The true no.1 of 1977

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by sandy mayer, May 22, 2007.

  1. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    Controversially the ATP top 3 rankings for 1977 were:

    1. Connors
    2. Vilas
    3. Borg

    This was controversial because Connors didn't win any grand slams, and won 7 tournaments while Borg won Wimbledon (and 11 tournaments in total) and Vilas won the French and US Opens (and a staggering 16 tournies in total).

    The reason the computer made Connors 1 is clear: he got to the finals of by far the 2 most important tournies at the time (Wimbledon and US Open. In those days they were in a league of their own and far more important than the other 2 grand slams). Therefore Connors had the best record over the course of those 2 tournies, winning 12 matches compared to 9 for Vilas, and 10 for Borg. Connors also won the Masters and Dallas WCT, at the time far more important than the Australian Open and in all seriousness virtually as important as the French.

    However, it's impossible to give the no.1 spot to Connors, because Vilas and Borg won 1 of the big 2 each, as well as having a great year outside the big 2. I'm a Connors fan and am convinced that he played a higher level of tennis than Vilas for most of the year (and I feel Connors was easily a greater player than Vilas) , but feel Connors must have the no.3 spot because when it comes down to it, we must decide rankings on results rather than performances.

    Many say Vilas should be no.1 for 1977, but I don't. I give it to Borg, with Vilas 2. Here's why:

    1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
    This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills. Vilas' win against Connors at Forest Hills was very impressive, but there still is a a very major question mark over what would have happened had Borg faced Vilas at the US Open. There is no question mark over Borg's 77 Wimbledon victory.


    2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
    Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
    So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins.

    2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different. I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

    3. Borg was more versatile:
    In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass.

    4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
    This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills.

    5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2007
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  2. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Interesting post. I'm a huge Connors fan. Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"

    To my mind, there is no way a healthy Connors loses to Borg that year. Also, Connors didn't play the French in 77, so Vilas won that tournament without having to face EITHER of the two best players in the world. Connors was, in fact, a fairly accomplished clay court player, maybe not in Borg's league, but no slouch. He beat Borg the only times they met on clay in a Grand Slam (75 and 76 US Opens.)

    The US Open that year was a debacle. Connors received a death threat (or maybe it was a bomb threat; I can't remember), and the crowd was HEAVILY Argentinian, something that really shook Connors.

    I would put Connors over Vilas, but I'm not sure about Connors over Borg. You can make an argument for either.
     
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  3. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    along those lines:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=130373

    I think WCT events probably offered more ranking points than other events & Connors did better at those than Vilas or Borg in '77.

    I was looking at Vilas' 46 (or 50?) match win streak a few months ago, it was interesting, he was racking up all those claycourt wins without Borg entered in most of those events. In fact while Vilas was winning 46 in a row(only on clay), Borg was winning 30 in a row(on clay & carpet) at the same time at tournaments with better fields!

    Keep in mind if slams were all equal back then, the fields would have been stronger, so who knows if Vilas would have even made the finals in Australia in '77.

    He made the finals of the '77 Australian(held in January) losing to Tanner. here were the top 10 seeds that event(their year end ranking for '76 are in parentheses)
    1. Vilas (6)
    2. Tanner (11)
    3. Ashe (12)
    4. Rosewall (13)
    5. Edmondson (35)
    6. Ruffels (27)
    7. Stockton (15)
    8. Crealy (38)
    9. Dent (37)
    10. Case (45)

    amazing, a slam with only one top 10 player entered. and where players ranked in the 30s get top 10 seeds.
     
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  4. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    I agree largely with what is being said here, however I belive that Vilas defenitly deserves the number 1 year end ranking. While both Connors and Borg have a greater pedigree than Vilas this was Vilas's year. Vilas's 16 tournaments are the 2nd most won in a single year in the open-era (after Laver's 1969). Vilas won 2 grand slams compared to Borg's 1. Borg beat Connors at SW19 but Vilas beat Connors at the USO. The performance by Vilas at the USO final was remarkable. The bagel he gave Connors in the 4th set was one of the best induvidual sets of tennis you will see. Vilas did win both slams on clay but red clay in Europe is very different from green clay in the USA (just ask Borg). Vilas also had his record breaking streak and clay court streak (clay court streak has since been exceeded by Nadal). Without Nastase's use of the spaghetti racket with streak would likely have been far longer. Vilas also made the final of the AO, which although had a weaker field than larger events, still shows Vilas's versitility to win on grass.

