How many French Opens would Rosewall have?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    If he had played there after 1969? I've read on his Wikipedia page that he made the decision in the 1970s to skip Roland Garros in order to be well rested for Wimbledon.
     
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  2. timnz

    timnz Legend

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    Look back in time not forward

    A question would be - how many would he have won from 1957 to 1967 ?

    My guess is a lot. If you combine his Pro French on Clay with his current French Opens (1 as a amateur in the 1950's & 1 in Open Tennis in 1968) you come out at 6. And the French Pro from 1963 to 1967 was on indoor boards - so if it had been on clay on those years you could count on his winning at least 3 of them.

    My guess is that he would have won 9 all up. (His present 2 + 4 French Pro on Clay) + at least 3 from 63 to 67

    He may of been able to get one one in the early 70's.

    Because of this ability that is why he is consistenly regarded as being up there with Borg and Nadal in terms of clay court prowess.
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Krosero,

    If he played after 1970, I think he would have destroyed Kodes easily in the years Kodes won. In 1972 Gimeno was always tough for Rosewall even though Rosewall won the majority of the matches but I would think that Gimeno declined more in 1972 than Rosewall so Ken would have had a decent chance that year also. However we have to take into account he was aging and best of five on red clay is tough.

    In 1973 I don't think anyone was better than Nastase on clay but Rosewall was always tough on red clay. It's possible Rosewall would have won an additional French Open in the years 1972 and 1973 but he was . I think it's reasonable to think Rosewall would have won two more French Opens after 1970.

    If Rosewall played in that eleven year period from 1957 to 1967 it would not be a slam dunk considering he would have Laver to contend with from the late 1950's on. Laver would have risen to the level of his competition (namely Rosewall, Gonzalez and Gimeno among others) and would have been a major factor. Gonzalez was a sensational clay court player and would have been very tough as would the underrated but nevertheless great Andres Gimeno who has beaten Rosewall numerous times. Tony Trabert would be very tough also on red clay.

    The amateurs of that period assuming an Open French would be in contention. Santana, Pietrangeli, Roche, Newcombe, Emerson among others would be very tough but I think Rosewall would handle them fairly easily in the great majority of cases.

    Overall I think it is quite feasible that Rosewall could have won ten French Opens. In the period from 1957 to 1967 I can see Rosewall winning at least seven French Championships.
    Considering that Rosewall can reasonably be considered to have ten French Opens alone in this hypothetical example it makes Federer's 15 majors not quite the superhuman feat that everyone calls it. It is excellent but it is not exactly an unreachable number. To Federer's credit I can see him adding to his majors total in the future.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  4. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Please don't tell me you actually trust anything written on a Wikipedia entry? That's really the first sign of insanity. Regardless, I had a look at the page and couldn't see anything which made that claim. How about you throw in a quote?

    Rosewall didn't play the French after 69 due to his WCT commitments. It also meant he couldn't play in the Aus Open in 1970. Given your interest in tennis history you should already be aware of both of those things. It is one of the key reasons why the Aus and French were weaker events. Not, as the typical moron suggests, because they lacked prestige. They lacked money, that's all.

    As to his success if he'd played in 70-73: He held a 4-1 record over the 70 and 71 winner Jan Kodes (including a 2 and 2 thrashing on clay in 1973) as well as a 9-2 record over the 73 winner Andres Gimeno (including winning all of their matches on clay). So, you'd be tempted to think he might have been able to win at least one, if not all, of those years. Personally, I think fitness only became an issue beginning in 74.
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    AndrewD,

    I agree in general with your post but I'd like to point out that the 9-2 record is not correct between Rosewall and Gimeno. They met many more times and Gimeno has had some years as in 1967 which according to McCauley's book had a 7-5 record against Rosewall. In 1966 Gimeno was 6-8 against Muscles, again according to McCauley's book. Gimeno was a great player, in my opinion superior to many other more famous players but overshadowed by Laver, Rosewall and Gonzalez. Gimeno played in the toughest of competition and still won many tournaments. He defeated Laver and Rosewall in the same tournament a number of times.

    But I agree that Rosewall probably would have won a French or more than one French in those years.
     
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  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The Wikpedia page has this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rosewall)

     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The Wikipedia page is edited heavily by our own Carlo, whose knowledge of the period, and of Rosewall, is so extensive that I trusted its information (though of course everything on a Wikipedia page should be verified; in fact that's how Wikipedia is supposed to work). The page describes the absence of NTL/WCT players from Slams starting at the 1970 AO.

