Time to revisit Rosewall's losses in major finals...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Gary Duane, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    I would think after Fed's loss to Anderson at Wimbledon, not quite yet 37, that Rosewall should be given a bit more credit for getting so far at Wimbledon and then the USO in 74, when he was nearly 40.

    Also, the "vitamins" weren't as good back then, and we should look more at the ages of everyone else competing in that era.

    Rosewall's two losses to Connors were in Connors' three slam year, a year in which he did not even play RG.

    I've always thought Roswall's age should be considered more. We should think about how hard it is to win majors after age 35, even when other top players are injured.
     
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  2. Xavier G

    Xavier G Professional

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    Yeah. I've read the Rosewall book about his life and tennis career. I read that many moons ago and a great read too.
    I've always personally given him credit for his outstanding longevity and accomplishments.

    I've always taken Rosewall's age into account when looking at his finals vs Connors in 1974 too. Jimmy was 21 and at his aggressive confident breakthrough peak, Ken was 39 years old.
    Ken did very well to make both Wimbledon and US Open finals.

    Rosewall's game really matched up well for Jimbo also, so not really a situation that's going to favour Ken in 1974.
     
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  3. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    Sports science definitely wasn't as good in those days - duh :p - so it's incredible that Rosewall was able to remain competitive against most of the top players (only really Connors was the exception) until he was nearly 40.

    I will say that due to the racquets etc...that there was much less chance of an opponent "taking the racquet out of your hands" with big serving and hitting in those days, Rosewall's guile and experience was less likely to be overpowered.

    In general though I think Rosewall does get a lot of credit for his late career achievements, that tends to be what even his detractors credit him with - longevity. He gets far less credit for his achievements in his best years.
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    To help explain the big losses to Connors in 1974, one of the top players in those days said the best way to beat Rosewall was to attack his serve. The problem was that in those days very few players had strong returns on both sides probably due to the wooden racquets and frankly due to the fact very few had strong topspin backhands. The lack of topspin backhands is of course linked to the smaller wooden racquets.

    And of course the obvious fact that Rosewall was 40.

    A player like John Newcombe had one of the finest forehands I've seen but his backhand, while solid from the backhand was not nearly as strong on the service return. Rosewall could serve to the backhand and at least get a breather. In that way I guess Newk was similar to Steffi Graf in that the backhand while a fine shot wasn't nearly the level of the forehand. Yet Newcombe did better against Connors because he had the huge attacking serve on first and second serve.

    Even Laver, who was strong on both sides often chipped his backhand back against Rosewall.

    Connors however was a totally different animal. The Connors' service return was perhaps the finest in tennis history up to that point. There was no safe place for Rosewall to serve to.

    The thing is that there were no Connors or Connors type for Rosewall to play against until late in his career.

    Now we have players like Djokovic, Murray who at their best can attack any serve. The two handed backhand also helps so much on the service return which were rare in Rosewall's day.

    However I would like to make some assumptions about a Ken Rosewall if he played today at age 25. You would have to assume that with the current racquets he would have developed a better spin serve and with more pace. So the serve wouldn't be easy to attack.

    If you notice Rosewall's technique on his backhand especially, well he just hits the ball so early and he is always in great balance with excellent footwork. This translates so well with today's game. I'm sure Rosewall would have developed a topspin backhand to enable him to hit shots he could not have hit in the past. I'm also fairly certain that with his early preparation that Rosewall's topspin backhand would be one of the finest, whether it would be with one hand or two hands.

    Rosewall reflexes is something that is very underrated and not talked about but the man just had super fast reflexes while helped especially at the net. Because he was so quick he was able to return serves well that seemed like that would normally cause a weak return.

    Rosewall was born in 1934 but let's say he was born in 1981, the same year as Federer, I don't think it's unreasonable for Rosewall to have been a few inches taller.

    Players are always the product of their times. I believe players like Gonzalez, Kramer, Tilden would do extremely well today. How well is debatable but they ranged from a bit over 6'3" tall to about 6'2" tall. They had big serves and overall good strokes. Gonzalez's strokes were fine although Kramer's and Tilden's strokes were considered to be more solid.

    I think Rosewall, if he was born later would be fine today.

    Another question is whether the player would still be unique if they were subject to the robotic type teaching that is common today.

