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View Full Version : Att: Historians An EMO Check


jaap deboeck
03-13-2008, 08:58 AM
Yes, he played as an "amateur" during the classic pro era and his slam count is not authentic. He did however beat guys like a young Laver and Ashe. Can any of you older gentlemen fans weigh in and how he stacked up to the best in his 60's heyday? Was he a GREAT player or a top 2nd tier type in the right place a the right time?

Note how the fans at the MSG Federer Sampras fete did not give EMO much of an ovation for his rare pulbic appearance!

Moose Malloy
03-13-2008, 09:24 AM
I thought the fans gave him a pretty good ovation.

Most experts would probably rank him as top 30 of all-time, so he was pretty good. His career is probably on the level of Hewitt or Courier's.

He did post some great wins when the Open era finally did start(when he was pretty old), so that shows his amateur wins weren't meaningless.

chaognosis
03-13-2008, 09:38 AM
I thought the fans gave him a pretty good ovation.

Most experts would probably rank him as top 30 of all-time, so he was pretty good. His career is probably on the level of Hewitt or Courier's.

He did post some great wins when the Open era finally did start(when he was pretty old), so that shows his amateur wins weren't meaningless.

Er, I find it very hard to imagine putting Hewitt and Courier on par with Emerson. Even given Emerson's predominantly amateur career, his achievements, longevity, etc., put him well above these guys. Both Harry Hopman and (more surprisingly) Al Danzig ranked Emerson as one of the top 10 players of all time, ahead of Rosewall. Now, few students of the game would agree with that assessment today, but nevertheless I think it is a far too drastic "revision" to drop poor Roy to the level of only a two-time major winner whose career quickly burned out!

He was a great player, and even more so a great athlete, sort of a latter-day Fred Perry though he lacked the Briton's superior forehand. In a reasonable assessment he should probably land in the top 25, if not top 20; Courier and Hewitt certainly should not.

CyBorg
03-13-2008, 09:47 AM
Er, I find it very hard to imagine putting Hewitt and Courier on par with Emerson. Even given Emerson's predominantly amateur career, his achievements, longevity, etc., put him well above these guys. Both Harry Hopman and (more surprisingly) Al Danzig ranked Emerson as one of the top 10 players of all time, ahead of Rosewall. Now, few students of the game would agree with that assessment today, but nevertheless I think it is a far too drastic "revision" to drop poor Roy to the level of only a two-time major winner whose career quickly burned out!

He was a great player, and even more so a great athlete, sort of a latter-day Fred Perry though he lacked the Briton's superior forehand. In a reasonable assessment he should probably land in the top 25, if not top 20; Courier and Hewitt certainly should not.

I don't think longevity should be this much of a factor.

Yes, Courier and Hewitt burned out early today, but this is the trend of contemporary tennis. Guys don't last long. Guys play more physical games and rely a lot more on power. Guys get dead arms, when they didn't use to.

Courier put together three amazing years, the kinds of years Emerson would not be able to equal if he was playing alongside Laver and Rosewall. Hewitt was also the #1 pro for a couple of years. Emerson probably wouldn't be.

Something to chew on. I very much doubt that if one is to come up with a top 20 list for the past 100 years or so that Emerson would find his way on it. Would you argue he was better than the likes of Sedgman, Trabert and Agassi (the other second-fiddlers)?

SgtJohn
03-13-2008, 10:09 AM
Emerson seems to have been a great player (I say 'seems' because I never saw him play, so I can rely only on my readings). I don't think he would be top25 all-time, but top 50 most certainly.

Emmo was lucky to play in the 60s because it was the heyday of 'shamateurs'.

But he was also unlucky because, considering the level of play in the pro tour at this time, it's impossible to imagine that his amateur success could have had their equivalents in a supposed 'Open' situation. Emerson's best years were 1964 and 1965. Had he played the same circuit as Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, he would certainly have had some good wins against them and taken some second-tier events, but it's really hard, if not impossible, to imagine him winning prestigious, best-of-5 events in those years. I'm afraid in an earlier Open situation, or if he had turned pro, his Majors count would be 0, or really close anyway...

Jonathan

Moose Malloy
03-13-2008, 10:30 AM
Nice to see you back, chaognosis.

Looking at Emerson's open era activity, he lost to the eventual champion at these majors:

'68, '69 USO

'69, '71 AO

'70 Wimbledon (11-9 in the 5th)

And his win in '68 at Buenos Aires(on clay) is quite impressive, beating Kodes, Gimeno, & Laver back to back.

jeffreyneave
03-14-2008, 05:48 AM
Its hard to judge how good he was. In the 63-67 shamateur period his record was tremendous. In terms of consistency he looks like he was the best player every year.