    WCT commitments would have prevented Rosewall from playing through 1972, and in '74 he couldn't play because of World Team Tennis, which really only leaves '73 and '75 as possible years that he skipped RG merely to rest.

    For '73 I found this in the New York Times:

    The ATP had not yet made the decision to boycott Wimbledon, so there was still a chance for Rosewall to play.

    So that leaves '75, when his chances at Wimbledon were not great (though he was seeded second).

    Does anyone know why didn't he play RG that year?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  8. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I do think, that Wimbledon was indeed a factor for Rosewall, not to play RG. He skipped it even in 1956 (and maybe 1955), to prepare for Wimbledon, when he would have been joint favorite. Given the pro results on clay, Rosewall would have been a favorite but not a sure bet in the years 1957-67. Trabert beat him pretty convincingly at the RG pro, and later on - as pc 1 pointed out - there was great competition on clay with Laver, Gimeno, Santana or Pietrangeli.
     
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  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Don't forget that if we start imagining Open Tennis during the early 60s when Rosewall was at his peak, then we should also imagine it in the mid- to late-50s when Rosewall was still an amateur and won his first slams. (Australian 1953, 1955, French 1953; US 1956).

    So if we imagine it being Open then in the 1950s, then we must put Gonzales and other pros in the slam draws and maybe subtract a few of Rosewall's earliest slam titles.

    Yes, I am inclined to agree with you that he would have more French titles, but don't forget to (probably) subtract a few of the initial slam titles as well as adding others later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I totally agree my friend. I only counted the time from 1957 onward.
     
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  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    C'est vrai.

    If we hypothesize Open tennis from the beginnings, imagine what Gonzales or Laver or Rosewall would have ended up with? (Add jet travel for Bill Tilden, and some incentive to play the Australian, and wow!)

    (As much as I admire Federer, I think it would be way above 15 for any of these four.)
     
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  12. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I can't find any evidence that Rosewall played World Team Tennis in '75, and even if he did, I'm reading in the NY Times that there was no longer a ban, after the ILTF ruled that anyone could play. Connors essentially skipped RG out of spite for his ban in '74 (as I remember reading in a thread here).

    In '74 Rosewall did play WTT, though all I know is that WTT's schedule conflicted with the Italian and French Opens, which was the reason that the tennis federations of those countries rejected entries by WTT players to the Rome and Paris tourneys.

    Some WTT players, like Goolagong, had a clause in which they could take time off and play the French. Don't know about Rosewall. The ban came down as early as this May 13 report in the press:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...pg=4784,3147924&dq=rosewall+french+open&hl=en

    Goolagong and Connors, the AO champs, appealed their rejected entries to RG, and the final decision to bar them was announced May 20.

    I remember a thread where someone was asking how early in the year Connors learned he would be banned (we were were discussing absences due to WTT commitments, as well as WCT in 1970-72). The date would be relevant to Rosewall's decision whether or not to play WTT (according to the NY Times he signed on in Dec. '73 as a team captain), but it's uncertain whether he arranged/intended to play RG anyway; all I know is that WTT's general schedule conflicted with RG.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  13. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Ken Rosewall and the 1975 French Open

    According to Peter Rowley book on Rosewall, on page 228 Rosewall say "I have my jobs with Slazenger's in Australia, Seamco in the rest of the world. John Gardiner's tennis ranch and Cathay-Pacific, the airlines. In 1975, I'll play nine or ten tournaments, including Wimbledon and Forest Hills."

    So I think this means Rosewall was cutting down on his schedule and decided not to play the French in 1975.
     
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  14. Davy_for _GOAT

    Davy_for _GOAT Banned

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    Where can I find some old Rosewall matches on clay?

    The only Ken's matches I watched were a couple of Wimbledon when he was past his best (those beatdowns by Connors)
     
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  15. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    The best Rosewall match for clarity I've seen is by Krosero on youtube. It's not on clay but the rallies are almost like clay.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8IJ...606276B2&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=26


    Here's Rosewall and Laver at the French in 1969



    http://www.backhandworld.com/rod-laver-v-ken-rosewell-roland-garros-1969-on-film/
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  17. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Since Laver beat Kodes in Rome in '71 (three straight sets), how do you like Rosewall's chances at RG that year against Laver?
     
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  18. Davy_for _GOAT

    Davy_for _GOAT Banned

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    I never saw this one. Great, thanks :)

    I should search before asking.

