Newcombe's achievements as an Open era player

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    thedunster, I congratulate you for this analysis which is thus the more remarkable as you seem to be a rather young tennis fan.

    But I don't think Roche could have reached Laver's and Rosewall's amount of big titles. These two GOATs are just too great. I rather would believe that Hoad would reached them without his injuries.

    Did you know that Roche won a 6-0 set against winner, Laver, in the 1972 US Pro Indoor at Philadelphia in one of his three off years (1971 to 1973) when he was semi-retired and playing with pain? This shows his great potential. The Rocket very seldom was bageled. I only remember a 0-6 set against Rosewall at Dallas in 1972.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  2. thedunster

    thedunster New User

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    I did not know that. I was only born in 1969 so I have never seen Laver play.

    I have seen Roche play on several occasions in singles but he was pretty much towards the end of his career.

    Neal Fraser I obviously never saw at his best. However, as a youngster I used to hang out at White City, Sydney Australia and would sit on the adjacent court and watch the Davis Cup team train when Neale Fraser was captain.
     
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    According to the ATP website which of course could be off Newcombe and Roche were tied at two (if I read correctly) in 1969. Many great matches it seems. Newcombe somehow overcome Roche in the 1975 Australian and despite the long exhausting win found a way to defeat Jimmy Connors in the final for not only his last majors win but the last tournament win of his career. Who would have believed he would never win another tournament?

    ATP World Tour, Grand Slam, and Davis Cup Main Draw Results
    Year Tournament & City Surface Round Winner & Score
    1980 Sydney Indoor
    Australia Hard R32 Roche, Tony
    6-4, 7-6
    1975 Australian Open
    Australia Grass S Newcombe, John
    6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 11-9
    1974 Sydney Indoor
    Australia Hard S Newcombe, John
    4-6, 6-1, 6-4
    1974 US Open
    NY, U.S.A. Grass R32 Newcombe, John
    4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5
    1971 Tehran WCT
    Iran Clay Q Newcombe, John
    7-6, 7-6
    1970 Louisville
    KY, USA Hard S Newcombe, John
    6-3, 8-6
    1970 Philadelphia WCT
    PA, U.S.A. Carpet S Roche, Tony
    6-0, 6-3, 6-4
    1969 US Open
    NY, U.S.A. Grass S Roche, Tony
    3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 8-6
    1969 Wimbledon
    England Grass S Newcombe, John
    3-6, 6-1, 14-12, 6-4
    1969 Rome
    Italy Clay F Newcombe, John
    6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
    1969 Australian Open
    Australia Grass Q Roche, Tony
    10-8, 4-6, 6-8, 7-5, 6-3
     
  4. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    thedunster, Welcome to the club of all tennis fans who like the great Aussie tennis players and like the Sydney area where Rosewall, Hoad and Newcombe grew up.

    I'm sorry I made you a bit younger. Yes, Roche was in decline around 1980. Have you seen old Rosewall play? Muscles played his last matches at White City in 1979 and 1980. In the former year he lost his official farewell match terribly to Phil Dent, in the latter year he beat Tim Wilkison in two straight sets and lost to John Sadri, then No.14 or 15 of the world, in three sets when being 46 already!

    I'm glad that the Olympic stadium is now called the Ken Rosewall Arena...
     
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Right again, look up at the 69 matches when both were at their prime and see how extremely close those matches happened to be.
     
  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, Open era that is correct.
     
  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I believe Roche's best was slightly better than Newcombe's but it's very close and I could be wrong.

    It's tough. Newcombe clearly had the better serve and forehand but Roche's serve was very good and his forehand was good. I thought Roche had the better backhand but Newcombe's backhand was solid from the baseline. Roche's had I think a fractionally better volley but it's very close there too because I think Newcombe had a great volley.

    To me Newcombe, as great as he was when he was in shape and at his peak was a lesser version of Jack Kramer. They were both amazingly similar players but Kramer was perhaps a little superior in most categories. Both were known for their great first serve and great second serve. Both had great forehands and weaker backhands. Both were mechanically perfect serve and volley machines. Kramer's backhand was more solid and powerful than Newcombe's and I believe his forehand was a little better too.
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Did Kramer have Newcombe´s stamina and fitness? that so well translated into the 5 th set
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He had great fitness. Remember he used to play those World Championship head to head tours in which they used to play every day or every other day.

