Sampras builds the perfect player from his rivals

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Michael Bluth, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    At the end of his book, Sampras lists his main rivals, his head to heads with them, and talks about the matchups for a paragraph or two. At the very end he lists how he would build the perfect player from their games.

    First Serve: Goran
    Second Serve: Stich
    Forehand: Ferreira, Becker or Andre
    Backhand: Andre
    " All Court Game"(His words in the book): Becker or Stich
    Volleys: Edberg or Rafter
    Speed: Chang or Hewitt
    Return: Agassi
    Mental: Courier

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    most of them are pretty much expected, but becker and ferriera for FH with no mention of courier ????
     
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  3. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that player would murder Federer.
     
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  4. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    most of the choices look logical.
    i especially like the 1st serve and the volleys... my 3 favorite players of these times, just before pete. :)
    good to see that he mentions pat despite that little ankward incident between them...
    (btw no mention of rusedski ?!) ;)
     
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  5. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    wayne ferreira FTW!
     
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  6. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    This combination equals the greatest player ever.
     
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  7. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    Wayne Ferreira had a great FH, it was about the only weapon he had, and it kept him in the subtop of the game for a very long time.
     
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  8. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    The perfect player is prime Federer and prime Sampras combined.
     
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  9. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Agree that Federer serve is not as dominating as Sampras and if he played the same agressive SV game, he would be accepted as the GOAT by more of the old school players. Federer has the speed but not the vollies of Edberg, so add that and the package is close to perfection.
     
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  10. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Yes, interesting that Federer was not named.
     
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  11. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    He wasn't really a rival of Sampras.

    As to Fed, I agree, that with the Sampras serve, and Edberg's volley's, you'd have a great argument for a perfect player EXCEPT, Fed would also require a lobotomy. He's as cool, calm, and collected as any great champion when facing known lesser opponents...but he isn't very outstanding against an established, genuine, formidable threat, who will not wilt. So, stick somebody else in for mental fortitude and I'd go along with it.
     
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  12. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Very good point Data !
    All the gifts are useless without a champions mentality. Ok, how about adding Bjorns mental mix ?
     
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  13. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    ferreira beat sampras 6 times , i think thats why he mentioned him..
     
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  14. Bashi

    Bashi Rookie

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    did he consider putting himself in? i mean i would have chosen his second serve
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Great player, but needs a better backhand.
     
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  16. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    ^^^Fed's one-hander four to five years ago was very strong.

    Plus, the perfect player should have a one-handed backhand. For aesthetics. :D
     
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  17. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Except Federer is super strong mentally. Borg was mentally strong? He flat out quit the game it got to him so bad. Everybody gets rattled. When Fed was barely losing those three years, he wasn't always playing his A game, people don't give him credit for beating inspired players simply by refusing to blink. He shows emotion, has always showed emotion, but that shouldn't automatically be assumed to be a weakness. In tennis as in life, I think most of the cowardly people are afraid to show emotion.

    Anyway, I really do think Fed's mental toughness is underestimated. He loves being number 1. Sometimes people just outplay him. I guess it's a testament to his greatness that people assume he mentally wilted when people beat him, as if he's physically invincible.
     
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  18. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Hmmm....well you know this is heretical to Borg's many devout fans, but I think Borg and Federer have a lot in common. Both were ultra-cool and relaxed and icy against the lesser field, but Borg ended up walking away entirely when his "Nadal" arrived. Federer just did a lot of crying, a bit of collapsing, and a lot of denial. Admittedly, Bjorn was probably even mentally stronger than Federer in his salad years, and he did have to deal with people like Connors, whom I don't think Fed would have handled well at all....but still....if I had to make the best player possibly...I might even take, speak of the devil, and I hate to say it, Connors. I don't know if there was any player quite as tough overall, and quite as resilliant against GOAT level players as Connors. Being a first class jerk may have even helped him in this regard. One thing, about Connors, you could be an all-time great, you could have his number, you could beat him in big matches repeatedly, and you knew, next time, he'd just be more determined to have your head!
     
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  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Sorry "loves being #1" does NOT EQUAL "mental toughness".

    The last line is just silly. People don't "assume" he mentally wilted when people beat him. People make there judgments based on other factors. Perhaps it's you who need to analyze your criteria for this judgement if you base it on such a superficial analysis. Nor does it make any rational sense to say that such an assumption (were it true, and it's obviously not a judgement made in general, as observers seem quite willing to judge a mental collapse from simply being outplayed, even when both scenarios involve a loss), is a "testament to his greatness"....perhaps you meant "testament to his physical greatness" which would make some sense.
     
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  20. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    I am surprised he didnt pick Courier for the forehand, excluding Lendl or Federer who werent really his contemporaries of course. I would pick Courier's forehand over any of those he named.
     
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  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Datacipher,
    It's funny that you wrote here about how Federer would deal with Connors. In a lot of my imaginary tennis matchups I have thought about how Federer would deal with a Connors c. 1978 at the US Open and I came to the same conclusion as you, that Federer would have problems dealing with Connors and all he brings like inciting the crowd, aside from Connors' super tennis game. I'm not saying that Federer wouldn't defeat Connors (although that would be very hard at Flushing Meadow) but all the psychological pressure would give Federer problems I think. It would be a different type of pressure than the normal pressure Federer deals with during a tennis.

