Laver vs. Roche Wimbledon final 1968

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Limpinhitter, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    #1
  2. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    This was a fine performance of Laver. He never lost his serve, and after some slow beginning, he took command in the second and third sets with immaculate net play. In my mind, he could have some concentration lapses in the 1969 Wim, but here 1968, in the matches with Ashe and Roche, he was devastating. In the Ashe sf i remember a point, i think set point in the first, when he was driven wide out, and landed in the spectators row, only to throw up a sudden topspin lob, that left Ashe hammering desperately into the air. Laver emerged slowly from the first spectators row. In the Roche final, i remember a point, when he was overlobbed, but ran to the baseline and with his back to the net, hit a deadly backhand past the incoming Roche. I haven't seen the Roche match in full on the sellers videos on the internet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
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  3. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It's always fun for me to watch the players of ~40 years ago. Thanks for posting the video.
     
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  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    It's a shame that many of the online videos of Laver and other greats aren't as good a quality as this.
     
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  5. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Agree. It's hard to get any sense of the great shotmaking of the players of that era from the videos I've seen at YouTube. Is there anything like an extensive archive of film to video stuff that's accessible online?
     
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  6. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Very nice video, thank you Limpinhitter. Laver hit some beautiful backhands in particular in that clip! One backhand crosscourt return dipped so nicely. You're right, the quality is excellent.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
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  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I don't know about online, but there is a site you can order DVD's of vintage matches from: http://www.ricklovestennis.com/
     
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  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    The amazing part is that the match was over in 60 minutes. Talk about first strike tennis. These two were all time greats at that.
     
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  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the link.
     
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Please notice how thin and lean Laver looks compared to himself in the middle 70s.

    I've often wondered if he didn't "bulk up" later to compensate for advancing age.?
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Do you think he bulked up or perhaps it was the natural gaining of weight due to age? Anyway I'm sure Laver had to be faster in 1968 compared to the middle 1970's and I thought he was still very quick in the middle 1970's.
     
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  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I agree with PC1. Laver didn't intentionally bulk up. He just filled out the way many men do in their 30's. I didn't get to see Laver play in the 60's. But, I can tell you that in the early 70's, he was still considered the fastest player on the court, and he played with a level of intensity I've never seen from any tennis player since then, which is all the more impressive when you watch Laver play on hard court because of the superior footing. When you watch these short views of actual play, with the excellent resolution, watch Laver and not the ball, and you can get a better idea of what I mean by intensity compared to watching most of the grainy videos on YouTube. And, the match was over in 60 minutes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
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  13. sportsfan1

    sportsfan1 Hall of Fame

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    Nice vid. 3 sets in 60 mins is mind boggling, I can't comprehend it. Watching the AO '12 final on FFWD might take longer than that ;-). The reaction to winning it all is also very different - no falling down on or eating grass ;-), they must have been more in control of their emotions or had a pragmatic outlook back then. No frills ceremony too, I like it.
     
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  14. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    These guys must have had the same barber.
     
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  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Maybe it was because the 1st prize was something like $5,000.

    PS: According to a few sources it was £2,000.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, I am certainly not disputing that Laver was still incredibly quick in the 70s. I do not think any added mass slowed him down.

    Yes, I do think he bulked up, particularly in the thighs and trunk. (I do not believe his left arm could've been any bigger.)

    Take a look at him in 1976; a good shot of him from the back is at 0:20 or 0:41: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-VeBIal8TU
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
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  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You may be right. Didn't Hopman get the Aussie team to work with weights when they trained?
     
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Classic case of middle age spread my man!

    PS: 1976 would make Laver 38 yo in that video.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
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  19. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Love watching that video - two of my favorite players of all time - so very cool that they overlapped a bit! And Laver still moving and playing great at that age!

    Speaking of Laver and Wimbledon, I know today wasn't about him, but I was kinda hoping he would be mentioned in the post-match speech, it being the 50th anniversary of his first Grand Slam year, including victory at Wimbledon. He is really special, and it's great that he's still around. Best wishes to The Rocket!

    Lastly, I was trying to imagine a Laver or Roche back in their prime saying something like "I haven't been feeling very well recently" after a big match loss. What a ridiculous sorry lot of whiners many of today's pros are. Fed's cut from Laver (old school good sportsman) cloth, and that's one more reason I respect him and treasure every minute he continues to play. Once he leaves the game we may not have that kind of class around tennis anymore.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Roche was, even more than Newocmbe, Laver´s heritier at the heart of the Australian - and non australian- fans.But Laver proved the master in 68 and 69.

    Once Laver said that Roche,Newcombe and Ashe, the leading oncoming generation trio wanted badly to throw him and Rosewall away...but they would have to wait a bit¡¡¡¡
     
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  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    FYI, I updated the link in the OP. For some reason the old link stopped working.
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It was expected to be the match between the King and the Prince but Laver had Roche's number and it was a one sided landslide
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And note the physical differences.

