Facts that are hardly ever mentioned in tennis forums

06-06-2010, 12:02 PM
1. Bjorn Borg won several of his French open titles during a time when one of the best players wasn't allowed to compete.

Borg won his first French Open title in 1974. The other remaining majors that year were all won by Jimmy Connors. Guess who wasn't allowed to compete in the French Open that year since he was a member of the 'wrong' tennis organization? That's right, Jimmy Connors. In fact, Connors didn't play in the French open in any of the five years between 1974 and 1978 in which his year-end ranking was number one, and when he finally returned to Roland Garros in 1979 he managed to reach the semifinals there (which he also achieved on three other occasions). In addition, Connors actually defeated Borg twice in the US Open in the years 1975-6 when it was held on clay. It should also be noted that Borg skipped the French Open in 1977 in order to play for world teamtennis. Can you imagine any top player doing that today?

And yet, whenever the discussion of greatest clay court player is discussed on tennis forums, this fact is conveniently omitted and people say Borg is better than Nadal since 6>4. Can you imagine how many US open titles Nadal would have if it was held on clay at some point during his career?

2. Not all the top players showed up for The Australian Open and the French Open in the past.

As mentioned before, Connors wasn't allowed to play in the French Open for several years. He also only showed up twice for the Australian Open (and achieved strong results by winning once and being the runner up the second time). Borg only played once in the Australian Open.

Thus, one cannot really compare the number of majors won by players from different eras. By winning 16 majors, Federer has become the most accomplished tennis player, however noone can really say how many majors Borg and Connors would have won had they regularly participated in the Australian Open and in Roland Garros (in Connors' case).

3. It was harder until recent years to win majors since you could meet top 30 players in the first two rounds.

Part of the reason why many top players in the past lost in early rounds of majors was due to the fact that there were only 16 seeds and not 32 like today, and thus they could lose to a top 30 player in the first round. Notable examples of this include Richard Krajicek losing in the 1996 US Open (after he won Wimbledon) to then top 30 player Stefan Edberg in the first round, Thomas Muster losing to then top 25 player Tim Henman in the first round of the 1997 US Open, defending champion Boris Becker losing to then top 25 player Carlos Moya in the first round of the 1997 Australian Open and Jonas Bjorkman losing to then top 25 player (and former champion) Thomas Muster in the first round of the 1998 Roland Garros.

Even if the top player does manage to win his match against his top 30 opponent, it might require many hours (and sets) to do so, and thus it might lower his chances of advancing to the latter stages. A fine example of this is then number 1 Pete Sampas' 1996 French Open run, which included a long second round match win over former 2-time winner (and then top 25 player) Sergi Bruguera and a third round win over then top 20 player Todd Martin. Under today's rules he would also meet a lower ranked opponent in his third round.

Nowadays, since players do not face top 30 players in the first two rounds, it is usually easier for them to at least reach the third round and find their rhythm and the tennis form needed to advance to the latter stages of the majors. This is why it is slightly unfair to compare today's players achievements in majors with past players' achievements.

Action Jackson
06-06-2010, 12:09 PM
Connors never won a red clay title in his career. Connors was never in Borg's class on red clay yes red clay not the green they played in the US. Yes, they play differently.

Taz Warrior
06-06-2010, 12:16 PM
Disagree about the 2nd point - I hear that mentioned all the time esp. about the Aus Open.

Agree on the 3rd point though - I hated when they changed to 32 seeds as I felt it diminished the importance of being seeded at a slam. I used to love the fact that #1 could potentially meet a top 20 player in the first round.

06-06-2010, 12:18 PM
Especially points 2 and 3 are resp. often and occasionally mentioned. As for 1), Federer would still outperform everyone in the Open Era counting only Wimbledon and US titles.

The Wimbledon 1973 boycott is also important to remember...

Action Jackson
06-06-2010, 12:20 PM
32 seeds is a joke, but it was bought in to protect the top brass and also to prevent the boycott of Wimbledon by some of the best claycourt players like Kuerten, Corretja and Costa who were fucked off by Wimbledon seeding.

