How did Borg do the channel double three times?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by fluffyyelloballz, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. fluffyyelloballz

    fluffyyelloballz Rookie

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    My question is:

    If the surfaces were so much more different in the 70s and 80s, how was Borg able to win both the French and Wimbledon back to back with his baseline game?

    Personally, having watched tennis from 88 onwards, I do believe surfaces have been slowed down in general but I am interested to hear opinions about Borg's game and how he was able to defy the surface difference back then while players such as Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Mc Enroe, Connors, all legends, all failed.
     
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  2. Wooly

    Wooly New User

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    maybe the courts were "more" different, but the Game itself was much slower then today ... watch games of that time on Youtube, its like there playing in slow motion.

    Also even today players can win both ... so it still possible ... :)
     
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  3. fluffyyelloballz

    fluffyyelloballz Rookie

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    Thanks. I guess the game was slower back then even if the courts were faster. I am going to watch some youtube clips now:)
    Do you think Fed and Nadal were able to do it because now the game is faster but the courts slower? So, there is a balance. Maybe after Borg and pre Nadal the game got faster and Wimbledon was still fast while Roland Garros was still slow and so the double was harder to complete?
     
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  4. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Well he was able to adjust his game at Wimby.......he worked to improve his serve in the mid 70s and it became a weapon after 1976.....he always had solid volleys (he did fairly well in doubles in his early career and in Davis Cup) and if you watch the old matches from 1976 on at Wimby Borg didn't just stay back but attacked the net when it counted.

    Also the key at Wimby for Borg was getting thru the early rounds, he has some huge scares in 77, 78 and 79 in the first week of the Toury and much of it was due to the grass. The early week the courts were fast, slick and in great shape by the 2nd Monday it's looked like clay courts on the baseline and the balls began to bounce higher and slower.

    As for Paris it's simple......BB was the greatest clay courter ever and RG was his baby. He could park himself at the baseline an no one could touch him (except Panatta who was the only guy to attack BB on clay and win). If Borg had stuck around he could have won 10 RG's in a row.
     
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It is one of the most difficult feats to achieve.RG and W were far more different than now, so it is much easier now to do it than in Borg´s time.Nothing to see at all.

    Bjorn explained in his book that some factors helped:

    1/ He had an amazing footwork which allowed him to reach amd make great passings even off low and por bouncing balls
    2/He got menthally prepared as nobody else.His superb concentration would not allow him to get angry or frustrated over low bouncing or non bouncing balls
    3/He was not a natural volleyer.He just " put" the racket but, on that grass, his drop volleys wouldn´t come back.The other way round, at the hard courts of Flushing, those drop volleys would be easy to chase down by a Mc Enroe or a Connors, to name a few.

    4/ His fantastic body would not get too tired or spent at all at Roland Garros, so he never reached the Wimbledon courts too tired or burnt out.

    5/He had great help from amaya,Edmondosn,Teacher or Amritraj, the guys that almost beat him in the eralier rounds at Wimbledon.By that I mean he just had to concentrate on from the beggining and those guys helepd him peak at the end of the first week.usually, Borg played his best grass court tennis in the third, fourth round and quarterfinals.If you look at his stats, that is a fact.He overwhelmed anybody in round three, fourth and five, while he suffered in round 1 and 2.In the semis and final, of course, he was tunned up but so was his opponent and, depending on style of playing, he could be troubled or not.Mac Enroe,Tanner,Ashe,Gerulaitis, had the kind of game to trouble him and put him to the limit.Nastase,Connors,Vilas and Okker not.
     
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  6. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is no Borg

    What some people don't understand about Borg, when he is compared to Nadal so much, is that he was always good at fast surfaces. At 18 he was beating Laver at the WCT finals semi final round. From earliest times he was playing against guys indoors. He played (and got killed) by Pancho Gonzales when he was just 16! In other words he was unafraid of putting himself out there (not saying for a moment that Nadal is afraid - but I am emphasising that Borg was working on fast court skills from the beginning). At the same time he was this amazing athlete who could run at speed all day - which made him such a great on clay. Nadal is been somewhat lucky because fast court tennis is no longer present in the world - there is just medium and slow court tennis.

    Hence, the main difference between Borg and Nadal is that Borg could play on fast surfaces. And because of that he was able to grab the channel double - he nearly did it 4 times a row (if he had taken that second set tie break against McEnroe in Wimbledon in 1981 he would have done it).
     
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  7. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    In Scandinavia, the indoor game was at home, the Kings Cup was one of the oldest tennis competitions, always played indoors on fast carpet in Sweden or Denmark. So its not so surprising that Borg had to play indoors since his junior days. He also learned quick reflexes by playing bandy.
    Indoor too has fast and slower courts. I thought that Dallas always had a quite slow indoor court, seing the long rallies in the matches between Laver, Rosewall or Borg. Also Vilas did win Dallas one year, and a grinder like Eddie Dibbs did pretty well at Dallas too. The Nadal poor indoor showing has imo two sides: Maybe he is lucky, that carpet is gone, maybe he would play better, if he had more experience und time to build up his game on fast indoor courts.
     
