WORLD NO. 1 (by year)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. NonP

    NonP Hall of Fame

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    I do agree Rocket deserves it more for '64, just as I prefer Borg for '77, Boris for '89 (the ATP to their credit saw the error of their ways and contradicted their own computer ranking), Pete for '99 (see above) and Fed for '03. But there's something to be said about the prevailing views/official rankings at the time and I wouldn't put up much of a fuss if somebody else said Muscles for '64 (guess who that somebody might be here), Vilas or Jimbo for '77, Lendl for '89, Agassi for '99, Roddick or Ferrero for '03, and/or Novak for '13.

    What I do ask, though, is that they consider all the cases where the race was tight. I guarantee you most people have dissected particular years like a true obsessive while not giving a hoot about the other years, and if they tell you that is an honest oversight on their part, they're lying either to you or to themselves.
     
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  2. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    That sums it up. Well thought-out.
     
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  3. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    True, and there is also an obsession about calendar years, which in my mind does not pay much attention to the much more important "big picture" when looking at careers.

    Case in point: Rosewall made the F of Wimbledon in 1970 then went on to win the USO that year. Then he went on to win the AO in 1971. You look at those three slams and then you have to wonder at barely being closed out by Newcombe, who was barely 26, then beating Roche (poor Roche!!!) then Ashe. And although he didn't do well at RG in 1971, he again reached the SF of Wimbledon.

    I don't believe only slams count, and we all know how important other tournaments were at that time when pros started making really big money, but even so Rosewall was a F away from three slams in a row, a streak that started right before his 36th birthday.

    We don't have full length videos of his matches. If we did, most of us would be studying them to figure out how he managed such a feat. But he was known as having a relatively weak serve - also true of Connors and Nadal- and great players with weaker serves are always amazing returners. I don't have stats to back this up, but it is likely Rosewall broke more often than anyone else in his era (Laver and co.) because the other guys must have held serve easier. Again, no stats to back this up, but the last 25 years of stats show how strongly players return who don't automatically win their serves.

    Regardless, instead of getting into GOAT debates, always little more than verbal masturbation, it would be wiser to look at some of these amazing players and simply think about what made each of them unique.

    When it comes to a long career, I can only think of one player in Rosewall's class - Pancho.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    NonP, it is obvious to me that some are trying to diminish Laver's record including, inter alia, seven straight years as #1 by questioning 64' and 70'. The purpose of this effort is an attempt to equate Rosewall's career with Laver's career in support of the preposterous premise that Rosewall is the "co-GOAT" with Laver.
     
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  5. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    It's obvious to me that you would not recognize a reasonable post if it hit you in the head ;)
     
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    More snark and hypocrisy.
     
  7. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    No hypocrisy.

    You are making things up.

    You attack anyone who does not agree with you.

    My position is that peak Laver was better than peak Rosewall, but not by a huge amount. That's it.

    I have for support an opinion. Nothing more.

    Same as you.

    Same as BobbyOne.

    Some of the people here treat an honest difference of opinion with the weight of a cancer diagnosis, and you are one of those people.
     
  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Apparently, you have an endless supply of snark and hypocrisy.
     
  9. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    No. I just don't give in too fast to Last Word Freaks.

    And I don't like "black and white people" who simple are incapable of considering an alternate view.

    I have no problem with views stressing the greatness of either Rosewall, or Laver, or any other great player.

    I don't disagree with any of your views.

    I don't like the way you express your views.

    And I'd wager there are other people who feel the same way.
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I would think Tilden who was a good player into the late 1940s and even played Gonzalez in I think the early 1950s is there also. In recent years Connors for the time has done well and actually nowadays Federer at age 35 this year is still one of the top players.

    What I think Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Connors and Federer have in common was a very smooth style.
     
  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Excuse me, Duane, I don't care what you think about my views, about the way I express my views, or about any other matter. Further, I don't have any interest in your views, I don't care what you think about tennis, or anything else, and I don't have any interest in having any kind of discussion with you. Goodbye!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  12. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    The problem for me with guys like Tilden is that I can't connect them to anything I know. I've read about them, but they didn't play anyone I know much about from seeing. I can't go back before Pancho, and I only mention him because I saw him play at a very old age (for tennis) and judge him on that basis to be pretty much beyond belief.
    The outlier here is Agassi. His results past age 30 were also remarkable, but he is not a guy I think of as smooth. Most people don't probably think of Connors as a smooth player, but I agree with you. I'm not sure old Connors is in the same league with old Gonzales and old Rosewall. (I also have no facts/stats to back up that feeling, so I may be totally wrong. But for now I'm going on what Rosewall did in slams and top tournaments at age 36 and older, and I think it is likely that Gonzales would have had similar results at the age in slams but had no chance to prove it.
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Of these players, I've only seen Connors and Federer. Federer is as smooth as silk. But, I would not describe Connors' style as smooth. He was intense and explosive. And, his footwork was ridiculous, the busiest, most precise footwork I've ever seen.

