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View Full Version : If They Had Played More Aussie Opens.....


Londoner
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:33 PM
Does anyone else think that the historical tally of Grand Slam titles would be different if older players had played the Aussie Open more often?

Margaret Court owes most of her GS tally to the fact few players competed there when she was dominating there?

If Billie Jean King had played there earlier it could look quite different. Certainly in the mens, if Agassi had gone there earlier he may have gone into double figures?

Just a thought...

esquímaux
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:36 PM
Ahh the barren, echo-filled halls of what ifs and should've beens...

sfselesfan
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:39 PM
Yes. And I think players like Court whose majority of majors were the AO when no one but Aussies were playing it wouldn't be so inflated. You could also say the same thing about the French Open in the late 70s - early 80s.

SF

Helen Lawson
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Evert and Navratilova would likely have a handful more slams each if they had played Australia in the late 70s and not skipped a bunch of French Opens. I saw some interview with Chris not that long ago, where she admitted she does think about that, those French Opens she missed in the late 70s to play WTT. She explained it that at the time "no one was counting" and you do have to understand that Australia and French lacked the prestige they do today, even if they were majors.

kiwifan
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:00 PM
IF the greats of the 70s took the Aussie Open seriously it would have made a huge difference...

...but that's history. ;)

hingis-seles
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:10 PM
tennisvideos will set you lot straight. :p

Volcana
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:12 PM
If tennis paid better in the pre-Open era, a lot more players would have been able to afford the travel. Professional sports has changed a lot, not just in tennis.

sfselesfan
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:20 PM
tennisvideos will set you lot straight. :p

He definitely has a difference of opinion. However, I think his opinion of the depth of the AO fields prior to the mid-eighties is overly inflated. With the exception of 1968, and perhaps one or two other years, the fields were basically a modern day tier-II.

We've had this debate many times. My position is look at the stats. There is no way to determine if Court would have won those tournaments with tougher fields...she very well may have. Nevertheless, she did not face stiff competition for the great majority of her AO titles, and some of her French titles.

It's find of like speculating whether ot not Seles would have continued to own Graf if she hadn't been stabbed at her peak. We'll never know, but we are free to speculate.

SF

LDVTennis
Jan 8th, 2008, 09:18 PM
It's find of like speculating whether ot not Seles would have continued to own Graf if she hadn't been stabbed at her peak. We'll never know, but we are free to speculate.

SF

Seles never owned Graf.

For various reasons, Steffi did not play in 7 Australian Opens over the span of her career. That includes the '92 and '96 Australian Opens, both won by Seles.

In both '95 and '96, she skipped the Australian Open. In both those years, she won the remaining three majors.

sfselesfan
Jan 8th, 2008, 09:28 PM
Seles never owned Graf.

For various reasons, Steffi did not play in 7 Australian Opens over the span of her career. That includes the '92 and '96 Australian Opens, both won by Seles.

In both '95 and '96, she skipped the Australian Open. In both those years, she won the remaining three majors.

Seles owned Graf in majors from 1990-1993 (except 1992 Wimbledon). But that is off topic. I only brought it up to say we don't know what would have happened in 1993-1994...just like we don't know what would have happened had the AO been more competitive prior to the mid-eighties.

SF

alfajeffster
Jan 8th, 2008, 09:33 PM
Yes. And I think players like Court whose majority of majors were the AO when no one but Aussies were playing it wouldn't be so inflated. You could also say the same thing about the French Open in the late 70s - early 80s.

SF

And how do you explain away the other 13 major titles Court won outside of Australia- guess they don't count because she played those without a snowshoe in her hand?

sfselesfan
Jan 8th, 2008, 10:08 PM
And how do you explain away the other 13 major titles Court won outside of Australia- guess they don't count because she played those without a snowshoe in her hand?

11 Australian Opens.

13 Wimbledon, French and US Opens.

You do the math.

SF

alfajeffster
Jan 9th, 2008, 02:12 AM
11 Australian Opens.

13 Wimbledon, French and US Opens.

You do the math.

