Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 8: History

Fans holding Spanish flags watch defending champion Rafael Nadal losing to Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris May 31, 2009.
Reuters

Fans holding Spanish flags watch defending champion Rafael Nadal losing to Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris May 31, 2009.

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I'm going to keep this recap super short and simply ask three questions I want one of our illustrious tennis historians to answer for us.

  1. When was the last time both defending champions exited Roland Garros on the same day?
  2. When was the last time both defending champions exited any Slam on the same day?
  3. Bjorn Borg won 6 French Opens, but like Rafa, he won four in a row. Provided he played the following year, in what round was he dismissed as a four-time defending champion?

16 comments:

edma1022 said...

1) I believe Ferrero and Henin in 2004

J said...

(3) Borg won the four in a row in 78, 79, 80, 81, but didn't play French in 82. Later in 81 was the last attempt at the US, when he lost to Mac and then basically walked off into the sunset.

Craig Hickman said...

Henin and Ferrero lost in the same round, but not on the same day.

Karen said...

Another question that needs to be asked is why can no one break Borg's records. Just realised that Roger was trying to break Borg's records, as was Nadal and both failed. People are saying that there is a hex on them. You can equal them but not surpass them

Craig Hickman said...

Borg, despite not winning in the US and despite walking away from the game the way he walked away from the game, was arguably the most tenacious player of the Open Era.

All those Roland Garros/Wimbledon doubles in a row?

Amazing.

Helen W said...

Which is one of the reasons why (to me), if there really were such a thing as a GOAT, it would be Borg.

b said...

Don't forget Evert's records as well... Amazing she has the best clay records of anyone.... I actually don't like her too much but while I was aware of her clay streak had no idea what a great GS competitor she was until very recently - never lost before 3rd round..... I've always considered Martina N to be the unsung GOAT of tennis (male or female)....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Evert#Grand_Slam_singles_tournament_timeline


"Though successful on all surfaces, it was on clay courts where Evert was most dominant. Beginning in August 1973, she won 125 consecutive matches on the surface, with a loss of only 7 sets, a run which continues to stand as the record among both men and women players.[4] "

"Evert won the French Open singles title a record seven times. "


"Evert won at least one Grand Slam singles title each year for 13 consecutive years, from 1974 through 1986. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles during her career: 7 at the French Open, 6 at the US Open (3 on clay and 3 on hard courts), 3 at Wimbledon, and 2 at the Australian Open (both on grass). She reached the finals in 34 and the semifinals in 52 of the 56 Grand Slams events she entered. Between September 1971 (her Grand Slam debut at the US Open) and June 1983 (her twelfth visit to Wimbledon), Evert never failed to reach at least the semifinals of the 34 Grand Slam singles events she participated in. This is an unparalleled record of consistency in the world's biggest tournaments. This record ended in the third round at Wimbledon in 1983, when the All England Club refused Evert's request to delay her match with Kathy Jordan to recover from food poisoning. This defeat also ended her attempt to be the holder of all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously."

Karen said...

the look on Nadal's face when he was passed at 6-5 in the fourth set says it all - where the hell did this guy come from.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

Borg, despite not winning in the US and despite walking away from the game the way he walked away from the game, was arguably the most tenacious player of the Open Era.

All those Roland Garros/Wimbledon doubles in a row?

Amazing.

Sun May 31, 04:51:00 PM

==========

they were amazing as stand-alone records.

what people need to realize is the clay era of THAT exact time was NOT nearly as good as the decades the followed.

BORG , in fact, started the "modern" clay oriented era to wrest it away from the grass oriented one. because of his success.

but that does NOT mean that his competition ON CLAY was anywhere near as good as nadal's over all with nadal's own four straight FO's.

people have NOT YET NOTICED WHY borg SKIPPED FO TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS before adding another title? AFTER he earned his famous "DOUBLES CROWN?"

it was because the FO at THAT time, even as an open era competition had such poor draws players simply did not consider it important ENOUGH ...and borg HIMSELF skipped it to concentrate on

FEDCUP .

can you believe that? that's how UNimportant it actually was - at least in comparison with winning in wimbledon.

so - basically - borg dominated at a time when there was practically no real clay competition worth talking about much.


attach it to winning wimbledon when the OLD GRASS MASTERS were really getting on in years and mcenroe was NOT "the real mac" yet until 1980-81

and you get the "borg double crown".

which to ME is a rather over-valued thing held up as something so difficult to achieve - which it is - while not really establishing HOW it was achieved under what conditions of competition.

understand also that by HIS own admission - much much later --

Borg said THIS:

"I couldn't really be playing the AO SEASON before the FO -- because I didn't want to JEOPARDIZE my FO/Wimbledon season".

and USUALLY in most years - borg was really unable to SUSTAIN that famous "endurance" for the ENTIRE year...which is why AFTER the USO - he was for most purposes useless towards the world championships ...and despite his "double crowns" (3 years in a row) -

wasn't much of a factor in the PRE-FO - post USO months.

he is as close, if anything, to a "parttime" player -- and THAT's how he managed his "endurance"

as he said:

"I HAD TO STAY FRESH for the FO and WIMBLEDON".


he tried THAT in the mcenroe, lendl, sampras, federer,nadal eras


he'd be lucky if he lasts from the AO TO wimbledon....
he was one of the greatest ever....

but let's be more informed a bit, shall we?

lol.

