WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

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

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I was thinking of posting something about this, but I would have taken several paragraphs to get across a point that you made in just one.

    I agree with you that that H2H takes on greater significance when, to use your words, there is no structured tour or a widely accepted computer ranking. That was the case with the computer ranking in the 70s; and the schedule was hardly standardized, with various players playing different tours, and no mandatory tournaments.

    Today everything is more or less ideal: all the top players attend the Slams and the Masters Series, and the computer ranking is widely accepted. If a player misses a top event, he does it knowing full well that it is a top event featuring all the top players. In today's environment it seems less necessary to go by H2H results. You can safely total up the titles and assume that all the players, when they got their titles, were playing under the same conditions. They all played the same tour, with the top players generally present in the same places.

    But in an environment in which players didn't regularly meet each other, H2H had more significance. Think about what it was like in the early 20th century, when players on different continents rarely crossed the oceans. Everyone played what might be called "local" tournaments. They were certainly playing different "tours" then. How would you make comparisons then, without any common ground? In that sort of environment, when a top player did make the effort to cross the ocean and play the top player of another continent, it was a major event (no pun intended).

    That's why I think some fans today look back at the weight assigned to H2H in certain years like '76 and '77, and their reaction is more or less, "What? Are you serious? Just add up the titles, it's that simple." But I think tennis writers and other observers back then looked at things somewhat differently than we do. They knew the chaos that was going on, and I don't think they simply counted up titles and left it at that (they certainly didn't just count up Slams the way we do).

    Back then a player could choose tournaments that didn't necessarily have as many top players in attendance as did the tournaments chosen by another player.

    For example in '77 Vilas played about 150 matches, far more than Borg. A natural assumption would be that they played in equal conditions and that Vilas racked up many more wins over Top Ten players than Borg did. But when you actually count up the Top Ten "scalps" as we did in the other thread, Borg comes out with 15 victories over Top Ten players, Vilas only 13, in standard tournaments (Vilas gets two more if Davis Cup is included). And Borg met Top Ten players nearly as many times as Vilas did, despite playing far less. Additionally, Vilas' victories over Top 25 players are comprised heavily of wins over players ranked 11-25, when compared to Borg.

    All of that is evidence that Vilas' draws were weaker than Borg's. And that has to be taken into account to some degree, though naturally we won't all agree on how much importance to place on that issue (or other issues, like surface).

    Absolutely it has been tapering off, I think at least some of us in this thread seem to agree that that has been taking place in recent decades. Probably because the tour has been getting more standardized. There seems to be less need to look at draws, or to check things like victories over Top Ten players.

    That last stat, of course, is a H2H stat. This is something I want to clarify: when I say that H2H was important in the mid-70s, I don't mean exclusively those handful of matches between Borg and Connors, or between Borg and Vilas. It's the H2H against the whole field that ultimately has to be taken into account. Of course, the meetings between the top 2 or 3 players were the most important H2H meetings (think of those heavyweight battles between Borg and Connors). But H2H encompasses more than that, which is why I think it's so hard to leave it all in the next room and not even look at it unless the other numbers are tied.

    And you and I were both counting up wins over Top Ten, Top 25 players, in that other thread. You suggested H2H should be set aside and brought in only if needed; and you may have been doing that with the Borg-Vilas meetings; but neither of us was really doing that with the H2H against the overall field. I think we agreed it was important.

    Someone wrote an article in '78 (there was no byline so I don't know the author's name) with an interesting statement. He said in tennis the secret to ranking is all about who can beat whom, not about who earns the most money. And the article names Borg as top player, citing his 16-3 record against the Top Ten in 1977.

    (You and I both had Borg at 15-3; probably they were counting an extra, non-sanctioned event).

    At any rate, it wasn't just the 3 matches against Vilas that people were looking at.
     
  2. elegos7

    elegos7 New User

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    The position of the year-end Masters was indeed confusing.
    Here is what some of the top experts considered the start and end of the tennis seasons (at least for ranking purposes):

    1977:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual) ended his rankings in Dec (before the AUS Open and the Masters in January next year)
    World Tennis (Flink, Amdur) considered results from Nov 1976 to Oct 1977.
    McCauley (Tennis Australia) ended his season before the Masters
    So none of them included the Masters in next Jan, and only McCauley took into account the second edition of the AUS Open.

    1978:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual): from AUS in previous Dec until Nov
    World Tennis (Flink, Amdur): from Nov 1977 to Oct 1978
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): included the Masters next year
    So only McCauley took into account the year-ending AUS Open and the Masters next year.

