Roger : best ever, The four of us? That’s a really difficult call.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by tennissportsrog, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I semi-understand what you're saying, i.e. that Wimbledon wasn't the pinnacle pre-Open Era because many of the top players were not there (as they had turned pro).

    Nevertheless, it was the pinnacle for amateur players. Thus Rosewall, in 1954 and 1956, played in the final of the most prestigious tournament available to him. He lost on both occasions, against an old man who had often choked in W finals before (Drobny) and his peer Hoad, whom he beat a few months later to deny him the Grand Slam at the US Championships 1956.

    Unfortunately, despite winning 2 AOs, 1 FO, 1 USO and the Davis Cup during his successful amateur period, he could not win the most prestigious amateur title of all i.e. Wimbledon.

    I'm not sure that's true. I think players from the 1920s would recognise that Federer has had no chance to win the Davis Cup as he is from a nation with not enough strong backup to win the tournament. Most of the greats in that era were US/French/Aussie/British so they had a great chance to win the Davis Cup competing for a strong team.

    Thus, had an exceptional major-winning player (i.e. Federer) emerged from a country whose team could not possibly win Davis Cup, they would still have considered him an all-time great.

    It's very close to impossible.

    He won all the big events except Wimbledon, yes. There he had an appalling 0-5 record in the finals.

    Laver and Federer won all the big events, and were dominant and multi-talented players than Rosewall. There is no way I can ever consider Rosewall as GOAT ahead of those two titans.

    I have been generous by moving Rosewall up from 6th to 3rd in my GOAT list, maybe I will move him back down a few places. (I currently have him above Sampras who won Wimbledon 7 times!)

    Gonzales is a different case to Rosewall. The years when he was allowed to compete at Wimbledon, he was hardly winning anything of note and was thus not a top player. Thus we cannot have expected him to Wimbledon during these periods, and no blame can be laid at his door for not doing so.
    (I don't consider Gonzales GOAT either due to his lack of success on clay, but that's a different matter...)

    Rosewall on the other hand was winning everything else, as an amateur or in the Open Era, but could just never get the job done at the cathedral of tennis, despite consistently reaching the final. Five finals and no wins is simply not good enough for a man to be proclaimed Greatest Of All Time. Those who say he is GOAT have too low standards...
     
  2. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Remember that Rosewall was very talented, winning the French Pro on clay and then Wembley on wood a few weeks later. He defeated Laver several time on the two most polarized surfaces: wood and clay. You are free to discount him for not winning Wimbledon, but he still has a good enough resume in term of dominance, polyvalence, consistency and longevity.

    And he looks awesome (in white): [​IMG]
     
  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    In the specific category of longevity, he reigns supreme.

    Rosewall is the longevity GOAT.

    1953 Ken Rosewall (1/8 ) Ken Rosewall (2/8 )
    1968 Open era tennis begins Ken Rosewall (5/8 )
    1971 Ken Rosewall (7/8 )
    1972 Ken Rosewall (8/8 )
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  4. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Carlo, I agree. And Phoenix has never admitted that the ten year absence from Wimbledon is an important factor to judge Rosewall at W.
     
  5. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Carlo, You will be surprised maybe: I agree with practically all you wrote. I'm a Darwin follower against those who claim an intelligent design...

    I just meant that at the human beings the survival of the fittest should be moderated by cultur and intelligence. Every race (if I'm still allowed to use that term) has the equal right to live and to prosper.
     
  6. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, Your aggression against me brings you to wrong thinking. I never said that Wimbledon is not a major of 1971!!!

    Please note: I'm not an idiot!

    My top four 1971 majors: Wimbledon, US Open, AO and WCT finals

    Please, Federer fanatics, stop your aggression against Federer critics!
     
  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, I did already know. Thanks.
     
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    forzamilan, And I find your agression obnoxious... So it's 1:1...
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Carlo, Thanks. Your explanations are usually much longer than mine. That's maybe the reason why some posters accept your arguments rather than mine...
     
  10. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, French Open in 1970, 1971 and 1972 did not have a full field. The two strongest claycourters of that time, Laver and Rosewall did not compete.
     
  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Does anyone know where is the post with Sgt. John's original list?
     
  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix, If I would say you are very stubborn, it would be a huge euphemism!

    Just for your information: Your GOAT Federer has won 23 big titles (17 GS and 6 Master Cups, if I recall well). Your NON-GOAT Rosewall has won 57 big titles (23 singles majors, 24 doubles majors, 1 mixed major, 2 WCT finals, 3 Davis Cups, 3 Kramer Cups, 1 World Cup). Vive la difference!
     
  13. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    No, no it's cause your statements are preposterous.
     
  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, Thanks a lot.

    Rosewall made the Channel Slam three times in a row from 1960 to 1962, similary to Borg's feat. But there is a difference: Borg had two full weeks for travelling and adapting his game from the slowest surface to the fastest, while Rosewall had only one or two days for that!! The Wembley final was held only one week after the Paris final. All those six events had a 16 man field of strong players including Gonzalez and Hoad.

