PDA

View Full Version : Did Lendl dominate Becker


roysid
06-09-2009, 04:38 AM
A popular thought among everyone is that Lendl dominated his rivals. That's because his superior head to head record, being No. 1 most of the time etc.
That's what Pete Sampras regularly says.

But look closely, did Lendl dominate Becker?

The H2H is 11-10 in Lendl's favour. But a look at the Slams it tells
86' Wimby Final - Becker
88' Wimby SF - Becker
89' Wimby SF - Becker
89' US Final - Becker
91' AO Final - Becker
92' US 4th round - Lendl

Becker defeated him in 3 slam finals, 2 slam semis and lost only 1 4th round. Had he won those 5 matches, Lendl probably would go on to win 4 more Slams.

In Year end masters final, Lendl won '85 and '86 final while Becker won '88.

timnz
06-09-2009, 06:12 AM
Your last entry is wrong. Lendl won the 92 US Open encounter.

I think Becker was a better 'big match' player. However, he was not as good year-in year-out as Lendl ie no-where as consistent.

Rabbit
06-09-2009, 09:09 AM
I think you also have to consider the age difference. Lendl was a good 7 years older than Becker.

The fact that Lendl won the last 4 of their encounters pretty much sums up both their careers.

Lendl was consumed with a work ethic and very consistent.

Becker was not.

roysid
06-10-2009, 01:08 AM
Your last entry is wrong. Lendl won the 92 US Open encounter.

I think Becker was a better 'big match' player. However, he was not as good year-in year-out as Lendl ie no-where as consistent.
Sorry I corrected this.
U're right that Becker was not consistent. But the big matches do make a difference.

flying24
06-10-2009, 01:26 AM
I dont buy much into that overall slam head to head.

So Lendl lost 3 times to Becker on grass. yet Becker never gets far enough to play Lendl at the French on clay. If they played 3 times at the French instead Lendl almost certainly wins all 3 times. Highly unlikely Becker even comes as close as Lendl came vs Becker at Wimbledon. Lendl is punished there for being better on grass than Becker is on clay.

On hard courts Becker was nowhere near as consistent or strong overall as Lendl. It just happened the only times he got far enough to even play Lendl where some of the best hard court tournaments of his whole career. The 1991 meeting especialy was Lendl past his prime too. The 1989 U.S Open final was his most impressive win over Lendl ever no doubt.

The year end Masters is the biggest non slam event on Becker's best surface of carpet back then. Lendl leads Becker 3-1 overall there and 2-1 in finals.

Their overall head to head is 11-10 Lendl. Only 1 meeting on clay so if you take out their 1 meeting on clay (won by Lendl of course) it would be 10-10 even with 0 matches between them on clay. You look at their overall head to head they played 11 (just over half) of their matches on carpet, and another 4 on grass despite the obviously short grass court season. Only 5 on hard courts, despite all the hard courts events that were in existence even then, and as mentioned only 1 on clay. That about sums it up. Lendl was around at the end of every surface, including Becker's favorites (carpet) or Lendl's less favorite (grass). Becker wasnt good enough to consistently be around at the very end on clay, and even to a large degree on hard courts to play someone like Lendl.

One ironic thing though is despite the age difference their primes were arguably during the same time period. 1985 to 1989 for each was arguably their primes. Becker was an extremely early bloomer, while Lendl was a later bloomer than some.

On another note had it not been for the rain delay at Wimbledon 89 in the semis might Lendl and not Becker been 89 Wimbledon Champion? Especialy since Edberg was a virtual no show in the final.

OrangeOne
06-10-2009, 02:03 AM
^^Great post. The lack of clay meetings biases this H2H, just like some may say the lack of grass biases the Nadal-Fed H2H.

jimbo333
06-10-2009, 02:46 PM
^^Great post. The lack of clay meetings biases this H2H, just like some may say the lack of grass biases the Nadal-Fed H2H.

I agree completely:)

Datacipher
06-10-2009, 04:10 PM
I'm suprised you even think that the premise is possible, but apparently we have quite a few Lendl fanboys currently.

The feeling at the time, was just the opposite. That Lendl was the one being dominated. In the sense that he lost to Becker at the slams and it was VERY clear that he was psyched out by Becker. Becker wasn't always winning those matches through superior game but because Lendl, would get very tight playing Becker. He had trouble hitting out, serving well etc. The bottom line was that he was somewhat intimidated by Becker, something he was used to doing to other players. In that sense, one could still see the mentally weak Lendl of his early days.

Devilito
06-10-2009, 04:23 PM
Becker was not a bad clay court player. He had good groundstrokes. Lendl wouldn't have dominated him on clay IMO

Winners or Errors
06-10-2009, 08:39 PM
Becker was not a bad clay court player. He had good groundstrokes. Lendl wouldn't have dominated him on clay IMO

Ummm... Is this the same Boris Becker who won less than 65% of his matches on clay and won ZERO clay titles in his entire career? Are you saying he could hold his own with Ivan Lendl who won over 81% of his clay court matches and took home 28 clay titles in his career? Really? Really?

