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Moose Malloy
04-03-2007, 12:06 PM
Panatta was the only player to ever beat Borg at the French(two times, but one was when Borg was only 16 & unseeded)

Final head to head was Borg 10-6(3 of Panatta's wins were when Borg was 16)

But Panatta did beat Borg in '75 (Borg won his 2nd French that year) 7-5 6-0 6-2 in Madrid on clay.

And in '76 he beat Borg(who was 2 time defending champ) at the French 6-3 6-3 2-6 7-6 in the QF.

In '78 Panatta lost a final at Rome to Borg 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-3('78 Borg was at his peak, winning the French without losing a set & destroying Vilas in the finals of Monte Carlo & the French)

Out of Borg's 10 wins, 8 were on clay, but Borg was only able to win one of those 8 in straight sets(Borg rarely lost sets on clay to anyone, so extending Borg on clay is no small feat)

anyone have any ideas why he gave Borg trouble? Panatta was a serve & volley type player, I recall.

Panatta was ranked a career high of 4 in '76. He won 9 career titles(out of 25 finals)

Colpo
04-03-2007, 12:13 PM
I'm going to follow this thread, because I don't have a ready answer and I'm curious. I mean, the usual suspects pop up (athletic, S&V'er, big guy probably played with some pace even on clay), but I don't know. Panatta is generally regarded as one of the bigger "missed" talents...

Trinity TC
04-03-2007, 12:26 PM
Panatta loved playing the top-ranked players like Borg and Connors but couldn't be bothered trying against all of the others (one exception being Buster Mottram whom he hated). Appearantly, it was tough to get him to leave Italy to play tournaments.

noeledmonds
04-04-2007, 01:20 PM
Good post. This is a question I planned to start a post on myself. I personally find it baffling. Panatta's game does not obiously match up to clay at all. With S&V and some powerfull stokes and serves I would have expected his success to be elsewhere. I can't really think of a logical explanation for Panatta troubling Borg although I am open to suggestions.

Perhaps we are just picking at nothing here. Pannata beat a 16 year old Borg at the FO first time. With any other player in open-era history that would mean nothing. It really shows Borg's dominance on clay that we point out a loss he had at such a young age. The second victory at the FO is obviously more significant however we must remember that the previous year Borg beat Panatta in the semi-final at the FO.

Trinity TC
04-05-2007, 11:05 AM
Although Ilie Nastase was considered the most talented player back then, I thought Adriano Panatta was more gifted. Panatta wasn't as fast as Nastase but he had great shotmaking ability and was one of the few that could keep up with and sometimes overpower Connors. Another footnote, Borg had a reputation for tanking matches (even on clay!) before he established himself as a dominant player.

BreakPoint
04-05-2007, 11:40 AM
Panatta was a madman at the net and dove for passing shots like no other (no, not even Boris Becker), so I guess even Borg had a tough time passing him at net even with his massive topspin shots.

Shaolin
04-05-2007, 12:31 PM
So...Panatta was a s&v player that also played with heavy topspin? Thats pretty unique, most s&v guys hit flat/slice from the backcourt.

forzainter
04-05-2007, 12:36 PM
i thought breakpoint was saying that borg had massive topspin shots, i wouldnt know because i wasnt around then and i havent seen videos.

Colpo
04-05-2007, 12:39 PM
It hasn't been mentioned expressly, but Panatta grew up playing only on red clay, so there was obviously a comfort level on clay despite his being generally viewed as an S & V'er.

