Borg, Connors, McEnroe, had all 4 slams been held in todays value?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by federerfanatic, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    If the Australian, and to a lesser extent the French, been held with the same importance then as they are now how many slams would you speculate Connors, Borg, and McEnroe each might have won?

    Borg missed the Australian Open from 1975-1981. The only year he missed the French Open in 1977 was injury related. Connors missed the Australian Open from 1976-until he retired, he missed the French Open from 1974-1978 due to his conflicts with the ATP and being upset about his ban from 1974. McEnroe missed the Australian Open from 1977-1982, 1984, 1986-1988, and 1991.

    So how many would you speculate each individual winning perhaps had they played each of the 4 slams, excluding ones missed due to injury, during this period?

    One thing to remember though is in some cases one winning some could take away from another. For instance if Connors had won the 74 and 75 French Opens, that would take away from Borg's record there a bit as he had won those 2 years.
     
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  2. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    If you look at the number of overall titles won, and the proportion of major titles, you see, that Connors, Borg, Mac and Lendl have not won as much proportional majors as Sampras, Wilander, Agassi or Becker afterwards. They were not so much focussing on majors numbers, more on single majors, on Nr.1 rankings or money or overall titles. Wimbledon and Forest Hills, later Flushing were important, Roland Garros became as important through the efforts of Philippe Chartrier. Borg could have beaten Emersons record of major wins, if he had concentrated on Wim and RG after 1981; but he was after the Grand Slam, not the numbers game. One factor was the transfer of Melbourne to the Christmas time and the last position of the majors (1977-1985). As first major in a year, Melbourne was always the starting point of the Grand Slam, now it became important only if a Grand Slam would be still on the line. One can only speculate about a Australian Open in December 78, 79 or 80, with Borgs chances for GS still intact. Borg vs. Mac or Connors or Tanner on hard grass courts under hot conditions with a Grand Slam on the line - what a constellation! But it never materialised, because Borg lost out at New York every time.
     
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  3. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    He was banned from the French that year for playing WTT.

    As far as your question, both Borg & Connors made six straight slam finals, while skipping some in between, so I have no doubt they would both have won all 4, they had no surface issues like other all time greats, & were so consistent. Sampras' 14 majors is an overrated record, by those who really don't know much about the history of the game. His 7 Wimbledons are more significant imo.
     
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  4. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    Just curious how you say Borg would have won all 4 when he couldnt win the U.S Open on 2 different surfaces(thinking his first year as a real contender to win there would have been 1975 when it moved to clay from grass, hard starting in 1978 )? Or do you mean he would have had more incentive to continue playing longer and that is how he would have eventualy won the U.S Open?
     
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  5. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    I suggest the following as the most likely, though with the provision that sport is never totally predictable:
    Connors: 1 French (1976), 2 wimbledons (1974, 1982), 5 US Opens (1974,76,78,82,83), 5 Australian (1974, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1983).
    This makes 13 grand slams

    Borg:
    7 French (he would have one 1977 if he'd been fit), 5 Wimbledons, 1 US open (1977 if he was fit) 2 Australian (1978-79). This makes 15 grand slams

    McEnroe:
    0 French (I think 1984 was his only chance), 3 Wimbledons, 4 US opens, 2 Australian Opens (1980-81). This makes 9 grand slams. McEnroe could have won more than 9 really if he'd not declined so badly after 84.

    This means Vilas finishes without slams. Very good player but I can't see him beating a fit Borg in 1977 at Roland Garros or Forest Hills, nor do I see him winning an Australian with Borg, Connors and in later year McEnroe there.
     
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  6. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I seriously doubt, that Connors would have won RG. He did play in 1972 and 73, when he won many events on hard courts, and lost first and second round to guys like Solomon and Ramirez (if i am right). Later he lost at RG to players like Vitas and Pecci, good but not great claycourters.He never won a big tournament on European clay, which is slower than the har tru surface in the US, and would have had big problems against guys like Orantes, Vilas, Ramirez, let alone Borg. His flat style wasn't exacly suited to clay, leaving too little margin for error, and he was not a natural volleyer. He was at his best on hard courts and medium paced indoor courts, where his weight of shot and quick returns could be decisive. Sampras had similar problems, couldn't get enough topspin into his shots. And Borg couldn't win the major on US soil, regardless the surface. I don't buy that injury argument. It was put forward by his mentor Bergelin all the time, even when he won Wim 1976 without losing a set. A bit like Papa Graf, who once stated that Steffi won Wim with a broken arm. But i give Connors, Borg and Mac around two Australians each, and Borg would have a shot at RG in 1982, if he had tried an attack on Emersons record.
     
