What did Jack Kramer have against Laver?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Phoenix1983, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Today Laver's place as a GOAT contender (and, according to many, the GOAT) is taken as read.

    However I found it interesting to read that Kramer ranked Laver only in the second tier. He ranked Budge, Vines, Tilden, Perry, Riggs and Gonzales in the top tier (I believe his rankings only covered the period to the mid-1970s, so pre-most Open Era greats).

    Did he have something personal against Laver due to their interactions on the pro tour? Or is the consensus of "Laver as GOAT" actually a feeling that has grown over time, rather than being instantly believed when Laver was playing?

    Interesting questions, to me...
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kramer is entitled to his opinion
    But he has never been consistent with them
    He never played Laver and hardly Rosewall
    So to boost his legacy he ranks his contemporaries or previous players he did play higher
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Phoenix1983,

    If you read Jack Kramer's book carefully you notice that he ranks Budge and Vines ahead of everyone else. He repeated that statement in an interview with the Tennis Channel years ago in which he said he believed Budge would defeat Sampras regularly. Yet you can tell that he drops hints that he was superior to both Budge and Vines. He makes statement like I was not ready to defeat Budge yet

    It's pretty clear to me that Kramer believes (and not necessarily inaccurately)that he (Kramer) would have defeated Budge, Vines, Gonzalez and Laver regularly. By simple logic Kramer believes that he himself was the GOAT but did not say it out loud.

    It's not just a few who believe Kramer is the GOAT. I remember reading a book in which the author interviewed many all time greats. I'm not sure but I believe the author wrote that the general consensus was that Kramer was the GOAT.

    I think Kramer is the perfect example of a player that you can't rate by today's formula of accomplishments in tennis. He clearly was a far superior player to many many players who seem to have greater accomplishments by today's standards and in my opinion has a good claim to being the GOAT. Yet he won few classic majors and not that many Pro Majors. The thing is that the man was great on all surfaces, had very little if any stroke weaknesses. He had arguably the greatest serve and volley game of all time. His total serving game compares with Gonzalez and Sampras for best ever. His groundstrokes were superb and his volleying very powerful. He never lost a tour.

    In a head to head tour, with wood racquets, he may have been able to defeat anyone in history.

    No I don't think there was a personal agenda against the Rocket but when he writes Gonzalez in his opinion would have defeated Laver regularly you have to take into account he feels he was superior to Gonzalez. Therefore he feels that he, Jack Kramer was superior to the Grand Slam Champion Laver.

    This in some ways contradicts something he said when he said Federer was the best and that Federer would have beaten him 6-0 6-0. Of course Kramer didn't believe that to be true in my opinion. I think Kramer was just trying to be politically correct because Sampras isn't that much worse than Federer and if Kramer believes himself to be superior to Sampras, how could he truly believe Federer would beat him 6-0 6-0?

    Bottom line is that I think Kramer made those statements about Laver to point out how some players, not just one were superior to Laver and among those players superior to Laver would be himself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    pc1, thanks for your thoughts.

    While I disagree with you that Kramer was a GOAT contender as a player, I believe he probably knew more about the game than anyone who has ever lived. I always read his thoughts about other players with great interest.
     
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  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    There's nothing wrong with saying that Gonzales could have beaten Laver regularly. Gonzales was something like 21-38 against Laver, and even won a $10,000 winner takes all exhibition match against Laver in February 1970, in 5 sets. Gonzales was 41 years old at the time, while Laver was at the peak of his powers.

    Kramer himself is a definitely a GOAT contender. He was brilliant, raising the level of the top professionals far above the top amateurs.
     
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  6. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, but you're missing the point - which is that Kramer doesn't even rank Laver among the top tier of players. He has Riggs there for goodness' sake, but not Laver!

    Yeah right. He won 3 classic majors and 2 pro slams.Nowhere near enough to contend for GOAT.
     
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Kramer was the best player in the world in 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1953. He never lost a world pro tour head-to-head in this period, which were the biggest events in professional tennis at the time, more so than even the pro majors. Kramer even toppled the best professional player soon after turning professional, as he did with Riggs in 1948, by 68-20.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  8. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    ..and you think this is enough to put him ahead of the likes of Federer or Laver?
     
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  9. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    when rod lavel won his first grandslam he was clearly not the best player in the world.

    ken rosewall, pancho gonzalez, tony trabert, frank segmon were better players

    when he won his 2nd grandslam. you got to give him some credit.

    nastaste only played the us open and stan smith and arthur ashe did play the ausi open.
     
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  10. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    Not ahead, but definitely in the top group of players ever. For someone of my era there is no question that Kramer is there with Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Lendl, Sampras, and Federer. These are the dominant players since WW2. The Magnificent 7.
     
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  11. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Methinks you have nailed it!
     
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  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I agree with PC1. It appears that Kramer did not have anything specifically bad to say about Laver, but he never had that much good to say about Laver either. It also appears that he was not all that impressed with Laver's accomplishments, and ranked him rather low.