BreakPoint
04-05-2007, 12:48 PM
i thought breakpoint was saying that borg had massive topspin shots, i wouldnt know because i wasnt around then and i havent seen videos.
That's right. I was referring to Borg's massive topspin shots which usually caused lots of trouble for opponents trying to volley them at the net since they dip like crazy which allowed Borg to hit with tremendous angles and still keep the ball in. And even when he didn't hit angles, the ball would dip right at the feet of the incoming net rusher making for very tough low volleys or half-volleys which the net rusher had to hit up to get over the net.

jaykay
04-05-2007, 02:26 PM
Because Borg is super-jealous of Moya? Oh crap - I thought you meant Pennetta (Flavia). Sorry! :grin: ;)

rjkardo
04-06-2007, 01:21 AM
Panatta was the only player to ever beat Borg at the French(two times, but one was when Borg was only 16 & unseeded)

Final head to head was Borg 10-6(3 of Panatta's wins were when Borg was 16)

But Panatta did beat Borg in '75 (Borg won his 2nd French that year) 7-5 6-0 6-2 in Madrid on clay.

And in '76 he beat Borg(who was 2 time defending champ) at the French 6-3 6-3 2-6 7-6 in the QF.

In '78 Panatta lost a final at Rome to Borg 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-3('78 Borg was at his peak, winning the French without losing a set & destroying Vilas in the finals of Monte Carlo & the French)

Out of Borg's 10 wins, 8 were on clay, but Borg was only able to win one of those 8 in straight sets(Borg rarely lost sets on clay to anyone, so extending Borg on clay is no small feat)

anyone have any ideas why he gave Borg trouble? Panatta was a serve & volley type player, I recall.

Panatta was ranked a career high of 4 in '76. He won 9 career titles(out of 25 finals)

Panatta had a all court game, and he was able to change up the pace and move the ball around enough to give Borg, especially a young Borg, a lot of problems. Panatta was very talented but quirky. Maybe a comparison today would be Safin, but certainly he shared some traits with Nastase.

In his autobiography, "My Life and My Game" Borg discusses Panatta and how much he hated Panatta's sliced backhand approach shots.

Rod

Rabbit
04-06-2007, 05:53 AM
Borg did tank, but never in Grand Slams. He realized their value in the game and always gave his all.

I agree with rjkardo. Panatta, as I remember him, was physically the equal of Nastase. I think they were both around the same size.

I agree that their games were similar, but Nastase's natural gift of anticipation was what made him a better player than Panatta. Both were head cases. Both had great topspin forehands and sliced backhands they used to approach with (down the line, Roddick, down the line). And both were very fleet of foot. It's interesting that Nastase holds a 7 - 3 edge over Panatta and he was 5 - 3 over Panatta on clay.

Prior to 1977, Panatta did have a 6 - 5 record over Borg and was 5 - 4 over Borg on clay. Borg turned the corner on Panatta after that and won the series out. Panatta's all court game on clay may have bothered Borg.

In 1978, Borg played Panatta in the now infamous finals of the Italian Open. Back then, it any player playing an Italian to get a fair call. Borg and Panatta agreed prior to the match that they would over rule any call that was clearly in error. (Back then, I think even the chair was from Italy.) During the match, the crowd got a little out of control and started throwing coins at Borg. Borg walked up to the chair and said "One more coin, and I walk." The crowd's "enthusiasm" subsided and Borg went on to win in 5 sets. I really don't think Panatta's game was the cause of the 5 setter, I think it was more the Davis Cup-like atmosphere that the two were playing under.

Two more side notes, Panatta won the French Open against American Harold Solomon. That was one of the best recounts I've ever read in Tennis Magazine. Even the title was great (I may be paraphrasing slightly) "The Antelope vs The Armadillo". There were never two better monikers hung on two guys competing. Panatta was an antelope on court and exuded class and style. Solomon just dug in. The other story was kind of a trivia deal. There was one shot at the US Open the Connors was famous for. In 1978 against Panatta at the US Open, Connors hit a winning two-handed backhand from an impossible position. The ball had almost gone by him and he basically hit the ball with his body completely turned from the net. His opponent was Adriano Panatta. That was a classic match.

snapple
04-06-2007, 06:27 AM
Great post Rabbit, you bring back lots of memories.

In 1978 against Panatta at the US Open, Connors hit a winning two-handed backhand from an impossible position. The ball had almost gone by him and he basically hit the ball with his body completely turned from the net.

