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View Full Version : Illie Nastase, how talanted was he?


Tenny
05-04-2005, 07:11 PM
I don't like his on court antics but many say he was a very talented player. What was his strength and weakness? What's his biggest achievement? Did you like him? Was he a SVer?

West Coast Ace
05-04-2005, 07:51 PM
Like most players of his era, he could hit all the shots. He did SV on grass and came to the net on short balls. Good hands and touch.

Unfortunately IMHO his biggest achievement was getting away with all the childishness and not getting DQ'd - I feel he squandered his talent and should have won a lot more.

My Nasty Story: '93 French Open - it's crowded in the food court/shopping area - very slow walking - I hear this 'koo koo, koo koo' and here comes Nasty pushing his way through the crowd. And I was shocked when I saw him - there was a lot more of 'him' - he must have weighed about 240 lbs.

Jet Rink
05-04-2005, 07:53 PM
He wasn't a pure S&Ver. I suppose Nasty's style would be better categorized as an attacking all-court style. Man, what a shotmaker.

Aside from all the behavioural crap, the guy could hang with anybody and match styles pretty much across the board as a tactical weapon. Great hands. Good speed and size which allowed for great court coverage and a real flair for the dramatic.

I would say he was certainly in Mac's class as far as an artistic game.

If you get a chance to see tape on the guy, I highly recommend it.

Jet

wildbill88AA
05-04-2005, 08:39 PM
i think he was number 1 in 1973. had all the shots, a magician. clown prince of tennis. nastase/connors doubles team(won wimbledon), now that was a linesman worst nightmare.

Marius_Hancu
05-05-2005, 03:16 AM
i think he was number 1 in 1973.

Yes, the first #1 on the computer.

Nastase, JMac, Federer. Great shotmakers.

Marius_Hancu
05-05-2005, 03:19 AM
This is what NoBadMojo said in another thread:
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for me Nastase was the most magical guy to watch play tennis ever...and nobody really even comes close. an artist with an infinite pallet of shots, great mover, surprisingly big server if he wanted to be, elegant strokes, toyed with his opponent when he volleyed (some say to intentionally prolong the point), and could be hilarious at times as well as being a real jerk..<which is far better than Jmac IMO who could only manage jerk>
---------

Rabbit
05-05-2005, 04:24 AM
Nastase often referred to Pancho Gonzalez as his "little father". Gonzalez in return had great respect for Nastase's abilities. I think much of Nastase's behavior was emulating Gonzalez who didn't mind saying what was on his mind albeit in a more controlled and pleasant (?) manner.

Nastase wasn't a pure serve/volley player. He had a tremendous first serve, as good as anyone who's played the game. His serve was just overwhelming. His volleys were as good as McEnroe although different. McEnroe hit more angles while Nastase at times seemed to want to play cat/mouse with his opponent. One time during Wimbledon, his opponent served and came to net. Nastase's reply was a drop shot. I still remember the BBC commentator chuckling and saying that "Nastase was the only man in the world who would drop shot the net man....and win the point".

IMO, Nastase's greatest weapon was his anticipation. He seemed to know the court better than his opponent and where the ball was going. His court speed and reach were also unbelievable. Nastase was the first man to routinely hit topspin lobs off both wings and often on the dead run. The player Nastase said bothered him the most was Stan Smith. Why? Because none of Nastase's antics had any impact on Smith at all, he completely ignored them. This confounded Nastase.

Nastase let the crazy side of him take hold more and more. The year he got to the Wimbledon finals and lost to Borg (76?), he made a promise before the tournament. He said he would be on his best behavior. It was then that everyone saw how good he could really be. He was focused and played unbelievable tennis. Unfortunately for Nastase fans, he ran into the only 5-time consecutive winner in Open tennis history. If memory serves correctly, neither man had lost a set in the tournament until the finals. Nastase also played very well on clay, winning the Italian and French back to back. His greatest achievemnt was probably his record at the Masters. Until recently, he had won the Masters more than anyone.

