PDA

View Full Version : Mecir receiving at the service line


krosero
12-05-2007, 08:56 PM
Now here's a lesson in false memories. It's been 21 years since I saw Mecir beating Becker in the USO semis. In my memories, Mecir stepped up practically halfway between the baseline and service line to receive Becker's serve, and managed to get some hard serves back, barely but effectively.

I've just watched my DVD of the match and I don't see him doing it anywhere. I thought it occurred near the end of the match.

Now I'm thinking that, if it happened at all, it must have been the next day in the final against Lendl (that's a DVD I don't own).

Anyone remember Mecir doing this?

djsiva
12-05-2007, 09:25 PM
Now here's a lesson in false memories. It's been 21 years since I saw Mecir beating Becker in the USO semis. In my memories, Mecir stepped up practically halfway between the baseline and service line to receive Becker's serve, and managed to get some hard serves back, barely but effectively.

I've just watched my DVD of the match and I don't see him doing it anywhere. I thought it occurred near the end of the match.

Now I'm thinking that, if it happened at all, it must have been the next day in the final against Lendl (that's a DVD I don't own).

Anyone remember Mecir doing this?

He stood on top maybe just inside the baseline. Not half way to the service line. He's a big guy. But he can't cover that much area though. Maybe it's what one of the stupid commentators said. They tend to exaggerate. That's their job. They are paid to lie and sound believable.

krosero
12-05-2007, 10:02 PM
He stood on top maybe just inside the baseline. Not half way to the service line. He's a big guy. But he can't cover that much area though. Maybe it's what one of the stupid commentators said. They tend to exaggerate. That's their job. They are paid to lie and sound believable.Well when I say half-way to the service line, I can see how my memory would exaggerate that. That's pretty common; and I was new to tennis then, so it had a big wow effect on me. But I do have this memory of seeing something like it (and a memory of the crowd reacting to it).

CAM178
12-05-2007, 10:16 PM
Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.

Shaolin
12-05-2007, 10:27 PM
For some reason I felt like looking it up....Mecir has a combined record of 4-0 against Sampras, Agassi, Chang & Ivanisevic. He beat Sampras 0 & 1. Ive only seen a few clips of him playing...very smooth looking game. Hit an amazing around the net post backhand in one of the clips, not sure who against but it was in a hardcourt final.

Moose Malloy
12-06-2007, 09:31 AM
Maybe you're thinking of when Connors returned Mecir's serve from almost the service line the World Team Cup? Mecir was so nervous at the end he started hitting underhand serves. Connors looked like he was trying to take them out of the air.

As far as unusual returning stances, I recommend viewing the Chang-Sampras '95 Masters SF. I've never seen anyone trying to take Sampras' serve that early, & it actually worked(have to check to see how far in the court he was, it seemed pretty crazy at the time)

Chang is a very underrated returner, he had great hand-eye.

Mecir also played Becker at the '89 USO, maybe he tried this there.

Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. T

I saw the '85 final in Atlanta they played recently & Annacone did this throughout. Score was 76,76,62.

I get the sense that Annacone did this to all players, not just Mac. He's truly the most aggressive player I've seen, unwilling to hit any groundstrokes at all.

No wonder Sampras started sort of playing that way after hooking up with Annacone.

GS
12-06-2007, 09:39 AM
Towards the end of his singles career, Annacone always came in after a first or second serve. It was pretty ballsy, but then he was a better doubles player.

Moose Malloy
12-06-2007, 09:48 AM
Towards the end of his singles career

But the match I mentioned was 1985, hardly near the end of his career, more like the beginning.

The commentators said that he played this way against everyone at the time, but were surprised that he would try it vs Mac(who prob had the best serve in the world at the time)

Coming in on someone's 1st serve consistently is something I've never seen anyone try before. Mac had a 'is the guy for real?' look on his face much of the match.

GS
12-06-2007, 10:02 AM
Moose, as usual, you're right. Annacone played pro from 1984-1993, won 14 doubs titles and was runner-up in 26 others. He also won 3 singles tourneys, and coached Sampras from '95 to 2002.

djsiva
12-06-2007, 01:43 PM
Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.

I wish I could have seen this!!

Annacone with his 30 lb tensioned raquet, just chiping and charging like Dr. DIrt.

daveyboy
12-06-2007, 01:51 PM
It wasn't against becker that mecir did the return from the service line, it was at the Lipton in 87 or 88 I think. The video is on Google Video, just type in Mecir and it will show the highlights (and wow, they were highlights!) including the best use of angles I've ever seen.

krosero
12-06-2007, 03:26 PM
It wasn't against becker that mecir did the return from the service line, it was at the Lipton in 87 or 88 I think. The video is on Google Video, just type in Mecir and it will show the highlights (and wow, they were highlights!) including the best use of angles I've ever seen.That footage is fantastic, it really deserves more views.

krosero
12-06-2007, 03:30 PM
Maybe you're thinking of when Connors returned Mecir's serve from almost the service line the World Team Cup? Mecir was so nervous at the end he started hitting underhand serves. Connors looked like he was trying to take them out of the air.

As far as unusual returning stances, I recommend viewing the Chang-Sampras '95 Masters SF. I've never seen anyone trying to take Sampras' serve that early, & it actually worked(have to check to see how far in the court he was, it seemed pretty crazy at the time)

Chang is a very underrated returner, he had great hand-eye.

Mecir also played Becker at the '89 USO, maybe he tried this there.It's possible I saw the '89 match. The one I remember finished at night. The only Mecir matches I remember seeing were his two Slam finals (both vs. Lendl), the win over Becker, the 5-set loss to Edberg at Wimbledon, and the Dallas win over McEnroe (would love to see that one again, I remember it as full of touch and angles).

Moose Malloy
12-06-2007, 03:55 PM
Here is some more Mecir, courtesy of krosero

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2bzlj4ypvw

I think this was a big turning point in the career of Wilander, Mecir had owned him up to this point.

krosero
12-06-2007, 04:35 PM
Here is some more Mecir, courtesy of krosero

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2bzlj4ypvw

I think this was a big turning point in the career of Wilander, Mecir had owned him up to this point.It was similar to the way he broke a long losing streak to Lendl the next year, except that he'd beaten Lendl on big stages before. With Mecir the psychological barrier seemed greater. Near the end of the '87 match you can see how badly he wants the win; it's subtle but I've never quite seen something like that on Mats.

The other difference is that after breaking the losing streak to Lendl, he never met him again in a major. But he met Mecir again, on Wilander's least favorite surface, and got swept in straight sets. I'm very interested in seeing that match, because I've been counting winners in so many matches; and I can only imagine the number of winners that Mecir could hit when he was in the zone.

krosero
12-06-2007, 05:37 PM
It wasn't against becker that mecir did the return from the service line, it was at the Lipton in 87 or 88 I think. The video is on Google Video, just type in Mecir and it will show the highlights (and wow, they were highlights!) including the best use of angles I've ever seen.Strange thing about this match, it was the only time Mecir beat Lendl. Their other 5 matches all went to Lendl in straight sets.

AndrewD
12-07-2007, 01:55 AM
Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.

I saw Paul Annacone do exactly the same thing back in 1985 when he played the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne events (won Brisbane, semis in Sydney, runner-up in Melbourne ).

The tactic wasn't in any way disrespectful and certainly wasn't designed to upset an opponent. On the contrary, it was devised to take full advantage of Annacone's excellent touch at net and protect his much weaker groundstrokes. Using that approach (chip-charge on everything) he got as high as #12 in early 1986 but the rewards came in 85. Of course, after a year or so it became very predictable and his ranking settled back around the 30's, 40's and 50's.

hoodjem
12-07-2007, 08:06 AM
I remember Mecir well. The thing that most impressed me about him (and of course, I attempted to imitate) was his footwork: he just seemed to glide around the court. He hardly ran to the ball, but instead he seemed to float over to it. The videos seem to confirm this.

In watching the video against Wilander, I note something similar on the strokes--a very graceful motion. Almost as if he is in slow motion. And his touch looks as good as MacEnroe's.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7062181120118369803&q=mecir&total=11&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
I loved watching him surgically dissect his opponents, particularly Lendl. Amazing angles. Beautiful!

"The Cat"

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 01:58 PM
I'm very interested in seeing that match, because I've been counting winners in so many matches; and I can only imagine the number of winners that Mecir could hit when he was in the zone.


how many have you done so far? what are your winner counts on Mecir in the Becker match?

Jonny S&V
12-07-2007, 02:12 PM
I remember Mecir well. The thing that most impressed me about him (and of course, I attempted to imitate) was his footwork: he just seemed to glide around the court. He hardly ran to the ball, but instead he seemed to float over to it. The videos seem to confirm this.

In watching the video against Wilander, I note something similar on the strokes--a very graceful motion. Almost as if he is in slow motion. And his touch looks as good as MacEnroe's.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7062181120118369803&q=mecir&total=11&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
I loved watching him surgically dissect his opponents, particularly Lendl. Amazing angles. Beautiful!

"The Cat"

I had never watched Mecir before. My new favorite player! That Wilander vs Mecir clip is how tennis is supposed to be played, when you get an opportunity to come into net, you take it and win the point. I never took a close look at Wilander's slice backhand either. When he hits it, you would think that he had a 1 handed backhand.

krosero
12-07-2007, 03:06 PM
how many have you done so far? what are your winner counts on Mecir in the Becker match?I have almost two dozen that I've done myself. I have Mecir at 43 winners, Becker at 25 (all non-service, as usual), out of a total of 47 games. I marked down aces and doubles but have not counted them yet.

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 03:11 PM
I have almost two dozen that I've done myself.

wow, looking forward to seeing the results, will you be posting them here?

btw, I think Mecir was still using a racquet that was at least partially made of wood in the 80s. what did it look like to you in the Becker match?

Jack the Hack
12-07-2007, 03:16 PM
I loved watching him surgically dissect his opponents, particularly Lendl. Amazing angles. Beautiful!

It was Lendl that was doing most of the dissecting against Mecir. Lendl had a 5-1 lifetime record against "The Cat", and embarrassed him in both of the Slam finals where they met (6-2, 6-2, 6-2 for Lendl at the '89 Australian; 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 for Lendl at the '86 US Open).

There is no doubt that Mecir was a huge talent, maybe even in the McEnroe territory. However, I always got the impression he was mentally soft or didn't work hard enough to capitalize on his gifts. In my mind, he's one of those guys that will always be considered one of the best to never win a Slam.

By the way, thanks to krosero for posting that highlight clip of Mecir and Wilander from the '87 Open. As another poster said, I agree that this was a good example of how tennis is meant to be played (good offense and defense). Based on the inventory of his YouTube account, it looks like krosero is a Wilander fan... I am one also. He is my favorite player of all time!

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 03:26 PM
However, I always got the impression he was mentally soft or didn't work hard enough to capitalize on his gifts.

