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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #16
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

Thanks for the explanation regarding the Elo method, Fantasio.

The one thing I don't understand is exactly how the number of points a player loses or gains is determined.

Interesting that in these analyses whatever method is used Ann Jones always finishes ahead of Virginia Wade and to finish inside the Top 40 of an all-time list is no mean feat.

I'm assuming that #45 on the up-to-date list is Helena. Can you confirm it is she and not Vera?
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 05:51 PM   #17
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
The one thing I don't understand is exactly how the number of points a player loses or gains is determined.
It depends on the rating of the two players involved. The difference in rating determines chances of victory/defeat for each one of them. Points gained/losed are determined comparing the actual result with these chances. If you prefer, I can give you the exact formula. :-)

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in these analyses whatever method is used Ann Jones always finishes ahead of Virginia Wade and to finish inside the Top 40 of an all-time list is no mean feat.
Three victories and 6 more finals during 9 years are a lot. Between 1966 and 1969 Haydon-Jones had a little dominance (not like King's and Court's, of course). Wade only has 3 victories during 11 years, no finals, no dominance at all. Wade is ranked 53th. Haydon-Jones 36th.

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I'm assuming that #45 on the up-to-date list is Helena. Can you confirm it is she and not Vera?
Of course it's Helena!
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #18
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Fantasio View Post
It depends on the rating of the two players involved. The difference in rating determines chances of victory/defeat for each one of them. Points gained/losed are determined comparing the actual result with these chances. If you prefer, I can give you the exact formula. :-)


Three victories and 6 more finals during 9 years are a lot. Between 1966 and 1969 Haydon-Jones had a little dominance (not like King's and Court's, of course). Wade only has 3 victories during 11 years, no finals, no dominance at all. Wade is ranked 53th. Haydon-Jones 36th.

I would like to see the exact formula because I am totally confused.

For example if Graf and Seles played surely a victory for one of them over a major opponent must be worth something yet there is minimal differential.

Maybe it's too simplistic but to me more points should be gained by beating a higher ranked player i.e. say if a player (A) on 2458 plays someone (B) on 1958 then someone (C) on 2168 it is more of a feat to beat the second player yet there is a bigger differential in points with the first player?

Also are we saying that if A beats B she will gain points and B lose a similar number but will this be the same number of points if it happened that B beat A?

My understanding is that all tournaments are equal and only matches count so why would Jones having 6 extra Slam finals than Wade be particularly relevant? I think I'm becoming more confused.
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #19
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
I would like to see the exact formula because I am totally confused.

Maybe it's too simplistic but to me more points should be gained by beating a higher ranked player i.e. say if a player (A) on 2458 plays someone (B) on 1958 then someone (C) on 2168 it is more of a feat to beat the second player yet there is a bigger differential in points with the first player?
The formula is: <points gained/lost = K * (1 / (1 + 10 ^ (difference / 400)))>, that is, when A is rated 2458 and B 1958, if A wins he/she gains 0.8 points (we assume K = 15), B loses 0.8 points. If B wins he/she gains 14.2 points, A loses 14.2.
When A and C play, difference is not so high, so if A wins he/she gains 2.4 points, C loses 2.4; if C wins he/she gains 12.6 points, and C loses the same.

Now it should be clear (I hope).

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why would Jones having 6 extra Slam finals than Wade be particularly relevant? I think I'm becoming more confused.
Theoretically, it's possible that Jones reached all her finals beating only extremely low-ranked players, while Wade - also theoretically - could have reached her semifinals beating Court, King, Evert and so on. If such were the case, Wade would be ranked higher. In one tournament, I guess it's a real possibility. Maybe even two tournaments. Six times, I guess not. If Jones reached 6 finals and Wade did not, I guess most times Jones defeated someone stronger than Wade did, so in the end... Jones is ranked higher.

Andy
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Old Sep 24th, 2011, 01:09 AM   #20
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Fantasio View Post
The formula is: <points gained/lost = K * (1 / (1 + 10 ^ (difference / 400)))>, that is, when A is rated 2458 and B 1958, if A wins he/she gains 0.8 points (we assume K = 15), B loses 0.8 points. If B wins he/she gains 14.2 points, A loses 14.2.
When A and C play, difference is not so high, so if A wins he/she gains 2.4 points, C loses 2.4; if C wins he/she gains 12.6 points, and C loses the same.

