Bud Collins and "the Grand Slam"

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by AndrewTas, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. AndrewTas

    AndrewTas Rookie

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    A recent article on the ABC (Australia) web site by Bud Collins.

    Expand slam
    19 January 2009

    Hail the Conquering Hero! (But please don't keep on demeaning him.)

    I'm talking about that red-headed, left-handed spellbinding lad, Rodney George Laver, a refugee from a Queensland station. Well, he hasn't fallen off a horse for some time, or wielded the sweetest racket this side of heaven. But he's among us again to help salute the 40th anniversary of his most recent Grand Slam. (There were two.) And of course the celebration will largely take place in the tennis pen named for him at Melbourne Park.

    Known as "The Rocket," he is the genuine item, one of merely five Grand Slammers in the vast history of tennis, and yet he is demeaned. I don't suggest that folks are sledging Laver or throwing rotten tomatoes as he walks by. No, not that kind of insult. Certainly many of us - though he has been off the court for three decades - believe that no other nation has produced a Conquering Hero of his accomplishments. This is not to discount such latter day phenoms as Federer, Sampras, Agassi, Nadal. But none of them owns a Grand Slam.

    You see, Laver, as well as Aussie Margaret Smith Court and German Steffi Graf - the only Grand Slammers still with us - are victims of careless, really disrespectful, use of language by journalists and commentators.

    They throw around "Grand Slam" thoughtlessly. The Australian Open, despite all the trumpeting, is not a Grand Slam. Nor are Wimbledon, the French and U.S. Opens. They are the four majors. A true Grand Slam is winning all four within a calendar year. Alone at that summit: Americans Don Budge (1938) and Maureen Connolly (1953), Laver (1962 and 1969), Court (1970), Graf (1988).

    Connecting "Grand Slam" with anyone else or any one championship is confusing to the public, and makes light of the rarest deeds of the Quintessential Quintet - Budge, Connolly, Laver, Court, Graf.

    An Aussie champion, Jack Crawford, like Margaret Court a native of Albury, inspired the Grand Slam possibility. In 1933 Crawford conquered Australia, France and Wimbledon. Nobody had done that before. Despite the tiring campaign, and suffering from asthma, he nevertheless clambered to the U.S. final, and John Kieran, a New York Times columnist, wrote that "if Crawford wins, it will be something like a grand slam in bridge, taking all the tricks."

    Alas, "Gentleman Jack," as he was called, one of the most popular Aussies, could not do the undone. He made it to the fifth set, but his was a house of cards, razed by a Pom, Fred Perry, and Grand Slam speculation was shelved for five years. Until along came a lanky Californian, Don Budge, who went all the way, and dined out on the Slam - his private property for years.

    Laver was born the year of Budge's extravaganza, 1938. Rod made his first Slam as an amateur, turned pro, and had to wait until 1969 when the four majors were at last open to all. Budge had kept his Slam intentions a secret, to reduce the pressure from the press.

    Contrastingly, in 1969 Laver made it clear that he was aiming for his second Slam amid all the best players in existence. "You're the only one with a chance to Slam if you win the Australian, the first leg," he said, having done so in 1960 only to flop at the French, losing to Spaniard Manolo Santana in the third round. He was shut out immediately in 1961, beaten in the Aussie finale at Kooyong by fellow country boy Roy Emerson.

    Appropriately, his second Slam was launched in Queensland, a title round defeat of Spaniard Andres Gimeno when the Open was staged on Brisbane grass. Laver rocketed the rest of the way on a New South Wales route, beating Ken Rosewall for the French title, John Newcombe at Wimbledon and Tony Roche in New York.

    For a long while I felt that Roger Federer would be the next Grand Slammer. Thrice he grasped three of the prizes (2004, 06-07), but Parisian clay was his quicksand, and Rafa Nadal his nemesis the last four years. I know that a Federer admirer, the impeccable sportsman Laver, would welcome Roger to the ultra-exclusive club. It may come to pass, and would bring greater attention to the game.

    Meanwhile, whenever I hear or read that Federer has 13 Grand Slams, one behind Pete Sampras's male record, I wince, and wish I could wash the offender's mouth out with laundry soap. You can understand, I hope, that such is loose use, and slights what the legit Slammers have done. Laver would never complain - but I will.

