Pre-open era was a immature stage of tennis history

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by NGM, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    First, I am sorry for my bad English.

    I read too many threads and too many posts here about how great Pre-open era and players of that period were. It is becoming ridiculous for many reasons. I will tell you why.

    1) Everthing in pre-open era is like a myth. Nothing real about it. For example: Pancho Gonzales and Laver are called "co-number 1" with other players for many years. It is REALLY ridiculous and can only happen in an immature stage of tennis history. This year Murray and Federer and Djokovic are very close in term of winning big titles, but in the end Novak Djokovic is THE world number 1. If this scenario happened in the past, they would be treated like co-number 1.

    2) Pre-open era can not be compared with open era, especially with the era from 90's to now. Why? Because pre-open era' standard was too low.
    Tennis was not a global sport back then. We have a small pool of tennis players whom played against other regularly. And some of them won more than others. It was meaningless, or at least not meaning much. How many of tournament they won have only 8 men, 10 men, 14 men? Or even less? And we are counting those tournaments as the same with tournaments today? Grand Slam in the past as the same with grand slam today? No way in h e l l.

    3) There are too much changes in tennis from 19th century to today. In a better way, I must say. From the beginning to 1968, it was like a childish-period. There were too many errors in the system and it made player look greater than they actually were. From 1968 to the end of 80's tennis world was organized better but there were still many holes in that system. 90's till now is good. Of course the system is not flawless. But we have no myth anymore.

    I dont say players in the past were not great. Of course they were great. But like TMF points out, in the forum like this players like Hoad, Gonzales, Laver are in the fix position compared to Federer. Federer can win 5 more slams and they are still in the fix position. The biggest weapon old timer use to defend Gonzales or Laver is "IF bla bla...". If = myth = meaningless. Pre-open era is immature stage of tennis history. And anything achieved in that stage can not be treated as the same with today's achievement. Period.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  2. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NGM, You have not learnt history enough. Please do learn!
     
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  3. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    NGM, such talk is blasphemy and you will surely be cast into the lake of fire. May the church of the pre-open era have mercy on your soul.
     
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  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    When has Federer been the best player in the world for 8 years like Gonzales?

    Oh, and I can pick who I believe to be the best players of each year without co-ranking players. See below:

    Best amateur players per year in the pre-open era
    1877: Spencer Gore
    1878: Frank Hadow
    1879: John Hartley
    1880: John Hartley
    1881: William Renshaw
    1882: William Renshaw
    1883: William Renshaw
    1884: William Renshaw
    1885: William Renshaw
    1886: William Renshaw
    1887: Herbert Lawford
    1888: Ernest Renshaw
    1889: William Renshaw
    1890: Willoughby Hamilton
    1891: Wilfred Baddeley
    1892: Wilfred Baddeley
    1893: Joshua Pim
    1894: Joshua Pim
    1895: Joshua Pim
    1896: Wilfred Baddeley
    1897: Reggie Doherty
    1898: Reggie Doherty
    1899: Reggie Doherty
    1900: Reggie Doherty
    1901: Arthur Gore
    1902: Laurie Doherty
    1903: Laurie Doherty
    1904: Laurie Doherty
    1905: Laurie Doherty
    1906: Laurie Doherty
    1907: Norman Brookes
    1908: William Larned
    1909: William Larned
    1910: Tony Wilding
    1911: Tony Wilding
    1912: Tony Wilding
    1913: Tony Wilding
    1914: Tony Wilding
    1915: Bill Johnston
    1916: Richard Norris Williams
    1917: Lindley Murray
    1918: Lindley Murray
    1919: Bill Johnston
    1920: Bill Tilden
    1921: Bill Tilden
    1922: Bill Tilden
    1923: Bill Tilden
    1924: Bill Tilden
    1925: Bill Tilden
    1926: Rene Lacoste
    1927: Rene Lacoste
    1928: Henri Cochet
    1929: Henri Cochet
    1930: Henri Cochet
    1931: Ellsworth Vines
    1932: Ellsworth Vines
    1933: Jack Crawford
    1934: Fred Perry
    1935: Fred Perry
    1936: Fred Perry
    1937: Don Budge
    1938: Don Budge
    1939: Bobby Riggs
    1940: Don McNeill
    1941: Bobby Riggs
    1942: Ted Schroeder
    1943: Joseph Hunt
    1944: Frank Parker
    1945: Frank Parker
    1946: Jack Kramer
    1947: Jack Kramer
    1948: John Bromwich
    1949: Pancho Gonzales
    1950: Budge Patty
    1951: Frank Sedgman
    1952: Frank Sedgman
    1953: Tony Trabert
    1954: Jaroslav Drobny
    1955: Tony Trabert
    1956: Lew Hoad
    1957: Lew Hoad
    1958: Ashley Cooper
    1959: Alex Olmedo
    1960: Neale Fraser
    1961: Roy Emerson
    1962: Rod Laver
    1963: Roy Emerson
    1964: Roy Emerson
    1965: Roy Emerson
    1966: Fred Stolle
    1967: John Newcombe