I recall hearing(maybe here from urban) that when Mecir beat like 10 Swedes in a row to win Hamburg one year, they were all very meticulous, professional about their diet, training, etc while he was eating hamburgers & milkshakes after every match.

He's truly one of the most unique players I've seen.

krosero
12-07-2007, 03:30 PM
wow, looking forward to seeing the results, will you be posting them here?

btw, I think Mecir was still using a racquet that was at least partially made of wood in the 80s. what did it look like to you in the Becker match?I will post them here, definitely. I'll keep posting them one at a time, as they're finished, but at some point I'll post some kind of overall list.

As for the racquet, I usually don't pay attention to it after the matches of the early 80s. I'm pretty certain he's not using a small wooden racquet but I didn't pay attention to it.

krosero
12-07-2007, 03:33 PM
I recall hearing(maybe here from urban) that when Mecir beat like 10 Swedes in a row to win Hamburg one year, they were all very meticulous, professional about their diet, training, etc while he was eating hamburgers & milkshakes after every match.The story told by Barry McKay during the '87 match is that Wilander and Nystrom decided they'd better go on a better diet to beat this guy. Then they lost to him anyway and gave up trying to modify their diets.

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 03:34 PM
according to this thread, he played with a mid-sized wood at the '86 Open:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=10623&highlight=mecir

But it had to be enforced with something else, I imagine, how could he return Becker's serve otherwise?

krosero
12-07-2007, 03:47 PM
It was Lendl that was doing most of the dissecting against Mecir. Lendl had a 5-1 lifetime record against "The Cat", and embarrassed him in both of the Slam finals where they met (6-2, 6-2, 6-2 for Lendl at the '89 Australian; 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 for Lendl at the '86 US Open).In the semis of the 87 FO, Lendl beat him in a very similar blowout. I would really like to know what the story was with that match in Key Biscayne. How is it that Mecir took Lendl out in straight sets but continued to lose to him in the Slams?

I remember reading in Tennis Magazine that Lendl got the better of him in the USO final by hitting sharp crosscourt angles. (Don't own that match, though). I was reminded of that when Lendl drove a backhand crosscourt in that Key Biscayne clip, a tremendous angle, and Mecir still ran it down and won the point.

There is no doubt that Mecir was a huge talent, maybe even in the McEnroe territory. However, I always got the impression he was mentally soft or didn't work hard enough to capitalize on his gifts. In my mind, he's one of those guys that will always be considered one of the best to never win a Slam. He told Becker at the start of the 86 USO that he'd rather be home fishing. He was bothered by the crowds and intensity of New York, so it's impressive that he took out Becker after their semifinal had turned into a rowdy night match.

The comparison with McEnroe is interesting for a few reasons. They both hit a lot of volleys without bending their knees; but Mecir was either just not as good at it, or too tall; he missed more of those than McEnroe did.

And McEnroe did not work as hard as should have either.

The apparent effortlessness of his strokes can be mistaken for indifference, but that's another issue.

By the way, thanks to krosero for posting that highlight clip of Mecir and Wilander from the '87 Open. As another poster said, I agree that this was a good example of how tennis is meant to be played (good offense and defense). Based on the inventory of his YouTube account, it looks like krosero is a Wilander fan... I am one also. He is my favorite player of all time!Glad you liked them, and definitely I'm a Wilander fan.

Jay Berger was asked in 1988 if Agassi's forehand was the biggest weapon is tennis, and he said, no, Wilander's brain was.

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 04:17 PM
How is it that Mecir took Lendl out in straight sets but continued to lose to him in the Slams?


Mecir did freeze more than a few times on big occasions, I'm sure nerves were a factor in those slam finals. And that straight set win that Mecir won was very close, think it was close to 3 hours, it wasn't easy.

I will post them here, definitely. I'll keep posting them one at a time

which matches did you do(besides the ones that you posted here already)?

I watch a lot of old matches, & have started doing this as well, was wondering if I'm doing some of the same ones you did.

RiosTheGenius
12-07-2007, 04:21 PM
I also recall Ivanisevic returning the Spooky Becker serve behind his back with his clownish pony tail

krosero
12-07-2007, 04:44 PM
which matches did you do(besides the ones that you posted here already)?

I watch a lot of old matches, & have started doing this as well, was wondering if I'm doing some of the same ones you did.Good call, here are the matches I've done and not posted yet:

Sampras-Becker 1996
Mecir-Becker 1986 USO
1987-89 USO finals
Becker-Agassi 95W
Noah-Vilas 86 TOC
1982-83 USO finals
1981-82 RG finals
Borg-Connors 81 USO

Only did fifth sets:

Lendl-McEnroe 1984 RG
Edberg-Cash 1987 AO

Want to get to:

Connors-Krickstein
Becker-McEnroe in Hartford
McEnroe-Connors 84 W (I have published stats but I want to do my own)
Mecir-Wilander 88W (plan to buy it)

Also, I doubt anyone owns this one, but when Agassi beat Jacco Eltingh 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, in the 1995 W quarters, he had 52 winners according to NBC. That's a rate of winners higher than McEnroe's in the 1984 Wimbledon final, which had been the highest I'd known about (35 winners in 22 games). However, service winners would be included in Agassi's total. And he had 7 aces. Do you know, are aces included today in winners counts?

Which ones are you working on?

Moose Malloy
12-07-2007, 05:30 PM
Do you know, are aces included today in winners counts?


They are.

Mecir-Wilander 88W (plan to buy it)


Is the complete match available anywhere? I thought Rick only has a few games of it. I don't have the complete '88 W match of Mecir vs Edberg, only part of the 5th set, but I see a lot of winners hit in what I do have. Wouldn't be surprised if that one is up there in terms of winners hit in grasscourt matches.

Which ones are you working on?

Generally I was going to just stick to matches I bought, but hadn't got around to watching yet(there are many & they aren't all particularly famous matches), but you made me think about revisting some other matches I've watched in the past (I have a few other Mecir matches that I might re-watch now like Dallas '87 or IW '89 vs Noah)

I've already done this one, Sampras-Krajicek '96 W.

Working on '79 USO Mac-Gerulaitis, & '96 RR Becker-Sampras. Was thinking about doing the (incomplete) '81 Masters final between Lendl & Gerulaitis, that was one of the most agressive matches I've seen(Vitas came in on everything)
Was thinking of doing '95 davis cup agassi-wilander(since I haven't watched it yet, & am very curious about the Agassi net stats you mentioned when they played in '88 & wanted to see how much things changed by '95)

also want to re-watch some of my Borg matches, since he didn't come out that high in some of the W matches you did. I'm thinking he did better in that stat indoors.

do you have any requests? I have a ton, & can get through some dvds quickly. I've gotten better at this 'stat taking' thing. The most matches I have involve Mac.

Also, I doubt anyone owns this one, but when Agassi beat Jacco Eltingh 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, in the 1995 W quarters, he had 52 winners according to NBC.

I'm a bit surprised you are doing more recent matches, I thought you were just doing wood racquet era matches & other 80s matches, since the game changed quite a bit in the 90s in terms of amount of winners hit (& match stats are more easily found on them)

I don't have this match, but Agassi was playing some of the best tennis he ever played at that event, so I'm not that surprised by that stat. I was pretty shocked he lost to Becker actually.

Agassi in '95 in general may have been the most prolific stage of his career in terms of hitting a ton of winners.

If you really want to figure out who had the highest winner count per game(excluding service winners) it would have to be a Federer match I imagine, I've never seen anyone consistently hit as many winners off the ground. And Gasquet vs Roddick at W this year had to be up there in that department.

just remembered you can get that Eltingh match here:

http://www.tennislegendondvd.com/

krosero
12-07-2007, 07:29 PM
I thought Rick only has a few games of it. You're right, disappointing.

I'm a bit surprised you are doing more recent matches, I thought you were just doing wood racquet era matches & other 80s matches, since the game changed quite a bit in the 90s in terms of amount of winners hit (& match stats are more easily found on them)After doing a few recent matches I still plan to work back into the 80s and 70s, and earlier if I can get my hands on early matches. The Laver stats were some of the most interesting; and the farther back you go the less published stats there are.

Will order the Eltingh match and do the stats.

If you really want to figure out who had the highest winner count per game(excluding service winners) it would have to be a Federer match I imagine, I've never seen anyone consistently hit as many winners off the ground. And Gasquet vs Roddick at W this year had to be up there in that department.I would have guessed Federer too. But I do have one stat collected on him, against Safin at the '05 AO. ESPN has him, after 43 games, at 49 winners (with Safin at 31).

I have the rates computed in an Excel chart, and the rate directly above Federer's is Sampras' against Safin at the 2000 USO. Both rates are close to 1.14 winners per game.

Among other matches in which service is being counted, Safin himself in that 2000 match is at 1.32. Connors in his Krickstein match is at 1.68 (the highest I've seen, but I need to subtract service if I want to know if it really had more "rally" winners than McEnroe at 84W). I don't know of other rates higher than Federer's in the years since service started being included, but I've barely started looking.

If you subtract service from Federer's number, his rate will go down. He had 22 aces in the whole match against Safin, so let's say that after 43 games he had a total of 25 aces and service winners (just a guess). That would leave him at around 24 "rally" winners.

Does that sound right to you? Safin had 16 total aces, and after 43 games he had only 31 winners (including service). Taking out service would not leave him with many winners from groundies/volleys.

Anyway, some rates from older matches, service excluded, are already higher than Federer has with his service aces/winners included: Lendl in the 1987-88 USO finals; your own count for Connors at 77W; Agassi against Wilander at RG; Connors-Borg at Forest Hills; and Laver-Newcombe at W (Directly below Federer at a rate of 1.13 is Laver against Ashe, taken by Urban). And those are just the ones we've done, where we are sure that service is not being included. There are very similar rates in a bunch of other matches with published stats, although I don't always know if those matches include service.

Now I've gotten myself curious. Count Safin-Federer as one that I intend to do -- but it won't be immediately, and if you've got the time and energy for this match, or any other, by all means help yourself :)

krosero
12-07-2007, 07:35 PM
P.S. It seems the only common area we have in our plans might be Borg matches, so just let me know what you're doing for him, and vice versa if I do something.

krosero
12-07-2007, 08:03 PM
I took the stats from here:

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/07072007/58/wimbledon-gasquet-dumps-roddick.html

The match was 60 games long.

Gasquet hit 93 winners including service. If you subtract his 23 aces, you get 70 winners over 60 games, a rate of 1.17. We still have to subtract other kinds of service winners, but this gives us a number to start comparing with.

Clintspin
12-07-2007, 08:18 PM
I think Mecir used a low string tension. I enjoyed watching his matches. He seemed to feed off the power supplied and hold the ball on his strings. Very smooth player.

djsiva
12-07-2007, 09:30 PM
Mecir was the real Magician!

Not this Santoro crap. Where the guy does it to get applause.

Mecir did it becausit worked. He did it not to try make the other guy look bad, he just did because it worked.

A real artist.

