Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by garcia_doomer, Sep 26, 2008.
Here is it, from Ray Bowers http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines_00_12_23.html
Yes, interesting. "Overspin backhand."
I'd choose Laver, but then I am biased. But I guess he settles the men's GOAT debate.
Good reading, thanks.
The only interesting thing about the ungoing goat debate is that it's never settled.
Not to be sexist or anything, but for a real goat debate, women shouldn't be included.
I agree, neither should doubles.
(It's all tennis.)
Another one to read:
Yes, That's a good article. We've seen it before.
I can't open the statistical table though.
That article is heavily biased against Federer. To put Tilden :lol: and Borg ahead of Federer on the Greatest of all Time list, just goes to show how out to lunch he is.
women Margaret court
men Sampras (for now)
probably Federer within the next 2 years
I prefer Raymond Lee's piece.
This one has portions like "both played an attacking style that I admire". Who cares?
Those darn statistics, they are so biased.
I believe that it shows something else.
I am basing my argument off of statistics. As well as playing styles.
How can Tilden be considered greater than Federer if he only won 3 professional majors? Same thing with Borg, he won 11 not 13 majors and he didn't dominate his era like Fed has.
This is satire, right?
Of the three most important events in Tilden's era (Wimbledon, US Championships, World Clay Court Championships in Paris), Tilden won 11. Of the three most important events today (Wimbledon, US Open, Roland Garros), Federer has won 10. So Tilden is ahead, though of course Federer may soon surpass that mark. More importantly, however, Tilden won all three of his "major" titles at least once, whereas Federer has repeatedly failed on French clay - and most important of all, Tilden won them all IN THE SAME YEAR. (I unequivocally consider this the first true "Grand Slam.") So even using this shorthand approach, one can clearly see that Tilden remains ahead of Federer in long-term achievement, versatility, AND peak dominance. I think there is no room for debate at the moment; Federer, great as he may be, is still in an altogether lower tier.
Here's a very useful article:
Yes, but unbeknownst to the author.
Of course Laver is the GOAT and Borg is the second. That is clear to anyone who watches tennis longer than last couple of years. No self respecting tennis writter would put Federer on top of the GOAT list. That is reserved for fanboys.
Appreciate the enthusiasm, but keep in mind there was tennis before Laver too.
There aren't 3 most important events today. The majors are all equally important. Federer has 13 (pro) majors to Tildens 10 (amateur level.) You have to include Federer's Australian Open majors and it's fair to do so, because the Australian Championship were around when Tilden was playing. The Australian Championship first started in 1927.
Tilden, never won all three of the majors in the same year. If you are referring to 1921 when he won the World Clay Court
Championships that still doesn't count because Jacques Brugnon won the French that year. Tilden, never won the French Championship as an amateur, he finished runner-up twice. He did later win the French Pro Championship but it wasn't in the same year as the other two majors. Also, Tilden only won 10 amateur majors not 11. Your facts are wrong.
I don't see how Tilden is more versatile than Federer. Tilden won nearly all of his majors on grass until the French Pro Championship where as Federer has had to win them on Grass, Hard-court and almost on clay. Clearly, Federer is far more versatile than Tilden.
It's a joke to compare Tilden to Federer anyway.
Do you have any evidence to back up your claims?
Actually, no. The disparity isn't as great as it used to be, but there is still a fairly clear hierarchy. Why else would Federer rather win an 11th Wimbledon than a 1st French Open?
The Australian Championships did not start in 1927, they had been around before World War I (but the Victorian Championships were considered more prestigious). And Tilden won most of his majors in the 1920-1925 span, anyway. And no one considered the Australian a "major" title at the time; the concept of "majors" wasn't even invented until the 1930s. So you're using criteria to judge Tilden's career that make no sense.
The "French Amateur" you refer to prior to 1925 was a minor event for French players only, whereas the World Clay Court Championships were a true international championship that was considered, with Wimbledon and the US Championships, one of the three most important tournaments besides the Davis Cup. The World Clay Court Championships ended when the French Amateur finally opened to international competition in 1925, but before that it was clearly the most important and prestigious title in continental Europe. So yes, of the three biggest events in Tilden's day, he won 11.
