The true no.1 of 1977

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

  1. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I know all of this and none of this is representative of how good these players were in relation to each other because unlike in today's era a player could pad his results significantly by playing many smaller events in place of deeper, popular events where all the big boys were.

    It is an inflated percentage. Inflated by playing in smaller events where Borg and Connors and many more great players weren't.

    Stan Smith was an old man by this time. He was 30 years old and won a single title that year, a minor one in Los Angeles. Nastase reached the age of 31 in 1977 and was past his prime. He was still a pretty good player, but barely stayed within the top 10.

    Well, we know that he beat Connors at Forrest Hills. It's quite an accomplishment. The other guys you've listed are all pretty good players but are mostly the kinds of guys you would see attend events like Washington, Valencia or Chennai. Good, but not elite, although Gottfied was a really strong player and was probably around his peak at this time. A closer look at the draws shows that the really big names are missing. The Kitzbuhel draw for example where Vilas played Kodes (a washed up player by this time) is weak. As is the Washington draw. Louisville, South Orange, Columbia - all of these are minor events. What was stopping Vilas from playing in Boston, Indianapolis or Cincinnati? You're also neglecting to mention that most of these wins were on Vilas' favorite surface - clay. He played on his best and favorite surface all year 'round, something that one cannot do today.

    Look at the Monte Carlo draw. You'll find that Borg beat Vilas on the way to the Monte Carlo final. Barrazzutti was a strong player. Better than Kodes, Fillol or Fibak. Would you feel differently about Monte Carlo if Borg faced Barrazzutti in the semi and Vilas in the final? What's the difference?

    The reasoning is simple. Borg was better on clay than Vilas.

    You're taking way too much offense to this. I have presented a clear and concise argument. I actually think that this is relatively close. Anyone who thinks that this isn't is being a little bit too emotional.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
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  2. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I am not taking it emotionally. I am just amazed that you don't acknowledge Vilas' results are clearly much better. All your arguments to counter it are purely subjective (inflated percentage and so on). By this method we could probably question a good number of year end number ones and engage in endless subjective arguments. There is a reason ability in sports is measured by results. I used to follow chess a bit, and there are endless similar arguments where people attempt to dimiss results in favor of "beauty" or "style" and so on. Karpov, one of the top two or three players in the history of the game, with a precise, boa-constrictor, "cerebral assassin" style (as someone felicitously said in the Lendl-Sampras thread) and more tournaments to his name than anyone else in the modern era, is often dismissed in favor of nutcases like Fisher because the latter had a flashier style and was an unpredictable crank. You have to let the numbers speak for themselves.
     
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  3. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    They are not better. You're placing value to quantity over quality. Quantity of titles over quality of titles. Mine is a valid argument, one that pertains very specifically and appropriately to the era in question.

    My argument isn't subjective and is actually very consistent with my posting philosophy. For example I have argued endlessly that Ivan Lendl's year in 1986 is one of the greatest years in Open era tennis and much, much better than Vilas' year. Lendl that year won only 9 titles. But once one looks closely at the quality of the titles won, across all surfaces and the kind of competition faced it becomes quite apparent. Good knowledge of the context of the era also helps in recognizing why players couldn't win 13 titles on clay in one year anymore.

    I follow chess as well and this analogy is sheer nonsense. I am not knocking Vilas for his style. In fact I find his game quite aesthetically pleasing.

    I am making a simple argument that can be broken down into the following statement: Vilas was not even the best player on his best surface and thus was not the best player. To boot, I also think that Vilas would not have the most ranking points among the three under modern standards for reasons already mentioned.

    P.S. I'm more of a Karpov guy than a Fischer guy, but that's probably because I'm Russian.:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
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  4. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I still disagree on all counts. I don't think the quality of Borg's titles was better that year.
    Nobody would argue that Vilas was a better clay court player than Borg. Of course he wasn't. But we are talking of a specific year, and that year Borg did not play the French, which is not Vilas' fault.
    I also don't see how Vilas would not have had the most points with those results, under any standards. His 2 slams + 1 runner-up slam + the other 14 titles would probably make his ranking points even higher under today's standards.

    I agree that the style argument is not applicable to the point you are making, but more to a general line of subjective argumentation where, for example, Nadal is deemed a bad or mediocre hard court player because of his style, when last year he had better results on hard courts than all players except Federer and Djokovic. I guess I tend to look more at actual results.

    I love Karpov *because* of his style. Kramnik said of him: ‘When Karpov had an advantage he would maintain the status quo and thereby mysteriously increase his advantage! Nobody before or since him has managed to do this.’

    This is perhaps my favorite Karpov game: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1067846
     
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  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    You know who else didn't play? Connors, Gerulaitis, Orantes, Stockton. No, it isn't Vilas' fault that they didn't play, but is also isn't his fault that the Australian Open had poor draws. That doesn't mean that event holds as much value as it does today. The French was still a strong event, but it was depleted.

    The runner-up was at the Aussie, which had worse draws than Memphis.

    What you don't realize above is that today Vilas would not be unable to amass 16 title wins and would play significantly less.

    First of all, there are fewer clay events today. There is less clay in the summer and almost no clay in the fall. In the 70s there was a full fledged clay court season in the fall. Borg stopped playing there after 1975 and spent his time concentrating on carpet instead.

    Second of all, masters series events are mandatory, unlike big events like Dallas and Philly, which got the strongest draws in the 70s. Vilas wouldn't be able to avoid events like this and therefore would have to compete against Connors and Borg regularly.

    Take all of this together and Vilas would struggle to amass 10 titles. He would still have a solid year, most likely and I do not discount his US Open victory which, although it was played on clay, was played on faster clay which was very different from the red one we know so much about from the spring stretch.

    I have tended to defend Nadal most of the time here. I agree that the criticisms against him are unfair, but consider why.

    Nadal has gone about 7-8 months without winning a singles title. The reason this happened has a lot to do with his tournament schedule and the way the ATP is organized today. First of all, there is no clay after the summer stretch. He won Stuttgart and that's it for the rest of the year. What remains is hardcourts and carpet. And that frankly doesn't favour Rafa. Now, in 1977 Rafa would still be amassing titles from July to December if he was so inclined by playing clay court events, many of them small ones. This spring Rafa avoided the South American stretch in order to play in Rotterdam and Dubai.

