons to change this impression, but they are not available. The mere counting of "scalps" and so on seems highly insufficient and inadequate.

jean pierre
02-18-2012, 03:49 AM
Since this thread has been revived, it seems better to continue these conversations here. The main problem for me with just counting encounters with top 10, top 25 etc, is that it is subject to a lot of chance variations, when lower ranked players beat higher ranked ones in previous rounds. If a player beats someone who has beat a higher ranked player in another round, its seems very odd to punish the winner of this encounter for not having had the chance to play the higher ranked player that was knocked out earlier, as if it were his own fault. Beating the player who beat the other player should be just as good, but it isn’t at all with such a system. It seems like a pretty loose and informal way of measuring anything.

Granted that over the course of many tournaments these chance variations should even out somewhat, but it still looks like a very loose system. I think the only real way to know the strength of the fields they entered would be by having access to the draws and comparing the average ranking of the top 8-10 players in attendance, in their best 12-14 results. But since no such draws seem to be available anywhere, it looks like an impossible task for the moment. It would be a good research project for future historians of tennis. Yet even if it were done one day, the task of assigning a specific weight to each tournament based on those results would be necessarily very subjective. To give an extreme example, how do you weight a 4-man draw with only two rounds involving high ranked players, vs. a 64 man draw where you need to win 6 matches? The problem gets even worse when you start introducing such ethereal notions as relative prestige between tournaments and try to weigh them. We wish that pure objectivity could emerge from the glue and the muck of such a subjective mess, but it doesn’t. We wish for authoritative guidance, but there are no authorities to be found.

From the ATP site I see the following events listed as wins or runner-ups for each of them. Surfaces are red clay or Har-Tru, unless otherwise indicated.

BORG
11 titles
--1 with a 128-man draw (Wimbledon)
--3 with 64-man draws (Memphis [carpet], Madrid, Barcelona)
--5 with 32-man draws (Nice, Denver [carpet], Basel [carpet], Cologne [carpet], Wembley [hard])
--1 with 16-man draws (Monte Carlo)
--1 with a 4-man draw (Boca Raton Pepsi)

Borg also won an 8-man invitational event at Hilton Head, not listed at the ATP site.

2 runner-up appearances: Johannesburg [hard], Masters [carpet]
----------------------
VILAS
16 titles
--2 with a 128-man draw (FO, USO)
--4 with 64-man draws (Washington, Louisville, Columbus, Teheran)
--8 with a 32-man draws (Springfield [carpet], Kizbuhel, South Orange, Paris, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires [april], Johannesburg [hard])
--2 with 16-man draws (Buenos Aires [november], Virginia Beach [hard])

6 runnner-up appearances: Australian Open [grass], Baltimore [carpet], Palm Springs [hard], Johannesburg [hard], Nice, Aix en Provence)

But what do we do with all that? On first impression, the case for Vilas appears very strong. Further investigations may produce convincng reasons to change this impression, but they are not available. The mere counting of "scalps" and so on seems highly insufficient and inadequate.

Exactly. Vilas won more tournaments than Borg, more Grand Slams than Borg, more matches than Borg, did 2 records never destroyed (the most tournaments won in a year + 46 matches consecutively) ... Vilas is obviously the n°1. There is a very big difference between Borg and Vilas results. So, the question "who beats who" is not interesting in 1977.

kiki
02-18-2012, 06:21 AM
Exactly. Vilas won more tournaments than Borg, more Grand Slams than Borg, more matches than Borg, did 2 records never destroyed (the most tournaments won in a year + 46 matches consecutively) ... Vilas is obviously the n°1. There is a very big difference between Borg and Vilas results. So, the question "who beats who" is not interesting in 1977.

Borg vs Vilas at Johannesburg? looks like that, is it true?

krosero
02-18-2012, 06:54 PM
In reference to Vilas' streak, let me also post this here, an ATP chart published during Djokovic's streak last year. This came up in the other thread in reference to how many (or few) players Vilas beat who were ranked in the Top Ten.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7002/6836383403_236c1ec545_z.jpg

krosero
02-18-2012, 06:56 PM
Since this thread has been revived, it seems better to continue these conversations here. The main problem for me with just counting encounters with top 10, top 25 etc, is that it is subject to a lot of chance variations, when lower ranked players beat higher ranked ones in previous rounds. If a player beats someone who has beat a higher ranked player in another round, its seems very odd to punish the winner of this encounter for not having had the chance to play the higher ranked player that was knocked out earlier, as if it were his own fault. Beating the player who beat the other player should be just as good, but it isn’t at all with such a system. It seems like a pretty loose and informal way of measuring anything.

Granted that over the course of many tournaments these chance variations should even out somewhat, but it still looks like a very loose system. I think the only real way to know the strength of the fields they entered would be by having access to the draws and comparing the average ranking of the top 8-10 players in attendance, in their best 12-14 results. But since no such draws seem to be available anywhere, it looks like an impossible task for the moment. It would be a good research project for future historians of tennis. Yet even if it were done one day, the task of assigning a specific weight to each tournament based on those results would be necessarily very subjective. To give an extreme example, how do you weight a 4-man draw with only two rounds involving high ranked players, vs. a 64 man draw where you need to win 6 matches? The problem gets even worse when you start introducing such ethereal notions as relative prestige between tournaments and try to weigh them. We wish that pure objectivity could emerge from the glue and the muck of such a subjective mess, but it doesn’t. We wish for authoritative guidance, but there are no authorities to be found.

From the ATP site I see the following events listed as wins or runner-ups for each of them. Surfaces are red clay or Har-Tru, unless otherwise indicated.

BORG
11 titles
--1 with a 128-man draw (Wimbledon)
--3 with 64-man draws (Memphis [carpet], Madrid, Barcelona)
--5 with 32-man draws (Nice, Denver [carpet], Basel [carpet], Cologne [carpet], Wembley [hard])
--1 with 16-man draws (Monte Carlo)
--1 with a 4-man draw (Boca Raton Pepsi)

Borg also won an 8-man invitational event at Hilton Head, not listed at the ATP site.

2 runner-up appearances: Johannesburg [hard], Masters [carpet]
----------------------
VILAS
16 titles
--2 with a 128-man draw (FO, USO)
--4 with 64-man draws (Washington, Louisville, Columbus, Teheran)
--8 with a 32-man draws (Springfield [carpet], Kizbuhel, South Orange, Paris, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires [april], Johannesburg [hard])
--2 with 16-man draws (Buenos Aires [november], Virginia Beach [hard])

6 runnner-up appearances: Australian Open [grass], Baltimore [carpet], Palm Springs [hard], Johannesburg [hard], Nice, Aix en Provence)

But what do we do with all that? On first impression, the case for Vilas appears very strong. Further investigations may produce convincng reasons to change this impression, but they are not available. The mere counting of "scalps" and so on seems highly insufficient and inadequate.I think a problem with a list like this is that it is simply a count of accomplishments, with failures listed almost nowhere. I say 'almost' because you see some of the losses in the runner-up appearances. But not all the losses are there, obviously. On a list like this the runner-up appearances are really presented as another accomplishment, on top of the titles.

If you recall I mentioned this in the other thread: how I always see Vilas' wins listed, without his 14 losses mentioned. It's always a simple counting up of his Slam titles, then his total titles, and basically that's it.

It's something that's become common in recent years: in the 90s we started simply counting up Slams in judging careers; and I think listing total titles in a year is another similar kind of counting. It can be done today because the tour is standardized, the Slams are basically the same in terms of attendance, and so are the Masters Series. Everyone is basically playing under the same conditions, and there's no need to check the quality of draws because so many events are guaranteed to have all the top players. And everyone is playing the same tour, whereas back then nothing was unified. Players were divided up into Grand Prix, WCT and WTT, and there were no mandatory events; the Slams varied widely in terms of top player attendance.

Etc., etc., none of this is new. But I do think a simple counting up of Slams (or majors), or a simple counting up of titles, won't do. Today two top players will play approximately the same number of matches, so if one wins 10 titles, and the other 5, there's little need to look at the losses because the losses are generally not going to show a different picture: the player with the smaller title haul will typically have more losses. Not true at all in '77. Borg got fewer titles than Vilas (11-16), but he had only half as many losses (7-14).

And that's important this year because Vilas had a number of poor losses, for example losing 6 times to players ranked outside the Top 25, compared to 2 such losses for Borg.

If you notice how Bud Collins summed up the year, he talked about X wins out of Y number of events played. He also used the full win-loss record and calculated the winning percentage, all of which Sports Illustrated did as well.

Notice also that you don't see the sources back then simply referring to Slams and counting them. They refer to the majors by naming them or describing what happened at those events. For example writers would refer to Wimbledon as the world championship; or they mentioned whom Vilas beat in Paris and New York and whom Borg beat at Wimbledon. Many writers seemed to value Vilas' USO victory a good deal more than his French title. By how much, I don't know, because they didn't assign numbers to these things. They certainly did not say, Okay, French Open = 1 major, USO = 1 major, therefore Vilas leads Borg by a margin of 2-1 in majors.

If lists of basic stats are going to be made, the losses have to be mentioned with the wins -- that's my main point. Then there are other stats to go into, like H2H against the Top Ten.

I understand your concern about Vilas possibly not getting a chance to play top-ranked players who might have been knocked out earlier. I considered this myself, but what you're talking about is random chance. We know that Vilas encountered Top Ten players at a rate significantly lower than Borg did, and I find it hard to believe that random chance could have been responsible for that. For that to happen, you have to imagine top-ranked players in Vilas' draws consistently getting knocked out early, while in Borg's tournaments the top-ranked players consistently make it through to face Borg. If you're just talking about one of the Top Tenners that Borg and Vilas faced, you might see such a pattern. But the Top Ten as a whole behaving that way, only in Vilas' tournaments?

For all we know the top-ranked players might have fallen early in Borg's tournaments more than in Vilas', which would imply that Borg's Top Ten scalps should be even higher. But let me just say: I'm skeptical of that scenario too. I just think the numbers are too big for random chance to tip the numbers in a clean fashion toward one player or the other.

In a smaller set of numbers chance might play a distorting role. If you were just looking at how many Top Ten players Borg and Vilas defeated in the Slams, that might very well be distorted at the expense of one player if the seeds in his section of the draw were knocked out early. So with that stat you'd have to be more careful.

Incidentally the draws for all the tournaments are available at the ITF site.

I used those draws to look for Top Ten players in November and December tournaments. And in that time period Vilas' draws are not strong: he attended 4 tournaments and only in one was another Top Ten player present (Eddie Dibbs was present at Johannesburg). Borg attended 3 tournaments, one without any other Top Tenners; but Wembley had 3 other Top Tenners in attendance and Oviedo had 2 others.

Benhur
02-19-2012, 05:17 AM
If you recall I mentioned this in the other thread: how I always see Vilas' wins listed, without his 14 losses mentioned. It's always a simple counting up of his Slam titles, then his total titles, and basically that's it.

It's something that's become common in recent years: in the 90s we started simply counting up Slams in judging careers; and I think listing total titles in a year is another similar kind of counting. It can be done today because the tour is standardized, the Slams are basically the same in terms of attendance, and so are the Masters Series. Everyone is basically playing under the same conditions, and there's no need to check the quality of draws because so many events are guaranteed to have all the top players. And everyone is playing the same tour, whereas back then nothing was unified. Players were divided up into Grand Prix, WCT and WTT, and there were no mandatory events; the Slams varied widely in terms of top player attendance.

Etc., etc., none of this is new. But I do think a simple counting up of Slams (or majors), or a simple counting up of titles, won't do. Today two top players will play approximately the same number of matches, so if one wins 10 titles, and the other 5, there's little need to look at the losses because the losses are generally not going to show a different picture: the player with the smaller title haul will typically have more losses. Not true at all in '77. Borg got fewer titles than Vilas (11-16), but he had only half as many losses (7-14).

And that's important this year because Vilas had a number of poor losses, for example losing 6 times to players ranked outside the Top 25, compared to 2 such losses for Borg.

If you notice how Bud Collins summed up the year, he talked about X wins out of Y number of events played. He also used the full win-loss record and calculated the winning percentage, all of which Sports Illustrated did as well.

Notice also that you don't see the sources back then simply referring to Slams and counting them. They refer to the majors by naming them or describing what happened at those events. For example writers would refer to Wimbledon as the world championship; or they mentioned whom Vilas beat in Paris and New York and whom Borg beat at Wimbledon. Many writers seemed to value Vilas' USO victory a good deal more than his French title. By how much, I don't know, because they didn't assign numbers to these things. They certainly did not say, Okay, French Open = 1 major, USO = 1 major, therefore Vilas leads Borg by a margin of 2-1 in majors.

If lists of basic stats are going to be made, the losses have to be mentioned with the wins -- that's my main point. Then there are other stats to go into, like H2H against the Top Ten.