    But are there any older videos out there, when Rosewall was at his very best on clay? Can they be purchased anywhere?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  19. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    It's always hard to say with those two great players. Laver was still fantastic as was Rosewall. Rosewall has probably won more matches against Laver on clay than Laver won against Rosewall so I suppose you would have to favor Rosewall by fraction if you look at it from that perspective.

    You also have to take into account Laver would be 32 at the time of the French and Ken is four years older so perhaps Rod might be better at handling the long best of five matches at the French than Rosewall.

    Push comes to shove I guess I would go with Rosewall in 1971.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
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  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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  21. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    That argument just doesn't hold water.

    Rosewall was only allowed to play the French Open twice before he turned pro (he won the junior event in 52). The first time in 1953, which he won, and the second time in 1954 (a very surprising loss). In 1955, due to Davis Cup being the most important thing for an Australian player of the day, Rosewall and all of the Australian Davis Cup team, were not allowed to compete at the French. In 1956 he was turning pro and wasn't allowed to travel to Europe for the French (he played all of the other majors that year). REMEMBER: in 56 he and Hoad won the doubles at the Aus, Wimbledon and US Opens. Not being allowed to play the French cost them the Grand Slam (the French was won by the very underwhelming pair of Don Candy and Bob Perry - a team Rosewall/Hoad would have flogged). So, add that to the 12 years he was banned from the game and the couple of years he couldn't play due to WCT and he was, effectively, stopped from competing at the French for 15 years.

    I have absolutely no doubt that in 53, 54, 55 and 56 (the year he turned pro) there was absolutely no-one on the professional tour Rosewall wouldn't have beaten on red clay. Gonzales couldn't break eggs on that stuff, neither could Kramer. Only Sedgman might have been a genuine threat (the pro tour was seriously weak until Rosewall and Hoad joined). Say what you like about Segura, he was never a genuine champion. While he could beat everyone occasionally, he could never do it when it mattered most - especially over 5 sets.

    What you guys never seem to acknowledge is that the pro tour was played, almost exclusively, indoors on hard courts. That favoured, by an overwhelming margin, guys like Gonzales who had huge serves. Couple that with, typically, inadequate lighting and very suspect surfaces (a matt laid over a gym floor, hockey rink,etc) and it's little wonder it took all of the amateurs a good 12 months to settle. It's also very little wonder that it favoured Gonzales. HOWEVER, put him on an outdoors court and, while his serve would always have been great, the odds aren't stacked so heavily against other players. It's testament to Rosewall's greatness that he could overcome all of those obstacles to be the best player in the world without ever having the odds stacked in his favour.
     
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  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    For 1971 this was in the New York Times before the quarterfinals at the French Open:

    The article reports that of the 32 players under contract to WCT, only 16 entered. Bud Collins notes in his book that the top WCT names to enter the French were Ashe and Riessen.
     
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  23. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

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    What an excellent post! In particular I like the fact that you note that the professional tour was played mostly indoors on hard surfaces, which were sometimes uneven, and sometimes in inadquate lighting. This would have favoured the players you mention. The amateur players of those eras had a somewhat better choice of surfaces, although grass was the main surface back in those days.
     
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  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Although Laver did get to the Wimby finals in 1959, and as much as I admire Laver, I can't see him coming close to being on Rosewall's level (presuming Open Tennis) until 1960 at the earliest, and only on grass. Certainly not on clay (he won his first clay court amateur tourney in May 1960 in Lausanne).
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
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  25. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    rosewall and clay

    in the early 70s rosewall was just not interested in winning the french or playing on european clay. he could have played rome 71, paris 71 and paris '73 but each tine decided to rest to help his chances at wimbledon. the only 2 events he did play were the spanish open in 70 and 71 where he lost to franulovoc and orantes respectively. i don't think rosewall should be rated ahead of the european clay courters of the early 70s based on these results. as to laver he and rosewall played each very evenly on clay in the open era. my recollection is that laver had 4-3 edge since 1968. therfore i would give laver an even chance against rosewall .

    similarly im the 63-67 era both laver and gimeno won as many events on clay as rosewall. laver won poterschult in '63, geneva '64 and oklahoma city '67. gimeno won geneva '63 and barcelona '66. rosewall won rome '63. these are the only events i am confident were on clay during this pro era which rosewall played.

    jeffrey
     
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  26. elegos7

    elegos7 Rookie

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    Hi Jeffrey,

    Thanks for the info about the Geneva pro event. I was not sure it was played on clay. Do you think that in all years (from 1960 to 1966) it was played on clay?
    The Cannes pro event was also played in clay in some years (probably 1962, 65, 1968), but was also played indoors (1963 surely, perhaps in 1964 as well, in that year Gonzales beat Laver and played a close match with Rosewall, then once again in 1966).
    Has anyone more info in the surface of the Cannes event?
     
