The most dominant year of any male player in history

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,546
    I would have to go with Laver's 1967 year. Won the Pro Grand Slam and also Pro Wimbledon. 19 tournaments in total that year.

    Next would be Laver's 1969 year. Won the Open Grand Slam. 18 tournaments in total that year.

    Honourable Mention years
    -------------------------
    Wilding 1913 (Won the top grass, clay and indoor titles in the world)
    Tilden 1921 (Won French open equivalent - World clay court title, Wimbledon and US Open)
    Connors 1974
    McEnroe 1984
    Borg 1980
    Lendl 1986, 1987
    Budge 1938
    Federer 2004, 2006, 2007

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
    #1
  2. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Add Fed 2005+2006 to honorable mention and that is about it.
     
    #2
  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,546
    Yes - forgot to put in Federer 2004, 2006 & 2007

    3 Slams in 1 year - 3 times! and the last 2 of those years also making the French Open final.
     
    #3
  4. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,408
    Just out of curiosity, how many times did Laver lose in 1967? Did he play any tours in addition to tournaments (obviously, that would inflate his number of losses)? How detailed are the statistics that we actually have about Laver's 1967 season?
     
    #4
  5. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,639
    You have to consider the 1984 season when Jonny Mac went 82-3 even though he lost that match to Lendl at the FO that cost him the Grand Slam.
     
    #5
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Borg in 1978 has to be considered also. He won the French and Wimbledon plus he holds the possible record for the Open Era of percentage of Games Won with 66.18% which is even ahead of Johnny Mac in 1984.

    Frank Sedgman in 1952 was 103-6 possibly as high as 112-6, winning 16 tournaments out of 22. He won the Wimbledon and U.S. Championship and so far in the Pre Open era holds the record for percentage of Games Won with 66.82.

    Budge in 1938 was super but he did lose at least five times that year and I don't think he played that much because of all the boat travel he had that year. The Grand Slam obviously was superb but I don't know if he won that many tournaments that year.

    Another dominant year would be Tony Trabert in 1955 when I believe he won 18 tournaments plus the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championship. He may have had only seven losses all year.

    The latter three is hard to rate since they didn't play all the best players but they were dominant years and should be up for consideration.

    For pure dominance, perhaps Sedgman's and Trabert's years rank ahead of Budge for the amateur era. It depends on your definition of dominance.

    Rosewall in 1963 is to be considered because he won the Pro Grand Slam. I don't know if he won that many tournaments considering that he was touring against Rod Laver a good portion of the year.

    Rosewall in 1962 may be a better choice considering he won 9 of 15 tournaments that year plus two Pro majors. His winning percentage and Games Won percentage was also excellent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
    #6
  7. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,263
    nobody mentioned Wilander 88? Come on...
     
    #7
  8. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,546
    Wilander

    1988. Yes you are right. However, he did 'only' win 6 tournaments that year including the 3 majors. Definitely a great year though.
     
    #8
  9. AndrewTas

    AndrewTas Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    109
    Laver's 1967 record
    He lost 26 times, including 19 in tournaments.

    Tournaments
    Played 33
    Won 19
    Runner-Up 5
    Singles Win-Loss 81-19

    Australasian Pro Tour 7-4
    Other Pro Tour Matches 6-3

    Year Win-Loss 94-26

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

    Australasian tour

    January 31 1967
    Toowoomba QLD

    Defeated Gonzales 46 63 64

    February 6 1967
    Rockhampton QLD

    Defeated Gonzales 63 810 75

    February 7-8 1967
    Brisbane

    Defeated Ralston 1210 06 62

    Defeated Gonzales 62 57 97

    February 18-19 1967
    Melbourne

    Lost to D Ralston 86 26 64

    Lost to Gonzales 62 64

    February 21 1967
    Christchurch

    Defeated Ralston 13-11 6-4

    February 22 1967
    Dunedin

    Defeated Gonzales 6-0 7-9 13-11

    February 24 1967
    Auckland

    Defeated Gonzales 6-0 6-3

    February 1967
    Auckland

    Lost to Ralston 6-1 5-7 6-2
    Lost to Gonzales 8-6 4-6 7-5

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

    March 1-5 1967
    New York Pro Champs 34st. Armory

    1R d. Stolle 6-3 8-6
    SF d. Buchholz 9-7 6-8 6-3
    F d. Gonzales 7-5 14-16 7-5 6-2

    DF Gonzales/Ralston d Laver/Stolle 7-5 3-6 6-3

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

    March 8-12 1967
    San Juan Pro Champs

    1R d. Ralston 6-2 6-2
    SF d. Buchholz 9-7 6-1
    F d. Gimeno 6-4 3-6 6-1

    DF Laver/Stolle d Buchholz/Davies 6-3 6-4

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

    March 15-19 1967
    Orlando Pro Champs

    1R d. Davies 7-5 6-8 7-5
    SF d. Ralston 7-5 4-6 8-6
    F d. Gonzales 6-4 2-6 6-0