    Little things like tell you a lot about how good a player is. Rafa could have easily had over 30 career titles by now. But he doesn't because of where he chooses to play. Without knowing these little details one can falsely conclude that there's something wrong with him.

    I think this says a lot about how good Borg was, because his results translate better to today's more balanced tennis schedule. He won on all surfaces. Consistently.

    There was a nice clip of Karpov and Kasparov on Youtube circa 2001 where Karpov destroyed Kasparov in blitz chess. Kasparov's face afterwards was priceless. He was still relatively dominant at the time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
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  6. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    The fact that something is consistent with your posting philosophy does not exempt it from being subjective. Your arguments are extremely subjective because they are based on the notion that the value of titles, (including slams) ought to be determined by a subjective examination of the strength of the field on each occasion, and on who played who. That's okay for one's own personal ranking system. But it would turn into a theater of the absurd if the organization that decides whom to choose for the award for best player on a given year, were to hold meetings to discuss things like how much value to assign each particular slam, and each particular tournament, based on the field and on who played who and so on. Ranking systems cannot work that way.
    Based on the record for that year, it would seem highly reasonable to most people that the award be given to Vilas for 1977. It is what makes the most sense, based on the record.

    You are of course entitled to your subjective views, but you should not claim they are not subjective.
     
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  7. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Let me some up what this is really like:

    My argument: Connors, Vilas and Borg were all close in 1977 but Bjorn Borg had the best year for reasons already mentioned.

    Your argument: Vilas had the best year. There is no doubt about it.

    If you review this you would see that I am being much more flexible. I do not think that Borg's year trumps Vilas' nor Connors' for that matter. But it is a better year for a variety of very specific reasons such as Borg's ability to win on four surfaces, the quality of his titles and his domination of Vilas.

    Ranking systems are fluid and change from era to era. There is no objective method to mathematically calculate who had a better year, although some attempts are being made. One I have seen calculates points based on the depth of fields. You're simply content to add up the titles.

    Based on the sheer number of titles alone Thomas Muster was a better player than Sampras and Agassi in 1995. But, whoops, he won in places like Sankt Polten and San Marino.

    Everything is subjective, but some views are more rational and better researched than others.
     
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  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I haven't studied 1977 at any length, but I just want to say that there is more than subjectivity when Borg is picked as #1. The opening post had this:

    It would be interesting to see how many victories Vilas and Borg each had over Top Ten players.

    It's an objective measurement -- no less objective than measuring a tournament's depth by simply looking at how many top ten players attended.

    I have a hard time giving Vilas #1 for the year when I see the arguments that he played lesser tournaments. To be called #1 for the year, I think, you have to beat all comers, at least in a general sense. (If you're too strict about it you get absurd results like putting Nadal over Federer in 2005-06). The number of Top Ten scalps that you collect in a year is a measurement of that.

    One thing in Sandy Mayer's post that I disagree with is his opinion that Borg's win over Connors at Wimbledon was more impressive than Vilas' win over Connors at the U.S. Open. His argument is that Connors was regarded as possibly the best grasscourt player in the world. But Connors was the defending champion at the Open, and a great player on that surface, in that venue. He had proven himself there at least as much as he had at Wimbledon. When he walked out to face Vilas in the final he'd already beaten him there, as well as Orantes, and Borg (all in straight sets, not counting one additional tough victory over Borg in the '76 final).
     
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  9. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    The point about the 1977 it was organised in an awful way. There were far too many events. There was a Grand prix which ran for the first time from the start to the end of the year, a rival WCT tour and WTT in the summer.

    There were far too many weeks with 3 or more events to play. I would suggest the only 2 events which come close to super 9 level in '77 were philadelphia and memphis. The rest belong to the 35 to 50 points level in today's system. Outside the slams and the masters, Borg connors and vilas were never in the same field; neither were connors and vilas. Borg and connors only twice.

    In contrast Laver, newcombe and rosewall were in 8 outside of the majors in 1970; laver and Rosewall 16; that's the way tennis should be played.

    The debate about the relative fields Borg and vilas can be ilustrated by the wins over top players they obtained. If you give 4 ponits for a win over a top 3 player; 2 for rest of top ten; 1 for a player ranked 11 to 17 faced you get these results :

    Borg 44
    connors 42
    vilas 39

    These are the results over the majors and the 14 best results. borg finishes top but entirley due to the 20 points for his 5 top 3 wins. Vilas had only two top 3 wins and Connors only one. On this basis Connors probably played in slightly stronger fields, but really theere is very litte between them.

    If the majors count anything like they do today in the rankings Vilas is easily the number one. If one gives US 200 ; Wimbledon 200; French 150 ; Aussie 100 and WCT finals 100, Borg is trailing way behind.

    Vilas 435
    Connors 380
    Borg 230


    I counted the aussie and WCt as alternative majors. The aussie had some good grass court players Tanner, roche, Rosewall Alexander , Ashe and Stockton (who had the greatest year of his career winning Philadelphia and runner-up to connors in the WCT finals). Throughout the early to mid 70's , the WCT was a prestige event and often regarde cvas more important than the Auusie open).

    Counting top wins as 25% of the total (30% to majors and 45% other 14 - the same ratio as today's points system). Vilas is a very easy winner with Borg just edging out Connors for 2nd place. Even rasing top wins to 40% of the total compared to the other two categories, Vilas is still an easy winner.

    This was a year whem players avoided each other. Vilas and connors both played the US summer circuit but avoided each other until the US open as vilas racked up his 50 match wining steak. Borg's decision to play WTT really hurts his chances. Of the 5 majors available he only played 2, one of which he retired injured from.

    jeffrey
     
    #59
  10. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    There's a number of problems with your approach:

    1) Your first totals provide wins over top players with a specific ranking. The problem is that you provide totals, but not percentages. Let me illustrate why this is a problem:

    Let's say Player A plays seven events and meets a top 10 player 6 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 2-4 against top players. That's two victories.

    Let's say Player B plays four events and meets a top 10 player 4 times in total in those events. He finished with a record of 3-1 against top players. That's three victories.

    By simply comparing victories we conclude that player b was slightly ahead of player A. By comparing percentages we discover that player B was much better than player A.

