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Is Novak's year the second best of the open era after Laver?

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Is Novak's year the second best of the open era after Laver? - Page 2 Empty Is Novak's year the second best of the open era after Laver?

Post by socal1976 Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:14 am

First topic message reminder :

I have to say that in general there have been a lot of great years in tennis. Certainly, Fed's 2006, Mac's 84, and Connors 74 really come to mind. Also we still have a debate as to whether this is even Novak's best year at all as he had the great year in 2011. But for my money I think this season tops the others or at the least is the equal of the others. People may say that well in those seasons Novak didn't have the winning percentage of the other three. To me winning percentage is really immaterial. I mean if Novak had two or three more losses but instead also had the FO title with his other three slams would anyone rate his year as being worse than Mac 84 because he had a lower winning percentage? To me how you do in the big events and the slams in particular determine the greatness of your year. So Novak winning 3 slams and losing in the final of the 4th is as well as he can do without winning all 4 slams. Plus you add the victory in the WTF and a record 6 1000 point events. Of the 13 first tier events that he entered, (1 wtf, 4 slams, 8 of 9 masters ) Novak won 10 of them. Meaning that he posted a 77 percent win percentage of the first tier tournaments that he entered. Not of the matches he played in those tournaments he WON NEARLY 4 out of 5 major events he entered. And his failure in just one event to reach the final the first one of the year.
In comparison to 2011, a lot has been made to the competition he faced. Yet he has 11 more wins over top ten opponents in 2015 than he did in 2011.

So feel free to make your cases for other incredible years that we have seen in the open era. No Laverfan I don't want to know how many tournaments Methusela's grandmother won in biblical times lets keep this open era where there is some semblance of continuity of schedule. A great case can be made for each of the other guys as well. And people won't like this but even though Fed won as many slams and played in as many slam finals the reason I don't give him the nod is simply down to his inferior completion level.

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Post by Henman Bill Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:31 pm

HM Murdock wrote:An interesting, slightly related article:

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/11/roger-federer-novak-djokovic-best-season-in-tennis-history-ever-2006-2015-john-mcenroe-rafael-nadal-grand-slams

This is a great article, especially for providing information, not sure if I agree with all the conclusions.

A factual error to note in the article is that he says Fed'05 won three slams. He did not, so 05 should not really be in the discussion.

Also strange that he sets out to talk about best ever and Laver doesn't get a mention.

Actually not a great article after all not I think of it but a must read if you are interested in this debate nonetheless.

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Post by Henman Bill Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:37 pm

socal1976 wrote:

Win against top ten players

Djokovic ’15 — 31-5 (.861)

Connors ’74 — 6-2 (.750)


The superior win % is not statistically meaningful since the sample size of matches for Connors is too small. We can only say that when they played top 10 players, they both won at about the same rate. What is noteworthy is how few matches Connors played against the top 10. How an earth he managed that is strange, at least by the standards of today. We can assume that either a) some of the top ten players did a flaky job of meeting their seedings that year or b) there were more different tournaments going on, with top players meeting up for the slams.

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Post by Henman Bill Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:45 pm

Connors titles in 1974. There are some bigger tournaments there outside the slams such as Indianapolis and Johanesburg with big name finalists which might very loosely correlate with today's masters. But then there are also quite a few minor tournies against the likes of Karl Meiler.

18. 1974 Australian Open Grass Australia Phil Dent 7–6(9–7), 6–4, 4–6, 6–3
19. 1974 Roanoke, US (3) Hard (i) West Germany Karl Meiler 6–4, 6–3
20. 1974 Little Rock, US Carpet (i) West Germany Karl Meiler 6–2, 6–1
21. 1974 Birmingham, US (1) Carpet (i) United States Sandy Mayer 7–5, 6–3
22. 1974 Salisbury, US (2) Hard (i) South Africa Frew McMillan 6–4, 7–5, 6–3
23. 1974 Hampton, US (2) Hard (i) Romania Ilie Năstase 6–4, 6–4
24. 1974 Salt Lake City, US (2) Hard (i) United States Vitas Gerulaitis 4–6, 7–6, 6–3
25. 1974 Tempe, US Hard India Vijay Amritraj 6–1, 6–2
26. 1974 Manchester, UK Grass United Kingdom Mike Collins 13–11, 6–2
27. 1974 Wimbledon (1) Grass Australia Ken Rosewall 6–1, 6–1, 6–4
28. 1974 Indianapolis, US (1) Clay Sweden Björn Borg 5–7, 6–3, 6–4
29. 1974 US Open (1) Grass Australia Ken Rosewall 6–1, 6–0, 6–1
30. 1974 Los Angeles, US (2) Hard United States Harold Solomon 6–3, 6–1
31. 1974 London – Dewar Cup, UK Carpet (i) United States Brian Gottfried 6–2, 7–6
32. 1974 Johannesburg, South Africa (2) Hard United States Arthur Ashe 7–6, 6–3, 6-1

Still, when it came to the slams, JC did not lose to any top 10 player, or anyone at all.

