Big Pancho under-rated

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by BobbyOne, May 9, 2013.

  1. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Ricardo "Pancho" Gonzalez would turn 85 today.

    "Big Pancho" for many years was considered GOAT by many experts, at least till Laver realized his second Grand Slam.

    Nowadays Pancho is strangely under-rated. The "experts" of Tennis Channel ranked him only at place 22...

    Gonzalez (or Gonzales as he often is called) ruled tennis world for at least 7 years, probably even for 9 years. He won at least 14 majors (17 if we consider Forest Hills Pro) and was victorious in seven big pro tours ("World Series") against many all-time greats.

    He won tournaments from 1948 to 1972 (being the oldest tournament winner in open era) and beat top players like Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe, Smith, Connors, and Borg when being a grandpa (actually!) at 40 and older. Altogether Pancho won at least 121 tourneys.

    His game was dominated by his huge service (arguable the best of all time), his great forehand, the tough net game and his mobility.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
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  2. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    He'd be ranked higher had they kept the women away from that list and put them in a separate one. So only men compared to men, and women to women.
     
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  3. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Forza, Gonzalez was No.22 among the MEN and No. 35 in the "mixed" list.
     
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  4. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    [​IMG]
     
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  5. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    That's a glaring problem with their list for sure. He should be top 10 atleast, preferably top 5. That long on top of the rankings is crazy.
     
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  6. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    In my opinion, the people who did that Tennis Channel list didn't even take Gonzales' pre-1968 professional years into account. They just looked at his 2 amateur US Championships in the late 1940s, the fact that he won that epic against Pasarell at 1969 Wimbledon at the age of 41, and little much else.
     
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  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard, I also think so. They ranked Emerson at No.11 (men) because he won 12 majors not considering they only were amateur majors.

    It's interesting to watch a short video "Pancho Gonzalez the Latino Legend".
     
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  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Forza, Yes, it's hard to believe.
     
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  9. Anyone4tennis?

    Anyone4tennis? New User

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    Strangely, indeed. And to this day, I still cannot figure out why. Why would someone of this caliber not get the due respect and recognition that he deserves? He was undeniably one of the most fiercest competitors and champions that the world has ever seen.
     
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  10. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Could it be because he was different. Latin and from the wrong side of the tracks. In another thread I created about him a GOAT - someone mentioned - he also came with an attitude.
     
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  11. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    From the old pro's;

    1) Laver
    2) Gonzalez
    3) Rosewall
     
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  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Anyone4tennis, It comes maybe from the inclination of people to underrate the feats of past champions and to concentrate on the current and recent scene. A player like Bill Tilden is vastly underrated nowadays and a player like Gonzalez too even though the latter was successful even in open era.

    Yes, Pancho is one of the fiercest players at all. Bud Collins wrote that he would choose Gonzalez as the player who should play for his life.

    Pancho's only blame might be his tendency to intimidate opponents and umpires...
     
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  13. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    It has to do with the fact that many are not aware of that much about what happened in the pro circuit in that time frame.

    For instance , sampras himself said he didn't know his countryman Gonzales because he hadn't won Wimbledon...

    laver, borg, mac are highly rated because of their feats in the open era.

    emerson won 12 amateur majors and was rated 'highly' in the list ...though he was nowhere near gonzales overall ...

    gonzales' case doesn't have to do with people under-rating the tennis players of the past in general ...rather its because of lack of awareness about the pro circuit at that time ...
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
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  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    abmk, You are right regarding the neglecting of the old pro scene.
     
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  15. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I keep hearing that word intimidated and it brings me back to something I saw recently. There was a video of Borg vs Laver on youtube someone posted a few weeks back with Pancho as a commentator...now he may have been imposing for his time on the court, but his voice doesn't match that persona at all. Very...geekish, nothing like his fiery body motions would make you believe.
     
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  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    That's an understatement. When Gonzales was an amateur in the late 1940s, he was an easy going person. Gonzales got angry after all the mocking following his 1950 world pro tour loss to Kramer and the fact that his market value as a tennis professional had gone well down in the aftermath. Gonzales then sacrificed a lot over the years to be the very best in tennis, and all those sacrifices made him even angrier still. He was also paid less than his challengers on the world pro tours, again making him angrier.
     
