WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

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

  1. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Sure! ;)


    If I have to save a match from AO '72-'82, it would surely be that one. Great victory from Newcombe.
    But a great match doesn't save eleven years and twelve editions with weak fields. Look at the 1975 edition that we are saying: it was a five rounds tournament (like an actual ATP 500).
    The top-4 seeded were Jimmy Connors (the world #1), John Newcombe (#2), Tony Roche (#26) and John Alexander (#27). The third and fourth seeded were not even in the top-25! (And remember that it was the only time that the world no. 1 entered it).
    What if at the 2012 AO the top-4 seeded were Djokovic, Nadal, Monaco and Granollers? With no Federer, Murray, Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych, Delpo, Tipsarevic... ahahah. :D


    Great tournament, even if Rod Laver said that it had not so much media coverage, because it was crushed between other sport events. Anyway in 1971 the Australian Open was amazing, even better than Roland Garros, so the WCT was probably the 5th tournament that season.


    We are speaking two different languages (not a bad thing tough, I like confrontation).

    What is official and what is not is secondary in my opinion.
    Just look at the Grand Slam Cup: at the time it wasn't considered official, but the players considered it as important as the Masters and they fought the hell out of each other to win it (a lot of 5-set epic matches!).
    After the tournament was dismissed the ATP changed its mind and declared that it was official: that's simply ridiculous. How can something became official after it was played?

    Another example: the E.C.C. Antwerp. It was one hell of a tournament. Its first prize in the mid 80s was 200.000 dollars (when the richest Slam prize, the US Open one, was around 180-190.000 dollars). In addition, they offered a Gold Raquet estimated at around 700.000 dollars, in the case of three victories in five years. When Ivan Lendl won it for the third time in 1985, he received a combined amount of over 900.000 dollars (nearly 5 times the US Open first prize). Guess what? The ATP said it wasn't official. But now they're discussing about making it official: 20 years after it was dismissed!

    Obviously Grand Slam Cup and E.C.C. Antwerp wouldn't have been Majors even if they were official, but they were still two of the greatest tournaments after the four Slam. That's why I think you don't have to give all that credit to ATP: it doesn't help you in any kind of way to estabilish who were the greatest players.

    I'm not interested in piecing together all the nominal majors in tennis history: we don't need to do it, we already know which ones are nominally indicated as Majors and which ones aren't.
    Australian Open is nominally a major since 1924 (when it was still called Australasian Championship).
    My point is: if a tournament is a Major only in theory, but not de facto, it can't be helpful to estabilish who were the stronger players of the year (which is what we are discussing here).
    To estabilish that, I need to find the four effective greatest tournament, the biggest events with lots of money and high level of players (these two seem to work together: just look at the money difference between the bad 1970 AO and the great 1971 edition with the biggest players).

    Nobody said officially that the late 70s-early 80s Masters was a Major, but if fact everybody considered it the big one after the first three Slam. Just look some old matches and hear the commentary to understand what I'm saying. I repeat, it's just to understand who was the best player, not to re-write ATP rules (I couldn't care less ;D ).
     
  2. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    One of the greatest matches ever!*
    But for 1983 the question is meaningless: the Australian Open was finally back that year, so I don't have to choose between Masters and WCT Finals. ;)

    *It was probably the best match between those two (after the Rolad Garros final). Such a pity that McEnroe's match point wasn't regular... poor Ivan, he tried to ask explanations to the judge, but he didn't answer. :cry:
     
  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Or Beethoven to Boccherini.
     
  4. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    It would be nice to have four majors every year, but that should not blind us to reality and cause us to "pretend" that four majors existed every year when in fact they did not, and the players themselves did not regard the pro circuit as having four majors every year, and some years no majors.
     
  5. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    It is a shame that the pros played so few major tournaments, and really only the Forest Hills T of C, the Roland Garros pros, and the 1967 Wimbledon can really be regarded as majors. Why? Because of the venues, and the press coverage.
    A pity that Kramer refused TV contracts, for fear of hurting ticket sales.
     
  6. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    The problem is to choose the top four events.
    For example, in 1958 and 1959, the "US Pro" and Wembley were much less lucrative and well-attended than either the Sydney or Kooyong events, and the latter were played in major outdoor facilities rather than indoor smoke dens.
    I would suggest looking at major venues, Forest Hills, Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Kooyong, White City, and rating whatever pro events were held there as majors, and this would mean that some years would have no majors.
    This is a shame, and a disadvantage to Kramer, Gonzales, Sedgman and others who had no major to play in some years, but we should not ignore realities. Some years really had no pro majors!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    A very silly decision on Kramer's part, in hindsight. TV coverage would have helped to raise the profile and popularity of professional tennis, and people would have been able to clearly see how much better the professional players were as a whole. I mean, how many people watched Wimbledon on the BBC in the amateur only days and thought these were the best tennis players in the world? Most surely would have, considering that the professionals were seldom mentioned, although Kramer was hired as a commentator for the BBC in 1960.