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Post by socal1976 Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:59 pm

Henman Bill wrote:
socal1976 wrote:

Win against top ten players

Djokovic ’15 — 31-5 (.861)

Connors ’74 — 6-2 (.750)


The superior win % is not statistically meaningful since the sample size of matches for Connors is too small. We can only say that when they played top 10 players, they both won at about the same rate. What is noteworthy is how few matches Connors played against the top 10. How an earth he managed that is strange, at least by the standards of today. We can assume that either a) some of the top ten players did a flaky job of meeting their seedings that year or b) there were more different tournaments going on, with top players meeting up for the slams.


Well there was not all the mandatory events and players would do exhos and team tennis to make extra cash. The amount of money on tour simply was not enough even when adjusted for inflation just to rely on that for prize money. The mandatories are one of the big reasons that since the late 80s and early 90s you have had all the best guys entering the masters. Connors also was a guy known for playing for whoever paid the best. So the players had for the most part complete freedom over their schedules without fear of point penalties. Also those 1000 point events weren't as well valued by the pros as they are today. I mean the Italian open, the Canadian open etc. these held some prestige but in recent times the schedule has become more standardized in the last 20 or 25 years.

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Post by TRuffin Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:02 pm

socal1976 wrote:
Henman Bill wrote:
socal1976 wrote:

Win against top ten players

Djokovic ’15 — 31-5 (.861)

Connors ’74 — 6-2 (.750)


The superior win % is not statistically meaningful since the sample size of matches for Connors is too small. We can only say that when they played top 10 players, they both won at about the same rate. What is noteworthy is how few matches Connors played against the top 10. How an earth he managed that is strange, at least by the standards of today. We can assume that either a) some of the top ten players did a flaky job of meeting their seedings that year or b) there were more different tournaments going on, with top players meeting up for the slams.


Well there was not all the mandatory events and players would do exhos and team tennis to make extra cash. The amount of money on tour simply was not enough even when adjusted for inflation just to rely on that for prize money. The mandatories are one of the big reasons that since the late 80s and early 90s you have had all the best guys entering the masters. Connors also was a guy known for playing for whoever paid the best. So the players had for the most part complete freedom over their schedules without fear of point penalties. Also those 1000 point events weren't as well valued by the pros as they are today. I mean the Italian open, the Canadian open etc. these held some prestige but in recent times the schedule has become more standardized in the last 20 or 25 years.

My local bar when I would be in New York for business... the bartender was a recreational tennis player- we used to talk about the sport and were friendly- played a couple of fun sets once. Late 70's, there was a sanctioned small tournament in New Jersey and Conners was the featured pro. The director comes into the bar and is telling them he's in desperate need of players to fill out the field. the bartender tells him he plays a little, the director tells him to call all his buddies, he'll pay them $100 a match and get them official tour credentials! The bartender called me to come play but I was in LA at the time. He ended up playing Connors and his buddy made it to quarters to play Connors. that was the type of joke competition the old guys could rack up numbers against and have it count officially on the tour. It's a different world now.

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Post by socal1976 Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:41 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:I was a huge Connors fan, by the way, and would love to put '74 as the 2nd best, but can't quite do it. Missing the FO (as with Mac missing the AO '84) takes the edge off it.

Or the fact that you are comparing 35 matches against top ten opponents vs. Connors playing 7 matches against top ten opponents; I mean that is the one that does it for me.

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Post by socal1976 Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:47 pm

TRuffin wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
Henman Bill wrote:
socal1976 wrote:

Win against top ten players

Djokovic ’15 — 31-5 (.861)

Connors ’74 — 6-2 (.750)


The superior win % is not statistically meaningful since the sample size of matches for Connors is too small. We can only say that when they played top 10 players, they both won at about the same rate. What is noteworthy is how few matches Connors played against the top 10. How an earth he managed that is strange, at least by the standards of today. We can assume that either a) some of the top ten players did a flaky job of meeting their seedings that year or b) there were more different tournaments going on, with top players meeting up for the slams.


