McEnroe and "true" grand slam total

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by McEnroeisanartist, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    Even though, I am only 22, I recognize that up until about the late-1980s, the Australian Open and French Open were considered nowhere near the prestige of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Consequently, great players in the last 20 years who have been successful at the Australian Open (notably Wilander, Edberg, Agassi, and Lendl) and French Open (notably Wilander and Lendl) have had their grand slam totals inflated.

    As talented and successful as John McEnroe was, it is suprising to many that he won "only" 7 grand slams, however, when one analyzes his championships
    (3 wimbledons and 4 U.S. Opens) he is tied for 2nd place (with, of course, Connors and Federer) for most presigious grand slams in the Open Era.

    Some tennis historians have suggested that up until the late-1980s, winning other non-grand slam tournaments (notably the now defunct Dallas WCT tournament played in Spring) was as difficult and impressive as winning a grand slam.

    Consequently, for McEnroe, who won the Dallas WCT tournament 5 times (including final victories over Borg, Connors, and Lendl), his "true" grand slam total should actually be 12. What do you think?
     
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  2. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Nope. IMO, it is more impressive that Borg won 11 which consisted solely of the French and Wimbleond AND that he won the French and Wimbledon back to back more than once; a feat which has never been duplicated in Open tennis.

    And, I truly don't think the WCT could ever be referenced as a venue equal to a Grand Slam. Those tournaments were usually 8 player events I think.
     
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  3. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    When you take into acount what he did in singles and doubles, I agree his accomplishments as a all-around tennis player are far more impressive than many other tennis players such as Agassi, Sampras, Lendl, Ederg, Wilander, etc.
     
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  4. Zuras

    Zuras Banned

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    The FO was less(it still is less), but not by that much. The AO was always the most neglected and least competitive compared to the other three by a significant margin. It still is today, though the differences are fairly small now between the slams.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    McEnroeisanartist is right, the WCT Dallas event was bigger in significance in the 70s than either Australia or Roland Garros. It offered considerably more prize money & attracted considerably better players, even though it was only an 8 player field(best of 5 throughout though)
    Remember, Laver-Rosewall in the '72 WCT Final is probably the most significant match in television history(it made tennis a viable option for television)

    When Newcombe won the '74 WCT Finals he called it the biggest win of his career(& he had won many majors at the time)

    That's what's tricky about this GOAT stuff, standards of greatness are different in other eras.

    Borg & Evert, arguably the 2 greatest claycourters ever, both skipped the French once during their prime years in order to play WTT.
    Clearly the French did not has as much significance as it does today(which isn't to say Borg's achievement isn't amazing, just on a purely tennis level, but even he would say that his Wimbledons were a far bigger deal at the time than his FOs. He never fell to the ground after winning a French. Also he was in tears after losing to Newcombe in the '74 WCT Finals, a rare show of emotion. I think we can at least agree that the WCT Dallas event was bigger then than any 'masters series' of today.

    And that Dallas WCT event(on carpet) was held only a few weeks before the French in those days, which shows how hard it was to peak on different surfaces those day. Very poorly organized sport in those days, players' needs weren't valued.
     
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  6. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    I think the prestige of the French Open rose earlier than the Australian, which is one of the reasons why McEnroe was so distraught about his '84 loss to Lendl. After all, he did play the French 8 times between '77 and '88.

    The Australian didn't get going on the same level as the other Slams until '88, when they moved it to the new stadium (on Rebound Ace instead of grass), went to a 128 member draw (instead of 64), and transistioned into the January timeslot (again). However, given that it was on grass until '88 and McEnroe was tutored by an Australian coach in his youth, you would think that he would have played there more often. The fact is that he did play in '83 (where he lost to Wilander in the semifinals) and '85 (where he lost 6-0 in the 5th set to Zivojinovic in the quarterfinals).

    I do agree with drakulie that McEnroe's 70+ singles titles and 70+ doubles titles does appear to set him apart as an overall player. However, their are other similar "differential" type stats that others would use to argue that certian players are better than Mac. For instance:

    Agassi, Connors, and Wilander are the only three players in history to win a Grand Slam singles title on hard, clay, and grass courts. (Wilander's '83 and '84 Australian wins were on grass, and he also won a Wimbledon doubles title in '86).

