1968/1973:The dawn of the Golden Era

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Those 6 years got me fixed up with the sport.

    From 68 RG to 73 Masters, it settled up the basis for the explosion of the sport that was continuated by the 1974 Revolution, a revolution that settled us straight into the GE.

    First, the ladiesThere´s probably never been a more exciting quarter than that of Court,King,Goolagong and Evert, the two old stars pitted against the two prodigy kids, and what a pitty Bueno wasn´t healthy enough to make it a quintet¡¡¡.Two Aussies, one brand old and one brand new vs two Americans, one brand old and one brand new.

    Then, the male.Only 8 have won a major title in those years, either outdoors or indoors.The last great era of Laver and Rosewall, with the exciting and so diverse mixture provided by Gimeno,Kodes,Nastase,Newcombe,Ashe and Smith.That is, 3 Aussies, 3 Europeans and 2 Americans on top of the game, and an excellent core of secondary players, some of them potential winners of majors like Roche,Okker,Pilic,Metrevali,Franulovic,Orantes,Panatta,Lutz,Riessen,Gorman,Taylor,Ralston,Drisdale and Richey.Pancho and Hoad,as well as Santana and Emerson still had their final glorious moments but were no longer real factors by 1970.

    The diversity of styles was amazing and we certainly had so much fun.Of course, the Dallas final between Laver and Rosewall remains the master piece of the era and it produced a TV boom that marked the fate of this sport.But also, the end of the division between ams and pros, the arrival of TV, indoor tennis, massive exos supported financially by big corporations that had found a new gold mine to explode, the big fights for political and commercial control, and , of course, the creation of the two megaprofessional tours that were WCT and Grand Prix with their final season events but also the women´s lib revolution that Virginia Slims used to make tennis the first big pro sport for women around the globe.Oh, and also were very important, the changes in ball and shirt colours,finally putting only white aside for good as well the invention of the Tie break and the begin of WTT..wow¡¡¡ so much for just 6 years.

    And, of course, the DC was still a big, national issue, specially with the new countries that were joining the sport as consequence of its upside tide, that would stil get higher when, as said, the 1974 revolution took over and also put their elder brothers to a well deserved rest, taking the relay of the torch.

    Well, this is a brief of what happened in those fantastic years that launched tennis as a massive product, according to the mass media era that was so influential in our lifes.Tennis boom was paralel also to Rock and Roll boom and the changes in many things of life that took place in 1968, with the Prague & Paris springs, and the hippy revolution and the Vietnam war, as well as the so violent end of the miths of the 60´s like Che Guevara,Martin Luther King and Bob Kennedy.

    I know just a few regular posters lived it and I´d like them to share with us their memories, sensations, opinions and impressions of that tennis era.

    Those of you who effectively do so, will pass the test that qualifies you as TT GOAT candidates:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1968 winner/Finalist

    RG:Rosewall/Laver
    W:Laver/Roche
    USO:Ashe/Okker

    1969
    Laver won everyhting including the MSG and SAF Open.Newcombe took the much coveted IO.
    AO:Laver/Gimeno
    RG:Laver/Rosewall
    W:Laver/Newk
    USO:Laver/Roche


    1970
    RG:Kodes/Franulovic
    W:Newk/Rosewall
    USO:Rosewall/Roche
    AO:Ashe/Crealy
    Masters:Smith/Laver ( a round robin with 6 players, Smith ended first and Laver second)

    The 1970 World series won by Laver can be considered also the sixth biggest title of the year and a predecessor of the WCT finals in a way.

    1971
    AO:Rosewall/Ashe
    WCT:Rosewall/Laver
    W:Newk/Smith
    RG:Kodes/Nastase
    USO:Smith/Kodes
    Masters:Nasty/Smith

    1972
    Masters:Nastase/Smith
    USO:Nastase/Ashe
    RG:Gimeno/Proisy
    AO:Rosewall/Anderson
    WCT:Rosewall/Laver ( the same double of 1971)
    W:Smith/Nastase

    1973
    Masters:Nastase/Okker
    RG:Nastase/Pilic
    W:Kodes/Metrevali
    WCT:Smith/Ashe
    AO:Newcombe/Parun
    USO:Newcombe/Kodes

    as for who was considered the best player, and being the rankings in those years so unstable ( ATP started in 1973), it was:
    1968: Laver ( also reached the FO final while Rosewall and Ashe didn´t reach another big one)
    1969:Laver
    1970:Rosewall ( lost the Wimbledon final)
    1971: very close, edge to Newk over Rosewall but could be the other way
    1972:Nastase or Smith (DC winner).Rosewall has also a good chance, specially after his Dallas match against Laver
    1973:Newcombe was officialy no1, albeit Nastase has his own claims

    And lets not forget the greatest achievement in tennis, two GS took place in 1969 (Laver) and 1970 (Court)

    Monumental era.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
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  3. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Thanks for that summary of the early open era. Interesting aspects.

