Greatest mens tennis player of all time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by GrafisGOAT, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    That tour was potentially one of the greatest. Budge won the firest five matches, but Vines was known to start slowly on the pro tours. With the score 12 to 8 in Budge's favour, Vines got hot, and reeled off five straight wins to lead 13 to 12. Budge noted in his book that a disgruntled fan asked him why he was letting Vines win, and Budge said that his body was aching and sore from the fierce contests, and how could anyone ask such a question.
    Vines injured his shoulder in the next match, and was reported as serving side-arm therafter.
    After this tour, Budge toured against Perry and Tilden whil Vines recovered. When the US Pro was held later, Vines was ready to play, but Budge withdrew from the competition, claiming that he was tired from the tours. It could have been a great final.
     
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Thanks Dan. Do you have a link or citation for the sidearm serving report?
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Rememeber the way Cash treated Lendl at 1987 Wimbledon? well, I bet if it had been Hoad instead of Cash, Lendl would have been taking the shower after 90 minutes of play...
     
  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Disagree.You don´t have to denigrate Hoad to enhance Rosewall.Rosewall never dominated the way lew did in 56.In fact, very few players have done in history...and I am one of the fiercest Ken´s defenders, if you catch up my posts.

    Hoad,Rosewall.Laver and Gonzales at their peak for a year...we don´t need to watch anymore tennis.
     
  5. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    kiki, I'm not denigrating Lew Hoad. I am simply saying I am no fan of Hoad as best ever. Many reasons for this. 1/I maintain he never finished a pro season ranked world number 1. He had hot streaks, but not hot years. 2/Hoad never won a single pro Major. He is entitled to be remembered as the best player on the pro circuit never to win one.

    As to his fitness problems, he did very much bring that on himself. He was very keen on weights training and well known for lifting heavy loads if challenged to. He simply wore down his spine. He was a brilliant player and Roy Emerson was such a fan he suggested foregoing his own open ambitions to coach Hoad to his best form. He was held in high esteem by his fellow Aussies and was a hero to many. BUT ultimately he could not scale the heights of the tour except in bursts.

    And as to the beer drinking story, getting drunk is a self-inflicted problem. Never mind the stories about the Aussies being big drinkers, the rule was if you went on court you were fit to play. No excuses.

    All in all, Lew Hoad was blessed with talent and opportunity. He just did not deliver to the degree he might. And he is no candidate for best ever, if that definition is based on results delivered.
     
  6. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Lew Hoad as a pro

    US Pro - r/u Gonzalez 1958, losing in 5s after winning first 2 sets. r/u Gonzalez 1959, straight sets. Wembley [London Pro Indoor] - r/u Rosewall 1961, 1962, 1963; sf Rosewall 1966. French Pro - r/u Rosewall 1958 in 4s, incl 6-0 in 4th set; r/u 1960 Rosewall; sf 1963 Rosewall. Those are the results of a fine player, but never better than #2 in any season. And if you can't win even one season against the best, by definition you cannot be a contender for the best of all time.
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Forest Hills Pro Champion in 58 and 59.beat Gonzales most of the time when nobody did.Gonzales himself feared much more a drunk Hoad than a peak Rosewall...
     
  8. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Again, Doug, you are confused about the so-called "Pro Major" nonsense.
    The most important pro tournaments were Forest Hills, Kooyong, Roaland Garros, Wembley in that order. The US Pro was not held between 1952 and 1961, despite the Cleveland promoter's self-created blather. The Cleveland tourney only attracted minor fields.
    Wembley itself was only the most important indoor tourneament, and was choked with dense smoke, and no air-conditioning, which meant that the larger players were at a disadvantage, requiring lots of oxygen The 1959 Wembley champ was none other than Mal Anderson, nobody's idea of a world beater.
    Hoad did very well in the most important tournaments, winning Kooyong in 1958 (defeating Gonzales in the decider) and 1960 (defeating Rosewall in a great final), and defeating Gonzales in the 1958 and 1959 Forest Hills, acknowledged as the most important tournament.
    \the idea that there existed a regular series of pro majors is a fiction.
     
