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View Full Version : Laver couldnt handle Borg's speed and return game .


GameSampras
04-27-2009, 05:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE&feature=related


Now granted this only a bit of their match from Hilton Head in Oct. of 76 when Laver was passed his prime at this point but Borg was such a return machine, Laver's UE's were obviously up and he was becoming frustrated.


Could Prime-Peak Laver of even handled this guy? It kind of looks like the Nadal-Fed rivalry. Borg like Nadal getting everything back and making Laver frustrated.

thalivest
04-27-2009, 06:03 PM
Yeah who cares that the guy was 38 years old right. You are the same one who calls the very late blooming Agassi "old man Agassi" at only 31-32. If Laver couldnt handle Borg since he couldnt at 38, than I guess Agassi would have always been Federer's b1tch if he couldnt handle him ever from 33-35 in a ton of matches between them. Or since at 35-36 he was made to look like a human yo you in his 2 matches with teenage Nadal. Sorry but what kind of logic is this.

GameSampras
04-27-2009, 06:07 PM
Yeah who cares that the guy was 38 years old right. You are the same one who calls the very late blooming Agassi "old man Agassi" at only 31-32. If Laver couldnt handle Borg since he couldnt at 38, than I guess Agassi would have always been Federer's b1tch if he couldnt handle him ever from 33-35 in a ton of matches between them. Or since at 35-36 he was made to look like a human yo you in his 2 matches with teenage Nadal. Sorry but what kind of logic is this.


I already mentioned Laver's age. But no doubt Borg's speed and return I would assume would have given Laver problems at any time. Did Laver ever have to deal with someone the calibor of Borg during his prime years? I dont think so

GameSampras
04-27-2009, 06:07 PM
Yeah who cares that the guy was 38 years old right. You are the same one who calls the very late blooming Agassi "old man Agassi" at only 31-32. If Laver couldnt handle Borg since he couldnt at 38, than I guess Agassi would have always been Federer's b1tch if he couldnt handle him ever from 33-35 in a ton of matches between them. Or since at 35-36 he was made to look like a human yo you in his 2 matches with teenage Nadal. Sorry but what kind of logic is this.

Agassi was riddled with Sciatica there pal. Was Laver? Thats not even mentioning how much more taxing tennis is on the body today compared to way back then. Which explains a large part why you do not see Players usually winning from 30 years of age on whereas before you would see that. The career winning expectancy has dropped significantly. Why do u think that is? Because players are no as fit today as they were in the 60s and 70s?

thalivest
04-27-2009, 06:29 PM
I already mentioned Laver's age. But no doubt Borg's speed and return I would assume would have given Laver problems at any time. Did Laver ever have to deal with someone the calibor of Borg during his prime years? I dont think so

Laver faced Rosewall during his dominance from 64-69. Not so easy an opponent.

thalivest
04-27-2009, 06:32 PM
Agassi was riddled with Sciatica there pal. Was Laver? Thats not even mentioning how much more taxing tennis is on the body today compared to way back then. Which explains a large part why you do not see Players usually winning from 30 years of age on whereas before you would see that. The career winning expectancy has dropped significantly. Why do u think that is? Because players are no as fit today as they were in the 60s and 70s?

Agassi wasnt riddled with Sciatica when while having part of his late career resurgence at 31-32 yet he still had a losing record to the not so legendary Hewitt in 2001 and 2002 while Hewitt was the shaky #1 of that weak interim period. Even if players lasted longer than he sure as heck wasnt older at 31-32 than Laver at 38. So should we conclude how even a 2nd tier great defensive baseliner and counterpuncher like Hewitt would be too much for Agassi to handle by your same logic you are applying to Laver vs Borg.

pc1
04-27-2009, 06:42 PM
1974 WCT Barcelona R16 Carpet B.BORG 1-6 1-6
1974 WCT Tokyo SF R.LAVER 6-3 7-5
1974 WCT Houston FR Clay R.LAVER 7-6 6-2
1975 WCT Finals SF Carpet B.BORG 6-7 6-3 7-5 6-7 2-6
1975 U.S. Open 16 Clay (O) B.BORG 1-6 4-6 6-2 2-6
1976 Palm Springs QF Hard (O) B.BORG 2-6 7-6 6-7
1978 TOC Las Vegas 16 Carpet (O) B.BORG 4-6 2-6

Head to heads, judge for yourself.

That 1975 WCT Semi that went five sets is supposed to be a classic.

Laver was basically retired the last two matches they played.

BTURNER
04-27-2009, 07:22 PM
I saw that clip months ago and I sure got a different take than you, game sampras. I was impressed that at that age, on clay, Laver did as well as he did agaist that caliber of an opponent. I was impressed with his court sense, variety and speed. I twatched him in a few clips vs connors too. There Laver made that volley talk against an even better returner.

krosero
04-27-2009, 08:12 PM
Since I made the clip let me just say that it had a specific purpose -- to show Borg's speed at its best. I say so in the description to let viewers know what the video is about.

But I've found that viewers often skip over the description or don't think about it if they do read it.

The clip was meant to show Borg's speed, so you can't just watch it and say that the Borg-Laver rivalry was defined by Borg's speed frustrating Laver.