    I would say Gonzalez was yet a factor in that time, reaching SF at Paris and QF at Forest Hills plus being ranked No.6 in 1969 plus beating Laver thrice in 1970.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, he was a contender, or a black horse in 68 and maybe in 69.

    Rosewall was hitting his 40´s, still his overall results over the 68-73 period places him very high on the list.

    In doubles, we also had some of the all time best pairs: Newcombe and Roche , Hewitt and Mc Millan, Lutz and Smith and Emerson and Laver.
     
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  5. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Well listed up.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bobby, in your opinion, if you had to take a player to summarize that short but exciting and revolutionnary period of tennis history...which one would you pick?

    it seems obvious that, because of his Open Gran Slam, Laver is entitled to it.But he did almost nothing from 1971 on, although he was always a potential winner.

    Rosewall instead, spread over much better.In 1968 he won the french and as late as 1972 he still won two major championships.It could be him (Newcombe would be also a very good pick)
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Based on that, the top ten of this time is:
    1/Rosewall
    2/Laver
    3/Newcombe
    4/Smith
    5/Kodes
    6/Nastase
    7/Ashe
    8/Gimeno
    9/Roche
    10/Okker

    now, that is a great mixture with the all court game of Nastase and Laver, the baseline ( although I´d consider all of them really all courters) of Kodes,Rosewall,Gimeno and Okker and the mighty S&V game of Newcombe,Roche,Ashe and Smith
    Rien va plus
     
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  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, It's hard to say. Maybe Laver and Rosewall equal. Rosewall reached 11 major SFs and Laver reached 6 but Rod of course had the GS.
     
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  9. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I am going to come in here, because I also lived through that period. I remember it as a period of constant change where tennis forced its way onto the sports pages in a way it hadn't before. So we had new tournaments, new money (Lamarr Hunt), new scoring (Van Allen), new rackets (metal), rival bands of pros, you name it, it was there.

    If I was to take a player to represent that period I wouldn't take Laver and Rosewall. Great as they were, they were playing past their individual primes, and really represented the last hurrah of a vanished breed - the touring pros.

    Instead I would take Roche, Newcombe, and Ashe because they represented the new era, which started off as amateur because they had seen the way the wind was blowing, and then became the leading lights of the new generation of pros.

    And if I had to choose one it would be Ashe, who went from rising amateur winning the first open USO as an amateur, through the turmoil of the early 70s, the Wimbledon boycott, to his final victory as a gnarled veteran pro against Connors the rising star of the new generation who were about to take the Open Era into the stratosphere.

    To me he really represents that transition.
     
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  10. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In the 8 years 1968-1975, that was between age 30 and 37, Rod Laver won/lost 566-124 matches, which are documented, it could still be more. I am not so good in mathematics, but that should be an average of over 81% in that period. This is in the range of the very best averages of all open era players. I will look for Rosewall's numbers in the next days.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Thanks for contributing,memoirs are many times streaky...
    Urban,while it is good you examined Laver in 74 and 75,I think those years belong to the following era
     
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  12. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    His official ATP win % is 79.76% (536-136) and he lies 8th, just ahead of Sampras. See here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis...en's_Singles#Career_match_wins_per_court_type

    Wikipedia says Rosewall is 444-151, which is a win% of 74.6%. While this site

    http://tennis-champions.findthebest.com/compare/143-166/John-McEnroe-vs-Kenneth-Ken-Rosewall

    says 439-152, which is 74.3%.

    This link gives slam win%

    http://www.tennis28.com/slams/winpct_surface.html
     
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  13. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't there, but I agree this sounds like an interesting era.

    Of course it was the very dawn of the Open Era, but it was also before that era really took off (in a way, the birth of the 'modern' era of men's tennis was 1974, with Connors and Borg breaking through).

    There appear to have been a mixture of the old pros and new blood dominating the game. Newcombe was probably the top player of the period overall IMHO.
     
