McEnroe and "true" grand slam total

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

  1. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Fabrice,

    During the years 78-81, the Aus Open had a very poor field. However, Mac did play the event in 83 and 85 for no result. Regardless, if he had played the Aus Open during his 'best of' years (not counting 83 and 85) and had won the event, I don't think anyone would have suggested it was a less than deserved win. As a result, neither Vilas nor Kriek (the former with a 5-6 record against Mac, the latter with a 5-12 record) deserve less credit for having won.

    It is interesting to note that in McEnroe's 1983 Wimbledon win he beat Chris Lewis in the final, Lendl in the semi (remember, that was Lendl circa 83 on grass), Sandy Mayer, Bill Scanlon, Brad Gilbert, Florian Segarceanu and Drew Gitlin. Johan Kriek, in his 1981 Aus Open win beat Steve Denton, Mark Edmondson, Tim Mayotte, Chris Lewis, Tomas Hogstedt and Drew Gitlin (lost one of the rounds, sorry).

    Now, player for player those two fields (not counting the winner) stack up well, except for Lendl. When it comes to grass-court tennis they're almost identical although you could argue that Denton, Mayotte and Edmondson were tougher opponents than Segarceanu, Gilbert and Mayer.

    As I've mentioned before, Australian grass is wholly dissimilar to English grass. The bounce is higher and there isn't the same desperate need to play from the net (it is the percentage play but it isn't the only option). That higher bounce helped Vilas enormously although he did train like a spartan in order to make the adjustment. Kriek, similarly, had a better record at the Aus Open and US Open because of that feature.
     
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  2. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Some thought about what was discussed

    Hi everyone,

    I actually think that this problem you discuss (which events were the most important at a given time) is the main reason why it's so hard to write an all-times list of the best players (and why the plain Grand Slam total-based list is a ridiculous way to do so)...

    As for the Aus. Open, given the geographical and time of the year factors, it could only be a great event when:
    a: there were great Aussie players.
    b: Australia won the Davis cup, because then another team (usually the US) would challenge them in Australia, and then stay to play the tournament.
    That was the case at diverse times, the 1910's (Brookes & Wilding Era), and mainly from the 50's to the late 60's.
    I agree it became a great tournament, almost equal to the other GS with Wilander's victories. I'm pretty young and doesn't remember this era, but reading the articles from this period, I have the feeling that Edberg's win in 1985 was considered almost as big a breakthrough as Becker's at Wimby the same year.

    The French, on the other hand was always a big tournament, from 1926 on...Maybe it wasn't very prestigious indeed for american players for cultural reasons, but for the great clay-courters it definitely was more important. Rosewall won the French pro (a clear copy of Roland Garros for the pro tour in the 60's) on clay 6 times and was considered one of the best players of this time, even if he was often beaten on gras at the US pro and Wembley by Gonzales or Laver. An inaccurate look at the firt Roland Garros Open fields could draw a wrong picture, because from 1970 to 1973, the field was totally depleted due to conflicts between the WCT and the ITF, evoked earlier...Basically, during these years, there were only 2 Grand Slams, Wimbledon and the US...After this brief period, RG became a big tournament again when Nastase, No1 in the world won it in 1973, and when Borg, supreme on clay, started to become an all-court player... At Mac's time, RG was clearly a VERY significant tournament.

    Coming to the WCT Finals...After the creation of the ATP in late 1972 and thus the end of the conflict between WCT, WTT, NTL and ITF, Dallas was never as big as it had been. In today's standard, it was a bit like Key Biscane: the biggest non-Grand Slam tournament. In 1970-1972 it was very important, as well as the whole WCT tour, for one very good reason: the prize money was so much bigger... Players are human, and even if they're sensitive to the prestige of the Grand slams, they prepare better for the bigger-prized events, and that's why even the Wimby and US results cannot be considered as significant in these years as after that.
    Look at 1970, a year when John Newcombe was named No1 in the World... He won Wimbledon and 3 tournaments. Rosewall was Wimbledon runner-up, won the US and 5 tournaments. Laver was miserable in Slams, losing in the 4th r of both Wimbledon and the US...but he won 13 tournaments (that is almost all the WCT tournaments), and dominated everybody, being 3-0 against Rosewall, and 5-0 against Roche...Who was the best? And can you think of a player this hot performing so poorly in Slams, not reaching even a QF? That should tell something about the preparation at this time...


    I hope this wasn't too boring, I just like a little tennis history talk from time to time thats 'all :)
    Bye!

    Jonathan

    PS: Fabrice, I like your " Mac should have won this and that" theory...The Borg should have win at least 3 US Open and 3 australian if he had played them and would have 17 slams...
    Plus, "if" some things were fair, for example, Mac would never have his celebrated 4-years-in-a-row-as-number-1, because in 82 he won nothing, though Connors made the Wimbledon-US double, and Lendl won 12 tournaments and was US runner-up...Mac should be No3 in 82!!!
     
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  3. Captain Haddock

    Captain Haddock Rookie

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    Yes, I know my argument is flawed. In truth, I still haven't gotten over Mac's loss at the 84 French Open. I still cringe when I think about it. But we all play tennis and we all know that a loss is a loss. I still think that Mac would have won a few AO titles had he made the trip down there in his prime (apart from 83). Regarding the other post by Colpo about Mac being the best, I would agree, although I am aware here again that this is not an objective assessment. No-one has enthralled me as a spectator more than Mac during his best years. I saw him anihilate Lendl at the 84 Brussels indoor (I had front-row seats) and was amazed at the imagination, the skill, the genius of Mac's game at the time. But I was 18, and I realize that, at that age, you perceive things with more intensity and you are more passionate about everything. Even though I still buy and enjoy music today, nothing will ever match the level of emotion I felt listening to music in those days. Stroke for stroke, Federer is clearly the best.
     
