WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

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

  1. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    In 1976 I have Borg with 6 tournament wins and 11 losses and Connors with 12 tournament wins and 6 losses. If these stats are accurate then I see Connors as no.1 on his own for 1976 also considering his wins over Borg that year.
     
  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    To play Dallas, you had to accumulate enough points on the WCT circuit to finish in the top 8. It wasn't an invitation only event or something.
    Look at Connors' WCT schedule that year, he didn't play many events. He didn't qualify for Dallas in '74 or '75 either.

    I have a collection of WCT highlight shows(narrated by Charlton Heston), they explain all this.

    I found it rather interesting that they were so concerned by the endless rallies that Borg, Vilas, Solomon, etc were engaging in that they actually had a shot clock on court that year('76) to ensure quicker play.

    Still Borg & Vilas managed to have an 84 stroke rally in the final(& this was indoor carpet!)

    here are some excerpts from an article on the '77 WCT Finals:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1092440/2/index.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  3. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    1976

    To this point, results matter, not physical condition at the time...it's not hard to say that Bjorn was a better player than Jimbo...but not in 74/75/76...Jimmy pretty much dominated him across surfaces. 12 tournament wins, including the USO, over his rival Borg (on clay) is enough to say he should be #1 for 1976. Bjorn may have had injuries in 76 and 78, for that matter, but they only count the wins for the record, when all is said and done.

    Q: would you also elevate Mac over Connors and Lendl in '82, simply because he was the best player of the 3 and perhaps a bit off physically that year? I don't think you can do that.

    1983 is actually a very tricky year to rank...4 different slam winners, Mats w/a number of wins but, Mac at the top of the computer...not very clear cut.
     
  4. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    connors/borg

    This is very true. I think Borg being SO great kind of overshadowed Jimmy's accomplishments, which were quite impressive. He kept "accomplishing" long after Bjorn retired...it will take some time for anyone to match/beat his overall # of wins...
     
  5. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Unlucky?

    Unlucky for him, lucky for us. Having Connors, Borg and then Mac playing all at the same time made for some exceptional tennis! Truly, I think Connors enjoyed the competition...he never seemed to have any resentment in regards to Bjorn...shoot, he had enough important wins over him (as well as several painful losses). But, this is what made it a "strong" era...there was not a 100% certainty of who would win when you had those 3 facing off against each other..they were all THAT good!
     
  6. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Ivan 1982

    Scary, but true. Ivan was the up and coming guy who had not yet broken thru at the slams...if he had beaten Jimmy, he would've had a strong case. But w/Wimby and USO in his pocket, no way that Connors would be denied that year...it was too good of a comeback [since many assumed he was DOA and Mac was now ascendent]
     
  7. Hypatia

    Hypatia New User

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    I think Borgforever is right about Tennis de France but have not checked, either. It seems clear enough that the majority of informed opinion was for Connors as number 1.

    CyBorg’s objections to ‘counting’ the ATP Players poll are good ones, but although it's true that Connors was widely disliked and that may have affected the voting, isn't that speculation only, albeit reasonable speculation? No reason not to cite the vote and add it to Borg’s side of the ledger, unless there’s evidence that the vote was tilted to Borg out of animus against Connors. It’s not decisive, in any event.

    True -- up to a point. I would think that a player’s condition is part of the context of those results?

    Given the current structure of the schedule, I’m not sure it’s possible for any top player to match that number, whatever the duration of his career.

    I've learned a lot from reading this thread and would like to thank all the contributors. :)
     
  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Masters in January is always the end of the year for the tennis season. There is no doubt that the Masters counts for the previous months. Therefore the 1984 Master in January counts for the 1983 Tennis season.


    In another debate for 1964 between Laver and Rosewall. Andrew Tas has Rosewall winning 10 tournaments plus one shared in 26 attempts. So perhaps that is where McCauley found 11 tournament victories for Rosewall. Rosewall won one major and had a record of 69-30 for the year.

    Laver won two majors and won 11 tournaments in 28 attempts. Laver had a record of 81-27 for the year. I think overall Laver was number one but I wouldn't be too upset at the co ranking of number since it was official that Rosewall was number one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  9. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I am aware of this. Connors was not top eight going into Dallas though? Even after winning Philadelphia? I assumed he was.
     
