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noeledmonds
01-22-2007, 09:23 AM
Borg won 6 FO and 5 SW19 (as I am sure you all know). He won 3 of these FO and SW19 titles in the same year. Now here is my question:

How did Borg change his game from the slow Cley to the fast Grass?

I have seen relativly little of Borg's matches. Did Borg serve and volley a little on grass, or attack more. Did he take the ball earlier on the grass when returing. To have such success on both surfaces is unheard of in the men's game, with the exception of Borg. What was the key to this surface transition?

noeledmonds
01-22-2007, 09:24 AM
should say "Borg's Adaptation",

sorry

Jet Rink
01-22-2007, 09:27 AM
Borg won 6 FO and 5 SW19 (as I am sure you all know). He won 3 of these FO and SW19 titles in the same year. Now here is my question:

How did Borg change his game from the slow Cley to the fast Grass?

I have seen relativly little of Borg's matches. Did Borg serve and volley a little on grass, or attack more. Did he take the ball earlier on the grass when returing. To have such success on both surfaces is unheard of in the men's game, with the exception of Borg. What was the key to this surface transition?

Borg was incredibly fast - and had a very low heart rate (as I am sure you all know!). His court speed allowed him to adjust fairly easily to the fast grass (in those days...) at Wimbledon.

At the French, you used to see 50-60 ball rallies - and his fitness and "calm" allowed him to just grind guys into the dirt.

Now, all that said, Borg also worked hard to improve his serve and his s/v game - so by the end of his Wimbledon run, he was a fairly accomplished net player. He gets ZERO credit for that - and you can clearly see his skill on the epic Borg/Mac matches.

Jet

LttlElvis
01-22-2007, 09:58 AM
Borg had a great serve on grass. Also great approach shots and return of serve. It was incredible how someone can dominate on clay and then grass in a couple of weeks. He was probably one of the best athletes of his time.

One intangible advantage could be an intimidation factor. For that time, he was so dominant very few players felt they had a chance against him (like Federer today).

noeledmonds
01-22-2007, 10:45 AM
I am aware of Borg's strenghts. I know he was extremely fit, mentally strong and able to out rally almost any one. But what did he do differently on cley from grass? The points about serve and vollying are relevant, but if you look at Borg's game as a whole it seems so suited to cley and not grass. He played in a time when grass and cley were at there most different, so how did he adept? Macenore playing at a similar time matched Borg at times on grass but never won a FO, never mind dominated at the event.

chaognosis
01-22-2007, 11:30 AM
Borg serve-and-volleyed more in the early rounds at Wimbledon, when the grass was faster and he faced lesser opponents. By the second week, the court was worn down and slower, allowing Borg to stay back more and play his comfortable game. He was fortunate to play in an era with few great serve-and-volleyers; who's to say how he would have fared ten years earlier, against the great Aussies like Laver and Newcombe? Certainly McEnroe showed that Borg's game was vulnerable, and I think he would have had little chance against Becker or Sampras on grass. Borg was a heavy underdog in his first Wimbledon final against Nastase, one of the most important matches in his career. Borg's greatest asset was his mental toughness, and no player has ever been better in five-set matches. Borg could often beat a technically superior grass-court player by prolonging the match to five sets, wearing his opponent down, and handling the pressure of the big points with an almost unnatural calmness, as he did against McEnroe in 1980.

urban
01-22-2007, 11:48 AM
Chaognosis has pointed to the main aspects. One could add, that Borg intentionally and methodically trained to strengthen his serve in 1976, when he had lost out to Panatta at RG. At Wimbledon, where it was very hot and the courts were lightning fast, he served pretty well, serving guys like Tanner and Nastase off the court. His serve was fast and reliable, like a swiss knife, as Gene Scott once wrote.Against Mac in the 1980 final, he lost just 3 points in the last set on his own serve. Furthermore, Borg reduced his long backswing on the return; and he sliced more on his forehand, to keep it low - a tactic that worked well against Connors'low forhand. He came in on his first serve, his volley was often too short, but - as Gerulaitis stated -it worked quite well on grass, because the balls often died on bad bounces. He had good reflexes, although his net play looked arkward.

Moose Malloy
01-22-2007, 12:08 PM
Certainly McEnroe showed that Borg's game was vulnerable, and I think he would have had little chance against Becker or Sampras on grass.

Not many could push McEnroe on grass like this, & with wood racquets that favored S&V more than baseliners:

1980 W Final:Borg d McEnroe 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6
1981 W Final:McEnroe d Borg 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 (& Borg had set points to go up 2-1 in sets)

If Borg could push peak Mac that much on fast grass with poor equipment, I wonder how well he would return with graphite against Becker etc. Mac is considered a formidable grasscourt opponent for anyone in any era, why not Borg with those scores vs Mac?

And Borg S&Ved every first serve vs Mac in those finals, not just in the first week matches when grass was supposedly faster. His serve was pretty big with wood, it would be even bigger with graphite.

I'm not sure I really buy that the grass was much slower in the 2nd week. The court was so worn out, & had so many bad bounces. I've watched every W final last 30 years, & the 'slower' grass didn't prevent Edberg, Becker, Curren, Sampras, Ivanisevic, Tanner etc from S&V every point & hitting a ton of aces.

