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View Full Version : Who is the greater grass-courter, Becker or McEnroe?


noeledmonds
01-18-2008, 06:38 AM
Which of these players is the greater grass-court player?

I consider both Becker and McEnroe to be underachievers at Wimbledon despite the fact that they both won 3 singles titles.

Becker won 2 Wimbledon titles while still a teenager but only won 1 more title in his entire career. However Becker reached as many Wimbledon finals as Sampras (7 in all). On his day he was almost unbeatable as he showed with imressive victories over players such as Edberg and Lendl.

McEnroe famously defeated Borg in the 1981 Wimbledon final. McEnroe's di-sections of Lendl and Connors in adjacent rounds to win the 1984 Wimbledon title are considered to be some of the finest grass court displays of the open-era. However McEnroe never won a Wimbledon title after 1984.

At their respective peaks McEnroe and Becker were some of the best grass-courters of the open-era. In my opnion clearly behind Sampras, Laver and Federer but arguably on the same level as any other open-era grasscourter. Note that I consider Borg's peak performance to be on a similar level to that of McEnroe's and Becker's despite that fact that Borg obviously played more consistantly near his peak.

oberyn
01-18-2008, 07:31 AM
I'd go with McEnroe.

He appeared in 5 consecutive Wimbledon Finals 1980-1984.

The only two he lost were in 5-setters to Borg (1980) and Connors (1982).

I think that McEnroe's peak was better than Becker's. I think that McEnroe defeated and lost to better players in his 5 Wimbledon finals appearances than Becker did in his 7.

In comparing the peak years at Wimbledon for both I consider Mac's peak years (obviously) to be 1980-85 and Becker's peak years to be 1985-1991.

I'd put McEnroe's 5 finals appearances (out of 6 tournaments and 5 straight from 1980-84) and 3 victories ahead of Becker's 6 finals appearances (out of 7 tournaments and four straight from 1988-91) and 3 victories from 1985-91.

I guess, for me, what puts Mac over the top is that he came up a bit bigger during this period than Becker did. He lost to Borg in a match for the ages in 1980 and lost another tough one to Connors.

Becker lost three out of four between 1988 and 1991, losing to Edberg twice and Stich once. Becker was the favorite in all four matches, yet only came away with one victory.

Andres
01-18-2008, 08:34 AM
Becker's grass record is 116-25 (82.2%)
McEnroe's grass record is 119-20 (85.6%)

So, let's check the grass titles, Becker with 7, McEnroe with 8.

Only by a hair, I'll give the edge to JMac.

Azzurri
01-18-2008, 08:40 AM
Good question OP...this is a tough one to answer.

If I had to choose between Beck and Mac I would have to go Becker. But only slightly and here is why:

While Mac lost twice to 2 legends, I believe Becker had the better competition with regards to grass-court specialists. He lost to Edberg and Sampras 3 times (of his 4 losses). While I believe Borg is a greater player than Edberg, I think Edberg was a better grass-court player (in temrs of Becker's main advisary).

They never faced each other on grass, but plenty of times on carpet. Boris beat Mac 6 out 0f 7. If you are to believe carpet is as fast as grass was back then. I just think Becker would have beaten Mac on grass. Beckers' serve and return was a great asset to have on grass during those days. While Mac had a great serve, he would not have been able to do much w/Becker's serve. I believe the match would have been tight, but Becker would have probably won.

By the way, Mac is my childhood tennis idol, so my decision is not at all biased.

Azzurri
01-18-2008, 08:48 AM
Becker's grass record is 116-25 (82.2%)
McEnroe's grass record is 119-20 (85.6%)

So, let's check the grass titles, Becker with 7, McEnroe with 8.

Only by a hair, I'll give the edge to JMac.

These stats really make it a difficult decision. I really never gave it a tought on who was better, Mac or Becker on grass. They are so close. Besides Federer (who is playing on today's grass surface speed) I think Mac, Becker, Sampras and Edberg are the best grass court players since 1980 (I can't go any earlier because I did not watch tennis prior to 1980).

