Borg Burnout reason ?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by joe sch, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I posted this thread in the classic rackets section yesterday but it received not responses. Do any of you historians believe that part of the reason Bjorn decided to retire was he did not want to transition to the graphite era ?

    One of the great whatifs is what if Bjorn had not retired but transitioned to graphite like Johnny Mac did with the famous dunlop max 200g ? Would he have won many more slam championships and possibly set the bar higher for Sampras and Federer ?

    Oh well, did not happen, as Bjorn retired rather than transition to the graphite era. Donnay had other plans and would have loved for Bjorn to transition to the Graphite Borg Pro. Its a beautiful stick. Too bad its not now as famous as the dunlop max 200g and Prostaff 6.0. Could have been if only Bjorn did not retire. Bjorn did attempt a comeback after a few years of retirement but he still could not adapt to the graphite era and new playing styles.

    Here is a look at what Bjorn could have used to win some more slam championships:

    http://s920.photobucket.com/albums/ad46/woodtennis/tennis/rackets/donnay_borg_pro/graphite borg pro/
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
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  2. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    I have never found a Borg Pro. What does it play like? I would find it hard to not to respect a players resistance to giving up wood.
     
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  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Cool pics! The open throat racquet looks like a replica of the 200G. Although the technology was probably different. BTW, I used a 200G for a few years. GREAT STICK! It was very soft for a graphite racquet. Not that different from wood except for the head size.

    Anyway, I don't think the transition to graphite had anything to do with Borg's retirement. I think it was burnout pure and simple, and (as I understand it), what he perceived as disrespect when he wanted to continue playing majors without playing full time and keeping his ranking up and was denied.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
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  4. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Never saw such an argument regarding the graphite change, Joe. By the way: The burnout-syndrom was quite common for top athletes around 1980. I remember that Ray Leonard had a similar problem. Maybe the mental stress and media pressure in those early years of total professionalism took too much out of athletes then.
     
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  5. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    i don't think it has as much to do with equipment as it has to do with his desire dropping off significantly after 1981. maybe after he won the fifth wimbledon and the sixth french open, he figured he did all he needed to do. sort of like michael jordan after the bulls won for the 3rd time and again for the 6th time.

    but it is true that when he tried to make a comeback, he couldn't seem to get along with the new equipment. this is a little strange to me since borg has been credited as one of the pioneers of the modern topspin-oriented power game. you would think that he would do well with the graphite sticks, but no.

    also, i've been thnking about the switch to graphite what with so many people proposing a return to wood rackets so that serve-and-volley tennis would return. but in truth, it was the serve and volleyers like mcenroe and navratilova who made the switch to graphite earlier than their baseliner rivals, namely borg and evert. although connors did make a switch to metal first before graphite and lendl adapted the graphite frames advantages to innovate the power-baseline game.
     
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  6. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Bjorn's hunger and commitment to the game started to wane, his mental focus started to crack. Once that single-mindedness started to go, it was the end of the line at the top level. More mental than physical. McEnroe pushing him off the no.1 spot had something to do with it too, in my opinion. I do wish Borg had been allowed to enter the Slams in 1982 having come to some arrangement with the authorities and being allowed to play less tournaments. Bjorn was stubborn too. I don't think he would have done well, maybe it was for the best.
     
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  7. precision2b

    precision2b Semi-Pro

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    No, 2 words Johnny Mac:lol::lol::lol:
     
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  8. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Equipment had nothing to do with it - this is a guy who for 24hrs a day for 6 or 7 years ate, slept and breathed tennis. His whole daily schedule was planned and maintained by Bergelin so that the ONLY thing BB had to think about was stepping on court and winning.

    And yes the issue with the scheduling and the minimum tournaments was a huge issue. At that point Borg was wanting to only play the majors and as many exos as he could. The whole thing had started a few years before but really came to a head in 1983 - add to that McEnroe and the pressure he was bringing just got to Borg. And for his return in 1983 that was a joke and very badly handled - very little prep - he thought he could just show up at Monte Carlo, he got whipped by Henri Leconte twice in fact in his final tournaments (MC in 83 and Stuttgart in 84). Didnt see Borg again until the even nuttier 91 comeback.
     
