View Full Version : AO Tennis Channel replays
01-01-2008, 10:29 AM
I've been watching some of the Aussie Open replays on Tennis Channel and they've got Lendl-Becker from 1991 Finals playing right now.
Man, those guys played great! Serves were powerful and precise, their backhands were incredible. A good display of shotmaking all around.
If you get the chance, check it out... I'm sure it'll be replayed again.
01-01-2008, 12:56 PM
I was blown away by Sampras's serve in his 2000 (?) AO match against Andre. It was just unreal the way he could put it in either corner. I have never seen so many 2nd serve aces. Andre was guessing a lot, but he had to the way Pete hit his spots. The Becker-Lendl match was also great. Both guys could crush the ball, and they were both going for the lines. A different style from what you see today. Maybe the slow courts have made this style less effective? It seemed like Lendl was a lot more aggressive than in the old FO matches I've seen.
01-01-2008, 01:25 PM
I am really enjoying when the Tennis Channel shows these Classic Matches.
I just hope one day more of these types of Matches will be available to Buy on DVD.
Lendl = Marat Safin with patience and the rugged precision of a Swiss RAMBO knife day in and day out. Straight-up, the guy was a cold-blooded killer, a government assassin, a hitman of the highest order...he was also Snoop Dog's "dawg," who once said of him, "[I like Serena and Venus]...but Lendl was the TRUTH." Ha-ha, truer words have never been said. I loved watching Lendl play. Of that golden era, he's surprisingly by far my favorite.
The clay court equivalent of Lendl is Muster, both guys had that snarly intensity about them at their peak and looked like they always wanted something to get angry at to motivate them even more (if that was even possible).
On a more serious note, in terms of actual style of play, Safin really is the closest thing we have to Lendl today. In other words, heavy, piercing, blows dished out with methodical precision. The key to the effectiveness of their strokes when on, is that they hit it not just with pace, but above all else, DEEP, making it very difficult to get off your own attack and making you feel like you were consistently on the heels of your feet.
I also don't think that Lendl's painfully constipated SMALL head was actually that much of a disadvantage to his style of play. It I think was actually rather the perfect complement and tool he needed to unleash his fury. The guy rarely ever mishit even with such a tiny racket head, because the guy's strokes were so measured and simple. Extremely simple take-backs off both wings, he put his racket head on the take back at the same level of the ball's trajectory more or less, and swung straight through. It was almost like his groundstrokes were modified punching volleys from the baseline as a result, hence, small head? No problem, he like Safin wasn't/isn't a racket whipper. They use their rackets instead like mallets to deliver CLUBBING blows.
I bet you 10 silver coins that Lendl is excellent at cracking open crabs at the local Connecticut crab shack.
A heavily weighted, small headed frame, from a guy with supreme FUNCTIONAL strength like a GSP (rather than Moya, I'm buff and have biff-big-bulging muscles, strength)? That is PRECISELY the tool Lendl NEEDED (just as much as say Nadal or Moya's Babolat wonder wands...which in Lendl's hands would have resulted in flyers to the moon) to put together such an overwhelming career...just ask Gilbert, who even in spite of having coached Agassi, wrote of Lendl that no one has ever pounded the ball like Lendl. To clarify more deeply, I think what he meant no one pounded the ball to the edge of the line as consistently and with as much PRECISION as Ivan Lendl.
01-01-2008, 04:55 PM
Maybe I'm seeing things, but something about Lendl's forehand reminds me of Graf's. Is it the grip or maybe the motion? Interesting how the game evolved. Did youth coaches across the world suddenly stop teaching the flat forehand in the late 80s? Was it a change in court speed? Racquet head size and technology?
01-01-2008, 06:48 PM
It always made me squirm when Lendl stuck his hand in his pocket which was filled with sawdust. :oops:
01-02-2008, 12:34 PM
It seemed like Lendl was a lot more aggressive than in the old FO matches I've seen.
Playing Wilander on clay & Becker on hardcourt is almost like 2 different sports. In general clay/grass/hardcourt tennis was very different in the 80s/90s, while today players play prettty similarly on all 3.
No one was really that agressive on clay in the 80s. It was mostly a war of attrition. 4 hr matches were the norm. Amazing that Lendl could play that defensive style so well on clay & later in the year be very agressive on hardcourts & carpet. He was the best all surface player pre Fed/post Borg.
The guy rarely ever mishit even with such a tiny racket head, because the guy's strokes were so measured and simple
Yeah, its funny that Lendl was called untalented by the media of the 80s, by todays standards he is supertalented. I imagine someone like Safin would have been considered untalented by 80s standards. Mac really put a spell on people, if you didn't hit crazy drop volleys regularly in the 80s, you were 'untalented' I guess. Everyone today would be untalented by those standards. It took awhile for baseline tennis to be respected by the tennis media. Even Connors was called 'untalented' even though he was able to return amazingly with a tiny racquet in a fast court era.
Interesting how the game evolved. Did youth coaches across the world suddenly stop teaching the flat forehand in the late 80s?
IMO, Nick Bolliterri is more responsible for changing the game over the last 20 years than any change in racquet technology or surfaces. Coaches just followed his lead in creating their own factories. Junior results started becoming very important in the 80s(agents were lurking) while in the past it was just a way to develop your game prior to the pros. No junior wanted to try something different, too much was at stake.
Don't forget Sampras was discouraged by many coaches in the 80s for dropping the 2 handed backhand, & for working on a more allcourt game(he was a grinder in the juniors) And his junior results declined when he made this change.
So yes, I imagine anyone trying to hit a flat forehand in the late 80s was discouraged to do so by their coach.
01-02-2008, 12:47 PM
Lendl was a machine. It's like a robot programmed to play tennis against humans.
01-02-2008, 01:51 PM
Of course, Becker beat Lendl in that AO Final from1991 in 4 sets. 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
I was equally amazed at how well Becker spanked the ball and at least TRIED to play an all-court game, while Lendl hammered away at the baseline. Man, that racquet was SMALL.
Anyone know what Lendl used back then (and the headsize)? I thought it was an Adidas racquet, but I could be way off.
01-02-2008, 02:11 PM
Adidas early ,and Mizuno later.
01-04-2008, 09:28 AM
tym check out this clip:
Bruguera was already one of the best claycourters in the world & Lendl was 32, kinda a surprising scoreline, no?
Interesting that 2 of the points in the clip ended at net.
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