A different viewpoint on GOAT that I argue with, but I want feedback from others.

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
The older family members of mine(I'm far the youngest and I'm in my 50's) that have watched tennis longer than I have(I caught the tail-end of Borg, so I'm not the greatest judge of him) state that to this day, these two players are the undisputed GOATS.

1. Laver: They argue that the CYGS is by far the greatest accomplishment in tennis and that Laver pulled this off twice. Laver in their minds is the undisputed GOAT.
2. Borg: They argue that Borg's accomplishments stand out much more than the Big 3, given how diverse the surfaces were back then.
3. Pick 'em: Sampras, The Big 3, Rosewall, Panch, Budge, and several others fall into this category as being in competition for a distant 3rd.

I'm vastly outnumbered by the older members of my family and their friends. Granted, I may have recency bias, since I've been to slam events a few times and have watched a lot of matches on Tennis Channel, ESPN, and several other channels for decades. To their credit, they've been watching tennis much longer than I have. My sister was an excellent all conference player. She actually picks Borg 1st, then Laver.

Are these old-timers being stubborn? Or is there some validity to their arguments?

I'm trying to get away from the Fed vs Nadal vs Djoker GOAT debate here. We can crown them co-GOATS, for all I care. But they are claiming that none of them are even in the conversation.

What do you fans think?
 
It's an open and continuous debate. They may be stubborn, they may be on to something, or both. As we repeat here ad nauseam - it's tough to compare generations because things change a lot - including players' focus on Slam totals. Of course there is a recency bias, and the Big 3 have another thing on their side - numbers and objectivity. If your standard for GOAT is Slam totals, then you don't even have to do much to determine the GOAT or GOATs. And, "most Slams" reasoning is something that anyone from the most intense fan to someone who cares little about tennis can understand. It's an objective measure of greatness. Once you get into subjective factors - competition levels, surface variety, importance of things besides Slams - it can sound like you're trying to erase an objective measure with caveats. I like hearing the arguments for why player A could be considered greater than player B despite having less Slams.
 

KG1965

Legend
The older family members of mine(I'm far the youngest and I'm in my 50's) that have watched tennis longer than I have(I caught the tail-end of Borg, so I'm not the greatest judge of him) state that to this day, these two players are the undisputed GOATS.

1. Laver: They argue that the CYGS is by far the greatest accomplishment in tennis and that Laver pulled this off twice. Laver in their minds is the undisputed GOAT.
2. Borg: They argue that Borg's accomplishments stand out much more than the Big 3, given how diverse the surfaces were back then.
3. Pick 'em: Sampras, The Big 3, Rosewall, Panch, Budge, and several others fall into this category as being in competition for a distant 3rd.

I'm vastly outnumbered by the older members of my family and their friends. Granted, I may have recency bias, since I've been to slam events a few times and have watched a lot of matches on Tennis Channel, ESPN, and several other channels for decades. To their credit, they've been watching tennis much longer than I have. My sister was an excellent all conference player. She actually picks Borg 1st, then Laver.

Are these old-timers being stubborn? Or is there some validity to their arguments?

I'm trying to get away from the Fed vs Nadal vs Djoker GOAT debate here. We can crown them co-GOATS, for all I care. But they are claiming that none of them are even in the conversation.

What do you fans think?
I'm sorry to blame your family, but they are off track.

1) Laver can be placed in a Tier 1 but certainly not for the 2 GS, as one is a GS amateurs, therefore non-existent.
Rod can be placed in Tier 1 because has won 210 titles of which 60 are very relevant.

2) Borg is very overrated. Certainly a great player but he dominated 2-3 years. He won very little compared to a dozen ATGs.
Tier 2.
Bjorn is a little Nadal.
 

KG1965

Legend
It's an open and continuous debate. They may be stubborn, they may be on to something, or both. As we repeat here ad nauseam - it's tough to compare generations because things change a lot - including players' focus on Slam totals. Of course there is a recency bias, and the Big 3 have another thing on their side - numbers and objectivity. If your standard for GOAT is Slam totals, then you don't even have to do much to determine the GOAT or GOATs. And, "most Slams" reasoning is something that anyone from the most intense fan to someone who cares little about tennis can understand. It's an objective measure of greatness. Once you get into subjective factors - competition levels, surface variety, importance of things besides Slams - it can sound like you're trying to erase an objective measure with caveats. I like hearing the arguments for why player A could be considered greater than player B despite having less Slams.
It's obvious that a person thinks, more the "slam count" is nonsense.

Leaving aside the old champions, assuming that Nadal ends up at 22 slams, Nole at 21 and Fedr at 20 ... who can say that Nadal is the GOAT, Nole the second and Fedr the third.

Not even an idiot.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Good posts, everybody. The veterans that are posting here are much more familiar with the quality of the tournaments from 30+ years ago than I am and have done their research.

Thank for the input and let the conversation carry on.
 

Drob

Professional
I don't think any of the Big Three have definitively surpassed Laver. So those in your family who insist on Laver as best in history have an argument.

I'd put Federer as just about equal to Laver at the moment, but I am not expecting much from Roger going forward in terms of Slams, w the exception of Wimbledon, where he still has outside chance to win. The Masters events he can remain in contention from time-to-time, and he is as good a bet as any for the upcoming ATP Finals. At this point I would give the edge to Laver.

Djokovic has a chance to overtake Laver. He wins a second Roland Garros, he is just about there, w/o needing to do much more.

Borg is difficult to classify. A lot of the identification of him as possible GOAT is linked to public fascination with him, his rock-star quality. By retiring so soon, and precisely at the time when his competition would have been the toughest of his career, Borg essentially forfeits being considered. Also, unlike certain other players, such as Laver and Federer, Sampras, McEnroe, Hoad, Cochet, Vines, and Djokovic, I don't think anyone can claim that Borg at his best was as good or better than any ATG at his best. So, the only "subjective" reason to pick Borg is his popularity at the time. Objectively, he suffers from such a short career and early retirement. For sure he is top-10 all-time, but more toward No. 10 than No. 1.

You family is not old enough. There is another contender for GOAT, a dark horse: Bill Tilden.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
The older family members of mine(I'm far the youngest and I'm in my 50's) that have watched tennis longer than I have(I caught the tail-end of Borg, so I'm not the greatest judge of him) state that to this day, these two players are the undisputed GOATS.

1. Laver: They argue that the CYGS is by far the greatest accomplishment in tennis and that Laver pulled this off twice. Laver in their minds is the undisputed GOAT.
2. Borg: They argue that Borg's accomplishments stand out much more than the Big 3, given how diverse the surfaces were back then.
3. Pick 'em: Sampras, The Big 3, Rosewall, Panch, Budge, and several others fall into this category as being in competition for a distant 3rd.

I'm vastly outnumbered by the older members of my family and their friends. Granted, I may have recency bias, since I've been to slam events a few times and have watched a lot of matches on Tennis Channel, ESPN, and several other channels for decades. To their credit, they've been watching tennis much longer than I have. My sister was an excellent all conference player. She actually picks Borg 1st, then Laver.

Are these old-timers being stubborn? Or is there some validity to their arguments?

I'm trying to get away from the Fed vs Nadal vs Djoker GOAT debate here. We can crown them co-GOATS, for all I care. But they are claiming that none of them are even in the conversation.

What do you fans think?
The problems, most likely, is that your "older" family members are partially living in the past. Recency bias is a very real thing, but there is a kind of "anti-recency bias" that says what used to be was better because it was in the past.