    DF Laver/Stolle d Barthes/Gimeno 4-6 7-5 6-1

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

    March 21-26 1967
    Planters Pro Challenge Cup Miami Beach

    1R d. Davies 5-7 6-4 6-2
    SF d. Stolle 5-7 6-0 6-3
    F d. Gimeno 6-3 6-3

    DF Laver/Stolle d Gonzales/Ralston 6-4 3-6 6-4

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

    March 27-28 1967
    Boston Pro Champs

    1R d. Stolle 10-8
    SF d. Ralston 10-4
    F d. Rosewall 6-4 6-0

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

    March 30-31 1967
    Montreal Pro Champs

    1R d. Barthes 10-7
    SF d. Gonzales 10-7
    F d. Ralston 17-15 6-0

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

    April 5 1967
    BBC 2 Pro Champs Wembley World Pro Champs

    1R Lost to Ralston 10-7

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

    April 6-9 1967
    Paris Pro Champs

    1R BYE
    SF d. Stolle 6-3 6-3
    F d. Rosewall 6-0 10-8 10-8

    DF Laver/Rosewall d Barthes/Stolle 6-3 6-4

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

    April 1967
    Brussels Pro Champs

    1R Lost to Ralston 6-3 2-6 8-6

    No. 3 Lost to Barthes 6-4 4-6 6-4

    DF Ralston/Stolle d Barthes/Laver 8-6 9-7

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

    April
    French pro tour

    Lille
    d. Barthes 6-3 9-11 6-4
    Laver/Ralston d Barthes/Stolle 8-7

    Besancon
    d. Barthes 4-6 6-4 8-6
    Laver/Stolle d Barthes/ Ralston 8-3

    Strasbourg
    d. Stolle 6-4 9-7
    Ralston/Stolle d Barthes/Laver 6-1 7-5

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

    April
    Lyon Pro Champs

    1R d. Ralston 7-5 6-2
    F Lost to Stolle 6-1 3-6 6-4

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

    April
    Marseille Pro Champs

    1R d. Stolle 6-4 6-3
    F d. Ralston 6-4 6-3

    D Laver/Stolle d Barthes/Ralston 6-3 11-9

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

    Toulouse
    d. Barthes 6-1 6-4

    Bordeaux
    d. Stolle 4-6 7-5 6-1

    Remmes
    d. Ralston 2-6 6-3 10-8

    Laver won the French tour

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

    May 10-14 1967
    Pacific Pro Champs San Diego

    1R BYE
    QF d. Barthes 6-4 6-3
    SF d. Buchholz 6-3 6-1
    F d. Ralston 6-4 12-10

    DF Laver/Stolle d Buchholz/Davies 10-5

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

    May 24-28 1967
    Los Angeles Champs

    RR
    d. Anderson 8-4
    d. Segura 8-3
    d. Davies 8-6
    d. Stewart 8-3
    Lost to Ralston 8-6
    d. MacKay 8-4

    SF d. Buchholz 6-1 6-4
    F Lost to Rosewall 6-2 2-6 7-5

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

    June 1-4 1967
    Pacific Coast Champs Berkeley

    1R BYE
    QF d. Davies 6-0 6-1
    SF d. Gimeno 6-8 6-1 6-4
    F Lost to Rosewall 4-6 6-3 8-6

    DF Ralston/Rosewall d Laver/Stolle 2-6 6-4 6-2

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

    June 6-9 1967
    Madison Square Garden Pro Champs

    1R BYE
    QF d. Stolle 7-9 6-3 6-4
    SF d. Ralston 6-1 6-3
    F d. Rosewall 6-4 6-4

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

    June 14-18 1967
    US Hardcourt Champs St.Louis

    1R d. Horwitz 6-2 6-2
    QF Lost to Stolle 6-3 6-4

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

    June 21-25 1967
    Newport Beach Champs

    1R BYE
    QF d. Davies 3-6 6-4 6-0
    SF d. Gimeno 6-3 6-3
    F Lost to Rosewall 6-3 6-3

    DF Laver/Stolle d Ralston/Rosewall

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

    July 1-4 1967
    World Pro Champs Oklahoma

    1R BYE
    QF d. Segura 6-1 6-0
    SF d. Gimeno 6-1 3-6 6-3
    F d. Rosewall 6-2 3-6 6-4

    DF Ralston/Rosewall d Laver /Stolle 10-8

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

    July 6-9 1967
    Cincinnati Champs
    1R unknown or BYE
    QF d. Olmedo 6-0 8-6
    SF Lost to Gimeno 3-6 6-3 6-4

    No. 3 d. Ralston 6-1 7-5

    DF Laver/Stolle d Ralston/Rosewall
    4-6 8-6 7-5

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

    July 11-16 1967
    US Pro Champs Longwood C.C.