    If Bryan Cowgill hadn't had approached Kramer during 1966 Wimbledon about the idea of hosting a professional tournament at Wimbledon for the following year, how much longer would the pre-open era had gone on for? We know how much TV coverage of the best tennis players in the 1970s made the sport boom.
     
  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can't agree.

    Take 1959 Wembley. Mal Anderson beat Sedgman, Rosewall and Segura in succession to win the title, the latter two in five sets. That's brilliant, and surely the best moment of Anderson's career.
     
  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The 1971 WCT Dallas event certainly seems bigger than the 1971 French Open. Heck, even 1971 Rome was probably bigger than the 1971 French Open. The 1971 French Open, however, is the only one of those 3 events to be a major. The politics of that era, I'm afraid.
     
  10. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    But Federer gets to 22 majors with 5 opportunities per year, while McEnroe still has 6. Still not right.

    5 today is too many, anyway, because the Masters Cup just doesn't have anything like the prestige of the Slams. Okay, sure, there's debate about how much weight the year-end championship carries. But these days the Slams are king. No debate whatsoever about their importance. The year-end championship is clearly a level below them.

    And trying to find 5 or 6 top tournaments per year going back through tennis history would be a nightmare, I think. Agreeing on the top 4 is difficult enough.
     
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    My own list would look very similar. From 1972 through '75 I think you could say the WCT Finals was the fourth most important tournament of the year, and maybe even higher.

    After '75, though, I think there were other tournaments that were stronger. In '76, Philadelphia had 7 of the top ten players (including Borg and Connors), so it may have been the best-attended event of the year apart from the Big Three Slams. Dallas was missing 5 of the top ten (including #1 Connors). This article mentions how the Dallas field was seen as somewhat weak this year.

    In '77, Philadelphia had 8 of the top ten players, equal to Wimbledon, and exceeded only by the USO. The Masters, now in New York, had 7. Dallas had only 5 again.

    In '78 Philadelphia was again one of the top tournaments. This was in the AP:

    Actually, nine of the top 10 ranked players in the world and 25 of the leading 30 are in a field described by some as equal to that of Wimbledon. Only Vilas, Tony Roche, Stan Smith, Jaime Fillol and Phil Dent are missing.

    “There is no question in my mind that the Philadelphia field is superior and much tougher than Wimbledon,” said defending champion Stockton in an appearance here recently.​
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  12. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    My point exactly

    But that is my point exactly. There needs to be a way of counting majors than 'grand slam tournaments only'
     
  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nobody is ever going to agree on that.

    My personal way of doing things is to count the tournaments below as majors, and use other big events like WCT Dallas, Masters, Grand Slam Cup, Philadelphia etc. as big events that boost players records without counting as majors. But that's my way of bringing the best sense of order in my philosophy on tennis majors. Other people will have different opinions and different criteria.

    Majors
    Open majors
    Australian Open (1969-January 1977, December 1977-1985, 1987-Present Day)
    French Open (1968-Present Day)
    Wimbledon (1968-Present Day)
    US Open (1968-Present Day)

    Pro majors
    French Pro (1930-1939, 1956, 1958-1967)
    Wembley Pro (1934-1939, 1949-1953, 1956-1967)
    US Pro (1927-1943, 1945-1967)
    Tournament of Champions (1956-1959)
    Wimbledon Pro (1967)

    Amateur majors
    Australasian/Australian Championships (1924-1940, 1946-1968 )
    French Championships (1925-1939, 1946-1967)
    Wimbledon (1877-1914, 1919-1939, 1946-1967)
    US Championships (1882-1967)
    World Hard Court Championships (1912-1914, 1920-1923)
    World Covered Court Championships (1913, 1919-1923)


    One thing I also have to say is that there were nothing as big as open era majors before 1968, but this cannot be blamed on the players of pre-1968.

