How tough would Curren have been for McEnroe in the 83 Wimbledon final?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by sandy mayer, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    I know this is a hypothetical question but what do you think would have happened if Kevin Curren had reached the 1983 Wimbledon final? I know Mcenroe in his autobiography said he was more nervous of Curren as a final opponent than Chris Lewis who Mac beat very easily.

    Curren was a very very dangerous opponent at Wimbledon, as Mac found out 2 years later in the quarters. Lewis was more of a solid serve and volleyer who moved very well, but didn't have the weapons to threaten Mac much. I'm surprised Lewis beat Curren in the semi. It was a very close five set.

    I believe Mac would have won, but I think Curren would have won alot more than the 6 games Lewis won.
     
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  2. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Kinda moot as Curren couldn't even get past Lewis.......83 JMac still would have clocked Curren.
     
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  3. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Another interesting question

    Being a New Zealander we were very proud of Chris Lewis at the time. However, the question I had was what if Connors had gotten past Curren and Lewis? The fact that Connors had beaten McEnroe at Queen's makes me think that he had a very good chance of beating him at Wimbledon. He was the defending champion having beaten McEnroe in the previous years final as well and went on to win the US Open that year as well.
     
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  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I agree. It was a golden opportunity missed by Connors at 1983 Wimbledon as he fell on the graveyard, like so many other seeded players over the years.
     
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  5. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Curren seemed to be able to take out the big names, but against the lesser knowns, he did not do so well. Had Connors gotten thru, it would've been a tough test for Mac...50/50, I'd think; Jimbo was #1 at the time, no? He had beaten Mac at Queens just before Wimbledon. I also think Curren would've done much better than Chris Lewis did in the final.
     
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  6. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Like Tanner (or Riessen, Ralston and Larsson), Curren was what i call a top quarterfinal player. Here he was extremely dangerous against top players, when no ultimate prize was on the line. But he was not champion caliber. In finals he got tight in close situations, and his big serve began to misfire. So maybe he would have taken a set, but not the match.
     
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    at least, 2 tie breaks assured.
     
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  8. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    83 McEnroe would have beaten 83 Curren in the same manner he beat 83 Lendl, a tight match dominated by serve, a tiebreak or two, but Mac getting a vital break or two and winning. Three tight sets or 4 sets, but Mac winning. He generally got the better of Kevin before 1985.
    Connors, on the other hand, may have beaten Mac in the final if he had gotten past Curren. Connors was able to beat McEnroe on the lawns back then. Of course, John may have won anyway. That match would be a 50-50 grudge match and a rematch of 82.
     
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  9. Cuculain

    Cuculain New User

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    Wimbledon 83

    And what an awful decision by the tournament to put the defending champion out on that court! what was with that? I'm sure that didnt help!
     
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  10. subban

    subban Rookie

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    "Kinda moot as Curren couldn't even get past Lewis.......83 JMac still would have clocked Curren."

    Not Really...As different players with different styles of playing match up against each other differently. For one thing, Mac hated pace and powerful serves, something Curren supplied a lot of. Curren handled Mac easlily in the '85 Wimbeldon. But by '85 Curren was using a graphite racquet to generate even more powerful pace than what he was generating. I don't know what kind of racquet Curren was using at the '83 Wimbeldon, if it was graphite or wood. I think if Curren was using a graphite racquet, there is a very good probability that Curren could have beaten and overpowered Mcenroe if Curren had reached the final. Curren also was a very streaky player. He won a lot of matches only when his first serve percentage was very high. If Curren was having an off day and his first serve was'nt going in, he was a very medicore player that any top 30 player in the ATP could easily beat. In the '85 Wimbeldon, Curren's first serve was freakishly high against mac in the quarters, and outstanding against Connors in the semis. Its only the '85 final against Becker that Curren lost his first serve that he had to lose the tournament to a 17 year old. So, you have to add in the fact that Curren had to have a good day and that his service game was going to be good on the day of the final. If not, then Mcenroe could easily take him out.
     
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  11. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    Good post. Curren was using a wooden racket in 83. In about 1985 when I was a kid, I remember while rain stopped play at Wimbledon watching a replay of the end of the Curren Lewis match. It's so long ago I don't remember it at well but I definitely remember Curren was using a wooden racket and that it was a very exciting match.
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Didn't Curren use the wooden racquet until the end of 1984?
     
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  13. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    He was using the Kramer Pro Staff until 84......then switched to Knissel. I don't know where you get JMac had issues with pace? In 83 and 84 he dominated Lendl and Conners both who creamed the ball. He was 8 - 2 vs Lendl those 2 years and most of the time He won in straights. JMac in 83 and 84 was playing at his highest level - the 85 McEnroe was nowhere the same player thats when he started to drop off and have to deal with the BS from Tatum. Also JMac owned Curren as well he is 9 - 1 lifetime and the only aberration was the Wimby loss.
    McEnroe never had issues with pace - he ate up guys like Tanner or Noah who all had big games.
     