SF

Actually, I've always preferred to leave the bean counting to air-brushing revisionists. Trouble is, they keep finding more statistics in that narrow-minded closet.

LDVTennis
Jan 9th, 2008, 04:03 AM
And how do you explain away the other 13 major titles Court won outside of Australia- guess they don't count because she played those without a snowshoe in her hand?

I don't think Margaret Court grunted either. Now, that's a Ladies' Champion for the ages.

But, then, Alfa I think very few people here and certainly not the person to whom you addressed your post will understand what you mean by "snowshoe."

LDVTennis
Jan 9th, 2008, 04:14 AM
Seles owned Graf in majors from 1990-1993 (except 1992 Wimbledon). But that is off topic. I only brought it up to say we don't know what would have happened in 1993-1994...just like we don't know what would have happened had the AO been more competitive prior to the mid-eighties.

SF

Oh, in majors? From 1990-1993? All majors, except the 1992 Wimbledon?

That explains everything.:help:

Wannabeknowitall
Jan 9th, 2008, 04:31 AM
It actually might have been interesting if Navratilova and Evert played the Australian a few more times.

There might have been some great clashes between them considering the grass at the Australian was slow than at Wimbledon.
I wouldn't be surprised though if Court beat at least one to make sure that match wouldn't happen.

alfajeffster
Jan 9th, 2008, 03:02 PM
It actually might have been interesting if Navratilova and Evert played the Australian a few more times.

There might have been some great clashes between them considering the grass at the Australian was slow than at Wimbledon.
I wouldn't be surprised though if Court beat at least one to make sure that match wouldn't happen.

Court's career was winding down when Evert and Navratilova were just arriving. Still, Margaret did go 1-1 against both of them in grass majors 1973-1976. It definitely would've been nicer to have seen Billie Jean King having played more Aussie majors than she did.

thrust
Jan 9th, 2008, 05:51 PM
In at least 4 or 5 of her AO wins, Court had to beat the likes of Bueno- twice, King, Goolagong-twice among others like Lesley Turner who was a top 5 player. Court was the dominant player of her time. She beat King 4 of five Slam finals they played, two of them at Wimbledon one in the USO. Her FO wins were against top clay court players, one of them being Evert as a thiry one year old mother. She won 11 AO titles, had all the top players played every year of her victoris she probably would have won 8 or 9 if not all of them. She was that good.

Andy T
Jan 9th, 2008, 09:46 PM
I agree with Thrust's basic point that Margaret Court should be considered up there with the very best no matter what you think about the strength of some of the fields in the years she won her Aussie titles. Considering that she amassed 13 of the other majors (2 more than BJK anyway) in spite of the fact that she didn't tour outside Australia in 1960, when she'd already beaten the world #1 to win her first Aussie title, missed 5 during her temporary retirement in 66-7 and 4 more during her pregnancy 71-2, you have to recognise her as one of the very greatest greats.

It's impossible to compare players across the eras not only because of the changes in technology (which cover raquet/training/diet/ and economics (professionalism/the ability to travel/pay a fitness trainer/coach/finance support groups of friends/family) but also in the structure of the game itself (e.g. changing prestige of tournaments/changing emphasis on singles/doubles/mixed).

In those amateur days, players could only get to Australia/Europe/the States if they could persude their National Federations to finance their trips (& remember it's not just a two week trip but a two-month trip, with build-up events) or scrape together the cash to tour independantly. In the 70s, the Australian & French Opens fell victim to the US tennis boom (and their own sexism in not giving the women decent/competitive prize money).

In my opinion, when we amuse ourselves by speculating how many more/less slams certain players may/may not have won (& it is fun sometimes, I don't deny it), the real value in what we are doing is recognising that a player winning x number of slams is not in any way an absolute measure of superiority over another player, especially not one of an earlier/later generation. What I feel we can say, though, is that, as the most prolific champions of their generation, BJK & Margaret, Chris & Martina, and Steffi, whether you're a fan or not, all deserve the highest recognition for what they achieved. I wish that Monica had had the chance to prove that she, too, could make it on the grass at Wimbledon like the others did.

