Brad Gilbert head to head against champs

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Datacipher, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    vs Gilbert records
    Win-Loss

    SHAME
    Wheaton 0-6 (Wheaton of course, not a GS champion)
    Stich 2-2
    Courier 2-2
    Agassi 4-4
    Chang 3-2 (though Michael won the last 3)
    Sampras 5-4
    Becker 6-4
    Cash 5-3
    Connors 5-3 (perhaps borderline , 1 loss was when Jimbo was 41!)

    GLORY
    Edberg 15-4
    Mcenroe 13-1
    Lendl 16-0

    Edberg, Mcenroe and Lendl were highly resistant to the Gilbert DragUdown Virus.
     
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  2. VictorS.

    VictorS. Professional

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    I think that really puts into perspective the type of consistent performer Lendl was in his prime. Gilbert was one of those guys that gave all the top players a hard time, however in 16 meetings Lendl didn't lose once. Lendl, to me, never gets the credit he truly deserves as a player. Of course, had he won Wimbledon even once, I think the tennis community would've been much more inclined to give him his due.
     
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  3. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    True, but I recall reading about Mac's complete meltdown during his only loss to Gilbert. He supposedly told BG during a changeover that BG was not worthy of being on the same court him (other than that one loss, he was probably right about that, but to actually SAY that to another player...!). Then he left the game for 6 months or so, but he was never the same following his return.
     
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  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    That's true Phil. I remember Mac said to the press something like "when I lose to a guy like that I have to question if I should even be out here" and during that match Mac repeatedly trash talked Gilbert...including what you mentioned and I think at one point yelling "you are the F___ worst Gilbert! The F___worst!"

    So, Gilbert does get credit for packing a punch with that one win. Though even when a declining Mac returned he still beat Gilbert serveral more times.

    Victor, I think it's a tribute to all 3 of those greats. They were all solid enough in game and mind to play Gilbert that many times with him not able to find ways to get to them. Gilbert also said that he was a perfect match for Lendl in that Lendl demolished his 2nd serve. When you think about it, indeed you certainly aren't going to wear out Lendl physically and not mentally too often either. Brad's good passing shots were not really a factor against Lendl and Lendl was just too consistent and powerful off the ground to be broken down by Brad's junk. We all know as well that even though Lendl could be agressive off the ground, he also was patient enough to simply rally for as long as it took if that was in his interest. I agree Lendl probably doesn't get as much credit as he deserves and certainly not enough recognition by the media.
     
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  5. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    Gilbert gets way too much credit for Mac's sabbatical in '86. McEnroe lost a bit of motivation that year (he got married & had a kid with Tatum, in his book, he sounds like he felt forced into that marriage) the media was hounding him relentlessly because of that relationship.
    He was having bad losses before that loss to Gilbert(he lost a fifth set at the Australian a few weeks earlier 6-0, the only love fifth set he lost in his career)
    As far as Mac's inane trash talk("you don't deserve to be on the same court with me"), he'd been doing that for years, said that to Scanlon in '81 as well.

    I think Gilbert's best play came in '89, I remember him beating Becker & Edberg back to back to win Cincinnati. Both looked completely disgusted that they could lose to Gilbert. I've never seen Edberg complain about line calls like he did that day.

    I'm sure Wheaton still loses sleep over that 0-6 record, his career might be very different without some of those losses. I remember him ****ing a 2-set lead & match points against Gilbert at the '90 Wimbledon. The winner played Becker, after the match Wheaton said (correctly) that Gilbert would have no chance against Becker. Later that year they played a 5 setter at the $2 million Grand Slam Cup. They got into a shoving match on one of the changeovers.
     
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  6. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    That's true, Kevin, though Mac does say the Gilbert loss was the straw that broke his back...but certainly the bulk of it was other things.

    Yes, poor Wheaton, that is why I put him on the list...his heated rivalry with Gilbert. That is one player who never fulfilled his potential in my opinion. Taking into perspective all the accounts I've read it sounds like the Wheaton/Gilbert situation was probably the result of bad behavior on both their parts though probably Gilbert deserves a bit more credit if for no other reason that being really really annoying on court. Although if you read Gilbert's book alone he makes it sound like Wheaton and his brother were completely to blame.
     
