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View Full Version : How come Newcombe didn't do better at the French?


Moose Malloy
05-23-2007, 03:35 PM
Was looking through his record, was surprised that he won Hamburg('68) Rome('69) & was RU at Monte Carlo('69)
He lost to Okker in a 5 set QF at the '69 French.

Laver & Rosewall are generally considered much better than him, partly due to their superior claycourt record, but it seems that he was very good on that as well.

He didn't play the French during his best years('70-'72), due to a dispute between the ITF & WCT(I think).

He also wasn't allowed to play Wimbledon '72/'73 after winning in '70/'71.

I think he may be the most underrated player of the open era, who lost so many of best chances to win more slams because of politics.

He could've been in the Mac/Lendl/Connors tier if he was given the same chances to play the big events.

sandy mayer
05-23-2007, 05:11 PM
I agree with your post. For me Newcombe was a great champion who is very underrrated. He was the best player of the early 70s, as Connors was the best of the mid 70s, and Borg the best of the late 70s. I think all the politics which prevented full entry into all the slams was a joke. In a way open tennis did not begin until about 75 onwards (when players stopped being banned from tournaments because of the organisations they were linked to).

chaognosis
05-23-2007, 05:18 PM
Many observers have ranked Newcombe in that tier regardless. 'The Book of Tennis Lists' by Norman Giller (1985) is perhaps the most thorough sampling of rankings by players and observers; it also includes a composite computer ranking. The composite ranking places Newcombe ahead of Connors. Likewise, E. Digby Baltzell's 'Sporting Gentlemen' (1995) includes the author's ranking of the ten all-time greatest champions. He includes Newcombe in his list, along with Tilden, Cochet, Perry, Budge, Kramer, Gonzales, Laver, Borg, and McEnroe. Neither Connors nor Lendl made the cut. I agree that Newcombe lost many additional chances to prove himself and make his mark on history, but as it stands it's largely a matter of personal choice. I myself can see a valid case for ranking Newcombe on par with (or even ahead of) Connors and Lendl, though probably not McEnroe.

Gundam
05-24-2007, 09:19 AM
What was Newk's playing style? What was his strength and weakness? How was his mental strength? And of oourse, beer-drinking ability?

urban
05-24-2007, 09:37 AM
Some weks ago, i got a hand on the Laver-Newk Wimb final of 69, excellent quality.Newk had a very heavy serve, the best second serve of his time, and a powerful forehand volley. On the ground, his forehand was the stronger shot, often he went into the tramrails to hit the forehand return out of his backhand corner. He was a more mechanical, but explosive powerplayer but also a thinker on the court.In that Laver match, he did something, that Ashe later did against Connors (with more success), dink and lob, to give Laver no pace. His clay record is quite good, includes wins at Hamburg, Rome, Toronto, Bournemouth and ohers. He was not a day in- day out player, like Becker and Hoad he needed the big occasion at Wimbledon. In his best years 70, 71 and 73 he was never the clearcut Nr.1, as he himself states in his book 'On and off the court'. There were always players, who had the more solid overall record like Laver, Rosewall, Smith or Nastase. He states that his proudest moment was the DC win of 1973, when he and Laver (Rosewall and Anderson completed the geriatric team) beat the US 5-0.

Moose Malloy
05-24-2007, 09:49 AM
urban, how do you think Newcombe would have done at the '70-'72 French had he played? weak fields those years.

urban
05-24-2007, 10:55 AM
Now, Moose, in 69 Newk beat Kodes at RG in a hard 5 setter (11-9 in the 5th), saving match points with aces. Kodes was the 70/71 RG winner; i think he beat Newk at the 71 Rome event, which was in fact the premier clay event of the year. Gimeno, the 72 winner, would be tough, he beat Smith the Nr.1 player of 72 on clay in DC. In 73 Newk lost early to Hungarian Szöke, and lost early at Hamburg.

