How do we measure achievements of players in the pre-open era?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 1477aces, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    BobbyOne, here's something I don't understand. You consider the years of Laver/Rosewall/Gonzalez/Hoad as greater than ANY era in history. Fine -- I don't argue with that; I think there are excellent arguments in favor of that claim. But if that time was so clearly better than any other, why should there be any need to weaken Federer's era in your descriptions? After all, for you, Federer's era is just one of many that is inferior to the former time. So why not just describe the Federer era as it was, accurately? Why have you, once again, dropped Nadal's name from the Federer years? What harm would it do to the greatest generation of all time (Rod, Ken, Panch, Lew) simply to include Nadal's name when you talk about the Federer years?

    To make this as clear as possible: if the former generation really was as great as your argue, then it would appear as the strongest era EVEN IF you included all of the greatest names from Federer's time. Why, then, is Nadal's name getting dropped?

    I remember we talked about this in some other thread. You conceded that Nadal was Federer's greatest rival in 2004-07. But now you've dropped his name. Why? Do you think the greatest rival to Federer in 2004-07 was really Roddick?

    Do you know that in 2004-07, Federer faced Roddick and Nadal each in 5 Grand Slam matches; and he faced each of those men twice at the year-end Masters? The one difference is that Federer faced Nadal 14 times in matches of all kinds, while he faced Roddick only 10 times. If anything, as I said before, Nadal has to be picked over Roddick as Federer's greatest challenger in 2004-07.

    And yet I see you, and other posters, continue to drop his name. What exactly is the reason for that?

    And why would you include Baghdatis and not Nadal? Is that because you think Baghdatis was a greater champion in 2004-07 than Nadal was? Well obviously you can't. So then the only reason Baghdatis seems to be in there, in your list, is because he was one of the lesser champions of Federer's peak years.

    And if that's the case then you are clearly wrong: you've included the strongest names of the older generation (Pancho, Ken, Rod, Lew), without including any lesser name; but then for Federer's generation you've dropped the strongest name (Nadal) while including lesser names (Baghdatis).

    You concede only that today there are 4 great names, which is really perplexing. You think that Federer today, clearly in decline and a winner of merely two tournaments in the past twelve months, can be included as a great name that makes this era worthy, but Nadal who won dozens of titles and multiple Grand Slams in 2004-07 was just too young to be included as a great name of those years?

    Even Andy Murray in 2007 has more claim to being mentioned than Federer does now. Murray won 2 titles in '07 and had already beaten peak Federer on Roger's best surface (hard). He'd beaten Roddick a few times on hard (also Roddick's best surface).

    The same is even more true for Djokovic, who won 5 titles in 2007 and had already beaten Federer and Roddick (and Nadal) on hard court.

    Anyway before I get too sidetracked, let me repeat my central question: when you talk about 2004-07, why do you ignore/eliminate the second-greatest champion of those years?
     
  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Nadal was in his prime in 2007 anyway. His form in IW was some of his best hardcourt form, on clay he was extremely strong and on grass he played one of his two best ever matches.
     
  3. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I just like tennis :)
     
  4. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    In addition to the question that Krosero rised (why do you include Baghdatis but not Nadal in Federer's main competitors), I fail to understand when exactly Gonzales, Hoad, Laver and Rosewall were all playing at their best level?

    Maybe this era is 1963-1964? After all, Laver turned pro in 1963, while Gonzales played in only one pro major after 1964.

    But 1963 doesn't fit.
    Laver, if you apply the same reasonning to him than to Nadal, probably shouldn't be counted as an important competitor, despite him being a French pro and US Pro runner-up, as he wasn't playing at his highest level at the moment. He was probably still learning the transition from the amateur tour to the pro tour?
    Gonzales lost his first match in the only pro major he played.

    So this golden era who saw Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales and Hoad play together must be 1964 only. Laver had found his cruising speed, Rosewall was very good, Gonzales was runner-up at the US pro. Hoad wasn't at his best, winning two pro major matches in 1964, but at least he lost against strong players.

    Do I miss some part of the great quadrium-virat between these four?
     
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Rosewall was great on grass, that is when he could explode all his touch, smartness, technical soundness and quick footwork, as well as his great return and sliced backhand.