    Ultimately I think there is confusion on what being world number 1 means. I don't think it means "being the best player in the year", I think it means "having the best results of the year". While I accept that Borg would have been very likely to win the FO (had he participated in the event). Borg did not participipate and Vilas captilased on this. Likewise if Federer quit tennis he could not be the number 1 player this time next year, even if he was the best player. You need to win the events to prove yourself best and you need to beat players from an entire draw, not just your fellow number 1 competitors.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    One other note about Vilas in '77:

    He won the '77 French without not only Borg in the field, but without Orantes & Gerulaitis(who won the '77 Italian) in the field either.

    Surprisingly, Vilas didn't have that great a claycourt season leading into the French that year, losing early in Rome & Hamburg, while getting destroyed by Borg in Monte Carlo.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
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  6. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Based on Sandy Mayer and Moose's very informative posts I would have lean towards Borg over Vilas.

    Here is surface breakdown (from the ITF website as the ATP website is very unreliable for this sort of information) of Borg and Vilas's titles that year:
    Borg - 5 on clay, 5 on carpet, 1 on grass
    Vilas - 14 on clay, 1 on carpet, 1 on hard
    So in my opinion Borg was the more versatile player across the different surfaces that year.
    On a side note, It could be said that Connors was also a hollow year end world no. 1 in 1978, as Borg was clearly better than him that year as well.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
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  7. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    You cant take anything you are pointing out into consideration into where people deserve to be ranked. You cant evaluate Connors results at Wimbledon or the U.S Open as anything other then what they are. Runner up finishes. Things like losing the match due to injury or due to an unfriendly crowd are for another discussion. No way should they come into consideration for what ranking a player deserved for the year.
     
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  8. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    OK, sounds about right... but it's a subjective.
    We could never know who would have win between Borg and Vilas at FO (Most likely Borg)... so we can't use that.

    With the modern ranking points, 16 titles and 2 Grand Slams plus a runner-up would have sufficed for Vilas to be #1 that year.
     
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  9. navratilovafan

    navratilovafan Banned

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    Connor's being #1 this year was a complete crock. Everyone knows he was a distant #3 this year. I would go with Vilas over Borg since he won 2 slams, yeah I know about what ifs, but wins are wins.
     
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  10. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Really interesting post.

    The Elo ratings I calculate measure markedly different aspects of performance from those used for the official rankings, but out of curiosity I ran the system to produce data for the current standings at the end of 1977.

    Based on who each individual played, their results and a declining emphasis on historical performances, the elo ratings agreed with the ATP exactly for the top 3 although for very different reasons. i.e.

    1. Jimmy Connors 2702
    2. Guillermo Vilas 2682
    3. Björn Borg 2674

    Elo does not place different emphasis on various tournaments other than the quality of oppostion faced. Therefore Elo gives greater weighting to majors etc based on the premise that if more high ranked players are present the quality of opposition faced will be higher. (i.e. the current elo rating of the individual players concerned.)

    Based upon the above Vilas probably had the better results with the confines of the single year of 1977 as his rating cimbed by a huge 56 points from 2626 to 2682, while Connor's and Borg's ratings only improved by 6 and 3 respectively. However a single year is not a sufficient sample for rating outputs to have a confidence level fit for purpose. In order to achieve this it is necessary to include greater than a single years results and for more recent data to be given greater emphasis.

    This allows us to achieve a 95% confidence interval on the data being generated. It is therfore possible for us to say that while Borg and Vilas had good years the evidence was not sufficent for them to have proved themselves as superior to Connors at the top of the game.

    If the evidence had been greater which we can achieve by replicating the results of 1977 into 1978 and rerunning the Elo application software we can see that this would then be sufficient to prove that Connors was not the true number 1 of mens tennis. i.e.

    1. Guillermo Vilas 2719
    2. Jimmy Connors 2707
    3. Björn Borg 2676.

    As it is though and for different reasons to my statistical approach I feel that the ATP regarding Connors as the current number 1 of men's tennis in 1977 is probably a true reflection of all the evidence available at that time.

    We now know of course that 1978 wasn't like this and Guliermo Vilas was unable to follow 1977 with simlar results and consequently dropped 12 points in the ratings in a way showing that the the single year approach is a little over optimistic in having a sample size that is small enough for chance to play to greater part.

