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View Full Version : jimmy connors is the greatest returner ever!!!!!!


The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 08:27 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSC-pMS0bOs
He makes agaasi and blake look like roddick.

bluegrasser
12-19-2006, 09:13 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSC-pMS0bOs
He makes agaasi and blake look like roddick.

..a little extreme, but I agree that Conners was the best cosidering the racquet he used and the way he literally threw his body at the ball.

snapple
12-19-2006, 09:45 AM
think Connors was the best at actually getting huge serves back in play allowing him to stay in point...as far as hitting returns back for outright winners, I'd have to give the nod to Agassi.

The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 09:46 AM
think Connors was the best at actually getting huge serves back in play allowing him to stay in point...as far as hitting returns back for outright winners, I'd have to give the nod to Agassi.

..a little extreme, but I agree that Conners was the best cosidering the racquet he used and the way he literally threw his body at the ball.

did yiz see those first 2 returns on the video?

bluegrasser
12-19-2006, 01:26 PM
Yes I did, Connors has/had the best return, even over AA IMO.

drakulie
12-19-2006, 01:39 PM
Considering Agassi played against bigger servers (including arguably the best ever), and returned the serve from the same position, if not closer than Connors--Agassi hands down.

And yes, Connors was also an incredible returner.

The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 02:57 PM
Considering Agassi played against bigger servers (including arguably the best ever), and returned the serve from the same position, if not closer than Connors--Agassi hands down.

And yes, Connors was also an incredible returner.

didn't return sampras's serve so good did he?Connors returned te 80's equivilants though.

drakulie
12-19-2006, 03:55 PM
didn't return sampras's serve so good did he?

???????? You apparently don't know about their history against one another. Agassi defeated Sampras 14 times in his career. So yes, I would say he was able over the course of their careers to return well against him.

Connors returned te 80's equivilants though.

No, he didn't. Other than Sampras himself, there was nobody Connors played who had the equivalent of Sampras' serve. By the way, Jimbo never beat Sampras (0-2)

tennismike33
12-19-2006, 05:45 PM
I agree that AA returned against some big servers, but take a look at who JC returned against. Roscoe Tanner made Roddick look like a Junior serving, that is with the rackets that they were using. Many of the servers in the JC era moved the ball around the box more, plus there were a lot more of the serve and volley type servers in that generation. JC's return is a shot envied by many and feared by most who faced him. Look back on some of his matches and the SV boys stayed back a little more and attacked off the 2nd or 3rd ball in the rally. There are many factors but rallies today are few and far between, unless you keep hitting to Roddick's BH, he will rally with you all day.

superman1
12-19-2006, 05:50 PM
Nice vid, but

1. The second serve that McEnroe threw at him was a floater. Even on his first serve, McEnroe could never get up to 120 mph until he started using modern racquets.
2. You could dig up hundreds of clips of Agassi hitting clean winners off of serves. He has hit winners off of Roddick's 140 mph+ serves.

John McEnroe himself has said that Agassi was the best returner ever, followed closely by Connors.

drakulie
12-19-2006, 06:14 PM
Roscoe Tanner made Roddick look like a Junior serving,

?? Junior?? Dude, you need to seriously get real. If anything it is the other way around.

On one hand you have Connors standing a little behind the baseline returning against 110?? mph serves.

On the other you have Agassi standing ON the baseline retruning 130+ MPH serves. HMMMM???

I take Agassi's return any day. By the way AA also played some seriously good serve and volleyers. Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Rafter, Krajicek, etc.

tennismike33
12-19-2006, 06:50 PM
?? Junior?? Dude, you need to seriously get real. If anything it is the other way around.

On one hand you have Connors standing a little behind the baseline returning against 110?? mph serves.

On the other you have Agassi standing ON the baseline retruning 130+ MPH serves. HMMMM???

I take Agassi's return any day. By the way AA also played some seriously good serve and volleyers. Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Rafter, Krajicek, etc.

DUDE, lighten up on me, Tanner for his time and the racket technology 30 years ago, serving 110-120 was HUGE.

The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 06:57 PM
???????? You apparently don't know about their history against one another. Agassi defeated Sampras 14 times in his career. So yes, I would say he was able over the course of their careers to return well against him.



No, he didn't. Other than Sampras himself, there was nobody Connors played who had the equivalent of Sampras' serve. By the way, Jimbo never beat Sampras (0-2)
(deeeeeeeeep breath)Agassi defeated sampras when he was playing crap,never ever did he beat him when he was on,outside of the australian open.
No,connors never beat sampras,but he was 40 so you are just exposing your own ignorance there.I think jmac had the equivelant of sampras's serve seeing as he:was hitting the ball at 130mph consistently in '92,had an unreadable serve,if you look at the video you can see connors had no read on his serve and had to wait until the ball was struck to move.

The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 07:07 PM
Nice vid, but

1. The second serve that McEnroe threw at him was a floater. Even on his first serve, McEnroe could never get up to 120 mph until he started using modern racquets.
2. You could dig up hundreds of clips of Agassi hitting clean winners off of serves. He has hit winners off of Roddick's 140 mph+ serves.

John McEnroe himself has said that Agassi was the best returner ever, followed closely by Connors.
1.Connors had to return a 115mph with a racquet that had a sweet spot the size of a peanut.Never mind the fact that they're playing with graphite racquets in that video.
2.Roddicks serve is inferior to jmacs,it has righty spin and is readable,giving agassi precious time to react,they and is generally not that fast,125-130,although he does hit belters too,they've slowed up the grounds giving you more time to react.

jmac is an *****hole,he didn't put connors or lendl in his top 5 players ever,although he put himself and andre,(4 of my slams won in australia on incredibly slow rebound when nobody cared)agassi in there,despite his not being anywhere near as successful as the other 2,who were able to beat jmac.He hated connors,plus he's a media wh*re,he's always saying that this player and that player is the best ever at something,you have to take everything he says with a pinch of salt.

Sagittar
12-19-2006, 07:11 PM
i never saw him play though judging this video he is one hell of a returner maybe close to my return king (agassi)

drakulie
12-19-2006, 07:15 PM
DUDE, lighten up on me, Tanner for his time and the racket technology 30 years ago, serving 110-120 was HUGE.

I agree, but to say Roddick's serve is a "junior" compared to Tanners?

The Gorilla
12-19-2006, 07:18 PM
incidently,wasn't jmac an *****hole after hitting that passing shot 2min in?

drakulie
12-19-2006, 07:35 PM
(deeeeeeeeep breath)Agassi defeated sampras when he was playing crap,never ever did he beat him when he was on,outside of the australian open.

Possibly one of the dumber statements I have ever read. Between 1993 and 1998 while Sampras was the undisputed # 1 player in the world Agassi beat him 6 timess. Including wins at Paris, AO Finals, Key Biscayne Finals, Montreal Finals, San Jose Finals, and Toronto.

PS: You could now let out that deep breath.

No,connors never beat sampras,but he was 40 so you are just exposing your own ignorance there.

The only reason I brought this up, is because of the following idiodic remark you made earlier:
"didn't return sampras's serve so good did he?Connors returned te 80's equivilants though."

I think jmac had the equivelant of sampras's serve seeing as he:was hitting the ball at 130mph consistently in '92,had an unreadable serve,if you look at the video you can see connors had no read on his serve and had to wait until the ball was struck to move.

LMFAO! McEnore? 130 MPH serve?? LOL.

civic
12-19-2006, 10:16 PM
Connors' forehand was weaker than his backhand. Agassi was strong on both sides. I think Agassi had better control over his forehand returns than Connors.

superman1
12-19-2006, 11:14 PM
The Gorilla, you know nothing about this subject (tennis). It is obviously not worth it to argue with you. Stick to playing tennis video games.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 02:53 AM
Possibly one of the dumber statements I have ever read. Between 1993 and 1998 while Sampras was the undisputed # 1 player in the world Agassi beat him 6 timess. Including wins at Paris, AO Finals, Key Biscayne Finals, Montreal Finals, San Jose Finals, and Toronto.
sampras beat agassi 10 times during that period.
[QUOTE=drakulie;1125007]PS: You could now let out that deep breath.
not so sure about that.


The only reason I brought this up, is because of the following idiodic remark you made earlier:
"didn't return sampras's serve so good did he?Connors returned te 80's equivilants though."
I still don't understand why that was relevant,I don't think you watch tennis,you just look up head to heads on atp tennis.com.Connors did return the 80's equivelants with a racqet that had a tiny hitting area.


LMFAO! McEnore? 130 MPH serve?? LOL.
he did,I can' be ar$ed to lok through all the youtube videos but I saw this in '92,I also saw it last year at wimbledon when he played goran in an exhibition,don't know if you got it in the states it was on bbc.I'm sure other people who were watching tennis in '92 saw it too.so as far as that goes,you're just factually wrong.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 02:54 AM
The Gorilla, you know nothing about this subject (tennis). It is obviously not worth it to argue with you. Stick to playing tennis video games.

typical patronising remark from a passing troll.

Duzza
12-20-2006, 03:50 AM
All that tennis is awesome. I think his returns were really good and extremely explosive. Good find Gorilla!

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 05:07 AM
All that tennis is awesome. I think his returns were really good and extremely explosive. Good find Gorilla!

thanks duzza

lenbo01
12-20-2006, 12:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSC-pMS0bOs
He makes agaasi and blake look like roddick.

in the future try getting video of a match that connors actually won. if his return was so great why didn't he win this match?

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 12:34 PM
in the future try getting video of a match that connors actually won. if his return was so great why didn't he win this match?

because his serve was so bad,and overall his game was not as complete as mcenroe's,similar to blakes losses to federer or agassi's to sampras,smartar$e.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 01:35 PM
he did,I can' be ar$ed to lok through all the youtube videos but I saw this in '92,I also saw it last year at wimbledon when he played goran in an exhibition,don't know if you got it in the states it was on bbc.I'm sure other people who were watching tennis in '92 saw it too.so as far as that goes,you're just factually wrong.

LOL. You still believe McEnroe was hitting 130 mph serves in his prime?? LOL

bluegrasser
12-20-2006, 01:42 PM
DUDE, lighten up on me, Tanner for his time and the racket technology 30 years ago, serving 110-120 was HUGE.

I agree, if he had the equipment that ARod has, he'd be right there with him, same with Connors.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 01:43 PM
LOL. You still believe McEnroe was hitting 130 mph serves in his prime?? LOL
I KNOW he was,you are 19 and are too young to remember.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 02:01 PM
I KNOW he was,you are 19 and are too young to remember.

You are not very bright. McEnroe is my all-time favorite player. I grew up idolizing him.....so I DO remember him. And he WAS NOT HITTING 130 mph serves.

130?? LOL

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 02:15 PM
You are not very bright. McEnroe is my all-time favorite player. I grew up idolizing him.....so I DO remember him. And he WAS NOT HITTING 130 mph serves.

130?? LOL

well,you were barely out of nappys before he finished up so I think you are talking crap.He served 125-130 consistently in '92,I watched it,I know what I'm talking about,he was serving 128 against goran last year in an exhibition.

Brettolius
12-20-2006, 02:23 PM
Pardner, Pete Sampras wasn't even averaging 130 in '92, or ever really, and I don't think you're gonna find anybody anywhere that will say John McEnroe had a serve as big or bigger than Pete Sampras. Maybe he hit one or two last year with a juiced gun...not in '92 homeskillet.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 02:26 PM
well,you were barely out of nappys before he finished up so I think you are talking crap.He served 125-130 consistently in '92,I watched it,I know what I'm talking about,he was serving 128 against goran last year in an exhibition.

Barely out of nappy's ??? You can't prove he hit 130 so you have continuously resorted to name-calling. It is you who apparaently never really saw J Mac play.

Kind of like your ridiculous "theory" earlier in this thread when you said Agassi only beat Sampras when Sampras was playing like crap. That was a funny one. LOL

Why don't you try proving your theory without insulting?

130-- LOL

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 02:27 PM
Pardner, Pete Sampras wasn't even averaging 130 in '92, or ever really, and I don't think you're gonna find anybody anywhere that will say John McEnroe had a serve as big or bigger than Pete Sampras. Maybe he hit one or two last year with a juiced gun...not in '92 homeskillet.

I didn't say he was averaging that,I said he was reaching that.His average is probably way lower,sampras's average according to anothe thread was 85mph,he reached the low 130's though.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 02:29 PM
,sampras's average according to anothe thread was 85mph,he reached the low 130's though.

I know what thread you are talking about, and it was 85 mph for second serves. LOL

You obviously don't comprehend very well what you read.

here is a link you might want to look at:

http://www.advancedtennis.com/results/servemen.htm

tennismike33
12-20-2006, 03:33 PM
[QUOTE=drakulie;1125007]Possibly one of the dumber statements I have ever read. Between 1993 and 1998 while Sampras was the undisputed # 1 player in the world Agassi beat him 6 timess. Including wins at Paris, AO Finals, Key Biscayne Finals, Montreal Finals, San Jose Finals, and Toronto.

ROLE THE TAPE: Agassi and Sampras at the US Open. Watch that entire match to see how good both of them were. Agassi won that match becasue of the amount of times he passed Pete and just by the sheer volume of service returns Pete had to hit back to AA.

Mick
12-20-2006, 03:40 PM
You are not very bright. McEnroe is my all-time favorite player. I grew up idolizing him.....so I DO remember him. And he WAS NOT HITTING 130 mph serves.

130?? LOL

Yep. And I remember some of McEnroe's aces were slower than 100 mph. Who needs a 130 mph serve when you can ace people with placement ?

drakulie
12-20-2006, 03:59 PM
Yep. And I remember some of McEnroe's aces were slower than 100 mph. Who needs a 130 mph serve when you can ace people with placement ?

yeah that guy had sick placement and spin, especially that can-opener to the ad side. I would agree he hit fairly hard for his time, as it was always being commented on, but 130??? Come on.

Supernatural_Serve
12-20-2006, 04:17 PM
Agassi definately faced bigger heavier nastier servers than Conners, so comparing them isn't meaningful. They were both the best returners of their day.

But, Connors looks better returning serves because of his intensity and attacking intimidating style.

Furthermore, Conners as a returner in my opinion put more fear uncertainty and doubt in servers than Agassi ever did.

I think plenty of servers said to themselves facing Conners "his return of serve could actually beat me today"

versus

I think plenty of servers said to themselves facing Andre "he's going to rob me of some aces and serves that shouldn't come back today"

Big difference.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 05:12 PM
yeah that guy had sick placement and spin, especially that can-opener to the ad side. I would agree he hit fairly hard for his time, as it was always being commented on, but 130??? Come on.

he DID,I just can't find any resources on the web detailing his biggest serve,had a look at the videos on youtube,not one of them looks at the speed gun,but I saw it with my own eyes,even last year when he played goran in an exhibition in queens,he hit 128 consistently,he's pushing 50.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 05:49 PM
he DID,I just can't find any resources on the web detailing his biggest serve,had a look at the videos on youtube,not one of them looks at the speed gun,but I saw it with my own eyes,even last year when he played goran in an exhibition in queens,he hit 128 consistently,he's pushing 50.

