Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 90's Clay, Aug 22, 2012.
^^^ Dumbest post of the week!
You should have seen what I responded to.
Doesn't anyone watch the game?
Pete M, Where are you? I miss your reasonable postings.
One possible factor to consider is that SV takes longer to develop than a baseline game. Laver of course was a SVer, as were most of the champions then.
Such a player would hit his peak at a later age than a baseliner, and of course baseliners rule today.
An additional factor is the junior game. It seems likely to me that players in the Open Era have played more intensely than in the past, as juniors, with a concentrated goal of getting on the pro tour and making a living. Did juniors in the amateur era develop their games as quickly as they do today? I don't know the specific answer but I'd be very surprised if we found out that juniors then trained as much, and developed as fast, as Open-era juniors.
What that means is that Open-Era players would reach their peak skills at an earlier age than their counterparts of previous eras.
Their bodies, in other words, would be "spent" at an earlier age, compared to champions of a previous era.
Borg might be a good example of a baseliner who developed extremely early -- winning big championships at 17 -- and got burned out early. He accelerated the process by playing so many exos; and his demanding style had something to do with it.
And that brings in yet another factor. You have to ask, what style is more demanding on the body? SV, or grinding?
(Ken Rosewall could play SV or baseline tennis equally well; what kept him going so long was that he had an extremely easy, efficient style, and was rarely injured. Those classical strokes, needless to say, largely disappeared in the Open Era).
I do think that this problem is simplified if you're just comparing within one era. Your example about Agassi having "walkabout" years, and extending his tennis lifespan in that way, makes perfect sense -- if you're comparing him to other players of his era. But if you bring in other eras, you have numerous changes over the years that could impact the equation.
That's why I think it's a mistake to identify merely the amateur game as the explanation for Laver's, and Pancho's, relatively late peaks. It could be the amateur game; it could be different, slower development as juniors; or slower development as SV players; or playing less punishing styles.
All we know is that Laver was playing close-to-peak tennis at 31. But I doubt there's one major factor that can explain that.
You can read about Pancho's development as a player here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Gonzales. He didn't start playing until he was 12; taught himself on the public parks; was banned for a while from junior tournaments; spent a year in detention for burglary; spent two years in the Navy with little playing time.
The amateur game does not explain Gonzalez's career arc, because he barely spent any time in it. He started playing in '47, and turned pro at the end of '49.
It seems more likely that his body was saved from wear and tear due to time spent away from the court, in various episodes throughout his life: a ban as a junior; time in prison; two years in the Navy; and the semi-retired years that he had as a pro, which you did mention before.
Correction once more: I have not argued that Emerson aged earlier than Laver. I argued that they peaked at roughly the same time.
I can't agree, in any case, that an inferior player will age earlier than someone who's better. He will if one of the things that makes him inferior is that he's an inferior athlete. But again, that was not the case with Emerson. He was as fit as any of the Aussies, and possibly could be argued as the fittest of them all.
Yes he was inferior to Laver. But they were equally fit. If they aged as tennis players at roughly the same rate, it suggests that there was not a great deal of difference between the mileage that Emerson accrued on the tennis court, and the mileage accrued by Laver.
To me that is not hard to believe, considering how much Emerson played. As we all know, he is the alltime leader for Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed combined.
I see Laver similarly. By '59 he was already busy enough -- and good enough -- to be setting alltime records for most games played at one event.
And the debate is about Laver, after all. I'm not suggesting that the average amateur of the 60s had as challenging a tennis life as the average pro. I'm talking about Laver, who was obviously exceptional even in the history of the amateur game, if we go by nothing more than the fact that he was setting alltime records for time spent on court.
You're right, the schedule was not necessarily more packed. But those 7 matches I mentioned that he lost at the end of the tour were played on 7 consecutive days in 7 different cities. As an amateur Laver might play 5-7 matches in a tournament, but all in one place.
