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OrangeOne
06-06-2006, 04:56 PM
Yeah, I know - another Federer thread. But I felt it's weird, all the talk about Fed-Nadal, all the talk about Nadal's clay winning streak too, and nothing about the Grand Slam.

But, in my humble opinion, we're now (potentially) two matches away from something far more momentous. Winning a lot of matches on clay is impressive, I don't dispute it. The Fed-Nadal rivalry is fascinating, I don't dispute that either.

But a guy winning each Grand Slam consecutively? Has never been done since the Grand Slams were all on different surfaces. We all know Agassi has the "career" Grand Slam, something I'm still in awe of (especially and forever due to the fact he won at Wimbledon ). I know it's non-calendar, but who really cares...

Thoughts? Comments?

skip1969
06-06-2006, 04:59 PM
well, it IS non-calendar so i'm sure people won't be calling it a grand slam (if he wins in paris). but he would be holding all four trophies, and that's gotta count for something, eh?

OrangeOne
06-06-2006, 05:01 PM
well, it IS non-calendar so i'm sure people won't be calling it a grand slam (if he wins in paris). but he would be holding all four trophies, and that's gotta count for something, eh?

Yup - and maybe I shouldn't have used the term Grand Slam, as you point out, maybe that's scope for a debate I wasn't trying for :).

I *was* shooting more for your second sentence tho - 4 trophies, entering the next 4 GS's as defending champion, not to mention only being the second person ever to do it (since the 4 surfaces). Potential history of a kind we mightn't see in someone else for another 10, 20 years or more...if history is anything to go by! It's not like others (esp. Sampras & Lendl) didn't try their hardest, but unfortunately for them, they could never quite crack it...

ACE of Hearts
06-06-2006, 05:13 PM
Getting ahead of ourselves arent we?The only way i will be excited is if he wins here and then wimbledon.Then it will lead to the U.S Open.Nothing is a given on tennis.

OrangeOne
06-06-2006, 05:18 PM
Getting ahead of ourselves arent we?The only way i will be excited is if he wins here and then wimbledon.Then it will lead to the U.S Open.Nothing is a given on tennis.

As I said above, I was *more* referring to holding the 4 trophies at once, having won them in a row, having won them on all four surfaces.

That's what I'm getting excited about, the chance of that happening....

I'm *not*, I repeat *not*, suddenly predicting a win at W & the US.

Rhino
06-06-2006, 05:25 PM
Yeah this is a great few days coming up for the tennis world.

On Sunday someone could hold all 4 Slam trophies at once, something that's never happened in my lifetime, and I've been following tennis for years.
If Federer manages this I think Nadal fever will be dwarfed for quite some time.
But like someone says, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Nalbandian and Nadal (or Ljubicic) back to back on clay is no small task.
I can't wait for the semifinals.

Moose Malloy
06-06-2006, 05:43 PM
Federer is in his 8th straight slam semi. That's only 2nd to Lendl's 10 (in the open era)
Thats pretty amazing consistency.

OrangeOne
06-06-2006, 05:52 PM
Federer is in his 8th straight slam semi. That's only 2nd to Lendl's 10 (in the open era)
Thats pretty amazing consistency.

It's that sort of stat that makes one stop and think, hey? I mean - fitness, consistency, skill on different surfaces, focus....

Moose Malloy
06-06-2006, 06:11 PM
It's that sort of stat that makes one stop and think, hey? I mean - fitness, consistency, skill on different surfaces, focus....

Its one of Federer's most impressive accomplishments, IMO. When will it end? I see him in the semis of at least the next 3 slams(making it 11 straight)

Borg never played Australia, Connors never played Australia or French(much). So they played less slams per year during their primes & couldn't reach this level of consistency at slams.

Also it shows how great Lendl was, even though he never got much respect when playing (& still doesn't judging by the posts I see here)
And 4 of Lendl's slam semis during that streak were on grass!

dmastous
06-06-2006, 06:25 PM
He's not 2 matches away from the Grand Slam. He's 2 matches and 2 tournaments away from a Grand Slam.
He can call it the Roger Slam (copyrite Roger Federer 2006)or the non-calander year slam or what ever. I'm tired of this need for a sense of accomplishment these days. Nadal and his 56 (and counting) match clay court winning streak... nice but tell me when he reaches Chris Everts 150+ winning streak and we can be impressed. In the meantime I never saw a hokey trophy given to either Evert or Villas when their streaks ended.
Agassi won all four slams on different surfaces (in different years and in between stints on the challenger circut because he didn't care enough about tennis to work at it), that's neat, but it's no Grand Slam.
Only Steffi Graf can claim to have won a Grand Slam on all 3 surfaces. And she threw in an Olympic Gold to boot. That's a notable accomplishment.
All these trumped up records bore me to tears. :|

Polaris
06-06-2006, 06:33 PM
Also it shows how great Lendl was, even though he never got much respect when playing (& still doesn't judging by the posts I see here)
And 4 of Lendl's slam semis during that streak were on grass!