    So many players and experts have ranked Kramer the GOAT over the years including Hoad, Sedgman, Riggs, Vic Braden and a number of others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Very possibly true. I'm amazed that a player with so much going for him didn't do even better in his career. So many great strengths.
     
  11. thedunster

    thedunster New User

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    I've seen Ken Rosewall play on quite a few occasions. His court craft is amazing. The last time I saw him play was in Newcastle in an exhibition match against Rachael McQuillan.

    I think Mcquillan won 6-4 but even Mcquillan knew he could still beat her if he really wanted to. Lobs, drop shots, half volleys - he hit them better than most 20 year olds.
     
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Played a tough era as well.Many varied styles and competittive top players.He was emprisoned in between Laver and Rosewal´s last prime years and Borg and Connors first prime years.In the middle, he was the best match winner but not consistent enough over a year, similar to Becker.He also had to play the Nastase,Kodes,Ashe,Smith´s and a very good secodnary unit with players like Okker,Gimeno,Roche.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kramer was very consistent but over a relatively short time.Gonzales was cnsistent over a wider time.Hoad had a more complete game.Sedgman had more firepower but was not that consistent, he was more in he Hoad department.Kramer had tough competition, I rate him very highly plus he also " invented" modern S&V tennis.However, he still falls short of GOAT; he is second tier with Perry and Budge, and maybe Lendl and Mc Enroe as well.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sedgman didn't have more firepower than Kramer. Kramer had the greater firepower. Kramer had the far superior serve, better than Newcombe's and ranks with Gonzalez as possibly the greatest ever. He also the superior forehand clearly by power and in consistency to Sedgman. Kramer had one of the best forehand ever. Kramer probably had the superior backhand. What Sedgman had was a slightly better volley (Sedgman could have the best volley of all time) and superior speed. Kramer beat Sedgman on a tour when Kramer was already declining due to early arthritis.

    Gonzalez did do it over a longer period but for pure level of play at their peaks it's debatable. Many rank Kramer higher in that aspect. I rank Pancho Gonzalez higher overall.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, That balance of 1969 is just one among several ones

    Roche was CLEARLY ahead of Newcombe in 1969:

    Roche vs. Newcombe in GS tournaments: 2:1

    Roche in GS tournaments: F,SF,SF,SF; Newcombe F,SF,QF,QF

    Roche winning 7 tournaments, Newcombe 2

    Roche vs. Laver 5:4; Newcombe vs. Laver 1:2

    Rankings: Roche No.2; Newcombe No.3
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    thedunster, Thanks. Yes, The Little Master was a touch specialist (among some other "specials").

    I saw Rosewall live in 1975 (Wimbledon), 1986, 1987 (Austria, where he moved like a youngster at the net) and 1992 (Germany, where I admired how easily and yet fast his backhand was shot in the preparing minutes before a doubles match).

    Do you have a ranking ot the greatest Aussie male players? I rank Laver and Rosewall equally first, then Hoad, Sedgman, Newcombe, Roche (even though I rate Roche slightly higher at peak level than Newk).

    I always found Emerson (still an excellent player) overrated because he never was a true No.1-3 player in any year.
     
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Check these posts I wrote on Jack Kramer. Very similar player to Newcombe but Kramer's backhand imo was clear more powerful and consistent. Kramer's forehand as I mentioned before was an awesome weapon being times.

    Kramer's forehand was timed at 107.8 mph with wood at an event in 1951. Gonzalez at the same event hit his forehand at 112.88 mph.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8315444&postcount=120

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8315446&postcount=121

    Incidentally while Newcombe had super stamina, Arthur Ashe believed John Newcombe didn't have the stamina of players like Emerson who could run all day. Newcombe had to pace himself somewhat. I believe Ashe thought Laver had better stamina too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  18. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You think those numbers can be trusted? Radar guns have improved in accuracy immensely. Even recently (2010) Federer was timed as hitting a serve at 137 mph or thereabouts, which is clearly not accurate as several players demonstrated well above average serve speeds that tournament. There's also the infamous 164 mph serve at a Challenger by Groth which some dispute.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  19. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Colin Dibley had a faster serve than Kramer.
     
  20. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    More to a serve than speed though. Disguise, consistency and placement are all as important or more important.
     
  21. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Right.

    And more to a game than individual strokes.