Devilito
06-10-2009, 09:12 PM
Ummm... Is this the same Boris Becker who won less than 65% of his matches on clay and won ZERO clay titles in his entire career? Are you saying he could hold his own with Ivan Lendl who won over 81% of his clay court matches and took home 28 clay titles in his career? Really? Really?

yeah really. I mean with your statistics and **** why even play the matches at all? If you actually played a sport you'd realize statistics mean nothing when the match begins. If you just watch Becker play then watch Lendl you’d realize Lendl would not dominate him on any surface. Close matches, Lendl winning? Sure. Dominate? No.

OrangeOne
06-10-2009, 11:16 PM
yeah really. I mean with your statistics and **** why even play the matches at all? If you actually played a sport you'd realize statistics mean nothing when the match begins. If you just watch Becker play then watch Lendl you’d realize Lendl would not dominate him on any surface. Close matches, Lendl winning? Sure. Dominate? No.

Becker made the FO semis 3 times in his career, on one of those times losing to renowned clay-court genius Stefan Edberg (:confused:).

Lendl won the event 3 times, and made the final another 2 times.

Statistics mean something when they represent a career's ability on a surface. We're not talking about one year of their careers here, we're talking about two complete careers. Lendl was an accomplished clay-courter, and arguably one of the best (certainly of his generation). Becker was a fast-court specialist who struggled on clay.

In fact, I'd go as far to say (and I'd be correct in the process) that Lendl was a much better Grass-court player than Becker was a clay-courter!

Winners or Errors
06-11-2009, 08:09 PM
yeah really. I mean with your statistics and **** why even play the matches at all? If you actually played a sport you'd realize statistics mean nothing when the match begins. If you just watch Becker play then watch Lendl you’d realize Lendl would not dominate him on any surface. Close matches, Lendl winning? Sure. Dominate? No.

Wow. Touchy. Don't like facts? Of course, since they only played on clay one time, in 1985, and Lendl won that match 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, there's little factual data. That said, the reason Becker and Lendl never played each other again is probably because Becker was not a very good clay courter and lost before he reached Lendl in the draw, being only marginally better than that renowned clay court genius Pete Sampras. He was simply not making it deep into clay court tournaments.

Being a big fan of pretty much all the top players of the 80s, I don't have a pony in this race. Though Becker was one of my favorite players, that doesn't stop me from calling a spade a spade. He was not a good clay courter. I suspect, just like Sampras with his love of quick points, he "lacked the patience to play on clay" (Agassi's words about Sampras, not mine).

It's amazing how clay is the achilles heel of so many top players. What is perhaps more amazing is that some top players, like Lendl, Borg, and Wilander, were able to translate their clay roots into quite nice records on the hardcourts and grass. I suspect Nadal is not far behind in doing so; hopefully, his knee holds out.

By the way, I agree that Lendl certainly did not dominate Becker. 11-10, with the H2H in grand slams almost entirely in Becker's favor demonstrate what a threat Becker was when he could boom-boom. Becker was a lot streakier player than Lendl, and I think his highest level (everywhere but on clay) was a tad higher than Lendl's, hence the grand slam H2H. I watched those matches. It wasn't Lendl choking. It was Becker playing solid tennis, IMHO.

Of course, Lendl would tell you that he was the least talented #1 player in history, and that he got there only through meticulous preparation. I don't think that's entirely true, but partly....

boris becker 1
06-15-2009, 06:03 PM
wouldnt say he was a bad clay court player

finals of german open, italina open, monte carlo. He just wasnt as good on clay as he was on carpet(the best ever on that surface) or on grass

theagassiman
06-15-2009, 06:42 PM
A popular thought among everyone is that Lendl dominated his rivals. That's because his superior head to head record, being No. 1 most of the time etc.
That's what Pete Sampras regularly says.

But look closely, did Lendl dominate Becker?

The H2H is 11-10 in Lendl's favour. But a look at the Slams it tells
86' Wimby Final - Becker
88' Wimby SF - Becker
89' Wimby SF - Becker
89' US Final - Becker
91' AO Final - Becker
92' US 4th round - Lendl

Becker defeated him in 3 slam finals, 2 slam semis and lost only 1 4th round. Had he won those 5 matches, Lendl probably would go on to win 4 more Slams.

In Year end masters final, Lendl won '85 and '86 final while Becker won '88.

Actually, Lendl lost the 1986 masters final to Becker.

CyBorg
06-15-2009, 06:46 PM
Actually, Lendl lost the 1986 masters final to Becker.

Lendl won.

BTURNER
06-15-2009, 08:56 PM
Becker: one of the best 1-2 punch masters in the business, whether it was a serve/volley or a return serve / pass combo. the power of each of these strokes was incredible. Almost all of it useless on clay against Lendl . Yes he could rally awhile, before hitting hit forcer or winner on a hard court or grass. But his forehand pales against the Lendl forehand on clay which is both potent and constant. Becker's backhand is not as steady, his shot selection more suspect and his serve gets returned deep consistently. As for stamina in a five setter on clay, Lendl has no tank. He is an oil field. Sorry Lendl wins 3/4 of the matches on a clay court.