Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ATPballkid, Nov 25, 2009.
This thread is hilarious in terms of its ulterior motive.
The problem with this analysis is the artificiality of choosing decade barriers for the dividing lines. Some players were at their peak just before and just after a decade dividing line, and do not get considered at their best for a proper length of time.
I would suggest a less arbitrary system, looking at the total peak years of each great player, and comparing the overall achievement.
But, don't let me confuse you with the truth again.
I was simply complying with what the person who started the thread wanted. No need to make that comment in that I put in bold above. Frankly I agree with you and I have done that in the past, by that I mean looking at the peak years over a five year span and overall achievement.
Since you asked. I've written about this before.
I had the privilege of seeing Laver win the singles and doubles (with Emmo), of a WTC hard court event in the early 70's. He was the #1 seed in both singles and doubles.
In that event, Laver hit about 2-3 shots per set that, had I not seen them, I would have thought were not possible. My father and I had court level, front row, box seats, about 5 feet from the doubles ally half way between the net post and the service line. There was a green plywood barrier in front of the stands at courtside.
In a match against Nikki Pilic, Pilic (also a lefty), hit a hard, sharply angled, backhand slice approach shot right in front of us cross court to Laver's backhand corner and rushed the net. Against anyone else it would have been a clean winner. Laver, running away from us down the baseline, ran it down at full speed (I can still hear his shoes squeeking on the hard court as he tore after the ball), and made contact with the ball about 5 feet wide of the doubles ally. On the dead run, fully stretched out, reaching for the ball, with his back to us, Laver turned on the ball and unleashed the most vicious, crackling shot of any kind that I have ever seen in my entire life - a cross court passing shot right back to where we were sitting. He hit the ball harder than I thought humanly possible. The sound was a "CRACK" that was so loud I thought he had broken his racquet. The angle he hit was sharper than I would have thought possible. The ball had so much topspin on it cleared the net by about 2 feet, dipped violently, landed just inside the sideline about 6-7 feet from the net, and pounded the plywood partition in front of us like a kettle drum. Pilic never even made a move for the ball. The crowd of about 5,000 gasped. My father and I looked at each other like OMG, WTF was that? A bird could have flown in my mouth.
I'll remember that shot until the day I die. But, it wasn't just the shot. It was the speed, the impossible position, his ability to hit with that much power on the dead stretch from the backhand side. It was almost absurd.
That was the single greatest shot I've ever seen. And I've seen just about every #1 player in the world, since Rosewall, play live. The program we bought had nice little bio on all of the players in the draw. The bio on Laver said that, watching Laver play, his athleticism and shotmaking was so supreme it was easy to forget that he was human.
PC1, it WAS easy to forget he was human. And, it wasn't like there weren't other great players in that tournament. Stan Smith, Emmo, Bob Lutz, Cliff Richey, Charlie Pasarell, Dick Stockton, Cliff Drysdale, Frank Froehling, Phil Dent, John Alexander, Brian Gottfried, among others. By comparison, Laver could have been from a different planet than them. He played like a man possessed. His intensity was orders of magnitude above the them. And that was just one shot. There were many.
To this day, I haven't seen anything like Laver, ever.
Super description. From my own perspective when I saw Laver he did the impossible seem so easy and did it so often that if I didn't know better I would have thought every player could do that.
My most memorable Rosewall shot (and there were many) was I guess very obvious. It was that incredible backhand return that zipped passed Laver in the tiebreaker in the final set of their great WCT final of 1972. The drama in which Rosewall seemed beaten and ready to collapse and yet he hit a miracle return to essentially win the title of what really was a major tournament in those days.
I saw Rosewall play a team tennis match against Connors in 74'. Some of his backhand returns were huge. But, they didn't hurt Connors much because he didn't often come to net behind his serve.
You are surely right but Muscles was able to match Jimbo for a 5:7 score.
It's a shame some of the ones who tend to put down Laver have never seen him in person like you have.
If they could see him in life, they should see him at least in wax! (Smilie) Maybe nicer than in reality when some called him Mr. Bowlegs with the hawk-nose.
What he said
It's easy to put down someone you know little about when you travel under the presumption that newer is always better, especially when the video proof of his greatness isn't as well preserved as that of the most recent crop of greats.
