Connors v. Navratilova: fact or fiction?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Serve 'em hard, May 27, 2007.

  1. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    A book I was reading said these two played in each other in 1992, with Martina being able to use the doubles alley's, and that Connors won in straight sets. I'd heard rumors about such a match, but thought it was just an urban legend.

    Anyone know anything more about this match? Any links about it? Why isn't it talked about much?
     
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  2. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    not urban legend because there's a dvd of that match to prove that it happened.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. GS

    GS Professional

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    Hey Mick---do you know where I can buy this dvd? Thanks in advance.

    gesimon1@msn.com
     
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  4. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I just sent you the link :)
     
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  5. realplayer

    realplayer Semi-Pro

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    Connors won 7-5 6-2 and not only Navratilova was allowed to use the doubles alley's but Connors could use only one serve. A big disadvantage but still he won that match easily.
     
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  6. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    Not exactly the doubles alley - one and a half feet of each doubles alley; it was a specially painted court.
     
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  7. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    How old was she in 1992, 36?
     
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  8. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    because it was a farce obviously. outside of this board no one has any interest in exos or men playing women. King-Riggs was different, tennis was exploding as a major sport in the early 70s, so that event helped give tennis a boost. Tennis(& womens tennis) was obviously already established by 1992, so no one cared about this nonsense anymore.

    The tennis media in 1992 gave hardly any coverage to this event. It was on pay per view & bombed.

    connors was 40. and ranked much lower on the atp tour at the time than martina was on the wta tour(she was still top 5, I doubt he was top 50, & he wasn't a fulltime player by then anymore)

    he sure did pocket some major cash on this, he organized it. and he did his best to make martina look good.
     
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  9. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    Movement is an area where female players are usually at a disadvantage. A woman like Martina who is approaching 40 is not going to move as well as a 17 year old Steffi, for instance. One of the reasons BJK did so well against Riggs, unlike Court, is because she was young and moved quickly.
     
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  10. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Riggs was not an active player on the mens tour in 1973. Connors was still an active player in 1992(I think he actually beat Michael Stich, the reigning W champ that year!) so it probably wasn't a fair match at all for Martina. But she got paid well for her time. Pancho Segura was still playing occasional atp events in 1971(as well as being Connors' coach in 1973) so it is unlikely that King would have been able to beat him in '73, regardless of her much younger age(she was 30 though, which isn't really a tennis players' physical prime)

    Martina was 36 in 1992, ended the year #5, beat #1 Seles 64,62(who was 18 at the time) so I doubt her movement mattered vs Connors, there was just too big a gap in skill level for her to have a chance. She might beat him now though.
     
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  11. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    Say what? Court was barely 1 year older than BJK, and ranked number 1 at the time she played Riggs. She was hardly a slow and aging has-been as you seem to imply.
     
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  12. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    I didn't see the match with Court, but it was clear to me that BJK's speed was a major factor in her win. What I was mainly implying is that BJK was faster than Court. Maybe that wasn't the case. It could have been a tactical difference. It could have been that Riggs played better against Court. I was speculating based on what I saw (the BJK/Riggs match) and the scores.

    Martina was fast, but movement was not her strongest suit. She was No. 1 when she faced the faster Graf in a Roland Garros final. Their ages were vastly different, but the main issue is that ranking doesn't necessarily guarantee superior speed. Court, like Navratilova, wasn't slow, as she was a net rusher. I'm just wondering if she was as fast as BJK was at that time. BJK, incidentally, credited tactics with the win.
     
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  13. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    I suggested that movement is a bigger factor for a woman when playing a man - that movement differences are magnified. But, it can be other things, too, like the ability to return male serves (probably less of a factor since Connors only got one serve).
     
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  14. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    If you're interested in the Riggs matches v Court and King, you may enjoy reading the book "A necessary Spetacle", which offers several reasons why Court lost and King won. There is a separate thread about this subject here:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=133263
     
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  15. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    I remember the match well. Connors beforehand was revealed to still move better than a 22 year old graf, though he was nearly 40, so his movement was a lot better than Martina's. Connors was leagues apart from Martina: his power and movement were vastly superior. Even with the handicap Connors looked much stronger, and I don't think Martina should have got 7 games: it looked as if Connors was in total control and gifted her games for the crowd, knowing even at 5-5 that he could take the next 2 games. Connors finished 92 83 in the world so it was a joke putting her up against him.

