Bud Collins and "the Grand Slam"

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

  1. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    In the 'Tennis Champions Classic' only the WCT players were invited so Laver hadn't to face Smith, Kodes or Nastase (Rocket lost successively to Ian and Ilie at Stockholm and Wembley that year) so I don't truly agree that it was like winning 2 true Slam in a row. Besides Laver in his autobiography clearly wrote that those classics were merely exhibitions because sometimes the attendance were poor (if my memory is good he picked up the Boston Garden match against "Rochey") and Laver then understood that the public in the 70's wasn't interested any more in "head-to-head one night-stand" events but at the time already favoured tournaments.
    In the early 70's the Italian champ was important (nowadays it is a "1000" as any other) and in particular in 71 the only great players missing were Rosewall (injured) and Nastase (because Tiriac had convinced Nasty to play Madrid where Ion beat Nasty for the last time) whereas at Roland Garros 1971 were missing exactly 16 (out of the 32) WCT players among them Laver, Rosewall, Okker, Newcombe, Roche (I recognize the latter being already injured enough) ...

    Globally I agree superb SgtJohn's list (that I have recorded to scrutinize it precisely in months to come) except that in my mind he underrates Vines' pro feats in favour of Slam amateur events and that he never picked up Davis Cup events when that competition was the most important of all in the 20's. Tilden was considered as the best in the early 20's mostly because he was unbeaten in Davis Cup and Cochet the same in the late 20's because he beat Tilden in that team event. Here is my list (only since 1950) which is slightly different from SgtJohn because SgtJohn considers that in the 50's one has to select a great clay event each year to be fair to modern players. I answered somewhere that in return in the 2000's one should pick up a true fast court event each year to be fair to ancient players (unhappily a true great fast court tournament doesn't exist anymore : Wimbledon nowadays is "almost" as slow as Roland, of course I'm kidding a little but not so much, and Flushing is considered by the ITF as one of the slowest fast surfaces) : http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=2840980&postcount=45, and http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=2840980&postcount=46
     
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  2. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Thank you for your comments Carlo!
    I actually now agree with you about the surface thing. Selecting a clay event led me to select average events for many years when fast indoors dominated the pro game, or to elevate depleted Roland Garros to major status.

    I posted the new list I'm working on on this thread, because I'm aware the old one had many shortcomings:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=3098705&postcount=41

    By the way, for fairness, i have to say that carlo's list and his and others' interventions on wikipedia were an inspiration to me, for the idea of making such a list as well as for information... I wouldn't want to take all of the credit unfairly.

    Of course all thoughts on any aspect of the list are more than welcome...

    Jonathan
     
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  3. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello Jonathan,

    As some said this forum is of high quality and we learn very much from each other. My own short list has also been made with Jeffrey's or Urban's help on Wiki.
    And Gentlemen AndrewTas and Károly (I don't remember his nickname on other Websites, something like Elegios7) had graciously given me invaluable information.

    Your list is superb and it will take months if not years for me to do the same (these days I'm checking tournaments in 1905, 1910, ...).
    Urban wrote that you made a list of Masters Series. Is this the following post http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1299912&postcount=20
    or is there a complete list since 1877 ?

    Thank you.
     
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  4. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Thank you for your kind words Carlo!

    About the 'Masters Series' list, apart from the thread you quoted, I posted the leader-board for 1877-2007 here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1892810&postcount=14

    I abandoned the idea of such a list for many reasons:

    *apart from the amateur majors and the pro events (thanks to McCauley!), I don't have any draw whatsoever, which virtually makes the list a guessing exercise, based more on reputation of the events that quality of competition. As I try to avoid inaccuracy this is a big drawback.

    *for many years there simply are not enough events. For example from 1947 to 1964, the pros did not have enough events with good fields, so most of the 'Masters Series' winners were amateurs, which obviously gives a deformed view of these times.

    *before the 1930s the top players played only a few tournaments each year, so many of the events I selected were probably extremely depleted. You couldn't have 15-odds events with a majority of the top 10 entering it, as you have today.

    *finally, one of the main aims of the MS list was to account for the great events that did not make it in the 4 majors, but now the coef system allows for much more flexibility in integrating these events...

    Jonathan
     
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  5. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Thank you very much.
     
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  6. Tennisfan!

    Tennisfan! Rookie

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    Thanks to both, Carlo and Jonathan, for post here! :)
     
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can't agree with this at all.