  9. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I have been looking for the reference, which I believe was in the London Times somewhere in 1939.
    Jack Kramer's book mentions the five-match streak that put Vines ahead in the tour, and the injury in the following match.
     
  10. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    While its certainly right, that the so called pro majors are to be proven for each year, and that the US pro at Cleveland hadn't always the best field in the late 50s and early 60s, and the French pro changed sides and surfaces from clay to Coubertin indoors back and forth, i think that Wembley was in most years the most stable and coveted pro title. Hoad himself wrote that in the book The Art of Tennis by Alan Trengove, published in 1963/64. Forest Hills was indeed a very important round robin event in 1957 and 58 (which were won both by Gonzalez, if i recall it right), and Hoad's win over Gonzalez in the 1959 final was certainly his high point on the pro tour. I agree with Dan, that Hoad has a claim to Nr. 1 pro in 1959 (or maybe ex aequo with Gonzalez), when he won the point race of the pros. However the pro ranking of this year is a complete mess, you can see that on the wikipedia webside about World Nr. 1 players, which Carlo Colussi compiled (with the help of some others). Every manager of the Kramer group had a different ranking, Kramer himself has two different rankings. A real mess. In 1958 however, Gonzalez is clearly to be ranked higher than Hoad, winning the World Series, the US pro over Hoad and Forest Hills. Jeffrey Neave, another Australian poster, who knows the pro situation well, always thought, that Sedgman has a better claim in 1958, winning Melbourne and Wembley.
     
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's great, I'll have a look in the Times too.

    But Kramer's numbers are off if he has Vines taking a 13-12 lead. I've put together a list of the Budge-Vines matches, using contemporary press reports, and though Vines stayed even with Budge early on, at 4 wins a piece, Budge then pulled away and stayed well ahead for the remainder of the tour.

    The press reports gave the H2H tally after each match, and this is what they have. First number is Budge's wins, second is Vines'.

    1-0 after New York
    2-0 after Boston
    2-1 after Philadelphia
    2-2 after Chicago
    3-2 after Pittsburgh
    3-3 after Cleveland
    4-4 after Minneapolis
    5-4 after Kansas City
    6-4 after St. Louis
    9-4 after Buffalo
    10-4 after Baltimore
    11-8 after Miami Beach
    13-8 after Everglades Club
    15-9 after New Orleans
    17-10 after Los Angeles
    17-11 after San Francisco
    18-12 after Oakland
    20-13 after Pasadena
    20-14 after Milwaukee (though 20-14 implies a Vines victory here, Budge actually won this match: http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...IEAAAAIBAJ&dq=budge vines aces&pg=3376,271719)

    All of this is consistent with the descriptions by Ray Bowers, who seems to have used the press reports closely: http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines_05_11_22.html
     
  12. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    My understanding is that the French Pro title was the premier pro 'Major', with Wembley second. The US Pro was problematic and , Joe McCauley's History of Professional Tennis notwithstanding, most Australians would dispute there was ever a national professional tournament. I can see the results for something called the Australian Pro Champs but it seems to have had a field of SIX. The Melbourne and Forest Hills events were round robin which are never the same as win or lose draws. The 1959 Forest Hills event was at least a traditional draw but it had a field of TEN. I maintain the three events that mattered in pro tennis were Paris, London and the US Pro and Lew Hoad drew a blank at all of them.

    As to Mal Anderson, he is one of the legends of Australian tennis. He won an amateur Major, he won a pro Major and he was a finalist in the Australian Open in 1972. Only Laver and Rosewall could also say they made amateur , pro and open Major finals. When Mal won Wembley in 1959, he did so by defeating Sedgman in straight sets before edging Rosewall in a tough 5 setter in the semis and Segura similarly in a 5 setter in the final. He earned Wembley that year.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Anderson,Rose,Ashley Cooper and Fred Stolle are considered minor australians, but look at what they acheived.