Moose Malloy
05-26-2007, 02:32 PM
'The Book of Tennis Lists' by Norman Giller (1985) is perhaps the most thorough sampling of rankings by players and observers; it also includes a composite computer ranking. The composite ranking places Newcombe ahead of Connors.

Their computer ranking also put McEnroe above Rosewall, which I'm not so sure about.

chaognosis
05-26-2007, 03:43 PM
Their computer ranking also put McEnroe above Rosewall, which I'm not so sure about.

Well, fact is, McEnroe has almost always been ranked higher than Rosewall. A 1986 magazine ranking had McEnroe at #2 behind Laver (Rosewall was not in the top 8 ). A 1999 Associated Press poll had McEnroe tied with Hoad at #6, Rosewall tied with Emerson at #8. And most recently, in a poll that determined the seeds for Tennis Week's all-time fantasy tournament, McEnroe was #8 and Rosewall was outside the top 8. In Dan Maskell's list (1988 ), McEnroe is at #6 and Rosewall at #9. In E. Digby Baltzell's book 'Sporting Gentlemen', he includes McEnroe in the top ten, but not Rosewall. Recent rankings I've seen by Bud Collins, Bruce Jenkins, Steve Flink, and Paul Fein, all had McEnroe over Rosewall.

Actually, the only place I've seen Rosewall ranked higher is here, on Internet discussion forums. Which is not to say Rosewall CAN'T be ranked higher--I've found that many of the amateur historians online are far more knowledgeable even than the published writers and "experts." Yet if we're talking about the consensus opinion (for what it's worth), McEnroe is consistently ranked higher.

Moose Malloy
05-27-2007, 07:06 PM
'The Book of Tennis Lists' by Norman Giller (1985) is perhaps the most thorough sampling of rankings by players and observers; it also includes a composite computer ranking. The composite ranking places Newcombe ahead of Connors.

That list also put Hoad above Rosewall & Connors. I realize going just by ability, many rank Hoad & Mac as 2 of the best ever, but accomplishments should be weighed higher, so some of these lists are rather strange to me.

A 1986 magazine ranking had McEnroe at #2 behind Laver (Rosewall was not in the top 8 ). A 1999 Associated Press poll had McEnroe tied with Hoad at #6, Rosewall tied with Emerson at #8. And most recently, in a poll that determined the seeds for Tennis Week's all-time fantasy tournament, McEnroe was #8 and Rosewall was outside the top 8. In Dan Maskell's list (1988 ), McEnroe is at #6 and Rosewall at #9. In E. Digby Baltzell's book 'Sporting Gentlemen', he includes McEnroe in the top ten, but not Rosewall. Recent rankings I've seen by Bud Collins, Bruce Jenkins, Steve Flink, and Paul Fein, all had McEnroe over Rosewall.


could you post some of these lists? like the ap & dan maskell lists?
who voted in the ap list?

chaognosis
05-28-2007, 12:25 AM
Dan Maskell (From Where I Sit):

1. Laver
2. Budge
3. Tilden
4. Perry
5. Borg
6. McEnroe
7. Cochet
8. Borotra
9. Rosewall
10. Connors

Given Maskell's career, he obviously had a unique perspective--I find this one of the more interesting (and sensible) rankings. The one really odd point is his placement of Borotra, which is extremely unorthodox. Most observers rank Cochet and Lacoste as the two greatest of the French Musketeers. Al Laney, whose Covering the Court is probably the single greatest tennis book I've ever read, is quite adamant that Lacoste was the greatest player of the bunch, and Gene Scott agreed ca. 1973, ranking Lacoste sixth (Cochet was eighth). The majority of experts, however, have usually put Cochet on top, with Lacoste a close second. I believe it was Danzig, maybe the most influential journalist of all, who ranked Cochet #2 behind only Tilden--and this was in the late 1960s!