    1979:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual): from AUS in previous Dec until Nov
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): included the Masters next year

    1980:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual): from AUS in previous Dec until Nov
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): included the Masters next year

    1981:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual): from AUS in previous Dec until Nov
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): without the Masters next year

    1982:
    Tingay (World of Tennis annual): from AUS in previous Dec until the end of the year! (so he took into account the AUS Open twice, but still not the Masters next January)
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): without the Masters next year

    1983:
    Tingay: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)
    World Tennis (Flink, Collins, Amdur): McEnroe clinched the top spot by his victory at the Masters
    McCauley: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)

    1984:
    Tingay: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)
    McCauley: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)

    1985:
    Tingay: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)
    McCauley: the exact calandar year (without the Masters next year)

    1986:
    Tingay: the exact calandar year
    McCauley (Tennis Australia): with two Masters)

    So it seems that for ranking purposes the Masters in January was usually considered as the start of the new season by contemporary writers (this explains some of their strange choices). Of course, the ATP nowadays lists them as belonging to the end of the season. I also think they should be considered as the closing of the season.
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    My point is that ALL AO count as Gran Slams , thus the AO has the same consideration for GS purposes.
     
  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Masters were considered the end of the tennis season, much like the World Series in baseball or the Super Bowl in the NFL. Just because some writers decided to include or not include it doesn't matter because in hindsight we are evaluating an entire tennis season. Writers often have conflicting views and are often incorrect. If the 1978 season ended in January of 1979 with the Masters, it still is the 1978 season.

    Just a few weeks ago the Super Bowl ended with the NY Giants defeating the Patriots. It was played in 2012 but is considered the conclusion of the 2011 season.
     
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As a matter of fact, you qualify for the Masters because of your results of the former season, not " next" season.Som the Masters is always the end, not the start of a new season, no matter which month it´s played.
     
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Totally agree with you.
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Plus, there were basically 2 end of season Superbowls back then: WCT ( Spring) and Masters (Winter).Before the junction of both circuits, that was really like that.
     
  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Thanks so much for this. Sometimes I'm really surprised at how much detail you guys have at your fingertips (I mean with regard to accessing primary sources).

    So Tingay, Flink and Amdur all included the January '78 Masters as part of their evaluations. But I think these all voted for Borg, didn't they?

    Anyway this clarifies what writers tended to do back then. Many writers included the previous season's Masters. But from your list it appears that they were simply going back 12 months, in order to have a full year to evaluate. They don't appear to be claiming to stay within the official season. Flink and Amdur, for example, evaluating 1978, go back to November '77: they're obviously not claiming that the tennis season began in November. It's just an expedient they're using.

    So it follows that these writers were not claiming the January Masters to be properly a part of the season that followed. They just happened to include it because they looked back 12 months.

    Yes that's a good point -- the matter of qualification. We can't just assign a Masters to this season, or that one, arbitrarily, without ignoring what the Masters actually was. Borg, Connors and Vilas arrived in New York in January '78 because they qualified to be there, while others did not qualify.

    Besides, we need to be in agreement about the Masters, otherwise we're talking about different things. Upthread Mustard was talking about Connors and Borg in the '78 season, and I assumed he co-ranked them as #1 on the basis of the season that followed the January Masters. I had no idea he was starting the season with the January Masters, until he said so.

    There's really no reason for us not to treat the Masters as a season-ending championship. That's what it was officially (despite the confusion of a few people), and that's the only thing that makes sense now for us to do in dividing up the seasons.
     
  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    We also know that two other sources, Tennis Magazine [France] and Rino Tommasi, voted for Borg in the last two weeks of December '77.

    World Tennis (Flink, Amdur) voted for Vilas, and they appear to have issued the earliest rankings -- at the end of October if I'm reading it right.

    So they would have counted two titles won by Vilas in the last two months of 1976: Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. And they would have missed 4 titles that Vilas won in the last two months of '77: Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg WCT. Note: except for Vilas, only one year-end Top Ten player attended any of those 4 events (Dibbs at Johannesburg).

    Borg won nothing at the end of '76 but World Tennis missed 2 titles that he won in the last two months of '77: Cologne and Wembley. The latter was one of the big events of the year and maybe the best attended event in the November-December period. Apart from Borg, three of the top ten were in attendance. That week Connors was attending the WCT Challenge Cup. Vilas was playing in Santiago.

    By the way, Elegos, who did McCauley vote for?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  10. elegos7

    elegos7 New User

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    McCauley voted for Borg both in 1977 and 1978.
    The World Tennis rankings are the least reliable in the 1970s, because their year of evaluation extended typically from Nov to Oct (so the Masters, Davis Cup final, AUS Open often was included in the "wrong" season). E.g. they ranked Smith 1st for 1973, as his Davis Cup win in 1972 counted, whereas his losses in the 1973 final not. It would be interesting to know when they reverted to an evaluation period more closer to the calendar year.