The thing I would agree with would be that recency bias puts so much emphasis on the "now" that it's hard to see beyond it. The other day I was listening to the radio in my car, and for the most part I don't recall hearing much of anything that I believe will be popular in another 50 years.

The principle I live by is that most of anything in one year is pretty ordinary, so anything unusually "awesome, amazing, out of this world" may be less so than we realize while experiencing it. To me that means that the current Big 3 is really something special, but it's by no means settled or even logical to think that three players are playing at the same time who are clearly all best of all time. And that's the way most fans in this forum look at things.

I teach music. I have a website on which I post music that continues to be of interest to me, and on this website I label the things I pick as popular music. The point I am making is that a good deal of what most people call "classical music" is really music that was extremely popular when it was composed and remains so. When looked at in this way you can mention something by the Beatles, or by Miles Davis, or by John Williiams, or by JS Bach, and then you just think about how long people have continued to think it is great. Has anything in the English language stayed popular more than some of Shakespeare's plays?

So my view is that at any moment you may see one of the greatest tennis matches ever, or greatest plays, or hear some of the greatest music ever, but the chances of anything in any given year being "the greatest ever" is pretty slim. With so many decades of tennis history, the chance that at any moment we are watching the greatest player ever, or the greatest match, is almost infinitesimal.
 
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Drob

Professional
I'm sorry to blame your family, but they are off track.

1) Laver can be placed in a Tier 1 but certainly not for the 2 GS, as one is a GS amateurs, therefore non-existent.
Rod can be placed in Tier 1 because has won 210 titles of which 60 are very relevant.

2) Borg is very overrated. Certainly a great player but he dominated 2-3 years. He won very little compared to a dozen ATGs.
Tier 2.
Bjorn is a little Nadal.
I agree w your main argument here. I also agree also with your other point, in the sense that Slam count is not, and can not, be the sole or even primary basis for analyzing the several GOAT contenders. In some cases, it can not be the primary basis. One's total Slam count relative to other players was not much discussed until Sampras told the world he was specifically gunning to break Emerson's record. I would never go so far as to say Slam count is nonsense. On the contrary, beginning in the 1990s, if not a little earlier, the Slams have become increasingly the primary focus.

Now, you are right, in that Laver and Rosewall skipped several Slams in the early 1970s, or were barred from them; Borg ignored the Australian, as did Connors after 1975. So they did not consider Slams to be the primary determining factor. But we also know that Budge's CYGS was celebrated in the sports world generally as a super achievement, as was Laver's amateur Grand Slam. I can not agree that Laver's 1962 achievement does not count. We also know (and most can remember) that Lendl's early struggles to win a Slam was considered one big monkey on his back. This indicates the "primary" nature of the Slams. And Wimbledon, standing alone, has always been a primary criterion by which to judge players and by which players judged themselves.

Finally, can not agree that Borg was "Little Nadal." These ATGs should be met and evaluated in light of conditions of their own time. Borg achieved equal, and arguably more, than Nadal in the same number of years.
 

urban

Legend
Its an interesting thread and a good discussion here. Yes, it is sometimes a bit boring, reading those recent comments on the "goat"-race, which is purely for the majors number. In the 1970s, there was often talk by tennis writers and players about 3 greatest player candidates, there were Tilden, Budge and Laver. Tilden still looms as a mythical, bigger than life, somewhat dark figure in the background, Budge is largely forgotten in goat talk today. Laver still gets recognition, due to the naming of the Arena and Feds business activities around the Laver Cup, but no leading tennis or sports journalist is really digging in into all the new findings of results, Tennis Base, No Mercy, Krosero or Pro Tennis historian have found or sampled. Steve Tignor recently wrote about the "Iceberg" of Lavers achievements, but nobody is telling the full story, which we have now on our hands.
Around 1980, Borg was named by some writers as 4th among those big 3 i mentioned above. And everybody who saw Borg in those RG and Wim finals, would instantly underwrite, that he was one of the greatest players ever. His impact was so great, that those people and eye-witnesses will still say that today. Borg as Nr. 10 or Nr. 12? You cannot be serious. Still the impression holds, that nobody would beat him on clay, and very, very few on grass. I saw Mac in his full majesty in 1984, and i still think, i never have seen a better Wim player afterwards. He wasn't only a touch player that day at Wim, he was serving bombs against Jimbo, he could walk on water.
I think, those all time rankings are a bit unfair. In the 150 years of tennis, such great players have emerged like Cochet, Budge, Gonzalez, Kramer you name them, and to rank them as Nr. 12 or 20 or so, somewhere in the wilderness, its becoming a joke. All could have beaten the chosen Nr. 1 on their day, all have a case and a right to rank them among the greates players.
 

tonylg

Professional
It's hard to classify anyone who hasn't played on fast grass without poly and beaten skillful serve and volley players as a goat.

The big three are consistent and athletic, but Federer is really the only one who may have the skills to be the goat.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

KG1965

Legend
I agree w your main argument here. I also agree also with your other point, in the sense that Slam count is not, and can not, be the sole or even primary basis for analyzing the several GOAT contenders. In some cases, it can not be the primary basis. One's total Slam count relative to other players was not much discussed until Sampras told the world he was specifically gunning to break Emerson's record. I would never go so far as to say Slam count is nonsense. On the contrary, beginning in the 1990s, if not a little earlier, the Slams have become increasingly the primary focus.

Now, you are right, in that Laver and Rosewall skipped several Slams in the early 1970s, or were barred from them; Borg ignored the Australian, as did Connors after 1975. So they did not consider Slams to be the primary determining factor. But we also know that Budge's CYGS was celebrated in the sports world generally as a super achievement, as was Laver's amateur Grand Slam. I can not agree that Laver's 1962 achievement does not count. We also know (and most can remember) that Lendl's early struggles to win a Slam was considered one big monkey on his back. This indicates the "primary" nature of the Slams. And Wimbledon, standing alone, has always been a primary criterion by which to judge players and by which players judged themselves.

Finally, can not agree that Borg was "Little Nadal." These ATGs should be met and evaluated in light of conditions of their own time. Borg achieved equal, and arguably more, than Nadal in the same number of years.
I like the fact of not agreeing on anything with other interlocutors.;)
On the GS 1962 which for me has a value of zero (because the top dogs did not participate), I mean that it is not worth 1 or 2 slam OE, I mean that it is worth zero GS and zero slam tournament, and on the fact that Borg's career is strongly resized by Nadal (I took Rafa on purpose, because I see the two similar ones as a domain on red clay and a game of resistance from the basal ground) rest.
 

