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View Full Version : Stats for 1920 U.S. final (Tilden-Johnston)


krosero
01-17-2008, 01:49 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2153/2200550322_860f7561dc.jpg

The boxscore for the 1920 U.S. Championships final, as published in The New York Times.

Bill Tilden d. Bill Johnston, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

O = Balls hit out
N = Balls hit into net
V = Volley (placements)
GP = Ground placements
SA = services aces
DF = double faults
Tot. Er. = total errors (O, N, and DF)
Tot. End. = total earned points (all placements and aces)

krosero
01-17-2008, 01:51 PM
Well it looks like the image I tried to insert doesn't show. So here is the URL directly:

ETA 4/19/08: link replaced with image

krosero
01-17-2008, 02:25 PM
Okay, I found this stat box in the New York Times' online archives.

It's also printed, with the entire article, in The New York Times Encyclopedia of Sports: Tennis (http://www.amazon.com/Tennis-York-times-encyclopedia-sports/dp/0405126328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200610661&sr=8-1). The articles run from the late 1800s to 1978. There are stat boxes in the book for over thirty matches from 1920-56, starting with this one and ending with Ken Rosewall's victory over Lew Hoad at Forest Hills.

These stats boxes are different from ones that I have found in the archives for later years, ie, the Open Era. The older ones are all roughly the same style, with the same terminology. They all account for every point played, with the total number of points played often helpfully listed in its own column.

With this style, you can check the individual stats and see for yourself that they all add up, so it gives you confidence that the individual stats are correct.

This is different from stat boxes I have found, for instance, in the late 70s. In those, service percentage is starting to be counted, and errors are divided into forced and unforced rather than Nets and Outs. Sometimes you get the total number of points, sometimes you don't.

But leaving that aside, I'd like to bring up that issue of "placements" again. In the 1920 stat box, GP does stand for Ground Placements, since that is a term found within the article. And the players' ground placements were contrasted with their volleys, so I'm fairly certain that V. stands for volley placements.

If anyone can shed some light on this, it looks like the volley and ground placements (V and GP) are clean winners. I say that because if they're not all clean winners, untouched by the opponent's racquet, then some of them of would be errors by the opponent: a ball hit into the Net or hit Out (N and O).

I suppose it's possible that a judgment could have been made by the statistician, where balls barely touched by the opponent but not returned, are called "placements" for the winner of the point and not listed as errors for the loser. That's how the statisticians would have had to do it, in order for the total number of placements, errors, aces and doubles to add up to the total number of points listed.

But I see no indication that such a judgment process was going on. It looks rather like a simple process of dividing points by winners, errors, aces, and doubles; and the errors are characterized as hitting the net or going out. Only in the 1970s have I seen a subjective process introduced (namely, the division between forced and unforced errors).

However I Googled "placement", and what I found does not clearly suggest a clean winner:

Wimbledontennis.co.uk:
Placement -- The ball is hit to a precisely chosen part of the court, usually one that the opponent cannot reach.

MSN Encarta:
5. sports skillful playing of ball: in a sport such as tennis or soccer, a player's skill in accurately playing the ball

Merriam Webster:
1: an act or instance of placing: as a: an accurately hit ball (as in tennis) that an opponent cannot return

I've seen Peter Bodo use the term as if to mean an accurately placed shot (it was an article comparing Nadal to Borg), not a clean winner.

And some of the placements in the stats boxes from the 70s do look inflated (eg, players like Borg get higher numbers in these boxes than in any match we've counted), as if more than clean winners are being counted. I'll post the info or the images on those when I have some time.

My suspicion is that when the forced/unforced distinction was born, the definition of placements may have changed.

Any thoughts or help appreciated. I've already taken down the placements and aces from 1920-56 and it would be great if we could just include them in our list with the contemporary matches we've been counting/researching.

Moose Malloy
01-19-2008, 02:09 PM
I just got that NY Times book in the mail yesterday, you had mentioned it a while back & I just got around to ordering it on amazon this week. Great articles, I wish they did one including the 80s as well.

as far as placements, I read the article they had on the '77 W Final. In it they mentioned that Connors had a 'backhand volley placement' at 4-4 in the fifth. I popped the dvd of that match in & that volley placement they described was a clean winner.

But as you said who knows what the definition of placement was by then.

krosero
01-19-2008, 06:16 PM
I just got that NY Times book in the mail yesterday, you had mentioned it a while back & I just got around to ordering it on amazon this week. Great articles, I wish they did one including the 80s as well.

as far as placements, I read the article they had on the '77 W Final. In it they mentioned that Connors had a 'backhand volley placement' at 4-4 in the fifth. I popped the dvd of that match in & that volley placement they described was a clean winner.

But as you said who knows what the definition of placement was by then.I also ran a search for "placement" in the online archive, and there's not much to go on. An article from the 20s mentions Cochet "shooting arrowy placements to the baseline and keeping Hunter constantly on the run with an intermixture of unexpected trap-shots."

That sounds like it might be referring simply to accurate shots, not winners.

I think that maybe "placement" is one of those words that can have a common-use meaning (an accurate shot, a great shot), and a statistical meaning (a clean winner).

Some stat boxes in the 80s mention "placement winners", and in that case I'm more confident that we're looking at winners.

For now I'm going to set aside all these matches for which full stats on placements and winners are already available, and I'm putting together the list of all the matches in which we've counted winners ourselves.

There are 47 matches altogether, if we include the Edberg-Mecir match where you completed NBC's count from the middle of the fifth set.