    PS: Ooops, I have also seen Rosewall. I wouldn't call Rosewall smooth either. His stroke production was smooth, but, his style was closer to Connors, very busy, intense footwork. Rosewall was a scrambler, not a glider.
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Gonzalez in 1964 and 1965, years in which he would be 36 and 37 was very competitive with Rosewall and Laver. In those two years he beat Rosewall 10 of 24 matches against a player about 6.5 years younger than him. He also won 12 out of 26 against Laver. He won nine tournaments over those two years including the US Pro Indoor, the Cleveland World Pro, the London Golden Racquet over players like Gimeno, Rosewall and Hoad.

    I believe he may have won the most prestigious tournaments and perhaps strongest tournaments by a player over age 40 in winning tournaments like the 1969 Pacific Southwest over Cliff Richey and the 1969 and 1970 Howard Hughes.

    In that 1969 Pacific Southwest, Gonzalez defeated Parun, Bob Carmichael, Ken Rosewall, Stan Smith, Jim Osborne and Cliff Richey in the final. Players like Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Buchholz, Ashe, Stolle, Ralston, Okker, Stolle and Emerson were in the tournament.

    He won the 1969 Howard Hughes over Peter Curtis 6-4 6-2, over Newcombe 6-1 6-2, over Rosewall 6-4 1-6 6-3, over Smith 8-6 9-7 6-4 and over Arthur Ashe 6-0 6-2 6-4. Here's a video of Gonzalez during that tournament. I was most impressed by his movement at age 41. At about the 26 minute mark he plays Newcombe and a little while later you will see him play Rosewall. Later in the film he defeats Ashe to win the tournament.


    To defeat Newcombe, Rosewall, Smith and Ashe in consecutive rounds is incredible for even a great in their prime. To defeat them when that player is way past his prime is even more incredible.

    He won the 1970 Howard Hughes over Torben Ulrich 6-4 3-6 6-3, over Gimeno 8-6 6-4, over Tony Roche 6-3 6-3 6-4 and over Rod Laver 6-1 7-5 5-7 6-3.

    There weren't many players if any greater than Gonzalez in their forties. There aren't too many players if any greater than Gonzalez at any age.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    NatF, With such an attitude you never could achieve any success on a University. But at least you obviously concede that the official rankings were much different to the claims of my opponents who still refuse to recognize historical facts (Limpinhitter, Dan, urban and one or two others). That way I can call you a "semi-opponent" of mine. At least something good...
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    NonP, I dislike your arrogant attitude to damn all experts. You are right that there are silly ones like those from Tennis Channel and ESPN (with the exception of Bud). But Tingay, McCauley, Collins not only counted numbers. They compared and weighted and researched.

    krosero discoverd a very important "detail" about the 1964 tour: He realized that the "130 day tour" was just the second part of the long tour. That way he could explain why Butch recently might have refused to confirm that the 130 day tour was identical with a (whole) tour worthy of a world championship tour (as important, as much weight as a world tour, equal if there was an official title and a trophy). So now we know (which is not a surprise) that Buchholz considers the tour the same way now as he had considered it 52 years ago in his significant and detailed article!

    The heated discussion in this thread was more about historical facts (how have the contemporaries including Rosewall and Laver themselves valued the tour?) than about the question if they all were wrong and only we people of 2016 know the truth.

    I would be happy if I would not need anyone's approval, but, alas, the situation is very different: I'm grateful for approval as long as my opponents (some of them my "enemies") refuse to accept historical facts!!!

    What's "BFD"? My English is not that good.

    1964 did not work like 1999. In the latter year there was NO common sense that the overall points are the deciding factor!

    I never read that you gave Rosewall a No.1 spot (sorry if I overlooked that).
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  17. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Laver actually did write that he took over as number one late in 1964 so I assume that was official. In 1970 he was not officially number one but in those days "official" was really based on opinions of tennis experts which is a term you can now argue to be an oxymoron. That's a joke by the way but I couldn't resist.