    " middle " australians´d be Fraser,Roche,Browmwich,Quist

    the big ones are, of course, Laver,Sedgman,Hoad,Rosewall,Emerson and Newcombe

    Even guys that were minor aussies, like Mulligan or Hewitt, had to go abroad to get the recognition they deserved, so enormous was the pool f talent in Australia in the 1950´s and 1960´s.
     
  14. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Aussie champtions

    kiki, I mostly agree. Cooper and Anderson were tremendous players but they were a level below the likes of Rosewall and Laver. Indeed, when you look back at our best SINCE Newcombe, there weren't many even up to the Anderson/Cooper/Rose standard. Cash, Rafter, Hewitt, McNamara and Philippoussis definitely and, if there had been a strong grass circuit still, maybe Alexander and Edmondson would have delivered more.The loss of grass really hurt us. There are forgotten guys, like Rod Frawley for one, that may have been remembered with greater respect if grass had predominated. Oh well......it didn't.
     
  15. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Not forgotten. Semis of Wimbledon! Great player, Frawley.Was he related to John Frawley, one-time coach of Patrick Cash?

    Speaking of Cash coaches, was Ian Barclay (The Barker) a good grass-court player as well?
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.Only Cash,Rafter and Hewitt had the allure of a great champion.Edmondson was very fortunate to win the 1976 AO, still, on grass, he was a top 10 player, just as Philipoussis and Alexander, IMO.But not as good as Cash,Rafter and LLeyton Hewitt.
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Big serve and volley game, very steady BH, specially in the return of serve.unconsistent FH.He was a late blossomer, having spent much of his time as a touring pro in several clubs in Germany.Spent more time in Europe than anywhere else.
     
  18. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Eddo had one great run at Wimbledon and two at the AO but I just wonder what he might have done if there had been a more traditional grass - dominated tour and if his AO victory had attracted the ranking points of a Major.
     
  19. Dan Lobb

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    Doug, it is important to look behind the titles. Oklahoma City was not a major tournament simply because it was billed as the World Professional Championships (Gimeno beat Laver and Rosewall to win in 1966). The promoters often inflated the titles to sell tickets.
    The Cleveland event was never the official US Pro (consult the historical section of the USPTA website). Everyone regarded Forest Hills as the pre-eminent tournament, and in 1959 Kramer applied for official recognition of it as the real US Pro, and the USPLTA approved his application.
    Mal Anderson was a shrewd judge of tennis ability, and in 1959 he rated the best pros as 1)Hoad 2)Gonzales 3)Rosewall 4)Sedgman 5)Trabert 6)Anderson 7)Segura 8)Cooper (see McCauley p. 97).
    I would agree with Anderson's assessment, as he had spent the entire year playing these individuals.
     
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I would, too.Top 5 is clear, then the other pros like Olmedo,Cooper,Anderson and Segura were great players but clearly second stringers.It had to be Laver to dinamize the pro tour.
     
  21. Dan Lobb

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    Something is a little strange here. If Budge led at 20 to 14, and the final score was 21 to 18, it is possible that Vines' winning edge referred to by Kramer came at the end of the tour, and his serious shoulder injury in the final match. I understand that these tours had no fixed boundaries, so perhaps it ended at 21 to 18 because Vines could no longer continue.
     
  22. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, having read the Bowers article, the tour was fixed in length.
     
  23. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I did not see that in his article, but yes, it had to be fixed in length so that the Budge/Perry tour would start on time. The NY Times announced that Budge/Perry would run for 36 matches (which Budge won 28-8 per the Bud Collins Encyclopedia).

    I've found newspaper reports of almost all the Budge/Vines matches. Here's my revised list of the H2H that they reported after each match.

