Laver's 1962 Slam?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What do you think of Laver's 1962 first Grand Slam?

    We all know it was done while he was an amateur. So Kramer, Hoad, Trabert, Rosewall, Gonzales, etc. weren't there.

    Here are his oppents in the finals--
    Australian: Roy Emerson
    French: Roy Emerson
    Wimbledon: Marty Mulligan
    US Championships: Roy Emerson

    Is it therefore worth less than his Grand Slam of 1969? Is it equal? Is it worth much at all?
     
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  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes that was very impressive; I think that was called the Pro Slam. All the greats (except amateurs like Emerson) had a chance to be there.

    "In 1967, Laver won the Wimbledon Pro, the U.S. Pro Championships, the Wembley Pro Championship, and the French Pro Championship, which gave him a clean sweep of the most important professional titles. The tournament in 1967 on Wimbledon's Centre Court was the only professional event ever staged on that court before the open era began. Laver beat Rosewall in the final 6-2, 6-2, 12-10."

    Also worth noting was that in 1962 in addition to the four GS tournaments Laver also won the Italian Championships and the German Championships, giving Laver the clay court triple of Paris, Rome, and Hamburg.
     
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  4. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I wonder if this suggests that we should credit Laver with three Grand Slams.?

    Holy mackerel!
     
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  5. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    I concur with this. Many experts think that 1967 was infact Laver's best year and not his more renound 1969. Laver was probabely nearer a peak playing age in 1967. However I have not seen any footage of Laver from 1967 so it is very difficult for me to make a judgement. Laver won at least 18 tournaments in 1967 matching his tournament wins in 1969. However I have found relatively little information on Laver's record in 1967. Perhaps someone has some statistics for Laver's 1967 performances?
     
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  6. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    Here is a little info on Roy Emerson, his opponent in 3 of the finals. From what I hear, he was a decent player and held a few records until some guy named Pete came along...

    Roy Stanley Emerson (born November 3, 1936) is a former Australian tennis player who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles. He is the only male player to have won singles and doubles titles at all four Grand Slam tournaments. His 28 Grand Slam titles are an all-time record for a male player. Most of his titles were won in the final years of the period where the Grand Slam events were open only to amateur players, just before the start of the open era when professionals were admitted into tennis' most prestigious events.
     
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  7. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In 1967, Laver won indeed practically all important pro tourneys including Wim pro, US pro, Wembley pro, French pro, US indoor pro (over Gonzales), Oklahoma pro, Madison Square garden and Johannesburg. Until summer he was 65-11 or something head to head, so maybe for the whole year 110-16 or something.
    1962 his main rivals were Emerson, Santana and Fraser, with Osuna, McKinley, Krishnan, Hewitt, Stolle, Mulligan, Lundquist and Bungert thereafter. Pretty impressive is his clay resumee for 1962: he won over ten clay titles, including RG, Rome, Hamburg, British BHC, Houston, Hilversum, Gstaad, Lugano, Oslo. Laver always said, the 1962 slam was mentally harder, because he hadn't done it before.
     
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  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I guess this still holds true today: winning all four seems like a mental Everest to climb. The pressure must be incredible.

    (I think Emmo deserves a little more respect than he gets. No one today seems to regard him very highly. 12 GS singles titles ain't nothing to sneeze at--tied with you know who.)
     
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  9. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    There is a reason Emerson has all those grand slams. He had no one to play. Check out his won loss against the greats of the time period, i.e., Gonzales, Laver, Rosewall, anyone who won at least 2 grand slam titles and his won loss percentage is atrocious. He won less than 20 percent of the time against the best players, at least in the open era.
     
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  10. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    One more interesting point illustrating the differences between the pros and amatuers at that time, the next year Hoad, bad back and all, at one point won 35 straight sets from Laver.
     
