Lendl v McEnroe - who was the greater player?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Paul Murphy, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Having a debate with a friend - interested in opinions.

    The stats say Lendl in my view.

    The key ones:

    1) 21 v 15 H2H.
    2) Majors won 8 v 7.
    3) Major finals reached 19 v 11.
    4) Major matches won 222 v 167.
    5) Singles titles won 94 v 77.
    6) Singles matches won 1071 v 875.

    Opinions?
     
    #1
  2. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Well the other side will tell you one Wimbledon is worth any two titles at RG and that you ignore doubles.

    Then they will wax poetic about John's talent and soft hands.
     
    #2
  3. Paul Murphy

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    Yep, I've had that - and also the DC record.
    The discussion with my friend started with the question: Who was the better player?
    To me, the answer to that can be answered with one stat - the H2H, particularly as these two are contemporaries, with little separating them in age.
    My friend only wanted to initially talk about the merits of Lendl's Major wins, Wimby v FO and AO and then branched out into other highly "interesting" and esoteric areas.
    To my way of thinking if someone beats me more times than I beat them then the other guy is clearly the better player.
    Throw in all the other stats I've listed above and it's case closed in my view.
     
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  4. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Mcenroe was the better tennis player. Lendl was just a ball basher.
     
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  5. Paul Murphy

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    Great record for a ball basher.
    I'll take it over McEnroe's any day - half a decade at No.1 - happy days.
     
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  6. Paul Murphy

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    I should have stipulated "considered and thoughtful" opinions.
    I do so now.
     
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  7. Kalin

    Kalin Professional

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    LOL. 270 weeks as World No. 1 (a stat that is missing in the OP's comparison). Some ball basher.

    Just because he didn't wear a red bandana while whining, screaming and pouting at everyone around doesn't mean he wasn't every bit as good as Mac. Well, he was actually better as pretty much all stats confirm it.

    Not to mention that it is widely acknowledged that modern tennis was heavily influenced by Ivan's 'ball bashing' style. The one player most influenced by Johnny Macs 'whine at all cost' style - Jeff Tarango.

    OK, I'm kidding. They were both great. But Ivan was better.
     
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  8. Paul Murphy

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    Nicely put.
    Was leaving the little matter of half a decade as world No.1 in reserve. :)
     
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  9. Mr.Lob

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    Lendl had a losing record in slam finals. A lousy 8-11. Ball bashers inordinately to choke in the big events. You aren't greater than Mack with a record like that. Macks winning percentage much better at 7-4 in finals.
     
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  10. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    I dunno, both were great. I find Lendl more interesting to discover though, and he was a bit more revolutionary.

    I'm not sure Lendl is greater than McEnroe though, I'd have them as even.
     
    #10
  11. Kalin

    Kalin Professional

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    #11
  12. Kalin

    Kalin Professional

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    (Edited for bad math) Lendl's losses were to some awesome players. If I recall correctly, his only loss to non-GOAT contender was vs Cash but that was on Cash's best surface and Lendl's worst. He has lost to Borg, Mac, Connors, Vilander... no shame in losing to those.

    Stan Wawrinka has won 100% of his GS finals. Winning % is cool but overall number of wins trumps it.

    Just found this in Wikipedia: "During each of the years from 1985 through 1987, Lendl's match winning percentage was greater than 90%. ... Lendl remains the only male tennis player with at least 90% match wins in five different years (1982 was the first, 1989 the last)

    And last but not least- Lendl is clearly the better golfer. This must count for something, no?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
    #12
  13. Paul Murphy

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    I can't imagine any player in command of his senses who would prefer to make 11 Major finals rather than 19.
     
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  14. Mr.Lob

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    Alright, I'll give you that one on golf. Lendl could swing the sticks. But, the greatest cradle to grave player would favor Mcenroe over Lendl. I saw Mack playing Lendl in a champions tournment recently, Mcenroe crushed a very chubby and slow moving Lendl. Mack still looks good at 50 something. Looks to be around his playing weight from his early 30's. Continues to play at a high level of tennis. Not sure what's going on with Lendl... bad knees maybe.