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  14. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    The ATP numbers are not complete for the 1968-1973/74 period, especially 1968 and 1969. For instance, Laver has won more Masters equivalents, than given on the Wikipedia side.His 1968 and 1969 results are missing. I am following here numbers of Andrew Tas, who has assembled all recorded results for Laver and Rosewall.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newcombe was probably the best match winner since 1970, a bit like Laver was in 69 and 68; nevertheless, no clear dominating force as 6 or 7 players were there sharing the titles that matter most.
     
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  16. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    When I wrote that Roche, Newcombe and Ashe were the players I thought of to represent the period, my first thought was to say Newcombe should be the player, because he was the most dominant. But, as I thought about it, Ashe was the player that stuck in my head.

    The reason is, I think, because Newcombe too represented the end of an era, the era of great Australian champions. So 1968/1973 was not only the dawn of a new era, it was the dusk of two great eras - the travelling pros and the great Australian champions.

    The new era was the dawn of the era of American and European domination, starting with Ashe and Smith and transitioning to Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, and so on.

    And that is why I think Ashe best represents the period - amateur to pro, Australian to American, playing the old guard then moving on to meeting new blood.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I get it.And I agree much with you.Ashe is a symbol of his time for so many reasons, but he was also the player that transictioned from the late 60´to mid 70´s, when the 74 Generation definitely took the torch and began the real Golden Era.

    Roche had the talent and, injuries aside, he didn´t have the strength; but he was probably the guy everybody was betting on to claim Laver´s crown once the Rocket was hitting his 30´s.

    But, of course, the huge quality of Laver and Rosewall shines so much that they were the top contenders even well past their prime.

    And there is something to also take a serious look at.The emergence of eastern European, the Communist block that was the dominating force of European tennis until Borg came around and Orantes and Panatta had their best seasons, from 1974 to 1977.

    Nastase and Kodes, yeah, but also Franulovic,Metrevali,Pilic and a few others...IMO, that was a small revolution inside the context of a bigger one...
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, I would not say that Laver and Rosewall were past their prime in the first years of open era. Laver was still in his prime or even peak in 1969 and Rosewall was in his prime till 1971 or 1972.

    Ashe is of course a good example for the transition but his great year came later.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Roche had at least the same strength as Newcombe had but he had to retire in or even before his peak.
     
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  20. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I really don't think they were in their prime. They were just too old. They were great, of course, but even they say that their best matches were before 68. Of course they had great results, and the 1972 WCT was of tremendous historical significance, but in terms of absolute playing level, that happened before the Open Era.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    which is quite unfortunate IMO, because Newcombe and old Rosewall kept alone the aussie torch.He would have been a Wimbledon or Australian Open contender until 1974 or 1975.He reached the semis at both Australia and Wimbledon in 1975 when he had already hit his 30´s.Not bad.Not enough, though.Which years was he injuried?

    There was a lot of expectation on the new generation of aussies, specially in a country that had dominated the tennis world for two entire decades.Well, Alexander,Dent,Masters,Case,Warwick and Edmondson were good players, but to fill those huge boots was an impossible task for them.Doubles which they dominated better than singles, was their place.
     
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  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, At least Laver was at his peak in 1969. It's not easy to win an open Grand Slam...;-)

    Rosewall in 1970 was arguably as strong as in 1967.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Roche was semi-retired from 1971 to 1973. But even with his elbow pain he was strong enough to win a set from Laver (the tournament's winner) in the 1972 Philadelpia US Pro Indoor and to win a WCT tournament (Washington Star). Imagine a healthy Roche at that time.

    In 1975 he recovered but was a bit past his prime. Nevertheless he had two matchpoints against Newcombe in the AO and lost also in five sets to Ashe at Wimbledon thus being better than Connors in both events. Not enough?

    Not enough his straight set win against McEnroe in the 1978 Queen's Club tournament? Tony Roche, one of the great grasscourt players!

    Edit: Roche won a set from Laver in 1972, Philadelphia by 6-0!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Roche was always excelent on grass
    At 40,being Lendl's coach,he often beat his pupil in many one set practices
     
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  25. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Roche is really overrated by some posters here.

    Remember that his only major came in the amateur era and was gifted to him by Gulyas (in today's game, such a scenario would not have been allowed, and Gulyas would be the champion).

    Then where would Roche rank? Nothing more than a Mecir-type figure (i.e. a very talented guy who never won a major).

