borgs game since he retired in 83

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by big ted, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,865
    i like borg but i noticed not only did his '91 comeback seem miserable (he couldnt even win 1 atp match) while his peers (connors and mcenroe could still compete at top level) but even on the seniors tour til now he seems to look at least a level or 2 below his opponent. when he plays mcenroe it looks like mac goes easy on him to make it entertaining. all of his strokes now look completely different especially with hitches on his backhand and serve. not to mention he looks to move sooo much slower than mcenroe even tho theres only a 3 year difference btwn them it seems alot more.

    his 91 comeback - do you think he failed because he took too much time off or didnt train correctly? if he retired in 83, he was playing exhibitions until at least 85-86 with mcenroe so it was probably more like taking 5 years off. but even then i assume he may have been practicing with juniors in sweden during some of that time? he also tried switching racquets and that didnt help either. was it taking too much time off? the game passing him by? why could his peers still compete? in 1995 connors still won 2 matches out of 4 at age 43..

    his seniors tour - does/did he not practice as much as the others (mcenroe, etc..)? or is it genetics?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGMEw4reYio
     
    #1
  2. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    He described his comeback in the early 90's as madness. It was in no way a serious comeback. Also, his game requires a lot of running, whereas McEnroe's doesn't. Plus, McEnroe trains more these days than he did in his prime. Yet, he obviously doesn't play nearly as much. McEnroe says he serves harder now than he did with the old technology, so these former pros really enjoy the benefits of modern tech. They don't play with wood frames or even early graphite frames for a reason. It's plain easier to hit with the modern equipment, especially for guys that have the skills of say McEnroe or Bjorn Borg. Borg is still extremely fit per folks that know him well. He hits pretty often with juniors and others in Sweden for example. They both have aged pretty darn well as has Connors by the way. I'm not so sure the modern guys will pull that off so well.
     
    #2
  3. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,865
    yea i just find it unusual his game didnt seem to tranlate well even on the seniors tour against competitors his age. he usually seems to lose in those matches except against vilas i think that ive seen
     
    #3
  4. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Well, each player is different, especially when they've "been there and done that". It's a different phase of life at 60 of course, but Borg still loves to play tennis as fairly frequently. See Borg vs. Edberg in 2008 (one of the best ~40+ players in the world no doubt).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yiRQGSgW_0
     
    #4
  5. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,090
    Though he had good strokes, especially very solid groundstrokes with a lot of topspin that gave him consistency, his playing style required a lot of running and he was the superior athlete in his heydays. When he lost that advantage, his game all a sudden is pretty mediocre compared to a John McEnroe, who always relied more on his
    touch and feel.
     
    #5
  6. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    This is one of the most incisive, knowledgeable and intelligent posts i have read on here.
    I have always wondered exactly the same thing as big ted.
    Up until 1985/86 Borg still had the magic dust as he demonstrated in his exhibition's with Connors and McEnroe from 83 to 86.
    Then his magic powers were taken away (he lost the ring).
    Nowadays his game is not recognisably to that of the ice magician from the Golden age.
    How/why can someone's game change so dramatically, I'm not talking about his level, that's normal, it's his technique, what has happened?!
    Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Cash etc etc, all identical technique as in their prime, but what has happened to Bjorn?!
    I am a professional coach and never have I seen this happen to an ex pro.
    I am at a loss to explain what has happened to Borg's technique/style....
     
    #6
  7. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Identical technique to when they were younger? I wouldn't say identical but all those guys still play pretty well. I'm not so sure of Connors, as he has hip issues and you rarely see him play really. Many on that list are quite a bit younger, plus maybe they kept practicing more. Regardless, see this article in 2010. Also, Borg's swing was more extreme in terms of swing path than any of those other players. As you age decades, the arms, joints, shoulders, etc. change of course and one factor is that his "young swing" is more difficult to replicate, even for someone that stays fit into his late 50's.

    http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/mten/2009-10/releases/20100429_bglobe_borg (Borg is now 58)

     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #7
  8. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    I think you're missing the point BN1. It's not a criticism, it's objective.
    It's not about his level or his fitness, it's about how he has a totally different technique/style.
    I saw Connors hitting on you tube the other day from a few weeks ago and he is identical to his prime, of course taking into consideration he doesn't bend his Knees etc. McEnroe is identical from his peak.
    But it's like Borg has decided to learn tennis differently, perhaps he has, perhaps there is something none of us know.
    He had such a unique style, how can that change, it's just not logical.
    As I'm writing this now I'm thinking he purposely changed his game, it's the only logical reason!
     
