Gonzales VS Rosewall: The Ultimate Battle Fight 2 - More Impressive Career?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Nathaniel_Near, Jul 22, 2012.

?

So, who is overall greater? Who had the more impressive career...

  1. Ricardo Alonso ''Pancho'' González

    61.5%
  2. Kenneth Robert ''Ken'' Rosewall aka, Muscles

    38.5%
  1. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    It's time to, once again, celebrate two great players, dissect their games, careers, and analyse their accomplishments. Oh, and to just generally be respectful to legends of the game, provide anecdotes, match highlights, articles, and whatever else.



    The Ultimate Battle Fight 2 - More Impressive Career?

    WHAT. Say you...

    Some interesting statistics in no particular order of importance:

    Years as numero uno:
    Gonzales - 6 to 8?
    Rosewall - 2 to 5?

    Majors won:
    Gonzales - 14 arguably more depending..
    Rosewall - 23 arguably more depending..

    Tournaments won:
    Gonzales - no idea
    Rosewall - 132 +

    Most officially recognized major events won in a single calendar year:
    Gonzales - 2-3
    Rosewall - 3

    Impact on the sport of tennis in any and every way (subjective but probably the consensus):
    Gonzales - Considerable, was considered the greatest for rather some time.
    Rosewall - Was important but perhaps overshadowed by Gonzales and Laver.

    Various individual records held by each player for the Open Era:
    Gonzales - Arguably the longest standing no.1 player in the history of tennis, 8 US Pro titles, including 7 in a row.
    Rosewall - 10 majors won in France, 7 in a row. Won the Pro Slam in 1963. Won nine consecutive majors (where he participated).

    Head to head record:

    Gonzales 107 - 75 Rosewall

    PANCHO GONZALES

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY

    ***

    KEN ROSEWALL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppi58rmrEHc
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
    #1
  2. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Thanks, Nathaniel for rising an interesting question.

    Gonzalez and Rosewall are two of my four all-time greatest (the other being Laver and Tilden) and both are candidates for GOAT.

    Rosewall had only two or three years as No.1 (1961-1963) but he had also several years as arguably Co.-No 1: 1959 when he was 8:4 against Pancho, 1960, 1964 (when he was the official No.1 even though some posters ignore it), 1965 (two Pro GSs), 1970 (together with Laver and maybe Newcombe) and 1971 (together with Smith and Newcombe), thus making nine possible years as No. 1...

    One record is unique for Muscles: He won nine consecutive majors (where he participated), being ahead of Tilden (8) and Budge (6) and better than Laver, Sampras, Federer and all the others...
     
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  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Gonzales won the Wembley Pro, US Pro and Tournament of Champions in 1956, and was runner-up in the French Pro. As for the thread question, one can talk about Rosewall winning more classic majors and the fact that he was still young enough to win majors in the open era, but Gonzales was the better player.

    Gonzales won 113 career titles, by the way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
    #3
  4. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Yeh, so was this ToC considered a major championship? I tend to see the majors count for Gonzales to be 14, but a wiki page suggests 17, and to include his ToC victories.
     
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  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well, I would count the Tournament of Champions because it was a huge professional tournament between 1956-1959. It was held indoors in Los Angeles in 1956, and arguably grew even more in stature when it moved to the grass-courts of Forest Hills from 1957-1959. Gonzales won the event in 1956, 1957 and 1958, but was beaten by Hoad in the 1959 final.
     
    #5
  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    a.) Who is overall greater?
    b.) Who had the more impressive career?

    I believe that these are two different questions with two different answers.

    Gonzales
    Rosewall
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
    #6
  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Rosewall's career could be considered more impressive on the basis that Gonzales was banned from the mainstream majors for over 18 years and was 40 years old by the time he could play them again. And also, during Gonzales' prime, the pro tours were even more important than the tournaments overall. This changed in the 1960s.
     
    #7
  8. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Well, they were put there for bait in the first place. Indeed, are the two questions intertwined and the answer for both inseparably the same, or can they yield different answers. If one was greater, then maybe so was their career (more impressive) regardless of the numbers, as the context in which they achieved their greatness escalates them above the other.
     
