The true no.1 of 1977

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

  1. Vegito

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    [​IMG]
     
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  2. jean pierre

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  3. Vegito

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  4. Vegito

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    I have read it aboput Vilas decisión of not play in Madrid and Barcelona, I have read similar things in other spanish newspaper archives:

    "Vilas met to informants at the "Club de Campo" and improvised a press conference in which he said he had every intention of playing in Madrid, but his wrist injury will prevent him from doing so, as in Barcelona, where he was going to play soon in the Godo trophy.

    As he explained, he suffered this injury the last season, and it was reproduced after the tournament in Aix-en-Provence where he faced, and lost, against Nastase, who used the double strung racket. Apparently, the effort it took to do was the inconvenience, and already in Tehran he played with aches and plagued with difficulties. Specifically he noted that in the final against American Dibbs, he won only because Dibbs played well below their means. However, although no doubt the veracity of the injury, it is speculated other hypotheses, according to which the argentinian would not participate because he would not be able to collect the $ 30,000 that it was said he would receive to the fixed stated prohibited. Apparently, "Radio Española", which in principle was going to televise four games of the tournament, will only can retransmit the last one, because it´s not allowed to have more cameras, because are mostly occupied by the Mexican president's visit, Mr. Lopez Portillo. Thus, tournament organizers have decreased largely the expected revenue, and for that reason would not have been able to pay that amount to Vilas."

    Source:
    http://elpais.com/diario/1977/10/12/deportes/245458814_850215.html
     
  5. Vegito

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  6. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

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    The fact is to this day 1977 and the argument over who should or was the number 1 player is and most likely never will be settled.I remember i started watching tennis about 1976 so this was the the first full year of tennis i ever followed and there were some great matches,some fantastic tennis and some outstanding performances by all the top 3 players.

    At the time i think there were arguments for all of them to be considered number 1 but really in the end i think it was almost a 50-50 split with a slight edge to Borg amongst the leading tennis experts at time.

    I think it was such a close call that i would rank them equally as joint number 1 but if you put a gun to my head and said you have to choose i would lean towards Bjorn. No Doubt Vilas had an amazing year and won 2 grand slams to Borgs one but Borg was not allowed to play french open that year and on the very same surface in Monte Carlo a couple of months earlier he beat Vilas relatively comfortably in 4 sets.Also Borg had to retired injured from US open in 4th round.

    Another thing is that even though Guillermo had an amazing year the vast majority of all his tournament victories were all on the one surface clay(although US clay is different from red European clay) whereas Borg amassed a great season over just about all the different surfaces .

    As i said i think that ultimately this debate will never be settled and i can see a case for either one of them to be regarded as best player that year so perhaps fair to say it is too close to call with any degree of confidence.
     
  7. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    The fact that Borg didn't play FO and was injured in USO is not relevant. The only question is : who had the best year ?
     
  8. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Exactly

    The ye number 1 belongs to the player with most achievement NOT the best player (it is possible they aren't the same person).

    Having said that, the top 5 events of the year were the FO , Wimbledon, US Open, WCT Finals and Masters....

    Connors won 2 of them and was finalist in 2 others

    Vilas won 2 and had no other finals

    Borg won 1 of them and was the finalist in one other
     
  9. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    So you think Connors is the n°1 ?????
     
  10. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    ... Without winning a Grand Slam ??
     
  11. timnz

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    No I think Vilas was. However I think Connors is dismissed too easily since he performed the best in the top 5 events. (4 finals, when Borg and Vilas only made 2 finals each)
     
  12. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    I think the 5 events have not the same importance. FO, Wimbledon and USO are the big 3.
     
  13. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

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    I think vilas played 145 matches that year and won 130 which is is just under 91% success rate whilst Borg played a lot less matches i am sure he had a success rate of over 91% for the year.

    As i said i followed the tennis passionately that year and as i said it was and still is a huge source of disagreement who was the number 1 player at the time when you looked at the opinions of all leading tennis experts they were very evenly split between Bjorn and Guillermo with a few plumping for Jimbo,as i said i think a really strong case can be made either for Borg or Vilas.
     
  14. Vegito

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  15. granddog29

    granddog29 Banned

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    Vilas was the true #1 of 1977. Borg and Connors were still better tennis players I think even that year, or atleast Borg was still a better tennis player than Vilas, but nonetheless Vilas deserved the #1 ranking for the year based on results and key results especialy. He had the best year no doubt, and that is what #1 should be. It was a shame the ATP did not name him Player of the Year to give him some validation with Connors ending it as the computer #1. I guess that leaves his only validation as his 2 slams vs the 1 for Borg and 0 for Connors, and his greater haul of tournament wins.

