Career omisson - whose is the most painful?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    A lack of a French major is the one real knock against Gonzales.

    If Gonzales had won the 1956 French Pro final (he lost in 5 sets to Trabert), I think it would have been arguably the greatest year for a player in the history of tennis. Gonzales thrashed Trabert 74-27 on their 1956 world pro tour, and won the Wembley Pro, US Pro and the Tournament of Champions. This was Gonzales at his absolute peak, certainly in terms of results.
     
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  2. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Budge had six slams in a row. Still a record.

    I know: no WCT title. No gold medal.
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Budge actually won all three Pro Majors besides the Amateur Majors so you can actually say he won the full Career Slam (I dislike that term by the way) and one Rod Laver can also claim that.

    Emerson won all the classic majors but as we all know it is devalued somewhat because he didn't play against all the top players. I doubt if he would have won all four of the classic majors if Rosewall, Laver, Gimeno, Hoad, Sedgman and Gonzalez were playing in those years during his prime.
     
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  4. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem,

    Yes, Budge with six Grand Slam titles has the record but only if we omit pro majors.

    If we include the latters we come to 9 majors in a row of Rosewall (where he participated). Tilden has won 8 majors where he participated.
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think Connolly may have matched Rosewall with the women with nine majors in a row in which she participated.
     
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  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Tilden's 8 were all Grand Slam titles (from 1920-25). He has that over Budge; no pro majors needed.

    However Budge was the victor in 6 consecutive Grand Slam events, which is still the record in the classic majors (Tilden's maximum was two in a row, the Wimby/US double).

    What is the longest streak in the pro majors, without skipping any?

    By the way, who stopped Rosewall's streak of 9 majors won in which he participated?
     
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I believe the US Pro was the first pro major of 1964 in chronological order. If that is the case, then Rod Laver beat Ken Rosewall in the semi finals, and then beat Pancho Gonzales in the final.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In 1956, Lew Hoad won 3 out of 4 majors, and lost in the final of the last one, Forest Hills, to Rosewall.
     
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  9. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Amphetamines are on the banned substances list because they can be used for all manner of performance enhancing uses - even for tennis (for example, the ramp up training intensity in hot conditions). Whether or not they're traditionally associated with some aspect of training or match-play which could benefit a tennis player is somewhat irrelevant.

    The timing however I get people point out the different years. But, considering how the whole thing was covered up in the first instance by the authorities, Agassi plain lying about it and then admitting it in a book over a decade later, I'd say the dates shouldn't be taken as gospel at all.
     
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  10. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    I think that Rosewall also was best regarding winning pro majors in a row:five titles from French Pro 1962 to Wembley 1963.

    By the way, Rosewall was handicapped by food poisoning in his match against Laver in the 1964 US Pro.
     
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  11. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I would argue that if Lendl had played as well in the first two sets as he did in the final three, he could have won in straight sets. He was the better player on the surface and the better player on the day.

    Even then the first two sets were actually closer than the scoreline suggested. Mac was getting jaded as the match progressed and was desperate to shorten the points, coming to the net on both his and Lendl's second serves. Lendl pretty mercilessly passed and lobbed him.

    That match may be the most overrated, overhyped choke ever. Mac losing it had nothing to do with nerves or getting tight, and everything do to with Lendl's play and his own fatigue. Still he played a pretty high standard of tennis right until the end.

    It's a shame that so many people just blindly follow Mac's woefully inaccurate interpretation of the match, rather than sitting down and actually watching it from start to finish. Even many tennis writers who stupidly labelled this match as one of the greatest chokes of all-time, admitted that they hadn't even seen it in full. Mac certainly hasn't watched the match since he played in it. There haven't been too many better quality grand slam finals during the open era than this match.

    Nowadays his relationship with Lendl is easing. However it is pretty clear that he deliberately spouted false statements about how he choked and was a break up in the 3rd set (which of course wasn't the case), to avoid giving any credit to Lendl at all. For many years he even refused to acknowledge that he shared a great rivalry with Lendl, despite them playing each other 36 times, and so often on the biggest stages.

