PDA

View Full Version : Australian Open Completely Skews Major Count


winstonplum
08-27-2011, 12:33 PM
It just dawned on me that McEnroe didn't play the AO in 1984. During his prime years, '79-'85, he played in it twice. After '75, Connors never even played the AO. Would he have added to his to his slam count of eight? Roy Emerson (who was Australian) won six AO, which largely helped him get to the twelve that Pete ultimately broke. Slam count cannot be the be-all and end-all of the GOAT discussion because the entire slam discussion needs an asterisk that for a long time there were three slams that everyone cared about and now there are four, so anyone that had their prime after the point where everyone started to respect the AO as a must-attend tournament had four chances a year to pad their slam count while people who came before the AO was a must-attend had only three chances. So my question to my tennis-knowledge superiors on this board is, What is a good demarcation line for when the AO became what it is today--an absolute must-attend even for the pros, where every top player in the world is there and winning means just as much as winning one of the other four? Obviously this date is after 1984 because that year the player who was having one of the greatest tennis years in the history of the sport choose not to go down under for the last slam at the end of the year.

celoft
08-27-2011, 12:35 PM
AO is the slam with least prestige for a reason. All these legends skipped it in the past.

I suppose it got relevant in the late 1980s.

svijk
08-27-2011, 12:38 PM
good question but you won't get good answers....since AO was on grass back in the day, u'd reckon Mac, Connors and Borg would have more slams

OddJack
08-27-2011, 12:39 PM
Well for one, you could argue that if they didnt play it then they were fresher for the other three. Look at how exhusting the AO is, playing in the heat. We have had some injuries in thre. Nadal was injured in AO, DJoker breathing problem always got worse, Delpo's arm issue started in AO...

So not playing had its virtues too. Not everyone could go throgh the whole majors and win at least three.

So you got to look at both sides.

ollinger
08-27-2011, 12:46 PM
The issue back then was that the AO was held late November or early December, and many American players didn't want the Thanksgiving/Christmas season disrupted. But one could argue that Wimbledon skews things today, since grass is really no longer an important part of tennis and the arguments for playing a major on so unfamiliar a surface for nearly all the players grow fewer and fewer.

FEDERERNADAL13
08-27-2011, 12:47 PM
Well for one, you could argue that if they didnt play it then they were fresher for the other three. Look at how exhusting the AO is, playing in the heat. We have had some injuries in thre. Nadal was injured in AO, DJoker breathing problem always got worse, Delpo's arm issue started in AO...

So not playing had its virtues too. Not everyone could go throgh the whole majors and win at least three.

So you got to look at both sides.

I agree with this

Gizo
08-27-2011, 12:52 PM
The grand slam count was never an important factor in tennis until Sampras emerged and approached Emerson's record in 1990s. Bear in mind that for many years, Emerson had no idea that he even held the grand slam record.

The whole concept of 'slam counting' wasn't a big deal in the 70s or 80s. In those days, great players were more focused on things like trying to complete the calendar year grand slam, making as much money as possible from exhos and other tour events (in those days the prize money at the slams was a complete joke), winning as many Wimbledon titles as possible, winning the Davis Cup for their country etc.

As the prize money of the grand slams increased relative to that of the other tour events, so did the importance of the grand slam count. There were some tourmanents like the Pepsi Grand Slam that paid out more prize money to its winner than all 4 slams combined.

Borg, McEnroe, Evert etc had no idea during their primes that from the 90s, future tennis writers and fans would analyse their grand slam counts in so much detail.

kishnabe
08-27-2011, 12:53 PM
Legends should have obviosuly knew it was a major at that time even though it was way low on prestige! They should have played it....kudos on Willader,Edberg,Lendl and Vilas(especially)! Plus that amercian 1979 wimbledon finalist and vitas gerulatis. They one their lone slam where the big guys failed too.

Doesn't matter if they Major Count is skewed....it the same as saying Nadal major count was skewed because he missed 2009 Wimbledon. He wouldn't have won anyway with his knees and even if he was 100 percent. He didn't play the draw so it counts as a loss.

Borg, McEnroe and all the others who missed the event are the same as the one's who lost the Aussie! If they played it wouldn't matter since it is impossible to know if they won even if they are great.

Lucky Connors got one in before he missed the event entirely for a while.