Agree about this. I myself rooted against Lendl when he was playing Becker or Edberg, but grew to respect him after reading about his consistency and dedication to be the best player on the tour. Nowadays my friend jokes about "doing a Lendl" when I am at the net, referring to Lendl's propensity to go straight at you instead of passing on either flank. To top that, he would give the opponent a nice cold stare.

Rhino
06-06-2006, 06:37 PM
Borg never played Australia, Connors never played Australia or French(much).

Borg played the Australian in 1974, where he lost in the third round.
Connors won the Australian in 1974, and was a finalist in 1975.

OrangeOne
06-06-2006, 06:42 PM
Also it shows how great Lendl was, even though he never got much respect when playing (& still doesn't judging by the posts I see here)
And 4 of Lendl's slam semis during that streak were on grass!

I agree. Hey - you're talking to the right person for Lendl respect - I completely agree the man is under-respected. Many people claim he "couldn't play on grass", *but*
- He made it to two consecutive Wimbledon finals, losing to Becker and Cash at their best
- He beat Becker in the final of Queens in straight sets

I mean - sure - it wasn't his best surface, but if he was anyone but him - ie. anyone but someone who was missing the one GS title on grass - he would have been touted as a great player on grass. Geez - he lost the same number of Wimbledon finals as Rafter!

Anyways - I don't want to de-rail this thread on Lendl, maybe I'll create another ;)

dh003i
06-06-2006, 06:58 PM
dma,

So, according to you, if Federer wins 4 straight slams -- and the only way you can do that is by holding all slams at once -- that's no special accomplishment? He'd be the first person to do it since Rod Laver, and the only person in the Open Era and on 3 different surfaces.

This isn't one of the silly records that even the owner didn't know about, such as Vilas' streak on clay.

dmastous
06-06-2006, 09:42 PM
dma,

So, according to you, if Federer wins 4 straight slams -- and the only way you can do that is by holding all slams at once -- that's no special accomplishment? He'd be the first person to do it since Rod Laver, and the only person in the Open Era and on 3 different surfaces.

This isn't one of the silly records that even the owner didn't know about, such as Vilas' streak on clay.
Perhaps what I said made you think that I don't feel what Federer has accomplished is all that much to speak of. But nothing could be further from the truth. I am one who has never won a professional match let alone a tournament or a Grand Slam. Or 3 straight. He has cemented his reputation as a legendary player and will be compared with the greats of history.
My point is there are enough awards and accolades already. There is a Grand Slam already, and if he wins the French, then the next two he will have achieved that award. If we give him a trophy for winning a Roger Slam (copyrite Roger Federer 2006) what do we do if & and when he wins the Grand Slam? We've already given him a trophy (and I expect they will) for essentially the same thing. Do we give another for winning the other two Grand Slams?
To me the bar is set; win all four Grand Slams in a year and you are a Grand Slam winner. You get to occupy that stratosphere that only 2 other men and 3 women occupy. Winning all four in a career, let along winning all four in a row is no small feat, but it's not a Grand Slam.
To me all this talk about things like a Roger Slam (Copyrite Roger Federer 2006), and Nadal's clay court winning streak trophy is the ATP marketing itself, and trying to celebrate it's players too much. It's about the game not the players.
Last year The NE Patriots won their 21st game in a row. Was it a big deal? The marketing people felt so because they produced a nice DVD called 21 and had a celebration and produced a trophy, and hooted and hollered for a few weeks. Oh, by the way the also won a Super Bowl during that streak. I think they are both accomplishments. But winning the Super Bowl deserved all the hoopla and the trophy, winning 21 straight games was an invented, off the cuff marketing ploy to sell DVDs, Patriots gear and season tickets, nothing more.
Of course all these awards can be traced back to marketing, but they are old established marketing, and there's already enough to go around IMHO.

FEDEXP
06-06-2006, 09:49 PM
Roger has to beat the Nalby first, which I expect he will....

dh003i
06-06-2006, 10:53 PM
dma,

Your point is well taken. A few responses...