So yes, maybe Chris & Martina would have a tally of 20+ majors if they'd played RG & Oz in the mid-late 70s, maybe BJK would have won several more Aussie Opens, too, maybe Evonne Goolagong would have claimed another one or two French Opens, maybe Tracy Austin would have won the French or Virgina Wade the Australian a couple of times...but their totals don't change the way they played the game or what they could do with the ball. The real loss for me is that we lost out on watching them play those matches against each other.

tennisvideos
Jan 10th, 2008, 09:52 AM
I agree with Thrust's basic point that Margaret Court should be considered up there with the very best no matter what you think about the strength of some of the fields in the years she won her Aussie titles. Considering that she amassed 13 of the other majors (2 more than BJK anyway) in spite of the fact that she didn't tour outside Australia in 1960, when she'd already beaten the world #1 to win her first Aussie title, missed 5 during her temporary retirement in 66-7 and 4 more during her pregnancy 71-2, you have to recognise her as one of the very greatest greats.

It's impossible to compare players across the eras not only because of the changes in technology (which cover raquet/training/diet/ and economics (professionalism/the ability to travel/pay a fitness trainer/coach/finance support groups of friends/family) but also in the structure of the game itself (e.g. changing prestige of tournaments/changing emphasis on singles/doubles/mixed).

In those amateur days, players could only get to Australia/Europe/the States if they could persude their National Federations to finance their trips (& remember it's not just a two week trip but a two-month trip, with build-up events) or scrape together the cash to tour independantly. In the 70s, the Australian & French Opens fell victim to the US tennis boom (and their own sexism in not giving the women decent/competitive prize money).

In my opinion, when we amuse ourselves by speculating how many more/less slams certain players may/may not have won (& it is fun sometimes, I don't deny it), the real value in what we are doing is recognising that a player winning x number of slams is not in any way an absolute measure of superiority over another player, especially not one of an earlier/later generation. What I feel we can say, though, is that, as the most prolific champions of their generation, BJK & Margaret, Chris & Martina, and Steffi, whether you're a fan or not, all deserve the highest recognition for what they achieved. I wish that Monica had had the chance to prove that she, too, could make it on the grass at Wimbledon like the others did.

So yes, maybe Chris & Martina would have a tally of 20+ majors if they'd played RG & Oz in the mid-late 70s, maybe BJK would have won several more Aussie Opens, too, maybe Evonne Goolagong would have claimed another one or two French Opens, maybe Tracy Austin would have won the French or Virgina Wade the Australian a couple of times...but their totals don't change the way they played the game or what they could do with the ball. The real loss for me is that we lost out on watching them play those matches against each other.

A magnificent post Andy. :worship: And three cheers for Thrust and Alfa for restoring some sense of order amongst the naysayers.

PS Alfa - I haven't forgotten you ... I have just been that busy that I still have to convert one more segment of the 73 French to DVD for you. It will happen sooner rather than later. :)

alfajeffster
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:58 PM
A magnificent post Andy. :worship: And three cheers for Thrust and Alfa for restoring some sense of order amongst the naysayers.

PS Alfa - I haven't forgotten you ... I have just been that busy that I still have to convert one more segment of the 73 French to DVD for you. It will happen sooner rather than later. :)

Ever heard the Partridge Family song "I think I love you"? Happy New Year TV, and enjoy your Australia sunshine- the whole world is watching in anticipation right now. Got any inside dish on the players in Oz from these past few weeks?

alfajeffster
Jan 13th, 2008, 06:57 PM
P.S. Very nice to see Guccione carrying on the net-rushing game!

OsloErik
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:40 PM
I'm torn on the Maggie Court issue, because I do think she has a slightly inflated slam tally from the Aussies, but I don't think it's significant enough to discount her from the discussion. Probably about as significant as Steffi's slam inflation from Seles being absent.