    Navratilova won 6 majors in a row, the last 3 of 1983 and the first 3 of 1984. S. Williams won 4 majors in a row from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open, yet the calendar year fanatics would say that these two players have never won a Grand Slam.

    If someone wins 4 majors in a row, that is a Grand Slam. Whether it was all in a calendar year or not is irrelevant. Don Budge actually won the last 2 majors of 1937, so winning the 1938 French Championships completed the Grand Slam for him. Winning 1938 Wimbledon and 1938 US Championships to complete the calendar year Grand Slam, just made it all "neater".
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
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  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I found these headlines recently, from 1938, when Budge won at Roland Garros.

    Hartford Courant:

    Chicago Tribune:

    An AP story in the Herald-Journal (http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...AIBAJ&pg=3381,3859140&dq=budge+menzel&hl=en):

     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And there had been something similar right after Perry won the 1934 Wimbledon.

    An AP story in The Montreal Gazette:

     
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks for those, Krosero :)
     
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  11. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I have mixed feelings on that. In a way I feel Martina's winning 6 is even better than those who win a Grand Slam by winning 4 or 5 slams in a row. On the other hand she set out to complete the Grand Slam and cracked under the pressure (somewhat) vs Sukova at the 84 Australian Open. She very badly wanted to complete the true Calendar Slam all those years she was so dominant and barely losing a match yet failed to do so.
     
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  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    And might have done it 3 or 4 times had he been eligible to play during his peak 63' through 67'.
     
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    She failed to win the calendar year Grand Slam, yes. But she did win the Grand Slam after she won the 1984 French Open. At that point, Navratilova was the reigning champion of all 4 majors.
     
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  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    WHAT? Say it ain't so! I'm . . . shattered!
     
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  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I relish the opportunity to declaim to Federer fans that he has a grand total of "ZERO" slams! That's when the conversation seamlessly segues to Rod Laver. :)
     
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  16. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    She really wanted to win all 4 in the same year though. She called the 84 Australian Open loss one of her most painful defeats ever.
     
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  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Of course, the calendar year Grand Slam looks very "neat". If she had done it, they'd have been talking about Navratilova's 1984 Grand Slam rather than mentioning that she had just won her 7th major in a row.

    There was the same thing in golf when Tiger Woods held all 4 majors at the same time after winning the 2001 US Masters. Some were saying it wasn't "proper".
     
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  18. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    Martina DID NOT WIN the Grand Slam.

    Read Bud's explanation above. He knows what he is talking about. You don't.
     
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  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    This is simply ignorant. Why should we demean the term "grand slam" to this far lesser accomplishment? Just because you say so?

    It is MUCH different/easier to hold all 4 majors. There is no point in watering down the term this way.
     
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  20. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Martina did not win the 'grand slam' as it has a fixed definition of winning all 4 in the same calendar year, something she never did. You can say what she achieved is just as impressive to you as winning the grand slam, but that's not the same thing.
     
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  21. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I always wondered why Martina lost to young Helena Sukova at the AO, which cost her the Grand Slam. Otherwise she had her in her bag, and Sukova herself wasn't the toughest mentally. In her book with George Vecsey, Martina refers to Vera Sukova, Helanas mother. She coached Martina in her youth, maybe those old memories disturbed her. Also that other big loss to Kathy Horvath at the French, the only loss in the whole year, in not explanable.
     
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  22. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Absolutely correct.

    But, the big key here is, you'd have to be rather irrational to claim holding all 4 slams is as impressive as winning the grand slam! Common sense would tell one that!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
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  23. Bossy

    Bossy New User

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    That's right. Steffi Graf won one Grand Slam in 1988 and not in 1993/1994.
     
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  24. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed.
    It connotes mounting a campaign from the beginning of the year until the end. There is something to that, even though that is not how the concept started in the pre-WWII era.

    Given tennis' historical Grand Slammers (Budge, Connolly, Laver, Court, Graf), I do think it's been established enough that winning all 4 in a calendar year is the real deal. The GOAT standard, if you will (and I will).

    Winning 4 in a row in two separate years is still absolutely awesome, but it's not the original intent of the expression.

    Even the new-ish expression 'calendar slam' sounds cheap to me. There's a Grand Slam, and then there's 4 in a row. Both great. But the GS is the one that'll be remembered for generations.

    The 'Serena Slam', not so much.
     