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  7. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    Borg didn't play RG in 1977 due to injury and was invincible there. He got injured playing in Forest Hills in 77 and had to withdraw. I'm sure he would have beaten Vilas but I suppose he may have lost to Connors in the final, though it would have been very close. Connors hardly even played European clay tournaments so I don't think we can say he couldn't play on red clay because he didn't win one. His french open record is much better than sampras: 4 semis and quarters from 79 onwards, so we can't look at his 72/3 early exits and write him off: Connors would have at least goto to a final if he'd played in his best years 74-78. In 74 he beat Borg on red clay: i think Connors would have been a very serious contender in 74-77. I think he may well have sneaked one, though no more than one.

    I don't agree that Connors/Borg/McEnroe would have only won 6 Australian Opens between them. From 76-82 none of them played the Australian. The 8 Wimbledons played then were all won by 1 of the 3. 7/8 US Opens were won by Mac/Connors, and all of the fast surface US Opens (5/5) were won by Mac/Connors. Borg/Connors/Mac would have most probably won all 8 of the Australian Open played from 76-82. I made a mistake with Mac: he would have won the Australian Open in 84 if he'd played (which makes 10 Grand slams on my model). So with Connors Australian Open in 1974, that makes 10 Australians for Borg/Connors/McEnroe.
     
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  8. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    As far as i know, Borg wasn't injured for RG in 1977, but didn't play because of his committment with WTT. He defaulted in his match with Stockton at Forest Hills, citing a shoulder injury, he apparently had taken before the tournament while water-skiing - his own fault, not the best way to prepare for a major. But he wasn't so injured, not to reach the quarters. So my doubts remain. Same with Connors, he was soundly beaten by Orantes and Vilas at USO even on green clay, at Hamburg he was beaten by McNamara in the finals. He never beat Borg on red clay.
     
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  9. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    Excuse my ignorance. you are quite right: Borg missed Roland Garros in 77 due to this WTT business. I can see how Borg was unwise to water-ski but I still have little doubt Vilas wouldn't have stopped him if he had met a fully fit Borg. Brg ownedVilas.

    Connors also beat Orantes and Vilas on the green clay at the US Open (so he's 1-1 with both of them on US Open clay), and Borg twice. Green clay is faster than red clay, but look at the finalists in 75-77 in the 3 years Forest Hills was on clay: besides Connors, Orantes, Vilas and Borg. That tells you alot: the green clay at Forest Hills still favoured the clay court player. Connors was a formidable clay court player even if he preferred fast surfaces. to get to 3 US finals on clay in a row and win one of them tells you alot about connors genuine clay court prowess.
    I've been told that the year Connors defeated Borg in the US Clay Court Championships in 74 it was on a red clay court surface similar to Roland garros. That was the year Borg won his first French. connors had his best year in 74. He would have had a reasonable chance of winning the French if he'd been allowed to play.
     
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  10. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Personally, I think the only major that would have been affected in any way (results-wise) is the Australian Open. While we might say that the French wasn't as important to Connors, I don't believe that he would ever have won it - even in 74.

    The Australian Open is a different kettle of fish. However, I don't believe it would be merely a case of assigning each year to one of Borg, McEnroe or Connors.
    1976 would have been an absolute lottery and we saw, over the course of two matches - semi and final- what Mark Edmondson was capable of. Essentially, he played to the level displayed for 2 and a bit sets against Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon in 1977. The difference was that, at the 76 Aus Open, he got more assistance from the court and he was in the zone. On a grass court and in the right mood, Eddo could beat anyone. I think he would have taken Borg, but I'm not so sure about Connors.
    1977, won by Roscoe Tanner, would have been another dicey affair for Borg and/or Connors. The court was rock hard and lightning fast (Wimbledon is never as fast) which would have suited Tanner far more than the other guys. Sure, they could have won but it wouldn't have been a foregone conclusion. Again, of the two, I think Connors would have been the most likely winner.
    1977 won by Gerulaitis: Definitely a year that favours Borg or Connors
    1978-1979: Vilas deserved his wins, even if the field was depleted, and I see no reason to believe he wouldn't have won at least one of those titles had Borg, McEnroe and Connors been in the field.
    1980: Obviously would have been won by one of the three
    1981-1982: Johan Kriek was no push-over and a significantly better player than anyone seems willing to admit. He could play on any surface and had wins against Connors and McEnroe. The odds wouldn't necessarily be in his favour but he played his best tennis on grass and had his best results at the Aus Open (2 wins, a semi and a qf).
    1983-1989: Mac had his chances to win the Aus Open but wasn't up to it. I see absolutely no reason to believe that Connors would have done any better.