Tilden won the premier clay-court title in the world in 1921, something Federer has not been able to do. He also won the US Clay Court Championships a remarkable seven times. He was more successful on clay than Federer has been so far.
I agree. Tilden is of a much higher class.
JD is screwing with us, right? That has to be the only explanation.
If he isn't then this is a prime example of how we haven't evolved at all as a human species.
That criticism can be applied only to one of Tilden's 10/11 "major" championship wins, so I don't find it particularly stinging. Moreover, some would argue that it was actually MORE difficult on the defending champion to have to come out and play the final, without any competitive match play under his belt, against an opponent who was practiced and "hot." Some of the players themselves made this case (e.g., Tony Wilding in 1914).
That's correct but it still does apply. I think it cheapens his legacy as well as all of the other early Wimbledon Champions who played under this same rule. It's much harder to win 7 straight matches than 1. The fewer matches that you have to play the better your chance is of retaining your title it just makes sense.
You are always so right. Mr. Dragon is an excellent example of how much more evolved the human species is today.
Just like how the game of tennis has "evolved" to being so much more multi-dimensional today with so many all-court and serve & volley players.
No Cy, I afraid he is all too serious--he truly thinks Fed is the one. See this:
So how many ATP points does Tilden have? As many as Fed? No, I didn't think so--this proves Fed is better!
I can't wait for the next guy to put together a couple of great years. Federer will be thrown aside like a week-old leftover tukey.
Tennis has evolved. Federer had a beer gut. And man boobs. Bernard Tomic has a finely sculpted body and can lift a car over his head.
And Tilden couldn't hit a 130 mph serve because they didn't have radar guns back then. Right!
We have "evolved" so that we can only now measure the speed of objects. Before the radar gun was invented, we had no idea how fast anything traveled. Brilliant.
Federer hits like a girl.
We'll have perfectly engineered half-humans/half-cyborgs in 50 years who will invent a new kind of shot - the topspin underslice. Both powerful and deceptive, guaranteeing that tennis has evolved and that players like Federer wouldn't stand a chance.
We will also have an introduction of a new major, held in Greenland which will become an economic superpower in part due to an influx of immigration with a global warming crisis raising the temperatures at the equator to intolerable highs. The major will be held in an aquarium-type stadium under water and due to their adjustment to these underwater conditions the players will have substantially superior muscle build than those of the past. They will also grow fins, which is simple evolution.
Due to the fact that Federer has never played a major in Greenland, his record will forever be tainted by the fact. How can one be the greatest player of all time never having won in Greenland?
I think that Federer is the Greatest of all time and I have never seen one convincing argument that stated otherwise.
You are a Laver fan and I'm a Federer fan so it's natural that we are going to lock horns on this issue.
I don't understand why in the article the writer pretty much ignores the Aussie open to this day (sampras 12 slams???). To make the whole situation
fair, they should count the TOP4 events of the year, not the TOP3.
For example, in the 70's they could count the Masters as a fourth slam.
The Pro series of the 1950's etc had the 3 biggies and the next biggest tourny.
Gonzales or Tilden for GOAT BTW:twisted:
It all depends on whether you would prefer to view history from the perspective of now versus of the perspective of then.
The perspective of then attests that there are three majors in a year. Now we have essentially four.
Neither satisfies and I discourage both.
Counting majors is by no means the be-all, end-all of determining greatness. However, as long as there has been competitive tennis, there have been certain events which the tennis community has singled out as being more important than others. These designations have, of course, shifted somewhat over time. I do think it is much easier (and probably more accurate) to single out three "major" titles in each era rather than four, at least since 1912. And my position is that if people are going to count majors at all, they had better do it in way that is historically responsible.
I'm a Fed fan too: I like his strokes, his game, his attitude, and his choice of role models. But, for me, it's about the record--achievements. It's not about who I like more.
Fed is on my top-10 list, but he's not at the top spot . . . yet. Give him a few years, he's still playing. Sampras can't go any higher; Laver can't go any higher; Tilden can't go any higher. Fed can go only higher (unless some monster-superstar-kid comes along and wins 16 GS tournies in a row, then they all move down).
Ok. Fair enough.
It's a joke to state it's a joke to compare Tilden with Federer.
it is very clear that you don't know what you're talking about.
