Björn Borg great at AKAI nov 1982

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Borgforever, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Agree with most , but not all your points ..... Its a combination of the BH weakness and mental weakness vs nadal and not just one of them.

    @ the bold & underlined part: He almost did, except for dubai 2006, he won the 4 other matches , 2 at wimbledon and 2 at the TMC. Aren't you putting too much of focus on the dubai match ?

    He's shown mental weakness vs nadal too often but there have been occasions where's he's held on well ...

    Wimbledon 2007 final being the best of them all, saving 2 BPs twice in the final set .

    Miami 2005 - coming from being down 2 sets to love.

    nearly came from being down 2 sets to love in wimbledon 2008 as well .........

    2006 wimbledon final, federer took the 4th set rather easily as well ....The third set, nadal had 20 winners to 3 UEs and only won it in the TB.I wouldn't read too much into losing a set to someone playing at that level in a set ..
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Essentially we agree. I actually think a healthy Borg may be a bit better than 65% favorite but that doesn't matter. Connors is obviously one of the all time greats and would be a problem against anyone.

    I understand why you call Federer an enigma. I believe I know the answer but I don't think I will discuss it here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Carlo,

    I actually rank majors as very important but we must keep in mind how important won-lost percentages are and how they relate to how strong a player is. If Budge cannot totally dominate a weaker amateur field how can we conclude he is a GOAT candidate? Many players like Tilden, Kramer, Sedgman, Trabert totally dominated the amateur field, winning majors and almost never losing. Budge won majors but also lost somewhat frequently plus as with the others who dominated the amateurs, many of the top players like Vines, Perry, Nusslein and Tilden were not in the field when Budge won his amateur majors. I believe you don't rank Budge as a GOAT candidate anyway.

    Let's use the example of Jimmy Connors. In 1973 he was an extremely strong player but was beaten at Wimbledon and defeated in a close match with John Newcombe at the US Open. In retrospect if Connors defeated Newcombe I may have favored him to win the tournament even with Ken Rosewall waiting in the semifinal and Kodes in the final. One thing that Connors did better than John Newcombe in my opinion is that he rarely was upset by lesser players. In that way he was similar to Ken Rosewall, with whom he has been often compared to. Consistency is an important indicator of tennis strength.

    To state the obvious, if you have two players playing a field of similar strength, the player who wins 90% of the matches is probably stronger than the player who wins 80% of his matches, assuming both are healthy.

    Tilden and Gonzalez were both brilliant players and I believe either one has great credentials to be the GOAT. I often have them switching positions in where I rank them as you do. Both had better records in some areas than the other and it is hard to see what areas to value over the others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    He did have excellent records against both of them.

    Connors 6-1 vs. Rosewall
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=C044&oId=R075

    Connors 6-0 vs. Kodes
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=C044&oId=K049

    (Keeping in mind of course that the ATP website often is missing some matches in this time period.)
     
  5. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I must say i never looked it up. But i am really surprised that Rosewall beat Connors once, even in 1972. Interesting, that Connors went into their Wim final with a 0-1 deficit. I cannot remember, that someone commented on it at the time.
     
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In 1973, at the US Open Connors was great. I am of that opinion in watching him at the US Open that year. I am not sure if his level of play was much better in 1974 than it was at the US Open in 1973.

    So I would tend to favor Connors in a potential matchup with Rosewall at the 1973 US Open semi. Of course Rosewall was a year younger so we don't know and never will know.
     
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t think Borg was a better indoor player than Mac, who won more indoor titles than Borg, altough he certainly belonged to the top indoors...
     
  8. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Kiki, I wasn't making the general statement that "Borg was a better indoor player than McEnroe". I was referencing the 1980-1981 time period in particular which were the last years that Borg was competing full time on the Tour. Borg beat McEnroe at the Masters in both Jan. 1980 and Jan. 1981. He went 5-0 to win both of those events (YEC) against Connors, Lendl, and McEnroe. If you look back at the entire decade, and their careers in total, I would agree with you and say that McEnroe is the superior indoor player in terms of accomplishment. So, we really need to decide on a year, racquets, everything before I would pick a winner between the two. Suffice it to say that both could play great indoors. No question about that and on that I think we agree. Many people don't realize just how many indoor titles Borg won and that's just the "official" tally. He won 23 "official" indoor titles (among 64 total).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5a_dNrkUvo (Jan. 80 Masters SF)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9WAPuF7sW4&feature=related
    (Jan. 81 Masters, when Borg made the now famous "protest" of a call and McEnroe later threw a point to make a point to the crowd's surprise. Very interesting.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  9. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Basel 1980 final between Borg and Lendl was also great Indoor match
     
  10. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Absolutely. Lendl won that in five sets Basel final in 5 sets, but that was not nearly as big an occasion. The Masters (YEC) during those years (Jan. 80 and Jan. 81 Masters YEC tourneys) should be regarded as the 4th biggest tournament. Great tennis with the top players going at it in New York, with lots of prize money, T.V. coverage, and big crowds at Madison Square Garden. Borg never seemed to allow Lendl in the Jan. 1981 match at MSG, winning 6-4,6-2,6-2.
     
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed.AAMOF, in 1979, they both played many indoor matches: Borg beat Mac at Rotterdam,Richmond and Masters ( played in Jan 1980), while JMac beat Borg at New Orleans an Dallas (WCT Finals).

    Borg had match poitns to overcome at Richmond just like JMac had match points to overcome at N Orleans.