Ahh, the wonders of the T-2000!

sandy mayer
04-07-2007, 10:57 AM
i remember reading an out of print autobiography of Borg in which he said Panatta had great groundstrokes, good enough to trouble anyone even Borg himself and Connors. Borg felt panatta was an underachiever and was very afraid of his game.

haerdalis
04-07-2007, 01:03 PM
Panatta was like Noah, an athletic attacking player who grew up on clay. I think that Borg really had problems against all attacking players of good quality. He was superior from the back, especially on clay, so the only ones who could give him problems were players like Panatta. When Borg won FO in 78 the player who troubled him the most (not much but still) was Tanner.

Moose Malloy
04-09-2007, 09:40 AM
Muster was troubled by attacking players on clay as well-he lost matches at the French to Sampras, Rafter & Stich. And he lost to Edberg on clay several times.

Also, Henman took a set off Coria in '04 FO semis & Rafter pushed Bruguera in the '97 FO semis.

S&V can work on clay sometimes.

urban
04-10-2007, 05:24 AM
Panatta had quite flat groundstrokes, not overpowering or with heavy topspin. I saw him a few times live, and he played serve and volley even on clay. Was a bit of a crowd player, needed the stimulus of the crowd to get into a match, then became very dangerous. Ate too much pasta, was too heavy in the upper body, like Leconte, who imo was technically more sound from the baseline. Became famous for his goalie like jumping saves at the net (inspired Becker). With his diving jumps, he saved one of 8 matchpoints in his first match to his Rome win in 1977, and one in his first match at Paris that year (against ambidextrous Hudka). As Rabbit said, at Rome it was always difficult against a local player, against Pietrangeli or Panatta it was amost the lions vs. the christians. Borg never played again at Rome after his 79 expierience. By the way, Borg had the most difficulties in a Paris final against Victor Pecci, was was a serve-and volleyer, too.

Rabbit
04-10-2007, 06:19 AM
urban, let's not forget the Pasta Kid, Corrado Barrazzuti, who was also a local favorite and current Fed Cup Captain for Italy. Anyone who drew him at the Italian had a handful from the crowd.

Trinity TC
04-10-2007, 11:55 AM
urban, let's not forget the Pasta Kid, Corrado Barrazzuti, who was also a local favorite and current Fed Cup Captain for Italy. Anyone who drew him at the Italian had a handful from the crowd.
I loved watching him play because he was a methodical tactician. Carrado wasn't the most elegant player out there but he was great at hitting the ball just far enough away from his opponent so that they couldn't do much with it.

BreakPoint
04-10-2007, 12:23 PM
I loved watching him play because he was a methodical tactician. Carrado wasn't the most elegant player out there but he was great at hitting the ball just far enough away from his opponent so that they couldn't do much with it.
Anyone remember Barazzutti's semifinal against Connors at the 1977 US Open on clay when Connors ran across the net and rubbed out a ball mark on Barazzutti's side of the court before the umpire could get out of his chair to inspect the mark? Classic Connors antics. Barazzutti was neither amused nor happy.

Rabbit
04-10-2007, 05:08 PM
Yep, and during that same match, didn't Connors unexplicably drop his frame, pick it back up, hit a backhand and still win the point?

BreakPoint
04-10-2007, 05:16 PM
Yep, and during that same match, didn't Connors unexplicably drop his frame, pick it back up, hit a backhand and still win the point?
That I don't recall, but it wouldn't surprise me as Connors was so competitive that he would never give up on a point even if he broke his leg in the middle of a point. ;)

Mick
04-10-2007, 05:21 PM
Panatta was a madman at the net and dove for passing shots like no other (no, not even Boris Becker), so I guess even Borg had a tough time passing him at net even with his massive topspin shots.

that must have been it. Since Borg was such a great baseliner/counter puncher (6 french open titles), it makes sense that whoever had given him trouble had to be a superb volleyer.