First the Australasian Chps were held for the first time in 1905 and not in 1927. That year the label changed and became "Australian" instead of Australasian. The Australasian committee was created in 1905 in order to put a Down Under team for the Davis Cup.
Secondly it was very hard to go Down Under when you were a European or an American. Johnston, Lacoste, Cochet, Karel Kozeluh that is all the greats of the time, almost never came in the Southern Hemisphere (Tilden came in the austral summer 1920-1921 and Cochet got Down Under as a pro in late 1935). The only one who did that was Borotra who quit Europe in October (or September) 1927 and played in South America, Australasia and South Africa. He came back to France in May 1928 but was so exhausted by his very long trip that he failed to reach the very last rounds both in the French and in the British Slams. So it wasn't Tilden's fault if he didn't make such a trip : now a trip to Australia needs only 2 days whereas at that time, 45 days were needed. No comparison.
Thirdly, this isn't Brugnon who won in 1921 a French outdoor championship, but Jean Samazeuilh who captured the French amateur closed championship (only players members of a French club could enter that event). The World amateur Hardcourt (clay) Champ won by Tilden had a very better field though all the best didn't came. To give you an example, Samazeuilh, the so-called French Chp, lost in the 1st round of the World Hard Court Champs to Manuel Alonso who in turn was defeated by William Laurentz in the second round, Laurentz who had lost an eye 9 years before. Laurentz was beaten by Tegner who lost to Jean Washer in the semis who lost to Tilden. OK you have now an idea of the so-called greatness of that supposed major won by Samazeuilh. So who won the true French major ? Tilden. Moreover even in 1921, the French amateur closed champ was less important than the French (amateur) International Covered Court Chp won by Gobert if my memory is good.
Fourthly, the very greatest event by far in the 20's was not one of all the supposedly majors cited by many of you in those quotes. The EVENT in the 20's with an "E" was the Davis Cup and Tilden won every singles from 1920 to his defeat in 1926 by Lacoste in a dead rubber. The only other player who could claim such a feat was Johnston (sometimes the latter has even been more dominant than Big Bill has).
Then the other great event (but far below) was the US amateur and not Wimbledon simply because the best players in the world were the Americans. So to prove that he was the best Tilden had just to play the Davis Cup and the US Chp. From 1922 to 1926 he didn't need to came to Europe to play Wimbledon or the World Hard Court/French Chp and so he stayed in the US. Johnston did nearly the same and never played in Europe since 1923. That year Johnston came for the last time, won the World Hard Court and Wimbledon, showing that he was better than any European. Then he returned to the US and was crushed by Tilden in the US Final. So why Tilden should have come to Europe when it was so clear that he was the best by far ? He had no reason to lost his time in such a long trip across the Atlantic. In 1925 Lacoste won both the French and Wimbledon but was clearly beaten by the best Americans both in Davis Cup and in the US Chp. This clearly indicated that the French and Wimby were not true majors and Lacoste was less good than Tilden, Johsnton and Richards. Why Lacoste made the Atlantic trip and the Americans didn’t make the reverse trip ? Simply because the Davis Cup was on the US ground and not in Europe.
Sgt John (Jonathan) has made a personal list of the 4 biggest events of each year : globally I agree with him. His list is much nearer to the truth than the list of the official supposed majors. So in this case Tilden's wins of truly majors is above 20. I don't say that 20 or more wins at the time are superior to 13 wins in the modern era but I just say that we can wonder whether Tilden was one of the all time greats.
For instance in 1921 the true majors were the Davis Cup (won by Tilden and Johnston), the US amateur Chp (won by Tilden), Wimbledon (Tilden winner) and the World Hard Court Chp (again Tilden). So that year Tilden has won 3 or 4 majors. I will be kind with you because I will grant Tilden with only 3 majors : in the Davis Cup that year Johnston was even more impressive than Tilden because Little Bill just lost one set whereas Tilden lost two sets and more games so Johnston perhaps deserved the title of best player in the Davis Cup. Last word about Tilden's year : his 1921 record wasn't perfect. He lost to Richards at Providence (USA) (but Tilden had previously beaten Richards at the Philadelphia Indoor tournament) and to James Outram Anderson (Aus) in the East-West matches at Chicago, 3-6 6-4 6-1 1-6 19-17 (this is the only time that the American lost to the Australian indicating that perhaps Tilden wasn’t at his best in Chicago).