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  27. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And though he played the Spanish Open, he could not have seen it as taking away from his preparation for Wimbledon, since of course it was held in October.

    As for Rome in '71, I was reading the "talk" page for Ken's bio at Wikipedia and saw this note from you: he was the only WCT player absent from Rome in '71.

    Very enjoyable discussion all-around between you and Carlo, on that page.
     
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  28. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Geneva was played on the territory of a local club on clay. I saw a program of the 1961 or 1962 version once, that was sold on the internet. The Cannes pro event was as far i know, played in the Palais du Sport indoors. There is a film on the 1965 French pro tour on the INA webside, where one can see clips from the Cannes tournament. It was played indoors on what looks like a basketball court on linoleum. Another pro event on clay in 1963 was probably Kitzbuhel.
     
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  29. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    There is a good chance he would be regarded as the greatest clay courter ever today and not Borg or Nadal had it been Open tennis all those years of his career.
     
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  30. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    i made an error yesterday laver won at kitzbuhel in '63 and gimeno won the poterschualt event in '63. the events on clay i listed were the only ones laver, rosewall and gimeno all entered. thank you urban for confirming geneva as a clay court event and cannes (I saw film of the '65 event played indoors) as an indoor event.

    jeffrey
     
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  31. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello krosero,
    firstly thank you for the compliment.
    Secondly you can note that I was absent from that forum for a long period because of huge professional work.
    Yesterday I had a brief look at Wikipedia and noticed your question about Kenny and the French in the Rosewall discussion page.

    About 1971 there are different sources about Rosewall missing the Italian and French Opens :

    In David Gray’s account of the Italian Champs in World Tennis August 1971 (Ashe on cover) p. 37 it was claimed that “Ken Rosewall … did not play in Rome because of a shoulder injury”.

    But Rosewall himself, in his summary of his own year 1971 in World of Tennis’72 a BP Yearbook (p. 58 to 69) precisely, wrote p.59 :
    “Personally I would have enjoyed playing Paris because I usually do well there on courts which suit my game and I have many friends among the French officials. However this was the time of school holidays for my two sons, Brett and Glen, and I had been given permission to miss both Rome and Teheran so that I could be with my wife, Wilma, and the boys. In view of what happened later when so few WCT players did appear in Paris, I wish now that I lent my support to the tournament.”

    In World Tennis June 1971 (Richey on cover) p.84 , John McDonald, WCT’s European representative, said to Frank Rostron :
    “We fully understand the French annoyance and sympathise, especially as everybody want to see Rosewall attack the Grand Slam. We have helped to put pressure on Rosewall and Laver but they don’t want to go. / … Another real reason is that they don’t want to play five sets on the slow French courts through a long tournament.”

    In conclusion sources are a little contradictory.
    I think that Kenny’s main goal in the 70’s was to win Wimby given that he had been forbidden to enter it 11 years in a row and had not won it when he was allowed to compete.
    He perfectly knew that a great gruelling run at Roland Garros could take him a lot of energy and so he probably preferred to save his energy for Wimbledon given that he was in his late thirties.
    I also think that becoming older he has slightly changed his game, possibly coming to the net more often in order to avoid long rallies which could take a lot of energy. Therefore his backcourt game was perhaps a little less efficient than in his peak years.
    So Kenny being older than in his peak years made him lessen of course his stamina and probably his efficiency on slow courts.

    About 1973 I have no indication about Kenny but I have found an odd information about Laver :

    Judith Élian, the French Rumanian tennis journalist, interviewed Laver for “Tennis de France Mai 1973”.
    Here are extracts of what she transcribed in the magazine :
    “Oui, je participerai aux prochains Internationaux de France … / J’emmènerai ma femme Mary et peut-être mon fils Ricky ainsi que sa nurse qui est Française”.
    A rough translation gives “Yes I will play the next International championships of France …/ I will take my wife Mary with me and perhaps my son Ricky and his Nanny who is French as well”.
    Though Laver said he would play the 1973 French Open after the Las Vegas tournament he didn’t come in the end.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
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