Clay Court GOAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Where is Koželuh?

    Koželuh was a six-time winner of the Bristol Cup (Menton, France), which was the most prestigious professional title in the world in the 1920s. He also won the World Pro tournament in Deauville, France, in 1925. Another major title for Koželuh was the French Professional Championship of 1930. He also won the US Pro on clay in 1932 and 1937.

    Now all the titles mentioned above were on clay. One could argue that Koželuh was the best clay court player in the world from 1925 to 1932 at least. (It is possible that the French Amateurs were better - but I am not so sure of that - I think the evidence of Henri Cochet's lack of success amongst the Pro's suggests that Koželuh was stronger). He certainly was the best pro on that surface in that period.

    I kind of always put Koželuh on the same rung as Nusslein...in the early 30's Nusslein, who was much younger than Koželuh - swapped titles.
     
  2. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The amateurs were better than the professionals in the 1920s. Vinny Richards was the top professional player for a while, and he was not on the level of Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston as an amateur.
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wasn´t Bill Tilden who said Kozeluh may have been the greatest player he ever saw?
     
  4. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz, Thanks for mentioning the great Karel Kozeluh.

    I believe that Cochet and Lacoste were a bit stronger on clay though.

    Cochet as a pro was weaker than as an amateur.
     
  5. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    You are right but I think Tilden erred.
     
  6. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Bobby - you are possibly right about Cochet and Lacoste - but do you have any direct evidence that that was the case? Tilden only dominated Kozeluh off clay. On clay it was a different story. Tilden played Cochet and Lacoste hard on clay when he was a amateur - their matches were very close. I know that is a far from perfect comparison.....but it suggests to me that Kozeluh wasn't any weaker on clay than the great Frenchmen.
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Czechs male champions.Before Open era, Kozeluh and Drobny
    after open era: Kodes and Lendl

    Not bad for a small country ( and they might have been even better in the females)
     
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz, I do know that amateur Tilden once won a match against Kozeluh on clay, probably in 1930. Therefore I think that Cochet and Lacoste were stronger than Karel on clay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  9. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Kozeluh

    According to Tilden's own 1931 records of their tour together Tilden lead the clay head to head - Tilden 19, Kozeluh 11

    I feel that is enough wins on Kozeluh's end to show he was competitive at the top end on clay. Tilden sometimes beat the frenchmen on clay in the late 20's as well.

    Anyway, we will never know....though I wonder what Kozeluh's head to head on clay with Cochet was (in the Pro's) - as you say Cochet wasnt' as good in the Pro's - but why was that?
     
  10. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz, That 19:11 score also is a hint that the amateurs were (slightly) better than Kozeluh.

    Cochet decreased because of his age. I believe as pros Cochet and Kozeluh did not meet too often.
     
  11. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Pictures of Karel Kozeluh..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    borg number one, Thanks for these pictures. A great player.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I supose he owned journeymen like Plaa,Ramillon,Nusslein in their earlier pro years....
     
  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    The latest list?



    Was Kozeluh up there with Nusslein?
     
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, It's time to put you on my ignore list. Calling Nüsslein a journeyman is a bad sacrilege. That guy was a steady No.3 or 4 for 7 years, beat Tilden about 200times, beat Vines in the 1934 US Pro and won the 1939 British Pro when Budge was in the draw! (He also gave Budge a fantastic battle at Wembley).

    I would never call Jan Kodes a journeyman...
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Kozeluh should be in your list.
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Oh¡ It just slided...Nusslein had a good pro record.Not a journeyman.

    of course, Kodes is the polar opposite to a journeyman....
     
  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, It would be odd to have you on an ignore list...
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    indeed.

    Anyway, different opinions, even boyish opinions make this forum richer.
     
  20. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Interestingly, 25 out of 40 members of this list played before the open era.
     
  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Yes, but boyish opinions of some young posters make me both laughing and make me sad by their stubborness. A very strange year must have been 1983. ;-)
     
  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, It should be a sign that tennis has not improved through the decades...
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Gimeno above Kodes????
     
