Clay Court GOAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.

  1. Xemi666

    Xemi666 Professional

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    I'm not saying Rafa>Borg on clay, but I find it funny that the main argument from the people on the Borg side is "he has more FO", but then if comparing Rafa to say, Lendl or Connors, and saying he's better because 9>8, they'll tell you that "slams aren't everything" :)
     
  2. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sorry to burst the bubble but to say a healthy Guga would be ahead of Rafa is rediculous. During his run at the 3 FO, he had so many bad losses against low ranked players. For him to win the FO by beating both rafa and fed is a tall order, which I don't think he will. His record I posted below show no indication that he's ahead of rafa/fed. How many bad loss you see rafa on clay? And during prime fed, he had much few bad losses and most of the time it was him and rafa facing each other in the finals. No question Guga was a force on clay, but a healthy Guga starting 2005, he's behind Rafa and Roger on clay, respectively. Now please....do your homework first before posting !!

    1997 Losses
    Clavet #35
    Dosedel #51 (Master Series)
    Santoro #69
    Fromberg #89 (Master Series)
    Mantilla #16
    Gumy #75


    1997 Win
    RG….Bruguera #19
    Curitiba…..Sabau #158

    ============================
    1998 Losses
    Costa #54
    Pioline #16 (Master Series)
    Gustafsson #31
    Corretja #9 (Master Series)
    Rio #3 (Master Series)
    Safin #116 (Rolland Garros)
    Clavet #29
    Puerta #95
    Vicente #62
    Hernandez #192
    Lapentti #99


    1998 Win
    Stuttgart…...Kucera #16
    ==========================
    1999 Losses
    Rios #13
    Santopadre #108
    Moya #6 (Master Series)
    Medvedev #100 (Rolland Garros)
    Spadea #29
    Norman #49


    1999 Win
    Monte Carlo….Rios #13
    Rome…….Rafter #4

    =========================
    2000 Losses
    Chela #129
    Puerta #72
    Kucera #42 (Master Series)
    Norman #4 (Master Series)


    2000 Win
    Santiago….Puerta #84
    Hamburg…Safin #14
    RG….Norman #3

    ========================
    2001 Losses
    Ferrero #9 (Master Series)
    Mirnyi #54 (Master Series)


    2001 Win
    Buenos….Acasuso #172
    Acapulco….Blanco #116
    Monte Carlo….Arazi #53
    RG…..Corretja #13
    Stuttgart…..Canas #39
     
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    First, my understanding is that English isn't your first language. (That's what others have said and you haven't denied it). But, where in that quote did I say that a healthy Kuerten would be ahead of Ralph? That premise, read literally, doesn't even make sense. But, English isn't your first language, so you get a perpetual pass on poor grammar.

    Second, in 97, a young Kuerten won the FO beating Muster, Kafelnikov and Bruguera, all FO champions, to win the title. In 2000, Kuerten won the FO again beating Kafelnikov, J.C. Ferrero and Chang, all FO champions. In 2001, Kuerten beat Coria, J.C. Ferrero, Corretja, and Kafelnikov, all champions and/or great clay court players by any measure. In 2004, an already injured, sub par, Kuerten soundly beat Federer at the FO in straight sets. So, there's no rational basis to deny the possibility that Kuerten could beat Ralph and Federer in the same tournament. He had already exceeded that feat in 97', beating 3 FO champions to win the title. Similarly, there's no rational basis to deny the possibility that a healthy, mature, Kuerten would have been favored to win a few more FO's, depriving Ralph of a few that he eventually won in Kuerten's absence. JMHO, of course.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Rosewall was the best clay court player in the world for years. It may have been his best surface. I don't think it's unreasonable to think he could have won ten French Opens if there was Open tennis from the very beginning.

    Fact is Rosewall won the French in 1953 and when Open Tennis started in 1968. How many could he have won in between if Open Tennis was around?