1. I didn't know they gave a trophy for achieving the Grand Slam.

2. Tennis is basically continuous year-round, unlike other sports.

3. Therefore, the yearly divider is purely arbitrary.

4. That is, I don't see why winning 4 slams in a row during a non-calender year is any less impressive than winning 4 slams in a row during a calendar year.

I mean, we have this categorical understanding in our head: "year", "season". But, tennis is continuous. There is really no break. So, to me, to talk about them separately is very arbitrary.

I'm just curious: What is your argument that the non-calendar grand slam (or winning 4 straight slams over 2 years) is less impressive than the Grand Slam (4 slams in one year)? Can you give us such an argument without referring to arbitrary divisions?

Sure, if Federer wins the French, everyone's going to want him to win the Wimbledon (not too much a stretch there) and US Open (favorite there as well) on top, so it would be 6 slams in a row, and hence the "true" Grand Slam.

But what I'm saying, is that the distinction between the Grand Slam and the non-calendar grand-slam is purely arbitrary, based on a purely arbitrary time-line division, from a tennis-perspective. Can you think of any non-arbitrary reasons why its less prestigious? Do you think it's less difficult to accomplish a non-calendar grand slam, than a Grand Slam?

Hops
06-06-2006, 11:34 PM
3. Therefore, the yearly divider is purely arbitrary.

4. That is, I don't see why winning 4 slams in a row during a non-calender year is any less impressive than winning 4 slams in a row during a calendar year.

Can you think of any non-arbitrary reasons why its less prestigious? Do you think it's less difficult to accomplish a non-calendar grand slam, than a Grand Slam?


yes. you get less chances at it. Fed plays for ten years, 40 slams, he has 37 chances to win four in a row, but only 10 cracks at four in a row within a calendar year.

urban
06-07-2006, 12:21 AM
The Grand Slam term invented in 1933 by a US journalist Kieran was bound on the same calendar year concept. When Tony Trabert won 3 majors in 1955 (F. W. US), he hadn't a chance for a GS. He never played the A 1956, which would probably had given him a fourt straight title. In the 80s the ITF, searching to promote the FO, tried unsuccessfully to alter this concept. But no one accepted Martinas GS in 83/84, although she got 500000 $ for 4 straight majors.

chess9
06-07-2006, 12:31 AM
The Grand Slam term invented in 1933 by a US journalist Kieran was bound on the same calendar year concept. When Tony Trabert won 3 majors in 1955 (F. W. US), he hadn't a chance for a GS. He never played the A 1956, which would probably had given him a fourt straight title. In the 80s the ITF, searching to promote the FO, tried unsuccessfully to alter this concept. But no one accepted Martinas GS in 83/84, although she got 500000 $ for 4 straight majors.

Yes, really it is an historical notion. Winning four Slams, regardless of WHEN they are won, is a huge accomplishment. Parsing the differences is meaningless, except to honor the historical implications.

Oh, very nice post. It's so pleasant to see a physical manifestion of MEMORY. :)

-Robert

dh003i
06-07-2006, 12:32 AM
Hops,

That's true, but purely a function of the precisness of the definition of the "non-calendar-year grand slam"...

You have 10 chances to win the Grand Slam...

but also 10 to win the each of the 3 kinds of non-calendar slams (depending on which slam they start and endwith).

It is completely arbitrary to say that winning 4 grand slams in a row is better somehow if the streak of 4 "ends" on the US Open, vs. the Wimbledon, the French, or the Aussie.

As far as I can see -- since there's no tennis "offfseason" -- 4 Grand Slams in a row is 4 in a row, and any distinction is purely arbitrary.

urban,

Well, that's an enlightening historical fact. However, it doesn't get to what I'm saying -- which is that the calendar year concept is completely arbitrary for tennis today, and tells us nothing about the difficulty of an accomplishment. Winning 50 straight matches -- for example -- before the end of a calendar year is no more difficult than winning 20 immediately before the end of a calendar year and then 30 immediately after the end of the calendar year.

urban
06-07-2006, 12:43 AM
No, it's simply not he same. The pressure grows, if someone is on the quest for a real Grand Slam. You have far less options, as Hops pointed out. IT's a now or never situation, otherwise you would be beginning a GS which each major win. That would be real arbitrary. You have to win the Paris-Wimbledon double, which is difficult in itself. To win all events in one Olympics, as Heiden did in 1980, is more difficult than to win more events on two or three occasions.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 12:43 AM
It is completely arbitrary to say that winning 4 grand slams in a row is better somehow if the streak of 4 "ends" on the US Open, vs. the Wimbledon, the French, or the Aussie.