I included the point showing Laver's frustration because it's a dramatic moment. My idea is that viewers will take any moment shown to them, in context -- as an invitation to learn more, to get the context (but perhaps that is my mistake).

I also thought such a video would make a good compliment to the other YouTube clip of the match, where Laver is shown winning most of the points. That's why I made my clip a response to other one; so that they'd compliment each other. Both clips have a link to one another.

The other clip certainly shows why Laver would be a challenge for Borg on any surface and especially in his prime. But like Bturner I also thought that my clip showed plenty of that too. If I'd thought it was too one-sided I would not have posted it.

pc1
04-27-2009, 08:24 PM
Krosero.
I think the other clip you have from the same match also shows the versatility of Laver.

I didn't think the clip you have showing Borg's speed put Laver in a bad light at all. The man was 38 and not playing full time so I think it was a pretty good showing. Laver was generally very competitive with Borg. If you could magically put them both at their peaks, Laver against Borg would be a match for the ages.

Incidentally, as fast as Borg was, Arthur Ashe won in his book "Off the Court" that Borg was only a tick faster than Laver.

The clip you have of the Connors-Laver challenge match shows a lot more of what Rod could do. Amazing volleys, great groundstrokes, passing shots and wonderful movements by Laver in that match. The defensive lobs by Rod were fantastic.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
04-28-2009, 12:21 AM
In the first half of 1975 Laver was still in the Top10 and a threat to everyone including Ashe, Connors, Borg and the others.
In 1976 Laver was virtually retired and played mainly in the WTT circuit (as a rookie) on fast indoor courts and in only 1-set matches. And after that WTT season he was still able to quite well play on American clay against the #2 on that surface (after Jimbo) as the score, 63 75, indicates : how many seasoned players could play that well against ice-Borg in 1976 ? Not many. Laver was still a pretty good player at 38. Tell me how many players played as well at that same age ? Very few. And at 37 Laver was still able to play a classic, as pc1 pointed out, against Borg at Dallas though Rocket had played a five-setter (with Solomon) in the previous match.

pc1
04-28-2009, 05:18 AM
In the first half of 1975 Laver was still in the Top10 and a threat to everyone including Ashe, Connors, Borg and the others.
In 1976 Laver was virtually retired and played mainly in the WTT circuit (as a rookie) on fast indoor courts and in only 1-set matches. And after that WTT season he was still able to quite well play on American clay against the #2 on that surface (after Jimbo) as the score, 63 75, indicates : how many seasoned players could play that well against ice-Borg in 1976 ? Not many. Laver was still a pretty good player at 38. Tell me how many players played as well at that same age ? Very few. And at 37 Laver was still able to play a classic, as pc1 pointed out, against Borg at Dallas though Rocket had played a five-setter (with Solomon) in the previous match.

Rod, in an interview and highlight show "Greatest Sports Legends" joked with the host Tom Seaver that he was named Rookie of the Year in 1976 in WTT. They both laughed at that.

hoodjem
04-28-2009, 08:29 AM
The 33-year-old Laver beat the 17-year-old Borg in Houston just two years earlier in 1974 (just before Borg's first RG win).
It was on 15 April 1974 in Houston, U.S. on clay, score: 7-6, 6-2. This was right around the time Borg won the Italian Open in Rome defeating Nastase, so Borg was no newbie. Borg was incredibly fast--maybe the fastest ever, but Laver was only a fraction slower (Laver's speed is often overlooked). Laver's volleys are as good as McEnroe's--maybe better, and Laver's ground game is much better than Mac's.

Was this prime (1978-80) Borg, no; but also not prime (1967-69) Laver.

TennisandMusic
04-28-2009, 09:19 AM
Man this topic is just SILLY. What it boils down too is "one of the best of all time would have had hard matches against another best of all time!" Seriously. Are you actually going to speculate over who would have had the upper hand between these two in their primes? Isn't Laver TWICE Borg's age in this video?

This "who is greater" talk is just way out of hand. All of the top players were insanely good and they could all beat each other. That's true for the guys now, and it goes back to when tennis first started. Just have fun watching the tennis...

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
04-29-2009, 12:15 AM
The 33-year-old Laver beat the 17-year-old Borg in Houston just two years earlier in 1974 (just before Borg's first RG win). It was on 15 April 1974 in Houston, U.S. on Har-tru clay...

When I see photos of the Houston River Oaks tournament in 1973-1974 the clay was red so I'm not even sure it was har-tru. Does anyone confirm it was traditional clay ?
And Laver also beat Borg a few days later on a slow indoor (or outdoor as suggested by urban below) carpet at Tokyo.

hoodjem
04-29-2009, 06:11 AM
^^^Sorry, I had presumed that because in was in the US south, it was green clay.

urban
04-29-2009, 10:03 AM
Houston always had red clay, as confirmed by Arthur Ashe in his memoir Portrait in motion. The Tokyo match was played as far as i know, one week earlier and on an outdoor court made of rubber, which played much like clay. Laver beat Gisbert in the final, who was a clay court specialist.

adidasman
04-29-2009, 10:11 AM
Laver would have handled anyone in the history of the game on any surface at any time, with all things being equal between them (equipment, training methods, etc.). No question about it. Would he have won every match? Of course not. But anyone who thinks the level of competition in Laver's era was worse than during Borg's is just biased by his/her age, and players back then were just as fit, although not as beefy.

jnd28
05-05-2009, 08:19 PM
As Laver has said many times "you can only be judged based on who you play against" In his prime he beat them all. Borg was a fine player - yes one of the best- but not at the level of laver.

