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Mr Topspin
02-07-2006, 08:15 AM
I was talking with a few tennis buddies as we reviewed a few tennis matches. We came to the conclusion that just as you have instances where the outcome of a match may be presumed be won and lost on certain points being won or lost, the same can be to an extent be used to speculate about a particular player's carreer.

For example, in the Wimbledon final 2004 many argue that if a rain delay had not occured Roddick who was 1set up and leading 4-2 would have won. More recently at the the recent mens final at the OZ open many argue that the match was lost when Bagdatis failed to hold for 3-0 in the 2nd set, having won the 1st set. As bold as these speculations may be they are becoming the norm.

The same presumptive assessment can be used to determine a players's passage through tennis history. For example, Sampras stated that his loss to Edberg in the 92 US Open final was his moment of clarity and the catalyst for him to focus all his energies on being the best he could be. 10 years later Pete added 13 slams to his tally.

Lendl finally got the monkey off his back in RG in 1984 against Mcenroe and started to believe despite losing 5 prior finals and finsihed up with 8 slams and 1 more than he's then rival Mcenroe.

It appears to me that Federer's turning point happened at the Houston TMC. Federer claims that the catalyst for his upsurge took place at RG 2003, when he lost in the 1st round. But I believe that it was in his close defeat of Agassi in the RR stage of TMC Houston. Up untill then Fed had never beaten Agassi or Nalbandian and was 0 - 7 against both players he was also 2 - 3 against ferrerro and no one gave him a prayer in his group. But after that 1st win against Agassi in a closely contested match IMHO he started to really believe that he could impose his versatile game on seemingly impossible group. That win over AA IMHO propelled him to beat his nememsis, David Nalbandian and then defeat the equally difficult Ferrerro (2003 edition), who i might add in his defense was extremelly exhausted having played more tourney's than anyone else in 03 and perpetrated his demise in 04.

The resulting confidence of beating a very difficult group of players IMO sowed the seeds of confidence which we see flourishing over the past 2 years.

What are the other turning points in tennis hisory that others would like to discuss?

urban
02-07-2006, 08:37 AM
One of the most interesting matches in that context, is the Ashe-Connors match 1975 at Wimbledon. Before Connors looked like the best thing since seven-up, he was absolutely brilliant at that Wimbledon, playing much better than the year before (when he won), never lost a set, and blew away hard serving Roscoe Tanner in the semis. He seemed on the verge of dominating tennis for the next decade. But Ashe had figured him out, destroyed him in a sweet way 61 61, then lost control, but regained the initiative in the 4th. And he did more: he showed the world the links in Connors' armour, the low forehand and the serve. Every guy thereafter played to Connors' weaknesses, beginning with Orantes at USO and culminating in Borg, who profited the most from this turnaround.

vllockhart
02-07-2006, 08:44 AM
Venus Williams winning Wimbledon. Or rather the win not being a fluke and The Williams winning 5 out of 6 years. They have shone on tennis' most prolific stage.

Mr Topspin
02-07-2006, 08:51 AM
One of the most interesting matches in that context, is the Ashe-Connors match 1975 at Wimbledon. Before Connors looked like the best thing since seven-up, he was absolutely brilliant at that Wimbledon, playing much better than the year before (when he won), never lost a set, and blew away hard serving Roscoe Tanner in the semis. He seemed on the verge of dominating tennis for the next decade. But Ashe had figured him out, destroyed him in a sweet way 61 61, then lost control, but regained the initiative in the 4th. And he did more: he showed the world the links in Connors' armour, the low forehand and the serve. Every guy thereafter played to Connors' weaknesses, beginning with Orantes at USO and culminating in Borg, who profited the most from this turnaround.

Good post!

It seems however, Borg did not or could not implement a winning strategy against Connors at the US Open.

