Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2009.
You've lost the plot dude.
Indeed, I understand that the point system was something monitored by the Pro's themselves - the newspapers followed that. With that in mind I feel the points you made next are really the most important.
I have never meant to imply it should be rejected completely. I think it should be considered strongly for sure, Rosewall and Laver both aimed to top the points tally that year so clearly it has a lot of weight. I believe there's been similar discussions on this with regards to 1960, Gonzalez won the tour then finished his year. With that in mind obviously both Ken and Rod aimed to peak at those events.
And the Australian tournaments counted for points as well? Or are you simply listing all tournament victories?
Didn't McCauley in his book credit Laver with more tournament victories than Rosewall?
In terms of pure numbers of tournament victories Rosewall was clearly ahead when he decided to end his year as you point out. Though the question of how those individual tournaments are weighed is more pressing to me. The importance of the tour at the time was never in doubt for me really.
Obviously it counts for something having all the top players in the draw, but considering Rosewall's h2h with Laver that year not many of his tournament victories could have happened going through Laver anyway. So I don't hold this against Laver to a very great degree - winning in Rosewall's absence. In most systems all tennis events count, Rosewall not competing for the entire year shouldn't be held against him and is good context but Laver should still get some credit for those wins.
I do think Rosewall would have probably played on to clinch the top spot but he also liked his family time. My position is that even though Rosewall won the tour, Laver winning 2 of the 3 most important titles goes a long way to mitigating that. Add in some of the other factors as tiebreakers and I have Laver a head. Though if their tournament tallies were equal it is now by a slim margin.
Ah Gonzalez was retiring then. Interesting. I find 1960 one of the more difficult years to rank because of Gonzalez' massive lack of play. I do give him the nod because his win on the tour was so decisive. I do think there are fundamental differences between the h2h tours and the system in 1964. What we had in 1960 is almost an alien concept now for determining a #1 player. Where as in 1964 there's a crude version of what we have now, I do think if Pro Majors were the premier events then with proper weighting there's a real chance Laver should have topped the points chart.
But the context you have provided is very valuable.
The question for me is why should any tournament not carry points? And beyond that why was every tournament weighted the same. Obviously another point of contention has been the value of the Pro Majors - particularly Wembley has been called the Wimbledon of the Pro Tour. If we are to buy into the prestige of these events it's a hard pill to shallow that Laver winning the majority in 1964 counts for naught, especially when he was very close or superior in other metrics. The lack of proper weighting devalues the tour.
I have no issues with accepting Rosewall as the winner of the tour under the conventions of the time, I also think it's reasonable to add context to Laver's run at the end of the year. However the question I have is was the tour really a good reflection of who was the best player in 1964.
This becomes a vexed question because the tour director, according to Buchholz, was none other than Rosewall himself, he didn't form a committee of "players", it wasn't the "players" who decided these issues, it was apparently Rosewall himself who decided to close the tour WITHOUT ANY FANFARE and head home...this looks weird, if Laver and others were not in on the decision, like Rosewall almost saying that it was done, he was declaring game over, he was champ, picked up his marbles and went home.
Did Laver agree? Or did Laver decide to play on, and later claim that he had surpassed Rosewall on the year 1964?
And again, what was the value of the points system? There was no grand finale, award ceremony, money prize, and apparently even the players were unaware that a world championship tour had just been played. Now, it appears that the exact parameters of the points tour were not well defined, possibly decided by Rosewall himself on an ad hoc basis, not a collegial decision involving the group of players.
Bobby, it looks like Laver made the decision to play on after Ken went home...perhaps Laver did not accept that the season should end when Rosewall declared it over.
Bobby, here is Beethoven's monument to marital commitment, Fidelio, in a summit performance from the Vienna State Opera in 1962 conducted by Karajan, with Vickers, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Gundula Janowitz...
Here is the other performance of Fidelio which I regard as equal to the above, a 1996 Salzburg Festival occasion conducted by Solti, his final opera performance, with the Vienna Philharmonic, and with another Canuck tenor as Florestan, Ben Heppner.
So, Laver's final two titles don't count because Rosewall decided to go home early?
krosero, I must salute your detailed post: it's a typical "krosero post" which means it is well researched and well written in a serious style. I could imagine that your reasoning can convince some posters, at least the non-biased like NatF and Gary.