LOL. You are too funny dude.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 06:04 PM
LOL. You are too funny dude.

why's that?

drakulie
12-20-2006, 06:27 PM
because of people like you who come up with crazy claims and then try to actually search for proof when there is none. remember, we are talking about when McEnroe was in his prime. HE WAS NOT HITTING 130.

Mick
12-20-2006, 06:28 PM
he DID,I just can't find any resources on the web detailing his biggest serve,had a look at the videos on youtube,not one of them looks at the speed gun,but I saw it with my own eyes,even last year when he played goran in an exhibition in queens,he hit 128 consistently,he's pushing 50.


"His (McEnroe) fastest serve of the match was 119 mph"

“It’s not like I’m not playing. I’m out there playing on the Champions Tour,” McEnroe said. “I play with some pretty big hitters. Ivanisevic is on the seniors tour and the guy serves 130 (mph).”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11379808/from/RS.2/

maybe he was serving with the wind on that day because if you read his statement, he thought 130 mph serve was pretty big and that's Ivanisevic's serve, not his.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 06:38 PM
"His (McEnroe) fastest serve of the match was 119 mph"

“It’s not like I’m not playing. I’m out there playing on the Champions Tour,” McEnroe said. “I play with some pretty big hitters. Ivanisevic is on the seniors tour and the guy serves 130 (mph).”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11379808/from/RS.2/

maybe he was serving with the wind on that day because if you read his statement, he thought 130 mph serve was pretty big and that's Ivanisevic's serve, not his.
true,but he regularly hit 125-130mph in his queens exo against ivanisevic.Anyway,I feel this thread is losing it's focus,Jimmy Connors is the greatest returner of all time,agassi couldn't hit the angles connors did in his second return.Most players look for free points off their serve,connors looked for free points off his opponents serve.

drakulie
12-20-2006, 06:39 PM
nice find mick. Thanks for sharing. As you said,,,,,,"good placement" and a 107 mph ace ain't too shabby.

The Gorilla
12-20-2006, 06:40 PM
because of people like you who come up with crazy claims and then try to actually search for proof when there is none. remember, we are talking about when McEnroe was in his prime. HE WAS NOT HITTING 130.
I sense the ground shifting here.We are not talking about mcenroe in his prime,we are talking about mcenroe in '92,with his lickety split band new space age racquet.

Mick
12-20-2006, 06:45 PM
true,but he regularly hit 125-130mph in his queens exo against ivanisevic.Anyway,I feel this thread is losing it's focus,Jimmy Connors is the greatest returner of all time,agassi couldn't hit the angles connors did in his second return.Most players look for free points off their serve,connors looked for free points off his opponents serve.

I remember in the old days, the commentators always said Jimmy Connors was the best returner in the game. Later on somehow Agassi earned that recognition from the press.

maxply
12-21-2006, 03:38 AM
I was at the us open in 1992, when MAC played Fromberg, most of his 1st serves were 99-105mph. I dont remember any over 110mph.

Dunlopkid
12-21-2006, 04:26 AM
I think Agassi hit more winners, but Agassi also got aced a whole lot. Probably more than Connors. But maybe that's because the average serve speed was faster for Agassi.

Rabbit
12-21-2006, 05:16 AM
Firstly, Agassi and Connors (alphabetic order) are the two greatest returners in the history of the sport. Agassi may have faced more speed, but Connors did his returning against servers who used more variety and placement than sheer power. He also did this with a racket smaller than your standard wood frame. I think both would do equally well if they were to swap eras.

Serving back in the day was as big, just not as often. Wood rackets mandated that the first serve be of higher percentage because it was riskier to hit a second serve. However, if a guy was up 40 - 0 and a big server, they could uncap some in the 120s. Remember that in the days of wood, professional tennis matches were won on fewer errors, not winners. (I think the same rules holds true today, but Academy tennis teaches that you should hit more winners...)

That said, McEnroe's serve was never built on speed. His serve was built on disguise, placement, and spin. The best I ever saw McEnroe serve witha wood racket was when he played the Open in '82. The commentators remarked that his second serves were approaching 100 MPH. If I had to guess, I would guess that 70% of the aces that John McEnroe served in his career were under 100 MPH. McEnroe was more about throwing strikes than hitting aces.

I would also say that another difference is technology. Not so much the rackets as the radar guns. I think they either juice them now, or they work better. If we look at Agassi, it doesn't stand to reason that he woudl return better at when he was older than younger. And, if Roddick really hit 130 - 140 routinely, then we would have to believe that Agassi was a better returner in the twilight of his career? That's kind of hard to believe. I think it's more a case of advances in the radar guns used to clock serves. So, should we add a % to the speeds of old?

The Gorilla
12-21-2006, 05:44 AM
Firstly, Agassi and Connors (alphabetic order) are the two greatest returners in the history of the sport. Agassi may have faced more speed, but Connors did his returning against servers who used more variety and placement than sheer power. He also did this with a racket smaller than your standard wood frame. I think both would do equally well if they were to swap eras.

Serving back in the day was as big, just not as often. Wood rackets mandated that the first serve be of higher percentage because it was riskier to hit a second serve. However, if a guy was up 40 - 0 and a big server, they could uncap some in the 120s. Remember that in the days of wood, professional tennis matches were won on fewer errors, not winners. (I think the same rules holds true today, but Academy tennis teaches that you should hit more winners...)

That said, McEnroe's serve was never built on speed. His serve was built on disguise, placement, and spin. The best I ever saw McEnroe serve witha wood racket was when he played the Open in '82. The commentators remarked that his second serves were approaching 100 MPH. If I had to guess, I would guess that 70% of the aces that John McEnroe served in his career were under 100 MPH. McEnroe was more about throwing strikes than hitting aces.

I would also say that another difference is technology. Not so much the rackets as the radar guns. I think they either juice them now, or they work better. If we look at Agassi, it doesn't stand to reason that he woudl return better at when he was older than younger. And, if Roddick really hit 130 - 140 routinely, then we would have to believe that Agassi was a better returner in the twilight of his career? That's kind of hard to believe. I think it's more a case of advances in the radar guns used to clock serves. So, should we add a % to the speeds of old?

agassi used cortisone towards the end of his career which is a steroid and could have beemn the erason for his bigger serve towards the end,just a thought.

Rabbit
12-21-2006, 09:43 AM
I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I wasn't referencing Agassi's serve at all. Agassi's returned against reportedly bigger servers. Agassi himself didn't serve bigger.

superman1
12-21-2006, 04:30 PM
Even if the radar guns were a few mph too low back in the day, there is still no question that Roddick has the biggest serve of all time. McEnroe himself said that the 3 best servers were Sampras, Ivanisevic, and Becker, but that Roddick has the biggest serve in terms of pure pace. He has been on the receiving end of it in exhibitions and charity events. Agassi is 14-20 against Sampras, 4-3 against Ivanisevic, 10-4 against Becker (won 10 out of the 11 matches they played in the 90's), and 5-1 against Roddick.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=728KQCplvDA

The Gorilla
12-21-2006, 06:44 PM
Even if the radar guns were a few mph too low back in the day, there is still no question that Roddick has the biggest serve of all time. McEnroe himself said that the 3 best servers were Sampras, Ivanisevic, and Becker, but that Roddick has the biggest serve in terms of pure pace. He has been on the receiving end of it in exhibitions and charity events. Agassi is 14-20 against Sampras, 4-3 against Ivanisevic, 10-4 against Becker (won 10 out of the 11 matches they played in the 90's), and 5-1 against Roddick.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=728KQCplvDA

connors played the 80's equivelant roscoe tanner,tanner and roscoe were both at a disadvatage because of their racquets,they were at an equal disadvantage as tanners serves were hit at less pace than todays whilst connors had to return with a racquet with a tiny head,connors record against tanner was 16-4.

The Gorilla
12-21-2006, 06:45 PM
I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I wasn't referencing Agassi's serve at all. Agassi's returned against reportedly bigger servers. Agassi himself didn't serve bigger.

sorry about that.

superman1
12-21-2006, 08:01 PM
Connors lost to Roscoe Tanner 4 times? Wow, Jimmy must have been playing pretty bad.

mctennis
12-23-2006, 06:18 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSC-pMS0bOs
He makes agaasi and blake look like roddick.

I agree he was a great returner. Especially with the fact he used that stupid metal racquet. Imagine him with a decent racquet? Has anyone else ever used that metal racquet? What a log that was.

mctennis
12-23-2006, 06:18 AM
Connors lost to Roscoe Tanner 4 times? Wow, Jimmy must have been playing pretty bad.
Hard to return a rocket serve like Roscoe had.

tennis playa
12-25-2006, 07:58 AM
think Connors was the best at actually getting huge serves back in play allowing him to stay in point...as far as hitting returns back for outright winners, I'd have to give the nod to Agassi.

In terms of getting the ball back into play deep into the court Joakim Nystrom was a much better returner than Connors. Anyone over 35 who saw this guy play would say the same and now that i think about it Wilander was a pretty consistent returner, okay so he never hit out right winners off serves but if the idea is to return the serve and stay in the point then he was right up there with the best

Fedace
12-25-2006, 08:16 AM
well,you were barely out of nappys before he finished up so I think you are talking crap.He served 125-130 consistently in '92,I watched it,I know what I'm talking about,he was serving 128 against goran last year in an exhibition.

Gorilla, Mcenroe himself admitted that his serve never clocks consistantly in 120's, he actually said he wished it was and definitely Not in his prime in the 80's. His serve clocked in the range of 102-112 or so and sometimes he would even throw in a 1st serve in 90's to throw his opponents off. Mcenroe himself admitted that he tops out at 128 mph and that is even extremely rare occurance, and all this is out of his own mouth, so where are you getting your information from, ??:confused: :grin:

The Gorilla
12-25-2006, 05:09 PM
Gorilla, Mcenroe himself admitted that his serve never clocks consistantly in 120's, he actually said he wished it was and definitely Not in his prime in the 80's. His serve clocked in the range of 102-112 or so and sometimes he would even throw in a 1st serve in 90's to throw his opponents off. Mcenroe himself admitted that he tops out at 128 mph and that is even extremely rare occurance, and all this is out of his own mouth, so where are you getting your information from, ??:confused: :grin:

I saw him serving that big against goran,or can't you read?

The Gorilla
12-25-2006, 05:11 PM
In terms of getting the ball back into play deep into the court Joakim Nystrom was a much better returner than Connors. Anyone over 35 who saw this guy play would say the same and now that i think about it Wilander was a pretty consistent returner, okay so he never hit out right winners off serves but if the idea is to return the serve and stay in the point then he was right up there with the best

I don't agree with this definition of a great returner,that's like saying tommy robredo is a great server because he gets a huge percentage in.Most people look for free points off their serve,connors looked for free points off the return,and got them,consistently.

tennis playa
12-26-2006, 09:22 AM
so your saying that a player who gets approx 80% of serves isn't a great server? just because he isn't hitting 35 aces per game doesn't detract from the terrific consistency. what you need to back up the 80% service success is a good, solid game. Look at Edberg, he had what was a relatively week F/H and yet he was still a multi G/S winner. The point i'm making is that a serve alone isn't going to win games week in week out, I mean look at the year Roddick had, if having a 'great serve' was such a huge advantage Roddick would have had the success the RF has had.

The Gorilla
12-26-2006, 03:30 PM
so your saying that a player who gets approx 80% of serves isn't a great server? just because he isn't hitting 35 aces per game doesn't detract from the terrific consistency. what you need to back up the 80% service success is a good, solid game. Look at Edberg, he had what was a relatively week F/H and yet he was still a multi G/S winner. The point i'm making is that a serve alone isn't going to win games week in week out, I mean look at the year Roddick had, if having a 'great serve' was such a huge advantage Roddick would have had the success the RF has had.

Yes,but great servers get a high pecentage of serves in anyway,we take that for granted from them,they also place the ball and hit it with speed and disguise.Edberg had a crap forehand,but he only used it about 5% of the time,he lived at the net,he was an extraordinary volleyer.Roddick was extremely successful on hard when he served well,whenever he serves well he beats everyone in the world but federer,if he'd started serving well sooner he would have won more.He has been as successful as rafa when serving well,he just hasn't served well for as long period as rafa has played well,the fact that he has invaiaby beaten everyone but fed when he plays well proves that serving is an integral part of his success,just as nadal's speed is an integral part of his,if nadal wasn't fast he'd be verdasco,if roddick couldn't serve big he wouldn't be on our television screens.
but I digress,my point is,connors got a huge percentage of returns in play,no top of that he often won points outright on the return,he almost always put the server at a disadvantage,(something he was unable to do with his serve).Therefore simply getting a huge number of serves back isn't enough to make you a great returner.

Ultra2HolyGrail
12-27-2006, 12:21 AM
Agassi a better returner than connors imo and just a pure better ball striker in general. Agassi could be claimed as the best baseliner and returner ever.

The Gorilla
12-27-2006, 12:52 PM
Agassi a better returner than connors imo and just a pure better ball striker in general. Agassi could be claimed as the best baseliner and returner ever.

No.you must give reasons and examples

BaseLineBash
12-27-2006, 06:58 PM
No.you must give reasons and examples

This thread is a joke. It's like saying oxygen is useless. Reason? Because Andre Agassi is the best returner the game has ever seen! Examples? Any time he picks up a tennis racquet! What's your next thread title gonna be? The earth is really flat?

The Gorilla
12-27-2006, 10:33 PM
This thread is a joke. It's like saying oxygen is useless. Reason? Because Andre Agassi is the best returner the game has ever seen! Examples? Any time he picks up a tennis racquet! What's your next thread title gonna be? The earth is really flat?

I hate fanboys.

Ultra2HolyGrail
12-27-2006, 10:50 PM
No.you must give reasons and examples


How about because AA has won all four Grand Slams?

BaseLineBash
12-27-2006, 11:05 PM
I hate fanboys.

Well, you must hate the truth as well then.

superman1
12-28-2006, 12:06 AM
Agassi has been in the spotlight for the last 21 years. You need examples of why he was a great returner? One thing you could do is, I dunno, watch some of his matches? He played over a thousand of them, I'm sure you could pick one and check it out.

The Gorilla
12-28-2006, 12:14 AM
Agassi has been in the spotlight for the last 21 years. You need examples of why he was a great returner? One thing you could do is, I dunno, watch some of his matches? He played over a thousand of them, I'm sure you could pick one and check it out.

jimmy connors had an even longer career than him,would have won all 4 slams in 1 year had he not been barred from the french open,had an even worse serve and an even better return.

oberyn
12-29-2006, 08:04 AM
jimmy connors had an even longer career than him,would have won all 4 slams in 1 year had he not been barred from the french open,had an even worse serve and an even better return.

Thank you, someone provides some sanity and perspective. I admit to not being the biggest Agassi fan (too little substance, too many tanks, too many losses on the big stage, too intimidated by Sampras, too much weight placed on taking advantage of a choke job by Medvedv. which is the sine qua non of the Agassi is a legedn factor) but Connors as a returner was absolutely brilliant. His returns absolutely frightened people and with a raquet, IMO, with which no one else could hit.

