ESPN's US Open Classics

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by War Safin!, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    ESPN Classic Channel have been showing loads of these for the past 3 weeks in the lead-up to the US Open.
    A few observations:
    1976: Connors v Borg
    Played on green Har-Tru clay (I think)m and played at the hideous Forest Hills Tennis Stardium - ugh. A 40-50ft perimeter from the edge of all sides of the court to where the first rows of the crowd and being a 'C'-shaped bowl, almost no-one seated on one-side of the stadium

    1980: Connors v McEnroe
    Connors with a beard!!!

    1981: McEnroe v Borg
    The famous last-match and walking-off court to a waiting taxi. However, it doesn't actually show this happening.

    1984: Lendl v Cash / McEnroe v Connors followed by McEnroe-Lendl
    Greatest weekend in US Open history?

    One thing I notice about these old 70s/80s matches is the really loud 'pinging-sound' when the ball comes off the racquet - especially Borg's.

    Also, the actual swinging takeback and follow-through on both forehands and backhands.....just looks really odd and technically wrong.
     
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  2. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the heads up. I'll set my DVR.
    On the "technically wrong" thing, I do not know what you mean. Nothing about the forehands and backhands by Lendl (especially), Borg, or Connors is "technically wrong" looking. I am guessing you must be relatively young (correct me if I am wrong) and you are accustomed to seeing the "new tennis" (e.g. Roddick, Blake, etc.) that is "technically wrong" in my 35 year old eyes.
     
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  3. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    When I say that, I mean when McEnroe or Connors hits a forehand, it almost looks like an amateur using a very open-stanced, stiff-armed technique to place ball so carefully in the court as opposed to someone like Federer running inside the ball, swinging the racquet way back behind him, dropping the wrist and ripping it with a full smooth follow-through....IMO, that looks 100X more aesthetically pleasing to my eyes.
    Same way in that Tiger Woods single-handedly 're-invented' the golf-swing: I see Woods rip 290yds with the driver....then I look at somone like Jacklin or Miller or Watson from 35 years ago - it looks 2nd-rate.

    Hard for me to explain exactly unless you watch it....maybe it's cos today's guys are so much more athletic or maybe those wooden racquets were heavier than I remember and swinging one like Federer would cause a lot of discomfort!

    (BTW, Im in my mid-30s)
    ;)
     
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  4. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    I agree on the McEnroe comments (note I left him out of my comments), but we all know his success was not at the baseline. Federer is an anomaly in today's tennis. He is more of a throw back with his strokes. I would not include him in the "new tennis" category.

    I cannot comment on golf as I do not follow that recreation.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Today's technique/swing speed wouldn't cut it with wood racquets unless you were willing to make 100s of unforced errors. Ginepri, Robredo, Djokovic hit with wood racquets earlier this year & said they had no pop at all. And Ginepri said he was sore after hitting with it for only 10 minutes, so yes they were damn heavy, Fed would not be able to play the same way with those racquets(& physically I bet he's far weaker than Borg or Vilas, they lived in the gym, so he may swing even slower than they did with wood)

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many fans seem clueless about how racquet technology has completely dictated every change in the game over the last 30 years(even those graphite racquets of the 80s were pathetic in the power/spin department, some of you leave in fantasyland if you think Federer's racquet is 'basically' the same)

    If players were still using wood, you'd see a lot of strange looking shots, technically, its very challenging to not make errors with tiny framed, heavy racquets, you'd do anything to keep the ball in play.

    what did you think of Borg's technique? Full swings finishing up over his head. And he strung at 80 ilbs, & is generally considered the best tennis athlete of all time, so saying players swing differently today because they are better athletes doesn't really make sense when you look at him. Vilas was also far stronger/fitter(guy looks like he could snap Fed in two, he was incredibly ripped) than anyone in the top 10 today & yet swung a lot slower.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2007
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  6. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Borg's technique looks very compact - serving looks a doddle for him - he pauses for about 5 seconds between a 1st and 2nd serve and on almost every backhand, he grips with both hands and then releases his left-hand (bottom hand) just after impact and follow-through.
     
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  7. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^Yet even with more "compact" technique than Mac or Connors they were able to be more competitive with modern players for a longer period of time than he was(that '91 comeback wasn't pretty, yet that same year Connors made the open semis) and Mac almost beat Ancic in superset a couple years ago, for pete's sake.

    Technique isn't everything.

    Borg received a death threat prior to the final, that's why he got of the court & off the grounds quickly.

    his high tension made his ball sound different than any other player. sometimes his racquet would just completely shatter during matches.
     
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  8. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Also, Moose - I remember this when I watched them as a kid: what's the really loud clicking sound made right at contact when any player hit a ball back then - almost like multiple camera shutters going off simultaneously. :confused:
     
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  9. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    its what you said it sounded like it was-cameras going off! the photographers were closer to the players at the louis armstrong stadium, you could hear the cameras very clearly. mac would often throw a fit or hit balls at them, because the sound annoyed him.
     
