Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by raftermania, Nov 22, 2006.
I thought this guy was brilliant. Agree?
Before my time, or did you mean Leconte ?
it must be Henri Leconte because Lacoste's first name was Rene, not Henri
Yes. Henri Leconte. Levi Strauss and Leconte were devloping a huge rivalry, it's too bad Lob me Levi moved into the fashion biz.
Great comeback raftah. Lob-Me Levi Strauss and Sweet Swingin' Sergio Tacchini (but not Valente) were small competition for the progeny of Les Quatre Mousquetaires.
Inspiring for me, a young junior in the early 80's, to see this weird and whippy lefty come out of France with the name that recalled TWO of the four musketeers? WOw.
Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste...and naturally Jacques Brugnon and Jean Borotra ... and all of France's tennis community were excited about him.....along with Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget (Fer-zhay-abbout-it), Yannick Noah and Loic Courteau.
I saw the young Leconte for the first time at a small tournament leading up to the Open, then saw him at the Open. Slightly overfed as I recall, with skinny legs and basically no calves (the anti-Lendl). More power than most pros, McEnroesque finesse, and shot selection like a junior who dreams in technicolor.
He used a HEAD open throated wooden frame. Maybe it was the Vilas? Maybe it was the Edgewood? Either way, the guy was cool.
Like a beautiful woman who knows how special she is, he just adored his lefty slice. To watch him win was thrilling, even if you were rooting for the other guy. To watch him lose was unimpressive (think Rios). Leconte on a doubles court, enjoying the game and working the crowd was Henri at his best.
Speaking of Henri at his best, the time France clocked us in Davis Cup (ouch) was an otherworldly moment for him.
Ion Tiriac (ex Vilas and Becker guru coach) coahed him in the early 80's and called henri the most talented player he had ever seen - also said he was one of the biggest flakes and undisiplined player he had ever seen - big reason he left Henri to coach a young Becker in 1983 - 84.
Henri was one of my favorite players and did have a pretty good run from the early 80's until he retired in the mid 90's - French open final - semis at Wimby a few times - won French open doubles with Noah - US open doubles RU again with Noah.
big flake tough - he had EVERY shot in the book - went for stuff no sane player would or should ever try - I have seen him play a bunch and he would hit 4 aces in a row and then double fault 18 times in a row - then he could turn it around and hit winners from all over the place.
i think in a match in the mid 80's he had something like 24 double faults (13 or 14 in a row) and he still WON!
in the dictionary under the word STREAKY is a big picture of him! when he was on he could and did beat everybody - Lendl HATED playing him - drove'em nuts Henri was one of the few who had a good record vs Lendl. French fans had a huge love/hate relationship with him - big feeling was with a little more thinking on the court he could have been one of the greatest ever - the FO final he lost to Wilander got ugly during the trophy presentation when he got booed during his speech, a frenchman in Paris!
I had the pleasure of meeting him and playing with him in a pro-am a few yrs ago and he is still a great great guy - super attitude - I hope he comes back to the US and play the Courier tour in 2007.
Played with the EdgeWood in the early 80's then went with the Prestige Pro- late 80's signed with Major (now Technifibre) - on the senior tour he has been using various Volkl frames.
It was the Head Edgewood. In my opinion, one of the best looking frames made and the best playing wood-comp racquet I've hit with.
I first saw Leconte at the old Sydney grasscourt tournament back in 1981 (I was only a kid but that does show my age LOL). He won a couple of rounds, beating Tim Mayotte along the way, and lost to Tim Wilkison - remember him? Guess he would only have been 18 at the time but a hell of a player, even then. Next time he was out here was for the 83 Davis Cup and, even though he lost to Fitzy and Cash, was as brilliant as ever. We stayed on in Sydney to watch the Indoor and were very lucky to see Leconte have an exceptionally good week. He beat Lendl in the Quarters and lost to McEnroe in the final: straight sets but the last two were very close. You can imagine the shotmaking those two blokes conjured up and it still remains one of my fondest tennis memories.
Henri LaCoste - a wonderful word creation, three great or not so great french players in one. Leconte, as slice said, had a quite big, flabby upper body, and skinny legs. Reverse would be better. On his day, he could challenge indeed Lendl on all courts. Played a bit like Laver. Was extremely streaky - a bit like Adriano Panatta, another crowd pleaser, who ate too much pasta, if not as much as his pal Bertolucci. It was a bid sad, that the French hated him for so long, because imo his rivalry with Noah, who was the chocho of the Paris crowd.
