Connors - Would he have won the French Open in 1974 & 1975?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by jimbo333, May 13, 2009.

  1. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    So would Connors have won the French Open in 1974 and 1975?

    Obviously he was basically banned, so couldn't even enter. He won the other 3 GS titles in 1974 and if he had played it in 74 and won (which many think he would have), achieving a calender Grand Slam, it might have given him more recognition in future years:)
     
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  2. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    And also Connors didn't play the French Open again until 1979, when he reached the Semis (as he also did in 1980, and 84 and 85)!

    He was so good in 74, that I think he would have won it, but probably not in 75:)
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Hard to say but a case could be made

    I am a Borg fan however, a case could definitely be made for Jimmy winning in 1974 (not sure about 1975).

    He played Borg on Clay once per year in 1974, 1975 & 1976 - and he won everytime against Bjorn.
    The three encounters were:

    1974 Indianapolis - Connors won 5-7 6-3 6-4

    1975 US Open - Connors won 7-5 7-5 7-5

    1976 US Open - Connors won 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4

    Now each of these encounters was on American Clay (Har-Tru) which plays a bit faster than the European Red Clay that Roland Garros has.

    However, this is solid evidence that Connors certainly could have given Borg a run for his money at Roland Garros, especially in 1974. A real tragedy that we didn't see this, because it robbed Jimmy of the possibility of winning the true Grand Slam.
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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  5. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, I didn't realise this thread existed (it was a couple of years ago)!

    I'm a little surprised Connors is losing the vote, I really think he would have won it in 74, but I am a huge Connors fan, so I would say that:):)
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Connors was on a roll in 1974. I think pre-Borg, yes he would have won it.
     
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  7. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    1974- for sure
    1975- maybe not
     
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  8. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Nope. You'd think he'd at least win one important red clay title in his career.

    You know, as proof that he was good enough to win an important red clay title at any time at all.
     
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  9. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1981 Monte Carlo could have gone his way

    See below for the full text.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
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  10. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1981 Monte Carlo could have gone his way

    Connors - Vilas in the finals of Monte Carlo in 1981. 5 all in the first set. Rain stopped the match unfortunately. Okay the match didn't get finished, but the fact is that he made the finals and was holding his own against Vilas in the final.

    It was the closest Jimmy got to a European Clay Court title (well he also got to the final of Hamburg that year but lost to McNamara).

    He also won a Paraguay tennis tournament in September of 1979 on Clay - Asuncion - Boqueron International against Vilas. He beat Vilas 7–5 6–3. The same month he beat Vilas again in a 4-men invitational in Rio de Janeiro - score 6–3 6–4 6–3. He also beat Borg in 1978 in Buenos Aires in a 4-men invitational on Clay,score 5–7 6–3 6–3. I presume in South America the Clay is similar to European Clay.

    I say all of this to show that in fact he could play well on slow clay.

    The US clay court championships in 1974 actually meant quite a lot. The surface only a bit slower clay than Roland Garros - Connors actually beat both of the finalists from Roland Garros, in this tournament, only a couple of months after the French open.

    I really do think he could have won the 1974 French Open.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
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  11. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    He did win tournaments on red clay, look at the other thread!!!

    The point is that Connors didn't play the French at his peak, can you imagine Borgs record if HE didn't play the French 74 to 78?
     
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  12. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    connors as i stated before would not win 1974 french open on red clay; he would certainly would have been a contender in 75 with his 7-5,7-5, 7-5 over borg at the us open ,but he was then easily beaten by orantes in the final on har-tru clay. connors never won an event in his whole career on european red clay.

    he boycotted the french between 74-78 because of the unfair ban imposed by the french tf on wtt players ; a total disgrace. commercial union should have expelled the french from the grand prix because the french broke the rule that any player with a high enough ranking can play any event on the grand prix they want. connors consequently boycotted the commercial union masters 74-76 and only came back to play for the 1977 masters with a new sponsor colgate.

    jeffrey
     
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  13. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    IMO Jimbo would've done what he did at RG what he did from 1979 onwards mostly making the semis. There's a huge difference between red clay and green clay in so much that Har-Tru changes the entire game-style more in tune of hard court cement favoring hard-hitting attackers. It's like a softer and slightly slower version of cement-courts sharing many characteristics -- not the red clay foundations in consistency, creativity and patience...

    Borg was impossible on red clay even in lacklustre form. He won RG the last time he was there. If he lost there was a reason. No one outplayed him from the back-court ever in his entire career. No one was even close...

    Nadal is the only one I can imagine giving Borg a run for his money. Just as I don't think we ever saw Sampras finest stuff at Wimby we never really saw what Borg really could do on the red dirt. No one was really good enough to push the last genius stuff out of them. They usually steamrolled and Borg to a crazy extent.

    Rafa against peak Björn on the red stuff during a bakery-owen heat-wave at RG (that would make watery waves in the air) would be one of my most desired fantasy match-ups. They would hammer away at each other so much and to such unseen dimensions that it would probably produce screams from Rafa instead on his usual grunting already in the first game of the match. Both running down the most impossible shots on the slow stuff. They maybe would've killed each other.