    Best professional players per year in the pre-open era
    1927: Vinny Richards
    1928: Vinny Richards
    1929: Karel Kozeluh
    1930: Karel Kozeluh
    1931: Bill Tilden
    1932: Bill Tilden
    1933: Bill Tilden
    1934: Ellsworth Vines
    1935: Ellsworth Vines
    1936: Ellsworth Vines
    1937: Ellsworth Vines
    1938: Ellsworth Vines
    1939: Don Budge
    1940: Don Budge
    1941: Fred Perry
    1942: Don Budge
    1943: ???
    1944: Bobby Riggs
    1945: Bobby Riggs
    1946: Bobby Riggs
    1947: Bobby Riggs
    1948: Jack Kramer
    1949: Jack Kramer
    1950: Jack Kramer
    1951: Jack Kramer
    1952: Pancho Segura
    1953: Jack Kramer
    1954: Pancho Gonzales
    1955: Pancho Gonzales
    1956: Pancho Gonzales
    1957: Pancho Gonzales
    1958: Pancho Gonzales
    1959: Pancho Gonzales
    1960: Pancho Gonzales
    1961: Pancho Gonzales
    1962: Ken Rosewall
    1963: Ken Rosewall
    1964: Rod Laver
    1965: Rod Laver
    1966: Rod Laver
    1967: Rod Laver

    Best players per year in the open era
    1968: Rod Laver
    1969: Rod Laver
    1970: Rod Laver
    1971: John Newcombe
    1972: Stan Smith
    1973: Ilie Nastase
    1974: Jimmy Connors
    1975: Arthur Ashe
    1976: Jimmy Connors
    1977: Guillermo Vilas
    1978: Bjorn Borg
    1979: Bjorn Borg
    1980: Bjorn Borg
    1981: John McEnroe
    1982: Jimmy Connors
    1983: John McEnroe
    1984: John McEnroe
    1985: Ivan Lendl
    1986: Ivan Lendl
    1987: Ivan Lendl
    1988: Mats Wilander
    1989: Boris Becker
    1990: Stefan Edberg
    1991: Stefan Edberg
    1992: Jim Courier
    1993: Pete Sampras
    1994: Pete Sampras
    1995: Pete Sampras
    1996: Pete Sampras
    1997: Pete Sampras
    1998: Pete Sampras
    1999: Andre Agassi
    2000: Gustavo Kuerten
    2001: Lleyton Hewitt
    2002: Lleyton Hewitt
    2003: Andy Roddick
    2004: Roger Federer
    2005: Roger Federer
    2006: Roger Federer
    2007: Roger Federer
    2008: Rafael Nadal
    2009: Roger Federer
    2010: Rafael Nadal
    2011: Novak Djokovic
    2012: Novak Djokovic
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  5. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    So be a teacher and teach me about tennis history, if you are good enough.
     
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  6. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Another history lesson from a 19 year old here? Yes, there were too many changes before the open era, when we went from wood racquets in the nineteenth century to wood racquets in pre-open 1967. In the open era we've gone from wood to metal to fiberglass laminate to ceramic to boron-reinforced graphite to graphite-fiberglass to graphite-kevlar to....what's next? Pre-open wasn't international? Huh? Roster of players from the 50s and 60s includes prominent players from every continent except Antarctica, including notable players from India, South Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and of course Europe, Austalia and the U.S.
     
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  7. kalyan4fedever

    kalyan4fedever Hall of Fame

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    Agree pre-open era = immature players.
     
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  8. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    1) Gonzales played in an era of amateurs. And very few people played tennis back then compared to today. It is not something can be proud of.
    2) Like I said above, he was undisputed world number one in a few years, and co-number 1 in the others. Co-number 1 is a ridiculous word. It can only happen in an immature stage of tennis history. Too many thing about Gonzales are myths, like his serve's speed. We do not know for sure.

    So, because too many things about Gonzales are myth, he lives in a cloud that protects him from other modern greats. That also happens with every pre-open players. They are living in the cloud. Wow, they won too many tournaments (Laver won 199, I guess) while Federer can not pass 90 mark. Wow, they won too many majors (Laver 19, Rosewall 23, I guess). For the God's sake, how many of them are mickey mouse with very few participant? Should we count 1 pro slam in 1967 equal a today's slam? I guess NOT.
     
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  9. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    I do not talk about technologies of racket. I am talking about changes of tennis system which make everything clear in the sun. Pre-open era had too many myths which can not be considered as valuable source while comparing tennis players' greatness. But because they are myths, so you guys use them every time to make players in the past looking better then they actually were.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  10. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks NGM.