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  11. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    That is far too simplistic, not to mention pointless as you're talking about the Open era when Emerson, at 32, was well past his best. While it seems highly unlikely that Roy Emerson would have won 12 majors had the likes of Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, etc had been playing (and he is the first to point it out) anyone who thinks that he wouldn't have won at least 6 just doesn't know anything about sport. In not playing on the pro tour (he had a job with an American firm that provided greater financial security and, simply, didn't want the pro lifestyle) his game stagnated due to the lack of worthy opposition. Had he played the best on a regular basis he would have won just as much as he lost. As a player, Emerson ranks, for me, below guys like Laver, Rosewall, Gonzalez and Hoad but, without doubt, on par with Newcombe, the winner of 7 majors.
     
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  12. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Andrew is right, Newcombe and Emerson seem to be quite on par. When Newk won his Wimbledon title in 1970, his hardest match was with Emmo in the quarters.Emmo lost it by the hair in the 5th, prehaps due to losing a string on his shorts, so he had trouble, not to stand on Centre Court in underpants. It was the first notable win of Newk over Emmo, who had dominated him before. In the Norman Giller book of 1986, Newk has made a list of best Aussies: He has Emmo at 3 behind Laver and Rosewall, but ahead of Sedgman and Hoad, whom he sees as talented but inconsistent.
     
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  13. Tchocky

    Tchocky Hall of Fame

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    It's not as impressive as everyone thinks. When Laver won all 4 majors, only amateurs were allowed to compete and 3 of the 4 majors were played on grass. Think of all the majors Federer would have if 3 of the 4 majors were played on grass.
     
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  14. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    On what basis do you think that Emerson would win around half of his games against the greats of his era? Emerson was soundly beaten by Laver in 1962 as shown by his 3 grand slam final losses. When Laver turned professional in 1963 he was convincincly beaten by the likes of Rosewall. There is no reason to suspect that Emerson would not have also been soundly beaten by the likes of Rosewall. As Laver improved he would been likely to have still have remained ahead of Emerson. Laver was less than 2 years older than Emerson so age was not major factor at the begining of the open-era. Rosewall was 2 years older than Emerson and still beat Emerson in straight sets in 3/4 of their open-era encounters. Emerson was a great player and would probabely have won a few majors if the pro/amateur divide did not exist. However there is no evidence to suggest that he would have held his own consitantly against the other greater players and he would have been very unlikely to have won as many as 7 majors.
     
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  15. bigmatt

    bigmatt Rookie

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    Re Laver: I do feel his '62 Slam, while a great accomplishment, cannot be compared with the Open Era Slams of Court, Graf and Laver himself, quite simply because, as previously stated, he didn't play against the best. Might he have won, anyway? Possibly. Just one of those things we'll never know.
    BTW, I had the chance to meet Mr. Laver on a couple of occasions: a really nice and humble man, willing to talk to any of us less-capable players.

    Re Emerson: I remember an interview where he said he never turned pro because he couldn't get as good a deal as he wanted. This was the main reason he won so many Slams, as the best players were not around every year to challenge him,and he had much more experience in big matches than those who remained. His legendary fitness no doubt helped, too.
     
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  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Let's try to imagine it.

    Laver -- 4 Wimbledons, 3 Australian, 2 U.S.
    Federer - 5 Wimbledons, 4 U.S., 3 Australian

    So going on Federer's success on Wimbledon grass, he did about as well at the other two Slams as Laver did (his number in each of the three columns is higher than Laver's by one).
     
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  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Krosero,
    Good point. Should Laver be credited with another Wimbledon title for his 1967 Wimbledon Pro title (as Moose/NoelEdmonds points out)?

    And don't forget--
    Laver -- 2 French titles
    Federer - 0 French titles

    Although, I actually have predicted that Fed will win Roland Garros this year (I think he is extra-motivated after the AO loss.)

    Do you think Wimbledon's new "slower" grass has helped, hurt, or made no difference to Federer?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2008
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  18. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think, if 3 majors were played on grass, Federer would still have 12. The difference is not to win on grass and hard, but on grass and clay, especially in between 14 days, which is required for a Grand Slam. And in those days there were many more real tough grass courters, who were grown up on the pitch. Santana, a topspinning clay courter like Nadal, did win in 1966 after many tries, but he had a much better volley than Nadal.
     
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  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I would need to see more of Federer at Wimbledon before the grass changed.
     
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  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I agree with this last part, which for me makes Borg's achievement that much more impressive.