As one who has witnessed both in their prime it is my opinion that Lavers volley, serve and instincts would have rendered Borgs speed a non issue. For those of you who were not around, when Mac beat Borg, Borg couldnt deal and retired. Mac was an economy version of Laver.

jnd28

hoodjem
05-06-2009, 06:44 AM
Interesting take on Laver: Laver was a power version of McEnroe, with more spin and variety of shots.

Rabbit
05-06-2009, 06:58 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE&feature=related


Now granted this only a bit of their match from Hilton Head in Oct. of 76 when Laver was passed his prime at this point but Borg was such a return machine, Laver's UE's were obviously up and he was becoming frustrated.


Could Prime-Peak Laver of even handled this guy? It kind of looks like the Nadal-Fed rivalry. Borg like Nadal getting everything back and making Laver frustrated.

If Laver looked frustrated, it was probably because he hadn't been playing at all. Rod Laver, nonetheless, stayed with Borg in those two sets. I have the entire match on DVD and Laver's style contrasted very nicely with Borg's. Laver, IMO, had the best court sense of anyone to ever play the game. To answer your question, yes, Laver would have fared better than others against Borg had he been in his prime. The reasoning for this lies directly below


Interesting take on Laver: Laver was a power version of McEnroe, with more spin and variety of shots.

I would only add that McEnroe probably had the edge at net and on serve. But everywhere else, Laver was stronger...not necessarily hands down better, but stronger for sure.

Given McEnroe's ability to give Borg trouble, I have no doubt that a prime Laver would have also had the game to give Borg fits.

35ft6
04-18-2011, 02:11 PM
Saw this video on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE&NR=1) of Borg and Laver.

Look at the way Laver moves around the baseline with this racket completely dropped to his side! And on his forehand, he doesn't use his right hand to take the racket back at all, it's all left arm. Weird looking.

35ft6
04-18-2011, 02:13 PM
See more or it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcRNZeo70P4&feature=related

hoodjem
04-19-2011, 03:50 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMfBpkUJeKE&feature=related


Now granted this only a bit of their match from Hilton Head in Oct. of 76 when Laver was passed his prime at this point but Borg was such a return machine, Laver's UE's were obviously up and he was becoming frustrated.


Could Prime-Peak Laver of even handled this guy? It kind of looks like the Nadal-Fed rivalry. Borg like Nadal getting everything back and making Laver frustrated.Here's the other video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-VeBIal8TU&feature=related

This is 1976. I'd rather see 1967-69 Laver versus 1979-81 Borg--then we are talking primes for both.

Laver and Borg liked each other and, more importantly, respected each other. Borg thought Laver was the ultimate competitor, and Laver thought Borg was a huge talent. (Please ignore Pancho's commentary: he almost always denigrated Laver.)

borg number one
04-19-2011, 04:03 PM
Well said Hoodjem. In my opinion, the two guys at the very top are Laver and Borg. There is no other player besides Borg that I respect as much. They had a lot of respect for one another. Why? I think Laver's demeanor may have influenced Borg. Borg was one smart cookie and I think his Icy on court demeanor was partly learned behavior, as he observed the best player on the planet before him (then Ashe/Connors before Borg). Meanwhile, Laver recognized another freak of nature when he saw one. Laver and Borg had some similarities in approach, though they had very different playing styles. They were gentlemen, but make no mistake about it, Laver didn't think anyone was better than him and neither did Borg. They let their racquets do the talking though.

borg number one
04-19-2011, 04:06 PM
http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z205/JekyllnHyde_photos/June%2021st%202010/rod-laver2.jpg

http://i596.photobucket.com/albums/tt48/SWAIN8316/AUTOGRAPHS013-2.jpg

borg number one
04-19-2011, 04:07 PM
Laver vs. Ashe in the '69 W SF (Laver during his second Grand Slam year)

http://vimeo.com/16356578

(who could serve and volley like this besides maybe Edberg or McEnroe in recent years?)


Borg vs. Connors in the 81 W SF (Borg wins his 41st straight match there)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6BqlTwZbU


In some ways, Borg undertook the Aussie approach to his tennis. Bergelin was of course his teacher, coach, and a father figure to the prodigy. Borg trained very hard, playing and practicing a lot, he did not make excuses, he did not belittle his opponents, he showed great respect, he did not complain endlessly about umpires/calls, he was very modest in his speech, no histrionics on court, just put your head down and go to work, etc.

pc1
04-19-2011, 04:27 PM
Laver vs. Ashe in the '69 W SF (Laver during his second Grand Slam year)

http://vimeo.com/16356578

(who could serve and volley like this besides maybe Edberg or McEnroe in recent years?)


Borg vs. Connors in the 81 W SF (Borg wins his 41st straight match there)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6BqlTwZbU


In some ways, Borg undertook the Aussie approach to his tennis. Bergelin was of course his teacher, coach, and a father figure to the prodigy. Borg trained very hard, playing and practicing a lot, he did not make excuses, he did not belittle his opponents, he showed great respect, he did not complain endlessly about umpires/calls, he was very modest in his speech, no histrionics on court, just put your head down and go to work, etc.

