Originally Posted by CyBorg
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.
There's no doubt Vilas was a great clay court player and he was excellent in 1977 but in keeping with this thread which is asking who is the clay court goat, "If you had your life on the line and you had to pick one player to win between Borg and Vilas and they played at Roland Garros in 1977 in the French Open Final, who would you bet on?" You have to pick Borg unless you have a death wish.
Did Vilas have a great clay season in 1977? My answer is yes. Was he the best clay court player in 1977? My answer is no. Clearly Borg was.