Is Borg a GOAT candidate?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 5555, Nov 11, 2012.

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Is Borg a GOAT candidate?

  1. Yes

    40 vote(s)
    71.4%
  2. No

    16 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    he can be a candidate but i dont think anyone can consider him the within the top 3 of all time (maybe top 5)
     
  2. SoBad

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    Borg's only possible claim against Nadal would be that Nadal had no serious competition in many slam finals, always beating the same talentless Federer habitually. That's not enough to be on the top 20 GOAT list, in my opinion, so no for Borg.
     
  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Borg has all those indoor titles, including 2 Masters at MSG and 1 WCT Dallas title. Borg also has 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles. Borg does have his own claims.
     
  4. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm with you 100%. The amount of Roger's achievements are good enough to separate him from the past legends by 1 tier.

    It seem like when a player reaches Tier 1 great, he can't move up anymore, regardless of how many more years he continue to win.

    But that's not how it works. Federer raises the bar, just like Usain Bolt did in sprinting.
     
  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The problem with the bolded part is that it's too general a statement. Some people may well have considered those 3 players the best, but that was several years ago. Without knowing who those people were, we have no idea what their opinions are today.

    Just because you heard some people comparing Sampras to Laver back then, and you hear some people comparing Federer to Laver today, does not mean they are the same people.

    And if they are the same people, that does not automatically mean they are wrong. A lot of Laver's history has mostly been unknown to tennis fans until recently -- even today. It's been 11 years since Sampras retired, and in that time a lot of people have learned a lot about Laver that they didn't know then.

    You imply above that Laver, Sampras and Federer were all in the same tier because they had a similar number of Grand Slam victories, with Laver at 11. Well that's precisely why some people, back in Sampras' time, might have equated Sampras with Laver: because all they knew about Laver was that he won 11 Slam titles. Big problem right there, because he did so much more.

    I think if anything Laver's overall place in the GOAT debates will continue to rise, as tennis fans come to know more about his career. Right now the casual fan knows very little about his pro years before '68. What they do know of Laver is basically restricted to his two Grand Slams, and to his 11 Grand Slam titles. Many are not even aware, or are only dimly aware, that he played his best tennis during his pro years before '68, when he wasn't winning Slams because, of course, he was barred from them.

    A lot of the tennis that was played on the pro tours before '68 has only been discovered recently, through the research of historians. Some tennis fans know a lot about Laver's career, most don't know too much. But that's one reason that an older player's career can be re-assessed -- and his ranking in the GOAT debate can increase over time.

    If anything, it's the modern players who will remain "fixed." We know everything that Sampras won. Everyone has always known it, because the modern media keeps track of all of it, and tennis fans have always had access to the information.

    Same with Federer. His career is brandished in bright lights and documented in heavy detail.

    Not so with older players like Pancho Gonzalez and Laver. That's especially true for a guy like Pancho who spent most of his career in the "dark ages" of the pro tours before '68.

    You're treating the GOAT debate as if it were a set of columns with a fixed number of blocks in each column (Laver has 11 blocks, Sampras 14, Federer 17). It's not like that at all. People always can learn more, and revise their opinions accordingly.

    Heck, fans have the right to revise their opinion even without learning new information, but just from re-evaluating their opinions of the tennis players in question.

    It's not at all like fixed columns of blocks.
     
  6. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Well stated, Krosero.
     
  7. kiki

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    This is exactly the way every fan should think, but newtards won't buy it very unfortunately
     
  8. Talker

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    I can't speak for other fans, I don't know their criteria.

    For me, as I looked into Laver's career he has dropped in status.

    The historians here do a fine job BTW.
     
  9. pc1

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    Super post.
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You also have remember that the media loves to promote today's game and of course the focus will be on the present players, as it should be. They are the now. However just because they don't discuss Laver doesn't mean he's dropped in status.
     
  11. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    His 200 title wins are the standard for total titles overall, but a feat like that is unachievable, and somewhat not comparable to today with the official ATP tourneys. The great players of today simply don't enter that many tourneys every year so they can't really rack them up like guys in the past did (hell Connors and Lendl's title counts is likely to remain unchallenged with the current ATP standards). Never mind larger fields and organization (pretty sure some of Laver's titles are 2-3 matches tourneys, exos that get counted anyway)

    The 3 out of 4 on grass is also something that i wasn't aware at first. Granted supposedly different types of grass, but not the Grand Slam I envisioned (grass, clay, hardcourt) but hey that was a different standard back then.
     