Rabbit
02-07-2006, 09:31 AM
Connors has said that Ashe had no strategy against him, he just fell into it for that match. It kinda makes you wonder since Ashe never turned in another great performance against Connors. And, record-wise, Connors was 5 - 1 against Ashe. Connors won the first 3, lost to Ashe at Wimbleon, and won their final two encounters.

I think the low forehand thing was blown out of proportion. Connors may have been weaker on that shot, but relative to the rest of the tour, he was still better on most groundstrokes, footwork, and positioning than the rest of the tour.

Vitas Gerulaitis was commentating on a Connors match once. Now Gerulaitis was the only guy who was friends with Connors, Borg, and McEnroe at the same time. He made an assessment regarding the difference between Connors and McEnroe. He said that many thought McEnroe was a genius because of his shot making ability and McEnroe had probably the best hands in tennis (ever). However, Connors was not held in that regard. But, opined Gerulaitis, the reason Connors didn't have to make those off balance, diving, unbelievable gets was Connors' footwork. Connors was never, unlike McEnroe, out of position. Connors was always in the prime spot to hit the ball. Why? He had the best court sense and positioning of anyone on the tour.

IMO, VG was dead on. Connors always was set and ready to hit the ball. His stroke was simple and direct. His approach to the game was another turning point in tennis because Connors was the fist step away from the serve and volley game to a brand of all court power tennis the likes of which the game had never seen. If you watch his matches against Rosewall in 74, or his Open win against Borg in 76, you'll see him hit balls every bit as hard as anyone who ever stepped on a court. Sadly, most of the folks on these boards who've seen Connors saw the crafty veteran version of him. That version of Connors used more tactical tennis than power tennis. In his youth, Connors was every bit a power player hitting the ball extremely hard off both wings. In his later years, he used the underspin lob to great effect, gave away sets to catch his breath, and worked the point much like Agassi does now. After the '74 season, I remember there was talk as to whether or not the T2000 should be banned from play because of the amount of power Connors could generate. The rest of the pros on tour basically all went to the T2000 at one point or another. None of them were able to control the ball like Connors though.

Orantes embarassed Connors in the finals of the claycourt in Indianapolis in 1977, 1 and 3. I still remember both commentators (Bud Collins was one) asking when the last time anyone had beaten Connors 6-1 (since 1974).

babbette
02-07-2006, 11:11 AM
Venus Williams winning Wimbledon. Or rather the win not being a fluke and The Williams winning 5 out of 6 years. They have shone on tennis' most prolific stage.
are you a williams fan?:confused:

VGP
02-07-2006, 11:28 AM
What about the invention of the oversize frame?

Or the introduction of the tie-breaker?

VolklVenom
02-07-2006, 11:33 AM
i would have to agree that Andre Agassi was Federer's nemesis and obsticle.
The look on his face when he plays Agassi speaks volumes.
He really grits his teeth.
Could be due to early defeats at the hands of Agassi at an early age (17), that sparked something inside him?

eric draven
02-07-2006, 11:38 AM
to me didn't always have to do with matches. So, in no particluar order:

Andre Agassi shaving his head, signaling he was finally going to take tennis seriously for an extended amount of time.

Jennifer Capriati being busted for drugs. She became a poster child to all over-bearing parents trying to raise a protoge.

Jimmy Connors run to the US Open semis at age 39. He cemented his status as a living legend.

Pete Sampras getting sick on the court during the Open in that legendary match against Correjta. Try to accuse Sampras of being casual on court after that.

Thomas Muster having his legs crushed and coming back to become #1 in the world. It showed what pure desire and hard work can do.

The image of Monica Seles after her stabbing by a deranged fan. It showed how truly cold sports can be and the reforms that took place to protect a player's ranking owe to that poor treatment of Seles.

The unmatched joy of Capriati when she won her first grand slam after making her comeback.