    However, you may counter, "Is the definition of a Grand Slam a regulation, chiseled in marble somewhere?"

    Sadly, no. But Melbourne Park would be a good place for it: "The road to a Grand Slam starts here."

    Until then, repeat after me: "A Grand Slam is the winning all four majors within a calendar year - and only that."

    All the while wondering how in hell Laver did it twice.
     
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  2. FiveO

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    Amen.........

    5
     
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  3. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Seconded..........
     
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  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Bud is right, of course. The ITF confused the cristal-clear definition somewhat, when they gave Martina a bonus money for completing the foursome in 83/84, but not in a calendar year. I think, in Golf too, the definition has shifted somewhat: Bobby Jones won four in 1930, but it included the US and British amateur, not the pro Grand Slam of today. I think, in Rugby they have a Grand Slam, too, regarding the European championships.
     
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  5. rolandg

    rolandg Semi-Pro

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    He's being a bit pedantic. Does anyone except the most anally retentive person care what terminology is used?
     
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  6. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    He's right. But what a drama queen. Which is what makes him the game's most [ahem] distinctive scribe. Also, he hardly has a broadcasting gig anymore, so anything he gets printed is a bonus.

    I do like the way he embraces the vernacular of his audience (i.e., calling Fred Perry a 'Pom').
     
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  7. adidasman

    adidasman Professional

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    Spot on, Bud. Preach it, bay-bee. I blame Sampras for demeaning the phrase "Grand Slam"; it seems he was the first to call an individual part of the Grand Slam "a Slam." Now everyone does it. Say what you like about Bud's unique style, but nobody knows the game the way he does.
     
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  8. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    Well...I do feel his "speech" is a bit pompous, but I also think his conclusions are fair.
    This "terminology" is confusing for the "average" tennis fan, and it does tend to "minimize" Laver's (for example) achievements.
    You don't need to look any further than this forum (General Player Discussion mostly) where a GOAT debate is ongoing 24/7 and people keep bringing up Sampras' "14 slams" as the only criteria valid for clarifying this debate.
    And...at least in theory, this forum should be way above the average fan out there when it comes to tennis knowledge (sadly we all know there are plenty of ignorant posters burying valuable input from knowledgeable people with the sheer number of their posts).
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
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  9. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Lendl regularly called majors "Grand Slams" as well.
     
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  10. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Right and wrong. Bud is correct about the true essence of a "Grand Slam", but m'man Pete is not to blame for demaning the term. As far back ass 1990 (before Pete won a major), I recall many tv stations, particularely ESPN at the Australian Open, would post Lendl's (and ther players) profiles and it would go......

    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 175 lbs
    Residence: Greenwich, CO
    Current rank: #1
    Aus Open Best Result: 1989 Champion

    Has 7 Grand Slam titles.


    Many commentators from Carillo to Dyrsdale would say the same. I thin the same thing was said in the 1990 US Open QF vs Sampras, Lendl has won 8 Grand slam titles. Maybe in a parallel universe, but I don't know where and when Lendl won 32 majors.

    Yes Sampras is guilty for misusing the term "Grand Slam", but to blame him for demaning it, no. He wasn't the originator, nor the one who poularized it. It just followed him when he was the one who had the greatest chance of surpassing Emerson's 12 majors.
     
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  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    As far as I'm concerned, Collins has done what he has always done, taken something to an extreme. I think Colllins does this for the benefit of the more casual fan.

    There is no Grand Slam without tournaments. So, one could refer to the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and the US Open as Grand Slam Tournaments. If then one refers to these tournaments as Slams, that is different than referring to them as Grand Slams individually. All 4 Slams in a calendar year = Grand Slam.
     
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  12. GS

    GS Professional

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    Collins wrote "The Encyclopedia of Tennis". My '03 edition of it cost me under 10 bucks, used. It's 938 pages. This guy knows more tennis history than anyone on the planet Earth, but everyone slams him. I don't get it. Yeah, he's alittle nutty on TV (at least they rarely show his crazy pants now, designed to make harmless fun), but when he dies, who would you want to replace him? The wonderful Andy Rooney, or maybe Dick-head Enberg?
    Jeez, just deal with Bud while you can. He's not a full-time commentator....
     