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  4. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Well, I haven't gotten over Fed's loss at this year's French anyway, but I guess that's OK because I'm not 18 either :). Actually I was 18 in 2002, a time when there wasn't any truly great player at (or near) his peak, I'm afraid...

    Still, I watched lots of Mac's games, even if I wasn't even born when most of them took place, and I agree he was a really "artistic" player too, I think there are some shots in his arsenal that even Roger couldn't master, though Federer is probably the best overall... It must have been heartbreaking to see Mac being replaced at No1 by Lendl in 85, I think Lendl was very good too, but not nearly as gifted...

    Jonathan
     
    #54
  5. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    If there was ever a GS where the fix was in even more than with Sampras's last USO, this is pretty clearly it.
     
    #55
  6. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Great post Jonathan, fully agree.
     
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  7. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Good post. In looking at the 4 GS tournaments during the Open era (things are too complicated before 1968), I agree that in the 70s the Australian clearly did not attract as strong a field. But it wasn't a "third rate" event as someone posted. The Australian championships were a prestigious event since much earlier, and the term "grand slam" where the Australian was included was first used in the 1930s.

    I disagree with the repeated attempts to minimize the importance of the FO in the 70s. Aside from the WTC/ITF disputes early on, it was a strong tournament from 1973 onwards. I do not consider it less important or less prestigious than the US Open since then. It has the additional virtue of being faithful to one of the two original natural surfaces for the sport, and representative of the world championship in that surface. The US open changed surfaces at least twice during the 70s.

    I also agree that McEnroe's number one ranking in 1982 is just one of those theological tennis mysteries that doesn't make the least bit of sense, similar to Connors number one ranking in 1977. McEnroe was clearly number 3 in 1982. And not even a close number 3, as both Connors and Lendl obviously had much better results than him than year. All you have to do is look at the record. And by the way Lendl won 15 (not 12) titles + 5 runner up appearances. And he beat McEnroe all 4 times they met that year.

    The explanation that the WCT tournaments didn't count that year is ridiculous. Why wouldn't they count?
    On the other hand, when it comes to explaining the lowly status of of the AO and the FO we inevitably see WCT Dallas brought up as much more important.
    None of this makes any sense.
     
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  8. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    The aussie open regained its prominence when Wilander beat Mcenroe and Lendl in 1983. It was waek in the early 80s when Kriek won. In the 70s it varied. In 1970 it had good field (roche, necombe qashe, okker smith taylor and ralston -top grass court players)

    In 1971 it was full grand slam with all wct players (laver, rosewall etc)
    In '72 fairy weak (only Newcombe, metrevli and Rosewall from top 20)
    In '73 same field as '72

    In '74 not much depth, but had 3 best players of 74 (connors, newcombe, borg)

    '75 no depth but 3 great grass court players newcombe, connors and Roche

    '76 weak field - no top 10 from 1976

    '77 Tanner beat roche, rosewall and vilas (all very good players and in the top 20 in 1977)

    '77 dec Gerulaitis wins from reasonable field (includes dent, tanner, alexander ,roche and rosewall all rated players in '77)

    '78 and '79 vilas wins from fairly weak field, but he is a quality player on aussie grass given his Maters wins in '74

    Laver's 13 wins were not all on the wct circuit; 7 were open to ITF players (philaelphia, South Africa, Queens, Dunlop sydney open, South orange, PSW and Wemlby London) ; that's why he beat the top itf players(richey, nastase, ashe and Smith) as well The 1970 circuit was a mixed one with Laver and Rosewall both qualifying for the ITF masters even though they played plenty of restricted events for WCT player as well. Laver beat Rosewall 5-0; Newcombe 3-0.


    jeffrey
     
    #58
  9. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Thanks for info jeffrey.

    Regards.

    Lucio.
     
    #59
  10. TennisExpert

    TennisExpert New User

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    Agree with post

    Good choices
     
    #60
  11. johann-681312

    johann-681312 New User

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    McEnroe will, in the history of tennis, be remembered as one of the
    greatest players ever. You may not have appreciated his behavior
    on the court, but if you are a fan of tennis, you have to appreciate
    his game.
     
    #61
  12. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    The French and AO were definitely not as prestigious as today, especially the AO before it moved from Kooyong. But, they were still big tournaments and it was a big achievement to win them.

    Also, it's easy to dismiss them out of hand, but look at the fields and the quality of play. Edberg had to beat Wilander and Lendl en route to the title in 1985, just for one example. It's not like a lone single great player was flying down there and dominating a field of amatuers.
     
    #62
  13. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    There is an enormous amount of confusion in these attempts to make McEnroe's Dallas tournaments count as a a sort of grand slams, I do agree with Rhino that it does not sound serious at all. Moose, you post some very sensible stuff, but this is not among it.

    1. McEnroe did not win Dallas until 1979. McEnroe is most essentially a player of the 80s with some presence in the very late 70s (1979). To bring up 1972 in connection with McEnroe does not make sense.