  10. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    It is speculation, but it is in the service of criticizing the claim. I never made the claim that Connors was widely disliked by the players, as if it was fact.

    Rather it was the claim that the players vote was in some way impartial that I objected to, as players are not obligated to vote without bias. And bias they probably had. But I can't prove much beyond that, nor do I care to.
     
  11. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Connors was no.1 in the world in 1976, yes, this is correct!
     
  12. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I think BF had a bad day. It was unlike him to get so riled up.

    I'll always defend his honesty and good will, even when I'll be less forgiving of certain of his arguments (though I probably agree with most).

    BF lays the cards on the table every time, which is why I like him. He is never pretentious and as such can be an easy target of those eager to accuse him of bias. But when one posts so passionately about a topic, one will sometimes get overly emotional and that will rub some people the wrong way.

    Let's appreciate him for the way he is and hope that he continues to grace us with his presence. A little bit of rudeness from this or other party I'm sure won't kill anymore. Let's shake that off and move on.
     
  13. Hypatia

    Hypatia New User

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    Thank you for clarifying, CyBorg. As noted, I think speculation is just fine and part of what discussion boards are for. :) It is a minor point and I don’t mean to make too much of it, but I don’t think anybody claimed that the vote of the ATP players was entirely disinterested – human beings do the voting and there are few votes (or opinions) completely without bias of some kind. You could obligate the players to vote 'impartially' but it's unlikely that would stop anyone determined to do otherwise.

    (I also take the opportunity to note that there’s a typo in my post. It should read “although if it’s true” not “although it’s true.”)
     
  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Small point: Laver did not play Wimbledon in 1972 or 1973. I believe that 1971 was the last Wimbledon tournament that he entered.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  15. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Not exactly. Laver played, well past his prime, the Centurion Wimbledon 1977, to honor the event. He lost to Stockton, a good player at that time in 4. It shows, that Laver at that time did not look at his percentages, but more on the game itself.
     
  16. cristiano

    cristiano New User

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    We can debate about who was the number one in 1976.
    But it seems evident that, no matter how many things a person knows about tennis, no matter how this person usually behaves on the board, sometimes a person is just not using a honest logic. That is the case.

    The 1983 is actually more interesting than i supposed before reading this thread. Also 2003 is really complicated. For me Laver 1st in 1964/65.

    c.
     
  17. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I do think that 1983 is less clear-cut than ’76. I’ve been talking about a lot of the similarities but there are some important differences. Borg’s win/loss record is poorer than Connors’, while Wilander’s is better than McEnroe’s. Borg has no wins over Connors, while Wilander went 3-1 vs. Mac. It was an important loss at the Masters, but still, 3-1 is 3-1.

    There are several years on Hoodjem’s list where the most consistent player of the year, the player with the biggest numbers, is not #1 for the year (Muster in 1995 might be the clearest case; or Lendl 'in '82). The big events are still the big events, and McEnroe has Wimbledon, the Masters, and the WCT Finals – with wins over Lendl in all three, plus a win over Wilander in New York. Wilander’s biggest win was at the AO, and he won 8 other titles for the year; one or more of those might have had a draw to stack up against the Dallas event, but none were as big as Wimbledon or the Masters.

    So I tend to look at 1983 as one of those years where the “veteran” (if we can call John that) was not as consistent, day in and day out, as a new young rival, and indeed had trouble beating him in direct meetings, but still edged him out 2-1 in majors (or the equivalent).

    Wilander’s numbers in 1983 are definitely impressive. But what I remember is that it wasn’t until 1988 that people felt he’d really made a commitment to reach the top and broken through his confidence issues. I remember watching matches, listening to commentators talk about McEnroe’s criticism of Wilander: I believe John said somewhere that Mats wanted to get to #1 through the back door. The criticism was that he didn’t seem to want to take the prize (or didn’t believe he could).

    And you’ve got to remember, Wilander at the end of ’83 was only 19. Who else on Hoodjem’s list is that young? Just looking over the list quickly, I don’t think anybody (Hewitt was almost 21 at the end of 2001).

    It takes some maturity to really reach the top of the game. At 19 you can be skilled and consistent (and in particular, a great clay-courter), but maturity is still some way off. At 19 you haven’t even accumulated much experience, and that’s what mature world-beaters have: they fight their way to the top, and they’ve pocketed plenty of valuable lessons along the way. At 19 you’ve barely had any time to do more than make a splash.