    Let me put it this way, if you polled the tour in those days and asked who the best player was I would think Laver would have won in an almost 100% vote. However that's not how number one was decided so it doesn't mean anything.
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Limpinhitter, You will never understand (nor ever apologize). The 1964 tour was in the view of the participants the main if not the only measure stick for the end-year rankings. It just was common sense. All eight participants did know it from the first day of the tour till the last. Rod Laver knew: Even if he has a hth against Rosewall of 30:3 and having some other assets like winning Wembley, he MUST gain more points in the tour than any other player in order to be ranked the No.1 player. If he wanted to be acknowledged top player he should have won additional 10 to 12 points (which is: more success at the 17 tournaments than he actually had). Rod then accepted he is only No.2 player in the world. Do you blame him?
     
  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Hello dear Lmpinhitter, I guess we yet can become good friends as I like witty and funny people. Your description of Rosewall as a scambler is a first-class joke. Ha ha. I'm sure only a man (or woman) like you could ever create such a funny joke...
     
  20. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Thanks Flash, nice of you to offer. Here's the full image of the report, below. I have no particular questions about the article and I certainly won't ask you for a word-for-word translation. But it'd be interesting to get your general remarks, particularly on anything that you might see that Google Translate got wrong....

    [​IMG]
     
  21. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That goes for any speakers/readers of French who want to chime in ....
     
  22. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thank you for your concern Bobby but I did fine at university :D

    We're all able to make up our own minds from looking at the results of those years. In my opinion Laver was clearly #1 in both.

    There seems to be conflicting opinions from official sources. I'm happy to just go off my own views on the results at this point.
     
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  23. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    As you know I have zero interest in any kind of GOAT discussion. For me there are just great players from different eras. But Pancho has always been a personal favorite of mine. A guy like him today would be an instant rockstar. I always felt like Pancho moved like some kind of big cat. Again, it would be incredible to actually have videos of him playing at his peak, whole matches, good definition, but unfortunately such things do not exist.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    To my knowledge, the first "official" ranking in men's tennis was the 1970 Grand Prix rankings, which ranked only those who played the Grand Prix circuit, and, concluded with Cliff Richey as the year end points leader. Before then, rankings were the "unofficial" opinions of so called experts, some of whom, apparently, never picked up a racquet in their lives.
     
  25. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sorry should have put official in inverted comma's ;)
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Even then there was no computerized system and probably not a logical system in place. Baseball in the United States to me has the most logical system with records. None of them are set in stone if mistakes in the past are found to be made. I think they made one exception on this when I thought was insane.
     
  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    NatF, How can you say that there were conflicting opinions from official sources??????
     
  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I do recall that the ATP ranking system was supposed to be "computerized," whatever that means. To my recollection, the ATP ranking system began in 1973.
     
  29. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    The poster slasher did a very trustworthy reconstruction of the ATP Computer ranking on a week per week basis for the years 1968-1973. It can be found here on other threads. Also the webside Tennisbase has calculated week Rankings for all time. I think Tilden and Laver are leading here with over 600 weeks resp. over 400 weeks.
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    What did they use then, an abacus? :) We didn't even have calculators in 1970!

    Yes I remember it was supposed to start in 1973 but clearly there had to be problems with the system in those primitive times of record keeping. Do you remember a few years ago Evonne Goolagong found out she was number one for a little while in 1976?
    http://www.wearetennis.com/en_UK/#/2013/02/26/world-number-one-at-56-years-old/1462
     
  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Gary, Thanks for your post. Just a little correction: Rosewall did not enter the 1971 French Open. By the way, I give both Laver and Rosewall good chances to win the French Open from 1970 to 1972.

    Yes, Rosewall's series as an oldie at majors is remarkable: 1970 Wimbledon: final, losing in five to Newcombe; 1970 US Open: win, beating Newcombe and Roche; 1971 AO: win, beating Ashe; (1971 French Open: not played); 1971 Wimbledon: SF, great match against Richey in the QFs; (1971 US Open: not played); 1971 WCT Finals: win, beating Newcombe and Laver; 1972 AO: win; (1972 French Open: not played); 1972 WCT Finals: win, beating Laver. That means: 5 major wins, 1 major final , and 1 major SF. NO LOSS BEFORE SFs! All that between July 1970 and May 1972. It's not too bold to say that Muscles from age 35 to 37 was the best player in the world. Steve Flink in World of Tennis yearbooks even gave Rosewall the No.1 place for the 1970 to 1975 and the 1971 to 1976 periods in his comparisons (the top players against each other at big events).