    Did Laver have problems with Roche's greater height (5' 11" versus 5' 9") and more muscular physique?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Roche was only an inch or two taller. But, he was 30 lbs heavier. Nevertheless, Laver was an amazing physical specimin. All muscle, esepcially his left arm.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As much as I admire Tony Roche game and specially his volleying ability the truth remains that Laver beat him in their 3 main encounters as Ken Rosewall did too
    Newcombe, while not an overall better player, was much more of a threat for the Laver-Rosewall hegemony and in fact he was the only player able to break ut
     
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  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think that if Roche was not injured he would have eventually taken over from Laver as number one in the world. Look at someone Roche later coached, Ivan Lendl who lost his first four major finals to Borg, McEnroe, Wilander and Connors. Lendl eventually took over and won many majors. To move further ahead perhaps that may happen to the player Lendl is coaching now, Andy Murray who won his first major over Djokovic. He also won the Olympics over his nemesis Roger Federer in a great display of tennis. I guess in a way Roche is almost the grandcoach of Andy Murray.

    Newcombe wasn't overall a better player than Roche and I think Roche's best was better but Newcombe on any surface would be a danger to any player that ever lived. He did have a big match aura around him that very few players have had.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, even as a Rosewall admirer (but also a Roche admirer!) I must contradict.

    Rosewall did not win the three main encounters against Roche. Roche beat Muscles at Wimbledon in 1968 and 1975.

    Roche keeps a 9:7 balance against Rosewall while Newcombe trails 10:14 against Rosewall.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I said that Newcombe was not overall a better player but he definitely had something else that Roche never had
    I always compare them to the other and former twins of aussie tennis Hoad and Rosewall qho nevertheless were completely different players while Newk and Roche looked far more similar
    Hoad and Roche were the brilliant and flashy players enduring many injuries while Rosewall and Newk were supersteady guys with no injuries and, at the end both had more succesful careers than their doubles mates
     
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  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You're correct and I was thinking only about 68 FO as well as 70 Wimbledon and USO
    I just consider majors so Rosewall leads Roche 3-2 while Laver leads 3-0
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Roche coached Federer, also. You knew that.
     
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  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think Roche was a better shotmaker than Newcombe all the way around. But, Newcombe was very mentally tough. Roche had a tendency to get down on himself.
     
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  32. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nice way of putting it, interesting links between the three.
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Interesting to compare the truly last aussie twins
    Roche had a bit better volley,overhead and backhand while Newcombe had a slughty better lob,forehand and serve.Their matches had unsurpassed density and were as tough as Connors vs Mac matches although well spirited
    Newk advantage over Tony was being mentally quite stronger and free of injurues, which can make the difference (IMO even if Roche was never injuried he would never have Newcombe' s record due to the mental strengh gap between both)
    Now, put them together and you easily have the most formidable doubles machine of all time.
    I always had that strong feeling that both were great by separate but they were unbeatable together.like Dumas mousketeers or like Sundance and Butch
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What H2H Roche vs Kodes?
     
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  35. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Newcombe was called a natural captain, i think his father was a cricket captain. Maybe this leader mentality took over in the doubles pairiing and in the rivalry. Some other doubles teams had a similar structure. Stan Smith was way more successful than Bob Lutz, while Lutz was probably the more complete player. Also in the pairing of Emerson and Stolle the roles were clearly divided.
     
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I knew that but forgot about it. For some reason it didn't work out. Too bad because I think Federer may have benefited greatly from Roche, especially at the net. I guess you can't argue with success.
     
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  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think Ashe mentioned in one of his books that Newcombe had a presence about him when he played. Ashe wrote that very few had that but one of the others was Bjorn Borg.
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Ashe said that no aussie had his presence.In fact he said that while he was not as brilliant asLaver and Rosewall, Newcombe was solid and specially intimidating

    You know, there was just one only player who could beat Newk on a major's five setter as rexords prove.Yes, you guessed right, Jan Kodes

    So much for the legion of Kodes haters here!!!!
     
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Can anybody report a 5 sets defeat of Newcombe at a true major?

    Other than Kodes, maybe Roche at 1969 USO but Roche was John's half orange in tennis terms

    Kodes also bested him in a long RG match back in 1969
     
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  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Can't think of one in a major final. But to be fair Laver did beat Newcombe in some really big five set matches like in the 1971 Tennis Champions Classic.

    Now are you only counting finals? Tom Okker beat Newcombe in five sets at the French Open in 1969. Okker lost in the next round in four sets to that man again, Laver. Roche beat Newk at the Australian in 1969 in the quarters in five sets only to lose to...guess who--Laver in five sets.

    Still you're right Newcombe was great in five set matches. He seemed to beat Smith all the time in big five set matches like at Wimbledon and the 1973 Davis Cup final. Some have said that Newk would be their choice to play for their life in a single match.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
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  41. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Not quite true, Newk beat Kodes in 5, only to lose to Okker in quartres at RG 1969.
     
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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Playing Roche was totally different from playing anybody else.Roche won their 68 W semi and their 69 USO semi but lost their 69 W semi and their AO 75 semi
    Laver never played a major 5 setter vs Newk but won their only big meeting ever in four sets at the 69 Wimbly final
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Okker thanked Kodes for tiring Newk
     
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