    It was as if Kramer thought he knew better than history or the record books, and accomplishments be damned.

    (I personally believe that Kramer had a hidden agenda--that was to devalue anyone who might be considered "in his way" as a GOAT candidate. If you read "between the lines" of what Kramer said, he often hinted that he himself was the GOAT.)
     
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  13. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Kramer had the memory of an elephant and was known to hold a grudge when he felt he (and his tour) had been wronged so who knows, ole' Rocket may have just pi$$ed Jack off one time too many.
     
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  14. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Kramer, working as a commentator on US TV, applauded Laver enthusiastically when Laver beat Roche in the 1969 US Open final to complete another Grand Slam. I'm not sure where all this "dislike" talk is coming from.
     
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  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix, I never understood that Kramer ranked Laver and, yes, Rosewall so low. He overrated Bobby Riggs who was great though.
     
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  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Interesting analysis.

    In 1969 a panel of tennis experts ranked 1 Tilden, 2 Budge, 3 Laver, 4 Gonzalez and 5 Kramer.

    One of the experts, Ned Chase, once wrote me that Kramer defeated Gonzalez and thus was the best. He forgot that Pancho was very young and unexperienced when they played their long tour. After that he dominated Kramer...
     
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  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    DMP, You forgot Gonzalez. I guess you would add Pancho.
     
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  18. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    If you read Kramer's book, one of the take away points, and he is quite clear on this, was that Riggs was a helluva player and has always been underrated because of all the other extra curricular activities that he was known for.
     
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  19. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, you gotta have Pancho in there. Pancho > Kramer, that's not even a debate.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sometimes when analising Kramer greatness we are influenced by his huge historical influence in the overall development of the game
    We better not cause we talk about his stature only as player and nothing else
    He was the best of the 40 above Riggs and Gonzales but he did not play a star studded decade like say Pancho in the 50
    He must be ncluded in the top 15 of all time but no chance to claim for Goatness
    He was still young when Pancho switched the tide and start dominating him and that is not a GOAT signal
     
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  21. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Laver being below 6ft must have something to do with it.
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Your IQ being what it is has something to do with this post
     
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  23. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, top 15 all-time seems reasonable. Pancho was clearly greater than Kramer if you look at their respective achievements.
     
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  24. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    How would you compare Kramer to say Lendl, Mac and Connors?
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    They would be very close
    Kramer was the best S&V before Gonzales and had a big FH and invented % tennis
    But in his time and under very fast wood or carpet % meant S&V while in the late 70-80 it evolved to solid baseline top spinning, yet S&V was still big % on fast indoors or grass
    He was smart and very competitive and a milestone in the technical evolution of the game
    Given Kramer net agression and relati avely safe baseline play and Connors baseline agression and the best return of serve, I aleays thought an indoor match between both would be spectacular
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Most similar to Kramer was John Newcombe
     
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  27. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, ranking Laver and Rosewall in only the second tier, and Riggs in the first tier, looks bizarre from my perspective.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I maybe wrong and other posters who did research will contradict but I never understood the overhype of Riggs and Segura, maybe Vines too
    They are not more relevant than Seixas,Kodes,Fraser or Drobny f.i
    Not at all absolutely
    Maybe because they are americans because otherwise ( and maybe Vines is excepted)
     
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  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There is a huge gap in knowledge and subsequent fairness to non americans before the era of Laver and Rosewall
    Other than Hoad,Perry and just a bit Sedgie, 99% posters believe that only Us deliveried great players
    But the truth is completely different
    There was almost GS Crawford, there were Cochet,Lacoste and YES BOROTRA, Drobny,Pietrangeli,Fraser,Stolle,Olmedo,Brookes...
    The funny thing is the obliteration, massive one, of big US guys like Shields,Sydney Woods,Schroeder,Parker,Patty,Seixas or Savitt
     
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  30. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I agree.
     
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  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    monfed, Only in your imagination.
     
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  32. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I disagree.
     
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  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, I forgot to say that I strongly assume your words are just Kramer's opinion but not your's.
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I knew.Still many great champs are completely forgotten here.I´ll take them into the scene.
     
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  35. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Kramer was not like Laver.
    Laver peaked at major events, Kramer on the daily grind and hundred-match series.
    Kramer's major record is relatively weak.

    In a super-tournament of all time, Kramer would make the round of sixteen, but not the quarterfinals.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
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  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I don't ignore you anymore. But you really have rather strange opinions sometimes.

    Vines, Riggs and Segura were stronger than Seixas, Drobny and Fraser. The former reached No. 1, No 1 and No.2 respectively while the latter reached only No. 5, No. 4 and No.9 respectively.
     
