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Old 01-22-2012, 07:36 PM   #256
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,536

Originally Posted by borg number one View Post
Krosero, I agree that Wimbledon may have been a bit more prestigious back then than it is today, relatively speaking. I think it's still quite comfortably the "biggest tournament" of the year, though the other majors aren't too far behind perhaps. Borg equaling Perry's 3 in a row was big and then when he won four in a row, that was huge. I recall that after the epic '81 final, the commentator said something like..Bjorn Borg now has an "absolutely unique place in the history of the Game" (referring to his five titles in a row). Also, he said that he was "King of the world of tennis without a doubt..."an absolutely monumental place in the Game".
Yes that was Dan Maskell, who had been around for decades and had a keen sense of history. He knew how revered Wimbledon had always been, so for someone to post 5 titles in a row -- well, that was utterly unique in the history of the game. No one had ever won 5 in a row playing straight through, without the benefit of the Challenge Round system. Maskell was acknowledging that.

But I think it's possible that a streak of 5 in a row did not happen until the Open Era because so many of the great amateurs of the past would go into the pro game without ever getting the chance to post such a streak. Now everyone plays Wimbledon until retirement, and Sampras posted streaks of 3 and 4, and Federer tied Borg's 5.

Which is not to diminish Borg's streak. It still stands up there with the greatest records in history. But it is no longer absolutely unique as Maskell called it, since one player has tied it and another nearly tied it.

On the other hand, Borg's three channel Slams seem to be more highly regarded today than they were in his time. I mean of course everyone knew then how difficult it was to go from clay to grass, and he got kudos for it. But maybe now with the changes to Wimbledon's grass, there's more appreciation for what Borg did, annihilating baseliners on really slow clay and two weeks later beating all the serve-and-volleyers on a really fast grass.
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