    While he hated Connors, he had a grudging respect for him and viewed him as a worthy adversary, frequently praising his game and fighting spirit even when they were both active players. However during his career he clearly didn't feel that Lendl deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as him.

    Lendl did everyone a big favour by winning that match. Imagine how much more unbearable, egotistical and self-obsessed Mac would have been had he won it instead.
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It wasn't a choke. More a case of McEnroe's level dropping off as he struggled with his serving and had less fitness than Lendl. Lendl was also determined to come back after losing the first 2 sets, instead of going into a shell like he had in his 2 US Open finals against Connors and against Wilander in the 1983 Australian Open final.

    I can't agree about the first 2 sets, though. McEnroe was cruising through the match at that stage, having already beaten Lendl twice on clay that year without losing a set. McEnroe's serve and his fitness let him down in the following sets and that's the fault of McEnroe himself for not being in the condition he needed to be in.

    A journalist was talking to Lendl about that match a few years back, and talked about how McEnroe was "2 sets up and a break in the third set". Lendl replied "that's not how I remember the match. John broke for 4-3 in the fourth set and had a game point for 5-3".

    Connors had the same disdain for Lendl as McEnroe did. Connors once said "I've never felt rivalry with Lendl like I have with Borg and McEnroe". This was in 1992.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
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  13. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I think in the first 2 sets Lendl was slow off the blocks and was taking time getting into the match, but it looked inevitable that his level would at least improve at some point (to me at least, I'm not saying that I knew he was going to fight back and win or anything). Mac was supreme in those sets but I don't think Lendl was playing particularly badly or anything.

    Lendl had looked in great form going into that final as well. Like Mac he only dropped 1 set on his way to the final, but he had looked even more dominant, and his semi-final victory over Wilander was a true clay court masterclass (I don't think even Mac's level in his emphatic semi-final victory over Connors was as good as that).

    I can sort of understand why Connors doesn't consider his rivalry again Lendl to be great, considering their respective primes didn't really co-exist. They did have a decent rivalry from 1981-1984 though when they were both major forces in men's tennis, with 14 matches (not counting the abandoned 1984 Rotterdam final) and 7 wins each, although of course Connors won the 3 most important matches. If a player tanked in the 4th set of a grand slam final against me, and removed a lot of the joy from of winning the title in the process, I would strongly dislike them as well.

    However there was no excuse for McEnroe ignoring his rivalry with Lendl considering they met 26 times in Mac's prime from 1980-1985, including 3 slam finals and 14 clashes in the slams/Masters/WCT Finals/Davis Cup, with them splitting the wins both at the big tournaments and overall pretty evenly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
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  14. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    This quote from Mac's book pretty much confirms that his career omission is the most painful:

    'It was the worst loss of my life, a devastating defeat: sometimes it still keeps me up nights. It’s even tough for me now to do the commentary at the French - I’ll often have one or two days when I literally feel sick to my stomach just at being there and thinking about that match. Thinking of what I threw away, and how different my life would’ve been if I’d won.'

    I'm sure that Lendl, Borg, Sampras, Rosewall etc all got over their career omissions pretty quickly after they retired. Mac however will probably never get over his omission or defeat to Lendl, given that he clearly cares more about his legacy than any of those other guys.
     
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  15. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    At least McEnroe has his 3 Wimbledon and 4 US Open titles to fall back on. Imagine how Guillermo Coria feels.
     
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  16. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes that was a genuine choke and painful to watch. At the time I thought that Coria had a small window of another 2 years to breakthrough and win the RG title, but little did we know that Nadal would become so dominant on clay so soon.

    I can't feel sorry for any of these tennis greats and legends for failing to win one or two big tournaments when they enjoyed so much success during their careers.

    I feel far more sorry for the slamless players who came so close to breaking their duck somewhere along the line.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good post.Lendl had big rivalries, spitting fire, agaisnt both Mac and Jimmy.Whether they want or not to admit it, does not matter.