    I agree that only Gonzalez is comparable with Rosewall regarding achievements as an old player, at least after WW 2.
     
  32. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Limpin, It's obvious that one poster is trying to push Laver's record. The purpose of this effort in an ugly attempt to diminish Rosewall's career. Very preposterous. His or her name is Limpinhitter...
     
  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Gary, Thanks for your efforts to stay objective.

    I don't like the way Limpin expresses his views but I also don't like some of his views (Laver won 36 majors etc). But mostly i dislike Limpin's behaviour to blame me for a statement that I never made (or would make): that Rosewall would have won 40 open era majors. This was a mocking lie. Alas, Limpin is not ready to apologize or take back his absurd statement...
     
  34. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Limpin, You are a true gentleman (or lady).
     
  35. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    Thank you for that correction. I can't always keep all these slams straight without checking again. That was a very strange time in tennis, with players not competing in many slams.

    The overall picture is that pros go where the money is. Today the pros all play slams because slams pay the most money and award the most points. It is understandable that the pros of the early Open era did not have the same priorities as today's players.
    As you know I don't participate in debates about GOATS, and I don't even like debates about who is best in the same era when there are two or three players who are all amazing. Today we have Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Altogether there is an age range of almost 6 years. I don't think of Fed and Novak as being contemporaries in any sense. The peak in tennis is usually too short. Fed's peak ended before Novak's started, which is quite normal for two players 6 years apart in age.

    Nadal was a strange bridge between the two because he was both a prodigy and excelled on Federer's weakest surface. In the end it may make more sense to compare Nadal to Novak, but even here we have one guy peaking very early and another peaking late. So anyone who talks about the time we are in right now 50 years from now, will most likely get it wrong.

    I was alive during the peaks of Gonzales, Rosewall and Laver, but Gonzales is 20 years older than me, or would be if he were still alive. So by the time I read about him, his career was very nearly over. When I was around 10, Rosewall would logically have been at his peak. I did not follow tennis then. I was around 20 when Laver got his pro GS, so I was playing tennis then and watching a lot. But even so, I don't believe we saw either Rosewall OR Laver at their peaks in the Open era. The fact that both did so well in the Open era is a testament to the "trial by fire" these guys went through before Open tennis, when they had to play anywhere, on any surface, at any time, under any conditions.

    With this thinking I don't compare Gonzales, Laver and Rosewall too much in a linear fashion. We expect the older to player to dominate, so Gonzales had every advantage at first, having to struggle himself against Kramer, for example. Rosewall was more under his dominance than Laver because as a young, green player he had to face a still very strong, still peak Gonzales. So of course Gonzales dominated. This would have been a lot like young Novak against peak Fed, about 6 years difference - more like 6.5, I think. But by the time Laver came along he would have been facing a Gonzales fully 10 years older, and that would be an easier nut to crack.

    Rosewall was in a bit of the "Nadal" position, in between. He had to struggle against the older but still peak guys, and he also had to Hoad to contend with. I can't think of anyone who really pushed Laver who was very close to the same age. So Laver actually had it easier. His main competitor should have been someone like Emerson, but Emerson hung out in the safe, secure amateur world.

    So Laver, although he was very nearly past his peak when he won the GS in 69, had a huge advantage over all the other former pros. I don't think people always take that into consideration.

    For this reason I see Gonzales, Rosewall and Laver as THE players of the old guard, they guys who finally got to play slams. (Kramer and his era were not part of the Open era - too old.)

    To me they were/are all about equally amazing, but in different ways.

    That's my position, in case you are interested.
     
  36. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    To think things were accurate back then is pretty absurd. Today we consider ourselves in the "computer age", but only as recently as 2003 you can see that Federer won 58% of all points for the year on all surfaces - which of course is absolutely bogus. If the ATP can't fix 2003 and has a very sloppy set of statistics in general, why should we trust them in the early 70s? ;)
     
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  37. Gary Duane

    Gary Duane Legend

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    Limpin has strong opinions. So do you. Nothing is wrong with that.

    But he has called me a hypocrite more than once, and that accusation is utterly baseless. I'll plead guilty to a bit of snark. ;)

    In a thread like this I'm looking for facts, so anyone who is unearthing information most of us have not seen is someone I want to pay attention to.

    What I don't want to get involved in is a "s/he said, s/he said" back and forth endless vicious circle.