Now it should be clear (I hope).


Theoretically, it's possible that Jones reached all her finals beating only extremely low-ranked players, while Wade - also theoretically - could have reached her semifinals beating Court, King, Evert and so on. If such were the case, Wade would be ranked higher. In one tournament, I guess it's a real possibility. Maybe even two tournaments. Six times, I guess not. If Jones reached 6 finals and Wade did not, I guess most times Jones defeated someone stronger than Wade did, so in the end... Jones is ranked higher.

Andy
I spoke to someone who plays chess and really understands this rating system and he explained to me in layman's terms how it works. I think I have a better understanding how combined with your explanation. Basically, it works as a statistical probability that should player A and B meet, given their performances in the past the one with the higher rating should prevail. Ultimately, it is an assessment of skill level judging by your head-to-head against all others. If you have a lot of wins against someone rated very highly, the system will rate you higher. It's a test of dominance against your peers and against those whom you've never met. Court and Graf never played but judging by the players that they played and they ultimately played, in a random match up Graf should prevail.

I think it's a great system for measuring GOAT at least on a statistical level and then you can add intangibles to it. It is a starting point certainly.

But I have a question. Why does this list differ from the one posted here? http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=330900

Is that purely because the latter only consisted of open era players?
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #21
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Fantasio View Post
No, that's another matter - we only mentioned his method.


I'll try. As you highlighted SIMPLE, I'll stay "simple" as most as possibile.

1) The Elo method was invented in the sixties, and applies to chess. Today it provides reliable rankings in chess, but we must remember these rankings are always related to the whole career, not the last year or couple of years. So the method is unreliable if you want "real-time" rankings. For the same reason - whole career - it's very good for GOAT analysis instead.

2) Nobody worries, in chess, about the "whole career" problem, because decline is slow. Sometimes, especially if a player comes back after long inactivity, it IS a problem.

3) As there are many similarities between chess and tennis, Mazak suggested to apply ELO method to tennis.
Apart from both being one-on-one competitions, I don't think there is anything remotely similar. Chris vs Martina on clay and then Chris vs Martina on grass? Indoors? Or at what stage in their career? It does make a difference, and helps inform opinions and decisions when rating players across eras, and for a career. Chess doesn't have anything like that.

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4) As there are some differences between chess and tennis, I modified some of the method's parameters according to these differences.

5) The method works this way: the matches are all the same, tournaments do not matter (that's one of the thing I modified). Only matches count. Players start the professional career at 2000 points' level. When two players meet, the winner gains points, the loser loses the same points. If difference between them is great, few points are gained (if the stronger player wins). If difference is great, many points are gained (if the weaker player wins).
Wondering if the part about tournaments do not matter, but you modified, means the majors were weighted more than regular tour events?
Again, if H2H results are the determining facto, I can't fathom how Graf and Seles are #1 and #2 overall, with Graf holding what seems like a slim edge, when she had 2-1 advantage in H2H ?! Also, a winner gaining points and loser losing points sounds more like a boxing formula. Tennis is played as a tournament. And there's something to be said about winning several rounds before having to play against your rival.

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9) So that's the reason why Seles and Graf are almost equal. Seles has less victories, less longevity, little polyvalence, but dominance level is similar. It doesn't matter if dominance lasted 2-3 years or much more. If dominance lasted enough to become unquestionable, that's good for the ELO method (in chess there are a lot of significant examples).

Andy
I respectfully, but LOUDLY disagree. You say the reason Graf and Seles are almost equal, yet you point out the number of ways in which Seles is less than Graf. But their dominance level is similar. Seles had 2 dominating years (even though she wasn't even ranked #1 for all of 1991). Graf had 5, and you could even say 6 dominating years: 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995-1996 (and don't forget 1987 w/only 2 losses). That's more than twice as much as Seles, at her best. Graf matched and doubled Seles' best years in the majors. And Seles' two best years overall in terms of W-L aren't even in the top 15 of the Open era. I absolutely disagree that just because Seles achieved two years of dominance (and her 1991-1992 were impressive), it absolutely doesn't guarantee any future similar success. That's the beauty of the sport. It happens in real time. Not based on statistical probability of what should or might happen. It's also what makes a system for rating players over different eras interesting. You really do have to look at the big picture.

