Originally Posted by krosero
You did not specify a decline for Rosewall until 1964, that's fine. If there was no decline, then he was at his peak until 1964, and that is approximately where most people, I think, tend to place Rosewall's peak.
I think the point of contention is your argument -- if I have it right -- that Rosewall maintained his peak level from as early as 1958 through 1964: meaning that he did not improve in the early 60s. And I think that's really a difficult argument to make: particularly because you identify biological peak years as 21-25. Rosewall turned 25 in late 1959. According to you he should have started declining then, and would not any longer be playing his peak tennis in '63, for example.
That's actually what I thought you were arguing before: that Rosewall was at his best in the late 50s, and not in the early 60s.
Whatever, I don't want to make too many points about this. I just think you've made incompatible arguments. You think biological decline begins at 25, yet you argue that Gonzalez played his best tennis after five years of biological decline -- just because he was playing Hoad. I have no problem with the idea, as stated by Vines and others, that Pancho lifted his play when he encountered Hoad; but to place his peak years there, five years after you think biological decline begins, is something else altogether. I know when we romanticize sports, we talk about old champions "turning back the clock." But decline cannot be reversed. If you think Pancho really played two seasons of his peak tennis in 1958-59, then really you need to revise your opinion that tennis players reach their peak at 21 and begin declining at 25.
Now somehow I think you're going to respond that you didn't specify a decline at 25. But that's what you're saying, if you specify peak years as being 21-25: that means necessarily that decline begins at 25.
I think if you acknowledged that tennis players can peak at different times, and as late as the age of 30, in cases such as Pancho's, then a lot of these contradictions disappear. Then it becomes perfectly plausible to say that Pancho played the best tennis of his life when he met Hoad (I'm not saying whether that was true or not: I'm just saying it would be plausible).
But if you allow that, then there is no reason not to allow Rosewall to do the same, ie, to play the best tennis of his life at around the age of 30, meaning in 1964. Not in the 1950s. If you think Pancho raised the level of his game from where it had been in previous seasons, then Rosewall could do the same.
I know you think Rosewall had no competition in the early 60s and thus did not improve on his late 50s level. But if tennis players can lift their games to higher levels than ever at the age of 30 (as you think Pancho did), then there's no reason to think that Rosewall did not keep improving right up until a similar age. If tennis players can improve throughout their 20s, then great champions like Rosewall will certainly improve.
The idea that Gonzalez improved throughout his late 20s while Rosewall -- with his unparalleled youthfulness, as a tennis player -- stopped improving after the age of 25, merely because he was no longer facing peak Hoad.... that doesn't wash at all.
There really appears to be no consistent principle in your argument, except that everything revolves around Hoad. Pancho, Ken and Lew, you've got them all peaking in 1958-59, regardless of their birthdays, and whether or not they were 21, 25, or 30. It's just a little constellation with peak Hoad in the center, and everything revolves around it.