Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2009.
For me, it's really not serious to consider that Vilas is not the n°1. I don't even understand.
I know that some people consider Borg n°1 in 1977, but they are a minority. This problem is discussed and unresolved since 30 years ! The ATP should take it today and say officially who is the n°1 that year. No doubt it will be Vilas, because his results are objectively very very better than Borg's.
At first I thought I'd pretty much made up my mind to give 1983 to Wilander but the more I look at it the more undecided I become.
For a start the fact that Wilander, McEnroe, and Lendl entered the AO that year disguises the fact that almost no other top player turned up. So I think it's more notable for Wilander's win over McEnroe than it is for the size of the tournament.
Connors won 0 Grand Slam in 1977. He can't be seriously considered as the n°1.
I know that Rios has been n°1 without winning a Grand Slam, but it's ridiculous. The ATP computer is not very serious.
Well Connors did reach 3 Grand Slam finals and won 9 tournaments, so it was still arguably better than Ashe and indeed a better year in 75 than anyone else!
Hold on, Connors reached the final of the 2 Grand Slam tournaments he entered that year (Wimbledon and US Open), and won another 9 tournaments including beating Borg at the all important end of year Masters!
And Connors had a better head-to-head record against Vilas in 77!
He was equal with Borg and Vilas in 77, and like I said quite a few people agreed, but this being ignored here for some reason
Vilas leads Connors 1-0 in 77 (2-0 if you include Masters Jan78 )
Also I count 8 tournament wins for Connors including the Masters.
He also had 7 losses (excluding retirements and RR)
Borg has 11 tournament wins and 6 losses (excluding retirements) including the Masters and also superior head-to-head records against Vilas and Connors.
IMO Borg's record is clearly superior to Connors, even more so when you take into account quality of tournaments won. The exclusion of retirements and RR losses also helps Connors record look better but he is still quite a bit behind Borg. Also I count the 78 Masters as part of 1978 but I have included it here to help Connors case but it stills falls apart.
Jean Pierre -- please check your facts.
There's not that many experts and respected observers supporting Vilas-plight for No. 1 in 1977 as you imagine in your dreams.
There's only World Tennis Magazine (Vilas lone No. 1) and me and Björn Hellberg (co-No. 1) who behind Vilas for the peak position in 1977.
Björn Hellberg has Vilas for No. 1 -- shared with Borg, but Hellberg can't make anyone be ahead of the other -- alhtough subjectively he thought Borg was way stronger on Vilas on all surfaces that year against everybody -- but Hellberg respects results more than impressions. I tend to agree with assessment -- I have no trouble awarding two players (Borg/Vilas) the No. 1 if circumstances calls for it. I find it more insane to restrict oneself to just one when the margin is so tiny it becomes very subjective.
Besides Hellberg (CyB, Björn must be Argentinian supporting an Argentinian, isn't that your usual knee-jerk analysis? You're so clear-eyed!?), Lance Tingay, Bud Collins, John Barrett, Tennis Magazine (France) and McCauley and the ATP players voted Borg PLAYER OF THE YEAR for the second year in a row resoundingly.
And most of Europe's tennis-journos went for Borg in 1977 -- invincible on clay, grass at the world championships and a GP Masters-final and a 92% winning percentage (!). Had the best H2H against the top ten which is the only undisputed manner in evaluations that really counts if one should weigh in H2Hs for the year.
I will return later with context and further elaboration why Borg is clear No. 1 in 1976.
What bothers me here is that so few, even among self-procalimed experts have such miniscule knowledge of the era, the year, the players, what tourneys were big, the nuances -- yet, they talk about stats here and there with conviction that just torpedoes their entire creditbility. If you don't know the really, really know -- why utter and opinion -- do you home-work, almost no one does...
Say no more!
You've already lost this argument. Connors was definitely No.1 in 1976!
Embarrassing that CyB criticised the ATP player's vote as being biased against Jimbo for his occasional behaviour and saying that Hellberg's piece is weak.
That's the most incompetent statement by CyB I've ever read.
Björn Hellberg covers all bases in his 1976 article -- but talks mostly in broad-strokes, summarizing rather than specifically detailing his argument.
I will quote him some more so you understand the era without looking at it through the 2009-glasses -- on what was all-accepted as consensus in the importance of tourneys and such...
I was so stunned by the lack of knowledge of the context of 1976 displayed by krosero and CyB that I only laughed for a long while. I was thinking -- shall I write a 15-page explanation with all references included, spend one-week making it solid and teach you how that world worked -- or I could just skip that and just do a quick break-down since I do respect you both -- even if I definitely don't respect your comments about Hellberg's statement, your questioning of his authority and the overall low-quality of the thinking behind the points made.
Several things could've been corrected if you just googled for 10 minutes -- but no, you both made a hard statements when Björn Hellberg is ten billion times the experts in tennis you'll ever be in fifty life-times.
Björn Hellberg is considered, globally -- including Britain and the US and Oz -- to be one of world's most respected and greatest tennis-experts. He close with practically everybody -- Collins, Barrett, Maskell -- you name them.