Trust me, "British superiority" was hardly dead in 1964. My father and his family were British before they came to the US.
There is a built in bias against great slow-court players that we can still see today. For instance, if you go back 25 yaers you will find that the winner of RG is almost never #1 in the world for the year unless he had/has very good success also on grass and HCs. So of course the Brits were going to put huge emphasis on Wembley, as is still true today re Wimbledon.
The big debate here seems to be about the point system, whether it was fair or not. But that to me seems like a separate issue.
Dan, Thanks. I'm glad I can follow one of your posts after a longer period I could not follow them.
But as you know I'm agnostic.
Yes, Fidelio is a very great work. The end is totally moving, more moving than any other opera's end. By the way, did you know that Fidelio also had a second title? The full name was "Fidelio oder die eheliche Liebe" (Fidelio or the matrimonial love).
krosero, Thanks. Of course it does not mean an open Wimbledon.
It's interesting that Sedgman was mentioned as the president of the Professional Tennis Players`Association. I did not know he was the president as early as 1964 (thought only in 1965).
Limpin, Which 130 day tour?? krosero did not mention any 130 day tour!! Which magical mystery tour?? Note: The 1964 world championship tour does not have any connection with a pop group!
I must give you a sad message: I fear nobody ever will be able to help you (maybe yet Dan Lobb). You must deal with your problem yourself.
You have lost all...
Strange, I find Krosero's posts incredibly boring and I usually skip over them...
NatF, Joe McCauley discounted the big tournaments wins. In fact it was 7:6 in Rosewall's favour.
You cannot rank a player No.2 who won the deciding tour, i. e. the world championship tour. It's also not possible for any of the Gonzalez tours! We can rather rank a player No.2 who was brillant but failed in the championships or did not play therein (Sedgman in 1958, Rosewall in 1960 and 1961, Laver in 1964).
Why must tour matches get points? They never got any in the old pro days.
As usual I claim that a split No.1 place is the fairest ranking.
The small events after the tour had an importance for Laver: They brought him some money...
I concede that you try to be objective in this case (or always), in contrary to Limpinhitter and Dan.
Dan, Ken Rosewall is not an unfair person!!! His whole life he was praised for his fairness. Read the Buchholz article!
You cannot read: Laver did NOT claim he was the No. 1. He did not claim it in 1964 and he even did not claim it during the first months of 1965!!! It's another story that he NOW strangely claims it.
Your anti-Rosewall bias is disgusting. You have joint Phoenix and Limpinhitter as a triumvirate...
Learn from NatF and Gary how to deal with a maybe unpleasant matter (unpleasant for you as you are a Laver admirer)!
Thanks, Dan. By the way, Kmentt died recently but Ludwig and Janowitz are still with us.
Ludwig and Berry were a couple in life.
Limpin, Yes. You must know that Rosewall was a "bloody thief" (copyright Rod Laver).
Gary, I agree. I also found the belittling of clay court achievements a bit unfair. Yes, Britains push their events similary to some Americans push their US Open, "The Open" as probably the Austrians push their events (Kitzbühel, Vienna). That's a common weakness of chauvinism. When Boris Becker won his third Wimbledon title, a reader in German "Tennis Magazin" claimed that Becker is the GOAT...
Unfortunately we still have also the debate (Limpinhitter, Dan) if the championship tour was the deciding tour. At least that question should be clarified.
To any animal its own pleasure.
Limpin, I have good news for you and some other posters. Today Ken Rosewall sent me a letter. He confesses that he is reading in this forum since a good while. Ken critisizes me in this new letter as a person who is praising him too much. He writes that I would exaggerate his greatness. He would rank himself between place 18 and 27. He also writes that he can understand that some posters get furious when reading my praising posts.
Ken finds my opponents very nice. He especially mentions you, Limpin, for your obvious objectivity and your truthful numbers and data, also Dan Lobb for his intelligent approach to difficult matters and Phoenix for his friendly statements toward everyone. Ken says he will try to live unhealthily and to make dangerous adventures in Zoo's enclosures etc. in order to give Phoenix opportunity to write a dignified obituary rather soon...
Ken also mentions a few other posters but critisizes mildly that they sometimes show agreement with my strange thoughts, i.e. NatF, Gary Duane...
I almost forgot that Rosewall also praised urban and NonP as lighthouses of fairness.