I understand your concern about Vilas possibly not getting a chance to play top-ranked players who might have been knocked out earlier. I considered this myself, but what you're talking about is random chance. We know that Vilas encountered Top Ten players at a rate significantly lower than Borg did, and I find it hard to believe that random chance could have been responsible for that. For that to happen, you have to imagine top-ranked players in Vilas' draws consistently getting knocked out early, while in Borg's tournaments the top-ranked players consistently make it through to face Borg. If you're just talking about one of the Top Tenners that Borg and Vilas faced, you might see such a pattern. But the Top Ten as a whole behaving that way, only in Vilas' tournaments?

For all we know the top-ranked players might have fallen early in Borg's tournaments more than in Vilas', which would imply that Borg's Top Ten scalps should be even higher. But let me just say: I'm skeptical of that scenario too. I just think the numbers are too big for random chance to tip the numbers in a clean fashion toward one player or the other.

In a smaller set of numbers chance might play a distorting role. If you were just looking at how many Top Ten players Borg and Vilas defeated in the Slams, that might very well be distorted at the expense of one player if the seeds in his section of the draw were knocked out early. So with that stat you'd have to be more careful.

Incidentally the draws for all the tournaments are available at the ITF site.

I used those draws to look for Top Ten players in November and December tournaments. And in that time period Vilas' draws are not strong: he attended 4 tournaments and only in one was another Top Ten player present (Eddie Dibbs was present at Johannesburg). Borg attended 3 tournaments, one without any other Top Tenners; but Wembley had 3 other Top Tenners in attendance and Oviedo had 2 others.

I’ve taken a look at the topic of losses that you seem to place a lot of emphasis on. My conclusion is there is nothing unusual there regardless of what perspective you take. In the first place, the rate is very similar. Borg has a winning percentage of 91.6 (76-7) and Vilas 90.3 (130-14).

Now, going into it in more detail, you could for example add up the ranking of their opponents on each loss and divide it by the total number of losses, to find out the average ranking of the opponents they lost to. If you do this you get an average ranking of 27 for Borg’s opponents, and 22 for Vilas’ opponents. So, in this sense Vilas losses were not worse than Borg’s (but slightly better). The lowest ranked player Vilas lost to was Case (55) and the lowest ranked player Borg lost to was Stewart (94).

Since we are focusing on top 10, another possible approach would be to see what percentage of their total losses were against players outside the top 10. Here the result is exactly equal.

57.14 percent of Borg’s losses (4 of 7) were against players outside the top 10.

57.14 percent of Vilas losses (8 of 14) were against players outside the top 10.

The November discrepancy is to be expected, given that Vilas was on a South American tour most of that month, playing Bogota, Santiago and Buenos Aires, then went to Johannesburg. In the meantime Borg played Wembley and Oviedo. The higher ranked players Vilas met in these four tournaments were Fleming (47), Pecci (39), Higueras (30), Smith (24), Mottram (20) and Fillol (17).

I agree with you that the distortions introduced by random wins of lower ranked players over higher ranked ones would probably even out over the course of so many tournaments but the only way to know for sure is to look at the draws and see what the average ranking of the 8 or 10 main players is in each of them.

I’ve looked at the ITF site but I can’t see where they keep those records of old tournament draws. I suppose they have some kind of archive section for this, but I can’t find it. If you know the links, please let me know. I am not sure how big a task it would be to calculate anything from it, but it might be a fun project for rainy afternoons.

krosero
02-19-2012, 10:49 AM
I’ve taken a look at the topic of losses that you seem to place a lot of emphasis on. My conclusion is there is nothing unusual there regardless of what perspective you take. In the first place, the rate is very similar. Borg has a winning percentage of 91.6 (76-7) and Vilas 90.3 (130-14).

Now, going into it in more detail, you could for example add up the ranking of their opponents on each loss and divide it by the total number of losses, to find out the average ranking of the opponents they lost to. If you do this you get an average ranking of 27 for Borg’s opponents, and 22 for Vilas’ opponents. So, in this sense Vilas losses were not worse than Borg’s (but slightly better). The lowest ranked player Vilas lost to was Case (55) and the lowest ranked player Borg lost to was Stewart (94).

Since we are focusing on top 10, another possible approach would be to see what percentage of their total losses were against players outside the top 10. Here the result is exactly equal.

57.14 percent of Borg’s losses (4 of 7) were against players outside the top 10.

57.14 percent of Vilas losses (8 of 14) were against players outside the top 10.

The November discrepancy is to be expected, given that Vilas was on a South American tour most of that month, playing Bogota, Santiago and Buenos Aires, then went to Johannesburg. In the meantime Borg played Wembley and Oviedo. The higher ranked players Vilas met in these four tournaments were Fleming (47), Pecci (39), Higueras (30), Smith (24), Mottram (20) and Fillol (17).

I agree with you that the distortions introduced by random wins of lower ranked players over higher ranked ones would probably even out over the course of so many tournaments but the only way to know for sure is to look at the draws and see what the average ranking of the 8 or 10 main players is in each of them.

I’ve looked at the ITF site but I can’t see where they keep those records of old tournament draws. I suppose they have some kind of archive section for this, but I can’t find it. If you know the links, please let me know. I am not sure how big a task it would be to calculate anything from it, but it might be a fun project for rainy afternoons.I want to clarify that when I mention losses, I don't think they need to be emphasized more than the wins, or anything like that. I only want them listed with the basic facts, especially in a case where the wins favor one player but the losses favor the other player (that's not a universal situation).

Not really a big deal, just a general point I'm making.

The lowest-ranked player Vilas lost to was actually Billy Martin (59). But my averages are the same as yours: Vilas loses to an average ranking of 22, Borg to 27.

Borg's number is lower largely because he had the worst loss between the two of them -- to Stewart, 94th ranked. Statistically an outlier like that can have a distorting effect. If you get the median average Vilas is at 18, Borg at 16.

Now, I have to laugh that we've taken it to such a level of detail. On that particular stat it doesn't really matter that much: the difference is not so great. But I do wonder, when we go on to judge the strength of draws, what's the best way to get the average ranking? Mean or median? I'm not sure.

Since I already looked at November and December's draws, I've continued counting Top Ten entries in draws earlier in the year, and I'll have that finished soon. I'm just counting Top Ten players present (and noting who they are). I'm not doing anything with averages, at least not now.

At the ITF site, if you search for a player and then get his activity in a range of dates, you can then click on the tournament names to get the draws.

http://www.itftennis.com/mens/players/player.asp?player=10001449

Benhur
02-19-2012, 12:21 PM
I want to clarify that when I mention losses, I don't think they need to be emphasized more than the wins, or anything like that. I only want them listed with the basic facts, especially in a case where the wins favor one player but the losses favor the other player (that's not a universal situation).

Not really a big deal, just a general point I'm making.

The lowest-ranked player Vilas lost to was actually Billy Martin (59). But my averages are the same as yours: Vilas loses to an average ranking of 22, Borg to 27.

Borg's number is lower largely because he had the worst loss between the two of them -- to Stewart, 94th ranked. Statistically an outlier like that can have a distorting effect. If you get the median average Vilas is at 18, Borg at 16.

Now, I have to laugh that we've taken it to such a level of detail. On that particular stat it doesn't really matter that much: the difference is not so great. But I do wonder, when we go on to judge the strength of draws, what's the best way to get the average ranking? Mean or median? I'm not sure.

Since I already looked at November and December's draws, I've continued counting Top Ten entries in draws earlier in the year, and I'll have that finished soon. I'm just counting Top Ten players present (and noting who they are). I'm not doing anything with averages, at least not now.

At the ITF site, if you search for a player and then get his activity in a range of dates, you can then click on the tournament names to get the draws.

http://www.itftennis.com/mens/players/player.asp?player=10001449

Yes, it’s a crazy level of detail, and of course I don’t really think it should be so important to enter into such minutia with individual results and matchups, but the problem is that the methods employed at the time (or rather the apparent lack of a method) makes the whole thing so incredibly confusing.
I may address the other issues you talk about regarding measuring methods later if time allows. I confess my general initial impression is that it seemed to be all done in a very loose and inconsistent manner, based on the impressions of a few journalists sometimes with incomplete data. The system seems to be almost improvised to the needs of the moment, where sometimes more emphasis was placed on some aspects of the record (tournaments) and sometimes on the various results of individual encounters. What’s frustrating is the apparent total absence of any pre-established method, because this is what allows for the endless impromptu creation of makeshift methods, and ultimately nobody knows on what basis these things are decided, as there are endless ways to look at a record.

Great site the ITF. This should allow for a much more detailed and methodical examination of the relative strength of the field at each tournament than just counting meetings with certain players. I don't know when or even if I will get to doing it, but many thanks for making me aware that the draws are easily available.

krosero
02-19-2012, 04:12 PM
Yes, it’s a crazy level of detail, and of course I don’t really think it should be so important to enter into such minutia with individual results and matchups, but the problem is that the methods employed at the time (or rather the apparent lack of a method) makes the whole thing so incredibly confusing.
I may address the other issues you talk about regarding measuring methods later if time allows. I confess my general initial impression is that it seemed to be all done in a very loose and inconsistent manner, based on the impressions of a few journalists sometimes with incomplete data. The system seems to be almost improvised to the needs of the moment, where sometimes more emphasis was placed on some aspects of the record (tournaments) and sometimes on the various results of individual encounters. What’s frustrating is the apparent total absence of any pre-established method, because this is what allows for the endless impromptu creation of makeshift methods, and ultimately nobody knows on what basis these things are decided, as there are endless ways to look at a record.

Great site the ITF. This should allow for a much more detailed and methodical examination of the relative strength of the field at each tournament than just counting meetings with certain players. I don't know when or even if I will get to doing it, but many thanks for making me aware that the draws are easily available.There are others here who have seen more yearly rankings than I have, and who can say just what level of detail and argumentation such voting was based on. I've seen some rankings that went into a good level of detail examining the yearly record, and I've seen some writers such as A. Wallis Myers in the 1930s whose writings show that he obviously gave serious thought to how rankings should be made. Now, how many of these voting processes of the past came up to the level of a rigorous statistical method, of the kind you seem to be asking for, I can't exactly say; I suspect many of the votes of the past will fall short of that and will seem far too subjective.

But imo there is always a level of subjectivity to these things, because we're dealing with sports. Of course I'm all for taking the subjectivity out of it as much as possible, but I prefer a method that takes into account every important aspect of the sport, even if some aspects cannot be exactly quantified, rather than a statistical method that stops where it can no longer count things.

By such things I mean, for example, the amount of pressure the players feel at a particular tournament, due to the general prestige of the event -- or perhaps due to a particular circumstance; maybe the #1 ranking was being decided by that match; maybe it was an important moment in a rivalry; etc. Those things are impossible to quantify but they're real. And I think a ranking system should try to acknowledge them, even if it means going beyond the counting up of titles.

Sometimes in the '77 debates it's been pointed out (not just by you) that surface can't be taken into account, or shouldn't be, because there are no reliable rankings by surface. The argument is, it hasn't been quantified, so we can't bring it in without introducing subjectivity. And I can respect that: but I will say that when such a system produces its results, I would have to regard them as incomplete. It won't have embraced some important things that we all feel and recognize while watching the sport, for example that Connors' victory over Borg on Har-Tru was especially impressive because it was Borg's best surface. Everyone knows it was Borg's best surface; no ranking says so; but it's true nevertheless.

To put it very crudely, I'd prefer a ranking system that was subjective, but complete, over one that was objective as far as it goes, but incomplete.

About the '77 rankings, perhaps the writers who voted didn't have complete information and stats. But I have my doubts about that. Bud Collins, stats man that he is, probably had a lot of statistical information right at his fingertips.

Bud is also an interesting case because I've often heard him speak with admiration about Vilas' year; and he's often been critical of Borg. So I was surprised, slightly, to learn yesterday that he voted for Borg in '77.

krosero
02-20-2012, 08:24 AM
Here are the entries of Top Ten players in Borg and Vilas' tournaments in '77. In every case I've used the year-end ATP rankings. Davis Cup is not included (in his Davis Cup matches Vilas met, and defeated, two Top Ten players: Gottfried and Stockton).