    1R d. Olmedo 6-1 6-2
    QF d. Ayala 6-1 6-2
    SF d. Stolle 4-6 6-2 6-3
    F d. Gimeno 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-5

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

    July 18-23 1967
    Newport Casino RR

    d. Davies 31-23
    Lost to MacKay 31-24
    d. Stolle 31-28
    Lost to Gimeno 31-30

    Final stages RR
    d. Buchholz 31-16
    d. Gimeno 31-27
    d. Rosewall 31-20

    Final standings
    1 Laver 93 points

    DF Laver/Stolle d Ralston/Rosewall 31-27

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

    July 27-30 1967
    Binghamton Champs

    1R d. Buchholz 6-0 12-10
    QF d. Davies 8-6 6-2
    SF d. Stolle 6-3 8-6
    F d. Gimeno 6-1 6-3

    DF Barthes/Gimeno d Laver/Stolle 6-3 6-4

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

    August 9-13 1967
    Colonial Champs Fort Worth

    QF d. Olmedo 6-2 6-4
    SF d. Gonzales 9-7 6-3
    F d. Ralston 8-6 6-0

    DF Laver/Stolle d Olmedo/Segura 4-6 6-2 6-2

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

    August 25-28 1967
    Wimbledon World Champs

    1R d. Stolle 6-4 6-2
    SF d. Gimeno 6-3 6-4
    F d. Rosewall 6-2 6-2 12-10

    DF Gimeno/Gonzales d Laver/Stolle 6-4 14-12

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

    South African pro tour

    September 1-6 1967
    Transvaal Pro Champs
    (Pretoria Benoni and Klerksdorp)

    1R BYE or unknown
    QF d. Barthes 6-2 7-9 6-3
    SF Lost to Gimeno 6-4 3-6 6-4

    No.3 Lost to Rosewall 6-3 6-2

    DF Laver/Stolle d Diepraam/MacKay 6-2 6-4

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

    September 4 1967
    Coca-Cola Challenge Matches Johannesburg

    Lost to Stolle 2-6 6-3 7-5

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

    September 7-10 1967
    Natal Pro Champs Durban

    1R unknown or BYE
    QF d. MacKay 6-1 6-2
    SF Lost to Stolle 6-3 3-6 6-1

    No. 3 d. Gimeno 6-3 6-3

    DF Laver/Stolle d Barthes/Gimeno 6-2 7-5

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

    September 11 1967
    Border Champs East London

    1R unknown or BYE
    QF d. Davies 8-3
    SF Lost to Stolle 10-8

    No.3 d. Rosewall 8-5

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

    September 12 1967
    Eastern Province Champs Port Elizabeth

    1R BYE or unknown
    QF d. Hoad W/O
    SF Lost to Gimeno 8-2

    No.3 d. Stolle

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

    September 13-16 1967
    Western Province Champs Rondebosch and Cape Town

    1R BYE or unknown
    QF d. MacKay 6-2 6-1
    SF Lost to Stolle 6-4 6-3

    DF Laver/Stolle d Buchholz/Rosewall 8-6 6-3

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

    September 19-23 1967
    Johannesburg Champs

    1R BYE or unknown
    QF d. Barthes 8-6 6-2
    SF d. Buchholz 6-2 6-4
    F d. Gimeno 6-1 8-6

    DF Laver/Stolle d Davies/Rosewall 6-3 6-3

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

    September 24 1967
    Swaziland tour matches Mbabane

    Lost to Rosewall 6-2 8-6
    Laver/Stolle d Gimeno /Rosewall 6-2 10-8

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

    October 11-16 1967
    French Pro Champs Paris Coubertin

    1R BYE or unknown
    QF d. MacKay 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-4
    SF d. Stolle 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4
    F d. Gimeno 6-4 8-6 4-6 6-2

    DF Barthes/Gimeno d Laver/Stolle 6-3 6-4

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

    October 17-18 1967
    Prague Pro Champs

    1R d. Buchholz 7-5 3-6 6-1
    F Lost to Ralston 7-5 6-1

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

    October 23-28 1967
    London Pro Indoor Champs Wembley

    1R bye
    QF d. MacKay 6-3 6-1
    SF d. Davidson 6-3 3-6 6-2 7-5
    F d. Rosewall 2-6 6-1 1-6 8-6 6-2

    DF Laver/Stolle d Buchholz/Hoad 7-5 6-3 6-4

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

    November 2 1967
    Nice Pro Match
    Lost to Gimeno 61 46 62
     
    #9
  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Mac in 1984 I think had the highest winning percentage in the history of the gameL 82-3.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #10
  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,372
    Great stats Andrew, as always. If i count it right, the pros in the 60s played in 49 different cities. With the travel facilities not near as good as they are today, the travelling alone must have been quite hard. Air travel was still quite limited and not without danger. If i remember it right, Laver escaped a near airplane disaster, flying to Amsterdam in 1962, hen he was in the middle of winning the Grand Slam.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #11
  12. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Chicago
    I consider there to have been five "Grand Slam"-equivalent years:

    *Bill Tilden, 1921
    *Don Budge, 1938
    *Ken Rosewall, 1963
    *Rod Laver, 1967
    *Rod Laver, 1969

    These are the five years in which a player won (a) the major British tournament, (b) the major American tournament, and (c) the major clay-court tournament in continental Europe. Wilding in 1913 cannot compare because of the absence of a U.S. title, though H.L. Doherty should receive an honorable mention for his achievement of winning both Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships for the first time in 1903, when there was no "major" European clay-court event (just many smaller ones). Doherty was, at the time, the defending Olympic singles champion--having won in Paris in 1900--so this could perhaps count.
     