    List of majors won
    Ken Rosewall: 23 (4 amateur, 15 pro, 4 open)

    Rod Laver: 20 (6 amateur, 9 pro, 5 open)

    Pancho Gonzales: 17 (2 amateur, 15 pro)

    Roger Federer: 16

    Bill Tilden: 15 (11 amateur, 4 pro)

    Pete Sampras: 14

    Roy Emerson: 12 (12 amateur)

    Bjorn Borg: 11
    Henri Cochet: 11 (10 amateur, 1 pro)

    Rafael Nadal: 10
    Don Budge: 10 (6 amateur, 4 pro)
    Fred Perry: 10 (8 amateur, 2 pro)

    Andre Agassi: 8
    Jimmy Connors: 8
    Ivan Lendl: 8
    Ellsworth Vines: 8 (3 amateur, 5 pro)

    Mats Wilander: 7
    John McEnroe: 7
    John Newcombe: 7 (2 amateur, 5 open)
    Tony Trabert: 7 (5 amateur, 2 pro)
    Frank Sedgman: 7 (5 amateur, 2 pro)
    Rene Lacoste: 7 (7 amateur)
    Anthony Wilding: 7 (7 amateur)
    William Larned: 7 (7 amateur)
    William Renshaw: 7 (7 amateur)

    Boris Becker: 6
    Stefan Edberg: 6
    Bobby Riggs: 6 (3 amateur, 3 pro)
    Jack Crawford: 6 (6 amateur)
    Laurie Doherty: 6 (6 amateur)
    Richard Sears: 6 (6 amateur)

    Novak Djokovic: 5
    Hans Nusslein: 5 (5 pro)
    Jack Kramer: 5 (3 amateur, 2 pro)
    Lew Hoad: 5 (4 amateur, 1 pro)

    Jim Courier: 4
    Guillermo Vilas: 4
    Karel Kozeluh: 4 (4 pro)
    Vinny Richards: 4 (4 pro)
    Manuel Santana: 4 (4 amateur)
    Ashley Cooper: 4 (4 amateur)
    Frank Parker: 4 (4 amateur)
    Jean Borotra: 4 (4 amateur)
    Bill Johnston: 4 (4 amateur)
    Reggie Doherty: 4 (4 amateur)
    Robert Wrenn: 4 (4 amateur)

    Gustavo Kuerten: 3
    Arthur Ashe: 3
    Jan Kodes: 3
    Pancho Segura: 3 (3 pro)
    Alex Olmedo: 3 (2 amateur, 1 pro)
    Neale Fraser: 3 (3 amateur)
    Jaroslav Drobny: 3 (3 amateur)
    Adrian Quist: 3 (3 amateur)
    Gerald Patterson: 3 (3 amateur)
    Arthur Gore: 3 (3 amateur)
    Malcolm Whitman: 3 (3 amateur)
    Wilfred Baddeley: 3 (3 amateur)
    Oliver Campbell: 3 (3 amateur)

    Marat Safin: 2
    Lleyton Hewitt: 2
    Yevgeny Kafelnikov: 2
    Patrick Rafter: 2
    Sergi Bruguera: 2
    Johan Kriek: 2
    Ilie Nastase: 2
    Stan Smith: 2
    Mal Anderson: 2 (1 amateur, 1 pro)
    Fred Stolle: 2 (2 amateur)
    Nicola Pietrangeli: 2 (2 amateur)
    Mervyn Rose: 2 (2 amateur)
    Vic Seixas: 2 (2 amateur)
    Dick Savitt: 2 (2 amateur)
    Budge Patty: 2 (2 amateur)
    Ted Schroeder: 2 (2 amateur)
    John Bromwich: 2 (2 amateur)
    Don McNeill: 2 (2 amateur)
    Gottfried von Cramm: 2 (2 amateur)
    James Anderson: 2 (2 amateur)
    William Laurentz: 2 (2 amateur)
    Lindley Murray: 2 (2 amateur)
    Richard Norris Williams: 2 (2 amateur)
    Norman Brookes: 2 (2 amateur)
    Maurice McLoughlin: 2 (2 amateur)
    Joshua Pim: 2 (2 amateur)
    Henry Slocum: 2 (2 amateur)
    John Hartley: 2 (2 amateur)

