Rosewall & Laver

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Logic, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    Certainly Rosewall and Laver must be counted amongst the very greatest of all time - their achievements speak for themselves.

    What I want to know is - why is it that people don't give Rosewall as much praise as Laver? It seems to me that Rosewall's achievements are comparable, if not better than Laver's. Consider the following criteria:

    Amateur Majors:

    Rosewall - 4
    Laver - 6 (including a Grand Slam in '62)

    Pro Majors:

    Rosewall - 15 (including a Pro Slam in '63)
    Laver - 8 (including a Pro Slam in '69)

    Open Majors:

    Rosewall - 4 (6 if we include the WCT finals in '71 and '72)
    Laver - 5 (including a Grand Slam in '69)

    Now, I don't think the Amateur Majors hold much weight (comparatively), nor does Laver's Amateur Grand Slam in '62 - because clearly the Amateur field was weaker than the concurrent Pro field, which included Rosewall (indeed, Laver himself says that he spent much of his first year as a pro, '63, getting soundly beaten by Rosewall and Hoad). Even if we do consider Amateur Majors, Laver only leads Rosewall 6-4.

    So that leaves us with Pro Majors and Open Majors, where Rosewall has a record of (15 + 4/6) compared to Laver's (8 + 5).

    Is Laver's '69 Open Grand Slam really enough to overcome this deficit, compared to Rosewall, in terms of his overall legacy?

    The numbers seem to say that Rosewall was the more accomplished of the two players, so why doesn't he also get the recognition which Laver (rightly) does?
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver for peak play and Rosewall for consistency

    Fred Stolle, who ha dplayed against them a lot pointed out the real stuff: " When I play Laver,I know if he has a good day i just can´t beat him.But I will always have a chance if he is not playing at his level.With Rosewall, that simply does not happen.He sets a very high standart and keeps to it.I rather play Laver 100 times than Rosewall".Rosewall´s low return hurt him as a tall guy we could also add... ( as well as Stolle being Ken´s doubles partner for a while, but what he said makes full sense to me)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
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  3. Anti-Fedal

    Anti-Fedal Professional

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    It's important to note that at the age Laver won his calender's (24 and 31), Rosewall was banned at the same age and couldn't compete in the open majors.

    And whilst he was banned from the open majors, he won 9 consecutive pro slams he competed in and all the pro slams in 1963. Quite impressive.
     
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  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Rosewall dominated from 1960 to 1964 ( with Gonzales and maybe Hoad sometimes close) and Laver from 1965 to 1969.It is a close tie in 1970 but from 1971 on, the elder had muc more success than the younger.
     
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  5. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now that Rosewall dominated in 1964, is new to me. A 4-15 record in hth isn't exactly domination. Rosewall was to me clear pro Nr. 1 from 1961, when he surpassed Pancho Gonzalez (some say Gonzalez remained king because of the US tour) to 1963. In the years 1971 to 1975, both Laver and Rosewall were ranked close together, mostly in the range of 2/3-7/8. One newspaper expert picked Laver, the other Rosewall. Rosewall did better at the majors, Laver won more tournaments and did well in the DC finals. On the year end ranking of the ATP computer since 1973, it was also close. Laver was Nr. 4 end 1974, don't know at the moment which ATP ranking Rosewall had in 1974, but he was behind Laver in that ranking.
     
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  6. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Rosewall had better longevity but Laver was better at his peak. Depends which you prefer. Laver was in the pro ranks alot less time than Rosewall was, that contributed to him winning less pro majors.
     
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  7. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    Yes, but that's because Laver was younger than Rosewall. Surely he should have made up for it by winning a lot more open majors than Rosewall?
     
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  8. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    After 1969 the slams weren't the focus for Laver. Collecting majors wasn't seen in the same way as it is. Plus Rosewall had the greater longevity which I mentioned in my previous post.

    Many sources rate Laver's peak level higher than Rosewall's IIRC.
     