    Rosewall's career was fantastic. He was undoubtedly a great player. His game is a model of classic tennis. I have compared him to Jose Capablanca in chess who was perhaps the greatest chessplayer of all time. Relatively speaking Rosewall's and Capablanca's styles to me are similar. It's a pure style with no wasted moves. Rosewall's described his style as maximum results with minimum effort or at least words to that effect. Capablanca's style in chess is similar.

    I find that style very attractive. Heck Federer's style can be described that way and I think Federer has done fairly well. I think one of the reasons Federer is so popular is because it seemed so easy. Rosewall from that point of view is similar to Federer.
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I would also like to add I was listening to Brad Gilbert discuss tennis footwork yesterday. He mentioned one of the big problems today is that players take big steps instead of little steps. Well Rosewall was known for his great tennis footwork. The man took small steps, constantly readjusting his position all the time. The advantage he had over other players was huge. It almost seemed like Rosewall was already at the point to return the shots seemingly without effort with time to spare because of his footwork and anticipation. This allowed Rosewall to be on balance, to disguise his shots and obviously make fewer errors. Pancho Gonzalez was also similar in that way in terms of footwork.

    You combine the great footwork with Rosewall's excellent speed and that's really something.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  6. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    Nat, certainly it would be interesting to do a really thorough analysis of age in tennis, but I do know that the peak age for winning majors was right around age 24, and the beginning of age 24. In other words, if you make a chart, there is a pretty clear bell curve. I'd love to have data for all winners of all events over the decades.

    It does seem very clear that the age for winning went up during the 50s and 60s. I can't prove that, but I believe if we could graph all the finals we'd see it. You know how long Gonzalez, Rosewall and Laver went on winning.

    This seemed to give a clear advantage to older players at the beginning of the OE. With Laver winning everything in 69 you had a man getting the GS at 30-31. Even today that would raise eyebrows a bit. What Rosewall did is still astonishing in 2018. Then you see Rosewall winning RG in 68, at around 33.5. We thought it amazing that Nadal did it again when turning 32.

    Also, in those days scheduling was often horrible. Today matches are spaced in three majors because of roofs. Back then any major could be totally screwed up by weather. I remember 2014 at the USO being a mess, and former players also played doubles. I don't know how scheduling at RG was in 68. It is still screwed up there now. Gonzalez knocked out Emerson in 5 sets. He was 40. He took out the guy who practically ruled amateur tennis for years, a guy born 8 years later then got creamed by Laver the next match. But how tired was he? How much rest did he get? The man drank soda and smoked cigarettes. No ice bath. No team. I'm sure he did not get a long rub down.

    The questions should be the same: why were such "old men" winning everything? My answer is that the former pros were so much better than the younger amateurs that for awhile it was almost total dominance by the older guys, and for this reason I think Dan's whole thing about the weakness of the pro tour in the 60s is wrong. The proof is in the results. These old guys continued to beat almost everyone for a long time, and it did not totally change until Connors.

    We should now be asking ourselves the same question: Why are older players so totally dominating tennis?

    I don't have an answer, and most of all I don't know if it will flip again in the future. But look at the ages of all the guys still in the tournament. I don't think it's fair to compare today's older players with those of the past. Training, diet and medicine are changing things so that age and experience has much more weight in today's game.

    This to me makes Gonzalez, Rosewall and Laver much more amazing, because these older players had none of the advantages of today's 30-something players.
    Rackets and strings have changed everything. It's not the same game. My knowledge of the game re actually playing is stuck in time because I stopped during the wood/gut years. My reasons for quitting are personal, but my visceral connection with tennis goes back to those years. I know what those old rackets could do. I can tell you what it was like to pick up a T-2000 and get a lot of extra power but lose control because I did it and had to reject that racket because everything for me was uncontrollable.

    I only know what modern rackets and strings do by watching the game. I have no direct experience. But I do know that I see things that in my day were impossible. If you tried to hit a tweener with one of those old wooden rackets, most likely you would lose a couple testicles and the shot wouldn't work. You could not splay a foot to the side and muscle a 2HBH back with a totally open stance, which is why you never see that shot from Borg. The technique Fed uses for his "chop" backhands most likely would not work with wood because you would not get enough pace that way, which is why you see a full swing from Rosewall on those shots.

    That's all we can say. Everything is different, and the changes have been pretty gradual because poly is only the last big change. If you go back to the 90s you see from stats that players in general make less points on 2nd serve. The DF-ed more often. Krosero gave me some data awhile back about serving a couple more decades back, and you could see that players then could serve almost as fast, but I'm sure they did serve as fast on average, and they DFed way more often. The obvious reason is that without the insane spin players can get today the whole game was different.