The constant travel was one of the rigors of the pro tour that we mentioned before. That, combined with the fact that Hoad and Rosewall got more rest on this tour than Laver did -- because each of them only had to play Rod, while he had to play both -- resulted in Laver being decisively wiped out by Rosewall in the last 7 matches. He won only 1 set in that stretch.
Which is to say: it wasn't merely the difference in skill that determined what happened on that tour. In the earlier part of the tour, Laver was good enough to push Hoad twice to five sets, and to defeat Rosewall in 2 out of 6 matches, despite the fact that he was playing in completely unfamiliar conditions.
I'm just arguing that Laver would have had more in reserve for that final stretch against Rosewall if he had had as much rest as Ken.
While there was no junior tennis circuit in the amateur days, there was a strong junior development program associated with the national Davis Cup tennis teams in the USA and Australia, so that the best juniors from these two countries could drop out of school and pursue tennis fulltime while still quite young. The associations would arrange special honorary jobs with sporting goods companies to supplement the national team "stipend", which became very generous by the 1960's.
Thus Rosewall, Hoad, Emerson, Laver, Cooper and others were all playing the senior international tennis circuit at the age of 17, and even winning a good share of matches. Ralston and others had the same experience with the USA team.
Stravinsky said nothing of the sort you say he did, and he knew as much about "pure Jazz" as Louis Armstrong did opera. And I needn't listen to Beethoven's last piano sonata for the zillionth time to see you're talking nonsense. One might as well say Homer "invented" feminist literature because his works happened to feature a few strong heroines.
There's no doubting the heavy African elements of jazz. Ditto ragtime and the blues. Let me put it this way since we're dealing with semantics here: it's not far-fetched to imagine jazz originating elsewhere, rock & roll simply does not exist without America.
Yes, this is true, but we're not just comparing 29-year-olds. We're also talking about 31-year-old Laver completing the Holy Grail of tennis and sweeping just about every other important event that nobody in the Open era has come close to matching at the same age. Nor did even Tilden (I'm looking at the major equivalents of his era, not the official GS records), and that was way back in the 1920s.
Very debatable. My feeling is that the junior game vs. the "senior" game is much like the amateur-pro comparison we're looking at right now.
But doesn't this support my argument? I think you'll agree that the (supposedly) heightened intensity of today's junior game is due to the cutthroat competiton I mentioned, and that's characteristic of any pro tour, regardless of the era.
On the other hand Borg and now Rafa won at least a major 8 years in a row just like Pete and Fed, despite their different career paths. (The former duo, like most "grinders," developed and excelled at their game earlier than their "fast-court" peers.) For a player to be able to win the GS at age 31 or so he'd have to be a very late bloomer, and off the top of my head the only one that might fit that description is Tilden. Yes, another player who stayed amateur for long (of course longer than Laver himself), and like I said even he wasn't in such dominant form at a comparable age.
Again I don't think this question is very relevant here. History suggests that great players of all types enjoy a similar # of prime years (that is, years in which they were able to win at least one major), and 31 is an exceptionally late age at which to achieve historic dominance by any standards.
I don't think I've ever pointed to the relatively less demands of the amateur game as the only factor in Laver's seemingly evergreen shape at such an advanced age. I just think it's the biggest factor. I usually take great care not to oversimplify.
Actually not everyone believes that he was playing "close-to-peak" tennis. The widespread notion, at least in this forum, seems to be that he was playing such great tennis despite being well past his prime, and that's what I wanted to dispute. Again I do think he was close to his peak in "real" age.
I think you misunderstood me there. The very point I was trying to make was that Pancho was a relatively late bloomer precisely because he didn't turn pro until he was 21 and because he was semi-retired for a few years.
Pancho's longevity is a special case as he's arguably peerless in that area. I fully acknowledge that his time away from tennis helped, and in fact that was my very point when I brought up his semi-retirement. My analysis of amateur vs. pro has more to do with the player's prime years, not the tail ends of his career which can vary widely. That's the "career arc" I had in mind.
I know, and I used the term "aged" in a different sense, hence the quotation marks.