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Laver won the hard court tournaments, indoor tournaments and the fastest surface of them all---wood tournaments aside from grass and clay.
     
  13. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I think out of all the legendary players, he is one who has really been featured quite a lot in recent years if you think about it. With Fed's quest to GOAThood and him setting/surpasing records, commentators often throw legends of the past into convos, and Laver's name pops up a lot, even a few notable interviews as well, there was that one at the AO this year with Fed and Laver together with the commentators. Weird though Laver kind of got a media bump, but people like Rosewall barely ever get mentioned, and that dude is legit too, his longevity beats that of Connors.
     
  14. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I know he won, just at first i was picturing a different GS
     
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand. You should check out some of the incredible information some of the tennis history books have about the past. Some info is quite amazing.

    I often like to check out other sports to see what happened in the past. You read about the legends in any sport but you like to check out the stats to see if they match the stories written about them. Some were disappointing and some actually exceeded their legend. Bill Tilden was one who exceeded what I expected for example. For example Tilden won approximately 98% of his matches during his best years and won more than half his tournaments entered during his entire career. And Tilden lost a lot in his last years. In football players like Otto Graham surprised me with how dominant they were. Babe Ruth in baseball more than lived up to his legend and he didn't do steroids.
     
  16. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    ^^^in tennis regards, Laurie Doherty supposedly was godly back in the day too, then you have Renshaw, but I have already mentioned my thoughts on guys like that. Their records are sick though no doubt about it.
     
  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm utterly baffled as to why. 200 singles tournaments at all levels not enough?
     
  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Laurie Doherty is famous for being the first player to win his home major (Wimbledon) and then cross the Atlantic Ocean to win the other major (US Championships), which he did in 1903. The US Championships was held in Newport, Rhode Island back then, the current location of the Hall of Fame Championships every July.

    I must mention Tony Wilding. He was the first player to dominate internationally, and regularly win big events outside of his own continent. Wilding won 2 Australasian Championships in 1906 (Christchurch, New Zealand) and 1909 (Perth, Western Australia), in the days before it was a major, i.e. when the tournament was just a regional event. Wilding then started going abroad and was able to win Wimbledon for 4 years in a row (1910-1913), admittedly only having to play 1 match at the 1911-1913 tournaments, as defending champions did at Wimbledon up to 1921, even though Wilding offered to play through.

    The ILTF (ITF today) said that there would be 3 official major tournaments in 1913:

    1. the World Hard Court Championships (a clay-court event in Paris that was the precursor to the French Championships)

    2. the World Grass Court Championships (aka Wimbledon)

    3. the World Covered Court Championships (an indoor wood tournament that moved around the continent of europe. Held in Stockholm in 1913)

    In 1913, Wilding won all 3 of these official majors. In 1914, he retained his WHCC title, but failed to win his fifth Wimbledon title. As he was from New Zealand, Wilding won 4 Davis Cup titles with Australasia in 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1914. WW1 had already started at the time of the 1914 Davis Cup final, and Wilding was killed in the trenches in 1915 at the age of just 31. Something I recently discovered about Wilding is that he won more clay-court tournaments than any other player in history. I believe it is over 60.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  19. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Mustard do you know how many clay titles that Frenchie that won 8 French Opens (though they weren't open back then I'm just using the term) had won during his career? Can't remember his name, think it starts with an M
     
  20. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    This is my first post on this forum and I must say how interesting I find these historical debates.

    I agree, Laver seems to be one of the very few sporting legends whose status seems to rise over time. Usually a player is hyped to the hilt during their career, often beyond what their career accomplishments merit, and their ranking in GOAT lists gradually falls over time. However in Laver's case, he has consistently been No 1, or very close to it (always competing with the most recent great player) for many decades now.

    I think this is because it is quite serendipitous that his great achievements in the classic majors (11 titles, including two CYGS's) already put him, even in a purely slam-centric debate, ahead of pretty much everyone other than Federer and, possibly, Sampras. Then people discover that he did so much more in the missing years of 1963-67, and it's easy to see why many still consider him GOAT.