BaseLineBash
12-29-2006, 04:11 PM
Thank you, someone provides some sanity and perspective. I admit to not being the biggest Agassi fan (too little substance, too many tanks, too many losses on the big stage, too intimidated by Sampras, too much weight placed on taking advantage of a choke job by Medvedv. which is the sine qua non of the Agassi is a legedn factor) but Connors as a returner was absolutely brilliant. His returns absolutely frightened people and with a raquet, IMO, with which no one else could hit.

Blah blah blah... When you enter a tournament you don't automaticly play the final, you have to get there on your own...you know? He was down 2 sets too! As for the Sampras intimidation... 14-20! head to head, granted it wasn't all in big venues... Just because you're not big on Agassi doesn't mean he wasn't the best returner the game has ever seen... and just because I'm an Agassi fan doesn't mean he was. Opinions... bias'... All you have to do is WATCH! Just WATCH! It doesn't matter how you feel about it him, matters on this subject are as plain as day.

The Gorilla
12-29-2006, 06:22 PM
Blah blah blah... When you enter a tournament you don't automaticly play the final, you have to get there on your own...you know? He was down 2 sets too! As for the Sampras intimidation... 14-20! head to head, granted it wasn't all in big venues... Just because you're not big on Agassi doesn't mean he wasn't the best returner the game has ever seen... and just because I'm an Agassi fan doesn't mean he was. Opinions... bias'... All you have to do is WATCH! Just WATCH! It doesn't matter how you feel about it him, matters on this subject are as plain as day.

after beating the top seed stefan edberg in straight sets in the last sixteen of the us open in 1989 jimmy connor pushed agassi to four sets at the age of 37 in the quarterfinals of the us open,at the age of 39,after a year off tennis recovering from a completely collapsed wrist,he got to the semi's,only to lose to the french open champion jim courier.He's won 105 tournaments to agassi's 60,they've won 8 gs's each,though 4 of agassi's were in the australian open,and had he played on the grass of jimmy's era,he would have won one at most.HE Was Better Than Agassi,In Every Single Way,More of an as$hole as a young player,more respected as an older player,had a longer career,had an even worse serve,had a much better return,Faaaaar more exciting player,should have won all 4 gs's in one year but was barred for playing wtt instead of atp,he....was.....BETTER!!!!!!

BaseLineBash
12-29-2006, 07:06 PM
after beating the top seed stefan edberg in straight sets in the last sixteen of the us open in 1989 jimmy connor pushed agassi to four sets at the age of 37 in the quarterfinals of the us open,at the age of 39,after a year off tennis recovering from a completely collapsed wrist,he got to the semi's,only to lose to the french open champion jim courier.He's won 105 tournaments to agassi's 60,they've won 8 gs's each,though 4 of agassi's were in the australian open,and had he played on the grass of jimmy's era,he would have won one at most.HE Was Better Than Agassi,In Every Single Way,More of an as$hole as a young player,more respected as an older player,had a longer career,had an even worse serve,had a much better return,Faaaaar more exciting player,should have won all 4 gs's in one year but was barred for playing wtt instead of atp,he....was.....BETTER!!!!!!

He was NOT the better returner. You can A.) Take my word for it, or B.) Put some Agassi footage on your tv. Next thread title.... Do the 4 dimensions really exist? I know... I'm psychic.

The Gorilla
12-30-2006, 02:52 AM
He was NOT the better returner. You can A.) Take my word for it, or B.) Put some Agassi footage on your tv. Next thread title.... Do the 4 dimensions really exist? I know... I'm psychic.

you're a troll.

llama
12-30-2006, 06:06 AM
you're a troll.

How can you call someone who's been here TWICE as long as you - and has THREE times the amount of posts - a troll?

If there ever was a troll and a "fanboy" around here...

The Gorilla
12-30-2006, 08:01 AM
How can you call someone who's been here TWICE as long as you - and has THREE times the amount of posts - a troll?

If there ever was a troll and a "fanboy" around here...

yes,of course,trolls are renowned for their discretion when it comes to posting...........idiot.

Rabbit
12-30-2006, 09:09 AM
In terms of getting the ball back into play deep into the court Joakim Nystrom was a much better returner than Connors. Anyone over 35 who saw this guy play would say the same and now that i think about it Wilander was a pretty consistent returner, okay so he never hit out right winners off serves but if the idea is to return the serve and stay in the point then he was right up there with the best

You'll be happy to know that you share the same insight as Mats Wilander. At the Seniors Event in Memphis, returning came up and Wilander interjected Nystrom as the greatest returner ever, better than Connors and Agassi.

I believe that Wilander teamed with Nystrom and won Wimbledon together and were long-term doubles partners. Anyway, Wilander (who had a pretty darn good return himself) said Nystrom was tops in his book.

oberyn
12-31-2006, 03:59 AM
14-20! head to head, granted it wasn't all in big venues...

LOL. That's a definite understatement. 4-1 in majors, the biggest venues of them all.

Just because you're not big on Agassi doesn't mean he wasn't the best returner the game has ever seen... and just because I'm an Agassi fan doesn't mean he was. Opinions... bias'... All you have to do is WATCH! Just WATCH! It doesn't matter how you feel about it him, matters on this subject are as plain as day.

Well, in a debate such as this both of our opinions are likely to be biased, almost by definition. I'm actually not a Connors fan, either. I just think that, given the conditions, raquet technology, etc. Connors was a slightly better returner.

superman1
01-02-2007, 02:19 AM
Since there is no way to numerically rate how good a return of serve is, there can be no end to this debate. Same goes for every single other debate on these boards. Who had the best serve of all time? I say Sampras, someone says Ivanisevic, someone says Roddick, someone says Pancho Gonzalez. Who the hell knows.

Let's just say Agassi and Connors are two of the best returners ever.

The Gorilla
01-18-2007, 03:56 PM
someone has just launched a similar thread.

alwaysatnet
01-19-2007, 06:00 PM
Just based on the fact that Connors spent a good deal of his career playing with a racquet that had a sweet spot the size of a tea spoon I would claim that Jimmy was the best.

drakulie
01-19-2007, 07:01 PM
Just based on the fact that Connors spent a good deal of his career playing with a racquet that had a sweet spot the size of a tea spoon I would claim that Jimmy was the best.

That rationale would disqualify every player that has played since Connors. IN fact, unless the rules change to make players play with smaller head sizes, it would disqualify every player until the end of eternity.


In fact, that rationale could be applied to the GOAT discussion. Congratulations, you just disqualified every player who has or will ever play tennis after Connors retired from the GOAT discussion.

alwaysatnet
01-19-2007, 08:38 PM
That rationale would disqualify every player that has played since Connors. IN fact, unless the rules change to make players play with smaller head sizes, it would disqualify every player until the end of eternity.


In fact, that rationale could be applied to the GOAT discussion. Congratulations, you just disqualified every player who has or will ever play tennis after Connors retired from the GOAT discussion. Not in the least,my legally minded friend. It's just recognizing the fact that Jimmy Connors was a fantastic returner and in addition to that he used such sub par racquets. I'm sure Agassi fans will not agree with me and their man used a considerably larger frame, as I'm sure you know. Connors is the cake. His T-2000 was just the icing. Don't confuse the cake with the icing.

Gilgamesh
01-19-2007, 08:55 PM
I saw him serving that big against goran,or can't you read?

Are you sure? I need footage proof of this. Maybe it was in km lol. No but seriously I am a huge JMac fan and watched a ton of his matches and I have never seen a match where he was consistently hitting 130 mph serves. Maybe it was the wind?

noeledmonds
01-20-2007, 01:49 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSC-pMS0bOs
He makes agaasi and blake look like roddick.

A clip of Agassi against Sampras. This man can return too you know:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLy3yIdexIU

drakulie
01-20-2007, 08:28 AM
Not in the least,my legally minded friend. It's just recognizing the fact that Jimmy Connors was a fantastic returner and in addition to that he used such sub par racquets. I'm sure Agassi fans will not agree with me and their man used a considerably larger frame, as I'm sure you know. Connors is the cake. His T-2000 was just the icing. Don't confuse the cake with the icing.

LOL. You are funny, but don't persuade.

Connors may have used a smaller head than AA but he also did not have to return against guys hitting 130.

The Gorilla
01-20-2007, 01:42 PM
LOL. You are funny, but don't persuade.

Connors may have used a smaller head than AA but he also did not have to return against guys hitting 130.

all things being equal, returning with a racquet with a tiny head is more difficult against a 115mph serve ,than returning with a racquet the size of a bus against a serve that is aout 10mph harder.

at the very least you'd have to admit it is equally difficult.

alwaysatnet
01-20-2007, 03:23 PM
LOL. You are funny, but don't persuade.

Connors may have used a smaller head than AA but he also did not have to return against guys hitting 130. I think he had to face some big servers in his long career. I have to admit though outside of Roscoe Tanner I can't think of one right now.

bluegrasser
01-20-2007, 03:26 PM
I think he had to face some big servers in his long career. I have to admit though outside of Roscoe Tanner I can't think of one right now.

Kevin Curren (s?) comes to mind...

alwaysatnet
01-20-2007, 03:29 PM
Of course!

FiveO
01-20-2007, 03:55 PM
John Alexander, Colin Dibley and Victor Amaya are a few more. Amaya reached a career high of 15 with his enormous serve. Alexander was the #1 junior in the world in 1969, and reached a career high of #8 in the pros before a bad back took him out. Very Stich-like while he played. Dibley reached over 140 mph on his serve with a wood Dunlop Maxply Fort.

drakulie
01-20-2007, 04:05 PM
I think he had to face some big servers in his long career. I have to admit though outside of Roscoe Tanner I can't think of one right now.

So you got Tanner, and Curren??? And how many times in his career did he have to face these two guys?? 31 times between the two. Please!

Agassi, faced Sampras 34 times alone. Furthermore, he CONSISTENTLY had to face guys hitting in the 120+ range, which inlcuded 1st round opponents.

Even the no-names during his era hit harder than the best servers in Connor's era.

drakulie
01-20-2007, 04:06 PM
all things being equal, returning with a racquet with a tiny head is more difficult against a 115mph serve ,than returning with a racquet the size of a bus against a serve that is aout 10mph harder.

at the very least you'd have to admit it is equally difficult.

You either have me on your ignore list or you don't. Make up your mind!!!

FiveO
01-20-2007, 04:08 PM
Hank Pfister, Paul Annacone and John Sadri were also huge servers during Connors day.

CanadianChic
01-20-2007, 05:53 PM
You either have me on your ignore list or you don't. Make up your mind!!!

No one can ever ignore you Drak - especially when your posts are quoted. lol ;)

Rabbit
01-21-2007, 09:33 AM
And let's not forget Butch Bucholz and Steve Denton.

The Gorilla
01-21-2007, 02:55 PM
No one can ever ignore you Drak - especially when your posts are quoted. lol ;)

I wasn't logged in as the gorilla when I read his post.He is SO on my ignore list though!

drakulie
01-21-2007, 02:58 PM
Ha, ha! Post #91 you are logged in as The Gorilla, and you use even used the quote function to quote me.

MordredSJT
01-21-2007, 05:09 PM
agassi used cortisone towards the end of his career which is a steroid and could have beemn the erason for his bigger serve towards the end,just a thought.

Absurd statements like this tell you all you need to know about this thread. A tiny bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing...

kiki
04-08-2010, 02:52 PM
?? Junior?? Dude, you need to seriously get real. If anything it is the other way around.

On one hand you have Connors standing a little behind the baseline returning against 110?? mph serves.

On the other you have Agassi standing ON the baseline retruning 130+ MPH serves. HMMMM???

I take Agassi's return any day. By the way AA also played some seriously good serve and volleyers. Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Rafter, Krajicek, etc.

Most Likely, imo, Agassi has had to face the biggest bunch of servers ever.But look at how Jimbo made his return of serve as the first point and the basis of his attack.

Agassi probably hit more outright winners, but Connors made an art of attacking off the server.

kiki
04-08-2010, 02:55 PM
DUDE, lighten up on me, Tanner for his time and the racket technology 30 years ago, serving 110-120 was HUGE.

Oh yeah¡¡ and do not forget that Roscoe followed up his serve by a crunching volley...¿Has anybody seen Roddick set up a winning volley?

¡¡Please, send us some videos¡¡.

I appreciate Roddick´s poise and professionality.But , please, ¿ do you really think he´s got anything else than Tanner or Curren?

jimbo333
04-08-2010, 03:04 PM
^^^^There is no doubt in my mind that given todays technology, Tanner in his prime would be the best server of all-time:)

I recommend Tanner's autobiography by the way, a really good read!

(Oh and Jimmy is the greatest returner ever:))

pc1
04-08-2010, 03:44 PM
^^^^There is no doubt in my mind that given todays technology, Tanner in his prime would be the best server of all-time:)

I recommend Tanner's autobiography by the way, a really good read!

(Oh and Jimmy is the greatest returner ever:))

Tanner was incredibly fast with the older technology (I would venture to write faster than just about anyone serving today) and Connors often blasted it back for winners.

Connors had a major advantage over Agassi in breaking serve, not only could he return serve well but he was faster than Agassi and was better defensively.

BTURNER
04-08-2010, 05:00 PM
My take: Connors faced so many different kinds of serves and so many were great s/v ers, from Laver, Ashe,Smith and Newcombe, to McEnroe, Tanner, and even Edberg or Becker with a larger percentage of venues on fast grass as well as baseline serves of baseliners such as Borg, Lendl. Courts were faster, the bounces less sure, the targets smaller, and the racket less friendly.

hoodjem
04-08-2010, 05:07 PM
Is there an article out there on the "changes" in radar-gun technology that I can read?

Everyone keeps talking about 110 mph serves in the 1970s becoming 130 mph serves today with its "better" technology. I don't get it. It's not like the 70s were the pleistocene era.

pc1
04-08-2010, 05:14 PM
Is there an article out there on the "changes" in radar-gun technology that I can read?

Everyone keeps talking about 110 mph serves in the 1970s becoming 130 mph serves today with its "better" technology. I don't get it. It's not like the 70s were the pleistocene era.

I don't think the serving speeds are much more at all today compared to the 1970's.

borg number one
04-08-2010, 05:23 PM
Is there an article out there on the "changes" in radar-gun technology that I can read?

Everyone keeps talking about 110 mph serves in the 1970s becoming 130 mph serves today with its "better" technology. I don't get it. It's not like the 70s were the pleistocene era.

This has been discussed in the greatest servers thread. I think we've talked about it before. I remember talk on the Tour being that Tanner served about 141 mph with a PDP in about 1979-1980. He had the record of about 153 mph at a tourney (1978) until Roddick hit one about 155 mph (Hasn't Karlovic been clocked faster than that now?).

Anyway, I bet both McEnroe and Borg got up to 110-120 pretty frequently and at times harder than that. As far as radar gun reading changes, I'd be interested in the "margin for error" and "equivalent readings" from different eras.

As for hitting a hard serve like Mark P. did with a wood frame during a test, I would argue that you can't hit quite as hard with a wood frame as you can with a modern frame (not as much easy power), plus there's a big difference in hitting a few hard serves with a heavy wood frame and hitting hard on every first serve, with a lighter, modern frame, with more power and a bigger sweet spot.