    Juan Martin del Potro: 1
    Gaston Gaudio: 1
    Andy Roddick: 1
    Juan Carlos Ferrero: 1
    Albert Costa: 1
    Thomas Johansson: 1
    Goran Ivanisevic: 1
    Carlos Moya: 1
    Petr Korda: 1
    Richard Krajicek: 1
    Thomas Muster: 1
    Michael Stich: 1
    Andres Gomez: 1
    Michael Chang: 1
    Pat Cash: 1
    Yannick Noah: 1
    Brian Teacher: 1
    Vitas Gerulaitis: 1
    Roscoe Tanner: 1
    Adriano Panatta: 1
    Mark Edmondson: 1
    Manuel Orantes: 1
    Andres Gimeno: 1
    Butch Buchholz: 1 (1 pro)
    Welby Van Horn: 1 (1 pro)
    Bruce Barnes: 1 (1 pro)
    Joe Whalen: 1 (1 pro)
    Robert Ramillon: 1 (1 pro)
    Martin Plaa: 1 (1 pro)
    William Bowrey: 1 (1 amateur)
    Tony Roche: 1 (1 amateur)
    Rafael Osuna: 1 (1 amateur)
    Chuck McKinley: 1 (1 amateur)
    Sven Davidson: 1 (1 amateur)
    Ken McGregor: 1 (1 amateur)
    Art Larsen: 1 (1 amateur)
    Bob Falkenburg: 1 (1 amateur)
    Jozsef Asboth: 1 (1 amateur)
    Dinny Pails: 1 (1 amateur)
    Yvon Petra: 1 (1 amateur)
    Marcel Bernard: 1 (1 amateur)
    Joseph Hunt: 1 (1 amateur)
    Henner Henkel: 1 (1 amateur)
    Vivian McGrath: 1 (1 amateur)
    Wilmer Allison: 1 (1 amateur)
    Sidney Wood: 1 (1 amateur)
    John Doeg: 1 (1 amateur)
    Edgar Moon: 1 (1 amateur)
    John Colin Gregory: 1 (1 amateur)
    John Hawkes: 1 (1 amateur)
    Gordon Lowe: 1 (1 amateur)
    Andre Gobert: 1 (1 amateur)
    Otto Froitzheim: 1 (1 amateur)
    William Clothier: 1 (1 amateur)
    Beals Wright: 1 (1 amateur)
    Holcombe Ward: 1 (1 amateur)
    Harold Mahony: 1 (1 amateur)
    Frederick Hovey: 1 (1 amateur)
    Willoughby Hamilton: 1 (1 amateur)
    Ernest Renshaw: 1 (1 amateur)
    Herbert Lawford: 1 (1 amateur)
    Frank Hadow: 1 (1 amateur)
    Spencer Gore: 1 (1 amateur)
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  14. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    1998 was a very strange year. Despite Sampras finishing as no. 1 on the computer, I can't give that year to him.

    4 years titles is very poor for a year end no. 1. Yes Federer 'only' won 4 titles as well in 2009, but he won 2 slams and 2 masters series events that year and he reached the final at all 4 slams.

    Apart from Wimbledon, Sampras didn't win any other big titles in 1998 and his other 3 titles were at Philadelphia and Atlanta which had pretty weak fields, and at Vienna when Becker donated his wildcard to him as he pursued that 6th consecutive year end no. 1 ranking. Admittedly though Sampras's QF demolition of Henman at that tournament was one of the best performances I ever saw from him. Sampras's form at Wimbledon was patchy to say the least (unlike his form there the year before) and he was very lucky to walk away with the title. Plus he failed to reach the final at any of the other 3 slams.

    Had Rios won the Australian Open final against Korda then 1998 would have been his year considering he won the titles at Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. Plus he won the Grand Slam Cup which was unofficial at the time but is now officially counted as part of his playing record.

    Possibly you could give the year to Rafter as won 6 titles in total, including the Toronto-Cincinnati-US Open triple, and he won both of his matches against Sampras that year in Cincy and Flushing Meadows. Then again he did nothing significant at any of the other 3 slams.

    Maybe 1998 was a tie between different players. A bizarre year and I don't think Sampras did enough to have that year all to himself. His level of play that year was significantly worse than his overall level during his 1993-1997 peak or his summer of 1999 resurgance.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's probably true in the sense that the field was long divided between amateur and pro. If you go back to the early 1920s, before the pro era, the majors were not divided in that sense -- but back then the world's best players were divided in another way, simply because travel between continents was difficult and not the norm.

    However, Davis Cup was a huge event back then. Later on, many of the world's best players became pros and could not compete in Davis Cup. But up to the early 1920s all the world's best players were eligible for Davis Cup, and in that format they did meet one another, difficulties of travel aside.

    I think it's hard to overestimate just how much a part of tennis Davis Cup was in those days. Even in later years, it remained a huge part of the amateur game. Don Budge said that if he had had to play a full year of Davis Cup in 1938, he would probably not have won the Grand Slam. I believe the fact that he did not have to play the full season of Davis Cup was a factor in his decision to go to Australia and France and attempt the Slam.

    In a real sense Davis Cup was as much a priority to many champions, sometimes even a higher priority, than the majors were.

    I don't know if that means we should call Davis Cup a major. But I do think that Tilden's 15 majors, for example, are far short of his major accomplishments. His 7 Davis Cup victories are right up there among the biggest titles of his career (and his unsuccessful efforts to regain the Cup from France are a major part of his legacy).

