Laver #2

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Chopin, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    1962 and 1963 was Rosewall's peak.

    Oh, I fully agree. Just look at how Gonzales, in his 40s, beat Emerson (the dominant amateur player of the 1960s) so often. The rankings of players from the pre-open era by today's analysts, tends to heavily focus on their amateur career achievements for some reason, as though the professional game either didn't exist or didn't matter, when it should be the most important thing of all.

    I mean, how laughable is it that Ashe, Hoad and Emerson were rated above Gonzales? In what universe is that reality?
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Frankly you can argue that no one can be rated ahead of Gonzalez and it would be very reasonable. How can Pancho Gonzalez be ranked at number 22 among the men? Do these people who rate the players have any idea who Gonzalez was and what he did in his career? And if these people didn't know who Gonzalez was and what he accomplished then they shouldn't any say in the rankings. Now I know it's just an opinion vote but you would expect it to be somewhat logical.

    I won't go into total detail about Gonzalez but he clearly was the player of the 1950's, by far. He defeated every player including Hoad, Laver, Rosewall, Connors, Borg, Ashe, Sedgman, Segura, Trabert, Cooper, Anderson, Gimeno, Emerson, Newcombe, Stan Smith, many of them on tours. He was a gifted athlete and as smooth as your can get. He arguably had the greatest serve in the history of tennis. He had great touch and power. He was a superb volleyer and he was a good baseliner. Think of a guy who probably had a better serve than Roddick but was superior in every way. When you look at Gonzalez's accomplishments they boggled the mind. The man played from the 1940's to 1970's and was still winning tournaments in the 1970's when he was in his forties. He was a clutch player and was as tough as you could get. Many including Jimmy Connors picked Gonzalez for the man they would have played for them for their life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  3. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    I was lucky enough to see both Laver and Rosewall on several occasions. Not everyone who disagrees with your often idiosyncratic views is an 18 year old who started watching tennis in 2005.

    If it's a requirement that one must have seen a player live before expressing an opinion on his merits, then very few people alive can evaluate Budge and practically no one can say anything about Tilden.

    In any event, I did not refer solely to my own opinions but also to those of Rosewall's contemporaries - the players who faced him and the journalists who followed his career closely for many years. At least some of them are as well qualified as you are to express an opinion on this issue. As far as I know, no one has ever denied that Rosewall is a great player. I just don't see the support among his contemporaries for his GOAT candidacy that is taken for granted in some quarters. If you have any evidence to the contrary I would be most interested in seeing it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  4. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Like I've said before, you are one clueless guy. I've seen several matches of Laver.

    Oh and the opinion of a guy who has never seen tennis even once is better than your totally biased , dumb views
     
  5. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Like I said , here's a clue: Anyone placing Federer/Laver in anything other than top-tier is either clueless/hater.

    Pick your choice.

    I think its both. You are clueless as well as a hater ( just because Federer has usurped your crush Laver's position as the GOAT )
     
  6. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sorry, it's 5 matches. But my points still stands...the slam events today has a bigger pool with more diverse players.

    Come on. TTC picked many big names who knows their tennis...Barrett, Evans, Collins, Harman, Flink, Laver, etc...

    No way TT members know more than them.
     
  7. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    You mean your level of bias is well out of my reach.


    have you read my post on Graf´s shameful behaviour at her last Gran Slam ( 1999 FO)?? Since you deffended always Joe Pike, you can tell him wherever he is...[/QUOTE]

    What does Graf behavior has anything to do with her achievements. Connors, Mac and most recently Serena are pretty bad, yet, their greatness are base on their career achievements. Duh!

    Thanks for derailing this thread, as you often been known for. Troll !
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What does Graf behavior has anything to do with her achievements. Connors, Mac and most recently Serena are pretty bad, yet, their greatness are base on their career achievements. Duh!

    Thanks for derailing this thread, as you often been known for. Troll ![/QUOTE]

    It was so funny to see you in the " best S&V thread"...you probably thought it read " Serena & Venus"
     
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I haven´t seen live Budge,Tilden or Kramer, to name a few either...but I respect their achievements and, most of all, what they gave to the game and how they made it evolve, which is my definition of Greatness ( in any human´s field).

    But, I know one thing: I´d heard with attention to a guy older than me who had seen them play and who freely was giving me his opinion..I´d really love to talk to him and I´d be asking questions...not just say stupid childish things about the size, the pace, the fact that 3 out of 4 slams were on grass...and all those childish arguments that fulfill this forum.

    That, I swear to you.

    Of course, maturity and perspective has to see something with this.
     
  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, you watched Laver in some video or You Tube...that says nothing...
     