    And Wilander’s accomplishments in ’83 still show some immaturity. On his best surface he lost a Slam final to Yannick Noah in straight sets, and I just can’t see how that would have happened to him in later years.

    So I think Wilander in ’83 was a LITTLE like Lendl’s case in ’82: sterling overall numbers, but something still missing.

    And I realize all of this comes under the heading of “intangibles.” That’s fine with me, because I think sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story (Muster in 1995, again).

    And falling back on stats, I still think McEnroe has the edge in majors in ’83.
     
  18. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    Even though Wimbledon was a much more important title than the Australian Open in 1983 I just find it very difficult to belittle the achievement of defeating McEnroe and Lendl in the SF and F respectively. I'm one of those people who count the Jan84 Masters as part of 1984 so McEnroe's claim is weakened (maybe subconsciously I'm not all that keen on giving 1983 to McEnroe over Wilander).

    After the 1983 AO McEnroe did call Wilander "the man to beat". That's hardly evidence but, if I haven't taken it out of context, it does show that McEnroe did not consider himself the no.1 player at that time.
     
  19. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    in 1976 connors did not attempt to qualify for dallas wct finals. you had to play 8 wct events to have a good chance of qualifying. connors only played 2 wct events instead along with nastase he played the IPA circuit playing 5 events.

    in 1983 i give the nod probably to wilander. mCENROE WITH HIS WIMLEDON , masters and wct titles had the better major record against wilander's aussie win and french runner up. wilander had the better tournament record outside the majors with 8 other wins (plus an unbeaten run in the davis cup) compared to only 4 for mcenroe. he also has the 3-1 head to head lead over mcenroe. Wilander leads clearly in 2 of the 3 statistics with mcenroe ahead in only one


    jeffrey
     
  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    and connors defeated borg himself at the USO

    not connors' fault if borg couldn't play at his best against him , btw this is irrelevant to rankings , could be considered if you were talking about quality/level of play

    again irrelevant to the rankings , borg didn't even beat connors that year

    umm, but rafa never had a year where he won nearly twice the no of tournaments as fed, won as many major events as him while leading the H2H and still ended up no2, try again
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That Wimbledon was interesting from several points of view. According to Bud Collins and John Newcombe, Laver was playing excellent tennis. Newcombe was Laver's partner in doubles that year and they lost to Reissen and Tanner in five sets in the first round. Laver apparently kept them both in the match by playing fantastic tennis.

    Laver won his first round match easily and led Stockton 6-3 4-1 in the second set but lost the match.

    I think of that tournament in some ways as the passing of the torch of one great serve and volley lefthander to another great serve and volley lefthander. Rod Laver to John McEnroe. I'm not 100% certain but I think it was the only tournament in which McEnroe and Laver were in the same draw. Wouldn't it have been great if by the luck of the draw Laver played McEnroe?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    BTW how close were federer and roddick in 2003 in terms of points ??

    Also by how many points did pete manage to keep the no1 ranking in 98 ? ( he played extra events towards the end of the year for this, IIRC )
     
  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    This list of "majors" suggests some interesting conclusions:
    1983--McEnroe alone at no. 1 with 1.5 points versus Wilander with 0.5 points
    1976--Connors with 1.5 points versus Borg with with 1.5 points, leading to a tie at no. 1
    1975--Ashe alone at no. 1 with 1.5 points

    But it also seems to lead to some narrow (and thus not comprehensive) results, for instance
    1971--Rosewall with 1.5 versus Newcombe with 1 and Laver with 0.5 points
    1977--Vilas with 1.5 versus Borg with 1 point and Connors with 1 point.

    It suggests to me that, while majors are a good indicator, we need to look at more than just major tournaments, also minor tournaments, total year record, Davis Cup play, and head-to heads.
     
  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    From the same Wikipedia page:

    1976
    "Collins, Tingay, John Barrett, Peter Bodo, McCauley and Judith Elian all ranked Connors #1 and Borg #2; Collins, Barrett, McCauley, Elian ranked Nastase #3; a minority of journalists ranked Borg #1, among them Tennis Magazine (France) and the ATP itself which awarded Borg "Player of The Year" contradicting its computer ranking."