    TIMING, when to hit a big shot, how to play important points.

    And, most important, sheer physical strength, as Gonzales emphasized.
     
  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Indeed the mental aspect is arguably the most important of all.
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sure and Gonzalez did too but Kramer great pace, spin, accuracy and power. He had arguably the greatest second serve of all time.
     
  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Very few are stronger than Gonzalez but Kramer wasn't exactly a weakling. He was very strong. On average pace off the ground most felt Kramer was better in that department.
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Could he handle peak Hoad, whose peak was better than Gonzales by Pacho´s own adimission?Maybe nobody could have handled that peak.
     
  26. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    And, of course, those two weight-lifting fanatics, Sedgman and Hoad.

    With wood racquets, the importance of strength was magnified.

    Today, even weaklings can hit hard with the new materials.
     
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That´s maybe Roche best year overall.I doubt he had any other year he can claim to be better than Newk
     
  28. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    And Newk was much better than Roche in 1969 at Wimbledon, the ultimate challenge.
     
  29. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I looked a bit into Newcombe's pre 1968 record. According to Sutter, he won outside the Majors Wim and Forest Hills in 1967, plus final in 1966, plus 3 sf at Australien Champs, some pretty important tournaments then, like Sydney in 1965. In 1967 alone, he won 12 tournaments, including: Wim, Forest Hills, also some 2nd tier events like Newport, Queens, New York indoor, River Oaks, then some smaller events like Adelaide, Baranquilla, Deauville, Glen Gove, San Antonio. Looks to me a pretty impressive season.
    In 1968, he had according to World of Tennis 1970, the best win-loss record of his pro group (WCT). According to McCauley (p.255), in 1968, he won 8 events, with 74-40 and 57,012 $ (Roche won 5, 51-36, but more money 63,505 $).
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Probably not but it does show Kramer could hit the forehand with great power.
     
  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    No doubt. With those heavy racquet someone strong could bludgeon the ball.
     
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Perhaps not. I do think Kramer thought Vines' at his peak could.

    To at least mention Newcombe here, Newcombe, according to the ATP website never played Lew Hoad.

    Kramer thought one of the best examples of two players in the zone was Laver versus Ashe in the 1969 Wimbledon.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqeHp4tpo68
     
  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Roche was ranked ahead of Newcombe also in 1965, 1966 and 1968. You finally should concede that Roche was more than a Could Be. He was a great player and in a league with Newk regarding talent and peak level.
     
  34. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban, In 1966 it was different: Roche won 10 tournament, Newk 3.

    Newcombe did not have the best win-loss record of his pro group in 1968. In fact Ralston had 48:22, slightly better than Newk (even though Dan refuses it).
     
  35. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Roche was the 1968 money winner, Newcombe won the most tournaments, and due to a major screw-up there was no overall champion.

    Bobby, Newcombe's record at Wimbledon, the Big One, was much better than Roche's.

    Take a look;

    Newcombe: 3 championships
    1 runner-up

    Roche: 1 runnerup
    1 semi

    As they say, no contest.
     
  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Expert Dan, urban and me spoke about the best percentage.

    Before Roche got his injuries he reached one open Wimbledon final and Newcombe reached one open Wimbledon final. Imagine what Tony (who was one year younger than John) would have reached if he were fit 1970 to 1973...
     
  37. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Roche was already injured beyond good play in 1970?
     
  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, Yes, Roche even said that he was never healthy since Newport 1967. Thus the more his greatness!
     
  39. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    He beat Laver 9 to 5 while he was injured?

    I think you mean that he had PERIODS of injury after 1967.
     
  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, In 1972, after he was beaten by Laver at Philadelphia but won the second set by 6-0 (!), Roche said:" My arm has never been right since Newport, 1967"

    Roche beat Laver 5:4 in 1969 and is 9:11 overall against the Rocket.

    Tell this to kiki...
     
  41. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that it is rather unfortunate about Roche's injuries. Laver certainly regarded Roche as his heir. And he probably would have had a great career.
     
  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    what about the younger Roche against the Older Neale?
     
  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Young Roche was No.7 in the 1965 amateur ranks (Newk No.8)) at 20. Fraser would not be ranked that high. He was semi-retired after 1962.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  44. Scott_tennis

    Scott_tennis New User

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    In 1968, Newcombe won 8 events consisting of 7 WCT events (Bakersfield, Evansville, Cannes and four events from a South African tour) plus the German Open. The ATP/Wikipedia site total of 32 open era singles titles reflects only the one event for 1968 (the German Open).