    However, as Rabbit mentioned, none of this matters in a GOAT type discussion because of the accomplishments of Borg during the same era.
     
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  7. Bjorn99

    Bjorn99 Professional

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    Mcenroe didn't play any good players. Borg was a mental case by the time Mac showed up. Or cyborg. And the rest of the field stunk. Vitas was partied out, and everyone else was stuck in a seventies matrix of bad technique and equpiment.

    Laver was the GOAT until Federer.
     
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  8. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Interesting discount of three decades of tennis. You're basically saying that the entire Open era was a waste. Where does Sampras rate in that timeline between Laver and Federer?
     
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  9. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    If you were a big tennis fanatic in the the 70s to early 80s, the Dallas WCT finals was an impressive tournament for the time. Personally, I would rank it higher than the Australian Open, just a notch below the French Open and Masters Finals in MSG, and lower than Wimbledon and USOpen.

    You had the top players gunning it out in a round robin format.

    To me, McEnroe winning it multiple times was close to as impressive as winning a slam event. Like Moose Malloy said, the timing of this tourney was terrible, but it was supposed to be somewhat of a maverick tour competing against the regular tour.

    I remember seeing McEnroe, just dominate everyone in Dallas in '84. It was like he was toying with them. I still can't believe he lost the French Open that year.

    If anyone ever saw McEnroe play live in '84, you would consider him the G.O.A.T. I have seen Federer, Sampras, Agassi play live, and I am still most impressed by McEnroe. Never saw Laver play in person.
     
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  10. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Interesting discussion. I heard that in decades past the Italian Open was considered as important as the French Open.

    Can anyone shed any light on this?
     
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  11. chicagohpch

    chicagohpch Rookie

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    McEnroe has no French Open titles, NOT because he did not go. He went 8 times and did not win it. It shows his game is crippled. Borg was more impressive in winning both French and Wimbleton. If Sampras had won a French Open, he would, WITHOUT DOUBT, have been the best player ever. McEnroe, in the history of tennis, will just be a clown because of his poor court behaviors. To put things in perspective, if he were not an American, he would have been hated by most tennis fans. He happened to be in an era Americans were enjoying a much better image in the world.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2006
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  12. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    You hate us because of our freedom.
     
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  13. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    I guess Sampras does have a French Open title, of sorts, after all.

    Newsflash : History has been interpreted, Sampras has 15 slams.
     
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  14. laurie

    laurie Guest

    What an extremely funny guy. Why don't you do an audition for Broadway?

    Anyway, I was actually asking a serious question. I read in a book last year that The Italian Open was considered the premier clay tournament for some time in decades past. If anyone has any info on that I would like to hear.

    Not schoolkids like AAAA.
     
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  15. Watcher

    Watcher Semi-Pro

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    Excuse me? Pete Sampras has seven Wimbledons and five US Opens.
     
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  16. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    What you really want to know is, was the Italian open the premier clay court event in 1996 when Pete won it. You want someone to say it was the premier event in 1996 so Pete can have his French Open title (of sorts).
     
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  17. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Ok, why don't you guy and do your school homework. I see your mum allowed you to look at the Tennis warehouse site in your leisure time. But since you are not contributing anything but rubbish, I think you can go away and do your homework now.

    Or, have you been drinking too much Tetleys Bitter recently? Do you have that alcoholic bevergae in the States? It tastes terrible but some people like it.

    Besides this comic, does anyone else have any info?
     
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  18. Condoleezza

    Condoleezza Banned

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    Nonsense.
    Graf did it in 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996.
    Last time I checked that was in the open era.

    Condi
     
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  19. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    Laurie,

    In the 70s, the Italian Open was a prestigious tournament. Probably just as big as the French Open at one time. It just didn't have a title as one of the Grand Slam tournaments, and the importance of the tournament has seemed to decline every year.
     
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  20. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    In the tennis hall of fame website, for older players, they list the Italian Open results for the players as well as their results at the majors.

    Here are some comments from Mac that may help explain how different the tour was in his time:

    "You know, we used to have a big tournament that was played in Dallas. It was maybe the biggest event other than the French and Wimbledon and the US Open and the Masters, and this was even considered as big or bigger than the Australian Open at the time. That went into the early part of May and that was indoors. So you only have like a turnaround of like three weeks. All these other tournaments were either after the US Open or just before the French. Like Rome used to be the week before the French. Some people probably weren't even born that are, you know -- a few people are here that know that the French Open has done a great job of becoming a bigger and bigger event. But when I first started playing, it was, you know -- the biggest priorities were Wimbledon and the US Open for me."

