Could a John McEnroe make it to the top today?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by BeHappy, May 8, 2012.

?

could he?

  1. yes

    12 vote(s)
    46.2%
  2. no

    14 vote(s)
    53.8%
  1. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    A serve and volleying continental gripped guy?

    This is him playing Jim Courier in the 1992 US Open

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPL_AXgdyc4&feature=relmfu#t=4m20s

    I would be inclined to think yes but I would be interested in everyone else's opinion. To my eyes, he actually hits harder groundstrokes than players like Andy Murray and Gilles Simon.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
    #1
  2. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    I love McEnroe, he is my all-time favorite player, but I have a hard time imagining how he'd succeed on the courts today. I'd think they would be far too slow and high-bouncing for him. Not that he couldn't make a career of it, talent is talent, but I don't know if he could beat the boring grinders of today on surfaces that suit them often enough to reach No. 1.
     
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  3. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ??????

    Courier beat Mac 6-2, 6-2, 7-6, it was the last match of his USO singles career. Mac talked how old & slow he felt that day & went on & on on how he couldn't deal with the power of Courier, Agassi, & all the young guys. Based on those comments, I'm guessing he wouldn't enjoy playing Djokovic one bit.
     
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  4. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    ????????

    I edited that almost right away and there were no posts in this thread before I'd edited it, how did you do that?

    The power players are gone now, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal are grinders. Safin has retired, Soderling hasn't played in over a year and Berdych can't hit winners on these slow courts.

    Even Federer has a bad record against serve and volleyers, with a losing streak against Henman that continued into 2004 when he won 3 slams, and only ended when Henman had back troubles.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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  5. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

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    Stepanek. He has no forehand, gets by with serve and attacking game.
     
    #5
  6. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    #6
  7. monfed

    monfed Guest

    He was talking about getting to the top.
     
    #7
  8. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Before Stepanek was paralysed for a year on the right side of his body, and then injured his wrist, and wasn't the wrong side of 30 - he was actually no.8 in the world.
     
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  9. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    On the courts today. No. A non overpowering serve and volley player would never survive on todays slow courts at the very top, nobody how talented and how much magic he produced. Well maybe the 1984 version was so good he would have overcome even the courts today, but any other year no. On the courts of 10 years or more ago, sure. All this talking about a prime McEnroe of course, not the 30 something one of 1992.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2012
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  10. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    I don't think he would be nearly as succesful.

    Today's game does not reward accuracy (McEnroe one the most accurate and precise players of all time) or power as much as spin and improvisation.
     
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  11. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    What has he achieved. He had a decent career, but he was something extremely far removed from making it to the top (atleast in terms of what that would mean for a great like McEnroe) which is the title of this thread.
     
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  12. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    a 5'11 and trying to serve and volley in today's game? No. Kind of like saying Laver would have dominated in Mac's era at 5'7
     
    #12
  13. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    Wow this match showed how weak an era the 90s was.
     
    #13
  14. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    It would be tough. Imagine him trying to volley away Nadal's passing shots consistently enough to win.

    I think he would be "very good", but I don't think he could beat the top 3 witih his game.
     
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  15. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is weak against lots of serve and volleyers and aggressive players in general. He has losses at Queens to Mahut, *Gilles Simon at Wimbledon, Florian Mayer at the WTC a few months ago, Karlovic always pushes him hard, Tsonga beat him at the Australian Open playing the net a lot.

    His passing shots aren't very good against real serve and volleyers. The lack of reach on the two handed backhand and the vulnerability (exposed by James Blake, Robin Soderling etc) of his western forehand to low skidding shots are his problem.

    Edberg was 10-0 against Muster incidentally.

    Could Murray return/pass with that forehand? I think it would crack under the pressure. Djokovic is like Borg, a tough match up. Federer is very weak against serve and volleyers. They target his backhand and it cracks under the pressure, Tim Henman was beating Federer well into 2004, Rafter had a dominant record against him.


    Edit: *should be Gilles muller, who served and volleyed in that match as everyone did back then
     
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  16. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Gilles Simon has never beaten Nadal at Wimbledon. Maybe you are thinking if Gilles Mueller but he isnt a serve and volley player really. He has a big serve and hits flat and hard from the ground. Anyway that was in 2005 when Nadal sucked on grass still.