For the record, I bought new and still own an Adidas Haillet.

bamboo
05-05-2005, 05:28 AM
I don't like his on court antics but many say he was a very talented player. What was his strength and weakness? What's his biggest achievement? Did you like him? Was he a SVer?
He played possibly the greatest single match ever - at the Masters Final in Stockholm 1975, he beat Borg 2, 2 and 1 and Borg was playing well - just a magician with all the spells working for Nasty that day.

andfor
05-05-2005, 05:46 AM
Some folks here have mentioned his anticipation as an asset and to add to that he had tremendous pure foot speed. His game was full of talent but his emotions usually kept him from achieving more than he did.

Marius_Hancu
05-05-2005, 07:20 AM
He played possibly the greatest single match ever - at the Masters Final in Stockholm 1975, he beat Borg 2, 2 and 1 and Borg was playing well - just a magician with all the spells working for Nasty that day.

Another great match to have (not sure from where) would be the 1972 Master's final in Barcelona against Stan Smith, a 5-setter.

During that year, Smith had won Wimbledon and the Davis Cup final in Bucharest (beating Nastase in both).

Nastase replied by winning USO (against Ashe in the final) and the above Master's final, in a prelude to his 1973 as #1 and his FO win.

JRoss
05-05-2005, 09:22 AM
In terms of talent and style, he was very much like Federer. Mentally, he was very much like Safin. In terms of bad behavior, he wrote the book, and passed it on to Connors and McEnroe.

dirtballer
05-05-2005, 09:40 AM
I remember Nastasi used to love to hit drop volleys at the net even when he knew his opponent could reach the shot. He felt he had quick enough hands to intercept any reply his opponent could make. I also remember he loved to hit a wrist flick topspin backhand which just took perfect timing to hit. He was an artist and when his attitude was good he was very enjoyable to watch. However, as many have already noted, his attitude could get out of control and his matches could turn ugly.

Jet Rink
05-05-2005, 10:06 AM
There's a great story about Nasty coming out to play dubs with Ashe (geesh - top pros played consistent dubs... what a concept!) and wearing blackface and Ashe laughing harder than anyone.

From Richard Evans' "Nasty,":

... it had been conveniently forgotten that he (Nastase) had played doubles with Ashe less than a year before on the U.S. summer circuit, and on that occasion the two players' racial differences had been the subject of much hilarity.

The funniest incident had occurred at Louisville... Ilie could not resist exploiting to the utmost the fact that he was playing with "Negroni" (Ashe). So, finding a couple of willing accomplices in Ismail El Shafei and the voluble Austrian prankster, Hans Kary, Ilie sent them off in search of something with which he could blacken his face. Eventually they produced a weird mixture of charcoal and cream and did a thorough make-up job on the Romanian just before his doubles. When Nastase, looking like an athletic Al Jolson, ran out to join Ashe the crowd collapsed in hysterics and, as usual, no one was quicker to see the joke than Arthur..."

People forget the humorous side of Nasty and forget his humour and warmth. He was a pretty ebullient guy on most occassions and his pranks usually were not malicious.

I can't even remember a story about the current crop of players even hanging out. Too bad for tennis. Too many entourages, most likely.

Jet

Tenny
05-05-2005, 10:46 AM
Thanks a lot, it's very helpful. Being compared to Fed really tells something. Have any of you seen these matches? Are they good?

1. Smith vs. Nastase, 72 Wimby
2. Nastase vs. Connors 72 Maters

edge
05-05-2005, 11:24 AM
Extremely talented, had very strong wrists so he could change the direction of his shots at the last minute. He was so frustrated playing the relentless Borg in the W final that he lost his composure and started in with his antics. It was all downhill from there. If he has a disciplined mind, he may have been the GOAT.