For some reason Lendl was the one guy that could really take him apart. I think Lendl got so angry when he lost in Miami that he studied Mecir like a med student does anatomy and effectively dissected his game down to a science.

I still think that if Mecir just had a bigger serve he would be the GOAT. And all of us would be trying to hit flat shots instead of all these topsin stuff. Just a thought.

krosero
12-07-2007, 10:39 PM
For some reason Lendl was the one guy that could really take him apart. I think Lendl got so angry when he lost in Miami that he studied Mecir like a med student does anatomy and effectively dissected his game down to a science.

I still think that if Mecir just had a bigger serve he would be the GOAT. And all of us would be trying to hit flat shots instead of all these topsin stuff. Just a thought.The thing is, it was not the lack of a big serve that resulted in those bad losses to Lendl. The weakish serve did not prevent Mecir from having his way with topspinning Swedes and from toppling more powerful players like Edberg and Becker. Lendl beat him badly (starting at the 86 USO, before the loss in Florida) for other reasons. Mecir did not bring his best game, apparently, to his only two Slam finals, so that does not bode well for his GOAT-ness, so to speak.

I think he had a bit of sensitive artist's temperament, someone who could wish to be fishing when the heat of the competitive tennis circuit became grueling, or frightful.

It's not that I wish to under-appreciate him. He's a player I wish every tennis player would get to see; and his best game was formidable. But GOAT is asking a lot.

djsiva
12-07-2007, 10:58 PM
The thing is, it was not the lack of a big serve that resulted in those bad losses to Lendl. The weakish serve did not prevent Mecir from having his way with topspinning Swedes and from toppling more powerful players like Edberg and Becker. Lendl beat him badly (starting at the 86 USO, before the loss in Florida) for other reasons. Mecir did not bring his best game, apparently, to his only two Slam finals, so that does not bode well for his GOAT-ness, so to speak.

I think he had a bit of sensitive artist's temperament, someone who could wish to be fishing when the heat of the competitive tennis circuit became grueling, or frightful.

It's not that I wish to under-appreciate him. He's a player I wish every tennis player would get to see; and his best game was formidable. But GOAT is asking a lot.

Fair enough. But you have to admit, if he had a big serve, Lendl would not have broken him so much. As for returning he was probably one if not the best ever.

You're right about his head though. I don't know how he lost to Edberg at Wimbledon the year Edberg eventually won. The guy was returning and hitting passes that were unreal with a racquet that was probably 10 years behind the current techology at the time.

krosero
12-07-2007, 11:27 PM
Fair enough. But you have to admit, if he had a big serve, Lendl would not have broken him so much. As for returning he was probably one if not the best ever. Yes, the Lendl matches would have been closer. And possibly all that Mecir needed was to get into those matches, and perhaps they would have been dogfights then. Tremendous return, you're right.

After he lost to him, Becker said he was the fastest player he had encountered.

Moose Malloy
12-08-2007, 11:32 AM
One other thing about Lendl-Mecir, both were from Czechoslokia, which was a very different country in the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if Mecir was already somewhat beaten before they stepped on court together.

krosero, it turns out I have more of the Mecir-Edberg W match than I thought.

at 2-1 in the 5th set, NBC flashes some stats on both players.
Mecir had 68 winners at that point, 15 forehands, 24 backhands, 26 nets pts, 3 serves.
I watched the rest of the match & counted 4 more winners. Subtracting the 3
serves gives us 69 winners, an astonishing total for someone on grass who played predominantly from the baseline.

In contrast Edberg had 40 winners from net, 7 from forehands, 7 from backhands, 11 from serves as of 2-1 in the 5th set.

after the 3rd set, the winner count was 51 for Mecir, 38 from Edberg. That's from 28 games. That's means Mecir dramatically reduced his winner count in the last 2 sets, & had an unreal count in the 1st 3.

I really want to see those 1st 2 sets now, because some of the shots Mecir hit in the 4th & 5th set were unbelievable, & that's with stats showing his form had dropped by then.

Time & time again he was hitting clean winners off Edberg's 1st serve. Edberg just shook his head in disbelief. I don't think I've seen that kind of returning from anyone in the 'fast grass' era except Agassi, & in the 80s the gap between S&V players & baseliners on grass was bigger than the 90s imo.

I can only imagine what Mecir did to Wilander. Wilander isn't being completely honest when he recently said he 'played with no balls' vs Mecir that year, from what I've seen in the Edberg match, when Mecir was in the zone no one could beat him. And Mats had a poor record vs Mecir, even on clay, so I have trouble believing that Mats could have come up with any different strategy that would have changed the result that year.

Edberg really dodged a bullet that year, he looked relieved when it was over. I'm an Edberg fan as well, but I really would have loved to see a Mecir-Becker final that year, it could have been something special.

Bud Collins said 'Mecir is the most remarkable player in the game to watch' during the Edberg match.

And commentators were remarking that Mecir already had a lot of back problems in '88, & was wearing a back brace in the match.

And I agree, with Mecir's height, he should have had a better serve, & may have posted some even better results. It seemed quite weak compared to all the other top guys in the 80s.

The game that Mecir played to break to go up to 3-1 in the 5th needs to be on youtube, he was returning Edberg's 1st serve on fast low bouncing, bad bouncing grass, like it was nothing.

He had many chances to break in the 7th game of the 4th set, some amazing returning in that game as well.

This was one of the best grasscourt matches I've seen(& I haven't seen all of it) Such great contrast.

Krosero do you have any NY times article on this match?

krosero
12-08-2007, 12:47 PM
July 2, 1988
WIMBLEDON; EDBERG, DOWN 2 SETS, SCRAMBLES PAST MERCIR TO FINAL
By PETER ALFANO, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

LEAD: In a sport of overnight sensations and phenoms too young to attend R-rated movies, Stefan Edberg of Sweden was not progressing fast enough to suit his critics. He is No. 3 in the world and a two-time winner of the Australian Open, but is characterized as lacking determination, perhaps courage, when it really matters.

In a sport of overnight sensations and phenoms too young to attend R-rated movies, Stefan Edberg of Sweden was not progressing fast enough to suit his critics. He is No. 3 in the world and a two-time winner of the Australian Open, but is characterized as lacking determination, perhaps courage, when it really matters.

Edberg is only 22 years old, but he is constantly reminded that Boris Becker won Wimbledon at 17. ''Everyone has been knocking him, saying he has no guts, no fire in his belly,'' said Tony Pickard, the Englishman who is Edberg's coach. ''Now, they will all look silly.'' Playing in his fifth Wimbledon, Edberg is finally living up to expectations. On Sunday, he will play in his first final, having defeated Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia, 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, in a semifinal today.

In what may have been the most impressive match of his career -given the setting and its importance - Edberg was hoping he had buried a reputation he thought was undeserved. ''It's hard to believe I came back from so far off,'' he said. ''I got my act together and felt better and better. If I didn't have guts today, I wouldn't have won. I gutsed it out.'' The Perplexing Mecir

Mecir, who was seeded No. 9, is a perplexing player who has as much talent as anyone else on the tour. He is deceptively quick, covering the court effortlessly. He can serve and volley when he has to, although he prefers to play from the baseline, coming to the net when opponents least expect it.

He also has a wide variety of shots, each playing off the other. His return of serve demoralized Edberg in the first two sets today. Mecir appeared on the verge of a straight-set victory when he held three break points against Edberg in the seventh game of the third set.

''But I felt if he could come back there, the match would turn for him,'' Pickard said of Edberg's chances. ''Stefan had been serving well, but Mecir was demoralizing, hitting those return winners. No one else could have done that against Stefan's serve.''

Edberg made an adjustment, not tossing the ball so high on his serve, and hitting it with more spin. As a result, he saved those three break points and eventually broke Mecir in the 10th game to get back into the match. More Break Points

It would not be the last test of his fortitude. Mecir held break points in the third and fifth games of the fourth set, and four more in the seventh game. Edberg denied him every one. Then, in the eighth game, he broke Mecir to lead, 5-3, and closed out the set on his serve.

Mecir appeared to have the edge again in the final set, breaking Edberg in the fourth game to lead, 3-1. But Edberg broke back, hitting a pair of service-return winners, and he was virtually untouchable for the rest of the match, losing only one point in his last three service games. When he broke Mecir in the seventh game, he was finally in control.

Edberg credited his success to a similar five-set Davis Cup victory against Mecir in the spring. ''If I hadn't won that match,'' he said, ''I wouldn't have won this one. It was important for me to know how to come back in these type of matches.''

When he ran down a lob on match point, hitting a forehand that Mecir volleyed into the net, Edberg thrust his arms in a rare display of emotion.

''I'm very excited to be in the Wimbledon final,'' he said. ''It doesn't happen every year.''
(10 characters)

urban
12-08-2007, 12:57 PM
Nice discussions and informations here. Imo Mecir's semi against Edberg was one of the best grass returning i have seen - for 2 and a half set. Then he got nervous and lost his timing. Mecir could hit well disguised returns from both flanks, and nobody could read the direction. Especially the backhand was deadly. He was also a great ball striker, with not much topspin. His problem was his weak serve and his nerves. And he was somewaht stiff in the back, he looked as if he had swallowed a stick. Later he had big trouble with his back. Mecir and Leconte were imo the most talented players in the 80s, but couldn't make it to the real top- for psychological and physical problems (Leconte had weak legs and an undefined upper body, to make a friendly comment).

Zimbo
12-08-2007, 12:59 PM
I remember the Wilander vs Mecir and Edberg vs Mecir well. Mecir destoryed Wilander. Mats didn't have a chance. Mecir was in the zone. He was playing great fantastic tennis. Mats tried everything but was just beaten by a better player that day. Mecir played the same way vs Edberg. I really thought Edberg was going to lose. The 1st 2 sets Mecir was whipping Edberg's butt big time. I really think this was the match that brought out Edberg's champions heart. Before this match he would put his head down when things weren't going his way but he some how clawed his way back and Mecir started cooling off.

Moose, I agree with you. The Edberg vs Mecir match was one of the best grass court matches of all time. It was way better then the Fed and Nadal match this year.

As for Mats stating that he didn't have balls, I think he was referring to his losts to Pat Cash. In those matches he was playing with "no balls" Cash took it to him and he just withered away like a puss.

krosero
12-08-2007, 01:09 PM
One other thing about Lendl-Mecir, both were from Czechoslokia, which was a very different country in the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if Mecir was already somewhat beaten before they stepped on court together.

krosero, it turns out I have more of the Mecir-Edberg W match than I thought.

at 2-1 in the 5th set, NBC flashes some stats on both players.
Mecir had 68 winners at that point, 15 forehands, 24 backhands, 26 nets pts, 3 serves.
I watched the rest of the match & counted 4 more winners. Subtracting the 3
serves gives us 69 winners, an astonishing total for someone on grass who played predominantly from the baseline.