    I don't know how well Connors moves following hip replacements, but if he can move half decently I would expect him to destroy Martina. She's only 4 years younger. Put her up against Vilas (who is the same age as Connors) and martina gets destroyed with a couple of breadsticks. Vilas hasn't had hip replacements.

    The difference between men and women in tennis is huge.
     
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  16. crazylevity

    crazylevity Hall of Fame

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    cos the matches were RIGGed, haha.
     
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  17. tarheels2323

    tarheels2323 Semi-Pro

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    Legend has it that Connors bet his entire guarantee on himself to win in straight sets. In John McEnroe's book (which I'm reading for at least the 10th time), he says that he always said Connors and Pete Rose were seperated at birth, but Connors did better.

    BTW, pick up a copy of the book. It's an amazing insight into the life of one of tennis' greats, both on and off the court.
     
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  18. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    heres some 1971 Margaret Court someone posted here earlier

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJs0s6T2p0g

     
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  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    more money in a loss for known hustler Riggs and he got to make BJK a legend.
     
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  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    wasn't riggs over 50 and fat at the time of the match?
     
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  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I have a t-shirt from the Connors-Navratilova match - my brother-in-law went to the match and sent me the shirt. He said the match wasn't that great, they didn't play very hard.
    As far as Riggs, I think he was about 55 years old. He was in good shape for the Court match, but after a few months of promoting the King match around the country and having a good ole time, he wasn't in very good shape for the King match. I think BJK knowing what to expect and focusing her attention on the match for a long period of time vs. Court just kind of showing up not really knowing what was going too happen made a bigger difference than Riggs' condition, though. Riggs wasn't the best 55 year old around as far as a tennis player, but he was a great hustler.
     
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  22. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Ack...posted about this so many times before, bottom line:

    Riggs threw the BJK match. Yes, for sure. It was pretty damn obvious, to an expert eye.

    Riggs desperately tried for a rematch...he wanted to cash in on a 3rd victory but BJK wisely declined every time.

    Riggs eventually was more than content with the role he played in helping BJK and women's tennis.

    This really should be common sense....even if you didn't see the match (where it was obvious)....does anyone really think it was BJK's "strategy" which made the difference after he stomped Court?? This is like 3.5's conspiring at the club to play the perfect strategy to bring down the club pro..."gee...I"ll play my special slice to his forehand!!"...sorry....it ain't happening.
     
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  23. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I do remember the Connors v. Navratilova Exo....I did not think it was on Pay Per View....HBO maybe, as I did watch it. I seem to recall that it had a lot of hype, was well attended and made $$$, but the tennis was not all that great.
    I think Martina should have been given the full doubles alley, but JC was worried(?) that he might lose...why, I don't know.

    At 40, he was still someone to be reckoned with on a given day....surely, he hit the ball harder and moved better than Martina did...not to take anything away from her terrific skills. But, at 36, she was past her prime and taking on Connors was like playing Chrissie on steroids...not a good match up for her, at all. This was nothing like playing a 55 yr old, retired Bobby Riggs.
     
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  24. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    It was pay per view. Definitely, I remember it.

    My older brother was saying from the time Riggs lost what some here seem to feel. Riggs threw the match. He bet against himself and cleaned up.
     
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  25. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    There was a lot of talk like that going around at the time and rumor had it that he had several friends place bets for himself against himself but it was never substantiated. By now, I would think some loose lips might have slipped but since it hasn't come out, I can't say that he did. I do know if you go back and watch that match, he sure gave BJK a lot of sitter volleys and short lobs that weren't forced by her play??
     
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  26. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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  27. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    You're quite right....Riggs was a master of orchestrating matches...he fleeced amateurs for money and fun regularly....but it's not easy to fake a loss...and if you have the eye...you CAN see it!

    I've written before....two things I noticed over the years...when they showed Davenport and Seles the footage for the first time....one of them accidently slipped out "OH! He gave it to her!!" and then she covered her mouth and they both looked at each other and giggled....I think they could clearly see it to.