    Boy¡¡¡ those were great indoor maches¡¡

    in 1980, Borg beat Mac at Stockholm, but Mac had beaten him in the 1978 Stockholm tourney, when Borg was the first time he lost to a younger player ( untill Lendl beat Borg in the 1980 Basle Indoor tournament)
     
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah.Borg defeated Ivan easily in the January 1981 Masters final...but, listen, 6 month later Borg beat Ivan in 5 hard fought sets in the French Open final.It was close, even tough you´d never feel Borg was really going to lose that match...as I said many times, we were fortunate to see the great rivalry of Borg vs Mac, Borg vs Connors, Mac vs Connors, Mac vs Lendl, Lendl vs Connors...we just missed a big Borg vs Lendl rivalry ( both were pitted at 2 wins each)

    I just have my mouth in water thinking how the circle of Borg/Lendl/Connors/Mc would have come to and end with a consistent Borg vs Lendl rivalry

    DO YOU AGREE?
     
  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Borg leads Lendl 6-2 in head-to-head.

    Bjorn Borg 6-2 Ivan Lendl
    1979 Montreal SF: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (6-3, 6-1)
    1979 Davis Cup: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 7-5, 6-2)
    1980 Monte Carlo R16: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (6-2, 6-2)
    1980 Toronto F: Ivan Lendl def. Bjorn Borg (4-6, 5-4 ret.)
    1980 Basel F: Ivan Lendl def. Bjorn Borg (6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 0-6, 6-4)
    1981 Masters F: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (6-4, 6-2, 6-2)
    1981 French Open F: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1)
    1981 Stuttgart Outdoor F: Bjorn Borg def. Ivan Lendl (1-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4)

    Hardcourt: 2-1 to Lendl
    Clay: 4-0 to Borg
    Grass: 0-0
    Carpet: 1-0 to Borg
    In Slams: 1-0 to Borg
     
  14. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks for that info Mustard. Kiki, as to your question, I tend to think that it would have been yes perhaps Lendl and Borg, with McEnroe in the mix at the top, but Wilander and Connors would have made things really interesting. If Borg would have been able to play the majors without qualifying after reducing his schedule for a play, and gone to say a Donnay graphite frame developed for him, that would have made for some fascinating tennis. Yet, I cannot expect Borg to have given any more than he did for the sport of tennis. He made such an immense contributions to tennis and he in many ways paid dearly as well for immense sacrifices in many ways as well. To your point though, I do agree that Borg and Lendl could very well have been playing some great matches against each other at the majors and elsewhere.
     
  15. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    ...
    I agree with your answer and I didn’t accurately answer to your point previously because I forgot "wimb" in "wimb" 2007
    but in a certain way I maintain what I said “I don’t think that Rafa in 2007 was at his peak because in 2008 and 2010 he was clearly better.” When I claim this I consider these years in their globality and I don’t select a few given matches. The 2007 Wimby final was an exception in Nadal’s year 2007 because it was possibly Nadal’s best match by far that year.

    Yes on grass and on indoor courts Federer’s record do fulfil the expectations
    but on outdoor hard courts Fed’s record against Rafa in H2H matches is quite surprising and disappointing.

    As you say “Coming down from 2 sets down to love against a top 20 opponent is not that frequent an occurence.” but the Australian Open post was true : Federer has never achieved that if we consider the ATP ranking (Nadal was ATP #31, Berdych ATP #21, Haas ATP #34, and Falla ATP #60). However you could read in different posts of mine that I don’t consider ATP rankings very good, especially before the 2000’s, and in particular Nadal, Berdych and Haas were very probably Top20 players when they faced Federer in your cited matches. And besides I agree with your argument : you have selected Fed’s significant come-backs here.
     
  16. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    I agree that it’s a combination of mental and backhand weaknesses however I think that the technical weakness was too much stressed in this forum.
    On fast surfaces Federer is clearly better equipped : a much better serve, a better return by a slight margin, a clearly better volleyer nevertheless Nadal is clearly a threat not to say more : Nadal is clearly more confident or at least make it believe to Fed. In my mind from 2004-2007 Federer should have lost very few sets to Nadal on these surfaces : Fed was clearly impressed by Nadal in Miami 2005, Wimbledon 2007 (and even Wimby 2006).
    Federer is undoubtedly less confident and has less fortitude than his rival which explains some sets and matches lost which shouldn’t have.
    The 2011 Masters round robin meeting being an exception to the general trend. Perhaps this time Federer wasn’t afraid to face Nadal but only saw a “simple” opponent on the other side of the net and was fully concentrated on his own play and fully believing in his own potential : I didn’t watch the match (only the few important points on http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/...22/London-2011-Finals-Tuesday-Highlights.aspx from 01:19 to 02:47) so I can’t be adamant at all about these assumptions. I only rely on the comments which seem to state that Federer walked on water this day but I suspect that Nadal was clearly out of competitive form. Nadal hadn’t played any single match (ATP tour or even exhibition) in 5 and ½ weeks before facing a diminished (thigh injury) Fish and then Federer. Besides Rafa met Roger, in the least favourable conditions for him, considering the court surface given that it is his least preferred one whereas it is Federer’s most liked. However I recongnize that, for once, Federer fulfilled the expectations against Nadal : on a fast court the Swiss is technically better than Rafa and this time Fed won and without any problem. According to L’Équipe (the French daily sports newspaper) Federer would have said “J'ai bien tenu en revers”(rough translation = “My backhand was solid” but, as Federer explained,
    the court pace helped him a lot : “The quicker the court, the more I favour myself. Maybe Rafa didn't play his very best tonight. But on an indoor court, it all happens very quickly as we saw at the end.” (in http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2011/11/47/London-Finals-Tuesday-Federer-Nadal.aspx)
    and masked his usual backhand weakness.
    L’Équipe also claimed that Nadal’s shots didn’t spurt as usual suggesting that Rafa didn’t play well as suggested by Fed’s comment above. And you could note that Federer hit many backhands at hip or waist level and not at shoulder level as usual on slower surfaces when he meets Nadal so it was clearly easier for Federer this time.
    Federer would have also rated his performance against Rafa as one of his best ever along for instance his 2004 US Open final against Lleyton Hewitt
    .

