Tilden Down under - why no Australian Open?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Bill Tilden was in Australia and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 1920/1921. He won the New Zealand Championships. Why didn't he compete in the Australasian Championships at that time? Does anyone know why?

    It's clear from this:

    http://tennishistory.com.au/2012/01/top-australian-men-in-the-1920s/

    that Tilden was also there to play Davis Cup against Australasia. He played an exhibition in Mid-January in 1921. Again, he was there around the time of the Australasian Championships.
     
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  2. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    At the time it was not a great tournament. Even if the ILTF declared it a Major since 1924, they had to wait until 1933 to see american and european players enter the tournament with regularity. The edition won by Borotra was also poor.
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Patterson

    I agree somewhat with your point, but Australia did have great players at the time like Patterson who were worthy competition. And Tilden did play and win the New Zealand Championships which was a smaller championship.
     
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  4. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Not even Gerald Patterson entered the tournament that year.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1921_Australasian_Championships_–_Singles
    It seems a really weak tournament to me. I mean, who the hell was Rhys Gemmell? :D
     
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  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    You have to remember that this was before the open era. Tilden was an amateur at the time, so the USLTA would have had a lot of control over Tilden's schedule. Before the open era, tennis players didn't have much control over their careers, being controlled a lot by either national associations or professional promoters.
     
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  6. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The Australasian Championships wasn't a major in 1921, anyway. The majors in 1921 were the WCCC (an indoor wood tournament, held in Copenhagen that year), the WHCC (a clay tournament at the Stade Francis, Paris) and the WGCC (Wimbledon). The US Championships in Philadelphia were another big tournament that year, an unofficial major, due to the USLTA not being affiliated to the ILTF at the time.
     
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  7. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Dates weird

    There were some weird dates. Wikipedia states that the 1920 Australasian Championships was played in March 1920 and the 1921 Championships were played in December. So 21 months between them?
     
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  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not sure about the dates but the 1921 Australasian Championships was played in Perth, the last time that the tournament was held in that particular city. Perth is on the other side of Australia to cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.
     
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  9. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    The WCCC wasn't that great also. Even if they declared it a Major, for some reasons the greatest players rarely entered it. On the contrary, the WHCC was taken in high consideration.
    The greatest titles "de facto" of the time were probably Wimbledon, the US Champs, and the WHCC. Moreover, the Davis Cup was maybe considered more important than them all, at least back in the days.
     
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  10. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    World Covered Court Championships

    The World Covered Court Championships didn't have that deep a field, but it still was officially a major. Other tournaments have had lean times in terms of depth of field but we still credit the winners with major champion wins on their record eg Wimbledon 1972 and 1973, Australian Open 1972 to 1982. I have seen people try to avoid counting Cochet's 2 World Covered Court Championships as major wins, for instance. They were official majors so they count.
     
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  11. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Official Majors are obviously irreplaceable today, nobody will doubt about them, but until 1982 tennis history had a lot of troubles as you know.
    That's why, as I've said many times, until 1982 I'm not interested in what was official and what was not.
    If a tournament had no deep fields, it was not an effective Major, but only a nominal one. Nobody take away Cochet's 2 WCCC from his résumé, but they just weren't that big.
    Nobody considers Patterson one of the best players in 1927, even if he won the Australian Champs, because it was just a nominal Major, with no effective importance (just look at its field).
    On the contrary, the 1927 Davis Cup won by Lacoste and Cochet against Tilden and Johnston was considered an earthquake in tennis history.
    Try to go back in 1927 with a DeLorean and ask Patterson if he would have changed his Australian Champs with the Davis Cup. We all know what he would have answered. :D
     
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  12. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Tradition and Importance

    I understand what you are saying but there are problems with that view. The problem is that if 1982 and earlier (not sure why you have picked that year - year of the last 'bad' Australian open?) if you just went on 'what are the top 5 tournaments in depth that year' - well it would change from year to year - and you would have no basis of comparison between players past and present or even past vs even longer ago. Because what was a 'major' tournament one year isn't the following etc etc. eg according to that criteria -no way was Wimbledon 1973 a major. Now people on this board have done lists on the top 4 tournaments a year. And I think that is highly valuable. But you would never get an official body recognizing the fact. Hence, if the ILTF says it is a major - it is a major. If people don't want to show up to the tournament when it is a major - well that's their fault.
     
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  13. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Patterson won TWO Wimbledons. Wow! Twice as many as Johnston, and the same number as Tilden in the twenties.
    So what?
     
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  14. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    It was not their fault. If they want to skip a Major today, then it is a personal choice and the tournament will not be affected. Today the tour is well organized and all the players knows perfectly which ones are the great titles.
    Back in the days it wasn't like that. There were a lot of controversies and confusion, multiple ranking system, financial problems, and so on. So it was not anyone's fault, it simply happened.
    I don't care if no official body will recognize the fact, a fact doesn't need anyone's approval, a fact is a fact. Is there any tennis historician who considers Patterson superior to Borotra in 1927? I don't think so. :)


    His last Wimbledon was in 1922, I was talking about 1927.
     
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  15. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    History

    I would admit that the further you go back in time, the more difficult it is to interpret the data when establishing things like rankings, and developing a sense of relative strength of players. Difficult, but not impossible. That is why we have tennis historians.
     
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