Like I've written a billion times before, I would pay a lot to see the video of the full match between Laver and Borg in the WCT semifinals in which Laver led two sets to one before Borg rallied to win in five sets. I've seen a highlight video and some of the rallies were fantastic. People have written what a great match this was.

borg number one
04-19-2011, 04:35 PM
Like I've written a billion times before, I would pay a lot to see the video of the full match between Laver and Borg in the WCT semifinals in which Laver led two sets to one before Borg rallied to win in five sets. I've seen a highlight video and some of the rallies were fantastic. People have written what a great match this was.

Me too PC1. Wouldn't it be great to see the original on film and then have it converted? Great match, it sounds like. I've only read about it often for many years. I wish I saw it, but it was just before I started following pro matches closely.

heftylefty
04-19-2011, 04:56 PM
borg number one, I never get tired of looking at the laver/ashe clip. Although Laver owned Ashe, it was not like Ashe was some tomato can. Epic Battle.

Thanks for posting the clip.

borg number one
04-19-2011, 05:13 PM
borg number one, I never get tired of looking at the laver/ashe clip. Although Laver owned Ashe, it was not like Ashe was some tomato can. Epic Battle.

Thanks for posting the clip.

You're most welcome. It is a great clip, very well done. Two greats going right at it.

adidasman
04-20-2011, 06:03 AM
Man, I could watch Laver hit all day long. Such lovely tennis.

hoodjem
04-20-2011, 06:32 AM
borg number one, I never get tired of looking at the laver/ashe clip. Although Laver owned Ashe, it was not like Ashe was some tomato can. Epic Battle.

Thanks for posting the clip.Ashe said that in that first set, he played the best tennis of his entire life.

hoodjem
04-20-2011, 06:39 AM
Tough call on prime Laver versus prime Borg.

Recalling that the two players who gave Borg the most trouble were Panatta and McEnroe, I am inclined to say that a great serve-and-volleyer, like Laver, would give Borg a lot of trouble, particularly on fast old Wimbledon grass. (This is in no way underestimating Borg's grass play.)

On clay, I am tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to Borg: that slow RG clay would allow him to run down so many shots. Laver would have to place everything quite perfectly--otherwise it would come back. Then Laver would get impatient and start pressing more aggressively. In that case Laver either gets better or he gets frustrated and goes for too much (a la Hilton Head).

borg number one
04-20-2011, 07:02 AM
Tough call on prime Laver versus prime Borg.

Recalling that the two players who gave Borg the most trouble were Panatta and McEnroe, I am inclined to say that a great serve-and-volleyer, like Laver, would give Borg a lot of trouble, particularly on fast old Wimbledon grass. (This is in no way underestimating Borg's grass play.)

On clay, I am tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to Borg: that slow RG clay would allow him to run down so many shots. Laver would have to place everything quite perfectly--otherwise it would come back. Then Laver would get impatient and start pressing more aggressively. In that case Laver either gets better or he gets frustrated and goes for too much (a la Hilton Head).

All very good points Hoodjem. I think Borg faced some really big serves though Hoodjem, including Tanner with a PDP, McEnroe's great serve, as well as the serves of players such as Amaya. So, he could face down great serves. Laver's serve is very underrated in my opinion. He didn't have as much pace on it as some of the other guys, but his placement and ability to come through at the right times is uncanny. Borg also faced some great volleyers such as Gerulaitis and McEnroe. Yet, Laver's combination of skills, movement and transitional game (& movement overall) sets him apart from Gerulaitis. He was just at a different level, though Vitas had extreme talent. I'm speaking of the mental side also now. McEnroe is somewhat different. I'd say he was different than Laver. He was not as strong in terms of groundgame. Yet, his volleys may have been as good as Laver's or perhaps a bit ahead of Laver's volleys overall. Laver, in my opinion, perhaps had a slightly better overhead than McEnroe. Laver was a better mover overall and he had a better slice backhand, as well as flat backhand, and forehand. Yet, McEnroe was unconventional and deceptively quick. He was very difficult to read, as was Laver. Two great lefties. Yet, Borg split the fast court (indoors, grass, and hard court) meetings with the great McEnroe and was in another league than McEnroe on clay. So, overall, I agree Hoodjem, it's a tough call when it comes to that great matchup. By the way, I think Laver is capable of pulling off some wins even on clay. In my opinion, as I've said many times, if all time greats faced off, each player would tend have his share of success without lopsided results.

pc1
04-20-2011, 07:02 AM
Ashe said that in that first set, he played the best tennis of his entire life.

Jack Kramer said that in the first two sets in that match both players could have beaten anyone that ever lived.


Tough call on prime Laver versus prime Borg.

Recalling that the two players who gave Borg the most trouble were Panatta and McEnroe, I am inclined to say that a great serve-and-volleyer, like Laver, would give Borg a lot of trouble, particularly on fast old Wimbledon grass. (This is in no way underestimating Borg's grass play.)

