15 Greatest Achievements in Tennis History as of 1981

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Moose Malloy, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    came across this list from Tennis magazine, selected in July 1981

    thought it was a pretty interesting list & showed just how new the Open Era still was in 1981. I doubt a lot of these accomplishments would be as highly regarded today if a similar list was compiled.

    1. Borg's record string of 5 Wimbledon titles
    2. Tilden's 42 consecutive singles victories in US championship play, 1920-1926
    3. Helen Wills' six year winning streak of every set she played, 1927-1933
    4. Lenglen's seven year undefeated record in matches she completed 1919-1926
    5. Connolly's Grand Slam, the first by a woman, 1953
    6. Laver's 2 Grand Slams
    7. France's defeat of the US in the Davis Cup Challenge Round 1927
    8. Margaret Court's 66 Big Four titles in singles, doubles, & mixed
    9. Budge's Grand Slam, the first ever
    10. Evert's 125 consecutive clay court wins, 1973-1979
    11. Billie Jean King's record 20 Wimbledon titles
    12. Tilden's 13 consecutive Davis Cup challenge round singles victories, 1920-1926
    13. Perry's three consecutive Wimbledon titles
    14. Pancho Gonzalez' defeat of Charles Pasarell in the longest match ever played at Wimbledon, 1969
    15. Arthur Gore's 40 year uninterrupted span of competition at Wimbledon, 1888-1927
     
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  2. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Evert's 125 consecutive clay court wins, 1973-1979

    That's really amazing!
     
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  3. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Strange to see Laver's Grand Slams so low. Most of the items ahead of him are not Grand Slams so maybe you could say you're comparing apples to oranges. But why would Connolly's sole Grand Slam be placed ahead of Laver's two?
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Wondering if the list was compiled before or after McEnroe stopped Borg's streak.
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It was in 1981 so Borg's Wimbledon streak was still fresh in people's minds therefore it was number one. It may be number one but I think it was typical that people picked present achievements over past ones.
     
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  6. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Great stats Moose
     
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  7. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Rosewall 1970-1972

    Ken Rosewall's return to the top ranking. Who else climbed the mountain, faded and then went back to the top after age 35? Laver took it away from him clearly 1967-1969 when he sank as low as 6 and yet, aged 35, he came back. In a three year period 1970-1972 pre ATP computer, Rino Tommasi ranked him statistically the world's best player in each of 1970, 1971 and 1972. He was named Martini and Rossi Player of the Year in 1970. He won the US title, 2 Australian titles, 2 WCT titles and narrowly lost a Wimbledon final in 5s. Ken had turned 35 in late 1969 and was 38 late in 1972. What can compare with that? Simply astonishing.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As I said before, last time I watched Rosewall, he was about 50 and played a guy 10 years younger, a former top pro called Roger Taylor.I couldn´t believe what in a great shap ken was ( of course, the result was not important, but I think Talor won about 3 or 4 games ).Ivan Lendl, himself the epythome of great fitness and preparation, was also astonished when he practise with Rosewall in the mid 80´s.
     
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  9. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    kiki, mid 80s would put Rosewall around 50yo. I remember reading that someone claimed that Tilden aged around 50yo was arguably still the best player around - for one set. I wonder if there is any basis to that kind of view and, if so, could we realistically put Edberg, Cash, Rafter, Sampras etc back on court in competitive one set tussles with some of today's best?
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, but just if properly trained, equiped and metnahlly and physically fit.If not, that´d be a humilliation.

    I tell you I saw Rosewall around 48-50 and the rythym of play was not that far of the top pros of that moment (Mc Enroe,Vilas,Lendl,Connors,Wilander).And it was great to see all those classic strokes back.Not just him, but other former greats, too.F.I.Tony Roche, at 35 or 46, when I saw him for the last time, on indoors could win a set off any pro of the early 80´s.
     
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  11. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    kiki, I heard Laver speak one time, and we all know how humble a gent Laver was (is) and he had just been practicing with several top pros while in his mid 40's and he claimed that he could no doubt win a set but a best of three would be very tough, a best of five impossible and there was no chance coming back the next day and trying to do it again.
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Doug,

    Honestly just because someone claimed Tilden was the best for one set at age 50 doesn't mean it's true. Tilden was fifty in 1943 with players like Budge, Riggs, Perry and Kovacs around. Now if it's around fifty and was just a couple of years earlier you would also have Vines. I doubt if Tilden could be the best for one set considering the great talent of these players. Vines was renown for being unbeatable when "on" his game. Kovacs was a legend when on his game.