    But having said that, look at what happened: in 1970 Newcombe beat him at the Wimbledon final, a year later Newcombe destroyed him again at Wimbledon ( semis) and in 73 Newcombe had a clear win again against Rosewall, this time at the US Open semis, also held on grass...so, what happened in 74? how could that possibly happen? it never led you to suspicion?
     
  6. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I have read that Forest Hills used a different type of grass seed than Wimbledon, and that Rosewall only experienced bad symptoms at Wimbledon, which used a special seed mix.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  7. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Rosewall experienced more than just one year of allergy, which, as you know, is a chronic condition.

    The seed mix at Wimbledon was the problem, different than at Forest Hills or Australia.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Rosewall wasn´t lucky with his genetics.

    He was a natural left handed.and he always defended that.Had his father been more inteligent, maybe Rosewall would have won those Wimbledon finals he lost.He said that, even when pro, he could hit the ball farer with his left hand, even serving.

    did Bobbyone know that? you welcome
     
  9. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Hey, I'm just reporting what has been written by others.

    Don't shoot the messenger if you don't like the message.

    Direct your complaints to the London Times or Bellamy, Gray, etc.,
     
  10. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    It is hypothetical to talk about Rosewall winning at Wimbledon.

    While it is PROBABLE that Rosewall would have won one or two Wimbledons in the early sixties, given his grasscourt skills, he seems to have had trouble at Wimbledon, perhaps due to his allergy.
     
  11. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Rosewall had two Wimbledon finals close to his peak period (1956, 1967) and missed them both (albeit against huge opposition).

    Even when favoured, Rosewall seemed out of sorts in Wimbledon finals, and played below his best.
     
  12. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    When referring to the greatest era ever (1952-1964) there are the four greatest names of Gonzales, Hoad, Rosewall, Laver (probably four of the top five players ever), but also other great names (older Kramer, Sedgman, Trabert, Segura, Drobny, Pietrangeli, Fraser, Cooper, Anderson, Emerson, Santana) who DO get mentioned often.

    Indeed, this extraordinary depth from 1952-64 gives this era precedence over today. Right now, only the same few older guys show up in major finals, showing a clear lack of depth.
     
  13. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero, There is a simple reason why I did not mention Nadal: I just have forgotten him. There is no reason to discuss that detailed. A reason for my forgetting is probably that I still don't value the early Nadal as a top Nadal (even though I admit that he was Roger's strongest opponent).

    Every player has early (weaker) days and years. Even regarding Laver it is said that he was not yet in his peak at 25 in 1963.

    Of course you are right that Federer is not anymore a top player. But Roger himself claims that he will win an 18th major title. At least till 2012 there were four great players.
     
  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    I refer not only to majors.

    The 1963 Gonzalez loss cannot count!
     
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I dislike your stubborness: I have told you already that Rosewall is 3:3 against Newcombe on grass majors and 4:3 totally counted at majors.

    Furthermore Rosewall was a grandpa when playing Newk but yet has a 14:10 lead!
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I know more about Rosewall than you might imagine ;-)
     
  17. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You could adjust it to 1958 to 1964, which is seven seasons, about the same as the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray era.

    This would include the greatest tennis of all four, who are probably four of the top five players all-time.
    Hoad and Gonzales reached absolute peak in 1958 to 1960, Rosewall from about 1958 to 1964, Laver from about late 1963.
    Laver won 3 out of 4 matches against Rosewall on the 1964 New Zealand tour.
    Laver was only three years younger than Hoad and Rosewall.

    Laver won the biggest match against Rosewall in their January, 1963 Australian tour at Melbourne in four sets.
    Laver got worn down from the tag-team format of Hoad/Rosewall, and lost most of the later matches in that tour.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    This issue is to be seriously taken.What happened in Wimbledon 74?
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg,Connors,Mac and Lendl is another great foursome.It took tennis to unknown levels of popularity.

    But I agree that, from the talent point of view, H/L/R/G is probably the best ever.
     
  20. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You have excluded Roland Garros 1968, where Newk outlasted Rosewall in a classic five-set match.

    At Wimbledon, 2 to 1 for Newcombe (not surprising, given Rosewall's Wimbledon grass allergy).

    At Forest Hills, 2 to 1 for Rosewall.

    I think that Rosewall would have happily exchanged these results with Newcombe.
     
  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I don't know what you mean. In the 1974 W. QFs 39 years old Rosewall beat your idol in four sets, winning one set by 6-0...
     