On clay, I am tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to Borg: that slow RG clay would allow him to run down so many shots. Laver would have to place everything quite perfectly--otherwise it would come back. Then Laver would get impatient and start pressing more aggressively. In that case Laver either gets better or he gets frustrated and goes for too much (a la Hilton Head).

Considering Laver and Borg played some excellent matches despite the fact Laver was past his prime (still terrific) and Borg wasn't at his prime for a few years I think it could of been a rivalry as good as Laver and Rosewall if they both were closer in age.

I don't think either player had a weakness, both could serve and volley or stay back, both were very fast and had great power and passing shots. The styles contrasted so we could see how each would try to break up the other player's game. I would bet that they would have had a lot of matches similar to the 1975 WCT semi, some with Laver winning and some with Borg winning. Here's their head to head
1974 WCT Barcelona 16 B.BORG 6-1 6-1
1974 WCT Tokyo SF () R.LAVER 3-6 5-7
1974 WCT Houston FR () R.LAVER 6-7 2-6
1975 WCT Finals SF () B.BORG 7-6 3-6 5-7 7-6 6-2
1975 U.S. Open 16 Clay (O) B.BORG 6-1 6-4 2-6 6-2
1976 Palm Springs QF Hard (O) B.BORG 6-2 6-7 7-6
1978 TOC Las Vegas 16 Carpet (O) B.BORG 6-4 6-2

Bear in mind that Laver's last full year was 1975 so in losing the last two times Laver was really a part timer.

Rabbit
04-20-2011, 07:44 AM
Tough call on prime Laver versus prime Borg.

Recalling that the two players who gave Borg the most trouble were Panatta and McEnroe, I am inclined to say that a great serve-and-volleyer, like Laver, would give Borg a lot of trouble, particularly on fast old Wimbledon grass. (This is in no way underestimating Borg's grass play.)

On clay, I am tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to Borg: that slow RG clay would allow him to run down so many shots. Laver would have to place everything quite perfectly--otherwise it would come back. Then Laver would get impatient and start pressing more aggressively. In that case Laver either gets better or he gets frustrated and goes for too much (a la Hilton Head).

x2 on the spot on analysis.

Laver, IMO, was more versatile than McEnroe and better from the baseline. With Panatta, he was just a bad match up for Borg, but IMO Panatta would have been O-fer against Laver...it's all about match ups.

On clay, I also agree. Borg, with wood and slower clay and pressureless balls of the era, was unbeatable and the best ever on clay. If they played 10 times on clay, Borg would probably win 8. On grass, old grass with wood, Laver wins 5. On hard courts, I think Laver wins 9. Indoors is a tossup.

I also agree heartily with the comment that while both men are class acts, both considered themselves hands down the best on tour when they were in their prime. I think the realization the McEnroe was making headway really woke Borg and he just had put so much so long into his tennis that he was ready for a break.

There is a story about a player who was playing Borg, I can't remember his name, but he was basically a journeyman. They were playing indoors I think. Anyway, the guy's family had come to see him play Borg. He wasn't doing too well being down 6-0, 5-0 with Borg about to serve for the match. On the changeover, he explained to Borg that his family was there and he knew Borg was going to win, but if Borg could just let him win a game or two, it'd be nice.

Rather than let the guy win a point, Borg double faulted 4 times to give him a game. He then proceeded to break the guy for a 6-0, 6-1 win. :)

hoodjem
04-20-2011, 09:19 AM
There is a story about a player who was playing Borg, I can't remember his name, but he was basically a journeyman. They were playing indoors I think. Anyway, the guy's family had come to see him play Borg. He wasn't doing too well being down 6-0, 5-0 with Borg about to serve for the match. On the changeover, he explained to Borg that his family was there and he knew Borg was going to win, but if Borg could just let him win a game or two, it'd be nice.

Rather than let the guy win a point, Borg double faulted 4 times to give him a game. He then proceeded to break the guy for a 6-0, 6-1 win. Great story. I wish I knew who he was.

Zimbo
04-20-2011, 09:51 AM
Great story. I wish I knew who he was.

Awesome story. Similar to how according to Wilander Borg gave him a few games when they met in '82. Wilander stated he was happy to get a wild card to a tourny but then saw that he had to play Borg. Borg gave him the first game then went on to a 6-1, 4-0 lead. Borg then tossed Wilander another "bone" by giving him another game.

georgerou
04-20-2011, 11:07 AM
Laver would have handled anyone in the history of the game on any surface at any time, with all things being equal between them (equipment, training methods, etc.). No question about it. Would he have won every match? Of course not. But anyone who thinks the level of competition in Laver's era was worse than during Borg's is just biased by his/her age, and players back then were just as fit, although not as beefy.