    Second, on Riggs deathbed, BJK came to see him, and it was reported that he just whispered to her "we did it didn't we?" To that, I think he meant that he was happy and proud of the part he played in helping women's tennis. I don't think he wanted to end it all with the loss....as I said...it was said he pressed hard for a rematch for many years, but BJK refused. I think he became content after seeing how BJK used it to build women's tennis.(though I'm sure he would have been happier with another huge payday! LOL)

    In any case, I believe Riggs plan...and it's the obvious one....drop this match....and that sets up yet another. Again...nerves or not....or as one poster suggested fitness....that wasn't why Riggs SMASHED Court only to lose to King. What he needed was to have the rematch dictated in a contract ;-)
     
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  28. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Similarly....it was said that Connors did some betting on the match...and that beforehand Connors was as loose and careless as could be....not properly warming up or training.....while Martina...as expected...was ultra-focused!
     
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  29. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    I thought she also studied Riggs strategy and employed it against him?

    Wikipedia says so anyway
     
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  30. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    if the dvd is still available could you provide a link
    larry10s@yahoo.com
     
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  31. 8F93W5

    8F93W5 Rookie

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    I thought it was half of the alley and that would be two feet. I saw the match. I paid the pay per view price for it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
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  32. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    If you remember, Riggs was a skilled pusher; very modest serve, much dinking. BJK took it to him, as a skilled SV'er.

    I wonder who handled the pressure better.
     
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  33. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Yea, and Court wasn't a skilled SV'er ?? Oh, and btw, you can't make a living hustling without handling pressure.
     
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  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Court was the best player in the world in 1973 and was perhaps considered the fastest of all the women with very long arms helping her range. She won the Australian, French and the US Open in 1973.

    Did Riggs throw the match? I haven't seen it since it was on live so I'm not sure. Jack Kramer, who was Riggs' buddy didn't think so in his book but so many people are convinced of it.
     
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  35. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    i saw some of the match and martina seemed nervous and she did not utilize the doubles alleys at all it looked like she forgot about them. she even said after the match she didnt use them nearlyl enough
     
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  36. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Nah...she would have been a fool to try to use them more. You play your whole life on a court with certain dimensions....if you can naturally take advantage of the extra feet, do it....but if not....forget it....you'll lose more trying to take advantage of it than you would gain.

    The real handicap that impressed me was just how well Connors dealt with being the heavy favorite, but having only one serve....not only did it not seem to bother him much, he actually pressed Martina with that one serve (in my book, a LOT harder and more pressure-filled than having to hit a 2nd serve after missing one....if you know you always get 2...you can count on some first serves...even if you double fault a bit). Martina, who faced some of the biggest servers the WTA has ever had (including now), like Schultz or Graf, and who has played TONS of mixed doubles, had some trouble with the Connors 2nd serve....which only goes to show just how lopsided the man vs woman match up really is.
     
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  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    She has said when the announcer said "Let's get ready to rumble" that she was shaking.
     
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  38. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Nah...she would have been a fool to try to use them more. You play your whole life on a court with certain dimensions....if you can naturally take advantage of the extra feet, do it....but if not....forget it....you'll lose more trying to take advantage of it than you would gain.

    If you were discussing Evert, I would buy this. Martina managed to find and intentionally hit into the doubles alley better than most anybody in history. I would even go so far as to say she did it naturally. It was nerves that did her in. Made her memory bad.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I saw the Riggs/BJK match.
    BJK knew what to expect, the short junk slice, while Court saw it the first time and expected more power and pace. BJK was also more an allcourter, better at the dink and doink, while Court relied on power and her size against the other women.
    And as said, Riggs was in better shape vs Court, while vs King, he was expecting a show and a walkthru. What he didn't plan on was BJK's superior movment, her ability to handle low, short, slice shots, and her net game, both low/half volleys and a real overhead.
    And we know Riggs did not change his losing game, holding out for slice safe shots over and over again.
     
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  40. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    The very second one started thinking...oh wait, I'll use that extra oddball foot....you're DEAD. Against Connors....no WAY.

    Doubles alley? Sure...in doubles. This wasn't even a doubles alley. Doubles alleys are something she used her whole life as well, and, in fact, doubles opens up angles which are suited to that anyways...but the minute you start trying to take advantage of a hokey court dimension like that, you're DONE.
     
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  41. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    surely, Martina's nerves worked against her; but in terms of serving, while Connors did not serve hard, he was always very good w/the placement; Martina was not able to take advantage of that 1-serve handicap...
     
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