TOP TEN PLAYERS IN BORG’S TOURNAMENTS (apart from Borg)

Pepsi – Connors (1), Orantes (7)
Philadelphia – Connors (1), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Little Rock – none
Memphis – Vilas (2), Gottfried (5)
Johannesburg (outdoor) – Vilas (2)
Washington DC (indoor) – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
La Costa – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Nice – Vilas (2)
Monte Carlo – Vilas (2), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Denver – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
USO – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Madrid – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Barcelona – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Basle – none
Cologne – none
Wembley – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Oviedo – Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Masters – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 )

53 Top Ten entries, apart from Borg's own entries. Outside of Wimbledon and USO the number is 37.



TOP TEN PLAYERS IN VILAS’ TOURNAMENTS (apart from Vilas)

AO – Stockton (10)
Baltimore – Gottfried (5)
Springfield – none
Ocean City – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
Palm Springs – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Stockton (10)
Memphis – Borg (3), Gottfried (5)
Johannesburg (outdoor) – Borg (3)
Nice – Borg (3)
Monte Carlo – Borg (3), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Buenos Aires – none
Virginia Beach – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
Hamburg – Orantes (7)
Rome – Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
French Open – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
Nottingham – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Stockton (10)
Queens – Connors (1), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Kitzbuhel – Orantes (7)
Washington DC (outdoor) – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Louisville – Dibbs (6), Stockton (10)
South Orange – none
Columbus – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
USO – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Paris Outdoor – Nastase (9)
Aix-en-Provence – Nastase (9)
Tehran – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Bogota – none
Santiago – none
Buenos Aires – none
South African Open – Dibbs (6)
Masters – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 )

68 Top Ten entries, apart from Vilas' own entries. Outside of Wimbledon and USO the number is 52.


A lot more could be argued, for example the prestige of the tournaments, surfaces, etc. I drew up this list as another way to ascertain whether Vilas' draws were weaker than Borg's, and the number of Top Ten entries shows that they were. Apart from Davis Cup, Borg played in 19 tournaments, Vilas in 31, a significant difference. But there is much less difference in the number of Top Ten entries in each man's tournaments (53 vs. 68).

This is similar to the number of times that they actually faced Top Ten players. Borg faced top tenners 18 times (with a 15-3 record). Vilas did so 19 times (with a 13-6 record). Again, that's excluding Davis Cup, and using the year-end rankings.

krosero
02-20-2012, 08:27 AM
Leaving Borg-Vilas aside, it's interesting to see how few of the top players dependably showed up at most tournaments.

USO was the best-attended tournament of the year with 10 entries.
Wimbledon and Philadelphia each had 8 entries.
The Masters had 7.
Queens Club had 6.
Dallas, Roland Garros and Rome each had 5.
Palm Springs, Monte Carlo, Nottingham, Washington DC (O) and Wembley each had 4.


Very few tournaments had the top players, which among other things makes the 4-man invitationals look better. We're always asking how much weight a tournament should be given if it only required two victories. But the four-man invitationals, at least when they invited the very top players, had better players in attendance than many tournaments of 5 or more rounds.

krosero
02-20-2012, 09:08 AM
I've edited the two last posts because somehow I had forgotten the two grasscourt tuneups that Vilas played at Nottingham and Queens Club. His total of Top Ten opponents goes up by 8. The grasscourt tuneups are a bit of a unique case because despite being merely warmups, they had some of the best attendances of the year -- no doubt because there were so few places to go in preparation for Wimbledon.

Benhur
02-20-2012, 09:57 AM
Thanks Krosero. Very useful work. I haven't had time to look at it in great detail but I will. Regarding DC, since it is a team effort, I think its use as part of individual tournament records is debatable. But for purposes of H2H counting against a player or a group of players, it should be perfectly fine. After all, those are official matches and they are counted in the official H2H records between players.

pc1
02-20-2012, 10:06 AM
Leaving Borg-Vilas aside, it's interesting to see how few of the top players dependably showed up at most tournaments.

USO was the best-attended tournament of the year with 10 entries.
Wimbledon and Philadelphia each had 8 entries.
The Masters had 7.
Queens Club had 6.
Dallas, Roland Garros and Rome each had 5.
Palm Springs, Monte Carlo, Nottingham, Washington DC (O) and Wembley each had 4.


Very few tournaments had the top players, which among other things makes the 4-man invitationals look better. We're always asking how much weight a tournament should be given if it only required two victories. But the four-man invitationals, at least when they invited the very top players, had better players in attendance than many tournaments of 5 or more rounds.


Small tournaments are often tougher to win than bigger tournaments if the field is very strong. That's obvious. For example when Pancho Gonzalez defeated both Ashley Cooper and Mal Anderson by a combined match total of 34 wins to 0. Considering Cooper won three of four majors (only missed the French) in 1958 and Anderson won the US Championship in 1957 you could argue that to defeat Pancho Gonzalez just once is tougher than winning several majors.

On a slightly different note, this is another one of the incredible performance by Pancho Gonzalez, to defeat two top major tournament winners without one loss!

krosero
02-20-2012, 04:04 PM
Thanks Krosero. Very useful work. I haven't had time to look at it in great detail but I will. Regarding DC, since it is a team effort, I think its use as part of individual tournament records is debatable. But for purposes of H2H counting against a player or a group of players, it should be perfectly fine. After all, those are official matches and they are counted in the official H2H records between players.Agreed, in the big picture (not when counting Top Ten encounters in standard tournaments, for example), Davis Cup needs to be included.

Satsuma Florida
02-20-2012, 04:08 PM
I've always included the Davis Cup in my own criteria for the top players. Grand Slams, YEC, Masters, Olympics, Davis Cup; in that order. Definitely one of the top events of the year and the top players should all be involved in it as much as possible.

Benhur
02-21-2012, 09:31 AM
Here are the entries of Top Ten players in Borg and Vilas' tournaments in '77. In every case I've used the year-end ATP rankings. Davis Cup is not included (in his Davis Cup matches Vilas met, and defeated, two Top Ten players: Gottfried and Stockton).


TOP TEN PLAYERS IN BORG’S TOURNAMENTS (apart from Borg)

Pepsi – Connors (1), Orantes (7)
Philadelphia – Connors (1), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Little Rock – none
Memphis – Vilas (2), Gottfried (5)
Johannesburg (outdoor) – Vilas (2)
Washington DC (indoor) – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
La Costa – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Nice – Vilas (2)
Monte Carlo – Vilas (2), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Denver – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
USO – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Madrid – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Barcelona – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Basle – none
Cologne – none
Wembley – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Oviedo – Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Masters – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 )

53 Top Ten entries, apart from Borg's own entries. Outside of Wimbledon and USO the number is 37.



TOP TEN PLAYERS IN VILAS’ TOURNAMENTS (apart from Vilas)

AO – Stockton (10)
Baltimore – Gottfried (5)
Springfield – none
Ocean City – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
Palm Springs – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Stockton (10)
Memphis – Borg (3), Gottfried (5)
Johannesburg (outdoor) – Borg (3)
Nice – Borg (3)
Monte Carlo – Borg (3), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Buenos Aires – none
Virginia Beach – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
Hamburg – Orantes (7)
Rome – Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
French Open – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
Nottingham – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Stockton (10)
Queens – Connors (1), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Kitzbuhel – Orantes (7)
Washington DC (outdoor) – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Louisville – Dibbs (6), Stockton (10)
South Orange – none
Columbus – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
USO – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Paris Outdoor – Nastase (9)
Aix-en-Provence – Nastase (9)
Tehran – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Bogota – none
Santiago – none
Buenos Aires – none
South African Open – Dibbs (6)
Masters – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 )

68 Top Ten entries, apart from Vilas' own entries. Outside of Wimbledon and USO the number is 52.


A lot more could be argued, for example the prestige of the tournaments, surfaces, etc. I drew up this list as another way to ascertain whether Vilas' draws were weaker than Borg's, and the number of Top Ten entries shows that they were. Apart from Davis Cup, Borg played in 19 tournaments, Vilas in 31, a significant difference. But there is much less difference in the number of Top Ten entries in each man's tournaments (53 vs. 68).

This is similar to the number of times that they actually faced Top Ten players. Borg faced top tenners 18 times (with a 15-3 record). Vilas did so 19 times (with a 13-6 record). Again, that's excluding Davis Cup, and using the year-end rankings.


Since Vilas played many more tournaments than Borg, it’s normal there were more top tenners in the tournaments he played. It’s also quite normal that the presence of top tenners per tournament played should be higher for Borg.

But one cannot use the overall thinner density of Vila's total tournaments to dilute the density of his best tournament wins.

Borg won 11 tournaments and Vilas 16. A sensible way to compare that data would be to compare those best results by Borg (his 11 wins) with Vilas' best-attended 11 wins.

The number of top 10 players present in the 11 tournaments won by Borg was 24 (2.18 per tournament)

The number of top 10 players present in the best 11 tournaments won by Vilas was 27 (2.45 per tournament).

Not a big difference there, but we can see that Vilas best 11 wins look slightly better than Borg’s 11 wins from this perspective alone. Two of Borg’s 11 wins were in tournaments with no other top 10 players present. One of Vilas “best 11” would come from that kind of tournament. But most important to my mind, though, is the fact that some real credit needs to be given to the fact that Vilas has one extra major among those 11 tournaments. That cannot just be ignored.

To me, none of this support the notion that the quality of Vilas' best titles was inferior in any way to Borg’s. Quite the opposite.

And then you still have the fact that Vilas did win 5 additional tournaments, and had 6 runner up appearances to Borg’s 2.

Borg's 11 tournament wins:

Pepsi – Connors (1), Orantes (7)
Memphis – Vilas (2), Gottfried (5)
Nice – Vilas (2)
Monte Carlo – Vilas (2), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Denver – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Madrid – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Barcelona – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Basle – none
Cologne – none
Wembley – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )

Vilas 11 (best-attended) tournament wins:

Virginia Beach – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
French Open – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
Kitzbuhel – Orantes (7)
Washington DC (outdoor) – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Louisville – Dibbs (6), Stockton (10)
Columbus – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
USO – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Paris Outdoor – Nastase (9)
Tehran – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Buenos Aires – [or some other] none
South African Open – Dibbs (6)

pc1
02-21-2012, 02:33 PM
Since Vilas played many more tournaments than Borg, it’s normal there were more top tenners in the tournaments he played. It’s also quite normal that the presence of top tenners per tournament played should be higher for Borg.

But one cannot use the overall thinner density of Vila's total tournaments to dilute the density of his best tournament wins.

Borg won 11 tournaments and Vilas 16. A sensible way to compare that data would be to compare those best results by Borg (his 11 wins) with Vilas' best-attended 11 wins.

The number of top 10 players present in the 11 tournaments won by Borg was 24 (2.18 per tournament)

The number of top 10 players present in the best 11 tournaments won by Vilas was 27 (2.45 per tournament).

Not a big difference there, but we can see that Vilas best 11 wins look slightly better than Borg’s 11 wins from this perspective alone. Two of Borg’s 11 wins were in tournaments with no other top 10 players present. One of Vilas “best 11” would come from that kind of tournament. But most important to my mind, though, is the fact that some real credit needs to be given to the fact that Vilas has one extra major among those 11 tournaments. That cannot just be ignored.

To me, none of this support the notion that the quality of Vilas' best titles was inferior in any way to Borg’s. Quite the opposite.

And then you still have the fact that Vilas did win 5 additional tournaments, and had 6 runner up appearances to Borg’s 2.

Borg's 11 tournament wins:

Pepsi – Connors (1), Orantes (7)
Memphis – Vilas (2), Gottfried (5)
Nice – Vilas (2)
Monte Carlo – Vilas (2), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Denver – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Madrid – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Barcelona – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Basle – none
Cologne – none
Wembley – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )

Vilas 11 (best-attended) tournament wins:

Virginia Beach – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
French Open – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
Kitzbuhel – Orantes (7)
Washington DC (outdoor) – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Louisville – Dibbs (6), Stockton (10)
Columbus – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
USO – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Paris Outdoor – Nastase (9)
Tehran – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Buenos Aires – [or some other] none
South African Open – Dibbs (6)

Borg had 13 tournament victories plus a tournament in which he and Vilas were in the finals but wasn't completed. It was not 11 tournament victories.

Q&M son
02-21-2012, 02:56 PM
Borg had 13 tournament victories plus a tournament in which he and Vilas were in the finals but wasn't completed. It was not 11 tournament victories.

Correct :)

krosero
02-21-2012, 03:02 PM
Benhur and I have been using the ATP/ITF webpages. That's not the full picture, but it is more or less proportionately correct because Borg and Vilas each have 2 additional victories in '77 listed at their respective Wikipedia pages.

Borg has Cincinatti and Hilton Head (that's probably how Bud Collins got to a total of 13 titles for him).

Vilas has Rye and Caracas (Collins counts Rye, yielding 17 total -- and a longer winning streak).

Q&M son
02-21-2012, 03:27 PM
Benhur and I have been using the ATP/ITF webpages. That's not the full picture, but it is more or less proportionately correct because Borg and Vilas each have 2 additional victories in '77 listed at their respective Wikipedia pages.

Borg has Cincinatti and Hilton Head (that's probably how Bud Collins got to a total of 13 titles for him).

Vilas has Rye and Caracas (Collins counts Rye, yielding 17 total -- and a longer winning streak).