    We know that top players average about the same % of games, total. Then as now a great year was winning around 60% of games, so around 55% of points. That has not changed in the OE. If it was different before that in the pros, it would have to do with difference in the way the competition was set up - more collisions between top players. But if serving has come up in %, return has to go down in %, and I believe that is exactly what has happened. It is highly likely that players from decades ago broke more often and were broken more often. This would be directly linked to more DFs per game and lower % of 2nd serve points. Those two factors alone would give a much greater advantage to returners.

    But the relative lack of power with wood - without being set up and more or less stepping into the ball - left returners at a big disadvantage re power. Have you noticed how many returns look weak in the days when guys rushed the net every point? That's also because of the rackets.
    For me it's hard to put it all together watching old footage. I can't get a feel for his game the way we do with modern players because I want to return to his complete matches and watch every stroke, but for the most part the videos we have today are so horrible inadequate. We can surmise that his game kept getting better and better and better as he passed age 30, but is that logical? Isn't it more logical that he lost quite a bit of speed, just as Fed has, and that it would be even more of a problem because of how hard it was to recover without all the perks modern players have?

    I'm asking these questions because I flat out do not know. The only thing I know is that ATGs have a nasty habit of making it miserable for players much younger at an age when they really should not longer be able to maintain dominance, and it's always against all odds.

    This for me is especially obvious for Gonzalez, Rosewall, Agassi and Federer. I'm not so sure about guys like Tilden because they did not continue to play in a unified field where they could be directly compared to many other younger players.
     
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  7. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    I agree with the analysis on Rosewall.
    Now we are used to discuss only 4 shots (serve + fh + bh + return).:(
    The footwork of Ken was out of every category (amazing :eek::eek::eek:), the man always came on the ball effortlessly, he went to the net, to the ground, to the net, to the ground (he was tireless). He had two shock absorbers not two legs.
    This made Muscles a phenomenon of his time.

    When it is not possible to explain the great results of the australian, "longevity" is written. But that's not the key: the key is his game.

    For me Ken isn't a GOAT contender but need to understand and analyze well his shots and his career because the media have not done well.:mad::mad::mad:
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    He was an amazing player. I think the David and Goliath scenario with Rosewall being David helped his great popularity over the years. To me I enjoyed his effortless play and efficiency. Some players seen to have so much effort put into every shot like a Nadal for example.

    My favorite shot of Rosewall's was when he was at the net and someone would hit a sizzling passing shot toward Rosewall's backhand volley. The ball would almost be passed him but somehow, Rosewall, with his back almost turned toward the net would miraculously volley the ball for a sharp angle winner. Just an incredible shot.
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Agreed about Laver and Rosewall in the early OE.

    What's happening today is no doubt due to all those factors--training, diet, medicine. The players, at least the top ones, have large teams that meet their every need. I think you mentioned recently that Borg burned out partly because he had no real support team, just his coach, his wife, and endless tennis--and a lot of tennis, at that (heavy schedule, when you look at all the nonsanctioned matches).

    So yeah players are lasting longer now, certainly compared to the first decades of the Open Era. I used to think of what happened to Borg (retirement at 26) and McEnroe (big decline at 26, flirting with retirement) as "normal," but we're in a totally different world now. The old geezers like Roger and Rafa keep raising the bar and we can't be sure how high it's going to go, until they're done. What's the "new normal" for retirement age now, for top tennis pros? 36? 38? 40? 42?

    So it's very different from the early OE--but in some ways it's similar to more distant eras. Tilden was a Top Two player right up until he turned pro in 1931 and he was 38 by then. He was well into his forties by the time he met Vines on tour, and he had excellent results against Vines, Budge, men in their early 20s.

    I don't know, each era looks different, and you're right that what's happening now could swing back. Science is not going to go backwards and older players will continue to have modern supports; but maybe the game will change in some way that will make it easier for younger players to break through, who knows.

    I just tend to give today's new generation a bit of a break (just a bit) because they are facing stronger veterans than past generations used to face. It used to be that a changing of the guard could happen when a 22-year-old knocked off a 30-year-old, but now a 30-year-old is stronger than he was in past eras.
     
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  10. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    One reason that I believe the pro field was strongest in the late fifties was the lower percentage of matches won by the top players, even by those who, like Gonzales, had previously posted very high percentages of matches won earlier in the decade.