    Q. In retrospect, did you give yourself the best chances to win in Paris?

    JOHN McENROE: In retrospect, it would have been approached, you know, and prepared more for the clay courts, you know, if I was completely fanatical about tennis or was able to spend ten straight weeks in Europe, say. Sometimes you don't realize you're maybe more spoiled or you have to make even more sacrifices.

    A couple times -- I was five points away from winning the French, so it's not as if I wasn't there. You know, the tournament was mine, I had it. The next year I lost in the semis, but I felt like, you know, I got unlucky there, too. I felt like I could have won that even. I didn't play in -- you know, I'm not going to bore you with details, but, yeah, the short answer is yes, I would have liked to have prepared more.

    Q. You were serious for the French how many times, would you say?

    JOHN McENROE: I mean, I thought I was serious when I was first starting, but I'd say five or six maybe. But after having kids, it just seemed like it was really tough to stay away for a really long time. And then it was just difficult to, you know, figure out what to do exactly. That's what I had to deal with.

    It's always easy to look back and go, "Yeah, yeah, I wish I had done that." It would have made sense, obviously. Times when, you know, I chose to go home to be with my family instead of, you know, playing some matches which I needed to play, I would have been much sharper.

    http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006italia/051406JM.html

    Q. We're on the eve of the Australian Open. The four slams are the big marquee events. Could you comment what do you like the very best about each of the slams and what do you like the very least?

    JOHN McENROE: Well, I think the scheduling of the Australian Open is really weak ultimately. Some people don't mind it. I think training over Christmas and New Year's is something -- I mean, I just think this is another thing that is another important issue that's sort of been overlooked for many years. I don't know why.

    Q. Best side of the Australian?

    JOHN McENROE: The best part about it is the fact that they were the first people to put the roof over the top, to allow themselves to have the luxury of having matches played now on two courts. I think that's a great advantage to have. I think that they've done a great job improving their event. Until the mid '80s, I was offered guarantees to go to Australia. It wasn't in the same league.

    http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006teles/011206JM.html

    lol at the Australian giving out appearance fees to players. Don't forget, until a few years ago, the official title was the "Ford Australian Open." Doesn't sound that impressive, huh? And it used to be called the "Marlboro Australian Open"-not kidding.

    Had Borg, Connors, Mac concentrated on winning as many majors as possible(they skipped quite a few during their prime) they'd all have a lot more. Prize money was a big deal in the 70s/80s to top players because it virtually exploded over night. You'd be stupid not to chase bucks, when that was what got the most attention, rather than winning the French in front of an empty stadium, which offered less prize money than some regular tour events. If suddenly the French or Australian cut their prize money in half, I wonder what those events would look like in ten years. The players would gradually lose interest, tv networks would cut coverage, etc.
     
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  21. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Accusations for being juvenile.
     
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  22. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Great post Moose!

    Really good info... and I think you are absolutely right about the prize money aspect here:

     
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  23. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Thanks guys.

    Moose, that's an interesting point about the Australian Open. They have worked hard to get the tournament to the level it currently is.

    I would love to see the tournament played in february but maybe Australians out there might inform us about weather issues? It just seems so soon after christmas to play such a big event.

    On another issue, I still use terms like Italian Open, Canadian Open, German Open. I refuse to use those horrific terms like Rome Masters or Rogers Cup etc.
     
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  24. laurie

    laurie Guest

    AAAA, you always try to lower the tone of the debate. It's just what you want.

    As you can see, I'm having a nice discussion with Moose etc. Obviously to join that debate is too much of an intellectual challenge for you, so it's better if you don't engage in the debate.

    Adios.
     
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  25. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    'Was Boris Becker the same force in the 90s as he was in the 80s?'

    Discuss.
     
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  26. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Ahhh....What a big baby.

    Adios
     
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  27. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    you've said Adios twice now and it was you that mentioned intellectual challenge.
     
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  28. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Looks like you have too much time on your hands. You're willing to write messages all night if you have to. Boy, you are such a child aren't you.

    You're spoiling it for the others. The discussion is actually quite an intersting one.