You use the argument that Tilden was just twice runner-up of the French to try to convince us that he was not better than Federer but the first year that the French was "open" to Tilden was 1925. Before as I’ve explained for the 1921 edition it was a National closed event. Tilden was the best player in the world from 1920 to 1925 (except perhaps in 1922 when Johnston was very close in my opinion) and was barred from the French until 1924. Therefore for 5 years as the best he couldn't play the French. How many French finals would have played Federer if he hadn't be allowed to play it for five years when he was at his best ? 0 is the answer. So are you sure that Federer was a better claycourter than Tilden.
Fifthly, about amateur level (because you underrate Tilden's feats by stating they were realized in the amateur circuit and you probably suppose the pros were better at the time). The best pro of the second half of the 20's was Karel Kozeluh. On slow courts he was clearly the best always beating Vincent Richards, his greatest pro rival, on those surfaces, and on fast courts (mainly grass) though Karel was globally dominated by Richards, he sometimes defeated Vincent on the latter's favoured courts. In 1931 in the first American pro tour between Tilden and Karel Kozeluh, which ended on August 16, the overall Tilden-Kozeluh record was as follows : Tilden 50, Kozeluh 17 (Indoors: Tilden 26, Kozeluh 1) (Grass: Tilden 2, Kozeluh 0) (Outdoor hard courts: Kozeluh 5, Tilden 3) (Clay: Tilden 19, Kozeluh 11). And it was the template of all their future encounters as pro players (except the fact that even on outdoor hard courts Tilden generally won). The first time both players had met was in early 1930 on a French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) clay court (Beaulieu I think but I've forgotten), that is on Kozeluh's favoured surface and Tilden's less favourite one. Tilden still an amateur then, beat Kozeluh 64 64.
Against Richards, Tilden almost always won (there were exceptions : see above) both in the amateur and in the pro ranks (the only year when Richards was superior in direct confrontations was in 1926 when Vincent won 3 meetings out of 4).
All that doesn't prove at 100% that Tilden was better than the pros in the second half of the 20's (he never met them at the time) but it is very likely.
Why Tilden won so few pro majors ? The answer is clear : he began as a pro in 1931 when he was 38 years old. He had played for 19 years before as an amateur (since 1912) so it is understandable that he was down the hill after such a long career.
Other miscellaneous subjects :
Borg has won 13 majors and not 11 as many claim : the Masters 1979 and 1980 (held each time in January of the next year) were truly the 4th events in those years, the Australian Chp was a third class tourney at the time. I've made too a temporary list of the 4 majors of each year but only since 1950 and for this period, players like Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver have won about 20 majors too. For me Lendl has won 11 majors (not 8 ) and Connors 10 (and not 8 too) : for Lendl I include the Masters 1981, 1982, 1986 (but not the 1985 and 1987 editions) and for Connors I don't count his 1974 Australian Open while I include the US Pro indoors in 1974 and 1976 and the Masters 1977 (almost all the Masters cited here were played in January of the next year).
Because I have originally wrote 10448 characters I will follow this quote by another short one.
Here is the end of my previous quote :
Last thing that I've learnt in studying tennis competition history. All the events, all the matches count so we can't judge any player by only looking at his performances in majors. So to say that Federer is better than Tilden just because the Swiss has under his belt, 13 so-called majors whereas Tilden would have only 10 or 11 (which I completely disagree because in my opinion, Tilden had at least 20 majors including some Davis Cup trophies, the true World Champs of the time) is very restrictive not to say wrong.
I hope now that before giving statements about ancient players you, JoshDragon, will have studied some of their records because in particular in Tilden's case I think you have very much to learn.
Hello, Carlo. Fine stats for Tilden's golden years. One question, which often intrigued me: What do You make of the Tilden-Norton challenge round at Wimbledon in 1921. Was it thrown by Norton, as Tinling suggested? Or tried Tilden to throw it? Do You have other accounts other than Tinling's about this match. Must have been one of the strangest matches in history, with very personal undertones.