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  7. Kevin Patrick

    Kevin Patrick Hall of Fame

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    Data, did Gilbert write about Wheaton in 'Winning Ugly' or another book? I wasn't aware of that, what did he say about Wheaton & his brother?
    Considering many seem to have had issues with Gilbert on & off the court, I'm inclined to take Wheaton's side(he seemed to get along with most other players)

    You don't think Wheaton fulfilled his potential? I'm inclined to agree, after his '90-'91 seasons he seem destined for a pretty good career. Maybe he lost motivation after winning the Grand Slam Cup in '91(winning 2 mill in a week could do that). How good do you think he could have been? I think he could have had a Todd Martin like career. If he got to slam finals against Sampras or Agassi, his serve might have given him an edge that Todd didn't have. Considering that grasscourt players became rare in the '90s, I'm sure he could have been a consistent contender at Wimbledon.
     
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  8. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Gilbert's win over McEnroe at the Masters was just the final straw.

    Gilbert gives McEnroe props though in his book for suckering him though. McEnroe and Gilbert made the finals of the tourney in San Francisco, Gilbert's home town. In the press conference after his semi, McEnroe was asked to analyze Gilbert's game. McEnroe indicated in no uncertain terms that Gilbert was crafty, but (paraphrasing) that there were probably some girls who hit the ball harder (later confirmed by Agassi comparing Gilbert to Graf). Gilbert came out firing in the finals, hitting the ball as hard as he could to prove a point to McEnroe. Point was proved, McEnroe won the match handily. Gilbert, unlike the majority of the world, did learn a lesson from this though.
     
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  9. joehight

    joehight New User

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    He is in the Hall of Fame

    Maybe they don't give him his due (he has to be considered among the greats), but he is in the International Hall of Fame. I saw the induction ceremonies live in Newport, R.I. - in 2002, I believe.
     
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  10. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, he did write about Wheaton quite a bit in that book...recounting previous incidents and then I think devoting an entire section to the Grand Slam cup match....I loaned out my copy of the book so I cannot go to reference it, but as I recall Gilbert painted the picture that it was Wheaton and even more so his brother who were upset over line calls and started egging on Gilbert. I think Gilbert said that John Wheaton(now an english professor I think?) actually was yelling at Gilbert on changeover from ********* directly behind Gilbert "I'm gonna kick your ass Gilbert!" Gilbert said he even complained to the umpire that the brother was out of control. Which apparently made David even more angry. He really painted the Wheatons as out of control jerks. I remember Gilbert's account of his actions seemed suspiciously sanitized to me....but perhaps that's how Gilbert really remembers it. Would be interesting to hear the Wheaton side in that much detail. We all certainly know that Gilbert is no dainty soft spoken wallflower and by all accounts can be an annoying man....so I certainly tend to think that some of the credit for that incident must belong to him! ;-)

    I think you're on the mark as usual with saying Wheaton had at least Todd Martin potential in him. Just like Martin I think he could have had a top 20 career with quality slam results and if a bit lucky perhaps a slam or 2. As I'm sure you know, he had already made the USO and AO quarters in 1990 and the Wimbledon semis in 91!

    His game was a great all court game with some weapons. His groundstrokes were quite flat, almost like a modern Connors, not a lot of margin for error but could be very penetrating when on. His volleys were technicaly sound. His 1st serve motion went through a few distinct incarnations but at it's best(which I personally thought was actually 1989! but I'm guessing he'd disagree) it was smooth, beautiful, graceful and huge. He had a very big 2nd serve before it was in fashion to have the huge 2nd serve. I think if he had a weakness it was that sometimes his footwork could be a bit clunky(big manish) and under pressure his forehand could get dodgy. Still, at his best he could stay right in there with the Fab 4.

    I remember when he "showed up" again in 96 at the USO in the 4th round and played a tough, exciting 4 setter against Agassi. People were saying "where has this guy been?!"

    W/L
    vs Chang 6-5
    vs Courier 3-3
    vs Agassi 3-6
    vs Washinton 2-1
    vs Sampras....heh...not so lucky ;-) 0-8

    OH, and by the way:
    Wimbly 2004 over 35 men's doubles final

    Middleton & Wheaton bt Pioline & R Seguso (US) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
     
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  11. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    I remember when David Wheaton had Becker on the brink of defeat at Wimbledon in the early 90s...he should have won that match, was playing beautifully. I thought he was outplaying Becker, but in the end Becker had what all great champions do...that will to win that just won't be stopped.