    1977
    "Tennis Magazine (France) ranked Borg #1 because he won Wimbledon and he had also defeated Vilas 3 times out of 3; while World Tennis or Michel Sutter considered Vilas the best one because among other reasons he won 46 matches in a row (even 50 including the Rye tournament excluded in ATP statistics) and 16 titles (or 17 Rye included); the ATP itself awarded Borg "Player of The Year" contradicting its computer ranking (Connors N° 1)."

    The page was last edited Nov. 1.
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    My initial feeling for 1976 is that Connors was number one for the year but it's fairly close. Borg won Wimbledon and the WCT Championship which were two tournaments of high prestige. Connors won the US Open over Borg in four sets.

    Connors won more tournaments and had the superior won-lost record. Borg won seven tournaments. So it comes down to this, does the two top tournaments that Borg won overcome Connors one major tournament victory and better record in other tournaments. Wimbledon is of slightly more prestige than the US Open also.

    It's close but I think Connors wins out by a fraction. I can see it going either way however.

    Situations like this can be odd. For example I think Arthur Ashe is number one for 1975 if you go by the way they pick number one. Ashe won Wimbledon and the US Open and won a number of other tournaments for that year. I also think that clearly Jimmy Connors was the best player in the world for 1975 as far as actual tennis strength is concerned.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Lifetime Records of Greats

    Just a thought for discussion. It occurred to me while I was writing my post about 1976 and the Connors-Borg debate. Borg probably had the better record in big tournaments but Connors was better in my opinion overall for the year. So I thought I would expand it to discussing lifetime records of players.

    A lot of us put a great deal of weight on the amount of majors won by player in evaluating the player's record. For example one of the top reasons Pete Sampras is considered all time great is because of his fantastic record in the majors.

    How much weight do we put into majors won as opposed to total tournaments won? Sampras and Lendl is an excellent example. Sampras has won about 64 tournaments in his career but Pete was awesome in the majors with 14 victories. Lendl frankly did not do as well in the majors as you would expect a player of his ability. Lendl won 8 majors and reached 19 finals in the majors. Clearly Sampras is far superior here.

    Yet Lendl is estimated to have won about 140 tournaments in his career and Sampras won about half as much.

    Sampras is almost universally considered to be superior to Lendl and he very well may be.

    My question is how much do we put into victories in regular tournament? What is enough to overcome a great advantage in majors?

    It seems to me that Lendl has an awesome lifetime record but his flaws are his many losses in major finals and his inability to win Wimbledon.

    Two great players. One is much more prolific in the majors and the other in regular tournaments. What pulls more weight?

    It's very rare that you have a Laver, Borg, Rosewall and Tilden that do well in both categories. That's why they are GOAT candidates.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  28. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    World Tennis + Michel Sutter + Tennis de France + Eugene L. Scott ("Gros plans sur le tennis" + Le livre d'or du tennis considered Vilas n°1. In fact, everyone considered Vilas n°1 except Tennis Magazine France. The ATP should recognize today that Vilas was the n°1, it's ridiculous not to do it.
     
  29. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    If the tournaments counted for points the way they do today Vilas would have been number 1 in 77 because he played and won a lot more tournaments than Borg. However, in that case, who knows how players would have structured their years in those conditions. Borg might have played more tournaments. There are quite a few reasons to give Borg the player of the year award in 77 (fewer losses, his record against Vilas, the higher quality of his tourament wins)
     
  30. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I think, though, that there's no need to restrict Connors to one major tournament if we give Borg an event (Dallas) that lies outside of the Slams. If we go outside that limit, I don't know how you can not consider the U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. I'm not saying it needs to be considered every bit the equal of Dallas, of course, but it's certainly the tournament that comes next to mind after Dallas.

    And in '76 the Dallas draw did not include Connors. Philadelphia had both Connors and Borg in the draw.

    So I don't see much difference between the two men in the biggest tournaments. What separates them for me is their H2H and Jimmy's overall win/loss record.
     
  31. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Actually Bud Collins writes in his book that most authorities gave the year to Borg (and I have a question about the Wikipedia entry above, because it says "World Tennis or Michael Sutter," implying that they're the same source).

    Bud himself emphasizes a three-way race for #1, and I think his descriptions of the year are interesting (and fair):

     
  32. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Grand Slams 1977 :
    Vilas : 2 victories + 1 Final.
    Borg : 1 victory.
    That's all.
     
