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urban
05-29-2009, 11:09 PM
I know, that there are many Borg-fans on this forum, and my point could sound as a sakrileg to some, but it is real curiosity from my side. But anyway. I don't want to put Borg against some other greats, but more of an assesment of his abilities. My basis are my observations, when i saw Borg playing several times on the senior circuit, playing Connors, Mac or even Becker on all kinds of surfaces. If you saw some other greats like Mac, Laver, Rosewall, Nastase, Connors on the senior tour -some years ago they showed a series of senior matches of older players from Spain with the duo Maskell and Barrett -, you can see always some glimpses of their old form. I mean a dropshot here, a wonderful backhand there, some artistic stroke-production, some invention, soemthing that made you think, boy, the guy must have been really great. When i watched Borg, i saw quite nothing of this. He looked fit, he played good, with elan and will, but there was nothing great around him, no aura, no chrushing winners, no great weapons, not much esprit. In sharp contrast to someone like Mac, who always brought something special to the court even as a senior. Boris Becker, a big fan of the old Borg of the 70s, was a bit dissapointed or not overly impressed, when he played him end of the 80s in practise matches at Monaco.
That's of course the senior Borg. I saw him live a few times at his peak. And his shots had more depth and pace than it seemed on TV. His forehand was excellent, his passings deadly. Has he has lost all this since his ill-advised comeback in the late 80s? What made him that great? If not the stroke-production, was it foremost his body, his footwork, his mental power? Please discuss this phenomenon in a friendly way.

Borgforever
05-29-2009, 11:45 PM
Great post as usual Urban! :-) I'm pressed for time now and I like to answer at length but for now I'll be brief and leave room for others in the meantime...

I think you're dead right in all your observations, primarily that Björn was a mere shadow of his former self -- rarely really impressive -- actually just solid as a senior.

A direct contrast to his 1972-1981(1982) prime/peak, when as I you point out his body was his weapon -- his tremendous, almost freakish physique, such a greyhound, fast and marathon in one package elevating everything in his game. Foremost I would point out, as is with Mac and Pete and Lendl and others, if their serve was going like a axe just chippin' wood everything else clicked like a Swiss watch -- EL RELOJ SUIZO:

* Dominant net play
* Strong, dominant and powerful point-construction
* Confidence in duels
* Faster reaction time and agility in movement

Regarding Borg's greatness during his prime and his stunning body was his strong abs which could sustain his enormous energy expounded in his service (it took an enormous toll on Borg to serve at such percentages and with that strength) also his speed and swirly and deadly backhand was a stomach and arm-draining gamestyle...

Borg hasn't the stomach to smack it neither on the serve or the backhand in his senior life -- he would injure himself immediately. And his speed is, at best, fleeting nowadays. All his key game-building strengths decimated -- what's left. Resilience...?

Borg 1976-82 could really whack a winner like Laver or Lendl, bomb serves like Lendl, Gonzales and Pete and like some greats with his speed reach wonderful net-positions that enhanced his volley. His great agility produced stunners before that Mac more quite naturally -- out of amazing anticipation and pure economical ball-striking genius -- still pulls off to this day.

Becker has a fantastic technique on his serve. I've always thought Boris' serve is one of the most beautiful and perfect serves in the annals of great serves. I'll bet he will be able to slam a bomb almost like in his heydey even when he's 80. All that dramatic, wavy movement-energy in a curly swat movement reminding me of Tom hitting Jerry flat with a baseball bat.

Lendl's first bomb was also an all time nuclear-equalizer, great in clutch, Gonzales, Newk, Pete and Federer justly famous...

Just watched Borg vs Connors Wimby 1977 F and man does Jimmy play great but hot dang Borg makes unbelievable retrieving power-passingshots from impossible places (speed) and serves "boom-boom"-Becker-like (think Becker with wood, thunderous but maybe not so precise). The serve won him the title...

And his never say die...

Short answer, huh? :-)

pc1
05-30-2009, 04:16 AM
Great post as usual Urban! :-) I'm pressed for time now and I like to answer at length but for now I'll be brief and leave room for others in the meantime...

I think you're dead right in all your observations, primarily that Björn was a mere shadow of his former self -- rarely really impressive -- actually just solid as a senior.

