Is Jimmy Connors actually underrated?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Having seen all of these matches as well, I'd say:

    1) The '84 Wimby semi was nothing like their '83 USO final. It was much more competitive, but mid-way through Jimmy just really asserted himself and Ivan seemed to slip back a bit (but not like the USO final). It was a very good match, nonetheless.

    2)Connors was much better on clay than Lendl ever was on grass, respectively. I think results support that as well. Connors is very under-rated on grass due to Bjorn Borg's prominence, I would contend.

    3) '84 Jimmy much better than '85 Jimmy, also based on results

    4) Hard to back-cast an '85 RG semi to a hypothetical '84 RG final between Lendl and Connors. Sure, Ivan would be favored and on his best surface, but the mental pressure would've been tremendous. I would also pick Ivan to win that match, but at that point, Jimmy was a bigger task for him to beat than was McEnroe.

    Shoot, I hope these guys meet up on one of the new Champions Tour matches. Would be interesting to see....bet Connors moves better than Lendl nowadays, metal hip and all.
     
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Here's a piece on the French semis of '85 (John Feinstein in the Washington Post).

    Have a look in particular at Lendl's comments.

    *****************************

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...endl connors mcenroe wilander&pg=3095,4897564)

    .... Friday, in less than five hours, they [Connors and McEnroe] were given a thorough lesson in the art of clay court tennis by two men who found the wind a slight bother. The cold, the slow clay, the wet footing, posed no problems.

    “The lesson I learned at the French Open this year is that my best chance to win it is if they move it indoors,” McEnroe said. “I’m not saying that as sour grapes. It’s more like a wish. I don’t think it’s going to come true in my career, though.”

    Without question, the conditions hurt McEnroe and Connors. Wilander went so far as to say, “I was wishing the weather would be just like this. It was almost perfect for me.”

    Connors probably could not have beaten Lendl on Friday if the temperature had been 100 and the surface wood. All day, defending champion Lendl stood on the base line, pounding ground strokes and waiting for Connors to make the error that almost inevitably came.

    Not once did Connors break serve. Not once did he even reach break point. He reached deuce only twice. In all, he won 17 points during Lendl’s 12 service games.

    “My game is more suited for clay than his is,” Lendl said. “I know better what to do on it than he does. I hit the ball high and far from the lines. He hits it low and close to the lines and that’s more likely to produce errors. I felt very good and very confident out there today.”

    While Lendl was gracious, Connors could not bring himself to give credit where it was due. “He didn’t do anything out there,” Connors said. “He just played a lot of balls back. He did nothing.

    “It was just tough to go for my shots. The balls were heavy, the court was slow. But,” he paused to smile, “what the hell can you do?”
     
  3. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Well, that's Connors for you. You can call him brash, cocky, arrogant, or whatever you like. He's been that way since 1974 when he turned the world of tennis upside down. But for all his faults he was one of the most entertaining personalities in tennis history.

    Remember that time his opponent disputed a call and he ran up to the mark (it was on clay) and erased it? The umpire said, "Mr. Connors...Mr. Connors...you're not really supposed to do that." Classic!
     
  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't think there's any question that in '85 Connors declined from the previous year. But in '84 he was also a shadow of his former self, if we're talking about clay. He had not won a clay event since 1980. He was double-bageled at Forest Hills, as PC1 said, on the same surface where he once won the USO. That would not have happened to him even on his worst day in the 70s. I think PC1 also noted that Connors was no longer as fast as he used to be according to comments that Lendl made after the Forest Hills match.

    I see decline from '84 to '85, but Connors was already far from his best days in the 70s on Har-Tru. I don't see any kind of twelve-month decline where I could imagine that he'd be double-bageled by Lendl on Har-Tru and then, in the French Open final, on red clay, suddenly start playing the dazzling hard-court tennis that took Lendl down at Flushing Meadows.

    Mere desire from Connors is not going to change their claycourt rallies into hardcourt rallies. You can see the dynamics of their claycourt matches in the Forest Hills match (6-0, 6-0) and the French Open semi (6-2, 6-3, 6-1).

    Yes he reached #2 late in '84. But he was ranked #2 as late as April '85.