KG1965

Legend
Its an interesting thread and a good discussion here. Yes, it is sometimes a bit boring, reading those recent comments on the "goat"-race, which is purely for the majors number. In the 1970s, there was often talk by tennis writers and players about 3 greatest player candidates, there were Tilden, Budge and Laver. Tilden still looms as a mythical, bigger than life, somewhat dark figure in the background, Budge is largely forgotten in goat talk today. Laver still gets recognition, due to the naming of the Arena and Feds business activities around the Laver Cup, but no leading tennis or sports journalist is really digging in into all the new findings of results, Tennis Base, No Mercy, Krosero or Pro Tennis historian have found or sampled. Steve Tignor recently wrote about the "Iceberg" of Lavers achievements, but nobody is telling the full story, which we have now on our hands.
Around 1980, Borg was named by some writers as 4th among those big 3 i mentioned above. And everybody who saw Borg in those RG and Wim finals, would instantly underwrite, that he was one of the greatest players ever. His impact was so great, that those people and eye-witnesses will still say that today. Borg as Nr. 10 or Nr. 12? You cannot be serious. Still the impression holds, that nobody would beat him on clay, and very, very few on grass. I saw Mac in his full majesty in 1984, and i still think, i never have seen a better Wim player afterwards. He wasn't only a touch player that day at Wim, he was serving bombs against Jimbo, he could walk on water.
I think, those all time rankings are a bit unfair. In the 150 years of tennis, such great players have emerged like Cochet, Budge, Gonzalez, Kramer you name them, and to rank them as Nr. 12 or 20 or so, somewhere in the wilderness, its becoming a joke. All could have beaten the chosen Nr. 1 on their day, all have a case and a right to rank them among the greates players.
I also remember (and I agree with you) that in the 70s there was talk of 3 great candidates: Tilden, Budge and Laver, especially in Europe.
In America Kramer and Gonzalez were on top.
But the parameters were not the slams (also because those old champions had won a limited number): it was the feeling that they were dominant.
It is no coincidence that Rosewall who had won the most was not considered.
The domain >>>>>>>>>>>>> career and longevity.

But we are in the 70s.

It's also true that Borg was included in the discussion, especially the European media had seen him dominate RG and W.
But in America the swedish star was considered less. Because he struggled to win. Dominated in half the world, not in everything.
Then he retired.
Even Mac in 1984 was included in the debate but broke out the following year.

The domain / peak parameter changed radically with Sampras.
From that moment the totem of the slam count was introduced.
The domain has nothing to do with it.
In fact, everything can be told about Federer and Nadal but not that they dominated a decade.
They won so many big titles and slams but they didn't destroy the competition like Tilden, Kramer, Pancho, Laver did. And for a two-year Borg.

My impression is that the current parameter is very hasty and very wrong. But so was the old parameter based on the peak, because winning so much must count for a lot.
The preferable system is the third way: a mixed system that involves thinking about everything.
But it's tiring.

Laver reduced to 2 GS is something sadness.
Laver is 210 titles, and understand how many of these are relevant ones, understand when he dominated and when he didn't dominate, understand the whole career.
Gonzalez reduced to 2 slam is a real crap. Kramer at 3 equal. Borg at 11 slam makes you laugh.
And what about Sampras reduced to the one who won only 14 slams?
 
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BorgTheGOAT

Professional
I'm sorry to blame your family, but they are off track.

1) Laver can be placed in a Tier 1 but certainly not for the 2 GS, as one is a GS amateurs, therefore non-existent.
Rod can be placed in Tier 1 because has won 210 titles of which 60 are very relevant.

2) Borg is very overrated. Certainly a great player but he dominated 2-3 years. He won very little compared to a dozen ATGs.
Tier 2.
Bjorn is a little Nadal.
How is Borg overrated. Very few people see him as GOAT, he is mostly ranked somewhere around 5-10 all time, if even this. Considering he won 5 Wimbledon titles on old fast grass and was also a beast on indoor carpet it is completely dumb to call him a little Nadal.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
Also, unlike certain other players, such as Laver and Federer, Sampras, McEnroe, Hoad, Cochet, Vines, and Djokovic, I don't think anyone can claim that Borg at his best was as good or better than any ATG at his best. So, the only "subjective" reason to pick Borg is his popularity at the time. Objectively, he suffers from such a short career and early retirement. For sure he is top-10 all-time, but more toward No. 10 than No. 1.
Strongly disagree. Borg still has the Record of winning a Slam with the fewest games lost (32 in FO 78) and also won three slams without losing a set, couldn’t even be matched by Federer and Nadal. So why exactly should his peak level be lower than those of the ones you listed if he clearly dominates his competition more? Apart from this, there is no player in the history of the sport where you could generally say that his best is better than everybody else’s. AT THE VERY LEAST, you need to break it down to surfaces. I have no problem with anybody stating that Rafas best in clay is better than everybody else’s, but to say his best in general is better, this would include beating peak Djokovic on hard or peak Sampras on old grass/carpet which is ridiculous.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Years as World no. 1 is a criterion that I hold high (among several others).

Gonzales still leads in this category.
 

KG1965

Legend
How is Borg overrated. Very few people see him as GOAT, he is mostly ranked somewhere around 5-10 all time, if even this. Considering he won 5 Wimbledon titles on old fast grass and was also a beast on indoor carpet it is completely dumb to call him a little Nadal.
Yes, maybe you're right: it's actually stupid to call him little Nadal.
Just as it is maybe stupid to call Bjorn the GOAT or GOAT contender.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Professional
Yes, maybe you're right: it's actually stupid to call him little Nadal.
Just as it is maybe stupid to call Bjorn the GOAT or GOAT contender.
Well contender, why not? He still owns several records and played during a time where slam count was not really important. Sure he has flaws in his resume, the biggest of all having retired too soon. But anyways, every player has flaws, be it bad H2H against main rivals, slam distribution too focused on one surface, etc. In the end it comes down which player has the least important flaws.
 

Drob

Professional
Strongly disagree. Borg still has the Record of winning a Slam with the fewest games lost (32 in FO 78) and also won three slams without losing a set, couldn’t even be matched by Federer and Nadal. So why exactly should his peak level be lower than those of the ones you listed if he clearly dominates his competition more? Apart from this, there is no player in the history of the sport where you could generally say that his best is better than everybody else’s. AT THE VERY LEAST, you need to break it down to surfaces. I have no problem with anybody stating that Rafas best in clay is better than everybody else’s, but to say his best in general is better, this would include beating peak Djokovic on hard or peak Sampras on old grass/carpet which is ridiculous.
I wasn't talking about objective accomplishments in that part. I was trying to say that you don't hear anyone say Borg on his best day was the best player ever, as you do hear about the players I mentioned (Laver, Vines, Hoad, Federer, Djokovic). Or, people talk about an uncanny "genius", such as McEnroe and Cochet (and Federer). I don't think anyone is ever going to say that about Borg.

I would agree that for three years, Borg's dominance is right up there with the very best. Including the Masters, he won eight of 11 "majors" he competed at and 32 official titles. I have him with a 283-27 record '78-'80, which includes non-sanctioned and exhibitions, a yearly avg. of approx. 94-9. He won seven straight official tournaments from start of 1980 through Wimbledon, most of these high-prestige events. His Davis Cup record these years was undefeated, at approximately 18-0.
 
Everyone on this forum talks about the "GOAT-race" and all that stuff but they don't realise the true GOAT is a 120 year old Australian manlet whose name is on Melbourne's centre court.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
I base player rankings on accomplishments - not on who would win hypothetical head-to-head matches. That would bring in way too much supposition, and ultimately, subjectivity and bias.

Now, simply comparing accomplishments is not so easy, even with contemporaneous players. But I simply regard the mythical GOAT as the greatest of the OE until now.

Great as Borg and Sampras were, I just don't see their dominance across surfaces and longevity at the top as I see with The Big 3. They don't have the all-around breadth of accomplishments, and nothing qualitative jumps out to tell me they were better....and I saw, and marveled at, both of them
So given these parameters, this leaves each of The Big 3, whom I see as essentially equals. And since they're all still playing and I can't predict the future accurately...
 

Drob

Professional
I also remember (and I agree with you) that in the 70s there was talk of 3 great candidates: Tilden, Budge and Laver, especially in Europe.
In America Kramer and Gonzalez were on top.
But the parameters were not the slams (also because those old champions had won a limited number): it was the feeling that they were dominant.
It is no coincidence that Rosewall who had won the most was not considered.
The domain >>>>>>>>>>>>> career and longevity.