I just look at one major factor for Becker..Edberg. Becker had perhaps the greatest S&V player ever to contend with, but stats don't lie and Mac ddid have a better record.

Steve132
01-18-2008, 09:03 AM
McEnroe for me, largely because his best (as in the 1984 Wimbledon final) was better than Becker's best. This is not an easy decision, however.

astra
01-18-2008, 09:16 AM
Becker's grass record is 116-25 (82.2%)
McEnroe's grass record is 119-20 (85.6%)

So, let's check the grass titles, Becker with 7, McEnroe with 8.

Only by a hair, I'll give the edge to JMac.

These figures are pretty even, but I also incline to vote for McEnroe.

snapple
01-18-2008, 09:55 AM
It's a pity they never faced each other at Wimby. But as far as Becker's head to head edge over Mac, these matches all occured AFTER Mac's 6 month sabbatical from tennis after which he was never quite the same player. The best time for them to have met would have been at Wimby "85 but Mac had the misfortune of running into a Kevin Curren who was serving out of his freakin mind that day.

Personally, I think the Mac who dismantled Connors the prior year was as close to perfect grass court tennis that's ever been played. But then again Jimbo's serve can't be mentioned in the same breath as Boom Booms so it might have been a different ball game.

noeledmonds
01-18-2008, 10:20 AM
Becker's grass record is 116-25 (82.2%)
McEnroe's grass record is 119-20 (85.6%)

So, let's check the grass titles, Becker with 7, McEnroe with 8.

Only by a hair, I'll give the edge to JMac.

These percentages seem to be neglidgeably similar to me particularly when you also consider that Becker had the edge when you look at their percentages at Wimbledon.


McEnroe at Wimbledon 58-11 (84.1%)
Becker at Wimbeldon 71-12 (85.5%)

Also consider that both McEnroe and Becker won 4 Queens titles each. The only other title McEnroe has was at Brisbane. This was a relatively insignificant grass court event.

Azzurri
01-18-2008, 10:23 AM
It's a pity they never faced each other at Wimby. But as far as Becker's head to head edge over Mac, these matches all occured AFTER Mac's 6 month sabbatical from tennis after which he was never quite the same player. The best time for them to have met would have been at Wimby "85 but Mac had the misfortune of running into a Kevin Curren who was serving out of his freakin mind that day.

Personally, I think the Mac who dismantled Connors the prior year was as close to perfect grass court tennis that's ever been played. But then again Jimbo's serve can't be mentioned in the same breath as Boom Booms so it might have been a different ball game.

I agree. I remember Curran was on fire and I was in shock.

CyBorg
01-18-2008, 11:26 AM
McEnroe was more dominant. As good as Becker was he never steamrolled guys like Mac.

In '89 Becker should have lost to Lendl.

urban
01-18-2008, 10:52 PM
Very tough. Interesting, that their peak years at Wimbledon were only 2 years apart, 1984 and 86. And yet, while Mac represented the old era of smart grass play with dinks and slice, Boris heralded the new power era with the big sticks and bombing serves. Both dealed with Lendl on grass, with Borg, Mac had the better player as opponent, Becker with Edberg maybe the better grass courter. All on all, maybe slight edge for Mac, due to mythical reasons and his famous rivalry with Borg. But as Noeledmonds said, both are underachievers on grass, with their grass court skills, they must have at least five Wim titles.

Warriorroger
01-19-2008, 02:37 AM
Boris had a better serve, and better groundstrokes, more power. I give Becker the edge.

BeHappy
01-19-2008, 06:22 AM
borg was 20 times the player mcenroe was, results don't equal proficency, although results-wise becker was better too.

noeledmonds
01-19-2008, 07:05 AM
McEnroe was more dominant. As good as Becker was he never steamrolled guys like Mac.

In '89 Becker should have lost to Lendl.

Becker had some very dominant performances at Wimbledon such as his 1986 final against Lendl. Becker only dropped 3 sets in the championship that year. Becker also beat Edberg very convingly in the 1989 final (despite losing to him in 2 other finals).