    #12
  13. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    ...And Laurie won Davis Cup in 1903 AND every indoor tourney (especially Queens for the third straight year -- he retired with this title in 1906 having won it six straight years) AND every clay-court tourney. He won every tourney he ever entered AND he won every match he played that year.

    Laurie Doherty in 1903 won absolutely everything in blow-out style, the USO without set-loss, he did it all that year regardless of any continent, any surface, any opponent.

    Hugh Lawrence Doherty performed, quite easily in 1903, the single most dominating season tennis ever seen -- before or since. He did the true Grand Slam.

    Amd his competition -- his rivals, were great players and they were many: Gobert, Smith, Decugis, Larned, Wright, Clothier, Gore, Mahony, Ritchie, Riseley, Hillyard, Roper-Barrett and many, many more...

    So the question is answered. Laurie Doherty 1903 had the most dominant season ever recorded -- by far...

    Rod Laver's finest years look very pale in comparison...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #13
  14. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Location:
    Trenque Lauquen, BA, Argentina.
    Crazy Mac didn't won the Aussie Open that year, so the FO lost don't cost him the GS :)
     
    #14
  15. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Location:
    Trenque Lauquen, BA, Argentina.
    I was about to say Budge 38 and Rosewall 63 too.
     
    #15
  16. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Location:
    Trenque Lauquen, BA, Argentina.
    Just... amazing.
     
    #16
  17. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Location:
    Trenque Lauquen, BA, Argentina.
    And thank you Andrew, fine stats as usually.
     
    #17
  18. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Yeah, it truly is astounding. I'm soon going to start posting my entire study of him and it was no silly era by any means. A. Wallis Myers contend that Larned from 1902 to about 1910 had almost the strength of Tilden -- about even in the groundies but Big Bill had a slightly sharper serve -- Larned won the USO seven times (!) during this era and could be argued was the true No. 1 in 1901 -- even ahead of Reggie Doherty.

    Laurie won every match he played against Larned that year and took him apart in the USO final 6-0, 6-3, 10-8 out at the lovely (and according to Laurie "the world's finest grass courts in the world bar none") Newport Casino, RI...

    Laurie was 28 years old and became a superstar, famous on every continent and reached a level here that's hard to measure, much less understand...
     
    #18
  19. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Chicago
    The one significant clay-court tournament he did not win was the Monte Carlo Cup, which was won by his brother Reggie. (I assume Laurie skipped this event, because the Dohertys greatly disliked playing against one another in competitive matches; they would often grant each other walkovers rather than compete.) Laurie did win the South of France Championships at Nice, which was probably the most prestigious clay title at the time, though not at the level of, later, the World Hard (Clay) Court Championships or, much later, the French Championships.
     
    #19
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Looking forward to your info on the Dohertys in the future.
     
    #20
  21. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    A very thoughtful approach. (One amusing feature of it is that it would grant Federer a Grand Slam if he were to win Wimbledon and the US Open this year.)

    But in my opinion, it's hard to equate the first four with Laver's 1969 GS. Rosewall '63 and Laver '67 needed to win only three matches to capture each of those pro titles, unlike the seven required for an Open Era major (I realize that even Laver '69 won only five matches at the Australian). This issue is perhaps best illustrated by Tilden '21, who fought through illness to win the lone match needed to defend Wimbledon but almost certainly couldn't have won seven under the circumstances.

    Budge '38 didn't have to compete with Vines and Perry, and even though he may have been better than they were (judging by his results in '39), that doesn't mean he would have beaten them at all of the majors.

    To be clear: there's no doubt whatsoever about the greatness of Tilden, Budge, Rosewall, and Laver, or about the impressiveness of their accomplishments in '21, '38, '63, and '67. Some of those accomplishments, like Budge's Australian Open and Tilden's Davis Cup, aren't even counted in the criteria. And it's true that Rosewall and Laver had to beat most of the top players to win the pro majors. But the mere fact that two different players won this slam in the mid-'60s contrasts starkly with the fact that no one has won it (British, American, and clay in Europe) in the 40 years since 1969. This testifies, I think, to the extreme difficulty of winning Open Era majors.
     
    #21
  22. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Reggie and Laurie simply refused to play against each other -- like many brothers of the day -- The Baddeleys, The Riseleys, The Renshaws et al. Laurie gave Reggie free reign in Monte Carlo because Reggie wasn't completely off the chart yet (Reggie also won the Paris Championship against Decugis in straights not competing at Wimby).

    Reggie loved the Riviera and the clear air was really perfect for Reggie's asthma. But Laurie, who at the time didn't suffer so badly from his asthma, was in 1903 the title holder and big champ and had given w.o. so many times in the late 1890s and early 1900s when Reggie was the title holder.

    Most famous example was the USO 1902 when Laurie again gave w.o. to Reggie, who couldn't for health reasons keep it up against the best Americans. Laurie would've probably won USO 1902 if "the brotherly chivalry" wasn't the form of the day...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #22
  23. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,546
    1963 & 1967 - what was the major clay court tournament in continental Europe?