    At the end of the day, I think the main beneficiary would have been Connors. If he'd continued to play the Aus Open I think he could have picked up another 2-3 majors. McEnroe could possibly have snagged another 1-2 but I think Borg would have been lucky to win any more than 1. The main reason for that line of thinking is, temperament. While Connors seemed to thrive on animosity and adversity, I don't think the conditions at the Aus Open (during its Kooyong days) would have suited Borg or, to a lesser extent, McEnroe.
     
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  11. federerfanatic

    federerfanatic Banned

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    Thanks all for your responses. Here is how I originaly saw it, before I started this thread and read any responses, had Borg, McEnroe, and Connors had all played each while any were still competing. That is excluding ones missed by injuries or physical problems which are just part of the game. These my guesses beforehand of starting this thread:

    French Open 1974 : actual winner-Borg. would have won had Connors played-Connors

    French Open 1975: actual winner-Borg, would have won had Connors played-Connors

    French Open 1976: actual winner-Panatta, would have won had Connors played-Panatta

    French Open 1977: actual winner-Vilas, would have won had Borg and Connors played-Borg

    French Open 1978: actual winner-Borg, would have won had McEnroe and Connors played-Borg

    French Open 1979: actual winner-Borg, would have won had McEnroe played-Borg

    French Open 1982: actual winner-Wilander, would have won had McEnroe played-Wilander

    Australian Open 1975: actual winner-Newcombe, would have won had Borg played-Newcombe

    Australian Open 1976: actual winner-Edmonston(!!), would have won had Borg and Connors played-Connors

    Australian Open 1977(Jan): actual winner-Tanner, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-Connors

    Australian Open 1977(Dec): actual winner-Gerulaitis, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-Borg

    Australian Open 1978: actual winner-Vilas, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-Borg

    Australian Open 1979: actual winner-Vilas, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-Borg

    Australian Open 1980: actual winner-Teacher, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-McEnroe

    Australian Open 1981: actual winner-Kriek, would have won had Borg and Connors and McEnroe played-McEnroe

    Australian Open 1982: actual winner-Kriek, would have won had Connors and McEnroe played-Connors

    Australian Open 1983: actual winner-Wilander, would have won had Connors played-Connors

    Australian Open 1984: actual winner-Wilander, would have won had Connors and McEnroe played-McEnroe

    Australian Open 1985: actual winner-Edberg, would have won had Connors and McEnroe played-McEnroe

    Australian Open 1986-beyond: same winners regardless if McEnroe or Connors play the event or not.

    So under my guesses it would then change the records of these men this way:

    Borg: 5 Wimbledon titles, 0 U.S Open titles, 6 French Open titles, 0 Australian Open titles. 11 total slam titles.

    to instead-5 Wimbledon titles, 0 U.S Open titles, 5 French Open titles, 3 Australian Open titles. 13 total slam titles

    Connors: 2 Wimbledon titles, 5 U.S Open titles, 0 French Open titles, 1 Australian Open title. 8 total slam titles.

    to instead-2 Wimbledon titles, 5 U.S Open titles, 2 French Open titles, 5 Australian Open titles. 14 total slam titles

    McEnroe: 3 Wimbledon titles, 4 U.S Open titles, 0 French Open titles, 0 Australian Open titles. 7 total slam titles.

    to instead-3 Wimbledon titles, 4 U.S Open titles, 0 French Open titles, 4 Australian Open titles. 11 total slam titles


    Guys who lose out:

    Vilas: 0 Wimbledon titles, 1 U.S Open title, 1 French Open titles, 2 Australian Open titles. 4 total slam titles

    to instead-0 Wimbledon titles, 1 U.S Open title, 0 French Open titles, 0 Australian Open titles. 1 total slam titles