    I have made similar points about the Masters match. Something subtle but real did happen there. But it did not get the monkey off his back. Lendl was still stuck firmly in the #2 spot, losing finals decisively to McEnroe, including that Masters final. When the French rolled around plenty of people believed that he was defending champion only because McEnroe had choked.

    It was really the '85 USO that was a decisive turn -- but if you remember, even then he had his doubters. It was not until deep into '86 that people began thinking of Lendl as a sort of iron man of tennis and realized that he was going to be hard to dislodge from #1.

    That's right, he did come out flat in many of his matches at this time, including the '84 Forest Hills final and the '84 Wimbledon final. At Wimbledon he seemed simply tired. That did not seem to be the case in his two losses to Lendl at Forest Hills and the French. But if he played "flat" in those matches, there's a specific reason for that. Lendl was hardly giving him the pace that Connors thrived on. Connors had nothing to work with, and had to generate the pace himself. He had nothing with which to create his fireworks. He was getting older, of course, but that double-bagel on clay was in '84: the dynamics of their claycourt matches were already in place.

    And yet it was nothing new for Connors to lose in straight sets at the French, which is why I have such a hard time with the implication that he lost quickly to Lendl mostly due to age. Go back to '83, he lost in straights to an unseeded Frenchman. In '82, one of Connors' best years, he lost to Jose Higueras 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

    From the AP:

    "... Higueras gave Connors a lesson in slow surface tennis. The 29-year-old Spaniard seldom left the baseline and kept his patience during long rallies that sometimes lasted 30 or 40 strokes.... While Higueras was content to stay back, hitting one long, looping shot after another, Connors tried from time to time to step up the pace – with disastrous results. Too many of his attacking forehands went into the net."

    In '81 Connors pushed Clerc to five sets but was bageled in the fifth set (which reminds me, Lendl has a better five-set record than Connors does).

    Even as far back as the '75 USO, you could describe Connors as "flat" when he lost in straights to Orantes on Har-Tru. That's largely because Orantes was extremely successful at slowing down the pace.

    So I'm not sure how Connors in '84 would have been young enough to avoid all these problems that he had when he faced Lendl on clay.

    Not in the 80s.

    Lendl had double-bageled Connors at Forest Hills, and then lost to McEnroe in the final. McEnroe beat him again on clay that spring. And of course Lendl was barely able to beat McEnroe at the French. It is emphatically not true that Lendl found Connors more difficult to defeat on clay than he found McEnroe.

    It isn't even true on the fast surfaces. Lendl has two wins over Connors on fast surfaces in the '84 season. None over McEnroe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    That was during Connors' 1977 US Open semi final against Corrado Barazzutti, on har-tru green clay.
     
  6. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    that sounds almost exactly like what he said after losing to Lendl at '92 USO(the infamous 'bunting' comment)

    I wonder how often he said variations on this(didn't he say something similar after losing to Borg in Pepsi GS? that Borg 'just got everything back & waited for me to make the error')
     
  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl beat Connors 6-1, 6-1 at 1982 Cincinnati, and 6-1, 6-3 at 1983 Montreal. One-sided scores, but didn't change the fact that Connors won the US Open finals soon after.

    Firstly, 1984 was McEnroe at his absolute peak. He was never THAT good again on any consistent basis when he could easily beat Lendl on clay at Forest Hills and the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf. Secondly, there was a time when Lendl owned McEnroe, from 1981 to January 1983, where McEnroe won just 1 set in 7 matches against Lendl. And even though McEnroe had since turned the rivalry around in his favour by the time of the spring of 1984, the mental situation was different when Lendl played McEnroe compared to when Lendl played Connors so I don't think we can say for sure how the hypothetical match would have turned out. That still doesn't change the fact that Lendl did brilliantly to win the 1984 French Open final from 2 sets down like he did against McEnroe.

    Peak McEnroe again, who only lost 3 matches all year.

    :)

    I was thinking the same. Jimmy said it to Vitas in an on-court post-match interview, if I remember rightly, and then repeated it in his presser. Lendl then used the "bunting" remark as a run-in joke in his pressers after his matches against Becker and Edberg.