Gracefully -- although Hellberg greatly disagreed with Tingay in 1976 -- he treated it with respect. Said you can't swat it away like a fly.
But krosero and and CyB swats Hellberg's opinion away like a fly...
That's not business...
That's maybe why his views and articles have been celebrated, greatly respected and published all over the world and received great respect since 1962, watching all players at close range all the time.
Something krosero and CyB, ahum, have not...
World tennis magazine + Le livre d'or du tennis (french) + Tennis de France (french) + Michel Sutter + Eugene L. Scott (Gros plans sur le tennis) considered Vilas as the n°1. Tennis Magazine (french) considered Borg.
Connors won a tournament either side of the WCT Finals 1976. Why would he be worried about his form?
The only big tournaments Borg won outside of Wimbledon was a very strong tournament in Boston and the WCT Finals (which was hardly near full-strength). Connors meanwhile won the US Open and big tournaments in Philadelphia, Palm Springs, North Conway, Washington DC, Indianapolis (just look at the draws) Coupled together with his superior tournament count, his superior w/l record, and his wins that year over Borg, how can you consider Borg to be no.1?
You seem to be giving Borg no.1 mainly because of his great play during Wimbledon, his win in a relatively weak WCT Finals tournament and his wins over Nastase who had a good record against Connors.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Borg in 1976 played well at Wimbledon, but Connors won bigger tournaments overall throughout the year. Borg won several tournaments in 1976, and made an additional slam final, but Connors appeared stronger throughout the year to me based on the tournaments he won and who he beat to do it. I mean Borg is the only other person who I think could even be relatively in the discussion for 1976...but Connors is just the one that year, unlike in 1977 where I feel he really is 3rd.
All right, since you're acknowledging that the January 1978 Masters was a part of the 1977 season, I'm presuming that you no longer hold to this previous statement:
And I do hope we can work this thing about concerning Hellberg. I didn't intend to disrespect him or his work and I saw no attempt anywhere to do that.
I don't know, but sometimes when people from different cultures and different native languages communicate, even when the literal words are understood there's still misreadings about what people are really saying is important to them. I don't know if that's the case here, but just in case it is, let me say again that I don't want to disrespect Hellberg (or you), I've quoted him before, and supported your arguments before when I agreed with them, etc., etc. And Cyborg and I are both fans of Borg so I hope you can see that if we disagree with Hellberg on this point, it is most definitely not out of prejudice or animosity but must definitely come out of genuine disagreement about facts.
Can we do that, can we just present the facts, present our arguments and choices, and agree to disagree if our arguments don't convince each other?
I vote Borg in 1976, because he played 2 Grand Slams finals, but it's very difficult.
I will address all above issues. Don't worry. There's a consensus. The minority view supports Connors, globally speaking, mainly USA and Tingay left supporting Connors.
I will also add context on what Hellberg thought about 1974, 1975, 1976 -- I already stated 1977 above -- and 1978.
It's a marked advantage for Borg on all the most important draws, facts and stats.
Practically everybody, except pc1 and Hood in this thread, doesn't know very much about that year, or those years, which is extremely evident.
Now, I have stated several times before and do it for the last time: I do believe Borg has the clear edge in achievements as the strongest player with the finest achievements of the season October 1975 to October 1976 -- which is the way EVERYBODY evaluated the 1976-season back then.
The case facts doesn't leave much room for other interpretations than Borg for No. 1 -- but I remain convinced that Jimbo had, if not exactly the peaks and consistency of Borg in 1976, such a superior year -- that I without reservation have added Jimbo as co-No. 1, against Hellberg, all the player's vote at ATP, TENNIS DE FRANCE, Barrett, most of Europe's journos and including the world's collected body of all-round sports-experts who all supported Borg as lone No. 1 in 1976.
Borg was the only tennis-player on the best athletes with the greatest achievements from the sport of tennis in their lists -- and he made all of them.
I guess winning the world championships, the greatest tennis-tournament on the planet, bar none, Wimby, on super-fast grass against such incredibly tough competition blowouting everybody when one is only 20 and only losing your serve five times in seven best of five-sets matches in 13 days was a little bit more appreciated by the world than by Americans and Tingay.
In fact no one has yet beaten that record...
Here's some video comparing Borg/Connors in 1976:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0dMd9q2o6w (Us Open)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx...3E1F16F60&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3 (Borg-Connors Pepsi Open)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU0SG-ZkUA4 (Borg Nastase)
Yes, a "bad" year for him was getting to 3 slam finals and winning a whole bunch of tournaments....pretty funny when you step back and think about it, huh? Even in '77, he was in 2 slam finals, came oh-so-close to winning Wimby over Borg and once again, won a bunch of other tourneys. This is why he was still ranked #1 by the 'ole ATP machine, when he did not win any GS.
And, enuff on '76 already....he was the clear #1, sorry Borg-O-Philes....74/76/82 are the years that you really cannot take away from him.
Even in '83, he should be in the running for #1...he just didn't have as many titles in hand as years past.
