Laver & Grand Slam Participation in the 70's...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Merger5, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    I looked online and could not find a summary of Laver’s grand slam results from the beginning of the ‘open’ era to the end of his career- so I compiled one myself (below). Notice that Laver had quite subpar results in GS tourneys after his brilliant 1969; and also did not play in many of GS tourneys during the 70’s (and not just the AO). Also, some of the players that he lost to in this time period are not great players. What happened, historians? Why did he not win longer into his career? What did he miss so many events? Laver-fans please realize that the purpose of my post is not to knock Laver; I think he’s an absolutely magnificent player with a game that is timeless.

    It’s just that I am too young to have really seen his game; I came up in the 80’s and the first players I really saw play live were Connors and McEnroe. I have been a close follower of the game ever since.

    Here are a few certain conundrums for me when considering older Laver:
    Yes, he was older in the 70’s but-
    • I saw him play (on recordings I have bought) in the 1975-1977 time frame against the like of a young Borg, a prime Connors, and a ripe Nastase. He looked really good against all of them- what caught me is how well he still moved.
    • He was ranked quite high until he was 36 or 37
    • Other greats like Rosewall, Connors, and Agassi have done much better in their mid-late 30’s, even 40’s than Laver in GS events; Laver looks as good as them in his 30’s and is a superior probably to all of them.

    Year Age Tourny
    AO/op FO/op Wimbledon /op US/op
    1968 29 DNP F/K.Rosewall W/T.Roche 4th/C.Drysdale
    1969 30 W/A.Gimeno W/K.Rosewall W/J.Newcombe W/ T.Roche
    1970 31 DNP DNP 4th/R.Taylor 4th/D.Ralston
    1971 32 3rd/M.Cox DNP Qtr/T.Gorman DNP
    1972 33 DNP DNP DNP 4th/Richey
    1973 34 DNP DNP DNP 3rd/Amritraj
    1974 35 DNP DNP DNP DNP
    1975 36 DNP DNP DNP 4th/Borg
    1976 37 DNP DNP DNP DNP
    1977 38 DNP DNP 2nd/Stockton DNP
    1977-2 DNP
    1978 40 DNP DNP DNP DNP
    1979 41 DNP DNP DNP DNP
    1980 42 DNP DNP DNP DNP
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Why not bringing up his WCT records?
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    High ranked in the 1970's

    That's a very good question.

    He was number 1 in the WCT ranking for 1971 and 1972.

    He was also as high as number 3 in the ATP rankings on his 36th birthday in 1974. That must have been for a reason - he must have played well enough to accumulate enough points.

    To me Laver's top achievements of the 1970's were the tennis champion classic wins of 1970 and 1971. (In 1970 he had only 1 loss in the round robin tournament, in 1971 he had no losses at all). Added to that is his number 1 rankings in 1971 and 1972 in the WCT and his making 2 WCT finals - final match.

    No-one had a better achievement tennis athletic wise in 1971 than Laver's unbeaten run in the Tennis Championship classic. Imagine - instead of 7 rounds at a Grand Slam - playing 13 rounds. All of the players are top players - so no easy matches. Rosewall in the first round, Newcombe in the second round etc etc. All of the them over best of 5 sets. Makes winning a Grand Slam event childs-play in comparison.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
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  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    This issue has been addressed many times on TT. In a nutshell, remember that Laver was already 31 when he won the Grand Slam of 1969. (What has 30 year old Federer done for you lately). In addition, when the majors first opened to pros, they were wowfully low paying events. Laver knew he only had a limited time to make serious money and concentrated on the big money events, which he dominated until about 1973, at the age of 35.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    wasn't allowed to play the '70 AO, '70 FO, '71 FO, '72 FO, '72 W, '73 W due to conflicts with WCT, NTL & a boycott('73 W)

    early 70s was the most chaotic period of the Open Era, many top players missed a lot of majors in that time, not just Laver. USO was often the only major with all top players.

    There have been other threads on this(& wikepedia does address these issues, I think)

    Those matches were played over months, with other tournaments played in between them. Hard to really compare to normal tournaments or majors.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, some of the DNPs listed above by Merger5 were actually "not allowed to play".
     
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    What actually happened with 1972 Wimbledon? Was it the ILTF who banned the WCT players from competing, which included the defending champion, John Newcombe? 1973 Wimbledon, of course, was the famous ATP boycott where 81 players stayed away. Newcombe had some rotten luck with his Wimbledon participation after 1971, and missed out on chances to add to his 3 Wimbledon titles.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Definitely.Just a superclass like him could do that.Laver was probably the best player in 1970 and 1971 but he showed his best tennis in the WCT tour and looked a bit ugly in slam action.He was entitled too, after his 1969 round.

