Could Borg have had a second wind in 1982?

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

  1. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    The players today, regardless of racquet technology and strings, hit the ball in a fundamentally different way, especially off the fh side. I think the results are significantly superior, so we don't agree there. They generate way more racquet head speed, which results in way more pace and spin. Aside from Borg and Vilas and likely a few others, no one from the 70's was hitting with that kind of spin, which also includes varying amounts of side spin, and Vilas and Borg weren't hitting with the same pace as today's players, even taking the racquets and strings into consideration.

    While I never mentioned raw athletic ability, today's players are generally bigger. Modern technique allows these bigger, stronger athletes to take bigger cuts at the ball and still have it land in.

    Regarding all the other stuff like eye/hand coordination, foot speed, etc. - of course the best players from years past are equal to today's players. If these players played in the same eras with the same techniques, then things would be interesting. And players from adjacent eras are similar enough to be competitive.

    But techniques have advanced IMO. Taking players of similar talent, one using modern technique and one using 70's technique, the modern player wins.

    Again, all just my opinion.
     
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  2. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    one of the biggest changes in the forehand stroke was the shift from a closed to an open stance. You generate significantly more power with the open stance...but back in the day, you were taught to hit with the closed stance, often with an Eastern grip, which you can see quite well when you watch someone like Evert. I "relearned" how to hit my forehand using the open stance and it's quite the difference. Combine that with a western/semi-western grip and you've got the modern power game. still, guys like Connors and Lendl were not exactly hitting powder puff shots and Agassi just amped it up further...but he too had the open stance style.
     
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  3. dmt

    dmt Hall of Fame

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    fair enough. I was wondering what do you think of an older Conners doing well on tour with modern rackets vs new generation of players? How about Lendl? He grew up with wooden rackets i believe, and yet become a champion with modern ones.
     
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  4. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Hard to say about Lendl; I think he quit earlier than expected because of his bad back, whereas, Connors was able to recover from his various injuries, even the blown out wrist. Both of the guys were very fit and pretty much kept playing continuously throughout their careers. I do think that made a difference; no long sabbaticals away from the game, like Mac took.

    According to Connors, it was less about will and fitness as he got older, but more about aged legs. At some point, the wheels just are not going to keep up anymore. And, he was pretty sharp nonetheless in his early 40's. But, both guys had more of a power game and could slug it out. connors liked pace, no question. They, along w/Agassi playing well into his mid 30's were relatively unique cases. Andre too, valued fitness late in his career, but a bad back was also his downfall.

    So, yeah, certain kinds of games, could transition between generations.
     
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  5. dmt

    dmt Hall of Fame

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    This is the point i was trying to make. Connors was a 70's player, the idea that any modern player could simply destroy a prime Connors just doesn't make any sense when even an older Connors was giving guys like Agassi problems. I have no doubt Borg could transition easily
     
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  6. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    Would a 1981 borg beat a 1988 wilander?
     
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  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True, but Connors did do pretty well in 1982 and 1983.
     
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  8. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    If he used a bigger head size ...........oh, wait, that is a different (pointless) thread.
     
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  9. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    70s-era players cannot be expected to master graphite racquet groundstrokes when they never played with graphite racquets.

    Criticizing them for not hitting with massive spin is a little ignorant considering that my grandma can hit with spin with the equipment available today.
     
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  10. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    there was more variety in the ground-stroking techniques back then, aside from the rackets. S&V game allowed for more variety in spins....that plus 3/4 of the GS events were on grass.
     
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  11. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Been on vacation - just saw this.

    I remember when the modern racquets came out in the early 80's. They clearly increased the power level of everyone's game and pretty much all of the pros switched over between 82 and 84.

    Connors was a great player and loved to play, so a lot of talent and desire. He hit hard and used his opponent's power, and was crafty about coming in and ending points. He could also impose his will on mentally weaker players. He was not going to give up. It's pretty amazing that he was competitive for as long as he was. In the latter part of the 80's, on a younger set of legs, who knows. But the power level was going up even then. Big hitters like Lendl could dominate Connors if they kept their head together, in the same way Connors had dominated a guy like Rosewal a decade before. But with Agassi, Courier, and Sampras, you saw a real change in the game. Those guys hit everything hard and with more topspin. They were really slinging their racquets at the ball, and they had loads of talent. Even with young legs, I think these guys would have been too much for Jimbo. Certainly an old Jimmy could not handle them.