Correct too.

Q&M son
02-21-2012, 03:30 PM
To me, none of this support the notion that the quality of Vilas' best titles was inferior in any way to Borg’s. Quite the opposite.

And then you still have the fact that Vilas did win 5 additional tournaments, and had 6 runner up appearances to Borg’s 2.

Borg's 11 tournament wins:

Pepsi – Connors (1), Orantes (7)
Memphis – Vilas (2), Gottfried (5)
Nice – Vilas (2)
Monte Carlo – Vilas (2), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Denver – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
Wimbledon – Connors (1), Vilas (2), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Madrid – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Barcelona – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Basle – none
Cologne – none
Wembley – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )

Vilas 11 (best-attended) tournament wins:

Virginia Beach – Gerulaitis (4), Nastase (9)
French Open – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9)
Kitzbuhel – Orantes (7)
Washington DC (outdoor) – Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Ramirez (8 )
Louisville – Dibbs (6), Stockton (10)
Columbus – Gottfried (5), Ramirez (8 )
USO – Connors (1), Borg (3), Gerulaitis (4), Gottfried (5), Dibbs (6), Orantes (7), Ramirez (8 ), Nastase (9), Stockton (10)
Paris Outdoor – Nastase (9)
Tehran – Dibbs (6), Orantes (7)
Buenos Aires – [or some other] none
South African Open – Dibbs (6)

In Pepsi, was a 4 men event... this may be cited.

Check Rye event draw for example...

Q&M son
02-21-2012, 03:32 PM
Small tournaments are often tougher to win than bigger tournaments if the field is very strong. That's obvious. For example when Pancho Gonzalez defeated both Ashley Cooper and Mal Anderson by a combined match total of 34 wins to 0. Considering Cooper won three of four majors (only missed the French) in 1958 and Anderson won the US Championship in 1957 you could argue that to defeat Pancho Gonzalez just once is tougher than winning several majors.

On a slightly different note, this is another one of the incredible performance by Pancho Gonzalez, to defeat two top major tournament winners without one loss!

Agree. Fully. :)

Q&M son
02-21-2012, 03:37 PM
Rye event from AndrewTas info:

Lionel Tennis Week
Rye, NY 25-29 August 1977

Brown Group
Nastase d. B Manson 63 62, d. R Cano 62 75, d. Z Franulovic 62 76
Cano d. Manson 76 63, d. Franulovic 16 64 64
Manson d. Franulovic 46 63 75

White Group
Vilas d. I Tiriac 75 62, d, M Mitchell 62 62, d. J McEnroe 61 62
McEnroe d. Mitchell 75 62, d. Tiriac 67 63 63
Tiriac d. Mitchell 64 76

Final Vilas d. Nastase 62 60
3rd Place McEnroe d. Cano 36 62 60

Vilas won 4 matches including over Nastase and a young McEnroe

krosero
02-22-2012, 12:38 PM
Since Vilas played many more tournaments than Borg, it’s normal there were more top tenners in the tournaments he played. It’s also quite normal that the presence of top tenners per tournament played should be higher for Borg.I’m not sure what you mean in the second sentence, because Vilas could have played his ambitious schedule and still entered more top-quality tournaments than he actually did. For example, he could have chosen to play Philadelphia (which Borg and Connors attended). He could have played Wembley (which Borg attended) instead of his South American tour – in which he faced no Top Ten opponents. With Philly and Wembley the number of Top Ten entries in his events would then shoot up to 78. And he’s still playing a total of 30 events. That’s an average of 2.6 Top Tenners per tournament, not far from Borg’s 2.8. With one or two more changes in his schedule Vilas might catch Borg in that stat – and still play an ambitious schedule.

So it’s very possible to play a lot and still choose high-quality tournaments throughout the year.

But one cannot use the overall thinner density of Vila's total tournaments to dilute the density of his best tournament wins.

Borg won 11 tournaments and Vilas 16. A sensible way to compare that data would be to compare those best results by Borg (his 11 wins) with Vilas' best-attended 11 wins. The problem I have with what you’ve done here is that you’ve artificially divided the record of the year so that all the losses are set aside, essentially ignored. You looked at 11 titles for each man, but when you referred to the rest of the record, Vilas’ 14 losses (compared to Borg’s 7) were nowhere in sight. Instead you summed up the remainder of the record as Vilas having more runner-up finishes than Borg. As I said a couple of days ago, this kind of analysis presents everything as accomplishments. Wins are presented without the losses that were incurred: and naturally then the player with the most wins looks undeniably better, because we don’t see how many losses he incurred in his effort to rack up his titles. That’s why the win/loss percentage provides a perspective here that is utterly lost when titles are merely counted up.

We can still compare 11 titles for each man, although I think there are problems with evaluating the year that way.

The number of top 10 players present in the 11 tournaments won by Borg was 24 (2.18 per tournament)

The number of top 10 players present in the best 11 tournaments won by Vilas was 27 (2.45 per tournament). True, but the average ranking of those attending Borg’s tournaments was 5.4. For Vilas it was 6.6.

Meanwhile look at the remainder of the record. Borg has only the 7 tournaments that he lost (that’s by design, since the cutoff was 11 titles). In each of those 7 tournaments there was an average of 4 Top Tenners joining Borg in the draw. The average in Vilas’s remaining 19 events was just 2.1.

And that right there shows a tendency on Vilas’ part to choose weak draws. In that part of the record the quality of his opposition is thin. And that’s the bone of contention with Vilas: it seems he fattened up his title count, and reached 16, by racking up a number of titles over weaker opposition.

But most important to my mind, though, is the fact that some real credit needs to be given to the fact that Vilas has one extra major among those 11 tournaments. That cannot just be ignored. It’s true that RG is not just another tournament. But its field this year, as you have said, while decent, was limited. And looking at all 11 victories, Borg has three titles that stand out, both for prestige and for strength of the draw: Wimbledon, Monte Carlo and Wembley. Those are his victories featuring draws of 3 or more Top Ten opponents. Vilas has three such titles: RG, USO and the Washington DC event in the summer. I don’t see a whole lot separating the two men, even if Vilas has an edge from this perspective.

But from the perspective of surfaces Borg has an advantage. He won his three big titles on three different surfaces (grass, hard, clay), defeating top tenners 6 times.

Vilas won his top three tournaments all on clay, defeating top tenners 5 times.

Looking at the 11 titles for each man, Borg defeated top tenners 13 times, on four surfaces. Vilas defeated top tenners 10 times, on two surfaces.

To me, none of this support the notion that the quality of Vilas' best titles was inferior in any way to Borg’s. Quite the opposite.They are inferior from the perspective of surface. That is most apparent when you look at each man’s 3 biggest titles. And looking at the set of 11, Borg won on four surfaces, Vilas on two. So what would be more difficult, to defeat the world’s best players on four surfaces, or on two? What would be a greater indication of domination over the field as a whole?

Turning to the losses, Vilas’ record has a blemish: almost no good match victories on grass, no titles, and early-round losses at Wimbledon and its tune-ups. On grass there’s the most daylight between the two men’s records.

There were 16 top ten opponents entered in Vilas’ grasscourt tournaments, and he never met any of them – either because he lost early or because he played in draws with hardly any top tenners present (AO).

And that helps explains something we were talking about earlier. Over the course of the entire year Borg met top tenners almost as many times as Vilas did (18 vs 19), but there were more top tenners present in Vilas’ tournaments (53 vs 68 ). Is that because top tenners were losing early in Vilas’ events, so that Vilas never had the chance to meet them? Or is it because Vilas was losing early?

It seems to be more due to Vilas’ early losses. He lost before he could meet any of the 15 Top Tenners entered at Wimbledon and its tuneups. And 15 is the difference between the two men’s draws, in terms of Top Ten entries (53 vs 68 ).

Benhur
02-23-2012, 04:52 AM
I’m not sure what you mean in the second sentence, because Vilas could have played his ambitious schedule and still entered more top-quality tournaments than he actually did.

What I am saying is it seems normal that the larger the schedule, the lower the overall quality of the tournaments would be. Overall being the key word. If you are more selective on your schedule you tend to concentrate on the more important tournaments. Playing 18 events is very different from playing 30, and you cannot reasonably demand the same, let's say, overall density. That's why I firmly believe one should not compare the quality of Borg's 18 events to all of Vilas 30 events. We can compare it to Vilas’ best-attended 18 events. Otherwise we are not comparing similar things, and it would look as if all of Vilas tournaments were of lower quality.

The problem I have with what you’ve done here is that you’ve artificially divided the record of the year so that all the losses are set aside, essentially ignored. You looked at 11 titles for each man, but when you referred to the rest of the record, Vilas’ 14 losses (compared to Borg’s 7) were nowhere in sight. Instead you summed up the remainder of the record as Vilas having more runner-up finishes than Borg. As I said a couple of days ago, this kind of analysis presents everything as accomplishments. Wins are presented without the losses that were incurred: and naturally then the player with the most wins looks undeniably better, because we don’t see how many losses he incurred in his effort to rack up his titles. That’s why the win/loss percentage provides a perspective here that is utterly lost when titles are merely counted up.

Well, it seems to me that best results (in this case, wins) is what’s normally looked at when comparing records, provided that the quality of the tournaments in those best results is comparable. So I don’t see it as an artificial division, but as a very logical one. I just took their best 11 results (because Borg won 11 tournaments) and compared the quality of the tournaments they came from, from the perspective of how many top ten players were in them, and discovered that the quality was very similar. Of course there are endless ways you can slice the data, you could look at their best 2 or 3 wins, best 5, whatever. And one could look at the attendance level in much more detail. As I said, the ideal method would be something like a calculation of the average ranking of the best 10 participants in each tournament or something like that, a very time consuming task. But from the perspective of number of top 10 players present, or the average rank of these players, it looks very similar. Slightly better for Vilas in one case, and slightly better for Borg in the other. But all very comparable.

It seems odd to compare losses, but even here there seems to be nothing unusual. Vilas had 14 to Borg’s 7, yes, but he also played 30 tournaments to Borg’s 18, and we know that the match win percentage is also very similar for both, 90 for Vilas and 91 for Borg. And we’ve already seen that the “quality” of the Vilas losses was not inferior to Borg’s either. Vilas did not lose, on average, to lower ranked players than Borg did. So I don’t really get this focus on losses.

I put the cutoff at 11 because that's the number of titles won by Borg in the data we are using, so you can think of them as his best tournaments as far as results go, but certainly this is arbitrary and another (equally arbitrary) number can be used, provided it’s the same for both and the same criteria is used (either best-attended or best results). Vilas played 30 tournaments. But within those 30 he also played 18, or any lower number, which he can show for comparison of strength of field with Borg’s total of 18 tournaments or any lower number. Vilas won 16, but within that number he also won 11 (or any lower number) which he can show for the same comparison with Borg’s 11 wins. As long as the quality of the tournaments is comparable, and the number under comparison is the same, he doesn’t have to introduce the quality of the remaining tournaments on the exhibit. They are just an extra. As if a racer on a time trial, after reaching the end line, felt like continuing for a few more miles because they seemed easy, or just for the hell of it. But he still did what he had to do.

Meanwhile look at the remainder of the record. Borg has only the 7 tournaments that he lost (that’s by design, since the cutoff was 11 titles). In each of those 7 tournaments there was an average of 4 Top Tenners joining Borg in the draw. The average in Vilas’s remaining 19 events was just 2.1.

And that right there shows a tendency on Vilas’ part to choose weak draws. In that part of the record the quality of his opposition is thin. And that’s the bone of contention with Vilas: it seems he fattened up his title count, and reached 16, by racking up a number of titles over weaker opposition.

You point out that Borg’s remaining 7 tournaments featured more top ten players than Vilas remaining 19. Okay, but again, I object to this because you are comparing 7 to 19. If we are using 7 tournaments, let’s stop there and see if Vilas had 7 tournaments to match. Within those 19, Vilas did have 7. You would need to compare those remaining 7 by Borg with the best attended 7 in Vilas remaining 19 tournaments. You can’t dilute the quality of those 7 with the overall quality of the 19, as if Vilas was just micky-mousing around all the time and didn’t play the same amount of equal quality tournaments as Borg. He did. Or at least I think so. He just put in those extra miles for additional ammunition.

The question is: Are Vilas’ best attended 18 tournaments comparable to Borg’s? And: Did Borg’s best results (11 or whatever) occur in tournaments of comparable quality to Vilas’ best results? The answer seems to me to be yes in both cases, though of course hairs can be split endlessly in many different ways. The extra work that Vilas did that year is extra work. He also did what Borg did in the better tournaments, and in my opinion, he did better. True that Borg did much better on grass, and his overall surface variety was better. Yet I would mention that Vilas on clay also had much better results than Borg, if only because 2 of the 3 majors were on clay and Vilas is the one who won them. Monte-Carlo by Borg is fine, but it’s not quite Roland Garros, let alone RG + USO. It would be more on a level with Washington as far as number of top 10 players present, and below Washington in terms of number of rounds (16-man draw at Monte-Carlo, 64 at Washington). Vilas doesn't have a big win on grass, but his performance at the Australian was not exactly shabby, it’s not like he did nothing.