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  10. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I am the same age group as you, but I have the exact opposite opinion. I find the kind of tennis played by McEnroe, Borg, and Connors far more aesthetically pleasing, and there's no doubt that it was far more varied than what we see today. To me, Roger (and I admire Fed) has no shot that is hit prettier than Mac's chipped backhand, which was such a great setup shot for so many beautiful volley winners. Which is something so many players today couldn't do if you paid them.

    I have no problem with people who think that watching tennis today is so much better than when I was growing up. We're all entitled to our own opinions. I'm just thankful that dvd's last a long time. Because when I want to want true talent and artistry on a tennis court, I look to the past.
     
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  11. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I acquired VirtuaTennis 3 just this week - it's a PC video game, stylized specifically after modern tennis.

    Boy, is it ever a bore. There are some nice backhands and everything, but it is horrendously one-dimensional and appropriately so - it patterns itself specifically after modern tennis. Players hit the ball three ways - hard (with a wind up), slice, and lob (which is rarely effective). Location, precision - none of this is figured in and for good reason, when the ball moves in so quickly due to the power of the opponent's racket, it is vital to return hard, but there's no artistry as there's no time to think. I recall a time when players actually strategized mid-point and one could appreciate the strategy from an aesthetic perspective because the spectator was given the time to breathe and analyze. A player's strategy would involve something more than simply hitting a ball a little earlier, get the opponent off balance and then hit an overhead smash. If anything, I miss the days when the overhead smash would not end the point - it was a nice wrinkle.

    I tried to make this analogy, because after trying out this game I recall thinking how nice it would be if a video game could be patterned after old-time tennis with the likes of Laver, Borg, Connors, Mac as the participating players. It would be different - there would be more buttons, more shots, there would be a great discrepancy between the speed of certain surfaces (eg. in virtuatennis clay and grass play almost at an identical speed .. my utopian game would have the former play extremely slow and the latter extremely fast).

    The juiced rackets are a travesty .. they take away the thinking aspect out of each and every shot .. virtually every skilled shot you see today, is only great due to skill and an exercised instinct - nothing is by virtue of intelligence .. without intelligence, we have no art.

    The parity of surfaces is a travesty .. they all generally play at the same speed .. not exactly of course, but show tennis to a layman and he won't see a difference .. this isn't interesting - what we are seeing is an attempt to make tennis easier to understand for the least educated fan (most likely an American, who isn't watching anyway - keep trying, De Villiers).

    Oh, and I just thought of the name for my game: Brian Gottfried Tennis. That's right - tennis done the right way. With grace and creativity. But truly great tennis is too slow for modern audiences. Kind of like Tarkovsky is slow. Or Faulkner is slow.

    The more global tennis gets the worse it gets. Because the more global it is the more it attempts to please the casual fan, in order to maximize upon the consumerist desires of the suits in charge. The well meaning casual tennis fan in the modern world isn't as much a fan of tennis per se, but a fan of video games, because tennis today is a video game. Faster, more powerful and stupider than your fat hamster.
     
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  12. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    I can't find any more of those classic matches scheduled on ESPN Classic. Would you let us know ahead of time if you find more?
     
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  13. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    You can buy these matches pretty cheap at tennis dvds dot net
    good quality too
     
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  14. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    "We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you'd say. Now where were we, oh ya. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because if the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones."
     
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  15. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    You really shouldn't go around making disparaging remarks about Americans, because I am an American and I love tennis in it's entirety, not just the modern baseline bashing you see these days. I also know many AMERICANS (including myself) who think the game today suffers because of the racket technology. I too enjoy the old matches and the strategy involved in order to win a point, something which is for the most part sadly lacking these days.

    Comments like that aren't going to bolster your credibility on this forum in any way. It's something Condoleeza would say.
     
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  16. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    I'm in the UK and I have SKY: ESPN Classic is shown 24/7 - tennis, golf, cricket, soccer, rugby, boxing...everthing.

    This morning, from 7am - 11am they showed:
    Sampras v Corretja '96
    Connors v Haarhuis '91
    Agassi v Martin '99
    McEnroe v Borg '80


    They mix it up day-after-day....
     
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  17. Well played, r2437.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, I don't see any classic tennis matches scheduled on ESPN Classics in the U.S. from now onwards. Must be a Europe only schedule. :-(
     
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  19. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Unlucky.
    Tomorrow we have a re-run of:
    Connors v Borg '76
    McEnroe v Borg '80
    Becker v Lendl '89
     
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  20. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    This is the one I really want to see. I've only seen it once and not the complete match. Connors beating Borg on clay is definitely something to see.

    Most of the other matches I've seen at least once or more.
     
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  21. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    As I put earlier, I'm sure it must be green Har-Tru clay...but that old Forest Hills Tennis Stadium - is just awful - terrible atmosphere.
    How can you have any atmosphere when the crowd are sitting 40ft away from the court????
     
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