    This is the ultimate stat for showing the higher level of competition at that time, when the top players could only get about the low 70's in percentage of matches won, the field was just too tough to make a higher percentage.

    Top players today get percentages over 90, which tells us something about the relative strength of the field.

    Also, I think that we may overestimate the value of better medicine today, when so many younger players like Raonic, Cilic, Djokovic, Nadal, Wawrinka and Nishikori have lost major matches due to injury, medicine apparently is helpless to get them into prime physical shape.

    Today's sick list is daunting, just yesterday Raonic was injured during his match with Isner, and was visibly unable to move comfortably down the stretch.
     
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  11. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    I reject that logic as you are presenting it because I think the whole point is based on a false premise.

    Whenever any group of players is largely matched in ability % of matches will fall drastically, which is precisely why even Murray, the weakest of the "Big Four", has a surprisingly good match % against the Big Three. He has won 34% of his matches against the Big Three. From that we know that the Big Three together are probably winning around 76% of their matches against him.

    But if you put all of them together, how would Fed, for example, do against the other three, together?

    First of all, Murray is 56% of matches against Murray. 14/11. That's nothing like 70%, and he's the weakest of the Big Four. But you can check that out anywhere.

    What you will not have without a filter is Fed's record against all three:

    47%.

    If we filter out clay matches with Nadal, that goes up, but even so it does not reach 50%. So the guy who most are calling GOAT has not even won 50% of his matches against the other Big Three players.

    It all depends on which players you put in a group.

    If you have a small troop of top players and they all play each other over and over again, no one is going to win anywhere near 70% of matches. If the top player in the 50s won even 70% of matches, that means the competition was padded with much weaker players.
    Go back and check the winning % of amateurs winning majors. Don't compare those figures to the pros in the 50s, because there you didn't have fields of 128 players, with 4 of 7 matches being played against weak players. It's not the same.
    Compare Djokovic with Hoad. Hoad has a much shorter peak, but he was a physical beast. Hoad born at the time Nadal was born would probably be playing at near peak to way over 30. You are comparing the wrong players.
    Raonic and Nishikori both have bad genetics. Put them in any era and they are going to get injured.

    There are also guys like Lopez and Ferrer who have great genetics but don't have a complete enough game to make it to the top. But the point is that there are more of them today.[/quote][/quote]
     
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  12. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    I hooked on this passage because I think the Borg-McEnroe duo was the most important anomaly in terms of longevity.

    I try to explain my opinion.

    In Pro-Era the best players fought for a long time and ended up reaching their maximum achievements (Pancho, Rosewall, Laver), Sampras and then Federer, Nadal and Djokovic fought for a long time, while the two best players of the 70s / 80s (Borg & McEnroe) have won relatively less than their potential.
    This creates an anomaly that is inexplicable for everyone: this is the reason why in any statistic (or continuity record) Connors & Lendl outweigh Borg & McEnroe.

    In other words:
    50s-1973: Pancho, Laver & Rosewall are the best players and dominate the stats
    1974-1989: Borg & Mac are the best players but they do not dominate the stats
    1990-2018: Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djoker are the best players and dominate the stats.
     
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  13. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    Well, you can only play against your own field.

    So I do not look at the top three or four players of today in terms of their percentage wins against each other, but in terms of their actual overall play against the field. That gives them percentages over ninety.

    Likewise, looking at the late fifties, specifically the tours involving all twelve or more of the top pros, and not simply the percentages of the top three players against each other, and the numbers are in the low seventies for Gonzales and Hoad.

    The point being made is that the pro field was tougher in the late fifties than today, which is why the percentages are lower then.

    The top pros today do not simply play against the three or four best players around, and in the late fifties they did not simply play against the best two or three. There were ten Hall of Fame players on those 1959 tours, plus Hartwig and Giammalva, both of whom won significant matches.

    Take the top twelve players today, and you would probably see the percentage of wins for Fed and Nadal up into the nineties, as compared to the percentage of wins for Gonzales and Hoad in 1959 in the low seventies.
     
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  14. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    I forgot to include Murray on my "sick list", so the list of walking wounded is even longer now.

    We have seen long injury problems for Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Raonic, Nishikori, Cilic, Tsonga, and others which have hugely impacted their potential careers.

    The current pro tennis field is a shadow of what it would be without serious injuries.

    So, no, I do not see medical miracles keeping these guys on track.

    I am concerned that the prevalence of hard rubber surfaces is taking a heavy toll on players' legs and knees, and backs.

