Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2009.
Yes, certainly. (We admire brilliance.)
Okey, Mr. Pc1. I will start writing it now. Expect it here in about an hour...
And some say you don't have a sense of humor. Your wit makes the Wilkinson Sword Co. blush with envy.
The idea about the strongest number two players in history sounds very interesting. Jimmy Connors had some superb years in the late 1970's and so did Borg of course.
We can also examine Rosewall and Laver in the 1960's like the year 1964 that we were all discussing.
Lendl in 1982 had a fantastic year but didn't win any majors so I believe Connors was number one.
Perhaps the 1920's with Tilden and the French Musketeers would have been interesting. Perhaps they may have all have had great records for some years.
Good idea, but someone else . . . .
One problem I have when creating a list like this is listening to all the arguments and sifting all the stats and opposing points, then I finally think I have it all down to the one name by that certain year, so I put it down.
Then a few months later, someone will make a really good point, and I think "So why did I put that name and not the other one?" . . . because I have forgotten all the rationales and reasoning behind the assignations.
That would be great, to have the written sources to work with.
Understandable. The great about tennis history now is that we have so much more information available to us now that wasn't there just several years ago. The negative is that we often have information overload and we have to find a way to use the information correctly.
I'm with you, it's tough to remember the reasoning for something you wrote a while ago.
Nevertheless a thread like this is great for gathering information and opinions.
Anyway you can always change your mind based on new info. There's no shame in that.
That's really the key here, is identifying what logic we use when we name a #1: what criteria. Not everyone has the same criteria. The biggest contrast is the priority different people give to day-in-day-out consistency on the one hand and big events on the other. And there are other differences, everyone knows what they are.
I'll tell you, though, the problem I have with the criteria of having to beat a player at his peak (your example of Connors not beating a peak Borg). IMO that has its place when we're trying to judge who the better play was; or analyzing the level of play in particular matches, etc. But who was #1 for the year is primarily about results. It may be that Connors did not defeat Borg at his peak in 1976. But he did defeat him, and the turnaround in the rivalry did not come until the following year. That's the only place it can count. 1977 gives some perspective -- tells us that Borg was almost there in 1976, that the rivalry was about to change. But it didn't change. Not yet. Borg came close -- that's what your arguments point to -- but that's it, just close. That makes him a strong #2 (a close #2).
In 1976 perhaps, as you say, casual observers saw the 3-year-old winning streak that Connors had over Borg and casually judged that Connors was going to be the reigning champion for some time. That always happens; we tend to glorify the champion of the moment. But none of my arguments depend on those casual overheated judgments of the moment. My argument about 1976 is that is was simply close but no cigar. Borg did not start beating Connors until 1977.
And when he did it at the Pepsi Grand Slam, since Tennis Channel broadcast it recently it's plain to me that Connors was not at his best in that match. Borg was. And what does that matter, exactly? It doesn't matter to me -- not as far as judging the results and who was #1 for the year.
As I say, your arguments about level of play carry some weight, for deciding whether Borg was better than Connors. And that criteria -- who was better -- is a factor, for instance when we say that Borg was a better player than Vilas as of 1977. That's great -- but Borg showed it with actual results over Vilas. He's got no victories over Connors in 1976, and if we speculate that in peak form he could have beaten Connors, then we're merely talking about matches that did not occur. If the argument is that he came close, then that's all we have -- close but no cigar. I see no way, with these arguments, to lift Borg over Connors in 1976.
But there may be a way by judging what he did over the course of the year, against other opponents, and comparing it to Jimmy's record. If Hellborg's arguments go down that road, then I might see the logic. But Borg, even then, would be given #1 for the year without any concrete indication that he was better than Connors (in actual matches as they were), and for that reason alone I can't see myself giving him more than a co-#1 for the year. To give it to Borg alone, and leave out the man who beat him every time they met?
Each man has 1 Slam, and while I understand that according to traditionalist arguments Borg was named #1 because he won Wimbledon, we are free to disagree with that tradition. Wimbledon was the biggest tournament, that I don't dispute. But Borg won it without facing Connors, which is the one thing -- the only thing -- that can be said against his dominating victory there. But it's an important thing. With Connors in the final Borg would almost surely not have swept the tournament in straight sets, which is why I can only go so far in judging his straight-set victory as a measure of his dominance. When he did meet Connors, on a surface favorable to him, he came close but lost, and I just think that's hugely significant. I can imagine different results for that day (Borg could have tried different tactics), but the only sure result is the one that happened.