    Heir to Laver? Yeah right...
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    At one point,he clearly was disputing the honour of being Rod's successor to his doubles mate
    As for Milos,well he won a WCT title,but never challenged for number one like Roche did from 1968 to 1970
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    I hoped you will improve but you never will.

    The experts in 1969 agreed that Roche will be the heir to Laver because Roche beat Laver more than lost to the Rocket and was ranked NO.2 in the world. But Roche got severely injured afterwards as you know but ignore.

    Roche is 9:7 against your No.6, Rosewall. Much better player than Mecir. Learn history!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
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  28. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Great! kiki a Roche admirer? ;-)
     
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  29. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I repeat: Roche is really overrated by some posters here.

    His h2h against Laver is meaningless. We don't call Davydenko a great because of his h2h against Nadal.

    Injuries are part of the game. We shouldn't overrate players because they got injuries and "would have" done a lot more.

    History - and his obituary - will record Roche as winner of a single major, and as a great coach. Nothing more.
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If you read my former posts, you´d know I rate him quite high in terms of tennis ability...shall I tell you again?
     
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  31. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    Peak is not the same as prime. Great players, as both Laver and Rosewall were, were able to peak for important competitions until well into their 30s. Why - because they were good enough, because they were super motivated to make money while they could, because they were as tough as they come having learned in the hard school of the professional players, where they had also learned to pace themselves because injury meant no play=no money.

    But no way were they in their primes. By the end of 1973 Rosewall was 39 and Laver 35. The prime of a tennis player is 26, give or take a few years either side, and with allowances for rare players like Borg. No way were Rosewall and Laver playing as well as when they were 26, which was 1960 for Rosewall and 1964 for Laver.

    And if you want to claim that Laver or Rosewall were in their primes 1968-73, think about this. If Rosewall really was still in his prime, then his win% was about 74%, not good enough to be in the top 10 of even the Open Era, and worse than Roddick. Do you really think that Rosewall in his prime was worse than Roddick?

    The same sort of arguments apply to Laver.

    So now way were Rosewall and Laver in their prime, they had left that behind. Unless you want to argue against yourself.
     
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  32. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, Sorry I must contradict:
    Usually in these forums "peak" means higher level than "prime".

    Laver in 1969 was both in his peak and his prime. 1967 and 1969 were his best years at all.

    At Wembley 1972 Rosewall was "only" 37 and Laver "only 33". There decline started only in 1973.

    Rosewall was a No.1 player in 1970 and 1971, Laver in 1970.

    Rosewall was as good in 1970 as in 1960. His peak years were 1962 and 1963.

    In his time peak was mostly from 26 to 29. For giants (Gonzalez, Rosewall and Laver) it was also a bit earlier and a bit later.

    Laver was not in his peak in 1964. F.i. he lost many matches to Gonzalez and lesser players.

    Rosewall had to deal with better players than Roddick had to.
     
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  33. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I think you are completely wrong. On what basis was Rosewall as good in 1970 (at 36) as in 1960 (aged 26) ? On what possible basis was his opposition better than Roddick's?

    And please do not argue using numbers and names, because numbers without context are meaningless. Those are the sort of arguments that are used on the general discussion boards by people with little or no knowledge of tennis history and context. Tennis matches are played with technique and movement, not manipulating numbers and names.

    So

    - did Rosewall move faster in 1960 or 1970, or sometime in between?
    - did he anticipate better?
    - was his technique better? His serve? His return? His forehand? His backhand? His volley?
    - was his temperament and game management better?
    - were his shots more accurate and penetrating?
    - was his stamina better?

    Why do he and Laver think they played better matches when they were younger?

    And
    - did his opposition in 1970 move faster than Roddick's
    - anticipate better?
    - have better technique? Better serve? Better return? Better backhand? Better volleys?
    - have better temperament and game management?
    - have better and more penetrating shots?
    - have better stamina?

    Unless you can demonstrate, without just giving me a list of numbers and names, that Rosewall's opposition was better than Roddick's, I refuse to believe that is the case.

    Honestly I think sometimes you and some other posters live in a cloud-cuckoo land where everything in the past was wonderful and better, and everything now is diminished and worse. I have been actively watch for nearly 55 years now and in my humble opinion nothing much has really changed. Great players come and go, they play in the context of their times, and then they pass on. They are all different in the detail, because times change and transform, but in essence the top players are about the same level, and always have been.
     