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If your read my posts, it seems clear I respect Federer a lot more than you and your teens respect Laver.I don´t think Fed is better, though.

    I made a deep, very insightful analysis , stroke by stroke and untangible by untangible, and Laver is a 25% better than Federer.But, if anybody argues in this way and offers another result, I won´t have a problem with that.

    and, to be JUST a 25% weaker or less stronger than Laver, believe, puts you in first or second all time greats tier.9%% of the players are more or much more worse than this...so, calm down and take it easy:)
     
  12. Carsomyr

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    :lol:

    May we see this deep, very insightful analysis?

    How informed can your post be if you don't even know what event it took place at?

    :lol:

    Anyway, the only shameful behavior I can think of was Hingis' at the French Open in 1999, when she crossed over to Graf's side of the court to look at a ball mark.

    :roll:

    The bolded part is just wrong. Federer is very knowledgeable of the history of the game - why do you think he was so emotional getting handed a trophy from Laver? Does he know as much about the history of the game as the most dedicated students? No. But he's also got more important things to do than browse Wikipedia articles about who won Wimbledon in 1897 - you know, like playing tennis. Also, leave your gender bias/homophobia at the door. You look like an idiot.

    Rod Laver became the first tennis player to win a million dollars near the end of 1971 at the age of 33. Conversely, Federer has earned nearly 70x that amount at the age of 30, not to mention the outrageous amounts he makes off of endorsements. Federer looks the way he does because he can afford to, because he has to. Since tennis is exposed to much greater media scrutiny today than in yesteryear (and I won't even get into how that affects performance), top level players are expected to cultivate an image. Since Federer's game can and has been expressed in artistic superlatives, it only makes sense that he wears nice suits and ridiculous Wimbledon costumes.

    Yes, Federer is more arrogant and quite a bit snarkier in his assessment of losses than Laver was. But then again, Laver was never lauded with praise of being the greatest of all time one year and then have reporters hound him with questions of retirement the next. And this has been on and off since 2007. It's entirely possible Laver just has a more modest personality, but it's also possible that Federer's personality is, in part, shaped by an extremely over-reactive media presence.

    For someone who claims to have seen so much tennis, your perspective on some issues is incredibly limited.

    I honestly think this list is an abomination. It's true, I've only seen a few matches of Laver and Rosewall and clips of players in the generations preceding them. But from what I've seen and know from looking at the annals, I know that many of these rankings are an insult. These lists are problematic for a number of reasons, primarily because they don't separate the men and the women and because they don't give pre-Open Era players their due.

    But many people, with far more tennis knowledge than you or me, think Federer is the best. Unless you're going to tell me that you know more about tennis than the likes of Jack Kramer? Guys like Collins and Flink disagree, which is fine. I honestly don't care for Collins as an author or as a person, but Flink is an excellent source. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. But you're not doing yourself any favors by making ridiculous claims that you've done "stroke analyses" and concluded that Laver is "25% better" than Federer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Being a person who has watched tennis for many decades I would think it's best to wait until the player's career is over until we can fully evaluate a player. We've had a lot of players over the years that have been called the best ever while they were playing and after the careers are over sometimes a reevaluation happens.

    Federer is a great player and I would expect that he would be considered GOAT material after his career is over on the basis of his accomplishments already but I write this to point out that many of these so called experts get just as caught up in the moment as any fan in any sport. Remember that many of these people have probably called Nadal the GOAT also. It's all opinion by these experts. The Tennis Channel list was essentially opinion. I didn't see any logical criteria.

    If we went by logical criteria many of the top women would be ranked over many of the top men. Why combine the women's lists and men's list otherwise if you favor the men?

    Why isn't Navratilova, Evert, Court, Graf ranked higher for example?

    Let's compare Federer for example to Navratilova.

    Total tournaments won
    Navratilova-167
    Federer-73
    Big edge to Navratilova

    Majors won
    Navratilova-18
    Federer-16
    Edge to Navratilova

    Lifetime winning percentage
    Navratilova-86%
    Federer-82%
    Big edge to Navratilova. Four plus percentage points is huge in a much longer career.

    So why is Federer ranked over Navratilova when Martina ranks higher in every important area? If you include doubles Navratilova is even further ahead.

    It wouldn't bother me as much if they just ranked Federer as just the top male player but he should not be the top overall player if you go by the statistics. Court, Evert, Graf also rank higher in every category over Federer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    May we see this deep, very insightful analysis?

    It is in 2 threads, the best one I honestly should look at, but the second one is much more recent: "Vijay Amritraj thinks Laver is the GOAT"

    How informed can your post be if you don't even know what event it took place at?



    Anyway, the only shameful behavior I can think of was Hingis' at the French Open in 1999, when she crossed over to Graf's side of the court to look at a ball mark.