    What is Nadal`s overall record vs Tsonga and Karlovic. Tsonga has spent most of the last 5 years in the top 10 so should be beating everyone on occasion, and he has wins over all the top players. Also is he supposed to be some master volleyer, LOL, he plays off the ground way more than the net.

    As for Federer and Henman, Henman lost most of his matches with Federer in 2004 in straight sets. He only won their first match of the year in a minor event, but was drubbed in the Indian Wells final and U.S Open semis. Rafter owned Federer at the same time baseliners Hewitt, Nalbandian, and Kafelnikov all did as well, amongst many others.

    A guy like McEnroe is easily good enough to do well today, but he would just be a victim of todays surfaces. Henman and Rafter werent even at their best when the surfaces were slower, and both were able to excel only on the fast surfaces of 2001 and earlier, apart from Henman having one last good year in 2004. A serve and volleyer could do well today but he would need a huge power serve and big ground game to help him get to the net like Sampras or Becker.
     
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  17. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You might be right.

    I tend to believe that champions would be champions in pretty much any era. McEnroe is definitely a champion. No doubt about that.
     
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  18. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    It appears when a user quotes a post for a response... the moment that occurs, they are placed in the post queue and the original content of the quoted post remains intact as well. Regardless of how long it takes them to formulate their response, they are still ahead in the queue.

    Occasionally, when I create a thread and need/want to reserve the first three or four posts for additional information, I'll quickly post a placeholder so another user doesn't sneak in and post something.

    - - -

    Yes, McEnroe has the talent. He would just need to beef up his groundstrokes rather than relying on S&V. He did what he needed to at the time he was playing.
     
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  19. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Of course Mac could be a top player. Just bear in mind that if born in the late 1980s / early 1990s, he would have grown up with a semi-western forehand and topspin off both wings.

    But with his hand-eye, reflexes and instinct, he could make it to the top in any era.

    That said, the premise of your thread is a bit silly. You might as well ask if Nadal could make it to the top in the 1920s when forced to use a 65 sq" stick strung with gut, in a game played predominantly on fast grass courts. (Answer: with his athleticism, mental toughness and ridiculous work ethic, he could make it to the top in any era.)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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  20. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    this. thank you.
     
    #20
  21. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    The greats list dependent on the dominant surfaces of eras

    No one would of heard of mcenroe if he had to play on the current slow surfaces. Similarly sampras would only have been moderately successful. He might have won a couple of us opens but that is about it. Makes you wonder what great players are invisible to us today because of the lack of balance of surfaces. No fast courts at all, the fastest one can hope for is simply medium paced, compared to the courts of the 80s and 90s
     
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  22. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Timnz, McEnroe is a RG finalist

    Why would he need a power game to get to the net? Murray plays just like McEnroe (from the baseline) and does fine. I don't see why McEnroe wouldn't be able to junk ball, get the short ball that way and approach the way he used to? Why couldn't he approach off Andy Murray or Nadal's weak second serves?
     
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  23. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I am not a Murray fan but he was a winning record against Federer playing almost entirely from the baseline on todays slow courts. McEnroe would not be able to play almost entirely from the baseline as Murray does and win most of his matches with Federer, not even an old Federer in Masters or smaller events (btw I am not saying McEnroe playing his own game on the old faster courts couldnt have more than held his own even vs prime Federer, but that is another topic altogether).
     
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  24. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Federer would have trouble with that lefty can opener serve out wide. It's all very well slicing 75% of your returns against baseliners, against McEnroe he would have one shot at the winner before McEnroe put him away.
     
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  25. 813wilson

    813wilson Rookie

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    I am soooo confused. All of the emphatic answers: yes, he would. no, he wouldnt. I don't know which TT poster to believe.

    What I do know is: give him his same game with today's equipment, in his prime(which was kind of short btw) I think he would do pretty well. His serves, groundstrokes and volleys would have more pop than in his day....

    I mean, I know it was doubles and only the SAP Open but he did win it at the age of 47....

    Oh well.
     
    #25

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