    Off subject
    I watched the Masters (I hate the official name “World ATP Tour Finals”) final from start to end.
    I noticed that Federer has not played very well in this match because, after leading Tsonga 6-3 5-3, Roger suffered a clear let-down (faulting very often on his 1st delivery).
    So, if I believe L’Équipe’s comments which stated that Federer had been awesome throughout his Nadal match,
    I guess that this round-robin match has been Federer’s very best performance in the London event.
     
  17. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Thank you very much pc1.

    As written before my percentage would be 65%-35% for Borg
    and a likely score would be for instance 64 75 36 63 in favour of the Swede.
    I can only say likely given that in my opinion very peak Borg and very peak Connors probably never faced each other at the same time (for instance I don’t know if both players were at their very peak in the 1981 Wimby clash).

    I found two comments from Borg about his meeting with Connors, on October 3, 1982 in the Molson Light Challenge Cup, held at Montréal (Canada), on indoor Carpet, won by Jimbo 6-4 6-3 :

    a) The first one is the more evident because it confirmed Borg’s clear decline between 1981 and 1982 :
    “Borg ... said “I made too many errors and I was not really serving well. A year ago, I never made these kind of errors.”.
    See The Vancouver Sun, Oct. 4, 1982, http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...AAAIBAJ&pg=6295,1427281&dq=connors+borg&hl=en.

    b) the second comment (mixing a Borg comment with an appreciation of the journalist)was less evident but
    seemed to confirm that Connors was better on fast courts in 1982 than in 1981 :
    “Borg ... said Connors was playing with more confidence than ever . “He’s trying a lot of different things and he’s confident of making the shots,” said Borg. “Jimmy played well. He was hitting the ball very well from the backcourt.” Connors, now 30 and seemingly improving with age, attributed his steady success rate this season to his tournament schedule.
    See The Gazette (a newspaper from Montréal), Oct. 4, 1982, http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...AAAIBAJ&pg=2775,1758626&dq=connors+borg&hl=en.
    Of course as with any Borg’s comment one has to be careful because
    a) Borg has often been a gentleman and has often over-praised his opponent
    (as in the 78 USO final for instance when he claimed that even healthy he would have certainly lost which many doubt)
    b) even though he was sincere, his bad form then could have biased his opinion of Connors’s level that day.

    I would be very interested in your own percentage (“a bit better than 65%”), pc1, and your rough fantasized score between a healthy very peak Borg and a healthy very peak Connors.


    We simply don’t consider the same importance on that point.
    The problem with these won-lost percentages is that they aren’t weighed according to the importance of the events.
    Imagine a player A who won the 4 majors in a calendar year and lost all his other matches
    and a player B who won all his matches of the year except each 1st round match of the 4 Slams.
    There is a great probability that I will still consider A as better than B though B’s win-loss percentage will be considerably better.
    Yes I agree but I don’t consider it is as important as you do.
    No it isn’t as obvious as you claim because once again there are tourneys much more important than others and once again those percentages are not weighed so these stats are too rough in my opinion.
    Once again you can have a player who wins only 80% of his matches but in these 80% you can have for instance 28 matches won in Slams (and so a Grand Slam under his bet)
    and another player whom percentage is 90% but with only 0 win in 4 Slams.
     