To summarize my view. The general arguments offered for Borg in the long history of discussions on this topic here, are based heavily on the notion that while Vilas was feeding on the pork of the schedule, so to speak, Borg was seriously concentrating on the real beef. But this does not appear to be true under close examination. Vilas had at least as much beef as Borg (and I think he actually had a bit more), and then he also helped himself to some pork because he was just very hungry in 1977. But his pork doesn’t diminish either the quality or the amount of his beef. It’s just extra nutrition.

kiki
02-23-2012, 05:52 AM
Bjorn Vilas vs Willie Borg...oh¡ how passionate tennis was then¡¡¡

Q&M son
02-23-2012, 10:20 AM
Borg did reach 4th round on USO, Vilas 3rd round on Wimby, A LOT of difference too ;)

Q&M son
02-23-2012, 10:22 AM
11 titles of Bog was including Pepsi, a 4 man event... an exo to me, whatever ATP count it or not

krosero
02-24-2012, 11:23 AM
What I am saying is it seems normal that the larger the schedule, the lower the overall quality of the tournaments would be. Overall being the key word. If you are more selective on your schedule you tend to concentrate on the more important tournaments. Playing 18 events is very different from playing 30, and you cannot reasonably demand the same, let's say, overall density. It is not unreasonable to expect the same overall density, if you look at the specific circumstances. Vilas could have played in Philadelphia, which nearly everyone else attended; this year the players flocked to it practically as if it was a major. For some reason Vilas played the smaller indoor events in Baltimore (losing in the final) and Springfield (winning the title), but not Philadelphia. He could have played Philly instead of one of the other events – and in that case his amount of activity for the whole year remains the same while the quality of his draws gets a huge boost.

There’s a similar example in the autumn: he could have played Wembley instead of one or more of the events in his South American tour (in which he picked up 3 titles with no other Top Tenners in the draw to oppose him). That choice would have raised the average quality of his draws almost to the level of Borg’s, and he could have done it without decreasing the amount that he actually played.

Philly and Wembley were important tournaments, maybe the biggest indoor tournaments of the year apart from the tour-ending championships at Dallas and the Garden. It’s not unreasonable at all to expect a top player to attend one or both of them. That’s especially true in the case of Philadelphia, which practically everyone else attended.

That's why I firmly believe one should not compare the quality of Borg's 18 events to all of Vilas 30 events. We can compare it to Vilas’ best-attended 18 events. Otherwise we are not comparing similar things, and it would look as if all of Vilas tournaments were of lower quality. Your belief proceeds from the false premise above. It is in fact reasonable, even if Vilas plays a ton of events, to expect the overall quality of his events to be close to the quality of Borg’s. So it is appropriate to measure all of Borg’s events against all of Vilas’, in terms of quality of draw.

The average number of Top Tenners in all the events that Borg entered is 2.8. The average number for Vilas is 2.2.

The average number of Top Tenners entered in the 11 events that Borg won is 2.2. The average for all 16 of Vilas’ titles is 1.7.

That’s the lowest number we’ve seen so far, and it speaks directly to the issue of whether Vilas padded his title count against weak opposition.

Your point is well taken about not all of Vilas’ tournaments being of lower quality. If that’s your concern, let me be clear, I’m not trying to pin Vilas’ average on all of his events.

But the average indicates that some significant number of Vilas’ events were poorly attended by the Top Ten. Borg and Vilas both picked up titles with no other Top Tenners present in the draw to oppose them. But Borg only picked up 2 titles that way; Vilas picked up 6. And that nearly accounts for all of Vilas’ edge over Borg in overall titles for the year.

Vilas has a 16-11 edge in total titles. But those 5 extra wins were his least-attended events, out of all the events he played throughout the year. No other Top Tenners were present.

That doesn’t mean those titles are worthless. But they do not automatically put Vilas over Borg, because none of the losses have yet been looked at. You could decide that Vilas’ 11 best results are equal to or greater than Borg’s 11 titles (which is debatable); but at that point you’d have to compare what left’s over in the record: Borg, with 7 losses, against Vilas who has 5 (unimpressive) titles and 14 losses.

Well, it seems to me that best results (in this case, wins) is what’s normally looked at when comparing records, provided that the quality of the tournaments in those best results is comparable. So I don’t see it as an artificial division, but as a very logical one. I just took their best 11 results (because Borg won 11 tournaments) and compared the quality of the tournaments they came from, from the perspective of how many top ten players were in them, and discovered that the quality was very similar.

It seems odd to compare losses, but even here there seems to be nothing unusual. Vilas had 14 to Borg’s 7, yes, but he also played 30 tournaments to Borg’s 18, and we know that the match win percentage is also very similar for both, 90 for Vilas and 91 for Borg. And we’ve already seen that the “quality” of the Vilas losses was not inferior to Borg’s either. Vilas did not lose, on average, to lower ranked players than Borg did. So I don’t really get this focus on losses. I don’t want to focus on losses, but I object to the way they’re being counted. Whenever you’ve mentioned the losses you’ve referred to them as a percentage of Vilas’ total activity, and you’ve pointed out that the percentage is almost the same as Borg’s.

But the titles are not being treated in the same way. You picked out the 11 best titles for each man – and then you referred to Vilas’ remaining titles, in various analogies, as extra ammunition, extra food eaten, extra miles run. They are merely being added to the pile. They are not referred to as a percentage of his total activity.

If the titles are merely being added up – taking the best 11, and adding the remaining 5 – then the losses have to be counted up in the same way. It’s the only fair way to do it. Vilas lost 14 matches, which is 7 more losses than Borg had. The end. No references to them as percentages.

If you like, you can take 7 losses by Vilas, to compare with Borg’s 7. Then the remainder of the record features 7 more losses by Vilas, none by Borg. That would be the equivalent of what you did with the wins.

Yet that method is still basic addition/subtraction, and I don’t think that’s the right way to evaluate a year like this one.

As long as the quality of the tournaments is comparable, and the number under comparison is the same, he doesn’t have to introduce the quality of the remaining tournaments on the exhibit. They are just an extra. As if a racer on a time trial, after reaching the end line, felt like continuing for a few more miles because they seemed easy, or just for the hell of it. But he still did what he had to do. Here you explicitly claim that the quality of Vilas’ remaining tournaments – unlike the quality of his best 11, which you did evaluate and which I appreciate – does not have to be analyzed. The remaining titles can simply be added.

But that method instantly gives the victory to the player who played more. By definition, if you stop analyzing quality at the point where the first player has no more titles, that player will be left with much less “material” left over, so to speak, than the guy who played more. The second guy easily wins then – because at that point you’re simply asking for quantity.

I do not see tennis as a contest of who can run more. For one thing, you can talk about how far someone runs, but how does that account for the times when he got beaten?

I don’t like this runners analogy, but I’ll give it a try. Losses can be represented by the runner stopping momentarily because he can’t continue. That means that Vilas stopped quite often while Borg kept running. While they did run (the 11 best events), they ran at more or less the same speed, you’ve said. But Vilas stopped more often, so he’s fallen behind.

But you’ve also said he continued running at the end, after Borg stopped. So perhaps that way he catches up – according to your analogy.

All analogies are imperfect and I’m not claiming that this one – spinning it this way, or that way – reveals anything concrete about the real situation.

But I do think you’ve got a problem when one man plays far more than the other, and you compare them by cutting their activity into pieces and then adding up the pieces. That method will practically hand the victory to the guy who played more.

krosero
02-24-2012, 11:29 AM
To summarize my view. The general arguments offered for Borg in the long history of discussions on this topic here, are based heavily on the notion that while Vilas was feeding on the pork of the schedule, so to speak, Borg was seriously concentrating on the real beef. But this does not appear to be true under close examination. Vilas had at least as much beef as Borg (and I think he actually had a bit more), and then he also helped himself to some pork because he was just very hungry in 1977. But his pork doesn’t diminish either the quality or the amount of his beef. It’s just extra nutrition.Vilas’ choices do not look like extra hunger. It’s not as if he was facing Borg at every reasonable opportunity and then going out to jog some more. He skipped Philadelphia, with Borg and Connors present. I don’t know the reason; maybe someone can fill us in. I’ve seen reports of the final that he lost in Baltimore to Gottfried, the day before Philly began; he appeared healthy. Whatever the reason, he was absent at Philly; and afterwards he showed up at the lesser tournament in Springfield (taking the title).

He skipped Wembley, with Borg present, in order to do his South American tour. Understandable from a personal point of view, but whatever the reason, in the end this is another case of skipping the beef and feasting on pork.

After Nastase ended his winning streak, he beat Dibbs in the final in Tehran. He was entered in the Madrid tournament starting the next day, but the tournament organizers announced that he’d pulled out with a hand injury that he sustained while playing in Tehran. (I’m taking this from a brief Chicago Tribune report that I can post more of, for anyone who wishes). I don’t get into conspiracy theories about injuries, but if you know my posts you’ve seen several times that I’ve objected to an injury being regarded as serious if the player in question still wins the tournament. Vilas was good enough to beat Dibbs – but not good enough to play the next two weeks in Madrid and Barcelona. Borg was entered in both tournaments (and he won them both). Four days after Barcelona ended, Vilas resumed playing, in Caracas.

None of this appears like extra jogging. Whether injured or not, he missed Barcelona and Madrid. He missed Philadelphia without playing anything else that week. He missed Wembley to play other tournaments, but obviously, that was a free choice for pork over beef.

It does seem like he padded his title count, at the very least with that late-year tour in South America.

And that is supported statistically when you get the average number of Top Ten entries in all the tournaments he won (not just the average in his best-attended victories).

Benhur
02-26-2012, 11:05 AM
It is not unreasonable to expect the same overall density[...]

But I do think you’ve got a problem when one man plays far more than the other, and you compare them by cutting their activity into pieces and then adding up the pieces. That method will practically hand the victory to the guy who played more.

Looks like we have very different views on this matter. I very much disagree with the views I quoted, which seems to sum up the way you approach the issue. It is unreasonable to me to expect the same overall density, and most important, I don’t think there is any automatic or predetermined bias in these partial comparisons that would guarantee the victory to the guy who played more, as you suppose. Far from it. Their purpose is precisely to find out if the accomplishments are comparable or not, which cannot be done unless you break it up in parts. And scenarios where the guy who played and won more tournaments has the clearly inferior record can be easily conceived. If after doing those comparisons, it turned out for example that the quality of the 18 tournaments entered by Borg was systematically better in all tiers than any set of 18 tournaments entered by Vilas; and/or, if it turned out that the quality of Borg’s 11 tournament wins were systematically of better quality than any set of 11 tournament wins by Vilas, then Borg would clearly emerge as the player with the better record (even if Vilas had played and won many many more tournaments). Those scenarios are by no means impossible or even highly unlikely. The purpose of what I did was precisely to find out if this was the case here or not. I do not believe there is anything inherently unfair in dividing up the record in comparable units to see how they compare.

The idea that two records cannot be looked at in discrete portions, and that demanding overall equal density is reasonable, could be easly reduced to those arguments known as “ad absurdum". A player enters two of the 4 strongest tournaments and wins them, and doesn’t play anywhere else. By the comparison method you propose as the most fair, nobody playing, say, 20 turnaments could really match that record unles they won the other two strongest tournaments PLUS everything else they entered of lower quality. Any loss anywhere in their record would dilute it and make it inferior by comparison. Of course am not suggesting this is a realistic scenario, it's only meant to be an "ad absurdum" one, but I think the refusal to look at records in parts would in fact lead to a predetermined bias toward players with the more compact overall record, which is the opposite of how you see it.

When I have some time in the next few weeks I will try to go through their record in chronological order on a monthly or weekly basis.

timnz
02-26-2012, 12:56 PM
Would the difference between being a finalist and an Australian Open winner been enough to put Vilas over the top?. I suspect it wouldn't have been. Hence, a 3 Major winner of a year still wouldn't have been the ATP number 1.

Mustard
02-26-2012, 01:01 PM
Vilas is the real number 1 of 1977, without question. His activity, with 16 tournaments wins (including 2 majors), does it.