True. But only for the present. How long has this been true?
How long have points been awarded for tournaments? Are we discussing ATP points?
Did the Australian championship always have the same caché or status as Wimbledon or the US Championships?
Truly great, great post Carlo! Keep 'em coming...
Thanks Carlo (me too!)
Could you please show us this list of "majors" won by these players? (It would be a most interesting list for study.)
Thank you very much for a wonderful post.
I don't remember where I've read my last account of this match (perhaps Myers or Hillyard or E.C. Potter, probably the latter). I have no memory of Norton throwing the match, I just remember that Tilden was "ill to death" in the previous days (I have also forgotten his disease) and had almost no time to recover before the challenge round. When I have time I will try to find it again but at the right moment I'm busy with other things.
thank you for the greetings,
once again I shall split my answer because I write more than 10000 characters. Here is the first part of my message
Here is my list of the 4 most important events of each year since 1950. I haven't checked it for more than a year and at the time I've taken into account some Jeffrey Neave's remarks (in the Wikipedia site). SgtJohn proposed to include some clay events in the 50's to be fair with modern players but in a Tennis Warehouse quote I retorted that in this case we should pick up modern events on truly fast courts to be fair with ancient players because nowadays fast courts almost don't exist anymore.
My "not recently updated" list :
Here is at last my personal list of the 4 biggest events (in disorder when no ranking is indicated) year by year from 1950 to 2007 (changed on Thursday September 27, 2007 after Jeffrey Neave’s remarks) :
1950 : 1) the Kramer-Gonzales pro tour, the US Pro (Cleveland), Philadelphia Pro, 4) perhaps Paris Pro indoors or the beginning of the Kramer-Segura pro tour (ended in 1951) or even Wembley Pro
1951 : the U.S. Pro (held that year at Forest Hills, the usual site of the amateur championships), Philadelphia Pro, the main part of the Kramer-Segura pro tour, 4) Wembley Pro (or the German Pro in Berlin)
1952 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the U.S. Pro (Cleveland-Lakewood) and Philadelphia Pro, 4) Berlin Pro-Rot Weiss Tennis Club
1953 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the Kramer-Sedgman pro tour, 3) probably the Paris Pro tournament, the New York Pro Indoors, the Caracas and Lyon (and perhaps Geneva) pro tournaments (very difficult to know what were the greatest events that year : the tournaments cited here are the only ones where three of the four best players were present each time)
1954 : 1) the US Pro (Cleveland), 2) the Australian Pro, 3) the Gonzales-Segura-Sedgman-Budge (and Earn) pro tour, 4) the Australian Gonzales-Sedgman-Segura-McGregor pro tour or the US Pro Hardcourt (Los Angeles) or the Far East Segura-Gonzales-Sedgman-Kramer pro tour
1955 : 1) the US Pro (Cleveland), 2) the Australian Gonzales-Sedgman-Segura-Ayre pro tour, 3) the US Pro Hardcourt (Los Angeles), 4) perhaps Scarborough Pro (or even the several pro matches in Rome with Gonzales-Sedgman-Segura-McGregor in June)
1956 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the first Pro Tournament of Champions at Los Angeles (not held at Forest Hills that year), 3) the US Pro (Cleveland) and the French Pro (Roland Garros)
1957 : 1) the Pro Tournament of Champions (Forest Hills), 2) the Masters Round Robin Pro in Los Angeles, 3) the Australian Pro (Sydney), 4) the U.S. Pro (Cleveland) (5) Wembley Pro).
1958 : 1) the Pro Tournament of Champions (Forest Hills), 2) Wembley Pro, 3) the French Pro (Roland Garros), 4) Masters Round Robin Pro in Los Angeles or Melbourne Pro or the Australian Pro (Sydney, there were only 3 Australian Pro in tennis history, 1954-1957-1958 )
1959 : 1) the Pro Tournament of Champions (Forest Hills), 2) [New South Wales Pro-Sydney (the February edition), Victoria Pro-Melbourne, South Australia Pro-Adelaide, Western Australia Pro-Perth, Masters Round Robin Pro-Los Angeles] with all the best players and perhaps tied with Wembley Pro and the French Pro because the two last had a (small) tradition but Gonzales, then probably the best player in the world, was missing both tournaments due to his legitimate dispute with Kramer now mainly a pro tennis promoter
1960 : 1) the Gonzales-Rosewall-Segura-Olmedo pro tour, 2) Wembley Pro, 3) the French Pro (Roland Garros), far behind 4) the Australian Pro Indoor in Melbourne in May (not to confuse with the Victorian Pro in Melbourne in January) or Santa Barbara Pro (or perhaps the Masters Round Robin Pro in Los Angeles or San Francisco Pro ?)