Try serving 50-100 serves with a good wood frame and compare. It's not just due to a lack of practice with old frames either. They are qualitatively very different.

As for Agassi versus Connors, they are both great. Yet, as pointed out above, remember the equipment! Modern frames have helped returners immensely at the expense of servers, who used to love the old equipment dynamics, especially on fast surfaces. So, in terms of degree of difficulty, what Connors was doing with his frame was MORE DIFFICULT than what Agassi faced with his bigger, more powerful frames on the return. The servers are serving harder, but the modern frames ushered in the age of the return being almost as hard as the serve at times. You rarely saw that before...the blistering return hit almost as hard as a very hard serve.

jrepac
04-08-2010, 05:51 PM
Firstly, Agassi and Connors (alphabetic order) are the two greatest returners in the history of the sport. Agassi may have faced more speed, but Connors did his returning against servers who used more variety and placement than sheer power. He also did this with a racket smaller than your standard wood frame. I think both would do equally well if they were to swap eras.

Serving back in the day was as big, just not as often. Wood rackets mandated that the first serve be of higher percentage because it was riskier to hit a second serve. However, if a guy was up 40 - 0 and a big server, they could uncap some in the 120s. Remember that in the days of wood, professional tennis matches were won on fewer errors, not winners. (I think the same rules holds true today, but Academy tennis teaches that you should hit more winners...)

That said, McEnroe's serve was never built on speed. His serve was built on disguise, placement, and spin. The best I ever saw McEnroe serve witha wood racket was when he played the Open in '82. The commentators remarked that his second serves were approaching 100 MPH. If I had to guess, I would guess that 70% of the aces that John McEnroe served in his career were under 100 MPH. McEnroe was more about throwing strikes than hitting aces.



One of the more thoughtful posts amidst a whole lot of incredibly stupid comments. Suggest some of you 12 yr old posters go find some Roscoe Tanner clips; this guy clocked Borg and Connors when he was on. And he played with a little dinky wood racket and hit serves around 120mph easily. And, Connors faced off against Lendl, who at the time was the best server around. And, toss Kevin Curren into the mix. Oh, yah, he played Boris Becker very tightly when he was freaking 35 yrs old. Not to mention he had a winning record vs. Edberg well into his 30's. So, really I think some of the comments here are just bait, because that is how stupid they are.

Again, there is vast confusion in that speed of serve is the equivalent of good serving...no, not really. Mac's serve was not FAST but it was impossible to read...you did NOT know where the hell it was going. Connors would have a field day w/some of today's servers since they are quite predictable in their patterns. The guy had eye-hand coordination and reactions that were incredible; he would see some of these guys coming before they hit the damn ball. And, Mac can serve in the 120mph range; he's done it on the senior tour (even slow poke Connors hit 108mph in a match I saw), so speed is not all that and an egg roll.

The clip shown is from the 84 USO semi; a superbly played match from both Mac and Jimmy. Mac's first serve as in the 60% range and Connors played him very, very tough that night. Usually, when Mac was in the mid-60's, those matches would be blow outs, but not this one. Connors returns were at their best, but Mac just had that something extra towards the end of it.

Andre is also an incredible return; he could simply crush the ball. When he beat Mac at the '92 Wimby semi, Mac said Andre had the best return he ever saw. Not so sure based on that match, as Mac's reaction times were slow (as he was much older), but Andre was brutal in terms of SPEED of the return.

I've always felt Andre hit the return HARDER than Jimmy, but Jimmy returned more of the otherwise un-returnable serves...he got back stuff no one else could. The 82 USO final against Lendl is a great example of that...he returned absolutely huge serves from Ivan with his "slingshot" T-2000.

And Connors vs. Sampras? I saw one of those matches he lost to Sampras; on clay in Atlanta. Even at 40yrs old, he was getting back some huge serves from Sampras and played a good first set, losing 5-7.

2 different eras certainly, but "big" serves existed in the 70's and 80's, not to mention servers who could superbly disguise their service intentions (ala Mac)

I think it is pretty much a toss up between the two, but I do agree w/the comment that Connor's return was generally more "feared" than Andre's, right or wrong...perhaps because opponents knew he was going to come after them on every service game.

jrepac
04-08-2010, 06:02 PM
Tanner was incredibly fast with the older technology (I would venture to write faster than just about anyone serving today) and Connors often blasted it back for winners.

Connors had a major advantage over Agassi in breaking serve, not only could he return serve well but he was faster than Agassi and was better defensively.

I think prime Tanner today with a modern racket would be setting new speed records....he was that wickedly good. And other servers, like a Curren, could totally blast the ball w/wood rackets..not to mention not knowing where it was going to go..

I also think Connors did a better job than Andre in terms of breaking serve; he'd apply pressure from the minute he struck the return. His baseline style was pretty aggressive. While there are some similarities between him and Andre in terms of using the whole court, making your opponent run his *** off, Jimmy was more unpredictable. He'd grab a short ball, slam an approach and next thing he's on top of the net. That was not Andre's style.

They are both terrific returners, so take your pick; I'd give Connors an edge based on the variety of the opponents he faced and did well against, on many different surfaces.

jrepac
04-08-2010, 06:07 PM
Most Likely, imo, Agassi has had to face the biggest bunch of servers ever.But look at how Jimbo made his return of serve as the first point and the basis of his attack.

Agassi probably hit more outright winners, but Connors made an art of attacking off the server.

Connors also returned serve standing on the baseline numerous times; certainly when it was a 2nd serve, he was right on that line, if not inside it. He and Andre were not that different in that respect; their eye/hand coordination and timing were a cut above all others.

And yes, Connors structured the game around his attack on the server; pressuring from the minute the ball crossed the net. that was not quite Andre's approach

jrepac
04-08-2010, 06:09 PM
You'll be happy to know that you share the same insight as Mats Wilander. At the Seniors Event in Memphis, returning came up and Wilander interjected Nystrom as the greatest returner ever, better than Connors and Agassi.

I believe that Wilander teamed with Nystrom and won Wimbledon together and were long-term doubles partners. Anyway, Wilander (who had a pretty darn good return himself) said Nystrom was tops in his book.

He WAS a fine returner, I agree, but in the league of Connors and Agassi...that may be a reach...

NonP
04-08-2010, 06:16 PM
Is there an article out there on the "changes" in radar-gun technology that I can read?

Everyone keeps talking about 110 mph serves in the 1970s becoming 130 mph serves today with its "better" technology. I don't get it. It's not like the 70s were the pleistocene era.

hoodjem, I can't provide a single article, but you can check out these two posts I once wrote on this topic (mostly compilations with links):

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=4200485#post4200485
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=4201586#post4201586

pjonesy
04-08-2010, 08:25 PM
I have always had respect for Patrick McEnroe and his analysis of professional tennis. He always has shown a respect for the history of the game. I watched an Agassi match in '99 or 2000 in which Cliff and Patrick were commentating. Cliff and Patrick started discussing the best returners in history and that quickly led to a comparison of Connors and Agassi. Patrick stated that he thought Agassi had more power on the return and had the edge when returning extremely fast serves that were in his strike zone. He also implied that Agassi possibly took the ball earlier than Connors and definitely hit with more spin to pull the ball down into the court. Agassi was aced quite a few times because he took more risks by guessing so that he could hit it for a clean winner. He stated that he thought Connors was better with returning serves that were spinning/kicking away from him, serves that were hit wide or sometimes serves into the body. Connors was better at lunging at those types of serves, getting the ball back in play or even hitting clean winners off of wide serves that he met cleanly. I thought that was a pretty fair analysis of both players and their strengths and weaknesses regarding their return of serve. As far as the influence of Connors and Agassi, Hewitt (in his prime) and Federer seem to subscribe more to the Connors method. Currently, I have not seen too many guys (absolutely no one) take a 145 Roddick serve and hit it for a clean winner like Agassi.

NLBwell
04-08-2010, 09:03 PM
Considering Agassi played against bigger servers (including arguably the best ever), and returned the serve from the same position, if not closer than Connors--Agassi hands down.

And yes, Connors was also an incredible returner.

Agassi didn't play against bigger servers. Connors played guys like Curren, Tanner, Becker, Stich, Rosset, the great but not necessarily big server McEnroe, and yes, Sampras (though far after his peak and he didn't beat him).
The big serve is the least affected stroke from the modern technology. In fact many people still swear that rackets such as the Pro Staff are still the best serving rackets ever.

robow7
04-08-2010, 09:14 PM
Both were great, toss up. But for one of the greatest returning exhibitions I've ever seen, find a copy of Agassi's 1992 championship match at Wimbly vs Goran's bombs. I swear those returns were being blistered back as fast the serve came in and we're talking about one of the finest servers ever on real GRASS.

timnz
04-08-2010, 09:25 PM
DUDE, lighten up on me, Tanner for his time and the racket technology 30 years ago, serving 110-120 was HUGE.

Tanner had a serve clocked at 153 mph in the late 70's.

jimbo333
04-09-2010, 12:20 AM
I have always had respect for Patrick McEnroe and his analysis of professional tennis. He always has shown a respect for the history of the game. I watched an Agassi match in '99 or 2000 in which Cliff and Patrick were commentating. Cliff and Patrick started discussing the best returners in history and that quickly led to a comparison of Connors and Agassi. Patrick stated that he thought Agassi had more power on the return and had the edge when returning extremely fast serves that were in his strike zone. He also implied that Agassi possibly took the ball earlier than Connors and definitely hit with more spin to pull the ball down into the court. Agassi was aced quite a few times because he took more risks by guessing so that he could hit it for a clean winner. He stated that he thought Connors was better with returning serves that were spinning/kicking away from him, serves that were hit wide or sometimes serves into the body. Connors was better at lunging at those types of serves, getting the ball back in play or even hitting clean winners off of wide serves that he met cleanly. I thought that was a pretty fair analysis of both players and their strengths and weaknesses regarding their return of serve. As far as the influence of Connors and Agassi, Hewitt (in his prime) and Federer seem to subscribe more to the Connors method. Currently, I have not seen too many guys (absolutely no one) take a 145 Roddick serve and hit it for a clean winner like Agassi.

You've summed up why Connors was a better returner than Agassi. Agassi did guess on direction of the serve more than Jimmy. Jimmy read the serve better than anyone ever, which is the main reason as to why he is the greatest returner ever!

jimbo333
04-09-2010, 12:24 AM
Agassi didn't play against bigger servers. Connors played guys like Curren, Tanner, Becker, Stich, Rosset, the great but not necessarily big server McEnroe, and yes, Sampras (though far after his peak and he didn't beat him).
The big serve is the least affected stroke from the modern technology. In fact many people still swear that rackets such as the Pro Staff are still the best serving rackets ever.

Yes good point, but the Pro Staff wasn't around until the early 80's. Tanner for example was at his serving peak in the late 70's!

I am sure that given a more modern racquet than Tanner had at that time (he was using a PDP don't forget), he would be at least the fastest server of all time, if not maybe the best!

jimbo333
04-09-2010, 12:26 AM
Tanner had a serve clocked at 153 mph in the late 70's.

Exactly, what would he have done at that time with a ProStaff, never mind a Pure Drive!

Anyway this is going away from the argument. I have no doubt that Connors is the greatest returner ever:)

jrepac
04-09-2010, 09:19 AM
You've summed up why Connors was a better returner than Agassi. Agassi did guess on direction of the serve more than Jimmy. Jimmy read the serve better than anyone ever, which is the main reason as to why he is the greatest returner ever!

Yes, Jimmy could read the unreadable serves (aka McEnroe) better than everyone else..and I do agree w/agree w/Pat Mac's assessment...Jimmy was terrific at the wide serves and those spinning into his body...like the one he hit off of Mac for a winner in that USO clip....Andre would tend to guess on the direction of the serve and if right, would rip the winner at 1000mph...so, 2 very different, yet effective returning styles.

pjonesy
04-09-2010, 06:51 PM
Yes, Jimmy could read the unreadable serves (aka McEnroe) better than everyone else..and I do agree w/agree w/Pat Mac's assessment...Jimmy was terrific at the wide serves and those spinning into his body...like the one he hit off of Mac for a winner in that USO clip....Andre would tend to guess on the direction of the serve and if right, would rip the winner at 1000mph...so, 2 very different, yet effective returning styles.

Nothing major to add, there have been a lot of good examples on this post to support either one as the best returner of all time. However, Agassi was more of a showman regarding the return of serve. When he took a Roddick, Dent or Flipper 145 mph serve and hit it right at their feet, it was impressive. Agassi seemed to enjoy those moments, it gave him an edge, and these guys are looking like they've seen a ghost. I guess it is sort of a carnival trick, but it did take something out of these guys who have lived off their sonic serves since they were 13. Roddick and Dent just blasted guys off the court their whole tennis life. Then they run into 34 year old Agassi and he does something they have never seen before. He just destroyed their biggest weapon at its top speed and at full power! As other people have stated, Connors was looking to return serves as a strategy to jump off his baseline game. It was more important for Connors to get a higher percentage of balls back in play than to sit on one type of serve and hit clean winners only 15% of the time. I suppose that strategy did not put as much immediate pressure on the server, but over the course of a match it would wear a guy down. Hewitt would probably be identified as a percentage returner, with a similar mindset to Connors. Against Sampras in the Open final, Hewitt was returning to keep a high percentage of balls in play or hit short, angled returns that Sampras could not volley or easily attack off the ground. That was a masterful returning performance, that shut down the greatest serve in the history of tennis.

jrepac
04-13-2010, 01:38 PM
Nothing major to add, there have been a lot of good examples on this post to support either one as the best returner of all time. However, Agassi was more of a showman regarding the return of serve. When he took a Roddick, Dent or Flipper 145 mph serve and hit it right at their feet, it was impressive. Agassi seemed to enjoy those moments, it gave him an edge, and these guys are looking like they've seen a ghost. I guess it is sort of a carnival trick, but it did take something out of these guys who have lived off their sonic serves since they were 13. Roddick and Dent just blasted guys off the court their whole tennis life. Then they run into 34 year old Agassi and he does something they have never seen before. He just destroyed their biggest weapon at its top speed and at full power! As other people have stated, Connors was looking to return serves as a strategy to jump off his baseline game. It was more important for Connors to get a higher percentage of balls back in play than to sit on one type of serve and hit clean winners only 15% of the time. I suppose that strategy did not put as much immediate pressure on the server, but over the course of a match it would wear a guy down. Hewitt would probably be identified as a percentage returner, with a similar mindset to Connors. Against Sampras in the Open final, Hewitt was returning to keep a high percentage of balls in play or hit short, angled returns that Sampras could not volley or easily attack off the ground. That was a masterful returning performance, that shut down the greatest serve in the history of tennis.