    Roche finished ahead of Newcombe in prize money for 1968 due to the WCT special television event in Australia at the beginning of the year. Roche's earnings from that event alone were about $16,000, which was the highest amount for any pro or open title in 1968 (the US Open first prize was $14,000).

    Newcombe struggled in the beginning of the year and at one point his record was 20-18. From that point on he went 54-22 to finish the year at 74-40.
     
  45. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Strangely, there was NO official champion or championship format.

    A huge oversight.
     
  46. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I made myself a thread about Roche a few years ago with the title: How good was Tony Roche? To me is is often underrated, and certainly he was very unlucky to have these injury problems, at least since end 1970. To me, he was technically more complete, creative and imaginative than Newcombe, maybe because he was a lefty. He could do more with the backhand, and had that great backhand volley, and a very deceptive slice serve. I once saw him in a mixed Wim final with Frankie Durr, and at the very first point of the match he hit a beauty of a topspin lob. Newcombe was more mechanical, but he had great weapons, too: first serve, second serve, forehand volley, forehand groundies, and he was very clever and smart, masking his weaknesses on the backhand side very well. And he had a natural winning mentality, a leaders or captains mind, i think since his cricket days. Both he and Roche were very close in the Rankings since the mid 60s. In 1966, Roche won around 10 events, including France and Italy, in 1967 Newk had a dominant year winning Wim and US. McCauley ranked Newk over Rochie in 1968 (place 5 over 6), others gave Roche the nod, due to his Wim showing. In 1969, Roche was 2, Newk 3. In 1970, Newk was placed Nr.1-3, Roche 3-4. But Newk won the big things, Roche often lost them on the final stage.
    In doubles pairs, there often is a discrepancy between potential and actual achievement of the two players. More eminent was this in the Smith-Lutz pairing. I often thought, that Lutz was the more talented player, he had a big wrist and arm (only behind Laver), and was technically more sound than Smith. But he had injury problems, and achievement wise he was no contest to Smith, who also had that captains mentality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    good point.Lutz and Roche are very similar in many aspects and to some extent, so are Newk and Stan
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  48. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban, Thanks for the compilation.

    By the way, Roche also won more tournaments than Newcombe in 1967: Roche won 14, Newcombe won 12.
     
  49. Scott_tennis

    Scott_tennis New User

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    It appears that Newcombe played in 24 major (big four) events as an amateur/before the open era and 26 major events as a pro/open era.
    His singles match records from those events were as follows:

    Australian 46-14 (17-7 amateur and 29-7 pro/open)
    French 16-9 (12-6 amateur and 4-3 pro/open)
    Wimbledon 45-11 (13-6 amateur and 32-5 pro/open)
    US 43-9 (16-3 amateur and 27-6 pro/open)
    Total 150-43 (58-22 amateur and 92-21 pro/open)

    As his final appearances in the Australian was 1977 and the US was 1974, all of his Australian, US (and Wimbledon) matches were on grass courts.
     
  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newcombe´s final wins had something of an epic air since he was considered the best 5 set player until Borg reached his peak.

    In the open era, starting in 1968, he lost the Wimbledon final to Laver in 4 sets in 69 and had a surprising defeat against Mark Edmondson at the 76 AO final also in 4 sets.But the rest of his big finals ended up in glory, including the great 73 whitewash triumph of the Australian team (Laver and Newcombe with Rosewall as a substitute) when they stunned the strong US team (Smith and Tom Gorman) at Cleveland, 0-5.

    He beat both, Rosewall and Smith in a torrid 5 sets final at Wimbledon in 1970 and 1971 respectively.Beat Parun in 4 sets at the 73 AO.He beat Kodes over 5 sets at a dramatic US Open final in 1973.He beat the two up and coming stars, Borg and Connors in 4 sets; Borg at the 74 WCT Final championship match and Connors at the 1975 AO Final ( Connors had won 3 slam titles the previous year and was heavily favoured for the match)

    So in between Laver ( the Gran Slam season of Laver when he was almost unbeatable) and the emerging and surprising Mark Edmondson, he beat the creme du creme in the middle with no final lost.
     

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