That said, I think that of the big four players (Graf, Navratilova, Court, and Evert), Evert gets short shrift a lot of the time. She missed the Australian 9 times between 74 and 88, the first and last years she competed in all four slams, and it wasn't because of injury (as Graf tended to), and the French 3 times (when she was pretty much the best clay courter ever and practically guaranteed at least two of them).

I think it's entirely plausible that Evert would've ended her career with close to 25 slams had she competed in all four consistently. Navratilova missed the French a lot early in her career, and the Aussie both early and late in her career, but those were never particularly good slams for her (compared to the US and Wimbledon). Fact is, Evert didn't compete in her most consistent slams 13 times.

Revisionist tennis writing is frustrating, so I'll stop there.

OsloErik
Jan 13th, 2008, 07:43 PM
I agree with Thrust's basic point that Margaret Court should be considered up there with the very best no matter what you think about the strength of some of the fields in the years she won her Aussie titles. Considering that she amassed 13 of the other majors (2 more than BJK anyway) in spite of the fact that she didn't tour outside Australia in 1960, when she'd already beaten the world #1 to win her first Aussie title, missed 5 during her temporary retirement in 66-7 and 4 more during her pregnancy 71-2, you have to recognise her as one of the very greatest greats.

It's impossible to compare players across the eras not only because of the changes in technology (which cover raquet/training/diet/ and economics (professionalism/the ability to travel/pay a fitness trainer/coach/finance support groups of friends/family) but also in the structure of the game itself (e.g. changing prestige of tournaments/changing emphasis on singles/doubles/mixed).

In those amateur days, players could only get to Australia/Europe/the States if they could persude their National Federations to finance their trips (& remember it's not just a two week trip but a two-month trip, with build-up events) or scrape together the cash to tour independantly. In the 70s, the Australian & French Opens fell victim to the US tennis boom (and their own sexism in not giving the women decent/competitive prize money).

In my opinion, when we amuse ourselves by speculating how many more/less slams certain players may/may not have won (& it is fun sometimes, I don't deny it), the real value in what we are doing is recognising that a player winning x number of slams is not in any way an absolute measure of superiority over another player, especially not one of an earlier/later generation. What I feel we can say, though, is that, as the most prolific champions of their generation, BJK & Margaret, Chris & Martina, and Steffi, whether you're a fan or not, all deserve the highest recognition for what they achieved. I wish that Monica had had the chance to prove that she, too, could make it on the grass at Wimbledon like the others did.

So yes, maybe Chris & Martina would have a tally of 20+ majors if they'd played RG & Oz in the mid-late 70s, maybe BJK would have won several more Aussie Opens, too, maybe Evonne Goolagong would have claimed another one or two French Opens, maybe Tracy Austin would have won the French or Virgina Wade the Australian a couple of times...but their totals don't change the way they played the game or what they could do with the ball. The real loss for me is that we lost out on watching them play those matches against each other.

:worship::worship::worship:

Didn't see the 2nd page before I posted. This is the standout post of the new year thus far.

alfajeffster
Jan 13th, 2008, 09:36 PM
I'm torn on the Maggie Court issue, because I do think she has a slightly inflated slam tally from the Aussies, but I don't think it's significant enough to discount her from the discussion. Probably about as significant as Steffi's slam inflation from Seles being absent.

That said, I think that of the big four players (Graf, Navratilova, Court, and Evert), Evert gets short shrift a lot of the time. She missed the Australian 9 times between 74 and 88, the first and last years she competed in all four slams, and it wasn't because of injury (as Graf tended to), and the French 3 times (when she was pretty much the best clay courter ever and practically guaranteed at least two of them).

I think it's entirely plausible that Evert would've ended her career with close to 25 slams had she competed in all four consistently. Navratilova missed the French a lot early in her career, and the Aussie both early and late in her career, but those were never particularly good slams for her (compared to the US and Wimbledon). Fact is, Evert didn't compete in her most consistent slams 13 times.

Revisionist tennis writing is frustrating, so I'll stop there.

Don't stop.