So for me, system that rates Graf #1 and Seles #2 all-time is deeply flawed system that wants to take into account all the wouldas, coulda, shouldas. And doesn't acknowledge or take into account the incredible career achievements of Navratilova, Court, Evert, Connolly, etc. who rank behind Seles.
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 01:18 AM   #22
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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But I have a question. Why does this list differ from the one posted here? http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=330900

Is that purely because the latter only consisted of open era players?
Yes. Mainly because it consisted - as you guessed - of open era players only. The method works correctly if ALL matches are counted. You cannot start "in the middle" because "truncated" players (let's say, King and Court) are not correctly rated, and such an error propagates further on.
Of course, it's also likely that Wuornos used different parameters, so it's unlikey the two rankings will ever be exactly the same.
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 01:32 AM   #23
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Wondering if the part about tournaments do not matter, but you modified, means the majors were weighted more than regular tour events?
Only majors are counted. To count "minors" is not possible, for a lot of reasons.

Quote:
Graf matched and doubled Seles' best years in the majors. And Seles' two best years overall in terms of W-L aren't even in the top 15 of the Open era. I absolutely disagree that just because Seles achieved two years of dominance (and her 1991-1992 were impressive), it absolutely doesn't guarantee any future similar success.
You did not understand how the method works, but that's not your fault - I explained that in the book. ELO ONLY rates dominance level, NOT dominance duration. It doesn't matter if dominance lasts two, or 20, or 2000 years, if dominance is clear (Seles' was).
In chess, the problem does not exist. If you ask people who the chess GOAT was, some will say "Fischer", some "Kasparov". Fischer, as Seles did, only dominated two/three years, between 1970 and 1972, then disappeared. Kasparov dominated 20 years, between 1984 and 2004, yet that's not enough. For chess fans, used to the ELO method, only dominance level counts, and this is the case.
Of course, you may think this is wrong, but I'm not saying the opposite: ELO does NOT claim the most rated player is the GOAT, it only shows who dominated most. Of course, there are other things to count, if you want to find out the GOAT.
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 01:37 AM   #24
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
Apart from both being one-on-one competitions, I don't think there is anything remotely similar. Chris vs Martina on clay and then Chris vs Martina on grass? Indoors? Or at what stage in their career? It does make a difference, and helps inform opinions and decisions when rating players across eras, and for a career. Chess doesn't have anything like that.



Wondering if the part about tournaments do not matter, but you modified, means the majors were weighted more than regular tour events?
Again, if H2H results are the determining facto, I can't fathom how Graf and Seles are #1 and #2 overall, with Graf holding what seems like a slim edge, when she had 2-1 advantage in H2H ?! Also, a winner gaining points and loser losing points sounds more like a boxing formula. Tennis is played as a tournament. And there's something to be said about winning several rounds before having to play against your rival.



I respectfully, but LOUDLY disagree. You say the reason Graf and Seles are almost equal, yet you point out the number of ways in which Seles is less than Graf. But their dominance level is similar. Seles had 2 dominating years (even though she wasn't even ranked #1 for all of 1991). Graf had 5, and you could even say 6 dominating years: 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995-1996 (and don't forget 1987 w/only 2 losses). That's more than twice as much as Seles, at her best. Graf matched and doubled Seles' best years in the majors. And Seles' two best years overall in terms of W-L aren't even in the top 15 of the Open era. I absolutely disagree that just because Seles achieved two years of dominance (and her 1991-1992 were impressive), it absolutely doesn't guarantee any future similar success. That's the beauty of the sport. It happens in real time. Not based on statistical probability of what should or might happen. It's also what makes a system for rating players over different eras interesting. You really do have to look at the big picture.

So for me, system that rates Graf #1 and Seles #2 all-time is deeply flawed system that wants to take into account all the wouldas, coulda, shouldas. And doesn't acknowledge or take into account the incredible career achievements of Navratilova, Court, Evert, Connolly, etc. who rank behind Seles.
I think Fantasio did a better job of explaining but this isn't a complete measure of greatness. It's a measure of dominance during a period of time and Seles was as dominant as anybody in history of tennis.