Good analogy with Hewitt; his returns were superb in that final. True, Jimmy was not always going for the "smoking" return, but he got most of the stuff back forcefully, stuff that was often un-returnable for others, which put the server on the defensive quite quickly. Hewitt was very "connors-like" at his best, I have to agree. When a guy is going to continually return your best stuff, game after service game, and pressure you from the backcourt on top of it, it's a very tiring proposition.

jimbo333
04-13-2010, 02:01 PM
I never saw Jimmy do this though:)

http://i42.tinypic.com/908v8n.jpg

SirSweetSpot
04-13-2010, 02:56 PM
after beating the top seed stefan edberg in straight sets in the last sixteen of the us open in 1989 jimmy connor pushed agassi to four sets at the age of 37 in the quarterfinals of the us open,at the age of 39,after a year off tennis recovering from a completely collapsed wrist,he got to the semi's,only to lose to the french open champion jim courier.He's won 105 tournaments to agassi's 60,they've won 8 gs's each,though 4 of agassi's were in the australian open,and had he played on the grass of jimmy's era,he would have won one at most.HE Was Better Than Agassi,In Every Single Way,More of an as$hole as a young player,more respected as an older player,had a longer career,had an even worse serve,had a much better return,Faaaaar more exciting player,should have won all 4 gs's in one year but was barred for playing wtt instead of atp,he....was.....BETTER!!!!!!

Jimmy a better tennis player than AA...yes
Jimmy a better returner than AA...not in a million years

jrepac
04-13-2010, 03:11 PM
Jimmy a better tennis player than AA...yes
Jimmy a better returner than AA...not in a million years

actually, in USO '89, he pushed Andre to 5 sets (tho' some claim Andre was simply screwing around in that match...God knows he was erratic that day)...and Connors always had Edberg's #....Jimmy was a very bad match up for Stefan, even when he was pushing 40yrs...

I wonder if the ATP (or anyone) tracks points won on Service Returns?

Andre hits 'em harder, but not sure he was more effective overall....very tough to pick here...and, in terms of overall career, Jimmy edges out Andre...to think otherwise is, well, delusional. Although Jimmy did not ever get the RG trophy...arguably due to tennis $$$ and politics... he got a USO crown over Borg on CLAY.....seems like a good substitute for an RG in my book.

Next thread: who was the more effective baseliner... Bjorn or Andre???

SirSweetSpot
04-24-2010, 10:34 AM
You are not very bright. McEnroe is my all-time favorite player. I grew up idolizing him.....so I DO remember him. And he WAS NOT HITTING 130 mph serves.

130?? LOL

Might wanna check out 2:33 of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDg5MSoAziw

Not sure about the 130...but he bringeth the heat.

THUNDERVOLLEY
04-24-2010, 12:41 PM
if his return was so great why didn't he win this match?

What kind of analysis is this? Agassi is alleged to be one of the great retuners, and performed this in many a match--including matches he lost.

That lone ability does not guarantee a win, no matter how frequently executed.

kiki
06-10-2010, 03:55 PM
actually, in USO '89, he pushed Andre to 5 sets (tho' some claim Andre was simply screwing around in that match...God knows he was erratic that day)...and Connors always had Edberg's #....Jimmy was a very bad match up for Stefan, even when he was pushing 40yrs...

I wonder if the ATP (or anyone) tracks points won on Service Returns?

Andre hits 'em harder, but not sure he was more effective overall....very tough to pick here...and, in terms of overall career, Jimmy edges out Andre...to think otherwise is, well, delusional. Although Jimmy did not ever get the RG trophy...arguably due to tennis $$$ and politics... he got a USO crown over Borg on CLAY.....seems like a good substitute for an RG in my book.

Next thread: who was the more effective baseliner... Bjorn or Andre???

Jimmy by far had the diversiity of counter attacking different serves; and no one has made more of an spectacle of his ablity to stretch out and reach out the most dazzling serve...I think Jimbo was a spectacle by himself when returning serve and this, Agassi never could match

BTURNER
06-10-2010, 06:05 PM
It is the diversity and breadth of success that wins this category for Connors as well. He returned everyone from Laver, rosewall and Smith through Becker and Sampras, lefties righties, spinners and heat, serves from high the mountains to midgets like Kreik or Chang. You name it, he returned.

pc1
06-11-2010, 07:34 AM
It is the diversity and breadth of success that wins this category for Connors as well. He returned everyone from Laver, rosewall and Smith through Becker and Sampras, lefties righties, spinners and heat, serves from high the mountains to midgets like Kreik or Chang. You name it, he returned.

It's funny I have a lot of Connors matches on video and I actually think I enjoy his matches now than when he was playing. I suppose it's because he was so great that a lot of times I rooted against him just to have different player in the semi or finals. He had such a great pure ball striking style that is arguably unsurpassed in the history of tennis.

Agassi has been compared to Connors as a service returner and pure ball striker and understandably. However Connors moved so much better than Agassi and was so much better defensively than Agassi that he had a lot more way to fight to win a point. He's just fun to watch and I have great respect for the Connors style.

Here's an old Connors playing great defensive tennis. I think most of you have seen this. lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7t5W6SDuEs

jrepac
06-11-2010, 01:42 PM
It's funny I have a lot of Connors matches on video and I actually think I enjoy his matches now than when he was playing. I suppose it's because he was so great that a lot of times I rooted against him just to have different player in the semi or finals. He had such a great pure ball striking style that is arguably unsurpassed in the history of tennis.

Agassi has been compared to Connors as a service returner and pure ball striker and understandably. However Connors moved so much better than Agassi and was so much better defensively than Agassi that he had a lot more way to fight to win a point. He's just fun to watch and I have great respect for the Connors style.

Here's an old Connors playing great defensive tennis. I think most of you have seen this. lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7t5W6SDuEs

LOL...I suspect people will be watching that clip 10-20 years from now..it is truly remarkable. The backhand service return in the preceding point is incredibly crisp and classic Connors; he steals the ace with a lunging, slashing backhand. Then you have "the point" with the fantastic defensive play from Jimmy; everyone forgets he had a great lob when he needed it...and he closes that point out with another fantastic backhand up the line. What more could you ask for? It's not just the great shots that impress, watching his movement and footwork in slow motion just shows you how fast and nimble he really could be (even at the tender age of 39)....they should make the kiddies in tennis school watch that clip over and over...

Datacipher
06-11-2010, 04:12 PM
Might wanna check out 2:33 of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDg5MSoAziw

Not sure about the 130...but he bringeth the heat.

Yep. That was BIG. Don't worry about Drakulie accusing others of not being bright. Mac hit a 128mph serve on the seniors tour in his 40's.

jrepac
06-11-2010, 06:34 PM
Yep. That was BIG. Don't worry about Drakulie accusing others of not being bright. Mac hit a 128mph serve on the seniors tour in his 40's.

well, there is some fantasy out there among the more youthful fans that the pros from the 70's hit marshmallow serves and ground-strokes cause they had teenie, tiny rackets, usually made of wood...and maybe cause they wore awfully tight little short shorts..

we need to get some Tanner clips on this board....reality infusion is needed....

pc1
06-11-2010, 06:54 PM
we need to get some Tanner clips on this board....reality infusion is needed....

Your wish is my command. Check 2:34 and 2:50. Borg incidentally was very upset about having to play Tanner under the lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1gc_Bur4UY&feature=related

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 03:48 PM
Your wish is my command. Check 2:34 and 2:50. Borg incidentally was very upset about having to play Tanner under the lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1gc_Bur4UY&feature=related

Yes, at one point, it was reported that he uncharacteristicly openly whined sadly to his coach that he "just can't see it". His coach was not helpful in this regard as he was also dead-set against night matches, and the negative attitude of Borg and coach did not help his mindset about it, on a night when Tanner was bringing huge heat.

That was also the night Roscoe broke the net with a let serve.

PS. shhhhh...don't tell anyone, besides TW idiots, I have actually read a couple of articles, one by SI's resident moron: Jon Wertheim implying that Tanner didn't serve fast. One went so far as to say that Tanner's "98mph" bombs wouldn't be anything today....UNREAL.

NonP
06-12-2010, 04:10 PM
PS. shhhhh...don't tell anyone, besides TW idiots, I have actually read a couple of articles, one by SI's resident moron: Jon Wertheim implying that Tanner didn't serve fast. One went so far as to say that Tanner's "98mph" bombs wouldn't be anything today....UNREAL.

I really couldn't agree with you more on Wertheim. I also remember reading another piece of his typical drivel that said Borg would've been no match for Agassi, or something to that effect. And this was when Sampras was still No. 1 on the tour, before the putative poly revolution fully came to pass.

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 04:34 PM
I really couldn't agree with you more on Wertheim. I also remember reading another piece of his typical drivel that said Borg would've been no match for Agassi, or something to that effect. And this was when Sampras was still No. 1 on the tour, before the putative poly revolution fully came to pass.

Ugh. I know 2 people who wouldn't agree with that: Courier and Sampras. Early in their careers, tennis magazine did a joint interview with them (around 94). When they asked Courier who he'd like to play in a fantasy match-up, he said Borg at the FO, each at their best. Sampras' reaction was something like "my god that would be a war!", then Sampras said something like "you'd have to come in.."

Courier then agreed, and said it would be like playing Chang except Borg was faster(!), and had heavier shots, and had a better serve, then they both agreed the thought was scary!

NonP
06-12-2010, 04:50 PM
Ugh. I know 2 people who wouldn't agree with that: Courier and Sampras. Early in their careers, tennis magazine did a joint interview with them (around 94). When they asked Courier who he'd like to play in a fantasy match-up, he said Borg at the FO, each at their best. Sampras' reaction was something like "my god that would be a war!", then Sampras said something like "you'd have to come in.."

Courier then agreed, and said it would be like playing Chang except Borg was faster(!), and had heavier shots, and had a better serve, then they both agreed the thought was scary!

Good to see some levelheaded comments from Courier and Sampras. Actually, never mind. Let's listen to an "expert" like Wertheim instead. :)

As an aside, do you think Borg was faster than Chang? Of course I'm talking purely in terms of speed on the tennis court, not whether Chang would win a 100m race against Borg, because he wouldn't. I see that Borg might've been faster by a hair laterally one way, but I also think Chang's smaller size might have helped him change directions with more ease. Do I make sense?

pc1
06-12-2010, 04:55 PM
Good to see some levelheaded comments from Courier and Sampras. Actually, never mind. Let's listen to an "expert" like Wertheim instead. :)

As an aside, do you think Borg was faster than Chang? Of course I'm talking purely in terms of speed on the tennis court, not whether Chang would win a 100m race against Borg, because he wouldn't. I see that Borg might've been faster by a hair laterally one way, but I also think Chang's smaller size might have helped him change directions with more ease. Do I make sense?

Makes perfect sense but I really think Borg is faster in every way with better footwork too. The other thing is that Borg's stamina was unreal and some players would be cramping in the first set. Borg, with his great stamina could maintain his great speed over a long period of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY

Check out the get at around 3:50 of the second video.

NonP
06-12-2010, 05:15 PM
Makes perfect sense but I really think Borg is faster in every way with better footwork too. The other thing is that Borg's stamina was unreal and some players would be cramping in the first set. Borg, with his great stamina could maintain his great speed over a long period of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY

Check out the get at around 3:50 of the second video.

pc1, I've seen the videos before. It's hard to miss any Borg clips while borg number one is active on this board. :) (No offense, BN#1.)

I also think Borg was faster. Just not too sure about the "every way" part, hence my above question.

pc1
06-12-2010, 05:18 PM
pc1, I've seen the videos before. It's hard to miss any Borg clips while borg number one is active on this board. :) (No offense, BN#1.)

I also think Borg was faster. Just not too sure about the "every way" part, hence my above question.

I understand. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so rigid about it. Heck both players are blurs on the court.

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 06:46 PM
Makes perfect sense but I really think Borg is faster in every way with better footwork too. o.

I actually think that Chang's initial burst, (and that is VERY key to tennis) is probably as fast...MAYBE even faster than Borg...though not nearly as graceful. As I think NonP was getting at, in a 100m, though I think both would be fast, Chang's shorter legs would hold him back against Borg. This might have made a difference in long, all the way across the court and farther gets as well; but, Chang MIGHT well have had a tiny edge with quick changes of direction, especially on hardcourts. But really, Borg was so quick, it's so hard to say. Basically, I"d call it a wash, I'd say, they're both at the top level...any minute split-hairs you could find, probably wouldn't make a big difference in a real match.

I think it's like saying what's faster on a tennis court, a tiger or a gazelle? Squirrel or House cat? lol.

These guys both took the biggest hitters in tennis and often defused them, and made these guys pull their hair out, I doubt the average person can truly begin to appreciate how fast they are, and how athletic....

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 06:53 PM
I understand. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so rigid about it. Heck both players are blurs on the court.

Yes, pretty much!

Since by the mid 90's Chang had added considerably firepower to his shots, had added to his serve....he probably volleyed a bit better than Borg, and took the ball early better than Borg. Borg was still a better first server, as fit or fitter, a bit more reach.....I think they would have had some titanic battles. It would have been interesting to watch because both were so iron-willed. I think it would have been interesting to watch what strategies and counterstrategies each might have employed. Maybe Borg would have tried to get more aggressive than usual and take charge off the ground, or maybe Chang would have tried to take advantage of Borg's loopy shots by attacking the net more. Probably they would have made a lot of adjustments as they went against each other. It might have been a lot of fun from a tactical standpoint.

On the other hand, if they both chose: defense. It might also have gone 7 hours. lol.

It reminds me a bit of Rios/Chang...I thought they had a match that was one the most underrated USO battles ever. Both were capable of all-court play, and both so, very fast.

Ronaldo
06-12-2010, 07:07 PM
You all are sleeping on Vitas as far as speed goes.

NonP
06-12-2010, 07:12 PM
I actually think that Chang's initial burst, (and that is VERY key to tennis) is probably as fast...MAYBE even faster than Borg...though not nearly as graceful. As I think NonP was getting at, in a 100m, though I think both would be fast, Chang's shorter legs would hold him back against Borg. This might have made a difference in long, all the way across the court and farther gets as well; but, Chang MIGHT well have had a tiny edge with quick changes of direction, especially on hardcourts. But really, Borg was so quick, it's so hard to say. Basically, I"d call it a wash, I'd say, they're both at the top level...any minute split-hairs you could find, probably wouldn't make a big difference in a real match.

I think it's like saying what's faster on a tennis court, a tiger or a gazelle? Squirrel or House cat? lol.

These guys both took the biggest hitters in tennis and often defused them, and made these guys pull their hair out, I doubt the average person can truly begin to appreciate how fast they are, and how athletic....

Data, you're right, it's hard to tell. And it probably wouldn't make that big a difference anyway.

But since we like splitting hairs (what's TW without it, LOL), how about Nadal vs. Borg vs. Chang? They often say Nadal's more explosive, but does that actually help him move as fast as Borg and Chang, not faster? I personally think the latter two are faster just by a hair.

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 08:15 PM
Data, you're right, it's hard to tell. And it probably wouldn't make that big a difference anyway.

But since we like splitting hairs (what's TW without it, LOL), how about Nadal vs. Borg vs. Chang? They often say Nadal's more explosive, but does that actually help him move as fast as Borg and Chang, not faster? I personally think the latter two are faster just by a hair.