    Tingay's rankings are usually closer to the calendar year. I have no idea what interval Collins and Barrett considered for their ranking. Barrett was the only writer I know who considered Connors the No1 in 1978, ahead of Borg.

    In my tennis history book for the 1970s and 1980s I relied on the composite rankings of Tingay, Collins and Barrett.
     
  11. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    For "World Tennis" Magazine, Tennis de France, Michel Sutter, "Le Livre d'or du tennis", Eugene L. Scott, Vilas was n°1.
     
  12. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And I think he went with Wilander in '83, is that correct?

    That was another year that the timing was important because everyone felt the Masters would be a key factor in choosing McEnroe or Wilander.

    Whom did Collins and Barrett pick in '77, I've never seen anything about their votes.

    And do you know Judith Elian's vote for '77? In that article I posted from '78, it says that such writers as Tingay, Tommasi and Judith Elian regard Borg as #1, which seems to be a reference to the '77 votes. But it's a vague reference, at best. Tingay and Tommasi I have confirmed elsewhere, just don't know about Elian.
     
  13. elegos7

    elegos7 New User

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    Yes, in 1983 McCauley chose Wilander as No1 (and he took into account the Masters in 1984 Jan).
    Collins and Barrett picked Borg in 1977 over Vilas (just as Tingay, McCauley and the French Tennis Magazine). World Tennis (Flink and Amdur) picked Vilas over Borg. I do not have Judith Elian's rankings for 1977.
     
  14. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Tennis magazine had Connors at #1 for '78. I think the panel that voted was Barrett, Bodo, Elian, McNab, Tommasi, Trangrove, Tsukagoshi(don't know individual vote breakdowns, I assume at least 4 of them voted Connors #1)
     
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Do you mean both McCauley and Barrett chose Wilander?
     
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Wilander in 1983 arguably had his best year overall for I believe winning percentage, games won percentage, tournaments won. He also won one major that year in the Australian. I believe he won more than a quarter of the tournaments he won in his entire career that years. I really believe it was his best year overall even over 1988 when he won three majors. It's not a bad choice to pick Wilander.
     
  17. elegos7

    elegos7 New User

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    Only McCauley chose Wilander, Barrett went with McEnroe.
     
  18. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I wasn't commenting on Wilander's year, just wanted to clarify which writer we were talking about.
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I´d pick Mc, not by much but he won 3 big titles (Wimbly,Masters and Dallas) while Mats won Australia, played the FO final but didn´t fare any better in the 2 major indoor events ,Flushing and Wimbly
     
  20. Satsuma Florida

    Satsuma Florida Rookie

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    Mats' 1983 year was good but I would have a hard time putting him over McEnroe that year. Even if he did win the FO.
     
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Or Jimmy Connors!
     
  22. Juan Ma Del Pony

    Juan Ma Del Pony Professional

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    Delete WTA #1 post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think you should start a new thread. This thread has been about the men ab initio.
     
  24. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Mats would have had the best 1983 had he won the French Open, but he didn't. He had dominated the whole clay-court period, and 1983 was his best year in terms of performances week-to-week and in the smaller tournaments. Winning 2 majors would have been enough.
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    still Mc Enroe took 3 out of the 6 majors events of the year, and won the biggest indoor event that follows, at Philadelphia...but, given the ehat to head, in that case, Wilander would deserve the nº 1 spot ( beat Mc Enroe at Roland Garros and Melbourne, but lost at the Masters )
     
  26. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    Yep TENNIS magazine voted Connors number 1 for 78 with an article by Bodo on his game. WORLD TENNIS voted Borg number 1, and Barry Lorge wrote an article on Connors titled The Ugly American. I wish I still had those magazines.


    TENNIS also voted Connors number 1 in 1976. No recollection of WORLD TENNIS that year
     
  27. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    The list of world number ones needs a stronger factual basis. You can't have shared years. You also need to settle the basic criteria for supremacy. Do you go for the guy who wins the head to head across the season, or do you go for the guy who wins the the titles that matter most? I'd suggest the latter, since the former suggests underperformance in the spotlight. Winning in Omaha, St Louis, Nashville etc is all well and good but if the other guy wins the final at Wimbledon or Wembley or Paris or New York or Melbourne, he's climbed the higher mountain.
     
  28. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Shared number 1 is ok

    I think sharing number 1 in a year is ok when it isn't clear who stands supreme. Some years are just like that.
     
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    American press always behind Connors...what did the Australians,Japs and Europeans think?
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Doug,

    That's the whole point of this thread, to discuss what is more impressive, winning majors or a lot of very strong tournaments like Laver did in 1970. The actual discussion on 1970 should be who SHOULD have been number one in 1970? Laver was not number one by the standards of the time but the thread discusses whether he or Rosewall or Newcombe should have been.