  33. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Krosero, it may be interesting to note, that the year descriptions in Bud Collins Encyclopedias are not all made by himself, but for the greater part made by Barry Lorge, who was the editor of Tennis at that time around 1977. 1977 is a most difficult year to rank, thats for sure (to cite a famous Borg-phrase). When we discussed the rankings on the wikipedia- article, if i remember right, we concluded in a consensus of co-ranking Borg and Vilas as Nr. 1, as we did in many other problematic cases. And Sutter had nothing to do with World Tennis. I still have the World Tennis edition with Vilas in a green- white Taccini-outfit on the front cover somewhere in some old suit cases, i think, they had a panel vote in the mid 70s, up to that time McCauley was the chief ranking specialist of World Tennis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  34. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    Do you know anything about tennis?
     
  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    thanks -- so we'll have to speak of Collins/Lorge when we use that book (or at least remember that Lorge was part of it).

    And now I wonder if that helps to explain the tension in the 1983 chapter. On the one hand it says that McEnroe settled the matter of #1 at the Masters (and Bud himself in January 1984 seemed unequivocal after McEnroe won the title). On the other hand it says that for "breadth of accomplishment" Wilander was "Player of the Year."

    I didn't know we had a debate here about the Wikipedia rankings, I must have missed it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  36. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Not here, but there were extensive discussions on the wikipedia discussion websides in the process of the shaping of the year-ranking article there, which was to great parts written by Carlo Coloussi. In Bud Collins encyclopedias the pre WWII biography articles were written by Allison Danzig. In the new edition History of Tennis, there is often no mentioning of this contributions, although they are the same articles. So it is no wonder, that we find some inconsistencies.
     
  37. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    This isn't real evidence (the old "Mac says") and it is probably taken out of context.
     
  38. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Wilander is perhaps closer to Mac in '83 than originally thought, but I still see Mac as #1 for the year.

    First of all, the Australian was not on equal footing with Wimbledon. This event was sahara for years and years and was, for the first time in a while, reasonably well-attended. But it took a few years for the Australian to become a true major. I think it was also behind the Masters in prestige.

    For Mac, (among his 7 overall titles) his wins in Philly, Dallas, Forest Hills and Wembley qualify to me as masters equivalent wins (if you don't trust me, they count as such in SgtJohn's thread). That's four, three on carpet and one on clay. Add the majors equivalents in Masters Cup and Wimbledon and you have six crucial titles won on three different surfaces.

    Wilander won 9 titles. Okay, very good. But some of these aren't much... Portugal Open Lisbon, Aix-en_provence, Bastad, Geneva, Barcelona. The leaves us with two Masters series adjusted - Monte Carlo and Cincinnatti. Stockholm is somewhere in between all of this. Along with the Australian Open that's three crucial events on three surfaces.

    It's a nice year, but Wilander's great number of titles gives him only a superficial edge, because some of the wins were in minor events. The H2H I think is somewhat of an edge, but one has to be careful with this due to the potential redundancy in treating the h2h as a separate category from other results. I agree with krosero that the h2h is a nice tiebreaker in cases of close ties.

    I don't see a close tie here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  39. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    If the tour was scheduled the way it is today, Vilas would not have been able to 1) play as many clay tournaments, 2) play and win so many turkey tournaments. He would have had to 1) play a lot more important carpet/hard events, 2) compete consistently against Borg.
     
  40. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Thank you, yes, I think so !
    I think even that I know very very good about tennis. And I think that a guy who wins 2 Grand Slams, and made 1 Final, in a year, is the n°1. I don't think it's absurd to say that.
    And I think it's absurd to say "if Borg played the French ...", "if Borg didn't leave the US Open ...", "if ....". If Borotra was still alive, maybe he will beat Federer. So, for me, Borotra is the n°1 in 2009.
     
  41. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    It's a bit misleading to say one tournament is equivalent to a Masters event and another one isn't. Just look at the draws and come to your own conclusions which was better. IMO Monte Carlo and Cincinnati had stronger fields than any tournament McEnroe won outside of Wimbledon while Forest Hills was missing the 2 best clay-court players in the world (Wilander and Noah). That in itself lowers its status in my eyes
     
  42. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    And your logic says that 1 bag of money equal another. It doesn't matter that one contains £1000000 and the other 1 penny.
     