In those years he seemed sinificantly better than the upcoming younger generation of players Roche, Newcombe, Ashe and Okker. Open tennis arrived in 1968 and not only did he perform worse than his contempory pros Laver and rosewall, but he fell behind the younger generation as well. In 1967, he'd been seen as the world number 2 amateur and was consequently seeded 5 at the 1st open Wimbledon. However, by the end of the year nobody ranked Emerson in the top 10. He probably was never ranked in the top 10 again. In 1969, he was close and ranked by some in the top ten, but finished 11th in a poll of tennis journalists. In 1970, I myself would probably rank him just in the top 10 but all the rankings I have seen for that year exclude him.

Emerson reached the top of the game in 1960 at the same time as Laver. But while Laver went on to me a major force up to 1975 ,as did Rosewall, he seems to run out of steam. He was 24 in 1960 and 32 in 1968, which seems to be about the end of the line for very good but not great but players. Mewcombe's last good year was 1975 at the age of 31. He was not a force after that. Nastase just stayed in the top ten in 1977 at 31, but fell out of it after that.

Lokking at his open era record, the player to compare him with is Gimeno, who I think is the contemporary with the same amount of ability. Both started the open era very highly ranked, but were pushed out of the top 10 in 1968. This might be unfair as rankings for that year were almost entirely based on your performance at the Us open and wimbledon and to some extant the French open They were both part of the incredibly tough NTL troupe. They finished ahead of gonzales and stolle in win/loss percentages but behind Laver and rosewall. Gonzales was ranked in the top ten because of his fr sf and Us qf. Emerson and gimeno failed at the big 2, but Gimeno reached the Fr sf and emerson the qf. Compared to the 10 plus tournament wins of 1961-67 he was down to 2 in the tough world of open tennis. His best achievement in '67 was splitting 12 matches evenly with the top 2 (5-5 Laver; 1-1 rosewall) however Gimeno beat him 6-2

He and gimeno are always close in the rankings. In '69 gimeno was definitely ranked in the top 10 with his aussie final and very big win at The Madison Suare garden open which atracted every player in thetop 20. He also had a 2-0 edge over Emerson

In 1970, they are very close again. In my rankings Emerson would be 10 and gimeno 11. The WCT seedings for the start of 1971 reflect this with Emerson no 7 and Gimeno number 8. howver of the world rankings I have seen Gimeno is amore likely contender because he reached the Sf at wimbledon and Emo only the qf

Their closeness continued in 1971. Emerson finished 9th and Gimeno 10th on the WCt points tabke. Both were just outside the top 10.

In 1972, emerson had a poor year failing to qualify for either WCT finals in Dallas and Rome. Gimeno played the ITF circuit and had a great year winning the French open amongst other titles, and beat smith in the davis cup. He qualified for the masters and was ranked in the top ten by number of journalists.

In '73 Gimeno, stopped playing full-time tennis. Emerson played one final year and had a decent one definitely finishing in the top 20, but not a contender for the top ten

Looking at their slams Emerson has a 12 to one advantage, but in reality when they competed head to head in the open era there was nothing between them. Gimen0 turned pro very early in mid 1960 and therefore was nor around when Emo piled up all his wins.


jeffrey

urban
03-14-2008, 07:23 AM
Good post, Jeffrey. In another thread on Emerson i had him also compared to Gimeno, regarding their quite similar post 68 status. You mentioned the first open Wimbledon draw of 1968, which was a sort of World ranking for the outset of the open era. It had, as far as i remember, Laver ahead of Rosewall, Gimeno, Newcombe, Emerson, Santana, Hoad, Gonzales, Ralston, Stolle. I think Drysdale, Roche, Ashe and Pilic were also seeded. The committee had (too) great respect for the older pros, and had seeded the young guns like Ashe and Roche too low, who went through to the sf and f. But i find it interesting, regarding the perspective on the pro and amateur rankings up to 68.

Rabbit
03-14-2008, 08:50 AM
When Open tennis came along, Emmo was about worn out. But, you can't deny his success even against the pros. He has wins over Tanner, Ashe, Stockton, and Borg. If he beat the current crop of pros past his prime, then one has to assume that he would have been dominant in his prime.

Moose Malloy
03-14-2008, 09:30 AM
urban & jeffrey, I've always wondered about the seeding systems prior to 1973, was a committee just used at every event? even non majors? or were seedings just the tournament director's decision? I wonder if every week on tour if there was some controversy with who was seeded, who wasn't etc. Was there any sort of organized ranking that was used for seeding purposes those years? Sounds rather chaotic, if not.

I noticed at the 1971 USO, #1 seed Newcombe had to play unseeded(& current FO champ) Kodes in the 1st round & lost. I'm guessing Newcombe wasn't pleased with the seeding committee that year.