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  34. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    He often is.

    Hear hear!
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If we were statisitcians, the best way to make a graphic of the
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The WHOLE GOLDEN ERA, pre, mainstream and post is like a Gauss Bell that reads "old" Laver in the starting vector, Borg in the highest, middle vector and early Sampras in the ending vector.

    remember the Gauss Curve?
     
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  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Curious guy, You at least forget his doubles achievements.

    Your obsession with obituaries is childish.

    Roche is in the Hall of Fame!
     
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  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, But you use to belittle his level of play, especially in comparison to lesser players like Fraser and Emerson...
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bobby, either you didn´t understand anything or my english is getting worse..I said, and I saw him live, that he was a very talented player, and in the Fraser´s thread I also aknowledged him as having a better peak than Fraser ( and Emerson), but I also stated that this is not everything in tennis and he ranks below Fraser and Emerson just because of that.

    Now, I also believe Fraser´s level of play - records aside- is higher than you believe it is.
     
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  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I would offer that Laver's peak was 1967. (Laver was always a bit of a late-bloomer: in matches [he was used to losing the first set] and in his career. Plus the shift from the amateurs to the pros in December of 1962 at age 24 1/2 delayed his improvement to the highest levels.)

    Was he still in his prime in 1969? I guess so, good enough to be the best in the world for the year (when and where it counted).
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
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  41. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    In which case he fits in really well round here!

    His opinions may sometimes appear 'individual', but he (and Dan L) do an invaluable job reminding people why Rosewall and Hoad should always be considered in discussions about the greatest players.
     
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  42. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I don't disagree, and similarly I think you could say Rosewall's absolute peak was arond 1962, so a similar age. When I wrote 26 as a player's prime I was making a very rough average. The actual peak/prime of a player is roughly 24-28, and that is true of many sports. At 24 they still have the hair-trigger reactions, blistering acceleration, and run-anything-down enthusiasm of youth, but lack a bit of stamina and game management. By 28 the reactions are slowing, but experience, anticipation, and game management are able to compensate. By 30 they are the inevitable downward slope. Some can resist better than others, but no-one is immune. The killer is recovery time, which gets harder. That is what did for Rosewall in 1974, and you can see it happening to Federer now.

    I have seen this pattern so many times, that with the exception of some players who mature exceptionally early, like Borg, I can honestly say I have not seen any player buck that trend.
     
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  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, I will not answer arrogantly..

    Rosewall must have been in his prime in 1970. Otherwise he would not have been No.1. He might have been weaker than in 1962 and 1963. In 1960 he lost badly to Gonzalez. In 1970 (and 1971) he found some of his old peak form again after a rather weak 1969. A "normal" top player is rather weak at 35/36 but a genius like Gonzalez and Rosewall can be awesome at that age.

    Roddick often had to play against Johansson, Nalbandian and similary players, sometimes against Sampras and Federer.

    Rosewall in open era had to deal with prime Laver, Gonzalez, Newcome, Roche, Ashe, Okker, Smith, Nastase. I find the second group stronger.
     
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  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I must have overlooked where you rank Roche's level of play higher than Fraser's. I remember dozens of kiki posts where you say the opposite.

    For the hundredth time: Fraser was never a top 5 player or even a top 7 player!
     
    #44
  45. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Thanks, DMP.
     
    #45
  46. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, At 30 plus the players have got more experience than in an earlier age. That's a plus.
     
    #46
  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, Was Laver in his prime in 1969 or not? You delivered two versions.
     
    #47
  48. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    The time period of the OP was 1968 to 1973. Within that period Rosewall and Laver were leaving their primes. By 1973 their best years were behind them. That is what I said. It is what I meant, I was not discussing single years. kiki asked for a player to represent the transition. Ashe was the player who came to my mind, for the reasons I gave.

    I think we now have a language problem, and I don't really have anything to add. Sorry.
     
    #48
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver´s prime is 1964-1969, with a peak in 1967.1970,71 he was still the main guy but was already declining; 1959-1963 he was reaching his prime, and his pre prime was good enough to dominate the ams fields but not the pros.
     
    #49
  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bobbyone, Roche was a bit better player and Fraser a more accomplished tennis champion.End of story.

    And Fraser´s level of play was good enough to dominate a pre prime Laver ( and that pre prime Laver also won the 1962 GS) and Emerson.You must be a really damn good player to do that.End of the damn story.
     
    #50

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