But we are in the 70s.

It's also true that Borg was included in the discussion, especially the European media had seen him dominate RG and W.
But in America the swedish star was considered less. Because he struggled to win. Dominated in half the world, not in everything.
Then he retired.
Even Mac in 1984 was included in the debate but broke out the following year.

The domain / peak parameter changed radically with Sampras.
From that moment the totem of the slam count was introduced.
I also remember (and I agree with you) that in the 70s there was talk of 3 great candidates: Tilden, Budge and Laver, especially in Europe.
In America Kramer and Gonzalez were on top.
But the parameters were not the slams (also because those old champions had won a limited number): it was the feeling that they were dominant.
It is no coincidence that Rosewall who had won the most was not considered.
The domain >>>>>>>>>>>>> career and longevity.

But we are in the 70s.

It's also true that Borg was included in the discussion, especially the European media had seen him dominate RG and W.
But in America the swedish star was considered less. Because he struggled to win. Dominated in half the world, not in everything.
Then he retired.
Even Mac in 1984 was included in the debate but broke out the following year.

The domain / peak parameter changed radically with Sampras.
From that moment the totem of the slam count was introduced.
The domain has nothing to do with it.
In fact, everything can be told about Federer and Nadal but not that they dominated a decade.
They won so many big titles and slams but they didn't destroy the competition like Tilden, Kramer, Pancho, Laver did. And for a two-year Borg.

My impression is that the current parameter is very hasty and very wrong. But so was the old parameter based on the peak, because winning so much must count for a lot.
The preferable system is the third way: a mixed system that involves thinking about everything.
But it's tiring.

Laver reduced to 2 GS is something sadness.
Laver is 210 titles, and understand how many of these are relevant ones, understand when he dominated and when he didn't dominate, understand the whole career.
Gonzalez reduced to 2 slam is a real crap. Kramer at 3 equal. Borg at 11 slam makes you laugh.
And what about Sampras reduced to the one who won only 14 slams?

Today's media tennis experts and talking heads (including ex-super stars) would acknowledge that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the greatest, if directly challenged. They just don't know how to talk about them because they are not willing to do a bit of research. Twenty-five years ago, the television commentators would still mention them, and Tilden. No longer.

This goes to Pheasant's question. I endorse the idea of a "mixed system." Like you, I am working on it. You start to take a look at what was really going on in tennis, you realize you have to include Tilden and Gonzalez in a GOAT discussion.

The problem is that we know this. But the tennis media does not, and it is not in ATP's interest to bring this up. As a result, the fans do not know about it either. It is not like baseball, basketball, or even football (soccer), where the fans recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the old players, and the Top 100 lists are filled with players who pre-date 1968, and the top-10 include old players as well. No one has forgotten Babe Ruth; no one has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain. You would not see a top-10 without them on it. In football, you will frequently see "old-time" players on a top-10 list, or certainly in the top 20 (Di Stefano, 1950s-60s; Meazza, 1930s; Garrincha, 1950s-60s; Charlton, 1960s; Eusebio; early 1960s to late 70s; Puskas, 1950s-60s; Zarra, 1940s-50s.

But Don Budge, Bill Tilden? there is but a vague acknowledgment that they did something long ago.

The domain has nothing to do with it.
In fact, everything can be told about Federer and Nadal but not that they dominated a decade.
They won so many big titles and slams but they didn't destroy the competition like Tilden, Kramer, Pancho, Laver did. And for a two-year Borg.

My impression is that the current parameter is very hasty and very wrong. But so was the old parameter based on the peak, because winning so much must count for a lot.
The preferable system is the third way: a mixed system that involves thinking about everything.
But it's tiring.

Laver reduced to 2 GS is something sadness.
Laver is 210 titles, and understand how many of these are relevant ones, understand when he dominated and when he didn't dominate, understand the whole career.
Gonzalez reduced to 2 slam is a real crap. Kramer at 3 equal. Borg at 11 slam makes you laugh.
And what about Sampras reduced to the one who won only 14 slams?
 

Drob

Professional
I also remember (and I agree with you) that in the 70s there was talk of 3 great candidates: Tilden, Budge and Laver, especially in Europe.
In America Kramer and Gonzalez were on top.
But the parameters were not the slams (also because those old champions had won a limited number): it was the feeling that they were dominant.
It is no coincidence that Rosewall who had won the most was not considered.
The domain >>>>>>>>>>>>> career and longevity.

But we are in the 70s.

It's also true that Borg was included in the discussion, especially the European media had seen him dominate RG and W.
But in America the swedish star was considered less. Because he struggled to win. Dominated in half the world, not in everything.
Then he retired.
Even Mac in 1984 was included in the debate but broke out the following year.

The domain / peak parameter changed radically with Sampras.
From that moment the totem of the slam count was introduced.
The domain has nothing to do with it.
In fact, everything can be told about Federer and Nadal but not that they dominated a decade.
They won so many big titles and slams but they didn't destroy the competition like Tilden, Kramer, Pancho, Laver did. And for a two-year Borg.

My impression is that the current parameter is very hasty and very wrong. But so was the old parameter based on the peak, because winning so much must count for a lot.
The preferable system is the third way: a mixed system that involves thinking about everything.
But it's tiring.

Laver reduced to 2 GS is something sadness.
Laver is 210 titles, and understand how many of these are relevant ones, understand when he dominated and when he didn't dominate, understand the whole career.
Gonzalez reduced to 2 slam is a real crap. Kramer at 3 equal. Borg at
11 slam makes you laugh.
And what about Sampras reduced to the one who won only 14 slams?
I mangled that last post. Here it is.

Today's media tennis experts and talking heads (including ex-super stars) would acknowledge that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the greatest, if directly challenged. They just don't know how to talk about them because they are not willing to do a bit of research. Twenty-five years ago, the television commentators would still mention them, and Tilden. No longer.

This goes to Pheasant's question. I endorse the idea of a "mixed system." Like you, I am working on it. You start to take a look at what was really going on in tennis, you realize you have to include Tilden and Gonzalez in a GOAT discussion.

The problem is that we know this. But the tennis media does not, and it is not in ATP's interest to bring this up. As a result, the fans do not know about it either. It is not like baseball, basketball, or even football (soccer), where the fans recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the old players, and the Top 100 lists are filled with players who pre-date 1968, and the top-10 include old players as well. No one has forgotten Babe Ruth; no one has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain. You would not see a top-10 without them on it. In football, you will frequently see "old-time" players on a top-10 list, or certainly in the top 20 (Di Stefano, 1950s-60s; Meazza, 1930s; Garrincha, 1950s-60s; Charlton, 1960s; Eusebio; early 1960s to late 70s; Puskas, 1950s-60s; Zarra, 1940s-50s.

But Don Budge, Bill Tilden? there is but a vague acknowledgment that they did something long ago.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I mangled that last post. Here it is.

Today's media tennis experts and talking heads (including ex-super stars) would acknowledge that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the greatest, if directly challenged. They just don't know how to talk about them because they are not willing to do a bit of research. Twenty-five years ago, the television commentators would still mention them, and Tilden. No longer.

This goes to Pheasant's question. I endorse the idea of a "mixed system." Like you, I am working on it. You start to take a look at what was really going on in tennis, you realize you have to include Tilden and Gonzalez in a GOAT discussion.

