Remembering Lendl.....and Chang

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I came across this YouTube video - and all the rally's in it are top quality between Lendl and Chang. It was the early 90's at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajg4tkJtG6k

    What strikes me is a number of things:

    1/ The amazing versatility of Lendl's backhand. His forehand is so celebrated...but here he demonstrates how is rock solid his backhand top spin and slice are.

    2/ The speed of Chang

    3/ re. The Grand Slam Cup - showing the intensity of both players it shows up the myth of that not being a 'real tournament'. I remember the tournament - all of the players put in huge efforts to win it. I personally rate it equal in achievement to the WCT finals (except maybe the early 70's WCT finals when that was a defacto major).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
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  2. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    im still surprised chang was able to beat lendl a couple of times. you would think lendl would lead in all strokes and categories except foot speed. maybe chang was mentally tougher too tho
     
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  3. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    Well, you shouldn't overlook the fact that Chang had a massive underhand serve.

    Somehow after reading the TT i was expecting another video..
     
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  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    This was another big match where Chang beat Lendl after trailing by 2 sets.
     
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  5. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Some amazing points there - very entertaining!
     
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  6. helloworld

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    It should be noted that Chang has youth on his side. He was MUCH younger than Lendl at that point.
     
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  7. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    I reckon prime Lendl would smoke Chang easily on any surface.
     
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  8. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Yes, I tend to agree, but it's tennis so upsets can occur of course. Prime Lendl is stronger on every surface by some distance.
     
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  9. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Lendl smoking Chang

    Even on old Lendl dominated Chang. When Lendl was a year older than this video (32) he beat Chang 4 times in a row with the loss of no sets!

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=L018&oId=C274
     
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  10. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    he probably figured out a strategy to beat chang, he used to keep notebooks of players from all his matches. and if you look at his head to head against alot of players, he ends up beating them consistently many times in a row after a few losses...ie - mcenroe, and connors
     
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  11. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    That's impressive timnz. So, this match was their third meeting, after they had split their first two matches. There was some great points in that clip, with plenty of volleys and passing shots. Chang made some nice volleys and pickups. Lendl's backhand is versatile.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    No no way it compares to WCT which was a full tour
    At most it compares to Pepsi
     
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  13. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    this was probably discussed before:
    Lendl - Chang RG 89 match:
    why the hell Lendl didn't shoot away all of those moonball returns by poor struggling Chang? WHY? watched it again today, all he does is just safely returning balls back to Chang for 2 sets, while today every other player would have slaughtered Chang in 10 minutes. anyone?
     
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  14. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    An amazing match.

    I loved the Grand Slam Cup. Top players fought very hard to win it, with best-of-five-sets matches in several rounds. It offered a huge prize money.

    This Chang-Lendl match is absolutely great. Baseline rallies, volleys, passing-shots, some serve-and-volley points.....very very entertaining.

    Lendl was nº5 in the world (he was 31 y.o.) and Chang was nº15 (he was 19 y.o.).

    Lendl was coming from the WTF ("The Masters") where he annihilated the other three top-8 players in his group (he defeated Guy Forget by 6-2 6-4, Jim Courier by 6-2 6-3 and Karel Novacek by 6-2 6-2 ) before losing to Sampras in the SF.

    Chang was always very dangerous anywhere, on any court. He could volley very well, he could hit with pace when he chose to, he varied the shots and the rythm to upsets rivals, he'd do anything to win, and he was a clever tennis player (and of course he was one of the fastest ever, he would never get tired, and he had great passing-shots and lobs).

    To defeat someone as tough and absolutely great as Lendl was, two different times, from 2 sets to 0 down in two very big tournaments....it shows you how mentally strong and stable Michael Chang was.
     
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  15. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    no thoughts on this?
     
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  16. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I was comparing the Dallas WCT finals with the Munich Grand Slam Cup - not the whole WCT tour.
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    WCT finals built their prestige not just on tons of dolars.
     
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  18. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Lendl's forehand was not very good for an Agassi-like driving forehand volley winner.

    He did it sometimes, but was not too confident with that kind of shot. He was more confident trying a classic volley. (Today all players can hit and are used to hit those Agassi-like drive volleys, but back in the 80s it was much less common of a shot, and Lendl's long winded backswing didn't help either).

    Also they were playing on slow clay court (RG) and even though Chang was (supposedly) cramping in the last set, still he was able to run fast during the points (if needed) and hit amazing passing-shots and lobs.

    So Lendl didn't feel confident enough in that moment, against that kind of player, on that clay court, to try drive-volley winners off of those moonballs Chang was hitting.

    Chang also hit many moonballs in the 1995 RG SF against Bruguera, because even though Bruguera's forehand was absolutely great, its very long winded backswing didn't help for that type of shot and Bruguera was hesistant during the match about trying a drive volley (because Chang was able to get to them and hit winner passing-shots off of them, if they were not perfect) or not. Most of the times, he just went back, waited for the moonball to bounce and then hit a heavy top-spin groundstroke from 5 m behind the baseline.

    In the final against Muster, Chang didn't try moonballing Muster, because he knew perfectly well that Muster did know how to put away those moonballs with his forehand (drive forehand volley).
     
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  19. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    thanks ^^^
    i guess you know what you say.
    but it really looked pretty ridiculous in those last games.
    i saw Lendl hit good drive shots when needed, so being a bit more risky could have given him at least a game breaker to secure winning IMO. or maybe it was inner mercy ? ;)
     
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  20. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Also Lendl looked very tense in the last parts of the match.

    He was leading comfortably 6-4 6-4 and suddenly the match started to change.

    He lost the third and fourth sets both 6-3.

    He was playing against a 17 years old teen in a R16 of Roland Garros and was finding it so hard to finish that stubborn and smart kid.

    He (Lendl) was the nº1 player in the world, three times RG champion (and five times finalist) and was struggling against a 17 y.o. cramping kid.

    I think Lendl got really tense and didn't want to try uncomfortable and risky (for him) shots in those moments. He saw Chang cramping and probably thought it was enough to move him from the baseline till Chang failed a shot.

    But Chang was always a deceiver, he could still move fast if needed and hit great winner shots (passing-shots and baseline winner shots) out of nowhere in those final moments, something that upset even more the robotic Lendl, who always wanted to feel everything under control.

    Add to that that Chang underhand serve and Lendl was totally freaking out not knowing what to expect in the final moments of that hilarious match.

    And to put the nail in the coffin, down match-point Lendl serving (a second serve), Chang moved in to receive and placed himself just on the service line. Lendl totally freaked out and complained to the umpire, but the umpire said Chang's position was legal. Lendl doublefaulted and it was the end.

    It was epic.

    To be able to do that to someone like Ivan Lendl in that time, by a 17 y.o. kid.....it was really really amazing. I couldn't believe what I was watching at that time.
     
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  21. Paul Murphy

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    Thanks for posting - some lovely stuff there.
     
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