In contrast Edberg had 40 winners from net, 7 from forehands, 7 from backhands, 11 from serves as of 2-1 in the 5th set.

after the 3rd set, the winner count was 51 for Mecir, 38 from Edberg. That's from 28 games. That's means Mecir dramatically reduced his winner count in the last 2 sets, & had an unreal count in the 1st 3.

I really want to see those 1st 2 sets now, because some of the shots Mecir hit in the 4th & 5th set were unbelievable, & that's with stats showing his form had dropped by then.

Time & time again he was hitting clean winners off Edberg's 1st serve. Edberg just shook his head in disbelief. I don't think I've seen that kind of returning from anyone in the 'fast grass' era except Agassi, & in the 80s the gap between S&V players & baseliners on grass was bigger than the 90s imo.

I can only imagine what Mecir did to Wilander. Wilander isn't being completely honest when he recently said he 'played with no balls' vs Mecir that year, from what I've seen in the Edberg match, when Mecir was in the zone no one could beat him. And Mats had a poor record vs Mecir, even on clay, so I have trouble believing that Mats could have come up with any different strategy that would have changed the result that year.

Edberg really dodged a bullet that year, he looked relieved when it was over. I'm an Edberg fan as well, but I really would have loved to see a Mecir-Becker final that year, it could have been something special.

Bud Collins said 'Mecir is the most remarkable player in the game to watch' during the Edberg match.

And commentators were remarking that Mecir already had a lot of back problems in '88, & was wearing a back brace in the match.

And I agree, with Mecir's height, he should have had a better serve, & may have posted some even better results. It seemed quite weak compared to all the other top guys in the 80s.

The game that Mecir played to break to go up to 3-1 in the 5th needs to be on youtube, he was returning Edberg's 1st serve on fast low bouncing, bad bouncing grass, like it was nothing.

He had many chances to break in the 7th game of the 4th set, some amazing returning in that game as well.

This was one of the best grasscourt matches I've seen(& I haven't seen all of it) Such great contrast.

Krosero do you have any NY times article on this match?So this would put Mecir at a rate of 1.47 winners per game. Among matches in which we've done the counting ourselves, I have only Lendl higher, at 1.57, in the 1988 USO final. McEnroe at 84W is at 1.59. It's a little tricky comparing close matches with blowouts, however, because the games in the 1984 W final were shorter (I have not checked that but I think it's a safe working assumption).

I remember the Edberg match, but it may have been one of those times where I tuned into a hack job on the NBC coverage, with only the comeback recorded (like the Connors-Pernfors match; all I've ever seen starts at 1-4 in the third set). I don't remember seeing Mecir's sets. But the fifth set is one of the most enjoyable I've ever seen on grass.

There is no one left like Mecir, but even in his time he was unique. It's just that in 1986 I was so new to tennis I really didn't know what that meant; now it's a totally different story.

Mecir's rate in the first three sets (if we subtract 1 serve, as a guess) is at 1.79. That is incredible. If he did the same against Wilander then we would have a full match rate that exceeded McEnroe's, although if Wilander did not come into net like Edberg I don't expect to see as many passing shots from Mecir.

Thanks for doing the stats, Moose. I have just one request with this: can you complete Edberg's stats from 1-2 in the fifth?

hoodjem
12-08-2007, 01:11 PM
It was Lendl that was doing most of the dissecting against Mecir. Lendl had a 5-1 lifetime record against "The Cat", and embarrassed him in both of the Slam finals where they met.


Mostly true, but not on that day in the video of the Lipton. I think this was Mecir's one win against Lendl, and it was a doozy!

Moose Malloy
12-08-2007, 01:18 PM
urban & Zimbo, how do you think Mecir would have fared vs Becker in the final had he made it?

krosero
12-08-2007, 01:48 PM
Mecir d. Becker, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
(47 games)

At 2-3 in the fourth set, Mecir was serving at 74%, Becker at 56%, per CBS. Following below are my own stats (unless otherwise noted).


Mecir had 2 aces, 0 service winners, 0 doubles.
Becker had 12 aces, 10 service winners, 11 doubles.


Mecir had 43 winners: 10 FH, 17 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 smashes.

Becker had 25 winners: 14 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 smash.

Mecirís winners by set: 7, 5, 14, 12, 5
Beckerís winners by set: 5, 4, 6, 3, 7

Sets 1, 4, and 5 went against the set leader in winners. Beckerís stronger service cannot explain the discrepancies. This is particularly true for the fourth set, which Mecir led in winners by 12 to 3, against only two aces for Boris. Instead this suggests that sets went to the player making fewer errors. This was not one of those matches, like the loss to Nystrom in 1985 (or Gilbert in 1987), when Becker just made a lot of unforced errors. Mecir is making his share, and Becker does not seem to me like heís making an extraordinary number of unforced errors; he really seems outplayed. Some of Mecirís offpace shots were a problem for him, but he got a lot of fast flat balls from Mecir.

In fact at 5-3 in the second, Mecir had made more unforced errors than Becker, 17 to 14 (per CBS).

In the second and fourth set Becker had only forehand winners, nothing else (apart from service).

The contrast with the backhand is remarkable: 14 winners to 2 over the course of the match.


Mecir had more winners from ground strokes than from volleys/smashes (27 to 16). That is expected. But it is also true of Becker (by 16 to 9), a greater surprise. This suggests that one reason he lost was his failure to come in more.

Becker said after the match that he wasn't quite sure whether to come in behind second serve. At times he also looks uncertain at the net.


Mecir returned 5 of Beckerís serves with clean winners, always off the backhand. Two were returns of second serves; the rest were first serves.

Mecir had 9 passing shots that were not returns, including 7 backhands. He had no lob winners.

I don't have the net stats, but in the 42-game USO final in 1989, Lendl passed Becker 19 times and hit 5 return winners. Per CBS, Becker approached 104 times. If we went by Mecirís return winners and passing shots, Becker came in about half that much in 1986.


Becker had 3 FH returns of Mecirís first serve and 1 FH return of a second serve. He had 4 passing shots that were not returns: 3 FH's and a BH.

Mecir served a very clean match, with only 2 aces but no doubles. Becker cleaned up his doubles after the first set, in which he had 7; he had no more doubles after the third set.


There were 3 breaks in each of the first two sets, and 1 in each of the remaining sets. Mecir was broken 4 times, Becker 5 times.

Zimbo
12-08-2007, 04:47 PM
urban & Zimbo, how do you think Mecir would have fared vs Becker in the final had he made it?

IF he played the same way that he did against the Swedes I think he had a very good chance of winning. He was so in the zone that I don't think Becker would have beaten him especially IF Becker played at the same level that he played against Edberg. I still can't believe how well Mecir was playing. Fantastic tennis.

That said. The biggest stage in tennis, could Mecir keep it up? I don't think so. Mecir would have shown some nerves and Becker would have dismantled him.

What do you think guys?

urban
12-09-2007, 01:04 AM
The final vs. Becker is difficult to rate. If i remember it right, the final that year was postponed for most of the match to Monday, and Becker was a little flat due to the strange lifeless atmosphere on Centre Court. And Edberg came in with a big psychological boost after his comeback win. Edberg wasn't strong mentally, too, a bit like Mecir in that department. But he had beaten him in close DC match before.
Becker had lost to Mecir at the 1986 USO, complaining about the soft, "women-like" serve. At Wim 1986 he had beaten him in straights. I would go for Becker, because of Mecir's nerves.

krosero
12-09-2007, 06:58 AM
I think Becker underestimated Edberg, having never lost to him in DC or a major. He had lost to Mecir in a major. Maybe Becker would still have underestimated him in the final, but my guess is no. It would be time for revenge.

I can't think of a recent Wimbledon champion with such a weak serve -- meaning in terms of pace. Even Jimmy Connors was hitting his serve hard and following it in against McEnroe in their fifth set, in '82. Becker said at the USO that he didn't know what to do with Mecir's serve -- that it was too soft to return. On grass, paradoxically, Mecir's serve would have had a little more bite, and I see Becker laying into those serves the way he always did on grass.

I also see Becker holding his nerves better.

callitout
12-10-2007, 10:13 AM
Beautiful tennis...thanks for posting the Mecir-Wilander clip. Love the movement and balance.

I was just anticipating the bozo who reckons that the level of play is 5.0.
But this stuff is too good.

Moose Malloy
12-10-2007, 11:32 AM
Thanks for doing the stats, Moose. I have just one request with this: can you complete Edberg's stats from 1-2 in the fifth?

NBC flashed his stats as of 3-2 in the 5th, not 2-1 as I stated before.

After that point, he made 5 volley winners & 1 forehand winner.

And I also realized I missed one additional Mecir forehand winner that was hit in the last game of the match.

Connors in his Krickstein match is at 1.68 (the highest I've seen, but I need to subtract service if I want to know if it really had more "rally" winners than McEnroe at 84W).

Where did you get winner counts on this match? NY Times? What was the count?
Connors hit very few service winners in that match(from my recollection), so his total winner count was impressive, if its as high as I think it is. Do you know how many times he approached the net? I recall a really high number.

I think you are really coming up with some great stuff in your posts. I'm seeing that the total winner counts today are misleading(which I didn't realize until I started reading your posts & doing my own stats on modern matches)
Who would have thought Connors & Lendl hit comparable amount of winners(excluding service) with some of the tennis today?

Service winners/aces really up the count, even on someone like Federer.
Was just doing the Becker-Sampras RR, don't have the espn broadcast, but I recall the winner count was quite high. But from my stats, excluding service, there really weren't that many clean winners.

I think for the really, big servers, Sampras, Becker, you can safely assume they hit as many or more service winners in a match as they do aces.

And for someone like Agassi or Connors, they probably hit less service winners than the # of aces they hit in a match.

I have only Lendl higher, at 1.57, in the 1988 USO final.

This is quite impressive, considering the lengthy baseline rallies. I wouldn't have guessed it would come out so high.

also, do you have stats on the Mecir-Wilander USO match & the '83 AO final(since I see you posted clips from them on youtube, was wondering if you also did stats on them)

Moose Malloy
12-10-2007, 11:42 AM
Mecir had 2 aces, 0 service winners, 0 doubles.
Becker had 12 aces, 10 service winners, 11 doubles.


is this the first time you've tried to count service winners? was it hard to decide on them?

hoodjem
12-10-2007, 11:48 AM
I am certainly inclined to agree with whoever said that Mecir is one of the best players to never win a slam championship.

When he was on, he was magic!

OrangeOne
12-10-2007, 11:51 AM
Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.

How on earth is chipping and charging a serve disrespectful? It's tennis - you do what it takes to win, there's no rules that say how or why to return a serve.

OrangeOne
12-10-2007, 11:54 AM
For some reason Lendl was the one guy that could really take him apart. I think Lendl got so angry when he lost in Miami that he studied Mecir like a med student does anatomy and effectively dissected his game down to a science. Lendl said something after the AO final about beating Mecir, something about what he had to do was ugly tennis - bunting balls to Mecir with no pace, giving him nothing to work with, and doing this over and over. I wish I had the quote.