Great points Hood. But that's why we start these threads.
The debate, the exchange of perspective, experiences, discipline, judgments and opinions is truly the vital foundation -- the important factor on the long and winding road to greater understanding and serious development. I re-read a lot, memory needs exercise, I see the "the little grey cells" as an abstract muscle that needs strengthening every day.
All these minor nuances and gazillion details cannot be mastered all the time. But our posts remain. And the texts don't forget.
I am writing the Hellberg-article now. Soon done. I translate freely. I also found some seriously great Laver-articles by Hellberg that I feel very tempted to write in here too.
I mean Björn Hellberg sat a few yards away from Gonzalez, Rosewall and "The Rocket" when they fought their most shining battles. His memory is nothing short of, well, nothing!?
His recollections a liquid gold. If you want to I'll write some of them too. Hellberg's brain, tennis-understanding, eye for the most minute detail without ever losing the overall pivotal aspects in tennis-analysis and writing skill is excellent.
To say the least. He's a true hero of mine. Strange as it may sound -- since I was 8 years old in fact...
His books and articles about tennis was one of the first things I read voraciously as a kid. He got me into reading Rex Bellamy, Tingay, studying Hopman -- you name them...
At least two posters have said that a Masters tournament in January should not count for the previous calendar year, and I can't think of a better thread to debate that question.
In '83 it's critical, because if the Masters is counted as the true fourth major, then McEnroe has two majors, Wilander only one. I've already shown that a lot of people saw that tournament as huge -- and it was indisputably the biggest tournament indoors, which is an important thing to look at (particularly if Mats gets credit, as he often does, for his surface variety that year; you've also got to look at his weak surfaces).
Even it's it's only the fifth biggest tournament, that's a lot of weight in McEnroe's corner.
I'm going to make the case that a January Masters did count for the previous calendar year and that we should count it that way, but it's debateable. The ITF lists the Masters tournament of January 1984, for example, as 1984. The ATP counts it as the 1983 Masters -- and Bud Collins in his book continues to treat those Masters tournaments from January as counting for the previous calendar year.
The calendar by itself is not a decisive argument, because some Australian Opens have started in December and carried over into January. I know the 1975 final was played on New Year's Day. So just because most of the tournament was played in 1974, does not mean that that the first six rounds should be left as part of 1974 season. It was clearly a 1975 tournament: the calendar by itself can't definitely decide what season a tournament belongs to.
The problem I have with counting the January 1984 Masters as part of the 1984 season is that the players themselves went into it thinking that it could potentially settle the question of #1 for 1983. It was thought of as a season-ending championship, even if there were questions about its exact importance (it did not count in the computer rankings, for example). And a season-ending championship is what the Masters was earlier when it was held in December; that's what the tournament's successor is today, a season-ending event. Is the date of January by itself enough to make those few editions in the late 70s and 80s into season-opening championships? Not in my opinion.
And if we do treat them as season-openers according to our own choice, what I'd like to see is some source from the time that did the same. Did anyone go into the January 1984 Masters thinking that it had no bearing on the 1983 season, that the new season was simply getting underway? That would be important to know, because if Wilander, for example, thought that way, then his loss to McEnroe takes on a new light.
However that would not change the fact that both McEnroe and Wilander knew that they were in a tight race; they knew that for a lot of people (at least) the Masters was part of the 1983 season and would decide which of them was #1. So even if someone played the tournament thinking it wasn't important, that would not change the fact that expectations were on him from other people. The pressure was there, regardless of what any single player thought.
So I'd like to see more sources about the Masters, from that time period.
Just a small matter: it was 20 winners plus 1 ace.
Here you're calling the January 1978 Masters the Year-End Championship.
Well I guess you can called it the end of the Tennis Year for 1977. It always struck me as weird but true that you play the end of the tennis year at the beginning of the regular year.
And it makes quite a difference for Connors in '77. With the Masters he's got a major in his pocket (and Borg a runner-up showing).
It's not that I think he really is in a three-way tie with Borg and Vilas. I don't. But Connors' record in '77 is stronger than I always assumed it was, just looking at the Slams.
And that's true in general of Jimmy's career. If I had to pick one sujbect on which this board has changed my mind the most, it's his career and his skill: he's stronger than I'd ever given him credit for.