Yes, well "explosive" is tricky isn't it? What's the difference between explosive and quick? Actually, I think what most people see is a subjective difference based on aesthetics. If powerful legs take off quickly, it looks more explosive, if a skinny guy does it, it looks quick!

I think Chang changes direction quicker than Nadal, and I think he will have an advantage in precision, with his smaller steps and feet. Nadal is more prone to look a touch awkward, but he's also got longer strides and may be able to cover wide balls as well or better!

Basically, again....just too close to say for me. I think Borg and Chang probably do have quicker feet than Nadal, but Nadal's size makes up for a lot of that. Nadal is athletic prime beef as well, so for his size, he's ultra agile and balanced....I think Nadal of all the current players could have been a pro in the most other sports. (I think I mentioned this once....and laughably...*******s were arguing for Fed?? Fed in the NFL?? I... don't...think....so....LOL)

Nadal's natural run looks like that of a running back or sprinter!

So basically, I agree with you, but just can't be more definitive than that....pretty darn hard to call in my opinion.

NonP
06-12-2010, 08:26 PM
So basically, I agree with you, but just can't be more definitive than that....pretty darn hard to call in my opinion.

Very true. We're really splitting hairs now. :) As long as we see that these three are in a class of their own, it's all good.

Datacipher
06-12-2010, 09:09 PM
Very true. We're really splitting hairs now. :) As long as we see that these three are in a class of their own, it's all good.

Yes, and the other thing is the QUALITY with which they did those gets. Different, but oh so athletic and effective. Borg was so graceful, he looked like he weight about 90lbs and was just floating around back there. Nadal looks effortful, and does lean and lunge, but has such good athleticism and balance, that he can still pull of huge shotmaking. (contrast that with a Roddick, who even if he gets there, if he goes for the huge pass, it might go ANYWHERE...four feet into the court in front of him, 20 feet wide, shank into the stands, and he might fall over while he does it to!) Meanwhile Chang, kept such good athletic posture, that if you only look at his upper body, it doesn't even look like much is happening during rallies..just Chang's upper body, nicely balanced, moving back and forth...unless you suddenly look at his seemingly disembodied lower body, legs absolutely churning in a blur!

Amazing.

NonP
06-12-2010, 09:19 PM
Yes, and the other thing is the QUALITY with which they did those gets. Different, but oh so athletic and effective. Borg was so graceful, he looked like he weight about 90lbs and was just floating around back there. Nadal looks effortful, and does lean and lunge, but has such good athleticism and balance, that he can still pull of huge shotmaking. (contrast that with a Roddick, who even if he gets there, if he goes for the huge pass, it might go ANYWHERE...four feet into the court in front of him, 20 feet wide, shank into the stands, and he might fall over while he does it to!) Meanwhile Chang, kept such good athletic posture, that if you only look at his upper body, it doesn't even look like much is happening during rallies..just Chang's upper body, nicely balanced, moving back and forth...unless you suddenly look at his seemingly disembodied lower body, legs absolutely churning in a blur!

Amazing.

Yes, another good synopsis. Props to ya. 8-)

Chopin
06-12-2010, 10:45 PM
Yes, and the other thing is the QUALITY with which they did those gets. Different, but oh so athletic and effective. Borg was so graceful, he looked like he weight about 90lbs and was just floating around back there. Nadal looks effortful, and does lean and lunge, but has such good athleticism and balance, that he can still pull of huge shotmaking. (contrast that with a Roddick, who even if he gets there, if he goes for the huge pass, it might go ANYWHERE...four feet into the court in front of him, 20 feet wide, shank into the stands, and he might fall over while he does it to!) Meanwhile Chang, kept such good athletic posture, that if you only look at his upper body, it doesn't even look like much is happening during rallies..just Chang's upper body, nicely balanced, moving back and forth...unless you suddenly look at his seemingly disembodied lower body, legs absolutely churning in a blur!

Amazing.

Good post, Data.

piece
06-13-2010, 01:41 AM
Yes, well "explosive" is tricky isn't it? What's the difference between explosive and quick? Actually, I think what most people see is a subjective difference based on aesthetics. If powerful legs take off quickly, it looks more explosive, if a skinny guy does it, it looks quick!

I think Chang changes direction quicker than Nadal, and I think he will have an advantage in precision, with his smaller steps and feet. Nadal is more prone to look a touch awkward, but he's also got longer strides and may be able to cover wide balls as well or better!

Basically, again....just too close to say for me. I think Borg and Chang probably do have quicker feet than Nadal, but Nadal's size makes up for a lot of that. Nadal is athletic prime beef as well, so for his size, he's ultra agile and balanced....I think Nadal of all the current players could have been a pro in the most other sports. (I think I mentioned this once....and laughably...*******s were arguing for Fed?? Fed in the NFL?? I... don't...think....so....LOL)

Nadal's natural run looks like that of a running back or sprinter!

So basically, I agree with you, but just can't be more definitive than that....pretty darn hard to call in my opinion.

Do you know of any matches/vids that best show Chang's ability to change direction fast, because I know I've thought for a while that Nadal, while maybe not the fastest out of current pros, can turn on a dime like I've never seen anyone else do. And if you think Chang's even better I'd love to see it.

Definitely agree on the second bolded point, both had better footspeed than Nadal, and just better speed on a tennis court overall in my opinion, although Nadal's longer legs might give him an edge in a track sprint.

Datacipher
06-13-2010, 01:45 AM
Do you know of any matches/vids that best show Chang's ability to change direction fast, because I know I've thought for a while that Nadal, while maybe not the fastest out of current pros, can turn on a dime like I've never seen anyone else do. And if you think Chang's even better I'd love to see it.t.

Hmmm....would have to do a youtube search. I remember once seeing a purported highlight vid of Chang's speed, though it was quite limited in selection...and more unfortunately, the quality was pretty awful.

I also remember once pointing to a vid...it didn't really even have to do with Chang's speed, but I was pointing out something about his agile footwork/balance....will have to look again.

Datacipher
06-13-2010, 02:33 AM
Hmmm.....found highlight clips as blurry as I remember that one! lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Yf1ZsWRQQ&feature=related
Some fun rallies with Agassi in that one...you can see Agassi trying to hit big there to...Chang was one of the few players against whom Gilbert advised Agassi to go big and bigger....to bully Chang and not let him strike back. Neat one with fellow speedster Hewitt as well, where Chang is actually the older, a bit slower version.

The thing that stands out to me watching these now, is not just the quickness, but the balance and preparation, which I mentioned before....all tennis pros are fast...all are well balanced, but, Chang was far ahead of even most of them. He had a such a fast twitch split step and preparation and recovery...,he just was as ready as you could possibly be to try to play the next shot.

That reminded me of what I was talking about when I said I had pointed to a vid of Chang before, you can see it at :34 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejw9kxTsN64&feature=related

At 34 seconds, Chang makes a final backhand pass on Mcenroe. Note two things:
1.how awkward it was for Chang to improvise on Mac's volley, get down, and make the backhand, (and it was a improvised volley so Chang had so little reaction time), Chang reovers from his last attempt SO fast, and is flying at the backhand, which is what even gives him the time to try it. Most other players, even pros, would have been a split second later, and probalby would have just had to try for an improvised slice lob, or slice pass.

2.at 34 seconds, right after he makes the BH, and Mac lunges for it, NOTE...Chang is already ready for the NEXT SHOT, a split second later, he is celebrating, but right before that, he was already looking and ready to go for the next shot....then in slow motion, you can see how awkward it was, to get that ready, and how, most people, even most pros, could not have been that ready, that fast. Again, that's due to his athleticism, speed, and in that case, his small stature actually helps.

More highlights:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idyrH9-O78k&feature=related

Hey, somebody posted highlights of the Rios/Chang match I think is very underrated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keh6tw2XCYI&feature=related

What speed, defense and good strokes from both sides in that long, grueling match.

piece
06-13-2010, 02:56 AM
Thanks man. Really appreciate the effort. Great clips, even if the quality is a bit unfortunate. Sometimes I wish the open era started 40 years later so we'd have high quality footage of every match we could ever wish for. Would've missed out on some beautiful wood-racquet play in that case though.

jimbo333
06-13-2010, 06:13 AM
Surely we are getting away from the point that Jimmy Connors is the greatest returner ever:)

markwillplay
06-14-2010, 11:46 AM
I think returning serving is like hitting a baseball....just hear me out...you can only compare people of the same error really. Just becasue connors did not return serves that were 130 means nothing. You return or "hit" what you see. When you train in baseball today, the pros train to hit fast balls in the upper 90's with regularity..they see it with regularity in the game. Back in the day, each team may have one pitcher that could throw those speeds. When jimmy was playing on the tour, he could return the best there was out there because that is what he saw. AA was the same way. He saw faster serves with regularity so he probably got better and better at returning them.

I suppose my point is that if Jimmy Connors was playing in this day and time against the best servers, his returning ability would be second to none. Likewise, if AA was playing back in 75 and someone went back in time and served him a 130 mp bullet, he probably would not see it so well because it would be so different. Make sense?

Datacipher
06-14-2010, 01:09 PM
I think returning serving is like hitting a baseball....just hear me out...you can only compare people of the same error really. Just becasue connors did not return serves that were 130 means nothing. You return or "hit" what you see. When you train in baseball today, the pros train to hit fast balls in the upper 90's with regularity..they see it with regularity in the game. Back in the day, each team may have one pitcher that could throw those speeds. When jimmy was playing on the tour, he could return the best there was out there because that is what he saw. AA was the same way. He saw faster serves with regularity so he probably got better and better at returning them.

I suppose my point is that if Jimmy Connors was playing in this day and time against the best servers, his returning ability would be second to none. Likewise, if AA was playing back in 75 and someone went back in time and served him a 130 mp bullet, he probably would not see it so well because it would be so different. Make sense?

I think your point is valid, and probably applies to earlier eras....like say the 30's where maybe only 3 guys ever hit 130mph.... but:

For the record. Connors faced a number of 130+mph servers. On the other hand, as we see the evolution of radar, we see that Agassi used to struggle to return a 108mph serve on the line, or a 95mph kick serve...no, he didn't get "faster" or more used to it. Borg did not get aced by slow servers....nor did Lendl or any of the others. The fastest servers of the 70's were comparable to the fastest today. Though, in general, I agree that the average speed of serve has gone up, and people are "used" to that accordingly. However, the 70's returners would be more surprised at the number of big servers, not by the actual speed, which again, is really no faster than the big boys of that time.

The Connors/Agassi comparison above is not right. We even saw it demonstrated due to the extended career of Connors. Even in his mid 30's, Connors was took away Lendl's aces at least as well, and in my opinion better than Agassi. Agassi was particularly vulnerable to Lendl's aces (at the time registering on average about 105-115mph....would likely be in the 120-130mph range today), because Lendl, somewhaqt like Sampras, was very good at hitting the spots, and, as with Sampras, Agassi didn't seem to read it very well.

hoodjem
06-14-2010, 06:48 PM
Connors has a 17-4 h2h against Roscoe Tanner--the Roddick of the 70s.

pjonesy
06-14-2010, 07:20 PM
Do you know of any matches/vids that best show Chang's ability to change direction fast, because I know I've thought for a while that Nadal, while maybe not the fastest out of current pros, can turn on a dime like I've never seen anyone else do. And if you think Chang's even better I'd love to see it.

Definitely agree on the second bolded point, both had better footspeed than Nadal, and just better speed on a tennis court overall in my opinion, although Nadal's longer legs might give him an edge in a track sprint.

From my perspective, there are 3 categories that define the type of speed a player possesses related to a particular game style. 1) Serve and Volley Speed-This category addresses vertical or backcourt to frontcourt speed. The fastest players as far as I am concerned, would be Rod Laver, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter. 2)Change of Direction Speed-This category refers to players that can stop quickly, change direction, sprint to the ball and complete the shot. The fastest I have ever seen would be Hewitt, Chang, Federer and Nadal. 3) Full Sprint Speed- this refers to players that can cover a tremendous amount of court in the shortest time. Borg, Monfils, Blake and Nadal would fall into this category. Overall, I think Nadal would take the cake, but it is a complex discussion that would require qualifying the measurable characteristics. Wow! Sorry, this is way off topic.

The-Champ
06-14-2010, 09:28 PM
where's the poll? Fed should win this (right TMF?). Fed is amazing at returning those 99% to the backhand serves from Nadal.

Limpinhitter
06-15-2010, 05:33 AM
Off the top of my head, the best returns, JMHO, of course:
1. Agassi
2. Connors
3. Laver
4. Borg
5. Courier
6. Federer

I can't put Nadal in there because, although he has a great return, he returns from 12 feet behind the baseline, which would be largely ineffective against a great serve and volleyer. All the others can step in and hit on the rise and severely pressure a S/Ver.

hoodjem
06-15-2010, 07:44 AM
From my perspective, there are 3 categories that define the type of speed a player possesses related to a particular game style.
1) Serve and Volley Speed-This category addresses vertical or backcourt to frontcourt speed. The fastest players as far as I am concerned, would be Rod Laver, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter.
2) Change of Direction Speed-This category refers to players that can stop quickly, change direction, sprint to the ball and complete the shot. The fastest I have ever seen would be Hewitt, Chang, Federer and Nadal.
3) Full Sprint Speed- this refers to players that can cover a tremendous amount of court in the shortest time. Borg, Monfils, Blake and Nadal would fall into this category. Overall, I think Nadal would take the cake, but it is a complex discussion that would require qualifying the measurable characteristics. Wow! Sorry, this is way off topic.Good points. Interesting breakdown.

See many of these players listed here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=306649

abmk
06-15-2010, 08:25 PM
Hmmm.....found highlight clips as blurry as I remember that one! lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Yf1ZsWRQQ&feature=related
Some fun rallies with Agassi in that one...you can see Agassi trying to hit big there to...Chang was one of the few players against whom Gilbert advised Agassi to go big and bigger....to bully Chang and not let him strike back. Neat one with fellow speedster Hewitt as well, where Chang is actually the older, a bit slower version.

The thing that stands out to me watching these now, is not just the quickness, but the balance and preparation, which I mentioned before....all tennis pros are fast...all are well balanced, but, Chang was far ahead of even most of them. He had a such a fast twitch split step and preparation and recovery...,he just was as ready as you could possibly be to try to play the next shot.

That reminded me of what I was talking about when I said I had pointed to a vid of Chang before, you can see it at :34 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejw9kxTsN64&feature=related

At 34 seconds, Chang makes a final backhand pass on Mcenroe. Note two things:
1.how awkward it was for Chang to improvise on Mac's volley, get down, and make the backhand, (and it was a improvised volley so Chang had so little reaction time), Chang reovers from his last attempt SO fast, and is flying at the backhand, which is what even gives him the time to try it. Most other players, even pros, would have been a split second later, and probalby would have just had to try for an improvised slice lob, or slice pass.

2.at 34 seconds, right after he makes the BH, and Mac lunges for it, NOTE...Chang is already ready for the NEXT SHOT, a split second later, he is celebrating, but right before that, he was already looking and ready to go for the next shot....then in slow motion, you can see how awkward it was, to get that ready, and how, most people, even most pros, could not have been that ready, that fast. Again, that's due to his athleticism, speed, and in that case, his small stature actually helps.

