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Old 03-21-2005, 05:05 AM   #1
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Talking Miami: The Fifth Slam?

The Fifth Slam?

It comes up every year around this time. Is Miami the "fifth Slam"? That is, is this -- long the largest tournament after the Slams -- in the same league?

Many people give dogmatic responses. We'll try for something a little more nuanced: Our answer is "It is and it isn't." In one way, it's actually become more like the Slams in the past few years: The Slams now have 32 seeds, as Miami has had for years. But the Slams are all currently 128 draws, and Miami is 96. (We should note, of course, that the Slams have used other formats in the past.) The men's matches at Miami are best of three, not best of five. Miami is twelve days long, not fourteen. The Slams offer mixed doubles; Miami no longer does, though it did in the past. And, as of 2004, Indian Wells now follows the same format (96-draws for both men and women) that Miami has used for years, though Miami still has the edge in prize money. So there is still a "format difference" between the Slams and Miami.

Until recently, there hadn't been much difference in the fields. For the men, Miami is generally stronger than Wimbledon; the clay-courters usually find an excuse to skip the grass season, but they don't skip spring hardcourts. On the women's side, until last year, it was stronger than the Australian Open; a lot of top women skip Melbourne (in 2002 and 2003, it was Jelena Dokic, and Amelie Mauresmo was also out in the latter year; in the past, it's been the serve-and-volleyers, Jana Novotna and Nathalie Tauziat).

But last year, with Justine Henin-Hardenne not playing and Kim Clijsters injured, Miami lost a bit on the women's side. And now Lindsay Davenport has backed off playing it. On the other hand, it's almost the only non-Slam where both Williams Sisters play.

But there is another measure of how strong Miami is: The players who have won it. Let's take a look. We'll cut off the list at 1987. Prior to that, there was a large "Lipton Championships," but it wasn't at the current site.

Men's Winners:
2004: Andy Roddick
2003: Andre Agassi
2002: Andre Agassi
2001: Andre Agassi
2000: Pete Sampras
1999: Richard Krajicek
1998: Marcelo Rios
1997: Thomas Muster
1996: Andre Agassi
1995: Andre Agassi
1994: Pete Sampras
1993: Pete Sampras
1992: Michael Chang
1991: Jim Courier
1990: Andre Agassi
1989: Ivan Lendl
1988: Mats Wilander
1987: Miroslav Mecir

Women's Winners:
2004: Serena Williams
2003: Serena Williams
2002: Serena Williams
2001: Venus Williams
2000: Martina Hingis
1999: Venus Williams
1998: Venus Williams
1997: Martina Hingis
1996: Steffi Graf
1995: Steffi Graf
1994: Steffi Graf
1993: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1992: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1991: Monica Seles
1990: Monica Seles
1989: Gabriela Sabatini
1988: Steffi Graf
1987: Steffi Graf

The picture for the women is pretty clear: Every player who has won Miami in its time in Key Biscayne has been a Slam winner (though some had not yet won a Slam at the time of their victory), and all but Gabriela Sabatini won multiple Slams and spent time as the world's #1. This extends before 1987, we might add; before that, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova took home titles. This isn't true for the other Tier I events; Kimiko Date won the Pan Pacific in 1995; Daniela Hantuchova won Indian Wells in 2002 and Kim Clijsters in 2003 and again this year; Amanda Coetzer won Hilton Head (now Charleston) in 1998; Mary Joe Fernandez won Berlin in 1997 and Amelie Mauresmo won in 2004; Jelena Dokic won Rome in 2001, Kim Clijsters won it in 2003, and Mauresmo took it in 2004; Mauresmo won the Canadian Open in 2002 and 2004 and Pam Shriver won in 1987; Nathalie Tauziat won Moscow in 1999, Jelena Dokic won it in 2001, and Magdalena Maleeva took home the title in 2002 (making it evidently the easiest Tier I for a lesser player to win); and Magdalena Maleeva won Zurich in 1994 and Alicia Molik on 2004...The newest Tier I, San Diego, has has multi-Slam winners every year for the last eight years, but back in its Tier II days, Kimiko Date won it in 1996. On the numbers, in fact, it's actually a bigger feat to win Miami than to win a single Slam.

The men aren't quite as clear-cut; Marcelo Rios never won a Slam, but he was #1; Mecir never won a Slam, but had assorted finals and would have been a genuine candidate except for his back. Every other Miami winner has won Slams; most of them have multiple Slams. It seems pretty clear: If you're good enough to win Miami, you're good enough to win Slams.

And yet, it's worth remembering that Miami is not really the Fifth Slam. Although, historically, it has had fields at least as strong as the Slams, and it still has more prize money than any other non-Slam, under the rules it is simply another tournament -- a Masters for the men, a Tier I for the women. In terms of points, it is exactly identical to the other eight Masters on the men's side, and while the women have different grades of Tier I events, Indian Wells offers as many points as Miami.

And that finally hit home last year, with the weak women's field. This year should be better, but it still won't be back to its glory days. In 2003, Miami probably did qualify as a "fifth Slam," at least in the sense that it was uniquely stronger than anything else. Now -- well, if we were to vote a women's Fifth Slam, it would probably be San Diego or Filderstadt. And it's unlikely that any men's event this year will be stronger than Indian Wells was.