Doug_Hartley_2012
02-27-2012, 03:09 AM
Fascinating that people should be fighting this out 35 seasons later. For those of us who were around and paying attention in 1977, the answer was very clear. BJORN BORG was number 1, pure and simple. Vilas played and played and played, with some Majors success, but you'd never bet on him in a match-up with Borg. And the ATP computer just loved Jimmy Connors, who had clearly the leading points average but came up short against both Borg and Vilas in 1977. The ATP computer was a very blunt instrument in trying to determine world rankings, especially as there were so many tournaments that players could play week in week out and frequently avoid their main competitors.

kiki
02-27-2012, 03:21 AM
... new element.1977 was Dickie Stockton best year: won 2 or 3 WCT events ( including the very prestigious US Pro Indoors beating Connors in 5 sets) and lost the Dallas Finals, after beating Gerulaitis in 5 sets in an excellent semifinal.

beat Borg at the USO, losing to Solomon in the quarterfinals.

Best slams years, though, were 1974 (Wimbledon SF after knocking out Nastase) and 1978 (FO sf after defeating Manuel Orantes in the QF)

...oh¡ in 1977 he not just won singles WCT titles but took, paired with Amritraj, the WCT World Doubles Championships, held in Kansas City

kiki
02-27-2012, 03:22 AM
...and, maybe, his major feat was that he was the last man to beat great Rod Laver at Wimbledon, in that unforgetable Centennial year.

Q&M son
02-27-2012, 04:11 AM
Would the difference between being a finalist and an Australian Open winner been enough to put Vilas over the top?. I suspect it wouldn't have been. Hence, a 3 Major winner of a year still wouldn't have been the ATP number 1.

I strongly believe that if Vilas would skipped the grass season in July, the ELO would gave him the number one spot. :twisted:

But he choose to play that events, funny cause for some guys he tried to skip facing Borg all year.

Q&M son
02-27-2012, 04:15 AM
Top 10 Prize Money Leaders 1977:

1- Vilas $766.065
2- Gottfried $458.791
3- Connors $428.919
4- Borg $337.020
5- Eddie Dibbs $283.555
6- Dick Stockton $ 277.626
7- Vitas Gerulaitis $ 260.883
8- Raul Ramirez $ 244.763
9- Wojtek Fibak $ 238.035
10- Bob Hewitt $219.163

Doug_Hartley_2012
02-27-2012, 04:26 AM
Those lists tell you nothing. Vilas played an outrageous number of events but he was outclassed by Borg. Connors also chased the money. Borg was interested in Majors, specifically Paris and Wimbledon.

urban
02-27-2012, 04:40 AM
Obviously not in 1977.

Doug_Hartley_2012
02-27-2012, 04:54 AM
Wimbledon was all that mattered.

urban
02-27-2012, 05:00 AM
USO didn't matter? Roland Garros didn't matter?

Benhur
02-27-2012, 06:20 AM
Fascinating that people should be fighting this out 35 seasons later. For those of us who were around and paying attention in 1977, the answer was very clear. BJORN BORG was number 1, pure and simple. Vilas played and played and played, with some Majors success, but you'd never bet on him in a match-up with Borg. And the ATP computer just loved Jimmy Connors, who had clearly the leading points average but came up short against both Borg and Vilas in 1977. The ATP computer was a very blunt instrument in trying to determine world rankings, especially as there were so many tournaments that players could play week in week out and frequently avoid their main competitors.

If you think of the USO (which was the best attended tournament that year) and RG as "some major success" and you dismiss everything else Vilas played and won, and you believe that rankings should be established by betting odds, then you are right.

Mustard
02-27-2012, 07:29 AM
Fascinating that people should be fighting this out 35 seasons later. For those of us who were around and paying attention in 1977, the answer was very clear. BJORN BORG was number 1, pure and simple. Vilas played and played and played, with some Majors success, but you'd never bet on him in a match-up with Borg.

Vilas was the number 1 player based on activity and overall match results, which is what the world rankings should go by. Vilas played the most, won 16 tournaments (including 2 majors). Borg's activity is nowhere near this level, winning less tournaments and majors. This is not a head-to-head matter.

elpolaco84
02-27-2012, 08:58 AM
Those lists tell you nothing. Vilas played an outrageous number of events but he was outclassed by Borg. Connors also chased the money. Borg was interested in Majors, specifically Paris and Wimbledon.

Vilas was the number 1 player based on activity and overall match results, which is what the world rankings should go by. Vilas played the most, won 16 tournaments (including 2 majors). Borg's activity is nowhere near this level, winning less tournaments and majors. This is not a head-to-head matter.

Mustard please
http://www.airbornegamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/troll-pic-funny-300x300.jpg

Clearly Doug_Hartley doesn't even know what sport this is

krosero
02-27-2012, 01:26 PM
Looks like we have very different views on this matter. I very much disagree with the views I quoted, which seems to sum up the way you approach the issue. It is unreasonable to me to expect the same overall density, and most important, I don’t think there is any automatic or predetermined bias in these partial comparisons that would guarantee the victory to the guy who played more, as you suppose. Far from it. Their purpose is precisely to find out if the accomplishments are comparable or not, which cannot be done unless you break it up in parts. And scenarios where the guy who played and won more tournaments has the clearly inferior record can be easily conceived. If after doing those comparisons, it turned out for example that the quality of the 18 tournaments entered by Borg was systematically better in all tiers than any set of 18 tournaments entered by Vilas; and/or, if it turned out that the quality of Borg’s 11 tournament wins were systematically of better quality than any set of 11 tournament wins by Vilas, then Borg would clearly emerge as the player with the better record (even if Vilas had played and won many many more tournaments). Those scenarios are by no means impossible or even highly unlikely. The purpose of what I did was precisely to find out if this was the case here or not. I do not believe there is anything inherently unfair in dividing up the record in comparable units to see how they compare.

The idea that two records cannot be looked at in discrete portions, and that demanding overall equal density is reasonable, could be easly reduced to those arguments known as “ad absurdum". A player enters two of the 4 strongest tournaments and wins them, and doesn’t play anywhere else. By the comparison method you propose as the most fair, nobody playing, say, 20 turnaments could really match that record unles they won the other two strongest tournaments PLUS everything else they entered of lower quality. Any loss anywhere in their record would dilute it and make it inferior by comparison. Of course am not suggesting this is a realistic scenario, it's only meant to be an "ad absurdum" one, but I think the refusal to look at records in parts would in fact lead to a predetermined bias toward players with the more compact overall record, which is the opposite of how you see it.

When I have some time in the next few weeks I will try to go through their record in chronological order on a monthly or weekly basis.I was unclear when I wrote the summary of my views that you quoted. My specific objection is with cutting up the record in two pieces and evaluating the first piece for quality while not doing the same with the second. That’s what I meant by “adding” – in other words, switching to a simple method of addition without continuing to evaluate quality.

If we’re evaluating the quality of the two men’s records, we should do that for the entirety of their records. But you said that after the 11-title cutoff Vilas does not need to introduce the quality of his remaining titles. That right there is what I object to. Evaluating the entire record for quality means, first of all, checking the quality of those 5 remaining titles by Vilas; and secondly, throwing in the last part of the record, namely the tournaments that Vilas and Borg participated in but lost. You seemed to stop short of taking both those steps, by simply asking which of the men had any titles left over.

And that will always favor the guy who won more titles – but when I say that I’m talking about a situation like this one, in which the two men have comparable records after the first cutoff. If they don’t have comparable records in the first 11 titles, that’s different. Like you said we could imagine some very different situations in which your method does not automatically grant the victory to the guy who played more. I should have specified: I was talking about the step you took after a cutoff like this one, where the two men are roughly equal after 11 titles. In such a case the guy who has titles beyond the cutoff line will automatically win, if all you ask for at that point is titles.

After this cutoff, Borg had 7 losses left over, Vilas 5 titles and 14 losses. Now, I’m not exactly sure what to do here because in a way we’re comparing apples and oranges in this part of the record. In a “normal” situation where both men play, for example, 15 tournaments, this would not happen: you would just line up their events against each other and see who had more titles. But in a situation like this, when one guy plays far more than the other and has more titles, you can compare like-to-like for a portion of the record (eg, first 11 titles), but at the end you’re going to be comparing dissimilar things.

Cutting up records into discrete pieces and setting them against each other can work, I think (so long as all the pieces are evaluated for quality). I’ve done it myself. I’m just not sure how well it will work out when comparing two records of radically different sizes. In such cases you’d want to spend at least some time looking at the year from a different perspective -- for example, looking at the win/loss percentages.

I’m sure you noticed, the reports from ’77 (Sports Illustrated, Bud Collins) often start with the win/loss percentage, placing Borg and Vilas more or less on equal footing. They also speak of X-wins-in-Y-events. They don’t just compare X for the two players and say, “Well, Vilas has more titles, the end.”

Like I said, I don’t view tennis as a contest of who can run more. I’m not impressed by sheer level of activity – not in itself. Certainly not if quality did not keep up with quantity.

krosero
02-27-2012, 01:29 PM
You say it’s unreasonable to expect quality to keep up, when someone plays as much as Vilas did. That sounds fine in the abstract, but I keep emphasizing the concrete decisions Vilas made during the season. Vilas could have played Philadelphia instead of one of the other two smaller indoor tournaments, for example. He could have played Wembley instead of one or more events in his South American tour. If he had done those two things, the average number of Top Ten players in his events would be somewhat close to Borg’s.

And there were other times during the season when he opted for a lower quality draw over a higher quality. I’ve listed some below.

I used the draws at the ATP site: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Scores/Archive-Event-Calendar.aspx?t=2&y=1977. (I don’t know what’s happened to the ITF site recently.)


In the spring there was a hardcourt event in Houston featuring 4 Top Ten players, including Connors. Vilas chose to play Buenos Aires that week, with no Top Tenners in the draw.

During the summer, North Conway featured one of the best draws of the year: 5 Top Ten players (as many as Roland Garros), including Connors and Orantes (who always had a good H2H against Vilas). Vilas chose instead to play in South Orange, with no other Top Tenners.

Indianapolis (which Vilas rarely missed throughout his career), featured 4 Top Tenners, including Connors and Orantes again. Vilas went instead to Columbus, with Gottfried and Ramirez.

Vilas played the exo in Rye, New York, during Boston, which featured 5 Top Tenners including Connors and Orantes.

After the USO he chose Aix en Provence (Nastase in the draw) over a carpet event in San Francisco featuring 4 Top Tenners. He then went to Tehran (two Top Ten opponents) instead of the hardcourt event at Maui, which had 4 Top Tenners including Connors.

None of these choices would have impacted his total activity for the year one way or another. At any point he could have entered the higher quality draw and still played approximately 30 events for the year.

If your stance is that it’s unreasonable to expect quality to keep pace when someone plays as much as Vilas, then my question is, why?

Mustard
02-27-2012, 03:01 PM
(I don’t know what’s happened to the ITF site recently.)

The new ITF site is awful. All the archived results, which were more reliable than the ATP website's, seem to have disappeared. It was also great for showing results of qualifying matches.

Benhur
02-27-2012, 03:59 PM
You say it’s unreasonable to expect quality to keep up, when someone plays as much as Vilas did. That sounds fine in the abstract, but I keep emphasizing the concrete decisions Vilas made during the season. Vilas could have played Philadelphia instead of one of the other two smaller indoor tournaments, for example. He could have played Wembley instead of one or more events in his South American tour. If he had done those two things, the average number of Top Ten players in his events would be somewhat close to Borg’s.

And there were other times during the season when he opted for a lower quality draw over a higher quality. I’ve listed some below.

I used the draws at the ATP site: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Scores/Archive-Event-Calendar.aspx?t=2&y=1977. (I don’t know what’s happened to the ITF site recently.)


In the spring there was a hardcourt event in Houston featuring 4 Top Ten players, including Connors. Vilas chose to play Buenos Aires that week, with no Top Tenners in the draw.

During the summer, North Conway featured one of the best draws of the year: 5 Top Ten players (as many as Roland Garros), including Connors and Orantes (who always had a good H2H against Vilas). Vilas chose instead to play in South Orange, with no other Top Tenners.

Indianapolis (which Vilas rarely missed throughout his career), featured 4 Top Tenners, including Connors and Orantes again. Vilas went instead to Columbus, with Gottfried and Ramirez.

Vilas played the exo in Rye, New York, during Boston, which featured 5 Top Tenners including Connors and Orantes.

After the USO he chose Aix en Provence (Nastase in the draw) over a carpet event in San Francisco featuring 4 Top Tenners. He then went to Tehran (two Top Ten opponents) instead of the hardcourt event at Maui, which had 4 Top Tenners including Connors.

None of these choices would have impacted his total activity for the year one way or another. At any point he could have entered the higher quality draw and still played approximately 30 events for the year.

If your stance is that it’s unreasonable to expect quality to keep pace when someone plays as much as Vilas, then my question is, why?