    It's true that Roger's continue to add more to his legacy, some people bump up players in the pre-open(i.e. Laver) era so they can stay "fix" with Roger, but players in the open-era has to stay further behind. It makes no sense at all. Player's resume can't be change unless you're an active player like Roger. No past retired player can't get any worse(or better) just because Roger breaks/set tennis records. People should leave out Federer when they want to compare players in the open era to players in the pre-open era.
     
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  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    As immature as the Greek Culture pre Christ, the Renaissance, or the era of Enlightment.
     
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  12. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    It is funny. If my memory sever well, there are many threads here discussing who was the best player of X year, like this or this. And now you try to persuade me that you do not have any disputes. I dont think it will work.

    You guys always say that Federer is the best player of the open era but not tennis history as a whole, because there were too many greats like Gonzales, Laver in the pre-open era. And now I tell you pre-open era was immature period that can not compared with open era. Stop using myths to argue with facts.
     
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  13. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    More nostalgic nonsense. No one cares how you rank them. We need to know how they were ranked by the official bodies. I expect you to avoid this question because it will expose your nonsensical argument..

    The idea that a 5 foot 10 Laver could compete with today's players even if he was born in this era is ridiculous. His career would be slightly better than Ferrer's because he has the advantage of being a lefty. Would not win a slam GAURANTEED
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  14. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Your list is flaw because there are two tours competing at that time. Had both tours combined which the field would be stronger, it makes a world of difference.

    You also double counting with 2 players/per year earning the best player. Had the open-era had two tours and 2 players gets to be number one in the world, Fed/Nadal would earn more year at #1. Nadal would have 6 years end #1(with would include 2005, 06, 07, 09, 11) had Fed and Nole was playing in a separate tour.

    You see how much of a factor when there's a two separate field competing?

    And please don't try to hide negative facts. It's not going go work.
     
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  15. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. I asked Mustard about this in another thread but he completely ignored me.

    I will ask again

    If you are comfortable with having 2 tours and not conceding that it makes it easier to compete in 2 tours, then please do tell how many 3.5 tournaments can one win today to equal to a grandslam on the ATP tour?

    I gaurantee Mustard willnot answer this question because he is a hypocrite on this issue. he is a GOD when it comes to stats and I respect him but on this issue, he is FOS.
     
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  16. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    I am not professor about the age of enlightenment but I can tell you that we have many valuable sources like books, documents, memories, to know exactly what is the age of enlightenment and how did it affect to the world history. But we do not have sources good enough to tell our grandson that Mr Gonzales and Mr Laver were the undisputed world best player for 8 long years and Mr Bill Tiden one time served 163 mph with a wood racket. We do not know where to put Laver 1962's grand slam in tennis history because while it looks great, Laver won it as an amateur. It was great, or it really was? Where should we put it in? Should we count it? I guess not. But why so many people here say every day that Laver won 2 grand slam, something Federer can not do? Why 2? Why 1962 count? I dont get it. Should Federer count his Wimbledon in 1998? I know and you know too, he was a junior back then, but if Laver can count his 1992 as an amateur, why Federer can not count his 1998 as a junior? There is no difference between two situations, no?
     
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  17. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    You phrase better than I can do, thank you.
     
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  18. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Timely list, Mustard, but i'm fairly certain the OP is likely another alternate account of a TW regular who needs to make yet another argument leading to Federer being crowned some sort of "GOAT," when he never earned that distinction, and never will (his lack of ability to win the Grand Slam at the top of it all).

    If some were so sure of Federer's alleged status, there would no need to launch threads like this over and over and over again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  19. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    Quoted for truth. Gonzales, Laver, Rosewall, they've done a lot for Tennis as a sport but they're not even in GOAT discussions. Mod note: Quit with the personal comments, they're against the rules.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2012
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If federer even imagined a late 50´s pro field with 6 of the best ever players day in day out, I think he´d have constant nightmares...
     
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  21. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    He would be serving breadsticks and bagels left and right.
     
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  22. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Gonzales turned professional in late 1949. He was an amateur from 1947-1949. It was the professional game that Gonzales dominated for so long.

    Gonzales was never toppled as world number 1, so if you have to choose a single world number 1 from 1954-1961, it is Gonzales, IMO, despite strong challenges from players like Segura, Sedgman, Rosewall and Hoad, not to mention other good players like McGregor, Trabert, Anderson, Cooper, Olmedo, MacKay, Gimeno etc.

    I have the Gonzales vs. Pasarell match from 1969 Wimbledon on DVD, and even at 41 years of age, his serve is quite brilliant. It would have been a lot better during his prime when he was the dominant player in the world.

    How is it a myth? He was the best player for 8 years on the pro tour, and beat all the newly turned professionals, who had been top amateurs, players like Trabert, Rosewall, Hoad, Anderson, Cooper, Olmedo. Trabert and Cooper, for example, won 3 out of 4 majors in their last year as an amateur, and then got annihilated by Gonzales on the world pro tour, where Gonzales won 74-27 against Trabert in 1956, and a combined 34-0 against Cooper and Anderson in 1959.

