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View Full Version : How good was Pancho Gonzales?


hoodjem
03-01-2008, 06:28 PM
I just read an article that seemed fairly convincing the Gonzales was the greatest player of all time.

Hard to believe? Take a look: http://www.neta.com/~1stbooks/PG_.htm

One point it makes is that Pancho was the world's no. 1 player for 14 years! "No one, including the likes of Tilden, Budge, Kramer, Laver, et al., had won more than nine No.1 rankings – except for Gonzalez, who won 14!! This is not for occasional amateur or pro slam titles. That is for an unbroken string of No. 1 world rankings!"

"Still remembered as perhaps the most astounding match of all time is the contest between Gonzalez (age 41) and Pasarell (age 25 with a 1967 No. 1 U. S. ranking) at the 1969 Wimbledon Open, in which the two played their historic 112-game, two-day marathon, in which Gonzalez finally prevailed when his much younger opponent crumbled under the overwhelming pressure. Despite his incredible heroics in this match, however, Pancho, still without benefit of the tie-breaker, lost to his protégé, Arthur Ashe, in the fourth round."

"In 1971, when Gonzales was 43 and Jimmy Connors was 19, he beat the great young baseliner by playing him from the baseline at the Pacific Southwest Open."


Really? Have we totally overlooked the true GOAT?

urban
03-02-2008, 05:47 AM
Pancho was an alltime great, without question. But some of the "facts" in the article ar quite crap -like the 15 years at Nr.1. He was the best pro player from 1954 to 1960, and has maybe a right for the Nr.1 place in 1952, too, when Kramer the pro world champion didn't play much, and Sedgman played the amateur circuit. Gonzales succeeded the retiring Kramer in 1954, until Rosewall took over his mantle of the king of the pro hill in 1961, when he won the most prominent pro tournaments. That Gonzales didn't lose to Emerson after 1968, is a myth; in fact recent investigation showed, that Emerson actually had a positive head-to-head in the years 1969-70 over Gonzales. Gonzales lost big to Kramer on his fisrt pro tour in 1950.Gonzales has positive records over Hoad, although this is close, and Rosewall, due to his wins in head-to-head tours. Against the younger Laver, whom he played frequently in the 60s, he was 19-36

SgtJohn
03-02-2008, 07:19 AM
14 years? Sure, and don't you know about Rosewall's 34 years at the top or his 986 matches winning streak? :-D :-D

No, seriously, this article overstates everything far too much. Gonzales clearly belongs to any short-list for the GOAT title, but that's not a reason to write such nonsense.

Here is a more reasonable account of his career:

1948: Wins Forest Hills, is in the top 3 amateur, top 10 on the whole.
1949: Dominant amateur year (at least on US soil), top 5 on the whole.
1950: Crushed by Kramer in the tour but good wins in tournaments (Philadelphia, (depleted) Wembley). #3 after Kramer and Segura
1951: The same. #3 again.
1952: Dominant pro #1, but there was hardly a pro circuit that year. Still, wins a big match against Kramer at Wembley. Sedgman dominates the amateurs and they're really hard to compare. Gonzales is co-#1
1953: #4 after Sedgman, Kramer and Segura...Is it "his fault"? Kramer doesn't contract him for the big events he plays and Pancho plays against old Riggs and Budge for 6 months. When he comes back, with little 'true' match play, he's crushed by Sedgman at Wembley. Whatever the circumstances, he's far from the top spot.
1954: Dominant year: loses only twice in tournaments and clearly wins every tour played (US 'World Series', Far East, Australia).
1955: Dominant year again: he's 17-1 in tournaments and wins the short tour he played. This dominance is a little tarnished by the small number of pro events that year and the decreasing quality of competition (Sedgman has physical problems, Kramer is retired, aging Segura is the only true rival for Gonzales)
1956:Another dominant year: he wins the first Wembley tournament to be held since 1953, the US Pro, the main tour, etc.
1957: Pancho is still a clear #1 but is not dominant anymore: for the first time since 1954, he doesn't win the main events and loses at Wembley and the Australian Pro.
1958: Gonzales has a serious rival: Sedgman who beats him twice in best-of-5 matches in Wembley and the Australian, and has a 4-4 win-loss record against him. There is a serious case to be made about a #1 Sedgman.
1959: This time his main foe is Hoad: he beats Gonzales in their tour (even if he loses the tour overall), wins at Forest Hills, and has a good year. Again, Gonzales is for me at best a co-#1.
1960: He plays a world tour including Rosewall and wins clearly...but he doesn't play for the rest of the year, and lets Rosewall dominate the tournament circuit, winning Wembley and the French. In 1960 criteria, Gonzales is the champion, in 2008 criteria, it is Rosewall. I'd say they're co-#1.
1961: Gonzales wins a world tour and is then hailed as the champion by his fellow pro, but the tour doesn't include Rosewall so it's a minor event. Gonzales loses in both majors (Wembley and the French). In spite of impressive tournament wins in Copenhagen, Vienna, Geneva, etc., he's only #2.
1962-3: "Retirement"
1964-1971: Gonzales comes back to the tour in 1964 and wins the US Pro indoors. In the following year he will always be a threat to any player, even though he wouldn't get near the top 2 again. Among his memorable wins: Wembley BBC2 event 1966, Los Angeles 1969, Las Vegas 1970, Los Angeles 1970, Las Vegas 1971

As you can see, Gonzales's record is extremely impressive, but it has nothing superhuman and he's not above some of his fellow GOAT-candidates.

Here are some comparison elements (very subjective of course, especially the 'dominance' label)

Gonzales: 3 dominant year, 1 'ordinary' #1 year, 4 "co-#1", 12 years in the top 3 overall

HL Doherty: 4 dominant, 1 #1, 7 top3
Tilden:3 dominant, 3 #1, 1 co-#1, 12 top3
Rosewall: 2 dominant, 1 #1, 2 co-#1, 15 top3
Laver: 2 dominant, 3 #1, 2 co-#1, 8 top3
Federer: 4 dominant, 1 co-#1, 5 top3 (so far)

Jonathan

tzinc
03-02-2008, 08:08 AM
In my opinion he was the GOAT.

hoodjem
03-02-2008, 08:51 AM
Good points all from Urban and Sgt. John.

The article did seem rather hyperbolic and rhetorical.

ipodtennispro
03-02-2008, 09:06 AM
Good points all from Urban and Sgt. John.

The article did seem rather hyperbolic and rhetorical.

Be sure next time to watch the show on him on the Tennis Channel, (If you haven't already) and, let everyone know here too if they ever play it again. I saw it and would like to tape it and have it for future reference.

At one part of the special he knocks out Connors, Ashe and a couple of other great players in a tournament and I he think he is 40 years old at the time.

He was amazing. I can see why people think HE is the GOAT.

jeffreyneave
03-02-2008, 12:58 PM
I agrre that Gonzales was a great player. He has great longevity. Even in 1964-5 at the age of 36-37 he was probably the 3rd best player in the world behind Laver and Rosewall.

Howver, I also agree that gonzales was only a definite no1 in 1954-7. I would also probably give him 1952 as he beat Kramer 3 times out of three and won 5 out of 6 tournaments. Comparing him with the top amateur Sedgman is difficult. In early '53 Sedgman played Kramer even except when he was injured which resulted in him losing 54-41. On that basis Gonzales might well be regarded as possibly better than Sedg in '52 given gonzales clear edge over kramer that year . However later in '53 sedg clearly beat Gonzales 3 times out of 3, including the biggest tournament at Wembly. Therfore a compromise of joint ranking is probably right.

In 1958 I clearly think Sedgman was no1. He had 4-2 edge over Gonzales (I discount one set matches played to 8 which gonzales won.), including 2 all important 5 set matches at Wembly (the most important event) and the Aussie pro. Gonzales won one important event the Forest hills pro which was a round robin with all the best players but only best of vthree sets. The Aussie pro was also played at grand slam venue (kooyang), had the top 5, and was played as best of 5 ,which gives it a slight edge over forest hills.

In 1959, I would give the edge to Gonzales over Hoad. Gonzales won the main tour over hoad by a small margin, even though hoad had a head to head advqantage over him (15-130. Gonzales never lost to the 2 rookie pros Anderson or copper, while Hoad did lose a small number of matches to them. Ther were also 14 eight man events that year; gonzales won 5 and Hoad only 3. Gonzales' wins included the prestigious US pro beating Hoad in the final. Hoad played more than Gonzales but this lead to extra poor results. He only came 3rd behind Rosewall and Sedgman in a 27 match round-robin tour. He also entered (which Gonzales did not play) the 2 most prestigious tournaments at Wembley and the french pro but failed to reach the final of either. Gonzales's greater consistency give him the edge for the year.

I agree that gonzales was co1 with Rosewall in 1960. In 1961 he would be no2 behind rosewall.
That gives Gonzales 5 world no1 rankings and 2 shared with Sedgman and gonzales.

In comparing him with rod laver, I would give Laver the world no1 spot for 7 seven years: 1964-70. Laver's no1 is undisputed 65-69.

In 1964, comparing with his rival Rosewall:

Laver won 11 tournaments to 10
Laver had a 12-3 head to head advantage
Laver won the 2 most prestigious events Wemblely And US pro (beating Rosewall at both events)
Rosewall won one prestige title the French pro
These stats show a clear edge to Laver

In 1970 again his rival was Rosewall.
Rosewall had big year in the 2 important touraments winning Forest hills and being runner -up. He also won 5 other events which would fall in the category of the 35 to 50 point category in the present ATP points system.

Laver failed at wimbledon and forest hills only reaching the L16. However, he won 13 tournaments and one 4 man round-robin.

