Originally Posted by Mustard
We can also say that in 1938, Budge won the Grand Slam without having to worry about Vines, Perry, Nusslein and Tilden (professional players), as well as von Cramm (his biggest amateur rival, who was jailed by the Nazis).
Surely, but he demonstrated that he was superior to them all in 1939. What I admit is that if he had to face all them, he probably wouldn't have won four Majors in 1938.
On the other hand, the Pro circuit was soooo badly organized until 1938. That year Vines was on tour and he didn't enter a tournament, the same for Perry (he entered just a weak US Pro were he was the only strong player). Tilden and Nusslein played tournaments where they were the only two top-tier players, never facing Vines or Perry.
Considering that, I think that the four classic Slam tournaments (all won by Donald Budge) were still the best ones (even if they were missing a lot of names).
Things changed radically in 1939: since that year, the Pro circuit started to be well organized, and top players started to enter tournaments with regularity. Moreover, for the first time in tennis history, the top-4 players were all Pro (Budge, Perry, Vines, Nusslein). I think that if there's a year were Pro tennis definitely surpassed amateur tennis, it was 1939 (obviously it didn't happen all of sudden, but it was the culmination of a gradual process).
The official majors, as designated by the ITF since 1924-1925, are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Strength of the draw doesn't change the fact that they have officially been majors since then. The players who showed up and won the tournaments deserve full credit for doing so. Also, those who missed certain majors because of political disputes/bans/strikes etc. shouldn't have it held against them when we look at their career records. For example, Vilas deserves full credit for winning the 1977 French Open, but it shouldn't be held against Borg as a player that he played WTT and made himself ineligible for the 1977 French Open. But Borg's decision still needs to be recognised as his personal decision, a choice that he made. For that reason, Vilas gets full credit for winning the French Open while Borg doesn't lose any credibility as a player for choosing WTT.
You're mixing Open Era and pre-Open Era, it doesn't make much sense to me.
I agree with you on RG 1977, but it wasn't always so easy. We aren't talking only about Borg (it was a personal choice). At Wimbledon 1973 80-85 players over 100 boycotted the event (only one top-10 played): if we have to enstablish who was stronger in 1973 we really can't consider Wimbledon.
It was still a Major, but only nominally, it doesn't help us to understand who was stronger, because strong players weren't there (except Nastase and Kodes, and Kodes wasn't a top-10 in that moment anyway).
If we go back to the Pro Era things are even more difficult to understand because there weren't exact parameters. A tournament had a strong field in the year X, but then it disappeared, or changed surface and location the next year. Moreover, some Pro players used to tour.
To understand who were the strongers from the WWII to 1967 our only possibility is to find the best Pro tournaments year after year and analize them. Not necessarily a Pro Slam was a good tournament (in 1960-61-62 US Pro was just insignificant), on the contrary some tournaments were not Pro Slam but they were Majors "de facto" (i.e. World's Hard Court Pro in Los Angeles, 1945, not a Pro Slam but the only real Major that year).
Multi-dimensional, dialectical thinking is required on issues like this. It isn't black and white.
We agree. But even if we need a multi-dimensional thinking, there is an indisputable fact: a tournament with only a top-10 player in its field doesn't help us to understand who were the strongest players in that moment, even if nominally it's still a Major.
We had the same identical discussion about a year ago, Mustard. I guess some things never change, ahahah