Author Topic: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline Slasher1985

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Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« on: April 29, 2013, 07:21:16 AM »

Hello and welcome to this first edition of my special research project destined to recreate the full rankings that would have been and were given to tennis players in the Open Era. This project will go through the different periods of the Open Era and use different ranking systems to recreate the exact rankings. The goal of the project is to see how ATP awarded ranking points during it's "dark" times, award points to players before computer rankings were created and redo the rankings from the known era in my specific format enabling access to what tournaments actually counted to a player's ranking.

The first volume starts from the Open Era's earliest beginnings. I tried to adapt the system first used by the Grand Prix in 1970 for tournaments prior to the Grand Prix being invented for tournaments based on the possible prize money pots these tournaments had. The first year to target is 1968, and this is the exact system I chose to implement:



As you can see the system will be using an average ranking with a minimum of 4 tournaments, thus eliminating any potential "accidents" from producing a new World Number 1, given the small difference between values awarded in an average system.

In this first episode, we will be looking at the first rankings that would have been exactly 45 years ago to this day: 29.04.1968 if there would have been computer rankings at that time and the 1970 system would have been used for tournaments. It is the spring of 1968, april 22. Bournemouth is the first tournament ever to accept both pros and amateurs into the draw, becoming the first open tournament and kick starting the Open Era. The tournament awards $2400 to the winning player and $1200 to the runner-up classing it's prize pool above 10K, into the second category pool. The winner will thus be getting 8p, with the runner-up, 6.

The final's outcome is 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3 in favor of Rosewall, making him the first unofficial World Number 1 of the Open Era, and because only Open tournaments are counted into the rankings, 1968 is going to bring little change to this hierarchy. It is also nice to see veteran Pancho Gonzales attending this tournament. It's too bad however that the Open Era started so late into his career.

Here is a picture with Laver and Rosewall fighting at Bournemouth 1968:

And one with the winner:



WORLD NUMBER 1 STREAKS:
Code: [Select]
1. Ken Rosewall - 29.04.1968 - 10 weeks
2. Rod Laver - 08.07.1968 - 9 weeks
   Ken Rosewall(2) - 09.09.1968 - 21 weeks (31 total)
   Rod Laver (2)* - 03.02.1969 - 19 weeks (28 total)

YEAR-END WORLD NUMBER 1:
Code: [Select]
1. Ken Rosewall - 1968


CURRENT SITUATION:
If you have any trouble seeing the latest image, please clear your internet cache and try again... Help on clearing the cache: http://kb.iu.edu/data/ahic.html#fire35w





To view and download historical rankings, access this link and navigate to the year you wish to view (which will be expanding as we progress further):
FULL RANKINGS






The signature profile:
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 04:48:28 PM by Slasher1985 »

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 07:29:48 AM »
Be ready as our venture will continue into Roland Garros 1968. Somebody should do a count of weeks at number 1 for these guys.

Offline Litotes

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 11:26:13 AM »
Be ready as our venture will continue into Roland Garros 1968. Somebody should do a count of weeks at number 1 for these guys.

I volunteer to keep track of weeks was #1 :)

Offline FreakyGOAT > CD

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 10:48:36 PM »
Nice work Marv  ;-()  I never thought about how old most players were back then  :)~ :)~
Oh Sheesh Y'all T'was A Dream

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 03:22:32 AM »
Good day everyone.

The story continues, as the Open Era was prepared to bring us the first Grand Slam open to all. Ken was determined to win this one as he was in top shape, but Laver also wanted to win this so much. Many players were on the main draw of this first Open Era Grand Slam, including veteran Pancho Gonzales and future star Ilie Nastase. After a very strange first round with half of the draw offering the match to the adversary as a walkover, the quarterfinal stage brought entertainment to all. Tiriac managed to bring Laver to a fifth set after winning the first two, but the Australian prevailed in the end 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-0. Pancho Gonzales also needed five sets to defeat Roy Emerson in an even tighter match that was turned around by Roy, 7-5 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-4. Gimeno didn't work much in defeating Boro Jovanovic in straights, and Rosewall lost his second set of the tournament against Koch.