    1-0 after New York, won by Budge
    2-0 after Boston, won by Budge
    2-1 after Philadelphia, won by Vines
    2-2 after Chicago, won by Vines
    3-2 after Pittsburgh, won by Budge
    3-3 after Cincinnati, won by Vines
    4-3 after Detroit, won by Budge
    4-4 after Minneapolis, won by Vines
    5-4 after Kansas City, won by Budge
    6-4 after St. Louis, won by Budge
    8-4 after Cleveland, won by Budge
    9-4 after Buffalo, won by Budge
    10-4 after Baltimore, won by Budge
    10-5 after College Park, won by Vines
    10-6 after Richmond, won by Vines
    10-7 after Chapel Hill, won by Vines
    11-7 after Charlotte, won by Budge
    11-8 after Miami Beach, won by Vines
    13-8 after Palm Beach, won by Budge
    13-9 after Atlanta, won by Vines
    15-9 after New Orleans, won by Budge
    17-10 after Los Angeles, won by Vines
    17-11 after San Francisco, won by Vines
    18-12 after Oakland, won by Vines
    18-13 after San Jose, won by Vines
    20-13 after Pasadena, won by Budge
    20-14 (should be 21-14) after Milwaukee, won by Budge (clinched series)
    21-15 after Rochester, won by Vines
    21-16 after Troy, won by Vines
    21-17 after Providence, won by Vines
    22-17 after Montreal, won by Budge (last match of the series)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    None of those reports, incidentally, mention Vines being injured or serving sidearm. That doesn't mean it's impossible, but I'm very skeptical because of all the aces attributed to Vines throughout the series.

    Jan 3 (New York), Vines served 5 aces

    Jan 4 (Boston), Vines out-aced Budge 9-6

    Jan 10 (Cincinnati), Vines “vicious service”

    Jan 12 (Detroit), Vines out-aced Budge 9-1 (per Bowers)

    Jan 14 (Minneapolis), Vines “working his ace service ball often”

    Jan 16 (Kansas City), “only Vines’ service did his bidding”

    Jan 17 (St. Louis), Vines “found only his service working”

    Jan 29 (Miami Beach), Vines “won his sets on the service, which experts rate as the world’s best”

    Feb 3 (Atlanta), Vines served 30 aces (per Bowers)

    Feb 12 (Los Angeles), Vines had “three flashing service aces” in one game near the end

    Feb 27 (Milwaukee), Vines out-aced Budge 13-1

    Mar 3 (Troy), Vines served 11 aces

    Vines did have shoulder trouble later in the year, per Bowers. You mentioned the London Times, I found only 2 reports of Budge/Vines matches in '39, nothing about injuries. But John Olliff reported '39 matches for the Daily Telegraph, might be worth checking there. I don't know whether he covered the pro matches; and anyway I don't have access to the Telegraph's archives.
     
  25. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    slice bh compliment, the Frawley family might just be the best known tennis family in Queensland. They have produced a number of players over the years. As I recall, John was the younger brother of Rod.
     
  26. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it looks like Vines was serving fine on the Budge tour. But Kramer's memories and some of the strange results on the European tour suggest an injury. I distinctly remember reading that Vines had trouble raising his arm to serve due to a shoulder injury. Perhaps it was on the continent.
     
  27. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Laver eventually dynamized the game, but only after Open tennis arrived. In the 1963 Forest Hills US Pro, Laver and Rosewall played for no money, as the tournament played to an empty stadium and was a financial disaster. After this, the pros had to play in lesser venues, such as Longwood Club, Stad Coubertin (a smoky, Dingey indoor disaster with no air-conditioning), Melbourne Arena. Wembley was a similar disaster as a tennis venue.
     
  28. PrinceMoron

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    If you are the Danny Lob I am thinking of, then you could be in this list too.
     
  29. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    The one guy that intrigues me is " Connors, I mean over 100 tournament victories - I would have to say top five IMO.
     
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...AND THOSE WERE THE LUXURY EVENTS...THEY PLAYED ON PARKING PLACES AND ROADS...
     