krosero
04-16-2007, 10:57 PM
Perhaps we are just picking at nothing here. Pannata beat a 16 year old Borg at the FO first time. With any other player in open-era history that would mean nothing. It really shows Borg's dominance on clay that we point out a loss he had at such a young age. The second victory at the FO is obviously more significant however we must remember that the previous year Borg beat Panatta in the semi-final at the FO.There's a similar situation with Jaime Yzaga and Pete Sampras at the US Open. Pete was 17 when he lost in the first round to Jaime in 1988, then he beat him in 1989, and lost to him again in 1994. Pete lost to this man, then, twice at the US Open (both times in five-setters), but the first time he was far too young for the loss to have much significance.

Tomaz Bellucci
05-30-2009, 06:37 PM
I need Borgforever thought here, maybe he can add some good information in this old thread

Tshooter
06-02-2009, 09:19 PM
I loved watching Panatta. His match against Connors at USO 1978 is a particular favorite of mine. He matched up well against Borg. I can't explain why.

I know he is thought of as a S&V but I saw him many times and I don't think of him as a S&V but an all court player. He could stay back and rally all day. Very graceful strokes.

hoodjem
06-03-2009, 07:51 AM
I think Panatta was that rare anomaly: a serve and volley player who'd honed his game for clay court play.

Rabbit
06-03-2009, 08:03 AM
I think Panatta was that rare anomaly: a serve and volley player who'd honed his game for clay court play.

It wasn't so rare then...

hoodjem
06-03-2009, 08:11 AM
True. Rosewall and Laver were both very sharp on clay.

I had forgotten . . . those were the good ole days!

Borgforever
06-03-2009, 02:06 PM
Hey Tomaz Belluci -- I'll answer tomorrow on this thread and the AKAI-one since I think this issue/question of yours (a great one IMO) relates to a major hardcore fact/theory regarding Björn and his particular playing style.

There's some clear-cut patterns between Borg's loss to Adriano in RG QF 1976 and Sod's defeat of Rafa...

CyBorg
06-03-2009, 03:05 PM
Hey Tomaz Belluci -- I'll answer tomorrow on this thread and the AKAI-one since I think this issue/question of yours (a great one IMO) relates to a major hardcore fact/theory regarding Björn and his particular playing style.

There's some clear-cut patterns between Borg's loss to Adriano in RG QF 1976 and Sod's defeat of Rafa...

I hinted at some similarities in another thread, but I'm sure you'll do a much job than me. :)

1-handed-backhand
06-03-2009, 04:09 PM
Muster was troubled by attacking players on clay as well-he lost matches at the French to Sampras, Rafter & Stich. And he lost to Edberg on clay several times.

Also, Henman took a set off Coria in '04 FO semis & Rafter pushed Bruguera in the '97 FO semis.

S&V can work on clay sometimes.

yes!

S&V has its place

its a huge risk to play S&V because if you're not bringing your A game you get blown away

pmerk34
06-03-2009, 05:24 PM
Panatta was the only player to ever beat Borg at the French(two times, but one was when Borg was only 16 & unseeded)

Final head to head was Borg 10-6(3 of Panatta's wins were when Borg was 16)

But Panatta did beat Borg in '75 (Borg won his 2nd French that year) 7-5 6-0 6-2 in Madrid on clay.

And in '76 he beat Borg(who was 2 time defending champ) at the French 6-3 6-3 2-6 7-6 in the QF.

In '78 Panatta lost a final at Rome to Borg 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-3('78 Borg was at his peak, winning the French without losing a set & destroying Vilas in the finals of Monte Carlo & the French)

Out of Borg's 10 wins, 8 were on clay, but Borg was only able to win one of those 8 in straight sets(Borg rarely lost sets on clay to anyone, so extending Borg on clay is no small feat)

anyone have any ideas why he gave Borg trouble? Panatta was a serve & volley type player, I recall.

