View Full Version : Who was number one in 1964?

05-23-2009, 05:11 PM
We've been having so many discussions on the number one player in 1977 that I thought I've do this poll for 1964 and show the problems with picking a number one for accomplishments or who is the best overall.

Roy Emerson won in 1964 the Australian, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships. That's three out of four majors and I'm sure he won a ton of other amateur tournaments. However the competition wasn't nearly as strong as the pros.

Rod Laver won two of three Pro Majors and I think around 15 or so total tournaments. But Rod was unable to play the majors. He did have a very impressive year against top flight competition.

Ken Rosewall was also fantastic winning one of the three Pro Majors and a number of other tournaments.

The traditionalists may pick Emerson as having the most accomplishments but he wouldn't stand much chance against Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez and I believe Gimeno.

So who's number one in 1964?

05-23-2009, 05:31 PM
Both Laver and Emerson were. They were playing against totally different fields and each were the best in their respective fields. They were each the deserving #1s vs the group of players they competed against all year long.

05-23-2009, 10:18 PM
I tend to have two separate ranking lists for amateurs and pros. An exact combined list is in my view impossible to make, because they didn't play each other. On the pro tour, i give Laver slightly the nod over the reigning champ Rosewall. The Wembley win (and US pro win) alongside the clear 12-3 or something hth are my main arguments. The comebacking Gonzales was a strong third, ahead of Gimeno, Hoad, Bucholz, Olmedo, Mackay, Segura and Ayala. On the amateur side, Emerson had his finest year, clearly dominating Stolle, Santana, McKinley, Ralston, Bungert, Osuna, Pietrangeli and Krishnan. The overwhelming majority of Experts - me included -would pick the best pros over the best amateurs, one has a argument going by the previous years and the amateur/ pro results of Laver in 1962 and 1963. Also, when Stolle, the Nr. 2 amateur 1964-66 (1966 probably Nr. 1) turned pro, he was not better then Nr. 5 or 6. But it remains speculation.

05-24-2009, 01:14 AM
emerson had a great amateur year but as always with emerson, he was never ranked above either laver or rosewall when they played the same circuit. emerson's open era record is not very good; he's about as good as gimeno with them frequently finishing very close to each other in world rankings and wct tour results eg in 1971 emerson finished 9th and giimeno 10 on the wct list. Howeever head to head favours gimeno who had a 12-5 edge according to my research in the open era and remember these players are about the same age and both effectively retired as competitive players after the 1973 season. with emerson about the same as gimeno that would place him 3rd edging out gonzales and gimeno who overall were very close to each other in '64; and the latter 2 would also be very close to each other in subsequent years.

Laver and rosewall dominated tennis throughout the 60s, From 1963 to 1970 they would fill the top 2 spots every year except '69 when rosewall played a poor year by his standards.


05-24-2009, 01:49 AM

05-24-2009, 02:35 AM
I agree very much with all that Jeffrey wrote about the probably comparable level of Emerson and Gimeno over their careers. But for an actual single year it remains speculation to combine the rankings. Look for a moment on a player like Courier. Overall in his career, i would certainly rank him under contemporaries like Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Edberg, and maybe slightly better than people like Chang, Bruguera, Ivanisevic or Kafelnikov. But for the actual years 1991-92 he was the Nr. 1 player with a fair share of major titles. The he faded away quickly. Therefore, I prefer separate amateur/ pro rankings for the whole 1931-1967 period.

05-24-2009, 04:19 AM
Rod Laver ;)

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
05-27-2009, 03:24 AM
The pros
I’ve given points to 29 tournaments (opposed to the 17 tournaments chosen for the “official pro ranking”). In 1964 the biggest events were the US Pro, the French Pro and Wembley which I’ve weighed by 2. Then the US Pro Indoor Chps (weight=1.5) and finally the 25 other tournaments (weight=1). Points granted according to the fields as in 1963. Once again this is rough because I haven’t given points to tour matches but that year there weren’t many of them except the New Zealand tour, the Trofeo Facis tour and the Johannesburg- Ellis Park Challenge Match labelled (exaggeratedly) as “World Pro Championship”.
Here is my old pro point system ranking (not updated since 2007) : 1 Rosewall 116.5, 2 Laver 116.125, 3 Gonzales 74.5, 4 Gimeno 44, 5 Hoad 30.25, 6 Buchholz 28.625, 7 Olmedo 21.25, 8 Sedgman 16.5. As you can see Rosewall and Laver are so close in that tournament ranking that I can’t certainly claim that Rosewall was better than Laver from that ranking because a) the margin of error is superior to the points difference between both players : 0.375 ( = 116.5 - 116.125) and b) point systems are arbitrary. So I just can say that they were quite equal in tournaments but because Laver was clearly superior to Rosewall a) in tour matches (which I repeat I didn't take into account in my point system ranking) and b) in head-to-head meetings (Laver beat Rosewall 15 times out of 19 (AndrewTas’s statistics))
I give Rocket the edge.
Another argument in favour of Laver : his 1964 record was 81 wins and 27 losses (including the tour matches) whereas Rosewall’s was “only” 69-30.
So apparently there is no doubt about the top pro.

