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noeledmonds
03-24-2007, 11:31 AM
Would Connors have won the French Open and therfore the Grand Slam in 1974 if he had not been banned from the French Open?

Moose Malloy
03-24-2007, 11:48 AM
Tough to say, his flat strokes were always a bit out of place on the clay.
But it is worth noting that he beat Borg in the final of the US Claycourt Championships in Indianapolis later that year 5-7 6-3 6-4 (this event was at least on the level of a masters series today, 64 draw, & all the best were there. maybe had a better field than the French actually)
He also beat Orantes, the FO finalist of '74 in Indy.
It was on har-true, which is different than red clay, but not that different(Borg, Vilas, Orantes all had great records on any kind of clay)

I'd have to take a closer look at the draw & see who showed up at the '74 French (many slams were plagued by bans, boycotts, etc in those days it seemed)

As far as beating an 18 year old Borg in his first slam final? I think Connors would have been the slight favorite. And Borg did lose the first 2 sets in the final, so who knows?

federerfanatic
03-24-2007, 12:03 PM
I think Connors takes it. It is true Connors and Borg never played on red European clay, and when they did play on clay it was always in the U.S were Borg had trouble performing to his optimum standard in that environment for awhile. Even so Connors so totally dominated Borg from 74-76, so totally dominated in 74 in general, and was comfortable enough on clay I think he would have taken it in a hard fought 4 or 5 setter.

sandy mayer
03-24-2007, 04:18 PM
Connors would have had a great great chance. I think he would have done it. His 74 US Clay Couirt victory was impressive: victories over Orantes and Borg.
I think people who write Connors' chances off forget he was invincible in 74, that he dominated Borg then and Borg really feared him and that Connors was a lot better clay-court player than people realise. All this stuff over the absence of a European clay title ignores the fact Connors hardly played on the stuff and not at all in the years he had best chance to win on red clay, 74-77.

LarougeNY
03-24-2007, 04:32 PM
sorry to sound ignorant, but why was conners banned?

Kirko
03-24-2007, 05:29 PM
Connors refused to join the ATP in 72 and played a series of events in which he dominated for his manger Bill Riordan a lawyer and promoter. He was refused entry into the French. I think Arhtur Ashe was a big critic of Connors for doing this. I think.

volleyman
03-24-2007, 06:00 PM
Connors was banned from the French Open in 1974 for the crime of playing World Team Tennis.

I think he would have won it if he had been allowed to play.

urban
03-24-2007, 11:51 PM
I doubt it. Connors did play at RG in 72 and 73, when he was already a force to reckon with, and lost first and second round. In 1974 he had the advantage, not to face the grass court big guns like Newcombe, Smith ,Ashe or his nemesis Nastase in the big events. Not his fault, of course, all these big guys had played too much on the lucrative WCT circuit, while Connors rested himself on the Riordan circuit. The players he beat at the majors, Dent at AO, Dent, Kodes, Stockton at Wim, Tanner at USO, were solid or good, but not great players on grass. And finalist Kenny Rosewall, who did him the favor, to put away the dangerous, but disappointing Newk, was nearly 40 years old, and tired. Before Wim , Connors lost 3-6,0-6 to Stan Smith in a Wim preparation event. Its of course speculation, also, if Connors would have gone deep at RG, what he would have left at Wim. Remember: Borg won his first two Wims, when he lost at RG, or didn't play there. Nastase in his prime, won RG in 73 without losing a set, and lost last 16 in a depleted field at Wim against Sandy Mayer.

noeledmonds
03-25-2007, 06:31 AM
I agree with what I am hearing here generally. I personally suspect that Connors would not have won however. It is hard to predict how Connors's would have performed on the european clay, however his perfomances outside the USA were not so great against Borg. Connors only beat Borg on one occasion outside the USA and that was on hard courts. We must also remember this was a high quality field and Connors may have had to contend with players such as Kodes, Nastase, Panatta or Orantes (possible the developing Vilas too). I suspect that any one of these players could have given Connors a very tough time on their day on the slow red dirt.