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  9. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    I read this a lot - and it may well be true - but what makes people say it (in terms of actual achievements)?

    I mean, both players dominated the Pro Tour and each won a Pro Slam in their "peak years" - so what separates them?
     
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  10. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Laver's pro slam counts as more IMO - it included the Wimbledon Pro so it had 4 majors.

    I don't think Laver has better achievements other than the Grand Slam. But peak level is something different.
     
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  11. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    OK, well that's what I'm asking: what exactly made Laver's "peak level" higher than Rosewall's?
     
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  12. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Word of mouth/written word. Laver's level of play seemed to respected the most. Perhaps it's simply Laver's power? If he got hot he could dominate and he had no shortage of touch either. I think Pancho might have been greater than both though, certainly peak level wise.

    It's just my opinion though, Rosewall despite being older beat Laver many times.
     
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  13. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    OK, fair enough.

    I was just wondering if there was anything in terms of just accomplishments during Rosewall and Laver's respective "peaks" which made people differentiate between them.

    It's hard to judge on opinions alone, though. After all, in terms of what "seems" the highest level, many people (including Laver and Kramer) believe Hoad to be the best of that group - and yet in terms of pure achievements, he's somewhat behind Laver, Rosewall and Gonzales.
     
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  14. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I don't understand how this poster can claim to have accumulated a pro majors count when there has been no consensus as to what these majors are. To explain, unlike today's standardized grand slam, events deemed to be important in Laver's and Rosewall's time were not constant.

    Yes, much of the time Wembley, US Pro and French Pro were the best attended events. But not always.

    So please let's not talk of these figures as if they are objective.

    And, as some have said, what also matters is the ratio of majors won to years in which the player competed. So while it is true that Rosewall cumulatively won more big pro events, it should not be ignored that Laver only played on the pro tour from 1963 until the start of the open era.
     
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  15. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    This is a valid point - but I'm just using the three "standard" Pro Majors to get a ball-park figure of the achievements of Rosewall and Laver on the Pro tour. Yes, this is a simplified approach, but that because I'm only aiming for a rough conclusion. I'm not saying Rosewall 15-8 Laver, ergo Rosewall is better than Laver. I'm just saying that Rosewall and Laver's achievements are comparable, so it's unfair that Rosewall doesn't get similar praise to that which Laver (rightly) gets.

    Sure, Laver had less time on the Pro tour than Rosewall, but conversely, he was younger than Rosewall at the start of the Open Era, so he had an advantage at the Open Majors compared to Rosewall. I think this somewhat balances things out.
     
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  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Logic, Thanks for opening this thread and for raising that key question.

    It's totally bizarre that Laver is always praised as the GOAT or a tough GOAT candidate (even by those who little know about tennis history and maybe think that Emerson was only a philosopher) while Rosewall who has a similar resume is still hardly considered a GOAT candidate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
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  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Hoad was not close to Rosewall in those years.
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    urban, Rosewall and Laver were about equal in 1964. Muscles won what most mattered in those years: the long world series. His colleagues considered him the top pro.

    Rosewall was ranked ahead of Laver in 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1975.

    Rosewall won more tournaments in 1971 and 1972.

    Rosewall was ranked by ATP No.8 in 1974 but you should consider that Muscles only played 7 tournaments that year thus he lost many average points for the computer list. Lance Tingay ranked Rosewall No.2 and Laver only No.7 because the latter did not have a result in the majors.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, you can't avoid to belittle Rosewall.

    It's debatable if Laver was better at his (guess you mean at their) peak. I'm not sure that Laver at his peak (1967) was stronger than Rosewall in his (1962, 63).

    Laver was longer in the amateur ranks where it was easier to amass majors. If Rosewall had turned pro only at 24 (as Laver did) he probably would have won more amateur majors than the Rocket.
     
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  20. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Logic, it seems that for some posters even Rosewall's 23 majors are too few ones...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
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  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, It's rather close if we include clay where Rosewall was stronger.
     