Graf_sampras said...

IF there was a GOAT --

it was Pancho Gonzales the great.

named by players from 1950 - to 1970 - including the playing careers of Rod Laver,

as "the greatest of us all, the absolute ruler of us all" ....

who ruled the Professionals in his heydeys when the amateur slams weren't even considered good enough --


for , arguably a 10 year consecutive period.

and AFTER that - from 1963 to 1974

was STILL - already beyond his best years - winning world championships and beating "majors winners"

and at age 41 - gave world number one, grand slam of 1969 owner Rod Laver ("greatest ever") - a five set marathon, one-off match in Madison Square Garden NY city -

billed in NEW YORK Times front page as "THE MONDAY NIGHT MASSACRE"

committed by the coming backj from retirement several times Pancho over the "best" Rod Laver.

as Rod Laver said of Pancho ...when rod won his Wimbledon to help complete his 1969 grand slam :

after pancho returned to the tour just for the HECK of playing in the "open era"...defeating in 2 days in a very long match - the world number THREE Charles passarrel - twenty years his junior ...

"PANCHO HAD a way of overshadowing and upstaging you...no matter who you were...this wimbledon will be remembered as much as Pancho's as it was mine".

pancho had no gas left when he lost in the next round to arthur ashe - who rod then beat.

or as rod would also reveal:

"when we were all playing....we were ALL very careful NOT to annoy pancho...because if he got angry...it only made him play better...and THAT meant...we had no chance whatsoever".

sometimes you have to look at the stories behind the "records".

Graf_sampras said...

and practically every historian that knows abotu records says --

only of TWO players: sampras and pancho:

"IF I HAD TO LAY MY LIFE ON THE LINE -- on a player...it would be pancho or sampras".

Craig Hickman said...

For the record, I simply used the word tenacious to describe Borg and limited my observations to the Open Era.

Right or wrong, that's what I see.

I've never declared a GOAT and never will.

I don't believe in such things.

Craig Hickman said...

Anybody find an answer to questions one and two?

Graf_sampras said...

i don't recall which defending champions pair last went out together in the FO .

but on borg - i recall that his LAST FO TITLE was also his LAST appearance in the FO ...before retiring the next year , 1982.

borg's last FO was 1981.as the CHAMPION.

the wimbledon that year - he lost to mcenroe in four sets...

McEnroe then beat him again in the USO that same summer...he ended up the year basically having a mental breakdown and physical exhaustion..he actually walked out of the stadium BEFORE the ceremonies and press conference even began in that USO defeat.



then in 1982 - he played only Monte Carlo -- where he lost in the quarters to Yannick Noah ...

and then he retired effectively.

borg himself suggested in those years that his defeat by mcenroe in wimbledon ...and in ATP championships...was the time he felt his dominance was ending...

the young Lendl was the Finalist that Borg Defeated for his last FO title in 1981.

and his last match there.

Graf_sampras said...

incidentally :

Borg's FO titles were spread thus:

1974, 75 champion - Defeated Spaniard Manuel Orantes who was 25 to borg's 18.

then he defended against Guillermo Vilas whom Borg basically owned (vilas got most of his own streaks wherever borg wasn't there)..

borg's main rival in wimbledon before mcenroe was jimmy connors.

in 1976 borg lost his FO to the only man to defeat him TWICE in FO-- the italian Adriano Pannatta...

pannatta first defeated borg when borg was 17 in 1973 FO..then in 1976 when pannatta was , i think, 29 or 30 years old.

then borg skipped the next year FO because he had a contract to play the world team tennis.

then he returned to FO and made his consecutive four titles until his last FO match -=- the champion of 1978-81.

retiring in 1982 after a loss in the quarters in monte carlo ...to yannick noah.

MMT said...

"Another question that needs to be asked is why can no one break Borg's records. Just realised that Roger was trying to break Borg's records, as was Nadal and both failed. People are saying that there is a hex on them. You can equal them but not surpass them"

Not sure if this was written with tongue in cheek, but I would say the records aren't broken because they're extraordinary records.