    Within the Elo ratings 1978 saw Björn Borg climb to within 1 point of Jimmy Connors and finally over take him in the early months of 1979. By this time despite having won the Australian open since 1977, Guilerma Vilas was statistically a distant 3rd behind both Connors and Borg but with Vitas Gerulaitis only a distant 4th:

    1. Björn Borg 2716
    2. Jimmy Connors 2715
    3. Guillermo Vilas 2685
    4. Vitas Gerulaitis 2635

    Take care

    Regards

    Tim
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
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  11. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    So, am I to understand that Elo grants special preference to the Australian Open as it is a major? (even though it was a second-rate event at the time?)

    Overall, your Elo results are so nonsensical and your explanations of your calculations so broad that frankly I don't see how what you say has any weight whatsoever.

    The fact of the matter is that Vilas won two major events that mattered in the French and the US Open, but won essentially nothing else of any vitality. He routinely skipped big events like Dallas and Philadelphia in order to rack up points in mickey mouse tournaments.

    I don't know how Elo accounts for this, but my guess is that it doesn't do it particularly well at all.
     
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  12. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    Thanks for your interst Cyborg.

    Concerning your first point of the Australian Open. Elo ratings do quite the opposite from what you have assumed in connection to the Australian Open. Elo adjusts each event depending on the players present. You see players receive points based on who they play and what their elo rating is at that time. Therefore , no Connors and no Borg equals less points available to gravitate towards the players in the final stages at these events. Therefore winning the Australian has much less weighting in the 1970s than it does now. No tournament has a n assigned weighting all events are self adjusting by the weight of the elo rating points of the player present.

    On your second point of my Elo results being nonsensical I find it difficult to discuss a simple statement like that if you fail to say why they are none sensical. I am genuinely sorry you feel like that though as I do value peoples opinions on my work.

    On your third point about my explanations being so broad I have to hold my hands up. I deliberately didn't go into any great depths as there is already a thread on this site that discusses the validity or not as the case may be of the Men's elo ratings and I didn't really want to post all that again.

    The Elo rating system has been in use for 37 years within chess and is used within other sports mainly because of the sound basis it has in statistical probability theory. Unfortunately I am not the inventor but I can understand why you might feel the way you do when you say you don't see how the results can have any weight at all. It is abit of a quantum leap in tennis for fans to look at a qualtitive result system when they have been so used to a volume based reward system for players rating points in the past.

    Your anyalsis of Vilas in 1977 is exactly right. Vilas won the French and the US open. They were big events and most of his gain would have been gained from these two performances. Does the fact that he went on to dominate in minor events mean he was a weaker player than when he won these two events. The elo system wouldn't see it that way. It would just say he was chancing his arm as losses in the minor events would have greater negative value than losses in bigger events dependent upon the opponent. The elo rating concludes that because of the smaller events the evidence was not sufficient for Vilas to overtake Connors as number 1. I then roled the 1977 data on into 1978, This showed that Vilas might have made the grade if he had more evidence, but as you have quite rightly pointed out he didn't as his tournament selection for 1977 failed to provide sufficient quality in oppsition for him to provide adequate proof.

    To be honest I can see where your coming from when you say 'He routinely skipped big events like Dallas and Philadelphia in order to rack up points in mickey mouse tournaments', but the Elo system doesn't work like this. Elo points go up for big achievements like winning the US and down for losing in weaker events. Winning the small events would have had very little impact upon Vilas' Elo rating. The elo system did not give disproportionate credit for minor events.

    Finally my conclusion was not that Vilas was the number 1 in 1977, it was that Vilas never provided sufficient evidence to be regarded the number 1. I'm not sure how to put this. In a thread that was asking who was the genuine number 1 in 1977, not the ATP rating point number 1, I conclude it was Connors by citing a well proven statistical evaluation tool for which numerous posts have been made at this site and extensive entries exist within Wikipaedia.. Your criticism of my post then seems to be based around the idea that Vilas wasn't the number 1, even though I was agreeing with you, and you defend your statement by quoting the problems that existed within the ATP system, with which again I agree with you.

    I am perhaps misunderstanding your post and would like to hear from you again regarding this issue as I honestly believe that the ELO rating system does has great validity for tennis.

    Sorry we didn't seem to see eye to eye on this, or did we, I'm not sure.

    Anyway take care and keep the posts coming.

    Regards

    Tim
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2007
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  13. pabloJD

    pabloJD Rookie

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    Aren't the ELO ratings saying that Connors was the best player (almost tied with Borg) at the end of 1977, not that he was the best player based on what he accomplished during (and only during) 1977? I guess the ELO system provides a method for ranking players at a certain point in time but has little to do with ranking players solely for what they did over a relatively short period of time.
    If Vilas had started the year ('77) with more ELO points he would have probably surpassed Connors and Borg with the exact same performance.
    I think a better way of determining number 1 for 1977 is weighing the tournaments according to their status (or field strength) at that time and using a similar system to what is used now by the ATP.
     