I completely agree, we draw too many arbritrary boundaries in life!

I also should have seen that this thread would head into a calendar vs. non-calendar debate, stupid me for naming it the "Grand Slam" thread, when what I really was appreciating was the "holding all 4" potential achievement.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 12:55 AM
No, it's simply not he same. The pressure grows, if someone is on the quest for a real Grand Slam.

If we're talking sheer pressure - I think that the pressure to win the fourth one for the first time infinitely outweighs the pressure to win the fourth one in a calendar year. Infinitely.

Ie. I think there's loads more pressure on Federer to win this - or any - year's FO than this year's UO (should he win the FO & Wimbledon).

I think the same applies for *anyone* who manages to win the UO before they complete the set (hell, I'm making it sound commonplace here lol). Seriously though - same applied to Lendl, Sampras & others - the pressure to win that one that is missing becomes enormous. In the case of Sampras, it came later in his career, maybe because he was so Wimbledon & otherwise dominant. Same for Lendl, but he also brought on the pressure too, as he was open in his respect and raw desire to win Wimbledon (many will remember him skipping the FO in later years to focus on grass). For Fed - he's achieved so much so early, well the pressure to get a FO is real now, and as I say, would be much bigger than to get a 'calendar GS' in my opinion.

urban
06-07-2006, 01:11 AM
I think, if Federer is going for a real Grand Slam at the USO, the media pressure will amount to a unknown pace. The comparisons with Sampras, Agassi or Lendl are imo nor really valid, because nobody had a real chance or were in a position for a Grand Slam. Borg had a real chance, but he crumbled under the pressure at USO.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 01:18 AM
I think, if Federer is going for a real Grand Slam at the USO, the media pressure will amount to a unknown pace. The comparisons with Sampras, Agassi or Lendl are imo nor really valid, because nobody had a real chance or were in a position for a Grand Slam. Borg had a real chance, but he crumbled under the pressure at USO.

My comparisons were in regard to the pressure of any of them completing the set-of-four, which, as I stated, I feel is greater than the pressure to win the real GS itself (unless it were to happen at the US).

Sure - the media hype at the USO will be huge should it all happen, but I still think Fed himself will feel more at the FO until he wins it (assuming he does some day), and then never the same again thereafter. Just my opinion tho....

Phil
06-07-2006, 01:44 AM
I don't see Federer beating Nadal...he'll fall short in the final (again); Nadal's become his own White Whale.

Still, Fed's not exactly chopped liver on clay, making finals left and right. I would LIKE to see him win it, though, because it's a kick being able to witness in your tennis-following lifetime someone win a CALENDAR (i.e. the REAL DEAL) Grand Slam. Because, if he wins the French (or even if he doesn't) he's probably gonna win Wimby and the USO.

Polaris
06-07-2006, 02:01 AM
I don't see Federer beating Nadal...he'll fall short in the final (again); Nadal's become his own White Whale.

Still, Fed's not exactly chopped liver on clay, making finals left and right. I would LIKE to see him win it, though, because it's a kick being able to witness in your tennis-following lifetime someone win a CALENDAR (i.e. the REAL DEAL) Grand Slam. Because, if he wins the French (or even if he doesn't) he's probably gonna win Wimby and the USO.

I love your analogy of the White Whale. For someone monitoring Federer's progress with some interest, that is exactly how it looks. I don't want it to turn out that way, but damn, Nadal looks too good, too consistent on clay.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 02:01 AM
I don't see Federer beating Nadal...he'll fall short in the final (again); Nadal's become his own White Whale.

Still, Fed's not exactly chopped liver on clay, making finals left and right. I would LIKE to see him win it, though, because it's a kick being able to witness in your tennis-following lifetime someone win a CALENDAR (i.e. the REAL DEAL) Grand Slam. Because, if he wins the French (or even if he doesn't) he's probably gonna win Wimby and the USO.

Woooah - easy on the "inciting rage" elements there - three in one post! ;). In 4 sentences you managed to go the fed-nadal issue, the calendar vs. non-calendar issue AND the fed-will-probably-win-Wimbledon-and-the-USO issue :mrgreen:

AAAA
06-07-2006, 02:33 AM
The 4 major in a row sequence is arguably physically and mentally more difficult when the sequence has the French Open followed by Wimbledon, that is back to back. Reason being the FO and Wimbledon are so close to together so little time to rest, recharge and adapt to different surface.

