Could Borg have had a second wind in 1982?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kragster, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. kragster

    kragster Hall of Fame

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    Despite his 3 losses to Mac, Borg had a pretty decent 1981. If he had simply taken a break to refresh and come back fully recharged (rather than play 1 off tournaments here and there), could he have won more slams?

    If you look at the year 2008, for a while it might have seemed that thing were going downhill for Fed. Then 2009 happened.

    Keep in mind that Borg's losses in 1981 were not all that bad, many went to 5 sets.
     
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  2. Warmaster

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  3. 1477aces

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    he was physically a bit past his peak. He might have won a major or two, but not as many as people would like to think.
     
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  4. President

    President Legend

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    Former Player forum...
     
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  5. Vcore89

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    He probably could have snuck in 1 or 2 more slams had he decided to take a year off.
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Depends on what he ate
     
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  7. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    At 26 Borg was in his physical prime (he was such a specimen, and could have been in top physical shape till his early 30s).

    But his mind was not there anymore...

    This is Borg at 26 playing in 1982: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kger-33YtiY
     
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  8. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    Borg could have beaten Fed.
     
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  9. Tenez101

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    He would've been owned by Mac and later Lendl if he stuck around. Maybe could've snuck in another French or Wimbledon. Still wouldn't have won USO.
     
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  10. Goosehead

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    it wasn't physical it was mental..he wanted to do other stuff, he lost the intensity in his head that he felt he needed to compete..he was always the fittest physically, I don't think anyone ever said borg got tired in a match..

    he said he felt the lack of desire in the 1981 Wimbledon final.. he was stepping off the tour in 1981 with a reduced schedule..

    from the French open on he played in 6 tourneys..3 of which were majors.
     
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  11. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Then he would had to play qualifying games which would likely have further encouraged him to stop his career.
     
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  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Borg played some great tennis (non-ATP events) from 1982 to 1985. He won his last tournament in 1985 against strong Anders Jarryd who had reached the Wimbledon SFs the same year.
     
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  13. Goosehead

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    yes..that was it for borg, what an insult.
     
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  14. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Semi-Pro

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    Wilander has said that Borg was regularly beating him in practice shortly before he won his first French Open title in 1982.
     
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  15. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Yes, if he would have been allowed to play the majors without qualifiers. As Mike B. mentioned, Wilander could not get a set off of Borg as they worked out prior to the 1982 French Open. Wilander beat a lot of good players to take his first French Open in 1982. Mats got some good practice in! Bjorn Borg had played a heavy schedule for years and was facing mental burnout, wanting to really focus on the majors primarily going forward. The Tour would not allow that to happen and it was a big mistake. He had played a very heavy official and unofficial (ATP and WCT, exos, majors, big money tourneys) since he was 17 while spreading the game all over the world. Many of those unofficial tourneys were very competitive, with big money and someone like Connors on the other side of the net. This is Borg at Roland Garros in 1982 about to turn 26.

    If you look at the 8 biggest tourneys played during the calendar years 1981-1982, Borg won 5 of those 8 tournaments and made the finals in the other three (Masters YEC, Wimbledon, French Open and the US Open. McEnroe won 3 of those 8 tourneys and reached 1 more final. Borg took the Masters YEC played in both Jan. 80 and Jan. 81 indoors, Wimbledon 1980, and the French Open in both 1980 and 1981. So he won both of those indoor tourneys, 1 Wimbledon title and two red clay majors during those years. He made the finals at 1 Wimbledon and two US Opens. This looks surreal. Maybe he's checking out a Wilander match in this picture below. He was the defending champion having won his sixth title there in 1981.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. timnz

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    I think the following slams were distinct possibilities for him

    1/ Australian Open 1982 - he, as a rule didn't compete there - but I think it was ripe for the picking

    2/ French Open 1982 - He was regularly beating Wilander in practice earlier in 1982 - so I don't think he would have had any problems winning that one.

    3/ US Open 1983 - Analysis has shown that Connors and Lendl played at a lesser level than compared with the US Open in 1982 - so this was ripe for the picking. It is a complete myth that he wasn't good on hard courts. He only played 4 slam tournaments in total on Hard Court - and he got to the final in 3 of them (nearly winning the 1980 US Open).

    That's it - I don't know that there would have been any more for him. In 1984 McEnroe was at his absolute peak - and nobody was challenging him that year. In 1985 Lendl was hitting his full stride.
     
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  17. Goosehead

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    it must have been weird for borg watching the 82 rg final..knowing at the time he could easily beat the winner mats wilander.. did he ever regret not going thru the qualifiers, for that 82 rg if nothing else ?.
     
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  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Would Borg have beaten Vilas in 1982? Vilas was playing some excellent tennis at the time.
     
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  19. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    borg beat vilas in 2 previous French open finals as well as vilas losing to wilander including a 6-0 set in 82,

    so add that to borg beating wilander in practise and in Sept1981 borg defeats wilander 6-0, 6-1..then no. vilas in all reasonableness wouldn't beat borg at rg 82
     
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  20. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Wilander told me that in '82 Borg would have won RG going away. Wilander said that in multiple practices, he could not win a set off Borg.