  31. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Winning a lot of titles is great, but how many big tournaments and how competitive they were is another story. What if a player win 30 small atp250 with only 32 draw but not good enough to big event like the slam? That only indicate he can win with less quality players around but can't win when the big boys show up in a big event. Counting number of titles without looking into further details can be misleading, because you can have a player that win much less but won the more important ones. e.g. Lendl won more titles than Federer, but Fed won more important titles, and are much more difficult to win. If we put weight on every events for all the players have won, I say Fed has more points than Connors and Lendl.
     
  32. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    Federer>Lendl>Connors.
    But Connors is still > most !!!!!!!!
     
  33. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Connors won nearly 150 titles. Laver won nearly 200 titles.
     
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Vines' edge over Budge in the first tour was 22-17, and in the second 15-5. That's quite a difference, and one possibility is that an injury had something to do with that.

    Having said that, some of the 15-5 margin may reflect the difference between Budge and Vines at that point in time. Bowers says that by the time the Perry tour started in March, "It seemed clear that Don was now a better player than in January and at least a full level above Perry." That seems supported by the fact that Budge beat Perry far worse than Vines had done the previous two years.

    There does seem to be something to Vines having shoulder problems at some point in '39 (certainly late in the year). Maybe the Daily Telegraph has something; I noticed in Bowers that the Telegraph did cover the pro events (they "contrasted the empty seats at the 1939 Wimbledon final, thought to reflect the softish, controlled style of amateur champion Bobby Riggs, with the size and enthusiasm of the crowds watching the power tennis of the Harris pros").
     
  35. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Most single titles:
    Jimmy Connors 109
    Ivan Lendl 94
    John McEnroe 77
    Roger Federer 73
    Pete Sampras 64
    Björn Borg 63
    Guillermo Vilas 62
    Andre Agassi 60
    Ilie Năstase 57
    Boris Becker 49

    Do you watch tennis?

    Many commentators have said Roger became the 4th player to win 70 or more titles.
     
  36. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl over Connors? No way.

    That's the total number of ATP listed titles, and open era only. If you include non-ATP listed titles and pre-open era titles as well then Laver has won 200 titles in his career. Connors won 149.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Laver_career_statistics#Singles_titles_.28200.29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_...gles_titles_.28149.29_and_runner-ups_.2854.29
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  37. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    The "non-ATP listed titles" include exhibitions and invitational events with very small fields (fewer than 8 players). From a tennis historian's perspective that is great. We want to document the history of the game as fully as possible, and that includes recording all tournaments and events in which leading players participated.

    The more problematic issue with listing these events is the inferences that some posters draw from the numbers quoted. People say "Connors won 140 titles - wow" and compare that total with Federer's 73, Sampras's 64 or Nadal's 46. That is an apples to oranges comparison. As has been well documented in this forum, today's top players play in the SAME events all season. There are no divides between amateur and professional ranks, no boycotts and no rival pro tours such as the Riordan circuit on which Connors amassed victories in 1974. Every player who is not injured takes part in the four majors and the WTF, and almost all show up for Masters events (which are, except for Monte Carlo, mandatory). Even ATP 500 events draw very strong fields. Eight of the world's top 10 played in Dubai last month, and that field is not unusual for Dubai.

    Federer's 73 titles include 16 majors, 6 WTF titles and 19 Masters titles. Nadal's total of 46 includes 10 majors, 1 Olympic gold medal and 19 Masters titles. To repeat: these are BIG tournaments in which virtually all the leading players participated. No contemporary player will approach the number of titles won by some greats in the past, because today's playing conditions simply do not permit this. However, although Connors was undoubtedly a great player, his total number of titles won does not make him a GOAT contender.

    This is one of my pet peeves. The other, and related, one is the attempt to treat pro majors as equivalent to majors won in the Open era. ("Rosewall won 23 majors! That is the target for Federer to match!"). Although the flaws in these arguments have been exposed on several occasions, they continue to be used. I'm not saying that you are guilty of this, by the way, but others certainly are.
     