A direct contrast to his 1972-1981(1982) prime/peak, when as I you point out his body was his weapon -- his tremendous, almost freakish physique, such a greyhound, fast and marathon in one package elevating everything in his game. Foremost I would point out, as is with Mac and Pete and Lendl and others, if their serve was going like a axe just chippin' wood everything else clicked like a Swiss watch -- EL RELOJ SUIZO:

* Dominant net play
* Strong, dominant and powerful point-construction
* Confidence in duels
* Faster reaction time and agility in movement

Regarding Borg's greatness during his prime and his stunning body was his strong abs which could sustain his enormous energy expounded in his service (it took an enormous toll on Borg to serve at such percentages and with that strength) also his speed and swirly and deadly backhand was a stomach and arm-draining gamestyle...

Borg hasn't the stomach to smack it neither on the serve or the backhand in his senior life -- he would injure himself immediately. And his speed is, at best, fleeting nowadays. All his key game-building strengths decimated -- what's left. Resilience...?

Borg 1976-82 could really whack a winner like Laver or Lendl, bomb serves like Lendl, Gonzales and Pete and like some greats with his speed reach wonderful net-positions that enhanced his volley. His great agility produced stunners before that Mac more quite naturally -- out of amazing anticipation and pure economical ball-striking genius -- still pulls off to this day.

Becker has a fantastic technique on his serve. I've always thought Boris' serve is one of the most beautiful and perfect serves in the annals of great serves. I'll bet he will be able to slam a bomb almost like in his heydey even when he's 80. All that dramatic, wavy movement-energy in a curly swat movement reminding me of Tom hitting Jerry flat with a baseball bat.

Lendl's first bomb was also an all time nuclear-equalizer, great in clutch, Gonzales, Newk, Pete and Federer justly famous...

Just watched Borg vs Connors Wimby 1977 F and man does Jimmy play great but hot dang Borg makes unbelievable retrieving power-passingshots from impossible places (speed) and serves "boom-boom"-Becker-like (think Becker with wood, thunderous but maybe not so precise). The serve won him the title...

And his never say die...

Short answer, huh? :-)

Urban,

Your thread and post was wonderful as was yours Borgforever. Actually these were the type of answers I was hoping for when I made the Laver-Borg thread. I messed up judging by the responses. Oh well.

Following Borgforever is like following the Beatles. It's an impossible task.:)

I'll try to add what little I can add.

Borg to me is the ultimate nightmare for an opponent, that is an opponent without a weakness. Arthur Ashe mentioned that Borg had no stroke weaknesses. He could play his usual baseline game if the opponent allowed him too and he was impossible to beat if you trade groundstrokes with him. I've read stories about players like Harold Solomon cramping in the first set trading groundstroke with Borg.

He could serve and volley if necessary and he could beat virtually anyone on grass with this style.

He was fast and he could reach virtually anything which was a major psychologically problem for players. They had to go for the big volley and big groundstroke and risk the possibility of making an error or Borg would probably win the point.

As Borgforever mentioned Borg had a great serve but what I was amazed about with Borg's serve was his ability to hit a service winner or ace on so many crucial points. I would guess it was similar to what Pancho Gonzalez could do under pressure. Borg was the best I've seen at serving under pressure.

Everyone talks about Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi's return but I would venture to say that Borg had about as good a return as anyone. Borg in 1978 won about 66% of his points played, which may be an Open Era record. If we guess that he held serve 90% of the time, a figure that would lead the ATP in many years, that would mean Borg would break serve about 42% of the time, which I believe would be a record. Borg had a excellent return off both sides.

People have operated under the impression over the years that Borg was a one dimensional baseline player. I believe this was far from the case. Borg could adapted to virtually any style of play unlike many player of today and the past.

