Originally Posted by Mustard
You can't blame Vilas for showing up at the 1977 French Open and winning the tournament in Borg's absence. You've got to blame Borg for not playing in the French Open. You've got to give Vilas the benefit of the doubt, not Borg.
Tournaments results should be the only thing that matters as far as rankings are concerned, not head-to-heads. It doesn't matter if Vilas won a load of what would be considered 250 tournaments today, he still won 2 grand slams and dominated on clay throughout the second half of the season. Honestly, Borg fans, stick to 1978-1981 when your guy won loads, 1977 was clearly Vilas' year.
I don't think Vilas should be blamed either. But if a question is posed: "who was the better player on red clay that year?" the answer requires analyzing all the variables.
If the question is "what are some of the most dominant performances at the French open" then Vilas's result should not come with a grain of salt either. Here we go strictly on the results.
However a question like "what are some of the most impressive performances at the French open", then things get a bit more ambiguous and perhaps here we can take into account that players like Borg or Orantes did not attend the event.
A more useful and interesting question to me would be "what was the most dominant player on (insert surface) at a particular point in time?". This question unburdens us from referring to a grand slam event as the sole variable for consideration. We do this now because of the standardization of the tour. But can we get away with the same knowing what we know about the 70s? I don't think so.
We can ask very different questions and get very different answers.