    Kriek: 2 Australian Opens. to instead-0 slam titles

    Wilander: 0 Wimbledon titles, 1 U.S Open title, 3 French Open titles, 3 Australian Open titles. 7 total slam titles

    to instead-0 Wimbledon titles, 1 U.S Open title, 3 French Open titles, 1 Australian Open title. 5 total slam titles

    Edberg: 2 Wimbledon titles, 2 U.S Open titles, 0 French Open titles, 2 Australian Open titles. 6 total slam titles

    to instead-2 Wimbledon titles, 2 U.S Open titles, 0 French Open titles, 1 Australian Open titles. 5 total slam titles

    Gerulaitis: 1 Australian Open title. to instead 0 slam titles.

    Tanner: 1 Australian Open title. to instead 0 slam titles.

    Edmondson: 1 Australian Open title. to instead 0 slam titles.

    Teacher: 1 Australian Open title. to instead 0 slam titles.


    So under my original beliefs Connors benefits the most of the 3, then McEnroe, Borg benefits some but the least of those 3 greats. In fact Borg possibly loses out at the French under my original guesses, as Borg was dominated by Connors on all surfaces until 1977, and lost to him 3 times on green clay in the U.S from 74-76, yes not red clay, yes in the U.S were Borg wasnt comfortable playing for awhile, but still 3 straight Connors wins those 3 years on clay.

    Still I have enjoyed reading alot of the responses and I am reconsidering my original guesses as I read all the responses. It is good to read explanations of people familar with that period of time, and how they see the different events having played out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
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  12. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I think Borg would have dominated the Australian between 77-80. I just don't see how Connors would have been that much of a match. Borg started to dominate Connors with the victory at 77 wimby - one exception being the 78 US Open. 5 Australians for Connors? Not realistic at all.

    If Borg had been born 10 years later than he had he would have ended his career with 15-17 slams. He would have won between 2 and 4 Australians and would have retired a few years later (probably around 30). The reason is that the ATP scheduling is so much more organized than what they had back in the 70s - Borg would have had ample time off and wouldn't have burned out as quickly.

    Connors was unlucky to have been banned from so many French Opens, but I don't know if he would have beaten Borg on red clay even going back to '74. No one could outrally Borg on red dirt outside of Panatta. The way borg exhausted Orantes in the 74 final was a testament to this.
     
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  13. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Btw, I think Tanner deserves his Australian title. At his finest he was an elite player. He just couldn't keep it up for long.
     
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  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    McEnroe played this tournament, lost in the quarterfinals to Slobodan Zivojinovic.
     
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  15. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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  16. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Borg was 2-1 against Connors in 77. He would have beaten Connors at the Aussie most likely. But I admit it would have been close. AO was held on grass and I don't see why it would be a given for Jimmy to beat Bjorn on it - especially considering Connors' mediocre serving game and Borg's much improved first serve.
     
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  17. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    There's 1 thing weare overlooking: there were 2 Oz Opens in 77. I make Connors favourite over Borg in Jan 77 and I would say about 50-50 in Dec. The grass at the OZ Open didn't favour the big server as much as it did at Wimbledon. Connors regularly beat much bigger servers on grass and twice came very close to beating Borg at wimbledon, and beat him several times on fast surfaces even after Borg developed his big serve.

    My revised OZ Open winners' list goes like this:
    76 Connors
    77 Connors
    77 Borg
    78 Borg
    79 Borg
    80 Mac
    81 Mac
    82 Connors
    83 Connors
    84 Mac

    Mac might have won in 79/82 and Borg might have won in 76-Jan.77,80-81, and Connors would have had a chance 77-81,
     
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  18. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Realistically, Borg probably would have skipped a couple of the Aussies even today. He liked the vacation break.
     
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  19. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Great topic and pertinent to the whole GOAT BS surrounding Federer.
     
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  20. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Yes, the beginning of the end for Mac as an elite player.
     
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  21. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    following the logic, I am not sure how unrealistic 4/5 AOs for Connors really is...he would've been a very strong contender in 76/77 and in 82/83...even '84/'85 for that matter. From 82 to 85, Bjorn was obviously retired, and next to Mac, Jimbo really was the next best grass court player, based on accomplisments...and arguably, at times, he was better than Mac. So, just not thinking 4/5 AOs on grass is such a big stretch (the guy already has half of his GS titles on grass).
     