    That feat I rank as Rosewall's very greatest achievement!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  15. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Federer has an Olympic gold in doubles, IIRC you value the Olympics?

    Doubles was played far more frequently in Rosewall's time, it's just not a priority for the modern guys. The Davis cup is a team event, Federer can't win it by himself...the Kramer cup and the World Cup don't exist now. I won't argue with you if you say Rosewall is a better doubles player than Federer. However I believe this discussion is more concerned with singles competition.

    I am however impressed with the older players who found so much time for doubles. Mcenroe had an exceptional doubles career I believe? It's a shame there's not so much variety nowadays.
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, I forgot the Olympics.

    Rosewall (and maybe the other greats of older times) would have won even more singles majors if he would not have played doubles.
     
  17. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    It would depend on whether all of them stopped playing doubles regularly, or whether just one of them did.

    I agree Rosewall would have won more singles majors if only he had stopped playing doubles, and the other greats had continued to play them.

    However, if all the other greats stopped playing doubles as well, then they would all be equally rested for singles play, thus nothing would have changed much from what happened in reality.
     
  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix, This time I agree. But in 1970 Muscles would have had better chances against Newcombe at Wimbledon if he had not played as a 35 years one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...AND THAT IS WHY THEY CALLED HIM....POCKETS!!!!
    Great picture
     
  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I guess you are the only one who calls him pockets...
     
  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Muscles.
    MUSCLES.
    MUSCLES.
     
  22. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Darwin did not believe that "superior" races SHOULD exterminate "inferior" races, but rather that they WOULD do so.
    Darwin himself opposed slavery and was generally kindly and charitable.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Me... and ALL HIS PRO PEERS wuthout any exception
    In that photo you could see how a very young Rosewall was already very much concerned in the safety of his pockets
    In fact he is the only one doing so in the picture...
     
  24. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    His rivals had only two days too, and Borg's rivals had two weeks too. None on them had an advantage nor a disadvantage against their opponents.
     
  25. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    In SgtJohn's list, you can see at the left of each major its weight. When he considered that some majors were about equal he gave them the same weight, with each year the sum of the weights equal to 4. Therefore you can extract Rosewall (weighed) wins from SgtJohn's list.

    In my incomplete and old (in 2007 so I have perhaps slightly changed my mind but not updated this list) list, http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=2840980&postcount=45, I didn't put weights and was sometimes undecided.

    About the 4 Slam tourneys in 1971, except Wimby, none had a full field :

    In the 1971 US Open were absent 5 of the Top10 WCT players that is Laver, Rosewall, Drysdale, Emerson and Gimeno.

    At Roland Garros were missing 16 WCT players (out of around 32) including Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Okker, Drysdale, Emerson, Gimeno (injured Roche), ...

    In the 1971 AO, there were absolutely none of the independent pros so no Nastase, no Kodes, no Franulovic, no Richey, no Graebner, no Barthès (and Smith was still took by the Army : once he had won the 1970 Masters he didn't come back before circa April (possibly in the Carolinas International at Charlotte), no other independents : only WCT players and local players entered in the Australian that year.

    This is why some (including me) consider that the WCT Finals or the Italian Champs (or even other events) can compete with the more or less 3 depleted Slam events.
     
  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Flash, You "forget" a tiny aspect: Rosewall won ALL the six events while no opponent of him has won any. Even more: No runner up of Paris was able to reach the final at Wembley. This shows that it was difficult to adapt one's game so quickly, and Muscles was this who adapted best. Similary the Borg case.
     
  27. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    Like how Federer won events in 2004 - 2007, total domination :)
     
  28. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Bobby, why the quotation mark?

    My post did not removed anything to Rosewall. I simply pointed that his feat was not more difficult because he has less time to adapt, as his opponents had less time to. Borg's feat wasn't more easy, because his opponents had more time to adapt too. In each case, they were the only one which were able to do it.
     
  29. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I do remember Bergelin stating that right after winning the FO, Borg was awful, just god awful on grass. They would go to some club in England and Borg would do nothing but practice for two weeks.

    If Borg had been required to play in the first few days after the FO, he would have lost in the first round.

    (I'll look for that video.)
     
  30. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Well, I would say that we don't know that Borg would have definitely lost had he only had two days of prep versus two weeks, but the transition would have definitely been tougher for all players. On the Rosewall comparison, keep in mind that the players were playing a lot on grass year round in the early 1960's. So, they were already quite accustomed to playing on grass courts when they made the shift from red clay to grass. Meanwhile, Borg would not play in any grass court tune ups before Wimbledon. So, he would often win the only grass tournament of the year for him and many other players at the time, Wimbledon. He was doing that at a time when there were plenty of very tough clay court specialists and grass court specialists too. So, it's tough to isolate just the two day break and say that Rosewall had the tougher transition to make relative to Borg. I would say that both the Rosewall and Borg feats are incredibly impressive. John Lloyd that there were players that would have won against Borg, but then they "looked across the and saw that it was Bjorn Borg staring at them from across the net". John Lloyd would practice with Borg at a private club (Cumberland I believe was the name). He said that would keep hitting on the grass courts until he would "get the groove..get the groove". Bergelin mentioned Borg's serving practice in particular before the 1976 tourney and said that Borg serve was getting "pretty good", whereas it was not a big weapon in prior years. Yes, it did become "pretty good"! Bergelin was masterful in molding the young Borg, especially since he had been a extremely good player himself (top 10 at one time). No matter what, all the critics of Borg were the ones shocked when he went on to win 3, 4, and then 5 Wimbledons in a row, before losing in his 6th straight final.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    borg number one, I doubt that the old pros in these years have played many grass court events, at least not in the months just before Paris.
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Didn' t pros play Boston on grass and some aussies on grass?
     