AndrewD
03-25-2007, 09:57 AM
Urban,

Thanks for being the only person I've seen on this message board to recognise that, while Rosewall probably would have lost both finals to Connors) the end result was more a reflection of his tiredness than any disparity in class. No-one seems to mention that, at age 40, he won (at Wimbledon) in 4 sets against Amritraj, Tanner and Newcombe plus 5 sets against Smith. Then, at the US Open, he won in 4 sets against Ramirez, Amritraj, Pasarell and Newcombe. We celebrate Connors' great run to the semis of the US Open at age 39 (beating Patrick McEnroe, Michiel Schapers, Karel Novacek, Aaron Krickstein,Paul Haarhuis and losind to Jim Courier 3-6 3-6 2-6) but never give Rosewall's 74 campaign the praise it so rightly deserves.

sandy mayer
03-26-2007, 12:06 AM
I doubt it. Connors did play at RG in 72 and 73, when he was already a force to reckon with, and lost first and second round. In 1974 he had the advantage, not to face the grass court big guns like Newcombe, Smith ,Ashe or his nemesis Nastase in the big events. Not his fault, of course, all these big guys had played too much on the lucrative WCT circuit, while Connors rested himself on the Riordan circuit. The players he beat at the majors, Dent at AO, Dent, Kodes, Stockton at Wim, Tanner at USO, were solid or good, but not great players on grass. And finalist Kenny Rosewall, who did him the favor, to put away the dangerous, but disappointing Newk, was nearly 40 years old, and tired. Before Wim , Connors lost 3-6,0-6 to Stan Smith in a Wim preparation event. Its of course speculation, also, if Connors would have gone deep at RG, what he would have left at Wim. Remember: Borg won his first two Wims, when he lost at RG, or didn't play there. Nastase in his prime, won RG in 73 without losing a set, and lost last 16 in a depleted field at Wim against Sandy Mayer.

I think thisis too harsh on Connors. He was head and shoulders above everyone in 74 and no pro who played that year would deny it. If Rosewall beat the likes of Smith, Newcome and Tanner he was still a world class player whatever his age and a scalp for Connors. Connors lost only 6 games in 2 grand slam finals against a top opponent: a phenomenal achievement. Connors beat Nastase in 74 and had the upper hand over Smith and Ashe. He didn't play Newcombe in 74 because Newk didn't make the finals of grand slams that year, but that doesn't take away from Connors' achievements, it shows Connors was better that year.

sandy mayer
03-26-2007, 12:11 AM
Urban,

Thanks for being the only person I've seen on this message board to recognise that, while Rosewall probably would have lost both finals to Connors) the end result was more a reflection of his tiredness than any disparity in class. No-one seems to mention that, at age 40, he won (at Wimbledon) in 4 sets against Amritraj, Tanner and Newcombe plus 5 sets against Smith. Then, at the US Open, he won in 4 sets against Ramirez, Amritraj, Pasarell and Newcombe. We celebrate Connors' great run to the semis of the US Open at age 39 (beating Patrick McEnroe, Michiel Schapers, Karel Novacek, Aaron Krickstein,Paul Haarhuis and losind to Jim Courier 3-6 3-6 2-6) but never give Rosewall's 74 campaign the praise it so rightly deserves.

You are right that Rosewall doesn't get thecredit he deserves for his incredibleachievements at such an old age in 74, though I think Rosewall himself acknowledges that the 21/22 year old Connors was simply too good for him. I don't think Rosewall had a hope of beating Connors even if he'd won all his matches quickly and was fresh. I think Rosewall was thrashed not because he was too tired but because the gap between the 2 players in 74 was too big.

urban
03-26-2007, 05:37 AM
Of course, Connors was the Nr.1 in 1974. But he was critisized by many writers and fellow pros, that he didn't play the big guns constantly, but waited for the moments, when others were burned out by the schedule of the hard WCT tour. The top ten in 74 on the computer were - out of the top of my head - Connors, Newcombe, Borg, Laver, Vilas, Smith, Ashe, Nastase, Rosewall and Ramirez (or Tanner). In his 3 majors, he won, Connors faced out of the top ten only Rosewall twice (and Tanner). Not his fault, but a somewhat strange fact. He focussed on the summer events, while the WCT pro played their 11 tornament series until May. Connors didn't play the Masters end of the year, because it didn't fit into his schedule.

krosero
03-27-2007, 06:17 PM
But it is worth noting that he beat Borg in the final of the US Claycourt Championships in Indianapolis later that year 5-7 6-3 6-4That's quite a close result. At the French, Borg's prowess in five-set matches might have made the difference. Also, Connors was comfortable in the U.S. while Borg was not, and at the French all this would have been neutralized.

Connors did dominate Borg in these years, but never on red clay. Borg won their very first match, I believe, in 1973, on indoor carpet (?), 7-6 in the third? Was their head-to-head in June 1974 lopsided yet in Connors' favor? How many matches had they played?

It's a tough call. I'd like to say Connors would have done it, but he's an unproven factor on red clay.

noeledmonds
03-28-2007, 09:59 AM
That's quite a close result. At the French, Borg's prowess in five-set matches might have made the difference. Also, Connors was comfortable in the U.S. while Borg was not, and at the French all this would have been neutralized.