06-06-2010, 12:39 PM
i just dont understand this obsession everyone has about trying to determine the greatest at this, and the greatest at that. why cant we just watch the tennis and enjoy it?

Boris Franz Ecker
06-06-2010, 12:44 PM
in Borg's time, only Wimbledon did count. And he won it every year.
We should remember Borg for that and not for things that did not have the meaning.

06-06-2010, 12:44 PM
human nature

06-06-2010, 04:21 PM
Good points. Just can't compare eras. You can't rank greatness when parameters aren't equal. Let's be content with having several GOATs.

06-06-2010, 04:25 PM
Nice first post. Welcome to a tennis forum.

General Suburbia
06-06-2010, 07:42 PM
Just can't compare eras.
I wonder, what constitutes an "era"? When can you start fairly comparing players? If you can't compare Nadal with Borg, can you compare his accomplishments fairly with Guga?

06-06-2010, 10:20 PM
I wonder, what constitutes an "era"? When can you start fairly comparing players? If you can't compare Nadal with Borg, can you compare his accomplishments fairly with Guga?

I guess you can't define an era, it's got to be left to each and everyone's appreciation.

06-06-2010, 10:29 PM
I'm not sure what the point of this thread is. Is it to downgrade Borg's accomplishments?

Borg's greatness isn't really best understood by counting his majors. Likewise, for clay, it's far too simplistic to just say that he won six French Opens.

What's most impressive about Borg are his percentages. Do your homework and look at his winning percentages on red clay throughout his career. They're oustanding and he faced all of the best players - whether at RG or in other events.

And, yes, Connors was not very good on red clay. Comparable to Becker. Not bad, but never won a title. Har-tru was a different material.

06-06-2010, 10:30 PM
in Borg's time, only Wimbledon did count. And he won it every year.
We should remember Borg for that and not for things that did not have the meaning.

Wimbledon counted. And the US Open counted. And the French Open counted. And Dallas WCT counted. And the masters counted.

Above all others.

06-06-2010, 10:32 PM
This stat is hilarious. Borg would have roasted Connors alive any year he won RG.

06-06-2010, 10:40 PM
Borg was something like 88-3 on red clay in 77-81 with no losses at RG.

06-06-2010, 11:39 PM
Connors didn't play RG in 1974 because he signed with World Team Tennis. It conflicted with RG and the newly formed ATP which Connors didn't like (Arthur Ashe was the president then). Because of the conflict and the dislike of WTT, RG banned all the players who had signed. After that Connors went several years without playing RG out of pique. He also sued.

Connors really didn't like playing outside the United States and avoided it quite a bit. It's not quite fair to say he was horrible on red clay because getting to the semis of RG is pretty good. Plus it was the old fashioned slow clay back then. In 79 he beat Manuel Orantes and Eddie Dibbs in 4 each back to back before losing to Pecci. I remember Dibbs as a severe grinder who ran the hell out of people. In 80, Connors beat Panatta, Caujolle, Zugarelli, Noah, and Gildermeister before falling in the semis to Gerulaitis of all people. :lol: That's not bad. But, he never played any other red clay tournaments, so in some respects it makes his playing so well at RG even more noteworthy. Also it should be remembered he won the U.S.O. on three different surfaces -- not bad.

But he wasted the heart of his career in disputes and being a maverick and sort of a general asshole.

I agree comparing players in different eras is just horseshit. And it's gotten ridiculous in the last 20 years. People are playing for statistics. It's kind of lame. Certainly neither Connors nor Borg looked at the game that way.

09-30-2013, 03:48 AM
Something I realized today, Maxi Gonzalez has played 3 main draw Wimbledon matches and in each one of them he won a set AND got bageled in the same match:

vs. Troicki L 6-3, 0-6, 6-7(3), 3-6
vs. Hewitt L 7-5, 0-6, 2-6, 2-6
vs. Minar L 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 0-6

Pretty strange imo :lol: