Borg not winning the French open in 76 & 77?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by JAY1, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Does anyone know if there were any reasons Borg did'nt win Roland Garros in 1976 & 1977?
    The reason I ask is, that he was a million miles ahead of any other player on clay in this era.
     
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  2. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    At the 1976 French Open, Bjorn Borg lost in the quarter finals to eventual champion, Adriano Panatta. In 1977, Borg decided to play World Team Tennis, making himself ineligible to play at the 1977 French Open. Guillermo Vilas went on to win that 1977 French Open.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Panatta is the only person to defeat Borg at the French Open. And he did it twice.

    1973: fourth round--7-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6.

    1976: quarterfinals--6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6.
     
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  4. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Why would Borg sacrifice The French Open for World team tennis?
     
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  5. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    For money !!
     
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  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
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  7. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    The prize money at the French Open in the 70s was a complete joke, compared to that at World Team Tennis, Wimbledon, the US Open and many other tournaments and exhibition events.

    Both Borg in 1977 and Evert in 1976-1978 chose the more lucrative WTT over the French Open, and no-one could blame them.

    The French Open, was not as big a tournament as Wimbledon or the US Open, until the facilities were upgraded and the prize money was increased, thanks to Chatrier.

    Also until the 90s when Sampras was approaching Emerson's record, players and the tennis media didn't care about the grand slam count, so Borg wouldn't have cared about losing the opportunity to win one French Open title and improve his own grand slam count.
     
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  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Mostly true. Otherwise Borg (and others like Mac) might have elected to also play more Australian Opens to increase their slam count.

    But back then, the total slam count was not particularly important as a measure of greatness.

    My! How times have changed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
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  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Here's an article after Borg's 1981 French Open win where they do mention that Borg has 11 majors, 1 behind Emerson's all-time record:

    http://www.bjornborg.20m.com/flash_back.htm

     
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  10. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    I remember people at the time actually being concerned about the Grand Slam winners, keeping track of them, etc.

    But they weren't the massive, pumped up venues they are today.
     
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  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    First prize at the French was actually about the same as Wimbledon and the USO, and in some years a little bit higher than those two. But World Team Tennis, and a few other events like the Pepsi Grand Slam, offered more money than any of the slams.

    1977 first prize at the Slams (for the men, per news reports from the time):

    AO in January - $25,000
    French Open - $38,000
    Wimbledon - $25,500
    USO - $33,000
    AO in December - $28,000

    All the slams had 128-man draws except the AO which divided up the total purse among 64 men.

    If you go back to '74 the AO was hurting financially:

    AO - $6,500 first prize
    FO - $24,000
    Wimbledon - $24,000
    USO - $22,500

    And again that was with just 64 men sharing the total purse at the AO.

    That's true, because there was a war between WTT and the French Tennis Federation. WTT did not provide a break in its schedule for players to attend the French, but they did provide a break for Wimbledon.

    Wimbledon has always held the top spot as far as prestige, that's for sure. The French was often referred to as one of the Big Three tournaments.

    Yet WCT rated the top tournaments in the world, either in '78 or '79, based on prize money and strength of the draw, and the French came out ahead of Wimbledon (just barely ahead), see http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=4781827#post4781827
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
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  12. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I saw Borg play WTT that year. WTT was popular. (Tennis was popular).

    I can't remember if he was playing for the home team (NY Sets) or against them. The NY Sets included Fred Stolle and Sandy Mayer. Billie Jean too I think.

    You could meet the players afterwards too so it was nice for kids. I met Borg. He didn't have a lot to say.
     
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Borg played for the Cleveland Nets in 1977 World Team Tennis.
     
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  14. Tilden1893

    Tilden1893 New User

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    Panatta always gave Borg tough matches on clay!

    Anyone here know where I can get the 1978 Italian Open Final? Classic stuff!
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Panatta was an excellent but unusual clay-court player: mostly S&V (if I recall correctly).
     
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  16. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    that is interesting how tennis has changed so much in that from what i remember players in the 70s and 80s werent that interested in breaking records. back then there were even 2 sets of rankings - grand prix and wct rankings so there were 2 different tours. it wasnt until the atp unified everything in 1990? that we see how the game is today. back then the most important things were wimbledon, the us open, and the no1 ranking. other big ones would be wct dallas and forrest hills and the year end masters played in jan. the following year. since the money was low, exhibitions were more prevalent but so was tanking from what i recall. and it didnt help that the aus open was played around xmas time. players complain about the schedule now, but it was worse before..
     
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  17. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    I have access to it. It is from Italian broadcast so the commentary is in Italian.
     
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  18. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Post a clip on YT.
     
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  19. Tilden1893

    Tilden1893 New User

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  20. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

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    So Borg won his matches?
     
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  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think he actually played Nastase in the WTT All Star game as the featured singles that year. Laver and Tom Okker were and doubles team and I forgot who they played. I could be wrong about the year.
     
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  22. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    It's really disgraceful that players like Connors, Evert and Borg were banned from the FO for participating in an event that is essentially an ongoing exhibition. And, yes, the money was an important factor. Tennis in the 70's had really just begun to catch fire, so there was big money at events like WTT, Pepsi, etc,etc.
     