    So, what has your contribution been to this discussion exactly, other than acting like a little child.

    By the way, are you the one who said you give Tennis lessons? Are you capable of giving tennis lessons? Your knowledge seems dodgy to say the least. Those people who actually pay you for lessons must be mugs.

    Unless you are making it up of course, I wouldn't put that past you. After all, you have a dumb message board name so you could be anyone and anything.

    Oh well... here we go, another stupid reply coming my way in less than 5 minutes time.
     
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  29. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    But seriously..............

    Don't forget the one tittle that made MAC French Open Mixed with Mary C. None of the other GOAT wannabes mentioned has a Mixed Doubles tittle !!!!!!!!!:)
     
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  30. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Personal attacks and false accusations.
     
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  31. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Here are some more French Open stats, from a post by Dedans Penthouse in Feb:

    Things got so bad financially, that the French Open was actually called The Vanaos Open in 1972 as the French Tennis Federation took 350,000 francs from a cosmetics company for the right to rename it The Vanaos Open. Fortunately, they only sold their soul to the corporate devil for one year and the tourney regained its rightful name.

    The attendence for the entire 2 weeks in 1972 totalled only 51,101 which over 14 days translates to a shockingly few 3,650 people on average per day

    The site itself in the early 1970's was only 3.25 hectares (8 acres) and contained...get this: FIVE COURTS. (today it is 8 acres containing 20 courts).

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=65514
     
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  32. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    The WCT tour was a big diversion from the ITF. The two entities went to war over who would play where. The ITF was against paying the players after everything went Open in 1968. Lamar Hunt started the WCT as an alternative and to promote professional tennis. I think his first round prize money was $5000 which was about half of what a player would make if they won a Grand Slam.

    But, I don't know that a WCT 8-man event was as tough to win as a Grand Slam. For sure it was more interesting and had the top players, except for Ashe who opposed the whole thing (why?). It is for that reason that I don't give as much creedence to the WCT as a Grand Slam although I really used to love the WCT events.
     
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  33. jukka1970

    jukka1970 Professional

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    Am glad you posted the format, it just made my decision ten times easier. Since it was a round robin format, then no, sorry but it doesn't go above the slams. Was already leaning this way anyways, because people had the choice to play any of the slams if they chose to. Round Robin is a horrible way to decide who moves on. One of the major problems being is say he needs to play 4 matches, and he's lost his first 3, which means no matter what happens in the 4th match he is not moving on. His opponent in the 4th match is someone who needs a win to move on. What guarantee is there that the person who lost the first 3 would give it his all?
     
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  34. jukka1970

    jukka1970 Professional

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    Your point being? For me this is one time in tennis where playing doubles or playing mixed doubles should not be a factor. I don't think it should have any weight on if you are the GOAT. This is one time, where the argument that a partner must be playing well really has some weight to it. It's one thing when being inducted into the hall of fame, because lets face it, the person is one of the players of the doubles team. But to be called the GOAT, one needs to compare that persons abilities against another, which means it needs to be compared as a singles player where the abilities are just of the people being compared.

    Jukka
     
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  35. laurie

    laurie Guest

    That's a scenario that happens often in football. Towards the end of a season, one team may need to win to stay in the league, the opponents may not need the points so much and maybe not try as hard, the managers of other teams in a similar position in the table usually make statements that they hope all teams will try their hardest so issues like relegation can be resolved without controversy.

    Over here in England, all teams have to play at the same time on the last day of the season to avoid any possible collusion.

    So that could well be an issue when they experiment with the round robin format next year in certain events. It will be interesting to see how it works out.
     
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  36. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    It wasn't a round-robin format. The Dallas WCT event(which offered far more prize money to the winner & had far better attendance-bigger stadium as well- compared to the French Open in the 70s) was a single elimation 8 man event, best of 5 all rounds. Players had the choice to play slams, for sure, but why would they play slams that had no prize money, news coverage, or fans in the stands when WCT offered all that? Just so fans 30 years later could compare them to Federer or Sampras?

    Like I've said many times before, you can't use the standards of greatness today compared to back then. Johan Kriek beating Brian Teacher in 2 AO finals doesn't seem quite as significant as Borg/Connors/Mac playing each other in Dallas Finals at the same time.