A few years ago, there was talk of shifting Miami to green clay. It's not likely -- but it might well help everyone (except the hardcourt specialists, and even they might be healthier...).

written by JesusLarson...
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Last edited by tennischick : 03-30-2005 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Only some of the Americans believe it's the 5th Slam. Considering tournaments like Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, Cincinatti and even the Paris Indoor have been around a lot longer than Miami, which didn't even have a permanent venue until recently.

Just because it has a large field doesn't mean it's the 5th Slam. That would mean it's more prestigious than the end of season TMS, which it's everything but.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

very acurate title, TC!

It isn't a Slam, but it wants to be one.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Sorry, it wants to look like one.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger-No.1
Sorry, it wants to look like one.
Too true.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Question: How much larger is Miami than IW? They always seemed similar to me.

However, I like Miami because CBS shows matches. No other MS gets basic TV treatment. Not even AO gets this.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:27 AM   #7
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Talking Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
Only some of the Americans believe it's the 5th Slam. Considering tournaments like Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, Cincinatti and even the Paris Indoor have been around a lot longer than Miami, which didn't even have a permanent venue until recently.

Just because it has a large field doesn't mean it's the 5th Slam. That would mean it's more prestigious than the end of season TMS, which it's everything but.
Miami is the 5th slam IMO.

Canada (Toronto/Montreal) is the 6th.

and the end-of-year tourny is the Lucky 7th. i like that
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
Only some of the Americans believe it's the 5th Slam. Considering tournaments like Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg, Cincinatti and even the Paris Indoor have been around a lot longer than Miami, which didn't even have a permanent venue until recently.

Just because it has a large field doesn't mean it's the 5th Slam. That would mean it's more prestigious than the end of season TMS, which it's everything but.
I agree 100%. Here in Europe this "5th Slam" thing is never even mentioned. Yes it's big, and yes it has a lot of money thrown at it - but it's no more prestigious or important than any of the other Masters' Series events, - and it certainly isn't a Slam in my opinion.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennischick
Miami is the 5th slam IMO.

Canada (Toronto/Montreal) is the 6th.

and the end-of-year tourny is the Lucky 7th. i like that
What are you basing your theory on that it's the 5th Slam? It's just a marketing term.

It's a TMS event which awards the exactly the same point as the others. I don't hear serious players go wooooooooooooooooooooooo I won the 5th Slam.

There is no 5th Slam and won't be.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
What are you basing your theory on that it's the 5th Slam? It's just a marketing term.

It's a TMS event which awards the exactly the same point as the others. I don't hear serious players go wooooooooooooooooooooooo I won the 5th Slam.

There is no 5th Slam and won't be.
then you're not listening hard enuf sweetie. i could've sworn i heard Agassi yell woooohoooo quite a few times

actually i think Miami is special mainly bec the Spanish-speaking players feel quite at home in that environment and never avoid playing it. so in a way i think of it as a more "international" tourney than most bec it attracts a wide variety of players -- like most of the Slams. i may be wrong -- i haven't crunched any numbers to arrive at this opinion -- but this is my impression.
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:47 AM   #11
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennischick
then you're not listening hard enuf sweetie. i could've sworn i heard Agassi yell woooohoooo quite a few times

actually i think Miami is special mainly bec the Spanish-speaking players feel quite at home in that environment and never avoid playing it. so in a way i think of it as a more "international" tourney than most bec it attracts a wide variety of players -- like most of the Slams. i may be wrong -- i haven't crunched any numbers to arrive at this opinion -- but this is my impression.
Agassi probably said woo I can pay Gilbert's salary and also I can afford money for the kids when he has won Miami.

Well a larger field would attract more players. I mean the top players are nominated for the TMS automatically.

It might be "international" for a US event, definitely more so than the pensioner classic in Indian Wells, but does not mean that it's the 5th Slam.

Considering the multitude of people living in a smaller place that are around during the clay season, the TMS events before the French are very international, so that argument doesn't wash with me.

Granted the Hispanic population in Miami does give it a different feel which is good, but no way enough to justify it as the 5th slam.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:51 AM   #12
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Talking Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeWHitler
Agassi probably said woo I can pay Gilbert's salary and also I can afford money for the kids when he has won Miami.

Well a larger field would attract more players. I mean the top players are nominated for the TMS automatically.

It might be "international" for a US event, definitely more so than the pensioner classic in Indian Wells, but does not mean that it's the 5th Slam.

Considering the multitude of people living in a smaller place that are around during the clay season, the TMS events before the French are very international, so that argument doesn't wash with me.

Granted the Hispanic population in Miami does give it a different feel which is good, but no way enough to justify it as the 5th slam.
crunch some numbers to support your point. but as long as most of the Spanish-speaking dudes show up in addition to Lbj, Mirnyi, Rogi, Knowles (my caribbean sweetie ) and Nestor, Safin, and Pavel, i will continue to believe that the world has been adequately represented

now i'm off to bed. carry on guys/gals
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You know, I'd be lying if I said I'm looking forward to practicing the next two days as opposed to playing here. That part is gonna suck...(2010 Aegon Championships)
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

In my opnion, the fifth most important tournament in the world is Masters Cup, by far. In my point of view to have the eight best ones together makes it well more important than a normal masters series
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

128 players....

Or best 3 of 5 matches.....

They should work on that first, and then the Slam angle.

Will they get there?
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Miami: The Fifth Slam? (a non-Federer discussion :o )

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSilver
In my opnion, the fifth most important tournament in the world is Masters Cup, by far. In my point of view to have the eight best ones together makes it well more important than a normal masters series
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