A look at the best players never to win the French Open

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Laurie, May 24, 2012.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Pronouncements about prestige are always inexact and subjective -- and they cannot give Dallas a better attendance than what Philadelphia had. Dallas had only one of the top 3 players (Borg). Philly had all three (Connors, Borg, Nastase).

    I don't object to prestige as a concept, the way some other posters do. But I do object when I think "prestige" is used (misused) to ignore the realities of draw strength. At best I think you could say that the prestige of the Dallas title makes that event equal with Philadelphia; but when someone says that Philadelphia, which had the better draw, cannot even compare to Dallas, I know the concept of prestige is being misused.

    And this is a perfect example: calling the '76 Masters the fifth most important event of the year, just because it was a tour-ending championship. The top 3 were absent (Connors, Borg, Nastase). So was the French Open champion (Panatta).

    I think it's a very artificial thing, making Dallas and the Masters into majors whenever they were played, simply because they were tour-ending championships. How can an event be considered a major if the top 3 players in the world, and all the champions of the Slams played in that year, don't even bother to go?

    Dallas was clearly more prestigious than the Masters in '76, but even so, its prestige was not beyond criticism, as you can see here: http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...&dq=borg connors caracas clay&pg=2867,3027260

    Who decides #1 according to margins of victory? And you know the reason nobody puts McEnroe above Connors in 82: because Mac won no Slams, and Connors won two.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t think those watchers were inteligent enough to separate H2H vs Overall record in the big events.If Borg had won the USO, Palm Springs, Phily, have a 3-0 H2H vs Connors but Jimmy had taken Dallas,Wimbledon and lost the Open final to Borg, I´d have said that Borg was a better player than Connors, but Jimmy was the undeniable nº 1.As simple as that.
     
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  3. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Philadelphia was a big event and Jimmy beat Borg 7-6 6-4 6-0 in the final. He also beat Bjorn Borg in Palm Springs and of course, in the US Open final. That's 8 out of 9 sets and quite comprehensive for Jimbo.
    Connors won 12 titles to Borg's 6 and had the superior match record for the year. Jimmy was the most consistent player of the year, won most titles, had the best win-loss record and beat Borg, his closest challenger, 3-0. Facts, simple as that, Kiki.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Then, we´ll agree on disagreeing:)
     
    #54
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In the 70´s, Wimbledon,Roland Garros,Forest Hills/Flushing Meadows,Masters and WCT finals were the reference and the so called majors.

    a second tier, very selective as well, includes ( even if it is unofficial, we probbaly will agree) Philadelphia, as the second best indoor event, Rome, as the second best clay event,Johannesburg and lately Toronto as the second best hard court event, and Melbourne as the second best grass event.

    I don´t think that anyone can dispute Borg won 2 of the big 5 and Connors 1 of the big 5 and 2 of the big 10.But then, he is at the same level as Panatta, who took Paris and Rome ( and the Davis Cup which was huge back then).
     
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  6. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    No problem, buddy.
     
    #56
  7. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    the "list" no questions.
     
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  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    So now you have Philadelphia as the second best indoor event? You've been consistently placing it behind Dallas and the Masters, even in years like '76 when the Masters was missing the best players.

    Plainly you're trying to make things cookie-cutter neat, with each surface hosting a major and a "second best" tournament. I can tell you're following some abstract design, rather than letting facts guide you, because you can't even keep your design consistent.

    The 70s is probably the messiest of all decades, and you keep trying to make things as neat as possible instead of taking each year one at a time.

    You think no one can dispute that the Masters was the 5th biggest event of '76? Please take your head out of the sand.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I may not explain myself properly.

    If you ever watched 1970´s tennis, you´d knoe that there were several facts that, as you well posted, make it a messy ( and very rich) decade:

    1/AO was not considered a real slam , although it remained so technically
    2/Masters and WCT finals were the season end events of two separate circuits, yet both of them were very popular
    3/sometimes, neither Dallas neither the Masters ( which was played at different venues till 77, when it settled dwon finally at New York City) had always the best fields.Yet, because they were season ending and very appealing, deserved being just behind the 3 top slams and above a second tier that includes Philadelphia,Rome,the Australaian and for a while, either the SAF Open ( which had great fields and a sensational venue at Ellis) or the Canadian Open, which gathered strength at the same time Johannseburg declined.

    4/ There were alos classic events called "Super Series", like Palm Springs,Vegas,Tokyo,Memphis,LA,San Francisco,Sidney Indoors,Boston,Indy,Washington and North Conway, besides BAires,Barcelona,Milan,Wembley,Brussels,Frankfurt,MOntecarlo and Stockholm.And also, at the same level, the WCT tour events like Richmond,Houston,New Orleans/Kansas City and Birmingham/Monterrey.

    5/ The Masters in 76 had,e xcept Borg and Connors, the best players.The same happened at the 1977 RG and you wouldn´t take away its Grand Slam status, woulod you?
     
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  10. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    #60
  11. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    According to the OP, it's about the best players who never won the FO, but all the players on your list are NOT best players. Unless you're saying they are the best.:confused:

    Since you listed non-great players that never won the FO, I believe Soderling should be on the list and he's above many of the names you listed. Mantilla, Leconte, Mancini, Franulovic are not better performer than soderling at the FO. I know you're going to say these guys won more clay titles than him, but we are talking about the FO, where Soderling beat Fed and Nadal in 2009/2010. Unfortunately for him, he can't win the FO because he have to beat BOTH guys(tall order!).

    You could also include Nole despite he's only 25. He's a hell of a cc...beat both Nadal and Fed, won multiple MS.
     
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  12. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Kiki, instead of taking each year one at a time, in its own context, you've merely fallen back on generalities. Instead of dealing with the facts of the draw, you're using emotional terms like "appealing," and "deserved." This doesn't begin to cut it.

    If this is your final position -- that certain events, you concede, did not always have the best fields, but nevertheless "deserved" top-tier status, because they were "popular" or "appealing" -- well, be my guest.

    And what is this business about only Connors and Borg missing the '76 Masters? As I said, Nastase and Panatta (two players who were not absent from the '77 French) were also missing. The top three players in the world, plus the FO champion (7th ranked), were all missing. There's no way I'm going to take that event and reward it with more significance than an event like Philadelphia where all the top players were present, merely because it was technically a tour-ending championship (you've got to use common sense about this), or because of some special pleading about "popularity" or "appeal."
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Your choice is neat and good.Phily had very tough fields, even in 78 or 79 the field may be even tougher than in 76.I don´t want, on the other side, take anything off Orantes, who had a very tough field to deal with at Houston.yes, the top 2 players were absent, as they were in 77 Roland Garros...why should we question Orantes win and not Vilas? in fact, Orantes beat Vilas, the 77 FO winner at that 76 Masters, and then went onto beating a top form Fibak in 5 hard fought sets, that could have gone either way.

    I don´t think it would have mattered if Nastase and Panatta were in, since Orantes had beaten them many times in the past years.Connors on fast carpet, yes, I don´t think he could have beaten Connors there.Definitely.Borg was also a couple of notches above him , indoors or not.But he played the event and deservedly won it.The ifs are useless.

    I agree the 70´s were as rich that sometimes can lead to confusion.Take the 2 year end championships in 1972.The WCT field was excelent and the final is widely regarded as one, if not the best ever match.But the Masters had also a very tough cast, including peak Nastase,peak Smith, peak Kodes, peak Gorman, almost peak Orantes...I can take any of the 2 fields and the differences are really minor.
     
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  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    If you don't want to take anything away from Orantes' win, no problem there: but I don't want to artificially inflate the win either. Yet that is what will happen if you call an event a major, and you use the force of the term "major" to place it above other events with better fields.

    If you go by strength of draw, then Connors won 2 of the top 4 events of the year: USO and Philadelphia; Borg and Panatta split the remaining two. What you're doing is slapping the term "major" onto Dallas and the Masters, and pushing Philadelphia down with the term "second-tier", and then ending up with this picture: Borg has 2 majors, while Connors and Panatta and Orantes each has 1.

    The whole picture gets distorted by the use of these labels -- especially when the labels are defined heavily with the use of such emotional adjectives as "popular" and "appealing." The strength of the draw is a far less subjective guide.

    It makes little sense to me how Connors can defeat full fields at the USO and Philadelphia, and yet when you introduce your labels, he ends up merely on the same level as Orantes, who won an event in which none of the three players ranked above him (all of them excellent indoor players) were present.

    I'm not saying that the computer rankings should be an ironclad formula for deciding what the majors are in a particular year. The presence or absence of the top players is not the only important criteria; there are others, for example, the number of rounds required for the champion to win (which is one thing in favor of the 1977 French -- not to mention the fact that despite the absences at that tournament, Vilas was there, and he was solidly among the top two claycourters in the world, arguably the #1). But the criteria, whatever they are, should be as objective as possible. Then the term "major" can be slapped on. But slapping the term on first, based on some abstract idea about which tournaments "deserve" the term -- and then using the term to decide the top players of the year -- is IMO very much the wrong approach.

    I've noticed Mustard uses the term "major" but he very much acknowledges that certain majors did not always have the best fields of the year. If the strength/weakness of the draw is acknowledged that way, I don't see a problem. But calling certain events "majors" and then, without looking at the draws, simply adding up who won the "majors" that year and picking the #1 player that way, is a real problem.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I simply don´t think you can throw away the great prestige WCT finals had ( of which Phily was a stop) just because one single year, another event (like Philadelphia) had an apparent tougher field.
     
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  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    No one is throwing away its prestige.
     
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