    Let's also not forget Macks 3 Wimbledon s to Lendls goose egg. To be greater, you have to win the greatest tournament at least once. There ya go master op, irrefutable proof Mack the greater player.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
    #14
  15. Paul Murphy

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    As I said, I am looking for "considered and thoughtful" opinions.
    But thanks anyway.
     
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  16. Flash O'Groove

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    Lendl also won 5 Master cup and was in 4 other finals. He made 9 straight finals at the events. 8 straight finals at the USO.
     
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  17. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    McEnroe was only good enough to reach half the numbers of finals reached by Lendl. Losing in the third round is not a testament of greatness.
     
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  18. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    It sure isn't.
    It's just commonsense.
     
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  19. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    A control freak huh? LOL. Sorry pal, you don't get to call the shots.

    You offer a rehashed mindless thread, from a month ago, and give nothing but blind stats. Do a little research first before wasting our time, and offer up something worthy of a real debate. Thanks.
     
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  20. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    No one remembers the loser of a final... they only remember the winner. Greatness has never been defined by how any times you lost a final.
     
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  21. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Let's return to Wimbledon... the greatest tournament in the world. Irrefutable! To be considered great, you should at least win the greatest tournament once...No? Lendl has zero Wimbledon titles. Mack has 7!!!!! (Note the number of exclamation points LoL) He has 3 in singles, 4 in doubles. Mr. Ball basher? Always a bridesmaid.
     
    #21
  22. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    I'm sure this is the 17th or 18th time this has been debated here.
    I see you're very new.
    I'll take "blind" stats over subjective opinion any time. (I wonder what a "blind stat" is?)
    Funny stuff.
    But please keep them coming - you do amuse me and I thank you for that. ;)
     
    #22
  23. Paul Murphy

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    Doubles titles!
    I'm sure the Bryans will be pleased. lol
     
    #23
  24. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Well, "greatness" is certainly defined by being able to call yourself the undisputed No.1 player in the world - the view is just great from up there.
    Lendl was exactly that for 270 weeks, McEnroe for 170.
    What's 100 weeks between friends? A lot.
    Ouch.
     
    #24
  25. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the feeble minded are usually easily amused. :)

    You offer nothing, in the way of analysis, other than what a computer could print out.. in terms of who is greater. Blind stats. A third grader could Google and print out stats. You have any thoughts that may go with it?
     
    #25
  26. Paul Murphy

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    And one more thing - if only those pesky "blind stats" supported your "opinion".
    Sadly they don't.
    Better luck next time champ. ;)
     
    #26
  27. Paul Murphy

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    Genuine idiots and loud mouths amuse me - and luckily - I've found one.
    Thank you.
     
    #27
  28. Paul Murphy

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    And let me give you a little more "analysis" dill.
    If you beat me more times than I beat you are you the better player?
     
    #28
  29. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Or do my achievements on the doubles court against other players put me ahead of you? lol
     
    #29
  30. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Don't know much tennis history huh? Doubles much more important back when Mack played. Macks total singles and double slam count far exceeds Lendls...Lendl Ali a big goose egg when it came to doubles.

    And I see you are afraid to address Lendls inability to win Wimbledon?
     
    #30
  31. Paul Murphy

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    If you beat me more times than I beat you are you the better player?
     
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  32. Mr.Lob

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    Carolyn Wozniaki. LOL. Ouch x3
     
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  33. Paul Murphy

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    I ask again.
    If you beat me more times than I beat you are you the better player?
     
    #33
  34. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    I love people like you - full of too much testosterone and bombast.
    Wonderful.
     
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  35. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    LOL. That all you got? Sound like a broken record.

    Answer the Wimbledon question!!!!!

    Lendl a total failure. Mack 7 time champ. Everything else being equal, makes Mack greater.
     
    #35
  36. Paul Murphy

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    Let's try it again - third time lucky (perhaps).

    If you beat me more times than I beat you are you the better player?
     
    #36
  37. Paul Murphy

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    It's all I need to have - all the other many, many stats and records are just icing on the cake - and there's lots and lots and lots of icing.
    McEnroe and Lendl faced off 36 times - Lendl won 21. Happy days.

    Now any chance of answering my question or will you keep ducking it?
    Pathetic.
     
    #37
  38. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Now, let's take a look at that icing on the cake again shall we.