More highlights:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idyrH9-O78k&feature=related

Hey, somebody posted highlights of the Rios/Chang match I think is very underrated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keh6tw2XCYI&feature=related

What speed, defense and good strokes from both sides in that long, grueling match.

hadn't seen that chang-rios match. some amazing play in there !!

other highlights are nice too.

Thanks for posting :)

piece
06-15-2010, 11:48 PM
From my perspective, there are 3 categories that define the type of speed a player possesses related to a particular game style. 1) Serve and Volley Speed-This category addresses vertical or backcourt to frontcourt speed. The fastest players as far as I am concerned, would be Rod Laver, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter. 2)Change of Direction Speed-This category refers to players that can stop quickly, change direction, sprint to the ball and complete the shot. The fastest I have ever seen would be Hewitt, Chang, Federer and Nadal. 3) Full Sprint Speed- this refers to players that can cover a tremendous amount of court in the shortest time. Borg, Monfils, Blake and Nadal would fall into this category. Overall, I think Nadal would take the cake, but it is a complex discussion that would require qualifying the measurable characteristics. Wow! Sorry, this is way off topic.

Good choices. Based on your categories, my choices would be

Serve and volley speed - Edberg
Change of Direction speed - Nadal
Full sprint speed - Bjorn Phau

SirSweetSpot
06-16-2010, 07:54 PM
It's funny I have a lot of Connors matches on video and I actually think I enjoy his matches now than when he was playing. I suppose it's because he was so great that a lot of times I rooted against him just to have different player in the semi or finals. He had such a great pure ball striking style that is arguably unsurpassed in the history of tennis.

Agassi has been compared to Connors as a service returner and pure ball striker and understandably. However Connors moved so much better than Agassi and was so much better defensively than Agassi that he had a lot more way to fight to win a point. He's just fun to watch and I have great respect for the Connors style.

Here's an old Connors playing great defensive tennis. I think most of you have seen this. lol.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7t5W6SDuEs

Man that Haarhuis service motion is a thing of beauty. Nobody exploded up to the ball like Paul did.

borg number one
07-20-2010, 09:44 PM
Speaking of Jimmy Connors, a Tennis Channel Documentary is running right now (for the U.S. Open). It's really well done.

kiki
08-09-2010, 10:54 AM
Yep. And I remember some of McEnroe's aces were slower than 100 mph. Who needs a 130 mph serve when you can ace people with placement ?

Mc serve was as a big weapon as the 1990´s big serves.He outplaced the opponents that had to return far out of the alley.only Jimbo, taking the ball so soon could hit winners off it.lendl did it but just when Mc was losing speed and strength.

kiki
08-13-2010, 10:53 AM
Connors also returned serve standing on the baseline numerous times; certainly when it was a 2nd serve, he was right on that line, if not inside it. He and Andre were not that different in that respect; their eye/hand coordination and timing were a cut above all others.

And yes, Connors structured the game around his attack on the server; pressuring from the minute the ball crossed the net. that was not quite Andre's approach

IMO Connor´s returning consistency made big S&V players got discouraged.I have seen films where you saw a big banger like Newcombe NOT COMING TO THE NET after his FS on grass.Only Mc Enroe could keep Jimmy´s mind thinking where the ball would go, in the same way Jimmy´s had the servers wondering what to do.Look at the 1982 and 83 US OPEN finals where Lendl had to hit many half volleys FROM THE BASELINE¡¡ giving away many points just because he was getting off position for so long¡

Ronaldo
08-13-2010, 11:47 AM
IMO Connor´s returning consistency made big S&V players got discouraged.I have seen films where you saw a big banger like Newcombe NOT COMING TO THE NET after his FS on grass.Only Mc Enroe could keep Jimmy´s mind thinking where the ball would go, in the same way Jimmy´s had the servers wondering what to do.Look at the 1982 and 83 US OPEN finals where Lendl had to hit many half volleys FROM THE BASELINE¡¡ giving away many points just because he was getting off position for so long¡

ESPN Classic is showing the 1982 US Open Final Lendl/Connors at 3 pm today.

Benhur
08-13-2010, 02:45 PM
I consider Connors the best returner I've ever seen.

There is only one match I remember where he could not handle his opponent's serve at all. The 1985 Wimbledon semifinal against Curren, which Curren won 6-2 6-2 6-1. I haven't watched that match since it happened, and my memory could be a bit off, but I believe Connors was unable to put the ball back in play in at least half of his return games and in the majority of his return points. I am pretty sure Curren won more than 50 points straight off his serve (aces + service winners). Curren's serve was really something else in that match.

pc1
08-13-2010, 03:15 PM
I consider Connors the best returner I've ever seen.

There is only one match I remember where he could not handle his opponent's serve at all. The 1985 Wimbledon semifinal against Curren, which Curren won 6-2 6-2 6-1. I haven't watched that match since it happened, and my memory could be a bit off, but I believe Connors was unable to put the ball back in play in at least half of his return games and in the majority of his return points. I am pretty sure Curren won more than 50 points straight off his serve (aces + service winners). Curren's serve was really something else in that match.

But to give Connors the benefit of the doubt he was in his early thirties and past his best.

Connors had some incredible days against big servers. Perhaps the most famous is his rout of Roscoe Tanner in the 1975 Wimbledon semi a decade earlier.

pmerk34
08-13-2010, 04:51 PM
But to give Connors the benefit of the doubt he was in his early thirties and past his best.

Connors had some incredible days against big servers. Perhaps the most famous is his rout of Roscoe Tanner in the 1975 Wimbledon semi a decade earlier.

Whatever. Connors was ranked three in the world and got blasted plain and simple.

pc1
08-13-2010, 04:56 PM
Whatever. Connors was ranked three in the world and got blasted plain and simple.

No doubt he was beaten badly. Curren also beat John McEnroe badly in the same tournament so maybe a young Connors would have been beaten badly too. I just wanted to point out the Connors of 1985 wasn't as good as the Connors of a few years earlier.

pmerk34
08-13-2010, 05:00 PM
No doubt he was beaten badly. Curren also beat John McEnroe badly in the same tournament so maybe a young Connors would have been beaten badly too. I just wanted to point out the Connors of 1985 wasn't as good as the Connors of a few years earlier.

Curren was on fire. It was awful tennis to watch. Plus he was a typical spoiled brat

WCT
08-13-2010, 06:09 PM
After Mcenroe and Lendl got knocked out, I really thought Connors was going to win that year. Curren had beaten him in 83, but on court 2,the upset court. And it was 4 close sets.

That Connors might lose, okay. Lose like that? That's why they play the matches. Like with Ashe in 75, you have to actually win them. After that, I figured that Curren has to beat Becker. Wrong again.

Benhur
08-13-2010, 07:09 PM
No doubt he was beaten badly. Curren also beat John McEnroe badly in the same tournament so maybe a young Connors would have been beaten badly too. I just wanted to point out the Connors of 1985 wasn't as good as the Connors of a few years earlier.

To be fair to Connors, I don't think anyone would have done any better than he did that day. I was trying to find an article of that 1985 match with the number of aces and service winners. I could not find any. However, in searching, I learned from an LA Times article that in their 1983 Wimbledon match, Curren had 33 aces and 70 service winners.
http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-03/sports/sp-365_1_pat-cash

I didn't watch their 1983 match, but I can see it had nearly twice as many games as the one in 1985, which was only 23 games. On Curren's 11 or 12 service games, it just seemed like the ball hardly ever came back. I don't think I've ever seen a more awesome service performance before or after. Or maybe it was just the strangeness of Curren's serve that helped give that impression. It was clear Connors couldn't get any read on that serve. It's almost as if Curren transferred the ball directly from his left hand into his racquet. Never seen anyone serve with that kind of motion.

SusanDK
08-14-2010, 03:01 AM
After that, I figured that Curren has to beat Becker. Wrong again.

Curren really seemed to have a case of nerves in that final. Not sure if the significance of the occasion just suddenly overwhelmed him, but he certainly lost the form he'd shown in the quarters and semis.

Datacipher
08-15-2010, 01:59 AM
Curren really seemed to have a case of nerves in that final. Not sure if the significance of the occasion just suddenly overwhelmed him, but he certainly lost the form he'd shown in the quarters and semis.

Curren was clearly nervous. Vic Braden mentions how Curren's serve had actually been better on paper than Becker's leading to the final, but the serve really let him down in the final. Curren himself has said that he wouldn't recommend youngsters serve like him, because if his timing was the slightest bit off, his serve went south. On the other hand, when his timing was one, it was, as Mcenroe said "the best serve in the world".

In any case, Becker has also noted that Curren was subpar. I recall Becker saying that b/c he was young and didn't truly appreciate the moment, he noticed in the first games how nervous Curren was, and couldn't figure out why. He figured since Curren had been around, he wouldn't be nervous, and Becker himself was not nervous!

pc1
08-15-2010, 05:54 AM
Curren was clearly nervous. Vic Braden mentions how Curren's serve had actually been better on paper than Becker's leading to the final, but the serve really let him down in the final. Curren himself has said that he wouldn't recommend youngsters serve like him, because if his timing was the slightest bit off, his serve went south. On the other hand, when his timing was one, it was, as Mcenroe said "the best serve in the world".

In any case, Becker has also noted that Curren was subpar. I recall Becker saying that b/c he was young and didn't truly appreciate the moment, he noticed in the first games how nervous Curren was, and couldn't figure out why. He figured since Curren had been around, he wouldn't be nervous, and Becker himself was not nervous!

It's funny that we all (including me) were of the opinion that Kevn Curren should have been favored over Boris Becker but on form and considering Becker was a teen it made sense. But we didn't know how truly great Becker was at the time, even at such a young age.

WCT
08-15-2010, 08:51 AM
Yeah, in retrospect, we'd go with Becker.
At the time, though, Curren had just taken Mcenroe and Connors out in straight sets. Maybe it was the nerves
because he sure didn't sustain the level he had in those 2 matches.

I can't say as I was shocked. Curren didn't have a lot of big match experience. I was more surprised by him killing Connors. I knew he had beaten Mcenroe easily, but I figured he'd come back to earth.

Also, it was more than just his serve that year. You can have he greatest serve ever, you only serve half the games. 5 of the 6 sets against Mcenroe and Connors, they won 2 games or less.
He's doing something to break their serves.

Like with Tanner. He gave Borg problems with more than just his serve. At some point, he needs something besides a serve to break Borg. He wasn't winning sets 6-2 strictly with his serve.

jrepac
08-16-2010, 03:49 PM
Yeah, in retrospect, we'd go with Becker.
At the time, though, Curren had just taken Mcenroe and Connors out in straight sets. Maybe it was the nerves
because he sure didn't sustain the level he had in those 2 matches.

I can't say as I was shocked. Curren didn't have a lot of big match experience. I was more surprised by him killing Connors. I knew he had beaten Mcenroe easily, but I figured he'd come back to earth.

Also, it was more than just his serve that year. You can have he greatest serve ever, you only serve half the games. 5 of the 6 sets against Mcenroe and Connors, they won 2 games or less.
He's doing something to break their serves.

Like with Tanner. He gave Borg problems with more than just his serve. At some point, he needs something besides a serve to break Borg. He wasn't winning sets 6-2 strictly with his serve.

Curren must still have nightmares about that Big W final...I mean, c'mon...he just beat 2 former champs who were GOAT contenders. Then, he gags against the little red-headed "kid" with the big serve! All the credit to Boris, who played freely and aggressively. He had been a surprise winner at Queens, no? I seem to remember Kriek predicting Boris would win the Big W soon...no one thought THAT soon!

Don't know if Boris would have played so freely against Mac or Jimmy; nerves might've kicked in. I recall reading that Tiriac was relieved that it was neither one of them in the final.

Jimmy blew a very good chance that year; I remember that he was psyched up to face Mac in the semis, only to have to square off against a red-hot Curren. Totally different scenario.

And, Curren was absolutely deadly in both matches. He could be a real giant killer when his serve was on; totally unreadable. In the Connors match, it was barely bouncing...just going right thru, skidding almost. Tough stuff for anyone.

SusanDK
08-17-2010, 02:57 AM
Curren must still have nightmares about that Big W final...I mean, c'mon...he just beat 2 former champs who were GOAT contenders. Then, he gags against the little red-headed "kid" with the big serve! All the credit to Boris, who played freely and aggressively. He had been a surprise winner at Queens, no?

I remember reading back then that Curren attended the semi-final between Becker and Järryd, and when Järryd was winning (won the first set and had a set point in the 2nd), Curren was willing him to win, whispering "C'mon Järryd" silently.

So he knew that Boris would be a challenge.

newmark401
08-17-2010, 03:46 AM
Personally, I don't think Connors had much chance of winning Wimbledon in 1985. He never made another major final after the 1984 Wimbledon. That said, he was still remarkably consistent.

urban
08-17-2010, 03:57 AM
I think, Curren simply was not champion-calibre. He was very dangerous against anybody in quarters or last 16, but not in the closing stages. In 1983, he was destined to reach the final against Mac, after a fine win over Connors. But he failed against Chris Lewis in the semi. I concede, it was a very fine match, but, as the final showed, Lewis should not be in a Wim final. There were several danger men similar to Curren, who could challenge or beat the favorite in the quarters, but couldn't convert their chances later on. Dennis Ralston, Marty Riessen, Roscoe Tanner or Magnus Larsson come to mind.

WCT
08-17-2010, 05:47 AM
Personally, I don't think Connors had much chance of winning Wimbledon in 1985. He never made another major final after the 1984 Wimbledon. That said, he was still remarkably consistent.

We were only talking 8-9 months after he almost knocked out Mcenroe, a prime Mcenroe, at the 84 Open. Looking back, it's easy to say he didn't have a real chance. At the time, with Mcenroe and Lendl out, I really thought he was going to win.

jrepac
08-17-2010, 11:59 AM
I think, Curren simply was not champion-calibre. He was very dangerous against anybody in quarters or last 16, but not in the closing stages. In 1983, he was destined to reach the final against Mac, after a fine win over Connors. But he failed against Chris Lewis in the semi. I concede, it was a very fine match, but, as the final showed, Lewis should not be in a Wim final. There were several danger men similar to Curren, who could challenge or beat the favorite in the quarters, but couldn't convert their chances later on. Dennis Ralston, Marty Riessen, Roscoe Tanner or Magnus Larsson come to mind.

Good point; I had forgotten about his loss to Lewis in 1983, who seemed quite ordinary to me. curren had his chances to win a GS event, 4 sure; even at the AO on grass...he just could not convert. I don't know, if I was beating defending champs at Wimbledon, I'd be feeling pretty good about my game :)

jrepac
08-17-2010, 12:05 PM
We were only talking 8-9 months after he almost knocked out Mcenroe, a prime Mcenroe, at the 84 Open. Looking back, it's easy to say he didn't have a real chance. At the time, with Mcenroe and Lendl out, I really thought he was going to win.

