Help me compare and contrast past champions please

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Kenny022593, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Kenny022593

    Kenny022593 Professional

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    So, I didn't start playing tennis until 2007 and then I didn't start watching tennis until 2009. I was wondering if you guys could help me compare and contrast past champions. By compare and contrast I mean I need help getting a concrete definition of each's play style. The players are Sampras, McEnroe, and Borg.

    What I know (or think I know) is:

    Sampras: Big first and second serve. Serve and volley.
    Yes, I know. It is very vague. How was Sampras's temper? Was it like Mac? I am assuming he was a lot calmer and did not blow up, or did he on certain occasions? Was his fitness an issue at times?

    McEnroe: Low 100 mph (?) serve. Used his lefty slice mostly. Serve and volleyer with great touch and finesse. Was very passionate and aggressive and had a very bad temper.
    Is there any more that I need? His groundstrokes were not his strong point, but were they weak compared to the others? How was hit fitness?

    Borg: Was one of the first to start using heavy spin off of both sides. Had a 2H backhand in an era of one handers. Great fitness and great mover. Baseliner.
    How was his serve? How was his serve and volley? Wikipedia said that he would S&V first serve at Wimby, but stay back second. How was he able to succeed at both Wimby and RG? He was a brick wall, right?

    I would appreciate any help I could get guys. As you can see... I have some, but very little knowledge... haha :oops:
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    My pleasure.

    Sampras: calm and cool, he was strong but lacked stamina and had some stomach problems, that arose unexpectedly.Still his firepower and complete all round game was enough to overcome any difficulty.

    Mc Enroe: Not a great athlete, but when trained, had excellent stamina and footwork ( he won important 5 setters vs Connors,Gerulaitis,Lendl,Wilander,Borg...).A bit underrated over here.

    Great shotmaking, used tot ake advantage of his opponent´s pace and direct the shot where he wanted with little backswing.One of the most talented players ever.

    Borg:ice man.Not a bomb could distract him.Unbelievable poise, it was frightening to watch his eyes on the ball...not a natural S&V but did play pretty well this game, aided by his terrific footwork (IMO, the best ever for a man) and the fact that grass took care and improved his stop volleys ( not efficient enough on hard courts, for instance)
     
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  3. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Sampras rarely showed much emotion on the court even when hitting an amazing shot or playing bad. You would definitely see small fist pumps here and there, but rarely an exaggerated one.

    He stayed back on 2nd serve a lot more in his early and middle part of career - probably till 1998 or so. His baseline game was pretty solid till then, but lost consistency later in his career. He was a great shot maker and had a great touch, but his game was more about coming forward and overpowering you.

    His match against Corretja in 95 US Open is exactly the type of match that his coach did NOT want him to play. Probably not many people acknowledge this, but I believe he was probably astute on the court - making subtle changes as necessary. Overall, he was pretty stubborn and hated making changes.

    McEnroe is the polar opposite. He was very temperamental, and wore emotion on his sleeve. He is very very opinionated and is not afraid to say what's on his mind. Many people think he doesn't hit with a lot of power, but he can crank it up on ground strokes and serves. He's no slouch. His game was also about coming forward and taking time away from his opponent.
     
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  4. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Everything about the Sampras game was classic power generation. The Sampras forehand and serve were fearsome cannon shots which he could direct from any part of the court to any part of the court for a winner. Only slow clay could blunt the power enough to offer hope to opponents.

    MacEnroe often used underspin effectively on both wings to exploit his opponent's power with more imagination, variety and skill than any I have seen else where. The game was unorthodox, and demanded exquisite timing. Full of bravado, creativity and hubris, his mind was his greatest asset, and liability.
     
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  5. Kenny022593

    Kenny022593 Professional

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    Thank you for the help guys :)
     
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  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here are my comments:

    Sampras - greatest serve in the history of tennis. Greatest running forehand in the history of tennis. One of the most explosive athletes in the history of tennis. Great all court game, gorilla at the net, no glaring weaknesses. His fitness was not an issue IMO, but, he suffered from a mild form of an inherited disease, thalassemia minor, which causes enemia. I've never seen Pete lose his cool.

    McEnroe - 110-120 mph serve, with great location and deception, and, a nasty lefty curve. Completely home grown, utterly unorthodox technique on every shot. One of the greatest touch players of all time. Great net player, badly underrated backcourt player and serve returner, with great reflexes and instincts everywhere on the court. He was a master of hitting groundstrokes on the rise and using his opponent's power against him. He was in great tennis shape because he played singles and doubles in almost every event.

    Borg - Hoad, Laver, Nastase and Vilas hit heavy topspin off of both sides before him. One of the greatest, and best conditioned, athletes to ever play tennis. Singularly, the mentally toughest, most tenacious, most focused tennis player of all time, except for Chris Evert. His serve could be one of the biggest in the game, when he wanted it to be. But, often he was content to hit just big enough to start the point and not get attacked on the return.
     
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    John Mc Enroe´s biggest weapon was his anticipation sense...He was on place even when looking aside...
     
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  8. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Sampras: as said huge serve and forehand, excellent all court game and a terror at the net and played his best on the big stage. Saw him lose plenty of matches at (2nd tier events) like he really didn't care i.e. 1986 Lipton vs Goran where after a rain delay he came back and pretty much tanked the 2nd and 3rd sets. Also had big mental issues playing on clay and just could not get over the hump - had some good results (Rome) but overall just couldn't get the sliding down.

    McEnroe: I was at Port Washington from 1971 - 1978 and saw LOTS of JMac - he hit one of the heaviest serves period, he could crank it but his placement and the "weight" was amazing. He had the best hands from mid court in....just look at old vids and watch him hit freaking volleys as he drops the racquet head and still manages to get pace and angles. His ground game was very solid and held his own from he baseline - as Ashe said about him he wouldn't bludgeon you to death like Connors but he would be like a small knife and nick u here and then nick you there and in the end u would bleed to death.
    As for Homegrown I don't know what that means but he was coached by Harry Hopman and then Tony Palafox and if you look at the contact points his mechanics were excellent. Amazing eye hand coordination maybe the best from 1980 - 1985.

    Borg: was considered the fastest guy on tour and had much lower heart rate and just didn't get tired. Developed a strong serve in 1976 for Wimby and it was a weapon from then on - huge forehand and a top 5 backhand and he could get to any ball. Had a fierce temper but kept it in check after his parents kept him away from tennis for like 6 months as a junior after he had a fit on court and threw his sticks.......etc after that he vowed to never show his emotions on court again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
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