    Borg played no tournaments between Wimbledon and the US Open. Vilas played a bunch of smaller ones. In terms of ranking points Borg is certainly penalized for having done so, but if our goal here is to figure out which player had the better year we should be very careful to place all emphasis on rankings alone. And we should also be careful on giving Vilas credit for playing top players more often and avoiding the percentages.

    Now, one can say that it's Borg's own fault for not having played in the summer after Wimbledon. But this is mostly uninformed - those aware of this point in time know that Borg in fact played almost all year round. Many of the events he played are unlisted by sources such as the ATP. These are the so-called exhibitions; events like Hilton Head. Important events at the time, but those virtually forgotten today. This is another problem with an approach which favours totals over percentages. It doesn't take into account all information and it simply isn't able, because a lot of the information is missing.

    2) Giving the Aussie as many points as you did is a mistake. Not only was it not on par with a WCT event it was not even on par with an event like Memphis.

    Allow me to sum up: any kind of approach which favours totals over percentages favours Vilas in this case, so no matter what you do you will have Vilas on top with that kind of system in mind. That doesn't make him the true number one of 1977, unless all we are interested in are flawed ranking points which do not adjust for factors such as surface distribution. The reason why the ATP has altered its ranking system for 2009 and beyond (in limiting the amount of 500-point events) is precisely to prevent players from stacking up on points in smaller events and to ensure that only the best players sit atop the ATP points race. To boot, we already know of the way surfaces are allocated throughout the year, that clay, grass and hardcourts seldom intersect and that mandatory events exist to prevent players from padding their ranking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
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  11. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    reply to cyborg

    The point is that in these results you chose the 4 majors plus 14. they play the same total events unlike your example.

    However doing your ratio busines of counting losses leads to

    44 -8 borg
    39 -19 vilas

    That sounds great for borg, but the point of the other system is that vilas 19 point losse are distributed to other players in the top 17. Its a matter of choice. Even with your ratio system Borg fails to win at 25% share for top wins as a proportionh of the total. At 40% he just scaps home.

    The aussie is a slam. It had strong field of grass court players. I'm only giving it a hundred points not 200. Memphis might be a super 9 but with so few to choose in 1977 , there is no point in using that methodolgy. Borg gets extra points for beating Gottfried at the event but its not important in the scheme of things. Even with its weaker field people still new it was a slam and a prestige event


    jeffrey
     
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  12. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Highly flawed. You shouldn't be choosing four majors, when one was a non-factor.

    Don't follow. If you go on what has already been posted Borg played top 10 players in 10 of his events, Vilas in six. I guess what you are saying is that if one incorporates 11-17 they wind up with the same amount of counted events. But all things considered the percentages still show very clearly that Borg fared better against the top guns than Vilas did. If Vilas was truly the clear #1 wouldn't he at the very least do as well as Borg in that regard?

    Exactly. It looks close when you only look at the wins. It is lopsided as a percentage.

    I fail to see how this is relevant or changes anything.

    Please be more specific. What total?

    The draw is weak-weak-weak. McNamee, Saviano, Passarelli, Case, Alexander leading into Tanner. Ken Rosewall made the other semifinal? You can't be serious.

    The Aussie lost its prestige in the mid-70s. If it was still a prestige event the top guns would attend.

    New York Masters was a prestige event. That I can understand and agree with. The competition backs it up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Cyborg has always trashed the Aussie Open, at least BF. That is before Fed, now that Federer plays there, it's a legit GS tourney.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
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  14. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    haha, no. It started to get back on track in 1983.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Who went in '83 to make it legit?
     
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  16. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Your problem is that you give extra points for beating a top10, when you shouldn't. It doesn't matter if you face #4 or #58. A win is a win.

    You can't argue about who was #1 because of the players he faced, and against whom he loses.

    Or does that make Federer's year better than everyone else's? After all, his two defeats came in hands of Djokovic #3 and Murray #11

    Pffff... Nalbandian lost to Ferrero #22 and Almagro!! (and their YTD records are 5-2 for Fed and 12-2 for Nalbandian)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
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  17. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    #67
  18. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Sure it does.

    Glad we cleared this up.
     
    #68
  19. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Jeffrey is on the line of the older computer ranking. Actually, in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the ATP computer gave extra points for beating top players. This factor was in the ranking points. I don't know at the moment, when the ATP threw it out.
     
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  20. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    Remember the system is 14 best performances plus majors.

    In vilas's case you can drop his losses. outside of the majors he won 14 times
    In otherwords he played a perfect year in regular events. You treat wins as postive results. With top wins counting as 25% of the total shjare of points you get results like

    Borg Wimbledon 216
    vilas Us open 190
    Borg Memphis 66 (only gottfried counts)
    Vilas Washington 82 (wins over dibbs gottfried better than borg's win)
    Borg monte carlo 106
    Vilas French open 152
    Vilas aussie open 52
    vilas louisville 66
    borg nice 82
    borg grand slam 67
    borg witc 43
    vilas springfield 50
    vilas south orange 58
    vilas tehran 66
    borg la costa 35
    borg wembly 66

    you can see the 25% share for top wins kicking in these examples.


    so the points are:

    Top14 Vilas 700 Borg 601
    Majors Vilas 326 borg 172
    top wins Vilas 288 Borg 352
    Masters bonus Vilas 30 borg 64

    Total Vilas 1344 borg 1189

    Vilas dominates two of the three categories. borg only one.
    in terms of top ten wins borg had 14; vilas 14
    " 10-17 wins borg had 6 vilas 7

    There is no advantage to borg on actual wins achieved; its only because of his win over vilas that he wins this category

    Despite your snipes at the aussie open in the 70s it was a prestige event and still a slam with a decent field (tanner beat roche rosewall and vilas all quality players in the top 17) . When borg won memphis the only decent win was gotfried. there's nothing to get excited about borg's wins, only monte carlo stand out.

    jeffrey
     
    #70
  21. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    I can't understand that there is a discussion ! Look at the palmares of Borg and Vilas in 1977 ! This is really a joke ! Vilas is n° 1 !!
     
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  22. random guy

    random guy Professional

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    Very interesting discussion, but I think with the logic that cyborg is using the best thing that Roger Federer can do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up to any. After all, we all know he's the best.
     