    Gonzales was in another league to the top amateurs, and only Hoad was a serious challenger straight away. It even took Rosewall until the early 1960s, by which time Gonzales was in his early 30s and had dominated the pro game for years.

    Laver won 200 tournaments. The only big tournament he never won was the WCT Dallas tournament, finishing runner-up to Rosewall in both 1971 and 1972. And the reason Federer cannot match Laver for number of tournaments won is mostly because of the number of hardcourt tournaments in modern tennis, which shorten careers. In Laver's time, grass, clay, carpet and wood predominated by some margin.

    My list is my list of who I think are the best players per year. I don't say it's absolute truth, just my opinion. Even in the open era, there are disputes. Do you agree with the ATP computer that Connors was number 1 in 1975, 1977 and 1978, that McEnroe was number 1 in 1982, and that Lendl was number 1 in 1989? Because I sure don't.

    So do you agree with the ATP computer regarding the best players of 1975, 1977, 1978, 1982 and 1989?

    That is all speculation. You could just as easily say that Federer doesn't stand a chance in the era of wooden racquets, no tiebreaks and no sitdowns at the change of ends against Laver. No modern player could just play the game that they do today with 1960s equipment, because wooden racquets didn't have the power to dictate from the baseline with the authority and depth of today's game. You had to go into the net a lot back then.

    You say Laver couldn't cope in today's game, but you don't seem to ask about Federer in Laver's day.

    And? That doesn't mean that the players were worse. In Gonzales' time, the best players were the professionals, and he was playing against these top players all the time. Imagine Federer always playing against 15 of the top 20 players, instead of often playing against players way below that ranking. Playing against players of such high calibre on a very regular basis, like the old pros did, will make you a better player.

    I am not. Gonzales was the best player in the world when he was the best professional. In 1949, when Gonzales was the best amateur player, the best player in the world was Jack Kramer.

    I personally believe the best professional player was always better than the best amateur player in the years I've listed, apart from 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932 and 1933, when the best amateur player was the best player in the world. In the 1930s, the gap between the top professionals and the top amateurs was very close, but after the late 1940s, the top professionals had a clear lead over the top amateurs.

    What is 3.5 tournaments?

    Yeah, it's annoying. Unless one says that Federer is the undisputed GOAT, one gets criticised. Unfortunately for them, tennis history is far too complicated for that, and there are stats where Federer is behind. Federer is not the only GOAT candidate, but one of many.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Well, I am glad you settled all those silly debates we've been having for years.

    Case closed.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    at the end what matters is comparing weak to strong or medium eras

    1920´s, 1960´s amateurs and 2000´s are weakest eras

    1980´s and pros 1950´s are the toughest ever ones

    1930´s and 1940´s are medium to low competitive eras

    1970´s and 1990´s are medium to highly competitive eras

    That´s it.
     
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  25. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    I'm posting since July and have given some information about tennis history, as also many other posters have done.
     
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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Gonzalez played in an amateur era AND in a pro era.

    Co.-No.1 players are also possible in current times. What is immature there?
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Well done, Mustard, in giving good arguments to contradict our younger friends who defend Federer in an exaggerating way.

    I think it was pc1 who once proved that some of Federer's statistics are NOT great:majors won out of majors played and so on.
     
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  28. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    And the kiki who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    About time.
     
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  29. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    Ok in this page Hoodjem said Gonzales has "only" 6 years ending number 1 (1952, 1954-1957 and 1958 co-number 1 :cry: with Sedgman). It does not sound better than Sampras, right?

    So, he had 6 or 8 years ending number 1? I want to ask. Because it seems even old times can not decide what really happen in the pre-open era.
    Here is the fact: In 1960, Gonzales was called co-number 1, equally to Ken Rosewall. But that year Gonzales did not win anything important and he played only few months. He retired in May 1960 (of course he came back for money). A player retired in May called co-number 1 is a really embarrassment for pre-open era.

    In the professional tour he had something like that: he played 100 matches with Tony Trabert in 1956 alone, 87 matches with Lew Hoad in 1958 alone, 80 matches with Rosewall in 1957,... What conclusion we can get from such information? He played his entire tour life with a so small bunch of tennis players. Yes he beat them. Yes he was better than them all. But number of his opponent was so small that it does not mean anything. You spent one whole year just to play with one, two, three guys. Why this thing could happen? Because no one played tennis back then. That is it. Pancho Gonzales was the undisputed king of handicap tennis world that should not be mentioned in the same league with today's kings.
    The same thing happens with every professional player. They won every thing because...no one else played tennis beside them. "No one" is a strong word but you got what I mean.

    Laver is a interesting case. No, the reason why Laver won so much because there were so much small tournaments in his era, tournament with 4- 8 participants. In wiki I saw this article:
    Rod Laver won: 1968, NTL 4 man event Sao Paulo, Brazil; 1968, Sao Paulo, Brazil (4-man round robin), 1971, CBS Classic (4-man), Hilton Head, South Carolina, U.S...
    Federer is unlucky guy, born at the wrong time. How lucky Laver was, he won a bunch of ridiculously small tournaments that he could be so proud of.
     