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  8. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    To me these are telling statistics about Borg indoor:

    1/ he had a superior head to head against Mcenroe on this surface and McEnroe probably was co. Number 1 with Lendl indoors for the decade of the 1980s

    2/ his masters wins were against top indoor competition andcertainly madison square gardens was a quick surface.
     
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  9. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Agree, those MSG wins were extremely fine wins for Borg. I think, Philadelphia, Wembley, Stockholm were quite fast indoor courts. In those days, people laid down carpets like Laycold, Supreme Court, Plexi-Turf and other typs, which played differently, also the underground was decisive, how fast the courts played. In the 70s, a not fully matured Borg had some problems at Philly and also at Stockholm, although it was his home tournament.
     
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  10. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    By being one of the top 5 greatest players of the open era.
     
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  11. Tennis Dunce

    Tennis Dunce Semi-Pro

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    just because the game was slower back then doesn't mean that other factors don't neutralize that dynamic. Borg wore cheap paper shoes and swung a 16 oz racquet with a 60sqin hoop. Imagine Borg wearing brand new Adidas Barricades! Dude probably coulda played barefoot.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...and last BUT NOT LEAST, balls.His own´s.
     
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  13. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Borg was great in realizing three Channel Slams. But his feat is not unique in history: Rosewall did the same in 1960, 1961, 1962. Muscles had only one or two days of adapting his game from the slowest surface to the fastest one between the French Pro and Wembley.
     
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  14. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Lol Kiki. You really should watch Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach for a good laugh sometime. It reminded me of some old high school tennis days in many ways. Borg had great skill, great athleticism, and a brilliant tennis psyche for starters. That's how he managed to do that. He had talents that were not just honed from a very young age, but the guy was a one in a million sort of athlete. He had some great physical gifts. Remember as a two time FO champion, many didn't think Borg could win at Wimbledon. WRONG! Borg said that the '77 Wimbledon final proved that he was a "good grass court player". What an understatement. If Borg played the FO in 1977 he may very well have won 4 Channel Slams (although I know that it's no given). Folks forget that Borg did not play in the 77 FO because he chose to play WTT. There was a tour dispute at the time. By 1977, Borg had already won 2 French Opens and a Wimbledon title but not a CS. Yet, 3 in a row is not bad by age 25. In fact, it's one of the top accomplishments in the history of tennis. Proof? It wasn't repeated until 2008. That's 28 years for just 1 CS. Great feat by Bjorn Rune Borg. Timnz is right on point above when he mentioned that people don't understand that Borg was always good at fast surfaces. (23 indoor titles; the record for 41 matches won in a row at Wimbledon when the grass was very different; and 3 US Open finals out of 4 hard court majors played). Just a dirtballer? No way. He proved many wrong by finding a very unique template for winning Wimbledon. He was a great Wimbledon player and he listened and followed absolutely no one in how to win that title and many others.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In fact I always had the deep inside feeling the amazing concetration Borg ahd came from deep audition sessions of introspection and zooning with Led Zepp songs.Specially, " When the leeve breaks" for his early years and, of course, "How many more times" when we talk about how many more times he´d achieve the RG/W duet..didn´t you ever thought Borg was a perfect mixture of Page´s mysticism and perfectionism and Plant´s boldness and explosion?
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    great feat no doubt.But when we talk about transiction from Clay to megafast grass of the 70´s-90´s...
     
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  17. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Brilliant Kiki, Borg is like Page and Plant combined in some ways, but you can't leave out the other masters, John Paul Jones on bass and John Bonham on drums. Borg is multi faceted as a player..even a bit of Nadal and Federer for example. In fact each member of Led Zeppelin was near the top of the planet at their respective instruments, when it comes to that type of music. Musical geniuses and yes, a tennis genius Kiki. That's what it is. Such tennis greats come along once in a while in my opinion and we were lucky indeed.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Of course, John Bonham was/is hands down the greatest drummer I have ever seen ( and I LOVE Keith Moon and Neal Peart ) while JPJ was just the perfect multiinstrumental man and some of the most terrific bass lines ever came from him.But due to Bjorns Rock and Roll ido status all through his tennis life, I thought he better compare to the two frontmen of Zepplin.

    And he had the best possible opposition, with guys just as much talented the same that happened to LZ: on one hand: Laver,Mac,Rosewall,Vilas,Ashe,Smith,Connors,Newcombe,Nastase,Kodes,Panatta,Orantes,Tanner,Gerulaitis,Lendl,Pecci,Clerc,Kriek and for smoe times Vijay Amritraj whereas on the other side, Sabbath,Floyd,Purple,Yes,CCR,Doors,Aerosmith,Who,Cream,Stones,Queen,AC DC,LS,Crimson,ELP,Kansas,Eagles,Maiden,Motorhead,Kiss,Ramones,Hendrix Experience and a few more
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
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  19. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Borg being one of the greatest athletes in the history of the sport, and having an excellent serve which he had worked hard on (he could serve people off the court on faster surfaces), automatically made him a formidable contender on grass. He was effective at hitting volleys that 'died' on the court and couldn't be retrieved, plus he worked hard on his slice and shortened his backswing on grass.