The problem is that we know this. But the tennis media does not, and it is not in ATP's interest to bring this up. As a result, the fans do not know about it either. It is not like baseball, basketball, or even football (soccer), where the fans recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the old players, and the Top 100 lists are filled with players who pre-date 1968, and the top-10 include old players as well. No one has forgotten Babe Ruth; no one has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain. You would not see a top-10 without them on it. In football, you will frequently see "old-time" players on a top-10 list, or certainly in the top 20 (Di Stefano, 1950s-60s; Meazza, 1930s; Garrincha, 1950s-60s; Charlton, 1960s; Eusebio; early 1960s to late 70s; Puskas, 1950s-60s; Zarra, 1940s-50s.

But Don Budge, Bill Tilden? there is but a vague acknowledgment that they did something long ago.
Superb post.

Urban has recently suggested a benchmark to evaluate dominant years, which could be applied universally for tennis history.

This is the 100+/50+ benchmark, a season with 100 wins combined with a margin of wins over losses of 50+.

This would cut down the rhetoric associated with "dominant years" to a manageable level.

Tilden might have a few of those seasons in the 1920's, Kramer possibly in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver on 8 separate years from 1961 to 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

Fed came close in 2006 with 92 wins and 5 losses.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I mangled that last post. Here it is.

Today's media tennis experts and talking heads (including ex-super stars) would acknowledge that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the greatest, if directly challenged. They just don't know how to talk about them because they are not willing to do a bit of research. Twenty-five years ago, the television commentators would still mention them, and Tilden. No longer.

This goes to Pheasant's question. I endorse the idea of a "mixed system." Like you, I am working on it. You start to take a look at what was really going on in tennis, you realize you have to include Tilden and Gonzalez in a GOAT discussion.

The problem is that we know this. But the tennis media does not, and it is not in ATP's interest to bring this up. As a result, the fans do not know about it either. It is not like baseball, basketball, or even football (soccer), where the fans recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the old players, and the Top 100 lists are filled with players who pre-date 1968, and the top-10 include old players as well. No one has forgotten Babe Ruth; no one has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain. You would not see a top-10 without them on it. In football, you will frequently see "old-time" players on a top-10 list, or certainly in the top 20 (Di Stefano, 1950s-60s; Meazza, 1930s; Garrincha, 1950s-60s; Charlton, 1960s; Eusebio; early 1960s to late 70s; Puskas, 1950s-60s; Zarra, 1940s-50s.

But Don Budge, Bill Tilden? there is but a vague acknowledgment that they did something long ago.

I was fascinated by this last night. Among other things, Lendl praised Roche as an incredible coach, and Mac specifically mentioned Budge as giving him tips that somehow changed an important match for him. Mac reveres Laver. So THESE guys, the top guys, the guys who know something about tennis, now about these amazing past champions.

We are so used to looking at discussion in the general section that we forgot there really are people how know more.
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame

I was fascinated by this last night. Among other things, Lendl praised Roche as an incredible coach, and Mac specifically mentioned Budge as giving him tips that somehow changed an important match for him. Mac reveres Laver. So THESE guys, the top guys, the guys who know something about tennis, now about these amazing past champions.

We are so used to looking at discussion in the general section that we forgot there really are people how know more.
That discussion was quite entertaining and fun to watch. I watched the 2 parts and I was sad when it was over.
 

Drob

Professional
Superb post.

Urban has recently suggested a benchmark to evaluate dominant years, which could be applied universally for tennis history.

This is the 100+/50+ benchmark, a season with 100 wins combined with a margin of wins over losses of 50+.

This would cut down the rhetoric associated with "dominant years" to a manageable level.

Tilden might have a few of those seasons in the 1920's, Kramer possibly in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver on 8 separate years from 1961 to 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

Fed came close in 2006 with 92 wins and 5 losses.
I am not sure I understand. I don't get the 50+. A hypothetical 100-49 record would get you a dominant year? That can't be right. Set me straight, please.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Were there two parts? I watched only one video, of about 40 minutes.
If you wait for a few seconds after the first one finishes the second one will come up for you to watch. Who could fail to be fascinated by several former tennis greats discussing many of the things we so-called 'experts' on TTW like to discuss. Great stuff!
 

urban

Legend
Dan cited some remarks by me, that i made regarding Laver and his match win stats, that Laver in the years 1964-1970 was the only pro player, who reached a 50 plus difference between wins and losses in each of the years, and no other pro once. I wrote that plus 50 in win loss margin in the context of the old pro signified a pretty good year, not necessarily a dominant year. In his long pro career, i think Gonzalez had 4 of those 50 plus seasons on the pro tour. So it obviously wasn't so easy on the pro tour. The other more importnat mark, is to reach over 100 match wins in a season, which was imo in every case a pretty dominant year, especially in pro and open contexts. Often it was the career highlight for a top player, like Vilas in 1977. To my knowledge, Gonzalez made 2 seasons with over 100 match wins, Rosewall again to my knowledge never had an over 100 match wins season. I think, at the moment Medwedew leads all players this year with just 50 wins, a long way to 100 wins. I think, besides the win-loss average, the difference between wins and losses is also a valuable parameter, because winning percentages often favor the players, who play less than others. For open era, even today i think, plus 50 win-loss margin is still pretty good, around 70 and better is pretty excellent.
 

KG1965

Legend
I mangled that last post. Here it is.

Today's media tennis experts and talking heads (including ex-super stars) would acknowledge that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the greatest, if directly challenged. They just don't know how to talk about them because they are not willing to do a bit of research. Twenty-five years ago, the television commentators would still mention them, and Tilden. No longer.

This goes to Pheasant's question. I endorse the idea of a "mixed system." Like you, I am working on it. You start to take a look at what was really going on in tennis, you realize you have to include Tilden and Gonzalez in a GOAT discussion.

The problem is that we know this. But the tennis media does not, and it is not in ATP's interest to bring this up. As a result, the fans do not know about it either. It is not like baseball, basketball, or even football (soccer), where the fans recognize and appreciate the accomplishments of the old players, and the Top 100 lists are filled with players who pre-date 1968, and the top-10 include old players as well. No one has forgotten Babe Ruth; no one has forgotten Wilt Chamberlain. You would not see a top-10 without them on it. In football, you will frequently see "old-time" players on a top-10 list, or certainly in the top 20 (Di Stefano, 1950s-60s; Meazza, 1930s; Garrincha, 1950s-60s; Charlton, 1960s; Eusebio; early 1960s to late 70s; Puskas, 1950s-60s; Zarra, 1940s-50s.

But Don Budge, Bill Tilden? there is but a vague acknowledgment that they did something long ago.
Today's average tennis experts and talking heads (including former super stars) do not recognize that Gorgo and Big Jake are among the biggest, none.
Even the americans do not do it anymore. Europeans have never done it.

Exact. They don't know how to talk about it because they are not willing to do some research. It's too difficult. For the media it is easier to write than 20 > 19.
Perhaps even a monkey would succeed.

Twenty-five years ago, television commentators still mentioned them. Sure.

I thank you for approving the idea of a "mixed system".
But it is not an easy system so it will remain an exercise for you, mine, of other fans (timnz, .....).
Media and fans want an easy system: count slam (like now), the best player I've seen dominate (like many years ago).

That's right, ATP and mids don't want to lift sand. It's risky.

That's right, in other sports there is more research and respect than the old champions.
No one has forgotten Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlain, Di Stefano, Garrincha, Puskas, Eusebio ...
Even if I think that with the passing of time they too will be forgotten.