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  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, Many people are more impressed by a power player than by a more defensive player. But that does not mean that the former is stronger than the latter.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    CyBorg, Among the pros there was a consensus that the mentioned three pro events were mostly (or always if we just take the years 1960 to 1967) the three top pro tournaments.

    Rosewall won also more big events at all: amateur, pro and open majors altogether counted!
     
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  24. Anti-Fedal

    Anti-Fedal Professional

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    But Gonzalez wasn't overtaken in 1961 as No.1. He had been No.1 for the past seven years (1954-1960) and still won the the World Pro Tour and US Pro that year.
     
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  25. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Rookie

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    The two Grand Slams stick out like a sore thumb. It's as simple as that. No one else has done it. Yeah there's always the legitimate amateur/pro back and forth but no one else has done it; been able to win those particular 4 Majors 2x against their peers. On surfaces that often sucked from poor weather. And with them pretty much bookending his career, it makes them look even better in some eyes.
     
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  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Anti-Fedal, Pancho won the tour where Rosewall did not participate. Rosewall won the two biggest tournaments.
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Sparrowhawk, Yes the Grand Slam is the greatest feat in tennis. But don't forget that Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall and maybe Budge and Kramer likely would have achieved it too if open era had come earlier. When Rosewall was 24 and 31 (Laver's age in his GS years) he was not allowed to play Grand Slam tournaments.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Jack Crawford.Lost in the last set when he had won 3.The closest to win another GS
     
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  29. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Yes. But I don't know exactly what Crawford has to do with the probability of Rosewall & Co to win open Grand Slams.
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    "Would" or "could"?

    Would indicates that it was certain. Could indicates that it was possible.

    I believe that "could" is more logical. Look at Hoad in 1956.

    Actuality is rather hard to predict.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
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  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, You are right. My error, probably because I have slept only little recently and because I'm pretty tired from much posting on TT...

    But I would still say that those great pros would PROBABLY have won open Grand Slams.
     
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  32. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I think there are a number of reasons, but I think in the end it boils down to two factors

    1) Simple Facts for Simple Minds
    2) Right Place, Right Time

    To elaborate...

    Simple Facts for Simple Minds Tennis underwent a huge popularity boom after the start of Open Tennis, peaking between roughly 1975 and 1985. After that it went into a decline, and to try to encourage interest in the 1990's those responsible for publicising the sport looked for a simple metric to try to spark public interest. They chose Emerson's slam total as that metric, and Sampras's chase as the yardstick for who would be the tennis GOAT. Because tennis had declined so much, all those involved with tennis became complicit in the use of the metric, including those who knew tennis history was more complex. They wanted a simple metric for the by-now tennis indifferent public audience.

    In parallel with this the four Tennis Associations (Australia, France, Britain, US) had been scarred by the infighting and challenges to their authority following the change to Open Tennis, and moved to increase the 'branding' of their Open tournaments by increasing the money prizes. Combined with the declining interest in tennis, and therefore the departure of major tournament sponsors, these Open tournaments became relatively ever more important.

    Right Place, Right Time Coinciding with this hyping of slam total as the most metric, and the increasing relative importance of Open tournaments, the Internet appeared, together with the forums dedicated to discussing sports. These forums tend to be populated by young people with little experience of the history of the sport. This is particularly true of tennis as a minority sport. There is not a critical mass of older fans with a broader experience of the sport's history.

    As usual, when you get young fans, they want to believe that what they are watching is the best there has ever been, and fan wars follow. Anyone who wanted argue against Sampras (as GOAT) would then look around for counter-arguments. The counter-arguments for players like Borg, Lendl, McEnroe and Connors could not be simple, because of the changes in tennis, so instead they had to look for another Simple Fact. And the one that fell to hand was - Laver's Grand Slam. It had all the right attributes - it was simple, it was about slams, it was in the Open era (another Simple Fact) and easy to argue.

    So by being in the right place at the right time, Laver became the de-facto counter argument to the "Current Player (Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, you can add your own name!) is GOAT" argument.