    These are all excellent points.

    As this thread is nominally about Borg and his place in history, I'd like to pick up on your point about revisions of opinion over time.

    I feel that Borg most definitely is a GOAT candidate (and I can't really understand why 16 people have voted that he is not!) However, I think that the reasons for this status have changed over time. If you asked someone 30 years ago why Borg was a GOAT contender, they would have replied it was because of his 5 (consecutive) Wimbledon titles. This was his unique claim to fame in tennis history (post-Challenge round era).

    However, since Sampras and Federer have now surpassed him in overall Wimbledon titles, and the latter equalled his consecutive titles, this achievement is no longer sufficient for Borg to be proclaimed as GOAT. So, ironically, it is Borg's 6 FO titles (which I'm sure he valued far less than his W titles) which are his primary claim to immortality - or, more accurately, the fact that he was utterly dominant at the game's biggest grass and clay court tournaments simultaneously. The average tennis fan today would tell you that Borg's greatest achievement is his 3 consecutive 'Channel Slams' - and that this is why he should be kept in the GOAT debate.

    I just thought this was worth mentioning. I rank Borg 4th overall by the way, so most definitely a GOAT candidate (unless you are super-restrictive).
     
  21. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Max Decugis, although 2 of the 8 were on sand, with the other 6 being on clay. Back then, the tournament wasn't a major as it was only open to amateur tennis players who were members of a French tennis club. It wasn't until 1925 that international club members could play at the tournament and it became a major. When the French tennis authorities announced that the French Championships would open its doors to international amateur players for 1925, the World Hard Court Championships was disbanded.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  22. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    ^^^Welcome! Give us your top 5 ever

    lol welcome to the guy above you
     
  23. Phoenix1983

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    1. Federer
    2. Laver
    3. Sampras
    4. Borg
    5. Nadal
    6. Rosewall
    7. Gonzales
    8. Budge
    9. Tilden
    10. Lendl

    I will await the historians here telling me I've underrated the pre-Open Era greats. However in my opinion this was not as strong a period of tennis history. :)
     
  24. Talker

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    I was talking about myself.
    Others may be more impressed as they look into Laver's ERA.

    That one poll awhile back had Laver at #2 so there's plenty of love for Laver's game still.
     
  25. Talker

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    It's not the numbers, it's the level of play.

    Looking at the clips back then is painful for me, people clapping on some simple point for instance.

    Hard to say much more, I know people like his game a great deal.
     
  26. Dan Lobb

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    You might want to consider that the best ATHLETES make the best TENNIS PLAYERS.
    By this standard, you would probably have to rate Budge, Gonzales, Hoad, at or near the top all-time.
     
  27. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    and Monfils too :wink:
     
  28. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You think that Monfils was a great athlete?
     
  29. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    not was, still is, and yes very gifted athletically without a question
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Think of it in perspective. Look at the way the top women can play. A great player like Serena can hit the serve over 120 mph and belt the ball like lightning on the groundies. Do you really think Serena would win one game from Rod Laver in his prime? Doubtful. A lot of it is racquet technology and superior strings. I started with a tiny wood racquet and you cannot hit the ball with small wood racquet with the spin they hit with today unless you're Laver or Borg. I can hit with topspin easily off backhand and forehand today. I can hit topspin lobs off both sides if of course given the time. I couldn't do that years ago.

    Am I a better player now than years ago? No way.

    Rod Laver nowadays, with his huge wrist would hit the ball with great power and spin. His accuracy would be improved by today's racquets. His serve would be greatly improved also.

    When you look at the past, look at the women playing today and understand guys like Borg and Laver would destroy them. It's often the racquets my friend.

    Here's a clip of Borg versus Laver in the 1975 WCT finals playoff. Laver would turn 37 that year and was way past his best and Borg wasn't nearly at his best. It's starts at around 10:15.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5sBBFQfcNU

    Here's Laver against Ashe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43csIDKmkMk
     
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand.
     
  32. Talker

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    Laver had some great passing shots. At his age you have to wonder how he would have been in his prime.

    Thanks for posting.
     
  33. BobbyOne

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    Laver has won a huge amount of tournaments with more than only eight players, still more than Federer did.
     