Agreed. It seems like everywhere you look someone is trying to minimize the players of the past. "Todays players would dominate Laver in tennis, Jerry West in basketball, Johnny Unitas in football, and Hank Aaron in baseball. Those guys just werent the athletes that we have today." Its ludicrous to think that the best athlete of all time has to be someone in front of us at this very second.

adidasman
04-20-2011, 11:24 AM
Agreed. It seems like everywhere you look someone is trying to minimize the players of the past. "Todays players would dominate Laver in tennis, Jerry West in basketball, Johnny Unitas in football, and Hank Aaron in baseball. Those guys just werent the athletes that we have today." Its ludicrous to think that the best athlete of all time has to be someone in front of us at this very second. I think judging Laver-Borg by some made-for-TV match, especially with Borg in his prime and Laver in the latter part of his career, is dubious at best. Watch Laver vs. Connors from Vegas, from 1975; Laver hung with Jimbo and took a set from him, and Rocket was at least 10 years older than Connors. All I know is that I'd give Laver, with all physical factors equal, at least a 60% chance of beating anyone from any era - Hoad, Gonzales, Rosewall, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal - on any surface on any given day. And I wouldn't say the same about anyone else.

kiki
04-20-2011, 11:38 AM
Interesting take on Laver: Laver was a power version of McEnroe, with more spin and variety of shots.

In a way, so.Mac always said his game was inspired on Laver.less power, a bit more of subtle, plus that wicked serve to the left.Laverīs serve was much more straight, a great serve and a guy just 3 inches taller would have made a super serve out of it.

I just ask to anybody here..is there a better 38 years old player facing an all time great ( GOAT candidate) like Laver? does anybody imagine a Federerīs or Nadalīs toe playing like that at 38? or a Sampras toe?.

Cīmon guys, just be honest enough to recognize the greatness when...it jsut showas out as pure greatness.

35ft6
04-21-2011, 12:34 AM
^ More of a running game today. Game is different. Not sure if a short 38 year old guy with a one handed backhand will ever hang again like that.

And we won't see any Rosewalls either. We're not going to see a short 43 yo dude with a slice backhand beating the world number 3 in a tournament .

Datacipher
04-21-2011, 01:31 AM
In a way, so.Mac always said his game was inspired on Laver.less power, a bit more of subtle, plus that wicked serve to the left.Laverīs serve was much more straight, a great serve and a guy just 3 inches taller would have made a super serve out of it.

I just ask to anybody here..is there a better 38 years old player facing an all time great ( GOAT candidate) like Laver? does anybody imagine a Federerīs or Nadalīs toe playing like that at 38? or a Sampras toe?.

Cīmon guys, just be honest enough to recognize the greatness when...it jsut showas out as pure greatness.

One thing I commented on before, is just how shocking it is to see how FAST, AGILE, LIGHT, and BALANCED Laver still is here. Agassi get's accolades in the modern era, but contrast Laver's movment here with Agassi!!! Even Connors, who stayed pretty fast at 38, was NOT moving with quite the quickness or BALANCE of Laver. Don't get me wrong, Connors was still balanced (Heck, he's more balanced NOW than Roddick), but Connors had lost a bit of flexibility/agility, and occasionally had to be slightly off balance hitting shots, or compensate with....er....old man moves. Which is to say, a characteristic way that old athletes have to start moving.....when still trying to play at a high level but having lost a touch of agility/flexibility....hard to describe....it's the difference between lunging for a volley or return, being stretched, on balance, adeptly controlling the shot, instantly recovering, and controlled the whole way VS lunging, making the shot, but having limited options, your racquet hits the ground slightly on the follow through, you have a big grunt, and you have to take a tiny extra step to maintain balance, because you flexibility/strength can't maintain position, and instantly recover.....etc....LOL

Datacipher
04-21-2011, 01:32 AM
^ More of a running game today. Game is different. Not sure if a short 38 year old guy with a one handed backhand will ever hang .

YES. Everyone knows a "running" and movement game favors the 38 yr. old..... unreal.

CyBorg
04-21-2011, 02:04 AM
^ More of a running game today. Game is different. Not sure if a short 38 year old guy with a one handed backhand will ever hang again like that.

And we won't see any Rosewalls either. We're not going to see a short 43 yo dude with a slice backhand beating the world number 3 in a tournament .

Yeah, yeah. If it's not happening today it's not any good.

Same old song from you.

hoodjem
04-21-2011, 07:02 AM
I think judging Laver-Borg by some made-for-TV match, especially with Borg in his prime and Laver in the latter part of his career, is dubious at best. Watch Laver vs. Connors from Vegas, from 1975; Laver hung with Jimbo and took a set from him, and Rocket was at least 10 years older than Connors. All I know is that I'd give Laver, with all physical factors equal, at least a 60% chance of beating anyone from any era - Hoad, Gonzales, Rosewall, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal--on any surface on any given day. And I wouldn't say the same about anyone else.In 1975 Laver was 37 and Connors was 23.

pc1
04-21-2011, 07:57 AM
In 1975 Laver was 37 and Connors was 23.

What's pretty amazing to me in that video of Laver and Connors was not only Laver's mobility at that age but also his great hand speed and reflexes. I think that's a very underrated skill in tennis, the hand speed. And Laver still had it in 1975 at such at old age for tennis.

Rabbit
04-21-2011, 07:57 AM
In 1975 Laver was 37 and Connors was 23.

That is just amazing. Also consider that Laver was semi-retired by '75 and not playing nearly as much as the guys on tour. Connors, by contrast, had just come off his most successful year, was brash, hungry, and managed by Bill Riordan in a "show me the money" mode.

The other thing to note is how much Laver played when he was a pro and the conditions under which he played. Laver had no entourage, no physio, no masseuse. The Kramer Pros were basically at each others' throats playing what amounted to the QF's up of a major every night. The wear and tear must have been tremendous.