Here's what I actually meant by "aged." At similar points in their late careers Laver was still highly competitive with the world's best while Emerson was not. A casual observer might look at this and conclude that Emerson's prime/good years didn't last as long as Laver's--or, like I said, that Emerson "aged" earlier. Of course where he goes wrong is in his failure to see that Emerson wasn't simply as good as Laver to begin with, and once Roy lost that last step, sting on his FH or whatnot he was done as a top contender, while Laver had more weapons to compensate for his own loss. (One can see this as recently as in Fed vs. Roddick.)
That's all I meant to say. I was just making a general point, and not attributing it to you in particular.
I don't deny that those last 7 days were brutal, but again even if we leave them out Laver is still left with a 2-12 record. It's pretty strong indication that Laver wasn't merely being humble when he admitted that he wasn't the best player in the world despite his amateur success, and he was humbled by superior and, yes, pro players.
Again I don't deny any of this. My only point here was that the difference in skill was no doubt a big factor in that tour's outcome, and it does reinforce my claim regarding the amateur/pro tours.
The African elements you refer to were in the blues and rag time, both the creations of slaves and post-slavery African Americans. Rock & Roll is an amalgam of several different styles of American music including jazz, blues, folk and country music.
Thanks that you call my opinion "nonsense".
Strawinsky DID SAY the passage is like a boogie-woogie. I have read it in wikipedia about the 111 sonata.
Strawinsky did know much about jazz. F. i. he has composed a ragtime and the Ebony Concerto for Woody Herman...
If you have heard the sonata very often and yet don't realize there is a jazz passage therein, you must be hard of hearing or an ignorant.
I'm sure that every poster here (apart from yourself) who would listen to 111, second movement, third variation, a few times, would agree with me.
listening to it right now while i write this
would rather be out playing tennis, but unfortunately it´s raining
1 Roger Federer
2 Rod Laver
3 Rafael Nadal
4 Bjorn Borg
5 Pete Sampras
6 John McEnroe
7 Ken Rosewall
8 Ivan Lendl
9 Roy Emerson
10 Andre Agassi
I'll name some that have at least somewhat reasonable accomplishments to be among the best in no order
23. John McEnroe
Edit-Someone wrote I overlooked McEnroe and I did. Oops.
Thanks for giving the link to opus 111 and the words of Strawinsky about that boogie woogie-like passage.
You can hear those jazz notes best when you listen to Gulda's or Brendel's interpretation...
But I just listened to the music that you gave in the link and I got a goose-flesh at my back even in the intrepretation of that old man, Claudio Arrau. Yes, it's jazz...
A giant genius like Beethoven (or Shakespeare or da Vinci) is sometimes capable of having a presentiment of future decades or even centuries.
I'm not sure how you justify putting McEnroe, Rosewall, Lendl, Emerson or Agassi above Pancho Gonzales, or Nadal above Sampras.
Deleted for mootness.
Reasonable list. kiki will wonder why you have included Segura and Nüsslein but not Kodes...
great list. i know Emerson is often overrated, but i still miss him, as i do McEnroe
if you ask anybody outside this forum, who was the best german player before Becker, almost everybody will name Gottfried von Cramm.
i like that you mention Nüsslein and happen to agree with that choice
Everyone has their own opinion. Why does Pancho has to make the top 10 all the time?:???: Some people include him, some don't. And if Nadal shouldn't be ahead of Sampras, then you can say Borg should be behind him too. but again...everyone has their own top 10 list.
it´s a riveting piece of music and it touched me deeply. thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.i make sure to search for a Friedrich Gulda version.
It is his opinion.I respect it.Of course, hard to understand but he will have his motivations.
That should be "the men's international tennis circuit".
I agree that McEnroe is missing in that list. I guess pc1 has just overlooked him in the speed.
If you would include Emerson who was a very fine player you should also include Andres Gimeno who arguably was the stronger player of the two. Gimeno was top three for some years while Emerson was probably No.5 at his best (in 1964).