Krosero,
When I have some time I will try to go through their schedule in some detail, month by month or even week by week, to compare what each were doing at any given time. I am certain that Vilas could have chosen to play other tournaments sometimes, but perhaps that's also true for Borg, especially since he played a lot less. I just don't know yet. This is a good discussion. I wish to make it clear that I am no more a fan of Vilas than I am of Borg, but I can't help being impressed by what Vilas did that year. In another thread I read he played a total of 165 singles matches (of which he won 150) + about 58 doubles matches in total that year. Sure a sizeable part of it may have been low quality tournaments, especially from today's standards, but it also seems to me that playing all kinds of tournaments was a much more common practice among top players in those days than it is now. I wouldn't argue about it if it was clear to me that most of what he played was low quality stuff, or that his choice of tournaments and the overall mix was very, very different from the rest of the top ten players or even very very different from Borg's (though I would still be impressed by the sheer amount of tennis). But my general impression is that he was roughly following the practice of the time, except that he played a lot more than anybody else, not just that year, but any year in the open era. His 14 losses to Borg's 7, both with a 90+ winning percentage, have to be seen in that context. For more context, Agassi finished 1999 as number 1 with 14 losses in a total of only 77 matches. The number 2 player that year, Kafelnikov, had 32 losses in 93 matches.
This is a good discussion. I'll have to see if I get around to doing a detailed comparative timeline.

krosero
02-27-2012, 04:47 PM
The new ITF site is awful. All the archived results, which were more reliable than the ATP website's, seem to have disappeared. It was also great for showing results of qualifying matches.It's just a mess over there. Davis Cup results for an entire season are given under one date, as if in a single tournament. And H2H between players is impossible to read. Pull up a career H2H series between two players: the matches are arranged in chronological order from top to bottom according to year, but within each year they run in chronological order from bottom to top.

Would the difference between being a finalist and an Australian Open winner been enough to put Vilas over the top?. I suspect it wouldn't have been. Hence, a 3 Major winner of a year still wouldn't have been the ATP number 1.I'd consider him sole #1 for the year if he had beaten Tanner. It's true that the AO was seriously depleted, and I would not put it in terms of Vilas having 3 majors that year, when so many other tournaments had better fields than the AO. But beating Tanner on grass would be a great achievement. By itself it would eliminate most of Borg's edge over Vilas in their grasscourt records.

The way Tanner played that day, though, I think only Borg or Connors at their best could have stopped him. He crushed Vilas; their serves can't even be compared.

I strongly believe that if Vilas would skipped the grass season in July, the ELO would gave him the number one spot. :twisted:

But he choose to play that events, funny cause for some guys he tried to skip facing Borg all year.Maybe you're not speaking seriously, but in any case, I think it's to Vilas' credit that he played Wimbledon and its tuneups. If he had skipped it, the worst losses of his season would drop out of his record, but it can't be counted in his favor if he doesn't even try. There must be some way, in our evaluations of yearly records, to dock a player for that kind of absence.

krosero
02-27-2012, 05:01 PM
Krosero,
When I have some time I will try to go through their schedule in some detail, month by month or even week by week, to compare what each were doing at any given time. I am certain that Vilas could have chosen to play other tournaments sometimes, but perhaps that's also true for Borg, especially since he played a lot less. I just don't know yet. This is a good discussion. I wish to make it clear that I am no more a fan of Vilas than I am of Borg, but I can't help being impressed by what Vilas did that year. In another thread I read he played a total of 165 singles matches (of which he won 150) + about 58 doubles matches in total that year. Sure a sizeable part of it may have been low quality tournaments, especially from today's standards, but it also seems to me that playing all kinds of tournaments was a much more common practice among top players in those days than it is now. I wouldn't argue about it if it was clear to me that most of what he played was low quality stuff, or that his choice of tournaments and the overall mix was very, very different from the rest of the top ten players or even very very different from Borg's (though I would still be impressed by the sheer amount of tennis). But my general impression is that he was roughly following the practice of the time, except that he played a lot more than anybody else, not just that year, but any year in the open era. His 14 losses to Borg's 7, both with a 90+ winning percentage, have to be seen in that context. For more context, Agassi finished 1999 as number 1 with 14 losses in a total of only 77 matches. The number 2 player that year, Kafelnikov, had 32 losses in 93 matches.
This is a good discussion. I'll have to see if I get around to doing a detailed comparative timeline.I think that Vilas, compared to Connors and Borg, chose the weakest draws, going by the fact that Vilas played so much more than they did, yet the three of them are fairly close in Top Ten meetings, and Top Ten entries in their tournaments. Having said that, I agree with you that players were scattered throughout the world much of the time. When I talk about Vilas' choices of tournaments, I am not suggesting that you'll find Borg entering draws as well attended as the Masters Series today, or anything close to that. That just didn't exist back then.

I recall reading upthread that 1977 was the first year that the Grand Prix tour ran year-round, and that this fact, combined with the WCT and WTT events, gave players a lot of choices from week to week and made it possible for them to avoid each other if they wished.

If that's true then it might help explain why 1977 is such a mess -- why Borg, Connors and Vilas had 3 very different records and no single one of them could rise decisively above the other two. To me 1977 has always seemed to stand out as a mess -- a complex and indecisive year. Maybe the Grand Prix going to a year round schedule, producing so much tennis and so many choices, has something to do with that.

Look forward to your analysis.

jean pierre
02-28-2012, 05:30 AM
Vilas was the number 1 player based on activity and overall match results, which is what the world rankings should go by. Vilas played the most, won 16 tournaments (including 2 majors). Borg's activity is nowhere near this level, winning less tournaments and majors. This is not a head-to-head matter.

You're exactly right.

kiki
02-28-2012, 06:21 AM
I think that Vilas, compared to Connors and Borg, chose the weakest draws, going by the fact that Vilas played so much more than they did, yet the three of them are fairly close in Top Ten meetings, and Top Ten entries in their tournaments. Having said that, I agree with you that players were scattered throughout the world much of the time. When I talk about Vilas' choices of tournaments, I am not suggesting that you'll find Borg entering draws as well attended as the Masters Series today, or anything close to that. That just didn't exist back then.

I recall reading upthread that 1977 was the first year that the Grand Prix tour ran year-round, and that this fact, combined with the WCT and WTT events, gave players a lot of choices from week to week and made it possible for them to avoid each other if they wished.

If that's true then it might help explain why 1977 is such a mess -- why Borg, Connors and Vilas had 3 very different records and no single one of them could rise decisively above the other two. To me 1977 has always seemed to stand out as a mess -- a complex and indecisive year. Maybe the Grand Prix going to a year round schedule, producing so much tennis and so many choices, has something to do with that.

Look forward to your analysis.


Not at all.First,WCT had a specific circuit, you were invited or not, you just couldn´t play it unless you were invited ( Borg and Vilas only played, under special circumstances,at Montecarlo)

There were events that compare to today Master 1000.Palm Springs was one of them, Las Vegas, too.Certainly Rome and Hamburg and Johannesburg, some of them have been long time Masters 1000

kiki
02-28-2012, 06:23 AM
Vilas was heavily favoured by refs, like the 1980 FO, when they forced Orantes to disqualify...every body at Paris was so much relished when Solomon defeated Vilas the next day...

Mustard
02-28-2012, 07:25 AM
Vilas was heavily favoured by refs, like the 1980 FO, when they forced Orantes to disqualify...every body at Paris was so much relished when Solomon defeated Vilas the next day...

Solomon was a bit of a thorn in Vilas' side. He twice beat Vilas at the French Open in 1976 and 1980, and also beat Vilas in the Hamburg final in 1980. Vilas' big win over Solomon was in the semi final of the 1977 US Open.

pc1
02-28-2012, 10:34 AM
Solomon was a bit of a thorn in Vilas' side. He twice beat Vilas at the French Open in 1976 and 1980, and also beat Vilas in the Hamburg final in 1980. Vilas' big win over Solomon was in the semi final of the 1977 US Open.

I recall announcers mentioning that Solomon was the player other players would LEAST like to face because even when you beat him, the player would have to work hard and would be worn out.

Never could figure why they used to mention Solomon because Vilas and Borg were even better baseliners.

My guess why Solomon was on occasion able to beat Vilas was that Vilas really wasn't that overpowering off the ground and Solly could stay in the rallies with him.

1972 French Open FRA Clay 16 SOLOMON 3-6 8-10 6-2 6-4 6-4
1974 Louisville USA Clay QF VILAS 3-6 1-6
1974 Washington DC (O) USA FR SOLOMON 1-6 6-3 6-4
1975 Masters Singles SWE Hard VILAS 3-6 4-6
1975 Washington DC (O) USA FR VILAS 1-6 3-6
1976 Masters Singles USA Carpet VILAS 3-6 6-4 4-6
1976 French Open FRA Clay QF SOLOMON 6-1 0-6 7-6 6-1
1976 WCT Fort Worth USA Hard QF VILAS 2-6 3-6
1977 U.S. Open USA Clay SF VILAS 2-6 6-7 2-6
1977 Palm Springs USA Hard QF VILAS 4-6 7-6 0-6
1980 French Open FRA Clay QF SOLOMON 1-6 6-4 7-6 7-5
1980 Hamburg GER Clay FR SOLOMON 6-7 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3
1980 Masters USA Carpet SOLOMON 6-2 6-2
1981 Masters USA Carpet VILAS 7-5 6-7 5-7

The player I think also really annoyed Vilas was Orantes.

1973 Washington DC (O) USA 64 VILAS 7-5 6-1
1973 Hamburg GER Clay 32 ORANTES 6-3 0-6 9-11
1974 Buenos Aires ARG Clay FR VILAS 6-3 0-6 7-5 6-2
1974 London GBR QF VILAS 6-1 6-7 7-6
1974 Canadian Open CAN Hard FR VILAS 6-4 6-2 6-3
1974 USCC-Indianapolis USA QF ORANTES 1-6 3-6
1974 Gstaad SUI Clay FR VILAS 6-1 6-2
1974 French Open FRA Clay 32 ORANTES 6-3 6-3 6-7 3-6 2-6
1975 U.S. Open USA Clay SF ORANTES 6-4 6-1 2-6 5-7 4-6
1975 USCC-Indianapolis USA Clay SF ORANTES 4-6 2-6
1975 Rome ITA Clay SF ORANTES 2-6 2-6 2-6
1975 Bournemouth GBR Clay SF ORANTES 2-6 2-6
1976 Tehran IRI Clay SF ORANTES 7-6 0-6 3-6
1978 Hamburg GER Clay SF VILAS 0-6 1-1 RET
1978 Masters USA Carpet VILAS 6-4 6-1
1980 French Open FRA Clay 16 VILAS W/O

krosero
02-28-2012, 01:40 PM
Not at all.First,WCT had a specific circuit, you were invited or not, you just couldn´t play it unless you were invited ( Borg and Vilas only played, under special circumstances,at Montecarlo)Of course, but what happened with Borg and Vilas in '77? They had both played WCT in '76, even reaching the finals in Dallas. What happened in '77, were they not invited? I had always understood that they chose not to play -- Borg perhaps because his WTT commitment made it impossible. I don't know what Vilas' plans for the year were, but one factor for him may have been his Davis Cup commitments (for example he played one tie in Buenos Aires that was held during the St. Louis WCT event).

Borg's only WCT events were Philadelphia and Monte Carlo. Vilas, only Monte Carlo and Johannesburg.

Why did Vilas not participate in Philadelphia, do you know the specific circumstances? Most of the Top Ten were there.

There were events that compare to today Master 1000.Palm Springs was one of them, Las Vegas, too.Certainly Rome and Hamburg and Johannesburg, some of them have been long time Masters 1000These were among the most prestigious events of the time but that does not mean that they had attendance levels like we might expect today. That was my point about Vilas: many of his draws may have been weak but in the context of his era they will appear less weak (they should not be compared to today's draws where everybody plays on one tour; in '77 the players were divided among Grand Prix, WCT and WTT).

Out of the five events you mentioned, Rome was the best-attended in '77 and it had only five of the Top Ten. Las Vegas, Hamburg and Johannesburg each had only two of the Top Ten.

I posted a list of best-attended tournaments in '77, here's an expanded list (with WCT events marked off).