Laver's wins were all against strong fields reflected in the fact that he scored at least 2 wins against every player in the top 12. 5 of his wins were super 9 equivalents at Philadelhia, Syndey, PSW, Wembley and the South african open ( a prestige event in late 1960s like the Italian and german opens).
Rosewall failed to win any of these super 9. his best being a runner-upto Laver at Sydney. Laver also won the big money event of 1970 the Champions
Tennis classic. He beat Rosewall in the final. Laver earned 70,000 and Rosewall 45,000 from this event. Overall he eanerd 200,000 and rosewall was 2nd with 140,000

Laver had a 5-0 edge over Rosewall; 3-0 edge over Necombe the other contender, who won Wimbledon.

Based on the ATP points race of today system he was clear winner about 1100 points to 750 for Rosewall.

Newvcombe is not nearly in the race. He only won 3 other events. None of them super 9 status. 2 of wins were against weak fields at hoylak and casablanca. He won the Victorian open as well which was fairly strong and would be worth 50 points. nBesides losing all his matches to Laver, he was beaten 5-1 by rosewall.



jeffrey neave

CyBorg
03-02-2008, 01:38 PM
The stuff about Gonzales winning 10 Wimbledons is ridiculous. But so is much of the article, which is a shame as this is a welcome topic.

SgtJohn
03-02-2008, 02:46 PM
I agree with you, Jeffrey , about 1964, I forgot the facts were so much in Laver's favour...

1970 was a bit like 1989 with one player doing well at the most significant Slams and the other one piling up tournaments and an impressive win/loss record...

About 1959, don't forget that the US Pro was very depleted, with no Sedgman, Rosewall or Trabert taking part. The big american events were Forest Hills, where Hoad beat Gonzales, and the Masters Round Robin, where he was beaten, but finished with the same score (5-1) in the round robin.

the green god
03-02-2008, 04:13 PM
Some are trying to put Pancho's career in a context of how pro tennis is today. You can't compare the era's. If the 50s and 60's were scheduled like they are today, you can guaratee that Pancho wouldn't have been taking a year off here and six months there. Just because he wasn't playing did not mean he wasn't the best in the world. Trust me, even though he wasn't playing, Rosewall, Hoad, Trabert, Segura, and all the others knew who was the BOSS. From an ancient Tilden, to Budge, Riggs, Kramer, Rosewall, Hoad, and Laver, he played them all and beat them all. Somehow, if he was still competitive with Laver when he was 36-40, I don't think it is to far of a stretch to think if he was 26 he would have been dominant in this matchup also. Surely you guys don't think he was better at 38 than 26?

Nickognito
03-02-2008, 04:57 PM
With Tilden, he has been the player who dominated tennis for the longest time.

In my opinion, he's the Goat, but obviously i'm not certain.

He's one of the best ever, I think only Tilden, Budge, Kramer, Laver, Sampras, Federer and maybe Borg's career can compete with Pancho's. Hoad, Vines, McEnroe had too short careers at the highest level, Lacoste, Perry, Cochet, Agassi, Becker, Edberg did not dominated, and Connors, Lendl and even Rosewall were not so good in my opinion.

I think he was the true numberi 1 for 8 years, in 1952 and from 1954 to 1960.

He was not so good on clay courts, and he was not technically complete as Laver or Federer (perhaps) or Hoad, so i think we can think of him as a Sampras who had more domination.

c.

BeHappy
03-02-2008, 05:21 PM
Any Video footage of him playing exist online?

noeledmonds
03-03-2008, 03:41 AM
Gonzales is undoubtably one of the greatest players of all time but not (in my opnion) the greatest. Gonzales was very dominant in the USA on the faster surfaces. However, he failed to win the French Pro. This is effectively the equvilant of failing to win the Career Grand Slam today (if anything it would be easier then due to the amatuer/pro divide). This seems too large a point to overlook when we have Laver; who won The Amateur Grand Slam, The Pro Grand Slam and The Open-Era Grand Slam.

hoodjem
03-03-2008, 09:08 AM
This seems too large a point to overlook when we have Laver; who won The Amateur Grand Slam, The Pro Grand Slam and The Open-Era Grand Slam.

Excellent point. Three grand slams! WOW!

jeffreyneave
03-03-2008, 11:30 AM
In my post yesterday,which I did from memory, I made a couple of factual errors.
The aussie pro in 1958 was played at the other main grand slam site of White city In Sydney.

In the 1970 atp points race I underestimated Rosewall's total . He has 865 points compared to Laver's 1095: stiil a big win for laver.

Newcombe would end with about 640 points.

jeffrey

Moose Malloy
03-03-2008, 11:56 AM
In the 1970 atp points race I underestimated Rosewall's total . He has 865 points compared to Laver's 1095: stiil a big win for laver.

Newcombe would end with about 640 points

Jeffrey, do you have any other yearly rankings (under todays system) for the years prior to the computer ranking? also how would some of the controversial years('75, '77, '82, '89) look under todays points system?

SgtJohn
03-03-2008, 04:36 PM
Jeffrey, do you have any other yearly rankings (under todays system) for the years prior to the computer ranking? also how would some of the controversial years('75, '77, '82, '89) look under todays points system?

Hi Moose,

I computed such points total for the years after 1973 (data isn't really sufficient before). The points awarded are the same as today, with the "Masters Series" being chosen according to a list I copied in a post a while ago I think. But the system is a little different: I used several of them, including a 'Total points' which added points whatever the number of tournaments played, and a 'Best 14' system. The best 14 are litteraly the best 14 results with no mandatory events as today.

Here are the results for the controversial years:

1977:
Total
Vilas 7840
Connors 4930
Borg 4630

Best 14
Vilas 5550
Connors 4745
Borg 4435

1982:
Total
Lendl 7020
Connors 5230
McEnroe 4786

Best 14
Lendl 5400
Connors 4850
McEnroe 4725

1989:
Total
Lendl 6360
Becker 5185

Best 14
Lendl 5990
Becker 5185

I also have results per surface and win-loss, if you're interested...
As far as I'm concerned these 'adjusted' points are as wrong as those of the time, for me the true #1 would be respectively Borg, Connors and Becker...

Jonathan

jeffreyneave
03-04-2008, 11:04 AM
I have done it for 1971,which I regard as the toughest year in open tennis with about 5 players having claim to the no1.

This comes out as about:

Laver 1030
Rosewall 920
Smith 890
Ashe 870
Newcombe 850
Nastase 830

Laver does well here because all his performances are in strong fields. A fact reflected in the fact that he has many more wins over top players than any of the others.

I would be interested to see what your list of super 9s is for 1977. My rankings are based on mandatary super nines plus best 5 to make best of eighteen, although in 1971 I could only identiy 6 super nines, so another best 8 were chosen.

jeffrey

rasajadad
03-04-2008, 11:49 AM
Plus, I recall that Pancho smoked!

christo
03-05-2008, 09:38 AM
This is some good stuff, shows how difficult it is to name a GOAT. My feeling is that as the money and the worldwide player pool is exponentially better now than ever before, that either Pete or Rog are the best. Just my opinion

CyBorg
03-05-2008, 09:45 AM
This is some good stuff, shows how difficult it is to name a GOAT. My feeling is that as the money and the worldwide player pool is exponentially better now than ever before, that either Pete or Rog are the best. Just my opinion

That's not an opinion. That's a statement you've heard somewhere and liked enough to parrot.

jeffreyneave
03-05-2008, 12:25 PM
For my 1971 rankings I got the order right but, gave everybody 100 too many points. So the list is :

Laver 930
Rosewall 820
smith 790
Ashe 770
Necombe 750
Natase 730

With less than 100 points covering 2 to 6, these rankings are really close and are subject to invidual interpretation on the points system.

Jonathan do you have list of super 9s for 1977 ? I looked at the year and really there were far too may events for players to play with a new year round Grand prix plus WCT plus wtt in the summer. Looking at the fields, I would probably judge that only Philadelphia and US indoor qualified. Outside of the 2 slams and the Masters, Borg, connors and vilas were never in the same field. On that basis I would abondon the system and judge all non-majors tournaments as having the same points and award explicitly points for wins over top players. Then we would find out how much Borg's 3-0 advantage over vilas is really worth.

My split would : 30% majors
45% 14 best others
25% wins over top players

3:2 ratio of regular eenents to slams more or less matches the 1150:800 system of today's points system.

jeffrey

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 12:27 PM
Gonzalez was one of the best players of all times, i've played with him (one time, he kill me). Sometimes he seems to not look the ball, impressive!!!

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 12:28 PM
Cyborg has no respect and knoledge of history, like always...

hoodjem
03-05-2008, 12:31 PM
This is some good stuff, shows how difficult it is to name a GOAT. My feeling is that as the money and the worldwide player pool is exponentially better now than ever before, that either Pete or Rog are the best. Just my opinion
More money means more players means better players.!?

Interesting logic.

I'll have to ponder this.

Tennis old man
03-05-2008, 04:24 PM
Cyborg has no respect and knoledge of history, like always...

i'm joking CyBorg!!! Why i have always errors of typing???? Jackas.... meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee:twisted:

urban
03-06-2008, 10:52 AM
The ranking situations on the old pro tour and the early open era, were, as shown by Jeffrey and Sgt John, often very complex. The old Kramer pros handeled it like in the old boxer circles: You cannot outpoint the old champ, you have to knock him out. So Gorgo was called Nr.1 by his peers, even when the sheer numbers spoke against it. But it also shows, that the late 50s and the time around 1970 had an extremly high standard in mens tennis, with more than 6 real greats battling it out: Richard (Ricardo), Alonzo, "Pancho" (Gorgo) Gonzales (or: z), Hoad, Sedg, Rosewall, Trabert and Segura, or Laver, Rosewall again, Newk, Ashe, Roche, Smith, Nastase (and Emmo, Gimeno or Okker) for that matter.

llgc8080
03-06-2008, 02:07 PM
I Totally Agree With Urban.