Here is SgtJohn's list of majors per year: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=3098705#post3098705
Connors was an exceptional strong player. He was unlucky in that his played at the same time as a Borg who could match him easily from the baseline and had some skills Connors didn't have, like a huge serve.
Connors just hit the ball so perfectly. He used his entire body to get great pace on the ball without that much strain to his arms. I wonder if this was what led to his hip replacement.
And people forget what a great defensive player he was and who a great lob he had. He also had excellent footwork and speed.
I always enjoyed the way Connors played. He could spoil it sometimes for me with the way he acted at time but he was a beautiful groundstroker. I would have loved to see him trade groundies with Don Budge. I think from what I've read and some of the video I've seen of Budge that they were somewhat similar groundstrokers.
Some have also compared Connors to Ken Rosewall.
Okey my friends, it was not the easiest to translate to flowing English but I think I did about a... 90% correct translation, give or take a few percent.
Hope you enjoy -- here goes Björn Hellberg from his yearly tennis-book about all things tennis during the year 1976 (Hellberg wrote yearly books on tennis for many years like Barrett in a way).
BJÖRN HELLBERG, LAHOLM, SWEDEN, JANUARY 1977:
I will add a some rare quotes about Borg's injuries in the next post...
My initial reaction would be to roll my eyes a little bit. The Swedes favouring Borg is not surprising.
My other reaction would be to refer to SgtJohn's point that Philadelphia was one of the better attended events that year and Connors beat Borg there. He rates it as one of the 'adjusted majors'.
I tend to agree with him. The suggestion that Connors was rated above Borg solely due to the h2h is silly.
TRUE WORLD NO. 1
This stuff about adjusted majors can be a problem. I understand why someone does it but it's pretty dangerous becausse how do you really rank the strength and prestige of a tournament? For example Rod Laver won the 1971 Tennis Championship Classic by winning 13 matches and losing none. It was a big event and Laver defeated Rosewall, Newcombe, Ashe, Okker, Roche, Taylor, Emerson, Ralston and some of them several times. How do you rank a tournament like that? The field was awesome but Laver did have a lot of rest between matches but he did win it and he won more matches than any normal major. Do you rank it as double a major?
Do you rank it above the 1973 weaken Wimbledon? Wimbledon is still Wimbledon and was still more prestigious than the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic.
I think it's pretty clear the Year End Masters was basically a major but to rank the Philadelphia tournament and some other tournaments as an adjusted major to me is a (no pun intended) major problem.
I mean where does it end? Is the Federer win over Soderling not as important because he didn't beat Rafa? I think it is just as important but I'm purposely using this as an absurd example to show how far it can go.
My point is that we have to be careful when we do things like this.
I think you can take the strength and prestige of a tournament in that particular year and take it into account for the rankings and also for the player's career but a major is a major. Money aside, I think Laver would have preferred to have the weakened 1973 Wimbledon in his career resume than the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic. At least I would guess he would.
Laver's stated before that he would have loved to come back more for the glory than the money.
Thanks for translating that, in my English-centeredness I'd assumed that the article must exist in English somewhere.
Okay, the first thing that jumps out in Hellberg's article is that he defines the tennis season as beginning October 1. Now I haven't spent a lot of time researching such things, but where does this come from? I have no idea. Anyone know?
It's strange because it means that Hellberg is not including events that took place in the last three months of 1976 as belonging to 1976. Presumably they belong to 1977 in his definition. And the last three months of 1975 go to the 1976 season.
So this shows that the whole question of how the season relates to the calendar year is even more complex.
And if Hellberg is defining his year from October to October, I might agree with him that Borg is #1. I don't know -- the whole race for #1 has to be literally re-calculated. Offhand I don't know all the small tournaments that have to be shifted. We do know to include Borg's Davis Cup wins and his Masters runner-up showing, so like I said, that might push him over the top. I'd still be reluctant to do it based on his H2H with Connors -- but I respect Hellberg's opinion that H2H should not be such an important criteria. It is for me, and for many others (including experts).
Finally there's Hellberg's point about Borg doing better against Nastase and Tanner than Connors did. That's fine, but when he gets into this, he's essentially getting into H2H's, so there's only so much emphasis that can go to Borg's victories over other men before you have to return to Borg's H2H against Connors.
I see where he's coming from, I just think it's a limited argument -- and it runs from October to October so it's not really what Hoodjem is talking about.
