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Who was the best / GOTE player back then ?

  • Richard Sears (USA)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Herbert Lawford (UK)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • William Renshaw (UK)

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • Ernest Renshaw (UK)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
I am working on my ATG list at the moment where I classify the players to which tier / class they in my opinion / suggestion belong. Nothing serious or important, just a fan's "does not have anything else to do"- childish - look busy - play.

But I am uncertain who was greater or the better player in the 1880es ?

They both started winning their majors in 1881. Renshaw with six Wimbledon championship's and Sears with seven U.S. national championships in a row. Renshaw added his seventh a few years later.

During his first three championships Sears did not lose a single set and was a Havard student all the way until his last title. He was one of the first playes who came over sea to attend british tournaments including Wimbledon but he got injured. He lost there to Donald Steward two times an Wimbledon finalist/challenger Herbert Lawford (in Dublin at the Irish championships) where Lawford later won the title. But Lawford got destroyed in the final from Renshaw.

So the lawn tennis competition at the US was potentially quite weaker than in SW19.

Do not forget back then at both tournaments we had a challenger mode where the defending champion only has to play one match in the next edition where the winner of the draw - the challenger - challenges him. Who ever wins that match, has won the tournament overall.
 

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By all accounts, Willie Renshaw. Consistently ranked at the top over several years by Karoly Mazak (modern historian who specialises in tennis pre-1919) above his brother and Lawford, while Sears was usually at the bottom of the Top 8 if ranked at all and not in contention for the top few spots. The US Championships was only open to US Club members for the first few years in the 1880s (similar to the French prior to 1925, though the latter events aren't considered 'majors' in the history books) and the competition considered a bit weaker/less prestigious.
 

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Willie Renshaw is ranked as #1 by the only person who has ever seen him play (once, when she was 3):



After a brief trip on memory lane, or a bit longer if you count the sleep periods we shared, she states that no player ever has reached the BOATness of Renshaw in any era. The rallies, the volleys, the 60 km/h serves, it all pales in comparison to these "impostors" as she calls the modern racket era players.
 

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Tennis was deffo more advanced in GB than US in those days, so Renshaw. Similar to Fed-Nadal on hard courts these days :)
 

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Renshaw was the GOAT until Tony Wilding came along

Though I do give Sears props for going overseas to play the Brits

Look up William Larned, he's another of the top 5 pre-1914 GOATs

Also unrelated, see if you can pinpoint Tilden and Gonzales weeks at #1, because they have the real record, 330-365 weeks or so
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Renshaw was the GOAT until Tony Wilding came along

Though I do give Sears props for going overseas to play the Brits

Look up William Larned, he's another of the top 5 pre-1914 GOATs

Also unrelated, see if you can pinpoint Tilden and Gonzales weeks at #1, because they have the real record, 330-365 weeks or so
Laver has over 400 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
By all accounts, Willie Renshaw. Consistently ranked at the top over several years by Karoly Mazak (modern historian who specialises in tennis pre-1919) above his brother and Lawford, while Sears was usually at the bottom of the Top 8 if ranked at all and not in contention for the top few spots. The US Championships was only open to US Club members for the first few years in the 1880s (similar to the French prior to 1925, though the latter events aren't considered 'majors' in the history books) and the competition considered a bit weaker/less prestigious.
You do not know much you have helped. Thank you so much for advising me this expert and mentioning his name. Do you recommend his book ? Have you read it ? Or where can I fulfill my pre-1919 knowledge desire ?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
lol no. Rosewall has like 250, I think Laver has 300 or so, Budge 330ish
Own calculations or from Slasher1985 or what is your source ?

I take mine back. Tilden is of course above Laver in terms of weeks at number one. Just had a wrong number on my mind from thetennisbase.com.
 

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You do not know much you have helped. Thank you so much for advising me this expert and mentioning his name. Do you recommend his book ? Have you read it ? Or where can I fulfill my pre-1919 knowledge desire ?
no worries. yeh I did buy it - it's certainly worth a read if you're interested in the topic.
 

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Own calculations or from Slasher1985 or what is your source ?

I take mine back. Tilden is of course above Laver in terms of weeks at number one. Just had a wrong number on my mind from thetennisbase.com.
I also used Karoly Mazak as well as Wikipedia and then my own mathematics
 

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I also used Karoly's book on my former GOAT list a while ago. Karoly is also an active contributor of OER's historical research project. He's great.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I also used Karoly's book on my former GOAT list a while ago. Karoly is also an active contributor of OER's historical research project. He's great.
Thank you guys so much. I did not know him before. This will be an interesting journey for me to explore.
 
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