Budge had a bigger peak than Perry, but Perry was more consistent, so it is even but both deserve it, for the 30´s.In the 50´s, while Hoad´s peak is the greatest, he did not hold enough as Gonzales, so pancho is the better choice.I don´t know about Betz in the 40´s.Other than that, I buy the list.
The best player of the 1930s was Ellsworth Vines.
It's funny when I was a kid and I've written this above but I never assumed the players of the present were the best. I usually assumed many if not most of the best players played in the past. My reasoning was that any sport that has been around for a while has had the huge majority of players playing in the past. What I mean is let's say 10000 players played at the top level but only 200 is playing currently. I felt the odds were the best player probably was among the 9800 who were not currently playing.
Perry was less consistent than either Vines or Budge in professional play, especially head to head.
Gonzales was only dominant from 1954 to 1957, Hoad probably outperformed Gonzales in 1958 and 1959, when Gonzales reached his absolute peak. I think that the choice for the 1950's is clear.
Gonzales was definitely better than Hoad in 1958, with Sedgman second best in 1958 behind Gonzales. It's very close in 1959, but Gonzales wasn't toppled. By the way, Gonzales' peak year was 1956.
If you are going to make bald statements, give us some supporting data. Actually, I don't think the data supports your contentions here.
Hoad won the two Ampol World Championships in 1958 and 1959, which was designed to establish an overall world champion.
The two-man circus which toured American small towns was a joke as far as a world championship is concerned.
I had thought that kiki does not respect tennis history but I learnt that you are twice kiki...
You belittle the important world tours (won by Gonzalez) in order to push your idol who was never a world champion, especially when winning just one tournament in the 1958 series.
Your words "circus", "small towns" and "joke" for the world series are a scandal.
First, the "world tours" you mention were NOT world tours, but a circus-show two-man affair of small-town America, like the midway of a county fair, and the players had to perform in high-school gyms and stay in cheap motels! Does that sound like a prestige event to you? Honestly?
And yes, Hoad won two Ampol World Championships designed to determine the number one.
In 1958, Gonzales beat Hoad on their world pro tour, 51-36. Gonzales won both the US Pro in Cleveland and the Tournament of Champions at Forest Hills. Sedgman won the Wembley Pro and the Kooyong tournament, with some excellent wins over Gonzales in the process. Hoad was clearly not as good as either Gonzales or Sedgman in 1958, at least not on a consistent basis throughout the year. Of course, Hoad's peak level of play is considered the best of all the players of that era by many, but that's not the point.
Gonzales' best year was 1956 because he was utterly dominant, beating Trabert 74-27 on their world pro tour, while winning the Wembley Pro, the US Pro in Cleveland and the Tournament of Champions in Los Angeles. Gonzales was also runner-up of the French Pro at Roland Garros, losing a 5-setter to Trabert. Had Gonzales won that French Pro final, it would arguably have been the most dominant year by a tennis player ever.
Dan, you are really incorrigible. That way I cannot argue with you...
Hoad behind Gonzales.Perry and Budge above Vines.Not peak play but dominance
Big depth difference atop with the 70 because Kodes,also known as Vines twin was n9 or n10 in the 1970 decade rankings -!
Again, you neglect the officially constituted Ampol World Championship which Hoad won in BOTH 1958 and 1959. This is where the big money was, and Hoad was the leading money-winner in both 1958 and 1959. Simple.
Ampol? What about the tournaments sponsored by other companies? Do they not count or something?
Have you heard of the world pro tours, the Tournament of Champions, the US Pro? Gonzales won all 3 in 1958, beating Hoad in 2 of them. Sedgman had a better year than Hoad in 1958, let alone Gonzales, as Sedgman won the Wembley Pro and the Kooyong tournament. Hoad has a claim for co-number 1 in 1959, and that's it, but Gonzales wasn't toppled even then because Gonzales still won the 4-man world pro tour and thrashed Hoad in the US Pro final. Yes, Hoad got his own back at the Tournament of Champions and had also won most of their direct matches on the world pro tour, but that's not enough to actually topple Gonzales as the best player in the world. Kramer was far less generous towards Hoad in 1959 than I am being, as I believe Kramer had Hoad in fourth place that year.
The 1958 Kooyong Pro was won by Hoad, not Sedgman. Sedgman won at Wembley, which was not on the Ampol world championship circuit, and White City, which was on the circuit.