So now I wonder, Borgforever, do you know how Hellberg defines the 1983 season? That Masters tournament in January 1984 is crucial, and if Hellberg is not including it then McEnroe has a weaker argument.
Forget the term 'adjusted major' - I only brought it up to point to the fact that Philadelphia was an important, well-attended event. Both Connors and Borg played there and Connors won.
Borg did win Dallas, but Jimmy wasn't there and he wasn't obligated to be there.
As for Wimbledon 1973, I would definitely rate it behind events like Dallas and Masters of the same year. But it's important to explain why - SgtJohn is not looking to determine which events were more prestigious. Rather he is looking at the results most demonstrative of who the best, most successful players were.
Ultimately that is all that matters.
I have little time now so I wish I could translate more -- Hellberg's ranking argument for other years for instance.
Short personal reaction. Hellberg is a very level-headed man. One of the calmest and sound persons one could ever come across. Brilliant. Like Borg on red clay.
I will answer the October-question tomorrow krosero...
CyB -- don't reduce this to a flawed, knee-jerk interpretation like "Swedes are behind Swedes". Hellberg clearly states that a Swede, Sylvén, supports Connors-case in this issue and Swedes rarely believe they are better than anyone until it's proven beyond reasonable doubt. Hellberg has Alexander Karelin as the GOAT of all athletes in recorded 2000-year-history, since the Greeks.
Hellberg has Laver above Borg -- and he saw both at their blinding best. A Swede backing a Swede? Thanks man. I thought better of you.
The clincher for me is Borg's victory at Boston when Björn blasted everybody and Jimbo sunk against Ramirez, which he also did when Borg won the DC-final practically single-handed -- but the the strongest argument for me is the Wimby-confrontations:
First. Borg lost serve five times in 21 sets -- twice in the final. He wasn't even on the betting board before the tourney. Tanner gave 7-1 as a winner. People laughed at Borg. Until his started to scorch the sun-baked grass with thunder serve and his most fierce killer instinct.
Now the main point. Jimbo, in the world championships, couldn't handle Tanner nuclear serve and splendid overall form in combo. The greatest returner in the game didn't manage to hold serve enough or even touch Roscoe's missiles and went out in humiliating fashion by a player on fire.
Tanner was favorite and he had the game-style that gave Borg most trouble. Mac had studied Tanner's style against Borg and realized that Björn hated quick, explosive points with lots of waiting in between. The trickster style.
Anyhoo -- Tanner comes out like against Connors. The temp is around 40 degrees celsius, around, i don't know 90s-100s F, or something and the grass fits Roscoe's game like a silk glove.
But Borg is a virtual armor-piercing Fortress moving like lightning. And bombing his serve with almost as much power but more consistently than even an on fire Tanner does.
If Tanner could crush Jimbo -- then on paper Borg would be even more so.
When they reach 4-all in two of the sets Borg murders his game at love like he just did all through the match to 5-4 and then pretty much screams four deadly returns bullseye in the corners past a stunned Tanner.
Just when he needed it. At the biggest stage in the world. The Championships. It was his trademark.
He dealed with Tanner with better play than Jimbo did. He returned Roscoe better. Remember in the 1979-final that went to five sets -- well, Tanner broke Borg ONLY ONCE in five sets, and his returns while not brilliant was darn good that year -- and Borg managed to break Roscoe a whopping four times. And who was supposed to possess the serve as the greatest weapon in tennis?
Tanner, while being on fire, having the momentum, the court advantage, the confidence of his supreme triumph against a peak Jimbo under his belt, was humiliated without even breaking Borg once and not getting even a set.
Then of course comes the amazing Nastase blowout-final in the sauna...
Borg did what Connors couldn't -- handle Tanner and Nastase -- which Jimbo couldn't -- even at the world championships at tennis...
Then Borg's recovery and brave, close final against Jimbo at USO was just the icing on the cake.
As well as the WCT-finals at Dallas -- which -- according to Hellberg better run than any tourney, save Wimby. Absolutely magnificent arena, crowd, smooth, great tennis, incredible atmosphere, all players loved it, big money -- WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TENNIS it was called and it fought for major-status.
The crazy thing was that Borg would continue to be invincible on grass and clay for four years straight basically.
And the nuttiest thing is that this Ice Cold Ghost Killah was only 20 when he raised the golden Wimby-trophy for the first time in his life...