Frank Silbermann
03-06-2008, 06:50 PM
I think you have to distinguish tennis skills from ability to win. Pancho had an extreme ability to win. His tennis skills, however, were on a lower level.

For example, his overhead smash might have been ordinary. However, because he was both tall, long-armed, and fast about the court, he was virtually impossible to lob over -- much harder to lob over than many players whose overhead smash was better.

Also, because it was so difficult to lob over, he could stand very close to the net to volley. Even though his volley technique was not so great, he could make winners off of almost anything just by being so close to the net. It was also hard to pass him because he had such long reach, fast reflexes, and again, because he stood close to the net to volley.

His groundstrokes were not so great, either. But because of his fierce determination, he made very few unforced errors. Also, because of his reach, his speed, and his continental grip, he could run down almost anything. And because he was tall, he could take high balls more comfortably than most of his opponents, thereby allowing him to hit pretty hard even without much topspin to bring the ball down.

Pancho did have a great first serve, for his era. They used to say that a player was only as good as his second serve; Pancho didn't have such a great spin second server. But because his powerful first serve was so accurate, he could essentially get away with hitting his first serve twice, making very few double-faults nonetheless.

hoodjem
03-07-2008, 06:35 AM
Gonzales, Hoad, Sedgman, Rosewall, Trabert, Segura, Laver, Rosewall, Newk, Ashe, Roche, Smith, Nastase (and Emmo, Gimeno or Okker) for that matter.

With these guys around in 1970. I'm wondering if this wasn't the toughest field in the history of tennis? Highest quality tennis of all time? (Including today.)






(Were Segura, Trabert, Sedgman still playing in 1970?)

jeffreyneave
03-07-2008, 07:15 AM
Jeffrey, do you have any other yearly rankings (under todays system) for the years prior to the computer ranking? also how would some of the controversial years('75, '77, '82, '89) look under todays points system?



Here are the 1975 rankings.

This system is based 4 majors plus 14 regular events plus the bonus of the Masters

There is for total points share a ratio of 2 (majors) to 3 (14 others)

In 1975 the majors would be Wimbledon (200 points), Us open (200) , French open (150) WCT finals (120)

At wimbledon 16 of the top 20 attended: at the Us open 17. The usual giving there are always 1 or 2 injuries. The French only had 12 of the top 20: hence the lower total points . at the time the WCt tour and its final were a prestige event. 13 of the top 20 attempted to qualify for Dallas. 120 is derived from approx 13/17 or13/16 * 150 (Masters total) = approx 120.


This means less points overall and a lower points total for the other 14. Fortunately it neatly fits with the fact that there were fewer super 9s in 1975.

Only 5 were obvious candidates based on partcipation of the top 6 and number of top 20 players.

These were Philadelphia, Louisville, nottingam , US pro and Stockholm. To make the sytem balance out, a 6th was required. This was betwen rome and Tuscon. Tuscon was chosen because it was on cement ( none of the others were); it had 12 of the top 20 (8 in rome); and it was also the highest prize money event on tour. With 6 super nines , this leads to 8 best others.


Here are the points :

Ashe 920
borg 857
vilas 785
connors 750
Nastase 638
Orantes 622
Alexander 522
Tanner
ramirez all aprox 445
Laver

jeffrey

urban
03-07-2008, 07:52 AM
Hoodjem, i made a chronological difference (maybe i should have made it clearer) between the late 50s and the time around 1970. In the late 50s, virtually all great players of the 50s had turned pro. The pro fields, which played at Forest Hills in 1957 to 59 for example, were among the best in history with Gonzales, Hoad, Sedg, Trabert and Segura all at or near their peak and Rosewall on the move. The field since 1968 until 72 consisted of the still strong old Kramer pros (not Hoad, Trabert or Sedgman any more), and the new crop of younger contenders like Newk, Roche, Ashe, Smith, Okker. Sadly for the ITF/WCT struggles, these years were overshadowed by new divisions of different circuits and weak fields at several majors (with the exception of 1969). But for the strenght of the top 6-8players, i rank those periods, along with the middle 30s and the late 80s and early 90s, among the best in history.

hoodjem
03-07-2008, 10:03 AM
I see now. My misunderstanding. Thanks. I agree with you about for the strength of the top 6-8 players from either of those periods being among the best in history.

Can you please give us some names from the the middle 30s?

This would be a great comparison: quality of the top eight players from
1) middle 1930s
2) late 1950s
3) late 1960s
4) early 1990s.

urban
03-07-2008, 10:36 AM
Mid 30s: Perry, Vines, Crawford, v. Cramm, the young Budge, still Tilden and Cochet, Nuesslein (then there were Allison, McGrath, Austin and others, too). It was a shame, that they seldom played on the same circuit, due to the pro-amateur split. The Perry-Vines-Budge match-ups from 34-37 would have been fantastic, with v. Cramm probably the best clay courter of the time.
Late 50s on the pro tour: Gonzales, Hoad, Sedgman, Trabert, Rosewall, Segura (with people like Cooper and Anderson behind them).
Late 60s, around 70: Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Okker, Smith, climbing Nastase, with Emerson, Gimeno, Kodes, Drysdale, Stolle, Graebner and Ralston in the wings.
Late 80s, around 90: Still Lendl, peak Becker, Wilander, Edberg, Cash, Mecir, Leconte (both very talented), an older Mac, clay monster Muster, then new faces like Courier, Stich, Agassi , Sampras, Bruguera.

Gundam
03-07-2008, 12:51 PM
Gonzalez was one of the best players of all times, i've played with him (one time, he kill me). Sometimes he seems to not look the ball, impressive!!!

Wow, it must have been great! How was he?

Leublu tennis
03-09-2008, 03:28 AM
All I remember about Gonzales is that he was reputed to have a booming serve. Dominant serve.

chiru
03-09-2008, 01:48 PM
I don't even bother with pre-open era GOAT rankings. I know stuff as far back as laver and after that I'm lost!
-aamir

wyutani
03-09-2008, 02:29 PM
pancho uses a double-handed forehand no?

Benhur
03-09-2008, 05:25 PM
Gonzalez was one of the best players of all times, i've played with him (one time, he kill me). Sometimes he seems to not look the ball, impressive!!!

You played Gonzales? I see you are in California, and you say you are an old man.
About 4 or 5 years ago I was playing at the courts in Golden Gate park in San Francisco. After we finished, these two old guys asked if we wanted to play doubles. So we did. One of them, must have been in his late 70s or 80s, told me how in his youth he had played Gonzales once, had managed to reach 4-4 in the first set, and then didn't win another game, or something like that. On the other hand his English sounded native to me, whereas your grammar seems quite exuberant.

JW10S
03-09-2008, 07:07 PM
pancho uses a double-handed forehand no?
No, Pancho Segura, who was a contemporary of Gonzales' and for a time coached Jimmy Connors, used a two-handed forehand. Pancho Gonzales had one handed forehands and backhands.

llgc8080
03-11-2008, 12:24 PM
Pancho Segura and Pancho Gonzalez... great tennis, but words cant' say all about those two magicians.

Tennis old man
03-11-2008, 12:39 PM
To gundman and benhur: i only played one time with Pancho, a gentleman in all terms, in LA. He had a great accuracy and too much power in his strokes, he serves very tough, he hide the sound of the raquet in every hit, you never know if a top spin or slice will come (nobody says that, but i know!). I was born in '35, and when i faced him he was "oldy", but mister Gonzalez just don't let me hit the ball not even once!!!

Tennis old man
04-20-2008, 02:21 PM
Pancho Segura and Pancho Gonzalez... great tennis, but words cant' say all about those two magicians.

Great comment, french man!

TennisExpert
09-12-2008, 09:26 AM
Pancho was great, but according to wikipedia... 8 years on top? I don't think so...
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_number_one_male_tennis_player_rankings

TennisExpert
09-12-2008, 09:28 AM
To gundman and benhur: i only played one time with Pancho, a gentleman in all terms, in LA. He had a great accuracy and too much power in his strokes, he serves very tough, he hide the sound of the raquet in every hit, you never know if a top spin or slice will come (nobody says that, but i know!). I was born in '35, and when i faced him he was "oldy", but mister Gonzalez just don't let me hit the ball not even once!!!

Gonzalez oldy? Did you play before his retirement? You are not too young... Come on! Details! :)

TennisExpert
09-12-2008, 09:29 AM
pancho uses a double-handed forehand no?

Come on man! You can't confuse between Panchos!!!! :cry:

Edberg&Becker
09-12-2008, 02:17 PM
Winning record against Rosewall??? Wow!!!

halalula1234
09-16-2008, 01:24 AM
i thought the best was pacho segura

Jim Courier fan
09-16-2008, 01:44 AM
i thought the best was pacho segura

no waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy:evil:

swedechris
09-16-2008, 02:18 AM
he was truly awesome.. my dad had tapes of him palying that i saw as a kid .. still remember the slick and flowing shotmaking and fierce serving .. a thunderbolt. underrated more often than not totally unmentioned when talking of the all time greatest players.

hoodjem
07-06-2009, 05:17 AM
I have done it for 1971,which I regard as the toughest year in open tennis with about 5 players having claim to the no1.

This comes out as about:

Laver 1030
Rosewall 920
Smith 890
Ashe 870
Newcombe 850
Nastase 830

Laver does well here because all his performances are in strong fields. A fact reflected in the fact that he has many more wins over top players than any of the others.

I think this settles it IMO for Laver being the world no. in 1971.

pc1
07-06-2009, 05:47 AM
I think this settles it IMO for Laver being the world no. in 1971.

Speaking of Laver in 1971, did any of you ever have a thread on Laver's great victory in the Tennis Champions Classic over 13 straight excellent players like Rosewall, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Okker, Ralston, Taylor? It has to be the toughest field for anyone to play to win a tournament. One advantage was that Rod had a lot of rest between matches.