  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, French Pro 1968 was NOT a major. You should know.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Bobbyone, that is the question.After so much trashing from Newk, as I have brought to you ( their last three matches on grass), don´t you find it somewhat rare that Rosewall wins with a 6-0 in his favour?

    OK, we know Newcombe had recently won the WCT title he longed for so long and maybe he was not hungry.As he said when somebody asked about him or Stan Smith he always answered " you pick two fellows like Stan and me, on any given day, and it is a matter of who is hungrier that day".
     
  24. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I'm shocked. You are as nasty as other Rosewall haters. Stop belittleing the Little Master! You once admitted that Newcombe did not tank against Rosewall. I'm not sure that Newk had won their last three grass encounters..

    Rosewall got only one trashing from Newcombe (Wimbledon 1971 after Muscles had won a glorious five-set win against Richey).

    Rosewall won clearer against Newk in 1970 than Newcombe won against Rosewall.

    As a historian you should accept at last that Rosewall was awesome in 1974 beating Newcombe and Smith at Wimbledon and Newk against at Forest Hills. Tingay ranked Rosewall No.2. Why should a number 2 not be able to beat Newk by 6-0?

    Why are you astonished and supicious regarding a 6-0 set? Have you realized that Rosewall was arguably the GOAT and surely the longevity GOAT?

    Rosewall also beat Laver at Dallas by 6-0 in 1972. Awake!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    what is shocking is that you don´t accept any comment on Rosewall that is not of your liking.You are similar to *******s, only that, because Rosewall is your boy, it makes it softer to me...c´mon, Rosewall is one of the all time greats but so is Newcombe on grass and facts are that in 73 and the first half of 74 Newcombe was the better player in the world and certainly, the great favourite...much more so after he had beaten Rosewall not only at Wimbledon but also at Forest Hills.
     
  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, You missed the point. I accept any critics of Rosewall if they are serious. Your wrong opinions are not serious. For instance your claim of three wins of Newcombe against Rosewall on grass in a row.

    Have you ever heard that the tournament's favourite has not won the event???!!!??? Rosewall was seeded 9 and yet made the final while Newk, Smith and other favourites lost earlier. It's the most natural in the world.

    You should accept that Rosewall is much greater than Newcombe generally and slightly even when they played each other (4:3 in majors; 14:10 generally). You don't believe of Rosewall to be capable winning a set by 6-0 against great players??? F.i. Muscles beat your idol by 6-2, 6-0 at Corpus Christi in the 1970 final, a year when Newcombe was said to be No. 1.

    It's nasty to deny a player his win and to insinuate the losing player has tanked. Very nasty! I never would insinuate that Rosewall tanked in his clear 1971 W. loss against Newk. It seems to be your privilege to do so.

    I would have thought you are a serious poster. Come back to seriousness!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  27. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    That's like saying that the WCT Finals in Dallas were not pro majors.

    Not really sensible to me.

    If there is such a thing as a "pro major", then the 1968 Roland Garros qualifies.

    And, I repeat, I think that Rosewall would happily have exchanged records with Newcombe.

    I guess that you agree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  28. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Of course I agree regarding potential switch of W. and US Open.

    Of course I don't agree regarding French Pro as a major. WCT finals were much more important. The old pro majors lost significantly their status as majors after 1967 because open era had the four classic majors for all players including the pros.
     
  29. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    So, you do not include the 1968 U.S. Pro or the 1968 Wembley as pro majors?

    I do not see the point of this.
    They should be pro majors because of the tradition and the quality of the field, just as the WCT finals at Dallas should also be considered pro majors.

    Really, there was no officiating body which declared some pro events as majors, and others as not.

    It is just a private construction.
     
  30. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    This is the claim you once made that Newcombe, being such a friendly fellow, felt sorry for his friend and allowed him to win their match at '74W?

    That is just garbage. A tank is a serious issue, and a serious insult, by the way. The Aussies had the greatest respect for each other, and nothing would have been more disrespectful than "giving" a great champion a victory because you believe he's no longer capable of winning it with his own skills. Nothing could be more insulting.

    You claim that Newk did this because he was a friendly guy, but nothing, at bottom, could be less condescending and disrespectful than that.
     
  31. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Again, what a strange allergy this is. You said at first it was due to the humid conditions at Wimbledon -- but Forest Hills was more humid, so that can't be the case.

    Now you say it was actually due to the particular composition of the grass at Wimbledon.