  34. BobbyOne

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    forzamilan90, I agree that Rosewall almost never is in an official GOAT discussion in comparison to Laver. I find this a bit unfair, not only because I'm a Rosewall fan. Muscles and Pancho Gonzalez should be in any GOAT discussion with Tilden, Borg, Federer and Sampras...
     
  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard, I think that Drobny has won more claycourt titles than Wilding but still Wildings records are awesome.
     
  36. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    yeah to me of all the greats, Rosewall is the most underrated (a lot of pro majors, a lot), it seems living under Laver's shadow, but his career is top 10 worthy
     
  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix1983, Interesting list but why do you rank Budge ahead of Tilden? I guess because of Don's Grand Slam. I would like to argue that Tilden, if he had entered all GS tournaments, would probably also won the GS, even two or three GSs.

    Pre-open era was not as strong a period of tennis history? Please ask Dan Lobb about the late 1950s...
     
  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Yes, Rosewall is the most underrated, as also Laver once wrote (if we don't consider Hans Nüsslein who is almost forgotten now despite of his status as one of the three or four strongest players of the 1930s).
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  39. krosero

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    Yes that's an excellent example of how opinions can legitimately change over time, even when no new information is learned. Borg's channel Slams have always been common knowledge to tennis fans (even if they were not called that back then). What's changed, though, is how we view them.

    With the passage of time we can say, "Now wait a minute, what this guy did, baselining at RG, then switching over immediately to SV on grass, turns out not to be such a common thing in tennis history. We haven't seen anyone do it since Borg, and it's been over 30 years. Yes we have seen channel Slams, from Nadal and Federer: but they did those from the baseline, against other baseliners, at both places. Someone collecting both RG and Wimbledon back when styles were polarized, and when the grass at Wimbledon was faster, has not happened since Borg."

    So as TMF would say, Borg's achievement has aged like a good wine.

    Yeah I definitely agree, that's one way that an older player's achievements can rise in significance.

    But you had to wait many years, in order to gain that perspective. There was no shortcut to it.

    Another one for me is Pete Sampras. Back in the 90s people complained about SV tennis at Wimbledon, because historically SV tennis had dominated Wimbledon's history. Today I have a greater appreciation for what Sampras did at Wimbledon.

    And then there's the whole question of popularity. I was no fan of Sampras back when he was playing, so that undoubtedly limited how much I could appreciate his tennis (though of course I respected it; no choice about that).

    Over time the unpopularity of a champion can stop getting in the way of how we perceive him.

    Lendl is a great example there. Very few people liked the guy back then. He was dismissed as a robot. But today there's a kind of Lendl rennaissance, as he's sort of come to be seen as the forerunner of the strong baseline tennis that dominates today. Back then it was "robotic"; today people respect it.

    Needless to say Federer is one of the most popular champions of all time. How can his popularity NOT have an effect on how highly fans evaluate his game and his career?

    Not saying that Federer hasn't earned his place in the GOAT debate, far from it. Just making a point about popularity, and how opinions change over time.
     
  40. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    There isn't anymore information about Laver that are missing that affected his goat debate. I think the existing of the internet and historians have provided more than enough resources that are available for all fans to access, and as of now, most have Federer is #1. Sure, Laver's career isn't completely documented as say Sampras, but that's only the finer details(e.g. aces, winners, serve speed, minutes play, etc). But missing those detailed information doesn't improve his goat argument. We have the key information: the event he played, who he faced, total titles, scoreboard. Those are good enough to evaluate where he stand with among the great ones. More information on Laver's career may improve his goat debate, but that can back fire. For example, posters have stated that Laver played on events that consist only 4 man draw, or only needed to win 2 matches, which explain why he won so many single titles. The young, new tennis fans have no idea that slams was competing on only 2 surfaces, and there's a split field during the pre-open era. Exposing more information out of the past players isn't a good thing, because there's negative facts. The same with the female tennis player. If someone know nothing about Margaret Court and just know that she won 24 slams, he/she could just say WOW! But when one learned more about the lack of depth/strength of the field(particularly her 11 AO), the perception changes, and it isn't as amazing as Graf, Martina, Chris or Serena winning their slams.

    I agree players like Sampras or Federer's legacy is fixed, but the past players doesn't gain anymore goat debates. I don't see Kramer is getting anymore goat claims, and he's well before Laver's time, when tennis is even less documented.