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  13. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Rabbit,

    I agree that Collins has always been about as understated in his words, as he as he has been in his wardrobe selections.

    However, a Slam event, is not a Slam. Just like the Belmont is not the Triple Crown or the Masters a Slam. Other sports have tended to watch their descriptions more carefully.

    I also think Collins was understated in one sense, in that he avoided "slamming" those who attained things called "non-calendar", "Serena" or "career Slams". I think those ommissions from this piece rang pretty loud, with me at least, and were the unspoken thrust of the piece.

    A Grand Slam is just that and should be with the same reverence as golf hold's it's own. While the media dubbed Tiger's exploits as a *******ized form of a similar achievement, in my heart, they cringed at his non-calendar achievement being labeled a "slam".

    There's a World Series, a Super Bowl, the Triple Crown and a Grand Slam in both tennis and golf. The events that make up the latter are Majors. A Grand Slam is and should be one thing, unique, special, almost completely out of reach, and that is winning all four Majors in a single year.

    Rabbit, you know I value your opinion, but I have to side with the guy in the funny pants on this one.


    5
     
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  14. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Thank you thank you thank you, Bud Collins.

    I have been warring with many posters' ghastly usage of 'grand slam' for quite a while now.

    It's really just a lazy American media approach to things - Americans love to simplify and shorten everything. The problem is that they don't understand the fallacy involved. The grand slam is several things, a stack of things, a combination of things. It is something consisting of particles, tricks or hands. A grand slam in tennis consists of grand slam titles or majors. Not grand slams. Not slams.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
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  15. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Bud's technically right, and commentators could be more careful, but IMO, it just doesn't matter. All true tennis fans know the significance of winning 1 major compared to winning all 4 within a calendar year, no matter what each accomplishment is rightfully or wrongfully called.
     
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  16. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I see your point (and Collins'). I tried to allude to that in the first part of my post where I referenced Collins' target audience as the more casual fan. I really don't have a problem with what he says, it's really his delivery.

    Reading bluetrain's post, he says better what I tried to say.
     
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  17. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    That's not true, you never know :)
     
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  18. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    Not true at all.
    Look here AndrewTas, urban, jeffreyneave and chaognosis posts.
    Greetings. :)
     
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  19. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    I'm forgeting great comments by Carlo G Colussi too...
     
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  20. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Bud Collins is a fountain of knowledge, but I tend to agree that the man does cater, in his writings, to the casual fan.

    There are better encyclopedias out there, like Clerici's. On the pros, McCauley (though, not exactly an encyclopedia).

    The finest books to me are those that are heavily analytical and opinionated. Collins's tend to be bland and generic.

    But, regardless of his style and commercially appealing approach, the man knows his stuff.
     
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  21. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Really, is that why Borg called them 'slams' in the 70s?

    I like Bud, but this term has been used all over the world for a long time, move on(I have some matches he called in the 80s he was going on & on about this then as well) does it make that much of a difference to some of you to say 'Grand Slam tournament' instead of 'Grand Slam?'

    And like urban said, maybe the ITF are most responsible for any confusion since they gave Martina a bonus for winning 4 in a row. She still probably thinks she won a real Grand Slam(she insisted she had when Graf was going for a Real Slam in '88)
     
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  22. CEvertFan

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    I don't see anything wrong with referring to them as either a Grand Slam tournament/event/title or a major as to me they mean the same thing. Winning a Grand Slam title (or a major for those of you who don't like that particular usage) isn't remotely the same as winning the calendar "Grand Slam" and as a long time tennis fan I've never had trouble understanding what commentators or players were referring to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
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  23. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Henceforth, I shall make a practice of referring to them as Majors.
     
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  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Borg was never the sharpest knife in the drawer. I don't see your point.
     
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  25. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    I do - ' Grand Slam' = *4* majors in a calender year, after that they're majors or slams. not rocket science.
     
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  26. NineMileSkid

    NineMileSkid Rookie

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    Golf solves this problems by referring to their championships as majors. So, for example, Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam, and Jack Nicklaus, who has never won the Grand Slam, has won the most majors, or 18.
     
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  27. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    They're majors. Not slams. You say that it's not rocket science, and yet you don't even know basic terminology. Kind of ironic.
     
