WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

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

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I do not accept this differential. The USO must be ranked equal to Wimbledon in the Open Era. Yes, Wimbledon may have more "class," tradition, or stuffiness but that does not translate to more points. The notion that the USO "changes surfaces like shirts" is witty but irrelevant.

    Actually, if one thinks that surfaces are determinative, then I believe that one could make the better case that because grass is such a rarefied surface in the modern game that--we should take our tradition-tinted pince nez off--Wimbledon should be ranked lower than the USO. (I am not advocating for this, merely pointing out a sui extremis argument.)
     
  2. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    Hood -- before I move into my next post, this was only the consensus among players and observers THAT WIMBY IS BIGGER THAN ALL and how do you figure that it is just as hard to win 1976 USO, which only demands 18 sets as a minimum of winning the title -- while you have to win 21 sets to win Wimby in a stronger field?

    And Wimby is always on he same surface -- which means that by personal trial and error you can correct yourself and have opportunty to evolve further season by season on that surface, building proficiency -- wouldn't you agree?

    Laver only played USO on one place. After five-six years he knew what was going to happen. And adapted and prepped -- no one was coming with "no the grass is gone this year, now we have slippery, green-plastic clay surface that's much slower but slippery and completely different. You better hurry up guys because in three years, while you get better acquinted, we'll change it again!!!

    To very fast HC cement...

    Three new beginnings for Borg and the others and it wasn't his home-court and no one said USO was equal to Wimby in prestige.

    That has just never happened...

    Just curious why you're at odds with this consensus?
     
  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I would agree that number of sets is germane, but not immutability of surfaces. (Sorry, I had forgotten that the '76 USO was only best of three sets in rounds one through three. Why the heck did they do that? In 1969 it was best of five in all rounds.)

    If Wimbledon went to . . . (mein gott, can we even hypothetically say it without horror?) . . . carpet, would it be the same as the old Wimbledon? No of course not, but should it be awarded the same number of points as any other big, traditional, national tournament with large draws? Yes of course.

    Yes, you could award more points for size of the draw, number of rounds and number of sets required, or quality of players entering (pace AO 1970s), but the surface is a given.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Not sure what else to add here. “Hellberg Schmellberg” is Yiddish/American humor. I use it myself (it’s very popular in New York), especially when disagreeing with people I consider friends. It’s not an insult.

    And the fact that Hellberg’s article is a summation was not clear, certainly not to me. You introduced it by saying that Hellberg had written a “year end article about who's No. 1 in 1976.” You presented it as coming from his tennis yearbook, published in January 1977. From our perspective it looked like you were giving us the content, the full argument.

    Anyway now you’re giving us his arguments fleshed-out, in your recent long posts. Fair enough.

    I may not have time to analyze your posts this weekend but I will get to it.
     
  5. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    Here are the top players in draws for Borg and Connors tourament wins.
    They are all the players who feature in the 1975 and 76 year-end top 10

    Jimmy Connors

    Wembley Connors
    Nastase
    Ramirez
    Orantes
    Solomon
    Gottfried
    Tanner
    Dibbs

    Cologne Connors
    Gottfried
    Solomon

    US Open Connors
    Ashe
    Solomon
    Vilas
    Ramirez
    Dibbs
    Alexander
    Tanner
    Nastase
    Panatta
    Orantes
    Gottfried
    Borg

    Indianapolis Connors
    Dibbs
    Orantes
    Solomon
    Ramirez
    Gottfried
    Vilas

    North Conway Connors
    Dibbs
    Ashe
    Rosewall
    Gottfried
    Ramirez
    Orantes

    Washington Ramirez
    Gottfried
    Solomon
    Tanner
    Ashe
    Dibbs
    Connors

    Las Vegas Connors
    Tanner
    Panatta
    Rosewall
    Solomon
    Gottfried
    Ashe

    Denver Rosewall
    Gottfried
    Ramirez
    Alexander Retired
    Connors

    Palm Springs Ashe
    Solomon
    Rosewall
    Nastase Retired
    Tanner
    Laver
    Gottfried
    Borg
    Alexander
    Ramirez
    Connors

    Hampton Connors
    Nastase

    Philadelphia Borg
    Alexander
    Nastase Retired
    Dibbs
    Tanner
    Solomon
    Ashe
    Gottfried
    Ramirez
    Laver
    Connors

    Birmingham Tanner
    Connors

    Bjorn Borg

    Boston Connors
    Ramirez
    Gottfried
    Orantes
    Solomon
    Alexander
    Dibbs
    Vilas
    Panatta
    Borg

    Wimbledon Ashe
    Ramirez
    Nastase
    Alexander
    Panatta
    Vilas
    Gottfried
    Borg
    Tanner
    Connors

    Dusseldorf Borg
    Orantes

    WCT Finals Solomon
    Ashe
    Borg
    Dibbs
    Ramirez
    Vilas

    Sao Paulo Vilas
    Borg

    Toronto Nastase
    Borg
     
  6. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    Tournament Wins For Bb & Jc 1976

    Borg in majors in 1976: won Wimby, finals/runner-up at USO, QF at RG, no AO, won WCT, finals/runner-up at the Masters could be included thus.

