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krosero
05-29-2007, 12:37 AM
Here are stats from the 18-16 tiebreak that Borg and McEnroe played at Wimbledon, as I've counted them. Corrections and comments sought.

On the left I have the score, with McEnroe's point total always listed first. The score is in bold when the point goes against serve (a "mini-break"). Then I list who the server was, whether the point followed a first or second serve, whether the server came in behind his serve (marked as "SV"), whether either player made an approach, whether the point ended on a winner or error, and the stroke used on the last shot.

0-0 Mac 2nd, SV, overhead winner
1-0 Borg 1st, SV, return BH error
1-1 Borg 2nd, Mac BH error
1-2 Mac 1st, SV, volley FH winner
2-2 Mac 1st, SV, return BH error
3-2 Borg 1st, SV, Mac BH error when drawn in
3-3 Borg 1st, SV, return BH error
3-4 Mac 1st, SV, return BH error
4-4 Mac 1st, SV, volley FH error
4-5 Borg 1st, SV, Mac BH winner when drawn in
5-5 Borg 2nd, approach, Mac FH error
5-6 Mac 2nd, SV, volley FH winner
6-6 Mac 1st, SV, Borg BH winner
6-7 Borg 1st, SV, volley BH error
7-7 Borg 1st, SV, retreats and later approaches again, Mac BH winner
8-7 Mac 1st, SV, return FH winner
8-8 Mac 1st, SV, volley BH winner
9-8 Borg 1st, SV, volley BH winner
9-9 Borg 1st, SV, return BH error
9-10 Mac 1st, SV, return BH error
10-10 Mac 2nd, SV, volley FH error
10-11 Borg 2nd, Mac BH letcord winner on approach
11-11 Borg 1st, SV, Mac FH error
11-12 Mac 2nd, SV, volley BH winner
12-12 Mac 2nd, SV, volley FH winner
13-12 Borg 1st, SV, Mac BH error
13-13 Borg 1st, SV, volley BH error
14-13 Mac 1st, SV, volley FH error
14-14 Mac 1st, SV, volley FH drop winner
15-14 Borg 1st, SV, return BH error
15-15 Borg 1st, SV, Mac FH winner
16-15 Mac 1st, SV, volley BH error
16-16 Mac 2nd, SV, return FH error
17-16 Borg 1st, SV, volley FH drop error

There were 13 winners and 21 errors.

McEnroe made 10 of the winners: 1 on the forehand, 2 on the backhand, 3 on the FH volley, 3 on the BH volley, 1 on the overhead.

Borg made 3 of the winners: 1 on the forehand (on the return), 1 on the backhand, 0 on the FH volley, 1 on the BH volley.

McEnroe made 14 of the errors: 3 on the forehand, 7 on the backhand (four on the return), 3 on the FH volley, 1 on the BH volley.

Borg made 7 of the errors: 1 on the forehand (on the return), 3 on the backhand (all on the return), 1 on the FH volley, 2 on the BH volley.

Each man served 17 times. Borg served at 82%, McEnroe at 65%.

On first serve, McEnroe won 6 of 11 points (or 55%), Borg 8 of 14 (or 57%).

On second serve, McEnroe won 5 of 6 points, Borg 2 of 3.

Of the 34 points, there were 13 mini-breaks, or points going against serve. McEnroe won 7, Borg 6.

McEnroe, then, won 11 of 17 points on serve (or 65%), Borg 10 of 17 (or 59%).

There were many times in the tiebreak when one man had one more mini-break to his credit than the other. The mini-break at 16-17 was no different in that sense; it put McEnroe up by one mini-break; but unlike the others, it ended the tiebreak. This happened because all the previous mini-breaks had occurred when the server was ahead by one point or tied with his opponent. The mini-break at 16-17 was the first to occur when the server was down by one point.

McEnroe came in behind his serve every time – 11 times on first serve and 6 times on second serve. He approached the net twice (with a 1-1 record) on points started by Borg’s serve, if we don't count one time when his approach hit the tape and dribbled over.

Borg came in behind all 14 of his first serves and stayed back on all 3 of his second serves (though he did approach the net later on one of those three points).

McEnroe was at the net 19 times, if we don’t include his approach that turned into a netcord dribbler (since McEnroe never made it to the service line). Of these he won 11 (or 58%).

Borg was at the net 15 times (if we count as one time the point at 7-7 when he retrieved a lob and came in again later). Of these he won 9 (or 60%).

Neither man served an ace or a double.

Borg saved 6 set points in the tiebreak, McEnroe 5 match points.