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  14. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    I fully agree with Pablo.

    Using the ELO rankings to determine year-end #1s can have plenty of 'bizarre' consequences, that few people would consider legitimate.
    For instance in 1999, Agassi never 'proved' he was better than Sampras. He was beaten every time by Pete (except in a Masters round robin match), and beat few great players at RG and the USO. Sampras was injured most of the year and had few defeats, so according to the ELO rankings he didn't lose many points because of defeats and won a lot each time he beat Agassi. Then Sampras would be the 1999 #1...
    This approach is interesting, but cannot be put on a part with year-end rankings, I think...

    Jonathan
     
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  15. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    Good post, SgtJohn. I agree that year-end No. 1 is a very important (and seemingly underrated) measure, especially insofar as it is the only factor by which we can compare players going back to pretty much the very beginnings of tennis. Of course, some years do not have a true, undisputed No. 1, and it is hard to compare a year like Willie Renshaw's 1883--when he went undefeated by winning only a single match in the Wimbledon challenge round, and so was the No. 1 player that year--with, say, Tilden's 1924 (also undefeated but with much more match play) or Laver's 1969 (a fair number of losses, but an even more rigorous schedule). So it's not a perfect criterion by any means, but maybe yet the most important one we have, in that it "holds up" better throughout time than major titles do.

    That said, on the topic of this thread, 1977 is one of the very hardest years to rank. I like to work with sources, and in this case I think the best ones slightly favor Borg--the French Tennis Magazine named Borg No. 1, while World Tennis picked Vilas, but Borg also received the ATP award, and Connors was favored only by the computer. Perhaps an even closer year was 1970, with Newcombe, Rosewall, and Laver all chosen by different sources. I'm currently looking at the early 1950s, an era which is usually (and uncritically) given to Kramer, but where in fact several years may belong to the underrated Segura. Of course, the truly impossible years are the mid-1930s, when the pro game really ascended w/ Vines but Perry was king of a still-formidable amateur circuit... since the two were nearly even when Perry finally turned pro, I don't see how any consensus can be reached for the previous years.
     
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  16. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    That's absolutrely correct Pablo.

    I think the problem is that I hadn't fully appreciated that the Number 1 of 1977 had to be based purely on the evidence of 1977. Had I understood that I would never have recommended ELO as the best indicator.

    Good point well made.

    Regards

    Tim :)
     
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  17. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    I read some archive articles on websites, that give interesting insights on the criteria of this time.

    Apparently, the fact that the Masters was organized at the MS Garden that year for the first time made it suddenly a very important event. Some newspapers seemed to 'discover' that this tournament existed when it moved to NYC. That of course gave more weight to Connors' victory and his, today controversial, #1 ranking.

    The NY Times says: 'Tennis fans came here [at the Garden] in search of a #1 and they got one tonight.' So the event was widely seen as decisive for the year-end honours...

    Another paper interestingly says : 'Connors was king of men's tennis. in 1977, however, Borg and Vilas blossomed and Connors was shut out at both Wimbledon and The US .', which shows that it was admitted at the time that a player could be #1 without a Slam title.

    Funnily enough, Connors said:'This tournament didn't settle anything. We're gonna have to play it again because (Guillermo) VILAS beat me [in round robin], BORG beat him and I beat BORG.' ,which shows that the head-to-head between top players was often seen as significant as actual tournament results (which is ironic because Connors was 0-2 against Vilas for the whole season and 1-2 against Borg, so he unconsciously rules himself out for #1).

    Anyway, I wondered how people could actually think that Connors was #1 in 1977 and I got some answers with these articles. His win in the WCT finals obviously played a role too. By the way, does someone know why Borg didn't take part in it? Did he qualify at all?
     
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  18. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Dallas was played in May of that year, Borg skipped the French that year to play WTT, so he may have already been involved in that at the time of Dallas.
    He played no events between late April & the start of W that year, maybe there were injury issues as well.

    Dallas was missing Vilas that year as well. The field that year:Connors,Panatta,Nastase,Dibbs,Gerulaitis,Fibak,Stockton, & Drysdale.
     
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  19. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    There is no question about 1977 !!! Vilas won 16 tournaments and won 46 matches consecutively (it's the record). He won 2 Grand Slam and played the final of another : Borg won only 1 Grand Slam. I don't understand how some people can consider that Borg was n° 1 !!!
     