Much more impressed with Borg's radically different play at the French & W within weeks compared to Federer & Nadal last year who basically played from the baseline at both events.

Rabbit
01-22-2007, 12:45 PM
I agree with Moose. Borg was unbelievable given the circumstance around him and the prevalent game style at the time which wasn't baseline or heavy top. His clay court play was unbeatable as was his grass court play. I think the guy had just had enough.

ollinger
01-22-2007, 02:59 PM
I saw a documentary recently dealing mostly with his financial woes but they showed a good amount of Wimbledon footage. He was terrific at net, coming in quickly, making a perfect split step, and angling off superb volleys. I'd forgotten just how versatile his game was.

Jet Rink
01-22-2007, 03:11 PM
I saw a documentary recently dealing mostly with his financial woes but they showed a good amount of Wimbledon footage. He was terrific at net, coming in quickly, making a perfect split step, and angling off superb volleys. I'd forgotten just how versatile his game was.

Yep - I think it's because of his two-hander - folks think of that and it doesn't necessarily equate with "volley."

Jet

Rabbit
01-22-2007, 05:02 PM
Well, it's half right both ways. On grass, Borg's volley was so bad that it was terrific. He just dumped his volleys over the net with not stick on them at all and they died on the grass. This made them very effective.

FiveO
01-22-2007, 05:20 PM
Well, it's half right both ways. On grass, Borg's volley was so bad that it was terrific. He just dumped his volleys over the net with not stick on them at all and they died on the grass. This made them very effective.


To that end:

Even some of his fellow players managed to use the ineptitude of his volleying to explain his success on grass. 'The surface looks after his volleys and makes them better than they are,' John McEnroe would say. 'Balls that he hits short or mishits - flub volleys - are great volleys on grass,' said Vitas Gerulaitis.-Globe/Observer Sport Monthly-June 5, 2005

vitasGremembered
01-24-2007, 05:19 PM
Borg's win streak at Wimbledon was nearly unbelievable; and believe me, I was in bed at 6:30 a.m. watching Breakfast at Wimbledon hoping that Tanner, Connors or McEnroe would beat him.

He was the ultimate clay courter, yet how he went "across the pond" and won 5 straight at Wimbledon was dumbounding. His serve was excellent, I recall he loved to serve down the T and he developed a two handed slice down the line. He S&W a lot. I hardly remember him hanging back like they do nowadays.

He was simply great (from a Connors fan too.)

kenshireen
02-01-2007, 05:59 PM
It was a sad day when he retired at just turning 26.. He was in my estimation the greatest of his era.. I believe he skipped the AO..
I still don't understand why he retired after losing the finals at W to Mac.
I would say his court speed has never been equalled by anybody

bluegrasser
02-02-2007, 06:38 AM
Borg won 6 FO and 5 SW19 (as I am sure you all know). He won 3 of these FO and SW19 titles in the same year. Now here is my question:

How did Borg change his game from the slow Cley to the fast Grass?

I have seen relativly little of Borg's matches. Did Borg serve and volley a little on grass, or attack more. Did he take the ball earlier on the grass when returing. To have such success on both surfaces is unheard of in the men's game, with the exception of Borg. What was the key to this surface transition?

He incoporated a slice two handed bkhnd, improved his volley and serve and attacked every short ball.

FiveO
02-02-2007, 09:32 AM
Also Borg generally played closer to the baseline than some other devout clay-courters of the era.

This allowed him to be an incredibly consistent passer off both wings as well.

Something he did differently was how he approached passing in positioning and passing choices he made based on that positioning.

The staff a Rick Elstein's Tennis Academy I attended as a junior and later taught at, did a fairly good job of analyzing and comparing how Borg was so successful at passing with such consistency.

What they identified was that Borg made an effort to cut the corners of the court off, moving forward on the diagonal to intercept the ball before allowing those shots to take him to wide. This had the added benefits of reducing the time the net rusher had to establish a better net position and allowing him to catch lower balls at a higher point than most baseliners of the day would. Combine that with the fact that he hit a tame western, actually a semi-western grip by today's standards also meant he hit the ball harder than most of the "topspinners" of the generation.

He also employed another approach which maintained his incredible passing consistency in that he very rarely would pass down the line and almost always only when the approach would pull him wide of that sideline. So in actuality almost all his passes were hit somewhat "crosscourt" anywhere from an acute angle inside the opposite sideline at the service line, to at the net rusher's feet even when hitting dtl from off a ball wide of the sideline, ostensibly pulling everything somewhat "in". Very, very rarely did he hit straight passes parallel to the sideline or inside out.

stormholloway
02-02-2007, 09:53 AM
He S&W a lot. I hardly remember him hanging back like they do nowadays.

Borg did serve and wallow(?) a lot. Funny your name is Vitas. Vitas never once beat Borg, though I have his match against Borg in '77 at Wimbledon on DVD. Good stuff.

laboule
02-02-2007, 11:06 AM
Borg often plays at my local tennis hall here in sweden, he's still got it :)

stormholloway
02-02-2007, 11:07 PM
That's awesome. Truly.