  43. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    I don't understand. Do you mean that Wimbledon is the most important tournament, so Borg won Wimbledon and is the n°1 ?
    OK, so it's simple : every year, the guy who wins Wimbledon is the n°1. Krajicek is the n°1 in 1996. And Ivanisevic in 2001.
     
  44. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Connors was considered co. no.1 with Vilas and Borg by many people in 77, but that is seemingly being forgotten in this discussion!
     
  45. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    1975


    actually, in 75 Orantes won the USO over Connors; in 75 Connors was runner up at the AO to Newk, Wimby to Ashe and USO to orantes....not a great year for him
     
  46. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Lendl v Sampras

    Although I give a slight edge to Sampras, it is not like Ivan is far behind him in skills. And, Ivan far better than Pete on clay than Pete's edge over Ivan on grass. Never thought I'd be defending Ivan, but let's be frank...his losses in the GS finals are to the very top tier guys...Borg, Mac, Connors, Wilander...frankly, better tougher competition than some of Sampras's opponents [not all, mind you, just some...Pioline, anyone?] I've also stated in other threads, his skills on grass were not awful, but he was very unlucky at Wimby...he simply ran into the guys who were better on grass (Mac, Connors, Edberg, Becker)...again, a very elite group, not a bunch of pikers.
     
  47. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Six of his 9 titles were on outdoor clay. He also won on hard court (indoors and outdoors), and had that great win on AO grass, so I don't want to portray him as some kind of clay-court specialist avoiding other surfaces. But it still leaves the bulk of his titles on one surface -- and if he won so often on outdoor clay, it makes his failure at the French all the more conspicuous.

    It does remind me a little of '82 when Lendl did so well everywhere, murdering Connors and McEnroe on hard court and all that, but failed in the USO final -- the one match that if he'd won, would have given him the whole year. Same in '83, if Mats had beaten Noah, it would be hard not to give him #1 for the year by himself.

    It's not entirely the same, of course. Lendl came away Slam-less in '82, while Wilander has that AO in '83. Lendl played scared when he first met Connors at the USO, and I don't want to say that Wilander played scared against Noah. He didn't -- but I think in both cases there was some immaturity. Both Lendl and Wilander failed to slow down their matches and were essentially swept away by an energetic opponent and a raucous crowd. In later years they learned how to take their time (to the point of abusing the clock, actually), how to figure out opponents, how to draw from experience.

    So that's a common element I see in '82 and '83: the young guy beating everybody in the smaller tournaments but having less success in the biggest tournaments (the kind where you face raucous crowds in big stadiums -- and in which you face bigger expectations). You see some of that today, I think, with Murray.

    In '88, when Wilander faced another flashy Frenchman in the RG final, his concentration and gameplan were perfect, nearly impossible to disrupt. When he faced Cash in Australia, and Lendl in a tumultuous USO final, same thing -- he knew what to do, and had enough experience behind him already.

    I do admit that Wilander showed exceptional maturity in '83 for his age. But imo there wasn't enough of a veteran's clutch when the pressure was greatest. In the three biggest events of the year, he has:

    - a straight set loss on his best surface
    - a very early loss at Wimbledon
    - a straight set loss to Lendl in the USO quarters

    If the Masters is counted as the next biggest event, he also lost there, in two straight sets.

    I'm not saying that immaturity by itself counts as a negative when you're looking at results. What I'm wondering about is how immature Wilander still was in '83 and how much that had to do with his poor results in the biggest tournaments -- his inability to put the year firmly in his grasp, for example, in that RG final.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  48. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    That's a fair point. I suppose a really rigorous analysis of these players' years would involve a careful consideration of the draws of these specific events. I'll try to give these draws a look in the next few days as time allows.
     
  49. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Most of your points about 1977 are terribly reductive and difficult to take seriously.
     
  50. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    All Very True. Ivan played much of his career against some of the best Grass players ever in some peoples eyes. He was a great clay courter during his peak, amazing indoors, not to shabby on hardcourts either. Sad thing is he was surrounded, like you said, by so many other greats that he was never going to win everything and now looks like a failure to some because of his record in GS finals. He was a great player, have watched quite a few of his matches on tape, and he definitely deserves credit as a great, well more credit then I have seen some give him in the past.
     

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