    And is it possible to refer to any of the French Musketeers without giving major weight to what they did in Davis Cup?
     
  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Davis Cup was certainly a lot bigger back then. Didn't Frank Shields even pull out of the 1931 Wimbledon final to be ready for Davis Cup? Of course, back then, the Davis Cup was known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge.
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As much as I enjoyed the US pro indoors, it´s not a major.I fully agree, the 1977 year mamrks the resurgence of the Masters and a slight decline for the Hunt´s tour.But, still, 1983 and 1989 WCT finals had a better field than the Masters, and I´d say the same for 1985.This is a great rivalry.Like the Avon vs Virginia Slims in the ladies field
     
  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.Good post.
     
  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's a gross generalization, but the difference between today and yesterday is that Davis Cup has declined in importance, while the importance of the majors has increased.

    For the moment I'm just talking about what tournaments had the best fields. Whether to call them 'majors' is a difficult issue, because I'm not sure we all define the word the same. Officially, of course, neither Philadelphia nor Dallas, nor any tournament other than the 4 Slams, is a major.

    But if we can call pro-tour events 'majors', without any official backing, then I think we can do the same with other tournaments that are not officially majors -- like Philadelphia, Dallas, the Masters, 1970 Dunlop Open, etc.
     
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Major status for Dallas and Masters was earned because they were Circuit end Championships, like a big playoff, while Phily was just a very important stop on the regular tour, and specially indoors...
     
  21. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    But being a circuit-ending championship is not the same thing as being a major. Today's Masters Cup is certainly not among the majors. The 1970 Dunlop Open, like Philadelphia, was not a circuit-ender, just a very important stop on the tour.

    Think of it this way, there were many years in which both the WCT finals and the Masters took place. In some years you can include one of them as the fourth most important tournament of the year, and perhaps call it a major. But Dallas and the Masters can't be considered majors every time they were held, because that would leave many years with more than 4 majors. And that just creates major problems, no pun intended.
     
  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    One other problem I see with giving events the status of majors, merely on the strength of their being circuit-ending championships, is that it gives an undue advantage to the chaotic years of the 1970s and 80s when there was more than one tour. Today's tour, for example, would get penalized, just for being a unified tour. The 70s and 80s, for being divided, would get extra majors. Doesn't seem right.
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    We are obsessed with comparing players exclusively record against record thus need to homogenyse records and titles.Not at all, tennis must be always put in the context of each time.If there were 5 majors ( 3 slams + 2 YEC 9 in the 70´s and 80´s ( and 6 again after the AO regained its prestige), then let´s leave it like that.Let´s find a way to compare records but always within the context of an era.

    it´s a bit like world powers.2 for the whole Cold War, one for a decade or so and 5-6 for the next decades...shall we have to cut them into 2 just to make a comparative to, say, Cold Wra?...or shall we just relativise things and put them in their right context?
     
  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The problem is that players of different eras, rightly or wrongly, are always compared to each other. This metric, how many majors they won, will always be used to compare them (rightly or wrongly). If you give the 70s and 80s extra majors it will cause huge problems in comparing, not just to the players of today, but to the greats of previous decades, like Laver and Budge.

    And you can even set aside the problem of inter-era comparisons. I'm not even that big on inter-era comparisons. Let's set it aside completely. There is still a huge problem here: tennis fans will often not know what they are saying to each other. If I hear that X player has Y number of majors, and the number is something radically different from what I usually see, then I will have a whole set of questions. I will be asking, "Are you counting 3 majors per year? or 4? or 5? or 6?" That's hardly an acceptable range of uncertainty. If major-counting can be that flexible, I can assure you, I will ignore any major-count I see, unless I know what's being included in it.
     
  25. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    So who would you give it too, then? Rios, Rafter, Moya and Corretja weren't quite good enough to get the year end number 1 ranking that year. Sampras had the best results overall than any other player, even if it was very close.
     
  26. Dan Lobb

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    Indeed, and how many tennis fans in Los Angeles or Chicago would normally buy tickets for the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions, held in New York, the most prominent pro event?
    TV would have raised the profile of the pro game, and would have probably raised ticket sales in New York itself for the Forest Hills event, as well as when the pros went on tour to Chicago and LA.
     
  27. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but the top guys did not put out for Wembley, unlike at Forest Hills,
    Hoad lost to Segura early, and Gonzales didn't even bother to make the trip to Wembley. Anderson was a member of the supporting cast.
    If the top guys take a pass, that is not a major event.
     