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  30. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    Mustard, you are the only one reply me carefully so I will do the same with you.

    Yes, there were many holes in tennis world until 90s like I said before. Computer ranking was not available till 1973 and we do not have reliable ranking until recent time. That's why I said tennis has evolved from immature stage to mature stage as now. In 70s and 80s tennis world was still finding the way to measure greatness.


    I do not say anything like that. What I said is Laver won a bunch of small tournaments which make him looking greater than he actually was. You can not cite his number of tournaments won or slam won to promote him as greatest player of all time. You just can not.

    You feel annoying, do I NOT feel annoying as well? You guys devalue Federer greatness for ridiculous reasons like Gonzales was world best player in 8 years, Laver won 2 grand slam and 200 tournaments, Rosewall won 23 majors... What is that? They are all myths. Gonzales was NOT world best palyer in 8 years, so was Laver. Laver won 200 small tournament and many "majors" playing just 3 matches. And Rosewall, well, he seem not be top candidate so I will let him alone.
     
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  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    No one played tennis then? That's the most ignorant post I have read since a long time!
     
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  32. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    Not in today rankings. That flaw can only happen in eras which more players want to attend exhibition tournaments than grand slam. And winning grand slam did not give you much more point than winning, lets say: Dallas tournament.
     
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  33. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    NGM bravo. I think you raise some great points that are stirring up this side of the forum. Some members over here make the pre open era and the anything pre-modern to be something of "mythical proportions," when it cannot measure up to the world tennis landscape of today
     
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  34. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    Please, I already said that it is strong word. You know what I mean. I do not know there were how many people lived by playing tennis back then, but the number must be a pretty small (if you have a reliable number, let me know). Here is a article I find out about the evolution of tennis. http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/Tennis-Everyone_7499/p/1

    and

     
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  35. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    Thank you for your support.
     
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  36. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    I always try to give full credit to the legends of the past, so i find fair and even enjoyable reading some posterd argue in favor of them. I consider Federer the best (and most accomplished) player ever. I concede that other players resumees are astonishing also (in my case i think that only Laver and Gonzalez are in the same league, sligthly below but in the same league nonetheless). But the problem with some old posters is that they take numbers and do not analyze them carefully. For example it has been said numerous times around here that Laver has won 200 tournaments, that is a fact, but you can`t use that number to favour Laver over Federer to name someone. How many of those tournaments had a 4-8 man field??? As another poster said it is just an apples to orange comparison. It would take a modern player to win 10 tournaments a year during a 20 years career, it is just absurd to think about that given the conditions today. The game is getting more physical year after year at exponential rates, the percentage of hardcourt tournaments today is much bigger than the past with the obvius negative results on the player`s joints, the prize money and endorsements the top players are earning allow them to play less tournaments, etc. So the sheer number of tournaments won isn`t a valid point to bring up in favour of the old players. On the other hand i believe that Federer majors records being an amazing feat as they are (majors won, consecutive finals, consecutive semifinals, etc), only apply 100% when comparing him with players of the modern eras, that is why i think of him as the clear GOAT of the open era and my best choice for an all time GOAT but i admit that given the changes the game has suffered is quite debatable.
    So the next time you try to argue in favour of player
     
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  37. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well, that's hoodjem's list, not mine. Gonzales kept winning the world pro tours right up until his initial retirement at the end of 1961, and he was never toppled, even if he was seriously challenged.

    1954: Gonzales becomes best player in the world, wins US Pro for the second year in a row. Wins a 4-man world pro tour against Sedgman, Segura and Budge.

    1955: Gonzales clearly the world's best player, wins US Pro title for the third year in a row.

    1956: Probably Gonzales' most dominant year ever, wins 74-27 in the world pro tour against Trabert, wins the Wembley Pro for the fourth time, the US Pro for the fourth time and the inaugural Tournament of Champions, as well as finishing runner-up of the French Pro.

    1957: Gonzales again clearly the world's best player, wins 50-26 against Rosewall in the world pro tour, wins the US Pro for the fifth year in a row and the Tournament of Champions for the second year in a row.

    1958: Gonzales has a hardfought 51-36 win over Hoad on their world pro tour, gets a serious challenge from Sedgman on the tournament scene, but Gonzales still wins his sixth US Pro title in a row and his third Tournament of Champions in a row.

    1959: A very close year between Gonzales and Hoad. Gonzales wins the 4-man world pro tour against Hoad, Cooper and Anderson. Although Hoad won more direct matches against Gonzales on that tour (15-13), Gonzales was unbeaten against Cooper and Anderson (going 34-0). Gonzales thrashes Hoad to win his seventh US Pro title in a row, but Hoad avenges this by beating Gonzales in the final of the Tournament of Champions, in what was Hoad's finest hour. Gonzales wasn't toppled as the world's best, though.