    Kuerten is one of my all time favorites and from my observation and the opinion of a few tennis experts that I spoke to, they believe the Kuerten at his best may very well beat Nadal at his best on red clay. Of course this was a few years ago. However and this is a big "however" Kuerten also had some losses on red clay to players he should have beaten. Rosewall would on occasion lose on clay but generally the names would be someone like Rod Laver and that's not a bad loss. And Rosewall usually beat Laver on clay. There is no way Kuerten should rank over Rosewall on clay or any surface.

    Including Pro Majors, Rosewall won at least six majors on clay that I counted and that number could have been higher because for a number of years there were no Pro Majors on clay. Rosewall is one of the all time greats on clay and at worst top three, arguably number one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I feel the same way about Kuerten. He wasn't as mentally tough as Rosewall, and he probably played injured for 2-3 years before he was forced to retire. I'm not saying that Kuerten would have had the longevity that Rosewall had. No one else matches up in that respect, not even Gonzeles. But, for a few years, Kuerten was as good, or better, than anyone ever was on clay, including Rosewall. JMHO!
     
  6. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    But what the hell did you mean when you said "healthy" Guga would push rafa’s run at the FO back for a few years??

    Obviously, you implied that Guga would have beaten Rafa since no one have beaten him except 2009 Soderling. Fact is...Guga lost to many low ranked players ! Forget about Rafa and Fed, off the top of my head - players like Novak, Soderling DP, focus Nalbandian, Monfils, Ferrer are all superior players over the ones that Guga lost. There’s no argument to support Guga would have stop Rafa’s run at the RG when arguably so many can take him out. Capiche?

    Look, you are entitle to your opinion, but the facts I presented doesn’t support you claim. I have challenge you in many debates including this one, and you have no answer.
     
  7. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is a fair point. When comparing rafa v. lendl, I defended Lendl for many of his amazing stats that he has over Rafa, despite he won one less slam and no career slam. We should be consistent when comparing rafa to borg or any past players...take every other stats into account. Rafa’s records on clay are truly amazing, and the 81 winning streak is one of the most impressive record in tennis.
     
  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You don't have the knowledge or wisdom to challenge anyone in a tennis debate. What you can do is lie, obfuscate and proffer false premises, as you did here. Perhaps my answers are just beyond your comprehension, so you do the only thing you can do - change the subject.
     
  9. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thank you for proving me once again that you continue to duck and cover. And yet, you claim I don’t win a battle. I don’t need to do much battling since you always running away. Do you need another pair of Nike?
     
  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Could someone please state the case for Kuerten being above Muster in the clay-court ranks apart from the obvious of 3 French Open titles to 1? Do you really think that's enough on its own?
     
  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think my post above states such a case! To that I would add that Kuerten not only hit better than Muster, he was a better athlete, and he had a better serve. Not that Muster couldn't grind out a win when Kuerten was not at his best. But, IMHO, Kuerten's best was at a higher level than Muster's best.
     
  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    More shameless hypocricy! TMF must be a duplicate ID for Drakulie.
     
  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Where's Kuerten's 65-2 clay-court season? I don't see one remotely close to it.
     
  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Muster was a grinder and gave it 100% every time. That's not disputed. But, where was the Kuerten of the mid 90's - someone who was just as steady as Muster on clay, more powerful, quicker, with a better serve? There was none!
     
  15. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Muster did had a great run in the mid 90s. In fact he had 2 impressive clay winning streaks. I think Stich was one of the player that ended of his streak(only rafa was able to break his record). Since he didn’t have a long dominant time frame, I think that’s one area hurts him.
     
  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Kafelnikov? Who Muster owned head-to-head. Kafelnikov was a thorn in Kuerten's side and vice versa.
     
