Originally Posted by FedericRoma83
In my rankings the fourth Major is:
WCT Finals from 1972 to 1976
Masters from 1977 to 1982 (in 1977 the Masters went to New York and became a classic, staying there until 1989. In addition, that year its field slightly overtaken the WCT Finals in quality).
[Translating that in numbers: McEnroe 8 Majors overall (7 Slam + 1978 Masters), Connors 8 (8 Slam, excluding the 1974 AO + 1977 Masters), Lendl 11 (8 Slam + 1981, 1982, 1986 Masters), Borg 14 (11 Slam + 1976 WCT Finals + 1979-80 Masters). Obviously this is only my personal vision, but I think it's pretty accurate]
My own list would look very similar. From 1972 through '75 I think you could say the WCT Finals was the fourth most important tournament of the year, and maybe even higher.
After '75, though, I think there were other tournaments that were stronger. In '76, Philadelphia had 7 of the top ten players (including Borg and Connors), so it may have been the best-attended event of the year apart from the Big Three Slams. Dallas was missing 5 of the top ten (including #1 Connors). This article
mentions how the Dallas field was seen as somewhat weak this year.
In '77, Philadelphia had 8 of the top ten players, equal to Wimbledon, and exceeded only by the USO. The Masters, now in New York, had 7. Dallas had only 5 again.
In '78 Philadelphia was again one of the top tournaments. This was in the AP:
Actually, nine of the top 10 ranked players in the world and 25 of the leading 30 are in a field described by some as equal to that of Wimbledon. Only Vilas, Tony Roche, Stan Smith, Jaime Fillol and Phil Dent are missing.
“There is no question in my mind that the Philadelphia field is superior and much tougher than Wimbledon,” said defending champion Stockton in an appearance here recently.