    1960: Gonzales is finally free of his pro contract with Kramer, which had lasted for 7 years, and hardly plays any tournaments this year. However, Gonzales dominates the 4-man world pro tour against Rosewall, Segura and Olmedo.

    1961: Gonzales wins the US Pro title for the eighth time, and wins the world pro tour against Gimeno, Hoad, MacKay, Olmedo, Buchholz and Sedgman. Rosewall was clearly doing increasingly well on the tournament scene, however. Gonzales retires from tennis at the end of 1961, and doesn't return until 18 months later, for a terrible loss at the 1963 US Pro against Olmedo. Gonzales then returned to the pro tour for a full-time schedule in 1964.

    I have Gonzales as the best player in 8 calendar years.

    The world pro tours were even bigger than the pro majors back then, and Gonzales only lost the 1950 version against Kramer.

    That Gonzales utterly dominated the newly turned professionals who had been the best amateur players. Have a look at how great Trabert's 1955 was on the amateur tour, yet he was crushed by Gonzales. Better still, look at Cooper's 1958 on the amateur tour, for an even bigger crushing by Gonzales in the pros.

    That "small number" were the best players in the world. Let's take 1954, for example, the best players in the world were Gonzales, Sedgman and Segura, not Drobny, Trabert and Rose. The professional game was where the big boys played.

    Imagine if Federer played Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Tsonga all year, and never a player outside of the current top 15-20. Would that make him a weak player? In the 1950s, the best amateur players turned professional and would be pitted against the ultimate competition. You had to improve considerably to survive on the pro tour. Laver said in early 1963, "I thought Hoad was good, but Rosewall is even better. I am going to have to learn how to play tennis all over again if I am going to compete with them". And this came from the man who had won the Grand Slam in the amateurs in 1962.

    Laver won all sorts of tournaments, from small ones to the biggest ones. He played relentlessly, year after year after year. Like I said in my previous post, Federer can't hope to match this activity due to the number of hardcourt tournaments he's played over the years. Hardcourts shorten careers. That is the single biggest reason as to why players can't play on the tour into their 40s, anymore. Heck, some struggle to even make it into their 30s.

    That doesn't prove how good or bad players of past eras were. Players like Wilding, Tilden, Vines, Kramer, Gonzales and Laver were dominant players for many years. This doesn't become "myth" just because there were no official world rankings until 1973.

    Like I said before, Laver won tournaments of all sizes, as an amateur, as a pre-open era professional, and as an open era professional. You highlighting and focusing on the smaller tournaments doesn't change this fact.

    Gonzales was the best player in the world for 8 years
    Laver did win 200 tournaments
    Rosewall did win 23 majors (4 amateur, 15 professional, 4 open)

    I realise that these facts are inconvenient to those with a "Federer is GOAT" agenda, but facts are facts.

    No, they are not myths, but the facts, as I've repeatedly pointed out. Try researching tennis history, sometime, and get rid of the clear pro-Federer biases. And LOL at the suggestion that Laver won 200 small tournaments. Laver was the best player in the world for 7 years, by the way. Are you going to call this a "myth" too?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  38. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    If Gonzales wasn't the best player every year from 1954-1961, who was? In which one of those years was he not the best, and who was better?
     
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  39. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    And THIS is the reason Ladies and Gentleman is why we cannot compare Eras. Yes the competition was significantly lower back then with few participants and it was a lot easier! But thats not Laver's fault, its not Gonzales's fault! They played with what competition they had! its not like they got to choose, so their wins should count but at the same time they didnt have nearly the physicality and the work it takes to win the game today!! Since its become A LOT tougher! So thats why each era has to be respected and taken in its own sense. you cant compare because over a period of time things have changed. Will the Laver of 60's win a slam in today's game?? Ofcourse not!! But If he were a player of today he'd be putting hours into the gym and training like any other player today! So we should be thankful to guys like Laver and Gonzales and Tilden and lacoste who helped shape the game and inspire more people to come and play just like Federer and Nadal are doing today rather than comparing them because they played in two different worlds!!
     
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  40. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Why do you say it is tougher today? Today's top professional players have financial security, can sit down at the change of ends, don't have to play injured, travel around in thunderbirds and stay in gyms and cheap motels.

    What's clearly harder today is the media coverage, and the need for constant pressers with the players. The pros of the pre-open era just wanted more media coverage.
     
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  41. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    I think he means greater depth.

    Bottom line, those who say one player from one era is greater than another is not fair to either player. We all know that, given the matchup, Federer would probably trounce prime Laver pretty easily. He's just got more firepower, greater fitness... but that all came as a result of the sport's evolution. Laver didn't have that chance.

    Who knows if Fed would've been able to do this well if placed in Laver's era, without all the knowledge we have today about fitness, technique etc.

    Point being, GOAT is nonexistent.. but Federer is definitely among the best ever, period. That's indisputable, as is Laver's place, as is Gonzalez's.
     