    However I would agree that a player like Tilden could win matches against even greats like Don Budge considering he won a number of matches against Budge on their tour in 1941 with Tilden at age 48 but I think others playing their best would be superior to Tilden at his best at that late an age.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
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  13. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Evert at one point went 200-1 or something close on clay because after Austin snapped the 125 streak Evert won her next 70 something matches on clay. To lose only 1 match on a surface in like 8 years is truly amazing. I don't think even Rafa's numbers on clay now are close to what Evert did on dirt.
     
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  14. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    He is not and he can't be with 4 or 5 Clay tournaments played every year.. but still mighty impressive too
     
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  15. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I didn't realize that! How the hell do you maintain focus for 200 matches across 8 years and only have one hiccup. You know she had to be ill on several of those or disinterested at least. When you think about it, has any player male or female so dominated on a single court surface? That really should be a more frequent talking point. Heck, I can't thread 200 nuts on a bolt without stripping at least a few :)
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed.BTW, in that indoor event, Roche overcame laver in a best of three match, if I recall properly.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nobody was better than Budge , at least until 1945 or so, so, if Tilden beats Budge ( which I don´t think it´s possible with such a years gap), beats anybody else.
     
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  18. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    More impressive to me (but beyond the 1981 deadline) is a 'claycourter' who reaches the semis of every major she enters, from the Open in '71 through to the '86 Wimbledon with but one hiccup in an '83 Wimbledon. That includes her first 16 consecutive Opens, 11 Wimbledons-( Jordan hiccup)-3 more Wimbledons, the first 11 RG tourneys she entered, and the first 5 Australians she entered. It means in her first 24 grass majors, she reached the semis of 23(71-86). In her first 14 clay majors, she reached the semis of all 14(73-86), and then add all of those first 9 hard court Opens (78-86). Nobody will ever start their career that consistently solid at majors regardless of surface, opponent or circumstance. Federer can't compare.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
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  19. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Some of those would definitely be gone. For instance Connollys True Grand Slam would probably be bumped and replaced by Grafs golden slam. Navratilovas Wimbledon dominance would probably be mentioned as well as her winning a major title in either singles or doubles in 4 different decades. Federers 16 majors would probably make the list now as would Grafs winning at least 4 of every major. Federer has equaled Borgs Wimledon Record. A list now would look a lot different
     
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  20. billnepill

    billnepill Hall of Fame

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    Interesting . Back then people didn't put such a big value on CYGS. Consecutive wins tops it. Wow
     
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  21. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    An interesting list for sure. But in 30 years, that list would surely change.

    Starting with their #1 achievement. (Which was named at the time merely because it was so recent.)

    Gore's 40 years at Wimbledon, Gonzalez win at Wimbledon, Perry's 3 Wimbledon titles, King's 20 Wimbledon titles, France's win in the 1927 Davis Cup, and Tilden's 42 consecutive wins in the US Championships are the most obvious ones to be knocked off. Tilden's Davis Cup wins, Connolly's Grand Slam, and even Wills and Lenglen's streaks might not make today's list.

    I think you have to add:
    1. Federer's 16 major singles titles.
    2. Graf's Golden Grand Slam in 1988.
    3. Graf's 22 singles majors, and 377 weeks at #1.
    4. Federer's 5 consecutive titles at Wimbledon AND the US Open
    5. Navratilova's 9 Wimbledon singles titles.
    6. Evert's winning 1 major every year for 13 consecutive years.
    7. Navratilova and Evert's 80 match rivalry.

    I also think Laver's 2 Grand Slams, and Evert's 125 match clay court streak are achievements that are underrated on this list.
     
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  22. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    The Australian Davis Cup victory over the United States in 1939. Down 2 rubbers to nothing and having lost the first set of the doubles, John Bromwich and Adrian Quist launched the mother of all fightbacks to defeat Bobby Riggs, Frank Parker, Jack Kramer and Joe Hunt 3-2. In the deciding rubber, Bromwich utterly destroyed Parker 6-0 6-3 6-1! A real shame that Brom's best years were lost to WW2 and that he lost the Wimbledon final nine years later after holding match points.
     
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  23. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    The collective achievement of Australian tennis players who travelled by sea and early commercial airservices from the furthest outpost of civilisation aka AUSTRALIA and served it up to Europe and America in their own backyards, winning anything and everything and overachieving to such an extent that producing McNamara, Cash, Rafter, Scud and Hewitt seems ordinary by comparison.
     