    Some writers used to just pick the Wimbledon champion as number one and by that standard it's Newcombe. Rosewall was picked for World Champion and that's fine too. Laver was not "officially" number one but was his year in actuality more impressive than both?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver himself, for his high self imposed standarts will admit 1970 was not his best year.

    He took it in fun, and he wrote that in his book.
     
  32. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Here's my list of the best players in each calendar year:

    1877: Spencer Gore
    1878: Frank Hadow
    1879: John Hartley
    1880: John Hartley
    1881: William Renshaw
    1882: William Renshaw
    1883: William Renshaw
    1884: William Renshaw
    1885: William Renshaw
    1886: William Renshaw
    1887: Herbert Lawford
    1888: Ernest Renshaw
    1889: William Renshaw
    1890: Willoughby Hamilton
    1891: Wilfred Baddeley
    1892: Wilfred Baddeley
    1893: Joshua Pim
    1894: Joshua Pim
    1895: Joshua Pim
    1896: Harold Mahony
    1897: Reggie Doherty
    1898: Reggie Doherty
    1899: Reggie Doherty
    1900: Reggie Doherty
    1901: Arthur Gore
    1902: Laurie Doherty
    1903: Laurie Doherty
    1904: Laurie Doherty
    1905: Laurie Doherty
    1906: Laurie Doherty
    1907: Norman Brookes
    1908: William Larned
    1909: William Larned
    1910: Anthony Wilding
    1911: Anthony Wilding
    1912: Anthony Wilding
    1913: Anthony Wilding
    1914: Anthony Wilding
    1915: Bill Johnston
    1916: Richard Norris Williams
    1917: Lindley Murray
    1918: Lindley Murray
    1919: Bill Johnston
    1920: Bill Tilden
    1921: Bill Tilden
    1922: Bill Tilden
    1923: Bill Tilden
    1924: Bill Tilden
    1925: Bill Tilden
    1926: Rene Lacoste
    1927: Rene Lacoste
    1928: Henri Cochet
    1929: Henri Cochet
    1930: Henri Cochet
    1931: Bill Tilden
    1932: Ellsworth Vines
    1933: Jack Crawford
    1934: Ellsworth Vines
    1935: Ellsworth Vines
    1936: Ellsworth Vines
    1937: Ellsworth Vines
    1938: Ellsworth Vines
    1939: Don Budge
    1940: Don Budge
    1941: Fred Perry
    1942: Don Budge
    1943: Bobby Riggs
    1944: Bobby Riggs
    1945: Bobby Riggs
    1946: Bobby Riggs
    1947: Bobby Riggs
    1948: Jack Kramer
    1949: Jack Kramer
    1950: Jack Kramer
    1951: Jack Kramer
    1952: Pancho Segura
    1953: Jack Kramer
    1954: Pancho Gonzales
    1955: Pancho Gonzales
    1956: Pancho Gonzales
    1957: Pancho Gonzales
    1958: Pancho Gonzales
    1959: Pancho Gonzales
    1960: Pancho Gonzales
    1961: Pancho Gonzales
    1962: Ken Rosewall
    1963: Ken Rosewall
    1964: Rod Laver
    1965: Rod Laver
    1966: Rod Laver
    1967: Rod Laver
    1968: Rod Laver
    1969: Rod Laver
    1970: Rod Laver
    1971: John Newcombe
    1972: Stan Smith
    1973: Ilie Nastase
    1974: Jimmy Connors
    1975: Arthur Ashe
    1976: Jimmy Connors
    1977: Guillermo Vilas
    1978: Bjorn Borg
    1979: Bjorn Borg
    1980: Bjorn Borg
    1981: John McEnroe
    1982: Jimmy Connors
    1983: John McEnroe
    1984: John McEnroe
    1985: Ivan Lendl
    1986: Ivan Lendl
    1987: Ivan Lendl
    1988: Mats Wilander
    1989: Boris Becker
    1990: Stefan Edberg
    1991: Stefan Edberg
    1992: Jim Courier
    1993: Pete Sampras
    1994: Pete Sampras
    1995: Pete Sampras
    1996: Pete Sampras
    1997: Pete Sampras
    1998: Pete Sampras
    1999: Andre Agassi
    2000: Gustavo Kuerten
    2001: Lleyton Hewitt
    2002: Lleyton Hewitt
    2003: Andy Roddick
    2004: Roger Federer
    2005: Roger Federer
    2006: Roger Federer
    2007: Roger Federer
    2008: Rafael Nadal
    2009: Roger Federer
    2010: Rafael Nadal
    2011: Novak Djokovic
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  33. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1922 - Why should Tilden be ranked number 1?

    I would like to understand why people rank Tilden number 1 for 1922. Perhaps he is - but the data isn't flowing all in his direction.