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  20. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    With the actual system of ATP, Vilas would be n°1 during many monthes ! Vilas is the champion of the world in 1977.
    Borg won their head to head 3-0. But it's a detail. The champion of the world is the guy who has the best palmares, who won Grand Slams, that's the only point (in 2006, the N°1 was Federer, even if he lost almost always against Nadal !).
    Some people say : yes, but Borg wasn't at Roland-Garros and US Open. But it's not the problem of Vilas !! And it's impossible to say : if Borg was there, he should have won. How can be sure ?? So, if Borg didn't play one match in 1977, he would be the n°1 because we can say : if he played, he won ?? That is absurd ! Excuse my english, which is very bad ! But there is really no question : Vilas is n° 1 in 1977.
     
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  21. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think, Borg played the USO at Forest Hills. He hurt his shoulder in a surfing or water-ski accident just before the event started, and retired in the quarters vs. Stockton (trailing in the third and deciding set). It was his own fault, not the right preparation. PS: What i didn't like about Borg, or better about his guru Bergelin, was, that Bergelin very often declared Borg as invalid or injured. When Borg won his first Wim in 1976, it was said, that he got cortison injections for a stomach muscle injury. But he served like crazy.
     
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  22. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I watched that final recently, Borg was spraying his stomach on changoevers with a cooling liquid, something was bothering him.

    And I think he didn't play a match inbetween Wimbledon & the USO that year, so it was probably a legit injury.
     
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  23. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    You mean 1977? In 76 Borg at least played in Boston.
     
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  24. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    Facts only...

    I'm 72 years old and I saw a lot of tennis in my life, i saw alive greates players (yeah, i was present in a lots of tournaments and Grand Slams, not TV!). Here i see that the conversation is not clear.
    Not even Vilas, himself, discuss Borg is better player than he!
    The point is that in 77, the facts says that "Willy" was the number 1.

    My answers to the writers are in BOLD...

    To sandy mayer:

    "1. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
    This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was along with Borg the only contender for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured (NOT TRUE, NOT INJURED). So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills (suposing?? then what happened if Connors compete in Roland Garros 74? Borg would win?) Vilas' win against Connors at Forest Hills was very impressive, but there still is a a very major question mark over what would have happened had Borg faced Vilas at the US Open (Borg loses before QF!) There is no question mark over Borg's 77 Wimbledon victory (Connors injured...)


    2, Borg won more demanding tournies full stop
    Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11. As it happens Connors and Vilas both won 6 tournies involving beating a top tenner. For me Vilas gets the nod over Connors not because of his 16 tournie wins over Connors' 7, but because of his US Open victory. Connors' Masters and Dallas victories is like winning 2 French, but can't compete with a US Open along with a French.
    So in my view Borg's Wimbledon not only more impressive than Vilas' 2 grand slams, but his lesser tournie wins surpass Vilas' lesser tournie wins (that's not all true, maybe some tournaments yes, but no all!!!).

    2. Borg won their head to head 3-0. Borg was always a better player than Vilas and 1977 was no different.(So Nadal is better than Federer in 2005 and 2006???) I believe Vilas was a great player and it's right he's in the Hall of Fame, but really he belongs with tier 3 champions like Chang, Stich, Ivanisevic, Kafelnikov, Noah etc. (this is a offense! you don't know much about tennis seems like; Vilas was named 24 greates player -man and woman- by a recognized magazine) and Borg is a serious GOAT contender.

    3. Borg was more versatile:
    In 77 Borg won tournies on grass, hard, carpet and clay. Vilas did well but not quite as well: he won on clay, hard, and carpet but not grass (Vilas was finalist in the Australian Open!!!).

    4. Borg's Wimbledon victory is more impressive than Vilas' grand slam victories.
    This is because Borg beat Connors in the final: Connors was Borg's only serious rival for the title of being the world's greatest grass-court player. Vilas won the French and US without facing Borg, who was injured. So Vilas won 2 grandslams on clay without facing the world's greatest clay court player. There is very little doubt Borg would have beaten Vilas at Roland Garros, and Borg would probably have done the same at Forest Hills. (AGAIN??)

    5. It's vital not to judge 1997 from 2007 eyes. Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia. However, Australia was very minor then, and the French much less important than it is now. So in my view, Borg's superior tough head to head record and higher quality wins more than compensates for Vilas' extra grand slam in the form of the less important French. (Australia was always a Grand Slam, like Roland Garros)


    To Arafel:

    "Interesting post. I'm a huge Connors fan. Your argument about the Wimbledon tournament ignores one crucial fact: Connors played the tournament with a broken thumb. In fact, a week before Wimbledon, a doctor looked at it, splinted it, and said something to the effect of, "Guess you'll have to withdraw from Wimbledon." Connors snarled, "Wanna bet?"

