How would Borg have fared in this slow era?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by mcenroefan, May 21, 2012.

  1. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    He would be very competitive. No doubt about it. Definitely top 4, beyond that it is anyones guess really.
     
    #51
  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Have you played with it and compared it to pure wood racquets? I have. A decorative outer layer of graphite doesn't add any significant stiffness to a racquet.

    Further, your premise is false as seen in the video from his 1974 match with Amritraj. Borg was always a huge hitter. Lendl's racquet, by contrast, was graphite and kevlar, much more rigid than Borg's racquet.
     
    #52
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Only with a whip and some knee high leather high heeled boots.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
    #53
  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I have to disagree with you about Borg's fitness being an abberation. He was not merely as fit as any player today. All of the great Aussies who played under Harry Hopman were as fit as any player today. No one in today's game is more fit than Sedgman, Emerson, Rosewall or Laver. However, IMO, Borg also happened to be a genetic freak in terms of lung capacity, similar to Steve Prefontaine. He was never tired in a match. In that respect, perhaps he was an abberation. But, that abberation wouldn't merely "fit in" to today's game. It would exceed it.

    PS: IMO, Borg's backhand was the greatest passing shot in the history of tennis.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
    #54
  5. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    #55
  6. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    The thing that amazed me about Borg, in watching some clips, is his speed, I went back and forth looking at Nadal,Joker others from the modern era & to this guy, Borg was faster. This thread has no weight unless you consider, training, equipment change, nutrition etc, otherwise you just have to put them in different eras and leave it at that. IOW, given that Borg, Connors, Laver grew up in the modern era, they'd do fine IMHO.
     
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  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Borg was faster and tireless; Rafa is bigger and stronger.

    Tough call.
     
    #57
  8. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    ^^Thanks for the video Sonicare and I completely agree that shoes would make some difference too.

    Limpinhitter, I agree as to those past greats. Players like Sedgman, Emerson, Rosewall, and Laver were extremely fit too (no sitting on changeovers, no constant toweling off, no tiebreakers, lots of chipping and charging for long matches, etc.) They were VERY fit as well, but as you point out, Borg's stamina, among other things, was simply off the charts. Plus, his predominant style of play was similar to the way players play today. Of course, he had a lot to do with that since he was revolutionary in many ways.
     
    #58
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Borg was the bigger server in my opinion and I do think, adjusting for racquets Borg was the harder hitter in his prime. As Pancho Gonzalez said in the late 1970's, Borg was the hardest hitter he had ever seen. That's impressive considering he saw Laver, Hoad, Kramer, Trabert, Segura and Connors.

    I think Borg was do very well in this era. It would be very hard to hurt Borg from the baseline with his speed, stamina and his great groundies.
     
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  10. BeHappy

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    Players could always hit big passing shots, but it was a risky 50/50 shot so they rarely did it in baseline rallies. Borg was suddenly hitting every shot harder than even Lendl. The bigger partially graphite racquet allowed him to hit his best shot every time without fear of a mishit.

    And yes I have played with wooden racquets, and to be honest (they were probably in the mid 70's headsize like Borg's) I didn't find it made that much of a difference switching to graphite. The headsize is what makes the huge difference not the material in my opinion.

    Watch Wimbledon matches from the 60's/70's, 50% of the points were won through mishits. Bigger racquets eliminated that problem.



    As far as Borg's hitting big: Do Gilles Simon or Murray hit bigger? Even Djokovic slips into pure pusher mode like Borg sometimes. Dokovic is a very very similar player to Borg in my opinion and has had great success against Nadal. The key to beating Nadal is to have a strong backhand, players like Djokovic, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Youzhny (until he hurt his back) have great backhands and great records against Nadal. Borg had a truly great backhand himself and would have been able to rally his backhands to Nadal's forehands all day.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  11. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    Borg could always hit harder than Lendl, even before the Borg Pro. He could hit harder than just about anyone at the time and, more importantly, was more consistent. I totally agree with you, however, that playing with a wood racquet makes little difference in my game (I play about half the time with wood racquets). But I hit Eastern / Continental on everything (old school). For a Western grip, the difference could be huge between old and modern. Borg was just that good to hit modern strokes with old racquets. He was revolutionary. Nadal is just a polished version of the raw skill and power that Borg had. In no way objectively "better", just dressed up a little.

    Show me a Borg match where he ever mishit the ball to lose more than a couple of points, even when pounding the ball with his Allwood in the late 70s (before the decorative graphite). Heck, even early in his career with the Slazenger or the Diamant. Plus, there is the rumor that he never stopped playing with the Allwood, instead having it painted to look like the Borg Pro later in his career. So, perhaps he didn't have graphite at all...