Panatta was ranked a career high of 4 in '76. He won 9 career titles(out of 25 finals)


No one on this board is old enough to have seen tennis in 1976 other than youtube.

pmerk34
06-03-2009, 05:27 PM
yes!

S&V has its place

its a huge risk to play S&V because if you're not bringing your A game you get blown away

Which is why it's useless as a style in todays PRO game with the slower balls, surfaces,polyester strings and dominance of two handed backhands.

Spare us the stories of how your local 5.0 club player dominates with serve and volley.

Tshooter
06-03-2009, 07:55 PM
"Anyone remember Barazzutti's semifinal against Connors at the 1977 US Open"

Yup. Classic Connors. Do you remember the earlier win against Nastase ? Classic Nastase.

Do you remember Barazzuttis match at the US the next year (first year at Flushing Meadows) when they were short linespeople and the players had to call their own shots ? I'm not making this up. I don't think he ever played the USO again after that. Though he was never much for the hard courts.

Moose Malloy
06-04-2009, 12:48 PM
No one on this board is old enough to have seen tennis in 1976 other than youtube.


I guess you're calling quite a few posters here liars.

Do you really think no one in their 40s or older posts here? 1976 wasn't that long ago.

CyBorg
06-04-2009, 01:20 PM
There are also actual, full, taped matches.

hoodjem
06-04-2009, 01:31 PM
No one on this board is old enough to have seen tennis in 1976 other than youtube.
I beg your pardon.

You're kidding . . . of course.

Borgforever
06-04-2009, 11:25 PM
Ir wasn't fun for me to witness Rafa go down against Sod. I was hoping for Rafa to beat Borg's record. Well Rafa is only 23 so he can still do it.

Roger is now my favorite and I hope this gives Federer the lift to finally get the dirt crown.

Carlo made the most concise summation on the Sod vs Rafa showdown.

* Rafa was filled with visible frustration at key junctures (sign of tiredness and extremely destructive)

* Nadal lacked his usual creativity in his struggle. Sod didn't face the Rafa Verdasco battled in the AO SF 2009 or the one Roger faced in RG 2008 or earlier. Rafa was very good though -- he almost took it to five against someone playing madman percentages and enjoying almost complete success in their risky ventures -- but he wasn't close to his best and Sod made him look worse.

* Sod made the play you should do against Rafa's playing style -- be patiently aggressive, try to stress their consistency and rhythm with pouncing strokes followed by sharp attacking backed up by tremendous serving. Like Panatta, Nastase, Mecir and things that Laver and Rosewall certainly knew a thing or two about...

* Great that Carlo mentions Rafa's new forehand stroke. Rafa's forehand wasn't the thundering Thor's Hammer this RG the way it used to be -- really opening up the duels for Sod's blasting attacks...

This match had a lot of similar key factors with Borg's loss to Panatta in RG 1976 and there's been fine posts earlier here addressing the various factors:

* Bad match-up-phenomenon -- i. e. for a retrieving baseliner the worst nightmare takes shape in the form of an aggressive pouncer and net-attacker who constantly breaks any rhythm and puts them off balance in the points. The Pouncer must be playing at an extremely high level (very unusual) to successfully achieve high winner numbers essential for an ultimate victory. I always thought Federer would deliver a perf like this to Rafa at RG but he's never sustained it longer than a set -- never playing at Sod's level in the Rafa-match all the way through (that can also be because Rafa was better against Roger than when he was facing Sod) although Fedex has shown Sod's high level (and better IMO) for plenty of entire matches against others than Rafa in practically any tourney -- so Roger can do it. Verdasco tried this style on a better Rafa at AO but didn't succeed completely.