    To take a comparison to pro baseball, the Toronto Skydome where the Blue Jays played had a concrete base with a rubber overlay, and players claimed that it was like playing on street asphalt on a hot day. Career legs were shortened, and diving for balls and base bags took a heavy toll on ribs and joints.

    Today, the Toronto facility has a more soft field surface.

    I would like to see tennis return to grass.
     
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  15. DMP

    DMP Professional

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    I always thought one simple explanation, certainly for Rosewall's loss at Wimbledon, was that he had a tough 5-setter against Smith in the semi-final. One of the first things to go as you get older is your recovery time - it simply takes longer. I suppose that is why you can't drink alcohol and recover like you can when you are young! That is one reason why Federer is avoiding clay, I think, because it is a much more grinding surface.

    Even before Federer lost his match to Anderson I was convinced in my mind he would not go further because he would not recover well enough in time for his next match.
     
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  16. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    I will respond to your other post later but I want to touch on this briefly.

    Federer is 22-23 against Djokovic, 14-11 against Murray and 15-23 against Nadal - which is 51- 57 (47%) as you said. However if you take out the 2-13 record in clay matches against Nadal he sits at 49-44 which is 53% (rounded up). So Federer does in fact lead the Big 3 and Big 4 excluding his poor record against Nadal on clay - now whether it's fair to cherry pick like that is another matter.

    Also to be nitpicking if Murray is winning 34% then that means the others are winning 66% :p
     
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  17. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    This first:
    Yup. I suck as simple math. But that just makes it more obvious that no one is going to win a huge % of matches when going up against the best players in the world, year after year.
     
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  18. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    I think it's fair to point out Nadal's huge advantage on clay, but even playing against a normal mortal there would be SOME losses on clay!

    Let's say it is close to 50% or a bit above. The same point remains. No matter how good you are, if you are playing day after day against other ATGs at their peak, you're not going to win much more than 50% of matches.

    So if a guy like Gonzalez is even winning 70% of matches in a year, we know that % is padded by playing some players who are fairly easy opponents. But the way things were set up in the 50s, no one got the kind of easy matches players get today in early rounds of majors. That's where most of the beat-downs happen.
     
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  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The old pro tour did have lower percentages than either the amateurs or the OE. I wouldn't say that 70% was padded; I'd say it was more like a typical number, for the old pro tour.

    Regardless, the old pro tour had lower percentages.


    Gonzalez 1950-61 (aged 21-33) won 67.6% of all his matches: he was 76.1% in tournament matches, 63.4% in all other matches

    Rosewall 1957-67 (aged 22-33) won 67.6% of all his matches: he was 72.8% in tournament matches, 62.4% in all other matches

    Laver 1963-67 (aged 24-29) won 72.3% of all his matches: he was 80.3% in tournament matches, 57.7% in all other matches

    (Those are my most updated numbers and they continue to be updated, for all three men, as new results are found.)

    Now look at these, at a similar age of life (and these matches were virtually all in tournaments):

    Federer 2003-14 (aged 21-33) won 86.2% of all his matches (838/972)

    Nadal 2008-17 (aged 21-31) has won 83.9% of all his matches (620/739)

    Djokovic 2009-17 (aged 21-30) has won 86.3% of all his matches (598/693)
     
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  20. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    By "padded", which is probably the wrong word, I mean the best were not always playing the best. Today it would be like having event after event where only the top 8 people in the world competed, and they would have be top 8 at the moment of each tournament. Everyone would still want to see Djokovic, Nadal and Fed, and Murray or Wawrinka would be interesting because they are capable of upsetting and winning.

    On the other hand, if you take the "Big Four", the guys who were winning almost all the big events, then picked four more guys to complete 8 men fields - something like the WTC maybe - you will always have guys like Berdych and Ferrer completely the fieds, at best. These guys are hardly poor players, but they are also on another level.

    I remember reading about Butch Buchholz all the time in your posts and others. I had never heard of the guy, and to this moment I have no idea what he played like. He had to be pretty good, but no one expected him to beat the top guys most of the time. Who else - Mal Anderson? To me these guys would correspond to guys like Ferrer and Berdych.

    I don't think in any era it is fair or practical to try to put together tournament after tournament with only 8 guys, or 4, and expect to have only ATGs going after each other night after night.