    Graf lost all credit as a ssportswoman.She knew she was been benefitted and didn´t even round out the zone...Hingis overreacted but not because she wasn´t right, which she was, but because she had a firm hold on the match and that stuff led to her defeat.Self-defeated herself in a way ( and this is not taking anything away from Graf, she was just getting her ass kicked by Martina)

    The bolded part is just wrong. Federer is very knowledgeable of the history of the game - why do you think he was so emotional getting handed a trophy from Laver? Does he know as much about the history of the game as the most dedicated students? No. But he's also got more important things to do than browse Wikipedia articles about who won Wimbledon in 1897 - you know, like playing tennis. Also, leave your gender bias/homophobia at the door. You look like an idiot.

    Where did I say to be homophobic?

    Rod Laver became the first tennis player to win a million dollars near the end of 1971 at the age of 33. Conversely, Federer has earned nearly 70x that amount at the age of 30, not to mention the outrageous amounts he makes off of endorsements. Federer looks the way he does because he can afford to, because he has to. Since tennis is exposed to much greater media scrutiny today than in yesteryear (and I won't even get into how that affects performance), top level players are expected to cultivate an image. Since Federer's game can and has been expressed in artistic superlatives, it only makes sense that he wears nice suits and ridiculous Wimbledon costumes.

    Yes, Federer is more arrogant and quite a bit snarkier in his assessment of losses than Laver was. But then again, Laver was never lauded with praise of being the greatest of all time one year and then have reporters hound him with questions of retirement the next. And this has been on and off since 2007. It's entirely possible Laver just has a more modest personality, but it's also possible that Federer's personality is, in part, shaped by an extremely over-reactive media presence.

    For someone who claims to have seen so much tennis, your perspective on some issues is incredibly limited.

    I honestly think this list is an abomination. It's true, I've only seen a few matches of Laver and Rosewall and clips of players in the generations preceding them. But from what I've seen and know from looking at the annals, I know that many of these rankings are an insult. These lists are problematic for a number of reasons, primarily because they don't separate the men and the women and because they don't give pre-Open Era players their due.

    But many people, with far more tennis knowledge than you or me, think Federer is the best. Unless you're going to tell me that you know more about tennis than the likes of Jack Kramer? Guys like Collins and Flink disagree, which is fine. I honestly don't care for Collins as an author or as a person, but Flink is an excellent source. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. But you're not doing yourself any favors by making ridiculous claims that you've done "stroke analyses" and concluded that Laver is "25%

    The fact that you outline how much richer Fed is in relation to Laver ( which he is) outlines your only criteria for greatness or goatness is the money won.Jajajajaj....you certainly are much more adapt to current times than I am, that´s for sure.

    ..and, since Fed has so much money, why does he embarass himself with those lady dresses made up by gays for gays?
     
  15. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    This post does not reply to anything I said. I never mentioned Rosewall's size or the fact that three of the four majors were played on grass, nor did I suggest that I do not respect his achievements (which one can certainly do without believing that he is the GOAT). I do refer to the published opinions of some of Rosewall's expert contemporaries, including players such as Kramer, Gonzales, Laver and Newcombe. Their opinions with respect to his GOAT candidacy are very different from yours. Not everyone who disagrees with you on this or other issues lacks "maturity" or "perspective" - unless you are prepared to say that of the players mentioned and their journalist contemporaries.
     
  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    When I say several matches, does it look like some videos on youtube to you ? Jeez, learn to read .....
     
  17. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, you don't respect Federer at all. That much is plain clear. Anyone who places him in 2nd tier doesn't .....

    And you have ZERO, repeat after me, ZERO, repeat after me again ZERO knowledge of modern day tennis ....

    Like I said before, your opinion is plain and pure *garbage* IMO. You have no clue of modern tennis and very little of tennis even in the olden times .....

    Insightful analysis ?? I laughed out aloud !!!! bwahaha !!!
     
  18. adidasman

    adidasman Professional

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    And Rosewall behind Emmo???
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You are horning cause I left you with no credible argument to repply and not embarrass yourself even more...what a love for self punishment, man¡¡¡

    Now, just bring in better stuff than my 2 post analysis or back down¡¡¡
     
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There are more players and more nations competing, that´s true but it doesn´t mean quality has improved.In fact, having 90 journeymen or having 30 doesn´t make a big difference, you know.Seppi,Ascasuso,Young,Muller would be journeymen back then just as guys like Owens,Ruffels,Docherty or Batrrick would be journeymen today.
     