    Maybe I would've witnessed Rafa cry after the match :) I mean instead of Fed...

    I would've want to watch it though. But I won't probably. Unless some scientist gets off their underfinanced genius butt and invents a (preferable) DeLorean-type time-machine vehicle for my free disposal...

    Let's just say I don't hold my breath. But my thoughts on the subject are plenty...
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
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  14. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    Nothing wrong with a tear in your eye after a tough loss I must add...

    I know Borg had a slight crying moment when he -- because of a shoulder injury making his overheads comically bad -- had to default against Stockton at the Open in 1977. A slight tear and teary-like eyes definitely. He threw his racquet uncharacteristically hard on the court making it bounce far away. No Novak-like smile when delivering the default/losing handshake for Mr. Ice Borg...

    His reaction did spell out however what Björn's goals and expectations were on himself during that tourney...

    Sampras didn't look to sunshiny meeting the press after his Bastl-loss either...
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Was Connors win over Borg in Indianapolis at the US Clay Court Championships (1974--J. Connors vs. B. Borg 5-7, 6-3, 6-4) on red or green clay?
     
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  16. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Did you read my post?
     
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  17. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Green clay.
     
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  18. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes I did read it and I conciously decided to completely ignore one of the words in your post, because I didn't think it was important:)
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I have no doubt Federer is the GOAT...in crying after a loss.:)

    In 74 and 75, while those years represented perhaps the best chances Connors had to win the French Open still would have been tough for Jimmy to win.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
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  20. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Interesting approach.
     
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  21. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    It's one thing to win a smaller tournament on red clay - it's another to win seven best-of-five matches over two weeks on the surface.

    And you can bet there would be a lot of guys feeding Jimmy slow stuff a la Orantes the whole time. Don't think he'd like it.
     
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  22. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Jimmy would have destroyed them that year! He was unstoppable:)

    If there is one player of all time that would fight until the end of 5 sets, then it's Connors. But you knew that already didn't you!!!
     
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  23. KG1965

    KG1965 Semi-Pro

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    I think not , that would not have won in 1974 and 1975 .
    I believe in those two tournaments would be the determining seeding . Would beat Borg 80 % in both the 74 and in 75 , but probably would have lost by some other player , as Orantes or Vilas or Nastase .

    Connors suffered from the red clay for the bounces too low.
     
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  24. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    I think he'd have snagged one b/w '74 and '76. The guy was still making the final weekend in Paris during his mid-30s, when his movement and stamina were a far cry from his mid-70s peak.

    In '74 he was an overwhelming force everywhere, and the rest of the tour was a year away from adjusting to his game; in '75, he beat RG champs and finalists Pecci-Laver-Rosewall back-to-back-to-back to win North Conway on red clay; and in '76 he of course scythed through the summer clay swing, culminating in him taking 9 of 10 sets from the QF onward against RG greats Kodes, Vilas, and Borg to win the Open on har-tru.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
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  25. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Agree.......in 74 he would have smoked all comers......same for 75 he was on such a roll that spring I could see him getting no.2.

    After that no - from 76 on Borg, Vilas were just so much better on clay.
     
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  26. BGod

    BGod Professional

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    Yeah I think he would win in 74.

    1975 is in question, it's possible but I like his chance better in 76 and 77 where Borg skipped and got beat by Pannata in quarters.

    So Connors could have very well won 3 French titles. But this all goes without saying he'd have a ton more than 8 Slams also participating in Australia.
     
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  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I thought about this over the years and yes imo Connors had a good shot to win it in 1974 but I wonder if that would have affected his play at Wimbledon. Could he have adapted his game quick enough for Wimbledon? I think so but you never know.
     
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  28. 70sHollywood

    70sHollywood Rookie

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    Connors never did enough at RG, or red clay generally, for me to think he would have won there. I doubt he would have won the AO in 74 if it was at full strength.

    If he wins in 74 I highly doubt he wins Wimbledon. He was taken to 5 sets by Dent and Kodes as it is.

    I think his best shot may have been 76.
     
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  29. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Yes, he would have won in 74... maybe.
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    If he had ever, later won a FO title, then I would say yes.

    But, after being disallowed in '74 he turned petty, spiteful, and self-centered and thus refused to even enter until 1979. (His best results were the semis four times, losing to Pecci, Gerulaitis, McEnroe, and Lendl.)

    He thought he would "hurt" the FO by not letting them enjoy the Great Connors. Too bad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
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  31. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    I use the term cut off his nose to spite his face. He was going to show them for banning him by not playing there. Meanwhile he's skipping out on a possible grand slam title. Again, it's the times, though, and how the tourney was viewed at the time. You had Evert skipping it how many times for WTT? Borg missed it once for the same.

    But I think those 5 years were his best chance. It's during this period that he had his best success on american clay. I've actually heard him say that Roland Garros was among, if not his favorite place to play. So, I guess he really liked it once he started going there.
     
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