    Whereas when you do H2Hs with guys like Laver and Rosewall, career, or Gonzalez and Kramer, or Rosewall and Hoad, or any combination of these top guys, I think it instantly becomes a lot closer.
    That's really what I was saying.
    Gonzalez and Rosewall are close. We can't do Laver from 21 or 22 to 33 the same way if we are only comparing the pro years, so isn't it reasonable to think that the better % for Laver reflects the shorter time period, more in sync with his peak?

    For instance, what would it be for both Gonzalez and Rosewall from 24-29?
    Yup. More weak opponents in the first four rounds of majors. Players today, the top ones, do as well in majors as smaller events because there are more easy rounds in majors. A 250 can be tough by stats because of only 4 matches, but that is offset by rarely having a bunch of guys all in it. Even in Queens and Halle, obviously more difficult 250s in the past, the general field is split between those two events.

    The bottom line is that comparing stats between the 50s or 60s and the OE is an uneven comparison.
     
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  21. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    True, and there is also the matter of roofs and scheduling.

    We know today that at Wimbledon we will see matches on Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sun. Obviously no TB in the 5th remains a huge problem, but otherwise players are guaranteed a days rest. If they do well, they don't go near doubles, and the roof stops weather delays.

    I don't know what the spacing was between Ken's final and SF. Were there two days?

    Regardless, coming back in a final against the best in the world, at almost 40, is virtually impossible, and in the SF Rosewall had to play 57 games, if I'm counting right. Smith at the time was 27. Rosewall will get no credit for beating a man 12 years younger - not today, when people have forgotten all the details.
     
    #21
  22. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    I do. Without modern medicine, training, conditioning Nadal and Djokovic would not be playing today against each other. They would both be gone.

    And, by the way, Nadal would have a lot less hair.

    Fed's knee injury would have ended his career. His back problems are probably managed with "vitamins". None of these guys destroyed their bodies the way Hoad did. They know better because they got better training.

    Your guy had only a shadow of the results he could have had because he ruined his body, and today he might get help from AA or a 12 step program, which he obviously needed.
    That's a different issue. You are conflating two totally unrelated things.
    I wish rackets had been limited to wood and gut. But you can't turn back time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  23. thrust

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    I have also felt that if Ken were born forty of fifty years later he would be about 5-10. Also, he would be playing as a natural lefty, and would probably have a better serve. In the slams he won, in the open era, except for the 72 AO he had to beat great grass court players and Laver in a FO final.
     
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  24. thrust

    thrust Hall of Fame

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    [/quote][/quote][/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
    Another great post, Fair and Accurate!
     
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  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Gonzalez 1953-57 (aged 24-29) won 72.0% of all matches: 74.4% in tourneys, 70.4% in all other matches

    Rosewall 1959-63 (aged 24-29) won 74.0% of all matches: 78.1% in tourneys, 70.9% in all other matches

    Laver 1963-67 (aged 24-29) won 72.3% of all his matches: 80.3% in tourneys, 57.7% in all other matches


    So now they're all in the low 70s, in the all-matches category. Rosewall's general percentage is actually the highest, and Laver's the best in tournaments.

    One thing to keep in mind about the general percentage is that it depends on how much the player participated in tourneys vs. tour matches. You look at Laver's 58% in tour matches and that looks pretty poor, but a very large chunk of it is made up of the '63 World Series which was his rookie pro year; afterwards the pros went more to a tournament format, with fewer one-night stands taking up the program. So Laver's performance in the one-night stands is low, but it doesn't end up hurting his general percentage too much because that was built mostly on tournaments, in which he was excellent (no one was ever better--we're up to 210 known titles for him and counting).

    So the general context to the these numbers is the gradual move from big, long tours of one-night stands, to the tournament format.

    Laver is the only one of these 3 men who played more tournament matches than one-night stands. Gonzalez played the most on one-night stands, and the least in tournament. Rosewall played nearly the same number of matches in both formats.

    Player -- ONS Matches -- Tournament Matches
    Gonzalez -- 898 -- 591
    Rosewall -- 582 -- 589
    Laver -- 246 -- 446

    Just to be clear: those numbers cover all their pro years, so unlike the numbers above they cover Gonzalez in his grandpa period 1963-67.
     
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  26. Dan Lobb

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    Hoad's trouble had nothing to do with booze, it was a misguided attempt by a 19-year old army recruit to impress his mates.....accidents happen.

    However, it is too bad that Hopman or Sedgman did not warn him about that show-off exercise. Common sense would indicate that it was dangerous.

    No, I do not believe that the old guys on this current group, Fed, Nadal, Djokovic, have totally recovered from their respective injuries without loss of ability....just doesn't happen that way.