Quick question, any opinions on what was the toughest field anyone ever played to win a major? It's all subjective but I'm curious. I think McEnroe beat Lendl, Connors and Borg in consecutive rounds one year to win the US Open.

hoodjem
07-07-2009, 04:57 AM
Yep, The later 70s/early 80s was a golden period of tennis competition: Borg, Lendl, Connors, Mac--all in my top-20. (Of course Lendl was a little green then.)

pc1
07-07-2009, 06:38 AM
Yep, The later 70s/early 80s was a golden period of tennis competition: Borg, Lendl, Connors, Mac--all in my top-20. (Of course Lendl was a little green then.)

A lot of great players in those days. Vilas had his moments also but he was a bit below the ones you mentioned.

SandV
07-07-2009, 09:40 AM
Gonzalez's game was so dominant in one of the 1950s pro tours Kramer changed the rules, prohibiting volleying the serve return (had to let it bounce). Gonzalez won the tour anyway and the rule was changed back.

Frankauc
07-07-2009, 09:54 AM
Gonzalez's game was so dominant in one of the 1950s pro tours Kramer changed the rules, prohibiting volleying the serve return (had to let it bounce). Gonzalez won the tour anyway and the rule was changed back.

LOL! He was that dominant?

hoodjem
07-07-2009, 10:59 AM
He definitely belongs in anyone's GOAT-list top-10.

BreakPoint
07-07-2009, 11:15 AM
Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but Gonzales beat Laver a few weeks after Laver won his 2nd calendar Grand Slam in 1969 when Gonzales was already 41 years old.

Frankauc
07-07-2009, 11:57 AM
Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but Gonzales beat Laver a few weeks after Laver won his 2nd calendar Grand Slam in 1969 when Gonzales was already 41 years old.

lol Pancho is the GOAT then. I'd like to read his book.

slice bh compliment
07-07-2009, 12:02 PM
Pancho Gonzales was revered and also reviled. He'll never get the credit that the more well-mannered, genteel champions do (Laver, Rosewall, KRAMER et al).

In fact, Kramer was one of the keys to this. INteresting love-hate relationship. Lots of jealousy both ways, from what I understand from my father's and grandfather's points of view.

I never saw him play as a world-class player, but in an Almaden masters event, well into his 40s or maybe 50s, Pancho could still ball. Huge serve for a hunched over ol' dude.....ridiculous passing shot, and man the guy could still volley.

My dad always said that Pancho could break even the Hoads and Lavers with four or five swings. And he could hold serve against two or three guys. And when his first serve was considered too massive a weapon, and they moved the line back three feet, he still was the dominant player if his day. And when they played with only one serve, he kicked even more ***.

Not sure how true this is, but a lot of experts considered Pete Sampras to be the 2nd coming of Big Pancho. Similar look, too, actually, though I think Pete's a little whiter, shorter and hairier.

Well, nice thread.
Thanks,
S BH C

slice bh compliment
07-07-2009, 12:10 PM
Tennis Old Man, come on. You played the great Gorgo?
Write about it. Here. We'd love to hear all about it!

I used to hit with a guy who came up when Hoad and Rosewall did, only here in the US. We'd play for an hour, then he'd tell me all about the old days in the 60s traveling the eastern grass court circuit.... going to Europe, etc. Between conversation with him, my dad, my uncle and my grandfather and friends...I feel so much more a tennis player.

Maybe you can share your stories with us....and enrich all of us here on these boards.

And use it as practice for when you write that book. Come on.

380pistol
07-07-2009, 12:23 PM
Tennis Old Man, come on. You played the great Gorgo?
Write about it. Here. We'd love to hear all about it!

I used to hit with a guy who came up when Hoad and Rosewall did, only here in the US. We'd play for an hour, then he'd tell me all about the old days in the 60s traveling the eastern grass court circuit.... going to Europe, etc. Between conversation with him, my dad, my uncle and my grandfather and friends...I feel so much more a tennis player.

Maybe you can share your stories with us....and enrich all of us here on these boards.

And use it as practice for when you write that book. Come on.

I second that. Would love to hear some stories as well.

hoodjem
07-07-2009, 03:21 PM
Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but Gonzales beat Laver a few weeks after Laver won his 2nd calendar Grand Slam in 1969 when Gonzales was already 41 years old.
BP,

Can you please provide us with some details: tournament, location, date, score?

Benhur
07-07-2009, 03:54 PM
BP,

Can you please provide us with some details: tournament, location, date, score?

Madison Square Garden, January 1970

This is from a New York Times article on July 21 1998

http://tinyurl.com/nr9n78
Indeed, in one of the most thrilling sports events I have witnessed, I saw Gonzalez play Laver in a $10,000 match in Madison Square Garden in January 1970. Laver was 31 and had just won his second Grand Slam, Gonzalez was a 42-year-old grandfather with graying, leonine hair. Laver went up two sets to zero -- his leaping overhand smashes were spectacular -- and Gonzalez roared back to win.

Years later, I recalled that match to Laver. ''The bloke knew where I was going to hit the ball every time,'' Laver said. ''Pancho often played me like that.''

pc1
07-07-2009, 03:56 PM
Edit.

Since Benhur was ahead of me by a few minutes. I'll leave the answer to him.:)

martinross
07-07-2009, 08:04 PM
I saw almost all the top players of the late 60's early 70's growing up (most live but only saw Gonzalez once), it was an amzing era for tennis just as tennis was going through so much change in organization and just beginning the move away from wooden rackets (rember the head Ashe model?) Laver's acheivement in 1969 still stands as the most incredible feat in Open mens tennis and gives him GOAT edge for me but Pancho playing at over 40 and able to beat anyone on a given day, come on that's amazing. (Interestingly most players with greta longevity are not tall: think Rosewall, Conners, Agassi,etc)

krosero
07-07-2009, 08:12 PM
Actually Laver didn't have a two-set lead over Pancho, the score was 7-5, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The New York Times reported that 14,761 attended, "the second largest indoor tennis crowd in American history,” next to 15,114 who saw Kramer and Riggs at the Garden on December 26, 1947.

The plastic playing surface, Uni-Turf, gave the spectators an opportunity to experience exciting baseline rallies they rarely see on grass or faster courts. The court yielded a high, consistent bounce, but never allowed for overpowering serves and volleys.

It lasted 2 hours 45 minutes.

Pancho saved double break point at love-1 in the fifth set with a backhand volley and an ace, then broke at 1-all. He said later that he was already getting cramps in his legs and stomach, but “at 2-1, Rod suddenly didn’t seem to be running as well as he had been and that gave me the confidence I needed.”

Laver beat him a little later in the series and eventually won the final over Rosewall.

Sports Illustrated had their own report: http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083311/1/index.htm.

hoodjem
07-08-2009, 05:17 AM
"It is said in tennis that Newcombe is so tough when he is behind that you have to shoot him to win. Gonzales had no gun. Instead he used his racket like a sabertooth. Newcombe was chopped up, sliced and skewered right out in public, and there was nothing he could do about it."

--from SI article

BreakPoint
07-08-2009, 01:07 PM
The plastic playing surface, Uni-Turf, gave the spectators an opportunity to experience exciting baseline rallies they rarely see on grass or faster courts. The court yielded a high, consistent bounce, but never allowed for overpowering serves and volleys.
That's amazing because Gonzales was known for his big serve and volley game with a huge serve, but he still beat Laver even though they took his weapons away from him by using a slower, higher-bouncing surface. :)

BTW, Pancho was on Tennis Channel yesterday commentating an old 1974 match between Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. I recognized his voice right away. I think he's on again today (7pm EST/4pm PST and repeat at 10pm EST/7pm PST) for another classic doubles match at the same 1974 event. :)

crash1929
07-08-2009, 02:19 PM
has the tennis channel done a piece on him? have they shown any matches? would be cool to see him play.

pc1
07-08-2009, 02:22 PM
has the tennis channel done a piece on him? have they shown any matches? would be cool to see him play.

They had a documentary on him a few years ago on another channel.

http://quicktime.cnnsi.com/2005/writers/richard_deitsch/09/16/media.circus/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY

A little trivia, Benjamin Bratt was supposed to play him in a movie a few years ago but the deal fell through.

crash1929
07-08-2009, 02:34 PM
cool. only part of it is on utube i wonder if i can find it somewhere else.....

"but the best years of his tennis life were spent in exile as a barnstorming pro, while pasty-faced amateurs with half his talent won the Grand Slams," wrote SI's Richard Hoffer). "

why was he in exile?

crash1929
07-08-2009, 02:44 PM
one of the things i've read Mr. Gonzalez is that he moved like a panther and or jungle cat.

funny thats exactly the way i see federer. when i was up close to him even the way he walks around its like he is very light on his feet like a cat.

BreakPoint
07-08-2009, 03:00 PM
cool. only part of it is on utube i wonder if i can find it somewhere else.....

"but the best years of his tennis life were spent in exile as a barnstorming pro, while pasty-faced amateurs with half his talent won the Grand Slams," wrote SI's Richard Hoffer). "

why was he in exile?
Because the pros were not allowed to play in the Grand Slams until the Open Era (starting in 1968 )

pc1
07-08-2009, 03:33 PM
Because the pros were not allowed to play in the Grand Slams until the Open Era (starting in 1968 )

That's why I find it so absurd that people proclaim Federer so quickly as the GOAT. Guys like Gonzalez weren't able to play Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian and the French prior to 1968. Gonzalez was banned from 1950 to 1958 and he probably was the best player in the world for a good portion, perhaps even a majority of that time.

one of the things i've read Mr. Gonzalez is that he moved like a panther and or jungle cat.

funny thats exactly the way i see federer. when i was up close to him even the way he walks around its like he is very light on his feet like a cat.