    2. 1972 was a special year because of the rift between the ITF and the WTC. The ITF forbid all players contracted with the WTC from playing the Grand Prix tournaments from January to July. So none of thse guys could play the French or Wimbledon. So of course the field was depleted in 1972. Talking about the status of things in 1972 at the French Open as representative of the entire decade makes about as much sense as to say that the month of September of the year 2001 is representative of the American airline industry during this decade. After 1972 most of the best players were there. The manoever is even more nonsensical when applied to John McEnroe, who in 1972 was a child entering the throes of puberty.

    3. (and this is by far the most important point) You cannot possibly compare a two-week 128-men draw grand slam format with a 4-5 day 8-man tournament, no matter how good the players and how juicy the money. It is just preposterous.

    You, Moose, make it a point to make a big deal of the number of courts around 1972 at the French. But you shouldn't. If you think the number of courts has any relevance to the status and importance of the tourament, please tell me: how many courts did they play on at Dallas WTC? The answer is ONE. And that was plenty, because the whole tournament consisted of 7 matches. SEVEN MATCHES! A grand slam tournament has 127 matches played in it. Hell, seven matches is what ONE player needs to win to get a grand slam. In Dallas, you could get there on Tuesday, say, play three matches through Sunday and come back home with a so called "grand slam." Is this some kind of joke? The logic that the tourament was more important than a grand slam because it attracted the best players is pretty silly. It's only 8 players! By that logic, why stop the reduction at 8? Why not say that a two-round tournament involving the 4 top players is a grand slam? Better still, why not say that the exhibition played by Federer and Nadal on a hybrid court this year is the ultimate "strong field"? This whole thing is nonsense.

    I am not sure what the prize money was in 1979. One site I checked has these figures:
    http://tennis.webz.cz/res/1979/1979.html

    French Open $375K
    Australian Open $350K
    Wimbledon $300K
    U.S. Open $300K

    Dallas $200K
    and for comparison:
    Rome $200K
    Richmond $175K
    San Francisco $175K

    Of course it's nice that there were only 8 players to get those 200K. But ultimately the price money is irrelevant to this discussion. Dallas is not a grand slam. Never was, or anything remotely resembling one. Its universal shine and prestige is a figment of you guys imagination. No doubt the players liked the money and went there if they could. You go there, you win one match, or none, and you make a significant amount of money. But what does that have to do with it being a grand slam? By the mid-70s in Spain I was mildly starting to follow tennis. I remember Orantes was somewhere in the top 6. The events that were televised were Wimbledon, the French, sometimes the US Open and *always* Davis Cup. Nobody knew anything about Dallas!! I never heard of the Dallas tourament until I moved to the US in the early 80s.

    I have long noticed that the French and Australian Opens, especially the latter, are played like conveniently free parameters when evaluating a player's status in the 70s and 80s, and sometimes even the 90s. It all depends on the evaluator's preferences. The lever is pushed up or down depending on the needs of the moment. If Borg wins it twice in the mid-70s, then of course it is a grand slam, if he is not there in 1977 and someone else wins it, then it isn't really a grand slam. If McEnroe wins Dallas in 1979, but not the French, well then Dallas is the real deal, because, you know, in 1972 they only had 5 courts at the French. And of course everybody knows that the highest status of the French Open was attained in 1984, because McEnroe *almost* won it. Since he almost won it, he *should* have won it. And since he should, why not just think he did win it for all practical purposes, because he won Dallas?

    The fact is that by the 70s it was very clear which were the four grand slams. The term was first used in the 30s. The New York Times archives only go as far back as 1981. If you search for "grand slam" in conjunction with Australian or French you will find hundreds of articles from the early 80s referring to those events as grand slams. There is no doubt about it.

    In any case, Dallas was no grand slam at all! The very idea is a joke.
     
    #63
  14. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    No one who seriously writes "Wimbleton" should be allowed to keep their TW account.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What about people that talk about the US Open of the 1950s?
     
    #65
  16. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Dear God, please do not reproduce.
     
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  17. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Look, I love Mac, too, especially for his game. And yeah, his name was bandied about as an all-time great from about 1981 until the Sampras era. But, why do we have to adjust his Slam total upward? Why is slam total the measure for greatness...true greatness?

    If we're talking just singles slams, well, yeah, seven is upscale, but it's not the Borg, Laver, Pete and Roger's neighborhood. I think we ought to emphasize dubs success and Davis Cup. If you count those, Mac is one of the true titans of the game.

    As for John's behaviour? In the words of the great John McEnroe from his BiC disposable razor ad, "Some people like John McEnroe....and some people...myehh."
     
    #67
  18. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Dead horses

    There's a lot on this fourth page of the thread that is redundant and unnecessary -- even counterproductive, I think. The original post is two years old and the person who posted it never attempted to defend his argument (if what he posted can be dignified with the term "argument").

    Someone else said that McEnroe for all intents and purposes won the 84 F, but he backed away from such talk in this very thread two years ago. Why is anyone getting mad about that one, when no one is even arguing it?

    On the third page the thread was resurrected merely to say, I agree with this post, or thank you for this post.

    When that's done, IMO it's merely giving fresh exposure to the OP -- it's just doing his work for him (because he's certainly not doing it; he didn't even defend his argument then).

    Yes a lot of good posts were made refuting the OP, but a lot of people when they see a new thread just read the OP and the last post. They just see the arguments in the OP getting front stage again, when they should have just been allowed to die.

