Got to hit with Wilander and also Q and A

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Zimbo, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    He still hits a very clean ball. He doesn’t hit out much but when he does he can really rip it. His average ball has a lot of spin and is hit with a lot of depth but isn’t very heavy compared to a lot of guys. When he rips it his ball does have a lot of topspin that dips very quickly and explodes off the ground. His slice backhand has good penetration. Most of his rally shots had a huge clearance over the net. He has great control and placement on his balls. His volleys are solid. He still appears to glide around the court and still has such great footwork and balance. What made him so great was his anticipation. I saw first hand how awesome his anticipation still is. Bare in mind I have no doubt that he was holding back on me. I’m a lower end 5.0 player, and let me tell you, if we played a set I would be lucky if I got a game. I may get a few points if I serve well but if he tried, getting points would be very difficult. I wouldn’t be able to hit thru him. There’s not a ball that I can give him that would bother him. He would run me around the court till my lungs collapse.

    Below are some of the questions that have been debated on this forum that I asked him. His answers are vary interesting and will no doubt led to further heated debates.

    Sorry in advance if it's a little long winded and difficult to read. I copied paste it from a word document.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
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  2. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    He answered these questions (paraphrase):
    Create your perfect player (I allowed him to pick himself)
    - Forehand: Fed
    o Not the biggest but overall the best
    - Backhand: Djoker
    o Why no Agassi and Connors?
    • Because Djoker can do more with the ball from a defensive position. Plus on the run Agassi backhand wasn’t as deadly
    - Forehand volley: Edberg
    - Backhand volley: Edberg
    o Why not Mac?
    • Both were great but Edberg was scarier at the net. Edberg was harder to past and got inside your head more because you see his perfect form, crispness of his volleys, etc…. would make you think you had to make the perfect shot to get it past him
    - First serve: Isner (might have to go with Sampras because of how clutch Sampras was)
    - Second serve: Sampras
    - Return of serve: Djoker
    o Mention other great returners like Agassi, Connors, Hewitt, etc….
    o Fed gets a lot of balls back into play
    o Agassi is the best returner when he guesses right but he gives up one side too much and pays the price by getting aced a lot
    o Djoker and Murray are a cross between Agassi and Fed
    - Court coverage: Djoker
    o Not Borg?
    • Yeah, I hate to say it
    • Borg close second
    - Stamina: Borg (he said he might pick himself here)
    - Tactical: Himself
    - Lobs: forgot to ask him
    - Overheads: forgot to ask him
    -Caveat: He said it’s really unfair to the past greats. Because of the technology, strings training, etc…. For example, how would Lendl’s forehand or Connors backhand look like with current technology? Same goes with the return of serve. So much easier to return the serve, hit winners, and hit passing shots with current conditions. Only thing the poly strings don’t help in are the volleys. Strings are “horrible for volleys.” Maybe now Borg could be even faster.
     
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  3. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    What was your game plan against the following?
    a. Lendl: Very tough if he’s serving well. Have to mix it up. Try to get inside his head. The thing about Lendl was I knew he would always play the same way. It was up to me to adjust.
    b. Becker: Make him hit as many balls as possible. Weather conditions, heat, wind etc… plays a big part. Move him around the court. If it was a fast court with ideal condition (indoor) just show up and shake his hands.
    c. Edberg: All about if I could handle the kicker to my backhand. Try to get the ball at his feet. Stay away from his backhand and attack the forehand. Playing him at Indian Wells (where the balls really explodes and bounces high), forget about it.
    d. McEnroe: Such a genius. Just have to react to what he’s doing.
    e. Connors: Didn’t have a problem with him. Just play my game.
    -I mentioned his 7-0 record in ATP event vs. his 0-6 in exo against Connors. Answer: “Its only an exo.” He didn’t really care about exo’s. “exo’s are just that, exo’s”
    -Connors was the ultimate fighter and competitor. Would do anything to win. Would try to intimidate and bully his opponents.