  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    More difficult to win???? yeah, Bagdatis,Roddick,Tsonga,Soderling,35 eyars old Agassi,IssnerPhilipussis...terrific opponents for the GOAT¡¡¡¡

    Lendl´s only weak rival in a GS final was Michael Pernfors.But, Becker,Wilander,Mc Enroe,Connors,Edberg,Mecir...
     
  39. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    steve132, I plead GUILTY to the charge. For so many years I've heard how Sampras was going after Roy Emerson's 'record' of Majors - all of which were amateur events, with the best players excluded because they openly competed for money - unlike amateurs who surreptitiously competed for money.

    These people are still happy to refer to Rosewall's Majors total as 8, despite 4 of those being such amateur events. Yet he won 15 against the toughest competition in the world over 11 seasons in professional tennis. What about them? And was world number 1 for 4 or 5 of those years. What's your beef?

    The French Pro, Wembley/London Pro Indoor and the US Pro actually constituted a smaller group of Majors - 3 rather than 4 - and much tougher if numerically smaller fields. There were very few upsets in terms of ultimate victors. In 15 Wembleys, for example, only five men won - Gonzales[3], Sedgman[2], Rosewall[5], Anderson[1] and Laver[4]. And the record confirms how tough they were to win and keenly fought out.

    Compare that amateur Majors where you could nearly sleepwalk through the early rounds, the competition was so weak. Are todays Open Majors the toughest draws ever? I think YES. They combine the high standard of play between the world's best players - as per the Pro Majors pre 1968 - with the numerical depth of amateur Majors pre 1968. Today's Majors are a natural evolution, and a stronger one, from their amateur and pro predecessors. But to suggest that you don't include them is just to attempt to deny history.

    It is highly relevant that the two great champions who won the Pro Majors of the early to mid 1960s - Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver - were the same guys who dominated Open tennis in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was the natural progression - not Emerson and Santana and the familar amateur tournaments.

    So YES, YES and YES once more, the Pro Majors should be counted in any total of Majors won in Australia, France, England and the USA. Separate them into three categories if you will - amateur, professional and open - but count them nevertheless. Those composite totals place the likes of Tilden, Budge, Gonzales, Sedgman, Rosewall and Laver in a more accurate light vis a vis today's champions and their totals. Different yes, but comparable.
     
  40. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    As the resident TT OCD counter, I'm quite disappointed in you, TMF. You, of all OCD smitten posters should know that the ATP didn't exist before 1973, and doesn't recognize non-ATP titles.

    How embarrassing for you!
     
  41. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I look at the pro majors like the open majors, but, with only the top seeded players participating. As a result, I think it's fair to consider Rosewall's major count to be 19, excluding his amateur majors won against an amateur field.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Not necessarily because he did win the amateur majors and they were considered majors. Do we discount Jan Kodes 1973 Wimbledon win because the top players did not compete? Do we discount many of the majors of the 1970's because Laver's group did not play? Do we discount the Wimbledon Stan Smith won because it wasn't the best field?

    Rosewall's amateur victories in the majors were excellent wins with superb players like Hoad in the field.

    You could also argue the 1971 and 1972 WCT Championships were majors also because at the time they were considered big tournaments. Rosewall won both.
     
