Originally Posted by urban
Bobby, i rate Emerson the 3rd or 4th player of the 60s, clearly behind Laver and Rosewall, but behind none other. I know, all this is speculative, because Emmos faced the pros only since 1968. Maybe Gonzalez did sporadically better, maybe Gimeno on ability was on equal terms. But i think, that Emmo in the 60s was more consistent than Gonzalez, who had long spells of inactivity, and did better in big matches than Gimeno.
Rex Bellamy wrote that Emerson is both overrated and underrated, and he is imo right. Yes, he wouldn't never have won 12 majors with all the pros competing, yes, his high ranking by some experts like Hopman and by most polls isn't correct (in behalf of Rosewall or Gonzalez).
But this is certainly not Emmo's fault, who was and is one of the niecest and warmest people in the whole tennis world. He certainly was no bum, but one of the most athletic and mental solid players ever, who had sound allround game for all surfaces, a great backhand, a great serve and volley game, and excelled in the fith set. Newcombe made an all time list of Australian players and ranked Emmo third, behind Laver and Rosewall but ahead of Sedgman and Hoad. Of course, this is debatable. But Emmos record in Davis Cup, in majors, in singles and doubles and in hth really stands out. His major wins include wins over Laver, Newcombe, Stolle, Roche and Ashe, his 1964 season was one of the best amateur seasons of all time. He has a big lead in hth over Newcombe, who could barely beat him in the 1970 Wim quarter, when he came through Stan Smith and gave Newk his toughest fight there. He still beat Ashe in 1974 in the Aetna World Cup, when he was 36. Much is made of his 5 set defeat by Gonzalez at RG 1968, i even had to deal with some, who stated, that he lost all pro matches to the older Gonzalez. But he did hammer Rosewall on clay early in spring in Florida 1968, had a string of pro wins over Nr. 1 Laver in 68, and in 1970 stopped Gonzalez in the Classic Series in their most lucrative match, and was still Nr. 6 or 7 on the Money winner list.
urban, I cannot agree at all. You seem to overrate Emerson as many do.
Gonzalez and Gimeno were surely stronger than Emmo. Gonzalez had his spells of inactivity but that did not reduce his strength. After his two years pause Pancho almost equalled Rosewall and Laver in 1964- at 36!. In 1965 he beat Rosewall several times. I strongly doubt that Emerson could have done it the same way.
You cannot take Gimeno's not winning majors in the 1960s as a fault. He had Laver and Rosewall as chief opponents. Gimeno thrice beat Rosewall in majors before open era plus beat Muscles in the 1969 AO.
I don't take Newcombe's list seriously. He also ranked his doubles partner, Roche, behind Stolle!! Such a shame!!
Emerson's balance in the 1960s years without Laver (10 majors won) is rather meagre. He was clearly the No.1 amateur only in 1964 and 1965.
The 1968 Emerson win against Rosewall on clay does not tell too much. It was their very first meeting as pros.
Emerson failed terribly in open majors. Only his 1970 Wimbledon QF match against Newcombe is a plus in his career.
Gimeno was 6:1 in 1968 against Emerson. Altogether Gimeno won nine tournaments where he beat both Laver and Rosewall and numerous tournaments where he defeated one of the two giants (arguably the two all-time greatest). Could have Emerson done the same??