Mustard
08-27-2011, 12:59 PM
The whole concept of 'slam counting' wasn't a big deal in the 70s or 80s.

This article after Borg's 1981 French Open win, suggests otherwise:

http://www.bjornborg.20m.com/flash_back.htm

Borg's sixth French title makes it 11 Grand Slam singles championships, one more than Bill Tilden won, and ties him with Rod Laver for second on the alltime list. The leader is Roy Emerson with 12. That's right. Borg has one major championship to go. And Wimbledon is coming up fast.

Gizo
08-27-2011, 01:05 PM
This article after Borg's 1981 French Open win, suggests otherwise:

http://www.bjornborg.20m.com/flash_back.htm

One article mentioning Borg's grand slam count does not suggest that slam counting was a big deal. If it was, he wouldn't have retired early when he was one short of Emerson's record, skipped the Australian Open after 1974, or skipped the French Open in 1977. And if grand slam counting was a big deal, Emerson would actually know that he held the record before the media began to hype it up a few decades later.

Chris Evert regularly skipped the Australian and French Opens during her career, and in her own words then, 'people weren't counting' how many slams she had won.

NadalAgassi
08-27-2011, 01:06 PM
The grand slam count was never an important factor in tennis until Sampras emerged and approached Emerson's record in 1990s. Bear in mind that for many years, Emerson had no idea that he even held the grand slam record.

The whole concept of 'slam counting' wasn't a big deal in the 70s or 80s. In those days, great players were more focused on things like trying to complete the calendar year grand slam, making as much money as possible from exhos and other tour events (in those days the prize money at the slams was a complete joke), winning as many Wimbledon titles as possible, winning the Davis Cup for their country etc.

As the prize money of the grand slams increased relative to that of the other tour events, so did the importance of the grand slam count. There were some tourmanents like the Pepsi Grand Slam that paid out more prize money to its winner than all 4 slams combined.

Borg, McEnroe, Evert etc had no idea during their primes that from the 90s, future tennis writers and fans would analyse their grand slam counts in so much detail.

Very true which is why Federer's 16 slams is not that impressive a record. Gonzales, Laver, Rosewall, possibly Tilden and Budge, would have all won more than that if they valued all the slams at all times the way players today do. Sampras actually helped Federer's legacy by hyping up his own overrated 14 majors record, rather than his 7 Wimbledons and 6 straight year end #1s which are far more impressive records. Others like Connors and McEnroe would also have much more than 8 slams.

Gizo
08-27-2011, 01:09 PM
Sampras actually helped Federer's legacy by hyping up his own overrated 14 majors record, rather than his 7 Wimbledons and 6 straight year end #1s which are far more impressive records

That's true. Many tennis writers and pundits who argued that Sampras was the greatest player of all time, referred to his 6 straight finishes as the year end no. 1 and record number of Wimbledon titles since the challenger round was abolished, rather than the fact that he had won the most grand slam titles. And even then most tennis writers believed that Laver was greater.

Breaker
08-27-2011, 01:12 PM
Legends should have obviosuly knew it was a major at that time even though it was way low on prestige! They should have played it....kudos on Willader,Edberg,Lendl and Vilas(especially)! Plus that amercian 1979 wimbledon finalist and vitas gerulatis. They one their lone slam where the big guys failed too.

Doesn't matter if they Major Count is skewed....it the same as saying Nadal major count was skewed because he missed 2009 Wimbledon. He wouldn't have won anyway with his knees and even if he was 100 percent. He didn't play the draw so it counts as a loss.

Borg, McEnroe and all the others who missed the event are the same as the one's who lost the Aussie! If they played it wouldn't matter since it is impossible to know if they won even if they are great.

Lucky Connors got one in before he missed the event entirely for a while.

This makes 0 sense. In what way can 90+% of top players not playing a major due to lack of interest/money be compared to 1 player pulling out because of injury when he was defending champion and would have probably given anything to play it.

Tournaments that paid more were taken more seriously which made the Aussie a major only in name, this makes it very fair to say the top players of that time shouldn't only be judged by their slam count which is what so many do today to compare past to present players.

kishnabe
08-27-2011, 01:16 PM
This makes 0 sense. In what way can 90+% of top players not playing a major due to lack of interest/money be compared to 1 player pulling out because of injury when he was defending champion and would have probably given anything to play it.