Not sure why you included my Pepsi video since it's from 1979?
The other videos are all from '76 except, of course Laver-Connors which is '75.
Including the Pepsi video only emphasizes how much the rivalry changed after 1976.
The main difference in the clips, which one can notice with the eyes, is, that Borg in 1979 gets to the net himself, taking away the initiative away from Connors. In 1976 USO, he lets Connors take all initiative, and Connors is finding the lines and is happily coming in after deep approaches.
Krosero, most of those look to be your video uploads, so you know them best. Yes, that was 1979, not 1976, so that should not have been there. I also overlooked that one Laver-Connors, yes, it's from 1975.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-VeBIal8TU (Borg Laver at Hilton Head)
EVERYBODY is such a strong claim, so I'm either going to ask you to explain why you're exaggerating here -- or ask you to show that all the big tennis-playing countries, including the U.S., counted from October.
That means you'll show us that all these folks who voted for Connors in '76 --
Judith Elian (who wrote for L'Equipe magazine in France)
-- that means you're prepared to show us that all these folks counted from October when they voted for Connors, and to quote where they do so?
That would not be in Borg's favor, by the way, if all these people counted from October: I don't believe they all did, but if they did that means they were counting Borg's Davis Cup victory and his Masters runner-up showing in late 1975 and STILL agreed that Connors had a better year than Borg.
I'm not doing this to lampoon you, I just have to state in unequivocal terms how important it is to be precise. Exaggerating is only going to muddy the waters and confuse people both about the facts and about what you yourself are trying to say.
So far we know that Hellberg counted from October -- because we have a quote. Let's have exact quotes from everyone else who you believe counted from October.
No problem, and I appreciate a post like this, for acknowledging a mistake made. We all make them, so no problem at all -- thank you.
You don't have to be the least bit sorry -- with all due respect -- I don't care what you think whatsoever and I am not interested one iota in convincing you or anybody else. Yet, I do fully respect your opinion even if it is built on flawed understanding of the era, contextual-details and facts -- a thing I have been guilty of many times in the past and probably will be in the future about of some issues -- so it's only natural. I am aware that I am just human you know?
Some are not though and have problems with respect. They don't do research, trust something they heard or read somewhere, and they just carve it stone putting it up on the market square. Worst mistake. The most common one too. One is always a student -- no matter how proficient. The totally convinced about certain things are in most cases kidding themselves and it's blatantly obvious to everybody and their grandma -- but they who made such faux pas -- comically -- seem oblivious to their fiasco and then try defend it anyway -- contrary to facts -- that's called cognitive dissonance...
My only reason for posting is respect for Hood, pc1, krosero and CyB and a few more and to present the cases for each man and reference some sources -- and only to present the facts and the context in very close to exact terms, maybe not entirely 100% on every itty-bitty detail, BUT I will be not far off I'll tell you.
For total exactness in the coming piece I would've needed a couple of weeks of work which I will not do unless you pay my salary...
The time of ranking is indeed a problem especially for the Tingay rankings, which were seen as quasi official in those times, following the Myers and Oliff Telegraph rankings. In fact, Tingay gave two rankings since 1968/69: one in the Daily Telegraph in late September (imo much to early) and a second in the World of Tennis yearbooks edited by John Barrett, which included late autumn results like Wembley, Stockholm, DC and Masters (and in the late 70s, early 80s even the Masters in January). I think the last in the yearbooks are more important. The US magazines Tennis and World Tennis made special yearbooks with rankings, mostly done early the next year. I think L'Equipe, that means Judith Elian, came up wit a ranking in December, with exception for the January Masters years.
Very useful info, Urban, thanks.
So now we know that Tingay gave two rankings, one in late September and another at the end of the year (or the end of January in certain years).
That first ranking in September, I'm not clear about. You say in your opinion it was too early. Does that mean it evaluated the months from January through September only?
Or was it like Hellberg's, running from October to October?
Surely you've done the work before if you've come to your conclusion.
Its one of the many oddities in tennis history. For many years it was no great problem, Tingay made his rankings for the Daily Telegraph at the end of the GS season. But since the early 70s the autumn season became more and more important. I think, sometimes Tingay made slight shifts in his rankings then: I remember, that in 1970, he had Laver at 4 behind Roche in the Daily Telegraph and later in the yearbook at 3 ahead of Roche, regarding Laver's good run at Vancouver, Wembley and the Masters. But as i said, many things on the tennis scene seem odd now. Since late 1973, the ATP had a computer ranking, based on percentages, but it was widely seen as seeding barometer, not as a specific ranking institution, as it is now. Until the early 80s we have these phenomens like Magazine rankings, which were seen by the players themselves often as more important. But thats tennis history. And it even seems more odd, that we get into heated debates some 40 or 30 years later. Even the players, besides maybe Vilas, don't remember the results and rankings and polls and computer system and with or without exhibition and so on and so on. But on the other hand, even now it seems odd, that the ATP has buried the Point Race for the year long season, which was called (and imo absolutely rightly, regarding the Formula One system) a great development two years ago.