Neither the Cleveland Arena tournament nor the Wembley Arena tournament were managed by the Kramer tour, and were not included in the overall world championship.
Hoad won the 1958 Ampol world championship on points, with an overall record of 13 wins and 10 losses, and won the bonus money pool.
Hoad "betrayed" Kramer by announcing his semi-retirement from tennis and dropping off the 1960 tour, which caused Ampol to sever its partnership with the Kramer tour. This caused the withdrawal of principal funding and cancellation of most of Kramer's plans for 1960, including the Ampol world championship and the Forest Hills Pro.
Small wonder that Kramer was disappointed with Hoad.
Again, the Cleveland Arena event and Wembley were not managed by Kramer's tour, and were not included in the Ampol World Championship, whose existence you do not appear to be aware of.
I agree but Hoad did not lead in hth that year. Gonzalez and Hoad were 23:23 for the full year. krosero has confirmed it.
...and won only ONE tournament that year!
You again belittle US Pro and Wembley....
I never have read that the AMPOL series was the World Championship. I guess you are the first one to call it that way...
Sedgman beat Trabert in the final, just like he did at Wembley.
What the hell has personal differences over 1960 got to do with making a ranking list of the best professional players of 1959?
23-23 is for all their 1959 matches, yes? I believe Hoad won 15 out of 28 on the 4-man world pro tour, but Gonzales was unbeaten against both Cooper and Anderson, while Hoad lost enough matches to Cooper and Anderson for Gonzales to win the 4-man tour.
Which tournament did Hoad win in 1958?
No, Sedgman won the White City, Sydney tournament in 1958, defeating Trabert and Gonzales in five-set wins.
The Kooyong round-robin tournament of 1958 was won by Hoad with a 5 to 0 record, defeating Gonzales in the decider. You may be thinking of 1959.
Kramer was prone to be influenced by personal disagreements, especially with Hoad, who seemed to frustrate him. Hoad's work ethic and casual approach to tennis, was diametrically opposed to Kramer's philosophy.
I can only find 23 to 21 for ALL 1959 matches between Hoad and Gonzales, but it is possible that unrecorded exhibitions took place in Australia in December. The official count is, I think, judging from the London Times account in July, and McCauley's listings, 23 to 21 for Hoad that year.
Again, perhaps Hoad and Gonzales arranged a couple of private exhibitions outside the tour.
L.A. Times and British Lawn Tennis have the 23:23 balance.
I would like to see the breakdown of matches. London Times reports 21 to 20 for Hoad after Forest Hills, and they did not play again until November in Australia, where the official count was 2 to 1 for Hoad.
Again, perhaps there were unrecorded exhibitions.
It's fine: When Hoad wins this is a tour match, when he loses it's merely an exhibition....
Your opinions are also unrecorded, fortunately!
Vainquers has Hoad winning the Melbourne Pros RR in 1958.
Isn' t Lobb's wife jealous of Lew Hoad?
No, perhaps the 21 to 20 score reported by the London Times in early july 1959 also included some exhibitions. I do not see 41 matches between these two in the "official" tour or tournaments.
But again, The London Times report does not break down the matches by type.
I can assure you that I give my wife much more attention than I give to the history of Hoad.
That is why I can still type.
Who's Lew Hoad? :?
Is that one of the guys who played before Laver?
You've come to the right place.
Lew Hoad's career highlights are as follows (do I hear groans?):
1953 Davis Cup Hoad wins two singles, including a famous match against Trabert, to lead Australia to victory in the Davis Cup final at Kooyong stadium
1955 Davis Cup Hoad wins two singles to recover the Davis Cup for Australia, the match against Trabert televised IN COLOR by NBC (the first color television broadcast by NBC) and drawing over 10 million viewers, the first mass TV audience for tennis. Vice-President Richard Nixon awards the trophy, and says that Hoad and Trabert "have shown that tennis is not a game for sissies."
