Mecir receiving at the service line

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Now here's a lesson in false memories. It's been 21 years since I saw Mecir beating Becker in the USO semis. In my memories, Mecir stepped up practically halfway between the baseline and service line to receive Becker's serve, and managed to get some hard serves back, barely but effectively.

    I've just watched my DVD of the match and I don't see him doing it anywhere. I thought it occurred near the end of the match.

    Now I'm thinking that, if it happened at all, it must have been the next day in the final against Lendl (that's a DVD I don't own).

    Anyone remember Mecir doing this?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
    #1
  2. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533
    He stood on top maybe just inside the baseline. Not half way to the service line. He's a big guy. But he can't cover that much area though. Maybe it's what one of the stupid commentators said. They tend to exaggerate. That's their job. They are paid to lie and sound believable.
     
    #2
  3. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Well when I say half-way to the service line, I can see how my memory would exaggerate that. That's pretty common; and I was new to tennis then, so it had a big wow effect on me. But I do have this memory of seeing something like it (and a memory of the crowd reacting to it).
     
    #3
  4. CAM178

    CAM178 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    2,108
    Annacone did this to McEnroe at an indoor tournament once. He was coming in on Mac's 1st serve! Chipping and charging on both of Mac's serves! Mac was flabbergasted, and felt disrespected. He got a little pissed. This was when Mac was so dominant, too. I understand Annacone wanting to disrupt Mac's rhythm, but it was a bit weird and disrespectful. Mac won pretty easily, if memory serves me correctly. And I want to say that it was Memphis, but I can't remember for sure.
     
    #4
  5. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,186
    Location:
    Kansas
    For some reason I felt like looking it up....Mecir has a combined record of 4-0 against Sampras, Agassi, Chang & Ivanisevic. He beat Sampras 0 & 1. Ive only seen a few clips of him playing...very smooth looking game. Hit an amazing around the net post backhand in one of the clips, not sure who against but it was in a hardcourt final.
     
    #5
  6. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    Maybe you're thinking of when Connors returned Mecir's serve from almost the service line the World Team Cup? Mecir was so nervous at the end he started hitting underhand serves. Connors looked like he was trying to take them out of the air.

    As far as unusual returning stances, I recommend viewing the Chang-Sampras '95 Masters SF. I've never seen anyone trying to take Sampras' serve that early, & it actually worked(have to check to see how far in the court he was, it seemed pretty crazy at the time)

    Chang is a very underrated returner, he had great hand-eye.

    Mecir also played Becker at the '89 USO, maybe he tried this there.

    I saw the '85 final in Atlanta they played recently & Annacone did this throughout. Score was 76,76,62.

    I get the sense that Annacone did this to all players, not just Mac. He's truly the most aggressive player I've seen, unwilling to hit any groundstrokes at all.

    No wonder Sampras started sort of playing that way after hooking up with Annacone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
    #6
  7. GS

    GS Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,313
    Location:
    Oakland
    Towards the end of his singles career, Annacone always came in after a first or second serve. It was pretty ballsy, but then he was a better doubles player.
     
    #7
  8. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    But the match I mentioned was 1985, hardly near the end of his career, more like the beginning.

    The commentators said that he played this way against everyone at the time, but were surprised that he would try it vs Mac(who prob had the best serve in the world at the time)

    Coming in on someone's 1st serve consistently is something I've never seen anyone try before. Mac had a 'is the guy for real?' look on his face much of the match.
     
    #8
  9. GS

    GS Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,313
    Location:
    Oakland
    Moose, as usual, you're right. Annacone played pro from 1984-1993, won 14 doubs titles and was runner-up in 26 others. He also won 3 singles tourneys, and coached Sampras from '95 to 2002.
     
    #9
  10. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533
    I wish I could have seen this!!

    Annacone with his 30 lb tensioned raquet, just chiping and charging like Dr. DIrt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
    #10
  11. daveyboy

    daveyboy Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    220
    It wasn't against becker that mecir did the return from the service line, it was at the Lipton in 87 or 88 I think. The video is on Google Video, just type in Mecir and it will show the highlights (and wow, they were highlights!) including the best use of angles I've ever seen.
     