    "(c) the major clay-court tournament in continental Europe. "

    I thought the French Pro in those years was played on Indoor Wood.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #23
  24. 1st Seed

    1st Seed Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    759
    Location:
    Toronto
    Jim Courier dominant during his time at number#1.Also we both have red hair.
     
    #24
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Borgforever,

    Do you have won-lost records for the Dohertys as well as tournament victories?
     
    #25
  26. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Yes, at least the ones that are available but I know that from my list kindly posted here courtesy of Carlo (and Karoly) is incomplete. I've added results here and there and for every day new results emerge.

    From THE FIELD it clearly states that Laurie played four indoor wood (covered court) championships a year from 1900-1904 (when he cut down his schedule for health reasons) and Queens in the late spring was the biggest. We only have his Queens indoor results. Many results from early rounds are lacking. Look at Nice and Monte Carlo and Cannes -- all had deep fields and tourneys with many players -- we only have the final scores.

    THE FIELD states in several issues that Laurie was undefeated between his five-setter Hillyard-loss in R3 at Wimby 1901 and his five-set defeat by Ritchie in R3 in the fall edition of the Queens Covered Court Championship in October 1904 -- a streak of three years and three months...

    THE FIELD states that Laurie only lost in the indoor tourneys against Ritchie on that single occasion in 1904 after he reached his peak around 1902 and onwards. So that means at least three additional indoor-tourney victories for "Little Do" in each individual year between 1901-03 than what exists in my record-list and two tourney-wins more for the year 1904.

    Laurie only competed on the finest arenas and courts and Europe and elsewhere where littered with tourneys during the turn of the century.

    I could write a book about these guys easily. They were astonishing. Underrated...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #26
  27. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Bill Larned is also underrated -- sharpshooter-serve (with infinite variety and disguise including the extra, heavy kick-serve -- or "American Twist" to use one of the contemporary definitions) and rock-solid, powerful groundies and great volley. His competitive skill, tactical and strategical acumen together with a fierce clutch-ability firmly establishes him as a great champion. He regularly dominated the other great S&V Americans during this time (and they were tough and they were many) and he beat Reggie Doherty several times -- his finest win over Reggie must count the exhibition match in Southampton, USA 1903 -- after he lost the final to Laurie in straight sets he crushed a very good Reggie 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 demonstrating what he could pull off against one of the greatest players of the era. And note that Reggie wasn't really sick or exhausted during that match.

    Larned never beat Laurie though -- but he pushed him to five sets twice in the Davis Cup-finals. Tough customer...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #27
  28. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    I'm sorry -- I can write miles about these guys back then because there's so much to tell. So many fascinating things happened. It's a largely forgotten and dismissed era -- all unfairly.

    So I'll add this tid-bit now; in around 1902 Laurie surpassed his older brother's playing level something severe. Reggie was thought to be the finest player ever -- THE GOAT -- and he could play even better than he did in the late 1890s between 1902-1904 in patches here and there. That was evident -- if he wasn't bogged down in too many long, grueling tourneys he would outshine himself in skill and performance.

    But then his brother really reached his full bloom and started to do everything just a step better than his brother. Laurie was not as tall as the huge Reggie, who moved exceptionally well with superb anticipation and timing but he was much slower than his younger brother -- who shared his anticipation and economical movement on top of his speed.

    Laurie was 5 feet 10. Remember that guy Björn Borg? Heard of him? The guy that ripped 16 aces past one of the greatest serve-returners in history Jimmy Connors in Wimby SF of 1981? Well, Borg was/is 5 feet 11... It's all timing and technique...

    Laurie hit every stroke harder and more precise than his brother from about 1902 and onwards, being faster and having an even greater strategical sense combined with his much better health meant that he could explode quicker in his development of his skills.

    Laurie achieved that ghostly, movie-star aura from then on. Reggie, still keen to compete, served as excellent coach, travel and practice-partner to his brother accelerating Laurie's excellence in every area. They were supreme experts about everything in tennis. Their faces turning up in commercials, in newspaper-articles over the world, interviews, on their own special brand of racquets and they even published a classic, popular tennis book. It's Laurie who writes all the time in their book "R. F. and H. L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis" 1903 and it's a great book. He sometimes says things like "Well R. F. is actually slow on the court but he anticipates so well and moves with such economy... R. F. this or that..."

    Laurie gushes about USA. He says that the gallery (the crowd/spectators) in America is as great as the best anywhere, equally applauding great shots from any player, no favoritism and the Americans were also the finest sportmen, always being gentlemen and applying a great sense of fair play. And the American grass-courts of the day was apparently sublime. A sharp contrast to the late 60s and early 70s sadly. I wonder what happened...

    His only complaint about America was the lax attitude towards foot-faults. The American line-callers of the era didn't really bother with foot-faults which meant that when Clothier and the other great S&Vs could sometimes spin in their banana kick-serves or cannonball them while already having a foot on the inside court beaming themselves to the net much faster to volley than if the British standard of calling foot-faults was applied.

    I had to buy it hadn't I? Typically me. Then I found it online with great images. Well, well, I do have a paper-copy which is cool.