It is worth remembering that even at his prime McEnroe never faced anyone with a similar style to Becker. McEnroe's steamrolling at Wimbledon were of players such as Lendl and Connors (and he beat Borg of course). These were great players but they were baseliners and returners and not the style Becker played at all. Becker's physical and powerful Serve and Volley game would have been something very different for McEnroe to face and judging by McEnroe's poor record against Becker perhaps he would have struggled. Becker faced Edberg several times at Wimbledon who had similarities to McEnroe in his elegant Serve and Volley game play. At his best Becker could handle Edberg but due to mental inconsistanties he could not always bring his best performances out for the big matches.

hoodjem
01-19-2008, 07:29 AM
Good topic. Close call.

I give the edge on grass to Becker, and on hard court to McEnroe.

CyBorg
01-19-2008, 12:25 PM
Becker had some very dominant performances at Wimbledon such as his 1986 final against Lendl. Becker only dropped 3 sets in the championship that year. Becker also beat Edberg very convingly in the 1989 final (despite losing to him in 2 other finals).

Becker barely scrapped by Lendl in 1989. '86 was probably his most convincing result, but he wasn't dominant as Mac was in 83 and 84.

It is worth remembering that even at his prime McEnroe never faced anyone with a similar style to Becker. McEnroe's steamrolling at Wimbledon were of players such as Lendl and Connors (and he beat Borg of course). These were great players but they were baseliners and returners and not the style Becker played at all. Becker's physical and powerful Serve and Volley game would have been something very different for McEnroe to face and judging by McEnroe's poor record against Becker perhaps he would have struggled.

This is silly. Tennis was different when McEnroe dominated. You can't fault him for this. I don't fault Becker for not having played someone like Roscoe Tanner.

CEvertFan
01-19-2008, 12:35 PM
I picked McEnroe. He was more dominant on grass against a tough field. Becker was also a great grass court player but not quite as good as Mac.

Mike Bulgakov
01-19-2008, 10:08 PM
McEnroe in 1984 would have outplayed the 1985 Becker.

grizzly4life
01-19-2008, 10:29 PM
i'm thinking becker is more of the underachiever at wimbledon. shouldn't he have just kept winning it after he won it so young.... i read his book. seems like a troubled (yet successful) guy. doesn't seem to love tennis.

ericsson
01-20-2008, 12:20 AM
Boris had a better serve, and better groundstrokes, more power. I give Becker the edge.

Agree here, if boris was on fire, he was nearly unbeatable, a shame the guy had personal problems.

nextfederer
01-20-2008, 02:00 AM
one word becker!

urban
01-20-2008, 02:16 AM
Mac and Boris did play some important matches against each other since 1985. Firstly, Mac had a slight edge because of his experience, but since 1986, when Mac had had his hiatus and had lost the sting on his serve, Becker usually won, due to more weight on his serve and groundshots. The 6 hour long Davis Cup match in 1987, which Becker won after 1-2 Mac lead, became famous. I remember a good match at the Bercy open around 1987/88. Mac found his old magic for a while and won the second set, playing with Becker's power. But over the course of a whole match, he couldn't cope with the superior power. Again, some years later, when Becker wasn't at his physical peak anymore, the older Mac beat him at the AO. Now, at seniors, Mac beats Becker frequently. His technical skills are not so much depending on the level of physical fitness and power.

hoodjem
01-20-2008, 06:56 AM
Good points. It is curious that in later age the finesse Mac can beat a once but no longer power player like Becker.

To me that proves that touch and all-court expertise beats power.

Warriorroger
01-20-2008, 09:08 AM
Good points. It is curious that in later age the finesse Mac can beat a once but no longer power player like Becker.

To me that proves that touch and all-court expertise beats power.


It proves that Boris rarely plays tennis any longer, and McEnroe does nothing but play, for whatever reason. Saw him in the Netherlands, hasn't changed a bit.