    I loved your plan to get a high percentage of your first serves in (97%) against Laconte in the 88’s French Open finals:
    - I think I only missed 2 first serves
    - Laconte was dangerous if you give him to many second serves
    - He also was dangerous off a flat serve. If I hit a flat one that wasn’t good enough he would use it against me
    - Didn’t give him balls to attack, made him play on my terms
    - He had to hit thru me to win

    Ferrer vs. Chang:
    - Not fair question due to it being a generation gap
    - Ferrer looks like the superior player but it could be due to the technology and current conditions
    - Both has the never say die attitude but I will have to go with Chang because he wasn’t scared of the big boys. He had self -belief that he was as good as and could beat the best.

    How would guys with good 1 hand backhands, like Edberg and Becker handle Nadal’s forehand? Could they do a better job then Fed?
    - Would never let it happen
    - They wouldn’t allow that ploy that Nadal uses against Fed to occur
    - You wouldn’t see those rallies. Not just Edberg and Becker, it goes for McEnroe (even though he’s a lefty) also
    - If they were to lose they would lose on their terms.
    - They would chip and charge, take ball on the rise and attack, slice down the line, attack the 2nd serve, do anything possible to prevent that cross court forehand to backhand exchange
    - Not to say they would win but they wouldn’t lose on Nadal’s terms
    - Then he goes on to say that’s the problem with being so great and talented (referring to Fed) he could be too stubborn

    Yeah but Edberg, Backer, and Mac where great net rushers, how would a natural baseliner like Guga with his 1 hander deal with it?
    - It would be tough over time. It would be hard for Guga to always get there in time to set up to hit a clean shot back
    - However, that’s a match I would love to see
    - Guga had enough firepower to bother Nadal. Good serve and great off both wings. On clay it would be a great battle. Nadal naturally has the advantage but with Guga’s passion and spirit he could do it. At his highest level he would have the inner belief that he could win.

    At your ’88 prime could you beat Borg in his prime?
    - Yes
    - But that’s not to say I’m better or greater then him (another different era scenario) HE STRESSED THIS POINT
    - In ’88 I had better training, racquet, the game evolved, I was a lot better and stronger then when I played him in ’82
    - Borg was using a wood racquet in his prime
    Wasn’t your rossignol essentially a wood racquet too?
    - No, it was better then wood
    - We don’t know how Borg would have played with a graphite racquet but with a wood racquet (Borg) I would beat him in ’88 with my form at the time
    My dream match would see you vs. Borg both in your prime on clay.
    - I don’t think anyone would want to see that match
    - After the first few games most would get bored and stop watching

    When you coached Safin, what was your main goal?
    - Have him never to lose to anyone outside the top 10
    - Great player, great serve, great off both wings
    - Good mobility for a big guy
    - Could have done a lot more

    ’11 Djoker vs. ’07 Fed
    - Djoker played at a higher level more consistently throughout the year
    - But in a big match against ’07 Fed, Fed could pull thru. Hard to bet against Fed.
    - Very close, hard to call who would win. ’11 Djoker just so resilient and clutch.

    How different would your game be if you grew up in this era?
    - Couldn’t possible say
    - Maybe a little like Andy Murray: because he had to learn to be more aggressive
    - Does Gilles Simon remind you of yourself?
    o No
    o I hit with more topspin and tried to do more with the ball
    o I tried to find a chink in my opponents game
    o Gilles plays the same against everyone and his opponents doesn’t have to worry if he would do something different
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
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  4. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Greatest of all time?
    - Accomplishment wise you have to go with Fed
    - But in truth, you really can’t say who’s the greatest of all time. To many variable; different eras, conditions, competition, grand slams (who played them, importance of them), etc………
    - Talent wise from what I saw Laver, ’84 McEnroe, and Fed were the best.
    - Sampras was a “nightmare” to play. Possibly the best fast court player ever. Gave his opponents no rhythm.
    - Borg’s channel slams ranks up there