    I'll tell why I say that. I read an interesting article about how the brain works: "Your Brain Lies To You." It's about how we read stuff that's bad -- either lies, or incorrect information, or just sloppy thinking. Then we might read good stuff correcting it. But what we heard first tends to stick with greater persistence. So it's not necessarily a good idea to give bad thinking center stage.

    Sure, if someone is in your face arguing something and you disagree, go right ahead and argue back. But what's the point of giving fresh exposure to an argument that was so bad that its defenders gave it up almost as soon as it was offered, two years ago?
     
    #68
  19. TennisExpert

    TennisExpert New User

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    Not agree. Why? I speak for me, but I didn't care about McEnroe discussion, just believe that post by jeffreyneave was very useful and that's why bump the thread, to other people can see it. The data included by jeffrey couldn't be imagine by the title of the thread, so maybe get undercover.
    Besides that, I don't see the point to start a new thread for discuss same topics that in an oldy. (examples, Rosewall/laver; Titles won by Perry...)
     
    #69
  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    This sounds like the rationale behind many Republican campaign ads:
    "McCain is a maverick. McCain is a reformer. Palin cleaned up Alaska politics."

    Funny stuff.
     
    #70
  21. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    The defenders haven't offered a counter argument or acknowledged they were wrong so speaking generally what usually happens around here is that some time down the line the defenders will post the same cr&p hoping nobody remembers how the argument was shot down the first time.
     
    #71
  22. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Well what I could gather from the arguments is that they got increasingly off the mark and mixed and totally misleading.

    The initial goal was to minimize the fact McEnroe did not win the French by arguing that The French Open was not as important as the Dallas tournament, and since McEnroe won Dallas five times, it amply compensates and surpasses the French Open he didn't win.

    This was then supported by references to state of the French Open in 1972, and by extrapolating it to the decade of the 70s as a whole, and then further into McEnroe's tennis career, which was mostly in the 80s.

    Not just the initial assumptions, but the whole reasoning process is false at every step.

    First, 1972 does not represent the 70s. It was an exceptional year. Most of best players were there after 1973.

    Second, the 70s do not represent McEnroe's tennis career. He was a player of the 80s.

    Third, at no point in time can it seriously be argued that an 8-man, 3-round turnament like Dallas was more significant than the French Open. Not even in 1972 (which has nothing to do with McEnroe in any case), and certainly not in the decade of the 70s as a whole. And most definitely not in the 80s, when McEnroe played it!!

    So it is not just that the arguments are wrong. It's that they are totally muddled. Basically, the problems of 1972 are brought to demonstrate that Dallas was more important when McEnroe won it, which happened for the first time in 1979.

    I watched the French Open (at least the finals) for most of the 80s. The way American television presented it, there was no doubt it was always as a grand slam -- as one of the top 4 tennis events. They never presented Dallas in such light. But even if they had, you cannot rate the worldwide importance of a tournament by what American television commentators say. Nor can you rate it by the volume of tears or emotion expressed by Borg or any other player when winning it. By the early 80s, winning the French was merely a routine for Borg, but not Dallas. This year, Nadal merely raised his hand at the end of the match with Federer. No sprawling on the ground. I am sure that if Federer had won it, his celebration would have been much more emotional, just as Nadal's was at winning the Olympics. Should we conclude that the Olympics is more important than the French Open because Nadal expressed more emotion when winning it?

    The process of taking other events or accomplishments and converting them to "grand slam equivalents" can be endless. How many Dallases does it take to buy you a RG? How many year-end Masters titles does it take to buy you a Wimbledon? Etcetera.

    Just take a look at the top 16 seeds at the French during McEnroes time, and try to argue that the event was smaller than Dallas, which featured 8 men, and not even necessarily the top 8.

    French open 1978. Topt 16 seeds:
    1. Bjorn Borg
    2. Guillermo Vilas
    3. Brian Gottfried
    4. Eddie Dibbs
    5. Manuel Orantes
    6. Raul Ramirez
    7. Corrado Barazzutti
    8. Harold Solomon
    9. Roscoe Tanner
    10. Dick Stockton
    11. Wojtek Fibak
    12. Phil Dent
    13. Tim Gullikson
    14. Buster C. Mottram
    15. John Alexander
    16. Stan Smith

    ===================

    French Open 1979. Top 16 seeds:

    1. Bjorn Borg
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. Guillermo Vilas
    4. Vitas Gerulaitis
    5. Emilio Montano
    6. Harold Solomon
    7. Eddie Dibbs
    8. Jose Higueras
    9. Arthur Ashe
    10. Brian Gottfried
    11. Jose-Luis Clerc
    12. Wojtek Fibak
    13. Manuel Orantes
    14. Tim Gullikson
    15. Corrado Barazzutti
    16. Adriano Panatta

    ======================
    French Open 1980. Top 16 seeds:

    1. Bjorn Borg
    2. John McEnroe
    3. Jimmy Connors
    4. Guillermo Vilas
    5. Vitas Gerulaitis
    6. Harold Solomon
    7. Eddie Dibbs
    8. Victor Pecci
    9. Ivan Lendl
    10. Peter Fleming
    11. Jose Higueras
    12. Hans Gildemeister
    13. Wojtek Fibak
    14. Victor Amaya
    15. Manuel Orantes
    16. Jose-Luis Clerc
    -------------------------

    French Open 1981. Top 16 seeds

    1. Bjorn Borg
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. John McEnroe
    4. Sandy Mayer
    5. Ivan Lendl
    6. Guillermo Vilas
    7. Jose-Luis Clerc
    8. Harold Solomon
    9. Vitas Gerulaitis
    10. Eliot Teltscher
    11. Yannick Noah
    12. Brian Gottfried
    13. Peter McNamara
    14. Wojtek Fibak
    15. Balazs Taroczy
    16. Eddie Dibbs

    --------------------------

    French Open 1982. Top 16 seeds.