Tournaments that paid more were taken more seriously which made the Aussie a major only in name, this makes it very fair to say the top players of that time shouldn't only be judged by their slam count which is what so many do today to compare past to present players.

I know that it may skew the number of slams those guys have.....but it doesn't matter since they didn't play regardless of the reasons to miss it. I know the Masters, and other events tooks prestigence over Aussie. They chose to skip it and in the end people right now count the majors. They can't do nothing about what the future thinks. So let be skewed....

What I also mean the fact that they missed it means they are the same as entering the event and losing. There are no if chances o them winning the event. Sorry If I confused you....I know Nadal wasn't a good example!

Gizo
08-27-2011, 01:26 PM
This is more controversial and subjective but it is possible to argue that the French Open, was not quite as important as Wimbledon or the US Open for a period. The facilities and attendances at Roland Garros were a complete joke, until Philippe Chatrier took charge and oversaw their expansion and improvement, and of course it was affected by NTL and WTT player bans during some years. By the 80s though it was definately part of the 'big three'.

Even during the open era, politics and player bans have affected the slams. Laver won the calendar grand slam in 1969, but wasn't allowed to defend his Australian Open or French Open titles in 1970. Imagine an Australian Open tournament, at a time Australia was by far the most dominant nation in tennis, and Laver and Rosewall who were two best players in the world by a considerably distance, but were not allowed to play in their home grand slam.

Max G.
08-27-2011, 01:40 PM
You're not being general enough with that statement, OP.

The fact that PRIORITIES CHANGE, in general, skews with whatever metric we choose to use now for player greatness. Doesn't matter whether it's Slam Count, or year-end #1, or whatever - things were different then, so of *course* the players now that are actually aiming for these goals will reach them, and we no longer remember or care about the goals that the players back then thought were the most important.

It's not just AO. It's the whole system.

jackson vile
08-27-2011, 01:50 PM
That is correct, a lot of pro/GOATs did not play it. That is why you can't go by just Major count and thus why Federer never was and never will be GOAT.

jackson vile
08-27-2011, 01:51 PM
Well for one, you could argue that if they didnt play it then they were fresher for the other three. Look at how exhusting the AO is, playing in the heat. We have had some injuries in thre. Nadal was injured in AO, DJoker breathing problem always got worse, Delpo's arm issue started in AO...

So not playing had its virtues too. Not everyone could go throgh the whole majors and win at least three.

So you got to look at both sides.



Not when you are talking about John and Borg who were completely dominating the field.

FEDERERNADAL13
08-27-2011, 01:56 PM
That is correct, a lot of pro/GOATs did not play it. That is why you can't go by just Major count and thus why Federer never was and never will be GOAT.

What about his other ridiculous records? And, what does your post have to do with the topic? All you said is "Federer can't be GOAT because of _______"

tacou
08-27-2011, 02:02 PM
you need to put it in perspective...for the first 20years or so of the open era not all the top guys played the AO, but it's equal nowadays, so in 20-30 years people are not going to think as much about Jimmy Connors not playing in the 70s.

In many ways it's the best slam around these days and if anyone skips it or skipped in the past its their choice. it's my favorite slam

OddJack
08-27-2011, 02:12 PM
Not when you are talking about John and Borg who were completely dominating the field.

Well then, if dominance is the parameter, then it shouldnt make any difference, since Rodge, and Rafa had their own periods of dominance and they played AO as well.

If anything, it's harder to dominate when you have to play 4 majors, vs three.

tennis_fan_182
08-27-2011, 02:20 PM
It just dawned on me that McEnroe didn't play the AO in 1984. During his prime years, '79-'85, he played in it twice. After '75, Connors never even played the AO. Would he have added to his to his slam count of eight? Roy Emerson (who was Australian) won six AO, which largely helped him get to the twelve that Pete ultimately broke. Slam count cannot be the be-all and end-all of the GOAT discussion because the entire slam discussion needs an asterisk that for a long time there were three slams that everyone cared about and now there are four, so anyone that had their prime after the point where everyone started to respect the AO as a must-attend tournament had four chances a year to pad their slam count while people who came before the AO was a must-attend had only three chances. So my question to my tennis-knowledge superiors on this board is, What is a good demarcation line for when the AO became what it is today--an absolute must-attend even for the pros, where every top player in the world is there and winning means just as much as winning one of the other four? Obviously this date is after 1984 because that year the player who was having one of the greatest tennis years in the history of the sport choose not to go down under for the last slam at the end of the year.