    Borg in regular tourneys in 1976: won 11 tournaments, excluding Wimby and WCT, they include US Pro Boston, Toronto WCT, Sao Paolo WCT, Düsseldorf, Jalisco Guadalajara Tennis Tournament (draws include Laver and Jimbo-nightmares Vilas and Nastase), Marlbouro Tennis Tournament Mexico City (draw includes same line up as Guadalajara), Hilton Head (Laver and Ashe), Michigan Invitational Tennis Tournament Detroit (Gerulaitis and Laver) and finally Pondus Cup Copenhagen (draws include Jimbo nightmares Nastase, Panatta and late-season peaking Fibak).

    Borg was in the finals twice runner-up -- then at USO and big Philadelphia-tourney.

    Connors in majors in 1976: won USO, QF at Wimby, no AO, no RG, no WCT, no Masters.

    Connors in regular tourneys in 1976: 13 tournaments won, excluding USO – his only strong result in the 6 biggest tourneys – they are Birmingham, Philadelphia WCT, Hampton, Palm Springs, Denver WCT (april), Las Vegas, Washington, North Conway, Indianapolis, Köln, Wembley and Kent championships.

    Connors was the runner-up in finals 4 times – 5 times counting the aborted for weather Nottingham-final.

    Evaluation: Regarding the major-champs and including the 6 biggest of the day Borg’s record is clearly stronger than Connors, his everybody all-unclusive H2Hs with best rivals he shows more strength than Jimmy and in the lesser events there is not a big difference in Jimbo’s favor, especially considering that Jimmy DID NOT MEET HIS TOUGHEST RIVALS who had an H2H edge on him.

    Jimmy has a strong, although very nuanced, H2H lead over Borg in their scattered meetings over the year…

    Personally, and still I think that Mac was No. 1 for 1983, on strength of Wimby and Mats almost total flunk-out at that super important tourney. For me it’s kind of 1975 again. I understand the Wilander-argument and it’s, IMO, a great one, but still AO is not Wimby but if someone has them equal or Mats at the top I understand. But it is not my opinion.

    Short comparison between 1975 with 1976:

    Briefly looking over the year Ashe only beat Jimbo once in his career, Wimby-final 1975, they never met that year any other place as far as I know. Ashe lost all their meetings before and after this meeting. His win at Wimby against Borg, Roche and Jimbo was seen as a truly sensational performance against age and odds with supreme skill. I agree.

    Ashe in majors, next to majors in 1975: no RG or AO, won Wimby and WCT and was R3 at USO.

    Ashe in regular tourneys in 1975: won 8 tourneys and was in 4 finals.

    Ashe lost 17 times over the season.

    Jimbo in majors in 1975: no RG, no WCT-finals, finals/runner-up at AO, Wimby (did not lose a set going into the final!) and USO.

    Jimbo in regular tourneys in 1975: won 9 tourneys and was in 5 other finals.

    Jimbo lost 10 times over the season.

    Jimbo miles stronger in consistency. I haven’t studied their H2Hs with the ranked top ten 1975 but I guess Jimmy is leading that greater H2H-study – but as I said, I haven’t the time to study it…

    IMO – Ashe still, and according to other experts in consensus and I share their opinion, was the true No. 1 for many torney wins and winning Wimby in incredible style and capping the WCT.

    Quote from the wiki-ranking-page:
    ” In particular Connors has been ranked #1, at the end of the year, from 1974 to 1978 by the ATP but the majority disagreed the computer rankings : for instance in 1975 all the journalists (among them John Barrett, Bud Collins, Barry Lorge, Judith Elian) ranked Arthur Ashe as the number 1 in the world while his ATP ranking was only 4th; in 1977, no one, except the ATP ranking, considered that Connors was the best player in the world, and everyone thought that Borg and Vilas were tennis kings; and in 1978 everyone and in particular the ITF recognized that the Swede was the World Champion. In 1982 and in 1989 respectively Connors and Becker both winners of Wimbledon and the US Open were considered as World Champions even though the ATP ranked respectively McEnroe and Lendl as number 1.”