That does seem a little odd, but only a little, because we all talk about who is #1 for the year, before the year is done. On this board, soon as the AO is over, people will say who is #1 for the year so far. After RG we'll revise our lists, and after Wimbledon and the USO.
But we all then replace those lists at the end of December (just as Tingay did, or Bud Collins, Peter Bodo, etc.) Those are the lists we're talking about here, and it's what Hoodjem's list is about (with a few exceptions for the January Masters, or for some early rounds of the AO that were played before New Year's Day, stuff like that).
That is all very different from Hellberg's evaluation of a twelve-month period running from October to October. So let's wait for Borgforever's post explaining that people were talking about the October-October period, and not the calendar year, back then.
Yes, of course, and the Masters in January as season finales have to be counted into the year ranking.
Yes, you are clearly not trying to convince anyone that Borg was No.1 in 76:?
The facts support Connors being No.1 in 76!
Borg was clearly the best overall player in the 70's, but in 76 Connors had better results than any other player, fact!
Yes, this is a good summary
And I've just read a really interesting article in the Wimbledon 79 First Day programme which covers this debate really nicely. I wish I had a scanner to copy it on here. It was written by Peter Wilson.
And actually in the article it predicts that the punishing way Borg played by pushing his body to the limit, he would suffer too many injuries and have to retire early!
He was right, at least about the retiring early. Some people have compared Nadal to Borg (Yes I know Nadal isn't in the same class), and I think Nadal will retire early in his career also!
That was also said by John Newcombe.
Borg punished his body FAR LESS than Nadal. Borg was a very smooth mover. When he played he was like a ballet dancer, his footsteps were very light. When he played on clay his socks would be clean, almost free of clay as opposed to a Vilas when he played, his socks would be caked in clay. Nadal actually pounds his feet like Vilas more than Borg. The punishment on Nadal's body due to the pounding is huge, especially on hard court. But Nadal is cleanly faster than Vilas. With Borg the damage to his limbs were very minimum. He moved more like a Rosewall than a Nadal. Elegant and economical.
A lot of the comments about Borg hurting his body had to do with his unique style at the time of hitting with great topspin. They figured with the huge loop swing and follow through that Borg would wear down. Well that style is more common now and I don't see that style causing great damage.
It's not 100% clear either way who was number one for 1976.
What is your last point suposed to mean?
Almost nothing in life is 100%!
It is 99% clear that Connors was No.1 for 1976, which is enough for me
Totally correct pc1 about the topspin and that as the main reason for Fortress' bodily damage.
The wood-racquets were the culprit. They had too much vibration to insane-topspin the shots for weeks on end -- tennis-arm was just one of the great dangers. Borg created, or say, reinvented and polished and went to the extremes with a style that was already hyper-efficient and ushered in the more cushioned, absorbing, stiffer and bigger frames that could develop that style without the automatic dangers...
One can say with Borg's injuries in a way that he took one for the future team...
Jimbo333 -- that's fine and well. We are all perfectly entitled to our own opinion, of course.
Just look at the facts, the criterias set as a consensus, study the logic and draw some conclusions...
Borg was more prone to injuries in the shoulder and arm aerias than in the leg muscles. I think, it was Newcombe after his WCT 1974 win, who said that Borg wouldn't last long. Borg had a quite extreme rotation of the upper body, especially on his backhand outswing. But i still wonder, that Connors lasted that long, because the low gravity point of his shots must have put great pressure on his knees.
I don't think it's accurate to say Borg was somehow done physically by 1981-1982. He had injuries, yes, and he was somewhat burned out, yes, but he was certainly not totally washed up in terms of physical injuries. I do think he did need some down time mentally and probably a somewhat reduced playing schedule, given all the matches he had accumulated until then, from the time he turned pro at what, about seventeen?
If Borg had taken rest and healed properly, he could have continued his career if he had chosen to and of course, if somehow the Grand Slam tournaments would have allowed him to play without HAVING to qualify due to not playing in a sufficient number of tournaments.
Borgforever and other posters have alluded to some of this before, but a long vacation would have likely done wonders for his play/outlook on the Sport. Connors and McEnroe, and then later Wilander, Becker, and Lendl dominated in the 1980's. Borg could no doubt compete with all of them, on Clay and all other surfaces. Just look at his track record. One has to wonder that had Borg continued even more modern training (likely getting somewhat stronger and even more fit overall to combat injuries), plus made a shift to more powerful frames (as all others did), and simply played fewer tournaments year in and year out until he was say 30 years of age, what more would he have accomplished? To say he ran away from the game because he was "too banged up" to still compete ate the highest level ignores the realities of playing any sport into your 20's and especially tennis.
See this excerpt/weblink below, which is from an excellent post about Borg in 1982.