    1) 21 v 15 H2H.
    2) Majors won 8 v 7.
    3) Major finals reached 19 v 11.
    4) Major matches won 222 v 167.
    5) Singles titles won 94 v 77.
    6) Singles matches won 1071 v 875.

    Yep, your man is so far ahead.
     
    #38
  39. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I'm gonna keep ducking... until you answer why Lendl couldn't win Wimbledon, while McEnroe won it 7 times.

    7 Wimbledon trophies for Mack.
    ....zip for Lendl...equals....Mack the greater player. Can you try to comprehend and explain that?
     
    #39
  40. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Wimbledon Championships:
    1) 7 v 0

    Yep, my man is far ahead. LOL. :twisted:
     
    #40
  41. Paul Murphy

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    "Yeah, I'm gonna keep ducking."

    Of course you will - you will never answer my question - the H2h is key.
     
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  42. Paul Murphy

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    What a pity for you that the tennis year stretches from late December until November and that Wimbledon takes up just two weeks of all those many, many weeks and months and is just one tournament.
    Yep, a real shame - for you, anyway. ;)
     
    #42
  43. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

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    Great topic.

    For me, McEnroe v Lendl was a straightforward case of Nature v Nurture.

    Mac was supremely 'naturally' gifted and Lendl was the epitome of an extreme work ethic.

    Personally, I looked forward to their H2H in the early-mid 80's. A great contrast in styles and for the main part, highly competitive games. No quarter asked or given.

    PS - think I'm right in saying that Lendl did win Wimbledon (as a junior).

    Who was the best player? Not necessarily the same thing as who had the best career...but I honestly couldn't answer. McEnroe had more natural talent but lacked the work ethic. IF he'd worked harder I'm not sure there would be a question, but the truth is - he didn't. Lendl on the other hand, made the absolute most of his considerable talent - hence he was so dominant for a good period of time.
     
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  44. Paul Murphy

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    "A great contrast in styles and for the main part, highly competitive games. No quarter asked or given."

    True.

    Their dislike for each other added to the theatre of it all.
    And I really miss the contrast in styles these days.
     
    #44
  45. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

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    Me too!

    Interesting to see the recent increase in net play by Djoker, Federer and Stan. Can't imagine that it will be anything more than a tactic from here on in though
     
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  46. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I think it is a very difficult thing to choose between them, but I certainly think H2H is the least relevant statistic and I have a personal example.

    I play tennis. I am OK, enough to get into our club second team as the 4th man a few years ago. If I played any of our first team I got thoroughly beaten, except for one, who I always gave trouble to and beat more often (just) than he beat me. He hated playing me, and it became a joke.

    By your argument he was the better player. No-one in my club, and certainly not I, considered myself in any way better or greater. It was just a quirk of styles.

    All H2H tells you is that in matchups between players, one is better than the other. But since tennis is a tournament sport, it is only results against the field that give a true reflection of who is better.

    So I think anyone who uses H2H as a means of judging the relative merit of players (or teams) in any tournament or league sport is simply, flat out, wrong.
     
    #46
  47. Paul Murphy

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    "Styles" matter and forgive me for not caring what "people at your club think" about your relative match-ups.
    But for what it's worth - if you beat the other guy more often than he beat you then that should tell you something.
    When Lendl faced off against McEnroe he won more times than he lost.
    Throw in all the other stats and there's a compelling argument.
     
    #47
  48. Paul Murphy

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    And as for a "quirk of styles" you should take a look at the Federer/Nadal H2H - that shows just how damaging a "quirk of styles" can be to a player and his place in history - damage that will continue to be meted out (sadly).
    And I say that as an unabashed Federer fan.
     
    #48
  49. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, sadly it will remain a change-up tactic I think though Fed came to the net a lot at the AO - and wasn't it great to see?
    We need uniformly faster courts and coaches reacting to that and coaching accordingly (and a few other things besides).
    Can't see it happening unfortunately.
     
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  50. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. And Lendl and Mcenroe wasn't a one sided rivalry. Lendl won a few more over Mack... it was a very close h2h. . But, prime McEnroe would beat prime Lendl without a doubt. As Mack use to say about Lendl,"I have more talent in my little finger than he does in his whole body." Harsh... but true.
     
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