    To be clear, certain posters here are a model of what I am interested, for instance both Krosero and PC1. That's why I'm here...
     
  38. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Gary, Thanks for your thoughts. Well done.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  39. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Bobby, we are waiting for you to produce some evidence...you are convinced of your position even without that evidence.
     
  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Dan, If I would write down what I'm thinking about this your post, I possibly would be banned again. Therefore just as much as: You must have missed dozens of posts in this thread written by krosero and myself. You are not a gentleman. It's not gentleman-like to mock serious posters!

    It's also not honourable to attack only me (as you know I'm not popular in this forum) and not to mention krosero (who has the same position as I have in this point) because you know that krosero is a very acknowledged and popular poster.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  41. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Bobby, I acknowledge "historical facts"...I am waiting to see some which support your views.

    As you know, I have pointed out to you that Hoad won a world championship tour in 1959, and that Rosewall won his first world championship tour in 1963 at age 28....the 1964 tour appears to have no official ranking as a world championship. We have seen that your reference to Buchholz does not support your case.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  42. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Dan, I'm upset by your mean accusation that I have not brought historical facts which support my views! How many reports (from World Tennis, World of Tennis yearbooks, newspaper clippings) should krosero and I yet bring to your attention that Mr. Lobb is satisfied? 5? 50? 500?

    krosero and I have proved that there was no need to label the long 17 tournament tour as a "world championship tour". Deciding fact was that the tour had the WEIGHT and IMPORTANCE of a world championship tour as it was the tour which determined the pro rankings and the No.1 player of the world. Every reader of the Buchholz article who is right in his head has understood Butch's intention and claim. krosero's and my reference to Buchholz has cleary supported our case! It's an insult especially toward krosero (who researched and found so much proof) to claim that we could not prove and explain the whole matter clearly.

    Who is your "WE"? It's only stubborn Dan Lobb and one or two other stubborn posters. All others are able to read an English written text and to understand its message easily. Your eternal doubts and contradictions are annoying. Get real finally!

    For the last time and just for you, Dan: Butch Buchholz in his 1965, January article has described the 17 tournament tour (and only that tour as there was no other big tour in 1964 at all!) and called Rosewall the No.1 player of 1964 (altogether five times!!!) by winning the tour: Butch did not refer to the Trofeo Facis or another smaller tour. Your doubts regarding trophies and extra money are misplaced. If a tour is determining the rankings and the No.1 player, then it's equal if the tour was labelled this way or that way or labelled at all, and if there was a trophy and if there was extra bonus for the winner! You should be content and satisfied. It's reall time now to change the subject and to accept that Rosewall in 1964 was acknowledged the No.1 player!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
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  43. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    as an interested reader of tennis history and a non-expert my understanding about the rankings of 1964 is that Ken Rosewall was considered to be the No. 1 player.
    i´m satisfied that the long pro tour was the deciding factor in this case.

    there are other statistics that point to the fact, that Rod Laver had a very strong year as well. His head-to-head with Rosewall for instance is impressive.
    strangely enough i consider that as further evidence, that the long pro tour must have been very significant for the rankings.

    i believe that the rankings as they were at the time should be respected, even if one disagrees with the system that was used.

    Bobby, i agree with you that it´s rather strange to always use the "we"( as in "we need proof":))
    i for one am happy to voice my opinion here as an individual without having to imply that i have a group of others supporting me
     
  44. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Respecting the opinion rankings of the past can be manifested by affording them due consideration. However, respect for past opinions does not require that they ultimately carry the day when they are later found to be flawed and/or incorrect.
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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  46. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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  47. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Only you and your lackey Krosero are pushing this position. Laver was the true #1 in 1964.
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    The 1977 season was very odd and it depends on the system you pick also. Perhaps the best ten or twenty tournaments may belong to Borg and I also thought he was the player with the highest average level of play. However for pure volume Vilas may very well be number one.

    It would be interesting to start a thread on whether the official number one in any year may be the same as the strongest player. For example 1970 is a disputed year but imo and maybe it's just my opinion that Laver was the one with the highest level of play for the year. I think the year 1930 is very debatable. Cochet won the French but the more prestigious Wimbledon was won by Tilden. Tilden also won the Italian, the Austrian, the German and the Dutch. He also won Monte-Carlo, the Newport Casino and I believe 18 total tournaments. Seems to me that Tilden was clear number one.
     
  49. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    if it´s a matter of having more data now then the people had back in 1964 i would even agree.
     
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  50. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes that's true.
     

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