See some of the video contained here:
"Though Borg did not play in the number of events that the lords of the sport thought that he should have played in, he was still training and, if anything, his game was actually getting better in some ways; he became stronger and he was serving harder than he ever had before: if you don't believe that or are still convinced that Borg could no longer handle McEnroe after 1981, consider what happened in November 1982 in the Akai Gold Challenge Round Robin; Borg won the event by defeating the number one ranked McEnroe 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 and trouncing Ivan Lendl--who just months later would become the number one ranked player--6-1, 6-4, 6-2. Check out Borg's speed, power and deft shotmaking versus McEnroe."
None of this qualifies as an attempt at detailed argumentation. All I am seeing are more fallacies of appeal to authority in regards to Hellberg.
Your basic point comes down to: "you're wrong, because you don't know your facts and dare to question the authority of the holier-than-thou Hellberg".
That's illogical. Either deal with the argumentation made clearly and concisely and don't bother at all.
Sorry, BF, but I back Krosero on this one.
P.S. I've bolded the most stunningly high-handed and superficial part of the "retort", just so that everyone can see for themselves what does not qualify as an argument. I am still not sure why there is a need for this tone, which is making it that much more difficult for me to remain respectful. Sorry.
Yes, and I should add that I do not think badly of Hellberg as a result of this piece. I just think don't care much of the piece. His whole body of work may be, for all I know, outstanding.
The simple fact that Hellberg decides to judge Borg's accomplishments relative to others from fall '75 to fall '76 still does not change the fact that he fails to attempt even semi-rigorous analysis and interpretation of results.
If someone can find this rigorous analysis for me (actually, forget "rigorous" - a simple argument would do) then I would gladly read it. It may even be correct and worthwhile. But it is not to be found in this thread. Not to mention that not a single poster has bothered to take the initiative and make a strong argument in favour of Borg.
All that I'm seeing is "Hellberg is great and needs not be questioned and those who do question him do not know their facts."
Not even interesting to react against.
give it up already
??? I guess this is true for those who are wearing borg-colored glasses...I mean, come on people. Let's start subtracting titles from connors in 76 now...yah, that's it!
Re: borg's playing style, I agree w/some of the posters feeling that arm injury more likely than anything else. Borg was always "fleet of foot" a fine mover and a glider on the clay. He made it look easy. Whereas the comparison between Vilas and Nadal I think is apt...both with physically taxing playing styles.
I think Borg's motivation level just wasn't there after 81. Certainly, he showed he could still play...in several successive exhibitions with Mac and Jimbo..but that may have been more about making some moolah. If your heart isn't in it....
Just today I was reading something about attitudes toward authorities, in a new book called Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell).
The subject was how airline pilots from different countries have different attitudes, different ways of communicating in high-stress situations, with air traffic controllers. Some pilots are deferential to the controllers, when trying to communicate some problem they might be having with the fuel, the weather, landing issues, medical emergencies, etc. Air traffic controllers are so busy, it can be hard to communicate with them. Other pilots are more assertive in talking to the tower. In high-stress situations, "when push comes to shove, Americans fall back on their American-ness, and that American-ness means that the air traffic controller is thought of as an equal." (p. 206).
It's not that I think of this as a great analogy. That study was about pilots from different cultures, and I think this is more about how a group of individuals can start talking on a debating board and have disagreements about when an authority is being disrespected and when there is mere disagreement. Again I don't say this must be about culture, because what I know about Sweden could fill one short paragraph. If anything we should be speaking about the "cultures" of online debate, or not use any specific terms at all. I just know that this phrase -- "the air traffic controller is thought of as an equal" -- struck me as an American, because I know exactly what the attitude is, not in an airplane cockpit, but on a debating board.
It's an attitude in which logical fallacy #1 (or maybe #2, after the Straw Man) is the appeal to authority. What you want is the content of the argument -- and you resent having names thrown at you with the implication that you must agree or else YOUR competence is going to be insulted. Just give me the arguments, let me decide for myself.
I've seen this online "culture" of debate, for lack of a better term, on a lot of internet boards, and it's a legitimate thing, though I can see how it might appear rude. When I hear Cyborg say that such-and-such authority needs to present a logical argument same as you or me, I know what that attitude is, and I know it's not disrespect. It's not making yourself out to be better than a person in authority, or worse, one way or another. It's not about persons at all (it's not personal). We just want the arguments.
And we want to feel free to disagree with the arguments -- to say, no matter where the argument comes from, this does not look logical to me, or correct, whatever.
Again I'm not making any claim about Swedish culture or even about Borgforever. I'm just trying to explain this way that Cyborg and I (and some other posters here) have of communicating -- trying to explain that it is not disrespect.
And of course, I'm not denying that there are such things as experts. You've got to listen to people with real knowledge, rather than kooks with crazy theories. No doubt about it.
But when authorities disagree among themselves (as they do about 1976), we have no choice but to disagree with some of them. It's literally impossible to pick out one authority and say, "This one is competent, and if you don't agree with him and you agree with the other experts, you're full of baloney."
And how do we know, anyway, which authorities are the best, if we don't continually question them? That's how any authority legitimately passes the test of time -- we question them and find that they can stand up to scrutiny.
First of all as I wrote earlier I thought Connors was number one in that year. However I was trying to point out that I can understand the point when people say Borg was number one in 1976.