    Bill Johnston had a head to head record with Tilden that year of 3 to 1 in Johnston's favour. Also Henri Cochet won 2 of the 3 International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) designated 'World Championships' - the World Hard court Championships (Clay) and the World Covered Court Championships (indoor) (regardless of your view of the field depth of the Covered Court championship it was still an official major) and Gerald Patterson won Wimbledon.

    Was it number of tournaments Tilden won? Other than him winning the US Championships (which wasn't even an official major in 1922) what claim did he have to Number 1 status over an above his rivals?
     
  34. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Johnston won 3 out of his 4 matches with Tilden in 1922, but Tilden won the most important match. Experts were split on who was better between Tilden and Johnston that year. Cochet, despite winning both the WHCC and WCCC in 1922, wasn't even in the top 5 of the Liddell Hart and Wallis Myers lists. Tilden must have been top because of the number of tournaments won out there in the US throughout the year. Tilden stopped travelling abroad in 1922 after travelling all over in previous years, so maybe Cochet's wins without Tilden and Johnston contributed to those lower rankings?

    Also, the USTA didn't join the ILTF until 1924, did they? That's why the US Championships wasn't an official ILTF sanctioned major before that, but it was a major really.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  35. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I'm not saying Tilden wasn't the number 1 for 1922. I'd just like to understand why. Given what you have said above, this amounts to the US Championships being rated over the 3 official world championships in status. Why should winning the US championship give you a status over all of the other majors?

    This is my take on it. Tilden was the official number 1 of 1921 - he established that in Europe and the US. And there possibly was a sense that that carried over to 1922 because of his previous years dominance and people gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would win the WHCC and Wimbledon if he had come over again to Europe. But he shouldn't get a free pass because of 1921 achievements. If it isn't what I surmise - then he must have done wonders in the US in other events that year.... but he lost to Johnston 3 times - so?? So again, what did he do to warrant number 1 status? (the same question as - why was the US championship rated over all other things that year - especially since it wasn't yet an official major). If he got the rankings as a carry over from 1921 - then that isn't good enough really.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  36. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, you're correct. In 1921, Tilden travelled and won the WHCC, Wimbledon and the US Championships (3 majors). In 1922, he didn't travel and stayed over in the US and played tournaments over there. Johnston won 3 of their 4 matches in 1922, but Tilden won the match that mattered most. Cochet, despite winning 2 of the 3 ILTF sanctioned majors, clearly wasn't rated as highly because Tilden and Johnston didn't travel over there to play the WCCC, the WHCC and Wimbledon that year.

    In 1923, for example, Johnston went travelling and won both the WHCC and Wimbledon, but Tilden stayed in the US and later crushed Johnston in the 1923 US Championships final.

    I see what you're saying, but Tilden clearly hadn't been toppled and hadn't travelled over to Europe in 1922. Could you really say that Johnston or even Cochet were better? If you go with Johnston, you have to explain how he lost the most important match to Tilden, and if you go with Cochet, then Tilden gets punished for not travelling yet again. Travelling in 1922 wasn't exactly easy.
     
  37. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    So you agree then?

    So you agree then that Tilden got the number 1 ranking in 1922 for what he did in 1921 'travel wasn't easy then'. Also the travel thing works both ways. Did Gerald Patterson (Wimbledon winner from Australia - speaking of distances to travel) play the US, did Cochet play the US? If you are going to let off Tilden for not travelling - do you let his contenders off for not travelling? Also travelling in 1922 wasn't more difficult than in 1921 when he did do it.

    It just seems as though he was given the number 1 ranking in 1922 for 1921 feats. Sure he won the US championships - but why should that rank over Wimbledon, the Word Hardcourt Championship and the World covered court championship (well perhaps the last one - but you see my point).
     
  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    True, but the point is that Tilden travelled all over in 1920 and 1921, and won 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Championships and a WHCC to clearly establish himself as the world's best tennis player. In 1922, as I've said before, Tilden stayed in US and won the US Championships by beating Johnston in their most important match that year. There is a degree of assumption, but there's some of that in the 1930s rankings when one has to decide if Vines, Nusslein or Budge was the best player of 1938? I went for Vines.

    I agree, though, that 1922 is not as clear cut for Tilden as other years. But, using 1923, as I said before, would you put Johnston as number 1 that year because he went over to Europe and won the WHCC and Wimbledon yet then got a straight sets beating from Tilden in the US Championships final?

    So who do you think is the number 1 player of 1922? I think it's Tilden, but much more narrowly than other years.
     
  39. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1923

    Perhaps Johnston should be the number 1 of 1923. He after all he won 2 of the majors. However, I haven't researched the performance of Tilden and Johnston in other lesser tournaments and their head to head that year.