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  22. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Connors clay court skills are notoriously under-rated...very much a shame he did not play RG during his very peak years (74-76). I think he might've snagged one in the early 80's but was a bit unlucky...that's the way it breaks..it's sort of like saying Bjorn was not a good hard court player because he did not win the USO on that surface...that's a very big departure from truth. [tho' I'll say Bjorn was a better HC player than JC a clay courter, IMHO]
     
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  23. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    1976- good chance

    1977- toss up with Borg possibly

    1982- his win at Wimbledon over McEnroe was still an upset, McEnroe would be favored

    1983- a chance but again McEnroe would be favored

    1984- virtually no chance, look at how badly McEnroe schooled him in the Wimbledon final on grass. Their U.S Open match was alot closer but that was on hard courts- Connors best surface.

    1985- very unlikely again.


    Most likely he would have won at most 2 out of 76, 77, 82, and 83, the years he managed a combined 1 Wimbledon only, and reached no higher than 3.
     
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  24. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Connors owned 1974... he won 99 of 103 matches... he should have won the Grand Slam that year.

    Won 15 tournaments plus 2 additional finals.

    AO vs Phil Dent 7-6 6-4 4-6 6-3
    Wimbledon vs Ken Rosewall 6-1 6-1 6-4
    USO vs Ken Rosewall 6-1 6-0 6-1

    I remember the two wins against Rosewall it was dominating.
     
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  25. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    We have discussed 1974 before. Although Connors was dominant in the 3 majors, he didn't face a top tenner there, with the exception of 40 year old Rosewall and Tanner. He didn't play the difficult WCT series in spring, but the much lighter Riordan circuit. He also withdrew from some matches and events, when feeling off form, and scratched the year end masters at Kooyong. On grass, players like Newcombe, Ashe, Nastase or Smith would have given him fits, but they were taken out beforehand. Connors for instance lost in a preliminary event to Wimbledon to Smith 0-6,3-6 on British grass. His poor record on red clay in 1973 gives no clear sign of any eventual domination at Roland Garros.
     
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  26. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    In 82 and 83, he beat Mac at Queens, so not sure how favored Mac would be. Bjorn picked Jimmy to win Wimby in '82, if I am not mistaken. Mac was having physical problems in '83, which he admitted would seriously hurt him against someone of Connors level (or Lendl for that matter).

    '84, fuggedaboutit; this was stellar Mac; no one could've touched him on grass that summer.

    '85 was very much a free for all....Boris had a big break thru, but I really did not see any single player dominate on grass...so, I'd put Connors on there as an AO contender just as soon as any of the others...

    so, 2/3 AO seem quite reasonable; 4/5 maybe with a bit (a lot?) of luck; Jimmy's grass court skills are overlooked as Mac and Bjorn were incredibly good on the surface; we all tend to remember Jimmy as a top hard court player, which he was, but I think he was awfully good on grass. That surface really suited his game; his Wimbledon record, despite only 2 wins, is more than respectable. Particularly when you compare to other baseliners like Lendl or Agassi. In '84, he was an "old man" and still took out Lendl at Wimbledon, with some very exceptional play (much like Mac did to Ivan in '83). Man of all surfaces, I suppose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
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  27. britbox

    britbox Rookie

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    Just goes to show you can't second guess history accurately. Awarding Johnny Mac a mistaken mythical slam when he was in the tournamount anyway and got knocked out.

    Problem with mythical slams is that upsets, injuries... never happen.
     
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  28. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    I picked up an interesting comment the other day during an old USO Borg vs Mac re-run. The commentator said "the US Open is the only major title that has eluded Borg." Maybe the commentator was ignorant (Oh MY!), but this consistant with what I have heard--that the AO wasn't really considered a slam until more recently.
     
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  29. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Connors beat Borg on red clay

    He beat Borg on red clay in South America straight after the US Open in 1978.
     
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  30. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Timnz, what match was that? In Borg's official matches, I see him up 2-1 in 1978 vs. Connors. Borg won at the Pepsi GS and at Wimbledon, but lost in the U.S. Open final. The W win was quite convincing and I remember the U.S. Open loss well. Borg could barely serve due to a thumb injury. He had a pain injection a little before the match, but never really discussed it. What match was that red clay match? Thanks.