    #8
  9. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    JAY1, his swing path was much more extreme in his younger years than the swing paths of those other players you mentioned. So yes, I agree that he did purposely change his game to compensate for the aging. to swing the way he did with wood frames that were heavier and also much less wide is amazing. With a narrow frame, it's much more difficult to pull off a extreme swing path (which is now common). Of course, now age would not allow that for Borg. Now, Borg playing in his 20's with all modern equipment (not 10 years after he left the Tour and not him in his 40's-58). That's a different matter entirely.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #9
  10. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Borg was very strong in 1984 and 1985 when he won the Gunze (Japan) tournament, in the latter year against very strong Anders Jarryd.
     
    #10
  11. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    If that's the case, then that is very admirably and very very difficult to do, almost impossible. He really is a legend!
     
    #11
  12. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    3,231
    Borg practised with Chris Wilkinson - about 108 ATP at the time of his "comeback". Think it was behind closed doors at Hurlingham Club. I think the scores were supposed to be kept quiet but I recollect Borg could not get more than 3 games. CW plays invitation doubles at Wimbledon now, his style of play is perfect for seniors tennis.
     
    #12
  13. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I believe it PrinceMoron. That was 10 years after he retired from the Tour full time and he was not serious about tennis during the late 1980's at all. He had practiced little in the years going into that whole period. Plus, he was facing financial troubles. Now, he is in a much better place of course living in Sweden. He calls that "comeback" as madness for a reason. He's doing great these days from all indications though, even financially, but also personally.
     
    #13
  14. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    967
    Borg once stated that during his prime, he was practicing 8 hours a day, almost every day because his strokes required such impeccable timing, anything less and he could be terrible. (One of the reasons he burned out). I heard also him say that on his comeback, his heart wasn't in it and he couldn't any longer practice for those absurd hours.
     
    #14
  15. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Borg seemed very serious about it before 1991 Monte Carlo, although there were a lot of sceptics, considering Borg's age of 34 and the fact that there had been a load of technological changes in tennis since Borg's retirement in January 1983. Borg even used his wooden racquet against Arrese at 1991 Monte Carlo, and was the epitome of an anachronism. After his 1991 comeback, Borg persisted with playing on the main tour until 1993, losing every match.

    The most bizarre bit of the comeback was his new coach being a 79 year old karate expert from Wales, named Ron Thatcher.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #15
  16. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,865
    i remember during his 91-93 comeback his strokes seemed similar except his serve i think he tossed the ball higher and had a pause in the swing. but like another poster said his heart probably wasnt into it is why he had dismal results.
    he did say he wasnt coming back for the $. he said if that was the case all he would have had to do was play a few million dollar exhibitions here and there that he was being offered but he turned them down.

    anyway i remember watching him playing a match in 92 or so and he was playing someone ranked 50-100 and he always looked rushed on his strokes or out of position. esp his backhand followthru by the time he finished it, it was so long, he didnt have time to hit the next shot esp when his opponent was at net. if you watch him now he shortened it alot and doesnt let go with his left hand like he used to and sort of flicks it with both hands (still like a hockey slapshot but 2handed with short followthru)

    also when i saw his matches from 91 on even til now, his balls look more light and airy than with much pace on them. there was a exhibition i watched him play against john loyd on youtube tho that looked like he could hit pretty hard but seemed to have trouble w consistency and keeping the ball in the court (he was using a mid donnay frame tightly strung that match)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #16
  17. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    967
    Wasn't there also an unusual woman with Thatcher that formed the bizarre entourage as well?
     
    #17
  18. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,865
    "...Instead, Borg has placed himself in the hands of one Tia Honsai, né Ron Thatcher, a 79-year-old Welshman and self-proclaimed specialist in the martial arts and in the sleep-inducing massage known as Shiatsu. "The Professor," as Borg calls Honsai, showed up in Monaco talking like a prizefight manager, claiming he knew nothing about tennis and predicting that Borg could win another Wimbledon. Although the Professor had reportedly admonished Berte to stay away, he was accompanied by three women: two ballerinas, named Tanya and Doreen, and a secretary, name unknown, who took dictation while her boss, sitting just 15 feet away from Borg, watched him practice through binoculars. The Professor, who was dressed all in white—except for a blue blazer—can hardly walk because of one broken knee and can hardly hear through his hearing aid, and if those omnipresent zoom lenses are any indication, he has one hell of a time seeing, as well. Nevertheless, on the eve of Borg's déjà vu debut, he paused to enlighten the international media." - from si article
     
    #18
  19. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Stranger than fiction isn't it? Sometimes real life can be stranger than a Hollywood movie!
     
    #19
  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,436
    well borg was what people now call a "pusher" (of course he was not really a pusher but quite powerfull but internet guys now like that insult pros like ferrer or murray by calling them pushers). he had good strokes but nothing extraordinary, no real weapons.

    borg won by his extreme speed, consistency and athleticism much more than his shotmaking and those things usually go quite early.

    I actually think even if he had not retired in 83 he would have flamed out a little later because most players of that type flame out early. very few defensive baseliners stay strong through their late 20s and borg probably new that his body was slowing down and thus retired.

    mac and edberg on the other hand are not as conditioning and speed centred and thus age better.
     