    The whole thing on 1922 and 1923 feels like the 1950's where you had to solidly beat the previous years champion to be the number 1. But this takes away from the fact that the world champion for the year should be based on performances of that year. (I also suspect that is why people inexplicably gave the world number 1 status in 1964 to Rosewall rather than Laver even though Laver was ahead of Rosewall in every criteria that year. It seems that reputation rather than results sometimes counted for more in some past times).

    Now just to give an argument for Tilden - I believe too that his Davis Cup record was considered in his rankings - and his record there was apparently pretty amazing (though again, wasn't Johnston on the team also?)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  40. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes. Tilden, Johnston, Richards and Williams were the famous US team of the 1920s. What a formidable team they were.
     
  41. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I'd like to discuss/learn more about/get into some arguments over...
    The following years:

    1880: John Hartley
    1881: William Renshaw
    1882: William Renshaw
    1883: William Renshaw
    1884: William Renshaw
    1885: William Renshaw
    1886: William Renshaw
    1887: Herbert Lawford
    1888: Ernest Renshaw
    1889: William Renshaw
    1890: Willoughby Hamilton

    How Willie Renshaw let old Hartley keep his dominance into 1880, I'll never know.
    1887....Herbert Whoford?
    Then Willie lets Ernie in there for 1888, at their mother's behest.
    Then Willie takes it back only to have the top spot wrested away by a man called Willoughby Hamilton. That's just beautiful and embarrassing. What a burn, man, to lose to a guy named Willoughby. Probably a total hipster trust fund kid, too.
     
  42. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    William Renshaw won 6 Wimbledons in a row. Borg and Federer have come within 1 match of doing the same, but Renshaw remains the only man to have done it.
     
  43. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Patterson, the Wimbledon champion, did travel to the US Nationals; he lost in the semis to Tilden.

    Tilden and Johnston both beat Patterson in the Davis Cup Challenge Round.

    Myers seemed to rank the US championship over Wimbledon, which I think carries a lot of credibility because he was English. His reason appears to be the strength of the field at the US Nationals. He wrote in 1936:

    "I do not think Perry, for all his glittering success, is as yet Tilden's equal as a master. Those who differ may be reminded that for six years in succession, in a field incomparably richer than Wimbledon's was at the time or since, Tilden was unbeaten in the American championship, and that he defeated conclusively players who have or would have challenged Perry's supremacy."

    Here's an excerpt from the New York Times, looking forward to the 1922 US Nationals. The author is Edward Muschamp, who predicts a Tilden-Johnston meeting in the final.

    This contest, which will be watched probably by the greatest number of people that have ever witnessed a tennis match and, through the newspaper reports, followed by millions of people not only throughout every part of the United States but all over the civilized world, will bring to a spectacular climax the most popular season the game has ever enjoyed, and will likewise record the fact that lawn tennis, once the exclusive sport of kings and noblemen, and even for many years after its importation into this country, the fashionable pastime of "society's elect," has triumphed over innumerable barriers and obstacles and achieved its place in the sun as one of the most popular and democratic sports of the American people.

    For the matches to decide the national singles championship of the United states for the season of 1922 -- and it will be much more of a world's championship contest that the English matches at Wimbledon -- will start on Sept. 8 on the green of the Germantown Cricket Club, and unless all present signs fail, the final round will bring together at the net for the greatest contest of their careers, the two players who are universally recognized as the greatest exponents of lawn tennis anywhere in the world today -- by many as the greatest of all time -- William T. Tilden 2d, present title holder, and William M. Johnston, himself twice champion, or as they are popularly and familiarly known to hundreds of thousands of people, "Big Bill" Tilden of Philadelphia and "Little Bill" Johnston of San Francisco.

    In the lingo of the tennis world, each of these masters has "two legs" on the National Singles Championship Cup. That is to say, each has twice won the singles championship of the United States in competition not only against the best players of this country but many of the best from abroad.​

    A few things are clear in this article. One, Tilden and Johnston were regarded as the top two players in the world. Their defeats of the Wimbledon champion that year backed up the contention.

    Two, the final of the US Nationals was seen as far and away their most important meeting of 1922, even to the point of being called the most important meeting of their rivalry. And in a real, objective sense that was true: both men had two legs on the Championship Cup. The rivalry, at that time, did not yet look like the rout that it became.

    Three, the competition at the US Nationals was viewed as the strongest of any tournament. True that it's an American author saying so -- but what Myers wrote backs it up.
     
  44. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Gonzales withdrew from tournament play in the last week of December, 1959, and skipped the last tournament of the 1959 season (which took place in January 1960).
     
  45. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, incredible. The champion automatically being in the final the next year helped, though....the challenge round system.
     