  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Muster had a 40 match winning streak on clay from February - July 1995, ended by Corretja in Gstaad. Muster had a 38 match clay-court winning streak from August 1995 - May 1996, ended by Moya in Munich in Muster's 4th tournament in 4 weeks. The loss to Stich was at the 1996 French Open, at a time when Muster was 34-1 on clay for 1996 combined with the 65-2 of the previous year.
     
  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Again, Muster's clay court credentials were very impressive. He was a great clay court grinder. But, the very next year, in 1997, a 21 year old Kuerten beat a 29 year old Muster, Kafelnikov, and Bruguera in the final, to win his first FO. So, Muster was pretty much still in his prime when he lost that match to a Kuerten who hadn't yet reached his prime. I'm not saying Kuerten was better than Muster at that point, I don't know about that. But, Kuerten did improve before his injuries killed his career.

    PS: You said, "make a case." I think I've at least made a rebutable case.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  19. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Muster had the best hardcourt year of his career in 1997, but this came at the expense of his clay-court form. Muster was just 9-9 on clay in 1997. Don't get me wrong, what Kuerten did to win the 1997 French Open was absolutely fantastic, beating Muster, Medvedev, Kafelnikov, Dewulf and Bruguera, but Muster was not in his 1995-1996 clay-court form at this time and was actually a better player on hardcourts at that point.

    Another good clay-courter in the mid-1990s is Medvedev, who won 4 masters titles, all on clay, and seemed to have bad luck at the French Open almost every year. In 1992, Courier thrashed him. In 1993 and 1994, Bruguera thrashed him. In 1995, Muster thrashed him. In 1997, Kuerten beat him in a 5-set epic. In 1999, after disposing of Sampras and the tournament favourite, Kuerten, blows a two-set lead in the final against Agassi.
     
  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    That match against Agassi was all about Agassi. I watched in disbelief as Medvedev just flat out hit Agassi for two sets. Agassi was just not hitting the ball the way he usually does. Perhaps he was being cautious. I don't know, but, it wasn't working.

    Then, during a return game in the third set, Agassi just cranked a big return for a winner as I recall. He really turned on it. I said to myself "where's that been the whole match?" That return was the first time in that match that Agassi laid into the ball the way he usually does. That shot was the turning point in the match. I think Agassi just made a decision that if he was going down, he was going down swinging. And he just started out hitting Medvedev from there forward.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just a quick question for all of you, who had the highest level of play when "on" their game on red clay? In order, who is the best to worst among Federer, Kuerten and Nadal?
     
  22. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    1. Nadal
    2. Kuerten
    3. Federer
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Last year I may have put Kuerten number one but Nadal's improved his serve so much I agree with your order.
     
  24. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Agree 100%. Nadal, Kuerten and then Federer. I'd have to give Kuerten the #2 spot. Kuerten, the guy named in an article as having really popularized the "Luxilon shot".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg7NA0vGJX4 (Gustavo Kuerten- Heroes of Roland Garros)

    www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1899876,00.html

     
  25. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Another thing about Kuerten is that he liked to play his way into form. He wasn't like Nadal where he'd nearly always be on his game on a clay surface. Kuerten liked to ease himself into form by building confidence and momentum. He could be much more vulnerable otherwise. Even Federer is more likely to do well on clay from the off.
     
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I remember Kuerten's bad match against Michael Russell at the French years ago in which he saved match point. Once Kuerten saved it you could see Kuerten was in form and Russell, despite being two sets up was to my mind out of the match. There was no way Russell could survive against a Kuerten now in form.

    It used to amaze me how Kuerten could hit so many winners on red clay when he was on his game.

    An in form peak Kuerten against Nadal in 2010 on red clay would be a match for the ages.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  27. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    But by that time, Borg had won 2 FO, 1 DC, 2 IO, had Played a Masters F, 2 WCT F....He was a very very good player in 1975 and a win over him then, counts as much, IMHO, as a win over early 80´s Borg.
     