    Wheaton, to my mind, was actually a slightly better prospect than Todd Martin. Both tall, lumbering guys; but to my mind Wheaton was less lumbering and more athletic. Martin, however, was much more consistent and reliable off the ground, since he was actually a baseliner growing up; his college coach made him change into a serve and volleyer realizing that he needed to take advantage of his height more to make it on the tour.

    Martin's backhand had more versatility than Wheaton's, but Wheaton's backhand was more intimidating when on. He really rifled it with confidence, very flatly struck, and flat take back like Connors'. To me, he had a better serve than Martin's. Think how Agassi described Gimelstob's serve as "bone-crushing" once; well, if that's bone crushing, then Wheaton's was FAN-tastic! Hey, what can I say? I'm a fan.

    They were both good competitors, and I think both equally competent (read, excellent) on the volleys; but not particularly flair-istic on them. More utilitatarian, but exceedingly crisp, deft, and sharp when on.

    Overall, I'd say Wheaton's main demise was injury. He had a very dangerous game, and he wasn't afraid to face the top players.

    It's amazing how injuries can fizzle a career out faster than instant noodle soup can grow cold and soggy left unattended for a few minutes too long.

    The thing with injury prone players is that assuming they once showed promise, they are still capable of the occasional, "Where has he been?" type performances once in a blue moon. The problem is that they are no longer able to physically coax their best stuff out on a regular, RELIABLE basis anymore. Also, that mentally they are no longer able to summon their best stuff at will...such is the consequences of losing faith in your health and abilitities.

    A good example would be Magnus Larson in his last few years, during his prime, he was always one of those injury prone type players; and near the end of his career, the results of that paid dividends that were the work of the devil. By the end, while a once contemporary like Agassi was still going strong...mind you, Agassi who really only suffered one major injury early in his career, to his wrist...Larson, once one of the most feared and dangerous "hot streak" players on tour...had become a shadow of his old self. The guy became only an average *challenger* level player, and even lost to Kevin Kim (who was not the same Kevin Kim who in the last half year has finally started to put his game together) in the French Open qualies. Remember, this is a guy who once gave Sampras all he could handle and then some when on. A guy who once smoked Boris Becker. A guy who could manhandle Chang. A guy who could pretty much scare the bejesus out of ANY "elite" player on his good days.

    Well, just when you the thought the guy was years past his prime physically, and FINISHED beyond repair; he ends up drawing peak Hewitt in the Australian Open. And wouldn't you know it, Larson gave Hewitt all he could handle. So, where was THAT tennis the past few years?

    Just goes to show you that the innate game is still within, but it's like shaking a rusty old gum drop machine for the contents *magically* held there within. They're still there, a few...but oh, why must I shake the worn metal mechanisms of this crusty old machine so! ...just for it to release that one measely, lousy, little gum drop? Ah shucks, it's amazing how we can take for granted what once came so easily, what once spilleth forward in spades...enough to even acquire a one-time top ten ranking. For shame.

    Sooner or later, either the body wears out, or you tire mentally from trying...or probably both. Still, don't mean that you don't got some life still in ya, just much harder, and much rarer to pop out iz all.

    Also, don't forget that "broken-down" former top players can no longer train as they once did. *Even* when *technically* healthy enough to "play." Remember, there is a lot more to just playing than literally showing up at a tournament site, and announcing to the towel boy, "Hey, you--*ingrate*! ...I'm playing. Bring me my towel." Oh no. There's gotta be a little something going on behind the scenes, in other words practice. Remember, you've got to be healthy *enough* to attack practice the way you'd like to, because really, that IS where the REAL work begins.

    If you can do that, then that makes the alleged real work, the matches, easy...well, maybe not easy, but certainly MUCH easier to win matches consistently.

    When Seratonin Blueberra retired, he cited the frustration over prolonged and various injurious maladies preventing him from practicing the way a top player needs to practice...which is to say not necessarily a LOT, but at the very least, HARD and INTENSELY hard...think Connors, who may not have practice a lot, but when he did he was ALL business during that time.

    When you're no longer mentally or physically prepared to approach practice with FULL intenisty, your days are up.