    The YEC kind of summed up the conflicting matchups. Vilas beat Connors in the RR, Borg beat Vilas in the semis, and Conors beat Borg in the final of that event. Vilas was unlucky Borg and Connors didnt play in the semis instead, and if they had Vilas probably would have won there too, which would have given him both the computer #1 and probably Player of the Year pick from the ATP he should have had anyway. Who did the ITF pick as Player of Year.
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    So, I am happy more posters are buying my theory that Connors was the best in 77.

    Logics finally wins
     
  17. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

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    i think the issue of who was the true No1 in 1977 like the "GOAT" debate will never really be settled.As i sad in an earlier post i would have Borg and Vilas as joint No1 and Connors just behind them but if you were to put a gun at my head and say look at all the evidence and re watch all their matches including H2H's i would if pushed go for Borg.

    However my two closest mates who are tennis fanatics too both had their own opinions with one favouring Vilas and the other saying Connors/Borg so go and figure.
     
  18. granddog29

    granddog29 Banned

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    1. Connors played well on green clay, but he never even won a semi relevant tournament on red clay. He was not winning Roland Garros. Especialy when he couldnt even beat Vilas on green clay at the U.S Open that same year. Borg probably would have beaten Vilas but he chose not to play, his loss.

    2. Your reasoning for why Connors lost the Wimbledon final might be valid but it is at the same time irrelevant to determining who deserved #1. That would be like someone saying Nadal would have won both the French and Wimbledon in 2009 if healthy (probably true) so was by far the true #1 of 2009. In the end Borg won Wimbledon, Vilas won the U.S Open, and Connors did not. Connors cant be given credit for something he did not win.
     
  19. krosero

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    Interesting scenario; it could have worked out that way for Vilas. He did beat Connors in the round-robin, so he could have done it again in the final, though it would have been very close. The round-robin match went to 7-5 in the third. And not many Masters champions have beaten the same man both in the round-robin portion and in the final; it's more typical, when two men meet twice at the Masters, for them to split their matches.

    Still, that's probably the best scenario for Vilas to win the Masters.

    But picture it this way: Vilas faces Connors in the semis, and wins; he still probably loses to Borg in the final.

    And that would change the whole race for '77, tipping it toward Borg and taking Connors out of the picture entirely.

    Probably the way it happened was the best, with all 3 champions meeting one another, no pair meeting twice, nobody avoiding any of the other two.
     
  20. Vegito

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  21. Vegito

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    There was a controversy in that tournament. Vilas and Borg did not play the third matxh in their respective groups. Vilas had secured the first place, he had a sprained ankle. Borg claimed to have a fever. But some journalists speculated that he just wanted to finish second in the group to face Vilas in the semifinals. If he had played and won, the semifinals would have been Vilas-Gottfried and Borg-Connors. I don´t know what would have happened! I don´t think that Vilas was faking an injury. In fact, after the semifinals- he lost to Borg and he made ​​no excuses, but a time later the coach said he should not have played and that this worsened the injury- he didn´t play for a long time. Not sure if maybe Vilas would have beat Borg being without that pain. In fact reporters questioned injuries of both players.
     
  22. timnz

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    French Open

    I would say that definitely Wimbledon and the US Open were, but doubt in 1977 whether the French Open was bigger than the WCT Finals or the Masters.
     
  23. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    WCT bigger than the French, even without Borg and Connors ? I don't agree with that.
    Today, if Nadal and Djoko didn't play the French and played Indian Wells, Idian Wells would'nt be bigger than the French.
     
  24. timnz

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    Can't compare 1977 to today. I agree it is a reasonable debate between the french and WCT. The Masters was well contested. The WCT finals was huge then. And the 1977 Masters (played in Jan 1978) was the first really big Masters at Madison Square Garden.

    The French was missing top players too that year eg Borg himself.
     
  25. Vegito

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    Many great players have played the French Open that year(apart from Vilas):

    Ilie Nastase, Adriano Panatta(defending champion, beat Borg in 1976), Eddie Dibbs, Brian Gottfried(he was having an amazing season, with one victory against Borg and two against Vilas), Raúl Ramírez, Harold Solomon(runner-up in 1976), Wojtek Fibak, Stan Smith, Corrado Barazzutti(then robbed in an important point against Connors in the US Open that year), Phil Dent, Jan Kodes, Jose Higueras, Robert Lutz, Jaime Fillol, Victor Pecci, Hans Gildemeister, Bill Scanlon, Mark Edmonson, John Lloyd and others.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  26. Moose Malloy

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    wouldn't have made a difference. 1990 was the first year the YEC offered ranking points. MANY events in the 70s/80s didn't count towards the ATP ranking.
     