I still think that if Mecir just had a bigger serve he would be the GOAT. And all of us would be trying to hit flat shots instead of all these topsin stuff. Just a thought.An incredibly bad one...

ohlori
12-10-2007, 11:57 AM
One other thing about Lendl-Mecir, both were from Czechoslokia, which was a very different country in the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if Mecir was already somewhat beaten before they stepped on court together.

krosero, it turns out I have more of the Mecir-Edberg W match than I thought.

at 2-1 in the 5th set, NBC flashes some stats on both players.
Mecir had 68 winners at that point, 15 forehands, 24 backhands, 26 nets pts, 3 serves.
I watched the rest of the match & counted 4 more winners. Subtracting the 3
serves gives us 69 winners, an astonishing total for someone on grass who played predominantly from the baseline.

In contrast Edberg had 40 winners from net, 7 from forehands, 7 from backhands, 11 from serves as of 2-1 in the 5th set.

after the 3rd set, the winner count was 51 for Mecir, 38 from Edberg. That's from 28 games. That's means Mecir dramatically reduced his winner count in the last 2 sets, & had an unreal count in the 1st 3.

I really want to see those 1st 2 sets now, because some of the shots Mecir hit in the 4th & 5th set were unbelievable, & that's with stats showing his form had dropped by then.

Time & time again he was hitting clean winners off Edberg's 1st serve. Edberg just shook his head in disbelief. I don't think I've seen that kind of returning from anyone in the 'fast grass' era except Agassi, & in the 80s the gap between S&V players & baseliners on grass was bigger than the 90s imo.

I can only imagine what Mecir did to Wilander. Wilander isn't being completely honest when he recently said he 'played with no balls' vs Mecir that year, from what I've seen in the Edberg match, when Mecir was in the zone no one could beat him. And Mats had a poor record vs Mecir, even on clay, so I have trouble believing that Mats could have come up with any different strategy that would have changed the result that year.

Edberg really dodged a bullet that year, he looked relieved when it was over. I'm an Edberg fan as well, but I really would have loved to see a Mecir-Becker final that year, it could have been something special.

Bud Collins said 'Mecir is the most remarkable player in the game to watch' during the Edberg match.

And commentators were remarking that Mecir already had a lot of back problems in '88, & was wearing a back brace in the match.

And I agree, with Mecir's height, he should have had a better serve, & may have posted some even better results. It seemed quite weak compared to all the other top guys in the 80s.

The game that Mecir played to break to go up to 3-1 in the 5th needs to be on youtube, he was returning Edberg's 1st serve on fast low bouncing, bad bouncing grass, like it was nothing.

He had many chances to break in the 7th game of the 4th set, some amazing returning in that game as well.

This was one of the best grasscourt matches I've seen(& I haven't seen all of it) Such great contrast.

Krosero do you have any NY times article on this match?

I once read about Mecir that he didn't like to hit aces, because according to him you didn't like the game of tennis if you didn't want to enter the rally.
I also read that he practised his reflexes and anticipation by staring at fishes in an aquarium for hours.
He was also interested in nature and alternative treatments.
String tension was 37 lbs and he frustrated his sponsors by wanting to play with the same shirt all of the time.
I vaguely remember a story right before Wimbledon 1988, that nobody knew of his whereabouts and that he suddenly surfaced at Wimbledon with no preparation and almost got to the final.

Some points of Mecir - Edberg (bad video quality):

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/mecir+edberg/video/x36u2t_edbergmecir-wimbledon-88

Moose Malloy
12-10-2007, 12:17 PM
Becker said after the match that he wasn't quite sure whether to come in behind second serve. At times he also looks uncertain at the net.


can you post the NY times article(if its not too much trouble)?

krosero
12-10-2007, 06:51 PM
September 7, 1986
NAVRATILOVA EDGES GRAF; MECIR UPSETS BECKER; Lendl Sails Unhindered to 5th Final
By PETER ALFANO
Boris Becker was wary of Miloslav Mecir, a reluctant visitor from Czechoslovakia who said he would rather be home fishing instead of playing tennis in the United States Open. Mecir expressed his feelings to Becker two weeks ago when the tournament began, and Becker believed him - until he noticed that Mecir had reached the Open semifinals. It suddenly sounded like a setup.

Becker's fears were realized, because when the men's singles final is played on the Stadium Court today, Mecir, seeded No. 16, will be across the net from Ivan Lendl, the top seeded player who had been expecting another confrontation with Boris Becker. A renewal of that budding rivalry will have to come on another day.

The 22-year-old Mecir shocked Becker, the 18-year-old West German, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, yesterday in the second Open semifinal. In the first, Lendl was forced to a first set tiebreaker by Stefan Edberg of Sweden, then coasted to a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3, victory. This will be Lendl's fifth consecutive Open final. He will be seeking his second victory.

Thus, for the first time in the history of the Open, four foreign-born players from the same country will be in the finals. Helena Sukova and Martina Navratilova will meet in the women's final. Ms. Navratilova, who was born in Czechoslovakia, is now a naturalized American citizen.

Lendl is still a citizen of Czechoslovakia, but has lived in Greenwich, Conn., for the last five years. He has spoken to Mecir on occasion, and had learned that his countryman was homesick.

Mecir does not hide that he is uncomfortable in the United States. He has been to New York City a few times and finds the crowds and traffic stifling. ''I was hoping I was not going to lose in the first round,'' he said yesterday. ''But I like European tournaments more. The clubs are nicer, the hospitality is better, and when I lose, I can go right home.''

Becker tried to accommodate him, but his tennis got in the way. He was indecisive against Mecir, too cautious most of the time, he decided. Mecir's tennis home is the baseline where he likes to run his opponents ragged with a variety of well placed forehand and backhand groundstrokes. He will come to the net when it is least expected and smack a volley winner. He even surprised Becker with a nonchalant drop-volley winner in the final set. Forgot Where He Was

''I make a good backhand return of service at 4-2, 40-30, and he made a drop shot like it was practice or something,'' Becker said. ''I said, 'Oh my God! What's happening with him?' He probably didn't realize he was in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.'' Mecir's expectations were not that high. Becker, seeded third, is a big server who is fast developing into an accomplished serve and volley Player. On the grass courts at Wimbledon, Becker's serve is dominating. Here, though, a player must also be able to rally on occasion from the baseline. Becker appeared caught between strategies.

''I had too much respect for him,'' Becker said. ''I was very tentative with my serve and didn't know whether to play serve and volley on my second serve. And I didn't know how to hit his serve, which is soft. I didn't know whether to hit it hard or chip hit. His serve is sometimes too weak to return.''

Becker said Mecir is the fastest player he has encountered, someone who can gobble up the court in several strides. Mecir is a lanky 6 feet 3 inches and 180 pounds, with toussled blond hair and a scraggly beard.

He does not look threatening and when Becker broke him in the ninth game of the first set, it looked like a routine workday for the West German. But the 10th game was a portent. Becker closed out the set, but first had to save three break points. His big serve came in handy then. Mecir did not panic. He stayed on course, hitting those groundstrokes, watching as Becker shook his head in frustration when his returns sailed wide or floated over the baseline. His mind was made up. ''I was playing long balls and making him run,'' Mecir said. ''I try to hit the ball in the best place. I don't mind if he knows or doesn't know.''

Mecir broke Becker in the fourth game of the second set, but it seemed like a momentary setback when Becker broke in the seventh game to put the set back on serve. Then, Mecir broke right back, forcing errors. The third set was proceeding uneventfully until Mecir broke Becker in the seventh game. Once again, his steady play eventually forced Becker to make errors.

Becker rallied to win the fourth set, but instead of making a fist-pumping gesture as he walked to his chair during the break between games, his shoulders sagged.

His worst fears were realized in the second game of the final set when Mecir broke him to lead, 2-0. It was nothing fancy, simply some well placed forehands that resulted in two winners. Becker's contributions were two groundstrokes that landed in the net.

''He is a very unpredictable player,'' Becker said. ''He makes the easiest mistakes, then hits three shots you have no chance to get. But he is a great player, number eight in the world last year before he hurt his knee.'' (10 characters)

krosero
12-10-2007, 06:57 PM
Where did you get winner counts on this match? NY Times? What was the count?
Connors hit very few service winners in that match(from my recollection), so his total winner count was impressive, if its as high as I think it is. Do you know how many times he approached the net? I recall a really high number.Well the count in this case is exactly the rate I gave (1.68 ) times the number of games (51), or 86 winners.

I got the count from the Kansas City Star, which reported Krickstein at 38 winners. Connors had 106 unforced errors, Krickstein 44.

I donít usually buy the articles I find through Google News. Usually itís possible to get the stats just from the results pages for terms like winners, unforced errors, etc. I mention it just to say that I am using a lot of sources; itís rare for one article to include all the major stats.

Connors won 88 of 137 approaches (64%), Krickstein 10 of 20 (per the NY Times).

The 1983 AO final, I watched just before I started counting match winners, so Iíve got nothing on that one. Iím interested in Wilanderís net stats, so itís possible I will go back to it; but right now itís not on my to-do list.

I decided over the weekend to do Wilander-Mecir and Iíve almost got those stats ready.

I am just starting to count service winners (ie, unreturnable serves other than aces), though Iím not sure I have the hang of it. For the 1989 USO final, I have Becker at 5, Lendl at 1. But the W. Post and Chicago Sun-Times report Becker at 11 aces and 23 other service winners, Lendl at 5 aces and 14 service winners.

And the Charlotte Observer put Becker at 9 aces and only 11 service winners, so the statisticians have some discrepancies between themselves, even on the aces.

Iíve emailed Steve Flink on some of these questions. Who else do you think I might contact? Maybe Leo Levin?

Bud Collins explained something about the difference between service winners and aces during the Jan. í84 Masters final. Lendl stretched for one of McEnroeís serves and could do no more with it than drive it into the ground but it was called an ace. One of Lendlís serves tipped off McEnroeís racquet and was scored an ace. Collins mentioned the ďAllison Danzig rules of scoringĒ: if thereís no chance, no play on it (just as in baseball, he said), you give the server an ace.

Hereís a suggestion, which I have not applied yet; just thought of it now and looking for feedback. If the returner puts the ball into the ground anywhere on his side of the court, or anywhere into the stands, itís a service winner. If he puts the ball into the opponentís court, but outside the lines (or simply puts it into the net), itís just a return error, not a service winner or ace.

Tennis stats, by the way, might have improved after the 70s, from what I can tell. Not only do I see richer stats; my counts are also starting to line up with the network TV counts exactly. Usually thereís a discrepancy, a handful of winners here or there (but a large discrepancy, as I noted on this board, with regard to Connorsí winners in the 1976 USO final).

Now whether the stats are lining up because Iím getting better, or the statisticians, I donít know; maybe both.