    To my mind, there is no way a healthy Connors loses to Borg that year. Also, Connors didn't play the French in 77, so Vilas won that tournament without having to face EITHER of the two best players in the world (it's not Vilas fault!!!). Connors was, in fact, a fairly accomplished clay court player, maybe not in Borg's league, but no slouch. He beat Borg the only times they met on clay in a Grand Slam (75 and 76 US Opens.)

    The US Open that year was a debacle. Connors received a death threat (or maybe it was a bomb threat; I can't remember), and the crowd was HEAVILY Argentinian, something that really shook Connors (excuses only, I was present on the court that day!!!)

    I would put Connors over Vilas, but I'm not sure about Connors over Borg. You can make an argument for either.

    To Moose Malloy:

    "I think WCT events probably offered more ranking points than other events & Connors did better at those than Vilas or Borg in '77.

    Vilas may have won 16 tournaments to Borg's 11, but most of Vilas' tournament wins were minor. Of Vilas' 16 tournie wins only 6 involved his having to beat a top ten player, while Borg had to beat at least 1 top ten player for 10 out of 11.

    I was looking at Vilas' 46 (or 50?) match win streak a few months ago, it was interesting, he was racking up all those claycourt wins without Borg entered in most of those events (it's not Vilas fault!!!). In fact while Vilas was winning 46 in a row(only on clay), Borg was winning 30 in a row(on clay & carpet) at the same time at tournaments with better fields! (not true...)


    Today there's little difference between the 4 slams, and if Vilas and Borg had got the same results in 2007, Vilas would be clear no.1, winning 2 slams to Borg's 1 and finishing runner-up in Australia.

    Keep in mind if slams were all equal back then, the fields would have been stronger, so who knows if Vilas would have even made the finals in Australia in '77.

    He made the finals of the '77 Australian(held in January) losing to Tanner. here were the top 10 seeds that event(their year end ranking for '76 are in parentheses)

    1. Vilas (6)
    2. Tanner (11)
    3. Ashe (12)
    4. Rosewall (13)
    5. Edmondson (35)
    6. Ruffels (27)
    7. Stockton (15)
    8. Crealy (3
    9. Dent (37)
    10. Case (45)

    Amazing, a slam with only one top 10 player entered. and where players ranked in the 30s get top 10 seeds." (not Vilas fault too!!!)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #24
  25. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    Vilas didn't win Mickey Mouse tournaments, you're pretty wrong about that... Besides that, he was finalist in Palm Springs and in Baltimore too... Borg lost quickly in Philadelphia WCT and in Washington, for example...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #25
  26. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    So, Marsella 07 or Hamburg 06 don't count because the better playeres were absent??? Big mistake. Dubai 08 deserves more points because the top players go? Like I said, the discuss wasn't about the greatest player; just about number one or not!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #26
  27. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    From what I know this is true. Borg served much harder and altered his serve shortly before the event which led to some muscle tightness/soreness. The injury part is probably exagerrated. Then again I don't recall anyone calling it an injury - I believe Bergelin simply stated that Borg played in pain.
     
    #27
  28. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Borg played through a shoulder injury at the 1977 US Open.

    Most likely. The red clay was Jimmy worst surface and he had lost in the first round at RG in 1973. There were no indicators of a breakthrough. Jimmy had his chance to prove himself at RG 1979-onwards and never did reach the final.

    Not to Vilas.

    This is true. Connors was playing hurt at the 1977 Wimbledon final, according to reports.

    Why don't you look yourself at the types of events Vilas had entered in 1977? You will see that he skipped most of the vital non-grand slam events and those that he did enter he didn't win.

    Who cares?

    A relatively minor event if you look carefully at the draws.

    Australia was skipped by most top players regularly from the mid-70s until 1983 and by some for a few years thereafter.
     
    #28
  29. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    This is nonsense but.. I repeat, Borg before QF in US Open, i'm sorry (a pain is not a injury...)...
    Sampras was named by this important magazine ahead of Borg, I CARE!!! Sorry again, CyBorg...
    Borg never win the Aussie Open, not even the US Open, sorry again... it hurts???
    Borg returns in 1991/2, being destroyed by all his opponents, sorry...
    Connors skip Aussie Open because he won once...
    We can say that Nadal "skipped" Hamburg until 2007 or Rotterdam until 2008???
    Do you know that Borg is one of the players with most abandoned matches at that time???
    More respect in your answer would avoid this...
     