    #11
  12. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    That footage is fantastic, it really deserves more views.
     
    #12
  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    It's possible I saw the '89 match. The one I remember finished at night. The only Mecir matches I remember seeing were his two Slam finals (both vs. Lendl), the win over Becker, the 5-set loss to Edberg at Wimbledon, and the Dallas win over McEnroe (would love to see that one again, I remember it as full of touch and angles).
     
    #13
  14. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    #14
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    It was similar to the way he broke a long losing streak to Lendl the next year, except that he'd beaten Lendl on big stages before. With Mecir the psychological barrier seemed greater. Near the end of the '87 match you can see how badly he wants the win; it's subtle but I've never quite seen something like that on Mats.

    The other difference is that after breaking the losing streak to Lendl, he never met him again in a major. But he met Mecir again, on Wilander's least favorite surface, and got swept in straight sets. I'm very interested in seeing that match, because I've been counting winners in so many matches; and I can only imagine the number of winners that Mecir could hit when he was in the zone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
    #15
  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Strange thing about this match, it was the only time Mecir beat Lendl. Their other 5 matches all went to Lendl in straight sets.
     
    #16
  17. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    6,581
    I saw Paul Annacone do exactly the same thing back in 1985 when he played the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne events (won Brisbane, semis in Sydney, runner-up in Melbourne ).

    The tactic wasn't in any way disrespectful and certainly wasn't designed to upset an opponent. On the contrary, it was devised to take full advantage of Annacone's excellent touch at net and protect his much weaker groundstrokes. Using that approach (chip-charge on everything) he got as high as #12 in early 1986 but the rewards came in 85. Of course, after a year or so it became very predictable and his ranking settled back around the 30's, 40's and 50's.
     
    #17
  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,769
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I remember Mecir well. The thing that most impressed me about him (and of course, I attempted to imitate) was his footwork: he just seemed to glide around the court. He hardly ran to the ball, but instead he seemed to float over to it. The videos seem to confirm this.

    In watching the video against Wilander, I note something similar on the strokes--a very graceful motion. Almost as if he is in slow motion. And his touch looks as good as MacEnroe's.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?d...=11&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
    I loved watching him surgically dissect his opponents, particularly Lendl. Amazing angles. Beautiful!

    "The Cat"
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
    #18
  19. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    how many have you done so far? what are your winner counts on Mecir in the Becker match?
     
    #19
  20. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,892
    Location:
    Northern MO
    I had never watched Mecir before. My new favorite player! That Wilander vs Mecir clip is how tennis is supposed to be played, when you get an opportunity to come into net, you take it and win the point. I never took a close look at Wilander's slice backhand either. When he hits it, you would think that he had a 1 handed backhand.
     
    #20
  21. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    I have almost two dozen that I've done myself. I have Mecir at 43 winners, Becker at 25 (all non-service, as usual), out of a total of 47 games. I marked down aces and doubles but have not counted them yet.
     
    #21
  22. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    wow, looking forward to seeing the results, will you be posting them here?

    btw, I think Mecir was still using a racquet that was at least partially made of wood in the 80s. what did it look like to you in the Becker match?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
    #22
  23. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    1,805
    It was Lendl that was doing most of the dissecting against Mecir. Lendl had a 5-1 lifetime record against "The Cat", and embarrassed him in both of the Slam finals where they met (6-2, 6-2, 6-2 for Lendl at the '89 Australian; 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 for Lendl at the '86 US Open).

    There is no doubt that Mecir was a huge talent, maybe even in the McEnroe territory. However, I always got the impression he was mentally soft or didn't work hard enough to capitalize on his gifts. In my mind, he's one of those guys that will always be considered one of the best to never win a Slam.