  29. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Yes, Borg was already very, very good. But simply looking at his results says that he was nowhere near as dominant on clay in 1975 as he would be in 1980.
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Borg of 1975 was an excellent clay courter but he wasn't near what he would be a few years later. A perfect example is that Connors defeated Borg on Har-tru at the US Open in 1975 in straight sets by identical scores of 7-5 7-5 7-5. A few year later Connors couldn't really touch Borg on har-tru as evidenced by their match at the 1979 Pepsi in which Connors won 5 games in two sets. I thought Connors played well at the Pepsi but Borg was just too good for him.

    Whether Borg could have beaten Connors on red clay in 1975 is up for debate.
     
  31. juanparty

    juanparty Semi-Pro

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    Sampras lol
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, if you comapre the range of players he beat at his first 2 RG titles (Orantes,Vilas,Solomon,Panatta,Dibbs..) and those in his last 2 (Gerulaitis,Lendl,Pecci,Taroczy,Solomon,Barazzuti), I don´t think it was easier for him in 74&75 than 80&81 ( with the possible exception of the young Lendl of 1981).I just cannot see the difference.
     
  33. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    The point you're trying to make escapes me.

    Yes, Borg's competition was always good. No, he wasn't as good in 1975 as he would be in 1980.
     
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    True that he was already a very strong player on clay. Just some nitpicks: as of the 1975 USO Borg had no Davis Cup title yet or Masters final, and only 1 Italian.

    Yes Borg did improve after '75, and it's reflected in his Har-Tru meetings with Connors. They met once a year on Har-Tru from 1974-79:

    1974 Indianapolis Connors d. Borg 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
    1975 US Open Connors d. Borg 7-5, 7-5, 7-5
    1976 US Open Connors d. Borg 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4
    1977 Pepsi Borg d. Connors 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
    1978 Pepsi Borg d. Connors 7-6, 3-6, 6-1
    1979 Pepsi Borg d. Connors 6-2, 6-3
     
  35. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    has to be be between borg and nadal.
     
  36. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    You're right, the quality of players that he beat in '74-75 was not much different than '80-81. In some ways the 74-75 opponents look stronger: Orantes, Vilas and Panatta all won Slams on clay, while the second group has only Lendl. But Lendl, even the immature Lendl, was an extremely difficult opponent and ultimately became the greatest claycourter of all of Borg's opponents. Also, Gerulaitis is in that second group and he won two Italian Opens (including one in a great victory over Vilas that we recently mentioned).

    So it's difficult to tell. Basically, the two sets of defeated opponents are comparable, I guess that's safe to say.

    But when you look at the scores there's a clear difference. Borg tore through the 1980 French in straight sets. And he defeated everyone except Lendl in straights in '81. Those opponents you listed in '74-75, he lost sets to all of them, except Vilas. (Note, he never actually played Dibbs at RG. But in his place I suppose you could name Ramirez, a good claycourter who beat Connors in the first round in '73).

    And 1980 was not the only year Borg won the French in straight sets. He also did it, of course, in '78.

    Here's Borg's record at Roland Garros: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Bo/B/Bjorn-Borg.aspx?t=pa&y=0&m=s&e=520#

    Borg rarely lost on clay in general, after the '77 USO.

    So I would say Borg was a greater claycourter from 78-81 than he was in 74-75. Not necessarily by a lot, but I think his record reflects a real improvement.

    Plus, IMO you can see the difference just in watching the DVD's of his claycourt matches over the years. To me he looks distinctly better on red clay and Har-Tru in the '78-81 period compared to '74-76.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree wioth you.I just wanted to emphatize that Borg was not kind of unmature player in 1975, because , by that year, he was already established as one of the very best world players, as proven by his record.

    Thanks for the nippies...yes, Ramirez could be a tough test on clay, probably tougher than Dibbs for Borg´s style of playing ( he enjoyed playing and dismantling all the great baseline guys, from Vilas to Lendl, and Dibbs was a baseliner, no doubt).

