Connors v Borg 1978 and the no.1 ranking

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Xavier G, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    This is something that really separates Borg and Connors in '78. They ran close in total number of (official) titles, and in total number of losses. But Borg won 2 Slams to Connors' 1.

    It's true that World Team Tennis had diminished the strength of the RG field since '74; but in '78 there were fewer absences of top players at RG than at any time since WTT began. Six of the Top 20 were missing at RG -- the same number that were missing at Wimbledon.

    I think RG in '78 actually came out slightly ahead of Wimbledon in an evaluation conducted by WCT (the criteria were strength of field and prize money); someone made a post about this a year or two ago.
     
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  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    You can also look at surface achievements. Borg was undefeated in '78 on clay: 20-0 in official matches. As Kiki mentioned, he won RG without the loss of a set (and with the fewest ever games lost).

    Borg was also undefeated on grass (though his only grass event was Wimbledon).

    Connors lost matches on all the surfaces: hard, carpet, grass and clay.

    On the other hand Connors won titles on all those surfaces, while Borg failed to win a title on hardcourt (losing in 3 events).

    Best hardcourt player of the year was clearly Connors (3 titles, 1 loss).

    Best on clay and grass was Borg.

    Each man won 4 titles on carpet.

    No large margin here for either man. The differences that stand out are Borg's extra Slam title; Borg's large lead in non-sanctioned events, some of which were considered important at the time even if they're off the radar today; and Borg's significant edge in H2H against the rest of the field.
     
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  3. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Cool, if you have time please check it.

    It's an interesting point -- but I think it's similar to American football. The Super Bowl just played (Feb. 3) is officially referred to as Super Bowl XLVII, but it's also commonly called the 2013 Super Bowl, even though the football season began last September.
     
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  4. elegos7

    elegos7 Rookie

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    Bonus points seem to have been used since the start of the ATP computer rankings. Evans gives some details about this in his book about Open Tennis:
    A player is awarded tournament points (that vary according to the amount of prize money and the size and difficulty of the draw(how many Top10 or Top20 players are entered)) and bonus points (for beating players in the Top24: 6p for a Top1-8 player, 4p for a Top9-16, 2p for a Top17-24).

    Bonus points were used up to 1999, but their distribution changed with time. In 1988 the situation was as follows:
    30 (1-5), 24 (6-10), 20 (11-15), 16 (16-20), 12 (21-30), 6 (31-50), 3 (51-75), 2 (76-100), 1 (100-150)
    From 1990 an increased amount of bonus points were awarded, for beating players in the Top200.

    While bonus points certainly made the computation of rankings more difficult, I think their elimination was a mistake on the part of ATP (WTA also abandoned bonus points a few years ago).
     
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  5. paolo2143

    paolo2143 Rookie

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    whilst 1978 was pretty close i have to give edge to borg,he was ahead in their h2h clashes and also he won 2 slams to jimmy's one.

    There was not a lot in it but definitely borg had the edge and over next few years really began to dominate Jimmy
     
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  6. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I've had a quick look. On my DVD copy of the January 1983 Masters final, it's CBS' broadcast, after Lendl beats McEnroe and has received the winner's cheque, they mention that they are going to show highlights of the previous year's final between Lendl and Gerulaitis, how Lendl came back to win from 2 sets down.

    On screen, it says:

    COMING UP:

    1982​

    Grand Prix Masters Final​

    LENDL vs GERULAITIS​
     
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Thanks for checking. I'm thinking back now, when I got into tennis in '85, the January Masters was often referred to according to the year in which it took place, on TV, and in yearbooks from encyclopedias in which I looked up tennis.

    For example, such yearbooks would say that Borg won the Volvo Masters in 1980 and 1981.

    And that's how I referred to them, too, even though I knew what the structure of the Masters was, as a season-ending championship. For me there was no contradiction in the January Masters ending the 1979 season but being referred to as the 1980 Masters.

    I'm American so perhaps I thought of it that way because we refer to American football the same way: the football season begins in September 1979, and in January they play the Super Bowl, and it's referred to commonly as the 1980 Super Bowl.

    In other words, for the Masters that took place in January 1980, calling it "the 1980 Masters" is just a way of saying in which year it took place -- without specifying anything about the official tennis season.
     
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  8. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    it was mental having the end of year championships in the january of the next year..what were the tennis authorities thinking :confused:

    1986 onwards at least the masters/world tour finals/YEC were played in the nov/dec of the actual year they represent, and not the following january.

    it really clouds the scene when looking back..luckily the tour is more compact nowadays :)
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    thanks for the info!
     