Kevin Patrick
05-05-2005, 11:33 AM
Tenny,
I've seen both those matches.
Nastase absolutely destroys Connors. Its indoors & the pace seems very fast even though its 1972. His serve had quite a bit of pop. Picture quality isn't the greatest, but I didn't mind.
Picture quality is great on that Smith Nastase match though. Pretty exciting match as well. Nastase complains about his string tension throughout the first set.

Marius_Hancu
05-05-2005, 01:51 PM
The player Nastase said bothered him the most was Stan Smith. Why? Because none of Nastase's antics had any impact on Smith at all, he completely ignored them. This confounded Nastase.

Well, let's be fair to Stan, he was tall and extremely athletic. A great player in his own, but not so flashy or flexible as Nastase.

One of the most beautifully muscled ever. Great reach. With all these qualities, he was bound to create troubles to anyone.

There's a nice portrait of him at:
----------
Allen Fox
Playing the Greats

Rod Laver
Roy Emerson
Arthur Ashe
Stan Smith
Panco Gonzales
Manuel Santana
Pancho Segura
Chuck McKinley
-----------
at:
http://www.tennisplayer.net

Marius_Hancu
05-05-2005, 01:54 PM
Nastase absolutely destroys Connors. Its indoors & the pace seems very fast even though its 1972. His serve had quite a bit of pop. Picture quality isn't the greatest, but I didn't mind.

You should see the final in that 1972 Barcelona Masters with Stan Smith, a fantastic 5-setter. Not sure where available. I saw it in Europe some time ago.

lefty10spro
05-05-2005, 02:43 PM
I watched Nasty play 19 yr old Pat Cash at Flushing Meadows in 84. He lost because he was pushing 40 and slow, but could still serve a ton!! He did his classic - throw his shoe at the lineman who calls a foot-fault - hilarious!

snowpuppy
05-05-2005, 03:14 PM
People forget the humorous side of Nasty and forget his humour and warmth. He was a pretty ebullient guy on most occassions and his pranks usually were not malicious.

I can't even remember a story about the current crop of players even hanging out. Too bad for tennis. Too many entourages, most likely.

Jet

Agreed. Reading McEnroe's book you will see that him, vitas, and borg use to hang out all the time and were a bunch of party animals. And yes, perhaps top players played more doubles back then. In fact Mac probably holds the most combined single and double titles in tennis history. I am not too sure about this but I think on one occasion when Mac was playing Nastase, Nastase pretty much imploded on court. Funny thing is after the match he when up to Mac and as like "So you want to get some dinner?"

Jet Rink
05-05-2005, 07:13 PM
Agreed. Reading McEnroe's book you will see that him, vitas, and borg use to hang out all the time and were a bunch of party animals. And yes, perhaps top players played more doubles back then. In fact Mac probably holds the most combined single and double titles in tennis history. I am not too sure about this but I think on one occasion when Mac was playing Nastase, Nastase pretty much imploded on court. Funny thing is after the match he when up to Mac and as like "So you want to get some dinner?"

That's right. It was the infamous night match at the USO in '79 or '80, if I'm not mistaken. Amazing to see Mac almost speechless throughout. But Nasty was definitely on the downside by then.

Jet

Steve Huff
05-05-2005, 09:27 PM
I don't think anyone's mentioned it, but Nastase and Connors teamed up to win a Grand Slam doubles I think. I read a story about Nastase once that said his hand/eye coordination was so good that he often changed the direction of the ball, not by changing his stance, but adjusting how early or late he hit the ball. The last match I remember was in mixed doubles. The female opponent gave him or his partner a hard time. He got a short lob and hit an overhead right at the girl on the other side. I thought he'd killed her for a moment. I thought the guy on the other side was going to come after Nastase.