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Which would be your 16 seeded players in that tourney?
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Feaser was clearly the best amateur in 1960
    Olmedo in 59
    Laver with a close race with Emerson in 61
    As somebody posted, the top amateurs where from the technical point of view as goodas pro
    Learn tennis!!
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kramer made S&Vthe winningest style since 1940 till late 70
    But he did not invent it
    Californian Maurice The Comet Mc Laughlin did 40 yrs before Kramer
     
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  40. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    BobbyOne, these rankings are only hypothetical, I wish you would not use them so often. We don't know where players would truly be ranked if there had been a single Open tour.
     
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  41. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    This would be the draw:

    (1) Roger Federer vs. (16) John McEnroe
    (8 ) Bill Tilden vs. (9) Don Budge
    (5) Ken Rosewall vs. (12) Jack Kramer
    (4) Pancho Gonzales vs. (13) Ellsworth Vines
    (3) Pete Sampras vs. (14) Fred Perry
    (6) Rafael Nadal vs. (11) Jimmy Connors
    (7) Bjorn Borg vs. (10) Ivan Lendl
    (2) Rod Laver vs. (15) Andre Agassi
     
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  42. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, I completely disagree. The first US Open in 1968 was won by a player who was an amateur in 1967, Arthur Ashe. If you look at the major results starting with Wimbledon in 1968 which was the first Open tournament, you'll see the following:
    1968
    Wimbledon -> Laver
    US Open -> Ashe
    1969
    Grand Slam -> Laver
    1970
    Australian -> Ashe
    French -> Kodes
    Wimbledon -> Newcombe
    US Open -> Rosewall

    in 1967 an "amateur" year, 2 majors were won by Emerson and two were won by Newcombe. 1970 clearly demonstrates that the amateurs not only could compete with and were as good as the pros, they won against the pros.

    Laver could then be considered the best and his 1st GS should not be diminished.

    Yeah, I've read some commentary by Pancho Gonzalez in which he indicates that Laver was not a "thinking" player. Gonzalez says that Laver's solution to any problem was to just hit harder. I don't know if Kramer shared that and it's true that Gonzalez had no love of Kramer either. And, Laver did have a bit of trouble adjusting to the barnstorming tour. I think it's generally agreed that the best two players on the original pro circuit were Hoad and Gonzalez and to date, Hoad is the only player I've seen Gonzalez tip a verbal hat to.
     
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  43. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I was always surprised that he rated him so low. Granted I wonder if at his latter years he changed his mind. If we rate Laver and Federer as the two best ever, and Kramer himself rates Fed as the greatest (don't trust me look it up), then Laver shouldn't be far behind. In fact those two to me are the clear cut choices. The best modern player and the best classical style player.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hoad would beat 4 seededs one after the other and win it all
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1968 French: Rosewall
     
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  46. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The 1970 Australian Open did not contain the NTL contracted pros. Laver actually won a best of 5 sets event in Sydney in 1970 (at the same venue as the 1970 Australian Open) soon after, with a stronger field. The 1970 French Open did not contain the NTL and WCT contracted pros. Newcombe turned professional with the WCT as one of the "handsome eight" for 1968. Emerson turned professional with the NTL in early 1968, but had already seen his best tennis days.

    Arthur Ashe did extremely well to win the 1968 US Open while he was still an amateur player in a field full of professionals, but that was just one of those things. The professionals were better than the amateurs overall, and had been for decades by that point. The only other amateur major winner in the open era was Stan Smith.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
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  47. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    alls im sayN

    is winning the grandslam in lavers era. when he one his first grandslam a good amount of the best players in the world were not allowed to compete.

    when he won his 2nd grand slam certainly a good amount of top 15 players were missing (nastase missing from a few and smith and ashe missing from austrailla)


    this is supported by the fact that after 1969 laver never won another grand slam again.
     
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  48. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    The surprise was not so much that Ashe (and Smith) won, more how good the 'old' professionals turned out to be. The writing had been on the wall for the pros, there was no new blood coming in, and all the good young amateurs could see it was worth waiting. There was also the 'under the table' payments by local LTAs. Someone like Ashe would have been expected to turn pro in earlier times. So the expectation was that the pros, who were old by tennis standards, would be severely tested by younger amateurs. What was surprising was how good the pros, notably Rosewall and Laver, but also 40+ Gonzales turned to be when everything was levelled up.
     
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  49. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, don't trust Ashley Cooper! Laver and Rosewall were clearly better than the top amateurs also technically, also Gonzalez and Hoad.
     
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  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix, Of course those rankings are speculative (even though I used rankings from experts). But all opinions of our posters are rather speculative.

    I'm proud that I was one of the first ones who made "mixed" rankings.

    For making my rankings I mostly used positions of amateur players in the amateur ranks and their success the following year in the pro ranks.

    For instance Cooper and Anderson, the two top players in the 1958 rankings, lost all their matches in 1959 to Gonzalez after turning pro. Thus we can assume that the top pros were better than the top amateurs in 1958.
     
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