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  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Rosewall was unbelievably consistent, though, and made a habit out of upsetting favoured players in big finals. He did this to Gonzales in the 1961 French Pro final to deny Gonzales a title he never managed to win. Rosewall also upset Laver a load of times, even as late as 1972. Apart from his failure to win Wimbledon, Rosewall was brilliant at taking advantage of his opportunities when they came along.
     
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    NN, you sly devil.
     
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  11. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The 1957 world pro tour between Gonzales and Rosewall ended at 50-26 to Gonzales.
     
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  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Nathaniel,

    Thanks for putting in that impressive Rosewall achievement of winning nine consecutive majors.

    I love the discussion in this thread with you, Mustard and hoodjem and hopefully some others.Threads like this can show even the "youngsters" among the fans how great a Gonzalez and Rosewall and Laver have been

    Gonzalez was great with his winning of 7 big world pro tours and I rank him first all time on indoor surface.

    It's maybe interesting to mention that Rosewall, who was a typical claycourt and even grasscourt player, won his most big titles indoors on very fast surfaces, arguably his worst surface (9 or even 11 if we add the WCT finals at Dallas).

    Gonzalez was the oldest man in open era to win a regular tournament (at 44) and Rosewall was the oldest man to win an open major (at 37) and to reach a SF of an open major (at 42).

    We could add yet this and that record of both of them...
     
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  13. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    More impressive in Pancho's favour was the 1960 tour when Gonzalez beat Rosewall 14 or 15 to 4 matches. I don't give too much credit to Gonzalez's 1957 win because, as we know, Rosewall was a newcomer in the pro ranks while Gonzalez was in his absolute prime. 26:50 is pretty good for the Little Master...

    If you include the ToC (I agree that they were very tough events!) you could or should also include Rosewall's big 1966 Madison Square Garden victory over Gonzalez and Laver. Maybe even we could add the Wembley BBC 2 event won by Gonzalez in 1966 (and inofficially in 1964) and Rosewall in 1967. The four best players in the world participating....
     
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  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Hi experts,

    Gonzalez is 107:75 against Rosewall (maybe some more matches will be discovered yet). That's great for Pancho. On the other hand we should consider that these two giants of tennis only seldom met on clay which was Pancho's worst surface (even though he yet was rather strong there) and Kenny's best one. They mostly played indoor matches where Gonzalez was the undisputed king. So it's not clear that Gonzalez was really the better player. At big events Rosewall leads 3:1 matches...
     
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  15. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    #15
  16. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    This thread should be great.. we probably can't tell which of them is greater but can learn as much as we can about all time legends
     
    #16
  17. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

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    Difficult question. I like the differentiation between greater and career. And I kind of agree with it.

    Maybe an interesting angle would be to look for similarities between the two and two modern players. Who would they be?
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Nadal Power,

    I agree. Rosewall and Gonzalez are both first tier.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan "Hoad is GOAT" Lobb,

    I'm a great Hoad admirer and concede that Lew was arguably the strongest when "on".

    But I regret that you tend to denigrate Rosewall all the time.

    I concede that Hoad was Kramer's darling but you should also know that Muscles Rosewall was maybe the most admired player of his time. A crowd's darling.

    You are correct that the 1963 US Pro was a disaster but the Wembley event was almost every year a success even when Hoad did not participate. Large attendance.
     
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  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    I also must contradict you when you say that Hoad was dominating Rosewall on clay. I just cannot trust your 16:7 balance of Hoad on clay for 1957.

    As far as I know Hoad and Rosewall stood 14:14 in their pro matches on December 3 (according to Joe McCauley).

    In the 1958 Perrier Cup on clay Rosewall beat Hoad 4:1 matches. In the 1960s
    Muscles dominated Hoadie clearly.

    I have counted an overall 83:59 head to head of Rosewall against Hoad (amateur plus pro). In big events Rosewall leads 11:3...

    But I concede that Hoad without his several injuries would have matched both Laver and Rosewall in the 1960s
     
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  21. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The 1963 US Pro was the tournament where Gonzales came out of an 18 month retirement having negotiated a guaranteed $5,000 fee. The tournament was back at Forest Hills for the first time since Segura's 1951 triumph, yet was a financial disaster and none of the other players were paid a dime.