    I think Lendl was one of the architects of today's game in a couple of ways. Huge serve and fh, and a power baseline player. On his fh, though not exactly modern in the swing path, he was clearly whipping the racquet into the ball way more than most of his contemporaries and generating huge power. Still he didn't generate the spin off his forehand that modern players do, and he didn't attack his backhand generating neither the spin or pace the way modern players do. I don't think even Lendl, without some stroke changes, would be a grand slam winner in today's game.
     
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  12. bcrd500

    bcrd500 New User

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    Borg and 1982

    The legend that Borg took his racket and walked away from tennis after McEnroe beat him at the US Open, in 1981, makes for a good story but is far from the truth.

    After the US Open, Borg took a five month break from tennis but had every intention of playing the tour, in 1982. However, the ATP had passed a new rule that required players to add two tournaments to their schedule to keep their seeding (if any) for the grand slams.

    Since Borg had not played, in January and February, to meet the 12 tournament rule, Borg would have to drop a couple of high paying exhibitions and play longer after the US Open. He chose to ask for a waiver to be seeded at the grand slams.

    Borg entered the Monte Carlo warmup tournament (for the French) in April and played two qualifying matches since he was unseeded. He lost in the final to Noah. The ATP rejected his waiver right before the final, which may have affected his attitude about that match, and Borg chose not to play any grand slams, in 1982.

    However, he did play the exhibitions and posted a 3-1 record against McEnroe, 2-4 with Connors, and 2-0 against Lendi. The most famous of the exhibitions was played in Southwest Asia, in the fall of 1982 where he beat McEnroe and Lendi rather easy. It was obvious he had bulked up his upper body that added power to his serve and ground strokes.

    Despite announcing his retirement, in January 1983, Borg continued to play the high dollar exhibitions into 1984 but finally stopped playing any tennis by 1985.

    The ATP rule change came at a bad time for Borg since he was on the edge about his tennis future and it gave him a chance to jump off the merry-go-round. If Borg had played the tour, in 1982, he would have won another 5-7 slams since everybody starting playing the Australian Open and none of the winners of the French during that period could have beaten Borg on clay
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    as so often mentioned in past posts of mine, Borg should have signed WCT and play relatively comfortable 16 men fields over 4 days a week
    He could be ranked by WCT but not ATP, still those tourneys had 300.000 ~dollars prize money vs max 200.000 ~dollars on the Grand Prix circuit.

    He could have played as many as he wished.Mac was invited to the WCT Finals with just one tournament entered ( he didnĀ“t even enter it because he WO by injury at Strasbourg)

    But, of course, Lendl was beasty on that WCT tour, winning 10 regular titles+ the three finals (Spring,Autumn and Winter)
     
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  14. Tennisknowledge99

    Tennisknowledge99 Banned

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    Borg was potentially great in 1982. Borg defeated both Lendl and Mac, won the AKAI Gold Challenge in November.

    Hamilton Jordan literally stabbed the tour in the back by not being flexible in Borg's case. Borg had no intention to quit in 1981, and did not decide to retire until January 1983, announcing that Monte-Carlo would be his last tournament. In fact, both McEnroe and Wilander said that in 1982 Borg was training harder and serving better than he ever had in his career. Once he saw that the governing body was remaining rigid and that he was going to have to qualify at every tournament, he decided he has had enough.

    Having Borg, McEnroe, McEnroe, Lendl and Wilander in 1982-1985 would have been just great. It would be the ''Diamond'' era of tennis. I would love to see Borg compete against them with graphite frame, since he was already in talks with Donnay.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
    #64
  15. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    I've wondered if this was the moment when the organizers took the sport back from the stars after a brief insurrection starting in the early 70s. Borg wanted to sell his services to the highest bidder and compete at the events he deemed interesting - the ITF etc. called his bluff and the sport moved on without him.

    Five years earlier, Borg could break a contract with Hunt's WCT, skip a major or two to go off and play WTT and some exos etc. At the time, there were enough entities out there competing with each other to where he had that freedom and could play the bosses off each other.

    A few years later, as the sport was re-coalescing around an ATP/ITF monopoly, Borg couldn't just puddle jump b/w tours and events without ruffling the wrong feathers.

    I guess I'm wondering: does anyone think he was made an example of in 1982? Nobody's bigger than the sport etc. etc.?
     
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