Laver's abilities past 35 are nothing short of freakish. The guy didn't lose any conditioning, still had his strokes, and hung around the top tier of tennis. True, they were XO's but hey....who wouldn't do it for that kind of money?

borg number one
04-21-2011, 08:03 AM
Laver's play well past his prime in the mid-1970's gives one a sense of how he could play and did play in his 20's. That's also why there's no question in mind that Laver would be competitive against any player. Extreme skill. Great physical talents, including his quickness, speed, and anticipation. Tremendous stamina and mental toughness.

kiki
04-21-2011, 10:21 AM
...and a sensational risk taker and tactics sense.see how he plots his game vs Connors and many points he wins come from a well thought strategy, and that against a 1975 Connors, strongest as ever.

adidasman
04-21-2011, 10:27 AM
In 1975 Laver was 37 and Connors was 23. Yup. Laver in his twenties eats Jimmy for lunch, then polishes off Bjorn for dessert. ;)

borg number one
04-21-2011, 04:23 PM
Yup. Laver in his twenties eats Jimmy for lunch, then polishes off Bjorn for dessert. ;)

I think that he would have had more success against a prime Connors as opposed to a prime Bjorn Borg. I also don't think the matches would have been very one-sided, no matter who won. Those are three extremely tough players. Of course, the court surface would make some difference. Connors was TOUGH from about 22 all the way into his early 30's (by 1984 I think he had lost a bit). Bjorn Borg was a different player by 20, and especially by about 22 years of age.

NLBwell
04-21-2011, 04:26 PM
I'm most impressed by Laver's win over Borg on the SLOW red clay of River Oaks (though the balls were probably faster than in Europe). Borg only lost a few matches in his professional life on that surface and Laver was 5 years past his Grand Slam year.
All the true greats of the game are in a separate category than everyone else and are pretty equal.
Who would win a theoretical match between any of them just depends on the groundrules you posit (era, surface, rackets, training, etc.)

hoodjem
04-21-2011, 04:30 PM
I think that he would have had more success against a prime Connors as opposed to a prime Bjorn Borg. I also don't think the matches would have been very one-sided, no matter who won. Those are three extremely tough players. Of course, the court surface would make some difference.
Yup.

I can see Laver and Borg on clay after a fourth set changeover break, walking to their seats.

Rocket: "You're playing pretty well today Bjorn."

Fortress: "You too, Mr. Laver."

Rocket: "May the best man win."

Fortress: "Of course."

They sit down.
Rocket thinks: 'I can't tire him out. He's like a gazelle--he can run forever. I'll just have to hit better, more unreachable volleys."\'
Borg thinks: 'How does he hit those shots? That spin, those angles--they just don't exist.'

borg number one
04-21-2011, 04:34 PM
I'm most impressed by Laver's win over Borg on the SLOW red clay of River Oaks (though the balls were probably faster than in Europe). Borg only lost a few matches in his professional life on that surface and Laver was 5 years past his Grand Slam year.
All the true greats of the game are in a separate category than everyone else and are pretty equal.
Who would win a theoretical match between any of them just depends on the groundrules you posit (era, surface, rackets, training, etc.)

Absolutely, very well said. I do agree with you. That win at River Oaks is impressive (in my hometown), but Borg was 17 after all, not even 18, far from the player he would eventually become. Meanwhile, Laver was well over 30. The head to head between them is listed at 5-2, but again, Laver was well past his prime and Borg was very young when they met. I think, as PC1 noted abovem their matches may very well have been much like the close 5 set WCT encounter they had in 1975, when Borg was about 19 and Laver was what 37 or so.

borg number one
04-21-2011, 04:58 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Oaks_International_Tennis_Tournament

Laver beat Borg at River Oaks in 1974 7-6, 6-2. Who here would have loved to have sat and watched that match live? Count me in.

Laver in 1968. Notice the headline here. Laver, just like Gonzalez, Borg, like Sampras, Federer, Nadal, etc. was at one time challenging all the past greats.

http://www.halloffamememorabilia.com/images/products/p-110377-rod-laver-tennis-sports-illustrated-magazine-aw-8295.jpg

http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/si_online/covers/images/1979/0716_mid.jpg

borg number one
04-21-2011, 05:01 PM
Yup.

I can see Laver and Borg on clay after a fourth set changeover break, walking to their seats.

Rocket: "You're playing pretty well today Bjorn."

Fortress: "You too, Mr. Laver."

Rocket: "May the best man win."

Fortress: "Of course."

They sit down.
Rocket thinks: 'I can't tire him out. He's like a gazelle--he can run forever. I'll just have to hit better, unreachable volleys."
Borg thinks: 'How does he hit those shots? That spin, those angles--they just don't exist.'

Laver thinks: "how does he hit those passing shots that go straight down over the net?, and he runs down volleys like no one I've ever faced."

Borg thinks: "man, and I thought Connors could really hit hard. This guy's tough. If he's hitting all his shots, it's going to be tough. I may even start sweating today, for sure.."

borg number one
04-21-2011, 05:05 PM
Borg vs. McEnroe in Jan. 1980, at MSG ('79 Masters Cup YEC).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhbIcGwqk8s

Laver vs. Roche at the '69 AO (SF)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs

krosero
04-21-2011, 05:10 PM
Yup.

