M. Orantes - at his best he was...?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Frankc, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    I have seen a few clips here and there , and Orantes seems to glide around the clay. Remember his US Open victory over Connors, but little else.

    Appreciate any insights/thoughts about his talents and play when at his best... My impression was that he was a great sportsman... Thanks...
     
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No real stroke weaknesses. Perhaps the best touch of any player I've ever seen. When he was "on" the ball seemed to be on a string. He could beat anyone on clay and wasn't bad on other surfaces. But he was best on clay.
     
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  3. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    ... beautiful to watch.
     
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  4. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Orantes was such a fun player to watch with the mixture of spins and pace, crazy angles, dropshots and lobs he had at his disposal. A true magician with a tennis ball.

    His 1975 US Open title victory was truly well deserved. In his semi-final, Vilas was leading 6-4 6-1 2-6 5-0 and was love 40 up on Orantes's serve. He had those 3 match points on Orantes's serve, and then 2 more match points on his own serve in the next game. Many fans left the stadium early to beat the traffic, and missed Orantes's epic fightback to win 4-6 1-6 6-2 7-5 6-4. That match lasted until 2 am, and the next day he came back to destroy Connors in the final, using his variety and touch to toy with Jimbo and send him scurrying all over the court.

    He is surely the best clay court player of the open era by far, never to have won the RG title. Of course he was leading an 18 year old Borg by 2 sets to love in the 1974 RG final, before Borg (who was always formidable in 5 set matches) made a strong recovery to win those last 3 sets very easily.

    He won 30 official titles on clay, putting him in joint 4th place on the open era list alongside Borg and behind only Vilas, Muster and Nadal. He won big red clay titles at Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg (twice) and Barcelona (3 times) during his career, together with the 1975 US Open title, Indianapolis (3 times) and Boston (twice) on green clay.

    Away from clay he won the Canadian Open on hard courts in 1975 and the Masters on carpet in 1976.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
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  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    There was a strange match in the semi finals of 1978 Hamburg between Orantes and Vilas. Orantes was leading 6-0, 1-1 after less than an hour's play, when Orantes fell awkwardly and had to retire with a back injury. Vilas went on to win the title.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    A year later came back as miraculously as his Vilas USO semi, to win the Masters at the Summit against Fibak
     
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As a junior he won Wimbledon and almost upset Roy Emerson on grass during the DC Sidney finals

    As a senior he made the Wimbly semis and won the singles and the doubles Masters on a veey fast indoor carpet court
    But I agree his game was perfectly adapted to clay
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As much or more than Roche or Hoad no other top player has had to endure aa many serious injuries with no less than 7 visits to surgeon
    So when he was gaining confidence he almost inmediately felt injuried which deprived him of more major titles
    I still recall his last match in 1982
    He was facing peak Lendl at Madrid semis and lost a pretty close match at 33 yrs age
    I have never seen Lendl aknowledging and clapping his hands the way he did to Orantes
     
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  9. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Great stuff - thanks to all...
    Appreciate the insights and key matches as mentioned. Didn't realize the junior record or his grass/fast court talents...

    I remember really admiring his game - he sort of floated around the court and so smoothly did he manage the other's pace with precision shot making - just silken in my memory. I never saw him play much - but the impression he left with me had me hunting down a Slazenger Challenge frame ... my, they were beautiful, also...

    Was he at his best in the finals of the US Open - or was Connors subpar that day...?
     
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Orantes was certainly at his best when he beat Connors in the 1975 US Open final. People thought that Orantes would be exhausted after that epic comeback win over Vilas in the semi finals, but the opposite happened, he was still riding high from the epicness of the semi final victory, and won the final easily.
     
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  11. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I believe that the Canadian was played on clay in the seventies.
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In watching Orantes during the 1975 US Open, I felt at the time he was playing the highest quality tennis. I didn't go to the final that year but when the commentators favored Connors in the final (in retrospect it was totally logical) I was surprised because I didn't think Connors was playing nearly at Orantes's level. But I guess it was a combination of the Connors' greatness and taking into account the possible exhaustion of Orantes from the long semifinal against Vilas.