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  24. Clemsonfan

    Clemsonfan New User

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    I would also add Navratilova and Court's 6 consecutive Grand Slams if completing the list now. Court should be in the original list, and I wonder why that feat is often overlooked.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...and, much, much more than that... the contribution of Australian blood in WWI, WWII,Korea and Vietnam has never been put int he stage...
     
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  26. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    The most impressive record would be Graf being the only player to successful defend all 4 majors and did it twice.

    Graf's winning each major at least 4 times is also very impressive.

    So Graf would have 5 great records on the list: defending all majors twice, winning each major at least 4 times, a Golden slam, 377 weeks as top player, and having most majors in Open Era.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
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  27. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    You're right. And the list could easily be a Steffi-only list :)

    I do think her successfully defending each major on the first try is an achievement that will NEVER be matched.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What about Borg´s 3 consecutive Channel Slams? with old clay ( slow) and old grass ( ultrafast)
     
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  29. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    It could probably also be a Navratilova, Court, Evert or Federer only list as they all have quite a lot of achievements that would deserve inclusion.
     
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  30. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Court
    a record 24 singles majors
    A record 11 Australian Open
    2 separate box sets (every possible major) one before the open era and one after
    Her various doubles successes
    some sources list her career winning % as 92
    A 24-5 record in major finals only once losing to the same player twice
    6 straight majors won
    calender year slam

    Evert
    An official career win percentage of 90
    1 major a year for 13 straight years
    Most French opens
    At one point 200-1 on clay
    SFs of all majors she entered from the start of her career until 1987 with only one exception due to food poisoning

    Navratilova
    9 wimbledon singles titles
    167 tournament wins
    6 straight majors won
    Turned a 4-22 record ahainst Evert in a 43-39 record
    Defeated evert at least once in every major final
    10-4 major finals record against Evert
    Made a major singles final in 3 different decades
    Won major title in eithet single doubles or mixed in 4 different decades

    Feds career is still going so I wot do him

    But all if them would merit multiple inclusions...and so would past greats included in thevlist Moose unearthed
     
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  31. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    kiki, well of course the wartime sacrifices were far far greater but, in the context of these discussions, out of scope since the AIF RAAF and RAN did not go into battle wielding tennis racquets. [Thank heavens!]
     
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  32. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    For sure !

    McEnroe will still plays against many of the guys for practice and Edberg just this year played an "exo" against Tsonga and it appeared to be very competitive. Edberg was moving great and played his classic SV attack against Tsonga.

    Whats amazing is that Rosewall and Gonzales actually won many matches against the best in the world at ages well into the 40s. The Pancho tournament win at Ceasers is a documented piece of tennis history.
     
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  33. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Tsonga was coasting!
     
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  34. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    How about listing the greatest achievements by players aged 40 or more? Quite a few champions have played wonderful cameos late in their sporting lives. And you can go way back to early greats like Norman Brookes and Arthur Gore and Jean Borotra who were dangerous well into their forties. Gonzales, Sedgman and Rosewall are more recent examples.
     
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  35. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    That would be great if someone can make that list

    I only know that Rosewall and Gonzales won ATP titles after 40th birthday, between 1969-1975.. and no one will do it again
     
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  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I think Rosewall's longevity should be on that list.

    1953 Australian Nationals Men's Single title
    1972 Australian Open Men's Single title
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    How many people here has seen the wonder team of Hoad and Rosewall beat the US Trabert and Seixas?
     
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  38. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Only on picture :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Jean Borotra and Henri Cochet

    French tennis legend. Born 13 August 1898. Won the British Covered Court Championships at Queen's Club in 1926 [aged around 28]; 1928 [30]; 1929 [31]; 1930 [32]; 1931 [33];1932 [34]; 1933 [35]; 1935 [37];1938 [40]; and noting there was no competition 1939-1947 because of WW2, again in 1948 [50] and 1949 [51]. Borotra apparently played good veterans tennis until age 74 and allegedly still followed his serve into the net.

    Borotra was still playing Davis Cup for France in 1937 in doubles with a young Yvon Petra, winning France's only rubber against Czechoslovakia.

    Fellow Musketeer Henri Cochet turned pro in 1933 aged 31 but was reinstrated as an amateur in 1945 aged 43. Cochet was runner up in 4 sets in the British Hardcourt Championships in 1948, aged 47.
     
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  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    " The bouncing basque".Maybe first ever serve and volleyer...
     
