WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    As far as the WCT v. the Masters goes, format may be the reason why the WCT was thought to be the more important event at that time. The draws for each were very similar and while total prize money for the WCT Finals was only $200,000 v. the $400,000 for the Masters the WCT was formatted similar to the Majors, i.e. single elimination, best of five. OTOH the Masters were a round robin, best of 3, perhaps (I didn't do the math) with each individual match being less lucrative for the competitors.

    5
     
  2. Cuculain

    Cuculain New User

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    Jimbo never met the finest Borg!
    What rubbish! I have the 1976 USOpen final on tape, Borg was fine, Connors was in imperious form, and did not nearly lose the match!
    Also if you want talk about injuries do some research into the injuries Connor's played under in 77-78..Borg didnt face a 100% Connors those years either!

    I also have the 82 USOpen final on dvd, no way was this a match Lendl should have won, Connors out played him , over powered him, played to Lendls strength his forehand and nullified it, and stunned him with his return of serve..Same in 83 when Lendl choked..
     
  3. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    Hey everyone,

    Sorry I've mostly been absent for a long stretch, I'm still reading some very interesting contributions.
    This reminds me of an article in Sports Illustrated that I recently read (you can find it in their online 'vault'), after Mac's first US Open Win. They underline how great his season was by calling it his....'THIRD' major victory. That is, after his Masters win (the 1978 Grand Prix Masters in January 1979), and his Dallas win. So, without any nuance or qualification by the journalist, both 'year-end' events are equated with the Grand Slam tournaments as majors.
    So for once, I have to disagree when Carlo says that the US Pro Indoors might have been superior some years. Draw-wise, probably, but I think Dallas had such prestige, well into the 80s, that it was never a simple 'Super-9' event.

    Jonathan
     
  4. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    WCT Finals and Masters - pseudo majors of the 1970's and early 80's.

    Imagine if McEnroe had not competed in all those Dallas tournaments and simply instead competed (and won) the Australian Open - say from the end of 1978 through to the end of 1982. He would be looking at a total of 11 or so Grand Slam titles. Now, never mind that Dallas was far, far deeper than the Australian Open. I do believe that the WCT finals had pseudo-major status until the mid-80's when Miami came along. Miami in the late 80's and 90's was regarded as the next biggest tournament after the Grand Slams in some quarters. (I disagree of course, because I believe the Masters season end finals should always rank above that). There is strong evidence by reading the accounts at the time that the WCT finals was regarded as a Major.

    I really like the idea of another forum poster - to come up with the top 4 events every year. It would be good to post that on something like Wikipedia. Then give present day points to those events and Masters 1000 points to the top 7 or so events below them. Be interested in how the rankings would look.
     
  5. SgtJohn

    SgtJohn Rookie

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    *I have worked on something like this, the last version I posted online being here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=3098710#post3098710

    Karoly's book 'The concise history of tennis' also features year-by-year rankings where he highlights most of the major tournaments. Maybe you already know it, anyway I can only strongly recommend it to everybody, it's a great read, even if you're already well versed in tennis history.

    To come back to the Majors issue, the subjective elements in such choices (3 or 4, or 5 majors a year?, straightforward major count, or point systems with 'fractional' wins? etc.) make the idea of a solid ranking elusive (though it's always fun seeing what you get).
    I'm working on a revamped, much more satisfying version of my previous effort, I'll end up posting something here I guess.

    About Miami, I think the 'fifth slam' concept had much to do with the big slam-less gap between the Australian and the French, so there's a slot for big tournaments to build up their reputation, like Philly and Dallas did. Of course, the best-of-5, 128 or 96-players draws helped too!
     
