Originally Posted by ARFED
Ok, so we all can agree here that Laver didn`t win 200 titles, 19 majors and the 1962 Grand Slam has no merit at all. Thing is you can`t downgrade Emerson`s numbers without donwgrading Laver in the process. By the way, i give both full credit for their achievements in the amateur tour. Of course they don`t hold the same importance as pro wins and are far behind open era standards, but they have their value nonetheless
The 1962 Grand Slam was a fine achievement but only an fool would called that the same as the 1969 Open Grand Slam if they understood the history of the game. Amateur achievements are fine but I'm trying to be realistic. It's like having the College Basketball Champion play the NBA Champions. The NCAA Basketball College Champion is a fine achievement but it's not as fine as the NBA.
Any realistic person would realize it. No one is downgrading Emerson or Laver or Hoad or Rosewall. The amateur majors aren't as big. That's a simple truth.
I've always figured that if Laver or Rosewall played Open Tennis from the beginning they would have won their shares of majors. They would have adapted to the Open competition very quickly because of their great talent.
Now on the other end I truly believe the average level of competition in the old pro tour was probably superior by a decent amount to Open Tennis. My reasoning is that only the cream of the crop turned pro. Guys like Pancho Gonzalez, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Jack Kramer, Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Rod Laver, Tony Trabert, Ashley Cooper, Andres Gimeno would turn pro. These were players of immense talent and skills. The level of play is naturally going to be higher and in order to compete, the pros would have to raise their levels from the already extremely high levels they were competing at. Rosewall himself make a statement to that effect that Open Tennis was a lower level.
Laver in 1962 although younger and perhaps more physically gifted than the 31 year old Laver in 1969 were not as good a player than he was in 1969. The 31 year old Laver battled Rosewall, Gonzalez, Gimeno, Sedgman, Hoad, Trabert in the pros. He was slaughtered initially but learned to raise the level of his game and very soon become the second best in the world. Eventually he would become number one in the world.
I don't call it downgrading anyone. I just call it a statement of probable truth. Frankly I think it's a fact that Laver's 1962 Grand Slam is not as highly regarded.
At the same time the over thirty Laver won about 76 tournaments in the Open Era alone. He was about 30 when Open Tennis started. Who is to say if Open Tennis wasn't around that he wouldn't have won 200 tournaments? He did win about 71 in the pros from 1963 to 1967. That's already 147. There are a number of tournaments we probably haven't accounted for yet. To my mind Laver probably would have been around 200 tournament victories in his career if there was always Open Tennis.
The same could have been true for Emerson. However it was not for Emerson or Laver. There did play inferior competition in the amateur tour. You cannot ignore that and not state it simply because it seems that someone is being downgraded. I'm sure Roy Emerson would admit that he didn't play the level of competition that Laver played in the pro.
Gonzalez played Ashley Cooper and Mal Anderson on a tour (Hoad participated too but I'll leave him out for the purposes of this example) and they both won zero matches and lost 34! Yet Cooper held three of the four amateur majors. Anderson won the US nationals in the amateurs. You could make the argument that one win over Pancho Gonzalez was tougher for Anderson than winning three majors in the amateurs. There was a big difference between the pros and the amateurs.
Incidentally remember this post when some complain that no one dares speak negatively of Laver in this forum.