    Arguing that Borg's racquet is in anyway equivalent to the granny sticks that players use today is just disingenious. One layer of graphite (if it was there at all) doesn't make up for 40 years of racquet and string tech.
     
    #61
  12. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Well he mishit a lot against Roscoe Tanner.

    Borg wasn't hitting that big with his old racquet, in fact this is what his rallies looked like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16T2BsiR1Pc

    Federer basically uses a customised version of the prostaff 85, in fact he used the real thing for years. You know, this racquet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNFVnNUy4Fo

    Not much bigger than Borg's at all. And Lendl, who has a winning record over Agassi, used a racquet the same size as Borg's 72 inch racquet. And yes, the graphite added stiffness, that's what it was there for.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  13. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    The match you posted is a clay court match. Hell, Rafa's rallies on clay look like that most of the time. High, looping balls that drop midcourt. I see no real difference there at all...

    What is the RDC of the Borg Pro, again? Right, high 30s... that's a real stiff racquet... again, assuming he actually played with the Borg Pro. Anyone arguing that Borg's racquet and string setup is in any way comparable to a modern racquet isn't paying attention...

    The bottom line is that Borg rallied like Rafa, hit the ball almost as hard and with nearly as much spin, was faster around the court than Rafa in old shoes, had more stamina and won the real Channel Slam three years in a row, all with a racquet that was extremely heavy and was as soft as a wet noodle.

    Just to be clear, I'm not saying that either player would beat the other regularly, or that one is objectively better.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  14. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Old shoes? Come on.

    I have to say though, I really don't find much of a difference hitting with a wooden racquet as long as it doesn't have a very small head. I know Sampras and Philipoussis both served just as big with wood as they did with graphite. Of course graphite is cheaper, doesn't warp in the heat or break when you hit a ball and all that, but I really think it's mostly the headsize that the stiffness of graphite allowed rather than the material itself that made the big difference.

    And Borg served 125mph at a US Open match with that 72 inch partially graphite wood racquet, which is about as big as Sampras was serving with the Pro staff until they changed the radar guns in the late 90's.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  15. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Dude.. you dont find a difference between wood and graphite cos you are a **** player..like most of us on TTW.

    How can you even compare a 70 inch wood racket with dinosaur strings to a 100 inch with modern tech and poly strings. Even Djokovic disagrees with you and he has more tennis knowledge in his left nut that you do in your entire being

    You are a joke.
     
    #65
  16. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    That's true that compared to a professional I'm obviously a terrible player, but looking at the serve speeds bears what I'm saying out. Lots of professionals use ancient racquets from the early 80's. EG Prince Original Graphite's and Pro staffs. Federer's racquet is pretty much a pro staff 85 customized for him, and he used the real thing not that long ago at all.

    And btw, all this "trolling" you do on this message board - you're really "trolling" yourself. You'll never get the time you wasted making those "troll" posts back.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  17. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    You're right, of course. Like I said earlier, I play about half the time with wood racquets, the other half a Yonex VCore 98. He played extremely well with his outdated equipment. That's all I'm saying. You can't really compare an Aero Pro Drive with a wood racquet. Even with a Pro Staff.

    And on the original question: How would Borg have fared in this era? Borg is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. You could pick up any of the greats and drop them into any era, with the proper adjustments for equipment, and they would do quite well. That's why they are greats...
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  18. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    You sound mad and defensive..relax..its just a message board.

    Now let me educate you on the biggest difference on a small vs large head size.

    The ability to brush up the ball aggressively. Now go back, tell your mum to put your diapers back on cos you are about to **** yourself after you contemplate at the profound statement I just made.
     
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  19. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Federer gets plenty of spin on his forehand with his updated pro staff, which by the way has the same head width as the 38 year old pro staff original 85.
     
    #69
  20. Loose Cannon

    Loose Cannon Rookie

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    Never fails.....anyone pretty old.....say 50 and up.......will defend their hero's to the end.....just as senior citizens would say Babe Ruth would still hit .358 with 55HR and 156 rbi each year.
     
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  21. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Great points.

    I would add that there were contemporaries of Borg who were just as fast, Nastase, Gerualaitis, and Kriek come to mind right off.

    Borg was also the first player many pundits saw who could routinely hit outright winners from the baseline using a wood racquet. This, of course, was later in his career when he had filled out both from a physical, game, and tactical standpoint.

    I still vividly remember Borg playing Harold Solomon in the finals of the Alan King in Las Vegas in 1980. Borg really coasted to a 6-3 first set. In the second set, Borg spent the entire set basically seeing how hard he could hit the ball against an otherwise hapless Solomon. Borg hit outright winner after outright winner against Solomon. The color analyst in the booth that day was Arthur Ashe. He was stunned at the power, precision, and winner count from Borg from the baseline saying that he'd never seen anyone hit the ball that hard with a wood racquet or hit consistent clean winners baseline to baseline.

