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Old 11-29-2006, 12:01 PM   #20
Moose Malloy
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,841

In the tennis hall of fame website, for older players, they list the Italian Open results for the players as well as their results at the majors.

Here are some comments from Mac that may help explain how different the tour was in his time:

"You know, we used to have a big tournament that was played in Dallas. It was maybe the biggest event other than the French and Wimbledon and the US Open and the Masters, and this was even considered as big or bigger than the Australian Open at the time. That went into the early part of May and that was indoors. So you only have like a turnaround of like three weeks. All these other tournaments were either after the US Open or just before the French. Like Rome used to be the week before the French. Some people probably weren't even born that are, you know -- a few people are here that know that the French Open has done a great job of becoming a bigger and bigger event. But when I first started playing, it was, you know -- the biggest priorities were Wimbledon and the US Open for me."

Q. In retrospect, did you give yourself the best chances to win in Paris?

JOHN McENROE: In retrospect, it would have been approached, you know, and prepared more for the clay courts, you know, if I was completely fanatical about tennis or was able to spend ten straight weeks in Europe, say. Sometimes you don't realize you're maybe more spoiled or you have to make even more sacrifices.

A couple times -- I was five points away from winning the French, so it's not as if I wasn't there. You know, the tournament was mine, I had it. The next year I lost in the semis, but I felt like, you know, I got unlucky there, too. I felt like I could have won that even. I didn't play in -- you know, I'm not going to bore you with details, but, yeah, the short answer is yes, I would have liked to have prepared more.

Q. You were serious for the French how many times, would you say?

JOHN McENROE: I mean, I thought I was serious when I was first starting, but I'd say five or six maybe. But after having kids, it just seemed like it was really tough to stay away for a really long time. And then it was just difficult to, you know, figure out what to do exactly. That's what I had to deal with.

It's always easy to look back and go, "Yeah, yeah, I wish I had done that." It would have made sense, obviously. Times when, you know, I chose to go home to be with my family instead of, you know, playing some matches which I needed to play, I would have been much sharper.

Q. We're on the eve of the Australian Open. The four slams are the big marquee events. Could you comment what do you like the very best about each of the slams and what do you like the very least?

JOHN McENROE: Well, I think the scheduling of the Australian Open is really weak ultimately. Some people don't mind it. I think training over Christmas and New Year's is something -- I mean, I just think this is another thing that is another important issue that's sort of been overlooked for many years. I don't know why.

Q. Best side of the Australian?

JOHN McENROE: The best part about it is the fact that they were the first people to put the roof over the top, to allow themselves to have the luxury of having matches played now on two courts. I think that's a great advantage to have. I think that they've done a great job improving their event. Until the mid '80s, I was offered guarantees to go to Australia. It wasn't in the same league.

lol at the Australian giving out appearance fees to players. Don't forget, until a few years ago, the official title was the "Ford Australian Open." Doesn't sound that impressive, huh? And it used to be called the "Marlboro Australian Open"-not kidding.

Had Borg, Connors, Mac concentrated on winning as many majors as possible(they skipped quite a few during their prime) they'd all have a lot more. Prize money was a big deal in the 70s/80s to top players because it virtually exploded over night. You'd be stupid not to chase bucks, when that was what got the most attention, rather than winning the French in front of an empty stadium, which offered less prize money than some regular tour events. If suddenly the French or Australian cut their prize money in half, I wonder what those events would look like in ten years. The players would gradually lose interest, tv networks would cut coverage, etc.
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