  18. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    I think that one (among several) very important turning point in Connors’ career was his victory at the US Pro 1973. He beat three Top20 players (Smith, Richey, Ashe) of whom Smith was, with Nastase, the #1 in the world at the time, and Ashe possibly a Top5 player. Before this turning point, I would say from the 1971 Pacific Southwest Chps to Wimby 1973 Connors was a Top20 and at moments a Top10 player
    but since the 1973 US Pro, Connors has become one of the very top (Top5 if not better) players in the world : a few months later, at the 1973 South African Open, Okker, after his loss to Connors in the semis, would have stated that nobody had ever played against him as well as Connors did this very day (see Arthur Ashe’s “Portrait in Motion”). This means that even Laver, Ashe or Newcombe, who were Okker’s nemeses, had never played against Okker as well as Jimbo did in this match, at least in Okker’s opinion. It gives an indication of Connors’s level that day on his favourite surface (but Okker’s opinion can be very subjective).
    So yes since July 1973 Connors was a pretty good player. It is likely that at Wimbledon 1973 he was less good than in the next half of the year and in particular in the US Open (that in your quote you are referring to). It is probable that Metreveli wouldn’t have beaten Connors at Forest Hills whereas he did it at Wimby two months before.
    Concerning Rosewall, yes I agree with you that Connors in the second half of 1973 was already possibly better than Kenny at the same period. I haven’t seen Ken’s match against Newk but only read comments which stated that Rosewall looked his age (nearly 39 years old) and after all Connors apparently offered a better resistance to Newk than Kenny did (Connors lost 46 67 ... 67 while Rosewall lost 46 67 ... 36. These scores don’t prove that Connors would have beaten Rosewall (there are many examples, in tennis history, contradicting this assumption) in a hypothetical semifinal but are another indication of Connors’ level then but as you claim we will never know.
    However in the second half of 1973 only Nastase and Newcombe (and Okker ??) were better (had better records) than Connors.
    About Kodes I am more confused.
    Kodes was clearly an unconsistent player throughout his career : losing very often in early rounds of “minor” tournaments and having his better results in majors. He was consistent in the sense that you could be almost sure that he would lose very quickly in the tournament following one of his great performance in a Slam tourney.
    In 1970 he lost every clay tournaments he entered and besides to obscure players, the exceptions being a very depleted tournament in Saint-Petersburg (USA Florida) and Roland Garros where the only Top20 player he met and beat was Franulovic (the 32 contract pros weren’t allowed to play and Kodes was lucky not to face his nemesis among the independent pros, Richey, who offered Franulovic the match (Richey led Zeljko 46 64 61 and 51 but blew missed one or two match points in his semifinal encounter with Zeljko.
    After this success at Roland, Kodes lost in a Davis Cup tie on clay to Metreveli and then in the 1R of Wimby on grass to ... Metreveli again.
    In 1971 Kodes did almost nothing until the Italian Open (a true open tourney with all the great claycourters except Rosewall on holidays and Nastase who stupidly followed Tiriac in Madrid) where he overcame successively Stolle Roche, Newcombe, Okker (pretty good performances) before succumbing to Laver at his best. Then for once Kodes confirmed his temporary high level in the next tourney, by winning the French “semi-”open (16 WCT players didn’t enter). Then as usual Kodes did nothing until ... the USO, where he defeated 5 Top20 players (Newcombe, Barthès, Lutz, Froehling, Ashe). And once again he recorded a run of bad results (except in the Stockholm indoor tournament).
    1972 is perhaps an exception in Kodes’s best years because his results in majors weren’t better than his results in minors.
    In 1973 Kodes was a failure in the WCT circuit (not able to qualify for the play-offs in Dallas). He won the famous depleted Wimby though Nastase and Taylor were supposed to be better than the Czech at the time, and above all he made his superb run at the USO, beating Pilic and Smith and extending Newcombe to five sets while handicapped by a very short night between his semifinal and final matches. Then once again Kodes was an invisible ghost for 9 months until the 1974 WCT Finals : he was the last qualified for this event (#8 ) but, at Dallas, he beat Nastase, the #2 on the WCT regular circuit.
    To come back to a theoretical 1973 USO what would have happened in a fantasized meeting between Kodes and Connors.
    Yes it’s true that Kodes always lost to Connors in later years :
    1974 Wimbledon England Grass Q Connors, Jimmy 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-8, 6-3
    1974 US Open NY, U.S.A. Grass R16 Connors, Jimmy 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
    1975 Hampton VA, U.S.A. Carpet F Connors, Jimmy 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
    1975 New York NY, U.S.A. S Connors, Jimmy 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
    1976 US Open NY, U.S.A. Clay Q Connors, Jimmy 7-5, 6-3, 6-1
    and also the year before, 1972 Masters Barcelona Spain Carpet RR Connors, Jimmy 6-4, 6-3.
    About the 1972 Masters meeting I don’t remember the surface pace (it was an indoor carpet) but I don’t remember if it was “fast” or “slow” : one should ask to Toni Nadal (Rafa’s uncle and coach who became a Nastase’s huge fan when he watched Ilie winning in Barcelona),
    but Kodes has rarely been good on fast indoor courts while it was perhaps Connors’s favoured surface.
    About the post-1973 meetings one can say that Kodes was slightly over the hill
    however
    one can note that on grass at Wimby in 1974,
    when Kodes was supposed to be slightly less good than 10 months before at the ’73 USO,
    whereas Connors had perhaps slightly ... improved during this period
    (I fully agree with you that Connors’s improvement between 1973 and 1974 is not that great, far from that and I will develop later),
    Kodes was able to extend Connors to five sets.
    Even two months later? at the USO 1974, Kodes wasn’t ridiculous.
    You have to wait for 1976, to see a Jimbo’s clear and even crushing win over Kodes
    .
    So a ’73 USO meeting between both players
    when Kodes was at his very best (possibly slightly better than in Wimby 1974),
    and Connors was slightly less good than in ’74,
    could have been very very close.
    Though Connors was close to Newcombe in their quarterfinal match, Jimbo was never able to grab a single set while Kodes took 2 sets from Newcombe in the final during which the Czech played unreal tennis as Newk himself confessed in his 2002 autobiography.

    Had Kodes met Connors in any tournament except the USO (and on clay even har-tru) in the second half of 1973
    I would have bet on Connors without any doubt.
    But at this ’73 USO the odds were perhaps 50-50 between Kodes and Connors
    while I would have favoured Connors against Rosewall
    .

    Last remark about Kodes and Connors : though their games and strokes were quite different, they had similar strengths and weaknesses :
    both had a great fighting spirit, a great backhand, a great return
    both had a less good forehand than backhand, a good volley but not extraordinary
    and both had an average serve.
    So it’s not surprising that, in 1974-1975 when Connors was at his best and Kodes slightly over the hill,
    Connors beat Kodes in close matches.