1956 Hoad wins the Australian, French, and Wimbledon titles, beating Rosewall in two of the finals, before losing to Rosewall in the US final
(Hoad's back injury flared up right after Wimbledon, but was kept quiet)
1957 Hoad defends Wimbledon title against Cooper, turns pro
1958 Hoad starts strongly against Gonzales in a head to head series, but recurrent back trouble and pulled thigh muscles cause a long losing stretch, resulting in a 51-36 loss
1958 Hoad wins Ampol world championship, a five tournament series, winning at Kooyong, overall match record of 13 wins and 10 losses, winning over Gonzales at Forest Hills, Roland Garros, Kooyong, losing at Los Angeles Masters.
Hoad finishes the season as the leading money-winner.
1959 Hoad plays a four-man (two-man?) American championship series beating Gonzales 15-13, Cooper 18-2, Anderson 9-5, for a 42-20 record. Gonzales has more overall wins at 47, but claims that he lost the tour to Hoad.
1959 Hoad wins Ampol world championshp, winning at Forest Hills Tournament of Champions, Kooyong 1960, four other tournaments, overall match record 34 wins and 13 losses.
Hoad finishes the season as the leading money-winner, having played over 150 matches (Laver played 122 matches in 1969).
In the two world championship series of 1959, Hoad's record is a combined 76 wins and 33 losses, by far the best numbers on the tours. The pro tour that year included Hoad, Gonzales, Rosewall, Sedgman, Trabert, Segura, Cooper, Anderson, Rose, McGregor, Hartwig, Giammalva, the strongest collection of pro players ever, all in prime form.
Hoad's results for 1959 are probably superior to Laver's in 1969, given the strength of the field.
1960 Hoad semi-retires, to spend more time with wife and kids, having earned $250,000 in 2 1/2 years on tour, plus much more in endorsements and other enterprises (worth about twenty times that in today's dollars).
In 1961, 1962, 1963 Hoad finishes runner-up to Rosewall at Wembley, and in 1960 at Roland Garros, and 1962 at Kooyong.
His conditioning is suspect, as he carries extra pounds and tires in long matches.
1963 Hoad undergoes fitness training for eight weeks to prepare to face Laver in a head to head series (8 matches? 14 matches?), and wins all the matches in the series.
1964 Hoad's last important success in March 1964 wins four-man tour of New Zealand against Laver (whom he beats 3 matches to 1), Rosewall (he loses the first 3 matches against Rosewall, but wins the fourth and series-deciding match), and Anderson (beating him 3 to 1).
The final standings:
Hoad 7 wins 5 losses
Laver 7 wins 5 losses
Rosewall 6 wins 6 losses
Anderson 4 wins 8 losses
Hoad was awarded first place with the 3 to 1 edge against Laver.
1965 Hoad loses a large toe to amputation.
1966 Hoad's last win over Laver, at Sydney.
1967 Hoad's last win over Gonzales, 3-6, 11-9, 8-6 at Wimbledon.
1970 Hoad outlasts Orantes on clay at Italian Open in five sets.
Hoad wins last title, doubles victory with Santana over Laver and Gimeno in Barcelona.
Hoad and Rosewall played only a few years together as a doubles team, but won 15 major titles, more than any other doubles team. Hoad won innumerable doubles titles with other partners.
Actually, I was just kidding, I know about Hoad.
I didn't expect you to take an infodump on me though. :?
I have spent years preparing for just such an infodump on someone.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Experts said that the greatest show from Hoad was his 1957 destruction of Ashley Cooper in Wimbledon final.Cooper would be the best amateur next yr
Out of all the great amateur tennis players after the second world war, Ashley Cooper suffered the most in the professional game. Even Mal Anderson, despite finishing in 4th place on the 1959 4-man world pro tour (behind 3rd placed Cooper), ended up having a much better professional career than Cooper in the long term. Cooper was gone after 1962, while Anderson was there until well into the 1970s, even reaching the Australian Open final in 1972.
Edit, made an error.
...after beating Newcombe. He also beat Newcombe in the 1973 NSW Championships where he also defeated Rosewall in the final.
But his best open era achievement was probably his almost win (two matchpoints) against Jimmy Connors in the 1974 PSW tournament after a 11 month pause!
Anderson was said to have battled eyesight problems which caused him to partially withdraw from tennis in the later sixties.
Perhaps he found some treatment, which would explain his resurgence as a player in the early 1970's.
Anderson had a famous won on **** over Vijay Amritaj in Davis Cup.
That's what I was thinking of. For some reason I thought it may have been at the Australian.
Separate names with a comma.