    Hellberg reports: “In 1975 a majority as behind Ashe, in 1976 it was a split with Borg and Connors, pretty much 50-50 among serious observers, and in 1977, while a majority went with either Vilas or Borg, or both, some were adamant on Connors. In 1978, with the confusion even more growing, so to stem the ceaseless tide of confusing debate Fred Perry, Don Budge and Lew Hoad was called in to declare the world champion, based on all available data. Their unanimous decision came quickly:

    Björn Borg was the world champion for 1978. Some joked “For some players it takes three Wimbledon-victories in a row to called No. 1! Isn’t that strange…?”
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  7. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    All numbers are maybe not totally exact but they're not ballpark and very precise. I usually spend a couple of weeks cross-referencing and verifying and have only spent about 8 hours on this now -- which is all care to spend with such a climate here. Even that's too much...

    Anyhoo -- I counted Borg as having 12 losses and Jimmy 9...
     
  8. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    If i go to a Super Nine concept, i see Borg winning 1 major (with 1 runner-up)plus 2 Super Nine (WCT Dallas, Boston US pro) and Connors winning 1 major plus 4 Super Nine: Philadephia US pro Indoor with a at least 64 field draw, Palm Springs (the ATP event became important since 1974 and had a very good draw), Las Vegas (the Alan King event was the most lucrative with very good draw) and Wembley. Also the Indianapolis event was a solid middle class event.
    I must say, i heard the Nastase-Connors Nottingham match live (in those times the radio transmission by Max Robertson and his BBC team substituted for me the lacking TV experience in Germany). It was called the finest grass match of the year for its majestic shotmaking despite falling rain. It was a very even match and called a draw at one set all, when the players couldn't get a grip anymore on the damp court.
     
  9. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Thanks for the info about Nottingham. My source indeed said it was a fascinating and great encounter but that Nastase was having the "overall" grip of the match. The remaining view according to this source was that Nastase was absolutely magnificent and considering that they were indeed 11-3 in H2Hs at the end of 1976, so no the road looked like one way. I didn't knew they were even at 1-all in sets when the weather torpedoed the match -- if the match was closer than I stated then I stand corrected.
     
  10. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    You missed my point and got mad at me because you completely misunderstood my position.

    I never disrespected Hellberg. I simply said that a) The Hellberg piece provided did not qualify as a strong argument in favour of Borg, and b) leaning on Hellberg as an authority figure as a pretense of making an argument is fallacious. Hence "Hellberg Schmellberg". I do not follow why you bother to take offense at my comments and then wonder why I did not ask you to elaborate upon Hellberg's points. You said very clearly yourself that you were looking for reactions about Hellberg's piece - and I clearly reacted to it. I was both critical and harsh, but restricted my comments specifically to the quality of the argumentation. I did not a) equate his argumentation with yours, b) suggest that the piece was completely representative of his entire point of view. However, judging by the way the piece was written, it was reasonable to expect at least a clear summary of argumentation considering that the article did conclude with a strong and adamant claim of Borg's superiority to Connors in 1976. Therefore I urge you to reconsider your stance towards me, for neither did I a) attack your argumentation, nor b) attack Hellberg's overall point of view (for I am not privy to all of it). Rather I criticized the arguments limited to the piece of journalism provided and concluded that they were quite poor. A summary is supposed to "sum up" all of the arguments. And there are no arguments there. Sorry.

    You may either make a honest attempt to understand my position (and address it) or you can get needlessly emotional and demand an apology with threats of leaving the board.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  11. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Review of BF's important points and some comments. If I missed anything vital do let me know.

    - important events were the grand prix series and the wct tour

    - players could not afford to skip many of these important events .. I think that this is a very good opening point and one is inclined to agree here .. even without Connors, Dallas WCT was an extremely important event.

    - in other words, Connors skipping Dallas WCT was inexcusable .. in my opinion this is a bit strong, but nonetheless I feel that the draw of the event was sufficiently strong and its reputation also strong until it began to phase out in later years.

    - Jimmy was most successful when Borg wasn't playing well .. don't buy this part at all .. BF simply cherrypicks his point here - he decides when it is that Borg is playing well and isn't playing well and cannot prove it .. also Borg, for some odd reason, can afford to not play well, but Connors can't. Not sure why.

    - When Bjorn was playing well, Jimmy wasn't making finals or simply pulled out .. not analyzed and using extremely vague language

    - Wimbledon is more important than the other two key majors (US Open and the French) - a strong case not really made here; simply stated as fact with some superficial numbers thrown in. I think that this is a brazen claim, and shouldn't be just brushed over.