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  9. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I think this is not true. When Wilander won the French in 82', an interviewer asked him what it was like to have beaten all those seeded players en route to the title, and he mentioned it was great but on the other hand, he hadn't even won a set the past couple of weeks from his practice partner. Want to guess whom he was training with?
     
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  10. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I agree that Bjorns burnout was mostly related the scheduling and partly Mac. I also find it ironic that Bjorn seem like the ideal guy to make the graphite switch and take advantage of the extra power to boost his spinning game. It is very difficult to make a major change like that especially at a later point in your career after being soo successful with wood. Many of the players who originally went metal returned to wood.
     
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  11. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Probably not but it did not help that he Mac was starting to get an more of an edge on Bjorn and he had switched to the max 200g. Your a player and you know that when you lose to someone with newer "improved" technology, it has to cause some concern especially since many were advising Bjorn to make the transition. I agree that the comebacks were not very well planned out.
     
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  12. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Just burnout from knowing nothing but tennis from such a young age, I think it made him pretty normal to realize what he was doing had to end.
     
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  13. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I always thought Borg stopped playing well before Mac switched to the 200g.
     
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  14. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    the ones sold to the public play just like any other wood racquet but the ones that borg used were much different because he had them strung at 80 lbs :shock:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=233288
     
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  15. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    "he did not want to transition to the graphite era ?"

    No.
     
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  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Borg had disputes with the tennis authorities over how many official tournaments he should play, which is why he only played Monte Carlo and exhibitions in 1982.

    It was thought that Borg would be back full-time on the tour for 1983, but during the January 1983 Masters, Borg announced that he wouldn't be returning to tennis full-time. Like in 1982, Borg played Monte Carlo and exhibitions in 1983, and Stuttgart Outdoor and exhibitions in 1984.

    He then walked away from the sport, only to return full-time in 1991 at the age of 34 and still using a wooden racquet when he returned at 1991 Monte Carlo against Jordi Arrese, and he had an 80 year old Welsh coach named Ron Thatcher rather than Lennart Bergelin. Arrese won easily, and it became very clear just how much the sport had progressed in terms of technology in the previous 10 years.

    What I don't get, and will never get, is why so many people believe these myths of McEnroe forcing Borg out of the game, and worse, that Borg just walked out of tennis on the spot after the 1981 US Open final.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
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  17. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    Borg peaked young;preferred to play in Europe and was not interested in playing week in week out. He pursued excellence in Paris and London and every year he focussed on pulling off the double. Amazingly, he did it three years in a row. He dug deep to overcome McEnroe in the 1980 Wimbledon final but when McEnroe reversed the result the following year it was as if his aura of invincibility had been ripped away. When the result was repeated in the US Open final, it was all over. Put most simply, Borg did not play to be world number 2. And life was good in Monte Carlo. Other players might have played on and Borg did make noises about a comeback but he never had the hunger for it.
     
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  18. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    The wood donnay borg pro made for Bjorn was highly modified as it had more wood in the shaft and lower hoop. Not many of the graphite versions were produced so they are hard to find. I have only once seen a wood version for sale and the auction went for over $1000 which makes sense since those racktets seem to have dissapeared.
     
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  19. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    Think you are right - Mac was playing with a McEnroe Maxply at the time, a wooden maxply with a glass fibre re-inforced throat. My recollection is that he swithched to a 200G after an injury (borrowed his brother's stick) and this was after Borg had already left the scene...possibly before he officially retired though
    .
     
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  20. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

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    If you wanna hang out you've got to take her out.
    Cocaine.

    If you wanna get down, down on the ground.
    Cocaine.

    She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie;
    Cocaine.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    All I know is that, the only guy sad when Borg retired was Mc Enroe, who always claimed to need Bjonr on the other side of the court to bring in his best.Just as poets needed their muse...

    But for Connors,Lendl and Vilas, for thsoe 3 guys, the sky opened up when Borg took up his retirement.
     
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  22. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    BB never played JMac using the 200g. The switch to the 200g was after Borg left the tour.
     