    In 1979-1980, Borg played his possibly best tennis and seldom lost any match, not to mention clay courts.It is a pitty, he did not play the 1982 or 1983 FO, he and Lendl could have consolidated an exhilarating CC rivalry, that just started off in 1981, after their FO final.
     
  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I may agree 1980 Borg would possibly beat 1975 Borg.But in 1975, he was already the man to beat on a slow surface and only Panatta or Connors - on the ocassion- could give me a real scare.Vilas,Orantes,Nastase never beat Borg again - in serious matches, I mean- on a clay court after 1975.
     
  39. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I think it's really about consistency. Borg could dominate in 1975 - he just didn't do it at the same rate as he would later when he reached his prime.

    When one looks at Borg's results on clay in 1975, there are clearly some dominating performances there. But scattered throughout are some unexpected losses as well. None of those later.
     
  40. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    clay court GOAT is Rosewall, no questions asked. Then Nadal/Borg
     
  41. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    oh yeah, no one beats rosewall. The guy could hit 80mph slice backhands. There is no way Nadal could win a point.
     
  42. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Rosewall wouldn't even need his 80mph backhands (which were very flat slices, if you are being a sarcastic doubter), he could just float them and make Nadal cry. Especially since this would be nadal's plan:

    Forehand to Rosewall's strength
    Rosewall already in position like the god he is
    Rosewall hits to Nadal's weakest position
    Nadal runs like the wind because he misread Rosewall's movements, somehow gets to ball

    rinse and repeat till Rosewall wins.
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Come on Champ. Does it really matter how hard he hit his backhand when it really was such a great shot? The man was the best on clay of probably over a decade. He legitimately is on the short list for greatest clay court player ever so at least give the man his due for his French Open titles and all his clay court tournament victories.

    Please tell me how many backhands are better than Rosewall's? Here's of video of him playing Roche. He was 35 years old and in decline.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJubuKDN7Fk

    Of course Nadal is a great clay court player but give them both wood racquets and let both be 24 and I think Rosewall would do pretty well.
     
  44. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    you are right. He can beat Nadal by just using the tweener all day.
     
  45. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Nadal's not that bad.

    Realistically, if they both grew up same era, I would say average match on RG clay would go 6-4 4-6 7-6 6-4 in Rosewall's favor. Or close, you know what I mean.
     
  46. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    I think Rosewall on his worst day will beat Nadal at his very best 60 60 60.
     
  47. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    now your just being silly.
     
  48. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    ahahaha

    But, yeah, Rosewall's got a great case for clay goat.
     
  49. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I'd agree, though it depends on how you define consistency. Is it being fully committed to training and to "showing up" for each match you play? Well that's a kind of consistency that Borg always had.

    But you can also start to be consistently dominant because you've put enough distance between you and your rivals, not just in terms of commitment and emotional maturity, but in terms of skill. When that happens a player might have a day when he's not at his best -- he could be inconsistent in that minor way -- but he still comes away with the victory because his superiority over his opponent is just too much to overcome. Or he pulls it out because of the benefits of experience: and that's something that the 1978-81 Borg did have over his younger self (along with, I think, more depth on his groundstrokes and a better serve).

    His Har-Tru matches against Connors show a lot of this.
     
  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with you. Another thing the Borg of later years had was that he could attack on shots that just a few years earlier would have put him on the defensive. If you watch the US Open final of 1976 against Connors, Connors' powerful approach shots put the Borg of 1976 on the defensive so that Connors often was able to put the volley away. The Borg of 1979 at the Pepsi wasn't bothered very much by approach shots of the around the same quality. Borg was simply at the different level just as I believe the Borg of 1976 was better than the Borg of 1975.

    Just look at Borg's 1978 French Open results. He won 127 games and lost 32 and he destroyed Vilas in the final, giving up only five games. It was the most dominant performance by a player in the history of the majors.
     

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