    #29
  30. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    CyBorg, I agree that BORG is better player than VILAS, always was, but in 77 the results says another thing! You makes me very angry, my sons and wife are Argentines, I was born in Mexico but since 1940 live in USA, but, you know, i'm a grandfather and i'm old...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #30
  31. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    And i don't need to see the tornaments players entry, I WAS PRESENT ON THOSE TOURNAMENTS; NOT LIKE YOU IT SEEMS...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #31
  32. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Borg had a shoulder injury. I just wanted you to know this. So that you don't embarass yourself next time. You're welcome.

    Who cares? I see nothing wrong with rating Sampras above Borg.

    I didn't know this. Thanks for the info.

    1991, 1992, 1993 if you want to be specific. Nice non sequitur.

    You've asked him?

    We can say this at the risk of sounding retarded.

    Another quality sentence. Good work.
     
    #32
  33. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Oh, I get it. You're a biased Argentinian. Clears things up.
     
    #33
  34. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    You're going too far, don't you? I see that Hall of Fame qualifies you by the number of messenges, not your quality...
    You spoke in another forums of legends that you really don't know... not even close...

    I will not waste my time with you again.

    Sometime you take a raquet in your life??? Bye...:confused:
     
    #34
  35. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I never claimed to be a good poster, but at least my blinders aren't as tinted as yours.
     
    #35
  36. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    CyBorg,i lie to you about my wife and kids are argentines, they're all americans... My point is that if i'm say that I or my family was from Arg or something, you would say what you say... ALWAYS happened. Look, I'm a fan of Gonzalez, Rodney, Ken, Nastase, Bjorn, Crazy Mac, Pistol... They are great champions, and VERY BEST PLAYERS THAN VILAS... NO DOUBT AT ALL... I saw Borg alive, he was shocking!!! The thing is that in this post the discuss turns about N° 1 of 1977, by facts. It' probably that Borg win to Willy in clay, BUT YOU CAN'T SAY THAT IT WILL HAPPEN... Like i said i am an old grandpa (that's true) and see many surprises, i'm pretty sure that Borg would play in Aussie open more than once, he would will win!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #36
  37. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    Connors was a monster, i'm not his fan but, WHAT A D.. PLAYER!!!! And for you to know, for me dosen't count that loses when he back to tennis in 1991/2/3, he wasn't Borg, years passed. Yes, Borg was injured in US, you have right, but you can quit value to Vilas for that, he's not responsable... Besides CyBorg, it's only one year you know, and for example the record of Vilas - Borg is... 5-12!!! i'm old for discuss and you are very interested in tennis history, i'm very very glad. Greetings from California, sun land...
     
    #37
  38. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    You cranky old fart.

    Welcome to the team. *passes bottle*
     
    #38
  39. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    Thank you cyborg for OPEN MINDS (I hope specially young minds). All posters has valid points here, but you seem to be a hugh fan of tennis! I congratulate you, but I CATCH YOU SON!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
    #39
  40. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Since when does it matter WHO did you have to play to win the tournament? Does beating better ranked players grant you more points? no!

    Is Gaudio's 2004 French Open or Ivanisevic's 2001 Wimbledon more worthy than Fed's 2003 Wimbledon? No!

    USO and Wimbledon may have more prestige back then, but the four of them were slams, so it doesn't matter if a guy won Wimby or Roland Garros.

    You have a guy who won two slams, runner-up in a third (on grass) and besides that, racked up points from 14 extra titles! Mickey Mouse events or not, he played 150 matches that year! 150 freaking matches!

    You can't argue with numbers.

    OK, Borg didn't play French Open, but was that Vilas' fault? Does that take anything away from the fact he won 7 matches to win the title?
     
    #40
  41. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think, the 1977 question was decided in January 1978, when Borg lost to Connors at the NY Masters. Borg would have to win the Masters, to have a legitimate claim. So it remained a 'patt', Borg bt. Vilas, but Vilas bt. Connors (in one of the best matches of the 70s indoors), and Connors bt. Borg. All in all, Vilas had by far the best numbers for 1977, actually one of the best open seasons.
     
    #41
  42. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    I concur fully with this. Vilas won 16 tournaments in 1977 (including 2 of the 3 "biggest" grand slams) and had a winning percentage of over 91%. Vilas had a winning streak of 46 matches accross all surfaces and a streak of 53 matches on clay. Both streaks were broken contraversially by Nastase using the spaghetti rackset (a racket which was later banned from the ATP tour).