    I also loved the way he toyed with Connors at the US Claycourts in 1977. It was such a great display of touch.
     
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Up to 1973 it was on clay.
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Orantes had a big problem with the spanish sports and non sports press who pressed him to achieve the records of Santana.And there was also the historical rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona.he got raved and frustrated and press published he wanted guarantees to play the highly regarded Davis Cup.he had played DC injuried and still he got criticized from the press.He and Jose Higueras, a long time clay court specialist ( 2 times semifinalist at Roland Garros and twice winner of the German Open) decided not to play anymore for Spain, that happening in the very late 70´s.Higueras opened up a tennis school in Florida, and managed Jim Courier and Roger Federer, and Orantes was named...DC captain some years after his retirement.

    Politics hampered so much spanish sportsmen during those days, you know.

    Besides, USO and Masters ( singles in 76 and doubles in 75),Orantes also won the very prestigious Italian Open, handling easily Jan Kodes, who had won the two previous French Open titles.He lost the 1975 final to Mexico´s Raul Ramirez, IMO, one of the best players of the 1970´s.

    He won twice Montecarlo and Indianapolis, once the US P^ro at Boston and the Canadian Open at Toronto, two times at Hamburg and three more times at the prestigious Barcelona Count Godo´s Trophy.

    Lost an epic RG final to Borg (Borg´s first major title) and reached once more the semis at Paris ( surprisingly beaten by frenchman patrick proisy in 1972) and the Wimbledon semis, to ilie Nastase in 1972.

    He hold the record of Masters enterings until Mc Enroe and Lendl in the 80´s.He played the event from 1972 to 1977.I think he missed the 1974 tournament, but I am not sure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Vilas won his 2 Canadian Open titles in Toronto on hardcourts, in 1974 and 1976.
     
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  17. Dan Lobb

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    I think that Borowiak beat Fillol on clay in the 1977 final.
     
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  18. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I have found press reports showing both those years the event was still on clay.

    1974

    "Okker ... said later he wasn’t used to playing on clay because of World Team Tennis which is played indoors on fast surfaces."

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AYkxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1KEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=882,852787

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=a3chAAAAIBAJ&sjid=aYkFAAAAIBAJ&pg=792,765777


    1976

    Newcombe: “You can’t expect to serve your way out of trouble on clay all the time.”

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...AAAIBAJ&dq=canadian open clay&pg=7090,4248808

    So when did this event switch to hardcourts?
     
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  19. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I don't have any definitive evidence or anything, but from what I gather and from the sources I've read, 1979 seems the be the first year that the tournament was played on hard courts.

    Even with the US Open switching venue and surface to hard courts in 1978, the 1978 edition of the Canadian Open (when Dibbs beat Clerc in the final) appears to have remained on har-tru for one extra year according to a few websites.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    wasn´t it played at York University facilities?

    at least, Borg did beat mc Enroe in 1979 there.
     
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  21. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    Memory is a funny thing. Orantes even in his day had a weak backhand to me. Used the same continental grip as his forehand. He laid it flat out (facing up) when he took it back and he could do anything with his slice, which was usually OK for clay but he couldn't really come over the ball as they used to say back then. Anymore than say Shriver could. Once in a while he could nail a flat or slight topspin but it was a weak passing shot even in an age of weak backhands.

    His forehand had a big hitch. He had a great offensive topspin forehand lob (does such a shot even exist in today's game ?). Which he used quite effectively when upsetting (and it was a huge upset at the time) Connors at the USO finals.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I am sure ALL top players of the 70 will tell you that his BH was one of the best and so most journalist that covered that period
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    BTW the 70 are probably the era loaded with better BH
    By far
    ROSEWALL,LAVER,ORANTES,VILAS,BORG,CONNORS,ASHE
    Kodes and Higueras had also great Bh
     
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