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  10. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Well in that case people need to be clearer. The thread clearly said "no.1 ranking". Connors achievement of being ranked no.1 at the end of 5 years in a row in the 1970's is an amazing one, and not getting the respect it deserves it seems. I will start a thread tomorrow to make up for this.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    you ought to.I consider him the only player to play the whole golden era ( 74-89) and always being tremendously competitive, whenever playing Rosewall or Agassi.Yes, being ranked so long at nº 1 is amazing, although in the last years of that frame I think Borg really took over him.In the beginning of 1979 he was still ranked at 1 when it was obvious that Borg and Mac were ahead of him.
     
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  12. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    If you look at the calender year 1978, Connors and Borg played 3 big finals on 3 different surfaces- the Masters on indoor carpet, Wimbledon on grass and the US Open on the new hard courts and Connors had the edge 2-1 in those finals.
    Only Jimmy was causing Borg any significant problems at all.
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I remind how stumning was Mac' s win over Bjorn at Borg' s hometown of Stockholm
    Only comparable to Lendl' s five set win at Basle two yrs afterwords
    That win proppeled Mac and he was the best from USO 78 till WCT 79 at least indoors
     
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  14. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    the masters was/is considered to part of the 77 season ...

    in 78 season , tennis wise, their h2h was 3-1 in favour of borg ....
     
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  15. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    will have to disagree here ...that was thanks to the ridiculous ATP system ...

    in 77, vilas would be no 1 in an objective system considering all the events ... borg was the best player ..

    in 78, borg should've been #1 ahead of connors by a distinct margin in a fair objective system ....borg again was the best player ...

    OTOH, connors was clear #1 in 82, yet mac somehow got it ahead of him (&lendl )
     
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  16. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Yes, the Masters was considered part of the 77 season.
    The calender year it was played in was 1978.
     
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  17. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    In future, when I say THE CALENDER YEAR 1978 in relation to this thread, I mean THE CALENDER YEAR, ie 1978, even though everyone knows the Masters played in January 1978 belonged to the 1977 tennis season. Is that ok?

    It's not that hard to understand, is it? Can people read words properly?

    The World Of Tennis annual yearbook 1980 also itself said Connors had a better 1978 in his biography entry and included the Masters played in January 1978 as part of that analysis, because it was played in January 1978, I suppose!

    God, give me strength! :)
     
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  18. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    What's a calendar?:)
     
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  19. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Borg and I wouldn't even consider Connors ahead of Nastase (a true genius and the prototype of the modern player).
     
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  20. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, that'll be next. Either that, or getting mixed up with a colendar! :)
     
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  21. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I always believed Connors was the number 1 of 74-76 and Borg from 78-80 regardless of the rankings. However Connors was also the deserving number 1 in 1982 though which actually means he had more years of being the real or the rightful number 1 than Borg 4 to 3, not just more years being year end number 1 on the computer as some believe (although much closer than the computer margin of 5 to 2). That is an interesting twist in comparing the two players.
     
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  22. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I actually agree there is a case for Connors being above Borg. Personally I probably rate Borg above but it is very close, and for all the reasons you stated there is a strong case that could be made for Connors. Borg seems to be somewhat overrrated on this forum.
     
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  23. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    The pre-1990 ATP ranking system (total points (of sanctioned tournaments) divided by nº of (sanctioned) tournaments played) was what it was and all players knew it.

    It rewarded consistency and the level of rivals you beat (bonus points) in the sanctioned tournaments.

    You can not "change" the ranking system of the past and try to rank them under the current system (it is as senseless as trying to rank post-1990 rankings under the old pre-1990 ranking).

    It is like people now giving too much importance to M-1000 tournaments, because now any M-1000 gives double of points than the best non-GS/non-M-1000 tournaments (ATP-500 tournaments).

    It wasn't like that prior to 2000.

    In the 90s (for example, but in the 80s and 70s it was similar) a Super-9 (later called Masters-Series and currently called M-1000 ) gave 370 points for the winner, but there were several other tournaments (non-GS and non-Super 9 ) that gave 360 points to the winner.

    I.e., there were several other tournaments that gave virtually the same amount of points than a Masters-Series. That is why during the 90s (and previous eras with the equivalent tournaments) the nº of Masters-Series a player had won was not known, it wasn't important (top players used to skip some of them carelessly, they weren't mandatory, they could win virtually the same amount of points in other tournaments).