    I think there is a very big cultural thing.I don´t think Connors really disliked Borg and of course, Mac admired the Swede a lot.But, against young and arrogant Ivan, the clash was ensured almost from the begin.

    Lendl also had great respect for Borg.In that period of time, the so called Golden Era of tennis, the only missing big rivalry was Borg and Lendl, since Swede quit just a couple of years after Lendl turned pro.But look at Basle 1980 and paris 1981.The hints were there.
     
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  18. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    And the masters final borg/lendl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jZmFMUGTTU&sns=em
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    Has Budge really won all pro majors? He never won the Southport Pro Championships on clay which was regarded "British Pro" for several years. I concede it had already lost that label in 1939 when Budge participated.

    At least it was a blame in his superb record to lose there against a 46 years old Tilden 3-6,5-7,4-6. Tilden lost in final to Nüsslein.

    But Budge did win a round robin at Southport in the same year when Nüsslein did not participate.
     
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  20. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    First let me say I agree, there is a large difference between these situations. Rosewall lost most of his best years, while Pancho lost nearly all of them.

    However Rosewall's defeats at Wimbledon carry some significance, since he was winning the three other majors in each period in which he participated in the Slam events (1952-56 and 1968-78 ). Generally speaking he was neither too young, nor too old, to win Wimbledon in those years that he entered it (except at the extreme ends of his career).

    I would not argue that Rosewall would never have won Wimbledon if tennis had been open in his time. What I'm actually interested in is why he seemed to perform more poorly at Wimbledon than at the other grasscourt majors.

    Here are his GS performances: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall#Career_statistics

    9 times he played both Wimbledon and Forest Hills in the same year. In 7 of those years he went further at Forest Hills than he did at Wimbledon. The two exceptions were 1954, when he lost to Drobny; and 1974, when he lost both finals to Connors.

    There's a similar pattern with the Australian. 7 times he played both the AO and Wimbledon. In every one of those years he did as well at the AO as he did at Wimbledon, or went deeper at the AO -- again with the exception of 1954.

    Just wondering whether you had any ideas what this pattern might indicate. Maybe the differences in the three grasscourt turfs is a factor here? (I'm not sure how it would be a factor, I'm really just asking.)
     
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  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    Yes, there is a significant difference in Rosewall's career between his Wimbledon performances and those in the two other grasscourt GSs.

    One reason might be pure coincidence (if this is the right English word).

    Another: In 1954 Rosewall was ill-adviced by his coach Hopman.

    In 1956 he met a Hoad at his best. Most other stars would have lost to Lew that day.

    In 1970 Rosewall was tired after tough singles and doubles matches.

    I don't need to speculate about 1974... But that year he performanced better at Wimbledon than at the US Open!

    Most of all: I disagree that Rosewall was neither to young nor to old. In fact he was both of them: In 1956 he was just 21 at Wimbledon. In 1968 he was already 33 plus. In 1970 35 plus in 1974 39 plus.

    His prime was when he was 26 to 30! For that time Jack Kramer gave Muscles four Wimbledon titles in "Open Era"...
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    I forgot to mention that the Australian (Open) had always smaller fields and in 1972 even a weak field. Easier to win.

    In the US (Open) Rosewall met in 1956 a weaker Hoad than at Wimbledon and a weaker Newcombe than at W. in 1970.

    No, no: The Little Master did be too young and too old, and it's a wonder that he captured 8 Grand Slam titles and reached four W. finals even though he lost his best years (and 11 altogether!!) to the pro ranks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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  23. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ah, you've found something that Budge didn't win. I was talking about the French Pro, Wembley Pro and US Pro when I was talking about the professional majors. Budge won the French Pro and Wembley Pro in 1939, and won the US Pro in 1940 and 1942.
     
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  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    He was neither too young nor too old, in those years. I simply mean this: if you can win the Australian and Forest Hills, you can win Wimbledon. If you can be #1 in the world (as Rosewall arguably was in 1970), you can win Wimbledon.