    As as timnz said, the fact that he had a winning 5-4 head to head against McEnroe on carpet was outstanding Wikipedia states that their 1978 Stockholm match was on indoor hard but that their 1980 match was on carpet, but I think both matches were on carpet.

    On grass there was a lot of depth in his era as well, with so many dangerous and lower ranked natural grass courters to worry about in the first week of Wimbledon, before even reaching the business end of the tournament. His dominant 4-0 h2h against Connors at Wimbledon is also incredible.
     
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  20. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I watched a documentary about him at Wimbledon. and supposedly this guy prepared very well for Wimbledon. No tune ups, just go on the grass, make the switch from clay and go from there. Apparently it wasn't always pretty in training and even in some early rounds, but it was only a matter of time before the transition was complete and he was able to boss his way to 5 titles.
     
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  21. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Great posts. Borg could volley at times even at the US Open and he even had a sense of humor, as did John McEnroe here especially. See this clip of him serving and volleying and notice how it's different than at Wimbledon, where he would just try and get his racquet on the ball with his quick hands. Then, see what happens..

    Borg and McEnroe play Hacky Sack

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK45lDHc8yw (Pat S. : with all the pressure and with all the tension and all the hype..... The tennis world was transfixed, much like it was in 2007-2009 esp. with Federer and Nadal!)

    Forzamilan90, that's exactly right about Bjorn Rune Borg. This might be the documentary you're referring to.

    Legends of Wimbledon: Bjorn Borg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoB9KnKn-vA

    (hear Becker, McEnroe, John Lloyd, Lennart Bergelin, Bob Kain (his former agent/later a IMG exec), Tim Henman, Ilie Nastase, Annabel Craft, Virginia Wade, John Barrett, and the "Iceman" himself.

    See these clips of Bjorn Borg at the French Open, which include Borg, Lendl, Pecci, Noah, and Bergelin


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2wItf8AA2jk&t=129

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCyYtZO_R9M (thanks Krosero)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8zK_u88iU

    These videos will give the watcher a sense of how Bjorn Borg won the Channel Slam three times in a row betwen 1978-1980. In 1977, he did not play the French Open, yet won Wimbledon. In 1981, he won the French Open for a sixth time before losing in the final to John McEnroe, breaking his streak of 41 matches in a row won at Wimbledon.

    We'll never have anyone in tennis quite like Bjorn Borg and the same will eventually be true of the likes of Federer and Nadal. All time greats stay with serious tennis fans and leave a lasting impression. I suppose someone may win 3-4, or more Channel Slams. Rafael Nadal may have a shot going forward as he has two now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
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  22. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    That's the documentary I saw yeah, good stuff. I think aside from Federer, if I was alive during that time period I'd be a big Borg fan, he's a boss!
     
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  23. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    During his QF against Roger Taylor at Wimbledon in 1973 which made him a huge star in the UK, he served volleyed on almost every first and second serve I think.

    I like his episode in the legend of Wimbledon series. The episodes for McEnroe and Sampras are also on youtube. There surely must have also been one for Becker but I can't find it there.

    During his 41 match winning streak at Wimbledon, he beat Connors 4 times, McEnroe, Tanner twice, Gerulaitis twice, Nastase twice, Gene Mayer, Sandy Mayer, Gorman, Okker twice, Amritraj, Amaya, Edmondson, Teacher, McNamara twice, Gottfried twice, Vilas and Fibak etc. An excellent list of victories.

    It's interesting to think that he won the same number of Wimbledon titles as his two great rivals Connors and McEnroe combined, both of whom you'd have assumed to be more natural grass courters.

    The 70s and early 80s was my favourite era of grass court tennis, as it was still significantly different to tennis on other surfaces and not homogenised like it is nowadays, but wasn't too serve and power orientated like in the late 80s and 90s.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
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  24. Anti-Fedal

    Anti-Fedal Professional

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    Because he is the greatest player the open era has seen.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg was great indoors and beat anybody else either WCT Finals (except Newk) and the Masters ( except Nasty)
    On hard court he beat Tanner twice at USO ( their 1980 match was exceptional) Kriek ( being two sets below) Gerulaitis, Connors and Noah also twice
    He handled Connors and Vitas at Vegas, probably the second best event on hard during his prime years
    He defeated Lendl and Mc Enroe back to back in the 1979 Canadian
    Of course Mac beat him always at the Open but their 1980 final was so close Borg could have won it
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    When Borg " matured" he and Bergelin managed their number of tournaments ( officials, because a syou know he played a lot of one night stands or unofficial exhibitions with a lot of money involved).

    He, and that is one reason for retiring, never wanted to play more than 12-14 events yearly, and he always chosed small pick up tournaments to get tunned up (Bastaad due to contractual sponsorship from Sweden,Nice,Geneva,Basel) and almost always, at least from 78 till 81 played the very same tournaments: Vegas,Montecarlo,maybe Rome,Richmond,Milan,Toronto in addition to the big 5 (Wimbledon,Roland Garros,US Open,Masters and WCT Dallas finals)...he really knew how to avoid burning and extraplaying.
     
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