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Old 11-01-2009, 08:23 PM   #31
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,532

Originally Posted by timnz View Post
But doesn't your point here establish Wilander as number 1? Because as you said, he beat McEnroe at the French Open and the Australian - both tournaments that are more important than the Masters. Hence, Wilander won at the big events over McEnroe.
It's a good question. But in the Slams and the Masters, McEnroe trails Wilander 1-2 in the H2H, which is not normally enough of a margin to establish dominance; it leaves a lot of questions open. The French and Australian meetings were great wins for Wilander, but as far as I know they didn't carry with them the weight of deciding who would be #1. The Australian meeting may have carried some pressure for Mac who wanted to seal his place as #1, but Wilander was not in the race for #1 until he went on to win the AO; only then did he have a Slam win to set against McEnroe's Wimbledon. Only then, in essence, was there a tie to be broken. And the Masters match was then seen by a lot of observers as a tiebreaker (not to mention the Masters championship as a whole; in those days it was very much up there with an AO victory). That's the only match that both men played with the pressure of #1 on them (and McEnroe won it decisively, partly because Wilander had always been weak on indoor courts -- a definite knock against a POY candidate).

That's what I really meant by breaking a tie: what matches in the H2H were regarded as breaking a tie? If you just look at the H2H as another stat, and made it the decisive factor, the year would technically go to Mats, but I didn't want to make it a decisive factor in that way. I wanted to emphasize something about how the year played out in real time, and the perceptions of each match back then (some intangibles in there, to be sure, but I prefer to look at the H2H as an unfolding story rather than just a raw stat).

Last edited by krosero; 11-01-2009 at 08:41 PM.
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