Just a few of the moments I remember when thinking about tennis over the last fifteen or twenty years.

byealmeens
02-07-2006, 12:28 PM
For me, the Ivanisevic win at Wimbledon was a big moment. Not only was it an amazing accomplishment and a fantastic match, it somehow made the tournament more "open" for me. After that year, it seemed that grass-court specialists could make a run there - even Mark Philippoussis made it to the final. Maybe things are different now with the dominance of Federer, but I still look at every years Wimbledon draw and wonder if guys like Ivo Karlovic will get enough momentum to do some damage....

VGP
02-07-2006, 12:51 PM
For me, the Ivanisevic win at Wimbledon was a big moment. Not only was it an amazing accomplishment and a fantastic match, it somehow made the tournament more "open" for me. After that year, it seemed that grass-court specialists could make a run there - even Mark Philippoussis made it to the final. Maybe things are different now with the dominance of Federer, but I still look at every years Wimbledon draw and wonder if guys like Ivo Karlovic will get enough momentum to do some damage....

I understand that was a great moment, but how is it a "turning point?"


When I think of turning points, I think of McEnroe-Borg in '81, or when Navratilova worked on her fitness to start to beat Evert, Becker winning Wimbledon in '85, or Chang winning Roland Garros in '89 giving Agassi, Courier, and Sampras the idea that they too could win slams....

galain
02-07-2006, 01:02 PM
I think Lendl's decision to hire a nutritionist and trainer to get him in to better shape than anyone else at the time. Martina did this also I believe. Both players set benchmark for fitness and physical preparation at the time and I think really expanded on the notion of what it means to be a tennis "professional".

Shabazza
02-07-2006, 01:26 PM
I understand that was a great moment, but how is it a "turning point?"


When I think of turning points, I think of McEnroe-Borg in '81, or when Navratilova worked on her fitness to start to beat Evert, Becker winning Wimbledon in '85, or Chang winning Roland Garros in '89 giving Agassi, Courier, and Sampras the idea that they too could win slams....
Ditto!

byealmeens
02-08-2006, 06:38 AM
I understand that was a great moment, but how is it a "turning point?"
Sometimes a particular result can be a turning point. I agree that this wasn't as major as some of the others mentioned, but this result proved to me that just about anyone did have a shot at a grand slam. In the age of grass-court dominance by Sampras, and now Federer, I still feel there is a chance for the veteran grass-courter. I think this result confirmed that "belief" for many such players on the tour, much like Agassi's success has perhaps convinced others to play longer. I don't know, maybe this is minor, but to me it hasn't seemed so....

Mr Topspin
02-08-2006, 07:39 AM
Further turning points.

In March 1997 the WTA landscape changed. A new girl took over from a decade dominated by the ferocity and power of Graf and Seles. The logical successor would have been Mary Pierce or Lindsay Davenport instead the WTA was turned upside down by a world no 1 with a school girl frame and cunning all court style; Martina Hingis was crowned. She was not the most powerful, or the most most strongest but a throwback to a time when skill and craft were the main tools to victory.

For a few years she maintained order over a stubborn tour. Then a new power emerged. A power not seen before, combined with athletic excellence and an unrelenting desire to conquer all that stood in their way; the Williams' era began. From that moment on (1999) Hingis could not cope with two new pretenders to her crown plus the resurgent Davenport and the reinvigorated Capriati. The Williams' era coincided with the demise of the renaissance play of hingis and ushered in a hungry, powerful generation of Russians.

Dedans Penthouse
02-08-2006, 12:23 PM
How about Richard Raskind playing and losing in the 1st round of the 1960 U.S. Open MEN'S Championships then having his unwanted and unloved wee-wee loped off (along with the "twins"), then going out to compete (and lose in the 1st round) as Renee Richards in 1977 U.S. Open WOMAN'S Championships and only AFTER HAVING HIS/HER CASE REQUIRED TO GO BEFORE A NEW YORK STATE COURT to determine "her" eligibility?!!!

Seriously (well, semi-seriously), think about it:

"Er, Judge....er, is it OK if 'Renee' plays the U.S. Open as a woman?"

LMAO!