    Read it here. Great images (especially a fearsome one of the American Assassin Bill Larned) Enjoy:

    http://www.archive.org/stream/rfhldohertyonlaw00dohe#page/n5/mode/2up

    In their book Laurie is incredibly smart, wise and astute but also a lot of fun to read. "A great grass-court is nowadays almost as rare a sight as a dead donkey!" he writes at one stage and goes on in extreme -- but never boring -- detail in how you easily create a superb grass-court of own. Priceless...

    On tactics he says consistency and unpredictability is key. He even goes so far as to urge people to hit rocket first serves on their second serves a lot in unexpected moments just to off-balance the opponent among many great tips on your way to (quoting him now) "becoming a great killer"...
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
    #28
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Borgforever,

    Sounds fascinating. It's a pity these players are rarely talked of today. I wish we had some video of Laurie playing.

    Back to topic.
    While he was clearly NOT the best player in the world, Roy Emerson in 1964 had a very dominant season in the amateurs with, according to the Collins book, a 122-6 record, won the Australian, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships and 19 tournaments in total.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #29
  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    #30
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Hoodjem,

    A bit of an unusual list in my opinion. I know Wilander won three majors in 1988 but he really didn't win that many tournaments outside of the majors and yet it's ranked ahead of Connors in 1974 and McEnroe in 1984.

    Borg should be there. Several of his years were far superior to Sampras in 1994 for example.

    This begs the question how truly important is a major? Is it worth two US Claycourt titles? Is a French Open worth 11/2 Italian Opens? What is the definition of dominance in tennis?

    We've had this type of discussion in other threads, like the one where Laver's great 1970 year was discussed. Laver was the dominant player but Rosewall or Newcombe were ranked number one.

    Another dominant season was Nusslein in 1938 when he won both the French Pro and Wembley, two of the three Pro Majors. He did not enter the US Pro which Perry won. I counted just in McCauley's book six tournament victories for him that year. I read one source that said Nusslein may have been unbeaten that year but I believe he may have lost at least once.

    That year was overshadowed by Budge's Grand Slam year. It's a pity Nusslein wasn't able to play the French Championships. He and von Cramm were two of the great clay court players and you wonder how Budge would have done against them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #31
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    "I examined many of the top seasons produced in the Open Era and finally decided to review John McEnroe’s awesome 1984 tennis campaign as one of the major candidates to consider when searching for the finest single-season in tennis history. Why McEnroe in '84? What are some of the superficial reasons for this analysis? Well, many experts saw John McEnroe play that year and some thought his level of play may have been the highest in tennis history. Other reasons are obvious, his 82 and 3 won-lost record is the highest winning percentage in Open Era history. McEnroe was as close to unbeatable that season as any player I've personally seen."


    Another interesting article:
    http://www.tennisweek.com/features/fullstory.sps?inewsid=6629632
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #32
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    It's hard to disagree. I saw McEnroe that year dismantle Lendl in the US Open final. He was awesome. In another article by the same author it states that McEnroe won 65.32% of his games that year, which is far beyond anything Federer has done. Federer's best as far as winning percentage of games was I believe 61.78. An this high level, a one percentage difference is very large and McEnroe in 84 was over 3 and one half percent higher than Federer's best year in this category.

    One minor and amusing note. My wife, when watching McEnroe play in person has never seen him lose in singles and she has seen him play often. That year in 1984 we saw most of his matches at the US Open. Maybe if she was watching in person in 1985 at the US Open against Lendl, Mac would have won. lol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #33
  34. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    6,581
    I wouldn't credit Tilden with anything equalling a Grand Slam year. That isn't because I don't rate him as one of the absolute best of all time - I do - but because Tilden didn't play the Australian, even though he could have. It's one thing to substitute a tournament for one that wasn't open to everyone (the French) or make allowances for players who were banned from playing, but its something else altogether to give someone credit when there was nothing impeding their ability to play. Otherwise you're saying that the Grand Slam only consists of three tournaments, something we know isn't the case.

    Two questions:
    1) Budge's 38 year and Laver's 69 year, were ACTUAL Grand Slams so why do you call them 'equivalent' ('equivalent' to what - themselves?) .
    2) Trabert in 55 won Wimbledon, the French and the US Open. That equates to (a) the major British tournament, (b) the major American tournament, and (c) the major clay-court tournament in continental Europe. So, why don't you call that a grand slam equivalent (not that it is but....) ?
     
    #34
  35. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,767
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    Why not Rod Laver in 1962?

    It would seem that there are then six years on your list, with three of them belonging to one man.
     
    #35
  36. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    I think there's a distinction to be drawn between (i) the technical Grand Slam, won once by Budge and twice by Laver, and (ii) a year of accomplishment that is so impressive as to equate roughly with our open-era conception of the Grand Slam. Failing to go to Australia deprived Tilden of the first (to the extent that the technical Slam even existed in 1921, which it really didn't) but not the second. It's hard to fault him for choosing not to take a massive boat trip to a tournament where he wouldn't have even faced the top competition.