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Orantes must have been injuired, as almost usual...

    Did John Alexander enter the FO? He was very good on clay.
     
  28. Vegito

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  29. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

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    There was also several tennis writers and a few tennis publications that listed borg as No1 for 1977 so as is aid previously we can all have our opinions on the matter but it will never really be settled.
     
  30. Vegito

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  31. YaoPau

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    Here's how Vilas, Borg, Connors fared against the rest of the top players in 1977:

    Code:
    	      Vilas	Borg	Connors
    Jimmy Connors	2-0	2-1	0-0
    Bjorn Borg	0-3	0-0	1-2
    Guillermo Vilas	0-0	3-0	0-2
    V. Gerulaitis	1-0	1-0	1-0
    Raul Ramirez	2-0	1-0	2-0
    Brian Gottfried	4-2	2-1	2-0
    Eddie Dibbs	3-0	4-0	4-0
    Manuel Orantes	1-0	1-0	3-1
    Ilie Nastase	1-1	1-0	2-1
    Dick Stockton	1-0	0-1	2-3
    			
    Total:	       15-6	15-3	17-9
    Just one piece of the puzzle though, as Connors had by far the fewest "bad" losses, and in the three tournaments that all 3 players entered, Connors went F,F,W ... Borg went W,4,F ... Vilas went 3,W,S ... so advantage Connors again there IMO.

    In my opinion, Borg is the #1. I see a lot of talk about Vilas's Grand Slam performance, but this wasn't 2013. If players were skipping the French because they could make more money in WTT that tells me a lot about how much they cared about Grand Slam counts back then. And while Vilas' winning lots of smaller tournaments counts for something in my book, he also had a bunch of those bad losses that clouds those achievements I think.

    Borg was most dominant against the rest of the top 10, went 5-1 against Vilas+Connors (easily the best record among the three), had the highest winning% for all non-W/O matches (91.5% by my count, ahead of Vilas' 90.5% and Connors' 86.1%). Seems like a clearer #1 than I originally thought I'd find with this year.
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One of the great issues of that year is Dick Stockton, who did a sensational WCT tour winning Philadelphia against Connors and losing to him at Dallas.Great season from this excellent, yet very underrated player.he also beat Borg at the US Open.
     
  33. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    I think the question is not "who dominates who", the question is "who had the best results". And it's Vilas.
     
  34. Goosehead

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    give no1 rank to vilas you atp tarts.

    looky what i found lurking in the archives. :) seems topical. :neutral:
     
  35. CyBorg

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    Those are results too. If Vilas is dominating low ranked players and winning Mickey Mouse tournaments then maybe his results should be reevaluated.
     
  36. NonP

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    I admit I may not be up to date on this suddenly topical (and never-ending) debate, but I find that the Vilas boosters generally rely on 1) his two Slams and 2) his title count to make their case.

    But as I've pointed out before (I believe on this very thread, actually) Vilas' seemingly open-and-shut case no longer looks so strong when you contextualize his admittedly impressive numbers. People say Borg himself is to be blamed for choosing to play WTT over RG in '77, but here's the thing: WTT was a much bigger deal then than it is now, and money certainly wasn't a factor only for Borg since Orantes and Okker are among the other big-names that are missing from the '77 FO seedings. The majors are called majors largely because they tend to attract the best players, and if they fail to do that as did the AO for many years and, to a lesser extent, the '77 FO, then it's only fair to downgrade the events accordingly.

    And speaking of which, some of you may be surprised to know that Vilas didn't win a single Masters-level event in '77. In fact he didn't even enter most of them at all, and the one he did enter (Rome, on clay no less and with more big names than the FO that year) he lost in the 2nd round, as opposed to at least two wins each by Borg (Monte-Carlo, where he knocked out Vilas, and Wembley) and Connors (Dallas and Vegas). Simply put Borg was more dominant and consistent on all surfaces whereas Vilas' achievements were heavily concentrated on clay and came against lesser opponents. You may think Vilas' title counts still override that important distinction, and that's fine, I've acknowledged before that his USO title was fully deserved against top-notch competition, definitely on par with Borg's Wimbledon. Just don't be surprised that others like myself value quality over quantity.