  21. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The only reason they could possibly have come to that conclusion is to see Emerson winning 12 majors, even though they were amateur only tournaments when Emerson won them. So Rosewall gets punished for winning all those majors in the professional game instead. Emerson being ranked ahead of Gonzales is an even bigger farce, considering that when they eventually started to play each other, Gonzales was in his 40s and well past his prime and he dominated his head-to-head with Emerson, who had only recently dominated the amateur game.
     
  22. adidasman

    adidasman Professional

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    So, Herr Chopin, based on your always-unimpeachable logic, why isn't Fabrice Santoro number one?
     
  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Gonzales beat Emmo at RG in the Quarters in 1968: 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4

    Not bad for a 39-year-old against a recent amateur.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  24. Chopin

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    Amazing, that this thread could take off like it did.

    ...
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Well the thing is that it is interesting to discuss the Tennis Channel rankings. That by itself is fascinating.

    By the way I apologize because I forgot to analyze your chess game. Got very involved in a few things and neglected to do it. Give me a link to it again and I will do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  26. adidasman

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    Your Midas touch has worked its magic once again, Maestro. Thank you, thank you.
     
  27. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    The Tennis Channel isn't basing on who's a better player, or would beat who at their best given equal equipment and condition. But they are based on grand slam titles and performance, ranking, records. That leaves Laver well ahead of Santoro but it has nothing to do with who will win on a given day.
     
  28. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    But more players and countries competing, it's almost a certain that there's more quality players than a smaller pool with one country represent more than half the draw. Whether it's at the top tier or at the bottom journeymen, today's players are better. Whether you say it may not be true, but that is like 1 in 10 million chance that would ever happen.

    Give you an example. Suppose a top ten basketball players from a high school decided to go to Duke University. What is the chance of them making the basketball team, much less being the best 10 players at Duke? Pretty slim and none chance isn't it? Sure, you can say it's possible, but like I said...it's like 1 in 10 million chance that could ever happen.

    Please try to understand. You don't need to take any probability or statistics course to figure it out. Use common sense.
     
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If you think it a bit, there are NO MORE COUNTRIES playing tennis: the old countries like the SU,Yugoslavia,Checoslovaquia splitted into more smaller countries, but the basis from which take players is the same..If the 50 states of the US separated...would you sat yhe base would have broadened.

    In fact, India,South Africa,Checoslokakia,Romania,Italy,UK,Australia of course, eused to be powehorses, and see where Sweden was and where it is now.Yes,some progress ( but no so much) for Spain and basically ex SU (Russia,Ukraina) and former Yugoslavia (Serbia,Croatia).Of course, there is the case of Switzerland, with a great player (Federer) and a pretty good one (Wavrinka) but, in terms of densitiy, Switzerland was far better in the 80´s with Gunthardt,Rosset and Hlasek.But, if you count the countries that are better today than 25 years ago, and the countries which have worsened ( like the US¡¡¡), you´d probably change your mind.

    Brazil was stronger before, Mexico, too,so was Equator,New Zealand,Israel,Hungary,Netherlands,France was a bit better with Noah,Leconte and Forget compared to Simon,Monfils and Tsonga...and the flagrant cases of Italy,Australia,US,Sweden ...it´s clear to me that tennis had a wider international base than now.
     
  30. Benhur

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    In the 70s and early 80s, nearly half of the players in the top 100 came from the US and Australia, with a population significantly smaller than what it is today. The number today is 9. The decrease has nothing to do with a decrease in the popularity of tennis in the US and Australia, or a reduction in the number of tennis clubs or tennis schools. It has to do with an increase of all these things in other countries. Put another way, in the 70s and early 80s, more than 40 of the players in the top 100 came from a total population of about 245 million. Today, if you add the two strongest tennis countries (Spain and France) + the US and Australia, you get only 31 players from a total population almost twice as large.

    You point to the increase in the number of countries as being the result of political forces. Fair enough. This increase came mostly from the split of the former USSR into 15 countries, and the split of Yugoslavia into 5 countries. Now let’s take a look at tennis in those places.

    As late as 1985 there were 0 players in the top 100 from any former soviet republic (including Russia).

    In 2012, there are at least 11 players from those countries (maybe more, as I haven’t checked all 15 countries)

    In 1985 there was 1 player from the former Yugoslavia.

    Today there are at least 7.

    In 1985 there were 0 players from Japan. Today there are 3.

    Such changes cannot be related only to chance. There must have been a significant increase in the number of tennis facilities and tennis programs in those places to produce such a radical increase in the number of professional players.

    It seems pretty clear that the global tennis pool (the size of the population from which tennis players arise) has expanded a lot in the last few decades. It is not unreasonable to suppose this should have some effect on the number of highly gifted tennis players who actually end up playing tennis.
     