So arguably these 3 sequences
1) AO-FO-Wim-USO (by definition only this is a true Grand Slam)
2) FO-Wim-USO-AO
3) USO-AO-FO-Wim

are more difficult, physically and mentally than
4) Wim-US0-AO-FO

Roger will be sequence 4 if he does win the FO.

However, with opposite and better reasoning you may reach a different conclusion. The FO-Wim double is possibably more difficult for a player who is better on clay than grass.

On this point I'm not too bothered because as of yesterday Federer's 2 FO SFs are better than Sampras's lone SF and it's not over yet for Federer, beating Nalbandian to reach the final is a realistic possibility.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 02:45 AM
On this point I'm not too bothered because as of yesterday Federer's 2 FO SFs are better than Sampras's lone SF and it's not over yet for Federer, beating Nalbandian to reach the final is a realistic possibility.

I like your thinking :). For a long, long time I've been happy that Lendl's two Wimbledon Final Appearances outweigh Sampras's lone FO Semi appearance by some large factor. Sure, Sampras won more slams than Lendl, but if the AO was on hardcourt from 84 - 89 (the period I'd refer to as the Lendl years), i'd bet dollars to cents that Lendl would have been 10+ in the slam count.

dmastous
06-07-2006, 07:42 AM
1. I didn't know they gave a trophy for achieving the Grand Slam.

2. Tennis is basically continuous year-round, unlike other sports.

3. Therefore, the yearly divider is purely arbitrary.

4. That is, I don't see why winning 4 slams in a row during a non-calender year is any less impressive than winning 4 slams in a row during a calendar year.

I mean, we have this categorical understanding in our head: "year", "season". But, tennis is continuous. There is really no break. So, to me, to talk about them separately is very arbitrary.

I'm just curious: What is your argument that the non-calendar grand slam (or winning 4 straight slams over 2 years) is less impressive than the Grand Slam (4 slams in one year)? Can you give us such an argument without referring to arbitrary divisions?
Well, your post came in and after reading it, I went to sleep thinking... I don't know. :) I don't have an answer for that. I realize our calendar was created based on the seasons and the rotation of the planets. But it's no less arbitrary than say the Grand Slam, just older and more established. So what's the answer? I didn't have one last night. But this morning I find others have come up with answers in my stead.
I'll hang my hat on 2 of them. The idea that he has only 10 (or so) chances to win the 'official' Grand Slam and three times that number of opportunities to accomplish a non-calander year slam. There's added pressure as you move toward that US Open title and the questions get more insistent. The comparisons more ridiculous. The number of journalists covering your matches more suffocating. If Federer wins this French (if, if, if :rolleyes: ) he will have snuck up on the Roger Slam (copyrite Roger Federer 2006;) ). The pressure he feels now is nothing compared to what he will feel if he does win the FO, Wimbledon then begins his march through the US Open draw. He will not only be fighting the elements and the players, the things that make the US Open so hard to win, but he have the added pressure of a possible Grand Slam.
The other thing that was pointed out is the singular difficulty of winning the French Open and Wimbledon back to back 2 weeks apart. If that will happen, Federer's the guy to do it in this crop of players. But it's no easy feat since it takes a very versatile player who can play a slow grinding game in one (a chess match on a tennis court), and a powerful all court game with fast points and shot making in the other. Federer can excel in both styles and that makes him unique. But being able to win in a grinding fashion, then 2 weeks later bring out the power game and exquisite shot making, and win there too. That's even better.
When you get down to it the Grand Slam itself is an arbitrary thing. It's an invented accomplishment. But it's a 70 year old recognized invented accomplishment. Now we are talking about tweaking it to suit a different, similar, but slightly lesser accomplishment. I'd rather stick with tradition and say, It's great that Federer has won 4 slams in a row, a fantastic feat. A true testament to his greatness. Now, let's see if he can go on to win the Grand Slam.

skip1969
06-07-2006, 09:02 AM
this has been one of the most intellectual debates i have read on this board. lots of good points!

roger hasn't won roland garros so i suppose it's a mute point until then. i think that if he does, he himself will consider it an achievement to hold all four trophies. i mean, not many players can lay claim to that. but also, he has a realfrim grasp of the history of the game. and i'm sure he relishes the challenge of winning a bonafide grand slam, to secure his place in history.

i do have to agree with a point that dmastous made, which was this whole notion of inventing too many arbitrary trophies (for the sake of marketing the players, the game). there are awards/trophies in every sport. but oftentimes, significant accomplishments are not rewarded with actual, physical trophies. for example, in athletics or swimming . . . if a world record is broken . . . the world record IS your trophy, your recognition of a great accomplishment. they don't hand out a medal every time a record is broken, do they? the achievement is its own reward.