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  14. sandy mayer

    sandy mayer Rookie

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    I agree with you about Mac and pace. Connors' biographer Joel Drucker said no-one was better at dealing with pace than Mac up to that point in tennis history.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    They already had played before, in 1980, 4 th round, Mac won in straigh sets.I guess it would score like the semi vs Lendl: 7-6,7-6,6-4.
     
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  16. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I have the (edited) version of Connors-Curren '83, & the semis from that year(Curren-Lewis, Mac-Lendl) on dvd.

    Based on the quality of play by Curren & Mac in the semis, I think Mac would have won the final in straights had he faced Curren(think he made only 5 ue's vs Lendl - who didn't make many either. He served at 68% which was pretty high for him. I think it was a more impressive performance than his '84 final, certainly one of the best matches of his career)

    I also think there was a big difference in the Curren of '85 & the Curren of '83, possibly due to equipment. His serve was obviously great with both wood & graphite, but his return was considerably improved in '85, he was teeing off Connors & Mac's serve in a way that he wasn't vs Connors & Lewis's serves in '83, perhaps the larger frame made him more confident(I'm sure many of you have heard former pros say that the return is where graphite racquets really changed the game. Even Mac was doing things with that shot regularly in '83 & '84 that I never saw him do with wood, we all know his thoughts on that in his book)

    The Connors-Curren match in '83 was actually pretty close, I think Jimmy only lost serve twice, it was really close to going 5. Pretty baffling that it was on Court 2(which was not as nice a court as it became in the 90s, watching it reminds me of how much better all courts have become over the years & how the stars get treated so much better now. I can only imagine what crap court assignments Laver had to deal with)
    Mac-Scanlon was on Center Court & Cash-Lendl was on Court 1 that day, it looks like there was only one men's match on each court that day, maybe they were trying to beat the rain(looked very overcast)

    Curren was on the receiving end of maybe the worst overrule I've ever seen in a big match on a big point in the semis. was down break point at 6-6 in the 5th, S&Ved, Lewis made an attempted pass that was called out & clearly wide(Lewis was walking back to get ready for the next point) when the umpire called it good & gave Lewis the game!

    I'm not sure I've seen a bigger difference in racquet size in a match than the racquets Lewis & Curren were using that day, it was almost comical, an oversize graphite vs standard wood. And again I think it showed in the returns, Lewis was getting more balls in play than Curren(will have to check my stats) - a lot of them were chintzy returns that he just stuck his racquet out that landed in awkward spots(kind like that last shot that he got the overrule with)

    Queens grass was very different than Wimbledon, heard players talk about it all the time, how much 'truer' bounces were there.

    was still using it at the '84 AO(lost final to Wilander)
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...it could also look like their 84 final...
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Rosewall,Connors,Mac and Nastase, they are by definition the guys that used opponent´s pace to their own profit.Connors did it with the ROS like nobody, before or afterwards.
     
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  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    #19
  20. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Mac was playing better in '83, partly due to his switch to graphite, which did have an impact on his game. I'd give Mac an edge in an '83 rematch.
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wilding,Parun and Lewis...not bad for just 3,5 M hab¡¡¡:)
     
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  22. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Connors beat McEnroe at Queens Club

    And yet Connors beat McEnroe in straight sets in the Queen's Club final only weeks before.
     
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  23. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    True and on that basis Connors might have been called the odds-on favorite at the time (don't know if he actually was). I'm just talking about a hypothetical meeting, where we have the advantage of hindsight. We know how well Mac played at the '83 Wimbledon. Better than in '82, I'd say.
     
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  24. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Connors did the Queen's Club and Wimbledon double over McEnroe in 1982.
     
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  25. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Mac was very good in '83, but not in top form; he was somewhat inconsistent (by Mac standards). Agree, Mac did not hate pace; he could usually blunt it, unless the guy hit right thru him...which did not happen often.
     
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  26. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    doubtful...'83 Mac was nowhere near '84 Mac
     
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  27. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Just a thought, back in the memory bank (way back) I remember seeing Curren very late in his career with a Prestige and lead tape...
     
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  28. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    He lost only one set at '83 Wimbledon(same as '84 Wimbledon)
    You should watch the Lendl match if you can find it, it was pretty impressive.
    hard seeing anyone troubling him in the final that year.
     
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  29. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    What about Connors? McEnroe had only dropped 1 set in making the 1982 Wimbledon final before Connors beat McEnroe in a 5 set final.
     
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  30. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yes, I saw the Lendl-Mac semi in '83 and Mac WAS impressive. But, Mac squaring off against Connors on grass is another matter altogether. Connors had just creamed Lendl the week before at Queens, then also beat Mac in straight sets, so he was on form. The Curren match was really very close and an upset in the truest sense. Granted, anything can happen in a final, but based on recent form, I think it would have been quite close.

    I think Chris Lewis was nowhere near the caliber of player needed to challenge Mac on grass; Lewis reaching the final was a great accomplishment, but one of those great tennis history flukes.
     
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  31. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Mac was better in 83 and I may have picked him myself, but Connors had won their last few grass court meetings, though the 1982 Wimbledon final was not a great match.
     