In tennis this process of "forgetfulness" has accelerated years ago. The media was better at destroying the old myths.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I am not sure I understand. I don't get the 50+. A hypothetical 100-49 record would get you a dominant year? That can't be right. Set me straight, please.
I have just read Urban's post above. Great points he made.

There were only a few players who achieved 100 win seasons, probably Tilden, possibly Kramer in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver 8 times between 1961 and 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

I do not know about Budge or Riggs in the late 1930's. Riggs had a great year in 1946 but I do not know the season totals.

Federer had 92 in 2006, but since then no player has had the primal desire or bodily survival to attempt 100.

So I would make 100 the basic parameter for a great season, and I think that those players with 100 wins also managed to get a 50+ margin of wins over losses, it would be necessary to do that in order to get to 100.

It is notable which players never had a great season, by this standard, Sedgman, Rosewall, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Nadal, Djokovic.

They managed to have great careers,, but not a great season.

The GOAT debate should begin there, you need at least one great season.
 
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Drob

Professional
I have just read Urban's post above. Great points he made.

There were only a few players who achieved 100 win seasons, probably Tilden, possibly Kramer in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver 8 times between 1961 and 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

I do not know about Budge or Riggs in the late 1930's. Riggs had a great year in 1946 but I do not know the season totals.

Federer had 92 in 2006, but since then no player has had the primal desire or bodily survival to attempt 100.

So I would make 100 the basic parameter for a great season, and I think that those players with 100 wins also managed to get a 50+ margin of wins over losses, it would be necessary to do that in order to get to 100.

It is notable which players never had a great season, by this season, Sedgman, Rosewall, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Nadal, Djokovic.

They managed to have great careers,, but not a great season.

The GOAT debate should begin there, you need at least one great season.
Would you count non-sanctioned tournaments and exhibitions in the Open era? Question for Urban and Dan.
 
Its an interesting thread and a good discussion here. Yes, it is sometimes a bit boring, reading those recent comments on the "goat"-race, which is purely for the majors number. In the 1970s, there was often talk by tennis writers and players about 3 greatest player candidates, there were Tilden, Budge and Laver. Tilden still looms as a mythical, bigger than life, somewhat dark figure in the background, Budge is largely forgotten in goat talk today. Laver still gets recognition, due to the naming of the Arena and Feds business activities around the Laver Cup, but no leading tennis or sports journalist is really digging in into all the new findings of results, Tennis Base, No Mercy, Krosero or Pro Tennis historian have found or sampled. Steve Tignor recently wrote about the "Iceberg" of Lavers achievements, but nobody is telling the full story, which we have now on our hands.
Around 1980, Borg was named by some writers as 4th among those big 3 i mentioned above. And everybody who saw Borg in those RG and Wim finals, would instantly underwrite, that he was one of the greatest players ever. His impact was so great, that those people and eye-witnesses will still say that today. Borg as Nr. 10 or Nr. 12? You cannot be serious. Still the impression holds, that nobody would beat him on clay, and very, very few on grass. I saw Mac in his full majesty in 1984, and i still think, i never have seen a better Wim player afterwards. He wasn't only a touch player that day at Wim, he was serving bombs against Jimbo, he could walk on water.
I think, those all time rankings are a bit unfair. In the 150 years of tennis, such great players have emerged like Cochet, Budge, Gonzalez, Kramer you name them, and to rank them as Nr. 12 or 20 or so, somewhere in the wilderness, its becoming a joke. All could have beaten the chosen Nr. 1 on their day, all have a case and a right to rank them among the greates players.
It would not be disrespectful to rank very great players as, for example 12th, in the all time list, bearing in the mind the even greater players ranked above that player. Of course there were many players (some who never even won a major) who on their best days were almost unbeatable. Greatness (to my mind at least) is largely a list of accomplishments, though we may differ about what results (or what events) we use in assessing these accomplishments.

Regarding tennis journalists and ex-players, very few if any know much about tennis before their own lifetime. When it comes to tennis history I have much more respect for fellow researchers such as krosero and NoMercy than I do any ex-players or journalists. I have more respect for most regular members of this former pro player forum who aren't researchers for their knowledge of tennis history than I do ex-players, who know almost nothing about Tilden, Budge, Riggs etc. Ask a bunch of ex-players if they have heard of Hans Nusslein, I bet there won't be a single one that has! Ex-players (and particularly great players) are most interesting to listen to when they talk of their own era and own rivalries, like the video I posted in the video section the other day of Wilander, Becker, McEnroe and Lendl (I see another of their chats was posted on this thread).
 
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I have just read Urban's post above. Great points he made.

There were only a few players who achieved 100 win seasons, probably Tilden, possibly Kramer in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver 8 times between 1961 and 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

I do not know about Budge or Riggs in the late 1930's. Riggs had a great year in 1946 but I do not know the season totals.

Federer had 92 in 2006, but since then no player has had the primal desire or bodily survival to attempt 100.

So I would make 100 the basic parameter for a great season, and I think that those players with 100 wins also managed to get a 50+ margin of wins over losses, it would be necessary to do that in order to get to 100.

It is notable which players never had a great season, by this season, Sedgman, Rosewall, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Nadal, Djokovic.

They managed to have great careers,, but not a great season.

The GOAT debate should begin there, you need at least one great season.
So a player who had 100 wins in a season and 49 losses should be considered to have had a better season than McEnroe in 1984 (who had slightly less than 100 wins but just 3 losses)?! Surely a list of players with percentage of match wins in a season is a much better benchmark (with a minimum number of wins in a season of, for example, 30 to qualify).
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
So a player who had 100 wins in a season and 49 losses should be considered to have had a better season than McEnroe in 1984 (who had slightly less than 100 wins but just 3 losses)?! Surely a list of players with percentage of match wins in a season is a much better benchmark (with a minimum number of wins in a season of, for example, 30 to qualify).
McEnroe might qualify here if we "bend" the 100 mark a little, but I would want to see wins at least CLOSE to 100.

This would provide an important benchmark for a great season.

It is certainly not the ONLY criterion, but one important criterion. Strength of field, win percentage, other factors are also important.
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
Strongly disagree. Borg still has the Record of winning a Slam with the fewest games lost (32 in FO 78) and also won three slams without losing a set, couldn’t even be matched by Federer and Nadal. So why exactly should his peak level be lower than those of the ones you listed if he clearly dominates his competition more? Apart from this, there is no player in the history of the sport where you could generally say that his best is better than everybody else’s. AT THE VERY LEAST, you need to break it down to surfaces. I have no problem with anybody stating that Rafas best in clay is better than everybody else’s, but to say his best in general is better, this would include beating peak Djokovic on hard or peak Sampras on old grass/carpet which is ridiculous.
Nadal won RG 2008, 2010 and 2017 without losing a set, too.
The same number as Borg.
;)
 

urban

Legend
Of course we can make an all time ranking list on accomplishments. But we should regard, that this list is not comparable to an actual ranking list. The Nr. 15 or 20 is not a journeyman or brave troupier like Robredo, Anderson or Ferrer today (nothing against those brave players). All say 20-25 players in such a ranking are all time greats, who for some time period, often several years, were Nr. 1 of the world. Each of them for some time brought tennis close to perfection. Nobody could play tennis better for a while than each of them.
 

Drob

Professional
I have just read Urban's post above. Great points he made.