The amateurs
Now let’s talk about the amateurs : Emerson had his best results ever with no bad loss in the greatest events (the only year he managed to do this). His only loss was at Roland Garros to Pietrangeli a player able to beat any amateur (and perhaps pro) on clay. Then followed in my opinion, Stolle, Santana, McKinley, Osuna, Cliff Drysdale, Ralston, Darmon, Pietrangeli and Lundquist.

Comparisons between pros and amateurs
Now I compare the pros and the amateurs. Between 1962 and 1964 Laver had very very probably enlarged the gap which separated him from Emerson. In 1964 Rosewall, being so close to Laver, was therefore superior to Emerson without almost any doubt. For once in the 1960s Gonzales played throughout the year (except the South African tour) so I can’t downgrade him (as I do for 1966 or 1967). In 1964 Gonzales was very close to the top : he won the 4th greatest event (US Pro indoor) and was very good in the 3 others : in particular at the French he would possibly have beaten Kenny (if I believe “Tennis de France” report) hadn’t he been injured. In head-to-head meetings he led Laver 8 to 5 and trailed Rosewall 3-11 (but for once Rosewall had the advantage because many of his matches against Pancho were played on clay). So Gonzales is the 3rd pro very likely ahead of amateur Emerson.
Here comes Gimeno’s case : in 1964 he wasn’t so impressive and was far behind the pro trio for me (30.5 points below Gonzales in my tournament ranking) : at the US Pro (3rd) and the French Pro (4th) he confirmed his “normal” level but at Wembley (against the old Sedgman) and in the US Pro Indoors (against MacKay) he suffered two bad losses unworthy of his rank. Nevertheless Gimeno won 3 tournaments (College Park, Noordwijk aan Zee and the Bavarian Pro) and except against Laver and Rosewall none of his head-to-head win-loss records were negative.
Hoad who followed Gimeno in my pro ranking was simply declining : he didn’t win any tournament in 1964 (Zurich in September 1962 was his last ever tournament win if I except some minor obscure tournament in the open era) and he had negative win-loss records against Laver, Rosewall, Gimeno, Gonzales and even Ayala. His best 1964 performance in the great events was his 4th place at the US Pro Indoor Chps.
Because on one hand Gimeno wasn’t very good and Hoad was over the hill and on the other hand Emerson was at his very best with no bad loss I suggest that Emmo was possibly as good as Gimeno in 1964 (I think that if we consider their entire careers Gimeno was slightly better than Emerson most of the years).

My 1964 ranking :
1 Laver,
2 Rosewall,
3 Gonzales,
4 Gimeno
& Emerson,
6 Hoad

(Stolle was too far behind Emerson for being considered as in the same league as the 5 leading pros).

05-27-2009, 04:57 AM
Good information Carlo. That's would have been my rankings also.

05-27-2009, 10:18 AM
i certainly would not be giving any extra weight to the us indoor. we don't another indoor event to make 4 majors. if 4 majors are required then a clay court event should be chosen. the obvious one is generva which attracted all the best players and had consistently done so from 1961 onwards making it to me the essential clay court major once the french went indoors in 1963. we definitely do not need another indoor event and just bevause its played in new york state does give it any merit particularly as the event did not exist between 61-63.


Nalbandian great
05-27-2009, 03:41 PM
Rosewall I say

05-31-2009, 04:11 AM
Rosewall I say

Same for me, Ken was the best close to Rodney

Argento full
06-04-2009, 04:31 PM
Found this:


06-06-2009, 10:33 AM
Ken Rosewall

06-06-2009, 10:25 PM
It's well documented that Laver was considered the 'World Champion' or World No.1, from 1964 -1970 inclusive.

Even though he didn't win a slam in 1970, as he wasn't allowed to defend two of them, he still won many tourney's in the early 70's that would be the equivalent of the 'Masters' of today.

06-07-2009, 05:20 AM
It is well known and concretely established that Laver was the world no. 1964-1970.

No poll or voting is needed.

And probably 1971 also.

Eight straight years as the world no.1. (A record equaled only by Gonzales.)

Go here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=256012