    Most recently, I reference Hicham Arazi who after seemingly peaking around 2000, i.e. finally winning with some measure of *consistency*, as opposed to the occasional flashy result here or there; he fell off the map, jumped off a cliff, and really, he didn't seem to care or mind that much.

    When he made his out of nowhere, where has THIS been for the past few years, NUCLEAR run (sayonara Scud's a' Blazing') at last, last year's Australian Open; people wondered why, where, how, wazup, you got amnesia or something? Well, kinda. Arazi didn't necessarily suffer health problems so much as he did "burn-out," call it one day just doing your thang, twiddling your thumb...err, racket, right? Yeah, sure, whatever you say champ ;) ...when you suddenly get hit on the head with a coconut from way up above the practice court lights. Call it divine intervention, but Arazi basically said that the reason he "went away" for a few years, and started playing like paradoxically flaky and bland, granola-cripola, was because he simply grew tired of traveling and all the practice. Yes, Mr. Iverson, we're talking about mostly just...:eek: ...PRACTICE...:(.

    The day you lose your stomach for practice, either by injury or by heart, is the day your ranking effectively jumps off a cliff. There's just too many good and hungry players ready--no, make that PREPARING--out there who don't have the supermodel girlfriend yet and as a result are charging forward like rather masculine bulls to take your place, chomping at the bit, salivating, tooting their own horns; the whole nine yards, you thumb-twiddling...has-been? T'wit (to wit)...well, if the shiny and new, let's go clubbing in Monte Carlo, La Dolce Vita, shoes fit...it is a distinct possibility.
     
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  12. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Geez, Tym! Got anything on your mind? ;-)

    I like the rusty gum ball machine analogy. lol.
     
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  13. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    data my take on wheaton for what it's worth and having watched him in person closeup a few times (excuse me Tym if you said any of this) is what you said about footwork..i do think he is/was a really good athlete and a better athlete than todd martin, but his game was really erratic..specifically because he didnt seem to be able to take that last little adjustment step in your prep that you really need for consistency..that seems to more adversely affect the forehand for some reason IMO.i dont know if that was worked on in his game or not..i would like to presume his coaches (whoever they were) noticed this and maybe he just for some reason was incapable. my .o2 FWIW
     
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  14. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I'm glad to hear you confirm that NoBad because that's exactly what I was thinking of. His footwork just wasn't precise now and then and it sometimes resulted in an unforced error, less option or a less effective shot as he'd be a bit off balance because he wasn't in precisely the right place. That's the one area where Martin had him beat athletically.

    Yeah, I'm sure if you and I both noticed it, his coaches must have...but perhaps it was as good as he could get it. It's so much easier said than done at that level....my timing and footwork are great hitting with a 4.5...I can look like Federer, Agassi...whoever I want....when I've played against 6.5 players....uh...I dont' look so good...lol. The quick feet I normally pride myself on....well sometimes I suddenly realize...they're not quick enough at that level! I'm sure you've experienced the same thing with people you've coached and your own game....if Wheaton's footwork was as good as he was capable of...well there's no shame in that, still better than 99.9% of players will ever be. IF he could have improved that 10%...well I think he could have been a mainstay of the top 10 and a very serious GS threat.(injuries aside)

    But then, I could also coach Agassi by saying "well, Andre all we have to do is increase your serve speed by 10% so you top out around 140"....."well, Michael Chang, all we have to do is grow you taller by about 10%...."
     
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  15. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    right Data..certainly easier said than done. and nothing like absorbing a majour thumping to put things into the proper perspective....that happened to me not so long ago. i commented on this footwork issue because that is one area in my game i've never been good at...i've finally forced myself to do this little last adjustment step (most of the time), but now i am older and thusly slower..oh well..maybe that balances out and i am coming up even. i dont know the wheaton athletic background so much, but being from Wisconsini think? i am thinking he was somehow a really tall hockey player? rather than hoops? another thing that might have been to his detriment is that he had as part of his pre match routine a kind of a fartlek (sp?) jog/sprint/shuffle thing going and would be muttering encouragement to himself..maybe he hit the court too amped..it was kind of like what a boxer does or something footballers do to get themselves jacked. that could certainly make you erratic if not quiet within yourself...but then again i only saw him do this one time, and i am sure he would know what intensity level he could play best at.
     
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