What are the other four?

Wimbledon, French Open, US Open and Cincinnati The Real Slamô

winstonplum
08-27-2011, 09:45 PM
The issue back then was that the AO was held late November or early December, and many American players didn't want the Thanksgiving/Christmas season disrupted. But one could argue that Wimbledon skews things today, since grass is really no longer an important part of tennis and the arguments for playing a major on so unfamiliar a surface for nearly all the players grow fewer and fewer.

Interesting point about Wimby.

winstonplum
08-27-2011, 09:51 PM
What are the other four?

Wimbledon, French Open, US Open and Cincinnati The Real Slamô

Sorry, my bad. Good catch.

timnz
08-28-2011, 05:04 AM
The 4th Major during the Australian Open's lean years (1972 to 1982) was the WCT finals. For instance the Pepsi Grand Slam was early in the year, it had 4 players in the field. The invitees were those who had done best it what it deemed were the 'majors'. The Australian Open wasn't included in their factoring, the WCT finals were. And in the case where one of the players had won two of the majors in a year eg Borg won the WCT finals and Wimbledon in 1976, then they got the 4th player from who won the Masters. Hence, the WCT finals was the 4th major in those years (Ahead even of even the Masters). (Note: Some argue, and their point is well thought out that the end of year Masters took over from the WCT finals as the 4th Major in the late 70's - I think the swap of what the 4th and 5th biggest titles happened around 1980 - but even if that was the case the Australian Open wasn't the 4th or even the 5th most important tournament).

The main point is that the Australian Open didn't figure as a major in people's thoughts in that time period. Officially it was but for all intents and purposes it wasn't. It was a good thing they moved it to Melbourne Park in 1988 with a full draw of 128 and very good facilities. If it had continued at Kooyong I don't think it would be a major today.

zagor
08-28-2011, 05:19 AM
What about his other ridiculous records? And, what does your post have to do with the topic? All you said is "Federer can't be GOAT because of _______"

Well he has to find away to always bring up Federer(in negative context of course)no matter the topic of the thread, it's what he does :)

Anyway, I agree with the OP. AO being skipped by most top players at the time does make comparison with modern pros very difficult since AO definitely has much more weight these days.

jackson vile
08-28-2011, 07:24 AM
Well then, if dominance is the parameter, then it shouldnt make any difference, since Rodge, and Rafa had their own periods of dominance and they played AO as well.

If anything, it's harder to dominate when you have to play 4 majors, vs three.

You don't understand dominate, the reality is that they most likely would have won the AO.

tennis_fan_182
08-28-2011, 07:51 AM
I agree. We should phase out grass courts and clay courts. Since hard courts are what 99% of tennis players grow up on - just have the entire tour on hard courts.

And also - what is the point of traveling to other countries - making US tennis fans unable to watch or in need of waking up at an inconvenient hour? Why not ditch the pompous redundancy of Wimbledon entirely and also get rid of the French Open with their awful crowds and the Australian Open which has the least prestige of any slam - and have all four in America?

They could be in different states, of course. Make it more like the NFL imo - that can only be better.

ollinger
08-28-2011, 08:23 AM
Don't get hysterical, 182. You're partly correct though (how does it feel??!!) -- tennis is about hard, clay, and carpet, and it would make sense that the majors be on those surfaces. I'd just as soon see Wimbledon either downgraded or turned into an all-indoor carpet tourney major. Indoor season is more a part of the tour than the 3 week grass season, so why not give the Chinese the major they're clamoring for and tell them they need to build a facility with 18 indoor courts, 2 of them in large stadia, and they'll have their major. Might help avoid a war.

Bartelby
08-28-2011, 08:44 AM
You know this is called history.

We think of the slam count as the pinnacle today and then we project it back into the past and say some players would have had more if they played more.

The whole tour was fractured by the whole amateur versus professional split thoughout the fifties and sixties and this also makes a nonsense of a slam count.

Since the changes at Wimbledon, the slowing of courts and the rise of champions who aren't one track ponies the notion of a grand slam count has also changed.