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    By 1983 good music was almost dying...

    wasn´t that the year pope John Paul was shot down by a bulgarian?
     
  25. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Gimeno was awesome on clay. F.i. he was best claycourter in 1966 beating both Laver and Rosewall in the two big claycourt events of the pros. I rank him No. 7 together with Segura, both better than Kodes.
     
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Check the records Gimeno vs Kodes.I heard Andres saying that, of all the top players he was facing, Kodes was the one he´d try to avoid.

    Kodes won Madrid over a field that had Borg,Nastase,Vilas,Panatta and Orantes ALL AT THEIR PEAK, as well as guys such as Dibbs,Fibak,Ramirez,Fillol...
     
  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Thanks, that was it.Sorry for my mistake, it was 1981 and not 1983.I think Reagan also suffered the same year an attack from a Jodie Foster crazy fan ( I can admit one to be crazy, and hate reagan or both, but to be in love with Jodie Foster is out of my understanding)
     
  29. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Delete post
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Rosewall
    4. Wilding
    5. Cochet
    6. Lendl
    7. Wilander
    8. Lacoste
    9. Kuerten
    10. Laver
    11. Borotra
    12. Drobny
    13. Vilas
    14. Bruguera
    15. Pietrangeli
    16. Courier
    17. Muster
    18. Gimeno
    19. Federer
    20. Kodes
    21. von Cramm
    22. Santana
    23. Nusslein
    25. Nastase
    26. Trabert
    27. Orantes
    28. Panatta
    29. Kozeluh
    30. Agassi
    31. Connors
    32. Tilden
    33. Frank Parker
    34. Roche
    35. Sven Davidson
    36. Jack Crawford
    37. Segura
    38. Fred Perry
    39. J.E. Patty
    40. Decugis
    41. Emerson
     
  31. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Pretty sure the top 3 is settled. I don't see any other trio other than that. Nadal, Borg, Rosewall. Simple.
     
  32. granddog29

    granddog29 Banned

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    Agreed and the order is settled too. Nadal clearly 1st, Borg clearly 2nd, Rosewall clearly 3rd.
     
  33. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    There seems to be a notable absentee from your list.

    Yes, the guy who OWNED Davidson and Trabert on clay, and had a 15 to 7 edge on Rosewall on clay in the fifties, and won the 1962 Italian clay tour against Segura, Trabert, Rosewall, Gimeno and others.

    Does the name "Hoad" ring a bell?

    Sorry to introduce a note of reality into the discussion.
     
  34. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it appears next to the word "overrated" in the dictionary.
     
  35. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    LOL well played.
     
  36. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

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    1- Nadal
    2- Borg
    3- Vilas
     
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Gimeno at 18 is hilarious, considering Santana and specially Orantes are far behind.Gimeno is a notch below, tied with Panatta.
     
  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Santana was a genius on the court but he was NOT a true top player: never in the top Five, only twice in the top Ten.
     
  39. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Nusslein & Kozeluh

    I would vote for Kozeluh and Nusslein being swapped. Reason: Kozeluh had 10 major clay Pro championships (6 Bristol Cups, 1 World Pro at Deauville, 2 US Pro's on clay or Har-Tru and a French Pro) whereas Nusslein had 4 Major Pro championships on clay (World Pro Championships 1933, 1 US Pro & 2 French Pro's). I don't think there head to head is relevant at all (I dont' know what there head to head was) because Kozeluh was 15 years older. I do appreciate the competition in the Professional ranks was tougher in the 1930's than the 1920's (in the 20's Kozeluh won most of his Bristol Cups).
     
  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz, I contradict.

    Nüsslein won nine pro majors on clay: he also won the 1936 World Championships at Paris plus four times the British pro at Southport (1936 to 1939). But more important, Kozeluh was never the No. 1 on clay (I rank him No.3 for several years) while Nüsslein was possibly best claycourter in five or six years!

    As you rightly write, the pro competition in the 1920s was weaker than in the 1930s.