The last thing I would like to mention is the presence that Borg had on the court. I know it cannot be measured but I experience this a bit in watching Borg over the years. In the 1976 U.S. Open, Borg was behind Jaime Fillol of Chile 5-2 in the third set. The crowd was all talking about the possible upset, yet as the same time I got the impression that very few thought Borg would lose. I heard a number of people mention out loud that Borg will pull it out or Borg will win. Now I know perhaps a lot of it had to do with the fact Borg was the favorite in the match but I felt a lot of it had to do with the feeling, even then, that Borg was a great pressure player. I would have to think that a lot of Borg's opponents felt the same way. That somehow, even though they are ahead, that Borg would eventually come from behind to defeat them. It had to be a major problem for Borg's opponents mentally.

krosero
05-30-2009, 07:42 AM
I know, that there are many Borg-fans on this forum, and my point could sound as a sakrileg to some, but it is real curiosity from my side. But anyway. I don't want to put Borg against some other greats, but more of an assesment of his abilities. My basis are my observations, when i saw Borg playing several times on the senior circuit, playing Connors, Mac or even Becker on all kinds of surfaces. If you saw some other greats like Mac, Laver, Rosewall, Nastase, Connors on the senior tour -some years ago they showed a series of senior matches of older players from Spain with the duo Maskell and Barrett -, you can see always some glimpses of their old form. I mean a dropshot here, a wonderful backhand there, some artistic stroke-production, some invention, soemthing that made you think, boy, the guy must have been really great. When i watched Borg, i saw quite nothing of this. He looked fit, he played good, with elan and will, but there was nothing great around him, no aura, no chrushing winners, no great weapons, not much esprit. In sharp contrast to someone like Mac, who always brought something special to the court even as a senior. Boris Becker, a big fan of the old Borg of the 70s, was a bit dissapointed or not overly impressed, when he played him end of the 80s in practise matches at Monaco.
That's of course the senior Borg. I saw him live a few times at his peak. And his shots had more depth and pace than it seemed on TV. His forehand was excellent, his passings deadly. Has he has lost all this since his ill-advised comeback in the late 80s? What made him that great? If not the stroke-production, was it foremost his body, his footwork, his mental power? Please discuss this phenomenon in a friendly way.Urban, in 1993 or '94 I caught a Seniors match that Borg lost to Connors in three sets, on Har-Tru. On TV, not in person. He was not that impressive, holding his own with Connors, but nothing really special or remarkable coming from him. But when he fell behind match point something happened, though it's not necessarily easy to identify. He started saving one match point after another with winning passing shots or volleys -- a lot of volleys, I remember. It might have gone eventually to half a dozen match points before he finally fell, and I was thinking, of course, what a great match, but I also said this to my brother when I described it: "Borg started doing all this stuff, the kind that must have made him great when he was on the tour." But I struggled a little bit trying to say more than that; I couldn't quite identify what was suddenly producing all those winners. At the time I'd seen very few of his old matches.

Now I would say that Borg can pull off a string of volley winners down match point for a couple of reasons. One was his mental strength, but I want to put it more specifically. Trabert once said that when Borg is down he starts going for more (a lot like Laver), starts taking chances. Borg always had consistency, and always will. What makes him dangerous is when he's either confident enough to add some risks, or he's got no other choice because he's down break point or match point.

Another reason is his speed, which of course he loses as he ages. Basically it's what Borgforever said above, that Borg could, "like some greats with his speed reach wonderful net-positions that enhanced his volley." That's what probably produced those volley winners against Connors. With his back to the wall, he was suddenly covering the court better, and he could pick off passing shots and pull off surprising winners -- and they came to me as a shock, given his reputation as a baseliner -- because his agility allowed him to intercept so well, to get in the perfect position. If you're not in good position, a great volley technique (I mean from the waist up) will not help; if you're in the perfect position, you only need adequately correct technique (from the waist up) to do what you need to do with the ball, to put it away.

It seemed a little bit like magic to me, back in '93, how the winners suddenly started coming from someone's racquet. Now I think I can see specific causes, first and foremost how he got his racquet into perfect position, with speed, footwork, and reflexes. Of course that's true for any great, but Borg was such a great mover, that I think you can see a real contrast when he retired and his speed started to fall off. He remained fast, but he was no longer able to put his racquet in that "perfect" place that can produce stunning winners -- except in fleeting moments like in that match against Connors. Once his speed declined even a little, he'd make it to perfectly adequate positions, but no longer that sweet spot, if we can call it that.

I love your posts, by the way, always full of honest observations and searching questions.

CyBorg
05-30-2009, 04:44 PM
I agree with most points made so far.

I think another reason may be Borg's old school style. His strokes seemed more suited for wood and the kinds of string tensions they used in his time.

Now everyone can hit with insane topspin. But in the days of woodies and metal racquets not everyone could. So when Borg generated that massive spin it was really special.