    Plus you couldn't even watch the French Open on tv in the US in the 70s. You could watch Dallas WCT though. If it wasn't for the '72 Laver-Rosewall Dallas final you probably wouldn't be watching any tennis on tv today. It was that important an event to the growth of the sport.
     
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  37. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    1975 Dallas WCT F - Ashe d. Borg 36 64 64 60
     
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  38. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    I'm not being funny but whether or not an event is televised in the US has no bearing on how big it is worldwide. I bet at the time you could watch the French Open on TV in Europe (where there are a lot more people) but could you watch the Dallas event? If you throw a lot of prize money at an event then of course the players will go (remember the Grand Slam Cup in Germany, all the big names played there too) but to compare an 8 man event it to a 128 man event and try to say that it is as important is a bit of a joke.
    McEnroe had chances to win the French and the Aus, he just couldn't do it.
     
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  39. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    The Dallas event was televised worldwide. Read some of my other posts in this thread. Like the comments by Newcombe about his Dallas win. And the atrocious attendance at the French in the 70s.
    I'm betting that Dallas was televised in more countries than Roland Garros in the 70s. That seems very likely considering the huge difference in prize money. Money dictates everything-fans, tv deals, revenue etc. When players are playing in empty stadiums for peanuts in one event & players are playing in packed 20,000 seat stadiums in another for much bigger purses, it stands to reason that tv networks worldwide would be paying more for the rights to televise that latter.

    and BTW the French was 64 draw for a few years in the 70s(that's how tough times were for that event)
    and the australian was between 56-64 draw until 1988. Kinda puts into perspective why so many consider them lesser slams.
     
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  40. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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    Thanks for clearing that up Moose. The WCT Dallas Finals was a single elimination tournament. I had forgotten that. I just remembered there was a handful of players (8) and assumed wrongly that it was round robin.

    ESPN would have a feature match every night of the week on prime time.
     
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  41. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Australian Open finals:
    1972 Rosewall Anderson
    1973 Newcombe Parun
    1974 Connors Dent
    1975 Newcombe Connors
    1976 Edmondson Newcombe
    1977 Tanner Vilas
    1977 Gerulaitis Lloyd
    1978 Vilas Marks
    1979 Vilas Sadri
    1980 Teacher Warwick
    1981 Kriek Denton
    1982 Kriek Denton

    1971 Dallas WCT F - Rosewall d. Laver 64 16 76 76
    1972 Dallas WCT F - Rosewall d. Laver 46 60 63 67 76
    1973 Dallas WCT F - Smith d. Ashe 63 63 46 64
    1974 Dallas WCT F - Newcombe d. Borg 46 63 63 62
    1975 Dallas WCT F - Ashe d. Borg 36 64 64 60
    1976 Dallas WCT F - Borg d. Vilas 16 61 75 61
    1977 Dallas WCT F - Connors d. Stockton 67 61 64 63
    1978 Dallas WCT F - Gerulaitis d. Dibbs 63 62 61
    1979 Dallas WCT F - McEnroe d. Borg 75 46 62 76
    1980 Dallas WCT F - Connors d. McEnroe 26 76 61 62
     
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  42. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    The importance of tournaments has shifted over the years.In the first years of open era, the traditional champs besides the GS tournaments were the Italian, German (both clay)and South African champs (hard). I am going here along the lines of the World of Tennis annuals edited by John Barrett and Lance Tingay. Biggest tournaments beside were the Pacific Southwest at LA (hard), the Philadephia indoor, the Wembley indoor and some events played at MSG, NY. In the early 70s the promoter-struggle between the WCT group (Lamar Hunt) and the ITF (Philippe Chartier) escaleted, resulting in banns and boycotts of the European and Australian majors, especially French, Melbourne, but also partly Wimbledon. 1971 the WCT played a 20 tournaments series over the year (including Australian and Italian Open), with a playoff at Dallas. Later since 73 the WCT reduced its schedule to the first 5 months of each year. To opposite this move, the ITF had established a Grand Prix series, with a Masters as a round robin playoff. This struggles - the WTT factor came also into play -generated a constant shifting of impotance of certain tournaments, and a unclear situation in ranking.Between 1970 and 73 there was no clear- cut Nr.1, and even Connors in 1974 profitated, in avoiding the difficult WCT series, and coming always fresh to the majors. Australia was hurt by the change of date to Christmas time, which conficted also with the US indoor circuit at begin January.
     