Yes, and for all my emphasis on H2H, I tend to use it when there's a close race or there are some important questions about who really was dominant. The bread-and-butter of yearly rankings is still, how many titles did you win and how well-attended were they?
With Borg and Connors in '76, I'm still having trouble seeing even a tie. Yes, Borg has Wimbledon and the Dallas WCT. But Connors with the USO and Philadelphia stacks up against that. Meanwhile in tournament totals, Connors leads Borg by 12 to 6 (a considerably larger margin than Wilander has over McEnroe in 1983).
How does such a record as Connors had in '76 come to be seen as #2 caliber? And #2 to a man with 6 titles -- who was defeated every time the two men met?
Borg has a strong record that year, but Connors' record is very tough to match, much less overcome.
What I've been trying to get at with H2H is some underlying issues of skill and confidence. I have always understood that Borg and Wilander had their decisive breakthroughs, defeating their main rivals, in 1977 and 1988. It's new to me to hear that they actually reached the top earlier, and I have trouble giving it to them merely on stats in bulk. IMO both men still had some way to go before -- some important issues to resolve -- before they reached a place unquestionably at the top of the sport.
I don't insist, incidentally, that to be #1 you always must meet and defeat your main rival. He might be injured or on sabbatical, semi-retired, or just having a poor year, losing early before even meeting you in imporant finals. A lot of things can happen, and then you can step in and legitimately be #1. Nothing here is a rigid rule. But when your rival is there and you meet him, the H2H says a lot about whether you're physically and mentally ready to be #1.
The H2H doesn't matter much in this particular case for these reasons:
* Borg won the biggest. Connors was in the field and sunk. And Borg's triumph-style and stats are still unsurpassed. A more glorious triumph at the established biggest stage in the world. Connors lost to the man Borg crushed.
* Jimbo never met the finest form Borg and after Wimby they were very close while Borg's form was down -- thereafter Borg dominated their H2H in a unique manner.
* Federer's H2H against Rafa during some of his peak years look like Borg Connors in 1976 but there's no disputing that Roger was No. 1 and won the biggest tourneys and beat the other guys that took out Rafa. There's a lot of nuance...
The ATP Players voted Borg as No. 1 for 1976 besides TENNIS DE FRANCE, I guess, plus several other authorities -- not to mention the world's accumulated all-sports-covering respected journalists...
In hindsight -- the Jimbo for No. 1 in 1976 seems to be the minority view in this case, all things considered when it comes to opinions expressed in this case...
My remarks were about my reaction to what I'd read, which is what you asked for. I was simply being honest. I am a big Borg fan, so I tend to have some biases about him. Knowing that, I tend to react with skepticism when a Borg fan or a Swede rates Borg ahead of another player.
This does not mean that I dismiss the point of view and thus not even consider it in depth. Rather, the skepticism immediately arises and is difficult to shake off. This is my reaction. It is not necessarily a fair one, but it does not necessarily mean that it will dominate my ultimate review of the points raised. I will still calmly and carefully analyze the statement and attempt to not let my skepticism interfere too much.
I find the comments posted to be somewhat thin and reductive of the pro-Connors position (that it all comes down to h2h, which is not the only point to be made for Connors). This paragraph: "People in the ”Connors-camp” base their evaluation basically on the great tournament-winning consistency of the American and on the fact that he conquered Borg in every single of their four battles during this time-period (plus one exxo making it 5-0 in H2Hs during this time)."
It is not very well thought-out and creates a false dichotomy that the debate is solely between two sides (suggesting that the truth lies in one of the two camps). The comment confirms that my initial reaction of skepticism was not completely foolish, as a clear sign of bias is to create a false dichotomy, but that points to the writer of that piece specifically (rather than a population, so don't get me wrong there).
I also did not ignore that there are Swedes who favoured Connors. I am aware of this and I never said that Swedes are all biased for Borg. That being said, Swedes are more likely to be biased for Borg, and that heightens my skepticism but does not cement or finalize my point of view about the opinion raised.
The fact that players voted for Borg does not qualify as an argument for Borg, in my opinion. Any attempt to present that fact as an argument would be an appeal to authority. Players are not necessarily making logical arguments for one player over another, nor are they obligated to be impartial.
I would imagine that Jimmy was not terribly well-liked at the time by most players.