I agree about movement. Borg was an effortless mover and was like a wall because of this. It wasn't so much the fact that he hit hard - it was the fact that he was never out of position and thus seldom off balance. He'd catch up to the ball and while in balance hit it back with precise placement. Losing a set or even half a step changes everything.

Borg's pattented backhand is also missing. Probably another necessary adjustment to contemporary technology. A real shame.

I posted some links to a 1998 seniors match between Connors and Borg in the video thread. Borg looked better then than he does now. But you can tell that his mental game wasn't there. It's strange seeing Borg not having that extra bit of fight in him late in a match. A complete reverse from those great years of his.

I'm wondering if Borg abused his body a lot after the initial retirement, in the 1980s. There were many rumours, but I won't bother mentioning them. It's no secret that his lifestyle got a bit more wild.

CyBorg
05-30-2009, 04:46 PM
I just saw William Klein's documentary "The French" about the 1981 Roland Garros.

After the semifinal match against Borg, Pecci remarked that Borg was "a martian" - referring to the incredible fitness and agility of the Swede.

mental midget
05-30-2009, 05:28 PM
everything came from his speed--better positioning meant more balance and control, which translated into ridiculous defense and consistency. of course this strategy brings endurance into question, but he . . . solved for that.

that he missed less than everyone meant you had to play low percentage tennis to beat him, and so it became a bit like trying to beat the house at the casino; you might do it, but you probably won't, and the longer you stay, the worse your 'quick strike' odds become.

the physical parallels drawn between nadal and borg are obvious, but maybe even more similar are the philosophical underpinnings of their respective games, and the position into which they inevitably force their opponents.

urban
06-02-2009, 08:53 AM
Thanks for the very reasonable answers. I noticed, too, like Krosero, that one of the better strokes of the senior Borg was indeed the volley, although he hit it a bit too flat, without much underspin. Also the equipment argument by Cyborg is plausible. In my view, the senior Borg had even reduced the heavy topspin in his groundies. His strokes seemed more flat now, but lacked the dangerous spin of his heyday.

CyBorg
06-02-2009, 09:07 AM
Those who've read the recently posted Ivan Lendl interview may also apply some of the things he said there about aging.

I was really curious about that bit where Lendl says that when he aged what went was his agility - the fact that he lost just half a step, while aspects like power, serve didn't get worse at all (actually improved).

Borg was really all about the footwork. We can point to some of his other assets, but I think it pretty much all derived from the feet. He was fast, but also very well balanced, agile and quick.

After not playing competitively for about a decade, he definitely lost probably even more than half a step. And there went his game.

Conversely, look at someone like Sampras. We saw him win that 2002 US Open, but his game is so different because he could compensate for his declining agility so well. On fast surfaces in particular. His serve didn't get any worse, while his volleys were still solid. He was still an elite thinker with excellent anticipation skills.

Due to Pete's serve and volley skills he could expect to win a lot of freebie points. This meant that even if he wasn't getting the return back effectively, he could still expect to stay close with opponent. You even watch the guy now, particularly in those exo with Roger and he is definitely a nightmare to play against because he's hard to break. Powerful s&vers just seem to age better. Pancho was another guy who did as well.

Borg, conversely, wasn't the kind of guy who would get freebie points off his serve. Watching him in senior matches, what really hurt him was his inability to hold serve. His returning actually wasn't terrible. But he was missing with the first serve and his second one wasn't cutting the mustard.

While look at McEnroe and he has that finely angled serve and the beautiful volleys. You would expect him to hold serve with that.

PrinceMoron
06-02-2009, 09:31 AM
Why was Borg so good? Single minded enough to hit a ball against a garage wall for hours and hours and hours and hours, enough to make Nadal want to give up and go home.

McEnroe often points out Borg's incredible movement. Maybe something to do with his talent at ice hockey, or maybe the 2 sports have nothing in common, but Borg was so talented he could play 2 completely different sports.

Any famous ice hockey players out there who could play tennis to a decent level? I have played tennis with lots of ex professional footballers, and they were all terrible.

hoodjem
06-02-2009, 09:40 AM
Speed, consistency, imperturbability, topspin on both wings, very good serve.

1-handed-backhand
06-02-2009, 01:31 PM
winning the US OPEN

o wait

(just a joke, don't get er knickers in a twist)

viduka0101
06-02-2009, 02:35 PM
winning the US OPEN

o wait

(just a joke, don't get er knickers in a twist)
why dont you go away tennis-hero?