    The fact that these old taped-together relics are still dominating the field today shows the lack of credible new challenges coming along.

    Even the new names in this year's Wimbledon semi's, Anderson and Isner, are no longer young players, but wizened veterans of the campaigns.

    Where oh where are the new faces? No where to be seen......
     
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  27. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    Perhaps many stories about his drinking are exaggerated. But I also know how it used to be, and in those days drinking a lot and often was acceptable. Today's athletes are much more conservative about drinking.
    The match I saw today between Nadal and Djokovic was extremely impressive. But you draw your own conclusions.
    I don't agree.
    Wizened, as in shriveled or wrinkled with old age. When a 6 foot 8 guy slips, gets back up and returns a ball with his left hand in a critical point, I'd say that "wizened old man" was playing pretty good tennis.
    Wait another 10 to 15 years and see what happens. I believe the change in performance due to age is at least partially permanent. I believe you are incapable of enjoying and understanding what is going on right now because you are still living in the past.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  28. treblings

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    i think they were exaggerated. Times were different and there was probably some bragging going on

    the "wizened old man" is a world-class athlete and when he got up to play that ball with the left hand i jumped up from my seat and laughed out loud.
     
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  29. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    That's true, and from what I've read Hoad had a good marriage and enjoyed an excellent rep his entire life.

    Things were very different then.
    Me too! If he normally played defense as he did today his return stats would be great. Look at the number of times he broke Isner. He couldn't do it in the first two sets, but he's not alone there. In set 2 and 3 he was clutch, clutch in one TB, and clutch at the end.

    I think they were both gassed in the 5th set and fell into a rhythm serving.

    They were talking like both men were crap today because they played a long 5th set. Laver won the Australian Open in 1969 over Roche by wining the last set 6-3, but the 2nd went 22-20. If that set went the other way, no GS for Laver, and Roche would have won in 4 sets.

    And set 3 went 11-9 to Roche. 90 games in the match. Today's match was 99 games. I'll bet the Laver match had fewer long rallies and was over sooner.
     
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  30. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I would be reluctant with this stats from the pro period, especially those selected for special time frames. 1. You have to regard the absolute numbers, which tell the real picture. 2. You have to regard the first pro year, when in any case the percentage of top players was low. Gonzalez and Rosewall had negative under 50 % percentages in their resp. first pro year, without 1963, Lavers percentage would be much higher in his pro years. From 1964 to 67 Laver would be ca. 80%, which is not bad at all, even in comparison with modern numbers (of Sampras, Agassi, Becker and others).
     
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  31. Dan Lobb

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    I do not recognize what we see today as tennis, without grass and played on hard rubber it is no longer tennis to me...it shouldn't take ten to fifteen years to develop a young player, that is ridiculous.
     
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  32. treblings

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    I agree with this statement. I think it´s wrong to reduce Rosewalls career achievements to his longevity only.
    On the other hand, he gets recognized more these days because of Federers recent wins and that in itself can´t be bad:)
     
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  33. thrust

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    True! Also, Laver had a slight advantage in that when he reached his peak-64-65, Gonzalez was 37, Rosewall 31. The old guys were still great players but perhaps not as consistent as they were between 25-30. From what I have read, Hoad's main problem was too much weight lifting. In those days the players did drink more, though primarily beer and smoked cigarettes. I believe Gonzalez was a rather heavy smoker.
     
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  34. krosero

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    I could not stop laughing. Can't recall anything like it.

    And how fitting that it got him the break.

    Fitting that ANYTHING got them the break ;)
     
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  35. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    Then why are you even here.

    I'll bet you did not watch the tennis the rest of us just saw. I'll bet you did not see Anderson fall down, get up from the ground, grab his racket again and make a great left-handed shot to get him back in the rally and then win the point.
     
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  36. thrust

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    IN the 74 USO, Ken played his semi late Sunday afternoon and the final on Monday. Connors played his semi earlier in the afternoon. I do not know about the 70 or 74 semi and final scheduling at Wimbledon, though often due rain delays scheduling was very tight.
     
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  37. treblings

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    Your first sentence here makes me sad...seems like you can‘t appreciate today’s tennis.
    While it is certainly different to the times of Rosewall and Hoad, there is much to admire and to like.
     
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  38. treblings

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    Somehow i‘ve always thought of Rosewall of being a bit different then many of the other Aussies. Less beer and cigarettes and partying. But is this true?
     