Moose Malloy
05-29-2007, 09:08 AM
Missed returns do not count as unforced errors. There was a interview with statistician Leo Levin that was posted in odds & ends I think.

krosero
05-29-2007, 09:48 AM
Missed returns do not count as unforced errors. There was a interview with statistician Leo Levin that was posted in odds & ends I think.Thanks, I found it:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=133106

Levin, however, says that missed returns can count as unforced errors.

The stats I have above do not distinguish between forced and unforced errors, but I just went through the tiebreak again to count unforced errors. Keeping in mind that Levin coined the term "unforced error" in 1982 and that it's an anachronism when talking about McEnroe-Borg, this is my count:

McEnroe made 5 unforced errors: 3 on the backhand (one on the return) and a FH volley and BH volley. For anyone else who's counting, he made them at 1-0, 1-1, 3-2, 14-13, and 16-15.

Borg made 2 unforced errors: a BH volley and a forehand return. He made them at 13-13 and 16-16.

Moose Malloy
05-29-2007, 09:56 AM
Levin, however, says that missed returns can count as unforced errors.


not if the missed return is a result of a player S&Ving, which was the case on many of those return errors in the Wimbledon final. basically anytime a player is moving forward, & their opponent misses the next shot it is a forced error, not unforced. Agassi has commented many times that it is misleading when he had such a low unforced error count vs Sampras, Rafter, etc, since missed passing shots & returns don't count in that stat.

I emailed Steve Flink(you should email him, he's a nice guy) at steveflink.com about stats a while ago. He used to be a statistician at the US Open. I asked him if he knew what the best winner to error ratio ever was, surprisingly he didn't have an answer. But he did say that in the 70s/80s that service winners weren't counted in the overall winner count like they are know(some of those sampras-goran grass matches had crazy amounts of winners, since they counted service winners)

krosero
05-29-2007, 10:05 AM
basically anytime a player is moving forward, & their opponent misses the next shot it is a forced error, not unforced. That's a good point, and the kind of analysis I was looking for. In that case my count of unforced errors would drop by 1 for each player.

What do think of Borg serving at 82% in the tiebreak? I found that to be a startling statistic. It means that he didn't start serving at such a high percentage in the fifth set; it began with the tiebreak.

I also found that McEnroe served at 69% for the fifth, which was also higher than I expected. Borg's 81% exceeded McEnroe's percentage by only twelve points; for some reason I had thought it was more.

Moose Malloy
05-29-2007, 10:26 AM
Keeping in mind that Levin coined the term "unforced error" in 1982

I'm pretty sure I have matches on tape from the 70s in which the commentators use the term unforced error.

What do think of Borg serving at 82% in the tiebreak? I found that to be a startling statistic. It means that he didn't start serving at such a high percentage in the fifth set; it began with the tiebreak.

I also found that McEnroe served at 69% for the fifth, which was also higher than I expected. Borg's 81% exceeded McEnroe's percentage by only twelve points; for some reason I had thought it was more.


Well those stats just show how high quality that match was(I see some posts occasionly here from people that just saw the match say they were surprised at how poor the quality of play was, considering its reputation. Guess your stats prove otherwise) How did Borg serve in the 4th set before the tiebreak? Pretty amazing that he could just elevate his serve so late in the match. also, I think 12 percentage points is a pretty big margin(81-69)
I doubt Mac has lost many sets when he was serving at 69.

Its incredibly hard to have a high 1st serve % with wood(I've seen several matches with laver, newcombe, roche & rosewall, anything higher than 50% seemed rare)

So for Borg, who had a big serve, to serve at 80% is just insane.

Nice thread, please post again if you have any other 'new' match stats of that time period, since there wasn't extensive stat counting back then.

krosero
05-29-2007, 10:51 AM
Well those stats just show how high quality that match was(I see some posts occasionly here from people that just saw the match say they were surprised at how poor the quality of play was, considering its reputation. Guess your stats prove otherwise) They both played extremely well. I guess I always figured that McEnroe was tired in the fifth set so he could not have played all that well, but 69% is very high. And he served 5 aces in the fifth set (half of his total for the match). That's more than Tanner served against Borg in any of his five sets the previous year.

How did Borg serve in the 4th set before the tiebreak? If I have time I will let you know; but fun as this work may be when the results are in, the work is tedious.

The New York Times report does say that both men were "over 60%" for the match as a whole.

I doubt Mac has lost many sets when he was serving at 69.When McEnroe was going to play Lendl at the 88 French Open, Mary Carrillo gave her opinion that when McEnroe serves at 65%, nobody beats him. As it turns out, McEnroe served around 60% in that match (the exact percentage is unclear) and lost it. He did serve at 69% in the second set, which Lendl won in a tiebreak, and at 67% in the fourth, which Lendl won 6-4. Lendl served in the fourth at an insane 95% (or 20 of 21 first serves), which must have put a lot of pressure on McEnroe's service games.