    Perhaps it's a language miscommunication, but I am not saying that age was no factor at all. I am saying, though, that it was not a prohibitive factor.

    And when I say that Rosewall's age was a factor, I may regard it as less of a factor than a lot of people tend to do. Those wins that Rosewall posted in Australia and New York were the direct product of someone who was perfectly capable of winning the majors. He was not as capable, in those years, as he was at his peak. On that we all agree. But he was perfectly capable of winning at Wimbledon. For one reason or another -- perhaps more than one reason -- he just didn't manage it.

    I agree about the Australian, in general having weaker fields, as in '72 which you mention. But in '71 the field was great, and Rosewall won his 5 matches without dropping a set.

    In '55 he won the Australian with straight-set victories over Hoad, Trabert and Cooper. Admittedly Hoad and Cooper had not yet won their first majors: but having straight-set wins over them is impressive. To straight-set Trabert, already a champion at Forest Hills, is doubly so.

    Yes Rosewall was certainly tired in some years at Wimbledon. But that is a potential negative against him, if it reflects that he was having a harder time advancing at Wimbledon.

    In '71 for example he won a marathon quarterfinal over Cliff Richey, 7-5 in the fifth set. Newcombe then hammered Rosewall in the semis 6-1, 6-1, 6-3: a worse beating than Rosewall got from Connors in '74 (when he was three years older).

    In '70 Ken lost to Newk in five sets at Wimbledon -- but at Forest Hills he took out Newcombe in straight sets and went on to win the title.

    As for '56, I am not sure that Hoad played better at Wimbledon than in New York. And it looks like once again Rosewall played his best at Forest Hills rather than Wimbledon. The correspondent for The Age wrote this after the US final:

    Those who watched all four major titles [in '56] said that Hoad played at least as well as he did in winning the other events, but that Rosewall was infinitely better than when he lost to Hoad in the Australian and Wimbledon championship finals.​
     
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  25. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Interesting points, Krosero. I thought along comparable lines, not only for Rosewall. Maybe Rosewall had a bit of a psychological complex at Wimbledon, at least not the absolute confidence, he had at US champs, or especially in Paris, where he was almost unbeatbale, disregarding surfaces. If you analyze Gonzalez' career closely, then he often did better in the US, than in Europe or Australia - in his amateur and pro days. Most players have their favored places: Laver did better at Wim than at Forest Hills, Hoad often reserved his best for Wim. Call it genius loci.
     
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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    You are right.

    But in a few years Southport ("British Pro") was a pro major.
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    I don't yet surrender even though you give some good arguments.

    It's always the same: People, even true experts, try to blame Rosewall for not having won at Wimbledon.

    Nobody does blame Gonzalez for not winning Wimbledon. I could ask: Why has he won the US Championships in 1949 and not Wimbledon? My answer is clear: He was not yet in his prime. If you are very young or very old it rather often a lapsus can happen.

    Everybody would agree with me that Pancho would have won several Wimbledons if open era would have come much earlier (or if he had stayed amateur).

    The same with Rosewall: It's obvious for me that Muscles would have won 3 to 5 Wimbledons if open era came earlier. If he stayed amateur in a non-open era (and assumed Hoad and Laver turned pro as they really did) I even give Rosewall 7 to 9 Wimbledon victories (at least he would have seeded No.1 in most years).

    Just as Borg had bad luck in the US Open, Rosewall had bad luck at W. But there is a big difference: Borg participated in his prime and Rosewall lost 11 years. See it positive: It's a wonder that Rosewall was able to win GS tournaments at 35 to 37 at all...

    I still beleive that Hoad was a bit weaker at the 1956 US Champ.. I read that he could not treat with the winding conditions as good as Rosewall could.

    In the 1969 Wimbledon Rosewall was not really healthy suffering from hay fever...