Well there was not all the mandatory events and players would do exhos and team tennis to make extra cash. The amount of money on tour simply was not enough even when adjusted for inflation just to rely on that for prize money. The mandatories are one of the big reasons that since the late 80s and early 90s you have had all the best guys entering the masters. Connors also was a guy known for playing for whoever paid the best. So the players had for the most part complete freedom over their schedules without fear of point penalties. Also those 1000 point events weren't as well valued by the pros as they are today. I mean the Italian open, the Canadian open etc. these held some prestige but in recent times the schedule has become more standardized in the last 20 or 25 years.

My local bar when I would be in New York for business... the bartender was a recreational tennis player- we used to talk about the sport and were friendly- played a couple of fun sets once.   Late 70's, there was a sanctioned small tournament in New Jersey and Conners was the featured pro.   The director comes into the bar and is telling them he's in desperate need of players to fill out the field.  the bartender tells him he plays a little, the director tells him to call all his buddies, he'll pay them $100 a match and get them  official tour credentials!   The bartender called me to come play but I was in LA at the time.   He ended up playing Connors and his buddy made it to quarters to play Connors.  that was the type of joke competition the old guys could rack up numbers against and have it count officially on the tour.  It's a different world now.  



Ok if that doesn't basically disqualify 74 Connors then I don't know what does. A great post by Ruffin. I mean that makes the Federer year of 06 and Novak 2011 and 2015 look way better. Ruffin I didn't get the sense though that you could draw the same critique of McEnroe in 84, while the tour was not completely as standardized as today requiring as many meetings between the top guys my memory of that period although a bit fuzzy because I was a kid was that the tour had fewer tournaments and more structured nature which would weed out some of these joke type of draw filling that you discuss. Still it wasn't really till the late 80s and early 90s that you had a similar level of mandatories that force the best guys to play each other week in and week out.

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Post by Guest Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:03 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:
JuliusHMarx wrote:Counting the titles is accurate.
Would you consider Jan Kodes superior to Andy Murray?

(His third title, Wimbledon 1973, was when 80 players boycotted the tournament)

I only counted 11 career titles. Define 'superior' Smile

Oddly enough I was debating with a friend another 11 title winner who is a multiple slam champion in Wawrinka against Murray and it seems the lower the pecking order the more Slams become undervalued.

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Post by summerblues Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:49 pm

Laver's year may not be the best in terms of difficulty of achieving it but I am pretty sure it is the best in the sense that he would not swap it for any of those other years, while they would all swap them for his.

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Post by Henman Bill Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:15 pm

Arguably Martina Navratilova's 86-1 W-L year of 1983 beats all of those, although she does lose at the fourth round in the FO.

Actually Stefi Graf's 1988 CYGS + Olympics + 72-3 W-L is a contender for the best ever.

Fun fact: she lost 29 games on route to winning the Australian Open in 1998.

Did you know: her loss at the 1989 French Open to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario blocked her from what would have been 9 slams in a row. It would have been her 6th, and she went on to add the next 3 to get 8 from 9.

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Post by lags72 Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:27 pm

On the Connors debate, I've always harboured a fair measure of cynicism where some - and I do stress some - of his numbers are concerned.

His 'conventional' or orthodox achievements - total Slam titles, weeks at Number One - deserve all the credit he ever gets and will stand the test of time when measured against other greats. And that ridiculously late run of his at the USO (39 y.o. ? when he somehow made the semis for one last time) remains impressive.

Nonetheless, whenever I see the full stats for Jimbo's career match wins and total number of 'official' titles, I do think it's worth considering the level of opponents in some of those match wins, and the overall depth of the field for some of those tourneys, particularly in the final years of his playing career.

Connors had a real love for the game and for the heat of battle. A will to win that matches anything we have seen since. But it was, as others have said, a very different world, and in so many ways.

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Post by Born Slippy Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:48 pm

Henman Bill wrote:Arguably Martina Navratilova's 86-1 W-L year of 1983 beats all of those, although she does lose at the fourth round in the FO.

Actually Stefi Graf's 1988 CYGS + Olympics + 72-3 W-L is a contender for the best ever.

Fun fact: she lost 29 games on route to winning the Australian Open in 1998.

Did you know: her loss at the 1989 French Open to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario blocked her from what would have been 9 slams in a row. It would have been her 6th, and she went on to add the next 3 to get 8 from 9.

Borg lost 32 games in winning the French in 1978. Martina holds the record for ladies - 19. Both average out at less than 1.5 games a set.

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Post by Henman Bill Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:46 am

Wow, 19, yikes.

Agree on Connors re: career overall and number of total career match and title wins.

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