    In the current era, as I said, a M-1000 tournament is much much more important, because it gives double of points than any non-GS/non-M-1000 tournament.

    In this era, the M-1000 tournaments are infinitely more important to get to nº1 in the world than the Super-9 of the 90s were.

    So now people start to count nº of M-1000 tournaments won by a player as another "great" statistic, not knowing that during the 90s (for example) there were several tournaments (Championship Series) that gave 360 points to the winner (versus 370 points from a Super-9 ).

    Thigs like this make it impossible to compare different eras fairly.

    Trying to assing the same importance (the M-1000 tournaments have now) to the Super-9 of the 90s (or the equivalent tournaments from the 80s and 70s) doesn't make sense.

    Also trying to "measure" the past players years under the current ATP ranking system is as senseless as trying to measure current players years under the 90s system or the pre-1990 system (averaging).
     
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  24. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes it's amazing to think he played against such diverse players, and greats for that matter, as Rosewall and Agassi. When you think Rosewall started in about 1951 and Agassi retired in 2006. Connors really has been at the centre of modern tennis!

    Oh, and I will start that Connors thread next week, when I've done a bit more research, I want to get my facts right:)
     
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  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Well we will certainly disagree. The head to heads, who is the best player in peoples opinions etc is not relevant. The ATP system was not ridiculous, it was systematic and at least tried to be quite accurate (I realise it could have been more accurate). All the players knew what they had to do, to be year end no.1, and Jimmy was year end number 1, for 5 years in a row. This a great achievement and a fact:shock:
     
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  26. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Haha, come on, who didn't lol at that one:)
     
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  27. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I actually think Connors, Borg and McEnroe are often underrated on the whole. Because they played in possibly the hardest era, and were up against each other, and were all outstanding players. I do realise there were other tough eras, and it's not something I want to get into as is very subjective, but it's my opinion that they are all underrrated by many when looking at all-time player type lists. I'd have all 3 of them in the top 7 of all-time!
     
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  28. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, this is exactly my point, at last someone else gets it!!!!!!!!!!

    All the players knew what you had to do to get to be year end no.1, and Jimmy was year end no.1 for 5 years in a row, brilliant!
     
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  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    and the true King of the Masters ( 4 titles in 5 consecutive finals, the last one ( 1975) a win over...Borg...at Stockholm...6-2,6-2,6-1):)
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg, Connors and a bit later on Lendl and Mac are the central characters in the Golden Era.1981-1982 are the central years.The top 10 events back then would be 81 and 82 RG, W,USO,WCT and Masters.

    Lendl won 2 events
    Wilander 1
    Connors 2
    Borg 2
    Mac 3

    It couldn´t be more even.
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.The 70´s and 80´s are the most attractive and competitive eras ever, even more than the first half of the 90´s or the second half of the 50´s, that would come later.

    Laver,Rosewall,Ashe,Nastase,Newcombe,Kodes,Smith,Vilas,Connors,Borg,Mac,Lendl,Wilander,Becker,Edberg and Cash.With second fiddle such as Roche,Gimeno,Orantes,Panatta,Tanner,Kriek,Gerulaitis,Noah,Mecir,Okker.iit is unbelievable when you come think about.Such diversity and overall talent and audiences...it is the peak of this sport.
     
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  32. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Well if Wilander had won one of the events Mac had won, then it would have been more even:)

    Excellent point though.
     
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  33. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I really havn't seen much tennis pre 1975, I really need to see more now. I had to put up with 1995-2005 which for me at least was the dullest era.
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    true¡¡¡¡.Borg won 14 majors, including, of course the 2 indoor majors; Mac took 15 just as much as Ivan.Connors won 11, but he refused entering WCT till 77 so might have won another couple of.Well,it is so even...
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You see, there´s many common things between Borg ( and Connors,Mac,lendl) with Zepp.They set new standarts for their sport/art, revolutioned the whole world, defined a new reach for superstardom...and are the central characters of the best era...and more important, even if you could get a bit much of them in their absolute peak, with the prespective you can see just their inmense greatness, and the void they have left.it is a matter of perspective...and, last thing, which is the most important, they kept absolutley loyal to themselves and their personality.Maybe that also defines genious...
     