That being said, having read your arguments for Borg as the #1 in 1976 I have begun to feel that he was closer to Connors than I'd initially assumed. So I think that your argumentation has been very sound and always is. However I'm not a big fan of the piece you've posted. I tend to be very critical of journalistic pieces in general and tend to shoot down any appeals to opinion pieces. I do not believe that opinion pieces, in themselves, do much to strengthen points of view. Only facts can.
Agreed. Dallas, while a huge event, was still missing Connors. And that's hard to overlook.
Sampras in 1999 had it easy with Andre...
Lendl was 4-0 against Mac in 1981, his main rival besides Borg and Jimbo. He didn't beat Jimbo neither -- but he beat burnt-out Borg twice and lost once to him and Björn won all matches against Lendl and Jimbo at the biggest events too...
But Mac won the biggest events and was undispited No. 1 for the year 1981...
Jimbo ducked out of Dallas when his form sunk and his results weren't up to par...
He was in the event and everybody was shocked when he ducked out on his own accord for unknown reasons besides his lack-lustre form...
I can only reitarate ALL the points I've made above while urgently again underline my belief that an arguable case for Jimbo as co-No. 1 for 1976 together with Borg could hold water...
Very unspecific and subjective. Do we know for sure why Connors did not play in Dallas? Do we know for sure that his game was not up to par at the time?
Sounds speculative to me and thus wouldn't hold in at a "court of law", so to speak.
As it happens, players picked and chose events very freely in those years. Wimbledon and the US Open seemed to be the only two events that were immune to this. To skip one of these would be foolish on one's sole accord.
But Dallas, while prestigious, was not quite that untouchable. There may also be posters here who know more about the politics of Jimmy's playing decisions, including the wct stuff. I'm sure he had his reasons.
Just check his record. It's all the proof one needs. Hellberg saw Jimbo and Borg at close quarters for the entire year as a reporter and that you question his judgment on that and the fact that Wimby is the biggest event in tennis is IMO questionable indeed as regards to your view-point on the subject matter when you haven't seen that many matches live when they happened to form a personal opinion of their respective peaks and their relative strengths -- and also, by the fact that you haven't even studied both men's record for the time-period in question...
I think that position would be weak in court...
A QF at the world championships just won't do. That's Wilander 1988-stuff. You have to win awful lot of several heavy-duty majors around that for it to stick. Look at Mac in 1981. Had he met Jimbo at Wimby and USO Borg or Jimbo may have been the No. 1 and Mac the No. 4 after Lendl. The luck of the draw. The throw of the dice...
Hellberg Schmellberg. Don't care. The only thing that matters is the strength of his argument. I wouldn't care more if he was Stephen Hawking.
So far I don't see a very strong argument on his part. Mostly bad, biased writing. I find it particularly egregious that he spent much of the piece listing the respective accomplishments of the two players and then devoted very little time dissecting what those results entailed. And then such a confident announcement at the end and based on what? Very sloppy.
Sorry. I think you're better than he is, if that soften the wounds.
Damn these are interesting . . . and provocative.
Well, you're simply throwing this back my way. My position isn't the one being put into question here. In fact, I haven't even argued my position.
The position that is reviewed here is Hellberg's. I just don't think he makes a well-detailed analysis.
The fact that he saw these players live doesn't give him true authority. The onus is still on him to express himself with some degree of precision and objectivity. Otherwise his opinion isn't anymore valid than that of any Joe Schmo who saw the same matches, but without a press pass.
You haven't adressed any of the major points I've made in recent posts just wording yourself about your opinion about Hellberg's piece from your anachronistic and limited perspective.
For instance, could you please explain to me why USO is bigger than Wimby in all players eyes and all experts eyes too throughout history? Then also explain to me how a QF at Wimby and a triumph at USO is bigger than final at USO and a triumph at the biggest event Wimby in a fashion not seen since?
You're sharper than this CyB. Home-work. Stats are right there.
It seems Jimbo had a lot of trouble to beat Nastase -- let alone Tanner. Borg helped Jimbo when beating Nastase at USO 1976. Many of their matches that year were a joke. Ilie toyed with him. Created GOAT-buzz and heavy Wimby fave status. An he had beaten Borg. But also lost.
Had Jimbo made it to the final -- I don't think he would've beaten Borg in that form even if he somehow conjured up three sets against Tanner, but anyway, Nastase would've taken Jimbo apart was the consensus. No Borg could've been USO too for Ilie -- maybe changing his Agassi-post-1995-trajectory when being dominated by Borg...
And could you please explain to me why iArthur Ashe is considered undisputed No. 1 for the year 1975?