35ft6
01-20-2008, 10:28 AM
However Becker reached as many Wimbledon finals as Sampras (7 in all). On his day he was almost unbeatable as he showed with imressive victories over players such as Edberg and Lendl.This is an interesting way of putting it, like begging the question. Becker was almost unbeatable when he was playing a match he was going to win. He lost more Wimbledon finals than he won, not sure how that statistic justifies the almost unbeatable comment.

noeledmonds
01-20-2008, 12:46 PM
Good points. It is curious that in later age the finesse Mac can beat a once but no longer power player like Becker.

To me that proves that touch and all-court expertise beats power.

McEnroe is much more practised than Becker these days. Also power play is dependent upon good physical condition while raw tecnique and "feel" is unlikely to be lost so easily. Players who play a less physically demending game will always perform better in relative old-age. Just look at Santoro breaking the grand slam appearance record. Rosewall was another classic example of player able to play into his older years due to his less physically demanding game style.

This is an interesting way of putting it, like begging the question. Becker was almost unbeatable when he was playing a match he was going to win. He lost more Wimbledon finals than he won, not sure how that statistic justifies the almost unbeatable comment.

Becker was almost unbeatable on grass when he was at his best. I don't see what you mean when you say "Becker was almost unbeatable when he was playing a match he was going to win". This suggests some kind of pre-determination of victory. Noone is destined to win a given match and noone has won a match until the final point is completed.

Becker's final record does not disprove my commment. This record merely reflects Becker's mental inconsitancies and weaknesses. 2 final losses were to Edberg. When Becker was playing at this best in the 1989 final he beat Edberg in straight sets. Edberg was in good form himself having beaten McEnroe in straight sets in the previous round. The fact that Becker failed to put in good performances in the 1988 and 1990 finals does not disprove that at his peak he was almost unbeatable. The 1991 final is another case of Becker failing to play his best tennis. In the 1995 final Becker faced Sampras, who is one of the few oponents who probabely could beat Becker, even at Becker's best.

CityHeightsTennis
01-20-2008, 12:47 PM
mcenroe all the way

andreh
01-21-2008, 03:23 AM
Becker's final record does not disprove my commment. This record merely reflects Becker's mental inconsitancies and weaknesses. 2 final losses were to Edberg. When Becker was playing at this best in the 1989 final he beat Edberg in straight sets. Edberg was in good form himself having beaten McEnroe in straight sets in the previous round. The fact that Becker failed to put in good performances in the 1988 and 1990 finals does not disprove that at his peak he was almost unbeatable. The 1991 final is another case of Becker failing to play his best tennis. In the 1995 final Becker faced Sampras, who is one of the few oponents who probabely could beat Becker, even at Becker's best.

Although, anyone who has seen the 89 final can't really claim that Edberg played his best tennis. In fact, that was probably his worst performance in a GS final. Horrible unforced errors on the volley throughout the match. He never played that way since, or before.

Q&M son
04-22-2008, 09:20 AM
Big Mac is my choice.

thalivest
04-22-2008, 09:47 AM
Although, anyone who has seen the 89 final can't really claim that Edberg played his best tennis. In fact, that was probably his worst performance in a GS final. Horrible unforced errors on the volley throughout the match. He never played that way since, or before.

I agree. The 1989 Wimbledon final was a very good Becker and a very bad Edberg. The 1990 finals neither played even close to their very best, although both played pretty well, and Edberg won.

McEnroe at his best, like the 1984 Wimbledon final, was still more outstanding then Becker on the grass IMO. I voted McEnroe.

thalivest
04-22-2008, 09:49 AM
In the 1995 final Becker faced Sampras, who is one of the few oponents who probabely could beat Becker, even at Becker's best.

He was clearly past his prime anyway by that point, probably by several years atleast. Beating Agassi in the semis was even considered a miracle win at the time which most people were shocked by. Although that being said, even in Becker's prime Sampras would be very tough opposition for Becker to beat.

msunderland71
04-29-2008, 12:30 AM
Becker because he made more final appearances at Wimbledon. I give him credit for that.
I wonder if the same posters who thought less of Lendl for being 8-11 in grand slam finals would do the same for Becker at Wimbledon? (3-4 in finals compared to 3-2 for McEnroe)

Preacher
07-09-2008, 06:02 PM
I think if they both play to their best with the most advantageous equipment for them both, they play a 5 set match that goes on for 6 hours.