    Also people dismiss Connors too easily in this debate. Apart from those two MS equivalents I mentioned he also won the Masters, arguably as important as Borg's Wimby and Vilas' USO that year. Still think Borg's got the best case, but wouldn't object too much if people placed Vilas or Jimbo above him.
     
  37. KG1965

    KG1965 Semi-Pro

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    Connors nr. 1 nel 77

    Vinse Masters GP e WCT, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Challenge Cup + finali a Phila, W e USO.
    8 FINALI nei primi 10 tornei.
    2° Vilas.
    3° Borg molto staccato. Brutto anno x Bjorn.
     
  38. Vegito

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    Wonder if that had something to do with Tiriac business with tornaments or something. Also he could have played Boston the previous week to the US Open and he played a tornament exhibition in Rye instead. He didn´t play Canada, I don´t remember if I read that was due to fatigue. He
    didn´t play Barcelona and Madrid, he had exhibitions in Argentina, although I read about some problem with the money they wanted to pay him in Madrid; there he mentioned a wrist injury, probably in part caused for playing against spaghetti raquets.

    Then Hamburg and Rome 1977, I wonder if he was tired after an emotive Davis Cup tie against United States. I hope no. Anyway that was important for him.
     
  39. accidental

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    I believe you'll find it was Marcelo Rios ahead on points
     
  40. DMan

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    The theory of Jimmy Connors as #1 for 1977 is one of the cheapest theories ever to be claimed by any one. In fact, the only cheaper claim I know of is that Tracy Austin was better than Chris Evert. (HA!)

    No one who knows anything about tennis has bought into any 2 cent theory that Jimmy Connors deserved to be named the best player for 1977! No ONE!
     
  41. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    I don't think Connors was the Player of the Year in 1977 either, but I do think there's an argument that he may've garnered the most ranking points of anyone at the end of that year. He was very consistent at the biggest tournaments that season.

    Sort of like a 1973/1989 type situation (and one that nearly happened this past year b/w Djokovic and Federer).
     
  42. Vegito

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    Reading these articles and using the calculator:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Prix_tennis_circuit#Sponsors_and_Grand_Prix_tour_names

    It´s interesting. If I´m right, if Vilas didn´t play Nottingham and London, or if he reached the semifinal in Rome instead of losing in the second round, being all the other tournaments played and results the same, he would have been number one. Then there is some week in which he would have played bigger tournaments that gave more points; but he played and won many great tournaments. I cleared my doubt: winning Aix-en-Provence would not have been enough. It´s interesting how one or two tournaments would change the average a lot. I hope one day in the ATP web all the information about points of the tournaments, which were officials and which not is clear. I also want to know how often the rankings were updated. Very probably there is missing information in the atp website and rankings were updated every two weeks as I read they did in the WTA.
     
  43. KG1965

    KG1965 Semi-Pro

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    Connors nr. 1 nel 77

    Non ho idea del sistema di punteggio atp, so solo che Birmingham,+Philadelphia+LasVegas+Dallas+Masters+ChallengeCup erano great titles, quasiSlam nei 70. Parigi slam minore.
    Non c'era molta differenza tra vincere Wimbledon e vincere a Las Vegas.
    ..Poi se vorrano regalare a Vilas...bene lo stesso... ma i titoli di Connors pesarono di più di quelli di Vilas.
    Borg: bad year, staccato.
     
  44. Slasher1985

    Slasher1985 New User

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    Yes, winning Aix-en-Provence would not have been enough.

    1610 + 12 = 1622 / 28 = 57.92

    Also, you have to note, Vilas' point totals have an error in the 1977 rankings. He was given the Johannesburg WCT full victory, although, the title was shared with Borg (that means 70 pts each). Thus, his number should have read 1600 points, not 1610.

    The Rome semifinal would not have been enough. It would have given him 40 pts. He won 5 for the second round. He would have gotten no bonus points, as Zugarelli was outside Top 24 and Tanner lost in the first round.

    1610 - 5 + 40 = 1645 / 28 = 58.75

    Note, that not even Rome final would have been enough.

    1610 - 5 + 60 + 2 (Dent) = 1667 / 28 = 59.53

    Connors ended 1977 with 59.80.

    But yes, skipping Nottingham and London would have given him this:

    1610 - 1 - 3 = 1606 / 26 = 61.76

    Skipping only one of them would have not been sufficient.

    Skipping Paris and Aix:

    1610 - 40 - 30 = 1540 / 26 = 59.23
     
  45. Slasher1985

    Slasher1985 New User

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    I called this like this to differentiate the two Johannesburg tournaments (this is the term for the spring tournament because it was the slot given to the WCT before 1977).
     