    By the way, thanks to krosero for posting that highlight clip of Mecir and Wilander from the '87 Open. As another poster said, I agree that this was a good example of how tennis is meant to be played (good offense and defense). Based on the inventory of his YouTube account, it looks like krosero is a Wilander fan... I am one also. He is my favorite player of all time!
     
    #23
  24. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    I recall hearing(maybe here from urban) that when Mecir beat like 10 Swedes in a row to win Hamburg one year, they were all very meticulous, professional about their diet, training, etc while he was eating hamburgers & milkshakes after every match.

    He's truly one of the most unique players I've seen.
     
    #24
  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    I will post them here, definitely. I'll keep posting them one at a time, as they're finished, but at some point I'll post some kind of overall list.

    As for the racquet, I usually don't pay attention to it after the matches of the early 80s. I'm pretty certain he's not using a small wooden racquet but I didn't pay attention to it.
     
    #25
  26. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    The story told by Barry McKay during the '87 match is that Wilander and Nystrom decided they'd better go on a better diet to beat this guy. Then they lost to him anyway and gave up trying to modify their diets.
     
    #26
  27. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    #27
  28. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    In the semis of the 87 FO, Lendl beat him in a very similar blowout. I would really like to know what the story was with that match in Key Biscayne. How is it that Mecir took Lendl out in straight sets but continued to lose to him in the Slams?

    I remember reading in Tennis Magazine that Lendl got the better of him in the USO final by hitting sharp crosscourt angles. (Don't own that match, though). I was reminded of that when Lendl drove a backhand crosscourt in that Key Biscayne clip, a tremendous angle, and Mecir still ran it down and won the point.

    He told Becker at the start of the 86 USO that he'd rather be home fishing. He was bothered by the crowds and intensity of New York, so it's impressive that he took out Becker after their semifinal had turned into a rowdy night match.

    The comparison with McEnroe is interesting for a few reasons. They both hit a lot of volleys without bending their knees; but Mecir was either just not as good at it, or too tall; he missed more of those than McEnroe did.

    And McEnroe did not work as hard as should have either.

    The apparent effortlessness of his strokes can be mistaken for indifference, but that's another issue.

    Glad you liked them, and definitely I'm a Wilander fan.

    Jay Berger was asked in 1988 if Agassi's forehand was the biggest weapon is tennis, and he said, no, Wilander's brain was.
     
    #28
  29. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    Mecir did freeze more than a few times on big occasions, I'm sure nerves were a factor in those slam finals. And that straight set win that Mecir won was very close, think it was close to 3 hours, it wasn't easy.

    which matches did you do(besides the ones that you posted here already)?

    I watch a lot of old matches, & have started doing this as well, was wondering if I'm doing some of the same ones you did.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
    #29
  30. RiosTheGenius

    RiosTheGenius Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    1,818
    I also recall Ivanisevic returning the Spooky Becker serve behind his back with his clownish pony tail
     
    #30
  31. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Good call, here are the matches I've done and not posted yet:

    Sampras-Becker 1996
    Mecir-Becker 1986 USO
    1987-89 USO finals
    Becker-Agassi 95W
    Noah-Vilas 86 TOC
    1982-83 USO finals
    1981-82 RG finals
    Borg-Connors 81 USO

    Only did fifth sets:

    Lendl-McEnroe 1984 RG
    Edberg-Cash 1987 AO

    Want to get to:

    Connors-Krickstein
    Becker-McEnroe in Hartford
    McEnroe-Connors 84 W (I have published stats but I want to do my own)
    Mecir-Wilander 88W (plan to buy it)

    Also, I doubt anyone owns this one, but when Agassi beat Jacco Eltingh 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, in the 1995 W quarters, he had 52 winners according to NBC. That's a rate of winners higher than McEnroe's in the 1984 Wimbledon final, which had been the highest I'd known about (35 winners in 22 games). However, service winners would be included in Agassi's total. And he had 7 aces. Do you know, are aces included today in winners counts?

    Which ones are you working on?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
    #31
  32. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    They are.

