Lew Hoad-A discussion on his career

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Dan,

    What is your own personal dream match of all time?

    You can name a few if you want.

    McEnroe 1984 against Laver 1967 would be of interest as would either one against Hoad in 1959.

    Vines 1934 against Federer 2005 at old Wimbledon would be fascinating too.

    Kramer 1950 against Federer 2005 at old Wimbledon

    Peak Gonzalez against Sampras 1994 at Wimbledon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  2. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    I would choose Hoad vs. Gonzales at their peak.

    Actually, something like the dream match between these two actually happened during their 1958 tour, 4-6, 9-7, 11-9, 18-16 for Hoad in their second Kooyong match.

    Even Gonzales claimed it was their greatest match.

    Eighty games of the greatest tennis ever.
     
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    But that actually happened Dan. I'm talking about a match that never happened.
     
  4. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    For the Vines and Kramer matches I might put 2003 Federer in there for his superior all court game at that point in his career.

    I think Federer at the USO 2004 vs Sampras at the USO 1995 could be an awesome match.

    Borg 1978 French Open vs Nadal 2008 French Open would be awesome.

    Becker/Sampras at the YEC in 1996 vs Laver or Rosewall at Dallas in 1972 could be a cracker.

    Edit: I'd also love to see a h2h series with Tilden, Gonzalez, Hoad, Vines, Kramer and Laver - all at their best

    Would be spectacular.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  5. conway

    conway Banned

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    I don't see anyone hanging with Nadal from RG 2008, even Borg. Nadal at one of his next best RG events like 2007 or 2010 vs 78 Borg at RG would be the one I would pick as it would be a better match.
     
  6. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You think it would be straights? :shock:

    All things equal I don't think Nadal does it less than 5. Djokovic nearly took a set in 2008.
     
  7. conway

    conway Banned

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    Djokovic was still totally drubbed in the 2008 semis, winning not only less than 40% of the game but IIRC less than 40% of the points (Nadal was holding easy almost all match long, while Djokovic in addition to being broken numerous times was having a hard time holding all match). He only nearly won the 3rd set due to a lapse/concentration loss by Nadal for awhile in the 3rd (which never occurred in the final where he would play Borg). Plus as I told you in the other thread (even if you are in denial about it) Djokovic is a very bad matchup for Nadal.

    I don't know about straights, but at best it would be a relatively uncompetitive 4 setter, similar to a typical Federer-Nadal RG match. No way do I see anyone going to the wire with Nadal of RG 2008, not even Borg. Not a chance. Borg of RG 78 could probably take any other Nadal to 5 sets though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  8. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Good point about the SF versus the Final. I do think Borg with modern strings would be a monster though.

    I think your strong support for Nadal is pushing you to exaggerate the match up disadvantage he has versus Djokovic. Even if I were to accept it was very bad, it's certainly not as bad as some other match ups I can think of...

    I think Borg could pose a similar match up as Djokovic. He moves as well or perhaps better than Nadal and has very balanced and powerful ground strokes - plus a good serve and great return.
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Nadal of 2008 versus of the Borg of 1978 on red clay has always be intriguing to me. Yes I know the lifetime numbers favor Nadal over Borg but remember once Borg reached his prime years he never lost in the French Open again.

    Borg at his peak on clay imo was more solid off both sides than Nadal. His stamina was peerless and he had incredible speed. Nadal however could run around his backhand and hit his heavily spun power forehand more often than Borg.

    Remember in the 1978 French Borg won 127 games and lost only 28 in winning all 21 sets. He beat Vilas in the final in straights losing only five games.

    It would be interesting.

    Nadal was almost as impressive at the 2008 French Open.
     
  10. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I think it's a question of balance or weapons. Nadal's forehand is a bigger weapon than any stroke Borg has (despite Borg's own forehand being a great shot). Is it enough to counter Borg have a better backhand and more balance? It might well be but I'm not sure. With modern racquets Borg would be hitting with incredible spin, pace etc...