    By "equivalent," Chaog probably means that those five seasons amount to a similar level of achievement to what we now think of as the Grand Slam, i.e., the best player in the world wins the biggest tournaments on both clay and fast surfaces. Laver '69 was obviously an actual Slam in the sense used now (open era), but Budge '38 was not necessarily one because he didn't have to defeat any of the pro players to win it (Vines, Perry, Nusslein, etc.).

    Trabert '55 -- like Laver '62 but unlike Budge '38 -- was beaten badly when he turned pro the year after his great amateur success. That's why Chaog is crediting Budge's season but not the other two as Slam equivalents.
     
    #36
  37. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    Because Laver got beaten badly by Rosewall upon turning pro in 1963, indicating that he wasn't the best in the world when he won the amateur slam in 1962. Again, there's a distinction between the technical slam (winning the Australian, French, US, and Wimbledon in a calendar year) and what we now take the slam to mean (winning those tournaments in one year against open competition).
     
    #37
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    That's why I was a bit puzzled about what the thread starter wanted. Trabert in 1955 was great in the amateurs but was crushed by Gonzalez 74 to 27. Still Trabert had a dominant year against his competition.

    Now if we defined it as great years against top competition can we truly include Budge's 1938 season which didn't have Vines, Perry, Nusslein, von Cramm, even Bill Tilden. After all Budge defeated Vines by only 21 to 18 on tour and I see no reason why on grass that Vines wouldn't be almost a co-favorite on grass tournaments. Nusslein, Perry and von Cramm can be argued to be the best clay court players also as well as excellent on all surfaces.

    Laver in 67 and 69 played against the best competition so perhaps we can include it as dominant campaigns.

    McEnroe's 1984 season is great because of his winning percentage and his level of play as was a number of Borg's seasons. It's very possible that McEnroe was one set from a potential Slam (the last set in the French final) since the odds were very high that if he entered the Australian he would have won it.

    Rosewall's 1963 season was fantastic and I think can be included as a dominant season, perhaps even more so than Budge's 1938 season because of the level of competition. Rosewall's opponents were Laver, Hoad, Trabert, Gimeno, Anderson, Olmedo among others in the majors, some of them he played more than once. Just beating any of these legends once is tough enough, beating all of them is incredible. I don't think anyone Budge played in the majors in 1938 were of that level.
     
    #38
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Yes, I have become convinced that Laver was the true world no. 1 in 1970. In that year he had a better winning record than Rosewall, and a much better record than Newcombe.

    Also, I believe an excellent case can be made that Laver was, at least, a co-world no. 1 in 1971.

    Please see this thread:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=256012
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #39
  40. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    As I wrote above, Rosewall '63 and Laver '67 had great and dominant seasons, but I don't think we should equate their "majors" (Wembley, French Pro, US Pro, and in 1967 the Wimbledon Pro) with open era majors. It's a lot harder to win seven matches than three, which explains why two different men swept the pro majors in the mid-'60s whereas no one has swept the open majors in the last 40 years.
     
    #40
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Good point but the Pro Majors were played against the toughest of competition and these two players (Rosewall and Laver) weren't your typical great player. They were unique. Laver won the Open Slam just two years after his Pro Slam and I wouldn't have been surprised if Rosewall was able to do that in the early to mid 1960's if Open tennis was around then.

    My point was, in looking at the competition, the players Rosewall faced were a who's who of tennis. Just a subjective look at the names and you are awed. The competition seems far greater than that which Budge face. The best Budge faced seemed to be Bromwich, Quist and Austin. Excellent names but not Hoad, Laver, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
    #41
  42. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    This was the key question, and it remains unanswered. If Laurie Doherty's match record in 1903 was something like 11-0 (and I have no idea whether it was; I'm just throwing out a number as an example), then I'm not sure I'd call that the most dominant year ever. I think that Tilden was undefeated in 1924, playing far more matches -- although he didn't play Wimbledon or a major international clay court event.

    Is it more dominant to win a small number of matches with no losses, or to win a large number of matches with a few losses? More dominant to be 11-0 (or 15-0, or 20-0, or whatever) or 82-3? Or is it more dominant to be 106-16 while winning all four open majors, as Laver did in 1969?

    I think I'd give the nod to Laver '69. After that I'd bunch together the others being discussed (chronologically): Doherty '03, Tilden '21, Budge '38, Rosewall '63, Laver '67, McEnroe '04, and Federer '06. The order to list those in depends on how much relative value is placed on each of the different criteria: (i) sweeping the most significant tournaments, including a major clay-court event, (ii) losing very few matches, (iii) winning many matches.

    The only one who fulfilled all three criteria is Tilden '21, but I'd still pick Laver '69 because of the value I place on open-era majors.
     
    #42
  43. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,372
    Certainly the pro major had not the big draws of the amateur majors. On the other hand, Laver and Rosewall proved over and over again, that they won every kind of tournaments, regardless big draws or 16 man draws. During the 60s, Laver was in the final of all 35 majors (amateur, pro, open) he played, bar three.
     
    #43
  44. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    I acknowledged earlier in this thread that "there's no doubt whatsoever about the greatness of . . . Rosewall and Laver, or about the impressiveness of their accomplishments in . . . '63 and '67. . . . And it's true that Rosewall and Laver had to beat most of the top players to win the pro majors."