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  25. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lesser accomplishment? It isn't a lesser accomplishment at all. This "calendar year" fetish is ridiculous. If you are the reigning champion of all 4 majors, you have won the Grand Slam. Why winning 4 in a row in the same calendar year is somehow better than winning 4 in a row over 2 calendar years, is a complete mystery. Winning 4 in a row is winning 4 in a row, however it's done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
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  26. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    So you believe Graf won 2 grand slams then?
     
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  27. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, she did.

    What I'm struggling to understand is why some people think winning 4 in a row in a calendar year is somehow a better achievement than winning 4 in a row any other way, unless it's because it looks "neater" on paper.
     
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  28. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    As I noted above, Budge was credited with a Grand Slam when he had still only won 4 in a row, upon winning Roland Garros. None other than Dan Maskell used the term that way in 1985 at Wimbledon, in reference to Wilander, who had won the AO in Dec. 1984 and Roland Garros in '85.

    If nothing else, the 4-in-a-row argument cannot be described as "just because you say so," as if it's only a couple of TW posters coming up with the idea.
     
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  29. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Good finds, Krosero. But i recall a film clip from Budge's win at Forest Hills in 1938, when an official heralded him as Grand Slam winner. And in his memoirs Budge always referred to his win over Mako as the final step of the Grand Slam. In fact, at the outset of 1938, he stayed amateur despite some pro offers, to win the Grand Slam in 1938.
     
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  30. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It seems the original intent was 4-in-a-row, without reference to the calendar year -- from what I see in the sources named so far. Everyone credits John Kieran of the New York Times with starting the "Grand Slam" terminology for tennis, by borrowing it from bridge. He did it at the 1933 U.S. Nationals, and I've been trying to find the article to see if he attached any importance to the calendar year; however i can't find it in the online archives of the Times (which do not carry every article printed by the Times).

    Anyway Kieran said that Crawford winning the U.S. title would be like a Grand Slam in a game of bridge. He's not referring to bridge championships (still less within a calendar year), but something that happens in a game of bridge.

    When Crawford lost, Danzig referred to a failed quest of a grand slam but did not mention the calendar year one way or another (Crawford had not won the last title of 1932 so the question of doing it over two calendar years simply didn't come up).

    At the end of the year the Times looked back on Crawford's season and said his loss had "prevented him from doing the unprecedented and making a grand slam of the four major crowns of tennis." Again no reference to the idea of doing it within a calendar year.

    Next reference we've seen is less than a year later, with the Associated Press referring to Perry and apparently using the term to mean 4 titles across two calendar years.

    And then there are those headlines in June 1938 crediting Budge with a Grand Slam.

    In September when Budge won in New York, he did get credited again with achieving a "grand slam." And after that, it seems, the idea of a tennis Grand Slam has been wedded to the calendar year (though not without controversy).

    For example, just looking in Google News, I don't see any article crediting Connolly with a Grand Slam after winning the French in 1953.

    But from these early sources it looks (so far) like the original meaning of the term was simply taking all four championships, without reference to the calendar year.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
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  31. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It has to be remembered that in 1933, when Jack Crawford was trying to win the US Championships, nobody had yet won the career Grand Slam in men's tennis, let alone the calendar year Grand Slam. Fred Perry was the first to do the career Grand Slam after he won the 1935 French Championships.
     
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  32. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Well for starters the pressure is much more. That is why Martina didnt achieve it, she wasnt mentally strong enough in the end. She folded under pressure and lost to someone she really shouldnt have. Graf, Court, and Connolly in their primes were all mentally stronger which is why they did achieve it.
     
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  33. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Purism in these matters gets too punctilious. You may want to consult the meaning of terms like metonymy and synecdoche, words whose meaning is made to stand for related words, a part for the whole, or the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus and so on. Not just poetry, but language as a whole is awash in that process and would not have arisen without it. When people say “an iron” in golf, they don’t refer to the chemical element Fe. When Americans say America, they don’t include Patagonia.

    In most cases the process took place so long ago that we are unaware of it, unless you know the etymology of words. A zillion current words which, if you research their origin, once meant something somewhat related, but not what they mean today.
    Mask sounds like an innocent word, right. It ultimately comes from masca, meaning a witch or a spooky specter. Who would have thunk it. And so on almost forever. Just dig a little under any word, and you will see a Pandora box of surprises.