    It would be a war.
     
  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Not sure if Nadal's forehand is a bigger weapon. Borg's forehand was huge. Look at the incredible racquet speed of Borg's forehand. Here's a comparison with Federer's forehand.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31IYa7VsZYg

    Lot of pluses for both sides in this matchup.
     
  12. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I definitely give the edge to Nadal in terms of forehand. Relative to their era's I think Nadal's is more dominant. Though I didn't watch tennis live in the 80's so please correct me if wrong. Lendl from that sort of era has the much more talked about forehand. So I've always felt that while excellent the Borg forehand is not quite on the same level as the forehand GOAT's. Borg has the definitely better return, backhand and serve though.

    I do like the Borg/Federer forehand comparison though.
     
  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    A lot of it was publicity and image. Borg at first was known as just a strong baseliner. A return machine. However as Borg improved his game his forehand, while always one of the best improved also in terms of power and even consistency.

    Borg was ranked in I think a poll in his prime (it was in a Tennis Magazine, perhaps World Tennis) as having the best forehand in tennis and the second best backhand to Connors. The image is still the baseline machine which is so general that people forget about the great forehand that he had. I really don't think many fans know the Borg style, his strengths and weaknesses while everyone today of course knows the Nadal style of play. To put it in perspective I believe Pancho Gonzalez surprisingly said in the late 1970's that Borg was the hardest hitter he had seen.

    Lendl's image was the dour guy from Czechoslovakia who bullied players with his power forehand. It wasn't exactly a nice image. I don't think some of the writers cared for Lendl that much which is a shame. The Sport Illustrated article was a prime example of this. Here's an article about Lendl discussing the Sports Illustrated article.

    http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports...ion-ivan-lendl-enjoys-running-his-tennis-camp

    Here's a video of the two playing. Lendl wasn't at his ultimate peak yet but his forehand was probably hit more consistently hard than it would be later. This video is I think more representative than the French Open final they played in 1981 because Borg wasn't in top health at that point.

    Note that Borg used wood and Lendl used the modern metallic racquets at that point.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk

    The following link is a little of Borg against Connors at the Pepsi in 1979. I believe Borg's at his peak here. Notice that the crosscourt rallies from the Connors all time great backhand versus Borg's forehand are usually won by Borg. So picture Borg with that same type of swing with today's racquets.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY

    Just on a side note, the har tru surface played at the Pepsi was the same surface played at the US Open from 1975 to 1977. Connors beat Borg in 1975 and 1976. I saw both matches, one on television, the other in person. Connors was just better than Borg on har tru at that point. If the US Open stayed on har tru, assuming no injury I have almost no doubt Borg would have won the US Open easily in some year. I couldn't see Connors matching peak Borg on har tru. Borg probably imo should have won it in 1978 if he wasn't hurt before the final against Connors.

    Anyway, Nadal has the advantage of being a lefty with the lefty patterns plus he used his great strength (his forehand) more than Borg in order to control the rallies. Borg tended to play it more straight up. In that way I guess he was a little more like Novak Djokovic today. Of course Borg hit his forehand (during his peak years) short too but I think far less than Nadal.

    One major point about Borg's forehand that I would like to make, his forehand in his peak years imo was extremely hard to attack. Many players would try to pound it but he still would drive it back with great depth and power. Nadal for example often hits his forehand short when it is press by a shot like Djokovic's backhand.

    Imo Borg's forehand is one of the greatest of all time but not remembered as that because the press didn't publicize what an awesome forehand he had. It was powerful, consistent, hit with depth. He could hit great winners on the run and he could hit winners from the baseline. He could hit the forehand in different ways depending on the match and it was great on all surfaces. I have seen very few forehands that have all those characteristics.