    But in general: Take off 11 top years from any other GOAT contender and you will be surprised: Federer would not have won a single GS tournament!!!
    Even the mighty Laver would have won only 1 (ONE) GS tournament if he did not participate in the same 11 years of age of life as Rosewall (1960 to 1970). Noone would blame the Rocket for not having won majors at 33 to 37...

    How strong Rosewall was on grass in his prime you might see in the fact that he won grass tournaments in 1961 and 1962.

    But especially great is Rosewall's record in the US Pro: In 1963 he destroyed Laver; in 1964 he was ill from food-poisoning but yet won a set against Laver; in 1965 he beat Laver clearly when Rod was at his peak; in 1966 he lost to Laver in a great fivesetter; in 1967 he lost to strong Gimeno when he (Rosewall) was a bit in his decline.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
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  28. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I didn't read before that Gonzalez had blisters Wim 1949. I know, that Kramer was hampered by a blister 1946 against Drobny. I think that Pancho won the doubles that year 1949 with Parker. From the account of Jaroslav Drobny, 1949 was a very tough Wimbledon, with the dangerous server Geoff Brown beating Gonzalez decisively. And i don't think, that krosero is blaming Rosewall, we all agree about the 11 years span. But even in his amateur says, Kenny had some more problems at Wim (for instance against Kurt Nielsen) than anywhere else.
     
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  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'm not sure if I can agree with it as being a psychological problem. Rosewall as we all know well defeated many powerful opponents at Wimbledon including the likes of John Newcombe, Stan Smith, Roscoe Tanner, Roche,Hartwig, Trabert etc. Sometimes it is just bad luck. I think if Rosewall was able to compete at Wimbledon his entire career it would have been almost a certainty that he would have won at least one Wimbledon and probably many.

    Bjorn Borg in my opinion was a victim of some bad luck at the US Open. When he first started to compete there the tournament was on grass but he was too young and not quite ready. The tournament changed the surface to Har Tru in 1975 but Borg wasn't as good as Connors on that surface yet. When I believe he was clearly superior to anyone on Har Tru he was injured and lost to Dick Stockton. Then the surface changed to deco turf in 1978 and Borg reached the final against Connors but lost badly when he was injured again. I thought Borg (and of course I can be wrong) would have beaten Connors probably fairly easily if he was healthy. Perhaps if Borg continue to play he may well have won several US Opens. Borg's absence in my opinion left an opening for Connors to win the US Open in 1982 and 1983.

    Martina Navaratilova had the same problem at the US Open. She probably wasn't quite good enough in the early years and had some bad luck in a few years when she was about to or was at her prime. Unlike Rosewall or Borg she was able to continue to compete and won several US Opens.
     
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  30. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban,

    I think you are right that Gonzalez did not have blisters. Thanks for explaining this.
     
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  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban,

    I believe that Rosewall would also have had his troubles with Nielsen if they had met in Australia or Forest Hills. A great server can sometimes surprise on grass. See Neale Fraser and Roscoe Tanner. It was bad luck that Rosewall met Nielsen twice at Wimbledon who reached the final twice and the SF once. Just an underrated player.
     
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  32. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    On the Wimbledon history video (in 4 parts) is an interview with Ken McGregor, where he tells, that the Aussies of the 50s had a bit of a psychological problem with Wimbledon, because they, who mostly came from a rural background, found the gentlemen surroundings with the stiff lips a bit strange. Wimbledon was the last bastion of grass tennis, the Aussies conquered in the 40s and 50s, even Frank Sedgman was dominating Forest Hills and DC, before he at last could win Wimbledon after many setbacks there. In the same video, i mentioned above, he is still despaired about his loss to Budge Patty 1950.
     
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  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban,

    Interesting aspect.

    But, if that psychological issue is true, it worked only till the middle of the 1950s as Hoad and Cooper won around that time. And it surely was not actual in open era. Rosewall had travelled in the whole world and played at the toughest spots.

    It actually was bad luck that Rosewall did not win at Wimbledon. I could imagine that at random he had won at Wimbledon several times while not winning the US Open...
     