  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1950s, 1960s, early 70s:
    1950—Kramer/Segura
    1951—Kramer
    1952—Gonzales/Sedgman
    1953—Kramer(6)/Segura(2)
    1954—Gonzales
    1955—Gonzales
    1956—Gonzales
    1957—Gonzales
    1958—Gonzales/Sedgman(2)
    1959—Gonzales/Hoad
    1960—Gonzales(8 )/Rosewall
    1961—Rosewall
    1962—Rosewall
    1963—Rosewall
    1964—Laver
    1965—Laver
    1966—Laver
    1967—Laver
    1968—Laver
    1969—Laver
    1970—Laver
    1971—Laver(8 )/Rosewall(5)/Newcombe
    1972—Smith
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    in 83 Wilander won 1 GS and was a runner up in the other one.Mc won 1 GS and 2 other majors (Masters and Dallas), so in temrs of results, he was ahead of the swede, by a very little margin, but still I have to pick Mac.
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1976 saw Borg win 2 majors (Wimbly and WCT Finals) to Connors 1 single title ( even if he beat Borg himself at the Forest Hills final).Borg lost at the QF at the French, while Jimmy was also beaten at the QF at Wimbledon.I´d pick Borg over Connors even if, in 1976, I´d give Connors and edge over Borg as a better player ( beat him at FH but also at Philadelphia, the greatest indoor event of the year).

    But we are not discussing who was the best player but rather who had the best year.In this mold, in 77 Vilas had clearly the best year, even if he always lost to Borg.
     
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    again, Laver was the best player of 1971 but he had not the best year, so one cannot put him as the number 1 player of 1971.

    71 was a very splitt year, with 4 different GS champions.Rosewall won the AO plus Dallas, Kodes won RG and lost the USO F to Smith, who also was beaten at the W finals by Newcombe...Nastase won the Masters and was beaten by Kodes at the french finals.5 or 6 players could claim the crown for that year, which happens to be one of the most competed ever.
     
  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ¿ Which is the all time best exo?.Im think 4 or 5 events consolidated year by year, a great tradition, even if unofficial, the best players loved to play them:

    Chicago Michelob Challenge
    Milano Brooklyn Masters
    Antwerp Golden Racket
    Munich GS Cup
    Boca Raton Pepsi GS
    WCT Champions event at different venues (Puerto Rico,Las Vegas,Jamaica Bay,Forest Hills)

    Aetna World Cup and Europe vs America were team exos, just like the WTT league, so it is a different concept.
     
  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed, 1971 is a tough year to call.

    I have a three-way tie.

    1970—Laver
    1971—Laver(8 )/Rosewall(5)/Newcombe
    1972—Smith
    1973—Nastase
    1974—Connors
    1975—Ashe
    1976—Connors
    1977—Borg/Vilas
    1978—Borg
    1979—Borg
    1980—Borg(4)
    1981—McEnroe
    1982—Connors(3)
    1983—McEnroe
    1984—McEnroe(3)
    1985—Lendl
    1986—Lendl
    1987—Lendl
    1988—Wilander
    1989—Becker
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Following my reasoning, if I had to make a 3 players tier, I´d pìck Smith,Rosewall and Kodes ( they played at least 2 big finals), with Nastase over Newcombe and Laver for the 4 th position.It does not mean, of course, that Kodes or Smith were better players than Newcombe or Laver, but they had a more compact yearn and it is fair to recognize it.
     
  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep. Looks like Borg in 1979.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Many Tennis Hall of Famers didn't have a CAREER that accomplished as much as Borg did in 1979. Borg won the French and Wimbledon. He won the Yes End Masters and the Canadian Open. In all he won 21 of 28 tournaments. His game scores are inhuman. He didn't beat people he destroyed them. Borg had the credentials to go into the Hall of Fame on this year alone.
     
  15. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Wow, I just counted the 13 official ATP titles PC1. Great post. 21/28 in 1979 is very impressive. So you have Connors as the "official" #1 in 1979 (like 1977), but again the ranking system was different (what exactly was the point system in say 1979?). Anyway, you had Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Vilas, Gerulaitis, Tanner, and Pecci, with plenty of great clay/grass/indoor/hard court players who played a vast variety of styles with great skill. It was a fascinating period. It got even more interesting in 1980 didn't it?



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I think PC1 counts exos as well, Borg played lots of exos by that time.

    I remember 79 as one of the most interesting years of that decade.Mc Enroe really challenged Borg, Gerulaitis and Tanner played their best ever tennis; Connors and Vilas were solid but not at their 1977 or 1978 level.Ashe had a superb first half and Pecci, of course, was the big bomb on the circuit.Also, a year were Gene Mayer and Peter Fleming broke into the top, and with Mc and pecci gave tennis fresh bllod.