  28. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Sure, but here I have to count another element: the prestige.
    Philadelphia was amazing that year, as Sydney was in 1970, but they are not events comparable to the historical value of Masters and WCT Finals.
    Counting Philadelphia as a substitute to a major would sound too arbitrary to me: I still prefer to choose between Masters and WCT, which are milestones in the history of tennis (obviously, I would have counted Philadelphia if WCT were totally depleted, but in my opinion they were still good, even if not perfect).
    Anyway, this is only my interpretation, I think that your point of view is also definitely legitimate, and I agree that to choose the no. 1 we should also give credit to the Championship Series results: that's why I think that Connors has a big argument for 1976.


    Again? I've already admitted which ones were officially considered Majors and which one weren't. I've also reported you that I'm interested only in the tournaments' effective value (=prestige+good fields).
    I don't know how many times I have to repeat that, I think my opinion is pretty clear... :p

    About the 1971 French Open: it was a nice tournament, surely not big as the three other Slam that year, but not so bad. It was entered by four top-8: Smith (#1), Kodes (#5), Ashe (#7), Nastase (#8 ). The WCT Finals that year had five top-8, as they missed Smith, Kodes and Nastase.
    Probably the best solution is to give them credit as semi-Majors, but as I said, WCT Finals in 1971 had some problems with media coverage: they would become THE event only in 1972. That's why in my personal view of tennis history, Roland Garros is still the 4th tournament that year.

    Anyway, all that discussion definitely demonstrates how much tennis history is complicated and how many interpretations could be given, all with some solid arguments.
    That's why I couldn't care less about what was official and what wasn't (even because ATP is always changing its mind... in 1990 the Grand Slam Cup wasn't official, in 2000 it was dismissed and became official... it's just laughable).



    This is a really nice post, I agree with everything you said.

    To Sampras advantage: ATP official no. 1 in the chart, Wimbledon.
    To Rafter advantage: 6 titles overall, including Rogers Cup, Cincinnati and US Open.
    To Rios advantage: Grand Slam Cup, IW, Miami, Rome, Australian Open runner-up.

    It's extremely difficult to choose. I probably would say Rafter at the very end, but I'm still sceptical because as you said he did poorly in the 3 slam out of 4.
    I also agree with you about Rios: with the Australian Open victory, he would have been the undisputed 1998 no. 1 (what a great player he was!).
     
  29. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Here I agree with Mustard, Mal Anderson definitely deserves his Wembley victory.
    Hoad lost to Segura early: well, it's just his fault. He could have won...
    otherwise we can also dismiss Federer's 2009 RG: Nadal lost to Soderling early...
    that's the rule of the game. If you lose to someone, you're out.

    Anderson defeated Sedgman, Rosewall and Segura in that tournament: I can't ask him more.
     
  30. Wuppy

    Wuppy Professional

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    Dude are you a Renshawtard or something? Ain't no way he was tops in 1886!! :evil:
     
  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Because you win majors - no mather how many they are- in the context of your era, then we should pick up the true greats of each era and compare them besed ALWAYS on their dominance of an era.Not just a matter of counting this and that major and then use them to compare inter eras players ( as you said, it wouldn´t be unfair, but it would be also very unfair not to count WCT/Masters for 1970-1989).Because, era´s strengths are so different that winning 5 majors in a very strong era may be harder to achieve than 10 in a weak era.
     
  32. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I would probably give the year to Rafter like FedericRoma83. Sure he was weak at the first 3 slams of the year, but he he had the best title haul that year, 1 slam, 2 super 9 titles and 3 other titles, while Sampras won 1 slam, 0 super 9 titles and 3 other titles. Plus in close comparisons like these we might as well as throw in Rafter's 2-0 h2h advantage over Sampras that year. Still he is not exactly a convincing 'player of the year' either.

    Just 4 titles won, with only one of those 4 titles being a genuinely big one, is not enough to give Sampras the year IMO.

    Maybe 1998 can be a tie between Rafter/Sampras. I think certainly since the creation of the ATP computer ranking in 1973, Sampras in 1998 was probably the worst tennis played by an official year end no. 1 throughout the year. Even though Connors was clearly not as good as Vilas or Borg in 1977, and McEnroe was clearly not as good as Connors or Lendl in 1982 etc, they both displayed a much higher standard of tennis in those years IMO. Sampras's played much better tennis in 1999 when he finished as the year end no. 3 (of course he probably would have finished at no. 2 ahead of Kafelnikov had he not missed the Aussie and US Opens) than he did in 1998.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  33. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Nice point, I agree.
    It is the reason why I consider Ivan Lendl one of the strongers. He was the dominant player in a decade with a lot of 6-Slam-or-more opponents. That's a quite amazing feat.
     