He just critisized severely two posters (apart from myself), krosero and treblings, because they support BobbyOne too often.
I will answer Rosewall that I respect his opinions but that I would value the whole thing a little bit differently...
First of all, you dumped all this great information into one very long post, and you have to realize that most people will not read all of it - or all of what you wrote. They will skim and cherry pick.
I want to make one point here, and that is that we can split this whole discussion into at least three different smaller discussions:
1. Exactly how did the ranking system work in 1964. (It would be useful to see how it worked in previous years and into at least the very next.
2. Do we think that that ranking system was good or fair at actually saying how the best players were.
3. Do we, in 2016, agree with the way things were handled around 50 years ago.
I'll only comment at this time on the ranking system itself. To me it does seem that there was a ranking system, and that if we follow it as players did in 1964, Rosewall was #1. It also seems to me that Laver agreed with that system, or the results, at that time.
Now, since he went on to clearly be #1 in 65 and stayed there solidly through 69, to me that is a five-year period that stands on its own as amazing dominance. Was he also #1 after 69? Well, it appears to me that by 70 the case is not at all clear. But on the merit of those amazing 5 years and his achievements (the CYGS), I think he has to be right at the top of any GOAT argument - and it turns out this is usually so.
So forgetting a moment how many weeks or years that Rosewall was #1, my immediate reaction is that during that amazing period Rosewall was Laver's most serious competition. If you add to that what Rosewall did prior to 65, and the incredible things he did from 70 on, I want to automatically put him just below Laver. And for me that means VERY high.
More than that I don't care about. BUT: I think we also have to keep in mind that Laver and Rosewall were gentlemen who still believed in an unwritten code of sportsmanship, fair play, and manners. I think we have to also assume that Laver, gentleman that he was (and still is), was not about to "dis" Rosewall in any way. This is NOT to say that Rosewall did not have or did not deserve a #1 ranking in 64.
What I appreciate is that you are posting facts, not just opinions. Again, we might argue whether or not by this time Laver was really second to Rosewall in ability at that time, but to me it is pretty clear that Rosewall's ranking based on whatever system they were using was #1 at the end of 64.
By the way, you know my personal opinion. There is a "lag" between when each new champion ascends and when he gets full recognition. I can't find recent rankings at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that no one knew in 2003 just how good he already was. Nadal was usually ranked #2 at RG for years after he won it the first time - you would think no one in the world figured out that ranking off clay made any difference to Nadal on clay. And most likely Djokovic's 2011 was looked at as a one-time freak year, especially when he was unable to repeat his success in 2012-2014.
We aren't very good at guessing the future, and we all have 20-20 hindsight.
I continue to look at 64 as a transitional year, one of many in tennis history.
And once again, thanks for contributing material to think about rather than being part of a circular argument here.
Bobby, if I ever knew that, I had forgotten it..that is interesting.
Not meant as a critique...Rosewall, as tour director, had the right to declare the parameters of the tour.
Jon Vickers also died last year. He was, like myself, born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and our fathers worked together in the education system there.
Amazingly, Vickers later became a part-time farmer north of Toronto, and when my wife and I and our church choir sang Christmas carols at a senior's home near here for the last three years, Jon was a resident there for the first two performances. It is possible that I gave my best singing performance ever, the tenor lead in "O Holy Night", with Jon in the audience.
A small world, indeed.
Bobby, perhaps part of it is "belittling", but I think even more it is the way tennis is set up. For a very long time, as you know, play on grass courts was pretty much "the standard". Of course there were also great HC players - I believe Pancho was at his best on HCs - but it was not until first the USO changed to HCs and then later the AO that HC play really started to determine top rankings, for the most part.
It seems to me that most of the greatest players on grass did very well also on HCs, so of course that helped them in rankings. But if you think about it carefully, perhaps several players who were clearly best on grass have not been quite as lucky (in some ways) as players who obviously were best on HCs. After looking at his career recently I think that Becker, for instance, may have been hurt a bit in reverse. He was simply so much better on grass than any other surface at time when very little was played on grass. Just a thought.
What I found out looking at all the great clay players who have won RG is that they are almost never #1.
In other words, no matter how good a player is on clay that player has to be very good also on faster surfaces in order to get to #1 for the simple reason that at all time clay slams are outnumber 2/1 by HC slams.