I think he probably had a better serve than Roddick and clearly a much better overall game and movement. Gonzalez is considered by many to have the best serve of all time. Can you imagine how he would have done in the majors if he was allowed to play the majors in his prime? The number 15 for majors is a number since 1968. not for the whole of tennis history. It really shouldn't have been the real record. Guys like Tilden, Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez probably would have had way over 15 if Open tennis was around for their whole careers.

One other thing, airplane travel wasn't around for guys like Tilden and some of the old time guys. They had to travel by boat for many weeks and they often chose not to do so.

If you include Pro Majors, Rosewall has 23 majors. Gonzalez skipped some majors because he often was more concerned with his Pro Tours against opponents.

Here's a little thing from the year 2000 on Entertainment Weekly's website on the Gonzalez movie.

Julia Roberts, ''The Pancho Gonzales Movie'' The queen of warm and fuzzy romantic comedies is stepping up to hot and sweaty melodrama with her next project. Roberts is producing ''The Pancho Gonzales Movie,'' a biopic about self-taught tennis player Richard Alonzo ''Pancho'' Gonzales, who overcame his hard-scrabble roots in post-Depression Los Angeles to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the French Open during a career that lasted nearly three decades into the 1960s. We can see it now: ''Law & Order'' alum (and Roberts' boyfriend) Benjamin Bratt as the perfect Gonzales, with the ''Erin Brockovich'' star as the feisty ball girl whose loving support saves the match.

Bad information about Gonzalez since he never won Wimbledon or the French.

Benhur
07-08-2009, 03:43 PM
They had a documentary on him a few years ago on another channel.

http://quicktime.cnnsi.com/2005/writers/richard_deitsch/09/16/media.circus/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY

A little trivia, Benjamin Bratt was supposed to play him in a movie a few years ago but the deal fell through.

I wonder if a video of that documentary can be purchased somewhere. The 6 minute youtube clip shows mostly other people talking about him, but not much footage of him playing. From the little they show of his game, he does appear to have a game that is both powerful and graceful. Hard to believe this guy never took tennis lessons. (I suspect this may be a bit of an exaggeration, even though he started to play pretty late). In one of the last images they show his serve from the side. Amazingly he does not seem to get off the ground to hit it. At least that one serve.

The youtube clip must not be very representative of the whole video, because the other link that you gave says that when the documentary

"really comes alive is when the Man himself appears on screen in matches. The footage of Gonzalez, strikingly handsome and nimble as a dancer, alone makes this worth watching. It's a well-made documentary but not perfect. While Haro and Co. rightfully point out the injustices Gonzalez faced in the country-clubish world of tennis, the filmmakers are a little too reverential to their subject. Gonzalez suffered from fits of rage, he offended almost everyone in the game, and alienated himself from most of his eight children. The piece could use a touch more balance. But all in all, it's an hour well spent on one of tennis' most mesmerizing characters."

pc1
07-08-2009, 03:50 PM
I taped the show years ago and I have it somewhere I think. Gonzalez to me is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of tennis. I think it would have made a great movie. Tennis movies are usually notoriously bad but this has such great potential. The story is incredible.

I think you're right when you say it isn't totally balanced.

Moose Malloy
07-08-2009, 04:39 PM
I know there's some fascination with the Gonzales win over Laver at MSG in '70(probably perpetuated by the wiki article, I hear his relatives have posted many articles on the internet about him, that have gotten picked up by other sources over the years), but it is worth noting that Laver has a 36-19 edge in the head to head vs the 2(urban posted this record on page 1 of this thread) And Laver beat him several times in '69, including a 6-1, 6-2 score in the finals of a tournament in Binghamton shortly before the USO. And Laver was 12-3 vs Pancho in '64, when Laver was not in his prime.

And that MSG match wasn't the important match in that competition. It was just the RR part of a series of matches played over months. Laver got his revenge in the semis of that event later that year in NY(& got the big cash prize)
6-3, 6-3, 6-1. I'm sure Pancho would have rather won that one.

urban posted a thread on this series recently

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=273248

BreakPoint
07-08-2009, 04:42 PM
I wonder if a video of that documentary can be purchased somewhere. The 6 minute youtube clip shows mostly other people talking about him, but not much footage of him playing. From the little they show of his game, he does appear to have a game that is both powerful and graceful. Hard to believe this guy never took tennis lessons. (I suspect this may be a bit of an exaggeration, even though he started to play pretty late). In one of the last images they show his serve from the side. Amazingly he does not seem to get off the ground to hit it. At least that one serve.

That's because the rule in tennis during the Gonzales era was that the server's feet were not allowed to leave the ground when he served. I'm not exactly sure when that rule was changed. But despite having to keep his feet on the ground, Gonzales still had one of the biggest serves in the history of tennis even with a wood racquet. Can you imagine how much even bigger and better he would have served if he were allowed to jump into the ball like all pro players do today? And if he also used a Babolat Pure Drive? I shutter at the thought.

TsongaEatingAPineappleLol
07-08-2009, 05:35 PM
He was a strategist. Totally someone to respect, being small and all, was able to capture many titles because of using his mind. He was great to watch, because you KNEW he knew what he was doing.

BreakPoint
07-08-2009, 07:49 PM
He was a strategist. Totally someone to respect, being small and all, was able to capture many titles because of using his mind. He was great to watch, because you KNEW he knew what he was doing.
Huh? Are you thinking of the right "Pancho"? Because Pancho Gonzales was tall, at least 6' 2". That's why he had such a huge serve.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Go/R/Richard-Pancho-A-Gonzales.aspx

JW10S
07-08-2009, 08:18 PM
He was a strategist. Totally someone to respect, being small and all, was able to capture many titles because of using his mind. He was great to watch, because you KNEW he knew what he was doing.You're thinking of Pancho Segura, who was small, very bow-legged, hit a two-handed forehand, and for a time coached Jimmy Connors. Pancho Gonzalez was tall, had a great serve, and was an intimidating figure on the court.

Pancho Gonzalez has to be considered one of the all time greats--no question. He played at a high level well into his 40's. He was one of the rare players who could combine power and finesse and for a big man moved around the court with speed and grace--in canvas tennis shoes no less. He dominated the pro tours for a long time and would have won a ton of GS's had he been able to play them. Open tennis came into being at the end of his career.

I'm fortunate enough to say I've met, and hit with, both Pancho Segura and Pancho Gonzalez. Amazing men both. In fact Pancho Gonzalez taught me how to serve.

Benhur
07-08-2009, 08:19 PM
I know there's some fascination with the Gonzales win over Laver at MSG in '70(probably perpetuated by the wiki article, I hear his relatives have posted many articles on the internet about him, that have gotten picked up by other sources over the years), but it is worth noting that Laver has a 36-19 edge in the head to head vs the 2(urban posted this record on page 1 of this thread) And Laver beat him several times in '69, including a 6-1, 6-2 score in the finals of a tournament in Binghamton shortly before the USO. And Laver was 12-3 vs Pancho in '64, when Laver was not in his prime.


Laver may not have been in his “prime,” but he was 25 years old in 1964, so he couldn’t be far from it. Gonzales, on the other hand, was already 36 at the time.

From the Wikipedia article on Laver:

“Against the older Pancho Gonzales, whom he played 1964 to 1970 on the pro tour, Laver had a lead of 35-19 or 37-21, depending on the source.”

I think that’s an incredible record by the older man against the one who is considered by many the best player of all time, playing during his best years.

Laver was between the ages of 25 and 31 during those years. Gonzalez was between the ages of 36 and 42.

Considerering their 11-year difference in age, and the fact that they didn’t start playing until Gonzales was 36, ít really seems to me totally mind boggling that Gonzales managed to win 19 (or 21) of their head to heads. We are talking about Laver, the possible goat to many, playing in his prime. Gonzales also beat Newcombe at 42. I also read he beat Borg badly at 44!! Ok, Borg was 16, but Borg was not exactly a late bloomer.

To me this stuff is like out of science fiction. I am just learning about it. I have been following tennis since the 80s. I can't even begin to imagine a player winning 20 matches against the number one -- between the ages of 36 and 42!! The closest thing that comes to mind is Connors. But you would have to imagine Connors winning 20 matches against the number one between 1988 and 1994!!

krosero
07-08-2009, 08:23 PM
And that MSG match wasn't the important match in that competition. It was just the RR part of a series of matches played over months. Laver got his revenge in the semis of that event later that year in NY(& got the big cash prize)
6-3, 6-3, 6-1. I'm sure Pancho would have rather won that one.That loss to Pancho was the opening match of the 1970 Classic, but Laver won all his remaining matches. And he won all the matches in '71, so essentially Laver won close to 20 consecutive matches in that event, over two years, after barely losing the very first match to Pancho.

When the '71 event started he said, "I am doing two things differently this year so as not to get off to the poor start I had in 1970. No long layoffs like the six weeks when I didn't lift a racquet and then lost to Pancho Gonzales in the opening round of this tourney last January, and second, no New Year's Eve parties" (he said that on January 2nd, after beating Rosewall in straight sets to start off the '71 event).

So perhaps Laver was not in great shape at the start of the '70 event, which may explain why Pancho said that Rod seemed to slow down in the fifth set (this match is whetting my appetite, I hope it shows up someday again on TV).

On the other hand, Pancho himself was 41 and he was cramping in the fifth. But he was probably at his best at the start of the '70 event, because he won the first two challenge matches (against Laver and Newcombe), then lost his remaining matches in straight sets to Emerson and Laver. In the last one he told his son before the match that he was having slight muscle spasms in his back.

And he pulled out of the '71 event before playing any matches -- before a meeting with Laver, actually, scheduled for late January -- because he said he was "out of shape and pressed with business affairs" (all these quotes are from the NY Times).