    It was also a year that consolidated surface specialisation, which was a tarde mark of the 70´s and 80´s, even the 90´s.Except the top 3-4 players, the rest of the top 50-100 players thrived on specialistaion.
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The 1976 debate involving Connors and Borg is the same, just reversed, that involved Vilas and Borg for the 1977 year.

    In 1976, Connors was the best player but Borg had a better year , with 2 majors vs 1 for Connors.

    in 77, Vilas had the best year ( 2 majors to Borg´s 1 ), even though Borg was a better tennis player.

    in 83, it was never close; Mac won Masters ( the Masters of January always belonged to the former year season, ALWAYS), but he also won WCT finals and Wimbledon to Mats lone Ausie open.It is overwhelming clear in favour of JMac and I cannot see why there is even debate.
     
  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I fully agree: in the Dallas event you couldn´t tank a match to avoid facing a player later on; while this happened in many Masters ( 1975,1977,1980,1982)
     
  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I count legit tournaments. A lot of the records were pretty badly kept in those days.


    It really was terrible that they could tank in the Masters.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    This is the one match tennis history is possibly missing: Laver ( 39) vs Mc Enroe ( 18).
     
  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    in 75 Ashe beat Borg at the WCT finals and Borg and Connors at Wimbledon; he also reached the Masters semis.he is undisputed nº 1 in 1975.

    Plus, Ashe and Orantes completely distroyed Connors in both finals.Newcombe also beat Connors in the AO final.
     
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    in 82 Wilander had won the French overcoming one of the hardest draws , if not the absolute hardest: Lendl in 5 sets in the 4 th round, Gerulaitis in 4 sets in the QF, Clerc in 4 sets in the SF and Vilas in 4 sets in the finals.Those 4 beaten players were the best clay court players of that time, excluding the already retired Borg.In 1983 his draw was not nearly as good.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    But the poster is right in comparing Vilas better results in the big events compared to Borg.One Wimbledon does not make a year, I think that is what he tries to say.
     
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree except 1983 (Mac should be nº 1 alone)
     
  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Actually Borg was #1 on the computer in '79. The computer gave Connors the top ranking through '78.
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's a great choice. I didn't want to pick the GOAT candidates in the dream matches. Two of the greatest lefties of all time.
     
  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that this would be very interesting because Mac idolized Laver (through Harry Hopman).

    I think Mac would be really, really nervous for the first few games, (and Laver would show him no mercy). The Rocket would then call Mac over for a conference at the net: "John, you need to settle down. I know you can play better than this."

    "But Mr. Laver, you worked with Harry Hopman. You won the Grand Slam twice. You're my idol."

    "Not right now John; right now I'm your opponent. And if you don't start playing better, I'm going to embarass you."

    So Laver schooled the 18-year-old Mac: 6-4, 7-5 , 6-3. When they walked up to the net to shake hands, Laver said: "That's the way you play a left-handed serve-and-volley game. Right John?"

    "Yes sir, Mr. Laver."

    "John, call me Rod. Now let me show you a few things I learned from Hoad when I was 18 that Mr. Hopman didn't teach either of us."
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    And two of the top 5 shotmaking talents, too
     
  29. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    That's true, my mistake. Borg was #1 in 1979 on the ATP computer and year end #1, with Connors #1 in 1978. In 1977, you had Connors as #1, but considerable controversy. Even in 1978, you had Borg winning 2 majors (FO and Wimbledon), while Connors had 1 major (US Open).

    I saw this link that raises the issue of the frequency of rankings.

    See: http://www.itftennis.com/mens/startingout/rankrules.asp

     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In 79 Borg crushed Connors 7 times in a row, if we count on exos ( there would be no such thing like an exo match between those 2 guys):

    -.Boca Raton ( exo)
    -.Las Vegas
    -.Frankfurt (exo)
    -.Wimbledon SF
    -.Montreal ( exo)
    -.Tokyo F
    -.Masters RR

    The only real chance Connors had to beat Borg was in the Masters rr ( 3-6,6-3,7-6), but he barely took a set off Borg in the remaining matches.
     