    Ultimately we can only speculate about who was the best player in 1977. However, what is clear is that Vilas had the best results in 1977. Therefore Vilas deserves the number 1 year end ranking.
     
    #42
  43. Tennis old man

    Tennis old man New User

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    I agree with urban and noeledmonds like you already know. Besides that, thank to Moose, Arafal, Sandy for your opinions.
     
    #43
  44. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Very, very debatable and much less clear than that. The whole Connors beat Borg and Vilas beat Connors stuff is fallacious.

    I give you this to chew on and it's very simple: Vilas was not the best player on any one surface. Not clay, certainly not grass, certainly not carpet. Borg was the best on both grass and clay.

    Borg won much deeper, more respectable events in Monte Carlo, Denver, Boca Raton, Barcelona and Wembley. Aside from his two majors Vilas won mostly smaller events in which Borg and Connors did not participate. 16 titles is an inflated figure. It doesn't happen today precisely because a player cannot skip important tournaments to play somewhere else and stack up on titles.

    Vilas did precisely this. His two majors still mean that his had a great year. No doubt about it. But it is not one of the top 10 years in the open era and I already made a good case about this here before.
     
    #44
  45. llgc8080

    llgc8080 Rookie

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    It's obvious the all thing about CyBorg, he's a big fan of Iceman. But I do believe taht Vilas deserves N° 1 in 77 too...
     
    #45
  46. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Vilas finished with titles at the French Open (where neither Borg nor Connors appeared) and the US Open.

    Borg won Wimbledon as well as events like Monte Carlo and Wembley.

    Connors won the Masters, Dallas and Las Vegas.

    Borg has the most varied and consistent results. He has wins on carpet, clay, hardcourts and grass.

    Vilas' non clay titles are Springfield, Virginia Beach and Johannersburg. Mickey Mouse events at best. You wouldn't see Connors/Borg caught dead there.

    Add the fact that Vilas was 0-3 against Borg and got manhandled by him in Nice and Monte Carlo (events leading up to RG) and I don't see how anyone can say Vilas was the true #1. It doesn't compute. One could make the argument that there is a three-way tie, but even that doesn't make sense all things considered.
     
    #46
  47. llgc8080

    llgc8080 Rookie

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    yeah, whatever CyBorg... you seemed a parrot repeating the same always... you seemed to worried about this theme!!!.. I gree with the oldy that says..."Besides that, he (Vilas) was finalist in Palm Springs and in Baltimore too... Borg lost quickly in Philadelphia WCT and in Washington" I say too that didn't win Brimingham or La Costa for example... The thing in ranking is about POINTS, not "possible games" that never were played...
     
    #47
  48. llgc8080

    llgc8080 Rookie

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    And you always quit value to Australian Open. Who is tinted in the opinions??? End of discussion for me.
     
    #48
  49. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Plus, who cares who did he beat? He won 145 times that season and lost 14. Does it matter if those loses were against the world's #1 or the #100?
     
    #49
  50. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I've come to appreciate your posts, but on this you are very very much off the beam.

    1977 record

    Vilas: 16 titles: including 2 slams
    Runner-up: 5 tournaments, including AO

    Borg: 11 titles, including 1 slam
    Runner up: 1 tournament (Masters)

    Add to this his amazing 91% winning percentage over more than 150 matches played.

    The difference is really considerable. And you say that "it doesn't compute"???

    You dismiss this blizzard of *facts* by referring to the Virginia Beach and Springfield tournaments as "mickey mouse." And yet he beat Nastase in the Virginia beach final, and he beat Stan Smith in the Springfield final, not exactly mickey mouse players in my book. In other finals he beat, among others, Connors, Fibak, Gottfried (who was in a great number of finals that year), Kodes, Tanner, Higueras and Fillol. Mickey mouse players? Not really. How about Borg beating Corrado Barazzuti in the Monte Carlo final, or John Lloyd in the Basel final? If this is a Mickey Mouse contest, who are the Mickeyest?

    Sorry, but the fact that Borg did not play the French that year is not something that should be counted in Borg's favour (!!!) -- by reasoning that if he HAD played it, he may well have won it, which seems to be your approach. What kind of reasoning is that???

    This is not even close. It's a case of severe blindness. The record clearly and overwhelmingly shows that Vilas had by far the best results in 1977. It's the record that determines who was the best player, not subjective considerations about who one thinks was the best player. I know you are a big Borg fan, and so am I, but the facts are what they are in 1977, and you should get over it.
     
    #50

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