AP End of Century Poll:

1. Laver
2. Sampras
3. Tilden
4. Borg
5. Budge
6. Hoad and McEnroe (tie)
8. Emerson and Rosewall (tie)
10. Kramer

The results of this poll are hard to track down online these days, as many of the old citations seem to have expired. A panel of six notable figures was assembled by the AP, and I will try to find out exactly which names were on board... the only one I can affirm off the top of my head is Collins. Urban may know; we've spoken about this poll before. Laver received at least half of the first-place votes. I'm pretty sure Hoad got one, as well as Gonzales (who nevertheless didn't crack the top 10!), and the last may have gone to Tilden, but don't quote me on that. Again, I will try to hunt down the specifics, as this is purely from memory at the moment.

urban
05-28-2007, 01:56 AM
To Moose and Chaog. I think the panel of the AP in 99/2000, which made polls for all sports (they did it in 1950 for the half century, too), consisted of Ted Schroeder, Barry MacKay, Fred Stolle (who usually votes for Hoad), Virginia Wade, Wendy Turnbull and Pam Shriver- a list, which regards top players for each decennium from the 40s to the 90s. They voted for Graf just one point ahead of Martina. In 1996 Tennis week made a fictional tournament of the century with votes by Collins, Flink,Schwed, Carillo, Wind, Palfrey-Danzig and Plimpton, with Laver winning against Tilden in the consensus, and Martina beating Seles.

Moose Malloy
05-30-2007, 09:53 AM
urban & chaognosis, do either of you know if Richard Evans has ever made a best ever list? Wondering what he thinks of Federer.

Rabbit
05-30-2007, 10:22 AM
Newcombe and his patented "buggy whip" forehand. When I was in high school, the Newcombe clothes were the ones to have. I think Newcombe was the first tennis star to really get his own branding going and he did so successfully for quite a few years.

urban
05-30-2007, 11:05 AM
Moose, as far as i know, Richard Evans was always a fan of Lew Hoad (and Mac and Nasty of course). He rated Hoad and Laver above Sampras in a Sunday times article around 2000.

chaognosis
05-30-2007, 11:58 AM
Evans was one of a panel of seven who determined the draw of Tennis Week's all-time fantasy tournament last year, so he did make a list -- though I haven't seen any of the panelists' individual rankings published separately. If he did rank Hoad first, it is curious that Hoad did not then make the top eight. To refresh, the standings were Federer/Laver (tie), Sampras, Borg, Tilden, Budge, Kramer and McEnroe, which corresponds pretty well to the results of other important polls (with the exception of Federer of course, who is a new addition -- and bear in mind that the contemporary superstar is always favored, e.g., when McEnroe placed second behind Laver in a massive 1986 poll by Inside Tennis).

http://noml.blogspot.com/2006/10/greatest-of-all-time-contest.html

Though I disagree with his list, I find this article by Paul Fein pretty fair minded:

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/pete/sampras/archives/general/A-Greatest03E.html

Moose Malloy
05-30-2007, 01:32 PM
Evans was one of a panel of seven who determined the draw of Tennis Week's all-time fantasy tournament last year, so he did make a list -- though I haven't seen any of the panelists' individual rankings published separately.

I got this response from Steve Flink about his list:

"You wondered about my top 32 list for the Tennis Week all time tournament. Here it is: 1. Sampras 2. Laver 3. Kramer 4. Federer 5. Tilden 6. Borg 7. Budge 8. Gonzalez 9. Connors 10. McEnroe 11. Lendl 12. Agassi 13. Perry 14. Rosewall 15. Becker 16. Hoad 17.Edberg 18. Newcombe 19. Wilander 20. Trabert."