Connors did dominate Borg in these years, but never on red clay. Borg won their very first match, I believe, in 1973, on indoor carpet (?), 7-6 in the third? Was their head-to-head in June 1974 lopsided yet in Connors' favor? How many matches had they played?

It's a tough call. I'd like to say Connors would have done it, but he's an unproven factor on red clay.

Remember that Borg was not the only oponent that Connors could have lost to at the French Open. You claim you are uncertain if Connors could have beaten Borg, but remember there were many other oponents (including Kodes, Nastase, Panatta, Vilas) who Connors might have faced. All these players are very dangerous and on balance victory at the FO would have been unlikely for Connors.

Trinity TC
03-28-2007, 10:20 AM
I believe that one of Connors' four losses in 1974 was to Juan Gisbert on clay at the Canadian Open. Gisbert had an idiosyncratic slice and dice game and probably had the ugliest strokes in the pro game back then. Coulda, mighta beat Jimbo at the French Open. :)

krosero
03-28-2007, 05:33 PM
Remember that Borg was not the only oponent that Connors could have lost to at the French Open. You claim you are uncertain if Connors could have beaten Borg, but remember there were many other oponents (including Kodes, Nastase, Panatta, Vilas) who Connors might have faced. All these players are very dangerous and on balance victory at the FO would have been unlikely for Connors.I would tend to agree; I voted no in the poll.

tintin
03-30-2007, 02:58 PM
hell no wouldn't have happend

CEvertFan
04-13-2007, 06:36 PM
I voted no. Connors wasn't quite good enough on clay, particularly the RED clay.

Q&M son
04-19-2008, 02:05 PM
Of course, Connors was the Nr.1 in 1974. But he was critisized by many writers and fellow pros, that he didn't play the big guns constantly, but waited for the moments, when others were burned out by the schedule of the hard WCT tour. The top ten in 74 on the computer were - out of the top of my head - Connors, Newcombe, Borg, Laver, Vilas, Smith, Ashe, Nastase, Rosewall and Ramirez (or Tanner). In his 3 majors, he won, Connors faced out of the top ten only Rosewall twice (and Tanner). Not his fault, but a somewhat strange fact. He focussed on the summer events, while the WCT pro played their 11 tornament series until May. Connors didn't play the Masters end of the year, because it didn't fit into his schedule.

Great add.
I'd voted no.

Tshooter
04-19-2008, 07:54 PM
He would have been one of the favorites. He was great on all surfaces. He made it to the finals of the USO every year that it was on clay (Har-Tru). One year beating Borg. I was at that one and my memory is that it was one of those matches that was never in doubt despite the 4 set score. And Borg was among the greatest clay courters ever. He wasn't just good on clay, he was great on clay (any variety).

jeffreyneave
04-20-2008, 04:38 AM
I'm with the doubters. Connors had a very good record on Har-tru in the states but never won on red clay in europe. That's poor for a great player. I know he avoided the stuff from 74-78, but rest of his career was a big disappointment on that surface. 72-73 were awful (he was top5-6 player in73) and after '78 he was steady but lost all his tough matches against pecci, gerulaitis, clerc and higureas. He again won the us clay court in '79 beating vilas, but was still no real threat in paris

Borg had won their only previous meeting in stockholm, so Connors would have no psychological advantage. Borg shpwed fantastic stamina winning 5 set matches against van dillen, ramirez and orantes. He came from 2 sets down in the final and won the last 3 6-1,6-0,6-1. He sounds awsome.

jeffrey

llgc8080
04-20-2008, 12:19 PM
Don't know if he would win, but in SF at least.

Tennisfan!
04-21-2008, 03:18 PM
Very difficult to win for Jimbo.

edmondsm
04-21-2008, 03:45 PM
Sure why not. It was his best year. He got screwed.

TennisExpert
08-29-2008, 06:00 AM
Very difficult to Jimbo I believe

Tshooter
09-04-2008, 08:43 PM
"Tough to say, his flat strokes were always a bit out of place on the clay."

Out of place on clay is a stretch for any player that beat Borg on any color clay in a GS final. Ask Higueras how good Connors was on clay. Ask Panatta. The only time he met Panatta on Clay at Roland Garros, Connors won.

Connors had a problem with the low forehand on all surfaces. That aside he was a great clay court player. If he didn't skip the French during his peak years he probably would have won it at least once.

jimbo333
05-13-2009, 05:12 PM
I have to admit that I didn't realise this thread existed!

I think Connors would have won the French in 74, he was great that year and was actually a good clay court player anyway:)

When he did start playing there again from 79 (when he was arguably past his best), he reached the semis in 79 and 80, and 84 and 85!!