    If you recall anyone claiming that Rosewall had an allergy to grass, please provide the exact quote. Not trying to be hostile but there's obviously some confusion here -- and a claim this serious should be documented anyway (with an exact quote, not merely saying that so-and-so mentioned it).

    And this is almost a separate issue but I have to ask. If you regard Rosewall as having particular trouble at Wimbledon due to a grass allergy, then that has an impact on how we should regard Hoad's victory over Rosewall at Wimbledon in '56. Are you prepared to lower the estimation of Hoad's victory? If his victory was aided by an opponent's allergy, then it's less great a victory, isn't it?
     
  32. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Strange allergy?

    Rosewall's grass allergy at Wimbledon, where the seed mix differed markedly from Forest Hills, is well known.

    SI wrote about it on several occasions.

    Rosewall never complained about it, but Bobby seems to be aware that it plagued him at Wimbledon in 1969, and if you know anything about allergies, they are chronic and do not disappear with time.

    As for Hoad, I doubt that anyone could have beaten him at Wimbledon in 1956 or 1957.

    Not an issue.
     
  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, I don't consider Wembley 1968 as a major even though it had a great field.
     
  34. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Well said, krosero.
     
  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Dan, kindly provide an exact quote. SI's Vault, as I'm sure you know, is online and free. So is the London Times which I know you've read extensively.

    There are just too many questions about this, and it would be far preferable to have an exact quote. You seem yourself not to have a good recollection of what you read (first describing it as a climate issue, then as the seed mix). An exact quote would help with some of the questions I have (ie, why would such an allergy affect Rosewall only in finals, by which time the grass on Centre Court was much worn down? what seed mix are we talking about exactly? were there any other champions allergic to it? and the great Aussie sportsmen famously refused to make any excuses when they lost, so how did Rosewall's supposed allergy get out and become public knowledge, even widely publicized in the press as you say?)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  36. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I have to agree with all that. On grass, at 2006 Wimb, he had that great service streak of 80 consecutive holds, which he has yet to repeat anywhere in the years since.

    The best he's done since is 62 straight holds at 2010 USO.

    Even on hard court he was stronger in '07 than many people give him credit for. I just checked Nadal's numbers at Indian Wells in '07 and you're right, those were some of his HC best performances. He was not quite at the level he reached later, but surprisingly close.

    In that IW final in '07 he beat Djokovic; his Aggressive Margin was 28%. Novak's was 14%.

    Those numbers are actually higher than what they produced in their 2010 USO final: in that match Nadal had 23%, Djokovic 16%.

    That's all the more remarkable considering that the USO is widely considered to have a faster hard court than IW: and faster courts produce higher Aggressive Margins.

    Nadal's AM at IW was even higher in the semis when he beat Roddick: he had 32%, among the highest hardcourt AM's I have for him in any year.

    That doesn't mean that his HC peak was in '07. However, you're right, in early '07 Nadal was already producing hardcourt stats comparable to what he had when he reached his HC peak.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  37. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    You forgot Nadal, and I believe you, that's fine. I trust that you're not deliberately excluding him. But I think the Nadal of 2004-07 is sometimes remembered as if he bore no resemblance to the later Nadal, or as if he was not even half the player he became later.

    That is a very strange way to remember him, considering he won more titles in 2005 than he has won in any of his later years as #1; and he had a service streak in '06 that he has never equaled in his years as #1; and in '07 he had aggressive margins on HC (numbers that I posted to NatF above and which I hope you have a look at) that are surprisingly close to his HC numbers in later years.

    I'm not saying, of course, that his peak was in 2004-07 (though his loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final in '07 has some arguments as possibly one of his two best grasscourt matches of his career, the other being of course his victory in '08 ).

    So I can agree with you that Nadal improved after 2007: but I think we disagree strongly on how much distance there is between Nadal in 2004-07 and the later Nadal.
     
  38. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I agree that it is very difficult to "measure" the evolution of Nadal's level of play. It seems only logical that he would improve with the years, but exactly how, it's difficult to say.

    I watched recently the Rome 2005 and 2006 finals against Coria and Federer. I didn't compared these matches with more recent matches, but I felt that he was more a defensive at that time. He didn't relied as well on his aggressive forehand as today. On the other hand, his backhand was excellent. In neutral rallies, it was not an offensive shot, but it was solid none the less. What was impressive was how he could counter-punch if it, with crosscourts or down the line passing on several very good short cross court attack.
    So I don't know how much he improved on clay, and even if he improved at all. In later years he was much more aggressive with his forehand, turning around his backhand to hit it, but as a result was I think more vulnerable on the backhand side, which Djokovic has taken advantage of at some time.