    The Modern era
    - Nadal: He’ll be back. He’s like a racehorse. He’ll run till he breaks down, recuperate and heals, and starts running again. Incredible athlete. I just don’t understand how he can win Rome and Monte Carlo that many times but then go out and do it again. His competitive fire is different then that of the Connors and the Hewitt’s do or die, fight to the death attitude, your opponent is the enemy mentality. Unreal motivation. Like a robot, purpose is to play, compete, and win.
    - Djoker: Could and probably will take tennis to another level, if he hasn’t done so already. He’s the worst match up for Nadal. Love to see what he does for the next few years. Court coverage and flexibility is just incredible.
    - Murray: Finally getting into the mix. Has a better all court game then both Nadal and Djoker. Has great touch and variety. Very good court sense. Just has to be willing to battle and keep focus.
    - Fed: Greatest of all time? Did rack up a lot of his slams during one of the worst top 10 eras. But can’t hold that against him. He can do things no else can. The best reactive player ever. Best to go from defense to offense. Because he’s so talented he doesn’t have to think and plan when he plays.
     
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  5. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Very nice.. thanks so much for posting... Wilander was ajoy to watch... still cannot get over that brutal US Open semi with Mac in the utter heat - was it "84?
     
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  6. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    seems fake got a pic proving validity?
     
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  7. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Are you serious? Come on now. Jeez man.
     
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  8. Kalin

    Kalin Professional

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    Zimbo, great posts..... must have been a great experience
     
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  9. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Outstanding--Thanks for sharing.
     
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  10. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    No in 85. Wilander should have won that match, up two sets to one and 2-0 in the fifth set. McEnroe's fitness and fight were underrated.
     
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  11. Dino Lagaffe

    Dino Lagaffe Professional

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    Agreed......
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks Zimbo.
     
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  13. NadalDramaQueen

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    Did your favorite get dissed? :lol:

    Thanks Zimbo.
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Zimbo,

    Just fantastic. I appreciate reading it.
     
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  15. jxs653

    jxs653 Rookie

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    Wow thanks. Great read. I think one interesting question might have been about Mecir, known for Swedish killer..
     
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  16. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    This thread is crazy awesome.
    Tx Zimbo!
    Now let's watch the fed vs nadal vs djoko fans war begin...
     
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  17. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, I totally forgot to ask him about Mecir. However, in various interviews, Mats is on record stating that he couldn't figure out how to beat the Big Cat.
     
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  18. Defcon

    Defcon Hall of Fame

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    The respect for Mats has gone up more, its great to hear his opinions and views. Is he still doing Eurosport segments?
     
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  19. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah, Mats is still on Eurosport.
     
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  20. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Semi-Pro

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    Excellent questions and it was nice of Mats to give such thoughtful answers.
     
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  21. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing Zimbo, awesome read, love hearing or reading what Mats has to say about tennis, it's always a privilege and you shared a ton of info. Where did you have the pleasure to meet him?
     
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  22. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    How high over the net? Just wondering. And thanks for posting. Fun read and very informative. Cheers.
     
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  23. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    translation: Wilander is a moonballer.
     
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  24. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Or Wilander is the Ultimate Professional (Knows the percentages)...
     
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  25. BTURNER

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    you can die a happy man. To get that kind of time from Wilander, must be wonderful.
     
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  26. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    Then you have not seen him play:)
     
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  27. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I would say a good 5-8 feet, it would be hit with decent pace and drop a few feet from the baseline.
     
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  28. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Glad you guys have enjoyed the post. If any of you guys have the chance I would totally recommend doing the Wilander on Wheels fantasy. Awesome experience. I met him briefly years ago at a Wilander vs Borg exo, but WOW was a dream come true. Being able to hit with him and chill with him at dinner was a tennis experience I will never forget. He's a super cool dude. Very easy to talk too.
     
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  29. Squidward

    Squidward Rookie

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    Great Read! Thanks For Posting!

    He comes to our area in May, Might have to check this out!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  30. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I actually asked him since he lives in the US would he ever consider working for ESPN tennis coverage instead of Eurosport. His reply, "I don't think they would hire me because I'm not American." But I reminded him that Cahill isn't American. His reply, "yeah but he wasn't a great player." Too funny. Hahahahha
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  31. I Heart Thomas Muster

    I Heart Thomas Muster Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Zimbo that was a great read. I watched him do his Wilander on Wheels demo in Pasadena (but did not interact with him) and was impressed with his game and the fact he seemed to be enjoying himself as much as the kids he was hitting with.
     