In the Wilander-Mecir match, Sue Westhall did the stats for USA network, and she had both players at exactly the same number of winners that I did, mid-match. NBCís mid-match stats for Becker-Agassi, 95W, also agreed with mine, exactly.

Just nice when that happens.

krosero
12-10-2007, 09:40 PM
Moose, another note on Federer.

I would have guessed Federer too. But I do have one stat collected on him, against Safin at the '05 AO. ESPN has him, after 43 games, at 49 winners (with Safin at 31).

I have the rates computed in an Excel chart, and the rate directly above Federer's is Sampras' against Safin at the 2000 USO. Both rates are close to 1.14 winners per game. I looked up Federer's winners for the entire match. The New York Sun has him at 72 winners (Safin at 65). The match was 63 games long, so his rate is 1.14 winners per game (service included).

That's the same rate he had when ESPN displayed his winners at the 43-game mark.

For Federer, the impartial sample worked.

But for Safin it didn't work at all. At 43 games his rate was still .72 (service included). By the end of the match it had shot up to 1.03.

krosero
12-11-2007, 11:11 AM
1987 USO QF
6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (0)
(45 games)

Mecir turned into a net-rusher in this match; he approached the net 110 times, with a 66% success rate. Wilander approached 47 times, with a 64% success rate.

USA network has Mecir at a 62% success rate, out of 82 approaches, as of 3-4 in the third set. Wilander had won 16 of 27 approaches, or 59%. I took these stats and counted the remaining approaches to arrive at the above stats.

Wilander made 17 unforced errors, Mecir 69 (per the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, which reported Mecir’s total approaches as 114, without a success rate).


By my count:


Wilander had 10 aces and 2 doubles.

Mecir had 0 aces and 1 double. He hit his double on the penultimate point of the match.


Wilander hit 24 winners: 10 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 smashes.

Mecir hit 61 winners: 14 FH, 5 BH, 15 FHV, 19 BHV, 8 smashes.


Wilander had more ground stroke winners than volleys/smashes: 15 to 9. In the final a few days later he reversed the ratio, with 19 winners from volleys/smashes and 13 from ground strokes.

Mecir had more than twice as many winners from volleys and smashes as compared to ground strokes: 42 to 19. That’s a total reversal from his win over Becker the previous year, in which his numbers had been 16 and 27.

One of Wilander’s winners was a service return, and two others were lobs. In addition he made 11 passing shots (6 off the backhand).

One of Mecir’s winners was a service return, and another was a lob. In addition he had 10 passing shots (7 off the forehand).

It is surprising to see them nearly tied in passes, returns and lobs, because Mecir came in more than twice as much as Wilander. Mecir was more successful in passing Wilander with clean winners; often in the match I observed Wilander winning points not with outright passes but with strong shots dipping just over the net.

The announcers were surprised to see Mecir approaching this much. They attributed Wilander's infrequent approaches to respect for Mecir's passing shots.

Wilander got aggressive in the final tiebreak with 4 approaches, and won them all. Mecir got cautious, with only one approach, and lost it.

There was 1 break in the first set, 4 in the second, 5 in the third, and 6 in the fourth. Wilander was broken 7 times, Mecir 9 times.

Wilander’s non-service winners by set: 4, 9, 3, 8
Mecir’s non-service winners winners by set: 13, 16, 16, 16

The match lasted 3 hours 37 minutes.

Moose Malloy
12-11-2007, 04:15 PM
I am just starting to count service winners (ie, unreturnable serves other than aces), though Iím not sure I have the hang of it. For the 1989 USO final, I have Becker at 5, Lendl at 1.

I advise looking at the available stats of a recent match involving someone who hits a lot of service winners(like something from the usopen website, or webarchive-good for searching old tourney websites) & then see how your stats match up.

I did this with a Roddick match a while back to see if my stats corresponded with official stats. My count was a little low on the actual amount of service winners counted. I think a good way to decide on whether it is a service winner is if the returner has to move to hit it(in addition to obvious service winners, balls barely touched etc)

Bud Collins explained something about the difference between service winners and aces during the Jan. í84 Masters final. Lendl stretched for one of McEnroeís serves and could do no more with it than drive it into the ground but it was called an ace. One of Lendlís serves tipped off McEnroeís racquet and was scored an ace.

That's not how they do it today, if its touched its a service winner.

I took these stats and counted the remaining approaches to arrive at the above stats.


I haven't tried taking down net approaches yet, & had some questions. If someone hits an approach shot & their opponent misses the pass, does that count as a point won at net?

Who else do you think I might contact? Maybe Leo Levin?


No idea how to contact him.

krosero
12-11-2007, 07:38 PM
That's not how they do it today, if its touched its a service winner.Good, that's how I've been counting. I've given McEnroe in 84W, for example, 10 aces rather than 11. NBC gave him his 11th ace even though Connors nicked it; a display went up saying that McEnroe had 11 "aces/service winners." This was shortened to 11 "aces" in the match summary displayed in the final game. So it shows you that the phrase "service winner" is not used with the same meaning every time; it seems to be used very loosely. I've given McEnroe what you and I call service winners on four other serves, but those serves showed up nowhere in the displayed stats, certainly not as "service winners."

Since we're going to be pooling our information, I just want to tell you how I'm counting winners. If the ball gets deflected off the edge of the racquet, I don't count it as an winner; it's an error.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen too much.

I haven't tried taking down net approaches yet, & had some questions. If someone hits an approach shot & their opponent misses the pass, does that count as a point won at net?
Yes. I recall you were in a thread about this question; the pressure of having someone at net is often what causes the error. But even if it doesn't cause the error, the attacker is applying pressure just by coming in.

Occasionally you see a player hit such a good shot that the person scrambling for it has his head turned and is not in a position to see anyone charging the net. But, if the attacker is charging, you have to call it a point at net, I would think.

What do you think about someone putting a ball away and charging into net behind it? Is it an approach, a net point, even if the opponent couldn't get within ten feet of intercepting the approach?

What about missed approaches? Is that a lost point at net?

I don't think that approach winners/errors should be counted as "points at net." But I've watched matches in which these appear to be counted in the net stats. I'd rather go with what the convention is, but I'm not sure there is a convention; my data suggests conflicting things about how this has been counted in the past.

In the Mecir-Wilander match, this was barely a problem; when these guys approached there was almost always a play on the ball.

Other guys are a problem, like Becker, who consistently hit approaches with no intention of ever having to hit a volley, but often missed his approaches.

Still, I'm counting approach winners/errors in my net stats. If someone comes in behind an ace, however, I don't count it in net stats. No one, I imagine, would ever count it as a net point when someone comes in behind a fault or double-fault.

What I do instead is mark down everything that might be called an approach, so that if someone can clarify this for us, I can go back and adjust my stats without rewatching entire matches.

Moose Malloy
12-12-2007, 01:16 PM
If the ball gets deflected off the edge of the racquet, I don't count it as an winner; it's an error.


Same here.

I don't think that approach winners/errors should be counted as "points at net."

Yeah, as far as net approaches, in todays stats I think a players has to hit at least one shot around the net for it to count as points won at net.

So if someone approaches the net & their opponent misses the pass completely it doesn't count. Ditto someone missing an approach, they all just go in the error column. Maybe they have to be in a certain spot on court(like the service line) for a missed approach or missed pass to count as a net pt?

I will try to re-watch a recent match that I can get 'modern' stats on(website) & try to see how they count net pts.

Have you done the Becker-Sampras '96 ATP final? Was just going through the espn broadcast & they had their numbers at net in the 5th set & it was only around 90 pts for both players, so I assume missed approaches, passing shots, etc weren't counted. I also have a winner count for early in the 5th, if you want to compare with your stats.

If I start taking this stat maybe I'll do 2 separate stats, one with the traditional net pts won, & the other with approaches etc. I have a feeling some of thiose Edberg matches would see a dramatic difference, he was coming in a ton, but didn't always have to hit a volley. His numbers would be even higher if they counted missed passes.

But I've watched matches in which these appear to be counted in the net stats.

which ones?

If someone comes in behind an ace, however, I don't count it in net stats.

what about if someone comes in & gets an unreturned serve? are you counting that as an approach?

oh, & I thought of another match that probably had a very high ratio of winners(non service) Agassi vs Rafter '95 AO. That may rival the Eltingh match, Agassi was on fire, & his numbers were often higher vs attacking players. Maybe the NY times has info on it.

krosero
12-12-2007, 08:04 PM
Same here.Today I saw in the first Sampras-Agassi USO final that two balls just ticked off the racquet but were treated differently. A Sampras serve that barely grazed Agassi's racquet, and continued right in a straight line, was counted an ace. A Sampras serve that Agassi managed to deflect a few feet off to the side (though the ball still hit the back wall), was counted a service winner.

This actually conforms with my thinking on it. I wasn't going to bring it up before because it's really rare. But you've probably seen it: for example, a passing shot that the net player can barely graze with the edge of his racquet; the ball continues in its course and lands within bounds. Technically that's a deflection off the racquet, but it's hard not to call that a winner -- even if it's not what we sometimes call a "clean winner."

At the baseline, too, you may have seen a ground stroke, or a serve like Pete's in the Agassi final, that is barely grazed but continues on its way.

I think of it this way: the returner has done essentially nothing to the ball in those cases. When the returner can deflect it off course, and it lands out of bounds or in the stands, it's an error; they did something to the ball and put it out of bounds.

What I call grazing happens so rarely, but when I saw it affecting a significant stat like Sampras serves and service winners, well maybe it has some significance.

Yeah, as far as net approaches, in todays stats I think a players has to hit at least one shot around the net for it to count as points won at net.

So if someone approaches the net & their opponent misses the pass completely it doesn't count. But I see nothing wrong with the former method -- if that's what it is -- of including missed passes. There is no question that just being seen at the net applies pressure and induces some errors.

Ditto someone missing an approach, they all just go in the error column. This makes more sense to me. But in the end I'm willing just to agree with you on a consistent method -- provided we get some kind of idea that this method was (or is) widely used in the years we're going to be looking at.

Maybe they have to be in a certain spot on court(like the service line) for a missed approach or missed pass to count as a net pt?On replays I often see net points begin and end with a missed first volley, the player's feet still behind the service line. It would be nice if the lines on the court provided an objective method, but I'm learning how much about our sport requires some subjective judgment.

I will try to re-watch a recent match that I can get 'modern' stats on(website) & try to see how they count net pts.Good, this is something I haven't done. I've been focused almost entirely on winners.

Have you done the Becker-Sampras '96 ATP final? Was just going through the espn broadcast & they had their numbers at net in the 5th set & it was only around 90 pts for both players, so I assume missed approaches, passing shots, etc weren't counted. I also have a winner count for early in the 5th, if you want to compare with your stats.Yes, I'd love to see any mid-match stats that you have. German TV showed set-by-sets stats; it would be good to compare them to each other, and against my own.

And I have no net stats at all for that match.

I've done all but a few games; I'll have my full copy in a few days.