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  32. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Scrappy is the word that comes to mind about that match rather than dramatic. Whether that's good or not depends on your point of view. It was great for Connors to win it after being a semi final and quarter final loser for so long at the majors.
     
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  33. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    Scrappy and uneven quality of play, but I was rooting for Connors that day. Mac had the chance to win in the fourth set tiebreak, but it seemed like Jimmy was going to win that day. In fact, this year was Jimbo's great chance with Borg gone. McEnroe seemed slightly unsure of himself that year and I think he had been coming back from an ankle injury picked up in Brussels or somewhere. I was glad Jimmy won in 1982.
     
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  34. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Scrappy is a good word; I think it was a very tense match and a dramatic win.
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    No, he was more or less the same player.A bit, but not much better in 84.
     
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  36. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I disagree. McEnroe in 1984 took his game up to a whole different level. Connors was playing almost as well in 1984 as in the previous 2 years.

    1982 Queen's Club F: Jimmy Connors def. John McEnroe (7-5, 6-3)
    1982 Wimbledon F: Jimmy Connors def. John McEnroe (3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4)

    1983 Queen's Club F: Jimmy Connors def. John McEnroe (6-3, 6-3)

    1984 Queen's Club SF: John McEnroe def. Jimmy Connors (6-2, 6-2)
    1984 Wimbledon F: John McEnroe def. Jimmy Connors (6-1, 6-1, 6-2)
     
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  37. subban

    subban Rookie

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    "What about Connors? McEnroe had only dropped 1 set in making the 1982 Wimbledon final before Connors beat McEnroe in a 5 set final"

    Mac mentions in his autobiography that Connors during the two weeks of '82wimbeldon asked him to be his practice partner because Connors was thinking of joining Davis Cup. McEnroe realised after the tournament that Connors had tricked him and was using him to get used to his style on Wimbeldon grass and Connors was never serious about playing Davis Cup. Mac said this was the main reason why Connors beat him at the '82 Wimbeldon.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sounds like a case of sour grapes to me. Arthur Ashe was regularly trying to talk Connors into playing Davis Cup. I've also heard McEnroe blame Borg's absence for the loss in the 1982 Wimbledon final. Talk about clutching at straws as Borg hadn't actually retired at that point and was expected to come back soon enough.
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I wouldn´t be surprised if it was a sour grape case...but I wouldn´t either, if it was true.Connors was a real SOB
     
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  40. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    And McEnroe wasn't? :)

    Although thinking about it, Connors would have known that Davis Cup sentiment was a weakness of McEnroe's. Connors never much cared for Davis Cup.
     
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  41. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Both were.Damn clever as a fox and two of the greatest SOB ever to play the game, which is why it made it so damn great their rivalry.No other has been so much fire against fire that I can remember.But Connors was an older SOB, thus more experienced.
     
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  42. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    no way, no how. He was stellar, perhaps even extraterrestrial in '84 and a "mere human" in '83, by comparison.:)
     
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  43. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    He also clocked Connors in the French semis, just a few weeks before Wimbledon (on clay, obviously) which was impressive and his first win over Jimmy on that surface. Connors actually had a very good, solid year in '84....Mac was just way, way above everyone. Otherwise, I think you might've seen Lendl v. Connors in the RG and USO finals.
     
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  44. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yeah, that's pretty weak. But, Mac also mentioned some of the injuries he had suffered in '82 hindering his foot speed, which he recognized as a big problem against someone like Connors. These guys had played each other many times at that point, on all surfaces, so there really were no surprises. Perhaps only that in '82, Connors was serving a bit more aggressively and coming to net a bit more often then in past years.

    I do think Borg's absence played with Mac's mind a bit; facing Connors in the final clearly required a different mental approach/attitude. He might've psyched himself out. But, at that point, it was not clear that Borg would leave the game. Connors mentioned something similar in '85 Wimbledon when he lost to Curren...he was fully expecting Mac and never really got engaged in the match [aside from being aced off the GD court by Curren].
     
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  45. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    thought it was a very entertaining match, I'm surprised Lewis didn't have a better career after this event(he also beat a big server in the 1st round - Steve Denton)

    here are some stats I took on it.

    Lewis d Curren 67(3),64,76(4),67(3),86

    Lewis made 56 clean winners(including 9 aces) & 7 unforced errors
    Served at 69%
    was 4 of 8 on break points

    Curren made 89 clean winners(including 15 aces) & 18 unforced errors
    Served at 54%
    was 2 of 15 on break points(he led 3-0 in the 5th)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
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  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Geez.He lost to Bill Scanlon at 1983 USo due to personnal things he had with Bill.But he won anything else on sight.Well, he did better at the 1984 Fo than at the 1983 FO.I can´t see many major differences between 83 Mac and 84 Mac.And I know he was stellar in 84... and I´d say first 8 months of 85.Till US Open he was still the best player in the world when he decided to put an effort.
     
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  47. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I don't see mention of this in his book, only some talk of an ankle issue he was having.
     
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  48. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I don't recall it either, and I've read his various bios. Even Mac seemed to feel that the fates were against him in that final, in addition to his ankle.
     
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  49. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    If Currans serve was on he had a shot but I doubt he would have won
     
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