I'd like to include that match in the list and put it on this board within a few days, but I wonder, can you go back to the point of the NBC display and tell me if either player had a service ace before the end of the match?

(One of my lists will be winners + aces).

And let me know if you've got any more stats that are ready to go.

krosero
01-19-2008, 06:19 PM
I popped the dvd of that match in & that volley placement they described was a clean winner.Yes, and one of the announcers in the Laver-Rosewall match, when Laver hits a clean overhead winner, calls it a placement.

I'd love to know who this announcer was. In the Laver-Roche match that you did, he says that his association with tennis went back to 1924. And he certainly has his facts and figures at the ready, kind of like Bud Collins.

Moose Malloy
01-22-2008, 03:51 PM
I'd like to include that match in the list and put it on this board within a few days, but I wonder, can you go back to the point of the NBC display and tell me if either player had a service ace before the end of the match?


Service ace or service winner? Because when NBC flashed that graphic, I don't think they mentioned aces in their breakdowns of the winner counts of the players, only FH, BH, Serve, & Net.

I will check, if I'm right, I can check for service winners(using your definition in the other thread)

can't believe you have 47 matches worth of stats.

krosero
01-22-2008, 04:14 PM
Service ace or service winner? Because when NBC flashed that graphic, I don't think they mentioned aces in their breakdowns of the winner counts of the players, only FH, BH, Serve, & Net.

I will check, if I'm right, I can check for service winners(using your definition in the other thread)Hmm, that would be a problem if they don't distinguish. Come to think of it, the next day in the women's final they didn't distinguish. Well, if you can get both that would be fine. We know the number of non-service winners so the match will go in that list. If we can't separate aces from service winners, the total number of winners is still a useful stat.

can't believe you have 47 matches worth of stats.I can't either.

35ft6
01-22-2008, 08:55 PM
I think Tilden could have beaten Lendl. There was much more variety back then.

BreakPoint
01-22-2008, 09:06 PM
I think Tilden could have beaten Lendl. There was much more variety back then.
And you know this because you were there to watch most of Tilden's matches during his prime, right? :wink:

Sean Dugan
01-25-2008, 08:10 PM
Is one of the stats "Number of Fatal Plane Crashes"?

I think 1920 may have been the year the US National was interrupted by a plane crash. Although Tilden and Johnston played several finals in the 1920's so it might have happened in another year. I remember reading about the incident in Frank Deford's biograpy of Tilden.

Aerial photography of big events was all the rage at the time. An aerial photography team flying over the event lost engine power and plummeted into the ground about 100 yards from the court. Play stopped for a time while the wreckage was examined. Two men were killed. After an appropriate time lapsed, play resumed and Big Bill beat Little Bill. True story; not so long ago in the grand scheme but a much different world then.

I think placements is 1920's code for winners. Lingo changes over time. When was the last time anyone referred to a blitz in football as a "red dog"? But it was the operative term in the latter 1960's.

If you've ever seen footage of Tilden, tennis was a very different game then. Almost all on grass courts and lots of chopping forehand slices. And amateurism ruled the day. I believe the governing body at the time, the USNLTA? suspended Tilden for a year just for getting paid for writing about tennis (or some small endorsement deal.) A very different world indeed.

urban
01-25-2008, 10:53 PM
Good point, Sean. It was not Roland Garros, who crashed.

Moose Malloy
01-30-2008, 10:05 AM
Hmm, that would be a problem if they don't distinguish. Come to think of it, the next day in the women's final they didn't distinguish. Well, if you can get both that would be fine. We know the number of non-service winners so the match will go in that list. If we can't separate aces from service winners, the total number of winners is still a useful stat.


Ok, I went back & counted aces & service winners from the point NBC flashed a graphic.

Mecir had one service winner & Edberg had one ace & one service winner.

Have you watched the Mecir-Wilander QF yet?

krosero
01-30-2008, 11:35 AM
Ok, I went back & counted aces & service winners from the point NBC flashed a graphic.

Mecir had one service winner & Edberg had one ace & one service winner.

Have you watched the Mecir-Wilander QF yet?Okay, thank you. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll treat these stats as undifferentiated between aces and service winners. So I won't include the match in my list of winners and aces per game; but I will include it in a list of just the winners (ie, the non-service winners).

I've found the Edberg-Wilander match from the 1990 AO here (http://stefanstennis.free.fr/), and I'm waiting for that one to arrive in the mail.

I haven't seen any of Mecir-Wilander, is there a complete version?

Moose Malloy
01-30-2008, 03:31 PM
I haven't seen any of Mecir-Wilander, is there a complete version?

Not that I know of, but I recall you mentioned you were getting Rick's version.

I've found the Edberg-Wilander match from the 1990 AO here, and I'm waiting for that one to arrive in the mail.


Nice site. I like the archived old articles, Gianni Clerici had a unique style.

Where on that site is a list of matches? Can't seem to find it.

did you just email him to see if he had that match?

krosero
01-30-2008, 04:13 PM
Not that I know of, but I recall you mentioned you were getting Rick's version.



Nice site. I like the archived old articles, Gianni Clerici had a unique style.

Where on that site is a list of matches? Can't seem to find it.

did you just email him to see if he had that match?There's a place there to download the lists of each of the two guys (only Thomas had that match).

I'm waiting for a full version of the Mecir match before buying (or at least a nearly complete version).

hoodjem
05-22-2010, 05:29 AM
When was the all-comers system abolished at the US Championships? 1912?

But didn't it continue to 1921 at Wimbers?