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  28. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    We are all (or almost all) passionate amateurs here, who rely mainly on second-hand informations and reports. Guys like Bud Collins are pros, they were true eyewitnesses of all these great matches, that's a big difference.
     
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  29. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I agree exactly and completely!

    To be most correct, we can call the four individual national championships "majors." Or to be less technical, we can call them "slams."

    But there is only one true Grand Slam, as so defined. There can be only one!!! The Everest of the game of tennis.






    And please, no one should bring up that most laughable of recent media inventions manifestly designed to "resurrect" the popularity of tennis in the US among shallow fans: the "career slam."
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
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  30. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed.
    For me, ''majors'' smacks of golf culture.
    I call them slams with a small 's'.

    Win all four, it's a Grand Slam....which evidently came from the French expression, "grand chelem''.

    I'm also semi- with you on the 'career slam'. I mean, it is a heck of an accomplishment, and I want to celebrate it. I want to marvel that Serena and Andre and Navratilova won all four slams at least once. Incredible career. Of slams.
     
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  31. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    "slam" comes from bridge: def. the winning of all the tricks or all but one during the play of one hand in bridge and other whist-derived card games.

    Winning 'tricks' as in winning each of the four grand slam events.

    The slam is the grand slam. The grand is just added for padding.

    "Grand slam title", however, makes sense, because it means "the title that belongs to the grand slam". This is generally what most responsible history books use. Sometimes majors.
     
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  32. Borgforever

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    I never heard Borg confuse Grand Slam tourneys with The Grand Slam. Björn was very careful in this. He knew his stuff really well and tennis history in particular. When some journo tried to put him in his place asking him if he knew who William Renshaw was he wasn't taken off guard. Lennart was a tennis history buff -- and Björn scooped up all the knowledge he could. I mean Sampras had no clue who Pancho Gonzales was -- his own countryman -- even late in his career.

    In Swedish Borg always talked about the four majors as "dom fyra stora", i.e. "the four greats" or "majors" or Grand Slam turnering, i.e. Grand Slam tourney -- never from what I've heard saying Slams or such.

    Paying your respect and displaying dignity was high up on Björn's priorites -- I think that's very apparent...
     
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  33. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I seem to recall Borg very recently saying 'slam'. He probably hung out with McEnroe too much.

    Bjorn is a dry fellow. I love him, but strictly for his body.:)
     
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  34. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Sampras himself was a quite kean observer of tennis history (his mentor Fischer showed him often old matches) and he often referred to majors.
     
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  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Really? I had no idea that Sampras was this uninformed.
     
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  36. CEvertFan

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    I agree that winning the Grand Slam means only one very specific thing but I still don't see what all the hoopla is over calling the big 4 tournaments either majors or Grand Slam titles/tournaments or slams as they are all technically correct. A slam is a major or a Grand Slam tournament/title and if you win all 4 slams/majors/Grand Slam tournaments/titles in a calendar year you have won the Grand Slam. Sampras has the record with 14 majors/slams/Grand Slam titles and Federer needs one more slam/Grand Slam title/major to equal him. Steffi Graf, Margaret Court and Maureen Connolly have all won the Grand Slam. Tennis Channel has dubbed itself "Home of the Slams" because they now have the rights to broadcast all 4 slams/Grand Slam tournaments/majors. See, it's not rocket science.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
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  37. Borgforever

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    #37
  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    No, it's not rocket science but it is a confusing and misleading use of language. Reading what you wrote above the casual tennis fan will say "Wow! Pete Sampras has won 14 Grand Slams, and Rocket Laver has only two. No wonder Sampras is the Greatest!"

    For whom is this accurate or fair? No one. (Not the fan, not Laver, not even Sampras.)
     
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  39. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    On the knowledge of tennis history. I think, its not the fault of players, to know so few things about pre 1968 tennis. In the early 90s, there was no internet, no Collins encyclopedias, only a few, quite expensive books (Clerici or Tingay i recall), mainly in English, which were not easy to find access to. As a German i could find only some tennis related books, when i visited London or Paris. And often these Tennis books centred around Wimbledon and didn't represent the pro tennis era at all. And there was not much TV coverage of tennis before the era of Becker and Graf, and the emerging of new Sports Channels all over the world.
    Boris Becker knew nothing about the era before Borg, whom he had seen at Wimbledon on German TV. Sampras had some access due to Fischer.
    But in those days, no one of the younger generation had people like Laver ever seen play, with the exception of a few clips.Now, on you tube and with the help of the internet, more people have access to tennis information, pictures and films. And going by the reaction of viewers on you tube (up to 32000), many are suprised, that people like Laver could really play tennis, and could play in a astonishing modern way with all spins and angles.
     