* One key aspect between Adriano vs Björn RG 1976 and Sod vs Nadal RG 2009 was also the fact that Borg and Rafa never reached their best play during these matches. That always happens some day. It's amazing that this was Rafa's first so-so match and he had severe bad luck meeting a player with this effective match-up style really in great form. Borg, like Rafa, also played passively against Panatta that hot day. Also in parallell with Nadal -- Björn's groundies bounced abnormally short and Björn lacked his new, sharp, dependable rifle-service (he would polish and develop this new "bomb" during the following weeks after RG as a response to his perf against the Italian Genius Panatta) while Panatta, like Sod, served a hailstorm of armor-piercing first bullets. Borg's rhythm became staccato -- like Rafa's -- releasing uncomfortable gestures giving their opponents fresh air.

What suprised me most was Rafa passivity. Sod stayed far behind the baseline when threw his demolishing groundies. If Rafa would've been fresh and creative (his usual self) he would've struggled, seen this, adapted and started surprising Sod with his fine drop-shots he hits beautifully from anywhere. But no -- no drop-shots from Rafa. No creativity...

Adriano Panatta was an extremely talented under-achiever never again reaching the level he played there in Rome and RG in 1976. In these tourneys, for once, he represented a fully formed threat and not just only a spectacular problem against anybody occasionally -- in between he was usually uneven and uninspired.

Panatta's playing style was based on a strong serve and very steady groundies for which he could smack flat and with topspin with similar ease. He had great reach at the net and had the cunning knack of a great natural volleyer like Rosewall, Laver and Mac to know when and how to grab the net and pull off amazing winners even off of great passingshots -- all stretched out pummeling spectacular shots out of reach.

What he did so well against Borg was to trade some strokes in the rallies -- waiting for the opening -- and then surprise with power-groundie and charge (or charge after a tricky, slick slice).

Panatta was both touch and power -- at his best an all-round aggressive Federer/Laver-like player preferring to be on the attack but delivers fine defense while awaiting the moment. He could be excellent on all surfaces but generally preferred clay.

Now Borg was 20 and lacked his serve and never really played as good as he usually did and I do think this was just a hiccup in Nadal's career (like it was with Borg).

After 1976 Björn always seemed to pull off that Rafa vs Verdasco/Federer-level in big matches when he faced this kind of style of opposition -- fighting, raising his level, serving better and other things to try and stop the tide -- and he was successful almost always. So to pull off the Sod/Panatta against Björn/Rafa is not an easy task and doesn't always succeed by any measure...

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-07-2009, 10:06 PM
...Ir wasn't fun for me to witness Rafa go down against Sod. I was hoping for Rafa to beat Borg's record.

Roger is now my favorite and I hope this gives Federer the lift to finally get the dirt crown.

Carlo made the most concise summation on the Sod vs Rafa showdown.
...

However Rafa has beaten Borg's record of successive matches won at Roland Garros : 28 for Borg and 31 for Nadal.

After Djoko's and Rafa's defeats, Fed was obviously the favourite but I thought he could have many difficulties with Monfils, Del Potro and Söderling but the latter was obviously overwhelmed by the importance of the meeting. However Robin is more annoyed by Federer's style than true backcourters (Ferrer, Nadal, ...) 's play with the latter far behind the baseline.

To give Caesar his due, this isn't me who noticed Rafa's forehand changement but Patrick Moratoglu who had guessed it at the very beginning and who understood it once L'Équipe has lent him videos and photos. These photos were very clean, clear and revealing.

Nadal's passivity can be explained in part by his knees's problems since we know now that he won't defend his Queens's title and perhaps he won't enter Wimby (but perhaps some competent doctor will give him some injections and Rafa will won 7 successive 3 straight set wins there. Doesn't remind you something ? :))

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-05-2009, 04:31 AM
No one on this board is old enough to have seen tennis in 1976 other than youtube.

Yes there are persons old enough in that board :
urban has seen matches even in the 60's (Lundquist) and if I'm not mistaken Laver at Köln in October 71.
I first heard of Nastase in 72-73 when he reached his peak and the first extract of match that I watched on TV, a few hours after the live, was a round of 16 at Garros between Nastase and Kodes in 1977 (I was 14 years old). And the first tennis magazine I bought was related to Panatta's win at Garros in 76.
Other were spectators at Forest Hills 73
and so on ...

hoodjem
10-05-2009, 05:07 AM
No one on this board is old enough to have seen tennis in 1976 other than youtube.