    Is the complete match available anywhere? I thought Rick only has a few games of it. I don't have the complete '88 W match of Mecir vs Edberg, only part of the 5th set, but I see a lot of winners hit in what I do have. Wouldn't be surprised if that one is up there in terms of winners hit in grasscourt matches.

    Generally I was going to just stick to matches I bought, but hadn't got around to watching yet(there are many & they aren't all particularly famous matches), but you made me think about revisting some other matches I've watched in the past (I have a few other Mecir matches that I might re-watch now like Dallas '87 or IW '89 vs Noah)

    I've already done this one, Sampras-Krajicek '96 W.

    Working on '79 USO Mac-Gerulaitis, & '96 RR Becker-Sampras. Was thinking about doing the (incomplete) '81 Masters final between Lendl & Gerulaitis, that was one of the most agressive matches I've seen(Vitas came in on everything)
    Was thinking of doing '95 davis cup agassi-wilander(since I haven't watched it yet, & am very curious about the Agassi net stats you mentioned when they played in '88 & wanted to see how much things changed by '95)

    also want to re-watch some of my Borg matches, since he didn't come out that high in some of the W matches you did. I'm thinking he did better in that stat indoors.

    do you have any requests? I have a ton, & can get through some dvds quickly. I've gotten better at this 'stat taking' thing. The most matches I have involve Mac.

    I'm a bit surprised you are doing more recent matches, I thought you were just doing wood racquet era matches & other 80s matches, since the game changed quite a bit in the 90s in terms of amount of winners hit (& match stats are more easily found on them)

    I don't have this match, but Agassi was playing some of the best tennis he ever played at that event, so I'm not that surprised by that stat. I was pretty shocked he lost to Becker actually.

    Agassi in '95 in general may have been the most prolific stage of his career in terms of hitting a ton of winners.

    If you really want to figure out who had the highest winner count per game(excluding service winners) it would have to be a Federer match I imagine, I've never seen anyone consistently hit as many winners off the ground. And Gasquet vs Roddick at W this year had to be up there in that department.

    just remembered you can get that Eltingh match here:

    http://www.tennislegendondvd.com/
     
    #32
  33. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    You're right, disappointing.

    After doing a few recent matches I still plan to work back into the 80s and 70s, and earlier if I can get my hands on early matches. The Laver stats were some of the most interesting; and the farther back you go the less published stats there are.

    Will order the Eltingh match and do the stats.

    I would have guessed Federer too. But I do have one stat collected on him, against Safin at the '05 AO. ESPN has him, after 43 games, at 49 winners (with Safin at 31).

    I have the rates computed in an Excel chart, and the rate directly above Federer's is Sampras' against Safin at the 2000 USO. Both rates are close to 1.14 winners per game.

    Among other matches in which service is being counted, Safin himself in that 2000 match is at 1.32. Connors in his Krickstein match is at 1.68 (the highest I've seen, but I need to subtract service if I want to know if it really had more "rally" winners than McEnroe at 84W). I don't know of other rates higher than Federer's in the years since service started being included, but I've barely started looking.

    If you subtract service from Federer's number, his rate will go down. He had 22 aces in the whole match against Safin, so let's say that after 43 games he had a total of 25 aces and service winners (just a guess). That would leave him at around 24 "rally" winners.

    Does that sound right to you? Safin had 16 total aces, and after 43 games he had only 31 winners (including service). Taking out service would not leave him with many winners from groundies/volleys.

    Anyway, some rates from older matches, service excluded, are already higher than Federer has with his service aces/winners included: Lendl in the 1987-88 USO finals; your own count for Connors at 77W; Agassi against Wilander at RG; Connors-Borg at Forest Hills; and Laver-Newcombe at W (Directly below Federer at a rate of 1.13 is Laver against Ashe, taken by Urban). And those are just the ones we've done, where we are sure that service is not being included. There are very similar rates in a bunch of other matches with published stats, although I don't always know if those matches include service.