Difficult to rate Gimeno or Bucholz. Hoad beat them both at Wembley in 1963 when he was past prime.
Gimeno won some pro clay events, but not a big one. Had he remained amateur for a little longer, it would have been easier to judge his abilities against Laver and Emmo in 1961 and 1962.
Emmo had some claim to number one amateur in 1961, beating Laver at the Aussie and US finals.
Yes, von Cramm is much more known than Nüsslein for the same reason why Emerson is much more known than Gimeno. The amateurs were always in the limelight while the pros were outcast players with little publicity.
I rank von Cramm at his best as No. 4 in 1936 while I have Nüsslein as No.2 in 1934 (tied with Perry) and 1936 (again tied with Perry). I concede that the latter rankings are a bit bold but Nüsslein was at least No.3 in several years.
The two Germans played only one official match won by von Cramm in four sets but Nüsslein's widow told me that Hans was ill by a cold in that match.
In practice matches Nüsslein mostly won.
Bill Tilden is a good measure for the two Germans: While he clearly defeated
von Cramm in 1934 (8000 spectators in Berlin), he mostly lost to Nüsslein that year and the following years.
I agree that Gonzalez deserves a top ten place.
Hoad also beat Gimeno at Wembley in 1966, when he was way past prime.
Doesn't say much for Gimeno's game.
Pancho has to make the top ten because he IS a top ten player (in my opinion even a top five player).
1934? Von Cramm was an amateur, my friend. Must have been an exhibition between coach and student (Tilden coached von Cramm). You cannot read anything into this, as von Cramm was respectful to a fault.
Again, listen to The Little Master.
5) The Little Master himself?
Rosewall saw them all, and played everyone from Budge to Armritraj (beating Armritraj at US Open in 1974).
Just overlooked John McEnroe. Lots of players and I shouldn't have overlooked him. I will correct it.
If people could understand how many years Gonzalez was number one. If people realize that he won a great amount of majors, classic and pro. If people realize he won over 130 tournaments in his career. If people realize that he won head to head tours over everyone but Jack Kramer which is incredible.
I've studied the records of the greats and while many write Laver is the greatest it is quite possible that Gonzalez accomplished more that Laver and anyone that ever live. If you write it's just opinion, well perhaps but the evidence is there if people research it.
A person may argue in basketball that Michael Jordan may be the greatest ever. One may argue that it's just opinion and it is but the evidence is out there to support it. The big difference is that the evidence is not so readily available with Pancho Gonzalez. Another big difference is that he played in a time with very little publicity about his exploits. Tennis was centered on the inferior amateur game and the classic majors which in retrospect was insane.
If anyone sees the record of Pancho Gonzalez there would be insane not to think of him as a potential GOAT.
You're the Federer fan, imagine if Federer was the top player in the world for many years but couldn't play in the classic majors and had no publicity. He would still be great but he wouldn't have the Wimbledon, US Championships, Australians and French titles to show for it. Would it make him any less of a player? I would still rank if as a GOAT candidate. Well this is what happened to Gonzalez.
You have to blame the management strategy of the pro game, and the insistence on playing behind closed doors, a very short-sighted commercial approach, for the lack of visibility of the pros in the 1950's and 1960's.
The talent was concentrated in the pros, but Kramer refused to take a long view of the pro game, and get on television.
I'm glad, treblings, that I was able to cause deep feelings of yourself through that Beethoven sonata.
I have a box with all 32 B. sonatas played by Gulda who interprets that music in a marvellous way.
Gulda was also a jazz pianist and did know what jazz is. Therefore I originally thought that he adds a bit of "jazz touch" to Beethoven's music. But years later I listened to the (Alfred) Brendel (arguably the best classic pianist) version of opus 111 and again I heard pure and clean jazz in that 3rd variation of the second movement of 111.
Even though NonP refuses to concede it's jazz, those 2 or 3 minutes ARE jazz and a rather magnificent one to boot...