# of Top Ten Players entered:

USO had 10
Wimbledon and Philadelphia WCT each had 8
The Masters had 7
Queens Club had 6

Birmingham WCT, Richmond WCT, Dallas WCT, Rome, Roland Garros, North Conway and Boston each had 5

Palm Springs, Monte Carlo WCT, Houston WCT, Nottingham, Washington DC (O), Indianapolis, Tournament of Champions WCT, Maui and Wembley each had 4

pc1
02-28-2012, 02:14 PM
From wikipedia on the battle for number one in 1977

Tennis Magazine (France); Michel Sutter; World Tennis; London Daily Telegraph; Tennis Club Magazine (Rome); Joe McCauley; Bud Collins; John Barrett; ATP Awards; Borg won Wimbledon over Connors who also lost the US Open against Vilas; Connors captured both the Masters beating Borg and the WCT Finals (Dick Stockton runner-up); Vilas also won a depleted French Open without Connors, Borg, Vitas Gerulaitis, Orantes and Stockton; Orantes beat Eddie Dibbs in the U.S. Pro; Tennis Magazine (France) ranked Borg #1 because he won Wimbledon and he defeated Vilas 3 times out of 3; Lance Tingay of the London Daily Telegraph, Rino Tommasi of Rome's Tennis Club magazine, Joe McCauley of Tennis Australia, Bud Collins and John Barrett also rated Borg first; while World Tennis and Michel Sutter considered Vilas the best one because among other reasons he won 46 matches in a row (even 50 including the Rye tournament excluded in ATP statistics) and 16 titles (or 17 Rye included); the ATP itself awarded Borg "Player of The Year" contradicting its computer ranking (Connors N° 1).

krosero
02-28-2012, 04:25 PM
The player I think also really annoyed Vilas was Orantes.Do you put that down to anything specific in Orantes' game?

Chopin
02-28-2012, 08:04 PM
If time travel were possible, I'd give us a new #1 for the year: Fabrice Santoro.

Doug_Hartley_2012
02-29-2012, 12:48 AM
Guys, I don't know how old some of you are or indeed if your posts are meant to be taken seriously, but unless you were around in 1977 following the tour as I was, frankly your revisionist views 34 years after the event aren't worth much. The season facts were very cut and dried. Vilas was no match for Borg, not that season, not any season. Borg had his number and in season 1977 Borg again won Wimbledon, the symbol of tennis supremacy. Vilas won two Majors and having nailed Connors in the US final, could fairly claim second spot.

The ATP computer, not taken all that seriously by serious tennis fans, vainly maintained that Jimmy was number 1, Vilas 2 and Borg 3. Just ridiculous. Remember, this was the same computer that ranked Ashe 4th in '75 and Rosewall 8th in '74. It rewarded those who played frequently; penalised those who did not and never ever had the capacity to analyse results or differentiate between Wimbledon and Denver. It was the least reliable ranking, certainly at the upper levels, and was only of gradual value as a basis for determining the bulk of the fields for larger events.

Check the contemporary annuals and you will see that the authoritative rankings were prepared by established expert commentators like Lance Tingay and others at world top ten level and that beyond that there was a plethora of age and national rankings, all similarly decided by real people who understood tennis. Vilas achieved a magic run but again you need to appreciate there was a wealth of tournaments then and these guys could compete regularly in completely different events knowing they would only meet each other rarely at Majors and a few other events. The answer to who was the best player in 1977 is the same as it always was, Bjorn Borg.

To argue otherwise, whether for Connors or Vilas, simply confirms your remoteness from 1977 and a basic misunderstanding of tournament results for that season. 1977 is not 1997 is not 2007 and unless you grasp the differences of the time you will indeed be puzzled as to why folks like me can be so direct and free of any doubt about Borg being the world number1 in 1977.

jean pierre
02-29-2012, 03:14 AM
Solomon was a bit of a thorn in Vilas' side. He twice beat Vilas at the French Open in 1976 and 1980, and also beat Vilas in the Hamburg final in 1980. Vilas' big win over Solomon was in the semi final of the 1977 US Open.

If Vilas wasn't so sick the day he has to play Orantes, he would have beat Solomon, and maybe he could beat Borg, because he was very strong this year : just before the French, he won Rome and beated Borg in Nations Cup.

Doug_Hartley_2012
02-29-2012, 03:23 AM
jean pierre, if...if...if. Nations Cup didn't count for much. You should read pc1's post which basically summarises key results and views from 1977. Borg owned Vilas, pure and simple. And Borg won Wimbledon. It did not matter how many events Vilas contested or won he was unable to change those basic facts. Playing more events than a player you fail to beat and who wins the premier event of the season at best makes you number 2.

jean pierre
02-29-2012, 03:55 AM
jean pierre, if...if...if. Nations Cup didn't count for much. You should read pc1's post which basically summarises key results and views from 1977. Borg owned Vilas, pure and simple. And Borg won Wimbledon. It did not matter how many events Vilas contested or won he was unable to change those basic facts. Playing more events than a player you fail to beat and who wins the premier event of the season at best makes you number 2.

"Those basic facts" are that Vilas played 3 Grand Slam Finals and Borg 1. "Those basic facts" are that Vilas won 2 Grand Slam and Borg 1. And "those basic facts" are that Vilas won 16 tournaments and Borg 11. "Those basing facts" are that Vilas's results are more more more better than Borg's results and that Vilas is the n°1 this year, even if he lost 3 times against Borg. Like Federer was n°1 several years even if he lost against Nadal. Because being
n°1 is not a question about head-to-head, but a question of best results.
The only argument for Borg is to say : Wimbledon is the most important tournament and he won Wimbledon. OK. So Stich was the n°1 in 1991 and Krajicek in 1996. And I think that in 1983 Chris Lewis was the n°2 of the world, because he was finalist in Wimbledon.

sandy mayer
02-29-2012, 04:18 AM
If I was choosing a Davis Cup Team in 1977 and had to choose between Connors, Borg and Vilas for two singles places, I would choose Connors and Borg (unless it was red clay in which I would probably choose Borg and Vilas). However, I have to agree that choosing world number 1 for the year is all about choosing the player with the best results not who you think is really the best player, which is why I now choose Vilas rather than Borg.

kiki
02-29-2012, 05:20 AM
Of course, but what happened with Borg and Vilas in '77? They had both played WCT in '76, even reaching the finals in Dallas. What happened in '77, were they not invited? I had always understood that they chose not to play -- Borg perhaps because his WTT commitment made it impossible. I don't know what Vilas' plans for the year were, but one factor for him may have been his Davis Cup commitments (for example he played one tie in Buenos Aires that was held during the St. Louis WCT event).

Borg's only WCT events were Philadelphia and Monte Carlo. Vilas, only Monte Carlo and Johannesburg.

Why did Vilas not participate in Philadelphia, do you know the specific circumstances? Most of the Top Ten were there.

These were among the most prestigious events of the time but that does not mean that they had attendance levels like we might expect today. That was my point about Vilas: many of his draws may have been weak but in the context of his era they will appear less weak (they should not be compared to today's draws where everybody plays on one tour; in '77 the players were divided among Grand Prix, WCT and WTT).

Out of the five events you mentioned, Rome was the best-attended in '77 and it had only five of the Top Ten. Las Vegas, Hamburg and Johannesburg each had only two of the Top Ten.

I posted a list of best-attended tournaments in '77, here's an expanded list (with WCT events marked off).

# of Top Ten Players entered:

USO had 10
Wimbledon and Philadelphia WCT each had 8
The Masters had 7
Queens Club had 6

Birmingham WCT, Richmond WCT, Dallas WCT, Rome, Roland Garros, North Conway and Boston each had 5

Palm Springs, Monte Carlo WCT, Houston WCT, Nottingham, Washington DC (O), Indianapolis, Tournament of Champions WCT, Maui and Wembley each had 4


Are you sure WCT iers were not allowed to play WTT? Most of fields were filled with WCT players...

kiki
02-29-2012, 05:25 AM
I recall announcers mentioning that Solomon was the player other players would LEAST like to face because even when you beat him, the player would have to work hard and would be worn out.

Never could figure why they used to mention Solomon because Vilas and Borg were even better baseliners.

My guess why Solomon was on occasion able to beat Vilas was that Vilas really wasn't that overpowering off the ground and Solly could stay in the rallies with him.

1972 French Open FRA Clay 16 SOLOMON 3-6 8-10 6-2 6-4 6-4
1974 Louisville USA Clay QF VILAS 3-6 1-6
1974 Washington DC (O) USA FR SOLOMON 1-6 6-3 6-4
1975 Masters Singles SWE Hard VILAS 3-6 4-6
1975 Washington DC (O) USA FR VILAS 1-6 3-6
1976 Masters Singles USA Carpet VILAS 3-6 6-4 4-6
1976 French Open FRA Clay QF SOLOMON 6-1 0-6 7-6 6-1
1976 WCT Fort Worth USA Hard QF VILAS 2-6 3-6
1977 U.S. Open USA Clay SF VILAS 2-6 6-7 2-6
1977 Palm Springs USA Hard QF VILAS 4-6 7-6 0-6
1980 French Open FRA Clay QF SOLOMON 1-6 6-4 7-6 7-5
1980 Hamburg GER Clay FR SOLOMON 6-7 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3
1980 Masters USA Carpet SOLOMON 6-2 6-2
1981 Masters USA Carpet VILAS 7-5 6-7 5-7

The player I think also really annoyed Vilas was Orantes.

1973 Washington DC (O) USA 64 VILAS 7-5 6-1
1973 Hamburg GER Clay 32 ORANTES 6-3 0-6 9-11
1974 Buenos Aires ARG Clay FR VILAS 6-3 0-6 7-5 6-2
1974 London GBR QF VILAS 6-1 6-7 7-6
1974 Canadian Open CAN Hard FR VILAS 6-4 6-2 6-3
1974 USCC-Indianapolis USA QF ORANTES 1-6 3-6
1974 Gstaad SUI Clay FR VILAS 6-1 6-2
1974 French Open FRA Clay 32 ORANTES 6-3 6-3 6-7 3-6 2-6
1975 U.S. Open USA Clay SF ORANTES 6-4 6-1 2-6 5-7 4-6
1975 USCC-Indianapolis USA Clay SF ORANTES 4-6 2-6
1975 Rome ITA Clay SF ORANTES 2-6 2-6 2-6
1975 Bournemouth GBR Clay SF ORANTES 2-6 2-6
1976 Tehran IRI Clay SF ORANTES 7-6 0-6 3-6
1978 Hamburg GER Clay SF VILAS 0-6 1-1 RET
1978 Masters USA Carpet VILAS 6-4 6-1
1980 French Open FRA Clay 16 VILAS W/O

As I posted before, and older followers will they, the W/O of the 1980 French was provoced by deliverated offciating.Fans booed Vilas next day, when he was defeated by Solomon.

kiki
02-29-2012, 05:29 AM
If Vilas wasn't so sick the day he has to play Orantes, he would have beat Solomon, and maybe he could beat Borg, because he was very strong this year : just before the French, he won Rome and beated Borg in Nations Cup.

Borg owned Vilas at will; he could play 50% of his best and still Vilas wouldn´t win a set.The results in serious contests were humilliating for Vilas.When Borg peaked at the late 70´s, only Connors,Tanner and, more specifically, Mc Enroe could really spell serious trouble...and Lendl, in the early 80´s.

kiki
02-29-2012, 05:32 AM
and Clerc was clearly a much stronger player than VIlas in 1980,1981,1982

pc1
02-29-2012, 05:42 AM
Are you sure WCT iers were not allowed to play WTT? Most of fields were filled with WCT players...

I think Krosero meant that because Borg played WTT he was not allowed to enter the French Open in 1977.

Chopin
02-29-2012, 06:03 AM
Guys, I don't know how old some of you are or indeed if your posts are meant to be taken seriously, but unless you were around in 1977 following the tour as I was, frankly your revisionist views 34 years after the event aren't worth much. The season facts were very cut and dried. Vilas was no match for Borg, not that season, not any season. Borg had his number and in season 1977 Borg again won Wimbledon, the symbol of tennis supremacy. Vilas won two Majors and having nailed Connors in the US final, could fairly claim second spot.

The ATP computer, not taken all that seriously by serious tennis fans, vainly maintained that Jimmy was number 1, Vilas 2 and Borg 3. Just ridiculous. Remember, this was the same computer that ranked Ashe 4th in '75 and Rosewall 8th in '74. It rewarded those who played frequently; penalised those who did not and never ever had the capacity to analyse results or differentiate between Wimbledon and Denver. It was the least reliable ranking, certainly at the upper levels, and was only of gradual value as a basis for determining the bulk of the fields for larger events.

Check the contemporary annuals and you will see that the authoritative rankings were prepared by established expert commentators like Lance Tingay and others at world top ten level and that beyond that there was a plethora of age and national rankings, all similarly decided by real people who understood tennis. Vilas achieved a magic run but again you need to appreciate there was a wealth of tournaments then and these guys could compete regularly in completely different events knowing they would only meet each other rarely at Majors and a few other events. The answer to who was the best player in 1977 is the same as it always was, Bjorn Borg.

To argue otherwise, whether for Connors or Vilas, simply confirms your remoteness from 1977 and a basic misunderstanding of tournament results for that season. 1977 is not 1997 is not 2007 and unless you grasp the differences of the time you will indeed be puzzled as to why folks like me can be so direct and free of any doubt about Borg being the world number1 in 1977.

Excellent post. The Historians will welcome you into the circle.