DMan
05-13-2009, 09:12 PM
I don't think he would have won. While a top flight baseline player, and solid Har-tru competitor, the slower red clay, the style of play of so many European and South American natural clay court players, the best of five set format, and the lack of experience on European red clay would have been an obstacle too tough for Connors to overcome. Borg, Orantes, Nastase, Kodes, even Americans Harold Solomon and Eddie Dibbs would be good bets to beat Connors at the French. Connors played the French 2x prior to 1974, and only won one match. So it's very unlikely he would have won in 1974.

jimbo333
05-14-2009, 01:42 AM
In 74 though he was such a better player than the year before. Don't forget he didn't play the French Open when at his peak and in 79,80,84 and 85 he reached the semis. There is actually every chance that Borg would not have won all those French Opens if Connors had been in the French Open at his peak!!!

Anyway obviously we will never know, but I still think Connors probably would have won it in 74, and maybe 75, 76, 77 or 78:)

anointedone
05-14-2009, 02:57 AM
In 74 though he was such a better player than the year before. Don't forget he didn't play the French Open when at his peak and in 79,80,84 and 85 he reached the semis. There is actually every chance that Borg would not have won all those French Opens if Connors had been in the French Open at his peak!!!

Anyway obviously we will never know, but I still think Connors probably would have won it in 74, and maybe 75, 76, 77 or 78:)

1978, LOL! Not a chance in hell that year. Hugely doubt 1977 too since Vilas beat him pretty decisively even on green clay in America later that year, and even beat on carpet at the end of the year. Since Borg was upset by Panatta in 1976 that year could have been interesting, as well as 1975 and 1974 of course.

PERL
05-14-2009, 03:38 AM
Judging by his peak years, his level on har-tru and good showings at RG after Ď78, I would have said yes, he wins once there. Now that Iím aware of his record at RG pre-74, I have more than a doubt. Solomon í72 and Ramirez í73 were solid clay courters nonetheless. Also I have in mind that big weakness on low forehands exposed to the point of losing to Roger-Vasselin and being on the verge of losing to Caujolle in Ď80, two average french players. In that second match, the crowd helped him a lot to reverse the match against their compatriot, they did not want Connors to lose at this point, they wanted more of him and saved his life (linescore : 3-6 2-6 7-5 6-1 6-1). How lunatic isnít it ?
On topic I tend to say no but itís a tough call. Maybe not exactly as close as Borg not winning the USO and closer than Lendl winning Wimby.

PERL
05-14-2009, 03:39 AM
There is actually every chance that Borg would not have won all those French Opens if Connors had been in the French Open at his peak!!!


There is actually no chance that Connors would have won any French Open with Borg at his peak. Best shots : 74, 76 imo.

anointedone
05-14-2009, 03:42 AM
There is actually no chance that Connors would have won any French Open with Borg at his peak.

This is true but Borg wasnt at his peak from 74-76 and he wasnt even at the French himself in 77. Not that Connors would have won all those years but that covers almost all the years he missed. I agree 74 would have been his best shot, followed by 76.

pc1
05-14-2009, 03:44 AM
Connors had a great chance to win the 1974 French but I wouldn't call him a shoo in. There were a number of top clay court players like Nastase, Orantes, Vilas, Soloman aside from Borg who had a decent chance to beat him. Nastase and Orantes on red clay would have been major problems for Jimmy if they faced him in the draw.

It's a shame that Connors never had the chance to win it. It's one of the great injustices in tennis history.

However as far as Connors having a chance to win the French in the late 1970's, highly doubtful. Borg was about as invincible on that surface as any player that ever lived at that time. Vilas may have been favored also over Connors most of the time on that surface but I do think Connors had a decent shot to beat Vilas.

jimbo333
05-14-2009, 03:37 PM
Good to see this poll is now going in the right direction at least, and on balance I still think Connors would have probably won in 74:)

jimbo333
05-15-2009, 04:04 AM
I think 5 extra people have just voted "no" last night to wind me up:(

pc1
05-15-2009, 04:15 PM
I think 5 extra people have just voted "no" last night to wind me up:(

Don't worry about it. It's just opinion. Think of it this way Jimmy was 3 for 3 in majors that year. No matter what, it's one of the greatest tennis years ever.

It's such a great tragedy that he couldn't enter the French and we will never find out.

jimbo333
05-16-2009, 12:28 AM
Cheers:)

That's a great way of looking at it!!!

jt_Nastase
05-31-2009, 04:17 AM
Yes, and over Bjorn!!!!!!! Not over Nasty of course!