    - top-10 players faced: strongest argument, but fails to take into account the fact that most of these players were claycourters who didn't do well enough on Jimmy's best surfaces in order to play him .. this point also argues against itself, because just early BF argued against h2h logic (eg. it doesn't matter if you beat a player, as long as you beat another player that beat that player) .. a stronger argument here would have been simply to check how good the draws of Connors's best events were (that is, how many top-10 players played), rather than simply looking at the number of times Connors faced off against them.

    The Connors-Nastase argument is a similar h2h trap - if one is to use their h2h in an argument for Borg, then one is just as open to use the Borg-Connors h2h fact in the argument - this decides nothing .. however if one can prove that Connors faced poor draws on a consistent basis, then and only then can one perhaps dispel the myth that Connors had as strong a year as would perhaps be assumed. David_86's post provides some data on this which appears to at least be useful and I am looking at it right now.

    - Connors's win at the US Open is his only strong result in the six biggest tourneys .. not sure I follow this .. I don't believe BF has made a sufficiently strong argument for why Philadelphia and Indianalopolis do not count here .. we already know that BF doesn't judge events in terms of draws, meaning that he looks at them in terms of how they were perceived at the time - a very difficult argument to make, because it requires very specific proof, rather than hearsay which is what he provides. I and many here would agree (including SgtJohn) that Philadelphia and Indianapolis would qualify as adjusted masters events based on the quality of their fields. I am not even mentioning Las Vegas and Palm Spring here, which were also quite big events as urban mentions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Lots of excellent information to examine. Seems very close. I'll look at it further. Super work.
     
  13. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, you are still not trying to convince anyone that Borg was No.1 in 76 ahead of Connors:?

    At some point you may realise that you are in the minority, will always be in the minority and are actually wrong, but I doubt it!
     
  14. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    There is a lot of detailed information. But this is ruined by his opinion of the facts. It is not very close as to who was No.1 in 76, it is maybe quite close, but there is an agreed No.1 for 76 by the majority, and that person is Jimmy Connors, fact!
     
  15. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Look up 'argumentum ad populum'. The likely fact that most journos or historians referred to Connors as #1 does not mean that we should now stop thinking and refer to what they say as fact. A commonly similar but opposite position would be a contrarian one - siding with arguments outside of the majority simply out of some odd victim complex.

    The value is in the quality of the argumentation, always. The popular opinion may or may not be an informed one. It is also possible for people to come to a shared conclusion by means of very different processes of reasoning.
     
  16. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    1976

    Fact: Borg did not beat Connors H2H all year
    Fact: USO = Wimby in terms of GS value
    Fact: Connors beat BORG in USO final on CLAY, his best surface
    Fact: Connors won many more tournaments than Borg
    Fact: Connors was ranked #1

    Why the debate to change history and make Bjorn # 1 for '76 continues seems to defy any acceptance of the reality of the results.

    To twist and turn the results, define new exceptions, and put new arbitrary values on the tourneys and their respective fields, really won't change what happened.

    Jimmy was better than Bjorn in '76

    Get over it people...
     
  17. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Bad post. You can do better than this. All you've done is list some facts and some claims that do not qualify as facts. You have not made any relational points, which is always the first step to constructing an argument.

    - USO/Wimbledon is debatable .. there's no 'fact' there. I have my own point of view about this

    - green clay was not Borg's best surface

    - Connors was also ranked #1 in 1978, so this part is irrelevant

    This post makes an absurd appeal to common sense that I see sometimes around here, by claiming that something is obvious based on a dubious and reductive presentation of facts and claims. Saying that something is simple and obvious does not make it simple and obvious.

    There were many similar posts in the Borg/Vilas 1977 thread, mostly in favour of Vilas.
     
  18. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I agree.

    But, Connors is No.1 in 76, we can discuss it further, but the same conclusion will be arrived at!

    I am a fair Connors fan, and I think that in the 70's Borg was the better player overrall, but in 76, Connors had the better results. Only a biased Borg fan would say Borg is No.1 in 76, fact!
     
  19. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Even some "facts" seem rather dubious, or at least debatable. Take no. 2 here, for example.
    History is being re-written all the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  20. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    One last point that just came to mind. In his point on H2H I've noticed that BF counts a lot of results from exhibition tournaments, which I believe unfairly swells up Borg's numbers. For example, he lists Borg and Nastase as having met up 12 times, but a lot of the matches there are from relatively meaningless exo events. Subtracting stuff like Guadalajara and Mexico city, we get Borg and Nastase having met up I think three times, based on my data.