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Bo/B/Bjorn-Borg.aspx?t=pa&y=1978&m=s&e=0# (Borg's 1978 ATP matches listed)

    Incidentally, Borg put on DOMINATING performances both at the W final and especially at RG that year. He only lost 32 games during the whole tourney, as PC1 has emphasized previously for us.

    Roland Garros, France; 29.05.1978; GS; Outdoor: Clay; Draw: 128
    Round Opponent Ranking Score
    R128 Eric Deblicker (FRA) N/A W 6-1, 6-1, 6-1
    R64 Rick ***el (USA) N/A W 6-0, 6-1, 6-0
    R32 Paolo Bertolucci (ITA) N/A W 6-0, 6-2, 6-2
    R16 Roscoe Tanner (USA) N/A W 6-2, 6-4, 7-6
    Q Raul Ramirez (MEX) N/A W 6-3, 6-3, 6-0
    S Corrado Barazzutti (ITA) N/A W 6-0, 6-1, 6-0
    W Guillermo Vilas (ARG) N/A W 6-1, 6-1, 6-3
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
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  31. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I was not aware of this match either; re: Orantes and Vilas, Jimmy had wins over them on the green clay and red clay (in the case of Orantes), so it's not as if he could not beat them on this surface, so the string of logic is a bit flawed here...the 75 win by orantes at the USO was exceptional...one of those once in a lifetime performances; otherwise, Jimmy tended to dominate Orantes. Jimmy and Vilas were much closer, competitively.
     
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  32. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Connors over Borg on clay - Argentina


    Buenos Aires – 4-men invitational - Connors beat Borg 5–7 6–3 6–3 on Clay. Tournament ran from September 22–24, 1978 ie a week or so after the US Open. Apparently Connors beat Ilie Nastase & Jose Luis Clerc in the round robin before beating Borg in the final.

    Now I am assuming it was Red Clay as opposed to Green Clay as I believe that South American Clay is more like European Clay than US clay.

    Does anyone know if the Caracas Four-Man International Tennis (Venezuela) late september/early october 1976 was on Clay?
    Connors beat Borg 6-4 5-7 6-3
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
    #32
  33. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I think domination is too strong a word here, if we're talking about clay. Connors won all their non-clay matches, but in all their (completed) matches on clay he's got just a 4-3 edge over Orantes:

    1973 Cincinnati
    OH, U.S.A. Clay S Orantes, Manuel
    6-3, 6-1

    1974 Indianapolis
    IN, U.S.A. Clay S Connors, Jimmy
    6-4, 6-3

    1975 US Open
    NY, U.S.A. Clay F Orantes, Manuel
    6-4, 6-3, 6-3

    1977 Indianapolis
    IN, U.S.A. Clay F Orantes, Manuel
    6-1, 6-3

    1977 US Open
    NY, U.S.A. Clay Q Connors, Jimmy
    6-2, 6-4, 6-3

    1978 Indianapolis
    IN, U.S.A. Clay S Connors, Jimmy
    7-5, 6-1

    1979 Roland Garros
    France Clay R16 Connors, Jimmy
    4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1

    (That's per the ATP and ITF, so there could be other matches in there. At the '79 French, the New York Times reported that orantes had beaten Connors "several times on clay").

    So the '75 USO does not look like an exceptional case.
     
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  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    And Orantes had injury problems in his later years so I would think he may do better on clay if he was 100%. Not that Connors couldn't beat him but I would generally favor a healthy peak Orantes over a healthy peak Connors on clay.
     
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  35. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    All of those matches except for the last were on har-tru. The last was played after either Orantes's second if not third surgery on his playing arm. As I recall it he had a chronic ulnar nerve issue which began manifesting itself in '77 if not earlier than that.

    I'm another feels that Connors was no "sure thing" to capture a fully attended RG, not even in '74. Slower surface with different footing than the har-tru which more favored Connors ball striking and movement style.

    5
     
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  36. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I'm looking at ALL their matches per the ATP stats; even w/a 4-3 edge for Orantes on Clay, I'd still consider the '75 USO win pretty exceptional...it was the USO, after all. And, Jimmy did not even get a set from him, after Orantes had that marathon semi. So, all in all, a pretty unexpected win, I would tend to think. I'm not denigrating Orantes here, just calling out something that was likely not expected, nor would it happen again.
     