    As late as 1975, he and peak Borg played a memorable WCT semifinal, that rates among the all time greatest indoor matches.Texans were among the happiest people in the world during the peak of Lamar Hunt´s tour.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    yes, it was due to the perennial conflict between WCT vs ITF ( which run the Gran Prix, sponsored by brands like Gillete,Commercial
    Union,Pepsi,Nabisco,Volvo,Colgate).

    I also think that Newcombe was the best grass courter in between Laver and Borg.Had he played the 1973 event, he would have possibly won it, although Kodes was also very tough for Newk ( as seen at Forest Hills ).In 1974, however, great Rosewall beat him deservedly.But Newcombe, I bet on it, would have been a much tougher opponent to Connors in the finals.He had a favourable H2H against Jimbo, and he roundly beat him on grass at the 73 Open and also at the 75 Australian Championships.
     
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  10. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Tennis Champions Classic

    It may have been Months- but it is still an amazing achievement. Laver said that the stress from this may have explained his dive in form later in 1971.
     
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  11. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    i think that you are overstating the age point a little. i addressed in my post, my point was in my limited exposure to watching laver entire matches (not just highlights) from the mid 70's when he was mid to late 30's he still looked great and he was highly ranked. further somewhat inferior player to laver such as connors, agassi, rosewall, gonzales, sampras (not inferior to laver imo) were much more successful (at least in gs events) past the age of 30 than laver was. also federer is still playing great tennis and i feel its silly to count him out totally of gs contention. my question was why laver was sort of subpar in gs events post '69 although he seemed very tough even in his late 30's?
     
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  12. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    There's no way Laver was as good over the age of 35 as Connors and Rosewall over the age of 35. With Agassi that's more of a difficult one. Agassi played great tennis at the age of 35 to get to the US Open final and take a set of Federer (this achievement should never be forgotten, especially as it's become harder for older players to flourish due to the change in the game) but Agassi didn't do much after due to injury and was forced to retire.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    First, Laver's birthday was in August 9, 1938. He was 31 when he won the GS in 1969.

    Second, if you look at Laver's record as a whole, it's clear that your premise is completely unfounded. The only players I can think of off the top who had more successful careers in their 30's was Rosewall and Gonzales. Connors was not much of a threat to the top players like Lendl and Wilander in his mid 30's. Agassi was researgent in his mid 30's, but, I think that is explained, in part, by the break in the middle of his career and the subsequent motivation to salvage his legacy, which he did an amazing job of, IMO.

    Third, I already answered your question as have numerous others in past TT threads. Try a forum search.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
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  14. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    First we was 31 only at the US open in '69- so he basically 30 in '69's GS events.
    Second, Connors was a quarter-finalist and better all through the 80's. He won Wimbledon and the US open (twice) in the early 80's when he older than Laver in '69. Laver as you see in my chart was not that successful in GS's after 1971 (and lost to some chumps in the 70's gs's).
    Third, I don't know what you answered in the past. I have seen some posts on something close to this topic before but I don't feel those past posts have sufficiently satisfied my curiosity on Laver. Other respondents to my post have certainly provided good information on WCT and boycotts, etc but your response (by strongly stressing the age issue) was just sort of lame (sorry).
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Easy.

    First, he had done what he wanted and achieved the greatest feat all time.he had no real fire burning inside him as far as slams were concerned

    Second, he knew he had 3-4 years max to make real money, once the tour ( WCT specially) had started to offer big bucks.He want afterém because they were his only real motivation

    Had he made all the money he deserved during hsi pro days, I am sure he would certainly give his best for the majors.But the only major he really took seriously, after 1969, was the Dallas Finals, he lost to old nemesis in the 2 finals he played, and he also reached two more semifinals ( Smith beat him in 4 sets in 73, Borg beat him in five classic sets in 75)
     
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  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Laver certainly took Wimbledon and the US Open seriously for the rest of his career, but blew it in the early 1970s with those losses to Taylor, Ralston, Cox, Gorman and the likes. If there's a blemish on Laver's record, this is it.
     
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  17. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    Yes- and Amritraj, Richey.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    All 6 names, close to the first division league.Richey won the GP race, Gorman reached major smeis and was a tough opponent, so were UK players like Taylor and Mark Cox, and of course, up and coming indian Vijay Amritraj...not that I am excusing Laver, he had no business losing to all of those 6 guys at Wimbledon or Forest Hills...but if you climb the Everest twice, as Laver did...how long are you entitled to rest atop'
     
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  19. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    yes what you say is, of course, true (i shouldn't have called them chumps)- and certainly laver had done more than enough (3 grand slam years, really- if you count 1967, and i think we should). its just surprising to me, as i was not around at the time but i saw the kind of game he still had in his late 30's(via recorded matches), that he was not a consistent qtr-finalist and semi-finalist in those years.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver probably took off the GS Hat and put on the ONLY MONEY HAT, from 1970 onwards.He had to make as much possible money as he could, because from the tennis point of view, he had accomplish most than any other single male tennis player.
     
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