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View Full Version : Mcenroe's views on the returns of Connors and Agassi


sandy mayer
05-24-2007, 02:05 PM
McEnroe is largely responsible for the widespread view that Agassi had a better return of serve than Connors. McEnroe says Connors returned his serve better than anyone until Agassi who Mac claims returned even better than Connors.

I have to say I'm puzzled. Mac only played Agassi a paltry 4 times, and in 1 of those matches Agassi was a 16 year old kid who lost easily, on another occasion Agassi retired early in the second set, and on the last occasion Mac was well past 30. This hardly gives Mac that much experience of Agassi's return to make the claim that Connors' return was lesser.

Agassi never faced Mac's serve in Mac's prime. Mac himself admits that around 86 he lost a step of speed and was never the same player again. So when Mac faced Agassi he was slow into the net, and unlike the vast majority of his matches with Connors, faced a player wielding a modern racket. An old Mac in Wimbledon 92 being constantly passed on the return by a young Agassi using a modern racket would have left him feeling helpless, but I don't think it's fair to compare the Wimbledon 92 Agassi to a Connors with an ancient T2000 against a peak Mac who was much faster onto the return. I have little doubt a peak Connors with a modern graphite would have had as big a field day with a 33 year old Mac serve as Agassi did.

I can't help but think Mac's judgement on Agassi and Connors is a little affected by his like for Agassi and dislike for Connors (subconciously, I don't think mac would lie about it), and by a player who'd forgotten what it was like to be quick into the net onto the return and had forgotten what it was like to return serve with wood or steel.

Personally I think Connors had the better return, because he was just as able to attack serves as Agassi but more consistent: he got more serves back, even as an older player in the graphite era.

having said this about Mac, I do think Mac is a good analyst generally.

VikingSamurai
05-24-2007, 08:38 PM
Well its no secret that John doesnt like Conners..

CEvertFan
05-24-2007, 09:03 PM
Well its no secret that John doesnt like Conners..


and vice versa...

drakulie
05-24-2007, 09:13 PM
Regardless of the racquet choice (Connors vs Agassi), Mcenroe felt AA was a better returner. Period. Perhaps he felt AA took the ball earlier than Connors and hit it with more sting and precision. Additionally, Mcenroe was serving faster in his later years than he was "in his prime".

I think Mcenroe would be a better judge of who returned better against him than you. Why would it be so hard to believe?

Moose Malloy
05-25-2007, 09:41 AM
Mac's opinions change depending on the day of the week(see his opinions on GOAT)

I have many matches where he says Connors & Agassi are tied as the best return ever, so take that as you will.

Fetus Gerulaitis
05-25-2007, 06:07 PM
I think Agassi has an amazing return and a sense of timing that is unreal, but I remember a match that Agassi had in Major, where he got aced something like 40 times. Against Federer, for example, you might get 2 or 3 aces at most. Agassi had the habit of people acing him 10 ways til' Sunday. He can't be the greatest because of this alone.

navratilovafan
05-25-2007, 11:19 PM
I dont think Agassi is even the best returner of the current generation. I consider Federer and Hewitt at their best to have superior return of serves to him. They certainly are much much tougher to ace, and I have seen Agassi play in his prime, and most definitely Federer and Hewitt at their best are much tougher to ace then Agassi was. I find Agassi overrated to be rated on par with Connors as a returner, or to even be in the conversation as the best returner ever. Then again I honestly feel Agassi is overrated in general, JMO.

I think the statements by people like McEnroe that Agassi is a newer and better version of Connors is a myth created to popularize the current players. In reality Connors was a superior version of Agassi. Even better return of serve clearly for me, similar in taking the ball early with incredible timing, much better athlete, played better defense, quicker around the court. Agassi probably had the bit better serve, off the ground Agassi probably had a more reliable forehand too. However Connors was mentally on another planet, and his net game was also on another planet from Agassi's. Connors also looked to win his points, rather then just grind you down like Agassi did. Even when both are in tune I find Connors the superior overall player, and that is before even considering Connors brought his best game to the table year after year, while Agassi only did that when he was already getting older, and before that for a brief couple years.

35ft6
05-26-2007, 03:04 AM
I think Agassi has an amazing return and a sense of timing that is unreal, but I remember a match that Agassi had in Major, where he got aced something like 40 times. Against Federer, for example, you might get 2 or 3 aces at most. Agassi had the habit of people acing him 10 ways til' Sunday. He can't be the greatest because of this alone. Agassi guessed a lot. Sometimes you have bad days.

navratilovafan
05-26-2007, 07:11 AM
Agassi guessed a lot. Sometimes you have bad days.

Actually vs a huge serve Agassi getting aced 30+ times, sometimes even 40+ was not that uncommon.

35ft6
05-26-2007, 11:20 AM
Actually vs a huge serve Agassi getting aced 30+ times, sometimes even 40+ was not that uncommon. What do you mean by uncommon? I'd be surprised if he was aced 30+ times in a match more than a handful of times his whole 20 year career. He played 1144 matches. Show me a link of how many times it happened.

Moose Malloy
05-26-2007, 01:19 PM
What do you mean by uncommon? I'd be surprised if he was aced 30+ times in a match more than a handful of times his whole 20 year career. He played 1144 matches. Show me a link of how many times it happened.


Maybe uncommon is an exaggeration, but compared to any other player of the last 30 years, I wouldn't doubt that Agassi got aced more than anyone else. Off course he also hit more clean winners on returns, & probably got his opponents doublefaulting more often than anyone else either.

You can do more research at atptennis.com if you are that interested, they have match stats from 1991 on.

Here are some notable Agassi acefests:

Joachim Johansson, 51 aces 2005 Australian

Karlovic, 28 aces 2005 US Open

Malisse, 26 aces 2005 US Open

Roddick, 30 aces, 2004 Cincinnati

Fish, 29 aces, 2004 San Jose

Safin, 33 aces, 2004 Australian

Philippoussis, 46 aces, 2003 Wimbledon

Roddick, 27 aces, 2003 Queens

Sampras, 33 aces, 2002 US Open

Sampras, 37 aces, 2000 Australian

Ivanisevic, 37 aces, 1992 Wimbledon

Ivanisevic, 27 aces(in only 2 sets!), 1991 Sydney Indoor

The amount of guys that aced him at least 15-20 times is pretty surprising. He seemed to get aced more frequently near the end of his career, by quite a few guys that you wouldn't think of as big servers at all.