    Another really vivid memory was the post match interview by Ashe of the winner and loser. (They brought Borg's winnings out in gold coins.) Ashe, ever the self-described cerebral strategist, asked Solomon why he didn't vary his game when he was losing so bad to Borg. Ashe went on to ask "Why didn't you try something different like drop shotting him to bring him in?" Solomon gave a wry smile and replied "I don't have a drop shot, Arthur."

    Borg would have been top 3 - 4 in today's crowd IMHO.
     
    #71
  22. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Federer doesnt brush up the ball even remotely like nadal. dude, you really are clueless.

    I am 28. get over yourself.
     
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  23. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Great post.

    There will always be argument against tennis continue to get better because of the variation in equipment. But notice there isn't any argument about other individual sports(swimming, running, etc.) getting better by the decade since there's no equipments related. EVeryone would agree Phelps and his advesaries would easily beat Spitz and his adversaries in the 70s. If these sports get better it safe to say tennis gets better too. Had tennis kept using the standard tennis racket since Bill Tilden, we would see tennis gradually improve by the decade, just like swimming or running. Unfortunately, some(not all) old-timers will use new equipments to argue against tennis gets better, deflecting the fact that history of our sports have improved.


    Another thing is today's players can do a lot more with their shot because of a modern racket/string, but they also have to deal with the opposing players using the same technology. It's a false premise that old school tennis with a wooden racket was harder to play, because the opposing player can't do much either with their shot(in compare to the modern). No player has an advantage in any generation.
     
    #73
  24. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    I turn 29 this year... and Babe Ruth probably would still hit over .300. Age has nothing to do with the ability to recognize greatness.
     
    #74
  25. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl disagree with you. He said today's players are better in every way, let alone fitness.
     
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  26. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    The Master of Fail continues to claim everyone must accept mens tennis only gets better, however when it comes to womens tennis he contradicts that by stating they are the worst field ever, the players today including Sernea would get killed by ones in the past, blah blah. All because his mancrush is one of the top men today, and he doesnt like the best women of the current era. What a useless hypocrite.
     
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  27. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    INCORRECT.

    The situation between WTA and ATP is different as night and day. The 2nd best player(Henin) retire would be like Nadal(2nd best player) retire in the ATP. Sharapova had shoulder injury which hindered her game since 2008, and most recently she's been showing sign of improvement. Clijsters unretired after having a baby and managed to win 2 slams, which is virtually impossible on the men's tour. Slamless players(Safina, Caro, Jankovic) managed to reach #1, again, that would be unheard of on the men. Serena played part-time tennis, missing events due to injury while Federer who is more fitter and continue to show up at the slam.

    And Serena's achievements(slams, records, domination, etc) is dwarf in compare to the past great like Graf. While Graf have domination was mind boggling the women's tennis in the 90s which is safe to say Graf woiuld beat her most of the times.
     
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  28. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    BTW, both of us have overlooked Borg's greatest strength, his mental toughness. IMO, Borg was the second most mentally tough athlete, of any sport, ever, behind only Chris Evert. Chris Evert's focus was singular to her. No one else has been able to achieve that kind of focus in sports. Michael Jordan and Joe Dimaggio would be close seconds in men's sport.
     
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  29. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Bigger, stronger, faster; doesn't necessarily translate to better. Tennis isn't like power gaming where you are trying to maximise all your in game character stats, it's nature in the real world where it's about trade off and balance. Bigger, more powerful, perhaps is what players have to be TODAY to cope with the greater power demands imposed by the continually advancing technology, but may not be an advantage if the same guy of the present were transported back in the time tunnel to the 60's & 70's where the game demanded different things. If merely greater physical stats = greater success, Sharapova and Safina should be dominating Serena instead of getting beaten up every time they meet and did meet, and I'd suppose you'd see Monfils winning 20 slams by now...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
    #79
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes I do think it is impossible for one of the men to unretire after having a baby. That I agree with you.

    Unless we improve the medical techniques it should be totally impossible, not virtually. :shock:
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
    #80
  31. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    LOL..no of couse not. But you do get my point that winning a slam on the women's tour is a lot easier than in the men. There's simply no open door for a player to sneak in slam while on the women's side there are has surprise winners.
     
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  32. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Poor Master of Fail. The loser is really as dumb as a stack of bricks.
     
    #82
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg won GS titles with a sore stomach, wbeat top players with 38º fever, not to mention that his cardio after activity was around 37 or 38...if Borg had been a cycling runner, he may have ended beating Mercky or Hinault records.

    On the other side, you need tons of talent to hit the ball the way he hit with a small frame wood racket.The most the prospective you have, the most amazing looks what he was able to achieve.