    That Connors was more consistent than Newcombe is undoubted
    but Newk has never been consistent.
    In fact Newcombe was a “super-Kodes” :
    both were often average in minor events and clearly better in great events.
    The difference is that Newcombe reached several times the level of a winner of true open Slam tourneys, that is with most of the best players (victories at Wimby 1970 & 1971, USO 1973)
    while Kodes was a potential runner-up in these events (final at the ’73 USO and eventually I can also consider his ’71 USO final (though Laver, Rosewall, Emerson, Drysdale and Gimeno were absent which is not negligible but all the other greats were present)).
    In terms of consistency Newcombe’s best run was his 1974 WCT performances : he was the #1 on the regular WCT circuit from January to April (besides Newk also won the ATP tournament in Tucson) and in May he stayed the WCT #1 by winning the climax event, the play-offs.
    The first half of 1974 is an exception, in terms of consistency, in Newcombe’s career.
     
  19. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    I completely agree.

    In reality the Connors of 1974 has been clearly hugely overrated.

    That year Connors wasn’t as dominant as a simple interpretation of the facts could suggest.

    Many thought that he deserved the Grand Slam whereas in reality he was clearly dominant only during the summer (and eventually the autumn).
    Look chronlogically at what he’s done :
    First he won the Australian held from Dec. 26, 1973 to Jan. 1, 1974.
    Among the Top20 players only 3 of them entered in that Slam tourney : Newcombe, Connors, Borg.
    In other words, were missing 17 out of the world Top20 players : Nastase, Smith, Okker, Kodes, Laver, Rosewall, Ashe, Orantes, Gorman, Emerson, Riessen, Panatta, Pilic, Taylor, Fillol, Borg, Richey, Bertolucci.
    So not an impressive Connors win given that very depleted field for a so-called major event.
    Then Connors played the US Indoor circuit, managed by his agent William Riordan, with no other great player,
    except on two occasions (the US Open Indoor in Salisbury and the US National Indoor in Hampton ) where Nastase entered (in particular at Hampton Connors beat Nastase in the final).
    But the true dominant player during this period was Newcombe who, as said before, won the WCT circuit (with 8 of the Top10 players, Connors and Rosewall being the absentees), the ATP¨tourney, and the WCT Finals.
    Then the European clay spring season which Connors missed in part due to Chatrier (I guess that if the WTT feud hadn’t occurred, Connors would have perhaps, besides the French, also played the Italian in Rome) : Borg, as Italian then French champion, was the dominant player.
    Then the summer when Connors won the two greatest Slams (the British Open and the US Open), and the US Clay Court Champs as well, beating, on har-tru, the two French Open finalists in succession.
    In the autumn Connors won the PSW, the Dewar Cup (Billington & London), the South African Open but lost in San Francisco and above all refused to play the Grand Prix Masters.
    In my opinion the majors that year were in order Wimby, the USO, and more or less tied in third position, the WCT Finals and the French Open (I perfectly know that we disagree on this notion of major events)
    but in order to rate Connors and the other players in 1974
    I think that to claim that Connors won only 2 majors while Newcombe and Borg each won 1
    (instead of stating that Connors won 3 majors, Borg 1 and therefore Newcombe 0),
    relates better the true opposing strengths that year.
    Newcombe won 10 tournaments (inc. the WCT Finals) in 1974 and Borg 9 (7 ATP + 2 non-ATP events)
    so both players weren’t that far from Connors that year.
    So in terms of record Connors was not as dominant as his “Little Slam” suggests.
    In my opinion Connors was clearly the best player in the world in 1974 but didn’t rule the circuit as many thought and still think.

    Yes he did have a very good win-loss record but so many of his wins came from very depleted events.

    Now let’s have a look at the opposition.

    For me the great difference between 1973 and 1974
    is Nastase’s decline

    Nastase’s true peak career was from July 1972 to June 1973 when in particular in a 9-month interval he won the USO on grass and the French on clay, and many other tournaments on every possible surface.
    In 1974 Nastase was clearly less confident, which helped a lot Connors that year.
    To give an indication of Nastase’s low confidence that year : before playing WCT Monte Carlo 1974, Nastase asked Andras Adam-Stolpa (an ancient Davis Cup player for Hungary and then a pro teacher), for some help because, then, Nastase’s service was bad : his first serve percentage was low and he often double-faulted. Nasty didn’t recover his confidence before the autumn clay season when he won in succession the Melia Trophy in Madrid and the Spanish Open in Barcelona.

    If we consider 1973 and 1974 in their entirety, I don’t think that Newcombe declined in 1974 so Newk didn’t alter the strength of the opposition during these years :
    Newk was the #1 in the second half of 1973 and still the best in the first half of 1974.

    Smith’s case is different from Newcombe’s : Smith clearly declined in 1974 whereas previously, he had been, with Nastase, the world #1 in the first half of 1973.

    Though I don’t think Kodes was a very top player in 1973 (as Nastase, Newcombe and Smith) he was a player to greatly consider (as is 1973 US performance showed) while in 1974 he was a declining player.

    Rosewall is not easy to rate but it is possible that age was the cause of a very slight decline between 1973 and 1974.

    On the other hand,
    between 1973 and 1974, other players improved, mainly Borg and Vilas and their followers.
    Borg clearly improved though he still recorded many defeats in 1974
    and Vilas became a dominant force in the second half of the year.
    Besides both players made progress mostly on clay, and not on grass
    (with the exception of Vilas’s victory in the Grand Prix Masters at Kooyong on Australian grass)
    the surface where Connors established his 1974 domination.

    So I think that in 1973 the opposition was stronger than in 1974
    given that the declines of Nastase, Smith, Kodes, Rosewall were clearly greater in my opinion
    than Borg and Vilas’s (mostly on clay) improvements.