  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Thoughts here: Mac versus Wilander in 1983?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  32. juan guzman

    juan guzman Rookie

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    The fact is Wilander beat Mac 3 times on 83 on Grass, Clay and Hard so the match at the Masters was very important to define who was number 1 in 83.This was pointed out by Steve Flink and John Barrett in the ITF book guide 1984.
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's a lot closer than people would think and those favoring Wilander have a legit argument for 1983. Mats won the Australian that year and was a finalist in the French. He won 9 tournaments in total that year and reached the finals of 11 of 20 tournaments. His winning percentage of 88% that year with a record of 82-11 was the best of Mats' career, including his great 1988 season.

    I probably would go with McEnroe because he won Wimbledon, the WCT championships over Lendl and the Masters over Lendl but I can see Wilander getting support here.
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1983--Wilander:
    AO-winner (defeated Lendl in final)
    FO-finalist (lost to Noah)
    W-third round (lost to R. Tanner)
    USO-quarterfinalist (lost to Lendl)

    won 9 tournaments including the AO in 1983
    1983 Masters in NYC semifinalist (losing to McEnroe)
    1983 WCT Finals Wilander did not compete
    Wilander's slam record was 18-3 in 1983
    Davis Cup: Wilander played on Swedish Team (losing to Australia in world finals; Mats won both singles matches)


    1983--McEnroe:
    AO-semifinalist (lost to Wilander)
    FO-quarterfinalist (lost to Wilander)
    W-winner (defeated C. Lewis in final)
    USO-fourth round (lost to B. Scanlon)

    won 7 tournaments including W in 1983
    1983 Masters in NYC McEnroe beats Lendl in finals
    1983 WCT Finals in Dallas McEnroe beats Lendl in finals
    Mac's slam record was 18-3 in 1983
    Davis Cup: McEnroe played on US Team (losing to Argentina in first round)

    In 1983 the H2H was 3-1 for Wilander.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  35. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Going by the numbers it is indeed closer than i thought. Wilander was a bit of a player in the shadow, out of the radar then. I recall that Lendl and Connors were seen as Mac's chief rivals then. Maybe Mac's majestic performance at Wimbie gave him an extra bonus by the tennis media then.
     
  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It makes you wonder what would have happened if Mats defeated Lendl in the US Open semi and faced Connors in the final. I don't think Mats would have been bothered by Connors' behavior and the New York crowd that much. Mats game style was very tough for Connors and I think he would have had a good chance to win. With two majors I think Mats may have been number one.

    WILANDER, Mats (SWE)

    Versus Jimmy CONNORS (USA)
    Year Tournament Round Surface Winner Score
    1984 Cincinnati SF Hard (O) M.WILANDER 7-6 1-6 7-6
    1984 Stockholm SF Hard (I) M.WILANDER 6-7 6-3 6-3
    1984 Davis Cup 1984 Clay (I) M.WILANDER 6-1 6-3 6-3
    1985 Tokyo Indoor SF Carpet (I) M.WILANDER W/O
    1986 Cincinnati FR Hard (O) M.WILANDER 6-4 6-1
    1988 Lipton-Key Biscayne FR Hard (O) M.WILANDER 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4
     
  37. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    1977

    Guillermo Vilas :

    AO : Finalist
    French Open : Winner
    Wimbledon : Second round
    US Open : Winner.
    Masters : SF

    Won 16 tournaments (record) : French Open, US Open, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires (x 2), Santiago, Bogota, Téhéran, Porée Cup, Columbus, South Orange, Louisville, Washington, Kitzbuhel, Virginia Beach, Springfield.
    Won 46 matches consecutively (record).

    Bjorn Borg :

    AO : did not participate.
    French : did not participate.
    Wimbledon : Winner.
    US Open : 4th round
    Masters : Finalist.

    Won 9 tournaments : Wembley, Cologne, Basel, Barcelone, Madrid, Nice Monte-carlo, Denver, Memphis.
     
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Borg won 13 out of 20 tournaments that year.
     
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    At the 1983 USO, Wilander lost to Lendl in the quarters.

    Lendl beat Jimmy Arias in the semis, and as you say lost to Connors in the finals in four. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I stand corrected. :)

    Any thoughts about a potential Connors/Wilander US Open final in 1983? It would have been a heck of a match. I think Jimmy was still Jimmy at this point and his decline started in 1984.
     