    Now I've gotten myself curious. Count Safin-Federer as one that I intend to do -- but it won't be immediately, and if you've got the time and energy for this match, or any other, by all means help yourself :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
    #33
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    P.S. It seems the only common area we have in our plans might be Borg matches, so just let me know what you're doing for him, and vice versa if I do something.
     
    #34
  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    #35
  36. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    777
    I think Mecir used a low string tension. I enjoyed watching his matches. He seemed to feed off the power supplied and hold the ball on his strings. Very smooth player.
     
    #36
  37. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533
    Mecir was the real Magician!

    Not this Santoro crap. Where the guy does it to get applause.

    Mecir did it becausit worked. He did it not to try make the other guy look bad, he just did because it worked.

    A real artist.

    For some reason Lendl was the one guy that could really take him apart. I think Lendl got so angry when he lost in Miami that he studied Mecir like a med student does anatomy and effectively dissected his game down to a science.

    I still think that if Mecir just had a bigger serve he would be the GOAT. And all of us would be trying to hit flat shots instead of all these topsin stuff. Just a thought.
     
    #37
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    The thing is, it was not the lack of a big serve that resulted in those bad losses to Lendl. The weakish serve did not prevent Mecir from having his way with topspinning Swedes and from toppling more powerful players like Edberg and Becker. Lendl beat him badly (starting at the 86 USO, before the loss in Florida) for other reasons. Mecir did not bring his best game, apparently, to his only two Slam finals, so that does not bode well for his GOAT-ness, so to speak.

    I think he had a bit of sensitive artist's temperament, someone who could wish to be fishing when the heat of the competitive tennis circuit became grueling, or frightful.

    It's not that I wish to under-appreciate him. He's a player I wish every tennis player would get to see; and his best game was formidable. But GOAT is asking a lot.
     
    #38
  39. djsiva

    djsiva Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    533
    Fair enough. But you have to admit, if he had a big serve, Lendl would not have broken him so much. As for returning he was probably one if not the best ever.

    You're right about his head though. I don't know how he lost to Edberg at Wimbledon the year Edberg eventually won. The guy was returning and hitting passes that were unreal with a racquet that was probably 10 years behind the current techology at the time.
     
    #39
  40. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Yes, the Lendl matches would have been closer. And possibly all that Mecir needed was to get into those matches, and perhaps they would have been dogfights then. Tremendous return, you're right.

    After he lost to him, Becker said he was the fastest player he had encountered.
     
    #40
  41. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    One other thing about Lendl-Mecir, both were from Czechoslokia, which was a very different country in the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if Mecir was already somewhat beaten before they stepped on court together.

    krosero, it turns out I have more of the Mecir-Edberg W match than I thought.

    at 2-1 in the 5th set, NBC flashes some stats on both players.
    Mecir had 68 winners at that point, 15 forehands, 24 backhands, 26 nets pts, 3 serves.
    I watched the rest of the match & counted 4 more winners. Subtracting the 3
    serves gives us 69 winners, an astonishing total for someone on grass who played predominantly from the baseline.

    In contrast Edberg had 40 winners from net, 7 from forehands, 7 from backhands, 11 from serves as of 2-1 in the 5th set.

    after the 3rd set, the winner count was 51 for Mecir, 38 from Edberg. That's from 28 games. That's means Mecir dramatically reduced his winner count in the last 2 sets, & had an unreal count in the 1st 3.

    I really want to see those 1st 2 sets now, because some of the shots Mecir hit in the 4th & 5th set were unbelievable, & that's with stats showing his form had dropped by then.

    Time & time again he was hitting clean winners off Edberg's 1st serve. Edberg just shook his head in disbelief. I don't think I've seen that kind of returning from anyone in the 'fast grass' era except Agassi, & in the 80s the gap between S&V players & baseliners on grass was bigger than the 90s imo.

    I can only imagine what Mecir did to Wilander. Wilander isn't being completely honest when he recently said he 'played with no balls' vs Mecir that year, from what I've seen in the Edberg match, when Mecir was in the zone no one could beat him. And Mats had a poor record vs Mecir, even on clay, so I have trouble believing that Mats could have come up with any different strategy that would have changed the result that year.