Borg won seven tournaments but included in those tournaments were Wimbledon, clearly the top tournament in prestige and that year it had a very strong field and the WCT Championship, also a tournament of great prestige but not quite as high of course as the US Open and Wimbledon.
Connors won twelve tournaments plus the US Open over Borg. Connors had a 100-12 record which was better than Borg's.
So while Connors won more tournaments, Borg won two tournaments of very high prestige and Connors the US Open. Krosero rightly points out that Connors won Philadelphia which is excellent but not quite as prestigious as Dallas.
So does five extra tournaments plus one major outweigh two tournaments of higher prestige in Wimbledon and Dallas . You also have to take into account Borg reached the US Open Final. I think Connors wins out but I don't think it's the slam dunk a lot of you think it is.
I was simply pointing that out.
To gave a different example, in just the previous year Arthur Ashe was number one and by the standards of that time, considering Ashe won Wimbledon and Dallas (sound familiar) he was number one for that year. So if you asked me who was number one for the year I would say Ashe. If you asked me who played the best for the year I would say Connors. I don't recall all the exact stats for the year but I believe Connors won more tournaments than Ashe, was in the final of three majors and had a much higher Games Won Percentage. Connors was also in the finals of three majors. So my opinion for 1975 was that Connors played the best and was the strongest but Ashe won Wimbledon plus the WCT championship and was number one.
The year 1976 in some ways is similar except Connors won the one big match in the US Open that put him over the top in my opinion. Still it's an interesting discussion.
Entirely correct -- CyBorg called Hellberg something like "Schmellberg" and dismissed his SUMMATION as a faulty argument which is incompetent of CyBorg, and not to exclude boorishly arrogant when I clearly have stated that this as a summary of Hellberg's is just that -- a summary -- a conclusion -- from a huge article built on facts and consensus.
I CyBorg doesn't apologize for his disrespect to Hellberg's opinion without even hearing it fully, and CyBorg derogatory use of words is not becoming of a person of understanding.
It's immature pure and simple. He underlines a passage I wrote calling him out saying that's arrogant. Holy Moses! Where's CyBorg's mirror? It's like Dorian Gray's portrait after a lifetime. Maybe he should use the color-image of the portrait from the 1945-film with George Sanders as his avatar. Well, he's not that bad.
CyBorg could've just asked -- "Why does Hellberg think that Björn's achievements are better than Jimmy's in 1976? Please tell me the basis for this statement, I would much appreciate it, if you have the time? Or take you're time, I'm just very curious..."
That's how a decent human would do it. No cheap gallery histrionics and no character assassinations. I guess that's beyond CyB's capabilities as a human being.
I'm getting really tired of and fed up with putting in so much work and still spend too much time finding myself in head-butting against the wall debates. Drones keep pounding their uninformed slogans as if you dare me to present something worthwhile while they don't lift a lazy finger more than abuse.
People questioned me seriously over year -- last time The South of France Tourney was questioned -- and then comes Newmark -- and there's plenty of confirmation yet not seen by people here, and as long as I've seen it that's good enough for me.
Soon -- I will present this last case.
Then I am probably done here on TW -- thank you very much...
For all the years post 76 we've been looking at statistics and strength of tournaments and w/l records and head-to-head records and drawing our conclusions based on those. We may not always agree with each others conclusions because we have not always interpreted the statisctics in the same way. What makes 1976 so special? Why is someone telling us that we don't understand the context of this one particular year?
THE CASES FOR BORG AS WORLD NO. 1 IN 1976 (part 1 of 2)
IMPORTANCE OF TOURNEYS IN THE ERA:
Importance of tournaments 1975, 1976 – consensus among experts and players asked, not only for this specific time-frame but from all his years in tennis and from a tennis-historical perspective – everything compiled by Björn Hellberg:
Almost since the inception of the great international tour was established in tennis it has been placed out in seasons usually with a major-tourney capping the season, to point out that the major-tourney is there as a play-off or final round of the series or season. The other tourneys are there, however important, and some are more important and difficult than others, are still far behind the majors as attractions, trophies and lusts for success.
When the Open Era arrived it was wildly unregulated. Many classical big tourneys either joined one of the invented serie-tourneys, or pirate-leagues as some called them, or stayed independent.
The more important newly invented “major-contenders” were the Grand Prix-series with its slew of tourneys and the WCT-one, both with their own “play-off-final”. But they were too many for me to recount here.
These new concepts attracted different players. Vilas was more on the Grand Prix-tour, while some played more WCT, some like Borg, traversed all over the place in about equal measure.
Hellberg, one of the most respected tennis-stats-men in the business, compiled this following list of the time in question over the most important tournaments.
The problem was that a few absolute elite players ducked out of these different formats, played sporadically, used the system’s confusing weaknesses to their benefit.