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  37. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't know the importance of it being the USO, because that would make Connors' win in '77 also exceptional. And it's not as if the H2H shows Orantes getting small wins while Connors gets the big ones. It's a 4-3 edge for Connors in all matches on clay, and out of those matches, a 2-1 lead in Slams.

    I think the 75 USO was considered an upset at the time because Connors was ranked #1 on the computer, was the defending champion, etc.; his weaknesses were just starting to be seen, and as far as I know had not yet been seen on clay. Plus, Orantes had that late-night semifinal while Connors got through in straight sets. But, that's how it was viewed at the time; with hindsight we've seen a lot more of Connors on clay, and we know Orantes did just the right thing to beat him. And knowing that, is what makes the victory seem normative; it wasn't luck, or an exception to what generally happened in the rivalry; it was a great clay-courter using the right game plan against someone who was vulnerable to such a plan.

    Now I'm not saying I think such a plan would always beat Connors. The 77 USO shows that. What I'm saying is that it was normal, not exceptional, for Connors to be vulnerable to slow place; from there it might be 50/50 whether he would come through in the end, depending, of course, on the circumstances. But if he loses I don't particularly see that as exceptional.

    What might seem surprising is that he lost in straight sets. But all of those matches listed above, except the last one at 79 RG, went in straight sets. That was nothing exceptional, either, when they met on clay.

    The main objection I had was to the use of the word "domination". It was an even-handed rivalry on clay from everything I can see.

    (However I will go back to the Times' statement that Orantes had beaten Connors on clay "several times"; and if that means more than the 3 victories listed at the ATP and the ITF, then that could change the picture).
     
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  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just my two cents here. From a subjective point of view and remember I saw many of the Orantes matches that year at the US Open and many of the Connors matches, Orantes was in my opinion playing the finest tennis of any player in the tournament. It was not a coincidence that Orantes was able to defeat Nastase and Vilas on his way to the final. I felt Nastase played quite well in losing to Orantes in four sets for example.

    Yes Vilas almost beat Orantes but it was an odd sort of match. There were streaks in which Orantes totally dominated Vilas. And during those Vilas it seemed that Vilas' control of the match depended on how well Orantes played and that Vilas could do nothing about it if Orantes played well. For example Vilas led 2-0 in the third set and all of a sudden all the points seemed to be won by Orantes as he won the next six games. And we all know what Orantes did at 0-5 15-40 in the fourth.

    Orantes in 1975, when healthy was playing at a higher level on har tru than Connors was in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
    #38
  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Orantes, when he was at his best and he was that at the US Open in 1975 seemed to have the ball on a string. The man could hit with good depth and great control, had decent power but it was his touch that made him stand out. His drop shot was among the best I've ever seen. I loved it when he hit a drop and volleyed his opponents attempted return away or when he replied to his opponent's sharp angle return of the drop shot with a sharper angle return.

    Orantes was also magnificent with the lob, both underspin and topspin. His use of the topspin lob was a key factor when he defeated Connors in the US Open final. When Orantes' game was all clicking he could defeat great players like Connors, Vilas and Nastase very easily and certainly his game was at his best at the US Open in 1975.
     
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  40. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    So, was Orantes play in 1975 "exceptional"?:twisted:

    LOL! I did not have the pleasure of seeing him play, aside from snippets here and there, but obviously, he was very talented on the clay. To the other point, yes, Connors was definitely vulnerable to the touch game and slow ballers--Higueras is another one that comes to mind. Still, not that easy to take Jimbo out on his home turf. If anything, I suppose his win over Borg there in 76 is the most exceptional (I've got to think most expected Bjorn in that one? even tho' Jimmy had an edge head-to-head?)
     
