Originally Posted by Limpinhitter
The point remains, an era in which 2 players win virtually every major championship is a weak era, the depth of non-championship level competition notwithstanding.
I think one of the ways we can look at how strong the era is is when we examine how well and how long the players of that era did afterwards or before. For example during the early 1970's to later 1970's tennis had Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Ashe, Nastase, Vilas,Laver, Rosewall, Smith, Gerulaitis, Lendl Panatta, Orantes among others. Connors and McEnroe lasted to the 1990's playing well against Agassi and Sampras even though they generally lost. Vilas was competitive into the 1980's. Gerulaitis was excellent into the 1980's. Lendl was competitive into the 1990's. Dibbs was still competitive into the 1980's. Ashe was excellent until his health stopped him from playing.
Laver was superb until the mid 1970's until he semi retired but Laver started in the late 1950's. Rosewall was great from the early 1950's on until the mid 1970's when the fountain of youth he was drinking from probably dried up. Gonzalez was great from the late 1940's in the early 1970's beating playing from Tilden to Connors. In between he was able to beat Kramer, Sedgman, Laver, Segura, Rosewall, Trabert, Hoad, Roche, Newcombe, Smith, Cooper, Anderson, Budge, Gimeno, Emerson, Ashe and most of these guys he was able to beat a high percentage of the time. John Alexander made a joke that the players expected Gonzalez to slow down any century now.
Players like Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver, Tilden and Connors spanned a number of different eras in tennis and were extremely successful.
This is of course not the end all because some top players can retire early or get burnt out or have to retire because of injury but it is something to think about.
However I do think that you really should look at the total accomplishment of the player over his or her career. So if you have a number of player at their peaks in a certain era and you know their accomplishments over their career you may have a good argument for a strong era.
Look at the 1950's pros, Gonzalez-a great choice for the best ever, Segura-an great career record, Sedgman-a legend, Trabert-a dominant player in the amateur and a top pro, Rosewall-potential GOAT, Hoad-legendary and arguably the best ever at his best, Gimeno-one of the top players in the world for years and you add majors winners in Olmedo, Cooper, Anderson. The top players were unbelievable here. Note that this is the mid to late 1950's here so I don't include the great Jack Kramer and a few others.