  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    How do you know?
     
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    In the 60's and 70's tennis was much more popular in the U.S. than it was from the 80's until now. The 70's was the golden era of tennis in the U.S. and resulted in probably the strongest era of U.S. pro players in the 80's and 90's. The global pool of pro prospects may have expanded since the 70's, but, the quality of the top pros hasn't improved from the top pros produced by the 70's golden era in the U.S.
     
  33. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In some countries like Russia maybe we have more top players now than in the 60s and 70s. But in other countries their number actually has decreased. Not alone in traditional strong tennis countries like USA, Australia, Sweden or Germany. Also, for example in classic tennis countries like Czechoslovakia, Mexiko, South Africa or India, which were frequently in Davis Cup finals and did well in rankings, and had many in top 20 resp. top 30.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  34. adidasman

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    It was a joke. Youi do know that, right?
     
  35. Benhur

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    It may have been more popular in relative terms (relative to the population). And even this is not clear to me. But in absolute terms there are definitely many more people (including children) who play tennis today in the US than there were in the 60s and 70s. And there are more tennis courts, and more tennis programs and tennis schools. In other countries the increase has been even greater. I would say the total number of tennis players worldwide has easily tripled since the 60s and 70s, and this is probably a very conservative estimate. This doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the quality of the pros at the very top, but if it has had any effect, it cannot have been negative. And the effect on the field as a whole (say the top 500 or so) can only have been very positive.
     
  36. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In Nielsen ratings it was researched, that in 1974 some 30 Million people played tennis in the US, which is much more in absolute terms than in recent years. There was an article series on numbers of tennis players on ESPN online last year i think. Numbers have slightly increased from the 90s, when tennis was called dead, but they are nowhere in comparison to the tennis boom years.
     
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I've tried to open his mind that it is possible that some players of the past were great but I don't believe he shares my opinion.

    If players improve that much then logically the women of today should be able to defeat the players of the recent past let's say 30 years ago. So how does that explain John McEnroe at over 50 almost defeating Andy Roddick in WTT a few years ago?

    I write it before and I'll write it again, players do not physically improve that much from year to year. Technology however does and we have to overcome the illusion of racquet technology (and better strings and overall equipment) making players seem better than the past by a large margin. The women of today seem to hit harder and make fewer errors than the men of the past but does anyone really believe Maria Sharapova and her limited game would stand a chance against Pancho Gonzalez fifty years ago? If someone does then I would think the person doesn't understand reality well.
     
  38. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    If you don't watch those episodes on the tennis channel, at least keep up to date by watching the news. I'm not here to supply you news & informations on a daily basis.

    Capiche ?
     
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.”
    ―René Descartes


    "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
    ―Albert Einstein
     
  40. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Look at the 1969 AO draw and compare it to today. Now tell me which draw has more diversity players. Australian(one country!) had over half of the total players in the draw. Unlike today, the talented players are coming from many countries, not to mention there's more athletes competing to make the pro tour. Like i said, it's like comparing a high school basketball team to a Duke University basketball team.


    Popular doesn't equate more quality players. And popular rises when you have champion players in the 60s and 70s, unlike today, there's no American players at #1 and no slam winner. You should know that Americans will tune in if their athletes are the best and winning, thus the sport get popular. just like soccer, no matter how hard they try to improve, but if you are inferior to other countries, no American fans are going to support the game.
     
  41. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    So are you suggesting a smaller sample of athletes are more likely to have more talented players than a bigger sample of athletes ? And few countries are more likely to produce more gifted/talented players than players coming from all continents ?

    I rest my case.
     
  42. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well, you show no sign of sarcasm. And I don't know if you have watched those episodes on TTC.
     
  43. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I don't know how the Nielsen ratings are calculated, but if this were the case, it would mean that 1 person out of 7 was playing tennis in the US in 1974. But that would include every age group: babies, very old people etc. If you consider only physically able people, it might be 1 in 6 or even 1 in 5. I find these numbers totally impossible. I don't even think they are possible in very affluent or leisure/retirement towns like, say, Fort Lauderdale or Santa Barbara, let alone a whole nation. I was in Duluth, Minnesota, in the very early 80s, and I doubt 1 in 30 people I knew played tennis (and Minnesota was not a backward or economically depressed state, and many of the people I knew were university students). Of the places I've lived in the US, San Francisco has by far the most public tennis courts and recreational players, but there is no way 1 person in 6 played tennis even there. Those numbers are crazy.