If he did rank Hoad first, it is curious that Hoad did not then make the top eight. To refresh, the standings were Federer/Laver (tie), Sampras, Borg, Tilden, Budge, Kramer and McEnroe,

These were the results of the panel's votes(I emailed tennis week), Hoad just missed being seeded:

1.Roger Federer, Rod Laver (tie) 213
2.Pete Sampras 212
3.Bjorn Borg 188
4.Bill Tilden 187
5.Don Budge 183
6.Jack Kramer 171
7.John McEnroe 170
8.Lew Hoad 162
9.Jimmy Connors 153
10.Ivan Lendl 146

Moose Malloy
05-31-2007, 01:43 PM
chaognosis,
here is Richard Pagliaro's list for that tennis week tournament(he said he would try to get the lists for the other panelists, he did say Stolle had Hoad in the top 4, but he & Flink as you can see put him in the teens)
He said he wasn't seeding just on a "greatest player" basis, but surface as well(the tournament was on the us open hardcourts)

1. Pete Sampras

2. Roger Federer

3. Rod Laver

4. Bill Tilden

5. Bjorn Borg

6. Don Budge

7. John McEnroe

8. Jack Kramer

9. Pancho Gonzalez

10. Ivan Lendl

11. Andre Agassi

12. Ken Rosewall

13. Jimmy Connors

14. Fred Perry

15. Roy Emerson

16. Boris Becker

17. Lew Hoad

18. Mats Wilander

19. John Newcombe

20. Stefan Edberg

21. Tony Trabert

22. Ilie Nastase

23. Guillermo Vilas

24. Ellsworth Vines

25. Rafael Nadal

26. Henri Cochet

27. Frank Sedgman

28. Rene Lacoste

29. Manolo Santana

30. Arthur Ashe

31. Bobby Riggs

32. Stan Smith

chaognosis
05-31-2007, 02:09 PM
Thanks Moose! That's marvelous. Looking over Pagliaro's list, it's interesting to see how the stock of certain players has risen/dropped over the years. Several decades ago, Lacoste and Cochet were shoe-ins for the top ten. I already mentioned that Gene Scott, who founded TennisWeek, made a similar draw in 1973, where he ranked Lacoste #6 and Cochet #8 (Perry was #7). Now Perry is remembered far better than either of the Musketeers, and Rosewall has leapfrogged even Perry -- that would have been unthinkable in the '70s. Though as you mentioned, the surface probably has a lot to do with it. One contentious point is always the placement of Kramer and Gonzales. Authors Will Grimsley, Paul Metzler, and Digby Baltzell rate Kramer ahead of Gonzales. Scott, Julius Heldman, and Al Laney, on the other hand, all put Gonzales ahead of Kramer (albeit narrowly in Scott's case). Then there is Dan Maskell, who excludes both from his top ten altogether! I had been under the impression recently that Gonzales had overtaken Kramer, but this TennisWeek draw made me reevaluate that. Certainly, both are a problem to rank.

Moose Malloy
05-31-2007, 02:14 PM
I had been under the impression recently that Gonzales had overtaken Kramer, but this TennisWeek draw

what was most shocking to me, that Gonzales didn't finish in the top 10 in overall votes. I can understand putting Kramer ahead of him, but Lendl, Connors & Mac?

Flink & Pagliaro both put him in their top 10, I wonder if Stolle or Segura didn't because they didn't get along with Pancho or something.

chaognosis
05-31-2007, 02:20 PM
what was most shocking to me, that Gonzales didn't finish in the top 10 in overall votes. I can understand putting Kramer ahead of him, but Lendl, Connors & Mac?

Flink & Pagliaro both put him in their top 10, I wonder if Stolle or Segura didn't because they didn't get along with Pancho or something.

I thought I remembered an interview with Segura, where he named Gonzales the single greatest player of all time. If Segura did in fact rank Gonzales #1 (or even near the top), some of the other panelists must have underrated him very badly. Perhaps following Maskell's reasoning, that the amateur tournament record is more important than pro dominance...? I don't know. There is much I find admirable about Maskell's ranking - his write-ups are very illuminating - but I still can't get over his ranking Borotra ahead of Gonzales and Kramer, not to mention Lacoste.