What hits me the most is that for this, supposedly the most prestigious tournament, the reward was £1,000.
Compare that to what today's players win in slams...
and i thought you were just disagreeing with me
i trust you followed the discussion here and read all the material. starting from Buchholz article to kroseros findings.
every source from that time period has Rosewall as no.1 in 1964, some even beyond.
i don´t think there´s much missing as far as results are concerned.
i guess it´s just me being comfortable with a joint no. 1 ranking.
I disagree, if I don't find the structure of the tour fair then I am free to place Rosewall at #2.
Again I'm looking at this from a modern lens. The tour was a series of events, what happened in the old days when it was series of one nights stands doesn't matter - the two are incomparable. All tournaments should carry points and those points should vary depending on the level of the event.
I'm not interested in swaying your from your position of a joint #1. But you should know I will never give a joint #1 place.
That's fair enough.
he didn´t mention critisizing me when we talked on the phone the other day but then he always gets these nice parcels with viennese chocolate from me
what he did say was how disappointed he was that certain posters(he used a stronger word) were constantly belittling the great Roy Emerson.
in his own words:"Emmo won more majors than i ever did"
treblings, Now I understand why Muscles has critisized rather me than you: I use to send him sour cucumbers...
I must agree with my former friend, Ken, that Emerson won more majors than Muscles (12:8). Emmo told me than the old pros are not relevant because he has got more money than they got...
I find them disingenuous. In my view, he tries to project an air of neutrality, but ultimately reveals what I see as not just a pro Rosewall bias (no big deal), but also, an anti Laver bias.
Please correct me if I missed something, but, from what I've seen, none of the sources cited in this thread heretofore include an official ranking for 1964. They were all opinion rankings based on incomplete and/or cherry picked data. Even if you would like to think of the point standings of the 130 day magical mystery tour as "official," it does not account for the remaining 235 days of the year.
Re-posted to Classical Music thread.
Go here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/classical-music.562210/page-3
Didn't get to any of the posts today but I'll try to this weekend. In the meantime this report of the '64 Wembley final, from the Daily Mirror in London:
ONE NET CORD!
This was all that separated Laver and Rosewall in the best MATCH I’ve seen.
By PETER WILSON
I SAW Cochet break the accepted rules—and his opponents’ hearts; I saw Tilden still dominating the world at 37. There was Borotra, too, defying Newton and his Theory of Gravity.
Vines I saw, untouchable by mortal man for three days, and the next year beaten in the greatest Wimbledon final by lazy-looking, shirt-sleeved Jack Crawford.
Perry I knew in the vainglorious flush of his manhood. Budge! Ah! Don Budge, knight of the flaming visor and the flaming backhand blade: perhaps the best of all.
In the last nigh on twenty years there was inexorable Jack Kramer: that scarred, satanic dispenser of thunderbolts. Gonzales; the indefatigable Frank Sedgman; and Hoad, a blond Apollo scattering the sheep on the Wimbledon pastures.
If I have omitted any truly outstanding player of the past 35 years, it is memory, not experience, at fault.
But never, never have I seen a better MATCH than the final of the Wembley professional championships, which lasted from Saturday night to early Sunday morning, and in which Rod Laver beat Ken Rosewall 7-5, 4-6, 5-7, 8-6, 8-6.
Look at the score again. Not a one-sided set in the five. Laver—at 26, nearly four years the younger—has more inspiration, Rosewall the greater consistency.
So, at six-all in the fifth set, who do you want to pick?
Beforehand, during the struggle and up to match point, I wanted to back Rosewall. My companion wanted to do likewise. Neither of us would change.
In the end, with the score at 30-all, in the sixty-second game, with Rosewall serving, one net cord broke his rhythm and gave Laver match point.
And that, in sober truth—ONE NET CORD—was all that was between them in two hours and 40 minutes of superlative, sporting combat, in which Laver won 32 games to Rosewall’s 30, with, I’m sure, the points relatively as close.
After the match and over a bottle of beer, Laver told me that he thought he had played as well as ever he had in his life.
A dark, gaunt Rosewall—close up, how incredibly thin his arms are—said he thought he should have won, if he was going to win, in four sets.
He thought his return of service was a little below its peak and opined that Laver had the greatest backhand ever produced by a left-hander.
I, too, thought Rosewall would triumph in four when he took the fourth game of that set to love.