    This was kind of ironic considering how angry Gonzales regularly was about newly turned professionals being paid more than him.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
    #21
  22. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    When was this? I ask because Lew Hoad was still an amateur until after he retained his Wimbledon title in 1957 by demolishing Ashley Cooper.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    Four pros including rookie pro Hoad played a tour in Europe, Africa,and Asia from August, 1957 onward, in Europe partly on clay.
     
    #23
  24. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I voted for Rosewall, but only because I've seen more videos of him, and because (being younger than Gonzalez) he was still playing and doing well in majors when I first started playing.

    Both of these guys, amazingly, were top 10 players for 20 years or so. Gonzalez was the consensus best in the world for more years than Rosewall. But then Rosewall was either the best or co-best for almost as many years -- because of Laver, who, imo, has to be considered right along with these guys.

    Both Gonzalez and Rosewall were still beating top 10 pros when they were in their 40's. Just amazing to me.

    Anyway, that's my two cents. Nice thread NN. I always like to hear what people have to say about past tennis greats. Wish there was more clear video on them. I love watching their games and technique with the wooden rackets.

    By the way, I did have the opportunity to watch some top pro players, up close, using the wooden rackets during the early and mid '70s. I remember seeing Cliff Drysdale in a World Team Tennis match in Miami (I forget the specific year, maybe 1975?), and marveling at his shots. That guy could really stroke the ball. I think he played Rosewall in some Grand Masters matches when they were both off the tour. Not sure what the head to head was.
     
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  25. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT,

    I appreciate you as true expert and real fan of tennis.

    A poster recently doubted recently Drysdale's status as great player...

    Rosewall:Drysdale 11:4 in head-to-head.
     
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  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I'm a fan, certainly no expert. Rosewall was 7 years older than Drysdale. I guess my point was that, having seen Drysdale play in person up close, and being amazed at how well he hit the ball, then if Rosewall could beat him ... well, he had to be some kind of great player to do that.
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT,

    Your modest attitude honours you, but for me every person is an expert who praises Rosewall and Gonzalez and who appreciates Drysdale's game.

    In comparison many so called experts tend to denigrate both Pancho and Muscles. For instance Tennis Channel in their recent rankings put Rosewall at place 14 and Gonzalez at place 22 which was a heavy scandal. Another example was famous Harry Hopman who ranked Rosewall behind of Emerson (maybe because Harry hated those Aussies who turned pro).

    Yes, Rosewall was much older than Drysdale when they met. Muscles was 33 plus when they first met.

    That Miami WTT match must have been in 1974 or 1976 because Rosewall did not play WTT in 1975.
     
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  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Rosewall had trouble with 2hb's.
     
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  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I've seen both Rosewall and Drysdale play live, up close. Drysdale had a big serve and his backhand was, arguably, as great as Rosewall's. Certainly one of the great groundstrokes of his day. But, his forehand was not at that level. Rosewall had a better forehand, better net play, and better mobility.
     
    #29
  30. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. Yeah, I agree that it's pretty much a scandal to put Rosewall and Gonzalez at 14 and 22, respectively.

    Regarding the Miami WTT match. I don't think Rosewall was there. Just Drysdale. I think I remember Jeanie Evert (Chris's sister) and Rosie Casals being there, and thinking, jeez, I probably will never be able to hit the ball as well as these women, much less Drysdale. :)

    It was really a lot of fun to see them play, indoors on carpet, and so close.
     
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  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Wow, you're fortunate to have been able to see those guys. Rosewall was a real shotmaker, eh? Was he the guy they called the Doomsday Stroker?
     
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  32. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    By the way, I've been trying to find the quote from Gonzalez where he had some very nice things to say about Rosewall's game. One thing I remember was that he said Rosewall was quite capable of hitting the ball with a LOT of pace.
     
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  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    They called him the Doomsday Stroking Machine. I love that name. I believe it means that he could hit groundstrokes until Doomsday.
     
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  34. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT,

    Yes, Rosewall was called the Doomsday Stroking Machine, at least Bud Collins probably gave him that title. More familiar were Muscles and The Little Master.
     
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  35. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Gotta love Bud Collins. :) Remembering his comments brings back a lot of fond memories from those years when I was a tennis bum.
     