All Federer's tally means with any certainty is that he was better than Sampras because they were mainly of the same period, but even his count was affected by the faster court surfaces which made winning the French difficult.

Bartelby
08-28-2011, 08:46 AM
The slams are both historically defined and defined by the five sets.

i can't see another five set slam as viable, and it would have no history.

Unless one of the slams doesn't deliver the money and courts it's theirs for the foreseable future.

mellowyellow
08-28-2011, 09:02 AM
Don't get hysterical, 182. You're partly correct though (how does it feel??!!) -- tennis is about hard, clay, and carpet, and it would make sense that the majors be on those surfaces. I'd just as soon see Wimbledon either downgraded or turned into an all-indoor carpet tourney major. Indoor season is more a part of the tour than the 3 week grass season, so why not give the Chinese the major they're clamoring for and tell them they need to build a facility with 18 indoor courts, 2 of them in large stadia, and they'll have their major. Might help avoid a war.
Grass actually cover 5 weeks, but the last week is after Wimbledon.

glazkovss
08-28-2011, 09:46 AM
It's their own problems that they missed AO, been too lazy to travel down under. Laver travelled around the world to play in all of them, and now he is considered as a GOAT candidate thanks to his 2 CY slams. So all of the champions who didn't play AO only have themselves to blame. And winning AO isn't a given, remember that Borg couldn't even win the US once.

OddJack
08-28-2011, 10:02 AM
You don't understand dominate, the reality is that they most likely would have won the AO.

Most likey, but how often you never know.

And you dont really understand what part of my post you are disagreeing with.

jokinla
08-28-2011, 10:22 AM
The Aussie being at the end of the year is why players skipped it back in the day, they wanted the time off, as opposed to these days, it starts the year off and everyone plays it so it is much more important.
As for Fed being GOAT, it's not just his slam count, but him being relevant in every slam for years now, his semifinalist streak in slams is around double the next closest player, which I think is Lendl, and he still hasn't lost earlier than a quarter in who knows how many years, so it's not just his slam win total, but he is always there in later rounds, which he is far and away the most dominant player in that stat, and his time at #1 his Masters wins, he has done it all. As dominant as Sampras was, he was never in the semis and quarters of every major for years on end, and neither was any other player in history. Federer has equaled most other players accomplishments or is close to doing so, and it's not like their is one player who has accomplished everything he has and more, you have to take one players accomplishment here and one players accomplishment here to put together a more impressive career, so therefore its pretty hard to say Fed isn't the GOAT.

jokinla
08-28-2011, 10:28 AM
I agree. We should phase out grass courts and clay courts. Since hard courts are what 99% of tennis players grow up on - just have the entire tour on hard courts.

And also - what is the point of traveling to other countries - making US tennis fans unable to watch or in need of waking up at an inconvenient hour? Why not ditch the pompous redundancy of Wimbledon entirely and also get rid of the French Open with their awful crowds and the Australian Open which has the least prestige of any slam - and have all four in America?

They could be in different states, of course. Make it more like the NFL imo - that can only be better.

Unfortunately in the good old USA, we don't really give a shizit about tennis, so this is kind of an absurd argument, not to mention players from the rest of the globe would hardly want to play exclusively here, and abolish the history and importance of the slams, the World tour, etc. And if you think just having American players compete over here would suffice, well as little coverage as tennis gets now, it would go to zero without the Fed/Nadals etc. of the world.

TMF
08-28-2011, 10:39 AM
The fact is the players still have to compete in the highest level to win the AO, it wasn't given to them. If the AO in the past was important/prestigious as it is today, all the players would compete thus the event would be tough to win. It's not a given that Mac or any top players would have won.

Also, players that have won AO before Sampras era wasn't as competitive. Since the event was not important/prestigious as today, the draw was depleted with quality players. Emerson is not in the same league as Fed or Agassi.

Today's benchmark is the total slam count...led by Federer(16) and Graf(22). Some of you will say why not Court(24). B/c she competes in the 60s which is nowhere near as competitive as Graf in the 90s.

drakulie
08-28-2011, 10:41 AM
AO is the slam with least prestige for a reason. All these legends skipped it in the past.

I suppose it got relevant in the late 1980s.

A lot if those players also skipped the French.