    To keep some discussion on Hoad. Borg against Hoad on har tru would have been interesting. I don't think Hoad could stay with Borg on baseline rallies so he would use his great power and touch to bother Borg much like Laver used to when Borg was younger. Incidentally Laver has beaten a young Borg on clay at least once in 1974 when Laver was past his prime and Borg wasn't at his prime. They met once in a major at the US Open in 1975. Borg won in four sets. I had a chance to go to that match but stupidly let a friend convince me to play tennis with him that day. One of the dumbest decisions of my life.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  14. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    This interview with Laver mentions how Hoad would inadvertently crush his racquet handles during play with his powerful grip.

    This is another example of Hoad's legendary strength, similar to the story of Hoad gripping the front legs of a chair with a man sitting in it, and raising it to eye level.

    The stuff of legends.
     
  15. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    i love to hear that kind of stories:)
    the one with the grip belongs into the fairytale category
    no player of Hoads class would do that, other than to win a bet maybe
     
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Hoad and Vines are the closest things to being legendary in their incredible feats than anyone in tennis history. However Vines wasn't known for his superman strength like Hoad was.

    I love those stories also.
     
  17. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure I believe these stories myself, well at least the chair one. I believe Rod that Hoad crushed that racquet handle.
     
  18. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    The "chair" story allegedly took place during the 1957 South African tour in a bar, where a patron called out some objectionable remark about Segura, and Hoad went over, gripped the front legs of the chair WITH THE MAN IN IT, and raised it to eye level, saying "Shut the ****** up", and then dropped the chair.

    There were plenty of witnesses.
     
  19. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Seems exaggerated to me, the strength to do that is too much for me too believe for someone of Hoad's size and build - assuming the man was not actually a youth ;)
     
  20. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    There was no "bet", just a reaction to an objectionable remark.
     
  21. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Hoad was very muscular.

    There were many witnesses.
     
  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Is this written down anywhere online? Muscular yes, but he was not body builder big.
     
  23. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    i see, so it didn´t happen in a normal match
     
  24. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Yes, he was a weight-lifting fanatic and had trained seriously as a boxer.

    There are videos showing his upper body muscles, which were impressive to his peers.

    The source for this story is one of Hoad's recent biographies, but the players who witnessed this are still with us.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  25. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    No, in a South African bar.
     
  26. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    you mean the ´chair´story, not the ´grip´story?
     
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You always have to take the legends with a grain of salt. I believe a lot of the legends of Hoad but a lot of the stories I read about in tennis history are to my mind very hard to believe.

    Must admit I enjoy the old style newspaper writing in reading about the old players.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  28. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Yes, the chair was in a South African bar, and Hoad had a good grip on the situation.
     
  29. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg wipped the ball pinning the opponent at the baseline when he was playing his best.The difference between 76 and 79 Connors is that Connors could no longer sustain any pressure on Borg.Lost 7 matches in a row.
     
  31. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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  32. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    I believe that this match in 1958 was the greatest ever match.
     
  33. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Read Evans' article above on Hoad's wrist exercises.
     
  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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  35. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    If we look only at pre-1961 results, the score favoured Hoad in major clay matches, 6 to 2.

    This and the grass list below omit unrecorded exhibitions and junior results.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  36. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Again, 15 to 13 for Hoad through 1960, 14 to 9 in tournament play.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  37. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Hoad and Rosewall participated in the two Ampol/Qantas tournament tours of 1958 and 1959 which decided the bonus money pools for those years, the only times that

    they played in a championship tour against each other.

    These tours claimed to determine the overall pro rankings, and included the top twelve pros in most of the major tournaments for those two years.

    Only Wembley among major events was excluded from the series.

    Hoad had overall a 7 to 5 edge over Rosewall in the two series of tournaments (1 to 3 in 1958, 6 to 2 in 1959).
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Dan,

    This is a quick count and I could have made a lot of mistakes. I will check more carefully but I was in a rush (as usual) and if count is somewhat correct, pre 1961 Hoad led Rosewall, not counting jr matches 50 to 49. My one question is whether I should count a jr match they played in 1953 when both were World Class players. Hoad won that match.
     