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  17. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Even 36 year old slower Pancho was often extremely tough for Laver and Rosewall, I think peak level wise he was possibly the best of all 3 of the giants of that era.
     
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  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    You've got it the wrong way round. It's his "geekish" commentary that's deceptive, not his fiery on-court personality.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Forza, Please watch Pancho Gonzalez Latino Legend on youtube-
     
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  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, It really could be.
     
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  21. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    seen it a few times
     
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  22. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I was gonna make a thread, but instead I will just post it here.

    Laver singles out Gonzales as the best wooden racquet player of all time (out of the foursome Tilden, Budge, Gonzales and Rosewall).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=E_RqYHs-1vY#t=255s

    The entire interview is very good and covers an array of topics, but as it pertains to this thread I thought that was relevant.
     
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  23. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    The GOAT or co GOAT has spoken. I think Gonzalez probably had the 'biggest' game of the lot with his serve, volley's etc...Although all round ability probably puts Laver at the top. Hard to say with their peaks so far apart. Gonzalez being greater than Rosewall in terms of peak level probably shouldn't be doubted.
     
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  24. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Agree with literary every sentence of your post
     
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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I find it odd that even when Hoad was clearly ranked 2 behind Rosewall, when Laver first turned pro, Laver still said Hoad was the best he played against.
     
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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Gonzalez dominated Rosewall indoors. It's not as clear on grass. On clay Rosewall was stronger. The old pros played mostly indoors...
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Wrong. Laver said that Rosewall was twice as good as Hoad when he faced both players for the first time.
     
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  28. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Twice as good? I thought Laver said that Rosewall was "even better" than Hoad. Laver was a bit shocked by how high the standard was at the top of the professional game.
     
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  29. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    In Joe McCauley's "The History of Professional Tennis" there's a quote from Laver shortly after he turned pro where he says Hoad is the best he faced. His own rankings from only a couple of years ago places Hoad higher as well.
     
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  30. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yes, his latest list rates hoad at #1 in pre-open era and rosewall at #6 ....
     
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  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    He rates Gonzalez ahead of Rosewall too. Saying Rosewall has the best peak level ever is blatantly ignoring the testimony of former greats.
     
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  32. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard, As far as I know he did say twice as good. He added Rosewall is like a brick wall: the ball is always coming back.
     
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  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Even former players can err. And Bobby Riggs said that Rosewall was the best of all time. But of course also he can err.

    As earlier told, Rosewall was stronger than Pancho on clay and about even on grass...

    And don't ignore Rosewall's ranking where Hoad and Gonzalez are stronger than Laver and these three stronger than Federer. It's the testimony of a former great...
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
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  34. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    GOAT critieria should be based on dominance over time, favoring the longer durations and year end #1s, majors, and head2head's vs other GOAT candidates.

    The rocket is very respecting of modern tennis and thus states his "wood era" goat.

    I agree that Tilden, Budge, Gonzales, Rosewall, and Laver are 4 of the Best Ever for GOAT criteria. Vines and Kramer were also great but did not dominate for as long. Modern tennis currently has Sampras and Federer and Roger is the current open GOAT.

    I believe that Laver is the "transition" GOAT (players who played before and during Open tennis era. Rosewall is a close 2nd.
    Pancho G may very well be the pre Open GOAT.
     
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  35. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Laver rates Federer higher than Rosewall and equal to Hoad;)

    I don't ignore Rosewall's ranking, although since Rosewall made his statement Federer has achieved even more. The difference is that Rosewall never played Federer, where as Laver has played all Hoad/Gonzalez and Rosewall. Laver is in a better position to judge. I take Rosewall's statements seriously, I think Hoad's peak level was perhaps the best of all 4. Gonzalez likely just behind.

    I also think Hoad and Gonzalez would transfer best to the modern game. Gonzalez likely be similar to Sampras in today's era.
     
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  36. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I can roll with that. Some of Laver's greatest feats are pre open era, some are in the open era, in a way a truly transitional GOAT.
     
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  37. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Wait until 2016 and when Fed is immediately inducted into the HOF and I will post the inevitable interview of literary just about every living past great (hopefully Laver and Rosewall too) when they proclaim him once and for all. Ought to be a good day.
     