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  40. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    If the casual tennis fan you refer to doesn't have a brain then perhaps he or she will be confused, but if you don't know something then you LEARN. Like I said it isn't rocket science.
     
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  41. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello Andrew,

    if you look at his encyclopedias, Collins already stated that winning the Slam was winning those 4 tourneys in a same year and not winning only one of those events.

    However this definition is not carved in marble. To win a Slam should be to win the greatest events of a year and as we had demonstrated in many posts in that forum, the Slam tournaments weren't automatically the true great events if we consider the whole tennis competition history.

    Therefore I don't completely agree Collins's claim but I recognize that a Slam tournament is very much easier to win than the modern Slam so Collins is right to recall what the Slam is. However I do not agree that it should be engraved in Melbourne Park because nothing proves that one day or another, the Australian Open (or another of the Slam tournaments or even all) one (or even all) won't lose his status. Nothing is rigid. For instance perhaps the future Madrid tournament will take Garros' place as a Slam tournament and the same can be considered about Wimbledon, Flushing or Melbourne.
    And if we look at he past one can see that the Slam notion is relatively recent. As late as 1953, Budge wasn't considered as the Slam winner but as the winner of the 4 great championships. Slam possibly became a true label in tennis when Hoad nearly made it in 1956.

    I just recall some facts about the Slam :
    Journalist John Kieran seemed to have borrowed the expression "Grand Slam" from the bridge which he applied to tennis, when Jack Crawford, reached the US amateur final in 1933, after having won the Australian, French, Bristish amateur champs.
    Then Allison Danzig, of the New York Times (I think Kieran wrote in the same newspaper) used this expression (that he borrowed from golf but the golf had done the same from the bridge) after Kieran, only after Crawford lost to Perry.
    Then this notion was forgotten until 1938 when John Donald Budge accepted to stay amateur another year in order to defend the Davis Cup for his country. Because at the time, there was the system of the Challenge Round in the Davis Cup, Budge had to play at most 2 singles matches and one doubles match through the entire year 1938. Though the Davis Cup was the main goal of the amateur circuit then, to play just three days in a year was very short so Budge, to fill his year, decided to enter the championships of the countries which had won the Davis Cup in the previous years (USA, British Isles, Austral(as)ia and France). At the time because of money and transport reasons, Budge would never have thought to go to Australia but in September 1937 Norman Brookes came to California and watched the players at the Pacific Coast Champs (and possibly at the PSW a few days before), and, as President of the ALTA, Brookes decided to invite Budge and Eugene Constance Mako, in Australia to play there the down under summer circuit. Then Budge told only his doubles partner Mako that he would try to win the 4 events. But as many of you know pretty well, those tourneys weren't the greatest events : the Davis Cup was much more important and besides the best pros, Vines, Perry, Nüsslein, couldn't play them.
    Budge himself said in his autobiography that his performance was just greeted by a few lines in a paper where the expression "Grand Slam" wasn't even written anywhere. As I have said earlier this expression became truly known in 1956 that is 80 years after the first known tournament. And in reality those 4 tournaments were considered as the true foundations of the Slam only circa 1983-1988 when the Australian became a true major (in years before McEnroe, Borg, Connors, Nastase and others neglected that tourney).
    In conclusion "Grand Slam" is truly the Graal since 2 decades or a little more.
    Among the 3 Slams won by the men only the last one, in 1969, really deserves that label and at that time even Laver didn't consider the Australian Open as part of the Slam : he considered that the Italian or the South African or the German Opens had more credentials.
    So one day probably the greatest events won't be anymore those of today.
     
