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Old 11-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #547
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by NadalAgassi View Post
Had Borg had to play the U.S Open on hard courts before 1978 you can rest assured he would have numerous early losses, as it was he had 3 losses before the quarters the 5 previous years with it played on clay or grass, so would likely (almost certainly) have only been worse, or in absolute best unlikely case scenario no better, had it been on hard courts.
Originally Posted by NadalAgassi View Post
That is even more ridiculous than the fantasy Australian Opens for Borg some are trying to award.
Here again the same inconsistency. One speculation and not the other. You're happy moving some of the conditions of Nadal's time, like an all-hardcourt USO, into Borg's time. But other conditions of Nadal's time, you won't give to Borg. Imagine if Borg, Connors and McEnroe had an AO in their time that was on par with the other Slams, in terms of prize money, prestige, attendance and ranking points; and imagine it was played in January, starting a new season rather than cutting into the off-season. There is no way that under those conditions, Borg, Connors and McEnroe would not be playing the AO every year.

About your first speculation, putting the USO at Flushing Meadow throughout Borg's career: as I said above, he would probably be taking early losses in those early years. But paradoxically I think it improves his chances of winning at Flushing when he hits his peak. In '78 when the USO moved to Flushing, it was a necessary but controversial move; people complained about the surface, the planes, the noise, the lights, you name it. But after a few years, the hullabaloo died down to some extent, as people realized this was what the USO was going to be. There were a lot of things about Flushing that Borg did not like, but if he'd been playing there from the start, as a teen, I think there would have been a good chance that he would have settled in by the late 70s and adapted to the place -- like Stefan Edberg did after many uncomfortable years there.

So no, I don't agree with your "absolute best unlikely case scenario no better". I think if you put Borg at Flushing from the beginning of his career, his chances of taking the title late in his career (as Nadal did) improve.

Originally Posted by NadalAgassi View Post
Now as for normalizing, if we are going to do one what if we might as well do them all, so if Borg couldnt win the U.S Open not only on fast hard courts in all his peak years, but on more preferred surfaces in his non peak ones, so the only normalization to assume when comparing him to Sampras and Nadal is if the Australian Open were also on hard courts like the times of both Sampras and Nadal, and he played it every year, he would have probably won none and still had only 11 slams. Meanwhile if we want to do a hypothetical for all from Borg's vantage point, now the Australian Open is on grass for all 3 rather than hards, and all playing in full fields like a regular slam each year, all time grass GOAT Sampras then gains a TON more slams vs the few Borg gains, and Nadal probably even gains an additional 1 or 2 as he is better on grass than hard courts himself. So in the latter scenario Borg might stand in better stead vs Nadal, but yet even worse vs Sampras.
You can't assume zero wins for Borg on AO hardcourts just because he didn't win at Flushing. He lost at Flushing to three Americans (Connors, Tanner and McEnroe) who had the highest possible motivation -- winning their home Slam -- and who all fed off the rowdy energy at Flushing, or were, at worst, comfortable with it. Connors was never better than in front of the New York crowd; and McEnroe was born in New York.

In Australia it would have been reversed. Sampras mentioned in his book how he didn't particularly like the AO, for various little reasons (including the surface); obviously he found his deepest motivation at Wimbledon and at his home Slam. I guess that would have been generally true for the Americans that Borg lost to.

Sampras also mentioned how much the Swedes tended to like the AO. I think he put it down to how they thrived in the intense heat. Do I even need to go into how Borg would have thrived in that heat, especially against his less fit American rivals?

Wilander loved playing in Australia when it was still at Kooyong and won that title early. He did well when it moved to Rebound Ace, winning on his first try, with big wins over defending champion Edberg and hometown hero Cash. New York was a tougher place for him throughout his career; it took him longer to adapt there, though he did eventually (just like Edberg).

And I think Rebound Ace would have suited Borg more than DecoTurf. The high bounce would have been to his liking (same as it was for Chris Evert and, of course, for Agassi). His main obstacle, McEnroe, would have done better, imo, on the fast courts at Flushing.

Same with the Australian grass. The bounce there was higher than at Wimbledon or Forest Hills, because the dry heat hardened the turf. The one year that Wimbledon played close to that was 1976, in the middle of a long English heat wave. Dan Maskell noted how the high bounce that year was to Borg's liking: and Borg won that Wimbledon without dropping a set, not having any of the problems he usually had in Wimbledon's first week when the grass is typically still thick and often slippery.

Sampras, as the grasscourt GOAT, would have done great on any grass surface. But I hope you're not assuming that because he won 7 Wimbledons we might as well imagine 6 to 8 AO titles for him. As he said himself, he never especially liked the AO, for various reasons; now imagine him playing at the inferior Kooyong facilities, for less prize money, in December. How motivated do you think he would have been there, compared to Wimbledon or the USO?

Rod Laver won 4 Wimbledons, but he didn't win 4 times at the other grasscourt majors. He took the AO three times; the USO just twice. Sampras' haul of AO titles, even if he got to play it on grass, could have been significantly lower than his 7 Wimbledon titles.
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