And we are all the better for it. :lol:

hoodjem
07-09-2008, 06:10 PM
Mac used to complain that Becker never respected him. Mac did not play Becker's type of power game.

Mac played a touch. placement, and finesse game. Becker went for winners all the time.

navratilovafan
07-09-2008, 06:35 PM
Definitely McEnroe. 1 more slam title is a big deal when you have so many of the secondary greats in history in that 6-8 slam wins group. Becker never ended a year ranked #1. Becker only once won 2 slams in the same year, while McEnroe did the Wimbledon-U.S Open double twice, and very nearly did in 1980 as well. McEnroe had more consistent of great results in his 5-7 year peak then Becker. Becker had much better longevity considering he won his last slam 11 years after his first.

As for their games they were both predominantly serve-volley players and McEnroe was the much better volleyer, returned much better, and was overall a better mover and athlete IMO. Becker had the more overpowering serve but would he if he grew up with old raquets. I am not really sure Becker's groundstrokes were that much better. He had very good groundstrokes but they were far below the best, he could not hang with Agassi or other top baseliners strictly from the baseline as Sampras could, and McEnroe's were surprisingly strong at his peak.

ClubHoUno
07-10-2008, 09:32 AM
Statistics wise, I'd give the edge to Johnny Mac.
Talent wise, I'd give the edge to Johnny Mac.

But If the two were to meet at the peek of their form on grass, I would have to say, that Becker would beat Johnny Mac 2 times out of 3.

I have a lot of respect for both players - as I really like attacking serve & volley players. Mac & Lendl were my two idols after Borg left the arena. But when BOOM BOOM arrived in 1986 and won Wimby, I became an instant fan of his. I loved his serve, his volleys (great for such a big fellow - I'm circa the size of Boris Becker and he was a great volleyer for having such a big heavy body), loved his penetrating ground strokes, his touch - as I say, a Becker in top form versus a Johnny Mac would be a tight match, but I think Becker would win 2 out of 3 on any surface against Johnny Mac - clay, carpet, hard court and grass.

Therefore I would have to say Becker is the better overall player - also on grass. But it's a very very close call. Both players are 'Best Of All Time' players in my view

ClubHoUno
07-10-2008, 09:37 AM
Good points. It is curious that in later age the finesse Mac can beat a once but no longer power player like Becker.

To me that proves that touch and all-court expertise beats power.

It proves exactly nothing at all :twisted:

Mac plays Senior tourneys all year round, Becker doesn't play tennis and looks in bad shape these days.

A powerful Becker on top of his game would beat a Johnny Mac in topform 2 times out of 3 ON ANY SURFACE, in MY view :D

bluetrain4
07-10-2008, 09:57 AM
i'm thinking becker is more of the underachiever at wimbledon. shouldn't he have just kept winning it after he won it so young.... i read his book. seems like a troubled (yet successful) guy. doesn't seem to love tennis.



I don't think Becker underachieved at Wimbledon at all. 3 titles and 7 finals. Of his 4 finals losses, 1 was to Sampras, and 2 were to Edberg. I guess the loss to Stich was maybe an underacheivement, but Stich in his prime was no slouch.

I never understood why Becker was 25-10(!) against Edberg overall, but 1-3 in Slams, and 1-4 in huge matches if you include the year end Masters in 1989, which he won over Becker. Then again, Becker absolutely destroyed Edberg a couple of times indoors in Davis Cup, so they are pretty even on the biggest stages. A lot of their matches were on indoor carpet and as good as Edberg was, Becker was on a whole different level indoors.

andreh
07-11-2008, 02:50 AM
I don't think Becker underachieved at Wimbledon at all. 3 titles and 7 finals. Of his 4 finals losses, 1 was to Sampras, and 2 were to Edberg. I guess the loss to Stich was maybe an underacheivement, but Stich in his prime was no slouch.