    In the mid 80s, Mexico and India had a couple of players each in the top 100, and none today. Czecholslovakia had the same number then as now. Obviously, if you have an expansion in the areas where tennis players come from, there has to be a reduction in the number of top players from the countries that were providing most of the players back then. How can it be otherwise? The number of challenger level tournaments today is about 6 times larger than in 1980. And the further down you go in tournament levels, the higher the increase in tournaments. This can only mean that there has been a large increase in the number of people playing tennis worldwide since 1980.
     
  44. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I'm surprised you are even debating this, its pretty much a fact that more people in the US played tennis during the tennis boom than they do today. I believe USTA has even acknowledged it. Maybe 30 mill is a bit exaggerated, but I'm not sure how any American who lived in the US in the 70s can dispute the high interest in tennis by the public at the time(it was quite a trendy sport, look at how often it was referenced in tv/movies of the time)

    I'm sure there is data on this, & has probably been posted here before(I don't really care to do the research on it, I'll leave it to you, its sort of weird to hear anyone dispute this)
    There are many trackable stats on tennis sales, a lot of people that work in tennis industry have said that the sale of tennis balls is the most accurate way to judge the sports popularity.

    Not sure what your experience in Minnesota in the early 80s has to do with anything(btw US is a rather large country with different areas having very different people with different interests. MI is all about hockey, I hear, not great tennis weather there. But they still produced a tennis pro - David Wheaton - a 70s child, what a coincidence)
    All stats show that the tennis boom was essentially over by 1980(though it was still far more popular then than it is now)
    As urban said, 1974 was the peak of tennis players in the US & the peak of the tennis boom.
    I think its fairly obvious that Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Courier were a result of the tennis boom in the US(look at when they were born)

    and the lack of US pros after sort of a result of tennis becoming a much less popular sport here in the 80s/90s.

    There weren't challengers in 1980, but satellites. Most of those tournament results are lost, no one was keeping track of them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  45. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    What I think is amazing is that a figure like 30 million players in a population of 213 million can be taken seriously whithout pausing to think what it means and weather it fits your own observations. The first time I was in Minnesota was 1979. I know Duluth and the Twin Cities pretty well. There are plenty of public courts where you can play 6-7 months a year. And indoor courts as well. And people do play. I've been to many other places in the US and didn't observe that tennis was more popular, except in California and Florida. I take Minnesota to represent some kind of average for the country in terms of public tennis courts. But to have 30 million players with that kind of population, it would mean that on average 1 person out of 7 plays tennis. If Minnesota is much below the national average, as you suggest, then the national average, in order to be what it is, would have to be compensated by truly astonishing high numbers in very concentrated places, mainly Florida and coastal California, I suppose. And it would be… what? 1 person out of 3 playing tennis in those areas?? Unless you’re telling me that between 1974 and 1979 some cataclismic event suddenly got people out of tennis and I just missed the crowds of tennis players waiting for their turn to play on every available court. All you have to do is think of your neighborhood. Unless you live in some retirement resort, can you really find 1 tennis player every 7 people around you (including small children and old people)? Jesus. Every small town of 100,000 people would have 14,000 tennis players. The New York Metropolitan area would have 3 million players. If each person plays, say, 2 hours a week, that’s 6 million hours. Okay, since you can’t play tennis alone, it would be only 3 million hours. Now, assume the available courts are continuously used for 12 hours a day, from 9 am to 9 pm (84 hours a week). In order to accomodate 3 million tennis hours in 84 hours you would need more than 35,000 courts in that area (again, with continuous play from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening, just to give each of those 3 million players 2 hours a week.)

    Sorry but I cannot take that stuff very seriously.

    Regarding challengers, which you say didn't exist, I saw a page listing tournaments in 1980 where they list 24 challengers.
    http://tennis.webz.cz/res/1980/1980.html

    Today there are 178 challengers and 534 futures tournaments according to this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour

    To me, it's pretty obvious that the number of tennis players and tennis facilities worldwide has increased enormously with respect to the 70s.
     
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Here's an account in Sports Illustrated from 2004 (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1104307/7/index.htm)

    "A Nielsen survey released in the aftermath of the '74 Open found that nearly 34 million Americans now considered themselves to be at least occasional tennis players, a more than threefold increase in four years. The sport had made even greater strides as a spectacle, with a Harris poll finding that the number of Americans who followed tennis had jumped from 17% to 26% over the year, placing it just behind the holy trinity of football, baseball and basketball."

    If 26% of Americans were following tennis, according to the Harris poll, that would come to about 55 million. The Nielsen survey said 34 million considered themselves to be at least occasional tennis players.

    Would be interesting to know what the figures were for football, baseball and basketball, if tennis was just behind them at 26%.
     