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  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think it's just like the law of numbers. Sometimes you miss out at certain venues. It could have easily been the US Championship that Rosewall didn't win instead of Wimbledon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
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  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    BobbyOne, I will accept nothing less than unconditional surrender.
    :)

    Seriously, though, I don't blame Rosewall for not winning Wimbledon. The blame goes to the amateur/pro divide, because without it Rosewall would surely have won the title. On that point, again, we are all agreed.

    But I've always been intrigued by the way Rosewall was beaten by Hoad at Wimbledon but was able to reverse the outcome at Forest Hills. It's been a fascinating story since I first heard it; and recently I've also wondered whether the difference in the two grasscourts played a role.

    I never had any answer to that, but here's an idea that's coming up now as we've been debating this.

    When Hoad beat Rosewall at Wimbledon in four sets, Fred Tupper wrote in the NY Times that it "was a triumph of power over touch."

    Now, you all know the passage in Laver's book about the grass at Forest Hills:

    American grass is for cows and lovers – not tennis players. In fact American grass courts are so uncertain under foot that an unwary cow might break a leg strolling from a baseline to net. Or starve. There isn’t much grass left on an American court by the time a tournament reaches its climax. / … it is a sad fact that few Americans know how thrilling it is to watch excellent tennis. / When you say that Wimbledon is a grass court tournament and Forest Hills is a grass court tournament … you may as well say that Raquel Welch is a woman and Twiggy is a woman. No American club has the grass-growing climate or the resources to duplicate Wimbledon. / …at least at Wimbledon you know where the ball will bounce – and that it will bounce. Because grass makes for a low, skidding bounce, points are normally over very quickly …/ The game I play at Forest Hills or on any other American grass – is entirely different from how I play on Wimbledon’s firm and true grass. Junk brings results at Forest Hills. I serve my kicker (American twist) a lot more because it will take erratic bounces whereas at Wimbledon it will stand up too high and I use it only to vary my serving pattern. I chip the ball around a lot hook and slice, even chop, trying to produce skips and annoying hops to throw off the other fellow. You improvise at Forest Hills.​
    Well, it seems to me that a court where the ball bounces erratically, or does not bounce at all (I have read that the bounce was lower than in Australia or at Wimbledon), is not the best court for a power hitter. As Laver says, junk pays dividends. Hooks, slices, chops. Players with great variety, like Rosewall, should do well there. Rosewall's slice backhand, though deadly anywhere, should do especially well on such a court.

    And the record seems to bear that out.

    Someone like Tilden, a master of chops and slices and spins in general, should also do well at Forest Hills -- and I don't need to point out his record there.

    A court with a truer and slightly higher bounce would be a little better for a power hitter. Hoad would do especially well on such a court. Laver absolutely thrived at Wimbledon: four titles, six finals; and a straight set win over Rosewall in the Wimbledon Pro of '67.

    BobbyOne, you mention Rosewall's great record at the US Pro. Again that bears out what I'm proposing. That dominating win in '63 over Laver was at Forest Hills.

    Rosewall's remaining performances at the US Pro were at the Longwood Cricket Club. I can't say anything about that court specifically, but at least it was American turf; and as Laver says, American courts shared some characteristics.

    I'm not proposing some gargantuan difference between the grasscourts; still less am I saying that Rosewall was weak on certain courts. He was a great grasscourter all-around.

    But certain styles work best under certain conditions. Rosewall had more variety, arguably, than anyone in history; and I think such variety would pay great dividends on the kind of court that Laver describes. Rosewall, though he could handle power hitters surprisingly well, was not a power hitter; that was not his strength. A power hitter could do somewhat better on a court with a truer bounce, like Wimbledon's. Perhaps Rosewall was, relatively speaking, susceptible to being overpowered there occasionally by a Hoad or a Nielsen.

