Originally Posted by Rabbit
The pros back then were trying to maximize their income. When money began to come into the sport, the guys who lived day to day as pros before were intent on making as good a living as they could. I really don't think the majors meant as much to them. Nastase said that he made more money and was in more demand after his best days were behind him. I can only think that Rod Laver enjoyed the same delimma.
The whole major count thing didn't become important until Pete Sampras approached it. Or, the "Career Slam" wasn't important until Agassi achieved it. Or, the clay court win streak that Nadal set, nobody gave Vilas a title when he did it, and nobody gave Borg one when he did it. So, if you look at it in that perspective, for 30 - 40 years of Open tennis, nobody really made big deals out of these type accomplishments. It's only been of late when the money was obscene and the marketing of the ITF and ATP/WTA to increase their exposure came into play.
My personal opinion is that the pros back then were more intereted in making a living and bankrolling as much cash as they could. They knew their tennis careers wouldn't go on forever and were like the folks who grew up in the Great Depression when it came to money.
Some excellent points here.
Today's media and public are far more focused on total number of slams than they were back in 1970.
After all (and I've said this before), how many persons were calling Emmo "the GOAT" back in 1970 because he had the highest total number of slams?