Hellberg means that if you skip too many of the important tourneys or series like WCT and GP you were at your own peril, i. e. you disqualify yourself and it goes to the winner of that tourney regardless if the strongest man competed or not. Nunace is extremely important to get the fullest and most important image imaginable of the situation, the facts, records and important results in the majors and the biggest tourneys rule without question – hence Hellberg’s verdict that Vilas must, at least, be co-No. 1 in 1977 when he won two majors and a final at the fourth plus had a lot of back-up triumphs that were pure records.
This is the list of the 10 most important tourneys around 1975-1978:
By far the biggest, stays the same date and surface and has best of five sets matches in each and every of the seven rounds necessary to win the champonship plus that its draw was 128, all players with a decent shot tried to peak their form for this particular tourney did so and it had the strongest draws of all tourneys much because of these features. The fact that it’s called the world championships since the 19-th century and many other factors play in. Since this tourney is so extremely well-regarded, and always have been, by everyone Hellberg produced a points-list for which he received great respect from his collegues and players as very sound and logical. A Wimby-triumph gives you 4 points, the runner-up 3 points, A SF-loss 2 points and a QF-loss 1 point.
USO and RG
The next most important championships with more often than not weaker fields, 128-man draws usually but the surfaces changed like shirts at USO which made it hard for anyone to really build proficiency over a years-long, career trajectory at the major and it’s surface. Worst aspects were that these tourneys had best of three-set matches in the early rounds definitely weakening the obstacle and their strength against Wimby. USO and RG gets 3 points to the winner, 2 points to the runner-up and 1 point to the losing SF-players.
Since AO – although a classic major was suffering heavy for its scheduling-problem (that created the October-season start since AO started in late December and needs build-up, adaptation, like the other majors and was counted as the next seasons first major tourney. The field was much weaker than the other majors and this makes it in-line with the following major-championships:
AO, ROME, WCT-finals in Dallas, GP Masters were the winner gets 2 points while the runner-up 1 point.
Dallas and Masters was the new kids on the block, with money and great organization, great reputation from the players, observers and audiences and were so smoothly and professionally run they had managed to edge themselves ahead of the following next classical big or major championships in prestige:
HAMBURG (6th biggest according to history of the time), JOHANNESBURG (7th biggest classically) and PHILAPELPHIA each giving 1 point to the winner.
The next line tier or level of importance Hellberg mentions several other tiers but he underlines the following group after the above:
NOTTINGHAM, INDIANAPOLIS, TORONTO, US PRO BOSTON (Borg’s self-proclaimed favourite tourney of all time), LOS ANGELES, TEHERAN, BOURNEMOUTH, BARCELONA and GSTAAD.
Not just how one does in these most prestigious tourneys is the main thing, but all comes into account, although great titles amassed always trumps certain other factors such as certain H2Hs and other minor records.
Individual H2Hs has always been hard to make sense of many times. One should look at the entire H2H list for the “most multi-facetted picture” and particularly on the H2H between the year’s top ten players, the best performers of the year and their achievements against one another. That’s all that counts when it comes to H2Hs for a particular year.
Since it is so confusing, and Hellberg was vehemently against the October-end thinking of the season, I have, for contextual purposes in a confusing age, included all results, as much as I have at the moment, from October 1975 to the end of 1976, focusing mainly on 1976 of course, but where there’s a lot of room for interpretation I move into their thinking of the day.
Problem was that every player knew that after USO the majors were over for the year and the YE-champ was thus crowned. The “long” or calendar-out-of-whack sensibility was something everyone was aware of – Urban correctly points out this with his posts earlier in this thread. There’s a book waiting to written about it, that’s how complex it were.
Next post – THE TOP TEN H2Hs and the rest of the argument. Please let me make my case without interruptions since these are my lasts posts on this forum forever…
THE MOST IMPORTANT STATS AND FACTS WITH H2Hs in 1976
H2H between Borg and Connors:
Borg was dominated by Jimmy early on. Björn admitted that he was irrationally afraid of Jimbo since Borg’s game-style wasn’t the very mixed-up, touch and pounce variety that Orantes, Panatta and Nastase did in their sleep and they dominated Jimbo around this time. Borg was usually better against anybody else than Jimbo was so the complex that Borg had factual traction. With more matches as Borg got older he started to turn the tide with extremely close matches from othe other half of the 1976-season and then to ultimately dominate even peak Jimbo to marked degree, things people said Borg couldn’t do in 1975. Quite remarkably showing that Borg’s game wasn’t defunct against to Jimbo’s game-style whatsoever – it was extremely strong - which it certainly already proved itself to be at Wimby 1976.
After Wimby they met only twice – almost going to five-sets at USO-final though Borg had been away from the game for a full month without practice between Wimby and USO and when they met in the Caracas-invitation tourney they went to a deciding set in also a hard-fought match. Next time they played – Jimbo lost. And couldn’t seem to stop losing to Björn…
Jimbo’s many triumphs were made early in the 1976-season when Borg’s form was at its lowest – but when Borg’s form was peak, early summer around the strongest championships and at THE world championships Jimbo weren’t good enough to even reach the SF to face peak Björn. Kind of like Newk losing to Rosewall in the SF at Wimby 1974 to Rosewall missing out on his shot at Jimbo in the biggest tourney in the world – even though Newk dominated Jimbo at AO 1975 which was played in the calendar year of 1974 at least in the USA – , and winning their USO-meeting in September 1973 in straight sets to boot - thus having a ”2-0” in H2Hs over a 15 month time-frame but still no No. 1-cigar for Newk since AO is not Wimby…
The fact of the matter is that Jimbo faced a Björn in Rafa-bad form and when Borg was playing his best tennis and won his greatest titles, Wimby, WCT and Boston – Jimbo either pulled out, retired or went down in flames even before he had a chance to fight the chilliest Ice Man.
