Originally Posted by pc1
Great information Krosero.
I have the Kings of the Court video and perhaps aside from Laver, I was so impressed by Bobby Riggs' strokes. He hit the ball so smoothly. I think they said he was a natural. Now to be fair they really didn't show the strokes of a younger Budge in his prime but an older Budge. I've also seen videos of a younger Budge and he looks great also.
The question that always arises in my mind is how good was Bobby Riggs in actuality? Yes we know he lost badly to Jack Kramer on tour 69 to 20 but Kramer himself admitted that after he (Kramer) got a lead on tour Riggs tanked. The reason according to Kramer that Riggs tanked was to set Kramer up and beat Kramer in the US Pro in 1948. The scenario was that if Riggs beat Kramer he (Riggs) could claim he was still the real champion. It didn't work because Kramer defeated Riggs in the final in four sets.
Still the tour was mainly indoors and the players perhaps were closer in actual ability than the final tour won-lost record would indicate. He also defeated a slightly over the hill Budge on tour several times. He dominated the Pro ranks winning far more tournaments (when Riggs was in his prime and Budge wasn't) than Budge, Kovacs and the others. I can also see from the videos that he seemed to have every shot plus an effective serve.
Many think of Riggs as just the hustler who lost to Billie Jean King in 1973 but the man did have a fabulous record.
I think Riggs was a great player. But, I also think he benefited from Budge's shoulder injury which, from what I've read, permanently diminished Budge's game and prevented him from returning to his prior form. There's no doubt in my mind that peak Budge was the better player. Whereas Kramer could only beat Riggs on a regular basis from the net, Budge could overpower Riggs regularly from the baseline. And, I think Riggs acknowledges that in terms of their early 40's losses, although he seems to disregard Budge's injury when talking about his late 40's victories.