1961 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the French Pro (Roland Garros), far behind 3) Vienna Pro and the Scandinavian Pro-Copenhagen
1962 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the French Pro (Roland Garros), far behind 3) Geneva Pro and Milan Pro (and perhaps the Kramer Cup ?)
1963 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the French Pro (Coubertin), enough far behind 3) the U.S. Pro-Forest Hills, 4) Kitzbühel Pro and Cannes Pro
1964 : 1) Wembley Pro, 2) the French Pro (Coubertin), 3) the US Pro (without Sedgman, present in the two big European tournaments), far behind 4) the US Pro Indoor-White Plains ( 5) Masters Round Robin Pro-Los Angeles and St Louis Pro, 6) College Park Pro)
1965 : 1) Wembley Pro (without Gonzales), 2) the US Pro (without Gimeno) and the French Pro (Coubertin) (without Gonzales), far behind 4) the US Pro Indoor-New York City (without Hoad) or the Victorian Pro-Melbourne (without Gimeno) or the New South Wales Pro-Sydney (without Gimeno)
1966 : 1) New York City-Madison Square Garden Pro, 2) the US Pro, 3) Wembley Pro and the French Pro (Coubertin) (5) Pro Clay Court Championship-Barcelona and possibly Forest Hills Pro)
1967 : 1) Wimbledon Pro (possibly the most important pro tournament in the pre-open era though with a reduced field of 8 players), 2) the US Pro (the strongest field of the year), 3) Wembley Pro and the French Pro (Coubertin), ( 5) Los Angeles Pro, 6) New York City-Madison Square Garden Pro and Berkeley Pro).
In the open era until 1982 included the hierarchy was almost as unstable as in the pre-open era :
1968 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) Roland Garros Open (many players couldn’t come because of the events of May 1968 and Dave Dixon, boss of WCT prevented his players to enter the tournament : among the best claycourt players absent were Newcombe, Roche, Okker and Santana) and the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles (all the best were there) (5) US Pro, French Pro, Wembley Pro and possibly the Queen's)
1969 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) Roland Garros Open, 4) the Australian Open (5) the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles or the Howard Hughes Open at Las Vegas or the Philadelphia Open or perhaps the South African Open or the German Open or the Italian Open)
1970 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) Philadelphia Open, 4) Dunlop Open Sydney (5) the Masters (the first one in tennis history, at Tokyo), the US Pro (Boston), Pacific Southwest Open of Los Angeles and Wembley Pro. I haven't yet a clear opinion between all these events).
1971 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) the Australian Open, 4) the WCT Finals-Houston&Dallas or the Italian Open (Rome) here is our major disagreement between jeffreyneave and me : he thinks that Rome is above the WCT Finals that year, I originally thought the contrary but after his arguments I changed a little my thinking and placed both tournaments equal)
1972 : 1) the U.S. Open and far behind 2) the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles (the 2nd best field of all the events after the U.S. Open because both WCT and independent professionals could (and would) enter) - the WCT Finals-Dallas, 4) the Stockholm Open (3rd field of the year) and perhaps the Davis Cup. Recall : no pro player under contract (WCT) could enter the Davis Cup, Wimbledon and Roland Garros because they were banned from the traditional circuit from January through summer (the first « open » tournaments in 1972 were Merion and Orange just before the U.S. Open) : during Wimbledon, Newcombe, a WCT player in 1972, won the St. Louis WCT tournament, not at all a Grand Prix tournament (the Grand Prix circuit was the traditional one) as wrongly indicated in the ATP Website and then commented the Wimbledon final on TV whereas he was the titlist.