Funny guy.

I remember the Laver-Rosewall 1972 WCT Finals quite well. I barely recall Stan Smith beating Jan Kodes at the US Open final. And, unfortunately, I was a little older than 14.

pmerk34
10-05-2009, 05:11 AM
Funny guy.

I remember the Laver-Rosewall 1972 WCT Finals quite well. I barely recall Stan Smith beating Jan Kodes at the US Open final. And, unfortunately, I was a little older than 14.

Yeah I go back to 1985ish 12 years old

pc1
10-05-2009, 05:20 AM
Yeah I go back to 1985ish 12 years old

Hey you can remember events in 1976. You're old enough. :)

To stay on topic, the Rome final in 1978 against Borg was ridiculous. Borg totally outplayed Panatta but the calls were totally outrageous in favor of Panatta. The crowd threw coins and cans at Borg and disrupted play. Jose Higueras was on the verge of defeating Panatta in an earlier round but defaulted when the crowd turned on him and started throwing objects at him.

To me this match against Panatta was one of Borg's greatest matches, considering the circumstances.

Panatta gave Borg problems because he was a gifted player who was considered one of the most talented players in the world. He had good groundstrokes. He had an excellent serve and volley game. He could gave anyone problems on certain days.

borg number one
10-05-2009, 07:27 AM
A lot of good information has already been presented above in the posts already. Let me just add that I would agree that Panatta could definitely be troublesome for Borg, but we need to keep things in context, in that several of his wins against him came when Borg was very young.

Yet, his "swashbuckling style", much like Nastase's could be tough to deal with when he was really on his game, with the crowd behind him. He tended to play slightly higher risk tennis, and was a very good volleyer, with good range, given his stature. He was probably about 6 foot 1 or 6 foot 2, and was an excellent mover and very quick. No baseliner could match Borg from the baseline, so a player, necessarily had to go to net more, whether he wanted to or not. That was a player's only chance to beat Borg really. Plus, the wooden frames often allowed for great feel, so a good volleyer could more easily "barely hit the ball over the net", and make the ball sort of just die on the court. That forgotten shot is much more difficult these days with the more powerful, responsive frames.


Panatta-Solomon (1976):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waxA6F_Dy58

Borg-Panatta (1976):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9BhExPOlPo

Connors-Panatta:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTIxobZMzBg

Borg-Panatta (Italian Open):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkgN5asaf9w&feature=PlayList&p=E426AEA7A4D2B219&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=28

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyfpaLczM4U

Panatta, Borg, Harold, and Illie and Others at the French Open:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7AeEhIY_rc

Connors-Barazzutti (1977):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvQc8ofjJFI

hoodjem
10-05-2009, 09:46 AM
Here's Connors-Panatta at the FO in 1980 first round:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hJgRFsc6cY&NR=1

Connors made it to the semis where he lost in 5 to Vitas G. (Which surprises me, and suggests that Vitas was playing great that year.)

As usual Borg won easily over Gerulaitis.

pmerk34
10-05-2009, 09:54 AM
Here's Connors-Panatta at the FO in 1980 first round:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hJgRFsc6cY&NR=1

Connors made it to the semis where he lost in 5 to Vitas G. (Which surprises me, and suggests that Vitas was playing great that year.)

As usual Borg won easily over Gerulaitis.