    Laver on the other hand, was the hardest hitter of his generation; and it was impossible to overpower him. And I think that was a factor in his success at Wimbledon (one thing we do know for certain: Laver intensely disliked the junk-friendly court at Forest Hills!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    #85
  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    Thanks for your detailed answer.

    You are surely right that the different surfaces made a certain difference between Wimbledon and US Open.

    But I still think that a prime Rosewall would also have won several Wimbledon titles. His half-sliced backhand would be dangerous on any type of grass courts.

    The surface cannot be the only explanation. For instance Rosewall wrote that he saw the ball better in the 1970 US Open SF against Newcombe than at Wimbledon the same year.

    In the 1963 US Pro Laver was not yet in his prime. When he was in it, Rosewall defeated him almost as clearly in the 1965 final.
    As a Rosewall admirer (but also being a Laver, Gonzalez, Tilden advocate) I'm satisfied enough that Rosewall reached 4 (or5) Wimbledon finals and was not far away from victory in 1954 and 1970.

    Please note that I have written that even Laver, missing 1960 to 1970 (similary to Rosewall's missing years) would not have won a single Wimbledon title. And of course we all do know that a prime Laver would yet have won several open Wimbledon titles , just as he has done in reality.

    It's a curiosity: If Muscles would have stayed amateur, he would have been seeded No.1 at Wimbledon every year from 1958 (assumed that Hoad turned pro as he really did) to 1967, thus leading the amateurs for ten years. It's a similarity to Gonzalez as always amateur....

    krosero, I like to discuss with you on a high level...
     
    #86
  37. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    A prime Rosewall wasn't allowed to play at Wimbledon because he was a professional. I think we all know that Rosewall would have won Wimbledon had he been allowed to play every year, but krosero makes a very good point as to why Rosewall didn't win Wimbledon during the years in which he did play there, whereas he did win the other majors (both as an amateur and in the open era).
     
    #87
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's rare for one factor to explain everything, and in addition to surface there are other things such as luck. I just can't believe that luck was the only explanation, similar to what you have said about the surface factor.

    True, he was not far from victory in 1954 and 1970. And making 4 finals altogether, when not at his peak, is probably the strongest reason to believe that at his peak he would have won the title. How many times is up for debate.

    I do like the way you put Laver in Rosewall's shoes; and the result is that Laver, like Rosewall, does not win Wimbledon. It's a very interesting point.

    However it's not that simple. Rosewall was a prodigy. At 18 he had his first major; Laver did not win his first until he was 21. Rosewall, by 1953, was already winning majors. He had three more years, before turning pro, to win the other majors; and the only one he didn't grab was Wimbledon.

    Similarly, Rosewall's longevity was greater than Laver's. That's especially true where the majors are concerned. Laver just crashed at the majors after '69. By the age of 31 he was done. Rosewall turned 31 in 1966 and still had 4 more Grand Slam victories in him. He turned 33 at the Open Era and was still winning majors for another four years -- again, grabbing all of them except Wimbledon.

    All of which is to say, if Laver had been as precocious as Rosewall, and if he had had the same longevity, you can't rule out that he would have won Wimbledon before and after an 11-year exile from the Slam events. It seems a certainty that Laver, with an 11-year exile, ends up with no Wimbledon titles. But he was more a late bloomer than Rosewall; and he declined earlier. All of his majors were won within a decade, which is why they all disappear if you give him an 11-year exile. If he had started winning majors as early as Rosewall did, and kept winning them just as late, I think that with his powerful game he would have won Wimbledon before and after an 11-year-exile. That is, for me, very easy to imagine.

    Also enjoying the discussion ...
     
    #88
  39. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    speculating about top very young and top very old Laver is really a very theoretic thought.

    It's a fact that Rosewall was top at 18 and top at 37 (but NOT in his prime, I must hurry to add) and Laver was top only at 22 and 31 which is still very good. It just shows the greatness of the Little Master.
     
    #89
  40. ThePro101

    ThePro101 Rookie

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    On a side note, I believe Daniel Nestor has won everything playing doubles (All of the Master Series, all Grand Slams, YEC, and the Olympics).