AndrewD and urban. Great insights. Thanks for those.
That Mac-Leconte match in Sydney must have been a joy.
Nice to read the name, Adriano Panatta, too. I always admired him when I was a kid.
Well haven't I unintentionally opened up a can of old tennis balls.
reminisce away boys.
What I remember most about Henri and the French fans love/hate relationship with him was they said he was "a genius from the elbow down". He was definately a guy like Rios who did not get anywhere close to the results he should have based on his talent.
what racquet did leconte use???
LeConte was one of my favorite players. He had a wonderful flair for the game. The first time I ever really saw him close up was when he played doubles with Yannick Noah (Team France) against Boris Becker and Bobo Zivojinovic in a match at the 1985 U.S. Open. It was a fabulous match and the grandstand was packed. LeConte was the best player of the four during the match but everyone played well and the rallies were great. The people watching were mesmerized by the match. This match was so good that the U.S. Open tournament book mentioned the match I believe the next year and talked about how great it was
While he had great shotmaking talent and great judges of talent like Ion Tiriac thought he was one of the great talents that he had seen LeConte was a wild out of control player who played the lowest percentage shots and often made them. However his fans would get ill watching him make ridiculous errors for no reason.
LeConte was a virtually technically perfect left handed serve and volleyer who had perhaps the fastest hands in tennis during his time. Incredible power. People compared him to Laver, that's how talented people thought he was.
Aside from not being the smartest player during the match I also thought he was a bit slow on the court but that could have been because of his lack of training and poor conditioning.
Here's an article on LeConte and a clip of him playing in the Davis Cup. If I recall correctly LeConte's finest moment was when he was the hero of the Davis Cup for France in the early 1990's with his former teammate Noah as Davis Cup coach. He dominated the doubles against his arch enemies Flach and Segura (the team he felt cheated him and Noah out of the U.S. Open doubles title in 1985) and he defeated a young Pete Sampras in singles. If I recall correctly I think LeConte had back surgery just a few months before.
Talk about a waste of great tennis talent. LeConte had more talent than just about any player.
Oh, Henri LeConte. Fun player to watch, but he was rather inconsistent.
"Henri makes shots that don't exist," says Boris Becker. "He can be so amazing, you feel like a ball boy."
"With 90 percent of the players on the tour," says Yannick Noah, "you know exactly what they're going to hit and where they'll be. Henri is so unpredictable that the only thing to do is wait for his mistakes."
This explains a lot--
Leconte qualified for the French Tennis Federation's junior development program when he was 12. He modeled himself after Ilie Nastase, whose spirit he admired. At 16, Leconte quit the federation and enlisted Nastase's countryman, Ion Tiriac, as his manager.
Not sure about early on, but, in his later years, Leconte used the Donnay Pro One supermid (the orange/gray one), then the Pro One International (green/red/silver), and the Fischer that Stich used to use, I think. Last i saw him on the senior tour, he was playing Head.
I saw Leconte twice; once in a doubles final with Forget at Indian Wells - they beat Luke Jensen and Scott Melville, and Henri was brilliant with his quips in the postmatch interview (he commented that Luke, who was wearing a striped adidas ATP shirt and some wraparound shades, "looks like a bee, but that's OK") - and once at Wimbledon in '93, beating one of the Sanchez boys, I think. He had a nice run at Wimby that year, and the Brits clearly adored him. He was a joy to watch, but he definitely had issues between the ears.
Noah and LeConte was such a dynamic doubles team. Noah with his great serve and overhead and LeConte was his out of this world shots. They were very funny and endearing to the fans too. Great personalities.
Noah lived in New York for a while in the late 1980's and used to take the subway to the Tournament of Champions in Forest Hills, which he won in 1986 over Lendl in the semi and Vilas in the finals.
In the semi against Lendl, Noah was serving so hard on the Har Tru surface that Lendl was virtually next to the stands when returning serve. Despite being so far back the balls were still coming at Lendl near shoulder height.
Noah had the best overhead I've ever seen.
Noah's 1983 French Open victory over Wilander was one of the most dramatic moments I've seen in tennis.
He probably should have been named Henri Cochet LaCoste LeConte. lol.
Inconsistent is a very nice way of saying it.
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