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    There is at least one problem with the historical prestige criteria for the Masters and WCT Finals: it's the same criterias used to argue that the AO, despite its weak field, should always be counted as a major. The AO has far more prestige from a historical standpoint, than Dallas or the Masters, so by that reasoning the AO should be kept as a major in the 70s and 80s.

    In other words, if the AO is dropped as a major, it's because the criteria of strength of field is being elevated over historical prestige. And if that's the case then many tournaments can be placed over the Masters or Dallas, if those tournaments had stronger fields.

    There have been lists on this forum of the 4 biggest tournaments per year. I don't know if this one was the most recent, but you can have a look; this one happens to take Philadelphia in '76 and '78:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=1892492#post1892492
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Giving the players of the 70s and 80s six majors per year instantly gives that era the appearance of being strong; and it will be seen as favoritism for that era, or favoritism for the players of that era. Because that's exactly what happens if you give that era 6 majors per year: the players of that era will gain an instant edge in major count over the players of ALL other eras.

    I'm not just talking about Federer and Nadal here. I'm saying that if McEnroe, Borg, Connors and Lendl are all given 6 opportunities per year to win majors, then those players instantly appear greater in relation to Laver and Rosewall than they really were. Laver, after all, had 4 opportunities per year, at most, to win majors; in his pro years he has only 3 per year. McEnroe, meanwhile, gets 6 chances per year. Instantly you see the problem: McEnroe with 15 majors becomes a near-equal to Laver (who is usually given 18 majors, I think?).

    You mention strong and weak eras. If that is the justification for giving the 70s and 80s more majors -- ie, to reward the players of that era with greater major count, in order to reflect the strong era they played in -- then other eras must appear as weak: including Federer's era and Laver's era.

    That's a systemic problem that drops the value of all eras outside of the 70s and 80s: and a systemic problem can't be solved merely by saying, well, we know Laver was a great player, and so there's no problem, his era is still strong. The problem here is systemic: numbers are being inflated in favor of certain players, so everyone else takes a hit.
     
  36. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    You're correct, but the Australian Open in 1972-1982 in my opinion was much more depleted than the 1976 WCT. Moreover, even if partially depleted, the WCT had still a great media coverage that year, and a big money prize too (I think we have to consider the resonance of the event): we really can't say that about the 1972-82 Australian Open (less money, small resonance).

    The AO fields ->
    1972: Rosewall #3, Newcombe #4, no one else from the top-30
    1973: Newcombe #2, Rosewall #6, no one else from the top-30
    1974: Newcombe #2, Connors #3, Borg #18, no one else from the top-25
    1975: Connors #1, Newcombe #2, no one else from the top-25
    1976: Rosewall #6, Roche #12, Newcombe #20, no one else from the top-50
    1977-A: only Vilas (#6) from the top-10 + Tanner, Ashe, Rosewall, Stockton (but no one of them was a top-10 at the time)
    1977-B: only Gerulaitis from the top-10 (maybe Roscoe Tanner, I can't find his ranking at the end of 1977)
    1978: only Vilas (#3) from the top-10
    1979: only Vilas (#6) from the top-15
    1980: Vilas (#4), Lendl (#6), Clerc (#8 ), Gerulaitis (#9) <- but despite the rankings, you have to agree that three of these players were not grass courters :D and we still have no one from the top-3.
    1981: Vilas (#6), Tanner (#9), no one else from the top-10.
    1982: Kriek (#10), no one else from the top-10.

    As you can see, this were severely depleted fields (the only one which can be compared with the 1976 WCT Finals is the 1980 edition, but it was still worse)... on the contrary, when the field is only partially depleted, I still give to the prestige a higher credit.
    For example, Wimbledon 1972 was a major in my opinion: five from the top-10, including the two stronger players of the year... add to that the Wimbledon prestige and you have a major (on the contrary, I don't consider the 1973 edition, with only one player from the top-10: I think that the difference is evident).
    Anyway I also accept who propose Los Angeles for 1972: we don't have to be stiff.
    We have some numbers, but there are a lot of ways to read them: some are unconvincing, some are good even with their differences. Your tennis history is definitely good. (Let me add that I'm honoured to write directly to the one who uploaded all these historical tennis videos on youtube!)


    That's a nice list, I know it, even if I don't agree on every year.
     
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    WCT and Masters count as majors for the 1970-1983 period, even if I´d pick 1971 AO for 4 th 1971 major.
     
  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl didn't win a "big one" until 1984, so we know what the majors are.
     