    Fans certainly have right to change their opinion, but if two players(or group) are very close. Like between Nadal/Borg, or between Lendl/Connors, it's easy to flip flop. However you don’t want to flip flop between Agassi and Courier, because anyone in their right mind knows Agassi > Courier.
     
  41. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Number of titles doesn't say much because not all events carry the same weight.
     
  42. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    That's not always true. I don't hear them saying Nadal is greater than Laver and Sampras. Or Kobe Bryant is greater than Michael Jordan.

    Past players can drop in goat status provided if the future players can match/surpass him. e.g. When Borg retire he was very high in goat status, but some of his records got broken: Wimbledon titles(share by Fed/Pete), FO titles(Nadal won 7), single titles(Connors at 109).
     
  43. pc1

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    First of all you didn't understand what I wrote (or you did and wanted to write what you decided to write) but I wrote that the media should focus on the present players. It's best for them to publicize the game.

    And yes your second paragraph is incorrect about Laver because in this case more records of Laver has come to light. No one knew Laver won 200 tournaments or won 19 majors, second only to Rosewall. I don't believe the media thinks any less of Laver as the Talker believed. But that's the Talker's opinion and he is entitled to it. He may have seen some things I have not seen.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  44. Phoenix1983

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    Not just the Grand Slam but six consecutive majors, a men's record which stands to this day.

    Tilden's success as I see it was largely restricted to dominating a select group of American contenders such as Johnston. I give him great credit for winning Wimbledon three times when he ventured across the Atlantic, and of course for being tennis' first international star.

    However I don't agree that he would have won the Grand Slam had he entered all majors. He was beaten by the Musketeers when he eventually did enter the French, there's nothing to indicate he could have dominated on clay...
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No problem. Bear in mind that even in that Laver against Ashe 1969 Wimbledon semi that Laver would shortly become 31 and many believe he was already past his prime by a few years even though he won the Grand Slam that year.

    Here's highlights of the match that Laver won the Grand Slam, the 1969 US Open final against Tony Roche who was a sensational player. Notice how awful the courts at the old West Side Tennis club. Not only are the courts much faster than Wimbledon of today but the bounces were just awful. Often the ball wouldn't bounce at all. You couldn't play baseline tennis like today if you wanted to win. Obviously that and the much inferior equipment affects the level of play.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvpckZmLaEc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f60jJTbEps
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Tilden won many claycourt tournaments including the World Hardcourt in 1921 and many US Claycourts. When the Musketeers came onto the scene he was already in his thirties. He also injured his knee around 1927 I believe and that affected him the rest of his career. Also bear in mind the US Championships had an international field and Tilden still won. Players came from England, Japan, France, Australia etc. Bill Johnston was a great player who also won Wimbledon and several US Championship and Tilden defeated him most of the time.

    I agree with BobbyOne that it's very probable that Tilden would have won at least one Grand Slam and I think more than that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  47. BobbyOne

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    TMF, The fact that Laver played 4-man tournaments does NOT explain why he won so many titles. I guess that Laver won only about 15 4 man tournaments out of the 200 he won altogether (probably even a few more than 200).
     
  48. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix1983,

    Tilden won 8 consecutive majors where he participated (which is second only to Rosewall's 9). This is about as great a feat as Budge did.

    I'm sure Tilden would have won several GSs. You can't take his losses to Cochet and Lacoste because in that time he was an old man. Through 1925 he beat the French men.

    Tilden was superb on clay. As late as 1939 he defeated Budge on clay in an important tournament (Southport). He also beat von Cramm in 1934. And he won seven US Claycourt championships...

    Tilden also won the 1921 World Hardcourt champ.s. (Played on clay)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Corrected in my post and I want to point out that again that the World Hardcourt was a major.

    Didn't Tilden almost win the French in 1927 when on match point he clearly served an ace but it was called a fault by Cochet?
     
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    pc1, I believe you are correct with that scandal caused by Cochet.

    By the way, Tilden had beaten Cochet in the SFs by 9-7,6-3,6-2...

    In the 1928 Davis Cup Challenge round Tilden beat Lacoste in five sets in the Roland Garros stadium. Tilden not a superb claycourter??? Tilden was 35...
     

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