If I start taking this stat maybe I'll do 2 separate stats, one with the traditional net pts won, & the other with approaches etc. I have a feeling some of thiose Edberg matches would see a dramatic difference, he was coming in a ton, but didn't always have to hit a volley. His numbers would be even higher if they counted missed passes.Right, for instance that comparison you did in the Edberg-Chang thread. I also did a comparison once with ESPN's net stats for Safin-Fed and Wilander-Cash (both at the A. Open); I could see that Safin and Fed were coming in less than the 1988 finalists, but those comparisons would have to be thrown out the window if the net points are being counted differently.

which ones?There's no match where I have any conclusive evidence that the statisticians are doing this or that. Just suggestive data here and there. The best evidence I have is in the 1982 USO final. Mid-match, I took down the CBS net stats as they were displayed, and it looked like CBS might not be counting winners/errors on the approach. But they could have been changing the stats as they reviewed them mid-match, who knows.

But in the first 10 games, CBS does look like it's counting approach winners/errors. My numbers – Lendl winning 0 of 2 approaches, Connors 8 of 12 – go up to the CBS counts of 0/4 and 10/17 if approach errors and winners are counted.

For Wilander-Agassi, I have Agassi coming into net 89 times without approach winners/errors. I never went back to add those, but you said that NBC's final count was 110. That sounds about right to me, for Agassi's types of approaches.

So you've got two matches there that could serve as good tests.

what about if someone comes in & gets an unreturned serve? are you counting that as an approach?Yes. I've done it on the principle that a person can be seen coming in behind his serve, so the receiver feels pressure. And sometimes you don't need to see the player actually rush forward; you can expect it if you know the player.

A potential problem is with a big server. I've only taken net stats for people like Connors, Wilander, Orantes, Agassi, Mecir; they don't blow smoke down on you with their serves. But what if a big server comes in behind a serve that would be unreturnable anyway? In short, I'm talking about guys that have lots of service winners. I don't have plans to count net stats for Becker, Sampras, et al, esp. since those stats are often published; but for them I think it would be a problem.

I'd say just don't count their aces and unreturnable serves as net rushes.

And then find out what the statisticians are doing :)

oh, & I thought of another match that probably had a very high ratio of winners(non service) Agassi vs Rafter '95 AO. That may rival the Eltingh match, Agassi was on fire, & his numbers were often higher vs attacking players. Maybe the NY times has info on it.I found a stat that Agassi had only 3 unforced errors. Good match to check for him. The Times has only a few lines on it.

Rafter and Agassi played their SF at W in '01, and NBC referred to "winners" in an interesting way. You would think that by 2001, "winners" was widely understood to include service winners. But Rafter had 30 aces for the whole match, and at 2-all in the third set he had 18 "winners". I marked those down as not including returns (can't remember if that was stated), but either way, that stat cannot include his aces. He'd be left with no other winners.

SI had a stat box for the Sampras-Rafter final. No category for service winners, just aces and winners. Sampras had 27 aces and 40 winners. Is it possible he just had 13 placement winners over four sets? I don't think so.

Swing back to the 1984 final, and you'd expect that service winners were not yet included. Anyway that's what I expected. But I counted the winners earlier this week, and it turns out that NBC's stat for McEnroe -- 35 winners -- includes the 11 aces they gave him. I count 24 other winners for him (placement winners), and 4 of what you and I call "service winners", meaning unreturnable serves other than aces. So it looks exactly as if the aces are being counted in the winner column. Remember I said above, this is the match that conflated aces within the category of service winners, when NBC referred to McEnroe's 11 "service winners/aces" at the end of the match.

Honestly, I'm going to treat all published and TV stats as provisional from now on; I don't know what they include without counting the winners myself.

krosero
12-13-2007, 11:51 AM
Some points of Mecir - Edberg (bad video quality):

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/mecir+edberg/video/x36u2t_edbergmecir-wimbledon-88This is a GREAT clip. Watched it twice. I can see the ball, so I don't care if the rest looks fuzzy.

Fantastic returns, and Edberg's feet really dance at the net.

Moose Malloy
12-13-2007, 04:47 PM
Today I saw in the first Sampras-Agassi USO final that two balls just ticked off the racquet but were treated differently. A Sampras serve that barely grazed Agassi's racquet, and continued right in a straight line, was counted an ace. A Sampras serve that Agassi managed to deflect a few feet off to the side (though the ball still hit the back wall), was counted a service winner.


Very interesting, didn't think about that.

Yes, I'd love to see any mid-match stats that you have. German TV showed set-by-sets stats; it would be good to compare them to each other, and against my own.

as of 1-0 in the 5th, Sampras had 62 winners, Becker had 66(from espn)

also did a comparison once with ESPN's net stats for Safin-Fed and Wilander-Cash (both at the A. Open); I could see that Safin and Fed were coming in less than the 1988 finalists, but those comparisons would have to be thrown out the window if the net points are being counted differently.


well, even taking the fact that nets stats seems to vary in definition, I think there probably a lot more net approaches in the Cash match regardless. so it may not be as off as you think.

Rafter and Agassi played their SF at W in '01, and NBC referred to "winners" in an interesting way. You would think that by 2001, "winners" was widely understood to include service winners. But Rafter had 30 aces for the whole match, and at 2-all in the third set he had 18 "winners". I marked those down as not including returns (can't remember if that was stated), but either way, that stat cannot include his aces. He'd be left with no other winners.


ok, that's really weird.

SI had a stat box for the Sampras-Rafter final. No category for service winners, just aces and winners. Sampras had 27 aces and 40 winners. Is it possible he just had 13 placement winners over four sets? I don't think so.


by placement winner you just mean any winner or volleys? having done the Krajicek-Sampras W match recently, I can say that winners or volley counts were kinda low, so it is possible that is correct. And Rafter wasn't as good a returner as Krajicek, so Sampras probably didn't have to hit many volleys. but maybe SI isn't including aces in their winner count.

From what I remember in the past, you said you really didn't follow tennis closely in the 90s, correct? I think you may be a little shocked at how few(non service winners) were hit in the average Sampras match on grass.

just came across this stat box for the '98 W final, it really is starting to confuse me the definition of 'net points' no way did these guys actually hit that many volleys. so maybe 'forward movement' is enough to count as a net pt. 71 service winners sounds plausible though.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/1998/wimbledon/news/1998/07/05/match_summary/

anyway SI may be suspect, I just want to see a match from the US Open website or something to compare.

just wondering, do you have any plans to do any womens matches?

krosero
12-13-2007, 07:00 PM
ok, that's really weird.Here’s another instance like that one. The NY Times reported that Sampras had 72 “placement winners” when he beat Wilander at the USO in 1989. I don’t own that match, but in the highlight film on YouTube, Carillo said Sampras had 62 winners as of 3-2 in the fifth.

Wilander had 39 placement winners for the match, and 30 “winners” as of 3-2.

They each had several more winners after 3-2, which would put their numbers very close to what the Times gave them for the whole match.

Sampras had 12 aces for the whole match. I don’t think that the Times was including these, because if you recall those stats boxes in the Times on the 1988 semis, they had separate categories: “service winners” and “placement winners”.

I haven’t been able to confirm it, but that’s what I think placement winners are: non-service winners. I think that the term was often shortened to “winners.” You and I, and many others, somehow think of winners as non-service winners, and we did not make up that idea ourselves; it must have been around before us.

Urban and I have both seen the term "placement" used by Danzig.

Anyway, if I’m right, then Carillo and CBS are using the same shorthand, in 1989: “winners” meaning non-service winners. That's five years after NBC, at Wimbledon, used “winners” to mean everything, service included.

It’s very variable language.

From what I remember in the past, you said you really didn't follow tennis closely in the 90s, correct? I think you may be a little shocked at how few(non service winners) were hit in the average Sampras match on grass.That’s right. I did see Sampras defeating Agassi, Courier, Ivanisevic and Becker, in his first three Wimbledons. After 1996 I can’t remember seeing anything but U.S. Open matches. But anyway, I already got the impression from those Sampras matches, of low winner counts. To me it was not enjoyable tennis.

just came across this stat box for the '98 W final, it really is starting to confuse me the definition of 'net points' no way did these guys actually hit that many volleys. so maybe 'forward movement' is enough to count as a net pt. A lot of this is confusing. The only sure way I know is to count all the points myself and compare.

71 service winners sounds plausible though.But now, I have to stop you here. This is wildly different from any service winner stats I’ve seen in the 80s. Usually the service winners are comparable to the aces, eg., 10 aces, 12 service winners. But 12 aces and 71 service winners for Sampras? With Goran at 32 and 83?

You know what this looks like to me? It looks like a count of all the return errors.

If you add SI’s service winners to the aces, then Sampras won 83 points with his serve alone. Ivanisevic won 115 with that one stroke. Using the ATP stats for total service points won, that leaves 40 points for Sampras to win with other strokes, and 34 for Ivanisevic. It was a long match, and each player had about 25 service games in which to do so.

What do you think, does it look to you like “service winners” in this case refers to all return errors?

And if it does, then “service winner” has no consistent meaning at all. I did not know that’s what it meant; I thought it referred to an unreturnable serve, and that it was a judgment call; we’ve already discussed how to judge something like that.

Let me just ask, what do you think is the point of the category, service winner? What’s it supposed to record?

just wondering, do you have any plans to do any womens matches?The thought has crossed my mind. But it is a very, very distant thought.

krosero
12-13-2007, 07:03 PM
I was wondering Moose, if you had copies of McEnroe's matches against Connors at 84W and Nystrom at 85 USO? I'm missing a game from the first and two from the other. I'm hoping to do a full presentation at least on the W match.

Moose Malloy
12-14-2007, 10:52 AM
I was wondering Moose, if you had copies of McEnroe's matches against Connors at 84W and Nystrom at 85 USO? I'm missing a game from the first and two from the other.

I assume I got the Nystrom match from the same place you did. If so I guess I'm missing the same games.

I have a copy of the '84 W, which game are you missing?

But now, I have to stop you here. This is wildly different from any service winner stats Iíve seen in the 80s. Usually the service winners are comparable to the aces, eg., 10 aces, 12 service winners. But 12 aces and 71 service winners for Sampras? With Goran at 32 and 83?

You know what this looks like to me? It looks like a count of all the return errors.


You're probably right. I was thinking 'service winners' in this case included aces, but that would mean Goran had 32 aces & 51 other service winners, for a total of 83. Maybe too high, but these guys(on grass) were serving at another level than most 80s players. Will have to see what NBC's graphic says(I have a partial recording of that match)

For my future stats, I will record unreturned serves.

krosero
12-14-2007, 11:37 AM
I assume I got the Nystrom match from the same place you did. If so I guess I'm missing the same games.

I have a copy of the '84 W, which game are you missing?Got Nystrom from Rick; missing the first two games. I'm missing the first game of the third set in Mac-Connors.

Will have to see what NBC's graphic says(I have a partial recording of that match)That's great, I'd like to know if NBC's stats are different from SI.

