Originally Posted by Phoenix1983
I guess the reasons I would give for the Open Era being tougher than the pro tour are:
a). To win an Open slam, you usually have to beat some lesser players to begin with, followed by the top opponents in the QF/SF/F - whereas in the pro ranks, you only had to do the latter. Yes, the average level per match would be higher in the pros. However the number of obstacles each player had to face would be lower - because they would 'only' be facing their fellow greats, not the 'lesser' players beforehand who, on any given day, could cause an upset (i.e. Rosol over Nadal).
b). Sort of related to the above is the issue of the head-to-head pro tours. It's often stated that Federer is greater than Nadal, despite his losing h2h, because of his greater accomplishments. Yet when posters talk about the old pro tour, the h2h's between the top players become of the utmost importance. The fallacy behind this can be shown because, if there had been a pro tour over the past 10 years, Nadal would have come out with the best h2h's against all his rivals. Yet we know, when playing the wider field, that Federer is greater.
Hence the h2h pro tours are not as meaningful as some make them out to be.
Excellent post. I don`t see how anybody could counter this arguments. The greater the field is, the tougher it is to dominate. Laver for example in the period 64-67 he only had to worry about Rosewall and from time to time with Gimeno, and past their primes Gonzalez and Hoad. From 1968 he had to face (besides Rosewall and Gimeno) Ashe, Newcombe, Smith, Nastase, Connors, Santana, Kodes, etc. Adding the famous "journeymen" to the mix as well. He tasted what a journeyman could do very quickly at the Us Open. However, he came on top most of the times against this field (at least the first 2 or 3 years of the open era), which speaks volumes of him.