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  23. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    jeffrey,

    There are a few very simple things for which you are not accounting:

    a) The system does not account for the fact that 13 of Vilas' titles were won on clay .. yes, if the system is set up the way you have it it favours Vilas, but the way you have it set up is highly flawed .. a more modern advanced scheduling system would not allow Vilas to play so many small clay court events all year round, while skipping prestige events .. your rankings do not adjust for these glaring aspects and provide highly questionable results. You give Vilas credit for beating particular players of a particular ranking while treating the surface elements as fixed. However it should be admitted that Vilas was beating these players, by and large, on his favorite surface.

    For example: you would not discriminate between a Vilas victory over an opponent on clay over a Vilas victory over the same opponent on another surface. These are not identical. The whole issue with Vilas' year is that he stacked up on wins on his best surface and did his best to avoid other surfaces.

    b) Here's the Memphis draw in 1977 .. http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/vault/draws.asp?tournamentID=402&tournamentyear=1977 .. better, deeper than the Australian Open .. the other flaw to your argument is that you merely look at the ranking of the opposition faced in a tournament rather than observing the quality of the draws of the respective tournaments .. this brings up an interesting scenario:

    In semifinal A Bjorn Borg beats an unidentified player.

    In semifinal B the third-ranked Brian Gottfried loses to the 25th ranked player... let's say "Bob Smith".

    Bjorn Borg beats Bob Smith in the final. Under your system Borg's win over Smith has significantly less value than a win over Gottfried would. However I would posit that Borg's win is no less impressive considering that he beat the guy who beat Gottfried. Therefore Smith happened to be better than Gottfried at this point in time, regardless of what the ranking tells us.

    This is why one looks at the quality of the fields. Another reason why one does this is that what happens in an event is often decided by the luck of the draw and the occasional career-defining moments where lesser-ranked players best higher-ranked players.

    c) The Aussie was not a prestige event. For reasons already stated. The event had no mystical, supernatural powers which made it something it wasn't. You are claiming to have a mathematical approach and yet you are granting this event an aura that isn't there.

    d) The Masters event was one of the top four events and yet you assign it almost no value. This doesn't make any sense.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
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  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Palmares? That sounds delicious.
     
    #74
  25. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Under the modern system Federer would not be skipping anything unless he was ill. The ATP today sets up mandatory events where one has to explain his absence if one isn't to show up.

    In the 1970s players routinely skipped the Australian Open because it was a joke event and in 1977 particularly a handful of elite players skipped the French.

    Vilas skipped almost every masters series-quality event in 1977.
     
    #75
  26. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    No matter how one slices it, Vilas has the best results in 1977 by far.

    The only way to arrive at a different conclusion is by beginning with the conclusion and then working one's way toward it by engaging in a cherry-picking exercise, and a gratuitous dismissal of results. The notion that most of Vilas wins that year are mickey mouse while Borg's are solid epic endeavors does not stand scrutiny. It's just an assertion. What's even more hilarious is that Borg's *exhibitions* are presented as important while Vilas' wins in real tournaments are dismissed.

    Ditto for the dismissal of the FO win on the grounds that Borg wasn't there. Even funnier is the dismissal of the US Open win, by one poster, on the grounds that boisterous Argentinean fans had taken over New York and so Connors was uncomfortable, he felt lost in a hostile foreign land, poor thing. And everybody knows the AO final is a poor result because it was a mickey mouse tournament coinciding with the period when Borg didn't play there.

    It should also be noted that the precaution not to judge 1977 results by 2008 standards is only followed when convenient for the argument: namely, dismissing the importance of winning 2 slams and reaching the final of another (say, 2.5 slams). This in itself would decide the issue today; but it's an illusion, you see, because in 1977 it was equivalent to one slam, if that much. Yet when talking about the importance of winning 16 titles in 1977, we dismiss it by saying that 16 titles would have been impossible in the 2008 format. So there. The 2008 format now invalidates those 16 titles.

    It's all a joke. And it is a pity because cyborg does have good knowledge and analytical skills, when not clouded by the religious fervor to defend the untouchable greatness of godly Borg. But here he is stretching things into self-parody. I agree with the poster who brings this kind of logic to a neat reductio ad absurdum: all Federer has to do to win a Golden Slam is not to show up at any slams for a whole year, and then claim clear victory, since everybody knows he would have won them all if he had chosen to attend.
     
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  27. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Vilas 1977 (source wikipedia)
    Delicious palmares
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Vilas

    In 1977, Guillermo Vilas played 31 ATP Tour singles tournaments, entered 22 finals (including 3 Grand Slam Tournaments) and won 16 titles - the Record of number of singles titles won by one player in a year in the Open Era (including 2 Grand Slam titles).

    He also had a 46 singles winning streak in any surfaces in ATP Tour (within July-September 1977, including 2 Davis Cup singles win over Australia which is not shown in ATP Profile.) [2] - the longest overall winning streak in Open Era.
    The ATP record of 53 matches winning streak on clay (including unofficial tournaments), finished within 1977, was broken by Rafael Nadal in May 2006.

    He is still the only player to win ATP singles titles in five different continents in the same year - Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. (1977)
    Singles Titles (16)
    Springfield, U.S.A. - Carpet
    Buenos Aires, Argentina - Clay
    Virginia Beach, U.S.A. - Hard
    Roland Garros (French Open) - Clay
    Kitzbuhel, Austria - Clay
    Washington, U.S.A. - Clay
    Louisville, U.S.A. - Clay
    South Orange, U.S.A. - Hard
    Columbus, U.S.A. - Hard
    U. S. Open - Clay
    Paris, France - Clay
    Tehran, Iran - Clay
    Bogotá, Colombia - Clay
    Santiago, Chile - Clay
    Buenos Aires-2, Argentina - Clay
    Johannesburg WCT, South Africa - Hard
    Singles Runners-up (6)
    Australian Open - Grass
    Baltimore, U.S.A. - Carpet
    Palm Springs, U.S.A. - Hard
    Johannesburg, South Africa - Hard (not held)
    Nice, France - Clay
    Aix en Provence, France - Clay
    Total Win-Loss : 128-14 (Most win recognised by ATP within the same calendar year, not including Davis Cup)
     
    #77
  28. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Not quite. The point is that outside of prestige events like Dallas, Philly, Las Vegas, etc there were many smaller events some of which are counted by the ATP and some aren't. Ultimately they are all rather minor.