I wished I'd seen any of these matches but from what I've read, it looks like Laver got into better shape over the course of the series while Pancho was at his best at the beginning.

When Laver straight-setted him in the 1970 semi, Pancho said, "He played as well against me as he has in a long time."

krosero
07-08-2009, 08:45 PM
Considerering their 11-year difference in age, and the fact that they didn’t start playing until Gonzales was 36, ít really seems to me totally mind boggling that Gonzales managed to win 19 (or 21) of their head to heads. We are talking about Laver, the possible goat to many, playing in his prime. Gonzales also beat Newcombe at 42. I also read he beat Borg badly at 44!! Ok, Borg was 16, but Borg was not exactly a late bloomer.

To me this stuff is like out of science fiction. I am just learning about it. I have been following tennis since the 80s. I can't even begin to imagine a player winning 20 matches against the number one -- between the ages of 36 and 42!! The closest thing that comes to mind is Connors. But you would have to imagine Connors winning 20 matches against the number one between 1988 and 1994!!I think it may be safe to say that in the days of the wood racquet when tennis had less power and more finesse/strategy, you could do very well for yourself as an experienced veteran -- provided of course you stayed in shape and maintained some ability to deal with power or developed ways to neutralize it.

The warmup act for the 1970 Champions final was an exhibition doubles match featuring the two Panchos (Gonzales and Segura) playing with two 15-year-olds from New York high schools -- one of whom was Vitas Gerulaitis. Pancho said that the court would give them some trouble because it was a little slow and you had to create your own pace, and "Kids don't know how to generate their own pace."

Spoken like a wily veteran. I don't think Pancho was getting those late victories in his career because he was overpowering younger rivals. No doubt, he retained a lot of his youthful power, I don't question that. But I'm sure he was enjoying the fruits of learning how to play tennis, learning how to read opponents, etc. (What was it that Laver said about his loss to Pancho, that Pancho knew exactly where Laver was going to hit his shots?) I mean, yeah, he was giving up 10 years to Laver physically, but who's to say that he didn't gain anything over Laver from 10 more years of experience, 10 more years of learning (as every tennis player has to do at some point) to replace power with tactics and strategy?

urban
07-08-2009, 09:50 PM
Thanks to Krosero, to put some context to these results of 1970 and 1971, by researching articles from the NYTimes of the days. Thats the proper way to do, with now archives of press organs like NYT or SI online available. A a German, i had no wider information at the time, but i recall, that this series, especially the 1971 series, where Laver won all the matches, made big headlines for tennis, with all the money involved. Gonzales win begin 1970 was no fluke. As Laver wrote in his 1971 book, he played better at the outset of the open era, than in the years, when Laver met him first. Going on new motivation, he had brought himself in great shape, and even at the end of 1969 he won two important hard court events at LA and Las Vegas. He beat Laver again at Las Vegas in May 1970. Gorgo was a clever strategist, and outsmarted people more than overpowering them. He needed that, because he had a big serve, but no real big weapons off the ground. His backhand was mere slice. A reason for his longevity may have been, that he was selective in his playing schedule. He had many time-outs from the game, like his brother-in-law Agassi later, and multiple comebacks.

I recall from other sports like basketball or baseball, even boxing, that some did well around 40, people like Robinson, Archie Moore, Kareem, even Jordan. In tennis, maybe Rosewall's performances are even more astounding, because he had those late wins over Newk, Smith and others on the big stage at Wim and USO.

hoodjem
07-09-2009, 04:54 AM
I mean, yeah, he was giving up 10 years to Laver physically, but who's to say that he didn't gain anything over Laver from 10 more years of experience, 10 more years of learning (as every tennis player has to do at some point) to replace power with tactics and strategy?
Kind of like what Ashe did to Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final.?

krosero
07-09-2009, 07:22 AM
As far as Laver's peak, it's difficult to tell, because a lot of people say it was probably in '67. But whatever year it was, it seems that back then a player's peak years could be a lot later than we might expect today (and they might do very well against younger players for a long time). Look at what Neil Amdur wrote in the Times after Laver won the '71 final:

Playing what he described as "the best tennis I've ever played at the right time," the 32-year-old Laver overwhelmed Okker, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1.....

"My concentration has never been better. Never." Neither has Laver's game. Once the king of the Court as the world's top amateur in 1962, he now is at the peak of his game, physically and mentally. His diversity of stroke is uncanny, his confidence unmatched, his competitive toughness unbelievable.

The switch from a wooden to aluminum racquet this year has added depth to his second serve, first volleys and looping ground strokes. He still is quick afoot, and week-long tournaments have preserved the strength once sapped during one-night stands.

"He's been playing better in this series than ever," Okker said.

All of this is surprising to me because like everyone else the first thing I notice about these two years ('70 and '71) is that he won no Slams. But it was such a different time; one Times reporter said during the '71 series that "for the pros these days, the money, not the title, seems to be the object of the game"; and Laver was no different.

It was so strange reading that he won all those matches in the Champions Series, then lost a match to Cox at the Australian Open, and returned the next week to the Champions Series and kept on winning.

When he lost his Wimbledon title to Taylor in 1970, Laver said it was partly because he plays better when he's nervous, and in the Taylor match he just wasn't nervous enough. But throughout the Champions Series he talks about being nervous and keyed up; apparently these matches were huge (and so was Wimbledon, but by 1970 Laver had nothing left to prove there, and not that much money to win, compared to the Series).

pc1
07-09-2009, 07:31 AM
Krosero,

I think that when a player gets older the recovery time tends to be a bit longer and that player may been more liable to be upset by an inferior player, especially in five set matches. At least that's my best guess.

In that Champion's Series Laver had decent rest between matches and I would think that for any one match at that time Laver was still the best in the world.

That being written, Laver was still good enough to win the Italian Open on red clay that year over Kodes.

I always wondered what would have happened if tennis didn't have all those boycotts and politics happening at that time. Would Laver have won a few more Grand Slam titles? Would Rosewall have won few more too?

chess9
07-09-2009, 07:38 AM
Huh? Are you thinking of the right "Pancho"? Because Pancho Gonzales was tall, at least 6' 2". That's why he had such a huge serve.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Go/R/Richard-Pancho-A-Gonzales.aspx

Pancho had a great serve because he was technically advanced for his era.

Also, he was about 6' tall. I've seen him play numerous times and have stood right next to him. We are identical height, though his build was slighter than mine. The height is exaggerated, as usual, in the ATP listing. LOL. He was 6'2" wearing shoes and two pairs of Thorlos. ;)

Pancho moved like a Jedi Knight. You would never know where he was going to be and when, though he came to the net almost always on serve.

Pancho was the reason I learned to play tennis and I watched his matches every chance I got. To me, he was the Bob Feller of tennis in the 1950's and '60's.

-Robert

krosero
07-09-2009, 07:48 AM
Kind of like what Ashe did to Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final.?Ashe had a very specific plan, and I was just thinking in general terms of how players learn from playing and observing their peers, adapting with strategy as they grow older and can no longer depend merely on youthful stamina or strength.

But yeah, it's a great example, it's just that it's so well-known that Arthur beat Jimmy with strategy, you never hear that "Ashe must have been even more formidable in his prime, if he could do that to Connors at almost 32 years old." But the story would be told that way, if the actual story (about his strategy) were not so famous.

When Arthur was younger he was less inclined to play percentages, and he could go all-out with power like he did in that Wimbledon semi against Laver in '69, but if he'd played that way against Connors it would have actually fed into Jimmy's strengths, and he knew it.

I always thought that Agassi, at 35, played Federer smart in the USO final, serving soft serves to Federer's backhand, getting nothing but slice returns, which then let Andre have the rallies on his terms (and no one was better as stringing you around like a yo-yo, if you let him do it). He caused a lot of damage that way, but late in the third set and in the fourth he gave Federer too much pace, and Federer started coming over BH returns in the tiebreak, which was a blowout. In a straight-on contest of power between these two, even with Andre in his prime, I have a hard time seeing Federer losing a majority of the matches.

The example is not as extreme as Ashe-Connors, but I think Andre did show that Federer could be vulnerable if you mixed things up going to his backhand (same with Jimmy's FH).

In general I don't think the older players, when they do well against younger champions, get enough credit for their smart plays, which they came up with after years of observing the younger players (and maybe years of losing to them; Pancho had not beaten Rod in two years when he met him at the Garden). If you imagine the older player in his prime -- or you picture Agassi and Federer in a fantasy matchup, having never laid eyes on one another and just going out to play their games -- you're probably not going to see all the damage caused by those "veteran" plays. You would see youth matched up against youth, of course; but it would be a different match from those that we actually saw.

krosero
07-09-2009, 07:57 AM
Krosero,

I think that when a player gets older the recovery time tends to be a bit longer and that player may been more liable to be upset by an inferior player, especially in five set matches. At least that's my best guess.yes, on a single day you can be very good, but you won't have as many good days anymore.