  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, the Boston event was held only since 1964. There were no grass court events in the months leading to Paris and Wembley.
     
  34. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    BobbyOne, how about late in the year or in the first half of the year? I'm not thinking of just the months immediately prior to Paris. If Rosewall played in say at grass courts events on grass courts during the early 1960's, you have a different situation than Borg in 1978-1980. Yet, if Ken Rosewall wasn't playing on grass much at all during the year, then the "adjustment" to grass from clay would be more severe for him. Bjorn Borg was not playing in any grass court events during the year besides Wimbledon. He only practiced after the French Open on private grass courts.
     
  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    borg number one: good point.
     
  36. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks BobbyOne, I appreciate it.
     
  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    borg number one, Your appreciation tastes for me like honey. Thanks.
     
  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Legend says it that Borg asked help from Ilie Nastase to improve his serve, right before the Wimbledon of 76...well, Nastase helped him, and paid it in the final.Borg pounded him in three sets to win his frist title there.It is pretty unbelievable to win your frist Wimbledon final in straigh sets, specially against such a player as Nastase.
     
  39. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    You sound like a teen age guy or girl. I wouldn't have typed something like this after school. Looks like you are mentally immature! No wonder your posts are what they are, juvenile rants
     
  40. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Notice how a certain some one didn't even bother to reply to this statement. Point proven.
     
  41. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    That's interesting. Listen to Bergelin talking about Borg's serving practice before the 1976 Wimbledon that he won without losing a set. He mentions that Borg was practicing his serve for about 2 hours per day. (from 8:40)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoB9KnKn-vA
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borgie was so good that he didn´t win a first Wimbledon.He won a frist Wimbledon....and a srecond, a thirdr, a frouth and a frith...
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Boston, like most US summer circuit events (Indianapolis,North Conway,Washington) was played on the same surface as the Open.So, till 74 I guess it was played on grass, and then it kept with clay till well into the 80´s ( and way after the Open was moved to Flushing´s hard courts).At least, that´s my recollection.
     
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Outstanding post, Carlo. In-depth historical analysis like this is just what the forum needs.
     
  45. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Another great post and I agree that this is a problem for older players like Rosewall and Gonzalez: they are being judged by modern standards and will likely always be judged that way. The pro scene that they played in -- and which had all the best players -- for a long time was "swept under the rug" and dismissed as if it didn't even exist. And that problem is still with us. The pro game of the time is still not as well known as it should be; and many if not most fans, if they look at the past at all, simply go the list of the Grand Slam championships and assume that those were the most important events of the time -- not even looking at Davis Cup which was the top amateur event of the time but which barely registers today for the modern fan. That's another way in which Rosewall will be judged by modern standards, unfortunately -- except by those who know his history exceptionally well.
     
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    This is still wrong. See Carlo's post above describing how Wimbledon in the 1950s was not as important as Davis Cup and only in the 1960s was it considered more important than Forest Hills.

    Davis Cup was the ultimate amateur event in the 1950s and in that Rosewall succeeded brilliantly.
     
  47. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you. However the Davis Cup is difficult to include in comparisons of single players because it is a team event. Winning or not winning the Davis Cup may say nothing of a given player abilities.
     
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Yeah Davis Cup is always a little tricky to evaluate because of the team element. But it was always paramount in past decades, in evaluations of the best singles players for the year. There was no avoiding it; no thought of avoiding it.

    I guess it depends on what the individual player did in the Davis Cup ties. If he lost all his matches, then it counts against him. If he won them all, then it counts for him.

    No pressure can compare with the the pressure of Davis Cup back then. Performance under that kind of pressure was the ultimate test.
     
  49. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I never denied that Rosewall succeeded in Davis Cup. However, that is a team event and should not be used as the basis for ranking the GOAT contenders. Otherwise we would have lots of reasonably good Americans and Aussies appearing high up on GOAT lists just because they had great Davis Cup records.

    Wimbledon was still tops for individuals.
     
  50. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    So Rosewall could handle that pressure and yet could still not win in two Wimbledon finals in the amateur era?

    Why does everyone keep making excuses for his W defeats? It's almost as if you guys want him to be a flawless GOAT contender.

    Newsflash: he's not.
     

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