    Actually jeffrey is pretty fair in this regard. If I am understanding correctly he grants slightly less value to the French than Wimbledon and the US Open on these grounds.

    It isn't really my argument that Vilas' victories at the French Open and the US Open should be unworthy of being considered as 'major' victories. Even jeffrey acknowledges, however, that different value should be allotted to these events based on the quality of opposition. My view is slightly different as I feel that the quality of draws should also be of utmost consideration.

    I am always accused of this, which is why I tend to be very careful when debates about Borg arise, but in this case I am very firm because I know for a fact that Borg was significantly better than Vilas in 1977. This is objectively true.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
    #78
  29. CyBorg

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    Thomas Muster's titles in 1995:

    6 March 1995 Mexico City, Mexico Clay Fernando Meligeni 7-6, 7-5
    10 April 1995 Estoril, Portugal Clay Albert Costa 6-4, 6-2
    17 April 1995 Barcelona, Spain Clay Magnus Larsson 6-2, 6-1, 6-4
    1 May 1995 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Boris Becker 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6, 6-0
    22 May 1995 Rome, Italy Clay Sergi Bruguera 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3
    12 June 1995 French Open, Paris Clay Michael Chang 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
    26 June 1995 Sankt Pölten, Austria Clay Bohdan Ulihrach 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
    24 July 1995 Stuttgart Outdoor, Germany Clay Jan Apell 6-2, 6-2
    14 August 1995 San Marino Clay Andrea Gaudenzi 6-2, 6-0
    28 August 1995 Umag, Croatia Clay Carlos Costa 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
    18 September 1995 Bucharest, Romania Clay Gilbert Schaller 6-3, 6-4
    30 October 1995 Essen, Germany Carpet MaliVai Washington 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

    Wow - he was so much better than Sampras.

    He reached the #1 ranking in February 12, 1996 and unlike Vilas he was at least the best player on his best surface.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
    #79
  30. Benhur

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    Meaningless comparison. The comparison runs better if you invert the terms.
    Sampras in 1995 still won 2 slams and was runner up at a third. Same as Vilas in 1977.
    Aside from his performance at slams, Sampras won Indian Wells, Queens, Paris Indoor, and was runner up at Key Biscayne, Montreal and Lyon.

    Muster won 1 slam in 1995. Was runner up at none.
    Same as Borg in 1977

    IN ADDITION to his 2.5 slams, Vilas won 14 other tournaments and was runner up at 5.

    As I said, meaningless comparison. Clutching at straws.
     
    #80
  31. Benhur

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    That’s an “objective fact” based exclusively on your personal beliefs. It may even be true, but it relies exclusively on dismissing results in favor of intrinsic and pre-established “betterness”. It does not cancel the results. We are about measuring the performance during one particular year, not about who was the better tennis player.

    Federer was still better than Canas after the latter beat him twice in a row last year. But Canas still won those matches. Your approach would lead us to conclude that the real winner of those matches was Federer, and that the fact that he lost them is only an accidental interference of factual reality into eternal tennis truth. After all he was the better tennis player.

    On the other hand, the fact that Vilas had clearly better results than Borg in 1977 is much closer to a real, palpable, measurable, objective fact than anything dealing with intrinsic betterness.
     
    #81
  32. CyBorg

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    This is not very fair, as I do not dislike Vilas. I have no reason to feel bitterness here. I think that it is objective that Borg was the better player. He was the better player on every surface. I don't know how one can deny this. I can accept the argument that Vilas is #1 under a particular kind of a ranking system, but these are frequently flawed.

    I fail to see how this analogy is applicable to the discussion at hand. Federer was a better player than Canas in 2007 in spite of those losses, but he wasn't the better player in those specific matches. I don't know where you are going with this.

    What I have been trying to show here is that Vilas didn't have better results than Borg in 1977 and I have provided a number of very good arguments, such as Borg's consistent results over four surfaces and Vilas' consistent domination on one surface over everyone not named Borg.

    This is why I think that Vilas' year in 1977 is comparable to Muster's in 1995, except that Muster was actually the best player on his best surface, while Vilas wasn't.
     
    #82
  33. CyBorg

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    Was Muster better than Agassi?
     
    #83
  34. random guy

    random guy Professional

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    Wov cyborg, you really got a lot of energy!! I kind of respect that but it's a little bit tiring to read you stating the same over and over again and not taking into account what virtually everyone else is saying (well you do actually, but just to deny it)
     
    #84
  35. CyBorg

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    Could you be more specific? What am I ignoring?
     
    #85
  36. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    I feel this issue has been rather overcomplicated. You can argue for as long as you want who the better player was in 1977 but ultimately it is the player with better results that gets the number 1 ranking. You can't give players the benefit of the doubt in events they have not competed in. Otherwise you are saying that the favourite for an event can achieve as much credibility by skipping an event as by winning it.

    In terms of who did have the best result then, why is it neccesary to look further than Vilas's 2 grand slams to Borg's 1? I know that the French Open had a depleted field but that is not Vilas's fault. You can't give the benefit to Borg because he was the favourite but did not turn up.

    Vilas had better results than Borg. Perhaps Borg was a better player but to gain the number 1 ranking he needs to prove this by winning the biggest events.

    There are several examples of the same thing hapenning in other years. Take Agassi in 1999. Sampras beat Agassi on all their significant encounters in 1999. However Agassi won more grand slams. Perhaps Sampras would have won the US Open had he competed, perhaps he would not but he did not. Anything else is speculation. Agassi is world number 1 for 1999.

    Results are hard evidence and the only objective measure.
     
    #86
  37. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Jeffrey is more than fair, giving Borg 216 points for Wimbledon and Vilas 152 for the French, 192 for the US Open, and only 52 for the AO final. He counts top wins as 25% of total points.

    Even with that, Vilas comes clearly up on top. There is no question about it.

    The problem is that, in your mind , *every* ranking system is automatically flawed for 1977 *unless* it shows Borg on top. In other words, you start with the conclusion, and if the results don't bear it out, the results must be wrong or they are being measured the wrong way. Jeffrey's post is pretty conclusive and I copy it below.
    --------------

    Originally Posted by jeffreyneave:

    Remember the system is 14 best performances plus majors.