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  42. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    There's no way you can dispute it from 1954-1957:

    1958: Sedgman wins the Wembley Pro and the big pro tournament in Australia, beating Gonzales in both tournaments. Gonzales wins the world pro tour against Hoad, and wins the US Pro and Tournament of Champions.

    1959: Hoad wins 15 out of 28 matches on the 4-man world pro tour against Gonzales (although Gonzales won the 4-man tour against Hoad, Cooper and Anderson). Hoad also wins the Tournament of Champions by beating Gonzales in the final, but had previously lost to Gonzales in the US Pro final.

    1960: Rosewall dominates the tournament scene, as Gonzales barely played any tournaments in 1960 after the ending of his 7-year contract with Kramer, but did dominate Rosewall, Segura and Olmedo on the 4-man world pro tour.

    1961: Rosewall wins the French Pro and Wembley Pro tournaments. Gonzales wins the US Pro, and wins the multi-round robin world pro tour, but no Rosewall on that tour this year.

    The way I see it, Gonzales was never toppled, despite the serious challenges from players like Segura, Sedgman, Hoad and Rosewall.
     
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  43. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can agree, for the most part. The game itself has improved, in terms of technological evolution, fitness etc., but that doesn't necessarily mean that the players of the past are better or worse than today's players.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  44. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    I give the "world best player" title to Gonzales in 1956, 1957, 1958. But 1960 and 1961? No way! In 1960 Rosewall won Wembley Pro and French Pro which were 2 important events, while Gonzales retired in May and came back in December. In 1961 once again Rosewall won the same 2 events while Gonzales won only Us Pro. Yes Gonzales had a good 4 man pro-tour head-to-head, but that was pro-tour. Nadal beat Federer more than vice versa, but it does not mean much in a large picture.

    I have 6, sorry, my bad. So his resume is not better than a guy named Sampras.

    You said something interesting and I want to dig deeper on this topic. Maybe you are right, pro tour was bigger than pro slam back then. BUT, why that happened and what does it mean? It means that there were so few players made livings by playing tennis, so 4 certain guys played against each other to death. It was so pathetic and funny at the same time. Imagine you are forced to see Federer and Nadal matches everyday in a long 365 days of a year, and the circle starts again in the next year and so on. My God I would find a gun and kill them both.

    The problem is, tennis was not big that age. It was a small sport with a few guys participated day in day out. What is the big deal if some guy won all the titles? Like I said before, it does not mean much.


    First: you just said Laver' 1962 was meaningless. So Laver won only ONE Grand Slam, nothing more.
    Second: Like I said before, it is great to see Federer and Nadal match one in a while, but it will be disaster to see 100 matches of them day in day out. When you played against one or two players all the time, you do not have enough encouragement to up your game or your skill. You stand in one place or even worse, you downgrade to a lesser player. Today players need to train hard 3-4 hours per day everyday in a year and every year in 10-15 long years, if they have any desire to win titles and go to top 10. I remember reading an article claim that Gonzales was a playboy at that time, much like Safin today. He was going around, coming to bars, chasing women and still be undisputed world number 1 for 8, i am sorry, 6 years. How could it be possible? Or because he and his buddies were not as great as you want me to believe?
     
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  45. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    For those of you not willing to read the absolute wall of BS posted by Mustard, here are some cliff notes

    - blah blah blah laver
    - blah blah blah gonzales
    - blah blah blah goat
    - blah blah blah kramer
    - blah blah blah 10000 tournaments
    - blah blah blah field of 4 players
    - blah blah blah 60s
    - blah blah blah amatuers

    LMFAO this guy is a complete ****ing joke
     
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  46. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    And now Mr Laver. You ignore my claim that Laver won so many tournament because so many of them are small tournaments. It is the only reasonable way to describe why he won so many titles. Yes he won big tournaments, but how many of them? ATP claim that Laver had won only 42 titles, maybe they have reason to do it?
    Players in the past can play to 40s for many reason, including things you said. But one important reason is the pressure back to that day was not that big compared to today. You win or you lose nobody care, except die hard fan and sport jounalists. Today you win a slam and you are in news headlines around the world. Pressure much bigger. You need to word harder and be challenged much more.

    I will come back to Rod Laver be the best player in 7 years later. But Gonzales' thing is a myth which can not be proved in a clear way, just by your opinion. For example, your statement is opposite with tennis experts, it show how objective your claim is and also how objective THEIR claim are. Laver won 200 tournament, many of them were mickey mouse are true fact. Rosewall, well, I dont care.
     
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  47. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It was semi retirement. But Gonzales dominated the 1960 world pro tour before that sabbatical:

    1. Pancho Gonzales 49-8
    2. Ken Rosewall 32-25
    3. Pancho Segura 22-28
    4. Alex Olmedo 11-44

    Using today's ranking criteria for the old pro tour of 1960 is an incorrect method. The big world pro tour was even bigger than the big pro tournaments.