    Similarly, when Mac and Borg met to play a three-match exhibition in 1981 I would not seriously consider those results in relation to the actual tour; nor would I count them in the h2h.

    However, BF takes those numbers in the service of an argument that Borg met top-10 players more often than Connors. That doesn't fly with me.
     
  21. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, he is clearly one of these biased Borg fans that I'm talking about!

    Connors is No.1 for 76, fact!
     
  22. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    And you're not biased at all. ;)
     
  23. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    History is a narrative, written by the loud and the strong at the expense of the silent and the weak. :)
     
  24. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    No, I don't consider myself biased at all. Like I said Borg was the better player in the 70's than Connors overrall!

    And for example in 77, I have changed my mind as I thought Borg/Connors/Vilas were all equal, but after looking at all the analysis, I would put Connors slightly behind the other 2!

    But for 76, I have looked at all the analysis and it is a fact that the No.1 was Connors, he had the better results for sure!
     
  25. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.:)
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Your statement about history is correct. For example in 1964 Rosewall was recognized as the number one pro and having the best year. Now I would venture to say the majority of us here would say Laver had the best year in 1964.

    I'm going to stay open minded on this debate on 1976 until I examine all the information in more detail. The 1976 Pepsi Grand Slam was a legit tournament that Borg won in 1976 over Laver and Ashe for example. The players were trying their best.

    Like I wrote before superficially I would tend to think Connors had the slight edge that 1976.
     
  27. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Actually Borg didn't play Pepsi in 1976. Nastase won it that year.
     
  28. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I'm glad you did take the time, because it's had a great effect on the thread, for you to present full detailed arguments. All this detail about any year in tennis, is always interesting to read and great to have, great to debate.

    Besides that, in these last posts you've now said that your choice for 1983 is McEnroe alone. Sometimes people change their mind and it's merely flip-flopping, but that was not the case here. The reason you gave was because of Wilander's poor performance at Wimbledon, a tournament that holds great importance in your 1976 argument. So this is no flip-flop. Instead you're lining up your arguments, making them consistent. And I have to say I admire that.
     
  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I am on the road this weekend and just checking in quickly. I want to reply in more detail, and on first reading I can tell I have certain problems with your arguments (Cyborg's critiques so far look very strong), which I'll get into as I have time.

    For now, just this little point above. It's not really clear whether you mean Panatta or Orantes, but in either case, your stats in the part I've bolded above are not accurate. Connors lost to Panatta in Stockholm in '75 and Houston '77 in two straight sets each time, but he beat Panatta in Dallas in '77 in three straight sets.

    And Connors lost to Orantes in straights at 75 USO and 77 Indianapolis, but also beat him in straights at the '77 USO and the January Masters. That win over Orantes on USO clay was one of Jimmy's best wins, 2, 4 and 3, one of his most dominating performances.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  30. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think, Connors beat Orantes in 1976 in straight sets in one of those Riordan heavyweight matches at Las Vegas. It was a fiasco, because Orantes was virtually a no show. And those winner take all matches died with it.
     
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I meant WITC. An error I was going to correct now but you saw it. Great observation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Moi aussi. I posted this list, in the first place, to provoke such debate in an attempt to "get to the truth" (whatever that might be).

    I think 1964, 1976, and 1983 are those years in which exactly this kind of debate might get us closer to a "correct" selection. (Right now I am also leaning toward Connors for 1976, but I am not calling anyone "clueless" or biased or a total idiot or someone eho knows nothing about tennis. It is simply my temporary opinion that I hope is a good one, but maybe not as good as it will be in six months. Differences of opinion can happen among intelligent, well-informed, reasonable persons.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I orginally had all three listed for 1977, but have been persuaded by logical and worthy points to delete Connors name.
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Using the point system laid out by Sgt. John's list, 1983 would look like an easy year to call: McEnroe. (Indeed it would suggest that Wilander should be ranked fourth, behind Noah and Connors.)

    But is this the whole picture?
     
  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I admired the effort by St. John and yes it makes some sense the partial major credit but I don't want to seem like the it's a fact that certain majors are rated .5 major and another .742322 major. There's no really accuracy to the fractions.

    Check Wilander's opponents at the Australian in 1983.

    Australian Open Australia
    GS 29 Nov 1983 to 11 Dec 1983 Entry: DA Grass (O)
    128 B () BYE
    64 W Ben TESTERMAN (USA) 6-4 4-6 6-7 6-3 6-2
    32 W Roscoe TANNER (USA) 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-1
    16 W Paul MCNAMEE (AUS) 6-4 6-2 7-6
    QF W Johan KRIEK (USA) 6-3 6-4 7-6
    SF W John MCENROE (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-3
    FR W Ivan LENDL (TCH) 6-1 6-4 6-4

    This is a very very strong list of opponents. I've seen a lot of majors won with a far less impressive list of opponents.