1973 : 1) the U.S. Open 2) Roland Garros Open and far behind 3) the Masters, 4) the Italian Open-Rome and the WCT Finals-Dallas ( 6) the first Davis Cup Open to all professionals and in particular the WCT players (I think , but I can be wrong, that if the Challenge Round system had been abandoned in the 50s and not in 1972 and if the Davis Cup had been open since 1968 (and eventually before) and not since 1973 it would possibly have still been the greatest tennis event today)
1974 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) Roland Garros Open, 4) the WCT Finals-Dallas (5) the Masters or the US Pro indoor-Philadelphia)
1975 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) Roland Garros Open, 4) the Masters ( 5) the WCT Finals-Dallas)
1976 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) Roland Garros Open, far behind 4) the U.S. Pro Indoor-Philadelphia (and perhaps the WCT Finals-Dallas)
1977 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) the Masters, 4) Roland Garros Open ( 5) perhaps the U.S. Pro Indoor-Philadelphia and the WCT Finals-Dallas)
1978 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, far behind 3) Roland Garros Open, 4) the U.S. Pro Indoor-Philadelphia
1979 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) Roland Garros Open, and far behind 4) the Masters (5) the WCT Finals-Dallas)
1980 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) Roland Garros Open, and far behind 4) the Masters
1981 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open, 3) Roland Garros Open, and far behind 4) the Masters (5) the Davis Cup)
1982 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, and far behind 4) the Masters (5) the Davis Cup)
1983-1985 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, and enough far behind 4) the Australian Open ( 5) the Masters)
1986 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, and enough far behind 4) the Masters (in December)
1987-2007 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, 4) the Australian Open ( 5) the Masters).
Here is the end of my message :
1983-1985 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, and enough far behind 4) the Australian Open ( 5) the Masters) (in 1983 a sort of miracle occurred when a) McEnroe and Lendl decided to play the Australian Open and b) Sweden had to play the Davis Cup final at Kooyong against Australia : then Wilander decided to play the Australian Slam tournament as a training for the Davis Cup, c) Pat Cash, Australian, became a good player. All these conditions plus the moving of the Australian Open site from Kooyong to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park) in 1988 helped the depleted Slam tournament to find its strength back : between 1983 and 1994 among the great players only Connors and Agassi didn’t came once while the others came regularly (in 2007 all the ATP rankings Top20 players competed)
1986 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, and enough far behind 4) the Masters : the Australian Open was not held in 1986 and had been delayed for one month (from December 1986 to January 1987)
1987-2007 : 1) Wimbledon Open, 2) the U.S. Open and Roland Garros Open, 4) the Australian Open ( 5) the Masters).
This is why I credit such players as Gonzales, Rosewall and Laver with many great wins. More precisely I think that Gonzales has probably won between 19 and 24 major events equivalent to the modern grand slam tournaments of today (i.e. among the 4 greatest events of a given year). My lack of precision is due to the true difficulty to pick up the greatest competitions before the open era and even before 1983. Rosewall's amount varies between 20 and 21, Laver's between 18 and 20.
If we just look at the open era records in major tennis events, the leaders in number of wins, in my revised vision of tennis history, are Sampras with 14 major tournaments, Borg with 13 major events (he has won 11 Slam tournaments with all or almost all the best players (in some Slam tournaments some great players were missing : for instance Connors, Newcombe, Rosewall and Laver didn’t play Roland Garros 1974), he also captured 2 Masters (the 1979 and 1980 editions held each time in January the following year), this tournament being at the time the 4th tennis event so Borg has won at least 13 events equivalent to the Slam tournaments of today), Federer 12 (in 2007), Lendl with 11 major events (his Masters 1981, 1982 and 1986 were in the same case as Borg’s Masters 1979 and 1980 (in 1986 the Australian Open was not held) but the Masters 1985 (held in January 1986) and 1987 were not one of the 4 greatest events because the Australian Open deserved then its Slam label so I don’t include these two Masters as major events), Connors with 10 major tournaments (I include his Masters 1977 win and I exclude his Australian Open 1974, I think his US Pro indoor-Philadelphia wins in 1976 and 1978 shall be included too), Agassi with 8, McEnroe & Wilander each with 7.
A little remark about the indoor Philadelphia tournament : in the 70s if you look at every tennis magazine of the time, this event was considered as the first (chronologically) great tournament of the year (and not the Australian Open).