Federer's cat
06-02-2009, 03:44 PM
Just the fact that he won so many French Opens and Wimbledons by stringing his racquets at 80 lbs is good enough for me to understand.

Lefty78
06-02-2009, 06:47 PM
I agree with most points made so far.

I think another reason may be Borg's old school style. His strokes seemed more suited for wood and the kinds of string tensions they used in his time.


Agree with the wood comment, but the string tension I'm not so sure about. Borg played with extra reinforced frames (probably the 1st pj's) so that he could string at 80# !!! This was quite extreme at the time, and actually has more in common with players like Sampras who strung natural gut very tightly than from his own time.

Lefty78
06-02-2009, 06:55 PM
Any famous ice hockey players out there who could play tennis to a decent level? I have played tennis with lots of ex professional footballers, and they were all terrible.

My buddy's father was a college All-American, and briefly played with the Maple Leafs. He was a very solid tennis player and all around athlete. Not famous though. :)

CyBorg
06-02-2009, 07:18 PM
Agree with the wood comment, but the string tension I'm not so sure about. Borg played with extra reinforced frames (probably the 1st pj's) so that he could string at 80# !!! This was quite extreme at the time, and actually has more in common with players like Sampras who strung natural gut very tightly than from his own time.

Some of the racquet experts here probably know a bit more about this than I do, but we can all agree that Borg's racquets were definitely not recreational-player-friendly.

charliefedererer
06-02-2009, 08:04 PM
Nadal is the current era's closest equivalent to Borg.
There has been no one in between.

Tshooter
06-02-2009, 08:31 PM
"this phenomenon"

You mean age? There just isn't much correlation between how someone plays in the seniors and how good they were in their prime. It's a simple as that.

I saw Borg play Gomez a some years back during an Exo in NYC and there was nothing too impressive about his game. I think he lost.

I also saw him many times during his prime and he was one of the all time greats. What made him great ? Great athlete, great movement, amazing forehand, great return of serve, very solid in every other department. Barring the occasional mishit he could rally until his opponent passed out. His serve developed into a weapon over the years.

Combine the athleticism, court sense, movement and the strokes with tremendous mental toughness and you get a great player.

But why do I think I'm not stating anything you don't already know ? If your intent was to get a bunch of posts talking about how great Borg was I'm sure you'll succeed.

urban
06-03-2009, 09:56 AM
Now, i think there is a big correlation between players at their prime and in their senior play. Surely, they have lost a step and many players win as seniors on fitness alone. But on many greats you see clearly glimpses of their talent, in stroke prduction, in court sense, in some invention. On nobody i saw such a great hiatus beteween prime and senior play as on Borg.

Tshooter
06-03-2009, 11:33 AM
"Now, i think there is a big correlation between players at their prime and in their senior play."

We'll obviously in Borg's case there isn't. At least as far as what you and I have witnessed.

I suspect Safin will blow up like a balloon after he retires. Everyone is different. If you're trying to measure a players level as a touring pro by looking at them play senior tennis, it doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. :shock:

urban
06-03-2009, 10:44 PM
No i am not measuring a senior player to anyone. I simply ask, what is left and which strength is still noticable. Borg hasn't balloned, he looks still quite fit, in contrast to Becker and others. But something (strenght, power, spirit?) has left him during his 10 years absence since 1981.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-04-2009, 02:44 AM
Following Borgforever is like following the Beatles. It's an impossible task.:)

The Beatles themselves followed Chuck Berry (Lennon), Little Richard (McCartney), Larry Williams (Lennon), Carl Perkins (Harrison or Lennon), British Music Hall (McCartney), Country Music (Starr), Indian music (Harrison), Arthur Alexander (Lennon), etc ...:)

Sure Borg wasn't just a baseliner.
Krosero or someone else recalled that Björn followed 100% (or close to) of his 1st serves to the net in his great Wimby matches.
Now unfortunately players are all, even Federer, and except some low ranked players as Mikaël Llodra, baseliners.

About your example of Fillol, sure Borg made a great comeback as he was able to do almost every time however Jaime wasn't a great player, just a good player who was at the bottom of the Top20 in 1973, 1975 & 1977. Not a monster that Chilean.