I never understood why Becker was 25-10(!) against Edberg overall, but 1-3 in Slams, and 1-4 in huge matches if you include the year end Masters in 1989, which he won over Becker. Then again, Becker absolutely destroyed Edberg a couple of times indoors in Davis Cup, so they are pretty even on the biggest stages. A lot of their matches were on indoor carpet and as good as Edberg was, Becker was on a whole different level indoors.

Another interesting statistic is that Edberg is 2-1 against Becker in 5-set matches, supporting the theory that Edberg saved his strenght for the really big ones.

AndrewD
07-11-2008, 09:42 AM
At their respective peaks McEnroe and Becker were some of the best grass-courters of the open-era. In my opnion clearly behind Sampras, Laver and Federer but arguably on the same level as any other open-era grasscourter.

You can compare Becker to Sampras or Laver to McEnroe but not as a group and you can't throw Federer in at all. Well, you can but it really isn't a sensible thing to do. Conditions and equipment have had too big an impact on what it means to be a 'grasscourter' to lump them all in together.

pmerk34
07-11-2008, 10:24 AM
Whenever a player (such as Becker) loses a lot of finals in a GS they are called underachievers. Becker fulfilled his potential at Wimbledon and was a force for a long time there. Underachievers at Wimbledon to me are guys Safin, Wilander, Roddick, Blake, Todd Martin, Yannick Noah, Philipossous

AAAA
07-11-2008, 11:04 AM
This is an interesting way of putting it, like begging the question. Becker was almost unbeatable when he was playing a match he was going to win. He lost more Wimbledon finals than he won, not sure how that statistic justifies the almost unbeatable comment.

sssh....don't throw a spanner into the works.

Chang won the FO whilst a teenager but didn't win anymore slams so he was an under-achiever

No. Chang didn't win anymore because the guys who beat him played better on the day or were flat out better players than him.

Neither did Becker under-achieve on grass when the guys who beat him at Wimbledon played better on the day or were just better players.

NikeWilson
07-11-2008, 02:02 PM
McEnroe beat the legendary Borg on grass. (and the previous year, he pushed Borg to 5 sets)

altho, Becker did beat Edberg. but Edberg beat Becker more times at Wimbledon than Becker did.

Tshooter
07-11-2008, 03:39 PM
Ask Kevin Curren.

Gorecki
07-12-2008, 03:33 PM
funny question OP...
both controversial personalities, both temperemental players with instinctive S&V, with very similar carrers (grass court achievment wise).


cant decide who was best, but i know who i like best. that is Becker by a large...

ps: just cant forget that 5 aces in a row against medvedev... what a moment...

msunderland71
07-12-2008, 05:48 PM
Were the 5 aces all first serves?
I've won a game where I hit 2 1st serve aces and 2 2nd serve aces, always wondered if it counts as 4 consecutive?

funny question OP...
both controversial personalities, both temperemental players with instinctive S&V, with very similar carrers (grass court achievment wise).


cant decide who was best, but i know who i like best. that is Becker by a large...

ps: just cant forget that 5 aces in a row against medvedev... what a moment...

Gorecki
07-13-2008, 08:48 AM
Were the 5 aces all first serves?
I've won a game where I hit 2 1st serve aces and 2 2nd serve aces, always wondered if it counts as 4 consecutive?

yep... he was losing 0-40 and comes up with 5 first serve aces (bombs i should say)... amazing. check it out on the tube "becker 5 aces"

cork_screw
07-14-2008, 05:25 PM
Which of these players is the greater grass-court player?

I consider both Becker and McEnroe to be underachievers at Wimbledon despite the fact that they both won 3 singles titles.

Becker won 2 Wimbledon titles while still a teenager but only won 1 more title in his entire career. However Becker reached as many Wimbledon finals as Sampras (7 in all). On his day he was almost unbeatable as he showed with imressive victories over players such as Edberg and Lendl.