    Speaking of that 1992 US Open match between Connors and Lendl, which I watched a while back, it was fascinating how much the first set and a half was like 10 years previously and Connors seemed to be on his way to a brilliant victory. Then Connors was suddenly "gone" and Lendl crushed him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  8. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Over their respective careers, not just the 80's, Connors accomplished much more playing on clay than Ivan did on grass in terms of # titles won. Looking just at the 80's is a little deceptive, because clay events, at least in the US, were becoming fewer and fewer. But to be fair to Ivan, grass too, was disappearing from the landscape to only a few events. There were also years where he skipped Wimbledon, much like JC skipped the French and the Euro clay events in many seasons. He was never, ever going to be considered a "clay courter", but played well enough to win several titles in the US. But experts like a Higueras, Orantes or similar could break down his game, no question. Perhaps the worst loss was in '83 to the guy no one heard of...Roger Christophe Vaselin?? LOL


    I don't think anyone would or even could claim that Lendl did not have the needed skills to beat Jimmy in an RG final; he'd have a big advantage in almost any year over Connors, 70's or 80's. But, I think there is some question about mental wherewithal, given past performances. He did not hold up well under pressure in my opinion until the mid-80's, when his game really got solid and very hard to pick apart. He just stopped having those matches where he looked exhausted, dejected, etc., and not really competing. Was it confidence, fitness, psychotherapy or some combination thereof? Who knows, but it was a new and improved Ivan Lendl.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  9. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    haven't you heard? getting the ball back in play = doing nothing! :)

    Tho' I also thought in the '92 match, Ivan played rather sheepishly. Smart, but sheepishly. He was fortunate that Connors got tired and started missing; if he kept up his pace from the 1st set, Ivan would've been in big trouble. Age is a b#tch, no question.

    I recall a similar situation, perhaps less obvious, when he played Becker in the Queens final back in '87 when he was a "young" 35. He was on a real tear, playing brilliant grass court tennis and had Boris dead to rights, and then ran out of gas while Becker surged back to victory.

    Against lesser guys, this might not have happened, I suppose, but when you are talking the top guys, if you can't seal the deal, forget it
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think Borg said something to the effect that a lot of people enjoy beating Connors because he never gives credit to the other guy for beating him.

    I suppose in a way that type of thinking helped Connors mental attitude and helped him win so much.
     
  11. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wasn't 1982 the only year that Lendl skipped Wimbledon? Connors missed every French Open from 1974-1978 (his prime years), the latter 4 through a fit of pique after the events of 1974 when he failed to overturn a ban for playing WTT.
     
  12. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I think you could say the same about Venus Williams....that kind of steely resistance to the truth can keep you going forward, I suppose. In '81, given his string of losses to Borg, Connors easily could have thrown in the towel. But, it just was not in his nature. He roared back w/a vengeance and got a few more solid years in there at the top of the game. I always thought Mac would come back like that after his self-induced sabbatical, but it was not to be. He was pretty lifeless by the mid-to-late 80's IMHO.
     
  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    After the '92 match Connors also said that "Pulling him to the net was like pulling teeth." That is almost word for word the same complaint he made in his presser after losing to Higueras in '83.
     
  14. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Lendl's worst surface was grass. Connors' worst surface was clay. How did they do?

    Lendl - 0 slams. No big upsets that I can recall.

    Connors - US Open Finals '75, '76, '77. Won in '76 beating Borg in finals, Vilas in semis. Lost in '77 to Vilas. Borg is arguably the greatest clay court player of all time, in his prime in '76. Vilas is one of the top 3 GOAT's on clay on many lists and '77 was his best year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    A hypothetical meeting at RG in '84 is all I'm debating. You specified how Lendl did against the two Americans at that time, not their whole careers. If we're talking about their whole careers I'd be the first to say that Connors has many impressive victories on clay in the 70s -- bigger victories than what Lendl would win on grass. Connors' victories came mostly on Har-Tru, but they were great wins regardless.

    He did hold up very well even in '84: both at RG and on Super Saturday at the Open. In the USO final I don't think he succumbed to pressure, I just think he was gassed and McEnroe was much better than him (and I'd say roughly the same thing about his loss at Wimbledon to Connors).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Somewhat like the '85 RG semi when Lendl breadsticked Connors in the final set.