I would like to propose to all posters here to have a look to the link treblings has given ( 9 minutes of that Beethoven sonata played by old Claudio Arrau) to learn how modern and speedy classic music can be. You will be impressed by the last three minutes of that clip (the first few minutes bring slow and thoughtful music)...
Dan, Gimeno won nine pro tournaments where he beat both Laver and Rosewall,
and he beat Laver in pro tournaments at least 24 times and Rosewall at least 26 times.
Gimeno did win two claycourt tournaments in 1966 (not pro majors I concede) when he won Barcelona and Oklahoma with wins against L&R.
These were the two main claycourt events of the pros in 1966.
And of course he won the 1972 French Open...
You are right, it does not say much about Gimeno's game since Hoad also almost beat Rosewall in the next round. In that form of Hoad I doubt if Emerson could have won against Hoad. Emmo once said to Lew:" Mate, I'm not in your class"...
I agree with that. This is why lists like the Tennis Channel list make no sense at all. Hoad was clearly the superior player to Emerson but I'd bet that Emerson was higher up on that list. That list is so superficial.
Totally agree with you on every point.
My friend, believe me it was an official pro/am match sanctioned by German Tennis Federation. In that time there were some such pro/am matches.
For instance Nüsslein beat Allison, then America's No. 1 player in five sets in a 1935 pro/am match organized by Avery Brundage, the later IOC president.
Rosewall referred to the playing level, not to the career achievements.
Rosewall never played Budge in a singles match.
Please write Amritraj.
Muscles played against Crawford (born 1908) and John Fitzgerald (born 1960) and beat both of them. Crawford was born in 1908.
Seles and King above Evert and Court, ROTFL!!! Did you know Court and King played in the exact same era, are virtually the same age, and Court leads King 22 slams to 12 (in singles, dwarfes her in doubles too) and the head to head 22-10.
do you remember where and when he played against Crawford and Fitzgerald?
And in jazz. Again the African influence is simply undeniable in all of these musics.
That's why it's really the one genre that can be said to have originated in America. The US weren't the only country in the New World that received and benefited from the trade of African slaves, not to mention the Old World. Is it really so hard to imagine jazz taking shape in any other country that had similar influences?
Of course the stock response is that no art form is created in a vacuum, but rock & roll is different in that it arose from a mixture of not only African-American traditions but also country, gospel and folk--all with unmistakable American roots. Jazz doesn't have quite the same "American" pedigree.
BTW when you've got time check these out:
Just a reminder of how music can be shaped by outside influences, and a fine one at that.
Yes, like boogie-woogie. He never said anything about Beethoven "inventing" "pure jazz." And in case you still haven't noticed boogie-woogie is hardly "pure jazz" but rather a style of playing the blues. Do you even know the difference between the two?
Many jazz musicians have tackled classical music, and vice versa since they're world-class musicians who try to learn and absorb as much as they can, but that doesn't mean they're experts outside their area. Stravinsky wouldn't have lasted a single session with Armstrong, Miles or Coltrane, yes even on paper, while the jazz giants would've been hard-pressed to come up with their own Rite of Spring or Firebird.
Yeah, I'm so "ignorant" of the sonata I used to play the entire thing from memory. I'm sure you know it inside out.
Again, you're confusing jazz with jazziness. Having a few bars that sound jazzy doesn't mean it's jazz. Heck, even that opus111 writer closes the blog post with the qualifier that Beethoven's Op. 111 "is by no means a work of jazz," and yet you're still trying to defend your baseless assertion.
Unlike the best interpreters Gulda doesn't fully bring out the rhythm of the boogie-woogie variation and instead tends to rush through it. But yes, Brendel and Arrau are good choices; I believe that very clip of the Chilean was picked for the Art of Piano documentary from years ago.
Still Schnabel remains the best interpreter of Beethoven's 32 on the 88. And one shouldn't ignore Pollini's justly celebrated recordings of the late sonatas.