One last thing : the probable main reason why Nadal lost Roland that year is not that he was physically or mentally tired (and he was) or that Söderling played great (and he did) but that the 2009 Nadal's forehand on clay is not effective on high balls : it's possibly a technical (and not mental or physical) failure.

Patrick Moratoglu (the man who owns and manages a tennis camp at Grignon, a few miles from where I'm living, near Paris, and who trained there Baghdatis a few years ago) felt since the very beginning of Garros 2009 that Nadal wasn't at his best in particular on the forehand.
L'Équipe, the French sports paper, lent him some videos and photos of Nadal in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
These are very clear (in L'Équipe are published one photo in 2007 and another one in 2009) and let Moratoglu see where Nadal's weakness was that year.
Nadal's 2009 preparation is very lower and shorter than his 2007 or 2008 one when he used to began his stroke loop much higher and then got a very better follow-through and power. You can clearly see that in 2009 Nadal began his stroke at knee's or hip's height and so the backswing is very shorter while in 2007 or 2008 his arm was very higher and the preparation very longer. So last week Nadal was really annoyed by high balls on his forehand (and Söderling exploited it to the full) while it wasn't the case in the previous French champs.
Last year or in 2007 Nadal could also do his attacking "uncrossed" (I don't remember the English term : the opposite of crossed) forehand with superb angles while he didn't (and possibly couldn't) in May 2009. That year his forehand was mean and not a weapon at Roland as years before. In 2009 his attacking play was really less good than in previous years at "La Porte d'Auteuil". And a Nadal who doesn't effectively attack isn't a unbeatable player though he is still a superb defensive player.

Bye (my real comeback in that forum is not for today).

pc1
06-04-2009, 03:28 AM
About your example of Fillol, sure Borg made a great comeback as he was able to do almost every time however Jaime wasn't a great player, just a good player who was at the bottom of the Top20 in 1973, 1975 & 1977. Not a monster that Chilean.

I didn't say Filol was, my friend. I was just using that match as an example of how people and perhaps players too were affected by the feeling that Borg was capable of winning even when far behind. I felt the crowd was of that opinion that even when Borg was down 5-2 in the fifth that he would still win. Some have mentioned that Borg would have lost some Wimbledon matches if not for the fact they realized they were playing Borg.

krosero
06-04-2009, 06:32 AM
I hardly ever watch senior tours, but do we ever see Wilander displaying flashes of his old form?

pc1
06-04-2009, 07:13 AM
I hardly ever watch senior tours, but do we ever see Wilander displaying flashes of his old form?

I saw a couple of minutes of Wilander against Courier the other day on the Tennis Channel and he looked okay. I saw a couple of flashes of his old form.

I shut off the television so I don't know who won that match.

Borg is so different from his former form. I'm very surprised how different his backhand is nowadays to what it used to be.

muddlehead
06-04-2009, 08:25 AM
might not have been mentioned in this thread... borg was god to 90% of us oldtimers. his court presence, along with his playing style, made him the most popular player ever. I'm a season ticket holder in other sports, and, bjorn remains my favorite all time athlete. when you played him, you also played against a crowd. he kept his head down, played quickly, seldom, if ever, made eye contact with you. definition of cool.

Arafel
06-04-2009, 08:43 AM
Part of it also was the mystique. He never lost his cool. He was implacable. Evert was nicknamed the Ice Maiden, but she was a fountain of emotion compared to Borg. Combine that with his uncanny ability to win five set matches; he went 24-4 in five set matches, and had a 14 match five set win streak before McEnroe beat him at the 80 US Open. Borg also had an 89% winning percentage at Slams, higher than any player ever, and only two players ever beat him in Slam finals, Connors and McEnroe.

When I think of Borg, I think of Star Trek: Resistance is futile.

I never liked him as a player either, because Connors and McEnroe were my faves.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-04-2009, 10:14 PM
I didn't say Filol was, my friend. I was just using that match as an example of how people and perhaps players too were affected by the feeling that Borg was capable of winning even when far behind. I felt the crowd was of that opinion that even when Borg was down 5-2 in the fifth that he would still win. Some have mentioned that Borg would have lost some Wimbledon matches if not for the fact they realized they were playing Borg.