    In the case at hand, the distinction is made clear by the kind of article you use. This player has won a grand slam vs this player has won the grand slam. Everyone grasps the difference immediately.

    The process is more boldly used by poets. When Shakespeare says, describing winter (I quote this because I like this little poem a lot)

    When icicles hang by the wall

    And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
    And Tom bears logs into the hall
    And milk comes frozen home in pail… etc.

    Does he mean that Dick the shepherd blows only one nail, or does it mean he blows on all his fingers to keep them warm?


    Language is not math, and we should all relax and play with it.
     
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  34. Mig1NC

    Mig1NC Professional

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    According to Wikipedia the ITF clarified the Grand Slam as all four consecutively and not in the calendar year in 1982. They awarded Martina the Grand Slam prize money accourdingly.

    Here is the headline:

    http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20088137,00.html

    Quote:

    There, Philippe Chatrier, president of the International Tennis Federation, presented her with a bonus, a small piece of paper imprinted with the words, "One million dollars only." A delighted Navratilova stuck the check in her alligator purse, noting, "When you win $25,000 at a small tennis tournament they give you a check the size of a house, but when it's $1 million, it's the size of a parking ticket."
     
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  35. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    If someone wins all 4 majors in his/her career, that is a Grand Slam. Whether it was all in a calendar year or not is irrelevant.
    So Agassi has won a Grand Slam.
     
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  36. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    And why is it better to win 4 in a row than 4 within 12 years?
    After all 4 wins are 4 wins!!!
     
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  37. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    What I don't understand then is why Navratilova was so devastated when she lost to Sukova at the AO 84. Didn't she have the GS in the bag already?
     
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  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    That's the career Grand Slam. The Grand Slam is holding all 4 majors at the same time.

    4 in a row is dominance for a 12 month period in the biggest tournaments.

    She was upset for a few reasons. 1. She had won her last 47 matches in major tournaments and that was brought to an end. 2. The "experts" love the neatness of a calendar year Grand Slam, like with Don Budge in 1938, Maureen Connolly in 1953, Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 and Margaret Court in 1970, and she had failed to match that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
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  39. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Hahaaa, yes! We'll be sure to let him know!
     
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  40. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    #90
  41. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    It is amazing that Martina lost only 3 matches in 1983 and 1984 yet 2 of those were to a a very young Sukova and Kathy Horvath.
     
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  42. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Sukova was older than Graf was when she won the Grand Slam (the real one, not the mustard one).
     
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  43. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    The Mustard slam? It has a ring to it...
     
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  44. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    By the time the ITF tried to intervene, the understanding of the Grand Slam as all four majors in a calendar year was the stuff of tradition. There were four players who had achieved the distinction by then.

    Three of them were still living in 1982. The traditional three (as I will call them), namely Budge, Laver, and Court. didn't take too kindly to having their rare distinction simplified by the ITF. Publicly, they took issue with the ITF's promotion. At the behest of the traditional three, the ITF withdrew its claims about the Grand Slam and never again recognized a non-calendar, four in a row as a true Grand Slam.
     
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  45. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Explain please why winning 4 majors in a row in a calendar year is better than winning 4 majors in a row over 2 calendar years. After Serena Williams won the 2003 Australian Open, she was the reigning champion of all 4 majors. How is that not the Grand Slam?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
    #95
  46. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    Does that come with hash browns?
     
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  47. Bossy

    Bossy New User

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    The French Open of 1983 would have been the start of her 1983 Grand Slam, so maybe she already felt the pressure against Horvath.
     
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  48. adidasman

    adidasman Professional

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    Sorry. You're just wrong. The term has a definition, and your feelings to the contrary (not to mention those of others) don't change that fact.
     
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  49. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I asked Joe Pike, and now I'll ask you:

    Explain please why winning 4 majors in a row in a calendar year is better than winning 4 majors in a row over 2 calendar years. After Serena Williams won the 2003 Australian Open, she was the reigning champion of all 4 majors. How is that not the Grand Slam?
     
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  50. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    From a probabilistic standpoint, it is harder to accomplish, fewer chances of doing it.

    From a statistical standpoint, fewer players have accomplished four in a row in a calendar year.

    From a traditional standpoint, it is what it is. Budge did it first and others followed, Connolly, Laver (x2), Court, and Graf.

    From a historical standpoint, tennis historians like Bud Collins have continued to valorise the distinction.
     

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