    The prospect of qualies was too much for Borg who was very prideful. The ITF should be ashamed.
     
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  21. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Absolutely. He refused to play the qualifiers at the majors. That was a non-starter for him. You're absolutely right about the ITF as well.
     
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  22. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Had his mind been in it, he would have racked up a bunch more French Opens and possible any of the other majors as well. He was in his prime physically for a male, unfortunately he couldn't get his mindset and focus back and the ITF sure didn't help. Too bad for him, too bad for us fans of tennis.

    Btw, IMO he would likely have ground Vilas down as he always did in 82.
     
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  23. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    As some people have said, Borg would have had to go through the qualifying rounds at the Slams in 82 under the rules then. I don't think he could have won any of those events under those rules. It's a shame the way things worked out.
     
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  24. big ted

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    even if he didnt have to play qualifying, im not sure he would have won 82 french in his mindstate. he lost 6-1 6-2 to noah at monte carlo earlier in season
     
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  25. Feather

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    Why did the ITF asked him to play qualifiers? His ranking sufereed? If time permits could you answer this
     
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  26. big ted

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    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1125431/1/index.htm

    Borg's presence in the qualifying—the subject of so much hue and cry among the game's image-mongers—was necessary because of his refusal to comply with Rule 8 in the 1982 Grand Prix guide. It states that a player must commit to playing a minimum of 10 tournaments a year, not counting the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, or be forced to qualify for all tournaments. Claiming he needed his "retirement" months and saying he desired more rest later—translation: time to perform in exhibitions from the Falkland Islands to Timbuktu at wages commensurate with whatever the designated countries' national debts will allow—Borg chose to enter seven tournaments and to petition the Men's International Professional Tennis Council to alter the rule. Forehand crosscourt. The MIPTC refused. Volley deep. Borg said fine, he would just as soon not go through the qualies at the French, which he has won only six times, and at Wimbledon, where he's only a five-time winner.
     
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  27. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    Wilander would be a tuff match for Borg to win.....before the FO 82 not many players knew about wilander but in the QF of the FO he really began to improve and i think that he would have beaten Borg in a very very long match.

    Ok wilander said that he didnt take a set from Borg in practis.....yes but that was before the FO.....do you think wilander would have thought im gonne win the FO 82 before the tourmument?

    Wilander have always been as his best in big matches not in practice not in exhibitions matches:)
     
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  28. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I heard Wilander interviewed shortly after his winning that first French, and he said it did feel rather odd since he had been getting beaten so badly by his practice partner leading right up to the tournament. He made it sound like nobody was capable of beating Borg on clay at that time.
     
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  29. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    It's possible. Before the DO, Vilas beated Wilander easily in Madrid, but Wilander won in FO (even if he was very very lucky to win this match, because Vilas had a second set point and his return was -maybe- just out ; if Vilas won the set, he won the match).
     
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  30. Feather

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    Thanks a million for that explanation
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg should have played the WCT tour: big money, 16 men drafts, possibility to pick up the spots, lamr Hunt unfolding the red carpet for him...big mistake.
     
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, of course Borg could. He could still beat Mac in 1982.

    Borg was very versatile: he could play endurance grinding tennis better than anyone (including Vilas), or he could play speed-based grass-court tennis as good as the best (pace five Wimbledon wins).

    If he'd made the transition to graphite (and power-tennis), and re-committed post-1982, IMO he would have won the USO.
     
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  33. rkelley

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    Both insanely talented players, but different generations. Even with Borg's strokes being so far ahead of their time, if you took any year Borg, say 79 or 80, he would be lucky to win a couple of games against Fed. It's not a talent thing, it's that the technique and equipment (Borg never used a larger racquet or non-wood frame) had advanced so much, thanks in no small measure to Borg, that the power level would have been impossible for Borg to deal with.

    Watch youtube and compare the rally speeds between 1979 and 2005. It's like a whole different game.

    Again, it's not to say that Fed's more talented than Borg, but Fed gets to stand on Borg's shoulders and all the other players inbetween. If they had grown up in the same eras then we could talk, but then one or the other guy would have a significantly different game.
     
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  34. dmt

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    how do you think federer would do if he was transported back in time and played vs peak Borg with wooden rackets.
     
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  35. rkelley

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    Using his current technique? Then I don't think it'd be a whole lot different, Fed would still win IMO. Fed plays with a racquet that's something like 368g strung - it's not light. A Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff isn't that much different, especially with a bit of lead to up the swing weight a tad. He's still going to hit serves well into the 120's, still going to be ripping ground strokes with more pace and spin than Borg. I don't see how Borg or any player of that era beats that.

