End of year ranking coming down to one match

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Just reflecting on the times where the end of year men's number 1 ranking (in popular opinion - not necessarily the official rankings) came down to one match.

    These are the ones I would suggest

    1982 Lendl vs Connors US Open final. If Lendl had won that match he would have been overwhelmingly the favourite for the number 1 ranking for 1982. He would have won the US Open, the Masters and the WCT finals. And had an unbeaten record against McEnroe. He would have won 16 tournaments. He would have been the undisputed number 1. Connors and McEnroe wouldn't have even been close.

    1989 Lendl vs Becker US Open final. Lendl was the 1989 year end number 1 according to the ATP. However, most people thought of Becker as the number 1 for the year. If Lendl had won that match he would have been the undisputed number one as he did better than Becker in other areas throughout the year.

    1946 Budge vs Riggs US Pro final. If Budge had won it - he would have just got the nod for number 1 for the year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
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  2. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Lendl played Connors in that final.
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Typo

    I meant Connors. It was a typo - I have corrected it.
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Actually Riggs was so far ahead of Budge in that year that it really didn't come down to one match. At the end of the year Riggs was far ahead of Budge 278 to 164 in points. Budge was just ahead of Frank Kovacs who had 149 points. The reason the match was important was that the promoters thought Budge would be the better name to play Jack Kramer who was turning pro. So the winner of the match had a huge sum of money awaiting him because he would face Jack Kramer on a tour. Out of 31 tournaments organized that year Riggs won 14 of them. Budge won three. Riggs tournament record that year was clearly better than Don Budge's whether he won the US Pro or not.

    Another possibility is the Smith/Nastase Wimbledon match in 1972. If Nastase won it he probably would have been number one for the year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
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  5. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    The 1988 USO final was important at least in one regard. Had Lendl won it, he would have kept the number one ranking (immediately breaking the record of consecutive weeks that Connors held). Lendl regained the number one ranking 16 weeks later, at the end of January 1989 after the AO, and kept the ranking until the summer of 1990. So if he had won that 1988 USO final, he would have been ranked number 1 from September 9, 1985 until August 8 1990, which would be a record for consecutive weeks still today (roughly 256 weeks). And he'd be tied with Sampras at 286 total weeks as number 1.
     
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  6. Benhur

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    I also think the 1995 USO final would have given Agassi the number 1 for the year.
     
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  7. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yeah, Andre really blew that one. He had a great summer that year and pretty much gagged against Pete in the final (not the first time, eh?)
     
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  8. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    how about Sampras at the '00 USO final?

    he would have been the only player to have 2 majors that year had he won that match(Kuerten finished #1 that year with a rather poor record in majors outside of the one he won)

    Sampras was the only player to make the semis in 3 majors that year, finished 3 in the rankings.
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    In 2000 the #1 computer ranking came down to the Masters Cup final in Lisbon between Kuerten and Agassi. Kuerten and Safin were fighting for the top ranking.

    1985 AO final between Martina and Chris. Each came into that match with 1 Slam, having beaten each other at RG and Wimbledon. Can't recall offhand what their total number of titles were.

    If Borg had beaten Connors in the '76 USO final he would have taken that year, with 2 Slams to Connors' none. And the H2H would look totally different, just with that 1 match reversed. Connors beat him 3 times that year without a loss, and that was a big factor in his winning the year. If Borg beats him at the USO, it would be 2-1 for Connors, with Jimmy taking the first two but Borg winning the last and most important meeting, their only meeting in a Slam.
     
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  10. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    At the end of '81 Evert beat Austin in a third-set tiebreaker at the Toyota Championships. Steve Flink thought it was a crucial match to decide the player of the year. Here's what he wrote at chrisevert.net:

    *****************​

    [Evert's] record during the year was 72-6, including victories in 9 of 15 tournaments. She had been a semifinalist or better in all four Grand Slam tournaments, which neither Martina nor Tracy had done. But she needed a win over Tracy to solidify her claim to No. 1. That was the way we saw it at World Tennis Magazine at the time. A round robin match would not normally be so significant, but in this particular year it was very important since Chris had lost her only previous 1981 head-to-head showdown with Tracy in the final of Toronto. Had she finished the year 0-2 or 0-3 against Tracy--- who ended up at No. 2 in the world--- a good case could have been made that Tracy deserved to be regarded as the best player in the world. So that one win made a world of difference.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    agreed with Nasty.Played wonderfully all along 1972, but giant godzilla deprived him of Wimbledon and the then huge Davis Cup title...

    I remember their 1972 Masters final, a terrific match, even better than that one at London.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg won bigger than Connors in 1976.I agree that the Connors head to head makes it look biassed, otherwise nobody would dispute that Borg was the world´s nº 1 in 1976.Even if he lost that US open final to Jimbo, but having beaten Connors, say, in Philadelphia.
     