    Others in the tournament were a young Edberg, Tim Mayotte, Teltscher, Brian Teacher, Phil Dent, a very young Pat Cash (who was in the US Open semi next year), Vitas Gerulaitis. It was pretty good field and Wilander defeated the top contenders. I wouldn't call this a .5 major.

    Like I said it's very dangerous to change the status of a major from year to year. Wilander defeated Kriek, McEnroe and Lendl in consecutive rounds, winning nine of ten sets. It's a superb performance. Certainly in my opinion a more impressive list of opponents than for example Jimmy Connors had in winning the Wimbledon in 1974 even given the fact Wilander had a bye in the first round. McEnroe was certainly a better grass court player than anyone Connors played at Wimbledon in 1974, Kriek won two consecutive Aussie titles and while grass wasn't Lendl best surface, he still was a very good grass player.


    Jimmy Connor's opponents at Wimbledon 1974.
    Wimbledon Great Britain
    GS 24 Jun 1974 to 06 Jul 1974 Entry: DA Grass (O)
    128 W Ove BENGTSON (SWE) 6-1 7-9 6-2 6-4
    64 W Phil DENT (AUS) 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 10-8
    32 W Adriano PANATTA (ITA) 6-2 7-5 6-2
    16 W Jaime FILLOL (CHI) 6-3 5-7 6-0 6-1
    QF W Jan KODES (TCH) 3-6 6-3 6-3 6-8 6-3
    SF W Dick STOCKTON (USA) 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4
    FR W Ken ROSEWALL (AUS) 6-1 6-1 6-4

    The thing is where does it end? If you devalue the Australian, do you make the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic the equivalent of two majors since it was prestigious and Laver won 13 matches without a loss against super competition. Are the people sure of the fractions? Does Federer's French count for less because he didn't play Nadal? (Incidentally I don't think a lot of these arguments are true but I'm using it to show how far it can go. Clearly the previous comment on Federer I do NOT believe.) Is Dallas better than a major in the 1970's and when was it devalued?
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    "In 1971, Laver successfully defended his title at the Tennis Champions Classic, winning 13 consecutive winner-take-all matches against top opponents and US$160,000. "

    I would love to know the scores and opponents Laver faced at the 1971 TCC. Does anyone know these?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  37. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I should clarify:

    1) SgtJohn's adjusted majors was a way to guage who the best players were in terms of the way players performed against other best players. It was not a system of establishing what the true majors were in the eyes of populace/media/players. At least that's not the way I interpreted it.

    2) SgtJohn looked at the quality of draws, not opponents as an indicative of the event's depth.
     
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand that CyBorg so that's why I pointed out the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic and the amount of matches Laver played as one of the problems with doing that. I like SgtJohn's idea but there are so many problems and traps with doing that for past years.
     
  39. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Sorry, I don't see your point. I don't have the results of the 1971 TCC on me, but if Laver played the best players then what is the problem with counting that as a top-four event?

    You added also a question if Federer's RG should be devalued because he didn't play Nadal and that's a complete non-point, because the draw was still strong and included Nadal.

    It is important to understand why SgtJohn went through the trouble of adjusting majors. There is absolutely no reason of doing this for the current years, because the tour is standardized. We know what the important events are and that the best players are participating in them.

    SgtJohn set out to find the best attended events for eras past when the tour was not standardized in order to find out which players were the most successful. It's useful stuff.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  40. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Check out http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=273248
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just a minor note. Some of the 7-5 scores listed I believe were actually 6-5 scores because I believe they played a tiebreak after 5-5. Krosero mentions that in the link.

    The next to last match that Okker played Laver in which he lost 6-1 6-4 6-3 in straights sets apparently was a match in which Okker said he played as well as he ever had played.

    I'll quote from The Fireside Book of Tennis--At one point Okker caught Rod flat-footed in the forecourt but Laver, in desperation, raced backward, caught up with the ball, ran around it and put it away. Okker dropped his racket in astonishment and the spectators, even the umpire in the chair, howled in disbelief and admiration.

    In the locker room, Okker declared flated that he had played as well as he had ever played, perhaps better than he had ever played, "but I was never even in the match. I couldn't believe some of those shots. He couldn't believe them himself." Okker moaned.


    I wished I could have seen that match. Okker was fabulous when he was on his game and if he played as well as he ever did and got crushed, how well was Laver playing??