A tired Pancho gave Laver easy entry into the final, but Gimeno was a tough nut to crack by Rosewall, who had to come back from 0-1 at sets and needed 5 sets. The final was much easier for Rosewall than expected, and thusly, Ken manages to increase his lead in the rankings, consolidating his World Number 1 status in the Open Era.

An image with the two finalists:


With this, Ken has 7 weeks at World Number 1. Put that in, General Markus, as the story will continue when I return next week.

You can look back the OP to notice the updated rankings and link to the full tables on my skydrive.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 03:22:12 AM by Slasher1985 »

Offline masterclass

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 05:14:15 AM »
Great effort Sir Slasher (Marv) and thanks to Sir Litotes (Markus) for keeping track of weeks @ #1.

Of course, prior to 1973 (and even later), there were no global official weekly computerized rankings in terms of points given based on formula or assignments.  Rankings were primarily decided by tennis journalists, promoters, and some player organizations, and that almost always happened at the end of the year.  Some organizations did assign points based on the purse money for their tourneys.  Even the so-called "computer rankings" were subjective to some extent due to the people who were assigning points to certain events.  Many people just didn't see points given for numerous lesser tournaments where the quality was questionable as important as the performances in more prestigious tournaments.  A Wozniacki type #1 would never happen in those days.

I think the ATP issued bimonthly "computer rankings" from 1973 up until 1977 or so.  But these were also imperfect because they did not include many tournaments and events in their rankings, such as Davis Cup, WCT finals, the Masters or Masters Cup. 
There were many years before the 1990's where the ATP computer rankings did not agree with the journalists or ITF end of year rankings. Heck, even the ATP itself contradicted its own computer rankings, for example, in 1975, where it made Arthur Ashe #1 instead of Connors.

It would take a lot of work, but what I would like to see is someone try to equalize the rankings points given over the years, based on today's points.  In other words, assign historical tournaments as 250, 500, 1000, Slams , Davis Cup, Olympics and give the number of points based on today's values.  I'm not sure it would be worth the work, but it would be very interesting. 

But it's really difficult  to equalize all things over the different generations.  There was no requirement for players to participate in the tournaments as they are today.  No such thing as required masters.  Prior to the mid 1990's, many players, other than Australians, just wouldn't play in Australia because of the distance involved, travel and the timing. In the early years of the Open Era, there were other types of tournaments, such as invitational tournaments. There were winner-take-all matches that were by no means exhibitions.   Many singles players played a lot of doubles.

The number and quality of players participating also made things different.  Some years there were only 48 or 64 players in a slam draw and byes given like the Australian Open for example. Also, the Australian Open in those years and even in years prior to the late 1980's really almost exclusively consisted of Australian participants.

Most players had contractual agreements to play in certain tournaments or a certain number of tournaments.  Sometimes these contracts caused them to be barred from other tournaments.  Borg was barred from the 1977 French Open - Roland Garros because of his contract with the WTT (World Team Tennis).

In the late 60's and early 70's many players were under contract to the WCT  (World Championship Tennis), or NTL (National Tennis League, later absorbed by the WCT) and because of that couldn't play in the French and/or Australian Opens. But then, Kramer and the ITF (or ILTF in those days) devised the Grand Prix Circuit with some 25-30 tournaments to counter the promoter contracts. Things got pretty bad in the early 70's and the ILTF and WCT were almost at war with each other, banning players from each other's tournaments. 

So in 1972 (at the US Open), the ATP syndicate was first formed to try to protect themselves from the rival promoters and associations.  But still in 1973, there were 4 rival pro circuits, the WCT, the Grand Prix, the US Indoor, and the European Spring Circuit, and in 1974, the WTT.  Then later the WCT and Grand Prix merged for a while - about 4 years, before the WCT split off again and even had its own complex ranking system.  Finally in 1990 the ATP tour was born uniting the players under one roof.   But even the ATP has changed its handing out of ranking points over the years, most recently in 2009.