  46. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Hi everybody, I'm new here.
    I'm italian, my english is not good, but I love your forum and I'm a long time lurker.
    My favourites players are Ivan Lendl, Ken Rosewall and Andre Agassi, but I also love the pre-Open tennis history.

    I would like to discuss the page "World-number-one male tennis-player rankings" on Wikipedia: I don't like it that much, I have to be honest.

    I disagree with some choices and I would like to suggest them some changes, I want to know if you agree with my arguments.

    1947
    They give the #1 spot to both Riggs and Kramer. I think that the #1 should be Riggs alone.
    He dominated the Pro circuit as much as Kramer dominated the Amateur one, but Riggs won the match held in New York at the end of December. Riggs defeated Kramer 6-2, 10-8, 4-6, 6-4.
    The match was regarded as a sort of "World Championships" because it was played between the no. 1 Pro and the Wimbledon champion: it was a great event, attended by over 15.000 people, even if that day New York was caught by a strong snow storm.
    Then Riggs defeated Kramer again in Pittsburgh (8-6, 6-1) in the last day of the year.
    My theory is confirmed by the 1948 tour. Kramer elevated his game that year, defeating Riggs 69-20, but if you look closely, you'll note that 14 of Riggs's victories came in the first part of the tour: so Riggs was probably still a bit stronger than Kramer at the very beginning of 1948, before falling under Jack's fast improvements.

    1953
    They give the #1 spot to Kramer alone, because he defeated Frank Sedgman 54-41 on the head-to-head tour. What makes me sceptical is that Kramer played only on the first half of the year.
    Sedgman was initially leading their tour, but then he started to have troubles with his shoulder: if his shoulder was right, he probably would have won the tour, as Kramer himself admitted. Ironically, when Sedgman finally recovered, it was Kramer's turn to fall injured and he decided to not play anymore, switching the most important tournaments in the second half ot the year.
    I think that Frank Sedgman deserves a co-no. 1 spot for 1953, because he gained the two greatest tournaments: the Wembley one and the Round Robin held at the Palais des Sports in Paris (on hard surface).
    The situation was:
    [1953 1st part] 1. Kramer, 2. Sedgman (partially injured);
    [1953 2nd part] 1. Sedgman, 2. Segura (5 tournaments won) or Gonzales (runner-up at both the great events).
    That's why I think that Sedgman deserves more than a simple no. 2.
    I also have to note that they admitted "a possible, but not sure at all, 1953 pro ranking is 1) Kramer, 2) Sedgman": if this is not sure at all, a co-no. 1 rank would be more honest, don't you think?

    1958
    I think that Frank Sedgman was again strongly penalized. Gonzales was ranked #1 and Hoad #2.
    Gonzales won the Forest Hills tournament (he also won at Cleveland, but the field was not so good there, missing some of the stronger players), Rosewall the French one, while Sedgman gained both Wembley Pro and Australian Pro.
    I can't understand why they take Hoad as #2: is it just because he played the head-to-head tour against Gonzales? In the tournaments circuit Sedgman did clearly better than Hoad.
    In my opinion Sedgman deserves a co-no. 1 spot for 1958, because:
    1) he won two of the four greatest events:
    2) he upset Gonzales 4-2 in head-to-head tournament meetings (2-0 if we take the 3-out-of-5-sets meetings).
    If you think that a co-no. 1 is too much because he didn't play the head-to-head tour against Gonzales (but it wasn't his choice), he surely still deserves the #2 spot more than Hoad.

    1959
    Their chart: Gonzales #1, Hoad #2.
    I think that Lew Hoad deserves at least the co-no. 1 spot here.
    1) Gonzales beat Hoad in Cleveland, but Hoad beat him in Forest Hills (the Forest Hills tournament was the most important that year, while the Cleveland event was partially depleted, since Rosewall, Trabert and Sedgman didn't play it);
    2) Gonzales won the 4-men American Tour with a 47-15 score, while Hoad was the runner-up (42-20), but Hoad had a personal edge on Gonzales: 15-13;
    3) Hoad also gained the Australian Pro (probably the 5th more important event);
    4) journalists were splitted in two fronts: Jack Kramer points system gives the no. 1 spot to Hoad, while Kramer in person preferred Gonzales. L'Equipe choice was Gonzales, while the manager Robert Barne preferred Hoad.
    Conclusion: there's not a clearly superior player this year, as Hoad and Gonzales both gained important results. I think that a co-no. 1 ranking would be more realistic.