I always wondered what would have happened if tennis didn't have all those boycotts and politics happening at that time. Would Laver have won a few more Grand Slam titles? Maybe he would have. He said he was still motivated to get more Slams, but I'm not certain how much motivation he had -- as compared to his motivation in '69 when he had a clear-cut focus (and then achieved it; where do you go after you've reached the summit?)

urban
07-09-2009, 08:00 AM
Krosero made some good points and findings. As Cyborg wrote in a post about Borg, the pros in the early years of open era, up to the early 80s, had no standardized schedule as the modern day pros have with majors, Masters series and so on. Nowadays, the prize money for the toppers is secondary because they win many Dollars anyway. In those older days, the pros went for the money, which was huge for the fisrt time in their careers. When Laver won the GS in 1969 he won the record sum of 125.000 $. In 1970 and 71 he won 202.000 $ resp. 292.000 $, without winning a major (he played only 4 of these, partly due to promoter struggles). The AO, because it was a WCT event, was played in the middle of the US indoor circuit, without any grass preparation or something. It was a strange world then, if we see it with the eyes of the modern observer. So in 1970/71 Laver constantly changed between a Chemold alu racket in the US, and a Donnay wooden racket in Europe. Not between two wooden rackets, but between different materials. Newombe did similar things, later Borg had different wood rackets (Bancroft and Donnay) in Europe and USA. McCormack had made the contracts, and the pros followed him. As the article says, the pros were glad to have tournament formats now, not the infamous one-night-stands of the 50s and 60s, where the rigor of travelling and adapting was even greater.

pc1
07-09-2009, 08:40 AM
Urban,

Speaking of the old Chemold racket, that was the worst racket I've ever tried. I remember one writer mentioning that he felt that was perhaps the main reason Laver was losing more often. The writer felt if Laver stuck to a wood racket he would have been fine.

I'm not sure if that was true but that awful racket couldn't have helped Laver.

urban
07-09-2009, 10:07 AM
I think, an exact history of the material change and its consequences is yet to be written, especially in this experimental phase. On the one hand, alu rackets like the Chemold and also Ashe's Head racket were not really proven. It was said, that Laver threw his Chemolds into a lake, and returned to his old Dunlop, which he painted over. But on the other hand, the change to metal could have prolonged the careers of Gonzales and Rosewall. Pancho turned to metal in 1967 or 1968 ( i think together with Graebner and Billie Jean), and Rosewall changed from Slazenger wood to a metal model since 1971. Both had good success with the change to metal. And Connors brought new grundpower to the game with his metal Wilson.

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 10:39 AM
Those Chemold WAS crap. Laver did right to sink them. Horrible, not even beginner-racquet qualities in it. Can't imagine Laver playing with them. Totally incomprehensible.

Perfect example of the age. Incredible anomalies permeating all over the sport. And seldom to the player's credit in the long run. A mouse-wheel. Never arriving.

I don't see the talk about Rod's losses because of the Chemold-racquet as mere empty gossip -- it takes about a year, probably less but not much more, to make all adjustments and reach maximum refinement in a person's stroke-technique with a completely new sword and a good one at that. That Chemold was lousy, all I've heard have said so with passion and I thought it really... well, was really bad. Worst racquet ever IMO. I've tried some unplayable cheapie-wood, gas-station racquets that was laugh-riot bad and worse than Chemold, but Chemold was a pretender, Rodman's racquet, and it just sucked. Like a cheapie gas-station racquet almost.

I do think Chemold wasn't completely innocent in certain losses of said GOAT-contender. Not all or everything in the reasons for the defeats of course.

BreakPoint
07-09-2009, 11:57 AM
So in 1970/71 Laver constantly changed between a Chemold alu racket in the US, and a Donnay wooden racket in Europe.
Are you sure that Laver used a Donnay and not a Dunlop in Europe? The racquet he used for most of his career was the Dunlop Maxply Fort.

BreakPoint
07-09-2009, 12:01 PM
It was said, that Laver threw his Chemolds into a lake, and returned to his old Dunlop, which he painted over.
Yes, that was one of the most unique paintjobs ever as Laver painted his wood Dunlop Maxpy Forts to look like the aluminum Chemolds with open throat and all. I doubt that paintjob fooled anyone. :)

BreakPoint
07-09-2009, 12:10 PM
Also, he was about 6' tall. I've seen him play numerous times and have stood right next to him. We are identical height, though his build was slighter than mine. The height is exaggerated, as usual, in the ATP listing. LOL. He was 6'2" wearing shoes and two pairs of Thorlos. ;)

Interesting.....because to me, he looks to be taller than 6 feet in some of these videos: :shock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69vxMxCNcZg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY&feature=related

Benhur
07-09-2009, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by pc1
Krosero,
I think that when a player gets older the recovery time tends to be a bit longer and that player may been more liable to be upset by an inferior player, especially in five set matches. At least that's my best guess.


Different players mention different things when asked about the effects of aging on playing ability. Some talk about a deterioration in reflexes. Others about the loss in strength and stamina. I once heard Cliff Drysdale say that "the first thing to go are always the legs".

On the other hand, in a Lendl interview recently posted here, he mentioned that the stamina "actually gets better" (This may explain why many of the best cyclists and long distance runners peak in their very late 20s and 30s.) but that what gets eroded is general agility and specifically "agility of turning" [I suppose he means turning back after you hit the ball].

This is what he said:

"In tennis, as you get older, it’s not that you lose the straight-line speed or the stamina - the stamina actually gets better - it’s the agility of turning [you lose] and agility was starting to go. A split-of-a-second late here, two splits there and the point is gone. And you can’t do anything about it. There is nowhere to hide.” http://tinyurl.com/m5lqf8

Maybe Pancho preserved his general agility better than most into his 40s.

chess9
07-09-2009, 05:13 PM
Interesting.....because to me, he looks to be taller than 6 feet in some of these videos: :shock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69vxMxCNcZg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY&feature=related

BP:

He was built like an arrow. A bit like Ashe. So, the perspective will fool you. That one of him serving shows how he kept that left foot grounded but fully extended on the serve and leaning way into the court. Brilliant!

It doesn't really matter anyway. He was a fabulous player. How many guys today will be playing into their 40's at the pro level?

That second video is very good, btw. Recommended viewing.

-Robert

pc1
07-09-2009, 05:32 PM
BP:

He was built like an arrow. A bit like Ashe. So, the perspective will fool you. That one of him serving shows how he kept that left foot grounded but fully extended on the serve and leaning way into the court. Brilliant!

It doesn't really matter anyway. He was a fabulous player. How many guys today will be playing into their 40's at the pro level?

That second video is very good, btw. Recommended viewing.

-Robert

Gonzalez is arguably the greatest athlete tennis has ever had.

Chess9,

Do you play rated chess tournaments? Incidentally I usually play 1. e4.:)

chess9
07-10-2009, 11:36 AM
Gonzalez is arguably the greatest athlete tennis has ever had.

Chess9,

Do you play rated chess tournaments? Incidentally I usually play 1. e4.:)

I was president of my high school, college, and local chess club (two terms), so the answer is yes. Yes, I play 1.d4. :) Well spotted, mate! My highest USCF rating was about 2100 correspondence (back in the pre-computer days I played correspondence chess, then it went to hell after about 1995). My highest blitz rating was about 1800, and I like blitz best. My slow ratings were terrible as I get distracted and bored. I don't like to calculate for more than about 10 seconds. I think I hit about 1680 for slow chess. I think my correspondence rating was higher because I thought about a move, and before I mailed it I found myself re-thinking it and often dreaming about it. I would take 2 or 3 days to finally mail my move. LOL!

I haven't played tournaments in about 6 years, though I have started back playing on the Fritz web site. Nice place to play, though they give you a few computer programs occasionally and you get trashed quickly. :) Are you on www.chessclub.com? I played there for two years and my rating for blitz hit about 1800.

-Robert

pc1
07-10-2009, 11:50 AM
I was president of my high school, college, and local chess club (two terms), so the answer is yes. Yes, I play 1.d4. :) Well spotted, mate! My highest USCF rating was about 2100 correspondence (back in the pre-computer days I played correspondence chess, then it went to hell after about 1995). My highest blitz rating was about 1800, and I like blitz best. My slow ratings were terrible as I get distracted and bored. I don't like to calculate for more than about 10 seconds. I think I hit about 1680 for slow chess. I think my correspondence rating was higher because I thought about a move, and before I mailed it I found myself re-thinking it and often dreaming about it. I would take 2 or 3 days to finally mail my move. LOL!

I haven't played tournaments in about 6 years, though I have started back playing on the Fritz web site. Nice place to play, though they give you a few computer programs occasionally and you get trashed quickly. :) Are you on www.chessclub.com? I played there for two years and my rating for blitz hit about 1800.

-Robert

I used to be a somewhat passable tournament player my area years ago. I played a lot on www.chessclub.com but haven't had time in recent years and my membership expired and my account was deleted.

I was champion of my High School. When I was in college one of my classmates from HS (and also on my HS chess team) set up a college tournament and kept nagging me to enter. My college didn't have a chess team and he had the reputation of being the best at the college because he crushed everyone all the time in the dorms and cafeteria in chess. He loved beating up on everyone and pointing out how inferior they were to him.

I was playing a lot of tournament chess in those days and frankly I thought I had a good shot to defeat him if I reached the final. Eventually I gave in to him and entered the tournament and we both reached the final. It was a knock out type tournament.

My former HS chess teammate never met me for the final match.

I just told the guy who was in charge to just let us be co-champs because I knew his rep as the best chess player in the college was important to him.

I'm an okay player, no great shakes but passable. Never have time to play but I do occasionally visit chess clubs every once in a blue moon to embarrass myself.

pc1
07-20-2009, 10:25 AM
Edit. Made an error. Should have put it in another thread.

GameSampras
07-20-2009, 10:42 AM
I always wondered how Pancho would have panned out against Laver, both being contemporaries. Laver probably with the advantage on clay, the grass... That would have been a battle

Rabbit
07-20-2009, 11:09 AM
Ashe had a very specific plan,

You know that's funny because not long ago, I heard someone say that Ashe just kind of fell into the "plan" when he started playing the '75 final. Watching the match, I have to say that I don't see where Ashe did a whole lot different than he did before or after.

Connors said there was no plan and Ashe just got lucky that day. I too have always heard that Ashe had a plan going in, but the older I get the more I think it's urban legend. I've never actually heard Ashe detail his plan.

Urban,

Speaking of the old Chemold racket, that was the worst racket I've ever tried. I remember one writer mentioning that he felt that was perhaps the main reason Laver was losing more often. The writer felt if Laver stuck to a wood racket he would have been fine.