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Give any player of the 70´s and early to middle 80´s what would he prefer winning and any top player would instantly pick Dallas and Madison over Kooyong.
     
  40. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I know, but they still weren't majors. I don't know why some people can't see the difference between majors and big events, and that in those days, they weren't always the same thing per se. When they said "Lendl hasn't won the big ones", they were talking about the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, particularly the latter three. Lendl first won the Masters in January 1982, and first won WCT Dallas in 1982. They were big events, but not majors.
     
  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl´s 1982 victims were Vitas Gerulaitis ( a former AO winner) and John Mc Enroe.In the 1981 and 1982 AO, Johan Kriek beat almost unknown Texas ace Steve Denton.
     
  42. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Okay, but Kriek won 2 majors in the 1981-1982 period, Lendl won zero majors in the same period. There's a reason why Lendl was getting criticism, and it's because he was winning so many tournaments on the tour but none of them were majors until the 1984 French Open. And even with the 1984 French Open win, there soon started to be rumours that "McEnroe had thrown it away". It wasn't until after the 1985 US Open that Lendl got the monkey entirely off his back about him not being able to win the majors.

    Now, if WCT Dallas and the Masters were majors, then Lendl would have won 2 majors already in 1982. They clearly weren't majors, but the biggest tournaments outside the majors.
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl deserves absolutely the whole credit for sticking up with Mc Enroe in that great RG final...and winning it in the fifth set.He did his job, John didn´t his.
     
  44. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Oh, I agree. Lendl's win over McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final silenced the criticism of Lendl for a while, but it started to come back in the fall of 1984 and into 1985 as McEnroe was the dominant player on the tour. The criticism of Lendl's record in winning majors got louder still after Wilander beat Lendl in the 1985 French Open final and when Leconte embarrassed Lendl at 1985 Wimbledon.
     
  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, I remember.But,still, just the very very best (Becker,Wilander,Mc Enroe,Connors,Borg) could beat Lendl at a major final.That proves the extraordinary competition Lendl faced ( and later Cash on grass and Edberg also on grass) which was enormous and still it took an all time great to beat him.I really never understood so much that criticism, even if I was aware of Lendl´s mental hype to win the GS titles.
     
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Something similar was said about Vilas not winning the big ones. When he won the French, a lot of people said he had the monkey off his back. But not everyone. When he won the USO, this was in the Associated Press:

    Guillermo Vilas finally has won a big one....solidifying his claim toward being the No. 1 tennis player in the world.... Although Vilas had captured the French Open title in Paris earlier this summer, he never had won one of the sport’s two premier events – Forest Hills or Wimbledon. But now the stigma of not being able to win the big one has ended – decisively.... ​

    I just think that the top tournaments were viewed on a continuum, more than being sharply divided between traditional majors and non-majors.

    And if there was ever a time when there was confusion about what a major was, it was the early Open Era.
     
  47. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think a lot of the tennis writers in those days weren't sure what really was a top tournament or not and you really can't blame them. The WCT Championship was to supposely determine the World Champion of tennis so you would think by that definition it is a major and yet we don't call it a major now.

    Check what Heston says at 1:09. He says to determine the World Champion of Tennis. At 4:29 Heston says this years WCT championship is this year's first major.

    By the way this is a great video. It shows some highlights of Borg versus Laver. Great tennis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntJquiEpVMY
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1985 Top ten

    Lendl
    Mac
    Wilander
    Becker
    Edberg
    Connors
    Cash
    Noah
    Kriek
    Gomez

    all multislamers ( plus Mecir and Jarryd - WCT winners- Curren - AO and W finalist - Mayotte,Gilbert,Leconte...)
     
  49. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wimbledon and the US Open were the 2 biggest events at that time, but that article makes it sound like they were the only majors. Tony Trabert mentioned Vilas' French Open win on the 1977 US Open final broadcast, how Vilas had won the 1977 French Open in "decisive fashion".

    And yes, the early open era was chaotic to say the least in terms of organisation.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  50. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    I really can't understand why you act like this. It's a bit annoying, to be honest.

    It's just laughable to hear that Kriek's negligible AO victories were more important thant Lendl's first two Masters. Ask to anyone who was in the tour back in the days which tournament was more important and prestigious.
    The fields speak for themselves:
    AO 1981: Vilas (#6), Tanner (#9), no one else from the top-10.
    AO 1982: Kriek (#10), no one else from the top-10.

    Majors?
    Give less credit to the ATP dude, or you'll go in short-circuit in the case of tournaments like the Grand Slam Cup: dismissed in 1999, official since 2000 (ahahah).
     

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