There were only a few players who achieved 100 win seasons, probably Tilden, possibly Kramer in 1950, Gonzales in 1954 and 1956, Trabert in 1955, Hoad in 1956 and 1959, Laver 8 times between 1961 and 1970, Emerson in 1964, Vilas in 1977.

I do not know about Budge or Riggs in the late 1930's. Riggs had a great year in 1946 but I do not know the season totals.

Federer had 92 in 2006, but since then no player has had the primal desire or bodily survival to attempt 100.



So I would make 100 the basic parameter for a great season, and I think that those players with 100 wins also managed to get a 50+ margin of wins over losses, it would be necessary to do that in order to get to 100.

It is notable which players never had a great season, by this standard, Sedgman, Rosewall, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Nadal, Djokovic.

They managed to have great careers,, but not a great season.

The GOAT debate should begin there, you need at least one great season.
>Yes to most. However especially considering that the nature of the beast has changed, nobody nowadays is going to come close to 100 wins. So that criterion has to be adjusted down to 70 or 75. You seem to be suggesting something like this.

I asked about non-sanctioned and exhibitions because Borg has 100 wins in '78 and '79 if you count both indie tourneys and straight exho matches. I might imagine same true for McEnroe and possibly Lendl.

I just looked up Connors. In 1974 he played no exhos, or non-sanctioned, and fell just short of 100. But in 1976, Connors appears to have won 100 matches exactly at official tournaments and another four at unofficial matches. The proliferation of independent tournaments and exhibitions started up a few years later and flourished thru most of the 1980s. For this reason I am sure McEnroe has a 100-win season or two. I just looked at Lendl. I did not look at all years. Ivan won 127 matches in 1982, counting a half-dozen non-sanctioned, but highly competitive tournaments. He 92 match in 1986, playing fewer independent tourneys.

Drobny was 92-11 in 1950, and 92-12 in '51.

Now, Nole and Federer et al., are not even playing 100 matches. With their reduced schedules, even 70 is not likely.

Medvedev has a good shot at 70 this year.

Perhaps counting the independent tournaments, but not the exhibition matches might be the way to go.
 
Wilt is not a top 10 NBA player btw. some statnerds might put him in but he's certainly not a guaranteed spot in everyone's top 10 like Jordan and Magic etc.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
>Yes to most. However especially considering that the nature of the beast has changed, nobody nowadays is going to come close to 100 wins. So that criterion has to be adjusted down to 70 or 75. You seem to be suggesting something like this.

I asked about non-sanctioned and exhibitions because Borg has 100 wins in '78 and '79 if you count both indie tourneys and straight exho matches. I might imagine same true for McEnroe and possibly Lendl.

I just looked up Connors. In 1974 he played no exhos, or non-sanctioned, and fell just short of 100. But in 1976, Connors appears to have won 100 matches exactly at official tournaments and another four at unofficial matches. The proliferation of independent tournaments and exhibitions started up a few years later and flourished thru most of the 1980s. For this reason I am sure McEnroe has a 100-win season or two. I just looked at Lendl. I did not look at all years. Ivan won 127 matches in 1982, counting a half-dozen non-sanctioned, but highly competitive tournaments. He 92 match in 1986, playing fewer independent tourneys.

Drobny was 92-11 in 1950, and 92-12 in '51.

Now, Nole and Federer et al., are not even playing 100 matches. With their reduced schedules, even 70 is not likely.

Medvedev has a good shot at 70 this year.

Perhaps counting the independent tournaments, but not the exhibition matches might be the way to go.
Agree with you, all tournies, but not exho's. But I would include the old pro tours, even some of the shorter tours, which were serious matches.

I could see including the Borg/McEnroe series in Australia in 1981.

I would not lower the barrier below 90+, even today.

I think that the hard rubber surfaces which prevail today cause too much wear and tear on legs and knees, so that could account for the fewer season matches today. But those are the breaks.
 

Drob

Professional
Agree with you, all tournies, but not exho's. But I would include the old pro tours, even some of the shorter tours, which were serious matches.

I could see including the Borg/McEnroe series in Australia in 1981.

I would not lower the barrier below 90+, even today.

I think that the hard rubber surfaces which prevail today cause too much wear and tear on legs and knees, so that could account for the fewer season matches today. But those are the breaks.

Well, at 90, no one will ever meet your standard. A standard no one can meet?

100 made some sense for the Pros. But even then, many great seasons would not have made it. Rosewall 1962: won 9 of 12 actual tournaments entered, including French Pro and Wembley but only 60-9 record. But that was not dominant? (I assume that you bend the rules for Muscles' Pro CYGS of '63, w only 96 wins). How about Don Budge 1938? Cochet in 1928? (Henri won 13 of 15 tournaments played, including RG, US Nationals, PSW, MC, but was only 81-4. That is not a dominant season?) Djokovic 2011 and 2015? And so on.
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Well, at 90, no one will ever meet your standard. A standard no one can meet?

100 made some sense for the Pros. But even then, many great seasons would not have made it. Rosewall won the dang Professional Grand Slam in 1963 (WCS and the three pro Slams). That was not dominant? How about Don Budge 1938? Cochet in 1928? (Henri won 13 of 15 tournaments played, including RG, US Nationals, PSW, MC, but was only 81-4. That is not a dominant season?) Djokovic 2011 and 2015? And so on.
I predict that if tennis follows baseball and football, and returns to grass and away from hard rubber/concrete, it will be possible to play well over 100 matches per year.

Roswall won the major tournaments in the early 1960's, but did not get near 100+ wins. These are two different measures.

I would like to see the old pros win the major tournaments AND put up 100+ wins to claim a truly dominant year. Rosewall was not there, nor Djokovic.
 

Drob

Professional
Well, at 90, no one will ever meet your standard. A standard no one can meet?

100 made some sense for the Pros. But even then, many great seasons would not have made it. Rosewall 1962: won 9 of 12 actual tournaments entered, including French Pro and Wembley but only 60-9 record. But that was not dominant? (I assume that you bend the rules for Muscles' Pro CYGS of '63, w only 96 wins). How about Don Budge 1938? Cochet in 1928? (Henri won 13 of 15 tournaments played, including RG, US Nationals, PSW, MC, but was only 81-4. That is not a dominant season?) Djokovic 2011 and 2015? And so on.

I think it is an interesting construct, but arbitrary. The 50-plus may well have analytical value. But the 100 wins is arbitrary. I think it is a "bonus" when comparing dominant years - more wins makes the year that much more impressive. But to use 100 wins as definition of dominance is going too far.

BIG Blinking Case-in-Point. There arguably has not been a more dominant year by any Pro than Budge in 1939, given relative competition. (Gonzalez 1956 probably beats out Budge slightly). But Don weren't "Dominant" because he only won 86 matches. He also clears your 50-plus by only four matches. Yet there is hardly a better year in tennis by anyone at anytime.

As standard exists, even the fabled 1984 of McEnroe would not make the club. Counting independent tournaments, Mac is still only 95-4 on the year.