I'm not sure if that was true but that awful racket couldn't have helped Laver.

I remember the Chemold well...they used to sell them around here at OTASCO (Oklahoma Tire And Supply Company). That was one frame I never had the desire to buy or hit with. But I did hit with one nonetheless. You've come a long way baby...

krosero
07-20-2009, 11:48 AM
You know that's funny because not long ago, I heard someone say that Ashe just kind of fell into the "plan" when he started playing the '75 final. Watching the match, I have to say that I don't see where Ashe did a whole lot different than he did before or after.

Connors said there was no plan and Ashe just got lucky that day. I too have always heard that Ashe had a plan going in, but the older I get the more I think it's urban legend. I've never actually heard Ashe detail his plan.In Fred Tupper's article the day after the match in the NY Times, he said that Ashe had found his plan by watching Connors' earlier win over Ramirez. Where he picked up that information, he doesn't say, though the likeliest place would have been Ashe's own press conference.

He doesn't lay out what Ashe learned from the Ramirez match, but he does describe everything that Ashe did against Connors that surprised everyone. I'll quote some of it later.

Borgforever
07-20-2009, 12:46 PM
Might be urban legend -- might not -- I don't know...

However on an old Wimbledon-history VHS-tape type deal Arthur is interviewed (the same one Budge said without batting eye that he didn't lose a match for 9 years during his prime) and he said the Tanner semi that Jimbo played (a match I've seen but was denied to make copy of -- BBC 1997) were Jimmy just zaps every serve return and and groundie even harder than what Roscoe put on it in the first place. Jimbo loved hard-hitting to counter-punch which is typical of slugger players. The more pace on the ball the more amped their game becomes.

Tanner hit 17 aces and should've made more if Connors wasn't what he was that day.

Anyway, Arthur said that "I watched that SF and Roscoe never served better in his life. He hit 17 aces or something like that and only got nine games. So we figured I couldn't play my typical grass-court-game, going for winners, because then I would probably lose very quickly." This is interspersed with images from the Jimbo-Roscoe 1975 SF and Tanner, I think, smacks a thunder-smash that Jimbo lightning bolts back cross-court for an instant winner.

So he mixed it up, which I think I see quite clearly.He's so unafraid in that match. Meditating in the change overs. No hurry. Hitting smooth and soft.

I don't know...

joe sch
07-20-2009, 01:04 PM
You know that's funny because not long ago, I heard someone say that Ashe just kind of fell into the "plan" when he started playing the '75 final. Watching the match, I have to say that I don't see where Ashe did a whole lot different than he did before or after.

Connors said there was no plan and Ashe just got lucky that day. I too have always heard that Ashe had a plan going in, but the older I get the more I think it's urban legend. I've never actually heard Ashe detail his plan.



I remember the Chemold well...they used to sell them around here at OTASCO (Oklahoma Tire And Supply Company). That was one frame I never had the desire to buy or hit with. But I did hit with one nonetheless. You've come a long way baby...

I have started making web pages for all the GOATs with the corresponding rackets. Here is a pic I will provide for the PG with the alum smasher and 3 of the popular wood rackets Pancho endorsed:

http://www.woodtennis.com/panchogonzales/panchogonzales3racketsa.jpg

Topspinslice
07-20-2009, 01:05 PM
http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=498496

pc1
07-20-2009, 01:16 PM
I've heard the story about Ramirez and how that somewhat influence how Ashe played Connors. It's probably true but I've just glanced at Arthur's book "Arthur Ashe-Off the Court" and didn't see any mention of the Ramirez-Connors match.

I watch I could see that Connors-Tanner match. Connors was being called the hardest hitter of all time and a big GOAT candidate at that point. He looked unbeatable.

Borgforever, was Connors as impressive as they said in that match?

Borgforever
07-20-2009, 01:28 PM
I would say so. Off the cuff it's probably the most insanely dominant Jimbo I've ever seen. IMO Tanner was just as good in 1976 against Jimbo but the hard-baked grass (as compared to the overcast, softer, slower grass in 1975) added a few crucial mphs on every bounce just making Jimbo just a tad too slow.

I would say it's mandatory for every Jimbo-fan to see that match. Jimbo just smacked everything inside the lines. It resembled a graphite-match from twenty years later more than just a bit. Tanner A-bombing on every serve and Jimmy, reading it like he had some strange radar at the back of his head -- with the aggressive control of Toshiro Mifune with a katana just chopping the head off every rocket. It's a great blowout-match. Roscoe's face, I remember, in the second and third sets are priceless. No one can just believe the stuff that Jimbo deals with -- and while Tanner never lets up in his astonishing assault, Munch's THE SCREAM-painting of angst and frustration was visible in his face -- shaking his head...

Borgforever
07-20-2009, 01:32 PM
Jimmy's only time he absolutely Mac-84:ed all six opponents without set-loss going into the final, having hyper-hyper confidence and then Arthur just took him out like he was small-fry.

The contrast between his first six rounds and the final couldn't have been greater...

pc1
07-20-2009, 02:00 PM
Jimmy's only time he absolutely Mac-84:ed all six opponents without set-loss going into the final, having hyper-hyper confidence and then Arthur just took him out like he was small-fry.

The contrast between his first six rounds and the final couldn't have been greater...

Connors was such a beautiful ball stroker and he moved so well. The two Panchos I guess were great coaches for him.

Borgforever
07-20-2009, 02:37 PM
You couldn't have said it better. Sometimes I held my nose at some of his antics -- but I love him, I do, fighting just as hard as Borg at his best and that's saying something -- I forgive Jimmy anything. He could've taken 16 minutes between serves and I wouldn't mind. He could make 15 crotch-grabs a minute and it would be fine by me. He could've sued the entire world including his mother and Chris and he would still be okeyed in my book.

Just for his best tennis. A total anamoly.

Using a racquet no one but him could play with -- hitting so absurdly clean as having no error margin whatsoever and still almost take out Borg from the baseline, sickeningly great anticipation in his volley-game and service returns, a pitty-pat silly-bad serve and still out-balling everyone from Pancho and Borg to Mac, Lendl, everybody, reaching six Wimby-finals, with a pitty-pat serve. How in the world can anyone do that?

And his absolutely unforgettably manic war-face -- looking like he was ready for the strait-jackets at Bellevue out on the court out of sheer, unbridled fighting fire. Unique...

If someone had told me about him and I had never seen the guy -- I wouldn't believe it. No that doesn't compute at all I would say...

The Original Enforcer -- Jimmy Connors...

krosero
07-20-2009, 03:06 PM
You know that's funny because not long ago, I heard someone say that Ashe just kind of fell into the "plan" when he started playing the '75 final. Watching the match, I have to say that I don't see where Ashe did a whole lot different than he did before or after.

Connors said there was no plan and Ashe just got lucky that day. I too have always heard that Ashe had a plan going in, but the older I get the more I think it's urban legend. I've never actually heard Ashe detail his plan.This thread has more on it: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=192672.

I'd forgotten that Flink quoted Ashe as saying that he was in "right brain" mode, in the zone. So perhaps he wasn't being as cerebral as the stereotype of that match goes. Perhaps it wasn't an elaborate "plan", but just Arthur falling into the zone.

Flink says he wrote down just a handful of notes on a piece of paper to take with him oncourt, just a few things to remind himself with. He closed his eyes to think about these few points, so he appeared to be meditating.

I wonder if he was visualizing these points. Hasn't John Yandell written about how this is an extremely effective method of improving: concretely picturing yourself doing what you want to do, rather than drowning yourself in analytical tips about stroke mechanics.

Borgforever
07-20-2009, 03:36 PM
Absolutely true krosero...

Rabbit
07-21-2009, 04:26 AM
This thread has more on it: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=192672.

I'd forgotten that Flink quoted Ashe as saying that he was in "right brain" mode, in the zone. So perhaps he wasn't being as cerebral as the stereotype of that match goes. Perhaps it wasn't an elaborate "plan", but just Arthur falling into the zone.

Flink says he wrote down just a handful of notes on a piece of paper to take with him oncourt, just a few things to remind himself with. He closed his eyes to think about these few points, so he appeared to be meditating.

I wonder if he was visualizing these points. Hasn't John Yandell written about how this is an extremely effective method of improving: concretely picturing yourself doing what you want to do, rather than drowning yourself in analytical tips about stroke mechanics.

That goes along with what everyone was saying. Ashe played the match of his career against Connors that day. It was the only time Ashe ever beat Connors. The whole plan thing grew out of this conception that somehow Ashe was more cerebral on court than other players. Connors completely rejects the notion that Ashe had a plan. The truth probably lies somewhere between the two, like you said...some notes. But, based on the commentary that I've heard Ashe give, he was no more informed than any other pro or ex-pro commentator, i.e. John McEnroe... :)

I do remember Ashe on the sidelines, closing his eyes and laying his head back. My impression of that was always that he was trying to remain in the moment and keep himself calm. He was on his way to winning the biggest title of his career and just didn't want to get nervous.

pc1
07-21-2009, 03:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xkV_BxNBv0

I think the video is mainly about Kramer but I thought it would be good to put the link here for the Gonzalez play.

SandV
07-21-2009, 04:21 PM
According to Donald Dell, Ashe consulted with him and another pro before the final with Connors. Dell loved his slice serve, so they decided he would serve wide in the deuce court. Also Ashe would play short to Connors forehand. Both tactics were highly successful on the fast, skidding grass.
In addition, since Connors lost the first 2 sets 1-6,1-6, making tons of unforced errors in his service games, that his mental preparation may not have been the best--perhaps feeling the pressure of being the big favorite.

crash1929
07-21-2009, 07:49 PM
man book stores, borders- barnes, they have all the wrong books.