For my future stats, I will record unreturned serves.That's a lot of work, I don't know how you've managed to count service stats along with winners. I can't do winners and net stats in one watching, and I haven't done any service counts other than aces and doubles.

just one question, though, are you going to record unreturned serves as service winners, or keeping a separate category for the latter?

I'll count service winners, but the only point in doing so, for me, would be because it's being done today and thrown into the total winner counts; but I'm not clear on what they're counting today as a service winner.

Moose Malloy
12-14-2007, 02:01 PM
I'm missing the first game of the third set in Mac-Connors.
\

will look to see if I have that.

That's a lot of work, I don't know how you've managed to count service stats along with winners. I can't do winners and net stats in one watching, and I haven't done any service counts other than aces and doubles.


Serve &'s aren't that hard. I just divide a blank piece of paper(for each set) into different sections & make a check every time someone hits a 1st serve, 2nd serve, winner, etc. Then just add them all up. Haven't attempted net stats yet, so that may make things more complicated.

just one question, though, are you going to record unreturned serves as service winners, or keeping a separate category for the latter?

I'll count service winners, but the only point in doing so, for me, would be because it's being done today and thrown into the total winner counts; but I'm not clear on what they're counting today as a service winner.

I think I'm going to pass on trying to count service winners since there is no clear definition on them. Unreturned serves won't be hard to count, and could be a very telling stat. Probably one that should be mentioned more today. Maybe I'll separate it into unreturned 1st's & 2nd's as well.

krosero
12-14-2007, 03:09 PM
will look to see if I have that.Just looking for winners (divided into the five strokes), aces, and doubles. Returns, lobs, and other passes. No net stats. That will usually be the case if I ask you to check something.

Serve &'s aren't that hard. I just divide a blank piece of paper(for each set) into different sections & make a check every time someone hits a 1st serve, 2nd serve, winner, etc. Then just add them all up. Haven't attempted net stats yet, so that may make things more complicated.That may be a good method to try. For net stats, I just mark down W or L. I use SVW and SVL for serve-and-volley.

For Mecir-Wilander I added extra marks just in case they're needed: APW for approach winners, APL for approach error; A and SW for approaches behind aces and service winners.

I think I'm going to pass on trying to count service winners since there is no clear definition on them. Unreturned serves won't be hard to count, and could be a very telling stat. Probably one that should be mentioned more today. I agree with that, I'd prefer to see a total count of return errors rather than a category of service winners for which I don't know how the statistician counted.

Moose Malloy
12-16-2007, 11:27 AM
Just looking for winners (divided into the five strokes), aces, and doubles. Returns, lobs, and other passes. No net stats. That will usually be the case if I ask you to check something.


Mac had one ace & one forehand winner(an easy putaway at net) in the 1st game of the 3rd set.

This may be a stupid question, but would you count that in net stats? when a player hits a great serve & gets any easy putaway(a groundstroke around the net)?

would you put that in the S&V column? or approach winner?

krosero
12-16-2007, 11:45 AM
This may be a stupid question, but would you count that in net stats? when a player hits a great serve & gets any easy putaway(a groundstroke around the net)?

would you put that in the S&V column? or approach winner?I've asked myself the same thing.

Because the serve is the approach, I would not count the FH as an approach winner.

A different case is where someone gets drawn into the net (on purpose or otherwise), running down a short ball. Strange as it is, they are at net, playing a net point (as far as I'm concerned), but without a real approach. Technically, the approach would have to be their previous stroke (before the opponent's drop shot), even though it was not intended as an approach.

I'm keeping a running count of both players in all my matches; low winner counts are interesting just like high ones. Connors won a point in that missing game, if I'm right; was it a winner?

Moose Malloy
12-16-2007, 12:21 PM
Connors won a point in that missing game, if I'm right; was it a winner?

He didn't, Mac held at love.

krosero
12-16-2007, 12:52 PM
He didn't, Mac held at love.Okay, thank you.

ohlori
12-18-2007, 09:55 AM
This is a GREAT clip. Watched it twice. I can see the ball, so I don't care if the rest looks fuzzy.

Fantastic returns, and Edberg's feet really dance at the net.

You can see the ball very well, that's true.
Edberg really seemed in his physical prime, I believe he arched his back a bit less later in his career.
You have to adapt a bit to the shorter points, but i personally have no problems with that after watching it 2 or 3 times.
Mecir returned very well for that time, also some good lobs from (e.g. last point of the match) him and that footwork.

andreh
12-19-2007, 12:28 AM
Don't know if anyone mentioned this, but, speaking of Edberg and Mecir, they also played another 5-set match (beside the W and Davis Cup) in the Olympics of 88. That time Mecir won. He went on to win the Gold medal.

krosero
01-04-2008, 11:49 AM
Lendl d. Mecir 6-4, 6-2, 6-0

This is all by my count (unless otherwise noted).


Lendl served at 68% (42 of 62 first serves).
Mecir served at 61% (60 of 98 first serves).


Lendl had 10 aces, no service winners, 0 double-faults.
Mecir had 1 ace, no service winners, 2 double-faults.


Lendl made 18 clean winners: 8 FH, 9 BH, 1 BHV.

Mecir made 13 clean winners: 4 FH, 2 BH, 6 FHV, 1 BHV.


Lendl hit half of his winners from his backhand. He passed Mecir 7 times off that side, and 12 times in all.

Mecir made two passing shots.

Lendl won 13 of 21 approaches (or 62%).

Mecir won 21 of 40 approaches (or 53%): 14 of 22 in the first set, 5 of 13 in the second, 2 of 5 in the third. Clearly he should have kept coming in as he did in the first set. He won 3 of 3 approaches in the opening game of the second set and held nicely. But he got passed twice in his next service game, when he got broken, and never showed the same aggressiveness afterwards.

In fact, after holding to 2-3 in the second set, Mecir didn’t win another game.


Lendl’s non-service winners by set: 7, 7, 4

Mecir’s non-service winners by set: 8, 4, 1


Mecir made more unforced errors as the match progressed. Per CBS, he led Lendl in errors by 16 to 11 near the end of the first set. Near the end of the match, the lead had stretched to 41 to 21.

Lendl won 7 of 13 break points. Mecir won the only break point he earned, in Lendl’s first service game.


I have always remembered reading in Tennis Magazine that Lendl took control in this match by hitting short crosscourt shots. But that did not happen at all. In fact Lendl tried a sharp crosscourt angle off his backhand in the middle of the first set and got burned, because Mecir was characteristically able to reply with an even better angle. Lendl won the match by stepping up the pace and was hitting very hard in the second and third sets.

Trabert related Lendl’s judgment on why Mecir was beating the Swedes: he had said that they hit to him with too much topspin, and that the way to beat Mecir was to keep the ball low. That is certainly a good idea against someone who can tee off on high-bouncing balls, and Lendl did keep the ball low to a great degree, with his slice but even more so with hard-hit balls off both wings.

After Mecir got broken at 1-all in the second, he started rallying from behind the baseline, and Lendl started dictating the points. Mecir had been doing well when he was taking the ball early.

Later Mecir tried to slow down the pace even further, with a few moonballs. He was trying a lot of things the further he got down, but each time he changed his game he got farther away from the hard pace that was his best chance; he just got more tentative.

The match was close through the middle of the second set, and I found it very interesting even though the score suggests nothing more than a blowout.

krosero
01-04-2008, 11:54 AM
So it turns out that what I had remembered Mecir doing against Becker, he actually did in the final against Lendl.

With Lendl serving at 4-3, 40-love, Mecir stepped up to receive serve -- halfway between the baseline and the service line as it looks to me on the TV screen. He won that point and nearly got a clean return winner that way on the next; both times he was returning a first serve.

Mecir was down a break, and Lendl was starting to serve a slew of aces. Mecir was clearly just trying something to halt Lendl's progress.

His reach and reaction time are impressive.

krosero
05-14-2009, 06:29 AM
Lendl-Mecir, Los Angeles Times:

He got in 67% of his first serves Sunday with no double faults, lost only one of his service games and made 22 unforced errors to Mecir's 42.

Those ue's look very similar to the numbers by CBS (Lendl 21, Mecir 41, as of 4-love in the third).

And some tournament-wide stats in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Stefan Edberg has played 1,095 points and 174 games through the U.S. Open quarterfinals, compared to just 630 points for top-seeded Ivan Lendl and 930 for No. 3 seed Boris Becker. Becker has served the most aces, 56 among 427 points served, for 13.1 percent....

Although Jimmy Connors went out in the third round, he’s still the leader in unforced errors with 111. Edberg has 104, Becker 75 and Lendl 58.

pc1
05-14-2009, 06:43 AM
Krosero,

Would you ever consider putting the 1986 U.S. Open Becker-Mecir match up on Youtube? It was a fabulous match. I was actually there for the beginning of the match but we had to leave early for various reasons. I didn't realize at the time how much I would grow to enjoy Mecir's style or else I would have fought to stay.

I caught the last set on television and couldn't believe the shots Mecir made.

krosero
12-15-2011, 07:26 PM
Additional stats for 1986 USO final

Lendl d. Mecir 6-4, 6-2, 6-0

They played 160 points (four more than in their AO final (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=393141)). Lendl won 60% of the points, with a 96-64 edge.


Lendl won 34 of 42 points on 1st serve (81%) and 12 of 20 points on 2nd serve (60%).

Mecir won 31 of 60 points on 1st serve (52%) and 17 of 38 points on 2nd serve (45%).


Success on serves in rallies of at least two good shots (the serve being counted as the first shot):

Lendl 70% on first serve (19/27) and 47% on second (7/15).
Mecir 40.8% on first serve (20/49) and 40.6% on second (13/32).

So the only serve that remained an advantage when it was returned was Lendl's first serve.



Lendl made his first serve on the only break point that he faced (he lost the point).

Mecir made his first serve on 9 of 13 break points.

At one point in the second set Mecir missed 7 straight first serves, and 12 of 13. There was one complete game in that stretch and strangely it was a service hold.


Lendl drew 10 return errors (4 FH), half of them with first serves.

Mecir drew 14 return errors (9 FH), ten of them with first serves.


Lendl made 21 unforced errors apart from df's: 10 FH, 11 BH, no volleys or overheads.

Mecir made 41 unforced errors apart from df's: 22 FH, 18 BH, 1 FHV. His forehand just fell apart from the second set onwards.

4 of Lendl’s UE's were returns (all were FH’s).
4 of Mecir’s UE's were returns (2 FH, 2 BH).

BTURNER
12-15-2011, 08:47 PM
Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little ****ed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.

I saw this match, it was not disrespectful of anything but Mac's serve though John clearly thought so. the obvious effort at disdain and arrogance did not work. I give Annacone credit for mixing up a surely loosing situation. It was not like he was going to win using his more traditional return game either. He did not have the passing shots to break Mac, but in those days, Connors, Lendl, and Wilander rarely did either. The tactic made my jaw drop too!