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Old 02-12-2010, 02:35 PM   #55
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 837

Originally Posted by pc1 View Post
Laver defeating Rosewall, Gimeno, Hoad and Gonzalez doesn't qualify as Mickey Mouse. Or Rosewall or the others doing the same is pretty good I would say. Laver also win a ton of top tier Open Tournaments that didn't include top level tournaments like the 1970 Sydney Dunlop in which he defeated Rosewall in the final.

I am not necessarily writing that Connors or Lendl should be rated ahead of Federer but I am writing that their great achievements in tournaments and their great consistency should count for something. Majors, while exceptionally important is not the end all in evaluating players and that is all I am writing.

No one doubts that Laver, Rosewall, Connors and Lendl won at least some big tournaments or that they are great players. My objection is to the argument that the total number of titles won is a major criterion to be used when comparing players' achievements across generations, and that Federer is to be found wanting because he has not won, and most likely will never win, 100 or more titles. In today's game players - male and female - focus on majors and, to a lesser extent, Masters events for men and Tier 1 tournaments for women. The ITF, ATP and WTA are all happy with this situation. That's why Serena Williams - the closest thing to a Federer counterpart in today's WTA - has won "only" 36 titles, but that total includes 12 majors, 10 tier 1 titles and 2 YEC's.

Incidentally, Federer's claims to greatness do not by any means depend exclusively on his number of major titles, or even his performance in majors (winning 11 majors in 4 years, reaching 18 of 19 major finals, 23 consecutive semi final appearances, etc.). He also has 237 consecutive weeks at no. 1 (the record for both male and female players since weekly rankings were introduced in the mid 1970's), as well as Open era record winning streaks on both grass (65 matches) and hard courts (56 matches).

Mats Wilander won three majors in 1988 but didn't win many other tournaments. Is that superior to McEnroe's year in 1984 in which McEnroe won two majors but he won virtually everything else?
No, it isn't, but nothing that I wrote suggests otherwise. McEnroe was far more consistently successful in 1984 than Wilander in 1988, and his 1984 season ranks with Laver's 1969 and Federer's 2006 as the best of the Open era. But none of this has anything to do with the issue under discussion - the use of number of titles won to compare players across generations.
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