Tournament of Champions - 1956 to 1959 - is it a Pro. Slam - yes or no?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Jun 19, 2012.

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Are the 1956 to 1959 Tournament of Champions/1967 Wimbledon Pro Pro. Slams?

  1. Neither should be regarded as Pro. Slams

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. Wimbledon Pro. 1967 - should be regarded as a Pro. Slam

    4 vote(s)
    66.7%
  3. 1956 to 1959 Tournament of Champions - should be regarded as a Pro. Slam

    5 vote(s)
    83.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Tournament of Champions is figuring on a number of Wikipedia pages as being one of the Pro. Slams (look at Lew Hoad's wikipedia page for instance where he won the 1959 event). It hasn't traditionally been regarded as one of the 'Pro Slams' - but is it?

    Same question for Pro. Wimbledon of 1967.
     
    #1
  2. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I am not happy with the term pro slam, but its reasonable, to reckon those championships as at least equal with the so called pro majors, yes. Still for most years, there were only 3 pro majors instead of the normal 4 majors per year, so the majors counting is still somewhat misleading.
     
    #2
  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, they are. They were arguably the biggest professional tournaments of the year. To not count them is ridiculous really. We all know how big Wimbledon is, so to not count the first professional tournament to be held at Wimbledon, would clearly be wrong. The same is true with a tournament as big as the Tournament of Champions.
     
    #3
  4. Dan Lobb

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    I would rate the 1957, 1958, and 1959 T of C at Forest Hills, plus the 1967 Wimbledon Pro as the greatest pro tournaments ever. Just look at the fields, and the level of play in the finals. The best ever.
     
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  5. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1956 Tournament of Champions

    Interesting. Tell me about your thoughts on the 1956 Tournament of Champions. Obviously you don't rate it as high.
     
    #5
  6. Dan Lobb

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    The 1956 T of C was an inaugural event, intended to be the pre-eminent event in the pro game, but lacked Hoad and Rosewall, was only best-of-three sets, and was not at Forest Hills, the media and cultural centre of USA (and the world?). Why not at Forest Hills? Because the event lacked the cache and drawing power at this stage to justify the expense of Forest Hills.
    Note: The T of C was also played at White City Sydney in 1959, following the re-designation of the Forest Hills event as the US Pro.
    Gonzales won the Sydney T of C by beating both Hoad and Rosewall, his biggest tournament win of 1959.
     
    #6
  7. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Thanks for the answer
     
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  8. BobbyOne

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    Dan Lobb,

    I disagree that ToC and Wimbledon 1967 were the best ever pro tournaments.
    Wembley and French Pro had often as strong fields and in several years had 16 participants. I agree that ToC and Wimbledon 1967 were first-class events.

    Why do you always denigrate Wembley and French Pro?

    I don't give ToC and Wim. 1967 a pro GS status because they were played only a few times and once respectively.

    The Masters in the late 1950s and in 1964 had as tough participation.
     
    #8
  9. Dan Lobb

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    The status of the Wembley and French Pro changed according to the year and the venue.
     
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Certainly not as drastically as you've made out in the past. You only seem to care if it was at Forest Hills or Roland Garros. Remember the "smoke and lack of oxygen" line you were pushing in regards to the 1952 Wembley Pro final between Gonzales and Kramer, which only kicked in, in your view, when Kramer led 5-2 in the fifth set? ;)
     
    #10
  11. Mustard

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    You do realise that Rosewall and Hoad were both still amateurs at the time of the 1956 Tournament of Champions? With you being a Hoad fan, you should know that he turned professional after retaining his Wimbledon title in July 1957.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
    #11
  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    Your "majorlike" Kooyong event also changed according to time. That's my answer to your Wembley and French Pro changed according to time.
     
    #12
  13. Dan Lobb

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    Of course, and that is the point. Hoad and Rosewall were still amateurs, but big names and big draws.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
    #13
  14. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Exactly, and every major tennis event has to be judged individually.
     
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  15. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Why say it, though? Amateurs like what Hoad and Rosewall were in August 1956, were never going to play at the 1956 Tournament of Champions. By the 1957 Tournament of Champions, Hoad had just turned professional after retaining his Wimbledon title and Rosewall had been a pro for 10 months since ruining Hoad's tilt at the 1956 Grand Slam.
     
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  16. Dan Lobb

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    And that is why the 1957, 1958, 1959 T of C at Forest Hills took place at Forest Hills, the media centre of the planet. The 1956 event had a lesser field, and could not command Forest Hills as a venue.
     
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  17. BobbyOne

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    Dan Lobb,

    Was Forest Hills really regarded as the top venue in the world in the end-1950s? I would say that Wimbledon was a bit higher regarded as it is also nowadays in comparison to US Open.
     
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  18. Mustard

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    Wimbledon didn't allow professional tennis players on their courts until August 1967.
     
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  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard,

    You are of course right about Wimbledon.

    But Wembley was at least as important than Pro Forest Hills which did not have the tradition of the Wembley event.
     