    In 1961, it was a multiple round robin tour, with a final 4-man round robin at the end.

    Comparing it to today's era is silly and obviously the wrong thing to do. The criteria today is very different, because the big major tournaments are all important today, not head-to-head big pro tours.

    Sampras is a different era altogether. But Gonzales was the best player in the world for a longer period of time than Sampras.

    That's where the biggest money was in professional tennis back then. Tony Trabert, for example, got a guaranteed $80,000 to turn professional in late 1955 and have a big pro tour against the best professional player in Pancho Gonzales. Gonzales, despite being the best player in the world, was guaranteed far less, something around $15,000. This really angered Gonzales.

    Gonzales' biggest achievement in 1956 was this thrashing of Trabert on the world pro tour. Gonzales dominated the big tournaments as well, winning the Wembley Pro, US Pro and Tournament of Champions, even though Trabert got some revenge by beating Gonzales in 5 sets in the 1956 French Pro final. But the biggest Gonzales achievement was the world pro tour win.

    There were more than 4. Come on, stop exaggerating. And then the best amateurs would turn professional and make it more interesting. Trabert in late 1955, Rosewall in late 1956, Hoad in July 1957, Cooper and Anderson in late 1958, Olmedo in late 1959, Gimeno and MacKay in 1960, Laver in late 1962, Stolle and Ralston in late 1966 etc.

    You said I said it was "meaningless", not me. Laver was the dominant amateur player of 1962, but struggled a lot against Hoad and Rosewall when he first turned professional, to the point where Laver would have to learn how to play tennis all over again. This shows how far ahead the top professionals were by 1963, where even the dominant amateur champion gets battered at the start of his professional career by the top professional players.

    Oh, you did then, because your livelihoods depended on it. If you lost enough, the money started evaporating. Gonzales, Segura and Sedgman weren't multi-millionaires like today's top players. The professional game before the open era was a dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest. When Gonzales was the best player in the world, he needed to find a way to stay there, while all the other top pros desperately tried to topple Gonzales and take his place. Ashley Cooper didn't do too well as a professional, and he was off the pro tour by the end of 1962. Cooper had been the dominant amateur player of 1958, so it shows you how tough it was.

    When Gonzales turned professional in late 1949 to challenge the best professional player, Jack Kramer, he got destroyed 96-27 by Kramer on their world pro tour. Bobby Riggs, the promoter, told Gonzales that he was now "dead meat" as a pro tennis attraction, and was off future tours. Gonzales got bitter as hell after this, having previously been a happy-go-lucky character, and he was determined never to fail again once he got another chance to hit the big time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
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  48. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    How have I ignored it? As I've said, Laver won tournaments of all sizes, from small tournaments to the biggest tournaments, and 200 in all. Laver's 42 titles you mention, are ATP titles. Like how the ATP says that Connors won 109 titles, when it's really 149 once you include non-ATP titles. The ATP was formed in September 1972, by the way.

    The pressure was in keeping your pay packets and your livelihoods, having to play injured if there was a match, driving around yourselves and staying in gyms and cheap motels. I'd like to see how today's multi-millionaire players would cope with this pressure. Oh, and then there's the no sitting down at the change of ends. Sitting down at the change of ends didn't happen until 1973-1974.

    And I've already said that today's players have it harder with media pressure. The old pros of the past wanted more media attention than what they were getting, because it would mean more money in the pro game and help the sport as a whole.

    It is not a myth at all. Look at the world pro tours that Gonzales won, as well as the big pro tournaments that he won. Even Kramer, who wasn't exactly the best friend of Gonzales, always rooting for Gonzales' opponents, said that Gonzales was the best player who walked on the court from 1954 to 1961. Some people even make a case for Gonzales being the best player of 1952, although I give that year narrowly to Segura.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
    #48
  49. NGM

    NGM Semi-Pro

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    We are talking about something irrelevant to the main topic. What i want to say, in short, are:

    1) Pre-open era is an immature stage of tennis history.

    2) Tennis world was not well organized till late of 80s. Tennis evolved gradually decade by decade.

    3) You can not mention the dominant players in the pre-open era in the same breath with modern greats.

    I think in the next 20 years, modern tennis which started from 1968 will be considered mainstream of tennis history, and everything happened before that mark will be treated as a myth.


    Once again, it is not a fact but an opinion. Kramer has his opinion, Hoodjem has his opinion (he give 1960 and 1961 to Rosewall, by the way), you has your opinion, and so are the others (L'Équipe give 1961 to Rosewall). That disagreement just show how difficult to know exactly what happened at that time, we do not have any way to know for sure, and because of that it is a myth. I will stop argue with you about Gonzales.

    the discussion about "200" is more than enough. I made my point clear. Dozen of Laver title are small tournament which had only 4-8 participants. You can not cite it to argue against Federer. His 200 is not meaning much. So are his 19 "majors".
     
    #49
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    You should care about tennis history.
     
    #50

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