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Yes. Mainly because it consisted - as you guessed - of open era players only. The method works correctly if ALL matches are counted. You cannot start "in the middle" because "truncated" players (let's say, King and Court) are not correctly rated, and such an error propagates further on.
Of course, it's also likely that Wuornos used different parameters, so it's unlikey the two rankings will ever be exactly the same.
Ok thanks. I agree that it must be considered from the beginning and not just open era.
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Old Sep 25th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #25
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Fantasio View Post
Only majors are counted. To count "minors" is not possible, for a lot of reasons.


You did not understand how the method works, but that's not your fault - I explained that in the book. ELO ONLY rates dominance level, NOT dominance duration. It doesn't matter if dominance lasts two, or 20, or 2000 years, if dominance is clear (Seles' was).
In chess, the problem does not exist. If you ask people who the chess GOAT was, some will say "Fischer", some "Kasparov". Fischer, as Seles did, only dominated two/three years, between 1970 and 1972, then disappeared. Kasparov dominated 20 years, between 1984 and 2004, yet that's not enough. For chess fans, used to the ELO method, only dominance level counts, and this is the case.
Of course, you may think this is wrong, but I'm not saying the opposite: ELO does NOT claim the most rated player is the GOAT, it only shows who dominated most. Of course, there are other things to count, if you want to find out the GOAT.
OK, sort of.

So it's all, and only about dominance, right! In the majors. Noting else.

I wonder why Serena isn't higher. She wen undefeated in majors in 2002. Won 2 of 3 in 2003. And again in 2010. Each time losing to the eventual champ in the French. Three years of domination.

Navratilova won 3 of the 4 majors in 1983-1984. Her losses were in the SF and 4R, which I realize is not quite the same as Seles 1991-1992 seasons. Martina also won 2 of 4 in 1985, losing in the finals of the other two, 2 of the 3 majors in 1986, losing in the final of the other. And winning 2 of 4 in 1987, losing in the finals of the other two. And that doesn't rate as high as Seles' ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I would think that if you have comparable levels of dominance, the one who does it more rates higher? Sounds like a system that perhaps punishes players with longer careers, like Serena, Chris, Martina, because they had some "off" years where they "only" won 1 major, and didn't dominate.

As far as dominance in the majors, I'd easily take:
Court, and her 1970 Grand Slam year, plus 1963, 1965, 1969, and 1973 seasons (and even if you only count Open era, Court's dominance in the majors outranks Seles').
Navratilova's 1983-1984, plus 1985-1987 seasons
Serena's 2002-2003, 2010 seasons.
Chris Evert's 1974-1975-1976, 1980 seasons
Connolly's 1952-1953 seasons

OVER Seles' 1991-1992 seasons, when looking at it from a dominance perspective. And in this case, less is not more, in terms of # of dominating seasons. I mean if you have 3 dominating years in the majors, doesn't that outrank two, or one! And if you win the Grand Slam, as Connolly did, doesn't that outrank someone who skipped a major!

Not even sure if decisive wins, i.e., 6-0,6-0, are factored in. But in tennis, it only matters who wins the last point. Seles' 1991-1992 seasons in the majors were great. She didn't win any major without losing a set. The other players above all did. That's dominance!
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #26
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Only majors are counted. To count "minors" is not possible, for a lot of reasons.
Which are?
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 10:41 AM   #27
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

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Originally Posted by DennisFitz View Post
As far as dominance in the majors, I'd easily take:
Court, and her 1970 Grand Slam year, plus 1963, 1965, 1969, and 1973 seasons (and even if you only count Open era, Court's dominance in the majors outranks Seles').
Navratilova's 1983-1984, plus 1985-1987 seasons
Serena's 2002-2003, 2010 seasons.
Chris Evert's 1974-1975-1976, 1980 seasons
Connolly's 1952-1953 seasons

OVER Seles' 1991-1992 seasons, when looking at it from a dominance perspective. And in this case, less is not more, in terms of # of dominating seasons. I mean if you have 3 dominating years in the majors, doesn't that outrank two, or one!
I will repeat myself.
In Elo method, dominance duration does NOT count. Only dominance level. Of course Court dominated 5 years, Navratilova also five. Also great was Evert, not mentioning Lenglen and Wills, that you forgot.
All these players could have dominated 20 years or more, there's no difference.