NoBadMojo
05-06-2005, 08:05 AM
Hi Steve..i remember that match! i was there. the girl was Joanne ?????..what was her last name? he went right at her with an overhead and was particularly cruel to her for some reason. Nasty could be quite cruel but also be really funny, and he really could do anything he wanted to with the ball...saw him come to the match with an entourage of women clinging to him and he was wearing maybe a pint of cologne. some really hlarious stuff, but dropping the 'N' Bomb on Arthur Ashe was not one of his classier moments. but he sure could do anything with the ball his imagination would allow him to, and he had a huge imagination..he could hit shots some of the other pros prob couldnt even think of let alone execute

Kaptain Karl
05-06-2005, 08:19 AM
Illie was amazingly gifted. My second-favorite "I was there" tennis story is about Nasty. I'll go search for the link....

<edit> Got it. See Post #16 here. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=32188&page=2) </edit>

- KK

Marius_Hancu
05-06-2005, 08:46 AM
I don't think anyone's mentioned it, but Nastase and Connors teamed up to win a Grand Slam doubles I think.

Yes, he was playing the entertainer/clown many times, but he got the job done a great number of times:

SINGLES CAREER TITLES (52)
DOUBLES CAREER TITLES (45)

-------------
Laureus World Sports Awards - ILIE NASTASE

http://www.worldsportacademy.net/academy/members/members.php?id=27

During the peak of his tennis career, Nastase also won three Grand Slam men's doubles titles: the French Open with fellow-Romanian Ion Tiriac in 1970, Wimbledon with Jimmy Connors in 1973 and the US Open, again with Connors, in 1975.
----------

Aykhan Mammadov
05-06-2005, 01:51 PM
To post No 1.

He was US Open champion in 72 and FO in 73 and got Masters Cup in 75.

I also watched his match at Wimbledon final in 1972 against Smith. Nothing special, slow speed, stupidiest mistakes, very sad and not interesting matches. At least at that match Illie and Smith both played not better than me ( and I'm an amateur), if not to tell worser. He took care about his stylish hairs more than about the game.

Tenny
05-06-2005, 01:58 PM
Picture quality is great on that Smith Nastase match though. Pretty exciting match as well. Nastase complains about his string tension throughout the first set.

Aykhan,
Maybe 'speed' wasn't the factor that made the match exciting?

Aykhan Mammadov
05-06-2005, 02:14 PM
Tenny, opinions may vary. That match is very sad and was not interesting for me at all. Nastase played at that match worser than me if I were there at that final. Yes, speed is not only property which makes a match exciting but this match lacks everything.

Marius_Hancu
05-06-2005, 02:23 PM
Tenny, opinions may vary. That match is very sad and was not interesting for me at all. Nastase played at that match worser than me if I were there at that final. Yes, speed is not only property which makes a match exciting but this match lacks everything.

The majority of commentators thought it one of the best W finals ever. You are just an amateur indeed.

Tennis312
05-06-2005, 02:25 PM
Hi Steve..i remember that match! i was there. the girl was Joanne ?????..what was her last name?

Joanne Russell maybe?

DashaandSafin
05-06-2005, 02:27 PM
Oh aykan you are so good at tennis right? Better than Natase i bet. Nastase sucks compared to you oh god of tennis aykan.

Jet Rink
05-06-2005, 04:20 PM
Tenny, opinions may vary. That match is very sad and was not interesting for me at all. Nastase played at that match worser than me if I were there at that final. Yes, speed is not only property which makes a match exciting but this match lacks everything.

This was one of the top finals ever. You've got to be kidding.

Jet

Datacipher
05-06-2005, 04:40 PM
The majority of commentators thought it one of the best W finals ever. You are just an amateur indeed.


I'm sure Nastase and Smith are glad you and other 40 something's who've been playing for 3 years are sticking to playing imaginary pro tournaments.

You are right Marius, Smith was great in his own right. I think people overlook him because of his textbook, basic, simple strokes. He did "OK" with them though!

javier sergio
10-19-2006, 11:46 AM
I don't like his on court antics but many say he was a very talented player. What was his strength and weakness? What's his biggest achievement? Did you like him? Was he a SVer?

Judge for yourself : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFowIe4mEKs