Almost anyone who gets to the semis has a good chance of winning, I think. Connors had a very good 1984, despite not winning a GS event, since that was Mac's "interstellar" year, as I like to call it (he played like he was from another planet!). He did not play a great semi at the '85 French against Lendl, but he was quite at home on the grass. By most accounts, he was the favorite from among the 4 semi finalists (he was #3 in the world at the time, if I am not mistaken). BTW... He made it to several GS semis in the late '80's...all 3 in '85, and 2 in '87....but Lendl was the top dog at that point. But, Jimmy was still incredibly competitive and could not be underestimated.

kiki
08-20-2010, 12:52 PM
1.Connors had to return a 115mph with a racquet that had a sweet spot the size of a peanut.Never mind the fact that they're playing with graphite racquets in that video.
2.Roddicks serve is inferior to jmacs,it has righty spin and is readable,giving agassi precious time to react,they and is generally not that fast,125-130,although he does hit belters too,they've slowed up the grounds giving you more time to react.

jmac is an *****hole,he didn't put connors or lendl in his top 5 players ever,although he put himself and andre,(4 of my slams won in australia on incredibly slow rebound when nobody cared)agassi in there,despite his not being anywhere near as successful as the other 2,who were able to beat jmac.He hated connors,plus he's a media wh*re,he's always saying that this player and that player is the best ever at something,you have to take everything he says with a pinch of salt.

Hadn´t heard any Mc´s comment as a TV repporter - ¡ fortunately¡-.As much as I loved seeing Mc play, I understand why he gives no chance to Connors and Lendl - they kicked up and down his *** during his playing days-.

Agassi, yes, returned pretty well the big babies from Sampras,Goran,Becker and Roddick or Safin.But Connors played a much more diversified kinda of servers ( Sliced,Top Spin.American Twist,Straight on Flat like Tanner´s ).

And he was able to make them doubt if they should come to the net or not because he was agression right from the moment the player hit the serve.His eye to mind coordination is unique and, of course, during the rest of the point, he made Agassi look boring - such was Connors´s range of strokes compared to Andre´s, including the volley, which Agassi did not know of-

kiki
08-20-2010, 12:58 PM
Agassi definately faced bigger heavier nastier servers than Conners, so comparing them isn't meaningful. They were both the best returners of their day.

But, Connors looks better returning serves because of his intensity and attacking intimidating style.

Furthermore, Conners as a returner in my opinion put more fear uncertainty and doubt in servers than Agassi ever did.

I think plenty of servers said to themselves facing Conners "his return of serve could actually beat me today"

versus

I think plenty of servers said to themselves facing Andre "he's going to rob me of some aces and serves that shouldn't come back today"

Big difference.

yeah¡¡ that is a pretty inteligent way to summarize it up.Congratulations.

kiki
08-26-2010, 12:52 PM
I consider Connors the best returner I've ever seen.

There is only one match I remember where he could not handle his opponent's serve at all. The 1985 Wimbledon semifinal against Curren, which Curren won 6-2 6-2 6-1. I haven't watched that match since it happened, and my memory could be a bit off, but I believe Connors was unable to put the ball back in play in at least half of his return games and in the majority of his return points. I am pretty sure Curren won more than 50 points straight off his serve (aces + service winners). Curren's serve was really something else in that match.

Curren, IMO is probably one of the most underrated big players ever.His serve compares to Ivanisevic,Roddick or Tanner but he was much faster afoot and a better volleyer.He just had to play better oposition.

kiki
08-26-2010, 12:56 PM
To be fair to Connors, I don't think anyone would have done any better than he did that day. I was trying to find an article of that 1985 match with the number of aces and service winners. I could not find any. However, in searching, I learned from an LA Times article that in their 1983 Wimbledon match, Curren had 33 aces and 70 service winners.
http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-03/sports/sp-365_1_pat-cash

I didn't watch their 1983 match, but I can see it had nearly twice as many games as the one in 1985, which was only 23 games. On Curren's 11 or 12 service games, it just seemed like the ball hardly ever came back. I don't think I've ever seen a more awesome service performance before or after. Or maybe it was just the strangeness of Curren's serve that helped give that impression. It was clear Connors couldn't get any read on that serve. It's almost as if Curren transferred the ball directly from his left hand into his
racquet. Never seen anyone serve with that kind of motion.

True, his motion was unbelievable and he was a very sharp returner, taking the ball early in the rise.as I said before, if such a player did not win a GS on grass, it is , simply, because players were much stronger in his era than nowadays.By very very far

jimbo333
08-27-2010, 02:44 AM
Almost anyone who gets to the semis has a good chance of winning, I think. Connors had a very good 1984, despite not winning a GS event, since that was Mac's "interstellar" year, as I like to call it (he played like he was from another planet!). He did not play a great semi at the '85 French against Lendl, but he was quite at home on the grass. By most accounts, he was the favorite from among the 4 semi finalists (he was #3 in the world at the time, if I am not mistaken). BTW... He made it to several GS semis in the late '80's...all 3 in '85, and 2 in '87....but Lendl was the top dog at that point. But, Jimmy was still incredibly competitive and could not be underestimated.

Indeed, anyone who underestimated Jimmy Connors, normally lost, at any time in Jimmy's long and very distinguished career!

Oh, and he was definitely the greatest returner ever in my opinion:)

jrepac
08-27-2010, 11:30 AM
Indeed, anyone who underestimated Jimmy Connors, normally lost, at any time in Jimmy's long and very distinguished career!

Oh, and he was definitely the greatest returner ever in my opinion:)

No argument from me on that point; no one returned Lendl's serve like Connors..it was amazing at times. And as good as Mac was in '84, Jimmy almost tagged him at the USO, again with a great return game and well measured aggressive tactics.

One match from the late 80's I would like to see again is the Connors v. Becker 87 Queens Final...Jimmy had Boris by the throat, frankly, but let him wriggle out. That was a very tense, exciting match as I remember. No one expected such a show of force from Connors. And Boris had to really fight hard to pull it out.

SusanDK
09-01-2010, 02:40 AM
One match from the late 80's I would like to see again is the Connors v. Becker 87 Queens Final...Jimmy had Boris by the throat, frankly, but let him wriggle out. That was a very tense, exciting match as I remember. No one expected such a show of force from Connors. And Boris had to really fight hard to pull it out.

Ah, that was a fantastic match! Connors won the first set in a tiebreak, and was up a break in the 2nd, with break point to go up two breaks. Becker was slipping all over the court and couldn't find his serve for the first set and a half, and seemed on the verge of self-destructing a couple of times with verbal tirades at himself. But he managed to pull himself together and went from 1-3 down in the second set, to win it 6-3 and then take the final set which was also very close and hard-fought by both players.

There were some incredible rallies in that match. I remember a long rally with both players being pulled into the net and sent running back by well-placed lobs, both scrambling to reach impossible shots. After Connors won the point, and with both of them gasping for air, he shouted across the net to Becker, "let's do that again" to which Becker replied, "not with me!" Jimmy was 34 and Becker 19 at the time.

abmk
09-01-2010, 02:47 AM
Ah, that was a fantastic match! Connors won the first set in a tiebreak, and was up a break in the 2nd, with break point to go up two breaks. Becker was slipping all over the court and couldn't find his serve for the first set and a half, and seemed on the verge of self-destructing a couple of times with verbal tirades at himself. But he managed to pull himself together and went from 1-3 down in the second set, to win it 6-3 and then take the final set which was also very close and hard-fought by both players.

There were some incredible rallies in that match. I remember a long rally with both players being pulled into the net and sent running back by well-placed lobs, both scrambling to reach impossible shots. After Connors won the point, and with both of them gasping for air, he shouted across the net to Becker, "let's do that again" to which Becker replied, "not with me!" Jimmy was 34 and Becker 19 at the time.

very interesting ....

makenakai
09-01-2010, 11:45 PM
wilson T2000 65-70 sq. in. Head Rad OS 108 sq in. that helps...

makenakai
09-02-2010, 12:01 AM
Ted Wiilliams called hitting a major league fastball the hardest feat in sports. There is a definite critiria for a hit - ie on base. and BTW I agree w Ted, even being a tennis player who prides himself on his return game. so..... What is the criteria for a "good " return in tennis?

makenakai
09-02-2010, 12:11 AM
do Bigger guns on serve and return negate each other's advantages? as I recall Curren used a woody...Tanner had a snowshoe, heheheh...OS is a huuge edge in every way, spin, power, sweetspot...are courts slower on the average now? are radar guns "cooked" for PR purposes....are balls faster? so many possible factors....

kiki
09-03-2010, 01:10 PM
Ah, that was a fantastic match! Connors won the first set in a tiebreak, and was up a break in the 2nd, with break point to go up two breaks. Becker was slipping all over the court and couldn't find his serve for the first set and a half, and seemed on the verge of self-destructing a couple of times with verbal tirades at himself. But he managed to pull himself together and went from 1-3 down in the second set, to win it 6-3 and then take the final set which was also very close and hard-fought by both players.

Susan, it should have happened when grass was grass and Wimbledon was proud of being Wimbledon - not a mere follow up of the French, like it is today-.Today´s organizers have thrown away 120 years of tradition just because thay want Nadal, Murray or Djokovic win the tournament.

The best Gran Slam is now like a Master Series event and that really is a shame not to be forbidden

There were some incredible rallies in that match. I remember a long rally with both players being pulled into the net and sent running back by well-placed lobs, both scrambling to reach impossible shots. After Connors won the point, and with both of them gasping for air, he shouted across the net to Becker, "let's do that again" to which Becker replied, "not with me!" Jimmy was 34 and Becker 19 at the time.

Susan, it should have happened when grass was grass and Wimbledon was proud of being Wimbledon - not a mere follow up of the French, like it is today-.Today´s organizers have thrown away 120 years of tradition just because thay want Nadal, Murray or Djokovic win the tournament.

The best Gran Slam is now like a Master Series event and that really is a shame not to be forbidden

kiki
09-03-2010, 01:32 PM
My take: Connors faced so many different kinds of serves and so many were great s/v ers, from Laver, Ashe,Smith and Newcombe, to McEnroe, Tanner, and even Edberg or Becker with a larger percentage of venues on fast grass as well as baseline serves of baseliners such as Borg, Lendl. Courts were faster, the bounces less sure, the targets smaller, and the racket less friendly.

Exactly.Perfect description of what happened then

kiki
09-03-2010, 01:40 PM
One of the more thoughtful posts amidst a whole lot of incredibly stupid comments. Suggest some of you 12 yr old posters go find some Roscoe Tanner clips; this guy clocked Borg and Connors when he was on. And he played with a little dinky wood racket and hit serves around 120mph easily. And, Connors faced off against Lendl, who at the time was the best server around. And, toss Kevin Curren into the mix. Oh, yah, he played Boris Becker very tightly when he was freaking 35 yrs old. Not to mention he had a winning record vs. Edberg well into his 30's. So, really I think some of the comments here are just bait, because that is how stupid they are.

Again, there is vast confusion in that speed of serve is the equivalent of good serving...no, not really. Mac's serve was not FAST but it was impossible to read...you did NOT know where the hell it was going. Connors would have a field day w/some of today's servers since they are quite predictable in their patterns. The guy had eye-hand coordination and reactions that were incredible; he would see some of these guys coming before they hit the damn ball. And, Mac can serve in the 120mph range; he's done it on the senior tour (even slow poke Connors hit 108mph in a match I saw), so speed is not all that and an egg roll.

The clip shown is from the 84 USO semi; a superbly played match from both Mac and Jimmy. Mac's first serve as in the 60% range and Connors played him very, very tough that night. Usually, when Mac was in the mid-60's, those matches would be blow outs, but not this one. Connors returns were at their best, but Mac just had that something extra towards the end of it.

Andre is also an incredible return; he could simply crush the ball. When he beat Mac at the '92 Wimby semi, Mac said Andre had the best return he ever saw. Not so sure based on that match, as Mac's reaction times were slow (as he was much older), but Andre was brutal in terms of SPEED of the return.

I've always felt Andre hit the return HARDER than Jimmy, but Jimmy returned more of the otherwise un-returnable serves...he got back stuff no one else could. The 82 USO final against Lendl is a great example of that...he returned absolutely huge serves from Ivan with his "slingshot" T-2000.

And Connors vs. Sampras? I saw one of those matches he lost to Sampras; on clay in Atlanta. Even at 40yrs old, he was getting back some huge serves from Sampras and played a good first set, losing 5-7.

2 different eras certainly, but "big" serves existed in the 70's and 80's, not to mention servers who could superbly disguise their service intentions (ala Mac)

I think it is pretty much a toss up between the two, but I do agree w/the comment that Connor's return was generally more "feared" than Andre's, right or wrong...perhaps because opponents knew he was going to come after them on every service game.

Put it this way: Connors with a bigger frame would equal Agassi with a smaller frame.The difference is that Connors faced a much more diversified range of servers - from Big hitting slow motioners as Tanner or Curren, to Mc or Ashe´s slice, to Lendl flat and deep, to Becker and Edberg...- And this is not taking anyway out of Andre, who faced Sampras,Stich,Ivanisevic and Rafter babies...-

The following question is... ¿ Who won more points AFTER hitting the return ?.If I was a Sampras or a Ivanisevic, I would fear more Jimmy than Agassi, because the former had a much more diversified range of returns and would move inside the baseline JUST RIGHT AFTER HITTING the return.

Agassi could blast me away with a one shot but, in the long run, Jimmy would hart me much more with his ALL RETURN ATTACK

kiki
11-07-2010, 10:39 AM
He WAS a fine returner, I agree, but in the league of Connors and Agassi...that may be a reach...

Jarryd was clearly a better returner, and the only one that, for some moments, reached the levels of Connors and Agassi.

kiki
11-07-2010, 10:43 AM
Yes, Jimmy could read the unreadable serves (aka McEnroe) better than everyone else..and I do agree w/agree w/Pat Mac's assessment...Jimmy was terrific at the wide serves and those spinning into his body...like the one he hit off of Mac for a winner in that USO clip....Andre would tend to guess on the direction of the serve and if right, would rip the winner at 1000mph...so, 2 very different, yet effective returning styles.

Connors vs Tanner is equal - only that with diverse frames, of course- than Agassi vs Ivanisevic.It was a fire fest and the ball came and went real fast.It was a real bombing from both ends of the court and, may times, the oncoming volleyer found the ball just right in his stomach.

BTURNER
11-07-2010, 12:04 PM
we have not discussed which of these two returned most effectively vs various baseline styles. Whether the goal was to keep it consistently deep down the center to neutralize the servers advantage or to place it agressively on second serve return for their own advantage in the oncoming rally, or as first strike in a charge at net. At least half the time they were meeting baseliners Borg, Lendl, Chang, Courier, Vilas, Hewitt, Wilander,

Cuculain
11-11-2010, 02:46 AM
Jimmy by a long shot, then Agassi! Just look at the 84 Wimbledon semi with Lendl!! the BBC commentator even remarks about how big a factor Jimmy's return of serve was in winning this match. Even though you can see age is beginning to slow him down, he was still a dangerous player over this next few years, but not quite as fast as when he was in his prime!! which is why in my opinion, Lendl overtook him in the head to head...If he had retired after 84 which was long after most of his contempories had! he would have finished his career ahead in his meetings with Lendl..