Oh I know you didn't say that Fillol was (a great player).
However whenever I saw Borg live I was sure that he had lost a match only when the last point had been won by his opponent and that the referee had said « game, set and match "the opponent" ». You never could bury Björn before he was "dead". As long as he had points to play he had a "reasonable" (as opposed to "very unlikely") chance to win in the end : this was also the case for the very other greats.

pc1
06-05-2009, 04:56 AM
Oh I know you didn't say that Fillol was (a great player).
However whenever I saw Borg live I was sure that he had lost a match only when the last point had been won by his opponent and that the referee had said « game, set and match "the opponent" ». You never could bury Björn before he was "dead". As long as he had points to play he had a "reasonable" (as opposed to "very unlikely") chance to win in the end : this was also the case for the very other greats.

Incidentally I realized I made a slight error in my previous post. I wrote that Borg was down 5-2 in the fifth when it was actually the third and deciding set at the US Open.

I'd be curious to what the crowd at the 1981 Wimbledon semi-final thought when Borg was down two sets to Connors. I know my friends, when they first heard the news thought Borg would still win, however we were not there. I would like to know the vibe of the crowd who was there.

Moose Malloy
06-05-2009, 12:08 PM
I'd be curious to what the crowd at the 1981 Wimbledon semi-final thought when Borg was down two sets to Connors. I know my friends, when they first heard the news thought Borg would still win, however we were not there. I would like to know the vibe of the crowd who was there.

I'm pretty sure Dedans Penthouse was there(& posted it about it)

rod99
06-06-2009, 03:56 PM
borg said himself that he played a "young person's game". so of course that type of game isn't as effective as he got older.

PrinceMoron
06-09-2009, 02:16 PM
Now, i think there is a big correlation between players at their prime and in their senior play. Surely, they have lost a step and many players win as seniors on fitness alone. But on many greats you see clearly glimpses of their talent, in stroke prduction, in court sense, in some invention. On nobody i saw such a great hiatus beteween prime and senior play as on Borg.

Chris Wilkinson hit with borg when he was making his "comeback", and borg couldn't even get close to him. Wilks was just outside the top 100 at his best. Interestingly he is now cleaning up on the seniors tour - he never used to hit big, just never missed, and now that is paying dividends. No pace to lose.

Devilito
06-10-2009, 03:28 PM
borg said himself that he played a "young person's game". so of course that type of game isn't as effective as he got older.

sounds like Nadal

soyizgood
06-10-2009, 04:03 PM
Why was Borg so good? Single minded enough to hit a ball against a garage wall for hours and hours and hours and hours, enough to make Nadal want to give up and go home.

McEnroe often points out Borg's incredible movement. Maybe something to do with his talent at ice hockey, or maybe the 2 sports have nothing in common, but Borg was so talented he could play 2 completely different sports.

Any famous ice hockey players out there who could play tennis to a decent level? I have played tennis with lots of ex professional footballers, and they were all terrible.

Azarenka's career got started when she played a pickup tennis match with a NHL hockey player in Belarus. The guy was so impressed by her that he sponsored her early career and got her trained in the US. So yes you can have a hockey player that's good at tennis...:)

paolo2143
06-17-2009, 10:25 AM
there were several factors that made borg so good in his prime and most of them were related to his physical attributes and mental strength rather than natural ability or talent unlike mcenroe.If you watch some of borg's old matches on you tube such as pepsi grand slam clash with connors or wimbledon matches with mcenroe or french open v lendl ,vilas,pecci and gerualitis what stands out is his amazing speed and agility arround the court,his stamina as he never even seemed to draw breath,his incredible ability to win the big points and the fact that compared to thers he made so few unforced errors during rallies and finally he had an aura about him that i don't think even sampras or federer even had.


There is no doubt in my mind that connors,mcenroe and some othere had much more natural talent and purer shots but borg more than compensated for this with his other attributes.I agree watching him in the seniors is like watching a diffrent player he is totally unrecognisable as the player he once was maybe due to not having as much natural ability as some others,most of the physical attributes no longer being as important or helpful and also having taken such a long break from tennis for nearly 10 years at one point in time, wheras a much more naturally gifted player like mcenroe has still been able to play to a decent standard.

Tennis Dunce
06-17-2009, 11:19 AM
I wonder how prime Borg would move with today's shoe technologies considering he moved so well with the shoes from BITD.

Scary.