    So in conclusion
    in 1974
    a) Connors’s record was not as good as it suggests
    and b) the opposition was weaker than in the previous year.
    So given these statements I think that Connors’s level in 1974 was, very likely, ONLY slightly better than in the second half of 1973 and in particular at the ’73 USO
    Therefore I fully agree with you on that point

    though I don’t know if our shared conclusion comes from shared arguments.

    Yes, that’s the problem with both these great players.
     
  20. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello urban,
    perhaps they didn’t think it was an important fact given that almost two years later both players had evolved : one has declined while the other has improved. Besides, in these times you couldn’t find information in one click as today, so possibly only Kenny and Jimbo (and Segura ?) were aware of this 1972 result.
    Another info for you (and the others) :
    in 1974 the WTT matches
    a) confirmed the results in Slam tourneys (Connors defeating Rosewall defeating Newcombe)
    and b) Newcombe’s domination over Connors in head-to-head matches between 1973 and early 1975 :
    a) May 28, 1974, Pittsburgh, Rosewall d. Newcombe 64
    then July 11, 1974, Baltimore (5 days after their Wimby final), Connors d. Rosewall 75
    b) July 29, 1974, Houston, Newcombe d. Connors 76
    (Newk winner as previously in the 1973 USO and, as later, in the 1975 AO held in Melbourne on January 1, 1975
    (so still Dec. 31, 1974 in local hour in the USA).
     
  21. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Hello Carlo,
    nice informations on the WTT tour. Indeed, they seem significant because they seem to confirm the head to head structure of the 3 players, Newk, Rosewall, Connors in that period. Somewhat odd, that Ken and Jimbo met again so shortly after Wimbledon. Ken held it much closer at Baltimore than at Wim, and much closer than a few weeks later at Forest Hills. Agree about the ambivalences of Connors 1974. There were much rumors then in tennis circles, that Connors did avoid the stronger WCT tour, while Newcombe played himself tired in the first half of the year. Incidentily, Newk played better at the big events in 1973, when he didn't play WCT (he was of course awful at the European spring tournaments, losing to guys like Peter Szoeke). Also Ken played better at the majors in 1974, when he didn't play WCT.
    That imo makes Ashe's 1975 quite interesting, because he won WCT playoff at Dallas, had a very good season on the WCT tour, and nevertheless won Wimbledon (and did quite well later in the year at LA, and even on har tru wasn't that bad).
     
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.But, I don´t think tennis has ever been better than during the early 70´s, with a terrific fight and style diversity at the top: Laver,Rosewall,Newcombe,Ashe,Nastase,Smith,Kodes,Roche,Okker and Franulovic.

    Other great top ten were in the early 80´s: Borg,Mac,Connors,Lendl,Vilas,Gerulaitis,Tanner,Clerc,kriek and Noah and early 90´s with, in no particular order: Edberg,Becker,Sampras,Agassi,Courier,Bruguera,Chang,Stich,Ivanisevic and Rafter or Krajicek.

    Oh¡ early 60´s: Laver,Gonzales,Hoad,Rosewall,Emerson,Fraser,Gimeno,Santana,Trabert and ageeing Kramer?
     
  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I attended the 1982 Barcelona Exhibition with all top guys, bar Connors playing there.It surprised me how easy it was for well trained Mac or Mayer to kill the swede, specially since a month or two month before, Borg had dominated the Australian exhibitional circuit (Melbourne,Sidney and Perth) beating, day in, day out, Lendl,Mc Enroe and Gerulaitis.

    He clearly couldn´t compete with the top players in 1982, even if he could ocassionally beat them.

    Lendl-Borg would be the greatest clay court rivalry, better than Borg vs Wilander or Lendl vs Wilander, which was a great rivalry, but not so good on clay
     
  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If we talked about great quartets, that contributed to public passion for this game here is my list ( always a subjective criteria):

    1900-1920: Doherty L & R,Brookes,Wilding
    1920: Tilden and the 3 Mousketeers
    1930: Perry,Budge,Crawford and Vines
    1950: Kramer,Sedgman,Gonzales and Trabert (Patty and Drobny follow)
    1960: Laver,Rosewall,Hoad,Gonzales (Emmo and Santana follow)
    1970: Newcombe,Ashe,Nastase and Kodes (Smith and Rosewall behind)
    1980: Borg,Connors,Mac,Lendl (Vilas and Vitas behind)
    1990: Sampras,Agassi,Becker and Edberg (Courier and Rafter behind)
    2000: Kuerten,Hewitt,Safin and Sampras or Agassi (Ferrero and Agassi or Sampras behind)
    2010: Nadal,Federer,Del Po and Djokovic (Murray and Roddick behind)
     
  25. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    We'll agree to disagree about the bolded portion. It's not that he couldn't I would submit, but for many reasons, he chose not to. Also, I don't think that Borg and Lendl would have been just a clay rivalry. I think that Lendl, Borg, and McEnroe would have been top three, with guys like Wilander and Connors doing damage as well.
     
  26. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    We'll agree to disagree about the bolded portion. It's not that he couldn't I would submit, but for many reasons, he chose not to. He definitely needed a breather from tennis after a remarkable ascendency from the time he was about 15 at a very top level. I don't think that Borg and Lendl would have been just a clay rivalry. I think that Lendl, Borg, and McEnroe would have been top three, with guys like Wilander and Connors doing damage as well.
     
  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    To be honest, I thought Borg could overcome 6-8 month of semi-retirement, but he clearly couldn´t keep the gear.Not from a physichal point of view, but menthally you saw he was wide empty.