    (Could Borg have more GS titles if he had played the AO. Maybe, but we'll never know. He chose not to play it after 1974. Too bad.)
     
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  21. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Laver winning the Grand Slam in '62 is the same as Davydenko winning the Grand Slam in 2008 if Federer, Nadal and Djokovic played on a separate all-star circuit: meaningless...
    The only legitimate Grand Slam at the traditional Slam tournaments is 1969. That's the single most impressive feat in the whole history of tennis...
     
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  22. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now, Sgt John, do you really think, that Davydenko would win all majors and 22 tournament titles in a year, even without Federer and Nadal. Has he ever won a minor title?
     
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  23. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Of course not. Sorry if I used a provocative tone, I just wanted to once more stress the fact, for people who wouldn't be aware, that Laver was definitely not the top player in 1962. Obviously the fact that he had such a great year shows that, as Sedgman, Hoad, Gonzales in their las amateur years, he was already above the pack and almost on a par with the pros, though still slightly inferior at the time.
     
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  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Does anyone know EXACTLY when the grass at Wimbledon was changed?
     
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  25. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Of course, i see the point of the difference between an open Grand Slam and a simply amateur one. Its cristal clear. My point is, that we cannot put all amateur tennis into the orcus of oblivion. For almost 50 years, the amateur Grand Slam was the ultimate goal on the majors circuit. I remember Gordon Forbes in his Handful of Summers, referring to the Grand Slam, how many greats had tried to emulate Budge, but didn't do it.
     
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  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I do agree that an open era GS is "the single most impressive feat in the whole history of tennis", but does this necessarily render an amateur (pre-open) GS "meaningless"?

    What does this say about Don Budge's 1938 GS? Even more meaningless? Slightly less meaningless?
     
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  27. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    #27
  28. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    I agree it's crystal clear, and I knew it was for you urban. But the post was started by someone asking about the value of Laver's '62 Slam, implicitly, as compared to his 1969 GS or any future Open Grand Slam that could be made. I made a strong point about this, to underline that the amateur Slam was meaningless COMPARED to this huge achievement that Laver did later and that even Federer couldn't manage. I wouldn't of course say that it's absolutely meaningless.
    'Ultimate goal' or not, the fact is that Rosewall had huge seasons in 1962-1963, totally dominating Hoad, Laver, Gimeno, etc., and this feat is totally forgotten... It's more a case of Laver's slam stealing the limelight from Rosewall, than for it to be put into oblivion...
     
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  29. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    Emerson head to head:
    1-14 Laver
    1-3 Rosewall
    0-1 Connors
    1-4 Smith
    2-4 Newcombe
    1-0 Borg
    1-11 Ashe
    1-0 Kodes
    0-1 Vilas
    0-2 Nastase
    8-40 total .167 winning percentage

    It had nothing to do with focus, these guys were just flat out better. As far as him being better or on par with Newcombe, Newcombe had 5 grand slams in the open era against the BEST player and was ranked no. 1 in 1970 and 1971 against the BEST players. How are they on the same level. Newcombe is extremely underrated in the history of tennis.
     
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  30. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    The head to heads of the ATP are incomplete and decieving. Many of the matches cited, occured, when Emerson was plus 34. In the first match Emerson and Rosewall played as pros in 1968, at Hollywood Fl. on clay, Emmo beat him 6-4,6-0. Emerson beat Newcombe in every important match until 1970. He beat Ashe in straight sets at the Australian in 1967. In 1968-1970, Emerson was ever in the top 5 pros, if you go by the prize money won.
     
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  31. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    I can't agree with anything you've written here. While it might be fair to say that Laver's amateur Grand Slam 'pales in significance' compared to his open Grand Slam, to say that it has no meaning or significance in comparison or relation to anything is patently ridiculous. The simple fact that you're arguing about its place in history illustrates that it is far from 'meaningless'. You might like to find a more appropriate word to illustrate your feelings.