    If the Open Era had started five years earlier, or five years later, Laver would have been seen quite diiferently.

    So Rosewall's 'misfortune' is to have been playing in the wrong places (pro tours) at the wrong time (pre-TV coverage). However he actually doesn't do too badly out of things. Because he is so much bound up with Laver's career, and managed to still have great success in the Open Era, his name is still bandied about. The player(s) who are grossly under-discussed are Gonzales and Kramer, because they are too far in the past for Simple Facts to be relevant.

    PS It is ironic that the hyping of the slam total during his career has in a way come back to bite Sampras. There is another thread about how he is now under-rated. A major reason is that the Simple Fact of his career, the slam total, has been quickly surpassed by Federer, and possibly soon by Nadal. A more nuanced analysis might be that the homogenisation of tennis surfaces makes it increasingly likely that a dominant player will find it easy to build up lots of slam wins, because what works on one surface is increasingly effective on others. If Sampras' career had been assessed by a more nuanced appraisal, then perhaps his achievements would not have been dissed so quickly. But that is water under the bridge now.
     
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  33. Logic

    Logic Semi-Pro

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    Thank you - this is a very well thought-out explanation of not only the initial issue I posed, but the more general question of why people consider particular achievement based-criteria.

    Kudos to you, my friend.
     
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  34. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Rookie

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    But the question was "why is it that people don't give Rosewall as much praise as Laver?" I gave the proper answer as to why Laver gets more credit. Historians can argue the perceived merits of the accomplishments but people in general look at those 2 Grand Slams. Rosewall could also have waited till he was 25 to turn pro... he did have that option. Tilden would not have likely accomplished it. Most players in his generation didn't play all the Majors. Otherwise you could say that Will would have accomplished it too. They just weren't as important back then and the travel time was consuming and expensive.
     
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  35. BobbyOne

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    Sparrowhawk, It's pretty unfair to blame Rosewall for turning pro early. If we only stay at how many GS tournaments the players actually have won, then you really must rank non-giant Emerson ahead of true giants, Gonzalez and Rosewall...

    If all GS tournaments would have been as important as they are today, Tilden would most probably have won the Grand Slam, probably even three to four times.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
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  36. Sparrowhawk

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    I'm not talking about fair or unfair. Of course it's unfair, but it would also be unfair to say what you did with Laver winning it at 24. I think you are misunderstanding me. Someone asked why Laver is usually put so far ahead of Rosewall, and I gave the correct answer as to why people rank him there... not whether it's fair or not. As for Tilden, he might have won the Grand Slam a few times. No one dominated tennis like Tilden, Lenglen and Wills. It's scary how many they could have won. Tilden was a late bloomer like Federer. He would have needed to wake up a bit earlier if thrust into modern expectations of winning the Grand Slam multiple times against the competition he would have faced if those tournaments were more important in there day.
     
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  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Sparrowhawk, I see that you neglect the fact that Laver won his GSs in an age of life when Rosewall was banned. But to understand tennis history we should consider this and similar facts. Otherwise Emerson is really a better player than Rosewall...
     
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  38. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Rookie

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    I'm not neglecting that fact. But most others do and it's why Laver is ranked much higher.
     
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  39. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You don't rank players on what ifs. Laver has the Grand Slam on his resume and Rosewall doesn't. On the other hand Rosewall has other things he has over Laver also. I can certainly see the arguments for them being equals.
     
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  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver and Rosewall have the same number of French, Laver has one more US Open and 4 Wimbledon titles that Rosewall does not.Rosewall has two more AO and two WCT titles.Rosewall couldn´t compete at the slams during his prime and Laver just about the same ( but to a lesser extent).