    #19
  20. Dan Lobb

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    Exactly, but at that time, New York was a more exciting and prosperous city, with big things happening in every avenue of human endeavour. (The United Nations, Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic, the great Yankee teams, live television drama,great Broadway shows, etc.)
    Wimbledon snobbishly banned the pros, and this was a great mistake for the greater good of the game.
    Forest Hills was light years ahead of Wembley as a tennis venue, with more history, open air (not the gas chamber of Wembley), major media.
     
    #20
  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    Your words "gas chambers of Wembley" are disgusting...
     
    #21
  22. krosero

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    Second that.
     
    #22
  23. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Wembley's legendary smoke buildup was even more disgusting.
    Perhaps "smoke-chamber" would be more to your liking.
     
    #23
  24. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    As a German, i know the undertone of gas-chamber too well (and am ashamed of it).
     
    #24
  25. Dan Lobb

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    Several players, including Hoad and Gonzales, died prematurely from smoke-related illnesses. Both of these players, and others, (perhaps Drobny?) smoked as if their lives depended on it.
     
    #25
  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan Lobb,

    You don't understand why "gas chambers" is not a fitting term...
     
    #26
  27. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    If you would prefer "smoke-chamber", that is fine with me.
     
    #27
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I third that and like to add that his theory make absolutely no sense.
     
    #28
  29. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You realize that was the times and people did smoke. Movie theater in the United States used to be smoke filled as was restaurants just a few years ago. Perhaps the pros could have given the inane excuse that they lost due to eating at a smoked filled restaurant. I never realize the scientific basis of your theory Dan. I understand the medical journals are being rewritten based on this. Grants are now given to medical groups to work on this.
     
    #29
  30. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hoad died of a heart attack on the 3rd July 1994 at the age of 59, having had leukaemia and had been awaiting a bone marrow donor. Gonzales died exactly 1 year later on the 3rd July 1995 at the age of 67, from metastasised cancer, 10 months after originally being diagnosed with stomach cancer. When Gonzales first noticed that something was wrong, he was watching Agassi vs. Chang at the 1994 US Open.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
    #30
  31. Dan Lobb

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    Both leukemia and non-lung cancers are statistically related to smoking, even second-hand smoke.
     
    #31
  32. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Hoad's wife Jenny, writes that the rare blood desease of Hoad was maybe caused by nuclear treatments, he got for his back problems in the late 50s. His heavy drinking certainly didn't help.
     
    #32
  33. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    In 1976, I watched Hoad on television during an interview puffing heavily from a two-pronged cigarette holder.
     
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  34. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Did Hoad die while watching the Wimbledon final with Sampras? Could this have caused his heart attack? Hoad was married at Wimbledon church, and is also buried there.
    During the famous Borg/McEnroe final at Wimbledon in 1980, something like a dozen Swedes suffered fatal heart attacks.
     
    #34
  35. Dan Lobb

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    Hoad's back problem was finally treated successfully in 1983 when he had a spinal fusion operation to heal the two herniated discs that had bothered him for years and hindered his tennis career.
    The problem was caused in 1955 or even earlier when Hoad would do pushups with 50-pound weights on his back. His back problem first surfaced in 1955.
     
    #35
  36. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Does the World Pro Championships of 1932 and 1933 have a case

    Does the World Pro Championships of 1932 and 1933 have a lesser case of being a Pro Major than the 1950's Tournament of Champions. I don't think so. It's clear that the 1932 Tournament was a large part of Bill Tilden's thinking when he ranked tennis players in early 1933.

    It seems that this was really regarded as the Professional World Championship at the time. If so, it should have a case from being regarded as a Pro Major.
     
    #36
  37. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Bristol Cup of 1920's and early 1930's

    Apparently this was regarded as the most prestigous Pro tournament in the world in the 1920's. Should it have Pro. Major status?

    I really think that it and the World Pro Championships in Berlin deserve that status. Otherwise we are guilty of historical revisionism by not giving them status just because they are far back in the public memory. The important thing was....were they regarded as the elite Professional top tournament at the time? It seems yes is the answer.
     
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  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Yes, both events were then regarded as pro majors.
     
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  39. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Was there any Pro Major in history with as big a field as the Berlin World Pro?

    From http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines_02_10_05.html

    by Ray Bowers

    “The troupe then traveled to Berlin for the World’s Pro Championship on the red dirt at Rot-Weiss Club in the Grunewald, September 20-26.........The 1932 event clearly ranked with the U.S. Pro as the year's foremost pro tournament, listing 82 entrants in singles........It was a rare triumph for Martin Plaa. Martin, now in his mid-thirties, had sometimes been called the Fifth Musketeer for his past role in helping train the great French national teams. Now, he was met by reporters and cameramen on his return at Gare Nord.....1932 RANKINGS
    Tilden’s dominance in the year’s first half and his near-successes in the Chicago and Berlin tournaments place him first in our ranking of pros for 1932. Second place goes to Kozeluh for his triumphs in Chicago and Beaulieu, and third to Plaa, who narrowly won the most prestigious title (Berlin)

    83 entrants! It puts the Pro championships of the 1950's and the 1960's in its shadow. Can there be any doubt that the 1932 and 1933 Berlin World Professional Championships were any less a Pro Major than Wembley, French Pro, US Pro, the Tournament of Champions & the Wimbledon Pro?