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  42. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    It's not players' fault nevertheless they weren't or are really curious. Why one day I became interested in tennis history ? Because I've seen Rosewall's name in the 1953-1956 era and again his name in the 1968-1972 era.
    I found it strange that a great champion won almost each year supposed great events then had a huge gap of 11 years and then won again almost each year for 5 years. I wonder if he had been injured or had given up tennis for a decade. I couldn't understand. Even Laver's record seemed strange to me at the time with his 6-year gap.
    This is why I began to make researches.
    Of course players have no time to do that but once their career is over they could be interested a little more but generally this isn't the case.
    About old players as you stated we can now found some videos. A few days ago I went to the Roland Garros Tenniseum (contraction for "Tennis" and "Museum") and I watched only 45 seconds of a match between Vines and Tilden at the Madison (possibly the 1934 one) and I rather enjoyed the very short video because I've seen for the first time those ancient players who played rather well. Of course we can't really judge them on such a brief extract but I was really pleased.
     
    #42
  43. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for your greetings. I've posted two comments on page 3.
     
    #43
  44. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Carlo, the amateur Grand Slam was seen as the highest point in an amateur tennis career by Gordon Forbes in his memoir from 1962. And in articles around 1950 on Budge (i think one is in 'Total Tennis'), Budge was hailed as the Grand Slam winner. I don't know, whether You have seen it: On the thread 'check out old greats on vid' above this section are some old movietone clips from the pro tour 1930 to 1960 by the poster Marcos.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
    #44
  45. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello Urban,
    first thank for the videos (I haven't yet watched them because I haven't much time).
    About Budge I've seen it in the French reports of the Wembley and Paris Pro tournaments in 1953.
    Budge in his own autobiography said that in 38 his Slam wasn't labelled as that in the American papers.
    In 39 no amateur had this goal in mind : for instance the USLTA had no intention to send Riggs to Australia (or the ALTA to invite him) and the war prevented many players to enter all the 4 events. For instance the best French players (Pétra and Pierre Pellizza) were enlisted in the French Army when the French Champs were held (though in May the war wasn't yet declared) and so couldn't play their own Championship. Brookes, as ALTA president, didn't want to send his national team in Europe (Roland and Wimby) because he wanted his guys to win the Davis Cup (held by the USA), and so on ...
    And just after WWII, the Slam wasn't a goal. In December 1946 Kramer and Schroeder had clearly beaten the Aussies in the Davis Cup but didn't want to stay a few weeks more to play the Australian Champs in January 1947 which they could probably have won easily. The best Americans (and Europeans) were very rarely invited to play the Australian circuit in the late 40's and early 50's (Talbert and Mulloy in 46-47 or Drobny, Sturgess in 49-50 or Savitt, Larsen in 50-51). It is clear that only a top Australian could likely be the first one to eventually won the first Slam after WWII because players at that time couldn't easily cross the oceans. Budge could have won the amateur Slam in 1937 had he been invited in Australia in late 1936 but it wasn't the case.
    So Sedgman, Rosewall and Hoad as Australians, living in Australia (later many Australian players lived in the USA) were the first ones who truly had an opportunity to win the Slam while Kramer, Schroeder, Gonzales, Patty, Drobny hadn't.
     
    #45
  46. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Think they should talk in terms of Majors won not GrandSlams (including Pro Majors)

    I think there should be a new terminology. They should talk about how many 'majors' a player has one, not how many grandslams. Grandslam tournaments as we know are the Australian, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. These certainly are the current 'Major' tournaments. I think there should be a wider definition of what a Major is. I think that Pro GrandSlam events (Wembly, US Pro, French Pro) should be included in the list of 'Majors'. Hence, it would then be permissable to say that Ken Rosewall has won 23 Majors, Laver has won 19 Majors, Sampras 14 Majors, Federer 13 Majors etc.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_male_players_statistics

    The reason for this is what it is realistic statement of actual winning performances (particularly from the 50's and 60's).

    Also, upon Reflection Federer isn't chasing Sampras' total of 14, he actually should be chasing Rosewall's total of 23. (Kind of puts into perspective how good Rosewall was).
     