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  38. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure if there's anything Federer could do that would place him just in GOAT contention for Bobby.
     
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  39. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard, Meanwhile I have found the source for my claim. In the Rosewall biography (Peter Rowley) Laver is quoted:" Lew's the best I've ever played" .That was after his first pro match against Hoad. But the next day, after losing to Rosewall, Laver said:"I thought Hoad was good, but Kenny is twice as good" .

    By the way, Rod also found Ken's serve "excellent". And he had faced great serves from Fraser, Sangster and others in the amateur ranks.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
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  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Laver personally confirmed Rosewall's strength: In his book he writes:" In the 1963 French Pro Indoor I played the finest tennis I believe I've ever produced and he beat me".

    Thus the matter is not as clear as you think!
     
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  41. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Laver wasn't peak in 1963, he consistantly beat Rosewall more often than not after that year. Even so the best you can argue for then is;

    Hoad > Gonzalez > Rosewall > Laver

    Rosewall's serve wasn't a strength. That's pretty obvious. Apparently Rod liked facing Ken because he could attack the serve. Bud Collin's also notes that Rosewall's serve wasn't strong.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
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  42. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Laver did not rate Federer equal to Hoad. As earlier told it could be that the first three of five (and so on) of one list could be better than the first of the other list! That's mathematic and logic! We don't know how the Rocket really valued the two lists and the "mix" out of both!

    Why is Laver in a btter position to judge? Only in your "logic"! Rosewall has played the same players that Laver did of course. He even had a longer career, till the early 1980s...
     
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  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    You use to say:" Don't ignore the former greats". Laver found Rosewall's serve excellent. Therefore don't ignore his statement!

    Of course all claims from former players and experts are subjective, I would add...
     
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  44. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Laver said Federer vs Hoad would be the greatest match ever. Pretty obvious he thinks they're atleast comparable.

    Laver is in a better position to judge Rosewall against Gonzalez than Rosewall is to compare himself against Gonzalez, that much is obvious no? You can't play yourself! I take Laver's opinion of Rosewall/Gonzalez/Hoad seriously because he played them all. Likewise I take Rosewall's assertion that Gonzalez > Laver seriously too. He's never played Federer and with the difference in technology etc...I'm less inclined to say Hoad would beat Federer. How are we to take Rosewall's list? Hoad would win with a wooden raquet? I find it more logical to take the comparisons within the era.

    Edit: When did Laver find Rosewall's serve excellent? When he was new to the pro ranks? Did he find it excellent when he was winning most of the major events in the mid to late 60's? There are plenty of other testimonies where Rosewall's serve is painted as a weakness.

    I think perhaps Laver's highest level was greater than Rosewall's, but Rosewall was more consistant.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
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  45. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Yes, Laver found Rosewall's serve excellent in early 1963 after he had faced the likes of Fraser and Sangster. Mike Sangster (British Davis Cup player) had arguably the fastest service till Rusedski and Roddick.

    You can have an excellent service not only by serving heavy and fast shots. You can have an excellent serve also by making consistent, deep and exact shots just as Muscles has done!
     
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  46. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Regardless at some point Laver stopped finding Rosewall's serve an issue as evidenced by quotes. Bud Collin's described Rosewall's serve as well placed but not a weapon.
     
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  47. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    If I remember correctly, Laver said he found Ken's serve heavier when he played him than it looked when he had just seen him play ..that's it ...

    would be very surprised if laver said it was great or excellent ... because it sure as hell wasn't ...

    it was a decent serve by pro standards , but amongst the very weakest as far as serves of #1 players are concerned ...
     
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  48. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    suspicious abmk, If you don't trust me just read the Rosewall book!

    It's interesting that the fiercest Federer admirers (the famous armada) are also these who always belittle Rosewall...
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
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  49. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    krosero posted this once before but;


    Hoad on Laver in 1964;


    "Rod likes to play against Ken because he can take a swing at the serve."
     
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  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    So it's your decision if you trust more Laver or Hoad...

    But we should go back to the topic and to good old Pancho who arguably is the GOAT.
     
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