Mel Purcell - What can you tell me about him?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gpt, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    In the 80's I noticed Mel Purcell's name in the results and the rankings at the back of tennis magazines. He beat top ten players including Becker and Lendl. He never came to Australia and I never saw him play on TV. What was his game like?
     
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  2. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    I should have written that I don't remember him coming to Australia
     
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  3. spt

    spt Rookie

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    I remember him playing with a Wilson ultra and running around just about every backhand to hit a forehand .
     
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  4. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    He was very quick and consistent. SPT, you're right, he did use a Wilson Ultra. I recall that he was quite good on har tru (rubico) for example. He did register some big wins in the 1980's as he broke into the top 20. He reached the 4th rd at the FO ('81 and '82) and the QF at Wimbledon. He was from Kentucky. A car accident in 1985 curtailed his career.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a wikipedia excerpt:

     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011
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  5. bigmatt

    bigmatt Rookie

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    I saw him play at a tournament in Alabama over 30 years ago. A ball popped up off the tape to his backhand side, he ran around, ducked under it, and clocked a forehand for a winner.
    One of the fastest players I'd ever seen; just not enough size and srtength to make it to the top.
     
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  6. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I hate to stereotype (although by doing it maybe I dont hate it that much) but he truly had Kentucky boy written all over him.
     
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  7. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I used to like to watch him when he was on the tour. As I remember, his big weapon was his semi-western forehand. He hit an Eastern backhand which he used for both flat/topspin and to slice the ball, which was an odd looking shot (try slicing a backhand with a full eastern grip). So-so server.

    The last time I saw him play was way after he retired from the tour and was in Purchase, NY. He was playing JMac in some Exo who, of course, was pulling his usual cr$p. It went from quiet chuckles that this was part of the "entertainment", to realization that JMac wasn't kidding to downright embarrassment.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Before Arias and Kkrickstein, I´d say Mel was probably the most solid US CC player in the early 80´s ( maybe along Eliot Teltscher).As fast as Dibbs, but more powerful and hit with considerable top spin.Always a fighter on court, I always expected him to do much better than he really did.
     
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  9. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    Saw Borg destroy him at Wimbledon in 1981. Seemed quite a decent player but Borg was clinical.
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Borg played much better the 1981 W , which he lost in the finals, than the 1980, which he won.His path to the final was unbelievable, including that breathtaking classic semifinal vs Connors.He swept the floor with guys like Purcell,Rennert,Ghering, Gerulaitis and Mc Namara.
     
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  11. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    He was a pure grinder - got to most balls but really didn't have a killer shot. very fit, fast and played from the backcourt but was a solid doubles player.

    I Played against him in college in 1979 - 80 he managed to hang around the top 50 for awhile and even top 20 and won a few smaller events. Had wins against Lendl and Becker and has been the coach at Murray State (hes been there for years)
     
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  12. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    Too right. The semi with Connors is one of my all time favourite matches. I remember watching it on TV, glued to my seat.

    Seeing Borg in the flesh at his peak was Incredible and ranks as my all time tennis highlight...Mr Purcell was there too!
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I think Borg has seldom played better than the 1981 Wimbledon tournament...till the final, when he was soundly beaten by Mc Enroe.Still it took 2 tie breaks for John to beat the swede.

    Borg and Connors have had many big matches.Some people will say that their rr match in the 1979 Masters at MSG is the best indoor game played ever.Borg later said in his book that it was the most exhilarating match he had played until that moment.
     
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  14. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Rookie

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    he and rodney harmon were a 1, 2 punch at the univ of tenn.
     
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  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Well? You can't just leave it at that! Tell us about the match!

    I saw him play a doubles match with Vince Van Patten around 83-83. They were like twin brothers as a doubles team, worked very well together.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
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  16. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I had a good friend who won the Sugar bowl when we were juniors and he and Mel came up together. Both boys did like to party and Mel went onto becoming the far better player and from what my friend said, a much better partier as well :)

    Oh, and my family was from Kentucky and I resemble that remark.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nice looking Mel had all the girls chasing him¡¡¡

    So did Van Patten, who was running the TV show " eight is enough".
     
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  18. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    Mel was probably the fastest player I ever saw. Also had a deadly kick serve. Yes, Mel was without a doubt in the upper 1% of partiers.
     
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