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Bud Collins is a great historian of the game and I loved his commentary. I vaguely remember a match which was tied in games in the final set. Collins made the comment "We hoped the match would be closer" or at least words to that effect. I almost fell off my chair laughing.
     
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  37. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yeah. :) I also enjoyed Vic Braden's comments in the second video provided by the OP ... about once having the job of consoling people who Gonzalez might have slighted. :) I remember him commenting on Harold Solomon's game, saying something to the effect that if you can learn to hit, say, 500 balls in a row back to the center of the court then you can have a house full of MONEY! :)

    But, apologies, I've been getting a bit off topic.

    After having thought about it a bit more, I think I would have to vote for Gonzalez. Ok, I changed my mind. Is that a big deal? :) This is, at least somewhat, I suppose, a learning experience for those of us who have never really researched this stuff.

    But I still prefer the way Rosewall played. Maybe just because Gonzalez was, in his prime, just too good to even identify with. I don't know. In fact, I have no idea ... but it's fun remembering these great players.

    Need more videos. Would love to see more of Budge's and Kramer's playing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
    #37
  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT,

    I respect your opinion but tell me why you switched over to Gonzalez? At least the achievements of both players as Nathaniel Near has brought them on the top of this thread suggest that Rosewall has the edge (most impressive the 23 big titles of Muscles).

    But I concede that Gonzalez is clearly ahead in hth and that he won those big world series which are fantastic.

    Gonzalez rather won with his great service (arguable the best at all), Rosewall rather won by accuracy and touch.

    As earlier written I believe that both players deserve a place in the top four all-times.
     
    #38
  39. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I switched because of Gonzalez's edge in hth, because he was the consensus best for more years, and because of his impact on tennis.

    With that said, I actually like Rosewall's game better. What a joy to watch, as they all were of course. But Rosewall especially ... for me at least.

    There's no deciding these issues I think, but it's good to have discussions about them as they provide interesting insights. I have this vision of the great players of the '50s and '60s as being some sorts of court magicians. I suspect that if I see videos of the great players of the '30s and '40s then I'll think the same about them.

    Of course I have to keep in mind that it was a somewhat different game due to the equipment. The thing is that I played almost all of my tennis in the mid '70s, so I can identify with that era, and also somewhat with immediately preceding eras of wood racket tennis.

    I recently took some of my old wood rackets to the courts for some practice hitting. Interestingly (or maybe not) I found that I was able to hit just as well, just as hard, with them as with my modern rackets. The only difference that I noticed was that the modern rackets felt a little better.
     
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  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT,

    Thanks for the explaining.

    Regarding hth it's maybe only the first glimps that Gonzalez "owned" Rosewall.

    In Rosewall's favour we could say that in their first series Muscles was too poung for the pro king and that these two giants of tennis mostly played indoors where Gonzalez was the undisputed master and indoors was Rosewall's "worst" surface (even though he won there his most big titles).

    Regarding more years of Pancho I would like to say (as I have already done in another thread that Muscles was arguably No.1 or Co.-No.1 for nine years. But I concede that Pancho dominated more clearly when being No.1.

    By the way, it might be of interest that only Gonzalez, Laver, Roche, Connors and Borg of the top opponents of Rosewall have a positive balance against the Little Master.

    You are right that Gonzalez did more of popularizing our sport, especially in the U.S.
     
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  41. Dan Lobb

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    McCauley's list is grossly incomplete, and he does not include many results, such as the most important clay tourney of 1957 at the Hague, where Hoad won over both Rosewall and Segura on red shale, or Cairo where the same result occurred. These were both five-set marathons.
    Kramer recalls that Hoad won two-thirds of the 1957 tour matches against Rosewall, which McCauley cannot locate. (I don't mean to denigrate McCauley's useful work.)
    In big events, Hoad had the dominance over Rosewall in 1959, winning against him at Forest Hills, Roland Garros, Kooyong. Wembley was a less important event than these.
     
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  42. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The Wembley Pro was a very big tournament.
     
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  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    You are rather stubborn with some of your opinions. As Mustard rightly said, Wembley was an important event, most probably the most important of the pros' calendar. Frank Sedgman once confirmed this when I asked him about the matter.

    I think the Hague and Cairo tournaments were part of the 4 man tour.