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  43. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Wholly innacurate. When Wilander won his first Australian Open it signalled a re-emergence of the tournament, a re-emergence which coincided with the best players in the world being from Europe, not the United States. 1984 was the last hurrah for both McEnroe and Connors. After that, they were supplanted by the likes of Lendl, Wilander, Edberg and Becker.

    Also, take note that in 1983, when Wilander won his first Australian Open, he beat McEnroe in the semi-finals. If the tournament was so lacking in prestige at that stage (1976/77-1982 it certainly was a third-class field) what was McEnroe doing there? Probably, going on your thinking, trying to inflate his total of major wins. Unfortunately, he ran into Wilander who, subsequently, beat Ivan Lendl in the final. Not what anyone would call an 'easy win', was it?

    Historically, prior to the emergence of Connors and Borg, the Australian Open had more prestige than the US event. Why? Quite simply because the best players in the world were Australian. However, with the emergence of Connors, Borg and, later, McEnroe (plus the larger number of top ranked Americans) the Australian Open became, naturally, less important to them. It couldn't draw on national ties to pull in the best players and it couldn't offer the financial rewards so it faded. When the tide turned and the European players began to emerge in the early 80's the Aus Open became relevant again.

    Seriously, if you're going to arbitrarily down-play the accomplishments of men such as Wilander, Lendl, Edberg and Becker why not go the whole hog and say that McEnroe, Connors and Sampras inflated their totals by winning so many events on home soil?
     
    #43
  44. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    The Winner and losing finalists from 1983-1993

    1983 Wilander Lendl
    1984 Wilander Curren
    1985 Edberg Wilander
    1987 Edberg Cash
    1988 Wilander Cash
    1989 Lendl Mecir
    1990 Lendl Edberg
    1991 Becker Lendl
    1992 Courier Edberg
    1993 Courier Edberg
     
    #44
  45. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    the above list is for the Aus Open final.
     
    #45
  46. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    Simple answer---No
     
    #46
  47. Captain Haddock

    Captain Haddock Rookie

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    I sometimes think of this. Mac has 7 GS titles. He should have won the French in 84 (anyone who saw that match will remember how Lendl was outclassed during the first 3 sets), and Wimbledon in 80 and 82 (losses to Borg and Connors in 5-setters). Yes, I know that the "should have won" argument is subjective, and that he lost those matches, but Mac was clearly unlucky in these three finals, where he was the better player. That brings us to 10 GS. Let's assume he would have won the Australian (on grass) as many times as he won the US Open, and we're at 14 (all between 79 and 84).
    I can't make the same argument for Mac post-85. Tatum, cocaine, and the advent of the modern game with modern racquets were too much for one volatile Mac to deal with. I still say that if players had to return to wood racquets tomorrow, Mac would be back in the top 10 right out of bed at 48 years old. Imagine Nadal with a Maxply Fort?
    I know, I know, this is just nostalgia from an old man...
     
    #47
  48. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Here's a comparison of the final 8 players from the French Open, Australian Open and US Open in the years 1983-1993 (the quarter-finalists are in brackets).

    You can see that, apart from Connors absence at the Aus Open, they ALL compare favourably (some years a stronger final eight, some years a less auspicious one). Anyone suggesting that players at the Aus or French had it easy is suffering from a bad case of sour grapes (especially if that person played both events enough times to win at least one of them).

    1983 AO: Wilander (W), Lendl (RU), McEnroe, Mayotte, (Masur, Kriek, Teltscher, Smid)
    1983 USO: Connors (W), Lendl (RU), Arias, Scanlon (Dickson, Teltscher, Noah, Wilander)
    FO 1983: Noah (W), Wilander (RU), Higueras, Roger-Vasselin ( Connors, Lendl, Vilas, McEnroe)

    AO 1984: Wilander (W), Curren (RU), Kriek, Testerman (Edberg, Cash, Becker, Davis)
    USO 1984: McEnroe (W), Lendl (RU), Cash, Connors ( Mayer, Lloyd, Wilander, Gomez)
    FO 1984: Lendl (W), McEnroe (RU), Connors, Wilander ( Gomez, Noah, Sundstrom, Arias)