    1. Jimmy Connors
    2. Ivan Lendl
    3. Guillermo Vilas
    4. Jose-Luis Clerc
    5. Vitas Gerulaitis
    6. Eliot Teltscher
    7. Peter McNamara
    8. Yannick Noah
    9. Andres Gomez
    10. Balazs Taroczy
    11. Brian Gottfried
    13. Jose Higueras
    14. Steve Denton
    15. Chip Hooper
    16. Mel Purcell
    ---------------------------

    French Open 1983. Top 16 seeds:

    1. Jimmy Connors
    2. John McEnroe
    3. Ivan Lendl
    4. Guillermo Vilas
    5. Mats Wilander
    6. Yannick Noah
    7. Jose-Luis Clerc
    8. Jose Higueras
    9. Vitas Gerulaitis
    10. Eliot Teltscher
    11. Jimmy Arias
    12. Brian Gottfried
    13. Wojtek Fibak
    14. Henrik Sundstrom
    15. Tomas Smid
    16. Andres Gomez
    ---------------------------

    French Open 1984. Top 16 seeds.

    1. John McEnroe
    2. Ivan Lendl
    3. Jimmy Connors
    4. Mats Wilander
    5. Jimmy Arias
    6. Yannick Noah
    7. Andres Gomez
    8. Jose-Luis Clerc
    9. Henrik Sundstrom
    10. Guillermo Vilas
    11. Anders Jarryd
    12. Jose Higueras
    13. Juan Aguilera
    14. Tomas Smid
    15. Tim Mayotte
    16. Chris Lewis
    --------------------------------

    French Open 1985. Top 16 seeds.

    1. John McEnroe
    2. Ivan Lendl
    3. Jimmy Connors
    4. Mats Wilander
    5. Andres Gomez
    6. Anders Jarryd
    7. Joakim Nystrom
    8. Eliot Teltscher
    9. Yannick Noah
    10. Aaron Krickstein
    11. Miloslav Mecir
    12. Henrik Sundstrom
    13. Tomas Smid
    14. Stefan Edberg
    15. Brad Gilbert
    16. Jimmy Arias
    ----------------------------------

    French Open 1986. Top 16 seeds

    1. Ivan Lendl
    2. Mats Wilander
    3. Boris Becker
    4. Yannick Noah
    5. Stefan Edberg
    6. Joakim Nystrom
    7. Anders Jarryd
    8. Henri Leconte
    9. Andres Gomez
    10. Thierry Tulasne
    11. Martin Jaite
    12. Guillermo Vilas
    13. Johan Kriek
    14. Emilio Sanchez
    16. Heinz Gunthardt
    --------------------------------
    French Open 1987. Top 16 seeds.

    1. Ivan Lendl
    2. Boris Becker
    3. Stefan Edberg
    4. Mats Wilander
    5. Miloslav Mecir
    6. Yannick Noah
    7. John McEnroe
    8. Jimmy Connors
    9. Henri Leconte
    10. Andres Gomez
    11. Kent Carlsson
    12. Pat Cash
    13. Mikael Pernfors
    14. Martin Jaite
    15. Brad Gilbert
    16. Johan Kriek
    -------------------------------

    French Open 1988. Top 16 seeds

    1. Ivan Lendl
    2. Stefan Edberg
    3. Mats Wilander
    4. Pat Cash
    5. Boris Becker
    6. Yannick Noah
    7. Kent Carlsson
    8. Tim Mayotte
    9. Andre Agassi
    10. Anders Jarryd
    11. Henri Leconte
    12. Emilio Sanchez
    13. Andres Gomez
    14. Andrei Chesnokov
    15. Guillermo Perez-Roldan
    16. John McEnroe

    ---------------------------
    French Open 1989. Top 16 seeds.

    1. Ivan Lendl
    2. Boris Becker
    3. Stefan Edberg
    4. Mats Wilander
    5. Andre Agassi
    6. Jakob Hlasek
    7. Tim Mayotte
    8. Miloslav Mecir
    9. Jimmy Connors
    11. Alberto Mancini
    13. Yannick Noah
    14. Aaron Krickstein
    15. Michael Chang
    16. Guillermo Perez-Roldan
     
    #72
  23. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Benhur, I agree with you. My post was directed at those with the opposing viewpoint.

    Whatever next, let's make the end of year championships in the next few weeks/months a slam equivalent as well because like the WCT the EOYChamps has the 8 best players in the whole world only competing barring injuries.
     
    #73
  24. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Vilas worked very hard to win the Australien Open, and he beat a lot of good players of grass, like McNamara, Chris Lewis (who was finalist in Wimbledon), Tony Roche, Phil Dent ... It's not Vilas's problem if Borg and Connors was'nt there. And don't forget that Vilas won the Masters on australian grass, beating Borg and Nastase. Vilas didn't have great results in Wimbledon, because the grass of Wimbledon was very different + Wimbledon is just after Roland-Garros, and Vilas could'nt work like in Australia.
     