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  23. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    Drugs were rumored at the time, cocaine namely. A possibility.
    Given his later suicide attempt, depression has to be considered, as well. And/or both.
     
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  24. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Not for Vilas he pretty much dropped from sight after 83 - the BS suspension hurt him bad.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    But his first half of 1982 was spectacular and he was heavily favoured to win RG, as much a favourite as Lendl might have been.He had defeated on fast indoor , Connors, twice and on slow court Lendl, also twice.had also beaten Clerc and Wilander on slow clay...and that just because he got pumped up for Borg not being there...same for Connors and Lendl ( and, certainly, Gerulaitis who also saw sky open).Just Mc Enroe missed him.
     
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  26. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Being number 2 must have played a part. According to McEnroe's autobiography After McEnroe lost his number 1 ranking in Sept of 1985 he felt like he needed to take a break. He was hanging out drinking with Borg and said that maybe being number 2 was ok for a while as there was less pressure etc. Mac then says Borg pulled him close and said " being number is all that matters no one cares about number 2 and basically convinced him to go down to Australia and try to get his number one ranking back.
     
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  27. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    I think it probably IS true. Practice is practice. Hey, if Bjorn was still that good, who knows? He got beat in Monte Carlo though by Noah badly and also in trying to qualify for Las Vegas by Dick Stockton. The signs were there.
     
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  28. Tobias Fünke

    Tobias Fünke Rookie

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    I believe McEnroe started using the 200G in the spring of 1983, possibly right before the WCT final in which he defeated Lendl 7-6 in the 5th. He was definitely not playing with it at the end of 1982.
    As far as the Borg burnout, I don't think losing or McEnroe had much to do with it.
     
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  29. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    His later suicide attempt? Hogwash.
     
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  30. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    You cannot, in my opinion, look at how things played out with his failed comeback attempt and what may have occurred had he stayed and played on Tour in 1982-1985 or so. The fact is that the entire Tour was moving to graphite by 1983-1984, and had Borg played, he would have as well. Connors played extremely well with the Pro Staff (and the graphite helped him play into his later years in many ways). McEnroe did the same. Lendl was already using graphite by say 1979 or so. So, Borg would have played with graphite. Wilander comes to mind as well with the Rossignol. I've heard but not confirmed that Donnay was in talks with Borg at that time for a new Donnay graphite frame for him. I think Borg, had he continued after say a hiatus, with more reasonable Tour Organizers allowing him to not have to qualify for the majors, would have been extremely tough. Remember, Borg played a heavy unofficial tourney schedule on top of a heavy official tourney schedule. Look at even his official match total through age 25 and win total. He had helped propel the Game to dizzying heights of popularity across the globe. He was definitely facing burnout, but he considered a reduced schedule, at least for about a year or two. He would have been 26-27+ playing then. He did consider a focus on the majors and a less heavy overall schedule, but in 1982 the Tour would not allow for it without him qualifying at the majors (W, FO). Borg said no way, I'm gone, but he does not focus on that whole episode now. That was the same time that the WCT and ATP were splitting. By early 1983, he announced his retirement. See him in 1982 at the Akai event, where he beat Lendl and McEnroe indoors Sydney, Australia.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=918rp7Omjk0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kger-33YtiY&feature=related

    Here's Borg facing Lendl indoors. Now imagine these guys both playing with modern frames and strings here. Borg with poly strings, a light, powerful graphite frame, and modern shoes? His Donnay had an extra ply of wood added to an already very heavy frame, used to support 80 lbs. tension and VS gut, and a very small sweet spot I might add. How would he have played with a wider modern frame which would have allowed him for SO much more margin for error with his swing path? Plus, how about his serve with a modern frame? It may not have been that much harder, but it is easier to hit consistently and hard with modern frames, even on the serve.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
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  31. britbox

    britbox Rookie

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    Yeah, I think the McEnroe factor was exaggerated also. Borg was burnt out and the reasons you mentioned with the tennis authorities were the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Also the US Open walkout was more related to death threats that were being taken pretty seriously at the time.
     
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