  43. Benhur

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    The Lendl-Connors ranking with respect to each other is very difficult to make, and you can make arguments for both. There should be a thread dedicated to this topic. Generally, if you take Connor’s 1974 Australian Open as a full-fledged major on the same level as Lendl’s, and if you take the Connors number of years/weeks as number 1 at face value, then it would appear Connors would get the edge. Lendl is credited with 146 tournaments to Connors 149. If you take only the officially recognized tournaments by the ATP, Connors is 109 to Lendl's 94, but the criteria in the 1980s got more strict than it had been in the 70s, so it would probably be also very close. Regarding the number one status, I’ve seen countless posts here showing that the Connors number 1 ranking through a few of those years should not be taken very seriously (for example in 75, 77 and 78 ). Which also means that the total number of weeks as number one, which is officially 268 for Connors vs 270 for Lendl, would be significantly less for Connors if those arguments are sound, as they seem to be. This is consistent with the general perception that Lendl’s level of dominance in his peak years (85-87) is more convincing and clear than in Connors best years. And Lendl also had extremely good years in 82 and 89. Number of majors is officially the same. But of course the significance of the Australian Open in the 70s is subject to extreme malleability depending on what you wish to demonstrate. Usually it is dismissed as a minor event in many Vilas discussions, but counted as a full major for Connors, although the only players from the top 20, aside from Connors, were Borg and Newcombe. Connors definitely has the edge in longevity over Lendl. They are exactly equal in match winning percentage. You can go through many other statistics where one or the other has a better record. It’s tough. I myself pick Lendl, but only by a very slight margin, which is why wherever I put Lendl in a ranking of all time greats, I always put Connors right next. My choice is based mostly on consideration that the weeks at number one and the equality in number of majors grants some radical revisionary measures. Still, I understand why some people may choose Connors over Lendl, because it’s so close anyway. But by the same token I don’t really understand why you may consider it totally incomprehensible that Lendl could be seen slightly above Connors. On the other hand, I feel the way you do when people place Agassi or McEnroe above Lendl/Connors. I just can't see how you could make the case, based on the record. Whereas in Lendl-Connors it seems you can always make some kind of case either way.
     
  44. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Winning *8* Grand Slams isn't too shabby + how many finals, semis' was Connors in & all the yrs he skipped Aust/French Opens. I said top five, not top three. It's like the adage, ' beauty is in the eye of the beholder" to me Connors deserves top five recognition, but then again, opininions are like *** ho...everbody has one.:) *

    *ps - let's not forget the run to the semis at (uso) 39 yrs of age, one of the greatest sports moments IMO.
     
  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You have to excuse TMF, the guy is completely clueless in any tennis played in the course of the XX century.he comes straight from the Glaciation era to Federer´s era non stop.
     
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's very close between Lendl and Connors. Even in total tournament victories I believe Connors had 148 to Lendl's 146. Winning percentage is close and number of majors won is very close. They also had many dominant years in which they won over 90% of their matches.

    Even in subjective stroke analysis it's close. You can argue Lendl had the better serve but that's countered by the argument Connors had the better service return. You can argue Lendl had the better forehand and that's countered by the argument Connors had the better backhand. No argument however that both had super groundstrokes.

    I go with Connors by a fraction but it's tough and in the past I have ranked Lendl over Connors.
     
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl was more flexible, but Connors was a better volleyer, a better mover and tougher in his head ( until 1985 at least this was the major difference between both ).Their rallies were sensational, anyhow.

    Both were super fit and very well trained.
     
  48. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, more difficult. More players competing, more talented players, bigger draw, etc..
     
  49. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Great post Steve. Matches like exo or invitations is the reason why historians don't include them into the mix. It's bad enough that they separate tennis into two circuits(amateur & pro), let alone the non-competitive events with only few players involved.

    I know some of the old-timers are well aware of this but conveniently ignore just to boost Laver and all the past generations.

    BTW, saying Rosewall winning 23 majors is a joke. That would be including all of the MS and WTF for the modern players, not just the 4 grand slam events.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  50. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    This ignores the fact that the so-called "pro majors" did not usually contain the top players or the strongest fields. For example, who won the US Pro in 1960? Or in 1961? Or in 1962 (it was the great Tut Bartzen!).
    Actually, the best pro tournaments were held at Forest Hills (which achieved official recognition as the US Pro in 1959), Kooyong, and Roland Garros (before the pros abandoned Roland Garros in 1963, due to the lack of drawing power of Laver and Rosewall).
    Come to reality, folks!
     

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