Originally Posted by McEnroeisanartist
Even though, I am only 22, I recognize that up until about the late-1980s, the Australian Open and French Open were considered nowhere near the prestige of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Consequently, great players in the last 20 years who have been successful at the Australian Open (notably Wilander, Edberg, Agassi, and Lendl) and French Open (notably Wilander and Lendl) have had their grand slam totals inflated.
As talented and successful as John McEnroe was, it is suprising to many that he won "only" 7 grand slams, however, when one analyzes his championships
(3 wimbledons and 4 U.S. Opens) he is tied for 2nd place (with, of course, Connors and Federer) for most presigious grand slams in the Open Era.
Some tennis historians have suggested that up until the late-1980s, winning other non-grand slam tournaments (notably the now defunct Dallas WCT tournament played in Spring) was as difficult and impressive as winning a grand slam.
Consequently, for McEnroe, who won the Dallas WCT tournament 5 times (including final victories over Borg, Connors, and Lendl), his "true" grand slam total should actually be 12. What do you think?
The French Open had regained full prestige of a Grand Slam since the mid to late 1970's ie well before the late 80's. It has equal status with Wimbledon and the US open in the period you refer to. The Australian Open started to regain it starting in 1983 when players like McEnroe, Lendl and Wilander came - that process of rehabilitation came to full fruition in 1988 with the change of venue and change to hard court and the expansion of the field to 128.
re. McEnroe - keep in mind that he competed at the event in December 1983 (only a month before his peak year and he was number 1), December 1985 (when he still was number 3) - he was only 24 and 26- all on Grass - which suited him. So if it was a lesser event - it should have been easier for him to win ....but he didn't. (having said that reading his biography his mind wasn't in the 1985 event - but that was his problem, it shouldn't be an excuse). So it is a bit of a myth that some hold that McEnroe didn't really compete at the Australian Open as a top player.
On the other hand, I am in agreement that more credit needs to be put against Mac for his WCT finals wins. His 5 wins tend to get swept under the carpet. Memory is short in tennis. The WCT finals was a very big event.