McEnroe famously defeated Borg in the 1981 Wimbledon final. McEnroe's di-sections of Lendl and Connors in adjacent rounds to win the 1984 Wimbledon title are considered to be some of the finest grass court displays of the open-era. However McEnroe never won a Wimbledon title after 1984.

At their respective peaks McEnroe and Becker were some of the best grass-courters of the open-era. In my opnion clearly behind Sampras, Laver and Federer but arguably on the same level as any other open-era grasscourter. Note that I consider Borg's peak performance to be on a similar level to that of McEnroe's and Becker's despite that fact that Borg obviously played more consistantly near his peak.

No other option? bjorn Borg? Mcenroe didn't have good groundstrokes, but did have a solid volley game.

Mr Topspin
07-15-2008, 02:44 AM
This is an excellent thread OP.
I would say that it has to be a draw. Mac made 5 straight finals but Becker made 7. Mac had to deal with a living legend, Borg but Becker had probably the toughest pure s&v player of all time. A lot of people underestimate how good Edberg was. Firstly, Edberg was one of the most decorated young players of all time. Edberg won all 4 grand slams as a junior and was the world no 1 junior.

As a junior player Edberg owned eveyone including Becker and that is probably why as a senior becker could never forget how talented and skillfull Edberg really was. Lets not forget that as great as Mac was he never faced an Edberg type player in his victories at Wimbledon. In the two meetings between Edberg and Mac at Wimbledon in 89 and 91 Edberg won both in straight sets. However, it could be argued that Mac was past his best at that stage. The point is Edberg posed a clear and present danger for any one on hard court or grass and would give fits to Federer on old grass.

pmerk34
07-15-2008, 05:11 AM
No other option? bjorn Borg? Mcenroe didn't have good groundstrokes, but did have a solid volley game.


A solid volley game? LOL. Borg had a solid volley game. McEnroe had possibly the best volleys of all time.

pmerk34
07-15-2008, 05:16 AM
This is an excellent thread OP.
I would say that it has to be a draw. Mac made 5 straight finals but Becker made 7. Mac had to deal with a living legend, Borg but Becker had probably the toughest pure s&v player of all time. A lot of people underestimate how good Edberg was. Firstly, Edberg was one of the most decorated young players of all time. Edberg won all 4 grand slams as a junior and was the world no 1 junior.

As a junior player Edberg owned eveyone including Becker and that is probably why as a senior becker could never forget how talented and skillfull Edberg really was. Lets not forget that as great as Mac was he never faced an Edberg type player in his victories at Wimbledon. In the two meetings between Edberg and Mac at Wimbledon in 89 and 91 Edberg won both in straight sets. However, it could be argued that Mac was past his best at that stage. The point is Edberg posed a clear and present danger for any one on hard court or grass and would give fits to Federer on old grass.

Here is an interesting one:

Edberg vs Nadal at Wimbledon.

Played on the old grass BUT Nadal gets to keep his Babolat and polyester strings.

Andres
07-15-2008, 06:05 AM
No other option? bjorn Borg? Mcenroe didn't have good groundstrokes, but did have a solid volley game.
The Op said "greater", not "greatest". GreatER, as in comparing two (2) people.

Pete.Sampras.
07-15-2008, 06:30 AM
Boris Becker gets my vote.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
07-15-2008, 06:54 AM
My favourite player by far is Boris, and though their win/lose percentage is very close, I voted for McEnroe because his different range of wins, i.e. doubles. I know mostly is judged by the singles performance, but that factors in for me. McEnroe, Edberg, and Becker were all naturally volleys, and though their groundstrokes were not the best comparatively, they were effective enough.

carlos djackal
07-15-2008, 07:45 AM
Both revolutionized the game in grass.......figures and records are almost the same.......can't choose between the two also....

timnz
12-02-2008, 03:25 PM
Becker himself regarded 1996 as is peak year (in terms of form). He commented at the time that his level was so far advanced of his level 10 years earlier. He proved it by beating Sampras indoors that year...and pushing Sampras to the limit indoors at the Masters.