A November 2008 remark : I perhaps overrate the Australian Open from 1983-1994 and perhaps during that period the Masters could rival the Slam tournament because many players still avoided the Melbourne event. For me the Australian Open was truly a Slam event since 1995 when all the best players (in particular Agassi that year) came at last.
Tilden came Down Under during the austral summer 1920-1921 when he played in New Zealand the 1920 Davis Cup Challenge Round (ended on January 1, 1921) that he won and he also captured next week the New Zealand Championships, both events held at Auckland.
Hello Urban, thanks for the greetings.
About Wimbledon challenge round in 1921
Arthur Wallis Myers : “Tilden … had been ill in Paris …/ Norton knew his (Tilden’s) condition, and a misguided sympathy … ostentatiously “threw” the third and fourth sets after winning the first two easily. It was stated afterwards that Norton had been upset by contemptuous remarks levelled by an ignorant section of the crowd at Tilden’s drop-shots – a perfectly fair ruse; that Tilden had resented these remarks, too, and that Norton was anxious to propitiate the champion, whose dominating skill when a fit man he revered. … / Norton … led … ultimately 5/4, needing only a point for victory. He might have won this point, too, for Tilden hit a drive which looked to be sailing out. It fell on the side line with Norton in pursuit behind it. Tilden had come to the net, with arm outstretched, not to volley, as Norton supposed, but to congratulate his conqueror. Norton could have returned the ball almost anywhere – had he but known. Instead, he tried a forehand passing shot and the ball passed over the line. After that Norton was ‘vantage once, but Tilden … went out at 7/5 …”
Edward C. Potter : “The World’s hard court championship … Tilden … A week later (so I guess around June 10 because the Paris event ended on June 4) he was in a London hospital. He was not released until the second week of Wimbledon (the men’s singles ended on July 2) was well under way … Tilden was a sick man when he faced Brian Norton with only four days’ light practice to put him on edge … Norton … with victory in sight, the haggard appearance of his adversary was too much for Norton’s nerves. He was touched with pity … He (Norton) was confident of the outcome. He eased up. He gave Tilden balls he could not help put away. Tilden won the third set … Norton … reached match point. Tilden, with a desperate effort, placed a drop shot out of Norton’s reach. A spectator oblivious of the American’s condition cried, “Play the game, Tilden !” … Norton’s nerves were on edge. He shouted back “Shut up !” But he could not regain his touch. Tilden … exhausted every resource of his fading energy and carried of the victory. Then he collapsed in the dressing-room.”
John Barrett (who wasn’t even born at the time; I guess that Barrett possibly recalled Tinling’s account) : “Tilden … Norton, who had become his protégé … / Tilden … was booed as he opened the third (set)with a campaign of drop shots. Embarrassed by this treatment of the man he most admired, Norton threw the next two sets … leading 5-4 in the final set, he held two consecutive match points. On the first Tilden hit a drive that he thought would be out and advance to the net to shake hands. The ball landed on the line and Norton’s attempted pass failed … a few points later Tilden had claimed … victory."
In conclusion the three accounts slightly differ (for instance one match point in Potter’s report, two match points in Myers’s account and two consecutive in Barrett’s) but are however quite similar :
apparently Norton was in awe of Tilden and as in many cases didn’t want to take advantage of his opponent’s bad health (in the Gerulaitis-John Lloyd match in Kooyong in December 1977, Vitas who suffered from cramps lost two sets to Lloyd but however Gerulaitis won in the end). This time Norton played with fire and lost because after apparently having thrown the 3rd and 4th sets he couldn’t regain his initial touch in the decisive set. Finally Brian was defeated in a match he shouldn’t have lost if he hadn’t been under the influence of a very diminished Tilden as were many of Tilden’s Anglo-Saxon contemporaries.
Thanks Carlo! Another supreme post!
Thanks for the extensive match accounts of the Tilden-Norton-match, Carlo. This motif, that Norton threw the 3rd and 4th set out of sympathy, because of the unfriendly behavior of the crowd, is common ground of all reports. Tinling insinuated, that Babe Norton didn't want to beat the ill Tilden, because he had a homophile relationship with him.
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