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  41. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Got it. I had just not seen any red clay meeting listed at all for them on the ATP site, but of course you have "official" and "unofficial" matches. There were certainly tons of "unofficial" tourneys/matches played, such as the one you mentioned, and many of them were quite competitive. On red clay, best of three sets, I could see Connors winning even against Bjorn Borg (think of say Federer upsetting Nadal at Hamburg for example). Recall that in 1978 Borg had a thumb injury during the U.S. Open final that year which was apparent when you saw him play (he had pain killer injected into his thumb which led to no feel, racquet flying out of his right hand on his serve, etc). So, that's wild that they were playing that event just a week after being in New York for the U.S. Open final. The money must have been pretty decent. Thanks for that information Timnz. There was that thread a while back in which so many of those "unofficial" results were also included. It was such a different time back then, as players like Connors and Borg were globetrotting and playing "exhibitions" and "invitationals" all over the Globe. In that way, they really helped to further "globalize" the Sport by the 1980's. Many don't realize just how much Tennis those guys played and how many tournaments they won in actuality. For example, Borg is listed to have 63 official ATP titles, but if you include other tourneys as well (what was really "official" and what is "unofficial" during the 1970's?) it's estimated that he had about 100 titles or so total. I'm sure the same is true of Jimmy's overall title totals. This reminds me of Connors' statement in about 1978, when he said of Bjorn Borg, something akin to "I'll chase that s.o.b. to the ends of the earth".
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
    #41
  42. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    well, it was different in the late '70's/early 80's. Tennis was peaking in terms of popularity, and these guys were treated like celebrities....Bjorn in particular. Plus, they could make a bloody fortune at these "special events" or "invitationals" from appearance fees and prize money. There were a lot of them and many of the ones I recall were very competitive, even if they were not ATP sanctioned (as if that was the be all and end-all). Jimmy did pretty well against Bjorn (and others) at many of these events...I think someone tallied them all up and found the Connors v. Borg rivalry pretty close; the thread is likely hiding someplace here. I liked the 4 man, round robin invitationals..they cut to the chase and you got to see the top guys go at it. Semi on Sat, final on Sunday...boom, boom!:)
     
    #42
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Orantes wouldn´t have lost to Connors at the 74 RG F the way he was upset by Borg.I think he was the best clay courter in that short period between Nastase´s peak and Borg´s dominance.
     
    #43
  44. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I have not seen a single convincing source for this. In fact, I recall someone on here saying that the event may have been on a hard court (or carpet) and not on clay.
     
    #44
  45. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Vilas was very strong on australian grass. He won the Masters at Melbourne (the same court than the Asutralian Open), beating Nastase, Newcombe and Borg. He would have won Australian Open even if Borg or Connors were there.
     
    #45
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    This was 1974. Borg was 18 years old, and lost two matches to Vilas, and Newk. He beat only Onny Parun 10-8 in the third set.

    Borg was unskilled on grass in 1974. He lost in the third round of the AO that year to Phil Dent, who went all the way to the finals before losing to Connors in four sets. Borg's first Wimbledon title was two years away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
    #46
  47. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, I am inclined to agree that the much stronger Borg of 1978 and 1979 would have won the Australian on grass, maybe even 1980.
     
    #47
  48. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    True Hoodjoem. In 1974, Borg was a youngster at eighteen and it took him some time to get familiar with grass courts, especially given his playing style. Yet, like Nadal a bit, he kept adding to his repertoire on that surface each year he played. John Barrett said that there's a story he likes to "tell against himself". He says that he was writing a story for the Financial Times when in 1972, Borg beat Buster Mottram to win the Wimbledon junior title at 14. Borg came back to win that match from 2 sets down. on the morning after that '72 Wimbledon junior final, Barrett wrote in his article that "here's a player who obviously has great match play potential, but from the way he hits the ball, he'll be of no account on grass". Barrett went on to say, "how wrong could you be"?

    Borg played a style of game that people couldn't quite fully appreciate in the early 70's and he was a prodigy, playing in the main draw there in 1973 when he was only 17. Yet, you are absolutely right, he was not fully developed at 18, plus though he was dangerous on grass by 18, he was nowhere near the player he was in later years. Before the '76 Wimbledon, something clicked for him on his serve especially, as Bergelin really focused on that aspect of his game, in addition to his volleying. You saw the result of all that work, as he won the '76 title without losing a single set. The only player to ever go through there without losing a single set, as he dispatched Vilas, Tanner, and then Nastase in the final three matches.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
    #48
  49. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Borg had some fine wins on grass before 1974. I recall that he beat Ashe at Forest Hills in 1973 (then losing to Pilic). He did well at Wim 1973 (the boycott Wim) losing to Taylor. In 1974 he was a bit tired going into Wim and Forest Hills, and as later had problems with lefthanders (El Shafei). In 1974 , he won 2 minor grass titles in Australia and NZ.
     
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  50. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    I think it's absurd to say that Borg would have won the tournaments he didn't play ! Who knows ? Tennis is not a science.
     
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