Some may not agree with these facts saying that Jimbo did indeed face the strongest Borg since it’s also a fact that Jimmy Connors won every important meeting with Björn Borg between them from 1977 to 1981, right!? There wasn’t any transition going on whatsoever they say, and then they wake up with the pillow in their ear…
John Barrett was woken up…
Now, we proved there’s reasonable doubt as to their individual H2H in the context of the direct future, and the lack of meetings between them in big tourneys – except out-of-form Borg at USO-battle – they met in smaller events and there was a lot of nuance.
But the most important, classic stat to weigh in when it comes to H2Hs and true-season consistency one has to scrutinize their H2H with closest rivals – your fiercest, most difficult rivals, the other guys with the finest form on display during this year.
Time for more facts, in fact…
H2H’s for Borg and Jimbo against their strongest rivals…
ARGUABLE TOP TEN 1976 ACCORDING TO LEADING EXPERTS
With the player at the top based on the conclusions of Björn Hellberg, Barrett’s revised conclusion, Tennis Magazine (France) and what the ATP players themselves voted as the PLAYER OF THE YEAR having the finest achievements (Borg H2H-number for the year comes first and Jimbo’s next to his right):
3. Nastase (B:6-6 C: 1-4)
4. Panatta (B:4-2 C:N/A)
5. Vilas (B:5-1 C:1-0)
6. Solomon (B:3-0 C:1-0)
7. Dibbs (B:2-0 C:3-0)
8-10. Orantes (B:2-0 C:N/A)
Tanner (B:1-0 C:4-1)
Gottfried (B:2-1 C:2-1)
Ramirez (B:2-0 C: 4-1)
Fibak (B:2-1 C:1-0 -- Borg meeting Fibak late in 1976 when Fibak was peaking and still lead their H2H)
Most rankers uncluded these players for the 1976 season as the top ten, hence there’s 12 in the top 10 since it’s arguable that they could share that spot or perhaps be ranked higher.
Except Connors - Borg met all top tenners, inclding his fiecrest rivals many times, a whopping 37 times in 1976!
Borg arguably wins 27 times and loses 10 against the best of 1976 in tourneys for a winning percentage of 73%.
Except Borg - Connors met ONLY 10 of 12 arguable top tenners in tourneys for the year 1976 -- a meager 22 times!
Connors wins 14 times and loses 8 times for a 64% winning percentage in this stat and that is without even facing-off against two of his most fierce rivals at this time experiencing the best form of their life, namely Orantes -- who had 3-0 H2H with Jimbo 1975-1977 and the great Adriano Panatta, who had his best year in 1976 and had a 2-0 H2H against Jimmy 1975-1977 – 1-0 in 1975 -- but Jimmy was accused of avoiding certain players and their tourneys and he was widely asked why he always bowed out of certain tourneys when his prospects looked to bleak. He never answered.
Jimbo also faced his most fierce opponent Nastase six times for the year and was almost blowouted five times out of those six. At the Nottingham-final on grass Jimbo was saved by the weather, the bell actually, against a peak form Nastase.
So their H2H was 1-4 to the great Romanian in only five real, finished meetings.
Borg, of course, according to the players themselves and such thought Borg way stronger than Jimmy and didn’t have the luxuries of only meeting three of the toughest, form-peaking players only five times during 1976.
In 1976 Borg met Panatta, Orantes and Nastase a whopping 20 times and won 14 times.
Borg faced all arguable top tenners almost 40 times – nearly twice as many times as Jimmy did, who played much easier draws in lesser tourneys for long stretches of the year and still only playing 10 out of the arguable 12 best players with the best results – not even meeting his most dangerous opponents at all in their finest form of their lives in several cases.
That cannot be overlooked.
Comprehensive victory for Borg in this stat as the pros themselves said as a great majority.
It’s hard fact, pure and simple.
The H2Hs for Jimmy in 1976 torpedoes his case for No. 1 in many ways.
The fact that Jimbo didn’t face his most difficult rivals in the top ten in 1976 a lot of times, in fact he never played Panatta in his peak year 1976 but lost to Adriano late in 1975 and didn’t face Orantes in 1976 either although he lost to him easy both in 1975 and 1977 – the only two meetings they had between 1975-1977.
Anyone entertain the idea that Adriano would’ve been easy for Jimbo 1976?!
Well, in that case you’re quite alone harboring that view around informed circles.
NEXT AND LAST POST: TOURNEY WINS…
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