Originally Posted by Mustard
Gonzales turned professional in late 1949. He was an amateur from 1947-1949. It was the professional game that Gonzales dominated for so long.
Gonzales was never toppled as world number 1, so if you have to choose a single world number 1 from 1954-1961, it is Gonzales, IMO, despite strong challenges from players like Segura, Sedgman, Rosewall and Hoad, not to mention other good players like McGregor, Trabert, Anderson, Cooper, Olmedo, MacKay, Gimeno etc.
I have the Gonzales vs. Pasarell match from 1969 Wimbledon on DVD, and even at 41 years of age, his serve is quite brilliant. It would have been a lot better during his prime when he was the dominant player in the world.
How is it a myth? He was the best player for 8 years on the pro tour, and beat all the newly turned professionals, who had been top amateurs, players like Trabert, Rosewall, Hoad, Anderson, Cooper, Olmedo. Trabert and Cooper, for example, won 3 out of 4 majors in their last year as an amateur, and then got annihilated by Gonzales on the world pro tour, where Gonzales won 74-27 against Trabert in 1956, and a combined 34-0 against Cooper and Anderson in 1959.
Gonzales was in another league to the top amateurs, and only Hoad was a serious challenger straight away. It even took Rosewall until the early 1960s, by which time Gonzales was in his early 30s and had dominated the pro game for years.
Laver won 200 tournaments. The only big tournament he never won was the WCT Dallas tournament, finishing runner-up to Rosewall in both 1971 and 1972. And the reason Federer cannot match Laver for number of tournaments won is mostly because of the number of hardcourt tournaments in modern tennis, which shorten careers. In Laver's time, grass, clay, carpet and wood predominated by some margin.
My list is my list of who I think are the best players per year. I don't say it's absolute truth, just my opinion. Even in the open era, there are disputes. Do you agree with the ATP computer that Connors was number 1 in 1975, 1977 and 1978, that McEnroe was number 1 in 1982, and that Lendl was number 1 in 1989? Because I sure don't.
So do you agree with the ATP computer regarding the best players of 1975, 1977, 1978, 1982 and 1989?
That is all speculation. You could just as easily say that Federer doesn't stand a chance in the era of wooden racquets, no tiebreaks and no sitdowns at the change of ends against Laver. No modern player could just play the game that they do today with 1960s equipment, because wooden racquets didn't have the power to dictate from the baseline with the authority and depth of today's game. You had to go into the net a lot back then.
You say Laver couldn't cope in today's game, but you don't seem to ask about Federer in Laver's day.
And? That doesn't mean that the players were worse. In Gonzales' time, the best players were the professionals, and he was playing against these top players all the time. Imagine Federer always playing against 15 of the top 20 players, instead of often playing against players way below that ranking. Playing against players of such high calibre on a very regular basis, like the old pros did, will make you a better player.
I am not. Gonzales was the best player in the world when he was the best professional. In 1949, when Gonzales was the best amateur player, the best player in the world was Jack Kramer.
I personally believe the best professional player was always better than the best amateur player in the years I've listed, apart from 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932 and 1933, when the best amateur player was the best player in the world. In the 1930s, the gap between the top professionals and the top amateurs was very close, but after the late 1940s, the top professionals had a clear lead over the top amateurs.
What is 3.5 tournaments?
Yeah, it's annoying. Unless one says that Federer is the undisputed GOAT, one gets criticised. Unfortunately for them, tennis history is far too complicated for that, and there are stats where Federer is behind. Federer is not the only GOAT candidate, but one of many.