I can see Laver and Borg on clay after a fourth set changeover break, walking to their seats.

Rocket: "You're playing pretty well today Bjorn."

Fortress: "You too, Mr. Laver."

Rocket: "May the best man win."

Fortress: "Of course."

They sit down.
Rocket thinks: 'I can't tire him out. He's like a gazelle--he can run forever. I'll just have to hit better, unreachable volleys."
Borg thinks: 'How does he hit those shots? That spin, those angles--they just don't exist.'Borg wins the fifth set 70-68, and in the press conference he solemnly intones, "Mr. Laver could not handle my speed and return game today."

A few questions follow, and Borg ends with this: "Get me Rosewall."

borg number one
04-21-2011, 05:24 PM
Borg in the post match interview: I think in that first set he just played unbelievable and then in the second set, I started getting into the match, hitting better returns and then in that third set AGAIN he played unbelievable, then somehow I started playing a bit better in the fourth set, and somehow I won it. In the beginning of the fifth, I realized how great a champion he was when he was standing on the changeovers, just to test my fitness. Well, I was still fit, as I've trained very hard these past few months with Vitas and Vilas. I somehow won that fifth set, but he played just unbelievable in the fifth set, for sure.

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/78/61378-004-D769CEBC.jpg

gpt
04-21-2011, 05:38 PM
/\ /\ /\
thanks for posting borg number one

urban
04-21-2011, 09:38 PM
Going by matchups, i always thought, that aggressive returners like Connors or Agassi would give Laver's game the most fits. Laver was a bit flashy player, whose timing was essential. Aggressive returns would take away his timing to settle his inside baseline game. He could get into the danger of overhitting his serve and make double-faults. On the other hand, Borg could be troubled by lefthanders serve to his backhand. Mac excelled against Borg with his wide serve- backhand volley combo. Laver in his prime could do it the same way. His main problem in his last matches with Borg in the mid 70s, was his serving, which declined in his later years. He got too many breaks.
I also can see, that his matchups against Sampras or Federer would do quite well. His lefthanded serve would take away their advantages in harder serving. Both backhands are their weaker shots and not aggressive on the return. His best serve wide would go into that backhand side, and would give him time to set up his own aggressive allcourt game. Sampras for instance lost some vital matches against Leconte and Korda, who were similar types of players, but not on Laver's allround class. And Federer's backhand return on grass looks quite inept against Nadal's serve, which certainly isn't the most accomplished lefty serve.

kiki
04-21-2011, 11:58 PM
Laver would use much of his slice game to create openings to come up against Borg.Laver was a better grass courter and Borg a better clay courter, but a peak Borg would be a match up for Laver on grass and a peak Laver, a match up for Borg on clay.

hoodjem
04-23-2011, 07:46 AM
Laver thinks: "How does he hit those passing shots that go straight down over the net? And he runs down volleys like no one I've ever faced."

Borg thinks: "Man, and I thought Connors could really hit hard. This guy's tough. If he's hitting all his shots, it's going to be tough. I may even start sweating today, for sure. . . "
I like your version better.

kiki
04-30-2011, 02:20 PM
Laver fed off pace and so did Borg.Borgīs serve was just a bit better, but laverīs was a very good lefty serve.laverīs net game is one of the greatest ever, while Borg could be also dangerous at the net, with the wet grass helping his volleys.great, tough different passing shots from both.laver was lightening fast and had great stamina, but Borg was known as the Ice man for nothing... and their menthal strength was enormous.Borgīs strength was being more patient than anybody, Laverīs, being boldest than anybody....Borg groundies were more consistent, but Laver had more variety of shots...I could stay talking and talking but the only conclusion reached is, 1967 Laver vs 1980 Borg would be a helluva match, whenever, wherever.In 75 Laver was well over his peak and Borg hadnīt reached it yet, still, the magic was there ( they also played very interesting matches in 1974).

borg number one
04-30-2011, 02:35 PM
Laver fed off pace and so did Borg.Borgīs serve was just a bit better, but laverīs was a very good lefty serve.laverīs net game is one of the greatest ever, while Borg could be also dangerous at the net, with the wet grass helping his volleys.great, tough different passing shots from both.laver was lightening fast and had great stamina, but Borg was known as the Ice man for nothing... and their menthal strength was enormous.Borgīs strength was being more patient than anybody, Laverīs, being boldest than anybody....Borg groundies were more consistent, but Laver had more variety of shots...I could stay talking and talking but the only conclusion reached is, 1967 Laver vs 1980 Borg would be a helluva match, whenever, wherever.In 75 Laver was well over his peak and Borg hadnīt reached it yet, still, the magic was there ( they also played very interesting matches in 1974).

Yes, love the post Kiki, that's pretty much where I'm at too. What a matchup that would be.

kiki
04-30-2011, 02:37 PM
Yes, love the post Kiki, that's pretty much where I'm at too. What a matchup that would be.

Iīd also love Laver vs Connors ( for spectacular game) and Laver vs Mac ( for shotmaking ability)...as well as Borg vs Hoad ( for contrasting styles) and Borg vs Gonzales ( the perfect contrast of fluent S&V game vs the best counterpuncher ever)