He also won the Australian Open that year remember?

matchmaker
12-02-2008, 06:27 PM
Very difficult. Becker could have made it so much easier by just winning one more
Wimbledon... I really can't make a pick.

ohlori
12-02-2008, 06:54 PM
Becker himself regarded 1996 as is peak year (in terms of form). He commented at the time that his level was so far advanced of his level 10 years earlier. He proved it by beating Sampras indoors that year...and pushing Sampras to the limit indoors at the Masters.

He also won the Australian Open that year remember?

Becker was a bit unlucky at Wimbledon that year, injuring his thumb.
Maybe he could have made the final against Krajicek.

marc45
12-02-2008, 07:38 PM
i'm thinking becker is more of the underachiever at wimbledon. shouldn't he have just kept winning it after he won it so young.... i read his book. seems like a troubled (yet successful) guy. doesn't seem to love tennis.
do you recommend the book grizz? i heard it was entertaining and i'm thinking of updating my tennis library...finished pete's book this summer and was going to head for paul fein's tennis confidential II...the only thing with boris, it seems the queasy stories (fiancee breaking up with him over text message) keep coming, making the book seem a little dated, but i'm open

crabgrass
12-03-2008, 01:54 AM
very close but i'll take becker

timnz
12-08-2008, 03:20 PM
Very difficult. Becker could have made it so much easier by just winning one more
Wimbledon... I really can't make a pick.


I know this sounds shocking... but if Becker hadn't injured his wrist in the early rounds of Wimbledon in 1996 - he probably would have won the whole tournament (Sampras lost early - and Becker could have handled Krajcek in 1996 I am confident). If he had won in 1996 (remember he got to the final in 1995 and in 1996 he was in better form), I believe he would have been ranked number 1 in 1996.

mental midget
12-08-2008, 06:57 PM
I don't think Becker underachieved at Wimbledon at all. 3 titles and 7 finals. Of his 4 finals losses, 1 was to Sampras, and 2 were to Edberg. I guess the loss to Stich was maybe an underacheivement, but Stich in his prime was no slouch.

let me tell you, NOBODY was going to beat michael stich the way he was playing in that tournament. hardly an underachievement, and btw, if he had kept himself in better physical shape, and kept his head on straight, stich would have won more GS's than boris. stich was a remarkably good player.

btw stich beat edberg the previous round, without ever breaking his serve: 46 76 76 76. in fact edberg didn't lose serve once the entire tournament, as i remember. how about that?

lendledbergfan
12-08-2008, 11:36 PM
btw stich beat edberg the previous round, without ever breaking his serve: 46 76 76 76. in fact edberg didn't lose serve once the entire tournament, as i remember. how about that?

Out of curiosity, how did Edberg fared in tie-breaks? Not being a power-hitter may have affected Edberg in tie-breaks. Can anybody get the stats?

andreh
12-09-2008, 11:07 AM
Out of curiosity, how did Edberg fared in tie-breaks? Not being a power-hitter may have affected Edberg in tie-breaks. Can anybody get the stats?

249/166

10 char

mental midget
12-09-2008, 06:03 PM
249/166

10 char

that's a pretty decent percentage,isn't it?

vandre
12-11-2008, 09:31 PM
after much thought, i gotta go with jmac. yeah becker has more velocity on his serve, but mac's serve has extra nasty on it. it bites and skids and has that lefty spin on it. groundstroke wise, becker is more powerful of the ground but mac could pull angles out of thin air. from the net there is no comparison. mac's touch and hands make him the clear favorite from the forecourt.

srinrajesh
12-12-2008, 09:03 AM
Becker at Wimbeldon 71-12 (85.5%)
McEnroe at Wimbledon 58-11 (84.1%)

Becker played better in the biggest tournament in the world. Becker had to face much better grass court players in edberg, sampras, ivanisevic, stich. Also the quality of draws were more than McEnroe who had to face only Borg and played lot of the years during wooden era as well.