    ((sorry, carry on))
     
    #90
  41. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Rosewall has amazing longevity, certainly. Tilden has to be the greatest in the longevity department, with a career spanning well over 3 decades. He was playing during WW1 and was playing against Gonzales in 1952.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    #91
  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    True. However I would venture to write that Laver may have been arguably the best player in the world until 1971 when he was 33. By best player I mean if any of the top players played a head to head tour against Laver on all surfaces equally, I believe Laver would win the majority against anyone.

    By the way we rate players as number one in the 1960's and 1970's Laver was not number one for the year in the 1970's however.
     
    #92
  43. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have Laver as number 1 for 1970, despite his poor showings at Wimbledon and the US Open. He won 15 tournaments in all, and didn't lose a match to Rosewall or Newcombe. In 1971, Laver's record is not as good despite winning 7 tournaments. 1971 is not an easy year to judge, but I have Newcombe as number 1 that year.
     
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  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Acknowledged - very theoretical. But let me ask you this. Can you imagine Laver, at any age, winning the AO, RG and USO, but failing to win Wimbledon?

    Let me re-state this with actual facts, rather than speculation. Wimbledon was where Laver first reached the final of a major, in '59, at age 20. He made the final again the next year, and then swept the title the next five times he entered it, if you count the Wimbledon Pro.

    Wimbledon was Laver's best major, and Rosewall's worst. I think that is due largely to their styles. Again, we can say with certainty that Laver liked playing on Wimbledon's grass and found that it suited his style. We know he thought the grass at Forest Hills forced him into a style based much more on junk than on power.

    Rosewall's style was based more on touch, subtlety, consistency, variety. All those qualities made him especially tough on clay, or in conditions where "junk", as Laver put it, was required.

    As for Laver not winning any Wimbledons, if you give him an 11-year exile: yes, but in such a case he doesn't win any majors. The arc of his career was just different from Rosewall's (more intensely concentrated into a shorter period). If he doesn't win Wimbledon outside the 1960-69 period, that is not an "omission", as we've been calling it in this thread, because he didn't win any majors outside that period.

    Rosewall's case is actually an omission. Before and after his exile, he did win the other majors, without winning Wimbledon. And that raises questions -- though I will state again that I see peak Rosewall winning Wimbledon. All I'm talking about is his (and Laver's) relative strengths on different grasscourts.
     
    #94
  45. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    I agree that Tilden had the longest successful career. We only could say that Gonzalez and Rosewall were perhaps stronger at 40 to 43.

    I think Bill's greatest achievement as a very old player came in 1946 when he, at 53, led 5-2 in the deciding set in a tournament against world champion, Riggs. Almost unbelievable...
     
    #95
  46. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1,

    I agree that probably Laver would have won a series of matches against the other top players in 1970 and 1971.
     
    #96
  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    If you rank Newcombe as No.1 for 1971 we should also rank Smith tied No.1 who won the US Open and reached final of Wimbledon. Newk "only" won Wimbledon.

    Moreover I give Rosewall a Co.-No1 since he won AO and WCT finals that were arguably the tournaments No. 2 and 3 that year because of the tough competition there. Plus he reached SF at Wimbledon...
     
    #97
  48. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero,

    You ask if I could imagine that Laver wins AO, FO and Us Open but not Wimbledon? My imagination is rather great...

    In fact I could imagine that Rocket won the other three and not Wimbledon in a given year. Of course it's not probable for a whole career!

    I concede that the various types of grass courts can favour different types of players, but only to a certain extent. Players like Laver and Rosewall, perhaps the two all-time greatest, can succeed on any surface. If I remember well, Laver once said that Rosewall would win even on glass...
     
    #98
  49. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I also have Laver as no. 1 for 1970, for almost exactly the same good reasons.

    1970 was not a great year for Laver (by his standards), but he was good enough to be the best.
     
    #99
  50. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Agreed on these points, certainly.
     

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