    In vilas's case you can drop his losses. outside of the majors he won 14 times
    In otherwords he played a perfect year in regular events. You treat wins as postive results. With top wins counting as 25% of the total shjare of points you get results like

    Borg Wimbledon 216
    vilas Us open 190
    Borg Memphis 66 (only gottfried counts)
    Vilas Washington 82 (wins over dibbs gottfried better than borg's win)
    Borg monte carlo 106
    Vilas French open 152
    Vilas aussie open 52
    vilas louisville 66
    borg nice 82
    borg grand slam 67
    borg witc 43
    vilas springfield 50
    vilas south orange 58
    vilas tehran 66
    borg la costa 35
    borg wembly 66

    you can see the 25% share for top wins kicking in these examples.

    so the points are:

    Top14 Vilas 700 Borg 601
    Majors Vilas 326 borg 172
    top wins Vilas 288 Borg 352
    Masters bonus Vilas 30 borg 64

    Total Vilas 1344 borg 1189

    Vilas dominates two of the three categories. Borg only one.
    in terms of top ten wins borg had 14; vilas 14
    " 10-17 wins borg had 6 vilas 7

    There is no advantage to borg on actual wins achieved; its only because of his win over vilas that he wins this category

    Despite your snipes at the aussie open in the 70s it was a prestige event and still a slam with a decent field (tanner beat roche rosewall and vilas all quality players in the top 17) . When borg won memphis the only decent win was gotfried. there's nothing to get excited about borg's wins, only monte carlo stand out.
     
    #87
  38. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Okay, I like this. Then you basically admit that it's best to strip it down to the results in majors. I find this attractive because we put the other tourney stuff to rest. Both guys won a lot of titles, Vilas played a bit more and thus won a few more. Focussing on the biggest four events that matter we have Vilas with two majors and Borg with a major and a runner-up at the Masters. Hence, advantage: Vilas.

    I respect this, because at least it seems to me that you're not suggesting that Vilas' 16 titles is somehow a number that matters and separates him from Borg. All in all I don't agree with your post, but I respect the way you narrow this down.

    This is very interesting and, in my opinion, worthy of debate.

    Agassi wins two majors, one without Sampras (who had won Cincinnati). They have roughly equal number of overall titles. Sampras' head-to-head against Agassi is 4-1. Both do little at the Aussie. Sampras wins the Masters.

    I think it's close. I wonder if folks like the Tennis Magazine awarded Agassi with player of the year partly because they were sick of Sampras winning it year after year. Something to consider.

    I see a few examples of hard evidence in regards to Vilas and Borg. RG, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Masters. As well there's the head-to-head, performances across all surfaces and arguably their respective performances against top ranked players.

    If you ignore the last three you give it to Vilas. If you don't, things get a little bit more interesting.

    For the record, the ATP and Tennis Magazine both awarded Borg player of the year for 1977.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
    #88
  39. CyBorg

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    With those facts alone, yes Vilas does come out on top. I never denied this.

    You are being very aggressive and frankly I don't appreciate this. I am not being aggressive towards you.
     
    #89
  40. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Neither do I dislike Borg. Nor am I a fan of Vilas. I don't need to be convinced that Borg was a better tennis player than Vilas. But we are talking about results for one specific year.

    The Canas analogy is something I brough up in order to make precisely the point you are making, on a smaller scale. Just like you say: Federer was the better player for the year, by far, but he wasn't better on those two specific tournaments.
    Likewise, over their entire careers, Borg was much better than Vilas (had better results, which is what "being better" means). No question.
    But on that specific year (1977) Vilas had better results than Borg. So he was "better" in that sense.
     
    #90
  41. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Sorry if you think am being aggressive. It is certainly not my intention. I do believe you are completely off the mark on this and am trying to show you why.
     
    #91
  42. CyBorg

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    Not true. Read the initial post by the thread-starter. He's talking about the #1 player as the best player and provides five reasons for rating Borg as the best of the three. His arguments trascend ranking-oriented analysis.

    Actually I'm not convinced Vilas had better results. Again, the factors I see herein are as such:

    - The four most important events (sort of the SgtJohn system)
    - H2H
    - Performance across different surfaces
    - Success against other top players or success in tournaments where other top players participated

    You place pretty much all of the weight on the first aspect (and you're also impressed with Vilas' 16 titles, which you see as particularly impressive). I think that the other factors narrow the gap and actually give Borg the edge.

    The Agassi/Sampras '99 topic is interesting as well, although I should point out that Sampras has a clear blemish there, which is his clay court results. Borg doesn't have one as glaring as that.
     
    #92
  43. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    Advantage Vilas indeed.

    I agree that Vilas having 16 titles is overvalued generally. They are an impressive achivement but not worthy the world number 1 ranking in themselves.

    I will not digress into this debate now but let it be suffice to say that Agassi's 2000 Australian Open victory over Sampras showed that he could beat Sampras over 5 sets on hard courts around this time. This puts too much doubt over Sampras at the US Open to give him the benefit of the doubt. Agassi reached 3 grand slam finals winning 2 of them. Sampras entered 2 grand slams, winning one of them.

    I would hope that Tennis Magazine were a little more responsible than that. I see no reason why they would hold a grudge against Sampras's dominance. The ATP ranking system game Agassi the number 1 ranking also.

    Regarding the last 3 points. I agree these are somewhat signifcant and can be regarded as result based anlaysis. Head to head performances are the least significant in my opinion. Some people's games fit together well to benefit one player over the other. For example, take Federer and Nadal. Nadal dominated Federer though the early part of 2006 but Federer was still the deserved world number 1. Vilas's game fitted into Borg's because their games were very similar in many respects but Borg's was generally better. Vilas's strong victories over Connors and later McEnroe show that Borg was not as far ahead of Borg generally as their head-head would suggest.

    The surfaces is a intersting point. I agree that versitility is important accross the surfaces. However, I feel that you have overlooked a significant point here. This is that red clay and green clay played so differently from each other that they really should be clasified as different surfaces. Just look at Borg's results on green clay compared with red clay. So Vilas's results are more impressive on green clay and on red clay in 1977. Borg's results are more impressive on grass and carpet in 1977. Hard court is less clear. Borg won Wembley over Lloyd. Vilas won Virginia beach over Nastase and Johannesburg WCT over Mottram.