    Quite simply, the amateur Grand Slam was an achievement of the highest order. Even in the absence of players like Hoad, Rosewall, and Gonzalez, Laver was able to win 7 consecutive matches in the world's four biggest tournaments. That is an accomplishment that players like Hoad, Trabert, Riggs and Sedgman weren't able to manage - even when they were the best in the world. Those players were able to win 2 of the 4 or 3 of the 4 but they just weren't able to push on and win all of them (Sedgman and Hoad were in the finals of all 4 events in 52 and 56 respectively)

    You might say that 1962 was a two-horse race but to that I would argue Roy Emerson was a decidely better opponent, even if Laver had no other, than Gene Mako, Bunny Austin, Rod Menzel and John Bromwich (in singles) - the men Budge beat during his 38 Grand Slam. In the 3 major finals they played against each other than year, the matches went 13 of a possible 15 sets with Laver winning 69 games to Emerson's 61. Almost nothing seperating the two men yet Laver was able to come through when necessary to win each match. That is significant because it's the ability to win everything which separates the greatest from the great.

    Open era or not, best players competing or not, winning a Grand Slam is an accomplishment that ranks at the very top of our game's endeavours.
     
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And then to do it again, when anyone and everyone could compete (pro Rosewall or amateur Ashe), must be truly the pinnacle of tennis achievement: peerless and unequaled.

    As Trabert (who came very close himself, winning 3 of 4 in 1955) said:

    "I still maintain that Rod Laver is the best player who ever played the game because he's done something no one has ever done in the 120 or 140-year history of our sport: he won the Grand Slam as an amateur and he won the Grand Slam as a pro. If someone in some other sport held a world record no one else had, you would say that person was the best in that sport. So in my view, you've got to say Laver is the best player of all time. All the records you mention are very worthy and Steffi's Golden Grand Slam is terrific and I salute all of them and all of the players who have won the Grand Slam, but that Laver record is one that has never been done and you will never see it done again."
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
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  33. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    I would rate Borg, Laver, Rosewall and Connors as better overall players than Emerson and Nastase as more skilful. However, Vilas, Newcombe, Kodes, Ashe and, for the love of god, Stan Smith, were not better players than Roy Emerson in his prime and only John Newcombe could seriously be considered his equal.

    Put very simply, Roy Emerson was 32 when Open tennis began and past his best. Unlike Rosewall, Laver, Gonzalez and Connors Emerson's peak didn't extend beyond his very early 30’s. As a result, the wins that other players (of the ones you mentioned, only Rosewall, Laver and Gonzalez, weren't 10 years younger than Emerson, or close to it) had over him were, at best, hollow.

    Just remember, before you judge Emerson for a lack of success outside his peak years, that Pete Sampras won only 1 tournament after the age of 29. That it was the 2002 US Open is a fairy tale finish but it doesn’t hide the fact that his best days were gone by the time he turned 30 and lesser players were able to rack up wins they would never have achieved while he was in his prime. Do you think less of him because it ?
     
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  34. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Which years are these results encompassing?
     
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  35. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    In 1968 a year after winning the French Open, he couldn't beat a 40 year old, semi-retired Gonzales playing on his worst surface. Again, Stan Smith was ranked #1 against the BEST players in 1972. He won his slams against the best players. Emerson was never one of the five best players in the world. How is he going to win 5-7 slams with the likes of Gonzales, Laver, Roswall, Hoad, Trabert, and Segura in the draw?
     
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  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Segura? Really? What years are you talking about? Segura was 40 in 1961.

    In 1961, Emerson captured his first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Championships, beating Laver in four sets in the final. Later that year, Emerson claimed his second Grand Slam singles crown when he again beat Laver in the final of the U.S. Championships.

    I think Emmo (as weak as we might consider him) would have beaten Segura in 1961.
     
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  37. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    Segura was still the 5th ranked pro in 1961 and still competing on a semi-retired basis in 1962. His best years were long gone, but he was at least able to be competitive against the best in the world.
     
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  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. Segura was a fighter.
     