  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree Mats game didn´t suit very well to Connors, as their H2H proves.However, it was Flushing and the crowd would carry on Jimbo till the end.Plus, he was hungry... but, given the H2H Wilander would have just as many chances to win it, and if he had, nobody would possibly dispute his nº 1 ranking at the end of the season.
     
  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Vilas used to perform very consistently in the medium to Super series events of that time.I think he even finished the year as nº 1 in the Gran Prix standings a few times.In 74 I think he even won more secondary tournaments than in his magic 77...¿Is that true?
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ¡What about Jimmy Arias?.he always looked the nice guy, and I still remember how good was his FH.I don´t think, though, that the rest of his game was even middle class.Well, he was afst and covered court well, but his average level, IMO, was just below Aaron Krickstein ( a guy very similar to Arias)
     
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I was going to say that Wilander getting past Lendl is a stretch, since he lost to him in straights. On the other hand, Wilander had beaten Lendl badly in Cincinnati, 6-0, 6-3, so how did Lendl reverse the result so decisively at the Open? (It was 6-4, 6-4, 7-6). Newk mentioned later in the tournament that their QF, despite lasting only 3 sets, was long and draining, with Lendl working hard for every point.

    Lendl looked gassed during the final, in that brutal heat (and also thorougly intimidated). I think if Wilander had been there his stamina would have held up better. Jimmy, meanwhile, would have had to fight through the pain in his foot, and the heat. I don't think either he or Lendl played the '83 final as well as they had the year before, and the stats show it.

    So who would win? I guess Connors has a good chance at the Open. I saw their '88 final in Key Biscayne, another hot day, and Wilander ran him ragged. Thoroughly exhausted him. That was in Wilander's peak year, and Connors was what, mid-30s by then. And it took 4 sets to beat him.

    I don't think Wilander was ready in '83 to win the Open, just looking at his record that year: he was a little better overall than he was in the big matches.

    And I almost forgot, some time ago I ran across this quote and had to record it because I think it says a lot about where Wilander was in '83, mentally, and what kind of attitude he had toward the idea of being #1. He said it after he won his first match at the '83 USO:

    "I do not expect to win this tournament."

    "I'm just glad I won the first round."

    "I am definitely not in the top three on this surface. Maybe I will never get there."

    "I know I am not ready to win the U.S. Open yet. Maybe in a few years."
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Wilander doesn't seem like the type to say things that he didn't mean so I would think he actually believed those statements that he wasn't ready yet to win the US Open. It's funny Mats won 88% of his matches that, 9 tournaments and 1 major. He was very good on hard court and I think he won a few hard court tournaments that year. If I recall, Mats Games Won percentage was around 63%, which is incredible. To put it in perspective, Federer has never been higher than being in the high 61 percent range. I suppose mentally he thought he was the big underdog.

    It would have been a fun match, Mats around his prime and Connors still very good but not quite at his best.
     
  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    .. and Connors feeding himself off the 1978 win over Borg ( he trounced Borg in 3 sets ) and his 1982 win over Lendl to face a similar kind of baseliner with deep shots, very solid, on hard courts.If he did it twice, I think he´d have done it also in 1983, probably in 4 hard fought sets.
     
  47. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's true, Wilander's confidence back then seemed lower than his actual skill (which was also true for Lendl, who was probably an even better example of that).
     
  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1980—Borg (4)
    1981—McEnroe
    1982—Connors (3)
    1983—McEnroe/Wilander
    1984—McEnroe (3)
    1985—Lendl
    1986—Lendl
    1987—Lendl
    1988—Wilander
    1989—Becker
    1990—Edberg/Lendl (4)
     
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed, except 1983 (Mc Enroe alone) .
     
  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1950—Kramer/Segura
    1951—Kramer
    1952—Gonzales/Sedgman
    1953—Kramer(6)/Segura(2)
    1954—Gonzales
    1955—Gonzales
    1956—Gonzales
    1957—Gonzales
    1958—Gonzales/Sedgman(2)
    1959—Gonzales/Hoad
    1960—Gonzales(8 )/Rosewall
    1961—Rosewall
    1962—Rosewall
    1963—Rosewall
    1964—Laver
    1965—Laver
    1966—Laver
    1967—Laver
    1968—Laver
    1969—Laver
    1970—Laver
    1971—Laver(8 )/Rosewall(5)/Newcombe
    1972—Smith
     

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