    Performances against other top players it pretty even to if you discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg. If you don't discount the head-to-head between Vilas and Borg then you are using this head-to-head in 2 of your 3 catergories. This would be a manipulative and misleading use of an analysis.

    Tennis Magazine is a credible source but other credible sources give Vilas the overwhelming nod over Borg. Bud Collins said that "His [Vilas's] 1977 was a monumental year in the game’s history". There is no doubt who Collin's viewed as the number 1.

    Finally, I am suprised not to see the mention of the Davis Cup thus far in this thread. The Davis Cup was a far bigger event back then than it is viewed today. Vilas's won 2 crucial singles rubbers in the Davis Cup semi-final to lead Argentina to the Davis Cup Final in 1977. Borg did not compete in Davis Cup this year.

    On balance I feel that Vilas does definately deserve the number 1 ranking in 1977, not by a massive margin, but none the less by a perceptable margin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
    #93
  44. CyBorg

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    I'm not saying that there was a grudge, but just that Agassi seemed to have a particular kind of 'commercial' value at the time. He was always more popular than Sampras. I think the decision to rate him #1 was very much a corporate decision in part.

    That said, I still think that Agassi deserved to be rated ahead of Sampras. If we look at his performances across all surfaces he has more consistent results.

    Here's why the Nadal/Federer analogy doesn't fit. Federer actually has a very good h2h against Nadal on non-clay surfaces. I would say a representative record.

    On clay, however, Nadal dominates. Most likely also a representative record.

    We have to realize that there is no such thing as Roger Federer the tennis player. There exists Roger Federer the hardcourt/carpet player, Roger Federer the grasscourt player and Roger Federer the clay court player. Same for Nadal.

    From this we can posit that Rafael Nadal the clay court player trumps Roger Federer the clay court player 6 to 1. I think this is very fair.

    On other surfaces it's a completely different story. Thus this is where the h2h is actually quite accurate once one analyzes it a bit more deeply.

    What makes the h2h of Borg/Vilas interesting is that Borg was 2-0 against Vilas on clay; Vilas' best surface and I would say his defining surface for the year.

    The green clay stuff is an interesting wrinkle. Borg skipped most of the summer and thus may not have played any green clay results outside of the US Open. I am not sure what this tells us.

    Good point and I agree, but if you discount the h2h Borg still has a percentage much higher than Vilas' against top players.

    Bud Collins? That old senile fart? Okay, just kidding.

    To be honest I am not sure what to say about this either. In all likelihood, if Borg did play Davis Cup he probably would have had a less active fall indoor campaign.

    At the very least this makes for a nice debate. The Vilas supporters certainly want their boy to have that one year of glory to himself and I can understand that. It was a great year.
     
    #94
  45. CyBorg

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    A request for some clarification from those who may know:

    - of the 13 titles won by Vilas in 1977, how many were won on green and how many on red? This would be very nice to know.
     
    #95
  46. Moose Malloy

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    I think this is a rather complicated issue, and have no real strong feelings about who should have been #1 that year, but think it is incredibly simplistic to just judge 1977 in the context of what is now important in 2008(& using the way ranking points are now allotted as some sort of 'proof' as to who was really the best player that year is rather absurd if you think about it)

    If you play that 'what if' game you have to acknowledge that Borg, Connors, etc would have played a dramatically different schedule in 1977 if everything back then was like it is now. The facts are that is was a very different tennis world back then, & the top players played the game & set their schedule for far different reasons than they do today.

    And there are some facts that simply can't be denied, namely that the AO was not treated like a real major by the players, for the most part, in the 70s(& I just don't mean the top players. Consider this - when Mark Edmondson won the 1976 AO, he was ranked 212, but yet still got direct entry into that event! And the event was only a 64 player draw, so what does that say about the stature of that event? this isn't just about Borg or Connors not playing it, we're talking about a significant % of the top 100 who skipped it. Even Newcombe said the only reason he played the AO in '75-which he won- was because Connors entered it & he wanted to get a chance to play him. I can't imagine him saying that about the others majors of the time, certainly not W or the USO. And you can see the approx world rankings of the seeded players at the time '77 AO on the 1st page of this thread as well. Some rather surprisingly low ranked seeds for a big event, no?)

    And I did recently discover some info about the ATP rankings of that time(from old tennis magazines). WCT events did not count for the ranking back then, yet these were some of the most important events on tour at the time. We shouldn't forget that all the majors back then offered less prize money than several events on the WCT tour & the Year end Masters(which also did not count for ranking). Not surprisingly, WCT events got great draws because of that $$. Doesn't it seem strange that the 4 majors in 1977 didn't offer the biggest purses on tour? Says a lot about that era, & why all the majors didn't consistently draw the best players. Money was very much an issue back then(moreso than today when many have a nice life without having to worry too much about winning, if they have endorsements to fall back on, etc), so players understandably went where the money was back then.

    The champion of the 1982 WCT Dallas event(only an 8 player event) got $150,000 for winning it. By contrast the 1982 USO champ only got $90,000. Does that seem right? Look at the difference in prize money today between winning a masters series & winning a major, it's massive. The reason all the majors started getting great fields in the mid 80s, was that the majors finally started giving out major prize money. From 1975 to 1983, prize money at the majors increased very little year to year. In the mid 80s it started exploding, like almost doubling year to year. That's why the 'most majors' record is suddenly considered important today imo. Money changed the way players treated the majors.

    I'm trying to find the top prize money events of the 70s & early 80s(would appreciate any help, I know Steve G has the total purse of each event on the calendar starting in '78, but I'm interested in specifically seeing what the champion of each event on tour got that year. It may help in this debate, if we see what kind of events Borg, Vilas, & Connors were playing, money wise, that year. Right now my only source is old magazines & NY times articles)

    It would also be interesting to see how the AO compared to the other majors in terms of prize money back then (& if you look on the atp site -under player activity- you will see even in the 80s/ 90s the AO was offering less money & ranking points to its champion compared to the other majors- here is an example:
    1989 Major Champs & Ranking Pts received for winning that event:
    Lendl AO, 335 pts
    Chang FO, 455 pts
    Becker W, 488 pts
    Becker USO, 466 pts
    They did give quality pts as well back then, but when you look up other years, you will see that the AO was significantly behind the other majors in terms of ranking points, even taking flucuations in quality pts into equation. Though the AO was clearly now considered an important event again by the players, apparently the ATP thought it was still worth less than the other majors, which I thought was interesting.