I realize this was a thought experiment. And a good one. I commend that. But Urban's standards lead to some poor conclusions. The 50-plus is good. The 100 (or 90) should be reserved as a "something extra" to argue a particular case.
 

urban

Legend
Now. again i get involved in a discussion and conclusions, i haven't generated. I have never written that 100 match wins are the lone or exclusive parameter for an extraordinary season. Percentage, weight of tournaments, competition and etc. are other criteria, of course. But yes, i think, to make a Century, as the Cricketers name it, in one season, is damn good in every case. It not a matter about playing much, as a guy like Kafelnikov did, but also of winning much. Because of this, i thought about a qualifier, and that is the win-loss-difference. To win 100 matches; you have to win matches all year long without rest periods, selective choices of events, careful preparation. To get a high percentage, is easier with say 40 matches than with 120, i would bet every dollar on this. The older pros did not play that much because they wished it, but because of their commitments and contracts. Now those Centuries, which Ashe, Vilas, Lendl, Borg, maybe Connors did on one or two occasions, marked one of the highpoints of their careers. I have no definite list of "centurions", would be interesting. Probably it was easier in the pure amateur world. In the amateurs, Tilden had maybe one or two years, i think, Riggs one or two in the late 30s, Trabert, Hoad and Emerson (who could have several), maybe Roche 1966, too. On the pro tour Gonzalez twice, Kramer once, Hoad once. Maybe we can complete the list. What i wanted to show originally, that Laver did this for 8 separate years, which i still find nothing short of astonishing. And he did it with a a margin of at least 71 or better (as amateur 1962 he had 151-15, 1966 he was 110 or 112-26, 1969 he was 108-16) and under all cirumstances (2 as amateur, 4 as pro, 2 in open competition).
 

Drob

Professional
Now. again i get involved in a discussion and conclusions, i haven't generated. I have never written that 100 match wins are the lone or exclusive parameter for an extraordinary season. Percentage, weight of tournaments, competition and etc. are other criteria, of course. But yes, i think, to make a Century, as the Cricketers name it, in one season, is damn good in every case. It not a matter about playing much, as a guy like Kafelnikov did, but also of winning much. Because of this, i thought about a qualifier, and that is the win-loss-difference. To win 100 matches; you have to win matches all year long without rest periods, selective choices of events, careful preparation. To get a high percentage, is easier with say 40 matches than with 120, i would bet every dollar on this. The older pros did not play that much because they wished it, but because of their commitments and contracts. Now those Centuries, which Ashe, Vilas, Lendl, Borg, maybe Connors did on one or two occasions, marked one of the highpoints of their careers. I have no definite list of "centurions", would be interesting. Probably it was easier in the pure amateur world. In the amateurs, Tilden had maybe one or two years, i think, Riggs one or two in the late 30s, Trabert, Hoad and Emerson (who could have several), maybe Roche 1966, too. On the pro tour Gonzalez twice, Kramer once, Hoad once. Maybe we can complete the list. What i wanted to show originally, that Laver did this for 8 separate years, which i still find nothing short of astonishing. And he did it with a a margin of at least 71 or better (as amateur 1962 he had 151-15, 1966 he was 110 or 112-26, 1969 he was 108-16) and under all cirumstances (2 as amateur, 4 as pro, 2 in open competition).
You may not have used the word "dominance" or "dominant year." That might have been Dan. If the formula is being used as a kind-of border guard for calling a player's year dominant, then I think it would yield poor results. If, on the hand, you did not intend it being used as an absolute for determining a "dominant year" or "mega year" or "all-time" year, then I think it is a great pair of statistics. I actually think the 50+ idea is useful in looking at any kind of big year. (But there are exceptions to making this mandatory, as well, i.e. Tilden, 1921, Lacoste 1927, Cochet 1928, Budge 1938, Kramer 1947). What if next year Nole did not start the season until Madrid because of injury, lost there, made the Italian finals, then won Roland Garros, then won Wimbledon, then lost again at the Olympics, lost at Cincy, won the USO, then said his injury had returned and on medical advice he was sitting out the rest of the season. That would be a record of like 33-4. I think we might call it an "all-time" year or "dominant year" because he won RG, Wimbledon and USO.

But, as I said, the 100+ wins is a great stat, a great add-on in favor of guys like Tilden, Gonzalez, Hoad (and maybe Borg and others) when comparing the numerous "dominant years" we see in the history.

With eight 100-win seasons, yes, that is an achievement worth shouting out. I think Rocket remains right there in the GOAT speculation. And you bringing this statistic to our attention strengthens the case for Laver. Eight 100+ seasons is right bloody awesome.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I think it is an interesting construct, but arbitrary. The 50-plus may well have analytical value. But the 100 wins is arbitrary. I think it is a "bonus" when comparing dominant years - more wins makes the year that much more impressive. But to use 100 wins as definition of dominance is going too far.

BIG Blinking Case-in-Point. There arguably has not been a more dominant year by any Pro than Budge in 1939, given relative competition. (Gonzalez 1956 probably beats out Budge slightly). But Don weren't "Dominant" because he only won 86 matches. He also clears your 50-plus by only four matches. Yet there is hardly a better year in tennis by anyone at anytime.

As standard exists, even the fabled 1984 of McEnroe would not make the club. Counting independent tournaments, Mac is still only 95-4 on the year.

I realize this was a thought experiment. And a good one. I commend that. But Urban's standards lead to some poor conclusions. The 50-plus is good. The 100 (or 90) should be reserved as a "something extra" to argue a particular case.
You raise some touchy issues here...Budge in 1939? I have always had trouble accepting that as a dominant year for Budge, simply because Vines was so impressive. Budge's edge over Vines on the world series tour was determined by a pulled rib muscle for Vines, otherwise it was all square.
And Budge ducked the biggest tournament of the year, the U.S. Pro, where Vines was hot, presumably because Vines was planning to retire and Budge perhaps did not want to compromise his commerciability by losing their last meeting. Budge claimed that he was too tired to give a full effort.
I am not completely convinced by that year.

Mac won 95 matches in 1984? Or was it 84? Either way, it is better to be over 100.

The pros themselves talked about 100 as a marker of great years.

You could set the bar at 90, but then you have a large number of qualifiers, I would set it at 100 to truly separate the men from the boys.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
If you wait for a few seconds after the first one finishes the second one will come up for you to watch. Who could fail to be fascinated by several former tennis greats discussing many of the things we so-called 'experts' on TTW like to discuss. Great stuff!
Mac is his usual self. Very animated and all over the place. Wilander is a surprisingly good communicator. Actually quite likeable. Becker is very intense and surprisingly emotional. Lendl, the guy I hated as a tennis player (because of his style) is to me the most insightful and quite possibly the most intelligent. I agree with him the most because he nuances his statements, saying things like: "I could make an argument either way." This was most evident in the discussion of dominance vs weak era.

Also extreme interesting was Lendl's comment about seeing matches between him and Mac, earlier, and realizing the both he and Mac could easily beat young versions of themselves. That seems terribly important right now with the endless debate about peaks. I think on at least good days older versions of the Big 3 could beat their younger selves. That view is very unpopular here. Add Murray to that. When he got to #1, I think he was an improved player.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Mac is his usual self. Very animated and all over the place. Wilander is a surprisingly good communicator. Actually quite likeable. Becker is very intense and surprisingly emotional. Lendl, the guy I hated as a tennis player (because of his style) is to me the most insightful and quite possibly the most intelligent. I agree with him the most because he nuances his statements, saying things like: "I could make an argument either way." This was most evident in the discussion of dominance vs weak era.

Also extreme interesting was Lendl's comment about seeing matches between him and Mac, earlier, and realizing the both he and Mac could easily beat young versions of themselves. That seems terribly important right now with the endless debate about peaks. I think on at least good days older versions of the Big 3 could beat their younger selves. That view is very unpopular here. Add Murray to that. When he got to #1, I think he was an improved player.
It seems to be a natural tendency to think of ourselves as a "new and improved" version of our younger selves.
 
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