Respectfully,
masterclass
Legends of Tennis

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 06:55:44 AM »
Thanks for the great input, John. I'm taking into consideration your words and going to try to include the tournaments that ATP missed into the players' rankings, specifically WCT. I would need the full US Indoor and European Spring Circuit calendars to include those as well. But I will also try to use that time's ranking calculations as much as possible (the way points were assigned). Prior to 1989, the ATP tried to use a formula specific to prize money and draw size and difficulty (that I determined) along with bonus points for defeating top players, and I will try to take into consideration only prize money and draw size and perhaps the title of Masters (or Finals) as I determine the tournament points, to make it less subjective. I will also try to award the bonus points on the formula that I have determined as real in 1976 (and probably the same between 1975 and 1982).

But if I do this, I will have a surely different ranking table to the official rankings, and I don't know how many people will take these real rankings into consideration.

One thing is for sure. The tournaments taken into consideration must be open and surely not invitational.

Offline masterclass

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 07:32:54 AM »
I think it's a monumental task Marv.  I admire your persistence and effort.  I think there is probably even some data that has been lost over time, or if not lost, disputable.  Makes me wish I had kept a database of results back then. But it is what it is.  Best of luck in your continuing effort. 

By the way, have you approached duong in coming over to tennis4you?  He might like it a lot better here as I don't think he would be attacked like at MTF.

Respectfully,
masterclass
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Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 07:38:11 AM »
By the way, have you approached duong in coming over to tennis4you?  He might like it a lot better here as I don't think he would be attacked like at MTF.

Respectfully,
masterclass

Not yet, General. I think I will though. I would like his inputs here very much. He has been tremendously helpful during my early Live Rankings days.

Offline Clay Death

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 09:09:00 AM »
great idea general slasher.
 
 :)) :))

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 02:36:12 AM »
Stay tuned as I prepare for Queen's 1968. I'm taking a longer time because I have to rebuild the draw by piecing together a lot of information.

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 04:21:17 AM »
With Roland Garros more than a week behind, and Wimbledon just around the corner, 1968 was still prepared to bring forth surprises all around. After winning Beckenham, the first ever grass open tournament, Australian Fred Stolle was coming to Queen's trying to consolidate on this event. But the finalist there (Emerson) and semifinalists Hoad and Gimeno were also tough into the competition.

The 1968 Queen's event is very strange to many. ITF data puts it a 128 draw event, whereas, ATP a 64 draw event. In any case, all data prior to the round of 32 is lost, and there are a few good names, including Arthur Ashe, who never made it to this incipient round. In any case, Rod Laver continued his race to gain on Rosewall with a semifinal placement. He was so close to overtaking his position with this event. Tom Okker and Clark Graebner played the surprise though by beating Laver and Metreveli and getting to the final. The outcome will never be known though, as the final was never played.

The tournament of Beckenham was skipped with this story telling, but threat not, as the points gained there are valid for all players who participated, and this first grass open era tournament is not omitted.

Only 3 points are now between Rosewall and Laver. Will the Australian defend his first place position with the Wimbledon Grand Slam?


P.S.: Don't forget that you can check the OP for the latest rankings here.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 04:28:36 AM by Slasher1985 »

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 05:46:55 AM »
There is a nice surprise for you in the OP.

You can see an alternate version of my signature that will reflect the World Number 1 statistics along this whole project. Please enjoy.

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2013, 07:12:53 AM »
As the second Grand Slam of the Open Era gets ready to start Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall will dispute their number 1 status. Unfortunately, this dispute will not be direct, as Rosewall is defeated before the QF by a formidable Tony Roche 9-7 6-3 6-2. The QF lineup is not enough for Laver to become number 1, he needs one more win.