For example, the first year Borg won the FO, 50% of the top ten players skipped it.

Bartelby
08-28-2011, 10:50 AM
Slams are now the most profitable events and are made more so by the points system, but I don't think professionals quite organised their careers around them til the last twenty years or so.

Hence, slam counts are only of contemporary relevance.

borg number one
08-28-2011, 10:51 AM
There was a period in 1980-1981 where there's plenty of evidence that the YEC (Masters Cup) was the 4th biggest tournament of the year (even bigger than the WCT finals). Borg won that title back to back (Jan. 80 and Jan. 81 tourneys) and went 5-0 vs. Lendl, McEnroe and Connors those two years, indoors, at NY's Madison Square Garden. They had huge crowds, big money and top flight competition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhbIcGwqk8s (Jan. 1980, Borg vs. McEnroe SF)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkuEu_axZIw (Jan. 1981, Borg vs. Connors, thanks BorgForever)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk (Jan. 1981, Borg vs. Lendl F)

http://thumbnails.truveo.com/0020/53/42/5342C8DD8401A11280CE10_Large.jpg

Crisstti
08-28-2011, 11:13 AM
Very interesting points in the thread... goes on to show more that a GOAT is quite impossible to determine.

Bartelby
08-28-2011, 11:21 AM
This is a good point as I don't think the GOAT is a useful category, but the GOTE is:

G REATEST
O F
T HEIR
E RA


nineties: Sampras
noughties: Federer
Tens: ???

Although it's not necessary that a single champion corresponds to a decade.



Very interesting points in the thread... goes on to show more that a GOAT is quite impossible to determine.

jean pierre
08-28-2011, 11:28 AM
AO was always less important than French Open, US Open or Wimbledon. But it's a grand slam, more important than Cincinnatti or any other tournament, even in the 70's. Who remembers Cincinnatti or Philadelphie's winner ?? Nobody. People who knows tennis remember AO's winners. And even in the 70's, AO's winners are big champions : Vilas of course, but also Gerulaitis, Tanner, Kriek (who was in the top 10 several years and semi-finalist in the French and US Open) ...

Tshooter
08-28-2011, 11:39 AM
"The grand slam count was never an important factor in tennis until Sampras emerged"

BINGO.

"Legends should have obviosuly knew it was a major at that time even though it was way low on prestige! "

They should be able to not only ignore the reality of their time, what tournaments actually are important and where the money is at (Gizo is on the money with all his/her points) they should be able to predict the future and know (and care) what tennis writers/aficionados will talk about years after they retire ?

"This article after Borg's 1981 French Open win, suggests otherwise:"

Notwithstanding, I suggest Gizo is correct on the history. It wasn't important. Tournaments stood on their own and The Australian, for example, was at best a second tier tournament. This has been discussed many times and is hardly controversial.

People also forget how big exos where. Not the fake stuff that occurs today but real effort and real prize money at stake. ABC (a major US network) used to televise exos on the weekends. Anyone remember the sea pines plantation exos on ABC ? Imagine ABC doing that now ? They would sooner show fishing.

The how many Majors while a great stat for marketing to present to the general public is just not that meaningful. Obviously you can't use the stat pre and post open eras. But even within the open era The Australian just wasn't important in the 70s and early 80s. You can argue when it came back. What year did they lose Ford (can you imagine how desperate it would have to get to have the "Ford Wimbledon Championships") ?

icazares
08-28-2011, 11:53 AM
Very true which is why Federer's 16 slams is not that impressive a record

Sure, 16 Slams? Nothing. Anyone with just a bit of ambition should be in a position to challenge that count. Are you serious? 16 Slams is not an impressive record?

By the way, the AO was important for both Sampras and Federer, for those who are trying to give less credit to Federer's count. And the gap between Federer and everyone else in the Open era is 5, which is a very respectable number.

You may have your reasons to dislike Federer, but the guy is a legend. The day he retires is the end of an era and I bet that many many people will lose interest in the sport.

drakulie
08-28-2011, 11:55 AM
AO was always less important than French Open, US Open or Wimbledon. ...

No it wasn't. For a good period of time, the French open was on about the same level as the AO. In fact, attendance by players and fans was so poor they were thinking of moving the venue and actually had to give away tickets so tv audiences would think the stadiums were full.