    Going back to 1977, since so many keep saying they are just dealing in 'facts,' well these are the facts:

    Official Year End ATP Rankings:
    1. Connors
    2. Vilas
    3. Borg

    So for all these facts that some say 'prove' Vilas was #1, the ATP ranking of the time disagrees, which in some way should prove that this isn't clearcut at all, like some here make it seem.

    I wonder if WCT events(or the year end masters) were counted in '77 what the rankings would have been. It seems like Vilas played less WCT than Borg or Connors that year. Monte Carlo was a WCT event back then.

    All in all, the most important conclusion is this: tennis in the 70s was really messed up in its organization(the schedule today looks like it makes perfect sense in comparison, its funny to hear players today complain, they are treated so well in comparison to the players of the 70s, in terms of a less crowded calendar) I can't imagine how fans had any idea of what was really an important event(& according to several books/magazines of the time- most fans & even journalists thought exhibitions were on the level & meant something back then, so it was pretty confusing indeed)
    And yet the game was at its peak of popularity. Go figure.

    I assume only the 5 he won in the US were on green clay, & the rest were red clay. I've never heard of a green clay event used in Europe.

    Argentina didn't win the DC in '77. They've never won it.
     
    #96
  47. Moose Malloy

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    Going back to that prize money issue I mentioned, here was the total purse offered by some of the non slam events that Borg, Vilas, & Connors won in 1977.
    These are all the 100,000 & above events they played that year. I think this is a better way to make a guess as to what events were 'better' than others of that time than debating Gottfried vs Lloyd or something.

    Borg:
    Memphis (according to steveg, total purse in '78 was 225,000)
    Pepsi Grand Slam(from atptennis, 200,000 & this was only a 4 man event)
    Wembley(175,000 from steveg)
    Barcelona(175,000 from steveg)
    Madrid(100,000 from atp tennis)
    Denver(100,000 from atp tennis)
    Monte Carlo(100,000 from atp tennis)

    Vilas:
    Tehran (150,000 according to atptennis)
    Johannesberg (150,000 from atptennis)
    Washington(125,000)
    Louisville(125,000)
    Columbus(125,000)
    Virginia Beach(100,000)

    Connors:
    Masters(400,000 - steveg)
    Las Vegas (200,000 - steveg)
    Dallas WCT (200,000 -steveg)
    Birmingham (175,000 - steveg)
    St Louis (100,000 - atptennis)
    Maui (100,000 - atptennis)

    I think this shows how 'minor' a lot of the events Vilas won in '77 were(nonetheless he did finish atop the prize money list for '77)

    Connors won the 2 biggest money events on tour that year(both of which didn't count to atp ranking) the Masters & Dallas.

    As jeffrey mentioned, Borg was hurt by choosing to play World Team Tennis(& we all know why -$$) instead of some significant events in the spring(Dallas for one)
    I believe he skipped the French in order to prepare for Wimbledon.
    Then he got injured & wasn't able to play any events between Wimbledon & the USO. Again, I think the #1 was a close call that year.
     
    #97
  48. CyBorg

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    You have to admit that the atp scheduling as it is today provides for a much more accurate way of ranking players than what we had in the 1970s. This is why this is important.

    The 2009 ATP calendar reflects an attempt on the part of the body to rate players that much more accurately than in the past, hence the creation of 2000-events, 1000-events, 500-events and 250-events. Reason: discouraging players from skipping high profile events to make up the same amount of points in places like Sopot.
     
    #98
  49. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Eh, not quite. Going on that Tehran, Iran was more prestigious than Monte Carlo. It wasn't.

    Back to the drawing board, I guess.

    Thanks for clarifying the green clay stuff.
     
    #99
  50. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    1997 rankings

    Borg beat gottfried in the final in memphis. He beat the lowly ranked tom gulikson in the sf. He gets points for beating gottfried nothing for Gullikson. In rankings beating a quality like Gottfried (top 50) is worth something. borg's wins over vilas in '77 are always highlighted.He beat john lloyd in 2 finals and they are worth nothing. this sysyem is trying to highligh top wins and so it should. The more restrictive it is the higher empasis for top 3 wins.

    About surface. No ranking system has ever distinguished between surfaces. Today's atp system does not. Neither did any of the 70's systems whether by atp, grand prix or WCt. In 1977 clay was king, both the usopen and french wre on clay and all the events leading up to them wre on clay. It was the most important surface.

    The atp rankings are a joke in the 70s. Neither WCT or the masters counted anything. Money decided the reltive points and high prize money events like Las vegas was awarded a huge amount of points. In 1977 on the grand prix the slams were awarded 250 points; vegas would be 175 and the field was just ok( 2 top tenners ramirez and connors).; ludicrous. At the unplayed johanaesbrg final both Borg and vilas were awarded 105 points after beating mediocre players because the event put up 150,000. Nice where they both reached the final playing players of a similar qulaity, Borg picked 50 for winning and vilas 35 because the event only put up 50,000. Vilas's achievement was the same in both events as far as i'm concerned. Money does not mean quality.

    Now with the super 9 you are guarranteed quality. you can award extra points. In 1997 only one event philadeplhia justified the description. That's why I treated all the rest the same, execept for 4 man event (only 2 matches), and gave them all 50 points and then gave bonuse based on who you actually beat, restricting it to the top 17 with a heavy bias towards the top 3.

    Moose malloy sems to have infated some of the events. Barcelona was only 100,000, wembly 125,000, Memphis 175,000. all regular WCT events like monte carlo 100,000.

    John Necombe played every Aussie open between 1969 and 1976 (he was injured at the start of 77). No other player matched that. Whatever he said in his book , he regarded it as a prestige event. Tanner's win is his most impotrant and remembered performance along with is runner-up in 1979 at wimbledon. The world of tennis yearbook in 1977 gave as much coverage to the Ausie open as the other 3 slams; a lot more than memphis. Remember I only awarded 75 ppints compared to 150 for Wimbledon, but its still a prestige event as was the WCT finals. Borg had 5 to choose from; he only turned up at 2; he needed to play both the WCT and the french to be competitive given vilas' 17 wins, including 2 slams.


    jeffrey
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