    #74
  25. Tony Sideway

    Tony Sideway Banned

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    jean pierre: number one vilas fan of the world! :)
     
    #75
  26. Rorschach

    Rorschach New User

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    The term "Grand Slam" was first used in 1933, by the American journalist John Kieran. In describing the attempt that year by Jack Crawford to win all four titles, he compared it with "a countered and vulnerable grand slam in bridge". Kieran singled out these four titles as being the biggest in tennis because, at the time, they were the main international championships held in the only four countries who had won the Davis Cup. Crawford failed to achieve the Grand Slam that year as he lost in the US Championships final to Fred Perry. It wasn't until 1938 that Donald Budge became the first person to achieve the Grand Slam.
    The expression Grand Slam, initially used to describe the winning of the tennis major events, was later incorporated by other sports, notably golf, to describe a similar accomplishment.

    Please stop making stuff up! A slam is a slam is a slam....it has been considered as such since 1933.
    There's no such thing as a more or less prestigious....
    One more fact....since the creation of the ATP rankings in 1968 all the majors distribute the same amount of points...
    So where does this BS come from?
     
    #76
  27. marc45

    marc45 Hall of Fame

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    espn didn't come on the air until what 79-80?...did the wct dallas event coincide or are you thinking of year-end new york?...not ragging, just can't remember myself...anyone? not big i know, but now it's annoying me, sorry elvis
     
    #77
  28. marc45

    marc45 Hall of Fame

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    hmm, maybe they did both now that i'm thinking of it....i'm getting old, teenager back then elvis, maybe you have a better memory
     
    #78
  29. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    No, not the first 3. The first 2, yes. After that, no.

    Many people are under the impression that McEnroe was ahead in the third set. But the opposite is true. Also I never saw any choking by either player during that match

    Here is the score sequence in the last three sets, with some additional comments.

    3rd set. Lendl serving first

    At 2-1, Lendl has 2 break points. Can't convert.
    At 2-2, McEnroe has 4 break points. Cant'convert.
    At 3-2 Lendl breaks. Goes up 4-2
    McEnroe breaks right back. 4-3 Lendl.
    They hold serve for the next two games.
    Lendl breaks at 5-4 again to take the set.

    Pretty even set.
    ---------------
    4th set. Lendl serving first

    At 1-1, McEnroe breaks. Goes up 2-1.
    Lendl breaks right back at love. 2-2.
    McEnroe breaks back, goes up 3-2.
    They hold serve the next two games.
    At 4-3, Lendl breaks back. 4-4
    At 4-4 McEnroe has a break point, can't convert.

    They hold serve until 6-5. Lendl then breaks to take the set. McEnroe was by now coming in behind almost every serve. The point that led to set point, he was passed easily coming in on a second serve.
    ------------
    5th set. Lendl serving first.

    They both held serve until 6-5. Lendl generally holding serve a lot easier than McEnroe, except at 3-3, when McEnroe had two break points he didn't convert. Otherwise Lendl held at love at 2-2. Held again at love at 4-4, and again at love at 5-5.

    Mac, serving at 5-6, misses a pretty easy volley on the first point. Movement by now was pretty slugish. The next point was sharp play by Lendl. Lendl goes up 15-40. McEnroe saves the first match point. Then at 30-40 McEnroe hits a good serve to Lendl's backhand, pulling Lendl wide beyond the doubles line. Weak high return by Lendl toward the middle. McEnroe may have had enough time to choose whether to take it with the forehand or the backhand. He seemed to hesitate for an instant at the T before proceeding forward. Chooses a forehand volley aiming for Lendl's forehand corner, and misses wide. It wasn't in principle a difficult volley (shoulder's high) except that by the time he hit it, Lendl was already on the full run to the other side and the ball needed to be placed close to the line once committing to that side, else Lendl would have gotten to it. Maybe a drop shot would have worked better.

    The only time McEnroe was ahead during these last three sets, was early in the 4th, but not very long. They exchanged a total of 5 breaks in that set, with McEnroe taking the early break at 1-1, losing it right back at 2-1, taking it back right away at 2-2, and losing it again at 4-3.

    At no point in these last three sets did it look like either of the two players were tight or nervous or "choking" in any way on any points. They both faced and saved and made break points keeping their cool and going for their shots. What it did look like is that they were getting more weary, especially McEnroe.

    Early in the 5th, with McEnroe serving at 0-1, Bud Collins mentioned for the first time that McEnroe's footwork seemed to have slowed down and that he might be tired. At 1-1 they mentioned his footwork again.

    McEnroe started to attack more in the last few games, coming to net on second serves more often and on Lendl's second serve. He didn't seem tight, but was obviously trying to shorten the points. But it wasn't working.

    At 3-3 McEnroe had a couple of break points. Lendl saved both. By then McEnroe was, according to Bud Collins, "giving every indication of a tired athlete." When Lendl reached deuce on that game, McEnroe kneeled down and put his head on the ground in dispair, then took about a 45 second break to pour some water on his knees and towel off. Lendl by now started to pick very well his moments to come to the net, winning most of the points when he did go there.

    There was no question they were both pretty tired, perhaps more noticeably McEnroe was not moving as well starting late in the 3rd. But Lendl supposedly started vomiting right after the interview with Bud Collins He didn't look that good during that interview. Pale as a ghost. And exhausted.

    You couls say it a war of attrition. Choking played no part in it.
     
