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sandy mayer
03-26-2007, 12:16 AM
He's a name that you see a fair amount in draws of the 70s. From his results he looks like he was a very good player who fell short of greatness. He's a very good commentator. Can anyone tell me about his game? I never saw him play.

urban
03-26-2007, 05:43 AM
I saw him play a match live vs. the older Ashe, at the WTC on clay. Both were big servers, who played serve and volley on clay. Alexander was a very promising junior, who was called to DC duty by Hopman in 1968, but lost to the US. At the pro level, he could never quite reach the standard of the great Aussies before him. Why he could not win more on Wimbledon grass with his big serve and solid game, is somewhat strange.

AndrewD
03-26-2007, 08:22 AM
Urban,

JA had a big serve, excellent volleys, good power and well produced groundstrokes. Unfortunately, he also had very heavy feet and, it seems fair to say, lacked the drive of earlier Aussie generations. He and Phil Dent were the last models off the production line and the first to fail (relatively speaking). At the time Dent and Alexander came to prominence (not counting his DC debut at 17) , Harry Hopman had gone to America and the older Aussies were barred from playing Davis Cup. As a result they, and the other youngsters missed out on the older generation passing on their wisdom, setting an example and enforcing discipline: a system that had been integral to Australian tennis' success.

Just in case that makes JA sound like a pretty ordinary player, he is one of very, very few players who can claim to have beaten, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Newcombe, Nastase, Panatta, Ashe, Rosewall and Smith. As the figures show, he wasn't the best player but he was considerably better than his career might indicate. In my opinion, over the past 30 years of Australian tennis (slim pickings but..) , only Cash, Rafter, Hewitt and Philippoussis were better.

H 2 H
Newcombe 1-8
Rosewall 6-6
Arthur Ashe 5-10
Jimmy Connors 1-8
John McEnroe 1-3
Bjorn Borg 1-3
Ilie Nastase 6-8
Guillermo Vilas 1-2 (the win was on clay)
Stan Smith 3-6
Adriano Panatta 5-1

NoBadMojo
03-26-2007, 08:32 AM
Alexander <to me> was one of those guys who when you watched play, you couldnt understand why he would ever lose because his strokes were very correctly classicaly defined and he had all the shots. As Andrew stated, he wasnt very fast out there though and didnt <seem to> have the mental discipline that some of the greats have..cant speak to his fitness.

backcourt
03-26-2007, 01:49 PM
I saw him play at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods when my tennis camp went there in the earl 70's. Saw Laver, Connors and Rosewall in the same tounament. After he got off the court a couple of us approached Alexander for autographs. For some reason, which I cannot now fathom, I asked him to sign my tennis sneaker. He originally refused, then at the urging of his gorgeous girlfriend, or wife?, he agreed. I remember him as a solid player who was a tier or two below the top level.

FiveO
03-26-2007, 02:41 PM
Alexander <to me> was one of those guys who when you watched play, you couldnt understand why he would ever lose because his strokes were very correctly classicaly defined and he had all the shots. As Andrew stated, he wasnt very fast out there though and didnt <seem to> have the mental discipline that some of the greats have..cant speak to his fitness.

True, true. JA had game but from outward appearances lacked the fitness ethic of his predecessors. He physically "soft", comparatively which could have at least contributed to his relative mental strength/weakness, slow footedness as well as his back problems which afflicted him in what should have been his prime.

Playing wise I saw great parallels between he and Stich.

NoBadMojo
03-26-2007, 04:21 PM
True, true. JA had game but from outward appearances lacked the fitness ethic of his predecessors. He physically "soft", comparatively which could have at least contributed to his relative mental strength/weakness, slow footedness as well as his back problems which afflicted him in what should have been his prime.

Playing wise I saw great parallels between he and Stich.

or maybe parallels between he and Panatta? both elegant shotmakers...bigger guys who were slower afoot?
Stich and Panatta both won at least one Major I believe...dont think Alexander did

Trinity TC
03-26-2007, 05:09 PM
Panatta was incredibly unmotivated. He would only only try against players that he disliked such as Jimmy Connors or Buster Mottram. Alexander was motivated but very slow and could be maneuvered into positions where he couldn't use his offensive strokes. His forehand was his weaker side and although technically sound could breakdown in the crunch.

Kirko
03-26-2007, 05:44 PM
Alexander <to me> was one of those guys who when you watched play, you couldnt understand why he would ever lose because his strokes were very correctly classicaly defined and he had all the shots. As Andrew stated, he wasnt very fast out there though and didnt <seem to> have the mental discipline that some of the greats have..cant speak to his fitness.

thats what I thougth, I saw him play as a senior in 1986. I was taught to hit strokes like his and I thought when I saw him up close, this was a guy a could learn from by simply watching him. a smooth hitter.

urban
03-27-2007, 05:05 AM
Nice posts here. In Germany, Alexander was indeed idolized like Panatta, for his straigtforward game and his good looks. He once won a World Team Cup on clay singlehandedly, beating all grinders in front of him. I think he won the Davis Cup once together with Roche in singles. I still cannot believe, that he had not better results at Wimbledon. Stoltenberg, Woodbridge, even Frawley were all lesser Aussie players, and still had their moments and singles semifinals at Wimbledon. Alexander never went really deep.

kiki
03-20-2011, 06:29 AM
He's a name that you see a fair amount in draws of the 70s. From his results he looks like he was a very good player who fell short of greatness. He's a very good commentator. Can anyone tell me about his game? I never saw him play.

Big serve, good, flat, clean volleys, good backhand return, classic aussie´s game, but not at a Laver´s or a Newcombe´s level.I heard he was a better clay court player than a faster surface player.Kpt in the top 15-20 for 5-6 years but fared no better , in GS play, than the semis of the 1974 and 1977 AO.He and Dent won a GS title in doubles, and both were the Australian DC main players after Newcombe and Roche retired ( at least, from DC play).he played better in DC than in rgeular tournaments, he and Roche won the 1977 final against Italy, in which I consider the peak of Alexander´s career.

His best individual win, would possibly be his 1979 defeat of B Borg at the WCT event hold at Milan,Italy.he was crushed by JMac in the finals.