IF you are only looking at dominance level, it's easy to notice that between 1991 and 1993 Seles played 8 majors, won 7, only losing one match to Graf (who is - without any doubt - one of the most likey GOAT candidates). She defeated Graf (twice), Sanchez-Vicario (3 times), old Navratilova (twice), Novotna (once), Sabatini (3 times).
If this is NOT supreme dominance, I don't know how to define such a thing.
Well, Navratilova 1983-1984 dominated. But she "only" won 6 majors, losing to Horvath and Sukova. Losing to a low-ranked player such as Horvath is a disaster, comparing to losign to Graf (in Elo method).

But there's Court in 1969-1971. Well, she's better than Seles, having won 8 majors, losing only to Haydon-Jones - better than Horvath, still no Graf. And Court only defeated King twice, Goolagong twice. Much, bur not as much as Seles. Plus, don't forget she only played 49 matches during 9 majors (winning 48), while Seles played 56, winning 55, despite competing in 8 events. That's why Seles is higher than Court.

Serena played 6 majors, won 5. No match.

Evert played 8, won 6. Very good, and she defeated Goolagong 3 times, Navratilova also 3 times. She only lose to Goolagong and King. That's very good, and she's very close to Seles, but still not equal.

Connolly extraordinary. 9 over 9! Her problem, she did not defeat strong players. Hart, Fry, Brough are top 30 (alltime) at best. And she played 51 matches only.

So, why is Graf ranked higher (more or less, she's equal)? Because between 1988 and 1990 she won 8 majors, played 9, only lose to Sanchez-Vicario (better than Haydon-Jones), defeated Navratilova (3 times), old Evert (3 times), Sabatini (4 times), young Seles (twice), young Sanchez-Vicario (once). I think Seles defeated better opponents, but Graf won more, and more matches (62 over 63).

Now the difference between "dominance level" and "dominance duration" should be clear. Of course I know that Graf dominated more years (there are 1995 and 1996, of course), won much more than Seles, so she's a better GOAT candidate than unlucky Monica. But dominance level is the same.

Or, we can also say that "dominance level" = "strength at best" (if consistent). So, the old question, "was Seles really better than Graf or was Graf not at her best during 1991-1992?" could be settled, as the two players were of equal strength (according to Elo).
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #28
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

Fantasio, thanks for that explanation. And now I am really understanding this. It confirms my suspicions that the reason why Seles is so high is because of her success against Graf.

The reason why Connolly who had same Grand Slam success as Seles is, comparatively, so low is because she didn't have high quality competition.

I think, and this is just my opinion and you can call biased if you like, this is a terrific rating system for determining GOAT.

The problem with other statistics and arguments is that ultimately it isn't objective and it doesn't consider the skill level of players. This determines a player's skill level, not just against her peers but also against all those who ever played in a single Grand Slam tennis match.

If Grand Slams are to be used as the only arbiters for greatness I think this should be the system used. Of course, there's the argument for other tournaments and No. 1 ranking etc.. too.

To sum up, Seles dominated an era that included a GOAT and her losses came to that GOAT. Comparatively, it was harder for her to have dethroned Graf than anyone else in history and for dethroning Graf, she's rewarded heavily here.
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #29
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

All very interesting but highly subjective IMO esp when comparing opposition - Doris Hart and Anne Jones, for example, were both great players IMO and probably highly underrated by most. And to only factor in the slams is very limiting - years at #1, career singles winning % and tournament wins should also factor in there somewhere.

Happy to see it gives Seles her due but even I, a huge fan, could never rate her above Connolly, Court, Navratilova and Evert.

Still, an interesting perspective.
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Old Sep 26th, 2011, 12:53 PM   #30
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Re: the Grand Slam Record Book vol. 2

At least I now understand this including the formula.

Slams only - I was under the misconception it was all tournaments which is why I couldn't see why Jones' Slam finals should have been particularly significant in relation to Wade. Makes sense now as Ann was more consistent in the Slams than Virginia.

Certainly an interesting and worthwhile system although personally I believe there are many factors to take in in determining the GOAT including Tier 1/Major Championships.

Margaret Court for example went through Seasons where she won numerous events losing only a handful of matches all year. Admittedly some events were weaker than others but she still beat all her closest rivals - that's dominance.

The figures don't appear to show it but after losing early at her first two Slams Maureen Connolly then went on to win 9 Slams in a row she entered before retiring on the way beating the leading players of the day - you can't do any more than that so to me that's the ultimate.

Anyway you could go on ad infinitum arguing as to what should constitute the criteria.

It is as it is.
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