    Connors was the man that Borg couldn´t beat on exos ( from 1982), even if he pulled up some wins against Lendl,Mac and others
     
  28. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I agree that he was mentally burned out after 1981, no doubt. It was much more mental than physical. Look at what kind of shape he's in at this AKAI event in 1982 for example. He looks even stronger than he was in 1981 in some ways. Remember what was happening in 1981-1982 though with the WTC and ATP split. There was a lot of Tour disarray. I think that after fighting Tour Organizers for years as tennis was booming (with Borg, Connors, McEnroe being instrumental in the tennis boom), the fact that he realized that they really would make him qualify at places like the FO and Wimbledon in 1982-1983 was a huge factor in his decision. Even then though, I think he regretted the decision in many ways, but by the time he had realized that it was much too late. On the exhibition front, I'm not sure you can extrapolate a whole lot from exo losses to Connors while getting wins versus Lendl, McEnroe, etc. Would that have translated to the same results at the majors for example? Even if there was a problem with Connors only somehow, any player may have trouble versus certain players for some period of time. Connors was seemingly greatly pleased by Borg's departure in 1982. He saw an opening and he took it. Of course, we know Borg's record versus Connors from 1979-1981. I'm of the opinion that a break during 1982, with an open road to be able to play the majors without qualifying may have been just enough for Borg to decide that he would return to the Tour. Those negotiations were going on during 1982 and I think the Tour owed him at least wild cards into Wimbledon and the FO. Borg qualifying at those two tourney, are you kidding? Thanks Kiki.
     
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Of course, he should have been allowed to defend his FO title and his great prestige at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.I never understood that rule that can only exist because of the political fight that you very properly have detailled in your post.

    Exos were the only opportunity for Borg tot est himself against his old time rivals, he did pretty well but, to compete with them, he had to give much more than just an ocassional show up at the Slams.You could see a big difference.
     
  30. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks Kiki. I absolutely agree with you on all of the above Kiki. Borg would have definitely had to going "full bore" to regain his foothold in terms of practice and match play, but a slight adjustment relative to his past play/training was what he was contemplating through 1982. He was contemplating fewer "non-major" tourneys and a real focus on the FO, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.
     
  31. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Thanks Kiki. I absolutely agree with you on all of your post. Borg would have definitely had to going "full bore" to regain his foothold in terms of practice and match play, but a slight adjustment relative to his past play/training was what he was contemplating through 1982. He was contemplating fewer "non-major" tourneys and a real focus on the FO, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    One thing I couldn´t understand, at that time, was Borg didn´t enter a few WCT events, were there were no restrictions at all - and he certainly would be more than welcome-.

    As a matter of fact, Borg and Hunt were on the same shore, both fighting the stupid hegemonist attempts of the ITF ( which run the Slams and the Gran Prix ) led by Chartrier.

    Do you know why? after all, Hunt was all for free enterprise, isn´t it? and some WCT matches with, relatively low pressure on him, would habe kept Borg´s body, hand and mind in shape enough to wait for rules to change in 1983 or 1984.

    :)
     
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    BTW, Lendl entered 10 WCT events, including the Spring (Dallas) and Fall (Naples) finals ..and won them all.He certainly owned the tour.He also won a few more WCT events in 83...and then, it all blew off.
     
  34. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I'm not certain Kiki, but I really think Borg was most focused on continuing to try and win majors (US Open, Wimbledon, FO). That had become his big focus by 1981 already. Yet, imagine Borg doing that, while he watched his big rivals McEnroe, Connors (who took over #1 again in 1982 from McEnroe), Lendl, face off at the majors. I do like that idea though. If he had done that, imagine how the officials at Wimbledon and elsewhere would have looked as they insisted that Borg could not play in the main draw without qualifying? Back to this match in 1982, you see Borg playing some very good tennis against McEnroe, who should be considered one of the greatest indoor players ever. Recall that Borg took out McEnroe at the Masters too at NY's MSG in both Jan. 80 and Jan. 81, winning both of those YEC (5-0 vs. Lendl, Connors, and McEnroe combined during those two tourneys). That was considered by most to be the biggest proze (4th biggest tournament behind Wimbledon, the FO, and the US Open). Many don't realize just how great of an indoor player Borg was.
     
  35. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello,
    if I'm not mistaken Kramer played his last singles tournaments late in 1959 and therefore he didn't play at all singles in the 1960's.
     
  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Amazing set of wins, Borg was absolutely paramount in 1979-80, in the MSG he played his best tennis ever, in my opinion.Remember his matches with Connors and Mac? both, in 1979 and 1980 Masters.Some of the finest indoor tennis ever.

    The funny thing is that Borg´s first real success on tour, was the 1974 WCT Finals, where he destroyed seasoned champs like Okker and Kodes and lost to peak newcombe in 4 sets (Newc was a bad match up for him, anyway).After the match, when being presented with the winners trophy, Newc, such a great fella, said " He certainly is the best under 20 player in the world but, above it, he is so chick and sport...I´d like my son to be so chick as Bjorn is when he hest 18..." ( one day we should have a thread on Newcombe, one of the best players in the modern game and, certainly, one of the nicest and fittest sportsmen that I can think of).
     
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Could be... what a pitty he wasn´t 5 years younger...imagine Laver,Pancho,Rosewall,Kramer and Hoad near their peak ? the best top 5 that can be thought of ( altough I like the Budge,Perry,Tilden,Vines and Crawford group, too)
     
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Later 1950's did have peak Gonzalez, peak Hoad, near peak Rosewall, close to peak Segura, Sedgman, Trabert which was pretty awesome.
     
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Completely agreed.