Of course, all this is on clay, but maybe Carrillo's impression that McEnroe didn't lose when he was above 65% was generally correct, with only a few players like Borg and Lendl able to make an exception.

In their fifth set at the Open, McEnroe outserved Borg, by my own count, 73% to 52%, and won 6-4.

Its incredibly hard to have a high 1st serve % with wood(I've seen several matches with laver, newcombe, roche & rosewall, anything higher than 50% seemed rare)

So for Borg, who had a big serve, to serve at 80% is just insane. Borg's fastest serve of the '81 Open final was timed at 121 mph, according to the announcers in the DVD I saw. Pat Summerall thought it was the fastest of the tournament, or at least the fastest that CBS had witnessed. One of McEnroe's fastest serves in the final was timed at 109 mph.

I wonder if Borg's serve was really the fastest, given that Tanner was in the draw. Still, the man had a big serve and was using wooden racquets, as you say. (I think Tanner is using a metal racquet in their Wimbledon final).

krosero
06-03-2007, 08:11 AM
Borg's fastest serve of the '81 Open final was timed at 121 mph, according to the announcers in the DVD I saw. Pat Summerall thought it was the fastest of the tournament, or at least the fastest that CBS had witnessed. One of McEnroe's fastest serves in the final was timed at 109 mph.

I wonder if Borg's serve was really the fastest, given that Tanner was in the draw. In the Borg-Connors semifinal, the CBS announcers said that Tanner's fastest serve of the tournament had been clocked at 119 m.p.h., which was the fastest of the event until the final.

Moose Malloy
06-03-2007, 09:53 PM
In the Borg-Connors semifinal, the CBS announcers said that Tanner's fastest serve of the tournament had been clocked at 119 m.p.h., which was the fastest of the event until the final.

In those days, they only had the radar gun on the main stadium at the US Open. They may have only had it for CBS broadcasts(which were only on the weekends during the open) as well. So I doubt Tanner got as many chances to play his matches with a radar gun as Borg. I have trouble believing anyone in 1981 could serve faster than Tanner.

I think Tanner hit a serve at the senior event of the '90 US Open that was faster than anyone(Sampras, Goran, Becker, etc) on tour hit that year!

krosero
06-10-2007, 06:43 PM
In those days, they only had the radar gun on the main stadium at the US Open. They may have only had it for CBS broadcasts(which were only on the weekends during the open) as well. So I doubt Tanner got as many chances to play his matches with a radar gun as Borg. I have trouble believing anyone in 1981 could serve faster than Tanner.

I think Tanner hit a serve at the senior event of the '90 US Open that was faster than anyone(Sampras, Goran, Becker, etc) on tour hit that year!I just found that when Tanner upset Borg two years earlier, the Times reported that Tanner's serve "has been clocked at 140 m.p.h."

Moose Malloy
06-11-2007, 10:23 AM
I just found that when Tanner upset Borg two years earlier, the Times reported that Tanner's serve "has been clocked at 140 m.p.h."

can you post that article?

krosero
06-11-2007, 09:11 PM
can you post that article?Okay, it took some cleaning up to convert the article, but here it is:

Top-Seeded Borg Is Upset By Tanner, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6

By NEIL AMDUR

Firing his serve like a cannon, Roscoe Tanner squelched Bjorn Borg’s bid far a Grand Slam and a first United States Open singles title with a dramatic four-set victory last night at the National Tennis Center.

Beaten by Borg in a five-set final at Wimbledon earlier this summer, the 27-year-old Tanner uncorked too much firepower and won the key points in their quarterfinal round match before a crowd of 15,432. The scores were 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.

It might have gone in straight sets, but Borg, seeded first in the Open, recovered from 2-3, 15-40, in the second set and then saved two match points with Tanner serving at 5-3 in the fourth set to send the match into a tiebreaker.

That the fifth-seeded Tanner kept his cool and took the fourth-set playoff, 7 points to 2, was another indication of his continuing maturity as a professional. That Borg encountered so much difficulty returning serve and passing the aggressive Tanner at the net was a tribute to the American’s offensive diversity as well as the competitive conditions of the match.

Borg does not enjoy playing under lights because it neutralizes reaction time, particularly on service returns. However, under the tournament scheduling, which drew harsh criticism yesterday from the players in the aftermath of Pat DuPre’s straight-set loss to Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin’s withdrawal from the women’s doubles last night and several other incidents, Borg was slated for an evening slot.