    #79
  30. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Even the first set was pretty close. I had seen Mac-Lendl at Duesseldorf WTC two weeks before, when Mac really dominated Lendl. This one at RG was much more competitive right from the beginning. The big technical difference was, that Lendl began to hit backhand cross passing shots away from Mac's backhand volley. Before, Mac had always leaned to his left, covering the down the line shot, which would come like the Amen in the church.
     
    #80
  31. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I'm sure you know this, Ben-Hur, but that argument you quoted from Fabrice Leroy was withdrawn by Fabrice himself two years ago:

    I mean, I would feel at least self-conscious about arguing with someone who 1) withdrew his argument and 2) may not even be listening. I would think it would look like grandstanding.

    Sure, people still make Fabrice's argument. But I would quote them, in their current threads, for a real argument. Or start a new thread with your observations about the 84F final. The problem is not with your arguments, it's just that this whole business about being able to resurrect threads long after they're dead strikes me as problematic. But I've already said why above. It just strikes me as strange when people get all up in arms against others who are not even there.

    I think other boards have rules about not responding to threads after 60 days.
     
    #81
  32. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Yeah the 84 French final was more of a true classic then a storied choke. It is too bad Lendl does not get the credit he deserves for that victory. Actually he often doesnt get the credit he deserves in general as a player it seems.
     
    #82
  33. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Well, after this thread was resurected a few days ago, I skimmed through it a bit but didn't actually see that post from Fabrice Leroy, or at least don't remember it. But in any case, he is withdrawing the notion that this match should count as a McEnroe victory of sorts. What I was addressing in my last post is the idea that Mcenroe outplayed Lendl in the third, or for that matter in any of the last three sets. This is I think a common misperception, not borne out by watching the match, as I explained. The third and fourth were very close, and in the fifth I think Lendl played better than McEnroe.
     
    #83
  34. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    some interesting stuff in here seeing as 'tennis history wars' are going on in other threads. :neutral:

    i came to this via google search..mcenroe loses to wilander 1983 australian open sf.
     
    #84
  35. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Summer school holidays

    The biggest reason that the Australian Open has stuck to the January time slot is the summer school holidays. Organizers feel that more people will come to the event during the summer holiday season - that is why they are reluctant to move it to a february to april time slot
     
    #85
  36. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    French Open and the Australian Open

    The French Open had regained full prestige of a Grand Slam since the mid to late 1970's ie well before the late 80's. It has equal status with Wimbledon and the US open in the period you refer to. The Australian Open started to regain it starting in 1983 when players like McEnroe, Lendl and Wilander came - that process of rehabilitation came to full fruition in 1988 with the change of venue and change to hard court and the expansion of the field to 128.

    re. McEnroe - keep in mind that he competed at the event in December 1983 (only a month before his peak year and he was number 1), December 1985 (when he still was number 3) - he was only 24 and 26- all on Grass - which suited him. So if it was a lesser event - it should have been easier for him to win ....but he didn't. (having said that reading his biography his mind wasn't in the 1985 event - but that was his problem, it shouldn't be an excuse). So it is a bit of a myth that some hold that McEnroe didn't really compete at the Australian Open as a top player.

    On the other hand, I am in agreement that more credit needs to be put against Mac for his WCT finals wins. His 5 wins tend to get swept under the carpet. Memory is short in tennis. The WCT finals was a very big event.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    #86
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No doubt. The way they publicized it at the time in the 1970's you often would think the WCT Championship was the biggest tournament in the world. I think they did call the winner the World Champion of Tennis. It was a different value system in those days.
     
    #87
  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    A surprising result. McEnroe then won his next 42 matches in a row.

    It was most up to date event at the time, with the WCT fully embracing the open era and what it meant for the sport of tennis. The old guard in the ILTF just clung onto the past as much as possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    #88
  39. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Want your career wiped out bit by bit...adhere.to tennis fashions

    Should events only be assessed with regard to prestige on the basis on the present only? If an event was regarded as major or pseudo-major in the past but not now - should players who won those events in the past not be credited with those major wins anymore? Is the present the only time to accurately assess careers?

    So if in 15 years, no-one rates the french open anymore does Nadal majors total of 'important tournaments' get reduced to 4? Oh, no surely not. Problem is that has happened again and again in tennis history:

    1/The winner of the Wct finals was called the world champion of tennis. Now that event is forgotten from the cv of the most prolific winner John McEnroe. Note: 2 years ago Rosewall was interviewed and asked out of all his amazing career, what win was he most proud of? Answer: his two Wct finals wins

    2/ Did you know that budge wasn't the first winner of the grand slam? The first winner of all the official majors in a year was tony wilding in 1913. But 2 out of the 3 official majors of the time are now forgotten events and don't appear on wildings list of major lists.

    So, let players beware...Any major achievements they might accrue now could be wiped out by fashion going forward.

    Note: they are far more civilised in golf. They value their history. For instance, they regard bobby jones as a grand slam winner of golf, even though the events he won were different than golfs current majors. Pity Tony Wilding doesn't get similar credit that he deserves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    #89
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Ashe played almost all Dallas Finals in the 70
    Who said he didn't?
    He won it in 75 and lost the 1973 final
    He was a semifinalist in 71,72 and 74
    In contrast he just played 2 Masters and reached the final in 78 and semis in 75
     
    #90
  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    This is such a good point, didn't want to just let it drop off. If the Grand Slam in golf has not always been made up of the same events, it makes you wonder why that is not the case with tennis' Grand Slam. As you've often noted, there were majors in tennis other than the four that came to make up the Grand Slam. Some of them no longer exist, but it doesn't mean they were not majors in their own time.