    It is very clear that the players at the time like Tilden rated it as the most prestigious event. Based on that he ranked Plaa ahead of himself in the 1932 rankings.
     
    #39
  40. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Right.
    Take a look at the field for the 1959 Forest Hills Tournament of Champions.
    Hoad, Gonzales, Rosewall, Trabert, Sedgman, Segura, Cooper, Anderson, Rose, Giammalva.
    Six members of the ITHF (Hall of Fame), all but Giammalva winners of multiple major titles. (Rose won both the Australian and French singles titles.)
    How many major winners and ITHF members were in the Berlin "World Pro Championship", an event which was officially sanctioned by whom?
    Need we go on with this? Really?
     
    #40
  41. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Ther Berlin World Pro Championship was sanctioned by the international Pro Players Association (I forgot the exact name).

    You can't compare it with the 1959 event because in the early 1930s not many of the top players had turned pro but with Tilden, K. Kozeluh, Nüsslein, Richards, Plaa, Ramillon, Najuch there were some excellent pros around.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
    #41
  42. Dan Lobb

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    Thank you for answering the least important of my questions.
    But the major objections remain.
     
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  43. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    In 1932-1933, Vines was still amateur, and the only really prominent big-time player to turn professional had been Bill Tilden, who had a fantastic first year as a pro in 1931. But Plaa, and especially Nusslein, were starting to become a nuisance for an aging Tilden before long, and then Vines, Perry and Budge came over as the 1930s went on.
     
    #43
  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Winners of majors (mostly pro majors) were Tilden, K. Kozeluh, Nüsslein, Richards, Plaa, Ramillon, Najuch and A. Burke...

    Members of Hall of Fame are Tilden, Richards, Kozeluh and Nüsslein (by the way, the latter two proposed by myself and later by Bud Collins).
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
    #44
  45. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Yes, Absolutely

    Yes absolutely we need to go with this (with full respect Dan).

    Karel Kozeluh
    Bill Tilden
    Albert Burke
    Hans Nüsslein

    were all great players. The Pro. game at the time was the Pro game. If you were discounting the 1932, 1933 World Championships because there wasn't enough depth, in your opinion, to the Pro game - wouldn't you also need to discount the US Pro and the French Pro at the same time period? I am not saying that they were better than Vines. I am simply saying it was the top Pro tournament. And being the Top professional tournament it was worthy of major status. It is also reported and respected during the period as the Pro World title - hence this isn't imagined - it is real. I am just trying to bring the history books up to date with what was true on the ground at the time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
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  46. timnz

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    Not seeing any reason

    Not seeing any reason to deny the Berlin World Pro Championships 1932 & 1933 and the Bristol Cup (1920's and early 1930')- Pro Major status. They were regarded as amongst the Major Pro tournaments at the time. Hence, that is good enough for me. My only question is about the Bristol Cup in the early 1930's - was it still regarded as a Major then with Berlin being around in 1932 and the French Pro being around in 1930 and 1931?

    If you add them to the list of Wembley, French Pro, US Pro, Tournament of Champions and Wimbledon Pro - then it still ensures that there aren't more than 4 Pro Majors in any one calendar year.
     
    #46
  47. Dan Lobb

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    The problem remains that only Tilden had established himself in the more competitive world of amateur tennis, and the others only by playing among themselves. This fails the test of credibility.
    In 1959, all the players had made names in the amateur field first, even Segura (he won Queens Club in 1947).
    The Forest Hills T of C was in a much higher league then the inaugural events of the 1920's and early 1930's. Likewise the 1967 Wimbledon Pro.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
    #47
  48. timnz

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    Please elaborate

    So you don't think any pro majors (wembley, french pro, us pro) should be counted until what year? (since you don't think the fields were deep enough at that time)

    Most people count the US pro as being a major from 1927. What year do you think it should be counted from?

    Most people count the French pro as being a major from 1930. What year do you think it should be counted from?

    Most people count wembley as being a major from 1934. What year do you think it should be counted from?
     
    #48
  49. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    It's a very tough decision if we should count Bristol Cup 1930 and later as a major. I don't know the answer.
     
    #49
  50. Dan Lobb

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    Excellent questions.
    I would suggest that if there are only two reasonable contenders in a tournament, it should be regarded as a two-man show, not a real tournament.
    That would exclude most pro tournaments before 1939, when there were about four or five reasonable contenders for the major pro events. Budge ruined this calculation by withdrawing from the 1939 US Pro for strange reasons, perhaps to avoid facing Vines at this time.
    The Budge/Riggs tournaments in 1946 and 1947 had only Kovacs and van Horn to offer any challenge to the top two guys. Budge and Riggs regularly made the big finals.
    I would say that by 1953, with the emergence of Segura and Sedgman in the pro ranks, there is sufficient depth to start talking about "majors" in the pro context.
    There should be some consideration of stamina in a major event, which you do not get when you only have one serious challenge.
    This is where the amateur majors have a huge edge on the pro majors, with seven rounds, sometimes with a challenge in an early round.
     
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