    AO 1985: Edberg (W), Wilander (RU), Lendl, Zivojinovic (Lloyd, Schapers, Kriek, McEnroe)
    USO 1985: Lendl (W), McEnroe (RU), Connors, Wilander (Noah, Gunthardt, Jarryd, Nystrom)
    FO 1985: Wilander (W), Lendl (RU), Connors, McEnroe (Jaite, Edberg, Leconte, Nystrom)

    AO 1987: Edberg (W), Cash (RU), Masur, Lendl (Evernden, Mecir, Noah, Jarryd)
    USO 1987: Lendl (W), Wilander (RU), Edberg, Connors (McEnroe, Gilbert, Mecir, Krishnan)
    FO 1987: Lendl (W), Wilander (RU), Becker, Mecir (Connors, Noah, Novacek, Gomez)

    AO 1988: Wilander (W), Cash (RU), Lendl, Edberg (Chesnokov, Jarryd, Schapers, Witsken)
    USO 1988: Wilander (W), Lendl (RU), Cahill, Agassi (Sanchez, Krickstein, Connors, Rostagno)
    FO 1988: Wilander (W), Leconte (RU), Agassi, Svensson (Perez-Roldan, E Sanchez, Chesnokov, Lendl

    AO 1989: Lendl (W), Mecir (RU), Muster, Gunnarsson (McEnroe, Edberg, Svensson, Ivanisevic)
    USO 1989: Becker (W), Lendl (RU), Krickstein, Agassi (Noah, Berger, Connors, Mayotte)
    FO 1989: Chang (W), Edberg (RU), Becker, Chesnokov ( Berger, Mancini, Wilander, Agenor)

    AO 1990: Lendl (W), Edberg (RU), Wilander, Noah (Becker, Wheaton, Pernfors, Cherkasov)
    USO 1990: Sampras (W), Agassi (RU), Becker, McEnroe (Krickstein, Lendl, Cherkasov, Wheaton)
    FO 1990: Gomez (W), Agassi (RU), Muster, Svensson ( Leconte, Chang, Champion, Ivanisevic)

    AO 1991: Becker (W), Lendl (RU), P.McEnroe, Edberg (Forget, Caratti, Prpic, Yzaga)
    USO 1991: Edberg (W), Courier (RU), Lendl, Connors (Sanchez, Stich, Sampras, Haarhuis)
    FO 1991: Courier (W), Agassi (RU), Stich, Becker ( Chang, Hlasek, Davin, Edberg)

    AO 1992: Courier (W), Edberg (RU), Krajicek, Ferreira, (Lendl, McEnroe, Stich, Mansdorf)
    USO 1992: Edberg (W), Sampras (RU), Courier, Chang, (Lendl, Ferreira, Volkov, Agassi)
    FO 1992: Courier (W), Korda (RU), Leconte, Agassi ( Cherkasov, Kulti, Sampras, Ivanisevic)

    AO 1993: Courier (W), Edberg (RU), Sampras, Stich (Bergstrom, Steven, Forget, Korda
    USO 1993: Sampras (W), Pioline (RU), Volkov, Masur (Chang, Muster, Larsson, Medvedev)
    FO 1993: Bruguera (W), Courier (RU), Medvedev, Krajicek ( Prpic, Novacek, Edberg, Sampras)

    FO 1986: Lendl (W), Pernfors (RU), Leconte, Kriek ( Chesnokov, Becker, Vilas, Gomez)
    USO 1986: Lendl (W), Mecir (RU), Becker, Edberg (Leconte, Wilkison, Srejber, Nystrom)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
    #48
  49. Captain Haddock

    Captain Haddock Rookie

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    The 1978 - 1983 period would be more indicative of the field at the Australian Open in Mac's prime. It is clear that the AO was an important event in the 60s, and that it made a lot of progress from the mid-eighties on, to the point of being equal to the 3 other slams. But there was a window in the 70s and early eighties when great players (Borg, Connors, McEnroe) simply did not play that event. When players like Vilas get to the final of an event on grass, it indicates that the field was weak. Check Vilas' record at Wimbledon for comparison.
     
    #49
  50. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Quite right, Fabrice. But one note: Vilas did indeed win the Masters 74 at Kooyong on grass, in a field with Newcombe (ok wasn't in the best of form, but won AO some weeks later over Connors), Borg and others, and beat Nastase in a quality 5 set final.
     
    #50

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