    When Rosewall and Laver both were pros, Rosewall beat Laver 6 out of 11 pro slams.Here they are:
    Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
    Runner-up 1963 French Championship Wood (i) Ken Rosewall 8–6, 4–6, 7–5, 3–6, 4–6
    Runner-up 1963 U.S. Championship Grass Ken Rosewall 4–6, 2–6, 2–6
    Runner-up 1964 French Championship Wood (i) Ken Rosewall 3–6, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6
    Winner 1964 Wembley Championship Indoors Ken Rosewall 7–5, 4–6, 5–7, 8–6, 8–6
    Winner 1964 U.S. Championship Grass Pancho Gonzales 4–6, 6–3, 7–5, 6–4
    Runner-up 1965 French Championship Wood (i) Ken Rosewall 3–6, 2–6, 4–6
    Winner 1965 Wembley Pro Indoors Andrés Gimeno 6–2, 6–3, 6–4
    Runner-up 1965 U.S. Championship Grass Ken Rosewall 4–6, 3–6, 3–6
    Runner-up 1966 French Championship Wood (i) Ken Rosewall 3–6, 2–6, 12–14
    Winner 1966 Wembley Championship Indoors Ken Rosewall 6–2, 6–2, 6–3
    Winner 1966 U.S. Championship Grass Ken Rosewall 6–4, 4–6, 6–2, 8–10, 6–3
    Winner 1967 French Championship Wood (i) Andrés Gimeno 6–4, 8–6, 4–6, 6–2
    Winner 1967 Wembley Championship Indoors Ken Rosewall 2–6, 6–1, 1–6, 8–6, 6–2
    Winner 1967 U.S. Championship Grass Andrés Gimeno 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 7–5
    Winner 1967 Wimbledon Pro * Grass Ken Rosewall 6–2, 6–2, 12–10
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Now, Rosewall has 6 pro slam finals won against Laver + 1 FO+2 WCT= 9 wins

    Laver has 5 pro slams+1 FO= 6 wins

    So, it really is damn close.Rosewall was nº 1 from 1961 to 1964 and I rate him the world´s nº 1 in 1970.That is 5 full years.Laver was from 1965 to 1969, that means 5 full years as well.of course, the 1969 slam ( and in minor ways the 1962) is something that no male or female has already achieved.
     
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  42. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Rookie

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    That's fine but others disagree with you as far a No. 1 for particular years. Many have Laver over Rosewall in '64 but surely it is debatable. The thing is, those two will forever be linked intractably as two of the greatest players of all time.
     
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  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Sparrowhawk, I understand.
     
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  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, It's totally important to consider in which circumstanced players have won titles and other players have not won them!

    Laver has 11 GS titles on his resume and Gonzalez only has 2. Do you really believe that Rod is so much better than Pancho???
     
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  45. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Thanks for that list!

    But you made a little error: Laver has won 3 "AO" and 2 "US Open".
     
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  46. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I virtually agree.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
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  47. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Laver beat Rosewall also at US pro in 1964 (and at US pro 1969), both in semifinals.
     
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  48. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    No I don't because Pancho won many pro majors and h2h tours which were even more important.

    I accept that Rosewall could have won a Grand Slam, but I can't rank him as if he did. It's just something Laver has over him. Rosewall has his larger number of majors, longevity and WCT wins though.
     
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  49. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    There are 3 reasons:

    1. Rosewall was often overshadowed during his career (i.e. by Hoad in 1956 when the latter almost won the CYGS, by Gonzales in the late 1950s in the pros, and by Laver for much of the 1960s). A guy who is often considered #2 will not be as well regarded as one is considered a long-term #1, like Tilden/Gonzales/Laver/Sampras/Federer were.

    2. Rosewall never won Wimbledon, whereas Laver won it 4 times (5 if we count the Wimbledon Pro). And we cannot say Rosewall didn't have his chances at Wimbledon/Wimbledon Pro - he lost in the final 5 times!

    3. Laver won the CYGS twice, Rosewall never.

    Frankly speaking you can't rate Rosewall ahead of Laver. Even BobbyOne only rates them as equal...:twisted:
     
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Not bad agreeing from time to time.
     
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