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  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree and that's one of the reasons I think it is ridiculous just to use the amount of majors won as the only criteria for greatness. That is like saying a hitter in baseball is only good if he hits a lot of home runs, forgetting about other hits, on base percentage, fielding, baserunning etc.
     
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  24. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm not sure, but Borg was the scoring leader in the men's singles for WTT in 1977, with 220-161 in games won/lost and 28-13 in sets won/lost. Cleveland Nets only finished 4th out of 5 teams in their group, though.

    Connors didn't even know about it and challenged his French Open ban in 1974 by taking legal action against the French Tennis Federation. Connors actually went to Paris in 1974 demanding to play. Borg in 1977 is totally different. He knew that by signing up for WTT, he would rule himself ineligible for the French Open, and he chose WTT. You've got to be in the tournament to have any chance of winning it, and Borg ruled himself out of the 1977 French Open. Vilas entered the 1977 French Open tournament and dominated it from start to finish, losing just 42 games in the whole tournament. Therefore, Vilas is the deserving 1977 French Open champion. It's actually very disrespectful to Vilas when people say "Oh, he only won that French Open because Borg didn't play it that year".
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I'm not seeing how the issue of disrespect is related to whether or not the absent champions wanted to play. That seems to me a different question -- not an unimportant one, at all, but nevertheless different.

    In '74 because of Connors' absence, many people speculate that Connors could/would/should have won. Occasionally someone will state flat-out that Connors would have won (not talking about you here), which is the perfect counterpart to the statement that Vilas only won in '77 because Borg was absent.

    Sure the Connors ban was different from Borg's choice. But for the participating players how does it make a difference? With one guy they say that he won only because his main rival was playing WTT; with the other guy they say that he won only because his main rival was banned. The statements are not different at all in how much the actual champion is being (dis)respected. In each case they're saying that the actual champion won only because of an external factor in his favor -- something that he personally can't take credit for.
     
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  26. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It doesn't for the players who participated. The point I was making is that Borg made the choice not to play the 1977 French Open, and you can't win a tournament if you pull yourself out of it. Connors signed up for WTT in 1974 for Baltimore and intended to play the 1974 French Open, but was denied the opportunity even after he had travelled to Paris and took legal action in a bid to play. Borg in 1977 knew it was a choice between WTT and the French Open, and he chose WTT.
     
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  27. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    With that I have no disagreement.
     
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  28. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Here's an article I found on Borg's signing with the WTT in 1977.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...990910&dq=borg+and+1977+and+french+open&hl=en

    The Feb. 3 article mentions that Borg signed a 3 year $1.5 million deal. The owner of the New Jersey Nets said that he had been "chasing Borg around the world for four years" trying to sign him.

    Borg's quote:

     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  29. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

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    I had forgotten to ask, the WTT was all Borg played between Denver and Wimbledon in 1977?

    What do you guys think would have happened if Borg had played the French Open in 1977? What result do you imagine in a final against Vilas considering the level of Guillermo in that tournament and the level that Borg could have shown(have to imagine this)? If Vilas would have faced Borg instead of Gottfried. Vilas was very confident and playing well, maybe he would have planned a different tactic. I think the match would have been at least a little more difficult to Borg than the 1978 final. Can you guys imagine a result?

    Vilas in French Open 1977.

    Roland Garros, France; 23.05.1977; GS; Outdoor: Clay; Draw: 128

    Round Opponent Ranking Score
    R128 Zeljko Franulovic (CRO) N/A W 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
    R64 Belus Prajoux (CHI) N/A W 2-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-0
    R32 Bernard Mitton (RSA) N/A W 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
    R16 Stan Smith (USA) N/A W 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
    Q Wojtek Fibak (POL) N/A W 6-4, 6-0, 6-4
    S Raul Ramirez (MEX) N/A W 6-2, 6-0, 6-3
    ? Bjorn Borg (SWE) N/A ? ?

    Maybe I will write this in another thread because I'm interested in your opinions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
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  30. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Vilas beats Borg 6/2 6/4 1/6 7/5 !
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Panatta was the reason.Like in 1973.
     
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  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He said, to my recall, that he did it to spend more time with fiancee Marianna Simionescu, since both played for the same WTT team (I don´t recall which anyway).
     
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  33. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

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    1976 really would have been a great chance for Vilas too. Borg lost in quarterfinals...but he had Solomon, which has been many times a tough rival for him. I read Solomon played great, I would like to know if the Vilas of the French Open 1977 would have won that tournament. Then also was Panatta which had previously defeated Vilas in Rome and evidently was playing the best tennis of his life!
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Panatta was touched by God in that summer of 76.He saved like 11 mp in his first match at Rome , against Warwick and ended up taking the title ( he beat Newcombe and Vilas during the tournament).In Paris, he survived I think 7 mp ...in the first round against the czech journeyman Pavel Huttka.He won the title 14 days after.
     
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  35. KG1965

    KG1965 Semi-Pro

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    The attack backhand backspin of Panatta .

    Borg not lost for the event twice by Panatta .
    Panatta suffering terribly because he had a great service but especially the backhand attack cut . Would suffer even Noah !
    So how about hc suffered the big hitters (like Tanner ) .
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    KG965 , In a book I read about the 70´s stars, the chapter on Panatta had the following line: " The summer of the artist".He could certainly not be beaten during that slot of time spent on the european clay courts.

    He also beat Borg in the 1973 French Open.
     
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