    #20
  21. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,597
    Location:
    A bloke in Brighton, England.
    Connors was interviewed on radio 5live during Wimbledon, and said he had 2 hip replacement ops recently so he hasn't really aged well by the sound of it.
     
    #21
  22. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I didn't quite get Connors way back when but I appreciate him much more now as time has passed. He was deeply shaped by his childhood first and foremost. Goosehead, it depends on what one considers "aging well" I would submit. Connors played a LOT of tennis well into his 30's, so that is a lot of wear and tear. Yes, he's had the hip replacements, but he hasn't exactly let himself go either and he doesn't have any serious health issues that I've heard of. I don't think he can really play all out anymore, but I'm not certain. Overall, those three are not bad for their 50's. It could be a LOT worse if you look at the general population or even former athletes of all stripes. Connors, Borg, and McEnroe are all giants of the game, as was Lendl. Those players from around 1980 really set the stage for what the game became in later years.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #22
  23. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Actually Roddick talks about how it is the serve and volleyers that end up having a lot of injury problems and "flaming out" physically. Meanwhile, players like Nadal and Djokovic are lasting longer than predicted by many aren't they? Baseline play does not necessarily cause one to lose one's game earlier due to injuries. Many serve and volleyer's from the 90's and earlier per Andy Roddick developed back, hip, and shoulder problems fairly early. Why? Think about hard serves and then lunging in all directions to volley left and right. That is extremely taxing for a serve and volleyer. Roddick explained that it may be part of the reason players now are aging better (avg. age for the top 100 is now 26-27). Also, Borg had the best forehand as voted by pros in 1980 plus he had a really big first serve. Speed is certainly a weapon too. He was a shotmaker as well, with some of the best passing shots in the history of tennis. McEnroe and Connors continued to play A LOT of competitive tennis well into their 30's, so that's partly the reason they still played well in their later years. Yet, Borg even well into his 50's could run around a excellent college player in practice. Each of them went on different paths after leaving the main Tour. They relied much more on frontcourt play than Borg did, and looked to end points fairly quickly. Meanhwhile, Borg was a power baseliner and one of the greatest athletes in the history of tennis. Pancho Gonzalez has talked about how hard a hitter Borg was for example. The word pusher seems to be thrown around a lot by folks that know little about actually playing the game. Borg had much, much more than "good strokes". His strokes were revolutionary and changed the way players viewed how tennis strokes could work to impart topspin and pace.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    #23
  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Utter nonsense. Borg had the best passing shots in his time. A legendary backhand and a great forehand.
     
    #24
  25. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    967
    In my mind, the best passing shots of all time and in an era when a passing shot was considered the ultimate weapon, a dagger if you will. His acute angles off the backhand side were amazing considering he played with gut and wood, no poly like today.
     
    #25
  26. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    571
    i think the main difference between there level of play is mcenroe plays a lot more now. and is certainly in better shape. the 3 year age gap probably means a bit as well.


    for a while mcenroe played the courier exhibition tour. and was giving sampras, courier, chang, rafter, edberg, rafter tough matches and winning a decent amount.


    those guys are 10-12 years yonger than him.


    willander seems to get smoked in senior tennis 2 btw.
     
    #26
  27. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,391
    He still gets out and hits the ball....pretty well actually. He looks very fit. There's a bit of recent footage out there on you Tube of him hitting. When he was with Roddick, he had a single hip replacement at the time....he looked quite good hitting the ball back then. Artificial hips work pretty well, apparently. Not as fast as he was back in the day, but the stroke production still looks the same...

    Of the guys from that generation, it looks like Lendl let himself go the most, although it appears he's been trying to play himself back into shape. Borg got his game back to a respectable level in the mid 90's on the Senior Tour...he looked pretty ragged at first. Not sure what he's capable of nowadays.
     
    #27
  28. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Yes, that's my take as well jrepac. Here's 2008 with Edberg vs. Borg. Borg is about 10 years older than Edberg. Interestingly, Borg's leg strength was tested to be superb (better than a very famous Swedish skier at the time and basically off the charts). In later years, Edberg also tested extremely well in terms of leg strength. Two great Swedish athletes. Plus, they were great in terms of sportsmanship out on the court. Borg really ushered in a Swedish tennis boom that lasted for many years.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Eiw7WXMQjE (Legends Live tourney five years ago)
     
    #28
  29. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,865
    thats true, even in wilanders mini-comeback attempt in the 90s, he wasnt the old wilander. maybe wilander and borg shared the same problem in that once their mental toughness waned (which may have been their biggest asset), their games suffered
     
    #29
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Mac is the one more changed by age while Connors looks pretty much the same
    Geez! looking at this pic Mc Enroe looks a classic Wall Street Lawyer!!
     
    #30

Share This Page