    I have to tell you, I find this completely meaningless. Going into their Wimbledon semifinal, Connors was regarded as the better grasscourter. Lendl's difficulties and weaknesses on grass were known to everybody. Why would being handed a double-bagel on clay give Connors even the slightest doubt or difficulty when it came time to meet Lendl on on grass? Connors must have been salivating at the prospect because he knew this was a totally different situation. Of course he was going to do better than at Forest Hills.

    The situation had not changed as much as you think. As I keep saying Lendl had won only 1 Slam title and even that was openly questioned. And at any rate it was a slim victory, hardly emphatic. I'm sure it meant a lot to Lendl, and no doubt he could draw some confidence from it, particularly in rematches with McEnroe. But Lendl's confidence against Connors, well you can see what it was based on, in his remarks from the article above. He understood the claycourt matchup with Connors very well. He executed perfectly at Forest Hills, and did not need a RG trophy in his bag in order to execute the same game plan against Connors when they met in Paris.

    You're implying a great difference in '84 because Lendl was slamless, but as I said before, he was already improving. At Forest Hills, Ashe was in the booth for ABC. He felt that Lendl's serve was much improved and that he would do better against Connors than in the past. Lendl himself said he was fitter and that he was therefore able to execute his slice tactics against Jimmy better than ever. He was improving, and gaining in confidence.

    Yes, and every one of those factors would have been present in an '84 meeting.

    When Connors reached the Wimbledon final against McEnroe his motivation was probably as high as ever. But that did not prevent him from feeling exhausted after the semifinal and coming out for the final, as Mac has said himself, flat.

    I just mention that because you're picturing Connors coming out for the RG final and playing like a tiger just as he did as Flushing (a tournament that meant far more to him than the French). But if the body won't respond, it won't respond. This hypothetical gives him a free pass into the French final, but in real life he would have had to beat some good claycourt player in the semis. And it would have taxed him. But to beat Lendl at RG he would have had to play the tennis of his life. Given Jimmy's difficulties on clay, that victory would have been more impressive than the victories over Lendl on hardcourt in New York. And he would have had to accomplish it when he's a year older than he was at Flushing. And on a surface that taxes the legs -- particularly old legs. And at a time when Lendl is fitter than he was at Flushing, hungrier than ever, and overall a better player.

    I'm not seeing it.

    What this comes down to is that for a hypothetical match at Roland Garros in '84, you've chosen to use matches at the USO, and Wimbledon, as your main guides, instead of going to an actual meeting at Roland Garros.

    I'll let others decide what makes more sense, but to me that does not make sense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    For what it's worth, in a 1984 French Open meeting I would favor Lendl over Connors. The Lendl backhand which Connors exploited well on hard courts wouldn't be quite as vulnerable on red clay. And Lendl would have to worry about hitting his backhand return as much because Connors didn't serve and volley as much.
     
  18. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I agree. By 1984, Connors was over the hill. A better match would be a 1976 Connors vs 1984 Lendl on clay. That could go either way, but I'd personally favor Connors as he seemed to have Lendl's number in the big matches more so than he did against Borg and Vilas.
     
  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That would be a great match, though if you want Lendl's peak it should be '86 or '87.
     
  20. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Clay improved Lendl's comparative movement. it was probably the surface where Connors great footwork was least advantagious to him. He was not as natural a slider as Lendl.
     
  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes it would be. Just think about it, two awesome groundstrokers with really no majors weaknesses with a combined total of almost 300 tournaments won in their careers playing each other in their primes. Great fantasy matchup.
     
  22. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    It's not only that actual meeting. One can also take a look at what Lendl and Connors did on clay in the years leading to RG 1984.

    The last time Connors had beat Lendl on clay was in the final at North Conway 1980. This was the only clay tournament Connors won in 1980, and the last clay title in his career.

    By comparison, in the same period (1980 through 1983) Lendl won 12 clay titles out of 18 clay finals reached. Among other good claycourters, he beat Guillermo Vilas about 6 times in that period.