    1970
    They give the #1 spot to Rosewall, Laver and Newcombe.
    I can understand that they can't choose between Rosewall and Laver (the first made two Major finals, winning one, the second won five Championship Series, including the important Sydney one. He was also the Masters runner-up): but what is Newcombe doing up there?
    He won Wimbledon but it was his only Major final and he didn't win any other important tournament.
    Newcombe ended the year ranked #7 on the Grand Prix circuit and he wasn't admitted to play the Masters, while both Laver and Rosewall were. He also trailed Laver and Rosewall on head-to-head meetings (0-3 and 1-4 respectively) and earned less money than both.
    In my opinion he was clearly the world no. 3 in that season: one of the Wiki's reasons is that Tingay, McCauley and Collins rated Newcombe the no. 1 player of the year, but we know that it was only because he won Wimbledon, and I think that we have enough documented data to prove that he simply doesn't deserve this rank.


    That's all folks!
    I hope I haven't bored you. I also hope my english wasn't that bad (forgive me if you can :D )...
     
  47. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Fine post. Can understand all those arguments and points made, except maybe the 1947 question, where i would put amateur Kramer over pro Riggs or at least equal.
     
  48. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    First of all, when I set out to do my list, I deliberately made sure I picked just one player as the best per year, without any co-best players. There were a few difficult choices.

    I have Gonzales as number 1 for 1958 because he was the dominant player in the game, had won the US Pro in Cleveland (an amazing comeback in a 5-set final against Hoad) and the Tournament of Champions at Forest Hills for the third year in a row, and he won the big tour against Hoad by 51-36 after trailing 7-18 at one stage. 1958 saw Gonzales' dominance challenged and Gonzales responded in brilliant fashion.

    I have Gonzales as number 1 for 1959 because he won the US Pro for the seventh year in a row and he won the multiple player world tour against Hoad, Cooper and Anderson. Hoad was even closer this year than in 1958, and Hoad's victory over Gonzales in the 1959 Tournament of Champions final is arguably Hoad's finest moment.

    I agree with Riggs over Kramer for 1947, because Riggs had been the best professional since 1943 and was still dominant. Riggs also beat Kramer towards the end of the year, as mentioned.

    1970, despite Laver's poor showing at Wimbledon and the US Open, he was just so dominant elsewhere that I find it impossible to give it to anyone else.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  49. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Hi Mustard!
    My post was about the Wikipedia list, I didn't want to attack your list (which is fine, even if I don't agree with some choices: in particular, I feel that you harshly penalized Ken Rosewall).
    My thought is: why don't we propose some changes to the Wikipedia page?
    Do you like it? Don't you feel it is a bit approximate?
    In 1953 they say "it is not sure at all" but then they give a rigid ranking: for a "not sure at all" situation, I think that a co-no. 1 would fit better.
    For 1959 they explain that both Hoad and Gonzales achieved a great season, they explain that journalists were also divided, but they still rank Gonzales ahead Hoad, without explaining why...
    and so on.


    He wasn't... he simply dominated Hoad. Then Gonzales didn't play two of the biggest events, both won by Sedgman. Sedgman dominated Gonzales 4-2. I agree that Gonzales long tour against Hoad should be taken in account, but it doesn't prove that he was superior to Sedgman. That's why I proposed a co-no. 1 rank for Wikipedia (or at least, a no. 2 for Sedgman instead of Hoad).


    The US Pro was not one of the biggest events this year (no Sedgman, Rosewall and Trabert in its field), while Forest Hills was.
    If we take the 4 Men Tour and Forest Hills as 1st class events, Gonzales and Hoad are 1-1.
    If we take the US Pro and the Australian Pro as 2nd class events, they are still 1-1.
    If we listen to Kramer, we still have a tie result: Kramer in person for Gonzales, Kramer's points system for Hoad.


    Glad you agree. :)


    Mmm... US Open and Wimbledon were the two biggest events... and he did poorly at both.
    I can understand that you consider him better than Newcombe (it's also my opinion), but Rosewall made two Major finals over two. The Sydney Open was an amazing tournament, but I think we can't consider it as good as the US Open or Wimbledon.
    Anyway, we agree that Newcombe should be deleted from the no. 1 spot for 1970, don't we? :)
     
  50. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    There's a few years where I disagree with the wikipedia list. For example, I could never have Perry as the world's best player in the mid-1930s like they do over there, when Vines was the best professional. Also, I think Vilas is the sole number 1 for 1977.

    Regarding 1958, what swings it for Gonzales is winning the US Pro in Cleveland and the Tournament of Champions at Forest Hills, and the world pro tour against Hoad. Sedgman was always a tough opponent for anyone, though. I did seriously consider Sedgman for 1953, but went for Kramer in the end.

    Oh, and regarding Rosewall, he was always a threat and had a habit of beating favoured opponents like Gonzales, Hoad and Laver, in big finals. I think he's one of the greatest of all time, but I also think that 1962 and 1963 were the only years where Rosewall was the best player in the world. I also find it amazing that I couldn't get players like Sedgman and Hoad onto my list.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

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