    Edberg really dodged a bullet that year, he looked relieved when it was over. I'm an Edberg fan as well, but I really would have loved to see a Mecir-Becker final that year, it could have been something special.

    Bud Collins said 'Mecir is the most remarkable player in the game to watch' during the Edberg match.

    And commentators were remarking that Mecir already had a lot of back problems in '88, & was wearing a back brace in the match.

    And I agree, with Mecir's height, he should have had a better serve, & may have posted some even better results. It seemed quite weak compared to all the other top guys in the 80s.

    The game that Mecir played to break to go up to 3-1 in the 5th needs to be on youtube, he was returning Edberg's 1st serve on fast low bouncing, bad bouncing grass, like it was nothing.

    He had many chances to break in the 7th game of the 4th set, some amazing returning in that game as well.

    This was one of the best grasscourt matches I've seen(& I haven't seen all of it) Such great contrast.

    Krosero do you have any NY times article on this match?
     
    #41
  42. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    (10 characters)
     
    #42
  43. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Nice discussions and informations here. Imo Mecir's semi against Edberg was one of the best grass returning i have seen - for 2 and a half set. Then he got nervous and lost his timing. Mecir could hit well disguised returns from both flanks, and nobody could read the direction. Especially the backhand was deadly. He was also a great ball striker, with not much topspin. His problem was his weak serve and his nerves. And he was somewaht stiff in the back, he looked as if he had swallowed a stick. Later he had big trouble with his back. Mecir and Leconte were imo the most talented players in the 80s, but couldn't make it to the real top- for psychological and physical problems (Leconte had weak legs and an undefined upper body, to make a friendly comment).
     
    #43
  44. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    Messages:
    422
    I remember the Wilander vs Mecir and Edberg vs Mecir well. Mecir destoryed Wilander. Mats didn't have a chance. Mecir was in the zone. He was playing great fantastic tennis. Mats tried everything but was just beaten by a better player that day. Mecir played the same way vs Edberg. I really thought Edberg was going to lose. The 1st 2 sets Mecir was whipping Edberg's butt big time. I really think this was the match that brought out Edberg's champions heart. Before this match he would put his head down when things weren't going his way but he some how clawed his way back and Mecir started cooling off.

    Moose, I agree with you. The Edberg vs Mecir match was one of the best grass court matches of all time. It was way better then the Fed and Nadal match this year.

    As for Mats stating that he didn't have balls, I think he was referring to his losts to Pat Cash. In those matches he was playing with "no balls" Cash took it to him and he just withered away like a puss.
     
    #44
  45. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    So this would put Mecir at a rate of 1.47 winners per game. Among matches in which we've done the counting ourselves, I have only Lendl higher, at 1.57, in the 1988 USO final. McEnroe at 84W is at 1.59. It's a little tricky comparing close matches with blowouts, however, because the games in the 1984 W final were shorter (I have not checked that but I think it's a safe working assumption).

    I remember the Edberg match, but it may have been one of those times where I tuned into a hack job on the NBC coverage, with only the comeback recorded (like the Connors-Pernfors match; all I've ever seen starts at 1-4 in the third set). I don't remember seeing Mecir's sets. But the fifth set is one of the most enjoyable I've ever seen on grass.

    There is no one left like Mecir, but even in his time he was unique. It's just that in 1986 I was so new to tennis I really didn't know what that meant; now it's a totally different story.

    Mecir's rate in the first three sets (if we subtract 1 serve, as a guess) is at 1.79. That is incredible. If he did the same against Wilander then we would have a full match rate that exceeded McEnroe's, although if Wilander did not come into net like Edberg I don't expect to see as many passing shots from Mecir.

    Thanks for doing the stats, Moose. I have just one request with this: can you complete Edberg's stats from 1-2 in the fifth?
     
    #45
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,769
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Mostly true, but not on that day in the video of the Lipton. I think this was Mecir's one win against Lendl, and it was a doozy!
     