    Connors just didn't play much on clay after 1980, and when he did, he didn't do well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    While Connors may have not won many clay tournaments after 1980 he still reached the semifinals of the French in a number of years after 1980 so I would still say he was a threat to beat many top players. He also took Michael Chang to the fifth set before retiring due to injury.

    I would think some of the decline in clay results would be due to age.
     
  24. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Connors never was at ease with the conditions of clay play in continental Europe. Wind and rain could hamper his timing and the explosiveness of his flat strokes. In 1972 and 1973, when he was already a top tenner, his French Open results were quite miserable. I saw him around 1980 in the final of the German Open against Peter McNamara, a very good, but not great clay courter, who had played much of his life in France. It was damp, wet and rainy, and Macca worked Connors with a slow slice backhand. Connors couldn't get pace on his flat groundies, the damp court slowed them down, and he began to net often, especially with his low forehand. He lost in 4 sets.
    Maybe the har tru was a fraction faster and higher kicking than the natural clay. And in the summer in the US it was hot, and conditions played fast. In the mid 70s Connors had success at Forest Hills and also in Indianapolis, wher the US clay courts champs were played. I think, he beat Borg there, too.
     
  25. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    A threat, yes. I don’t disagree with that. Most top players remain a threat anywhere well past their best years, Connors in particular. But a realistic assessment of their relative ability on clay at that point (as shown by results on that surface in the previous years) suggests Lendl would have to be considered a clear favorite in a 1984 encounter at RG.
    In fact, going by performance/results alone, you can very reasonably argue that, by 1982, Lendl was already a better player than Connors on all surfaces except grass. In fact I think you could see him as the favorite going into both USO finals. I don't think that's outlandish. The favorite doesn't always win. It’s just that by 1984 the difference was all the more obvious on clay.
     
  26. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    The French Open was quite a miserable tournament then anyway
     
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You may be correct in 1982 but I'm not 100% certain Lendl was better on hard court yet. I think Lendl's backhand at that time was a bit vulnerable on hard court. However in both 1982 and 1983 I thought Lendl was going to defeat Connors in the US Open final and of course I was wrong. However in hindsight in watching those US Open matches play out I would think Lendl would be at best a slight favorite if those matches would be played over again.

    If you fast forward to 1985 I would favor Lendl over the Connors of 1982 or 1983.

    It's really tough to judge considering the immense abilities of both these players.
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's clear red clay was Connors' worst surface. I've often debated in my mind whether Connors would have won the French Open if he competed in some of the years he essentially boycotted the French. I think his best chance was probably in 1974 to 1976 but it is questionable whether he would have won with the great clay courters of that era. Despite the fact he was dominating Borg at that time Borg on red clay over five sets would have been a tough task. He also had great clay courters in Orantes, Nastase, Okker, Vilas, Panatta, Solomon, Dibbs, Ramirez competing.

    From 1977 on I believe Borg was clearly over the Connors problem and I can't see Connors defeating Borg on red clay which was probably Borg's best surface. Vilas also was very dominant in 1977 and I would favor Vilas over Connors that year also.

    I did see Connors defeat Vilas on har tru at the 1976 US Open and Borg at the 1975 US Open in person. Both were overpowered by the strong and deep Connors groundstrokes. It does make me wonder how much the red clay would have helped either Borg or Vilas during the years 1974 to 1976. Vilas won only seven games against Connors I believe in their meeting at the US Open in 1976. Connors won 6-4 6-2 6-1 in that US Open semi.

    Connors did have an opening I believe of three years in which I think he had a good shot to win the French. Whether he would have won it we will never know.
     
  29. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    If you break their performance by surface in 81 and 82, Lendl comes up ahead on all surfaces except grass. I've done the calculation for hard courts and it comes to 64-6 (91.4%) for Lendl, vs 59-9 (86.8%) for Connors during those two years. I haven't done it for indoor carpet but the difference should probably be similar, maybe even larger, and on clay Connor's numbers are surely considerably lower.

    Of course these are only numbers, that's why I said based on performance/results alone. It doesn't say anything about matchup issues, which can be important.
     