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  13. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    If Borg had won the 1977 Masters final (played in January 1978) over Connors, he would have been undisputed Nr. 1 for 1977. All media then agreed, that this Masters was crucial for the 1977 ranking. As it turned out, it ended in a draw or patt, with Connors beating Borg, Borg beating Vilas, and Vilas beating Connors (in the best and best attended match of the tournament).
     
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  14. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    1980 Wimbledon final would have given McEnroe the number one for the year over Borg.

    1984 USO final might have given Lendl the number one for the year, depending on how they were counting back then.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good point on 1980´s JMac.

    in 1971, Kodes would have been the nº 1 if he had beaten Smith in the US Open finals ( lost in 5 hard fought sets).
     
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  16. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Kodes Nr. 1 in 1971? I doubt it, without WCT tour and their big boys. OK, he played twice there, losing finals to Laver (Rome)and Ashe (Stockholm), but overall he played on the weaker Grand Prix tour. And there, in the overall race, he was dominated by Smith and Nastase. The ranking is very difficult in those years (in 1972 too), because we have virtually two separate circuits. Important for the general rankings of players are imo the seedings at Wim and Forest Hills. In both cases, Kodes - if i see it right - was unseeded.
     
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  17. kiki

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    won RG against superstar Ilie Nastase, had he won USO, plus his final at Rome, he would have had an even better year than Rosewall ( WCT and Australian champion).

    In 1971 the strongest player was John Newcombe, however, he " just " won Wimbledon...
     
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  18. krosero

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    At the '75 Masters, held in Stockholm, Borg beat Ashe in the semis (4 sets).

    Geoffrey Miller of the Associated Press wrote this:

    Borg was beaten badly by Nastase, though he did go on to lead Sweden to the Davis Cup.
     
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  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And the WCT players were missing at the French, where Kodes won. In Rome, where Kodes lost to Laver, most of the top players were present.

    One thing not yet mentioned is Kodes' victory over Newcombe in the first round of the USO. He went all the way to the final and lost in 4 sets to Stan Smith. Newk and Smith had played a five-set Wimbledon final and Kodes may have prevented a rematch in New York which would have been very interesting.
     
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  20. pc1

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    That comment by Miller surprises me but I suppose that since Borg won the French it is reasonable to think he could have been number one if he won the Masters at the end of the year. Still Ashe with Wimbledon and the WCT might still have been number one.
     
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  21. krosero

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    It does seem strange, I never had thought that Borg was in contention for #1 in '75. Now that I look at the record he's closer to Ashe than I had assumed, but I don't think he's close enough (not even if he had won the Masters).
     
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  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    If Wilander had beaten Noah in '83, I'd put him over McEnroe for the year.
     
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  23. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    What about in '82, if Connors loses to McEnroe in the Wimbledon final but still beats Lendl at USO. Who would be #1?
     
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  24. Benhur

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    That would have made it a very controversial year, because in that case Lendl would have had a strong case as well for the number one spot.
     
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  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Connors and Mac each with 1 Slam and 6 titles overall. Lendl with 15 titles including Dallas and Masters. Tough year.
     
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  26. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Yeah and Lendl's total is actually higher than 15 tournament wins. The 15 doesn't include the European Community Championship in which he beat McEnroe in the final. Just a dominant year from him (particularly over McEnroe) - pity he couldn't have pulled it out in the US Open final.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
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  27. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    as I recall, a lot of people felt Wilander was the best player in '83...if he won RG, he would have had a much stronger case.
     
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  28. krosero

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    If Becker had beaten Edberg in the 1990 Wimbledon final, it would give Becker 6 titles for the year. He would have small leads over the other Slam champions (Gomez won 3 titles, Sampras 4, Lendl 5).

    Looks close between Becker and Lendl. Against each other that year they went 2-2.
     
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  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Yes definitely, a 4-0 record over Mac that year (5-0 with the EC Championship). The only Top Ten players who had winning H2H over him were Wilander (2-1) and Vilas (2-0).
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1972

    Smith had beaten nastase at Wimbly and Nastase beat Ashe at the US Open.

    Then again, Stan beat Ilie in that extremely torrid Davis Cup final at Bucharest...and in the Masters at Barcelona, Nastase beats in 5 hard fought sets the californian giant.This match probably put Nasty over Godzila at the end of 1972.Still, in H to H matches, Smith had the edge ( 2 -1)
     
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  31. PDJ

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    In 1982 (& possibly 85) the no1 spot was decided by the Tour Championships between Evert & Navratilova
     
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  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1971 Kodes wins RG and loses USO final while Smith wins USO and loses W final...and reaches Masters finals where Nasty beats him.That lost final gives him n1. ..oh wait!! ROSEWALL wins AO and Dallas and reaches W semis...Rosewall and Smith for n1 in that year
     
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