    Nadal´s never faced a 21 yrs old hungry Lendl at a FO final.Borg beat him 6-1 in the fifth...
     
    #83
  34. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Really Davey25? The one who said Sampras 7 WB is undisputed superior than Fed 6 WB but yet 14 slams > 16 slams. Or 5'10" Serena is only 3" taller than 5'5" Henin. I know you're stupid, but atleast you should be able to learn basic math.
     
    #84
  35. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

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    Borg was a great player, but look at the muscularity and difference in physique between him and Nadal. Even with modern equipment, Rafa would have completely outpowered him. Now that isn't to say Borg couldn't have bulked up a little and got stronger, but to compare the two is ludicrous IMO as there is only one winner. It's like comparing Usain Bolt with Jesse Owens.
     
    #85
  36. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I think so too. I'm gonna agree with this. :)
     
    #86
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, only Federer has won 5 consecutive titles at Wimbledon.and he never had to play Jimmy Connors,Ilie Nastase and John mc Enroe there...
     
    #87
  38. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Mac even said "I won three Wimbledon titles and I wish I could play like him[Federer]".
     
    #88
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The difference is Borg won one of the two greatest finals of the last 30 years at Wimbledon...while Federer lost the other.
     
    #89
  40. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    It doesn't matter if you win in 3 sets or 5 sets, it's still count as one slam.
     
    #90
  41. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Bolt/Owens

    Yes and the comparison between Bolt/Owens establishes the opposite conclusion than you are trying to draw - there is only a 3.75% increase of speed for Bolt over 65 years. In other words insignificant improvement. If Owens had the advantages of today's sprinters - then that would shrink to almost nothing. Borg vs Nadal - 30 years difference in age. Besides - Tennis - leg speed is more important than upper body strength. Don't worry about Borg's upper body strength though - he had plenty of it.
     
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  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    How we started discussing pregnancy in a tennis forum is beyond me? :)

    To get back to topic if you look at Borg's strengths, he's fast, great reflexes, super stamina, great power on serve and groundies and awesome errorless play. He can volley too but he wouldn't have to that much today. So yes I think he would be great today.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  43. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    PC1, great posts. Also, thanks Timnz for those insights as always. I think that if we're discussing "athletic ability" , we have to separate inherited physical gifts, or inherited athletic ability, from developed athletic ability (genetic vs. socialization). As to Bjorn Borg, he was born with extremely rare genetic gifts. Not many people are born with Borg's athletic gifts. Then you have socialization. Borg worked extremely hard off the court. Especially with Bergelin, he stuck to a strict regimen and put in grueling practice sessions. One should not mistaken Borg's "ease" on the tennis court for a player that was simply born with great physical talent and tennis talent. He combined those talents with a lot of work away from tournaments as well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  44. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Huh? Do you actually play tennis? Bulking up has absolutley NOTHING to do with hitting a tennis ball. If it did, Bob Lutz would be the GOAT. You've never even heard of Lutz, have you?

    [​IMG]

    Or perhaps Slobodan Zivojinovic, Manuel Orantes, Johan Kriek or Guillermo Vilas would be the GOAT.

    Having said that, you probably are also unaware that Borg was considered to have the perfect athletic physique. Nadal may have more muscularity, but, Borg has wider shoulders and a wider rib cage giving him more angular velocity and more power.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
    #94
  45. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Nope, Nadal only faced the player Borg regarded as the greatest player of all time and beat him 5 times at the FO (1 SF, 4 Finals) :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjbXHKImG2E
    skip to 1:27
    "For me Federer is the greatest player who ever played the tennis game"
    -- Borg
     
    #95
  46. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I agree. If performance increased with bulking up how does Federer's forehand fit into the scheme of things (technique notwithstanding)?

    You can't even accurately judge relative strength by comparing bulk alone - the density, conditioning and natural strength of a muscle is far more important and can find people with (or example) arms 1/2 the size of another person's who is just as strong (either in peak strength or endurance or both).

    In tennis speed and flexibility would probably prove more beneficial than brute force - Federer's arm speed on his forehand is probably a good example of this.
     
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  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    "The great luck of current tennis is having those thrillions of newtards that never knew the great eras and, therefore, are plenty satisfied believing real tennis is the current game"

    If you never ate oisters, you have no problem eating a sandwich everyday.But if you did...you are completely downgraded.
     
    #97
  48. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You've never eaten one of my sandwiches.
     
    #98
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    hahahaha.

    Thave you heard about S&V sandwich? on top, a big serve, in the middle, a flat out return, at the bottom, a contundent volley...
     
    #99
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I was thinking a triple decker with Serrano ham, pork balogna, sharp chedder and Emmentaler swiss cheese, sliced tomato, romaine lettuce and dijon mustard all on thick cut wheatberry bread.
     

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