Connors lost a lot of SF from 79-81

hoodjem
10-05-2009, 09:58 AM
Here's Borg-Gerulaitis at the French in 1980.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGvgXpuSKaE&NR=1

Did Borg ever go to the net at the French? (It seems like Vitas is trying to lure him in.?)

borg number one
10-05-2009, 11:23 AM
I think you are right Hoodjem, he wouldn't choose to come in very often at the French, because he didn't have to. I agree, Gerulitas would want him to come up to net, because with that dynamic, it was his best chance of winning points. From the baseline, Borg at the French was pretty much like a wall. Such a "luring" strategy was tough to pull off with Borg though, because he was so quick in approaching and retrieving and because he developed some decent volley skills (even on the backhand wing, where he learned to drop that second hand pretty well, esp. at Wimbledon). I love this example of his speed at the French on the short ball:

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

His anticipation was through the roof! Look at where he is running even before Lendl hits the short angle shot.

borg number one
10-05-2009, 11:32 AM
Thanks for that Gerulitas link Hoodjem, that's a great one. People forget (including me) just how tough Gerulitas was, especially at that time. He was very fit, athletic, and had impeccable form, mechanics, speed/quickness/stamina. He had the whole package, except the same killer instincts as Borg, Connors, and McEnroe. He made a great practice partner for B. Borg for many years.

hoodjem
10-05-2009, 12:22 PM
I think you are right Hoodjem, he wouldn't choose to come in very often at the French, because he didn't have to. I agree, Gerulitas would want him to come up to net, because with that dynamic, it was his best chance of winning points. From the baseline, Borg at the French was pretty much like a wall. Such a "luring" strategy was tough to pull off with Borg though, because he was so quick in approaching and retrieving and because he developed some decent volley skills (even on the backhand wing, where he learned to drop that second hand pretty well, esp. at Wimbledon). I love this example of his speed at the French on the short ball:

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

His anticipation was through the roof! Look at where he is running even before Lendl hits the short angle shot.
I watched that vid, and was amazed to see Lendl striking the ball pretty hard. Is this the 1981 final?

Then I saw the score and learned that it was during the 4th game of the fifth set. I have seen the last few games of that match where Lendl looks completely exhausted, and hits 'poofter' balls and can barely move his feet. I think Lendl was worn out, and just gave up.

Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW4z0FnUz4o&feature=related

David_86
10-05-2009, 02:49 PM
Gerulaitis is one of the most underrated clay-court players. He was very very good on clay. 2 Italian Championships (including a 5-set win over Vilas) and a very good FO record prove that.

pc1
10-06-2009, 05:00 AM
Here's Connors-Panatta at the FO in 1980 first round:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hJgRFsc6cY&NR=1

Connors made it to the semis where he lost in 5 to Vitas G. (Which surprises me, and suggests that Vitas was playing great that year.)

As usual Borg won easily over Gerulaitis.

It's a shame that Connors never made it to the French Open final in 1980. While I think he would have been destroyed it would have been interesting to see how Connors would do against Borg on red clay. And frankly you never know.

Gerulaitis is one of the most underrated clay-court players. He was very very good on clay. 2 Italian Championships (including a 5-set win over Vilas) and a very good FO record prove that.

Vitas had a great style to play on clay. He was one of the fastest men in tennis so he could run down anything and he good baseline game. And when he got to the net, his volleys could be very forceful. He played a super match in defeating Vilas in the Italian final.

Didn't Gerulaitis bolt from WTT to play the Italian that year when he played Vilas in the final and was being fined for every day he missed?

David_86
10-06-2009, 05:42 AM
Vitas had a great style to play on clay. He was one of the fastest men in tennis so he could run down anything and he good baseline game. And when he got to the net, his volleys could be very forceful. He played a super match in defeating Vilas in the Italian final.

Didn't Gerulaitis bolt from WTT to play the Italian that year when he played Vilas in the final and was being fined for every day he missed?

It was at the Italian Championships in 1977 (Zugarelli in the final) when he got fined for skipping the WTT. He said he had to win the tournament just to break-even.

pc1
10-06-2009, 06:00 AM
It was at the Italian Championships in 1977 (Zugarelli in the final) when he got fined for skipping the WTT. He said he had to win the tournament just to break-even.

I always thought that was funny but I guess it was worth it since he won the tournament and the prestige.

Thanks David.