And the Mac 1981 scenario. With a throw of the dice Mac could've been No. 4.
When you checked the facts and records and made a coherent response to the above mentioned issues -- I'll get back to you...
So long -- for now...
Ok, well I've latched on the Hellberg piece because I did not think it supported your point of view. I have not really strongly challenged your point of view, because I have not seen you present a strong methodological case for Borg in 1976 in this thread. You may have done that in another thread and probably did. Perhaps you interpret my intentions as a way for me to prove you wrong and argue in favour of Connors. That is not what I was trying to do. I did object to some of the 'evidence' presented here.
I don't really think that the US Open is bigger than Wimbledon. Both are huge events and most importantly both had all the important players participating, as far as I know.
I also think that Borg's results in these two event are superior to Connors simply going on the fact that Connors did not make it to the final of Wimbledon. However I am not sure why you've decided to reduce the whole year to just these two events.
There is a lot of stats actually. I have not seen anyone make a strong, rigorous analysis of the players' stats for 1976 however. I am not sure how to interpret what you're saying here. It is almost as if you're implying that I am missing an elephant in the room, a suggestion that comes packed with a touch of hubris.
I did not know he was considered the undisputed No 1 for 1975. Is that true?
I've read this point, but it didn't make a lot of sense to me. Perhaps you could elaborate. I agree that finals sometimes can go one way or another based on very sensitive details that we sometimes don't know about. But at the end of the day we still have a result and at the end of the year we have very specific information that we can draw upon to decide a ranking.
I am trying to be reasonable about this and I hope I have my facts right. If I don't please let me know.
If a QF at Wimbledon disqualifies Connors in '76, what does a third-round exit from Wimbledon do to Wilander in '83?
It's not my position, by the way, that early exits from Wimbledon disqualify players from a #1 race. I think they're significant losses, but that's as far as I press it. Your position, however, seems much harder to hold. A QF loss "just won't do" for Connors, yet you affirm that the #1 player of 1983 was Wilander, who exited even earlier at Wimbledon.
(As it happens, both Connors and Wilander lost to Tanner -- but Wilander lost to a 31-year-old Tanner who was past his prime).
And yes, I fully agree, Wilander in 1988 was a different story. Then he went out in the W quarters, but he had, in your words, an "awful lot of several heavy-duty majors around that." In 1983 he doesn't have those; his biggest win was a major that was still working its way back up to major-league attendance.
Nothing I've seen, including the Hellberg article, suggest that Connors as #1 in '76 was a minority opinion. The Hellberg article gives precisely the opposite impression.
To prove one way or another where the majority of opinions went, you'd need to scour all the records, and it would be quite a project. What have you decided this on, just the few that you know of? Well let's look at the ones you've mentioned. Barrett is a significant, tennis-knowledgeable opinion (though we don't know how close he thought the race was, or the source of his opinion; you have told us that he's changed his mind, so he's been for Connors once). Tennis de France would be a good authority but you seem unsure about their vote. The ATP Players poll: CyBorg covered the reasons to be skeptical about it. Hellberg voted for Borg but he's talking about October-October, and perhaps somewhere he has a methodical argument about the calendar year 1976, though we have not been that impressed with his piece on the October-October year.
And you mentioned that sports writers around the world named Borg in their short lists of greatest athletes. That would not surprise me. Borg WAS the greatest athlete in tennis, and as well-known as a rock star. General sports writers would not have the interest or the knowledge to decide on the actual tennis results.
Meanwhile I know offhand that Tennis and World Tennis magazines, and Bud Collins, had Connors as #1 in 1976. Those are as mainstream as you can get, and if they were actually in the minority opinion, that would be extremely surprising.
Hellberg himself adds another person who voted for Connors -- Lance Tingay. From Hellberg's article you get the definite impression that both he and Bergelin were outraged that Borg was generally not accorded the #1 spot (Hellberg complains about the "Anglo-Saxons" as if the majority had gone for Connors).
And look at the numbers (as found in Bud's book):
Connors -- 100-12
Borg -- 63-14
Connors -- 13 of 23
Borg -- 7 of 19
Slams - 1 each
Any claim that those numbers by Jimmy were regarded as #2 caliber by a MAJORITY of knowledgeable tennis writers back in '76 clearly bears the burden of proof.
And it would take more than listing additional sources who voted for Borg -- it would take a full search for votes for both players.