  30. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    Jimmy Connors: Grand Slam winner

    Is Jimmy Connors underrated? Definitely:

    Mrs. Jimmy Connors (nee Patti McGuire)

    [​IMG]
     
  31. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    ----delete post ----
     
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  32. Raphael

    Raphael Semi-Pro

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    I remember seeing an Agassi match where Mcenroe said that the biggest difference between Connors and Agassi on the return was that Connors return was hit flat while Agassi hit with much more spin and THAT made it tougher to handle.
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just a subjective opinions here but I felt Connors got more returns in play than Agassi so that has to be accounted for also.
     
  34. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    yea they said the difference was connors got more balls back than agassi but agassi did more with the ones that he did get back. and agassi got aced more often
     
  35. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Two great returners. I also consider what Connors would have played like with the frames/strings of today if he was at his very best. Bigger sweet spots, more power, and spin. Of course, Agassi changed through the years in his physique. In this match, remember Agassi was playing pretty well. This was a young Agassi, without as much muscle, but he was perhaps a bit quicker at this time relative to later years. Frankly, Connors was just a lot quicker off the mark than Agassi. He could shift to his left and right so nicely and he was quicker moving up for short balls than Agassi. It's close in terms of level of play, but I'd give the edge to Connors on the BH and Agassi on the FH. Career wise, it's no contest. On big points, I'll take Jimbo anyday. If you never watched Connors, you may not realize how dangerous he could get if he got momentum. He could demoralize players at key times by breaking. Agassi did that too and he was a excellent returner, but at 5-4, 0-30, in the fifth, I'd take Connors.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKcJONnlYZs

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    TRue.people forgets that Connors could be Agassi´s daddy ( in an ocasion he said that " he had been around Vegas so often..."), so when Agassi was a near the top player ( end of the 80´s), Jimmy was almost retiring and well past his prime.Same could be said when Laver played Connors the 1974 game.

    Connors natural talent and ability matches almost any other player, past or present, except for his weak serve, and this is the only shot that prevented him from beating Borg or Mac more often, even in Borg´s or John´s prime.His willing to win, well, if Agassi had had 25% of Jimmy´s, he could be now considered a GOAT candidate.
     
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Lendl clearly in 1981 and 1982 was exceptionally strong but he wasn't near the player he would become in 1985 and later. Yes statistically Lendl was very strong but Connors in both 1981 and 1982, while not having the won-long record Lendl had didn't exactly have a poor record. I believe he was 78-10 in 1982 with a number of hard court victories including the US Open in 1982.

    I believe that while Lendl had a superior winning percentage in those years, Connors had a couple of percentage point lead in Games Won Percentage. I believe Games Won Percentage is equivalent to run differential in baseball or point differential in American Football. It's perhaps a greater indicator of the strength of a player in the long run. So I'm not convinced Lendl was superior to Connors at all in the early 1980's.

    If memory serves and I could be wrong, I believe Connors GW% was around 63 percent in 1982 and Lendl was around 61% and that is a big difference. To put it in perspective, Federer in his best years was around the 61% area. Sampras never reached the 60% area.

    It's clear to me that Lendl began turning the tide in 1984 and by 1985 I believe Lendl was easily the better player but I'm not sure about 1982 in retrospect.
     
  38. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I got a 5 setter on DVd between Connors and Lendl indoor carpet in the states I think in 84 or 5. Absolutely riveting rallies, great points throughout. Connors was the agressor both in the back and forecourt, Lendl using lots of soft stuff until he got a forehand he liked, waiting for errors, but Jimmy was in great form and not missing much. it was in San Francisco or some such. Lendl won, but he sure was the more frustrated of the two. He expected it to be easier and had to become more agressive than he intended at the start. I remember being distinctly surprised that the commentary was French. They both great carpet players. I think that is the best surface to watch them on. Fast with a sure bounce .
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  39. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Was this an exhibition tournament? The only official match of Connors vs. Lendl that went into a fifth set was that infamous 1986 Boca West match when Connors got himself defaulted when 2-5 down in that fifth set. That was on outdoor hardcourt, the precursor to Miami.
     