I've heard Fred Stolle mention how annoyed he was at being unseeded at the '66 USO(which he won)

jeffreyneave
03-15-2008, 02:45 AM
Yes the seedings were made by indvidual tournament committees, certainly at the Grand slams. On the pro circuits like WCt , there was always a background points system. Thus in the summer of 1972 when Laver had the worst run of his career (no sf in 9 events), he was not seeded after the first few events. however at US open he was seeded 3 based on his reputation and his runner up at Dallas in may.

jeffrey

AndrewTas
03-19-2008, 03:13 AM
I agree with Rabbit. When open tennis started Emerson was in his 15th international season and was too old.

Emerson started playing in 1952 but first toured outside Australia in 1954. During the start of his career he had to play against Hoad and Rosewall, who he didnt defeat at all in Australia. His first major win was against Neale Fraser in the 1955 Queensland Hardcourt final. Then came Laver, who was also better than him but who Emerson did win several big matches against. After Laver turned pro, Emerson ruled Australian tennis and won 2 French and 2 Wimbledon's. He turned pro in 1968 and in his first professional tournament in Hollywood FLA he defeated Rosewall 61 61 in the final, but the other pros in most cases were better than him. He only won 5 tournaments between 1968 and when he ended his career in 1977.

I think that Emerson should be ranked in the Top 25 of all time. In all he won at least 119 tournaments, only behind Laver, Tilden, Drobny, Rosewall and Connors, and was ranked No. 1 in the world twice (1964,65) and No. 2 three times (1961, 62, 67).

AndrewD
03-19-2008, 04:51 AM
Yes, he played as an "amateur" during the classic pro era and his slam count is not authentic. He did however beat guys like a young Laver and Ashe. Can any of you older gentlemen fans weigh in and how he stacked up to the best in his 60's heyday? Was he a GREAT player or a top 2nd tier type in the right place a the right time?

Firstly, you mean EMMO. Hate to think what an 'emo' player would be like but I'm certain they'd be nowhere near as sunny as Roy Emerson LOL.

According to Mal Anderson and Ashley Cooper, two Hall of Famers, who played with and against Emerson (as well as the other leading players of the day), he was behind Hoad, Laver, Rosewall and Gonzalez, HOWEVER, during his peak, would have been more than capable of beating any of them and, on clay, only Rosewall was a consistently better player.

Anyone who doubts Emmo's credentials because he didn't dominate when Open tennis started has an appallingly short memory. As other have pointed out, by 1968 Emerson was in his early 30's and past his prime. He was talented enough to continue to win matches but age wasn't as kind to him as it was to Rosewall, Gonzalez, Agassi and Connors.

Emmo's decline coincided with the advent of Open tennis it wasn't caused by it.

Just remember that while Emerson's last major title was won at age 31, Jim Courier won his last at 23, John McEnroe at age 25, Stefan Edberg at 26, Ivan Lendl was 30, Pete Sampras was 31, Jimmy Connors 31, Rod Laver 32, Andre Agassi 33 and Ken Rosewall was 38.

Rabbit
03-20-2008, 06:27 AM
Also, winning 12 Grand Slam titles is going to take the wind out of any player's sales. That's a terrible amount of wear and tear. And, moose or urban correct me if I'm wrong, but in Emerson's day they pretty much played week in and week out unlike today where the insane amount of money affords the top guys some down time.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
09-03-2009, 05:12 AM
urban & jeffrey, I've always wondered about the seeding systems prior to 1973, was a committee just used at every event? even non majors? or were seedings just the tournament director's decision? I wonder if every week on tour if there was some controversy with who was seeded, who wasn't etc. Was there any sort of organized ranking that was used for seeding purposes those years? Sounds rather chaotic, if not.

I noticed at the 1971 USO, #1 seed Newcombe had to play unseeded(& current FO champ) Kodes in the 1st round & lost. I'm guessing Newcombe wasn't pleased with the seeding committee that year.

I've heard Fred Stolle mention how annoyed he was at being unseeded at the '66 USO(which he won)

A detail : I hate the term USO used for US Champs before 1968 because it wasn't "O" at all but "C" (O=Open, C=Close).

Yes the seedings then were odd at the time. Stolle was unseeded because the US officials didn't know then that Fred had won a month before the German amateur Champs defeating Gulyas, the French amateur champ runner-up in the final. Had they known it Stolle would have been seeded among the Top8.
If my memory isn't mistaken I think (but to be checked) that in his autobiography or perhaps in World Tennis Newcombe said that he wasn't annoyed to meet Kodes because he rated then the Czech as only a clay-courter (Kodes had lost as soon as the 1st round at Wimby 63 63 63 to Okker).
Newk won the 1st set but apparently Kodes raised his level in the 2nd set and Newk had possibly underrated his opponent. Once Kodes led, Newk couldn't focus and play at a high level. In the next rounds Kodes beat good players such as Barthes, Lutz and Ashe : his first good grasscourt performance ever.
After that Newk never underestimated the Czech whatever the surface of the court.