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Old 12-01-2012, 08:44 PM   #27
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by Mustard View Post
Tokyo Indoor not a big title?
I can accept Tokyo Indoor as a big title, but Wembley was just as big, and Lendl destroyed Connors there. So that once again shows a different pattern, compared to previous years. If you're calling Tokyo Indoor one of those places where Connors beat Lendl in a big match, well then Lendl beat Connors in a big match at Wembley.

Then you stack Wimbledon semi against Masters semi; those were the two biggest matches of all. Again, you can argue that Connors' wins were bigger (because Wimbledon is bigger than the Masters), but it's basically close. Not far from a split, and certainly not the kind of contrast that you saw in the hardcourt seasons in '82 and '83.

Originally Posted by Mustard View Post
And who was stopping Connors winning the biggest titles in 1984? A peak McEnroe, time after time, almost like Djokovic vs. Nadal circa 2011.
This argument is problematic, because Connors lost three times to McEnroe in Slams. Lendl only lost one Slam final to McEnroe. You see that as giving Connors some kind of edge, but Lendl only lost one Slam final to McEnroe because he beat McEnroe in one of their Slam meetings. Credit to Lendl. If Lendl had lost to Mac at RG, then we'd have Mac beating Connors in 3 Slams and beating Lendl in 2 Slams. Not sure what kind of decisive difference can be made out of that.

Leaving hypotheticals aside, it's a fact that Lendl scored a huge win against McEnroe, getting a Slam, while Connors could not do so. The fact that Connors lost 3 times in Slam events to McEnroe works only in conjunction with hypotheticals -- namely the idea that Connors would have won those events if not for McEnroe standing in his way. I think you can agree that the hypothetical there is necessary, because if we think that Connors was going to lose to other people anyway, if he didn't face McEnroe, then the fact that he lost to McEnroe is meaningless. He would have lost to other people anyway.

So that's the hypothetical on the table: Connors would have won those 3 Slam events if not for McEnroe. We had this debate before, and I agreed as far as Wimbledon. I said the USO was a toss-up, and I still believe that. But I don't think there is any good reason to believe that Connors would have beaten Lendl at RG. I have strong doubts that he would have even reached the final. If McEnroe had not beaten Jose Higueras at RG, then Connors would likely have had to face Higueras, who beat him at RG, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in 1982: one of Connors' best years. I believe you have named '82 as the year in which Connors played his peak tennis.

When Lendl and Connors did finally meet at RG, it was a blowout for Lendl. As I said before, I can't see how things would have been much different twelve months earlier.

But my basic stance on this is that Lendl won RG, and should be given full credit for it, rather than having his win questioned with the possibility that Connors would have beaten him there if not for McEnroe standing in the way. Connors never showed he could challenge even Higueras at RG, or reach a RG final, or push Lendl there when they did meet. And he came nowhere near beating McEnroe there, so the idea that Connors should have won that event if not for McEnroe is really a hypothetical stretched beyond fairness.

And if Lendl is given full credit for his RG victory, then by all usual evaluations he stands clearly above Slam-less Connors in '84.

Plus, the question of Wilander/Connors remains. Wilander had Connors' number more completely than Connors, even in your view, had Lendl's number. Wilander swept Connors in big and small matches and on all surfaces, in '84. He won a Slam while Connors didn't. So why do you rank Connors ahead of Wilander?

Originally Posted by Mustard View Post
It depends on whether January 1981 or January 1982 is included as part of 1981. The former included Connors' famous deriding of Lendl's tanking to avoid a semi final against Borg. Lendl may have reached the 1981 French Open final, but he also lost in the first round of 1981 Wimbledon and the fourth round of the 1981 US Open, while Connors reached the semi finals of Wimbledon and US Open in 1981, and the quarter finals of the French Open.
The Masters in January '82 was officially the end of the season. When posters give their yearly rankings I assume that they are talking about the official season unless they specify otherwise. Not trying to be snarky, just saying that it would be helpful if you specified that you're restricting your rankings to the calendar year. Otherwise we're talking about the same subject (yearly rankings) but not talking about the same matches. Confusion is then the result.

Yes in '81 Connors was more consistent than Lendl in reaching the later rounds of Slams. That has always been one of his hallmark strengths. He still did not reach a Slam final, while Lendl did.

And the tournament totals are not even close. 10 to 4 in favor of Lendl. One of those titles being the Masters only increases Lendl's edge.
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