    Other big ( 7) were 1971 Laver,Rosewall,Newk,Ashe,Nastase,Kodes and Smith.Tremendous race for nº 1 ( plus Okker,Gimeno and Roche in the backstage)

    in 1980: Borg,Connors,Mc Enroe,Lendl and Vilas (plus Gerulaitis and Tanner very close).All multiple slam winners
     
  40. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, I hadn't seen this. Look, Carlo, I think it's totally silly to accuse someone of snobbery or vanity for simply correcting the spelling of his name to its standard form. If Pancho G had changed his name to Alexander Magnus Braveheart, or something like that, you might have a small point. As it is, you have none. (The referrence to Ali vs Patterson is about when Patterson had refused to call Ali by his new name, and Ali kept punching him mercilessly and asking him "what's my name?" He did the same to Ernie Terrell)

    As I told you before, the notion that Gonzalez is more “noble” than Gonzales is just sheer nonsense. Gonzales is simply a variant misspelling that occurred by transcribing the name by ear (the pronunciation is the same; so if you are an immigrant somewhere, and they ask you to tell them your name, the person might write it down with an s at the end if he doesn't know how it's spelled). The standard spelling is Gonzalez, probably by 1000 to 1 or more.

    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Apellidos_más_comunes

    The above link lists the most common surnames in various Spanish-speaking countries. You can see that Gonzalez is the most frequent family name in at least 4 countries, and it's in the top 5 in most of them. And you will also see that Gonzales doesn’t even appear in any of these lists. Not surprisingly, because it's relatively uncommon (and it's uncommon because it's a misspelling). So, someone correcting his name to its standard spelling is supposed to be snobbish? Come on!

    Rank of Gonzalez among most frequent family names in various countries (from the link above)

    Argentina 1
    Chile 1
    Paraguay 1
    Venezuela 1
    Spain 3
    Colombia 3
    Mexico 4
    Costa Rica 4
    Peru 7
    El Salvador 9
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's funny how this thread isn't so much about Borg as about other discussions now. I actually enjoy it as long as the discussions are civil.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  42. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    The problem is that
    I didn't accuse Pancho of vanity for correcting his name to its standard form
    but because I thought
    (wrongly due to a comment I read somewhere and given my ignorance in Spanish language)
    that Gonzales considered his then name to be pejorative whereas it wasn't.

    So what I wrote wasn't silly.

    However apparently Gonzales's motivation wasn't a problem of misplaced pride as claimed in the article I read
    but as you suggest a simple correction of a wrong mispelling.

    Now I wrote both Gonzales or Gonzalez according to the circumstances given that
    his official name was Gonzales before circa 1966
    and Gonzalez since that date.

    So Gonzales beat Rosewall in the 1960 world pro tour
    whereas Rosewall beat Gonzalez in the March 1966 Madison Square Garden tournament.
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Carlo,

    Like I have written the Gonzalez family prefers you write their name with a z despite the date. So even if it's 1950, please use the z to respect their wishes.

    What can I say, it's your choice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  44. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Okay, Carlo. Don’t get upset. It’s clear to me now that the problem lies not with you but with the article you read being misguided on this issue in attributing the spelling change to vanity or snobbery or whatever. You may take some comfort in the knowledge that s/z (and b/v) are some of the most common misspellings in Spanish because they are pronounced the same in most places.

    I remember in one of the 77 Vilas thread polls you saying you intended to study the topic in some depth. It would be interesting to see your detailed views of that year since you obviously know a lot. No doubt from an attendance point of view the French was below Wimbledon and the USO. A good way to to start sorting things out is to see what its real status was in the overall mix of things. Two extreme lines of thought are easily detected here. Vilas defenders tend to refer simply to its status as a major without qualifications. Borg’s defenders often take the opposite route and indulge in offhand dismissal of that tournament to the basement, mainly because of the absence of Borg, Connors and Orantes without examination of the rest of the draw and apparently no consideration of its format requiring 7 rounds of best of 5matches.

    In another thread I calculated that the average ranking of the 10 highest ranked participants in the USO, Wimbledon and the French in 1977 were as follows:

    USO 5.5 (highest possible, since all top 10 ranked players were there)
    Wimbledon 7.2
    Roland Garros 10.5

    Similar calculations might be done with the best 15 or best 20 etc.

    An issue that seems to be systematically ignored is format. It seems to me that the 128-man, best of 5 format must be indicative of something, as only two or three tournaments had it. The difficulty of winning a tournament of those characteristics vs a 16-man draw with best of 3 matches is not at all trivial (if the density of draws is comparable). This must be so because the probability, over 7 rounds, of running into a player who is having a hot day or a hot tourament and can knock you out if you are having a so-so day, is so much higher. Crossing a 40-meter swamp you run a certain risk of being bit by a snake. The risk increases substantially if the length of the swamp goes up to 70 meters, even if the smaller swamp contains a few snakes of higher ferocity. So the topic of where exactly to place the FO in the overall arrangement is crucial, as are other issues like the 72 of 73 match wins interrupted only by the Nastase spaghetti strings and a sore wrist.
    (Tiriac, in an interview after the racquet was banned, said that Vilas had a lot of pain in his wrist and had been on antiinflamatories for 3 days. And apparently that’s why he quit (not because of the Nastase racquet). He also said some funny things about the racquet: that it gave tennis a “new dimension" and banning it was the wrong thing to do, and that this racquet in Vilas’ hands, with his spin, the ball would be "bouncing over the stands." He added that the racquet would be excellent for guys like Borg, Vilas and Solomon.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e0oBcgF5qw
     

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