    So I would be interested to have your oppinion on the evolution of his game and level on clay?

    On HC, I agree with you that Nadal in 2007 was already very strong. I think people underrate him because he didn't went far in HC slams. But he was very strong at IW, very strong at Madrid and Paris too, and lost to Gonzales in Australia who was playing at a very high level. Likewise in 2008 Tsonga succeeded in everything he tried.
     
  39. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Krosero, I have already provided you with one quote, which you have chosen to ignore.
    Bobby has had contact with Rosewall, and claimed that the Wimbledon grass allergy "plagued" Rosewall at Wimbledon in 1969, where he was upset by Lutz.
    Yes, grass depends on both seed and climate. Ask anyone with a front yard.

    I first heard of Rosewall's grass allergy at Wimbledon in a Sport Illustrated profile sometime in 1971 or early 1972, before the WCT finals, titled "just an ordinary bloke", and concluding with a sentence describing Rosewall's reaction on a commuter train when he remembered that he had forgotten to mail something to his wife. "Blast!"

    It also mentioned that Gonzales and Rosewall were the only two giants not to win Wimbledon.

    Shouldn't be hard for you to find this featured article.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  40. Dan Lobb

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    You do not consider 1968 Wembley, 1968 Roland Garros, or 1968 U. S. Pro to be pro majors?

    I know that these three events terminated their major status soon after open tennis arrived, although the Paris Indoor continued, but in 1968 they were still standout events.

    Newcombe was runnerup in all three of these with Rosewall winning at Wembley, and Laver winning at Roland Garros and Longwood.
    The quality of the fields mark these events as pro majors.

    There was never any official redesignation of the pro majors.
     
  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wasn´t Newk leading the " handsome eight" group the whole 68? could he play non WCT pro tournaments?
     
  42. Dan Lobb

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    These three preeminent tournaments were open to both groups of pros.
     
  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, I do know Rosewall suffered from hay fever in the 1969 Wimbledon. I'm not sure it's the same like grass allergy. Rosewall never spoke about an allergy.
     
  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Newcombe won the most WCT tournaments but was No.2 in the official average of matches won list.
     
  45. Pete M.

    Pete M. New User

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    "The one prestige tournament missing from the list is Wimbledon. The record shows that he lost in the finals three times, twice before turning pro in 1956 and then, after being shut out of the event until the arrival of open tennis a dozen years later, to Newcombe in 1970. The record fails to show that Rosewall suffers from hay fever and that the condition has always bothered him in the pastoral setting of Wimbledon. Last year for the first time he tried cortisone for relief..."

    "Ironically, while many of the game's big hitters were busily damaging their back muscles or wrenching their elbows, Rosewall's measured style, involving less wear and tear, was probably prolonging his career. Touch wood (metal everywhere except Australia), but he has seldom suffered so much as a blister in tennis. Besides his hay fever, Rosewall used to be bothered by a form of eczema that caused bad rashes. The condition has all but cleared up, leading his rivals on the WCT tour to wonder if Rosewall has been consorting with the devil."

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1086052/3/index.htm
     
  46. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I once read, that young Rosewall couldn't do military service due to this eczema and flat feet.
     
  47. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    that is certainly true but fitness in tennis developed later than in other sports because tennis used to be a polite "rich mens sport" (think sons of doctors and likewise) and jumping, grunting and looking like a bodybuilder was considered impolite.
     
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newcombe was made for big matches, not consistency week in week out.Anyway, which handsome won the race?
     
  49. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Dan, I would not have ignored any quote you gave, because that's what I was looking for: some supporting documentation for your claim. I recall you listing sources, not quoting from them. Did I miss a quote you gave? What post was it in?

    Thanks for doing the legwork on this and getting this quote. Now that we know it's hay fever we're talking about, I'm finding more results in Google News archives.

    Hay fever is common in England (and many other places) in the late spring and early summer, and I see Connors has complained about suffering from it as well, during at least one Wimbledon (1975). He did say by the start of the second week that his hay fever was gone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  50. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Lendl suffered from hay fever, too. Me also.
     

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