  39. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Seems to me a virtual tie pre 1961. When Rosewall matured as a player since 1961, he got the clear lead.
     
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Whether my count is correct or not it was definitely very close pre 1961.
     
  41. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    I have included the 1952 and 1953 MENS results, which included both the 1952 and 1953 Australian Hardcourt finals, a mens event.

    I did not include the junior results, even though they ran into 1952, or even 1953.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  42. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    No, only if you include exhibitions and the minor events do you get a "virtual tie".

    As you can read above, Hoad had a clear lead in tournament play, 21 to 12.

    I think you mean WHEN HOAD'S GAME DECLINED after 1960, Rosewall dominated as Hoad's mobility was reduced.

    Gonzales also declined after 1960, so that gave Rosewall an opening at the top.

    That makes sense.

    Rosewall probably reached full maturity during his months of training with Sedgman in 1956, and it took only a few matches for Rosewall to adjust to Gonzales in 1957.

    Rosewall actually fared better against Gonzales in 1957 than he did in 1960, when Rosewall would supposedly have been "more mature".

    Rosewall won at Wembley in 1957 against a full field of pros.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  43. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Urban, I find it very curious that you would place ANY value on lifetime head-to-head numbers, which I do not think is a meaningful statistic.

    Our former Rosewall expert seemed to put some value on "lifetime" hth numbers.

    Do you really think that there was ever a "lifetime hth championship" anywhere?

    No.

    This reminds me of the 1972 Canada/USSR hockey series, which the Canadians won 4 to 3, one tie, when Soviet commentators claimed that the USSR really won the series because overall they scored one more goal than the Canadians.

    They really thought that there were not eight games in the series, but rather just one long game.

    Does anyone believe that this statistic means anything in a hockey or sports series?

    By that logic, the Yankees won the 1960 World Series over the Pirates.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  44. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    I think it is very close if you include minor tours and exhibitions, but I think that Hoad had a clear lead in tournament play.

    Hoad was clearly off form and little motivated in the 1958 and 1959 European tours, which were won by Rosewall and Sedgman.

    Gonzales skipped most of the 1958 and all of the 1959 European tours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  45. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    Using the above, I make it 21 to 12 for Hoad in tournament play through 1960 on clay and grass.

    I did not include indoor play, but I only see indoor tournament results for the 1960 Melbourne Olympic Swimming Pool final, Rosewall winning in five sets.

    It appears that they actually played this match in a drained Olympic swimming pool. I examined the website for the Melbourne Olympic Pool.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  46. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    These would all be fascinating, showing similarly skilled players against each other.

    Perhaps Hoad of 1959 against Safin of 2000 or 2004.

    But, what equipment would they use?

    I suggest that wood racquets give a better test of skills.
     
  47. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Dan,

    It would be interesting to see Hoad of 1959 against a top Safin. I remember reading an interview with Kramer in which it was very evident he thought Safin was perhaps the most talented player in tennis. I think the interview was around 2003 because I was shocked he didn't say Federer.

    I would also love to see Vines against Hoad at their peaks. It would be two of the hardest hitters in history with super powerful serves and awesome groundstrokes. Vines, mainly a flat player versus Hoad who could hit with heavy spin. Hoad, mainly a serve and volleyer who could play at the baseline. Vines, mainly a power baseliner who could be very effective in serving and volleying. Both very fast.

    It would be nice to see both in the zone.
     
  48. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Many thought Safin had the game to dominate the ATP. Would of been awesome to see him competing with Federer across 2005 had he not suffered that knee injury.
     
  49. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    And yet....he only won majors on rubber.

    His Wimbledon record was below what you would expect, only one quarterfinal and one semifinal appearance.

    No clay event?

    Hoad won most of his majors on grass or clay, two surfaces which Safin did not excel on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  50. pc1

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    True enough. However, Jack Kramer was very sold on Safin's talent. I believe he thought Safin was even more talented than Federer which surprised me.
     

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