    #46
  47. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,916
    urban & Zimbo, how do you think Mecir would have fared vs Becker in the final had he made it?
     
    #47
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    Stats for Mecir-Becker, 1986 USO SF

    Mecir d. Becker, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
    (47 games)

    At 2-3 in the fourth set, Mecir was serving at 74%, Becker at 56%, per CBS. Following below are my own stats (unless otherwise noted).


    Mecir had 2 aces, 0 service winners, 0 doubles.
    Becker had 12 aces, 10 service winners, 11 doubles.


    Mecir had 43 winners: 10 FH, 17 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 smashes.

    Becker had 25 winners: 14 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 smash.

    Mecir’s winners by set: 7, 5, 14, 12, 5
    Becker’s winners by set: 5, 4, 6, 3, 7

    Sets 1, 4, and 5 went against the set leader in winners. Becker’s stronger service cannot explain the discrepancies. This is particularly true for the fourth set, which Mecir led in winners by 12 to 3, against only two aces for Boris. Instead this suggests that sets went to the player making fewer errors. This was not one of those matches, like the loss to Nystrom in 1985 (or Gilbert in 1987), when Becker just made a lot of unforced errors. Mecir is making his share, and Becker does not seem to me like he’s making an extraordinary number of unforced errors; he really seems outplayed. Some of Mecir’s offpace shots were a problem for him, but he got a lot of fast flat balls from Mecir.

    In fact at 5-3 in the second, Mecir had made more unforced errors than Becker, 17 to 14 (per CBS).

    In the second and fourth set Becker had only forehand winners, nothing else (apart from service).

    The contrast with the backhand is remarkable: 14 winners to 2 over the course of the match.


    Mecir had more winners from ground strokes than from volleys/smashes (27 to 16). That is expected. But it is also true of Becker (by 16 to 9), a greater surprise. This suggests that one reason he lost was his failure to come in more.

    Becker said after the match that he wasn't quite sure whether to come in behind second serve. At times he also looks uncertain at the net.


    Mecir returned 5 of Becker’s serves with clean winners, always off the backhand. Two were returns of second serves; the rest were first serves.

    Mecir had 9 passing shots that were not returns, including 7 backhands. He had no lob winners.

    I don't have the net stats, but in the 42-game USO final in 1989, Lendl passed Becker 19 times and hit 5 return winners. Per CBS, Becker approached 104 times. If we went by Mecir’s return winners and passing shots, Becker came in about half that much in 1986.


    Becker had 3 FH returns of Mecir’s first serve and 1 FH return of a second serve. He had 4 passing shots that were not returns: 3 FH's and a BH.

    Mecir served a very clean match, with only 2 aces but no doubles. Becker cleaned up his doubles after the first set, in which he had 7; he had no more doubles after the third set.


    There were 3 breaks in each of the first two sets, and 1 in each of the remaining sets. Mecir was broken 4 times, Becker 5 times.
     
    #48
  49. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    Messages:
    422
    IF he played the same way that he did against the Swedes I think he had a very good chance of winning. He was so in the zone that I don't think Becker would have beaten him especially IF Becker played at the same level that he played against Edberg. I still can't believe how well Mecir was playing. Fantastic tennis.

    That said. The biggest stage in tennis, could Mecir keep it up? I don't think so. Mecir would have shown some nerves and Becker would have dismantled him.

    What do you think guys?
     
    #49
  50. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    The final vs. Becker is difficult to rate. If i remember it right, the final that year was postponed for most of the match to Monday, and Becker was a little flat due to the strange lifeless atmosphere on Centre Court. And Edberg came in with a big psychological boost after his comeback win. Edberg wasn't strong mentally, too, a bit like Mecir in that department. But he had beaten him in close DC match before.
    Becker had lost to Mecir at the 1986 USO, complaining about the soft, "women-like" serve. At Wim 1986 he had beaten him in straights. I would go for Becker, because of Mecir's nerves.
     
    #50

Share This Page