    I wonder if anyone in the history of tennis ever played such a field and so many matches unbeaten to win a tournament. Rod was lucky in that he was able to rest between matches and I believe for one match in 1971, as long as he was healthy and rested he was still the best player in the world.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  42. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    PC1, from the videos I've watched of Laver against Connors/Borg in 1975-1976, and then also the older videos of him say in the 1960's, he does look extremely impressive. I love his footwork and racquet preparation and sheer "point construction". He definitely had a great offensive style and wonderful mechanics, as well as unbelievable sheer "tennis talent". Okker was very tough well into the 1970's, so I'm sure Laver was playing "barnburning tennis" back then. Again, I would contend that if you could equalize for racquet technology alone (both players playing with equal technology level, either direction, both new or both old), even Federer and Nadal would have great difficulty beating Laver in his prime. They would be very tough matches I think. I think the same applies when you talk about any of the all time greats facing off: Laver, Borg, Sampras, and Federer. Could you imagine that hypo Round Robin tournament?
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It would be wonderful to see these players in their primes, assuming they adapt to the equipment to be able to play each other.

    Incidentally the match that was probably the greatest between Borg and Laver was played in the semi of the WCT championship in 1975. Borg won in five sets after trailing two sets to one. I've seen some highlights of it in the past and the rallies were superb. Borg lost to Ashe in the final.
     
  44. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Yes, PC1..I've read a lot about that 5 setter..with Laver PAST his prime and Borg BEFORE his prime...but have never seen any video. Have you by chance? I think those 2 really respected each other. Laver has always been such a Gentleman when discussing Borg and other players. He's very tennis wise. I think Borg really admired the way he carried himself on the court and played the game. Borg was surely influenced by him. I think the Aussies admired Borg's "old school" no "horsing around on the Court" sort of approach. Yes, we can only dream about those hypo matches..
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    There was a highlight videotape of the 1975 WCT championship. I don't know where you can find it.

    Edit--I could be wrong. I was making the assumption that like the 1972 WCT Championship, there is a highlight video. Now I've seen a show with the highlight of the 1975 WCT championship years ago and if I recall the actor Charleton Heston was the narrator but I am not sure if they made a videotape of it like the 1971 and 1972 WCT Championships. I would tend to think they did do one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Borg's exos are also an issue for me, in Borgforever's list of tourney victories in 1976.

    For H2H, counting exos is one thing, and probably there are still problems with doing it (particularly if the exo results are very different from the official matches). I know Borgforever uses unofficial matches and has Borg ahead of Mac at 10-7 rather than 7-7 as it is officially at the ATP. Right or wrong, at least both players are getting extra matches, extra chances to win.

    With tournament wins, however, whatever is done to lift Borg's numbers has to be done for everyone else. Or at least it should be done for Connors, if he's being compared directly to Borg.

    In short, how many exos did Jimmy play and why not count them?

    Okay, apart from exos:

    ATP WEBSITE

    Connors:
    (12 titles) Wembley (Indoor/Carpet) , Cologne (Indoor/Carpet) , US Open (Outdoor/Clay) , Indianapolis (Outdoor/Clay) , North Conway (Outdoor/Clay) , Washington (Outdoor/Clay) , Las Vegas (Outdoor/Hard) , Denver WCT (Indoor/Carpet) , Palm Springs (Outdoor/Hard) , Hampton (Indoor/Carpet) , Philadelphia WCT (Indoor/Carpet) , Birmingham (Indoor/Carpet)

    (3 runner-up) WCT Challenge Cup (Outdoor/Hard) , La Costa (Outdoor/Hard) , Salisbury (Indoor/Carpet)

    Borg:
    (6 titles) Boston (Outdoor/Clay) , Wimbledon (Outdoor/Grass) , Dusseldorf (Outdoor/Clay) , Dallas WCT (Indoor/Carpet) , Sao Paulo WCT (Indoor/Carpet) , Toronto Indoor WCT (Indoor/Carpet)

    (2 runner-up) US Open (Outdoor/Clay) , Philadelphia WCT (Indoor/Carpet)


    BUD COLLINS' BOOK:

    Win/loss:
    Connors -- 100-12
    Borg -- 63-14

    Tournaments won/played:
    Connors -- 13 of 23
    Borg -- 7 of 19


    BORGFOREVER'S LIST:

    There was a post of Borg's exos by "Mats":
    (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=234431)

    And a shorter list by Carlo:

     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  47. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Krosero,

    I could be wrong but I recall the Avis Cup were legit matches shown on television. It wasn't just an exhibition. One of the last matches Laver and Rosewall played was in the Avis Cup in which Rosewall defeated Laver. My memory of that match was that Laver was really ticked off the way the match was going. If it was just an exhibition, he certainly did a great acting job.