Roche does get this win against Earl Butch Buchholz after being one set down 3-6 7-5 6-4 6-4. In another QF match, we see Graebner, the first of the Queen's finalists bageling Raymond Moore 6-2 6-0 9-7. Ashe, another new presence in the rankings starting this week eliminates Okker, the other of the Queen's finalists after 4 very close sets 7-9 9-7 9-7 6-2 (well, maybe except the last). Finally, Laver needs 5 sets against US player Dennis Ralston 4-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-2. A tough nut to crack, but we can now consider Laver as the new unofficial world number 1.

The semifinals were bound to be exciting, as Laver faced off against Ashe, but won easier than expected in the 3 sets: 7-5 6-2 6-4. The other semifinal was much tighter, as Tony Roche disputed 4 tense sets against the Queen's shared title winner Graebner. After 9-7 8-10 6-4 8-6, the Australian manages to get into the final.

The all-Australian final ends up with a simple 6-3 6-4 6-2 in favor of Laver. This Wimbledon crown, his first from the Open Era and his consistency throughout the open events of 1968 make him a worthy number 1 in my book, especially in the advent of events to come, as he gets ready, unknowingly to the world, for winning the CYGS in 1969. His domination has started.

The rankings also welcome Ashe, Roche, Newcombe, Santana and a few other players that will have a big word to say in future open era rankings.

Pictured, is the winner, presenting his trophy:


More to come, stay tuned.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 03:22:41 AM by Slasher1985 »

Offline tennisville

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2013, 07:24:27 AM »
Thanks a lot  :))

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2013, 07:36:40 AM »
This is really great stuff  :))  Seems also my "keeping track of weeks"-project has been made simpler, I only need to find post #1  :lol-sign:

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 04:51:11 AM »
This is really great stuff  :))  Seems also my "keeping track of weeks"-project has been made simpler, I only need to find post #1  :lol-sign:

Don't worry, General. You can still back my calculations up to make sure we get it right. ;-()

The next week after Wimbledon, Okker wins the Dublin Open and makes it to the third spot on the rankings, due to his better average. Gimeno already has 5 tournaments, while Okker has only 3. Even in its simplest form, we can clearly see the advantages of the average system. For instance, the more you play in low grade tournaments, the lower your average is, and the possibility of ranking high becomes small. A player needs to win big points in big tournaments to stay on top. Also, we can see that a minimum requirement of tournaments can block a player on a certain position.

Okker cannot possibly pass Laver or Rosewall. Any yet-unranked player winning the US Open will not possibly pass these two players, as the average cannot be higher than 3.750. It's a "protection" for top players and more hard work for lower ranked players to get the number 1 world ranking.

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 01:27:09 PM »
Continuing from where we left off, Drysdale wins the tournament in Gstaad and Okker gets the final, improving his average to 4.5. His third position is now guaranteed into the first Open Era US Open.

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2013, 07:24:06 AM »
1968 was still full of surprises and the first of many open battles of this new era. John Newcombe was set to come into the stage as Hamburg was ready to unfold. Functioning from 1892, this tournament was using a 3/5 sets system and was giving out prize money close to $20000. Clearly a high tournament, but Laver and Rosewall were missing.

The semifinals are a clear gateway for Nikola Pilic and Bungert to show their skills in the Open Era. While Pilic was seeded 3rd, Bungert had to get rid of 4th seed, Robert Maud to reach this stage. The two of them will be facing the two eventual finalists of the tournament Drysdale and Newcombe. Drysdale had already produced a great surprise when defeating the second seed, Tony Roche in very short 3 sets, but faced a 5 setter against Bungert. Newcombe's task was slightly easy, and the Aussie kept fresh enough in the final to win the tournament in straights.

This win propels Newcombe into Top 5. The 24 year old is set for the US Open with confidence. The finalist, Cliff Drysdale now gets into the Top 10 (out of 78 players for now), while Pilic also makes a considerable jump into the yet-young rankings table.

US Open is just around the corner. Will Laver manage to maintain his top position, or will he take a break? :)

Offline Slasher1985

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Re: Full Open Era Rankings ~Volume I~ Dawn of Open Tennis
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2013, 03:24:28 AM »
I have added images with the episodes already presented in this wonderful journey. :)