That he drew Tanner, with a serve that has been clocked at 140 miles per hour, was his misfortune. That he caught Tanner hot under the lights was a second strike against him.

Then again, the United States Open has been Borg’s graveyard, the only major championship he has failed to win, after eight tries.

He is not alone. All of the great ones, including Rod Laver. Ken Rosewall and Neale Fraser found their Waterloos somewhere. For Laver, who achieved two Grand Slams during his career, it was the World Championship of Tennis. Rosewall was frustrated at Wimbledon.

The Grand Slam in tennis consists of the championships of France, England, the United States and Australia. Borg had won the first two this year.

But Borg said a sweep of those tournaments was not on his mind last night. “I don’t think about the Grand Slam,” he said afterward. “I was only thinking about the U.S. Open.”

Tanner served only four double-faults and had 11 aces, three in one game and many on crucial points during the 2-hour-26-minute match. He managed only 49 percent of his first serves but registered 17 service winners.

The match was filled with dramatic moments, particularly when a net cord came apart, perhaps from the fury of Tanner’s first serve, after the American had served an ace and saved a break point at 5-3, 30-40, in the fourth set.

The players left the court and put on their jackets while a maintenance crew replaced the two-inch white cord.

The delay lasted 6 1/2 minutes, and there was another two-minute warmup until the match resumed.

“When the net broke, it probably helped me more because it was getting breezy,” Tanner said afterward. “I was thinking two aces.”

Tanner got one match point, but he drove an easy overhead to the fence. After Tanner missed his first serves, Borg saved a second match point when Tanner netted a forehand volley, and he broke on a pair of forehand winners.

“I gained my confidence at Wimbledon,” Tanner said. “That five-set match made me realize I could play in that category. It helped me to know I could play Borg even. It gave me inner confidence. It was no longer an experimental area. I knew I could do it.”

Borg, a loser for only the fifth time in 68 singles matches this year, said Tanner’s serve had been the difference.

“I made too many errors,” Borg said, “and Roscoe put the pressure on me all the time that I had to break his serve. Tonight, I couldn’t do that.”

Four of Borg’s five losses this year have been to southpaws.

Moose Malloy
06-12-2007, 09:30 AM
However, under the tournament scheduling, which drew harsh criticism yesterday from the players in the aftermath of Pat DuPre’s straight-set loss to Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin’s withdrawal from the women’s doubles last night and several other incidents, Borg was slated for an evening slot.


Yeah, I've read that the scheduling was even worse at the Open in the 70s/80s. I heard about DuPre, I think he played a 5 set match late the day before he played Jimmy, that seems incredibly unfair.

The match was filled with dramatic moments, particularly when a net cord came apart, perhaps from the fury of Tanner’s first serve, after the American had served an ace and saved a break point at 5-3, 30-40, in the fourth set.


I had no idea it happened at such a crucial moment in the match. Would have been even more famous an incident had Borg came back to win.

thanks for posting that, the times had great tennis writers.

Morpheus
06-12-2007, 09:58 AM
Clocking serves is very inexact. The guns do not have well established Gage R&R's performed. If they did, you would find a big standard error. Plus guns are not necessarily operated in the same way, or set up in the same position, making comparisons from stadium to stadium (or era to era) highly unreliable. It is estimated that 20% of speeding tickets are issued incorrectly (when the radar is stationary) and over 30% if the squad car is moving. In my town, they won't give tickets unless you exceed the posted limit by over 10 mph--this is because they have conducted gage R&R's and have found their measurements to be off by up to 10 mph.

Any other Six Sigma black belts out there want to chime in?

urban
06-12-2007, 10:00 AM
Indeed, the piece shows, how much better the standard of tennis writing in those days was. Amdur, Bellamy, Gray, Tengrove, Wind, Danzig or Laney knew a thing or two about tennis. Cannot say that about many of the modern writers, who seem obsessed with that goat-theme, without having an idea about tennis history. Exceptions maybe are Flink, Clarey or Bierley, sometimes Bodo.

CyBorg
06-12-2007, 03:05 PM
Indeed, the piece shows, how much better the standard of tennis writing in those days was. Amdur, Bellamy, Gray, Tengrove, Wind, Danzig or Laney knew a thing or two about tennis. Cannot say that about many of the modern writers, who seem obsessed with that goat-theme, without having an idea about tennis history. Exceptions maybe are Flink, Clarey or Bierley, sometimes Bodo.

Tennis writing today adheres much to the blog-craze, which has made the likes of Jon Wertheim even more prominent. It is popular to write little scribbles and disjointed thoughts - an appealing idea but one doomed to fail intellectually when aimed at the broad reading audience.