  46. Vegito

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    You used that article or you have an extra information? Seems you do. Please write more things if you know. Do you know about when they updates the rankings? That depended on whether there were important changes? In that case, being the other tournaments and results the same, if he skipped Nothingham and London maybe he was number one after the US Open. But these tournaments... By the way, Virginia Beach and the Buenos Aires tournament in April gave ATP points? Where in fact ATP tournaments? It´s not in the calendary of the Grand Prix 1977. The tournaments of the WCT gave points for the ranking?

    Well, I though Nothingham and London didn't give him points. Anyway. If he didn´t play these tournaments, would he have had the same results he had after? Maybe yes, and better results. Or maybe no, maybe he nedeed to loss these matches... everything happens for some reason I guess :neutral: Trying to find a sense in the results of that ranking system+thinking it was destiny Vilas was trying hard to have a great Wimbledon and play well in the english grass and he did not succeed, Connors played a great Wimbledon. Probably Vilas should not regret having played these tournaments. He thought he could. He had a good performance in Nottingham and Wimbledon in 1975, and good in Wimbledon in 1976; he had been runner-up in Australia, although the grass was different. Would he have speculate with the ranking system? Maybe it would have taken him focus, he was playing a lot after the US Open because he needed to do it. Now, maybe he was thinking about that after the US Open? I wonder, if he was named ATP number one after the US Open, if he would have decided to play some hardcourt tournament as Stockolm or Wembley, maybe he wanted to ensure victories playing these tournaments in clay, thinking in the ranking. I wonder that about that year and following years in his career. If he was named ATP number one week, maybe he would have played more in hardcourts?
     
  47. Slasher1985

    Slasher1985 New User

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    It seems you have caught me now and you won't let go.:)

    I will try to answer what I can and am allowed to:

    - Virginia Beach, Ocean Beach and Rio de la Plata (Buenos Aires) 1977 did not give ATP points, special circuit.
    - WCT tournaments pre-merger 1978 gave ATP points, except the Challenge Cups and WCT Finals events.
    - Masters did not give ATP points.

    - I don't know when/if they will update the rankings, it's ATP's decision. Sorry I can't go in that direction. I know many people are eager, but let's have patience.
     
  48. Vegito

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    Thanks Slasher! I appreciate this very much. If you can please answer to me this because I had a typo. I meant to ask, you know if in these years-particulary 1977- they had a frequency to updating the rankings? For example, every two weeks, every one month...or they updated the rankings when there were importants changes, or in determinated moments for some specific reason...and maybe there is missing information in the ATP website? Because there are so weird things as: I look at the rankings of 25.07.1977 and all the information there is that Fibak was the number ten in the world:-? Only seven dates of 1977 and not all them with all the players (19.06.1977 only shows Gottfried as number 3)

    I wanted to ask if Buenos Aires and Virginia Beach were in fact ATP tournaments(I wrote "where", another mistake)? So maybe these would not be included in the Vilas resume...or yes. I don´t know but there were so many things.

    And yes, I´m patient! Although I wonder how much time ATP needs and I would love to read the documentation, all the things I would like to know must be there. I´m a big Vilas fan, 25 years old! So obviously I knew about his career when he had retired long ago. I would like to finf information, photos, videos of all his victories; in Internet I find only some videos.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  49. Slasher1985

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    The ATP updated the rankings when they detected that a possible major shift would take place, or multiple shifts, or after important events. The technology was not that reliable at the time (compared to today obviously, because the computer was the latest technology back then), calculations taking days sometimes. So, after the first 3 years were slow in updating (7 times in 1973, 11 times in 1974 and 13 times in 1975), the next 3 the frequency increased, until it became weekly in 1979 (updates in the computer's power).

    The data missing from the ATP website has nothing to do with updates of the time, the ATP has lost the data of the original rankings, which was mostly based on written documents. So, where they found only information about position shifts or the player specifically remembered what his position was at a given date, the ATP created those webpages (like your Fibak example) with incomplete listings. The year-end rankings were kept in most cases, and for some of the years, only those will appear on the ATP website to be complete.
     
  50. Vegito

    Vegito Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    Mataderos
    Thanks a lot, seriously :) It´s I´m trying to understand if calculate every week of these years now-I think that´s what they did- would be fair or would imply change something of the original system of that time. Sounds like indeed it is fair. This is a "must-be-done investigation-revision" I love they did it. Specially if some of the persons that made the rankings in the 70´s made mistakes. I heard a journalist saying they ignored some draws that should have not ignored.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015

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