  47. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Maybe what happened is that some these people who from one year to the next began to follow tennis (a 19 million jump in one year) went out and bought a racquet, they used it a few times for a couple of years, and they reported they were tennis players. In that case, I am certain there were enough courts to accomodate them. If you consider a tennis player someone who plays at least 2 hours a week, then things are very different. You would need 350,000 tennis courts in the country (1 court for every 600 people in 1974) with continuous play 12 hours a day to accomodate those 30 million players. So it's just a matter of what you define as a tennis player.
     
  48. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Well, that's certainly not obvious to me. Why exactly would you need a tennis boom to produce the players you mention, but no tennis boom to produce Connors, Mac, Gerulaitis, Tanner, Ashe, Dibbs, Mayer, Smith etc.?

    As a matter of fact, the US had a lot more players in the top 100 during the late 70s and early 80s, than it had in the 90s during the Sampras-Agassi period. About twice as many in fact. To me that was the real peak of US tennis. No special overnight boom was needed to produce those players. So why do you think it's so obvious that Agassi and Sampras have to be the product of a special boom in the 70s? I am beginning to think that this sudden "boom" in 1974, its equally sudden demise in just a few short years, and especially its magicall effects in producing the players of the 90s, are hugely exaggerated by reporters in search of a good story. They need to be taken with lots of salt, those reports.
     
  49. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Challengers started in 1978.
     
  50. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Tennis Global Evolution (1)

    This is useful research. In 1980, the US had more than 40 men and 59 women in the top 100. The global expansion began in the 90s.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/...bringing-the-sport-to-new-markets-an-analysis

    Tennis is a global sport, the appeal of which only continues to grow in countries once considered tennis black spots. Players like Rod Laver and Martina Navratilova paved the way for Bjorn Borg and Steffi Graf. They, in turn, opened doors down the road for the likes of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and, today, Li Na.

    The last 30 years have seen the sport move into new markets. It has attracted wider audiences and encouraged young talent in a way that would have never seemed possible just a couple decades ago.

    No point proves this more than the fact that the top 10 players on the women's tour represent 10 different countries.

    "Having 10 different [countries] represented in the top 10 rankings shows how truly global tennis has become," WTA Chair and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement published in the Washington Times after the release of last Monday's latest rankings.

    So what has been happening? The United States has started to lose some of its long-standing dominance in the sport and western European countries such as Spain and France have started to get a stranglehold on the sport.

    But it's not just there where the biggest waves are forming. Russia has erupted onto the scene in the last 20 years to be considered a real tennis powerhouse and, as widely documented through the stories of Li Na, China is leading Asia's contingent of up-and-coming players who are threatening to make even bigger inroads into the sport's elite.

    Over the last few weeks, I have been researching the global growth of the sport, and the patterns are there for everyone to see. I've studied the top 100 men and top 100 women at four points in history (1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010) and mapped the results to show the world's tennis hotspots at a glimpse.

    The women's tour data is courtesy of the Virginia Slims rankings, the Sanex WTA rankings and the WTA rankings.

    To summarize my basic method, a woman who was in the top 20 in the 1980 year-end rankings was given five points, someone ranked 21 to 40 was awarded four points, 41 to 60 three points and so on. This was repeated in the men's rankings, and the totals were combined. This same exercise was then duplicated for the other three years.

    It's not perfect, and there's no real science to it, but here's what I found.

    1980
    [​IMG]

    At a glance: The US was the dominant power in tennis at the start of the 1980s, with Australia a very distant second. Great Britain and Czechoslovakia had a number of solid players, but the rest of Europe as a whole was severely lacking in talent compared to the front runners.

    It's no exaggeration to say that tennis in the late 1970s and early '80s was absolutely dominated by Americans. They were so far ahead of the field, both on the men's and women's side of the game, that they had a monopoly on success.

    The US held claim to 59 of the top 100 women in the world, with a further 42 men in the same position. That level of dominance has never been seen in the sport since and it will never be seen again, by any country.

    To put a different perspective on things, America had more players ranked between 81 and 100 than any other country had in the top 100.

    Chris Evert Lloyd, Tracy Austin and Martina Navratilova were so far ahead of the field. It seemed like new champions were coming through the ranks every few years.

    Lloyd was in her prime at the end of 1980, having already won 11 of her 18 Grand Slams. She had taken the torch from Billie Jean King and was running with it, while a 24-year-old Czechoslovakian defector by the name of Navratilova had burst onto the scene just a few years earlier. Add to the mix the upcoming talent of Austin and you can see why American ladies won 23 of the 27 Grand Slams held between 1980 and 1986.
    1980listb_crop_340x234

    It's no surprise that the US won what was then still called the Federation Cup for seven straight years from 1976 to 1982.