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  39. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Some important experts see it in another light. Allison Danzig, who preferred pre WWII players in his best all time list, had Emerson on 10 (alongside Gonzales), only after Kramer and Laver for post WWII players. In 2000, in an expert poll on AP for player of the century, Emerson was 8, tied with Rosewall. In 2000, Tennis Magazine had Emerson among the top ten male players of all time. For myself, i would Emerson not put above or on par with Rosewall or Gonzales, but he was a hell of a player. He was a very physical player, so he grew old faster than some others. In the 1961-1965 period, he certainly was top five overall in amateurs and pros. Gonzales didn't play the pro circuit in 62 and 63; Hoad was inconsistent. I would put Emerson on par with someone like Gimeno, certainly better on grass, prehaps less on clay.
     
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  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I was quite surprised to look it up, and discover that Emerson was two years older than Laver. Laver lasted longer than Emerson, and Rosewall lasted an amazingly long time at a high quality level.

    Ken Rosewall born November 2, 1934--last GS win or final 1974
    Roy Emerson born November 3, 1936--last GS win or final 1967
    Rod Laver born August 9, 1938--last GS win or final 1969
     
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  41. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    Let's see, Emerson on par with Gimeno. How many Grand Slams does Gimeno have? Thanks for proving my point in this entire discussion;)
     
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  42. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    What prove? If Emerson didn't play on the pro circuit in his prime, Gimeno couldn't play the majors 1960-1968, in his prime. Gimeno, who ranked third above Gonzales, Hoad, Stolle, Buchholz and Ralston 1965-67 on the pro tour, could have won say 2-3 RGs in that period. Emerson, the better grass courter, would have had more options on the 3 grass court majors, even with the pros competing.
     
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  43. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    Honestly, do you actually believe Gimeno was better player than Gonzales during this period? As soon as the open era started Gonzales was in the top ten pushing 40. Where was Gimeno? Nowhere to be found. Tennis hasn't changed all that much over the years. In any era, 60's, 70's, all the way to the present there are 15-20 guys who are going to be factors in the slams. Of those, 8-10 have some sort of shot of winning. Emerson, Gimeno and guys like this might be able to knock off one of the top dogs, but they are not going to be able to beat the likes of Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, Gonzales in succession. Think about this, Emerson wasn't one of the best 3 in his country, yet somehow he is still going to be able to compete against them and everyone else in the world.
     
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  44. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Respect to Gimeno. You're really underrating the guy.

    Winner of the 1964 Noordwijk Pro, the 1965 Milan Pro, 1966 Barcelona Pro (beat Rosewall in the finals of all three of these). Lost to Laver in a number of biggies.

    Had a big-time comeback by winning the French Open in 1972.

    You can't really compare him to Gonzalez, because Gonzo wasn't active much in the 60s. Gimeno has serious results though and is quite comparable to Emerson.
     
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  45. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now please look yourself for the record of Gimeno in the early open era. Of course, he was higher ranked than Gonzales since 1965. And Nr.3 in Australia, wasn't that bad in those years. Remember, Newcombe himself rated Emerson Nr. 3 Australian all time.
     
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  46. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    No one was playing the 1972 French. The top players were banned.
     
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  47. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Are you sure? I think, 35 year old Gimeno beat the Nr. 1 of the World in 1972, your previously cited Stan Smith. Nastase, Nr. 2 in the world also competed at RG. And Gimeno beat Smith again in the Davis Cup that year, in straight sets. One of the very few defeats for Smith in DC.
     
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  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    How did this turn into a Slam-Emmo fest?
     
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  49. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    I don't know but everything seems to turn into a Slam-someone fest on this forum these days.
    I said that I didn't think Laver's 1962 achievement was worth as much as the 1969 GS (though I admit I clearly overstated this thought by calling it meaningless, which I regret, now that I see how seriously it was taken). It's not a logical thing to conclude that Emerson was worthless, first of all because he had not reached his peak yet in 1962. Emerson is a very special player in that he is often underrated by knowledgeable Pro-tennis admirers, and always overrated by 'casual fans' ("wow, this guy has more Slams than Laver!") :)

    Jonathan
     
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  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Jonathan,

    I would certainly agree that "Laver's 1962 achievement was [not] worth as much as the 1969 GS".

    I guess we have to rank the 1962 GS equal to Budge's in 1938, but lower than Laver's '69 GS.

    Thanks.
     
    #50

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