    Nüsslein had to deal with Budge, Vines, Tilden and Cochet; Kozeluh had to deal with Richards (not strong on clay) and Najuch...
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  41. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Probably

    You are possibly right. (Though please could you list the 9 clay majors?) The Southport Pro was probably at least the equal of the Bristol Cup. That would put them on a even footing. However, I haven't seen a convincing argument that Kozeluh was a lesser player on clay than the French Amateur Players of the late 1920's. (Tilden lead him on clay in 1931 - but it was reasonably close - however Tilden, on ocassion, also beat the French players in the 1925-1930 period on clay). Hence Kozeluh possibly could have been the number 1 on clay during that period.
     
  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    between 1963 and 1967, Santana was clearly having the second best record at ams slams behind Emerson.Maybe only Stolle could challenge that second place, but absolutely nobody else.I am talking about amateurs.

    Who could beat Emerson at his peak on his own grass courts at a DC F like he did in 1965? and Newcombe?
     
  43. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Santana was a genius, but overall I think Gimeno was a tad better tennis player (I have talked about this very same topic, Santana vs Gimeno, with Spanish friends so many times, it was a kind of hot topic with sometimes strong defenders of each one).

    I am not Spanish but I've lived in Spain many years in different periods and I understand and even speak Spanish quite well ( I believe :) ).

    Who was better: Orantes, Gimeno or Santana? An Endless debate with Spanish friends....:)
     
  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Orantes lived under the great shadwo of santana.he was a nice, shy, young prodigy who was almost beating Emerson at 18¡¡¡ and sincehe beat Santana in 1969 he took the torch.But it was a heavy burden, specially in DC play, which was the major competition in the eyes of the spanish press and fans.

    I understood that Santana was jealous and never really helped him, while Gimeno, a genle guy, took Orantes under his wing when Orantes first turned pro_Orantes came from the south of the country and very young moved to Barcelona and was adopted by a family and became a ball boy in his club.Same for Santana;another poor kid who was employeed as a ball picker .On the other hand, but Gimeno´s father was a tennis coach ( or a club´s employee I don´t remember properly right now) so he always lived as a youngster under a tennis atmosphere.

    At the end the historical rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona came also to tennis.Santana came from Madrid and Gimeno from Barcelona.orantes, and later Higueras, came from the south of Spain but they moved to Barcelona, which has always been the tennis capital of the country and, possibly, the city with the greatest private clubs in Europe ( at least not grass )
     
  45. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz,

    World Championships 1933 and 1936, French Pro 37 and 38, US Pro 1934, British Pro 1936 to 1939.

    I still refuse that Kozeluh was equal to Cochet and Lacoste in the 1920s.

    I know that amateur Tilden defeated Kozeluh in an unofficial match in 1930.
     
  46. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    mattennis, Gimeno was best claycourter in 1966, Santana was never the world's best claycourter. He probably would not have been able to beat prime Laver and Rosewall in a row on clay...
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, thanks for this background information.

    Gimeno's father was a tennis coach. He played in the 1949 Wembley pro tournament.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Rosewall
    4. Wilding
    5. Cochet
    6. Lendl
    7. Wilander
    8. Lacoste
    9. Kuerten
    10. Laver
    11. Borotra
    12. Drobny
    13. Vilas
    14. Bruguera
    15. Pietrangeli
    16. Courier
    17. Muster
    18. Gimeno
    19. Federer
    20. Kodes
    21. von Cramm
    22. Kozeluh
    23. Orantes
    25. Nastase
    26. Trabert
    27. Santana
    28. Panatta
    29. Nusslein
    30. Agassi
    31. Connors
    32. Tilden
    33. Frank Parker
    34. Roche
    35. Sven Davidson
    36. Jack Crawford
    37. Segura
    38. Fred Perry
    39. J.E. Patty
    40. Decugis
    41. Hoad
    42. Emerson
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  49. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    When was har-tru invented?

    It seems that the first har-tru court was constructed in 1931, but courts of this type did not become widespread and popular until the 1940s.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I love the cohesiveness of this ranking

    Pietrangeli, 2 RG, at 15
    Santana, 2 RG, 27

    and whom did Santana beat in the TWO finals he won at RG?

    oh¡¡ yes¡¡¡
     

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