    Looking at the men, all you have to know is that John McEnroe had landed after winning the US Open in '79, and Jimmy Connors was at the height of his career. Team USA claimed four Davis Cup victories in five years between 1978 and 1982.

    There was a very minor threat coming out of Europe and South America in the likes of Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Villas and Jose-Luis Clerc, but the fact that America had 15 of the top 20 ranked men at the end of 1980 speaks for itself.

    It wasn't Sweden or Argentina, though, that had the second-best program in the world at that time. No, it was Australia that had the most success. They had more players (16) in the top 100 than the next two closest nations combined, and the country was filled with a bunch of mid-level talent.

    While Evonne Goolagong Cawley had peaked by 1980, Wendy Turnbull was right in the middle of her career. 1980 represented the fourth consecutive year she ended the season in the top 10, and it's no real surprise that she remained there until 1984. Turnbull made the finals in three of the four Slams, with three quarterfinal appearances at Wimbledon, and while she was an elite doubles player, she was also a tough nut to crack one-on-one. With fast feet, strong defense and a smooth touch at net, she was almost an early version of Caroline Wozniacki.

    When you talk about players on the men's side coming out of Australia, the biggest threat they had was arguably Peter McNamara. A future world No. 7, McNamara cruelly ripped tendons in his knee right when he was ready to challenge for serious hardware. Sure, Kim Warwick and Phil Dent were good, and Paul McNamee was above average, but there wasn't that elite athlete, like in the female camp.

    Rod Laver did so much to put Australian tennis on the map. Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe carried on part of that Aussie heritage into the early and mid 1970s, but there wasn't anyone else there to carry the momentum forward until Pat Cash and, a decade later, Pat Rafter.

    1990
    [​IMG]

    At a glance: While tennis in America remained excellent, there was real growth across western Europe, particularly in France, Spain and Germany. Sweden and Italy, too, started producing top players and, for the first time, tennis in the Soviet Union was starting to develop.

    Who would have thought, 10 years earlier, that the USSR would be producing a steady string of up-and-coming elite tennis stars?

    At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, the Soviet Union sent more athletes to Seoul than any other country, with the exception of America. They topped the medal table and dominated the athletics, gymnastics, wrestling and weight lifting. The USSR did not medal in tennis, sending just four participants. The only man, Alexander Volkov, lost in the first round, while only two ladies made it past the second round.

    But 1988 was also the first year that tennis had been a full sport at the Olympics in 64 years. It is safe to say that it had only just become a priority on the Soviet Union's agenda. The number of top prospects in the early 1980s could literally be counted on one hand.

    There was a great piece written by Tim Heckler, the CEO of the United States Professional Tennis Association, last year highlighting just how important the fall of the Berlin Wall was to the spread of tennis as people began training and competing in non-Government controlled sports.

    Still, like in everything, they wanted to be the best, and players like Natasha Zvereva put the nation on the map. A talented junior, Zvereva turned into one of the best women's doubles players of all time, capturing 18 Grand Slam crowns. 1990 represented her third year as a pro, although she was never able to build on her singles run to the French Open final in '88. What this Belarussian did do was lead the way for other Soviet tennis players.
    1990list_crop_340x234

    Georgian Leila Meskhi was a top-20 player at the end of 1990 and was ranked as high as No. 12 less than eight months later. Likewise, Ukrainian Natalia Medvedeva was also just coming through the ranks, having won her first tour title in Nashville as a 17-year-old in 1988, and countrywoman Elena Brioukhovets finished the year at No. 73 following second-place finishes in Moscow and Brentwood and doubles titles in Taranto and Dorado.

    Looking at the men, Andrei Chesnokov made it to the semifinals of Roland Garros in 1989 and won the Monte Carlo Open, a Master Series event, in 1990 on his way to No. 9 in the world, and Andrei Cherkasov highlighted the Soviet's growth by winning the first ATP tour event ever held in Moscow in 1990.

    The participation and training of former Soviet players abroad, combined with the formation of the ATP, encouraged greater participation across Europe. New tournaments were added to the schedule and players were almost encouraged to play as much as possible with only a players' best 14 tournaments being counted in the rankings no matter how many they played.

    The ITF responded with more tournaments as well (Heckler identifies the Futures, Challengers and ITF junior tournaments) and takeup increased as more and more people took part in events to earn ranking points.

    While Russia was still getting a foothold in the growing tennis world, western Europe flourished against this backdrop of new tournaments and new rankings systems.

    Germany's Steffi Graf was the best player in the game, and 20 years later, still considered one of the greatest of all time. Still, Germany's only female world No. 1, Graf rejuvenated tennis in her country, capturing the imagination of her peers with her Golden Slam in 1988 and showing the longevity to still be winning Majors in the mid 90s.
    (continued in next post)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

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