    And I've seen myself how the definition of "Grand Slam" in tennis was once more flexible: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=416473.

    Great point about Wilding.
     
    #91
  42. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    Late January and February is the hottest time of the year here in Melbourne. It would just be too hot for the players. There was also a push a few years ago to have the AO played in March. I'm not sure if non-Australians know this, but Melbourne is one of the event capitals of the world and has been voted the sporting capital of the world various times. In March, Melbourne hosts the Australian Air Show (every second year), The Australian Formula One Grand Prix which some people consider to be bigger than tennis grand slams on a global sporting scale, the Australian Motor Show, plus the AFL (which is to Melbourne what NFL is to the USA) kicks off in March. In addition to that, Melbourne has all these international comedy/jazz/food/screen festivals which are on between January to March. So the first three months in Melbourne is jammed packed with all these events, in particular, the AO and the F1 Grand Prix. I don't think there is a city in the world which has two monstrous international events so close to each other, and I don't think there would be enough hotels in Melbourne to accomodate all the tourists coming into the city.

    Just on the comment about the Marlboro Australian Open, to the poster who stated that, you are correct, but the commentators used to refer to it as the "1.5 Million Dollar Marlboro Australian Open" lol.

    Part of the problem with the AO was that it was shared around between cities, it never had a permanent home. Once it finally settled in Melbourne, it was only then that the wheels were put in motion to make it an event worth taking seriously. And today, it is the richest tennis event in the world. As for the question about what would happen to it if prizemoney was decreased, well that could apply to any tournament in the world, including W. If prizemoney was decreased, personally I don't think it would stop the players competing in it, well not the top players anyway. They have enough money, it's the title they want.
     
    #92
  43. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I do think though if events like Indian Wells, Rome, Montreal/Toronto suddenly started offering greater prize money round by round than the Australian Open or any of the slams for that matter, a lot of the players on the tour, especially the lower ranked ones, would start taking those events more seriously instead.

    That was sort of the situation on the tour in the late 70s and early 80s. Many of the top players around then were not going to take the Australian Open more seriously than the Pepsi Grand Slam for instance which offered them considerably more prize money. Similarly its no wonder that Borg and Evert wanted to play in World Team Tennis instead of Roland Garros at some point in the 70s, when they could earn a lot more money at the former event than the latter one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
    #93
  44. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It moved around up to 1971, but then it settled down. The event has been in Melbourne since 1972, but the worst period of the Australian Open attendance slump was 1976-1982. I think moving it away from the Christmas period in 1982 was the start, and then moving to the new venue, Flinders/Melbourne Park, in 1988, was even bigger. Then there's the prize money difference as well.
     
    #94
  45. Blocker

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    The AO was moved to January permanently in 1987. The event was not held in 1986, to allow for the change.

    When I said the wheels were put in motion to make it a big event, I didn't mean straight away. Rome was wasn't built in a day and the status of the AO was not going to be elevated in a day either. I think the AO first began to be taken seriously in 1983 when Wilander and Lendl turned up. Then it wasn't too much longer that you had Becker and Edberg here too, and the move to Flinders Park, now known as Melbourne Park pretty much consolidated the AO's position as a worthy GS. The final nail in the coffin of the point of view that the AO was not a grand slam taken seriously was in 1995 when Agassi came over for the event. Given Agassi's reputation for being rebellious, the fact he came all this way to play the event was a massive boost for the image of the event. The fact he played Sampras in the final that year, even moreso.

    The removal of any doubt whatsoever in my mind about the AO's importance was when Federer cried. And I don't mean when he lost to Nadal. I mean when he beat Baghdatis. At that stage he was seemingly unbeatable, had already won many slams and after an early fright, beat Baghdatis pretty comfortably in the end. Yet there he was getting emotional during his speech.

    So by the time the 2012 final rolled around, it did not surprise me in the slightest that Djok and Nadal slugged it out for 6 hours. If you're going to come all this way down under, you may as well make it count while you're here.
     
    #95
  46. Blocker

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    And just on McEnroe and the AO, I remember he came here in 1985 and on the first morning here, he spat on a journalist who was standing outside his hotel lol.
     
    #96
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Mac has a total of 15 majors in relative terms since Masters and WCT finals were considered bigger events than the AO in most of the 70´s ( from 72 on and till 1987) and 80´s.

    His 8 indoor majors include beating in the final match fellas like Connors and Borg, as well as Lendl a bunch of times, Ashe, all of them HOF players.

    Becker,Federer,Rosewall and Sampras record should also be enhanced by their YEC and WCT wins.
     
    #97
  48. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    It's interesting that when the likes of Connors and Mac were skipping the Australian Open year after year, they were still playing at the Sydney Indoor event.

    Obviously it had a better/less inconvenient slot on the calendar than the Aussie Open did at that time, but still it shows just how highly they valued the event that they were willing to fly to the other end of the world to play in it year after year.

    In addition to the WCT Finals, we've lost a lot of other big indoor events over the last 10-20 years, Wembley, Philadelphia, Milan, Sydney Indoor and Tokyo Indoor.
     
    #98
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Memphis,Stockholm,Frankfurt,Antwerp,San Francisco and a lot of two-three days exos like Milan Brooklyne Masters, Chicago Michelob, Molson Challenge at Toronto, Europe vs America at Barcelona, GS Cup at München or the Las vegas Challenge of Champions.
     
    #99

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