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  39. thrust

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    True, he said he would maybe have a beer or two after a match. Ken was not a party boy, or so it seems.
     
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  40. treblings

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    Maybe one reason for his longevity right there;)
     
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  41. thrust

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    Some people, mostly older, worship at the shrine of Wimbledon and grass court tennis in general. As much as I liked the tennis style of Rosewall and Laver, I very much enjoy today's tennis. Certainly today's match between Nadal and Djokovic was truly great tennis.
     
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  42. Dan Lobb

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    You are making a generalization from one point? Not good tennis science to do that.
    Anderson and Isner are veterans, not young men, and both were pumped this year with a rare chance to get into a Wimbledon final....very rare chance for these two guys.

    Sure they were excited about it...more excited than I was, to be sure.

    Why am I here, when I do not see much of interest in current tennis?

    Well, let me remind you of the name of the forum.....FORMER....remember that?

    This is a forum for those who appreciate tennis in its past glory days, which were vastly more engaging than what we have to look at in this year's Wimbledon.
     
    #42
  43. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    That‘s good to hear..I feel the same.
     
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  44. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    I see the almost universal injuries taking a toll on the tennis fields, like this year's Wimbledon, for example, and I relate it to the rubber surfaces which prevail on the circuit...who can possibly enjoy that?

    It's like sitting by a busy intersection and watching the car wrecks.

    Not my cup of tea.
     
    #44
  45. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    Nadal 32 years old
    Djokovic 31 years old
    Isner 33 years old
    Anderson 32 years old

    If one did not know better, you might think that this year's Wimbledon semi's were part of a senior's retro event.
     
    #45
  46. krosero

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    Laver does not quite reach 80% in those years, TB has him at 77.9% (I have 78.3% but I am lagging slightly in putting all new results into my Excel sheet). At the same age of life, Rosewall is 76.4%, Gonzalez 71.8%. Of course these are all snapshots as you say, and if you shift the years a little you could get better numbers: I know Gonzalez's best 5-year period was 73.4% for example (still a little low but his stats were particularly dragged down by playing so many long ONS tours, which dragged down percentages even more so than the tournaments on the old pro tour). But I think among such snapshots, Laver's number of ca. 78% in 1964-67 is as high as you're going to get in the old pro tour environment.

    Best 5-year percentages for the modern players you named are not that much higher, per the calculations I did a couple of years ago. Agassi's is 79.1%, Becker is 83.9%, Sampras 84.1%. But those are in the low range for OE greats. (Agassi's is the very lowest one I have for all the OE greats I compared). Nadal's best is 86.2, Mac 89.6, Djoker 89.8, Federer 90.7, Lendl 91.0, Borg, 91.4, Connors 91.9.

    It's all debatable but the take-away for me when I look at these stats is not that Laver's pro period numbers are close to OE numbers, but rather that even the top numbers of the old pro tours (such as Laver's) fall just short of the bottom-tier OE greats -- and well short of the best OE numbers.

    And for me that's all about the unique format(s) of the old pro tour, and nothing at all to do with the relative greatness of the individual players.
     
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  47. Dan Lobb

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    The "like" I gave to this post is not necessarily an indication of agreement, but rather an acknowledgment of an interesting post.

    The old pro era format would make no sense commercially unless the pro troupe contained outstanding players, so in that sense obviously the lower percentage wins for top players is clearly related to the strength of the field.

    To make a fair comparison between 1959 and 2018, we should examine the win rates for the 1959 Ampol tournament series, which included 10 HOF players among the 12 participants, and compare that to the winning percentages for the top players today against the top 12 rated players of today.

    That comparison would likely show win rates above 71-2 %, which is the level achieved by Hoad and Gonzales on that 1959 tour.
     
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  48. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane G.O.A.T.

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    No. I mentioned one great point. It was not the only good one.
    There were not the players I would have chosen to get to the SFs. I don't like tall bots who depend so much on serving to win.
    There are those who claim that what is going on right now is the best ever, with the best trained, most athletic men we've ever seen. I think that is a ridiculous exaggeration.

    But you are part of the opposite extreme. For you everything good was in the past, and nothing going on now can compare in any way.

    You have the right to view things as you wish, but it does not seem like much fun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018 at 7:57 AM
    #48
  49. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Always Ken WANT to WIN Wimbledon. But so many years playing on pro circuit just put this very hard to achieve
     
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  50. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    WANTED, sorry
     
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