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  32. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Mats is possibly more obsessed with this stuff even than us. If you ever hear him on Eurosport he will just talk for hours and hours about these kind of questions.

    He doesn't like Gilles Simon for some reason, I've noticed this when he commentates on his matches. It seems to go back to when he coached Matheiu.
     
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  33. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Our club is looking into bringing him in.

    But I can't afford the $250 registration.
     
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  34. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    "Does Giles Simon remind you of yourself?"
    :oops:
    Ouch.
     
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  35. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    what would conners say about wilander?
     
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  36. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Thanks Zimbo!
    I was lucky enough to meet Mats at the either the 1999 or 2000 US OPEN when he was coaching Safin. He was so easy to speak to and he was willing to answer any questions. A really down to earth guy who makes you feel comfortable in his presence. One of my favorite players.
    Borg is my number 1.
     
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  37. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It was the 2001 US Open when Wilander was coaching Safin. Alexander Volkov was Safin's coach when Safin won 2000 US Open.
     
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  38. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    Great post and spot on with what Mats said when I spent the day hitting with him a while back. And yes -- he is still in as amazing condition as ever.

    I too second the WOW experience if he is ever in your area. He and Cameron are great guys and after we spent the day on court we then went out to dinner and spent the rest of the evening hanging out and I'm still in touch with them. Great guys.
     
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  39. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    He have said that he never been in such great shape since the early 90s:)
     
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  40. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    WOW! Great post. That's some real interesting insight on some of the matches and technology change. Mats was my favorite player as a child. I got a Rossignol F-200 as my first real adult racquet in the fall of 1982 when I was 11 following his French Open win. Played with it for 15 years!
     
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  41. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Thanks so much - great read and sounds like Mats!

    During the AO final yesterday, the other commentator asked if Djokovic was the most flexible player ever and Mats mentioned that Mecir was also very flexible, although did not have the court coverage of Novak.
     
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  42. PointConstructor

    PointConstructor New User

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    Thanks Zimbs,
    It's great that you share this with us tennis fans.The questions were very good and answers by Mats give us a lot of insight and idea about great players from different eras.
    I agree that there can never be a single best of all time given so many variables.
     
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  43. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    I have several F200's. :)

    I read somewhere that Matts grew up in a small town in Sweden. Very unlikely place to be from and become number one in the world. He learned tennis in the parking lot of his father's workplace. (They set up a net in the parking lot. Reminds me of the Serbs (Joker, Anna and Tipsy) playing tennis in the drained Olympic pool in the winter time. Crazy stuff.

    As I recall, he quit sort of young (like Borg) and then came back some years later (like Borg) and didn't do so hot (like Borg.).

    And yes, those guys would own a 5.0, they are so consistent and effortless. No coincidence they were so highly ranked. They are in a completely different world tennis wise than you and me. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
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  44. db379

    db379 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, he is on Eurosport. I respect him as a player and what he has achieved is quite amazing, but he has a huge ego as you would expect. I don't quite like his constant picking on Fed. Sure, he knows that Fed has achieved much more, it's diffcult to swallow.

    Example, in your interview, when he said that Becker or Edberg wouldn't let Nadal hit his FH on their BH like he does with Fed..... Come on! I'd like to see a match between Nadal and Wilander, and see what he says afterwards...
     
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  45. evanjj

    evanjj Rookie

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    awesome thread with the Champ :)
     
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  46. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Was he running his clinic with pernfors? The next time he is out in asia I would really like to do that clinic.
    One of the things on my bucket list is to watch a Fed GS final sitting next to Wilander and listening him give his thoughts.
     
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  47. db379

    db379 Hall of Fame

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    Zimbo, what was Mats playing with? I remember a few years ago, I hit some balls with him at Legends exhibition. He was playing a fisher. I heard he changed a lot over the years and he had a hard time finding a stick he liked.
     
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  48. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    He was hitting Donnay X-red 94 just recently.
     
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