    Of course Hilton Head was legit also.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    So what should be counted? What counts merely as an exhibition?

    Laver's Dunlop Open victory in Sydney is not listed at the ATP (last time I checked), but around here we've talked about how it might have been one of the "adjusted majors" of 1970. Without it, could Laver even be #1 for the year?

    The 1970 and '71 Tennis Champions Classic series that Laver won are also not listed at the ATP, but they were huge events. Again, could Laver be #1 in '71 without that series?

    Of course it was no regular tournament. It was spaced out over months, with plenty of rest in between matches. So how do you count it? Laver played more matches in it than he ever played in a major, but he didn't have to do it over two weeks. Like he said, it was essentially a series of one-night stands.

    And what about those one-nighters from mid-century? Those were not tournaments either, but you never hear anyone saying that they were "mere exhibitions". How can you talk about pro tennis before '68 and not count them? Impossible.

    What about Connors' Challenge Matches, for example that win over Orantes in '76? Those were "winner-take-all", like the Tennis Champions Classics that Laver won -- but they began and ended with one match. So how do you count them? They made bigger news back then compared to exos today -- front page of the big newspapers and all that. People then thought they might be the future of tennis. It didn't work out that way, but there was some serious tennis in them, not just joking around. Think of how hard Laver trained for that match with Connors -- and we constantly talk about that match nowadays. Even he mentions it in the new edition of his book. But hardly anyone remembers the "official" matches that they played.

    What about the Hilton Head tournaments? They look mostly serious to me, though I wonder sometimes if Borg really is playing a level below his best, when I watch that match against Laver (though I never doubt that Laver is trying his hardest).

    And what does a four-man tournament like that do to runner-up stats? I think the man who wins the tournament deserves some kind of recognition, but does it have much meaning to talk about someone having a runner-up showing at such tournament, when there are only two rounds to play?

    And the men were competing against members of the women's tour -- and with them, since the final result depended on the doubles matches as well as the singles. So what do you do with that kind of hybrid?

    On top of all that, there was an ace competition, which makes the event seem more exhibition than standard play.

    Those are just questions I have about what an exhibition is. There seems to be no universal rule. You can't restrict yourself to tournaments that award computer points, because that would leave out a lot of serious matches (and in many years the computer rankings are just wrong). The format of a tournament, finished in one or two weeks, also doesn't work as a strict rule because then you'd have to leave out all one-night stands in tennis history, up to and including the winner-take-all matches won by Laver in 1970-71 and Connors in 1975-77.

    I'm not sure there's any rule -- yet everyone agrees (I think so too) that there are definitely such things as exos, which are better left out. You can't count everything that a tennis player does on the tennis court in a year. But what do you count?
     
  49. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Krosero - if you look at some of those exos, they do not even have a SF/F format. A lot of those Borg/Nastase matches appear to be fragmented h2h faceoffs.

    Borg played Nastase eight times in the fall of 1976 and none of those events had a draw of more than 10. Antwerp, Liege, Basel, Oslo are exos in the purest word, because they're just single matches.

    These cannot possibly be used to prove the quality of opposition for one player versus another. How important are these results? Heck, how important is Hilton Head all things considered? Much less important than Philadelphia, that is for sure.

    These look like curiosities to me, no more. Much like the Borg/McEnroe H2Hs in 1979/1981 or the Borg/Tanner, Borg/Lewis matchups in 1983.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  50. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    This post was cross-posted with my last one. I see your logic, I just thought this was a complicated question the more I looked at the various lists, so I thought I'd bring up my questions.

    But however it is decided, one thing is for sure: if one's players exos are counted generously, the same has to be done for the other guy (and ideally for the whole tour, enormous project as that may be).

    And if Connors' tennis consisted mainly of matches that are counted "officially" -- I mean if it's hard to find "extra" exo results for him, then that's an issue, too. In my mind that points to Borg getting extra help in the comparison, because he happened to play more exos (though I don't know, in fact, if he did) and just happens, then, to get more wins in his column.

    In short, you can be strict or generous with the tournament victories stat. If you've got two players, and one of them is clearly ahead by a "strict" count, and it only gets close between them when the count needs to be generous (or questionable; it depends on judging each event individually) in order to lift the other player's stats, then I think you've got yet one more indication that Connors has an edge for this year.

    That's just speaking generally. Specifically it depends on that question, did Jimmy play a lot of exos or not, and if he did, why not count them?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009

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