I'm highly skeptical of your claim here.
Yes, if i remember it right, most magazines - the magazine ranking was quite important then - had Connors as Nr. 1 in 1976. For the most important US magazines of the time, Tennis and World Tennis, it may not surprising. But even the diehard Wimbedonists like Tingay from Britain gave the year to Connors.
Funny how the year end number 1 can come down to 1 match
Take 1982 for example. If Ivan Lendl had won the US Open against Connors then he would be undisputably the best player in the world that year. Just one match made the difference.
McEnroe was a number 3 (not in ATP terms but in realistic terms) to Connors and Lendl that year.
Lendl dominated McEnroe in the head to head - Lendl won all their matches - 4 official ATP sactioned ones + 2 others = 6-0 head to head. Lendl won between 15 to 18 events depending on your counting and McEnroe won between 5 to 7 events depending on your counting. Lendl also dominated McEnroe in the most important tournament they placed against each other - the Masters - in straight sets. Lendl also beat McEnroe in the WCT Finals as well.
Lendl was 2 matches to 1 against Connors that year. In the two matches he won he dominated Connors 6-1, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-1. Connors won 7 ATP Sanctioned events plus 4 other events. Hence a lot less than Lendl. Hence if Lendl had won that one match it would have been clear to everyone that he was a clear cut number 1. Its amazing that it came down to just one match.
borgforever you are rude arrogant man. and you need lessons in manners and your arrogant tone is a disgrace. as far as carlo is concerned he was rightly criticised for his rudeness and arrogance about his world ranking methodolgy; he stated the rudeness about me before i did and used bad language . i only attack someone if they are bad mannerred first like you and carlo.
as to laver i am perrectly consistent. laver in 1964 is ahead on tournament wins, major wins and head to head. borg is only ahead on head to head in 1977; he's behind vilas in majors and tournament wins. in 1976 borg is behind in tournament wins and head to head to connors and slighty ahead in majors with his ru at us compred to qf of connors at wimbledon. you borgforever are the inconsistent one counting borg's 77 head to head as magnificently great while in '76 the head to head against connors does not matter because borg lost it. your bias in favour of borg is a total joke .
I see many years has controversy, particularly coming from ARG I was wondering how in the world in 1977 you own 2 Slams + 1 runner up + 16 tournaments and haven't been #1 (Sorry Vilas) :shock:
I am not good at maths, anyhow, in present days that would be better than Roger's numbers for 2009.
Probably I am demanding so much, but is there any chance to see all the history with present points rules :mrgreen:
In 1977 Vilas won 2 majors to Borg's 1. But the French Open that year was severely depleted. No Borg. No Connors who had won the 76 US on green clay. No Gerulaitis who had just won the title in Rome. No Orantes who would surely have been one of the favourites.
Also I sometimes wonder what would happen if Borg had not been injured in the 77 US Open. Wasn't the US Open the only title Vilas won that year that had Borg in the draw? Also wasn't it the only title Vilas won that year where Connors was in the draw?
Also Vilas had at least 2x the number of losses throughout the year than Borg.
So to say head-to-head is the only area where Borg is leading Vilas in 77 is a false statement.
A lot of people in 1977 felt that Borg had the best overall record for the year. On a Har Tru surface that the US Open was on at that time Borg, considering his great improvement would have been perhaps the favorite to win the tournament. I think Borg won 13 out of 20 tournaments played that year.
I agree for sure that Borg was the favorite at the USO, but in fairness to Vilas, Borg was in the draw and simply got injured. The fact that Vilas went 0-3 against Borg in '77 says a lot about who was the better player in terms of skill, and that's important, but the USO had a great draw. Borg, for whatever reason, was injured, and was unable to win a tournament he entered and wanted to win. Connors was unable to win it either. So Vilas won a great deserving victory there.
The French Open, imo, is a different story. It was just poorly attended -- not because the players wanted to go and were prevented by injury; it was their free choice not to go. Borg played WTT; Connors always stayed out (until '79). And while of course none of that is Vilas' fault, it does mean he won a major with a relatively weak draw.
And Vilas accumulated a lot of smaller victories in which Borg and Connors were not in the draw. He has a lot of victories (and a lot of losses), played a lot of tournaments on clay. He shaped his season in such a way that the ATP players protested about it, so almost by definition it's a controversial year: we have a long thread here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=262183.
Yes and on top of all that, it was a match many felt Lendl should have won.
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