  40. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Those stats would be interesting. I like to look at how the different percentages (points, games, sets and matches and tournament wins) correlate in a pretty stable way. Normally a 63% game winning percentage would yield well above 90% in match winning percentage, and it is rare that a higher game winning% between one player and another should yield a lower match %, but I suppose it can happen over short periods.

    These are the current stats for the top 4, according to TennisInsight.com (I don't know how reliable their stats are).

    Winning percentages (last 12 months)

    -----------Matches -- Sets --Games -- Points

    Djokovic -----92.1 --- 82.6 --- 63.0 --- 55.8
    Federer ------82.9 --- 79.5 --- 59.4 --- 54.7
    Nadal --------82.5 --- 77.0 --- 59.2 --- 54.3
    Murray-------79.1 ----72.4 --- 58.0 --- 53.8

    Usually, over longer periods, small differences in point winning% almost always yield slightly bigger differences in game winning % and still larger differences in match winning % (sets are usually not so steadily correlated with the other numbers). The above stats are only for 12 months so those amplifications are not so clear.
     
  41. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    That was not my impression. But then again I don't recall any posting of previous round results on the screen. I was frustrated because they did not show the score after points like I am used to. Only one commentator voice during the match. Damn I wish I could find it but I CAN'T. it was definitely indoor carpet. Sometime in the mid '80s . Connors lost the first, won the second, they split the next two and Lendl won the last. maybe Canadian would explain the french language telecast.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Unfortunately you cannot get points winning percentages from years ago.

    The most dominant seasons in GW% in the Open Era has been owned by Borg and McEnroe. Lendl and Connors have done extremely well also.
     
  43. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I’ve looked at their 1982 match record. Their overall winning percentages for 1982 were:
    Connors: 78-11 (87.6%)
    Lendl: 107-9 (92.2%).

    Connors had a perfect grass season that year (13-0).

    Just glancing over the scores, it does looke like Connors won a lot of sets by pretty one-sided scores that year (opponent winning 2 games or less) so it is possible his game winning percentage is higher, though Lendl also has a good share of those sets. I will calculate these percentages when I have some time.
     
  44. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In a year which Connors reached thirty I have to think that's one of the most impressive tennis seasons for a person that age in the Open Era. Lendl in 1990 cannot compare. Rosewall and Gonzalez were before the Open Era. Federer this year cannot compare. Sampras cannot compare in 2001. Agassi cannot compare in the year 2000 although he had better seasons in his career later than his 2000 year.

    I would think only Rod Laver in 1968 can compare at age thirty. Laver one year later would have one of the most famous seasons ever when he won the Grand Slam the next year.

    Pre Open Era I would think Gonzalez, Rosewall and Tilden had great years when they were thirty and later. Agassi also.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  45. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Totally in agreement with you here. Nobody in the open era matches or even comes close to Connors performance at the age of 30.
     
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Here's another from April '85.

    ********************

    Ivan Lendl has beaten Jimmy Connors three straight times, but he still hasn't impressed the irascible Connors. "Lendl didn't do anything exceptionally, except that he served well and was able to keep the ball in play," Connors said after losing to the Czechoslovak 6-3, 6-2 in the finals of the Paine Webber Tennis Classic. Lendl served eight aces and kept Connors on the run with his powerful groundstrokes."
     
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Even most important than that, Connors was a key player for the developing of pro tennis and putting it into its golden era.He attracted audiences over the world and always paid back the cost of the ticket.Lendl, many times, just took advantage of the money and seldom cared a little bit about paying back the spectator.
     
  48. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    came across these articles about those meetings:

    1982

    1983

     
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What about the 1983 Michelob Superchallenge in Chicago.Wasn´t it a five setter that Lendl narrowly won?
     
  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    BTW, he might not be the best indoor player ever, but certainly his is the most amazing indoor record I can think of: won the very prestigious US Pro Indoors 4 times in a row, and look at the guys he beat.

    1976 Borg in 3 sets
    1978 Tanner in 3 sets
    1979 Ashe in 3 sets
    1980 Mc Enroe in 5 sets

    in 1977 he was surprisingly beaten by Dick Stockton in the finals, after a long 5 set battle.

    That very same year, he´d go on winning the 2 greatest indoor events: the WCT finals (beating Stockton) and Masters (beating Borg)
     

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