A relative midget like Gesualdo or his even more obscure contemporary Marenzio created music that seemed to leap centuries, and Leonardo's futuristic visions were mostly confined to his journals and notebook rather than canvas. The point is that one can find hints of the future in any good artistic work, but that doesn't necessarily mean the creator was a true seer or innovator who was actively trying to invent a new form or style. "Art," however beautiful it may be, is nothing without a particular function or purpose.
Rosewall defeated Crawford in 1950 at the Sydney Metropolitan Hardcourt in three sets 7-5 2-6 7-5 and he defeated Fitzgerald in Brisbane in 1980 1-6 7-5 6-3.
thanks, i knew he had a very long career, but i didn´t know it was quite that long. i would love to see video footage particularly from that match against Crawford
Thanks that you argue against my arguments instead of insulting me.
In that link I read that Stravinsky heard "the emergence of boogie-woogie". That's enough for me.
Stravinsky probably did not say "it's a boogie-woogie" because that term was not known at all in Beethoven's time.
I'm not a jazz expert but have heard pretty much of jazz in my 63 years that I can judge a bit about jazz.
A friend of mine is a jazz expert and he spontaneously said:"This is the begin of jazz".
I hear in that passage all what is typically for jazz: jazz melody, jazz harmony, jazz rhythm...
I stay at this: A genius can leap the centuries (you partly agree).
Beethoven said about his famous "Hammerklaviersonate" opus 106: "They will appreciate it in fifty years".
Arnold Schönberg once said: "If you listen to Beethoven's Grosse Fuge opus 133 and a work of mine, people will believe that Beethoven's work is written by myself"
German painter, Albrecht Dürer, painted an abstract picture around 1500...
I believe you that you can play Beethoven sonatas (I never could do so) but the most important thing in music is to OPEN YOUR SOUL as treblings has done.
There are great differences in (classic) music between music with soul (mostly Schubert who brings the listener to tears (also according to T.W.Adorno), Beethoven, partly Bach and Mozart on one side and music without soul as we can find often in Haydn's music which is rather "cold".
I rate Haydn as the Roy Emerson of music: both are very famous but vastly overrated...
Good that pc1 has given you information you wanted.
Maybe there is in Australia footage of the Fitzgerald match.
Rosewall's career is actually extremely long and impressive. It spans the time from 1949 to 1982!
In his first year as a "senior" Rosewall reached two SFs in Australian tournaments at 14/15 and in his last year he reached the final of the NSW Hardcourt (clay) Championships as 47 years old!
Everett, Chad or Ruppert?
yes, it was good of pc1 to answer. i had always known that Rosewall had an exceptionally long career, but i didn´t know that it was quite that long.
in a way it´s also remarkable of Crawford to have still played at 42
For example,Rosewall played the 1954 Wimbledon final...and did play again the final, twenty years later, in 1974.That is real longevity.
There have been some players with remarkably long careers of high quality. Rosewall, Tilden, Gonzalez are among them. Tilden played from the 1910's to the 1950's, Rosewall, as BobbyOne wrote from 1949 to 1982, Gonzalez from the late 1940's to the early 1970's.
These players were dominant players in their primes and they played at the super high level for a long time. Even past their primes they won many tournaments and could beat anyone. That is why I can NEVER understand how after just a few years or so, the media often proclaims a new GOAT. No one can match these greats in just a few years. It's doubtful whether anyone can match them after many many many years. That's why I tend to wait before I proclaim anyone a GOAT in any sport.
For example Bill Tilden, according to the Collins Encyclopedia won 138 of 192 from 1912 to 1930, lost 28 finals and had a 907-62 match record for 93.6 percent. And he was considered an underachiever up to 1920 so you know he stepped up his game! Can anyone really match that in just a few years? Yet we had people proclaim players like Nadal the best ever after 2008, just a few years into his career. I love the play of Nadal but I like to wait a while before we write such great things about him.
Rosewall's and Gonzalez's careers are just as remarkable but in different ways.
Separate names with a comma.