    Again, I'm not saying Fed is more talented than Borg. Fed gets to stand on Borg's shoulders technique wise, as well as Lendl, Sampras, Agassi, etc. That's a lot of great players from whom to learn. Borg OTH was one of the creators of the modern technique. He had no blue print other than the classic strokes of 60's players.
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nobody had a better record than Borg at the WCT tour till Mac showed up with 5 consecutive finals from 79 till 84.I mean, he reached three consecutive Dallas finals, so he was a staunch WCT´ier

    He took the wrong way.In 1982, he should have just played the Hunt´s tour.Then, by 1983, ITF President Chartrier would have walked on his knees to take him back on tour since we all know the Gran Prix and WCT were the two big rivals on tour.The biggest rivalry in tennis...
     
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  37. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayGv33lMVj8
     
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  38. rkelley

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    Nice exo. From what I see no one's taking it too seriously and really hitting out, especially Blake and Fed.

    So what are we supposed to be seeing?
     
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  39. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    With old equipment and conditions, I'll take Borg and with current conditions as well, I'd take prime Borg again. If we had a tour where players play on a variety of surfaces, say at big venues over a year, then you'd have to equalize for equipment. Modern equipment or old equipment, Borg would be so tough for Federer, Nadal or anyone to play often. You can't expect modern players to just be able to go back and play the same way they do now with those dynamics. Just the narrow width of wood frames renders current swing paths to be very difficult. That's why it's so amazing that Borg was able to play the way he did with those frames. Who else hit like him back then? Now, those of us who have played have all gone from wood to graphite, as Borg would have. When I did, my first thought was, my god, this is like cheating it's so easy! Now imagine prime Borg with a brand new Wilson or Babolat and say gut/poly strings! His swing path would be quite different as well. More topspin? Check. More easy power? Check.....
     
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  40. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    I think he had the ability certainly, but ability without desire is not enough.
     
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  41. dmt

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    i have to respectfully disagree. Look at Connors, he was still going deep into majors with modern rackets despite being completely past his prime. I think Borg would be even better with modern rackets. If he can generate so much topspin with the older rackets, i think he'd be even better with modern ones.

    I don't think Borg would be an easy match for Federer. Asides from skills, Borg was a tremendously fast athlete too. I personally think the match could very well go either way. On clay, i just don't see roger winning.
     
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  42. dmt

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    Roscoe Tanner was a big server and Borg could handle him. I know that Tanner was nowehere near the player that Roger is but i doubt Borg would struggle to return Rogers serve. I very much doubt Roger could serve harder than Tanner
     
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  43. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Borg's style was very modern (at least at the time and constrained by the rackets).

    Here is a nice video of an early Borg with a few slow motions of his fore- and backhand:
    http://youtu.be/Cg2gzBR9Klg
     
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  44. PCXL-Fan

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    Sureshs, I am intrigued. Please elaborate.
     
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  45. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    If Borg ate donuts & burgers like Nalbandian, he would have really been something.
     
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  46. corners

    corners Legend

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    All I can say is that it's a damn shame that Borg couldn't find it in him to continue to compete. At 29, three years younger than Federer currently, and only two years older than Rafa, he could have contended with the young Becker, a power prodigy and harbinger of all things to come in tennis, at Wimbledon in 1985. Very interesting matchup.

    Of all the lost players, history misses the mature Bjorn Borg the most.
     
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  47. rkelley

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    Go watch the 79 Wimbledon final or the 79 USO QF between Tanner and Borg (Borg won Wimbledon, Tanner won the USO QF). Then go flip over to, say, Fed and Djokovic at the USO 2011 SF.

    When I did that what I saw was that Tanner's serve looked good by today's standards, but not off the charts crazy like it was back in '79. The rest of Tanner's game looked pretty anemic by today's standards.

    Any modern pro, not just Fed, would destroy either of these guys, and anyone else from the 70's. And as I've said before in this thread, it's not a talent level thing. Borg is crazy talented. He's one of the key players who changed the game. But those changes have been optimized over the intervening decades. Today players spend years optimizing their ground stroke technique to produce the biomechanically optimized pace/spin-fest we see today.

    People talk about racquets and strings changing the game. Yes, they make a difference. But another huge factor, IMO, is just the way today's players hit the ball. It's just better - more power and more spin. The serve's are better too. It makes a difference.

    All IMO, with which you may disagree.
     
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  48. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Federer uses a more advanced racquet and string technology compared to Tanner in 1979.
     
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  49. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Who is 29 years of age?
     
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  50. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    There were lots of guys who hit with topspin back in the 70's..perhaps the difference was that they were not trying to rip the cover off the ball 100pct of the time. I don't see such tremendous athletic supremacy of today's guys over those of generations past. And, there were guys from the 70's/ 80's and 90's who bridged into the more current generations...like Connors, Lendl, Agassi, Sampras. As they aged, their games evolved as did their equipment (aside from Pete, that is). So, I just don't believe this idea that today's guys would completely trample those from generations past. The stroke production is different, perhaps harder, not necessarily superior in results when the end goal is to win points and games. The old counterpunchers, in particular, I think would likely hold their own with superior footspeed and movement. Who was, or ever will be, faster than Borg? Who has the movement and eye/hand coordination of a Connors? Lendl's consistency? Agassi's blistering returns? Very few. these are guys w/very unique attributes that made them successful; same to be said of the top guys today.
     
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