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  36. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I'd throw Lendl into that mix and make it a "Fearsome Foursome" :twisted:
     
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  37. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Kiki on the kind words about Ilie Nastase!
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The Ali of tennis
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The Ali of tennis
     
    #89
  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Now, what would have happened if they both had played the 74 FO final? would Jimmy have gotten his gran Slam?

    after all, he beat the Swede on US clay at the 75 and 76 Forest Hills tourney.And very convincingly.Of course, the venue was not the same...
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    When Connors is discussed here, few if any posters remark the amazing, IMo, feat that he seldom lost to a so called journeyman.Borg could get beaten from time to time by the likes of Ghering,Manson and Scanlon.

    I just remember two bad lossed vs Tom Gullikson ( Tokyo 1980 and Madrid 1984) and a strange defeat at Taygan´s hands in New Orleans 1979, plus those defeats vs Goldie and Pistoleis but he was almost 40.But when Connors lost, he lost to a top ten member or a talented player (Amritraj,Pecci) that had top ten matherial.Just amazing.
     
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  42. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Completely impossible to know, but Connors would have certainly had a very good chance. There's also the issue that if he would have won FO would it have affected his performances at W and the USO. My guess is probably not, but again we'll never know.
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors also beat Borg at the very prestigious US Indoors at Philadelphia, 7-6, 6-4, 6-0, fast indoor supreme....
     
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  44. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Connors vs. Borg indoors was special, but so was Borg vs. McEnroe, or Borg vs. Lendl, McEnroe vs. Connors..and the list goes on which is why those times were very special. Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, and Borg were ALL great indoors. Borg went 5-0 versus Lendl, McEnroe and Connors while winning the Masters Cup in both 1979 and 1980 indoors at the Madison Square Garden with huge crowds and big money (Jan. 80/Jan. 81 YEC events).

    By the way, as video, this is special as two titans of the game square off at Wimbledon as Borg wins his 41st match in a row there at the 1981 Wimbledon SF, coming back from two sets down. I sensed deep respect between the two. Borg in a interview about his Wimbledon years once said "they loved to watch Jimmy..because he was a fighter..always fighting. To beat Jimmy you had to play your best tennis". I would rank Connors as having the best backhand of all time by the way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6BqlTwZbU ("ladies and gentlemen we can't continue without silence" says the Umpire.lol)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
    #94
  45. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    #95
  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    That, and their 77 final is the best match they had at London.Remember the centennary final? a greata match closing up the 77 festival, with JMac making his first real dent and Borg and closest friend Gerulaitis playing what many consider the best ever match?

    I remember those Masters and WCT finals matches involving the big 4 of the central Golden Era.Yes, even in exos they gave their best and some of their exhibitional matches would be even better becasue there was less pressure to take a prestige win.

    In his book Borg said: " It´s always such a great satisfaction to beat Jimmy, cause you know he´s tried his all".Their matches looked like Worldwieght Champiosnhips.
     
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  47. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Absolutely. That was a classic that went down to the wire. Borg held his nerve in the fifth set. He has a splendid 5 set record. Borg said that the 1977 Wimbledon title proved that he "was a good grass court player". "Hey, I beat Jimmy". He was the master of understatement wasn't he? Modest. What you say about those exos is very true. This is also true of many "unofficial" tourneys. Many today don't realize that on top of heavy playing schedules at official tournaments, the top players were maintaining heavy unofficial schedules as they went around the world making money, thrilling fans, getting great practice and taking tennis to new heights of popularity. They laid the groundwork for what Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal are enjoying today. The players of today should be very thankful for the real work that players like Connors and Borg put in (among other past greats of course).
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
    #97
  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Very true.I think Laver and Rosewall made tennis a TV and mass market product thanks to their fantastic WCT final in 1972.Other great characters and tennis players such as Nastase,Newcombe and Ashe followed in and Borg,Connors,Mac and later on Lendl,Becker,Wilander and Edberg closed up that magic circle.Sampras,Agassi,Federer and Nadal, the modern champions, got their path cleared out by those legends.,

    Did you know that in his book Borg stated that his 1979 RR Masters match vs Connors ( Borg won 3-6,6-3,7-6) was, maybe, the second best indoor match he ever played? ( after the amazing WCT semi of 75 where Borg defeated in five gruelling sets a 36 yrs old Rod Laver)
     
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  49. Pete27

    Pete27 New User

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    #99
  50. Pete27

    Pete27 New User

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    Well, the link from my previous post didn´t pass, but who wants to find will find ...
     

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