The mainstream reader just doesn't have the patience to read a well-thought out, analytical piece. These do still exist however, but one has to look harder.

Moose Malloy
06-12-2007, 03:10 PM
urban have you read Perrotta?

http://www.nysun.com/article/56276

he's one of the better tennis writers around imo

krosero
08-30-2007, 04:01 PM
I've reviewed the 8-6 fifth set that Borg won, and compiled some stats.

BORG

Borg served at 74% in the fifth set, actually eight points lower than in the tiebreak. He made 23 of 31 first serves and won five games at love. He went down love-30 in the opening game and won the next 19 points on his serve; he lost a point at 4-all and then won another 9 before breaking McEnroe in the last game. He made 2 aces and no doubles in the set.

Borg won 21 of 23 points on first serve, or 91%. He won 7 of 8 points on second serve, or 88%. He drew a return error from McEnroe on 9 first serves and one second serve.

Borg came in behind all his first serves and stayed back on all his second serves. He also came to net 7 other times, all of them in his own service games, and won six. His winning rate on approaches, in sum, was 27 of 30, or 90%.

Borg made 15 winners: 2 smashes, 3 FH volleys, 3 BH volleys, 3 forehands (including two return winners, both off McEnroe’s second serve), and 4 backhands (one is the famous pass on match point; the others were return winners, two of them off McEnroe’s first serve).

MCENROE

McEnroe made 31 of 45 first serves, or 69%, a remarkably high percentage for a set he lost (it was 4 points higher than he’d served in the tiebreak).

McEnroe won 22 of 31 points on first serve, or 71%. He won 7 of 14 points on second serve. He drew a return error from Borg on 12 first serves and two second serves.

McEnroe came to net behind every one of his serves. He didn’t make it past the service line in Borg’s service games, but he did hit volleys from no-man’s land twice (with a 1-1 record). If we count those, his total rate in approaches was 32 of 47, or 68%. Of the 15 approaches that he lost, 9 were behind his first serve.

McEnroe made 7 winners, all of them off volleys (4 on the BH side).

McEnroe had one love game of his own in the fifth, during a stretch in which he connected on 11 first serves in a row and won 8 straight points on serve. He came back from love-40 twice, at love-1 and 3-4, but could not climb out of 15-40 at 6-7 (a game in which he made four of five first serves, including a first serve on match point).

McEnroe served 4 clean aces and 2 doubles in the final set.

krosero
08-30-2007, 04:12 PM
This is not a deep analysis, just one observation. And I'll freely admit, first, I'm a Borg fan.

The count of winners suggests that Borg, not McEnroe, was the more complete player. Borg had 15 winners of every kind: smashes, both volley wings, and both ground strokes (off returns and passing shots). McEnroe's 7 winners were restricted to his volleys.

This is counter-intuitive, because the knock on Borg is that he couldn't volley. And if McEnroe was a complete player (which I think he was, by the way; I'm not denying it), then he should have posted some ground stroke winners in passing Borg.

I note, however, that McEnroe missed at least four passing shot winners by inches. Obviously the set was very close.

But why did Borg win it? His service percentage was only five points higher than McEnroe (I made a mistake earlier in the thread when I said it was twelve points higher; I miscounted Borg's first serves). McEnroe forced more return errors than Borg did -- 14 to 10. And he out-aced Borg, 4 to 2. So then why did Borg have such an easy time in his service games while McEnroe struggled?

The first answer that comes to mind: Borg had a better counter-punching game. He made slighly more return errors than McEnroe, but unlike McEnroe he also made some clean return winners; and unlike McEnroe he made some passing shots in the middle of rallies.

In short, you could say that Borg was the more complete player -- at least in this fifth set.

krosero
07-15-2008, 05:57 PM
I’ve watched this match again to get the service percentages and other stats. I found a few mistakes in my stats above and edited the posts.

In the tiebreak, I mistakenly counted one of Borg’s points on second serve as going against him, and one of his first-serve points as his when McEnroe actually won it.

(The chart I made in the OP is correct but I would not make one like that today; it is not an ideal way to lay out points and I misread it).

In the fifth-set stats above, I had missed one of Borg’s return errors. I dropped McEnroe by 1 ace because Borg nicked it with the edge of his racquet (at 1-2). And McEnroe actually won 7 of 14 points on second serve, not 9 of 14 as I counted originally.

Interesting to see some of my first attempts at taking stats. More discussion here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=135627.

federer envies me
07-15-2008, 06:02 PM
IMO this is a pointless thread 28 years after the match