    #46
  47. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello timnz,

    originally I created the Wikipedia article on December 12, 12:59, 2006 because I thought then that the pre-open pro players were completely underrated. Because one is supposed to be neutral in Wikipedia I decided to select both the Slam amateur tournaments and the "supposed" major pro tournaments to give those players the credit they deserve. In fact such selections have been made by Peter Rowley in his book about Rosewall entitled "Ken Rosewall Twenty Years at the Top" then Robert Geist did the same in his book "DER GRÖSSTE MEISTER Die denkwürdige Karriere des australischen Tennisspielers Kenneth Robert Rosewall". So I used this system to create the aforementioned article but however I wasn't (I still am not) satisfied at all with it because it doesn't take into account the true greatest events. This is why I've written in that article the following remark :
    Fundamental remark
    As any statistics, those of this article should be prudently considered because
    a) they are mixing performances of the amateur circuit (until 1967), the professional circuit (until 1967) and the open circuit (since 1968 )
    and b) they don't always take into account the greatest events of a given year (see the 1959 example above).
    For instance Rosewall's amateur successes between 1953 and 1956 aren't worth much because the very best players were professionals and then couldn't play the same events as Rosewall.


    Then below in that article I've detailed which events in my mind should be considered as truly majors won by Rosewall (at the time I've counted 21 events but I'm not completely sure that Wembley 1957 and WCT 71 have to be counted). I've also detailed Rosewall's career in the English Wikipedia site and in the French one (I'm French) : see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall. In Wikipedia you are supposed to give factual informations and to be neutral. About Rosewall I've been "non-neutral" both in the English and French articles by writing a paragraph called "Classements annuels (professionnels et amateurs ensemble)" or "Rosewall’s combined amateur-professional annual rankings (rough estimations due to the absence of official rankings before 1973)" in the English version. The French administrators being less "severe" than the English one you could look at the French version this paragraph not yet erased, to have an indication of Rosewall's annual rankings. These rankings aren't truly my own rankings because when it was possible I chose rankings edited in previous publications (to respect the "neutral" clause). You can also see the old English version (January 17 15:08, 2007) with those rankings at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php...e_absence_of_official_rankings_before_1973.29.

    I give you an example explaining why I don't think the amateur Slam tournaments are majors.
    In January 1953 Rosewall won the Australian amateur champ but in this tournament, Trabert, Drobny, Patty, Larsen, Nielsen, Sven Davidson and other great amateurs didn't enter that championship and above all the pros were forbidden to compete there. It means that Segura, Kramer, Sedgman, Gonzales, McGregor, Budge, Kovacs, Pails, Riggs and others were also absent. So in my opinion, Australia 1953 is not a Rosewall's major victory.

    If we select the true majors, players as H.L. Doherty, Tilden, Gonzales, Rosewall and Laver deserve about 20 wins or more.

    Have a good reading.

    PS : in Wikipedia I’m registered as “Carlo Colussi”. When I entered the tt-tennis forum later I realized that a “Carlo Colussi” was already registered so I had no choice but to use my full name in that forum “Carlo Giovanni Colussi”
     
    #47
  48. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    You are right, but as Carlo said, the difficulty is distinguishing between these events which were really significant ( for instance, for the open Era alone, eliminating Wimbledon '73, a bunch of 70s RG and AOs, etc.), and replacing them.
    Have a look here at an example of this approach:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=1892492#post1892492
    (only an example, far from perfect)

    Jonathan
     
    #48
  49. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I agree about taking the top 4 from any year - but no one would agree to that

    Hello,

    I guess recognition comes from an established tradition of a tournament being regarded as one of the greatest.

    I agree that the best way to access the dominance of a player in a particular year is to start to look at what were the top 4 tournaments of that year and ask how did the player in question do in those tournaments.

    The problem is that if you want the powers that be to accept something as a 'major' there would need to be more standardisation. And as there is not, the best we can do is to look at the 3 traditional Pro Grand Slam majors.

    Nice list though. Interesting that Lavers 1971 win in Rome is considered superior to the Roland Garros win (by another player who Laver beat in Rome).
     
    #49
  50. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Agree with top 4 approach with reservations

    I enjoyed reading that section. I have to say that I think I disagree with their top 4 tournaments in 1970 and 1971. Laver won the 'Tennis Champions Classic' both those years. In 1971, Laver achieved the seemingly impossible feat of winning 13 straight matches against the cream of the world's pros in the Tennis Champions Classic. That is like winning two Grand Slam tournaments back to back in a row!
     
    #50

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