    I once have found also a 10:8 pro balance of Rosewall against Hoad (probably October 1957).

    Joe McCauley did not count those matches he listed up but brought an official 14:14 record on December 3rd!

    I don't trust Jack Kramer too much because Kramer always belittled Rosewall. For instance he wrote that Segura owned Rosewall till summer 1958
    which is most doubtful.

    Kramer only once praised Rosewall when he wrote that Muscles would have won four Wimbledons if open era had come earlier.

    I appreciate your Hoad admiration. Hoad was extremely strong when "on" but please try to stay objective.
     
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  44. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    From what I understand and from what I've read Wembley was clearly the most important Pro Tournament.
     
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  45. Dan Lobb

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    Bobby, I will never accuse you of being stubborn, regardless of the evidence, so don't worry about that.
    If Wembley had been the most important tournament in the late 1950's (in the early 1950's it was just about the only significant tournament on the pro calendar, at a time when the pro calendar was virtually non-existent) the most important players would have shown up in the Wembley finals. In 1957, 1958, 1959 the top guys contested the Forest Hills and Kooyong deciders, not the Wembley.
    Sedge won the Wembley event in 1953 (when it was the most important event) and 1958 (when it was not the most important event).
    If I won a tourney twice, I would rate it highly.
    The 14:4 result is undocumented.
     
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  46. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    I don't want to annoy you. I would like to not calling you stubborn but you don't make it easy for me to not calling you so.

    You seem to have a trauma with Wembley and a visionary view on Kooyong as a major event.

    Wembley had always a strong field even in the end-1950s. 1957: Gonzalez, Rosewall, Segura and Hoad. 1958: Gonzalez, Segura, Rosewall, Trabert, Sedgman; Hoad was in the draw but was defaulted due to injury. A weak field???
    1959: Hoad, Segura, Trabert, Rosewall, Sedgman, Anderson, Cooper. A weak field??? I concede that Forest Hills had a slightly better participation.

    I also concede that Kooyong had mostly a very strong field. But it did not have the prestige of Wembley.

    Sedgman is not the only source for calling Wembley the top pro event or at least one of the tree top events. I have also read this in other sources including the big Collins encyclopedia.

    The 14:14 balance of Rosewall and Hoad is not undocumented. Why should McCauley make a fake? But a few of your claims are undocumented (16:7 for Hoad; 13 wins of Hoad against Laver).
     
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  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    I wonder that you doubt Joe McCauley's record. Joe did not simply count the matches he had researched: He must have got the hth from an official source. I believe him.
     
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  48. Dan Lobb

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    Where was Gonzales in the 1959 Wembley?
    The point is that the big guys do not show up in the Wembley finals.
    Kooyong showed the big guys playing their best.
    McCauley gives no details? Why not?
    Hoad against Laver in 1963 is strongly documented, even by Laver himself in a 1997 audio recording, "In 1963 when I turned pro, Hoad beat me in 14 straight matches, and this was at a time when he was supposedly no longer interested in tennis"
    Had enough? If not, I can give you more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
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  49. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Gonzales may have been absent, but the 1959 Wembley Pro had Hoad, Segura, Trabert, Rose, Rosewall, Cooper, Kramer, Anderson and Sedgman. Basically, all the big pros except Gonzales took part.
     
    #49
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Dan Lobb,

    Even though our discussions could be boring to some readers, I gladly give an answer.

    Gonzalez sometimes missed majors, partly because of his several semi-retirements. Pancho was not the typical player for majors. In tours he was better than in pro majors (see his several losses at Wembley, Roland Garros).

    The big guys did not show in Wembley finals? You can't be serious...

    Kooyong did not alwas have all big guys. F.i. in 1966 Pancho was absent.

    Joe McCauley did not give details to the Hoad/Rosewall head to head in December 1957 because- as I suppose- he did not imagine that there could be readers like you who doubt even the most clear statements...

    I have already given some credit to Lew Hoad (pobably as good as Laver and Rosewall in the 1960s if being healthy) and I respect Panch Gonzalez as one of the four greatest players all-time, but you don't seem to give credit to players like Laver and Rosewall and to tournaments like Wembley and French Pro.
    That's a pity.
     
    #50

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