i thought it was a bit silly to have an award ceremony for nadal (after an inconsequential first-round match) for breaking vilas' clay-court record. as dmastous said, it falls way short of evert's streak on clay, and it is doubtful whether trophies for such an achievement were ever handed out before. now, i'm not against progress and all that, but if we start handing out trophies for every open era record that's broken . . . it's gonna start getting old. you don't want to diminish the 'special-ness' (i made that word up) of presenting a trophy by presenting one every other month. i know the atp wants to market the game, but you don't want to go overboard.

i already find it a bit silly that the players can't just shake hands after winning a match and have a seat to collect their thoughts (before collecting their things). now, after even a routine first-round match, a player has to go out to the center of the court, kiss and wave and the crowd, bow, jump up and down, whatever. i used to look forward to celebrations after big wins, semis, finals, etc. now, they celebrate after EVERY match. it's sort of dilluted the whole concept. but i digress.

dmastous
06-07-2006, 09:24 AM
this has been one of the most intellectual debates i have read on this board. lots of good points!

roger hasn't won roland garros so i suppose it's a mute point until then. i think that if he does, he himself will consider it an achievement to hold all four trophies. i mean, not many players can lay claim to that. but also, he has a realfrim grasp of the history of the game. and i'm sure he relishes the challenge of winning a bonafide grand slam, to secure his place in history.

i do have to agree with a point that dmastous made, which was this whole notion of inventing too many arbitrary trophies (for the sake of marketing the players, the game). there are awards/trophies in every sport. but oftentimes, significant accomplishments are not rewarded with actual, physical trophies. for example, in athletics or swimming . . . if a world record is broken . . . the world record IS your trophy, your recognition of a great accomplishment. they don't hand out a medal every time a record is broken, do they? the achievement is its own reward.

i thought it was a bit silly to have an award ceremony for nadal (after an inconsequential first-round match) for breaking vilas' clay-court record. as dmastous said, it falls way short of evert's streak on clay, and it is doubtful whether trophies for such an achievement were ever handed out before. now, i'm not against progress and all that, but if we start handing out trophies for every open era record that's broken . . . it's gonna start getting old. you don't want to diminish the 'special-ness' (i made that word up) of presenting a trophy by presenting one every other month. i know the atp wants to market the game, but you don't want to go overboard.

i already find it a bit silly that the players can't just shake hands after winning a match and have a seat to collect their thoughts (before collecting their things). now, after even a routine first-round match, a player has to go out to the center of the court, kiss and wave and the crowd, bow, jump up and down, whatever. i used to look forward to celebrations after big wins, semis, finals, etc. now, they celebrate after EVERY match. it's sort of dilluted the whole concept. but i digress.
I'm with you 100% (or I can be nutty and say 110% but that's an other pet peeve)
Here's my larger point. I've used the trophy of the clay court win streak and i've used the NE Patriots 21 straight, but I'll go away from sports entirely for a second to make what I believe is the big picture point.
I don't know when the Emmys began, but I know it has become a big thing to win an Emmy. It is respect for an artistic achievement in the recording industry. It's also made a lot of money for the creators of the event and brings a lot of pub to the music industry every year when the nominations are brought out and in the weeks leading up to the event. It gives the music industry a chance to toot it's horn in a loud way too. 'Look how great we are, look how beautiful we are (ad nasuium)
About 20 years ago the American Music Awards popped up. Now we have a wrinkle on the awards thing we'll let the people decide who's the best (I thought that was what Billboard was doing but...) that made a lot of money for it's creators and brought a lot of pub for the industry. Another venue to say look how great we are etc... Now we have the Oscar's, the Emmy's, the Am Music Awards, the Black Entertainment Awards the MTV music awards ESPN's Espy award...
All basically ways for entertainment industry to pat itself on the back every few month and tell us how great they are.
You can see how something like this can get out of hand. People like to be celebrated. And when something special happens it's a good marketing tool and gets interest in the sport to make lots of hay over it. Will Nadal break Villas' record??? Yeay! He broke the record. Let's have a little cermemony on the court and hand him a trophy. Everybody watch this momentous first round match at the French Open to see this momentous thing happen. Aren't we wonderful???
If this keep up the tennis tour will be like the entertainment industry patting itself on the back for every little thing one of it's players do. It will get out of hand very quickly.