But, by the ninth, the little maestro was a bag of very tired muscle.
Yet all was far from lost. For Rosewall went from three-all to 5-3 in the final set.
He proved that genius flows from his fingertips through his racket, breaking through in the seventh with the attacking half-volley, the knife-blade volley, the back-breaking lob.
Then put his greatness in italics by taking a love game of service.
But here Laver proved HIS greatness, by never relaxing the pressure, so that a near-30-year-old Rosewall had to snatch at, instead of stroking, the dipping, whipping flat drives and volleys and smashes.
In the tenth, Rosewall “fluffed” a low, slow forehand volley – his only really bad unforced error. It put Laver level.
Again Rosewall held his service to love for six-all.
But then, in his next service game, came that net cord . . . and like a candle that has been blown out, suddenly it was all over.
Yet like that famous candle which burnt at both ends:
“But, oh, my foes, and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light.”
Indeed, it did give a lovely light.
In these days, so much in sport is tawdry or grimy, micky, suspect or second-pect or second-rate.
But the thousands lucky enough to be at Wembley can cherish an abiding memory of a match played at a pinnacle of technical skill and in the highest tradition of sportsmanship.
It was very, very close . . . but Laver by a hair.
I never thought he was anti-Laver? I thought Rod was universally admired.
Gary, Good post and analysis. But I'm sure there was no need for a circular argument here because krosero rather early explained the 1964 matter.
My impression, from his many posts and comments that I have read, is that he has a subtle anti-Laver bias and a not so subtle pro-Rosewall bias, particularly when the Laver/Rosewall rivalry is the issue.
...but he has not the right to end a tour surprisingly just because he wants to get to his family and to make holidays! Therefore some speculations here are wrong and unfair toward Muscles.
EDIT: A tour manager can talk to his fellow players (and negotiate with them) about the system of a tour before the tour started but not during the tour!
Dan, Great memories for you. I think you meant "Silent night, holy night" Did you? It is the famous Austrian song (Salzburg district).
Gary, I agree. There were a few older players with clay dominance who were ranked No.1 but not in the years they won Paris, Drobny and Santana (in the amateur ranks). Vilas is often ranked No.1 in 1977 when he won Paris and US Open on clay.
Gary, I find the current rewards for the winners a bit obscene in comparison with the work they do in seven matches and especially considering how long a worker must work to gain the same high sum...
treblings, Thanks for your endeavour to convince Limpinhitter. But alas...
Your point on co-#1s is interesting, and got me thinking about 1989. About half the time, I consider that a split year b/w Becker and Lendl, while the other half of the time I favor Becker alone (with their Open title fight the clincher). I never look at the results of that season and find that Lendl alone was PoY. Under your approach, that probably tilts things towards Becker. Got me thinking anyway.
What's your take on 2003?
By the way folks, like the good man once said: "be the change you want to see in the world." This is historically one of the very best threads out there on tennis history, with some true luminaries having passed through over the years. The current regulars ought to act like keepers of the flame a little bit. Make a 1964 thread, or a "how to talk to each other online" thread, or whatever else to get your ya-yas out. In this corner of the Internet, let's talk tennis.
treblings, I also think that there are not many missing results (apart from the January Australian tour and a few matches from the French summer tour and the late Africa tour, all not relevant for the main tour). I would rather like to find a report about possible extra points for Gonzalez and Hoad for their final of the Golden Racquet tournament at Wembley and krosero's question which event Rosewall's 11th tournament win was (Trofeo Facis or the big challenge match at Johannesburg).
Thanks for your tied ranking of Rosewall and Laver.
NatF, I disagree twice: regarding the old head-to-head world series vs. the 1964 tour (I find the latter fairer) and regarding tied places. I think you contradict laws of mathematics and logic. By the way, I not only rank two or three players equal at place 1 but also at other places as even Tingay did but strangely enough several times only at place 10. For instance I rank Gonzalez, Stolle and Newcombe together at place 5 for 1967.
EDIT: If there are 100 players playing a tour (a season) it's totally improbable (for mathematics reasons) that every player is placed differently from the next best, from No.1 better than No.2 until No.99 better than No.100. That's as clear for me as I'm sure I'm BobbyOne and not Limpinhitter (thanks God) ;-) ).
Separate names with a comma.