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  41. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Its been done in doubles since 1975
     
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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    To me one single achievement that shows what an inmense champion Borg was:

    I still can´t believe how Borg, 4 times winner in a row at Wimbly, and knowing he was on the edge of surpassing Laver for a record 5 th consecutive title, loses that tie break against his relentless prosecutor (Mc Enroe), after holding so many match balls....and recovers to win...8-6¡¡¡ in the fifth¡¡¡.I don´t think that has been equalled.

    He was dammaged in his stomach, had the unbelievable pressure to achieve a record surpassing his all time idol Rod Laver, loses like 7 or 8 match balls in that mysthique tie breaker...and wins in the fifth 8-6¡¡¡
     
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  43. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Gavin White, 39, and Jeganathan Ramasamy,48, both played tennis for a total of 37 hours and 32 minutes, breaking a previous world record for the longest singles tennis match ever played.

    1/25/10
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
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  44. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    What about Wilding?

    Why don't they count Wildings consecutive clay court wins from Mid-1910 to Mid-1914 which must be of that order of magnitude as well. (Around 25-28 tournaments around 4 to 5 rounds a tournament?)
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
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  45. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Didn't you just discover that info on Wilding a year or 2 ago? you really think anyone in 1981 knew that? or what surfaces he won on? There wasn't nearly as much known about pre Open Era records back then as there is today(besides the famous streaks of Tilden, Lenglen etc)

    The internet has really been a game changer as far as tennis history. In 1981 the only thing most fans knew about Laver was that Laver won 2 Grand Slams(I highly doubt anyone, including Laver, was aware of his 200 career titles then, some which were recently discovered. Pro Grand Slams weren't in any record book then as far as I know. Commentators surely didn't talk about them. No wikepedia. So where did fans or writers not named Bud Collins get their info?)

    Was just watching the '79 AO Final recently. The Australian commentators were talking about how rare it was for anyone to repeat there. They were going through the champion lists & said, "wow, I'm surprised Laver never repeated." Not one mention of his being banned from majors from 6 years, just 'surprise' that he never repeated!

    I see this in a lot of old matches(70s/80s) commentators didn't mentioned the bannings of so many great players from the majors when any of their names came up. They would just say what they won, not what they could have won. TV Commentator Jack Kramer didn't say anything about Rosewall being banned from so many US championships when he won the USO in '70, just 'isn't that great, Kenny wins this title 14 years after he last won it.'

    The way the media(even Dan Maskell who's seen it all) covered Borg winning 4 straight Wimbledons ("he's passed Perry!" not the disclaimer that Perry, Laver etc were banned from some Wimbledons) and Mac equaling Tilden with 3 straight US Championships in '81 sort of show how differently pre Open era history was presented at the time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
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  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I thought Tilden had 6 straight US championships.?!
     
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  47. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Tony wilding

    Again, wildings numbers are close to everts
     
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  48. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Sorry I should have wrote McEnroe was the 1st player to win 3 straight US Championships since Tilden. Much was made of this fact at the time, Mac was sort of speechless when it was mentioned.

    Again, the thread topic was what Tennis Magazine in 1981 chose as the best achievements in tennis history. I find it hard to believe that Wilding's claycourt record was widely known then, that's more of a discovered record in the internet age (and even then, all you can come up with are estimates of his streak, not exact numbers, which we do have on Evert)
     
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  49. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Many of the commentators in the 70s and 80s never looked really on the winners list of the big tournaments, especially on the big holes and the things, which were apparently missing. 1945 to 1968 very few champions defended their major titles (at Wim only Hoad, Laver and Emerson), let alone built streaks of en suite wins. Tilden was pre pro era, and in that pro-am peridod only Emerson was an exception - no wonder, because he didn't turn pro. So it was some new experience, when Borg, Connors or later Sampras won majors for longer periods. The pros however had long streaks of wins, Gonzalez won 8 US pros (however you rate them), Rosewall 8 French pros, 5 Wembleys, Laver 5 US pros, 4 Wims plus 4 Wembleys (plus 2 open Wembleys) and so on. But those pro streaks were seldom mentioned, people spoke of the lost records. Gonzalez got more famous for his open match win over Pasarell than his long pro reign. Interesting enough, that even Dan Maskell was more Wimbledon and amateur orientated in his alltime list, although he was a pro of the first hour and himself banned from all majors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You are so right, great perspective to look at.Laver won 4 Wimbledons in a row, because he couldn´t play it in between 1962 and 1968.Hopefully, Borg was aware of that and he always said he was chasing Laver, not Perry.
     
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