    However, neither Rosewall '63 nor Laver '67 had to contend with the best amateurs -- unlike the open era players, who must contend with everyone. Rosewall and Laver were better than those amateurs, but it was still easier for them not to have to play the best ones. For example, Emerson upset Laver in the first round of Wembley 1968 but wasn't playing the pro events in 1967 because he was still an amateur. He would have been a formidable opponent in 1967, most of all on clay.

    Pc1 wrote that "these two players (Rosewall and Laver) weren't your typical great player. They were unique." I am very skeptical of this claim. Which is more likely: (a) by incredible coincidence, the two best players of all time (both of whom are "unique" in their superiority over everyone else ever) played at exactly the same time in the mid-1960s; or (b) it was easier to sweep the professional majors of the 1960s than the open majors, due to the fact that the latter required seven wins rather than three and involved all the best players rather than just the pros?

    "B" seems a lot more likely to me.
     
    #44
  45. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    No one doubts Laver's greatness, but it's a misleading statistic because so few of those 35 were open majors. The amateur majors didn't contain the pros, and the pro majors didn't contain the amateurs and had very small fields.

    The fact that Laver won only one Open Era major outside of 1969 testifies to the difficulty of winning those tournaments. It also testifies to the enormity of Laver's achievement in winning the Grand Slam in 1969.
     
    #45
  46. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Laurie won at least 10 tourneys in 1903 with a record something like 45-0. In THE FIELD Myers' writes that Laurie won well over 40 matches straight that particular year.

    And the draws back then wasn't ballooned like they became in the 1910s -- when spectators complained and wanted to go back to the way it was in the early 1900s with a draw around 50-70 people at Wimby instead of 128.

    In the 1920s the complaints started again that the early rounds in 128 draw was lacking quality. In the 1900s you had hardcore, elite matches already in the early rounds making the tourney much more dynamic. But the complaints died down when people started to like the idea of the fortnight tourney. More matches with their favorite players -- what's not to like?

    Then people said -- to heck with quality -- give me 10 rounds with Tilden, 15 if you can... I don't care if he plays my broomstick and so forth...
     
    #46
  47. John123

    John123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    157
    Thanks for the information. I stand corrected!
     
    #47
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    I must respectfully disagree with you. Rosewall won the first Open Tournament and the first Open Major, the French in 1968, both over Laver. Laver won Wimbledon and Ashe won the US Open in 1968 before Laver swept all the majors in 1969. At that point Rosewall and Laver were both past their primes yet still great players. Rosewall won the US Open in 1970 and the Australian Open later at an age equivalent to a normal person being 70 years old. Muscles reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open in a year which he would turn 40.

    A Rosewall in the early to just past the mid 1960's was a very dominant player. In 1963, the year of his Pro Grand Slam, Rosewall was 29 and perhaps at or near the peak of his greatness. Yes, Emerson may have been able to upset either one but frankly it's doubtful. Emerson's record against Laver was quite poor after Open Tennis started and while he defeated Rosewall several times, it's hard for me to imagine Emerson defeating a Rosewall at his best in a major. At the French Open I don't think Emerson would have a chance and I believe Rosewall would be an overwhelming favorite on grass against Emerson. In the mid-1960's I would venture to say that Gimeno would be favored over Emerson under most conditions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #48
  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,409
    Great information my friend.
     
    #49
  50. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    It has been quite some job to gather this info I've collected as of now and I am ready post -- probably tomorrow. No use in collecting more -- I can add as I go along instead. I've boiled it down to a manageable length so it's sharp and clear and (hopefully) somewhat entertaining.

    But there are blank areas which I am going to little by little try to fill in. The info is out there. The Doherty's have relatives (I think -- I hope).

    But I must give an example of the incredible depth and strength in the tourneys even back in the mid 1890s at Wimby:

    Harold Mahony (1867-1905) was a tall, muscular, blonde-haired giant with piercing blue eyes, movie-star looks and a handlebar mustache and he was 29 years old (he was usually a top 5/top 10 player -- even going so high as top three sometimes) when he won Wimby in 1896 in one of the toughest and longest finals (and according to witnessess -- one of the best matches ever) when he defeated Wilfred Baddeley, who made his 6th straight Wimby final (and his last retiring at the end of 1897 at only 25 years of age). The 1896-final ended 6-2, 6-8, 5-7, 8-6, 6-3 only beaten by Drobny's epic final against Kenny in 1954 for amount of games.

    These are the names that the giant Irishman Mahony had to bury on his road to ultimate victory:

    R1 Reggie Doherty 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
    R2 William Castle 6-1, 11-9, 6-4
    QF Frank Riseley 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
    SF Harold Nisbet 6-4, 2-6, 8-6, 4-6, 6-3
    F Wilberforce Eaves 6-2, 6-2, 11-9
    CR Wilfred Baddeley 6-2, 6-8, 5-7, 8-6, 6-3

    Absolute top 5, top 10 players in every round. And that's not one of the most severe runs.

    I will mention later some serious hornet's nests...
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
    #50

Share This Page