    For pure groundstroking you can't get much better than Jimmy Connors in the Open Era. The guy was fast, had great attacking groundstrokes on both sides, great footwork and speed plus arguably the greatest return ever and his volley was good. Even the really old timers like Kramer and Vines thought Connors had incredibly perfect strokes. If Connors had just a good serve, it would be stunning how good his record could have been and considering he won over 140 tournaments, it's pretty stunning now.

    Sampras choices are interesting and in general I like them. When I read the book I was surprised he liked Stich's game so much and how he feared him but Stich was such an amazing talent. So gifted.
     
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  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not disagreeing, but I should point out that "some persons" seem to believe that Fed loses only when he's either injured or physically sick. Otherwise, (for them) he never loses, and thus is invincible.
     
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  23. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    most of them are no brainer choices...

    the only question mark would be that he doesnt mention his owner...

    Krajicek... :)
     
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  24. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I agree that Connors maybe the toughest competitor ever with his mental mix. Bjorn had to deal with both Jimbo and all of Macs antics. It was unbelievable how cool Bjorn was in many of those situations, almost as if nothing was really happening. Another great competitor that nobody liked to play and most lost against was Pancho Gonzales. As you noted, "being a first class jerk" may really help to make an outstanding champion. Most of these types would never cry about a loss, they would be thinking about how it would be turned around the next time. I think Bjorn just reached the point where he no longer wanted to deal with any jerks like Mac and Lendl.
     
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  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Actually McEnroe was fairly well behaved with Borg. McEnroe claims it was because he felt he needed to conserve his energy when he played Borg in order to beat him but I also think it was because McEnroe was a good buddy of Borg. Borg accepted McEnroe and McEnroe didn't want to disrespect his good friend.

    According to McEnroe's book Borg, Vitas Gerulaitis and McEnroe used to hand out together.
     
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  26. ac3111

    ac3111 Professional

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    I started watching tennis because of the Sampras vs Agassi duel...
    When Sampras retired lost interest in tennis.
    Great champions and competitors but I don't think they could prevail players like Nadal or Federer at their best...
    I try to imagine the best of all these Changs, Rafters and the rest of the 90's against the best Rafa or Roger. And it is like hitting your head against a wall...
    Rafa and Roger are something like a crushing machine, whatever you throw in it will be crushed...
     
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  27. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Connors FH was relatively weak with low balls that had very little pace. Ashe exploited that in their 1975 Wim F with a load of junk balls/slices to Connors' FH. Agassi, Nalbandian, Davydenko are , IMO, much better overall ball-strikers than Connors.

    Also, I don't agree that Feds is mentally weak. It depends on what you use as the criteria for mental strength.

    It takes a lot of mental strength to believe in yourself even after you have been given some bad losses by your nemesis. If Fed had fallen of the cliff after his AO loss to Nadal, you might have a point. But he didn't. He continued to believe in himself, giving himself the opportunities to win the next major.

    Sampras, after 1997, "gave up" on the FO. That, to me, is a sign of mental weakness. Albeit, of a different kind. Borg retired after his 1981 USO F loss to Mac. That is a sign of mental weakness. Fed had many occasions where he could have given up mentally - most notably, after his FO drubbing by Nadal in 2008, after his heart-breaking loss to Nadal in Wim 2008, or after his 5th-set letdown in the AO last year. After all, Nadal was at the peak and seemed to have reined in Federer, and the field. Instead, he refused to buckle. He continued to believe in his game and got paid for it.

    Fed is as mentally strong as they come. He is just a lot more emotional than the "macho" players of the past.
     
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  28. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    That is true, and he dealt with it incredibly well. If it weren't for him walking away just when the heat was really on, I wouldn't have have any real criticism of him...though he did have other isolated breakdownish moments eg. night match against Tanner at the USO.

    True again, regarding Pancho...I recall once that they interviewed many players in the earely 90's about who they would want to play on their behalf, with everything on the line, the majority picked Connors. Connors himself picked Gonzalez and/or Mcenroe.

    I don't think that being a first class jerk is a necessary condition, and in many cases, it probaby hurts you as a competitor but in the cases of Connors, Pancho, Hewitt...and some select others, they seemed able to use it. I think especially when it came to getting over losses and not letting anyone get the psychological better of then.

    Sort of like the way Mcenroe, Nastase, Connors, Pancho and others, at least at times (Mcenroe and Nastase both felt it began to hurt them later) were able to use anger and temper to fuel better play, though for the majority, it just makes you worse!
     
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  29. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I think Federer would have LOADS of problems with Connors both in game and psychology, and I've stated it before. I agree with your points. Of course, nobody can be completely immune to a guy like Connors, who has no shame, no scruples, orchestrating 20,000 people to want your blood, manipulating umpires, pumping fists, swearing, obscene gestures....at that point you cannot help but have it on your mind to some extent, so it depends on how well you deal with it. I also think Connors consistent and flat groundstrokes are big trouble for Fed, perhaps you could make some comparison to a Nalbandian. But Connors strokes, and control of the ground, ability to keep the ball out of the target zone, will annoy Federer. You're exactly right in that Connors footwork is underrated. It's a huge part of his talent. It wasn't pretty like Federer, but it was super quick, and extrmely precise.

    Federer should beat him, (though again, it won't be easy) on the physical alone, but the mental? Who knows. I think Fed would still win the majority of matches, but I could also actually see Connors owning him in a real rivalry. Fed's game requires a fine balance, and if anyone can throw you off, it's Jimbo. Fed would also need to maintain that balance for every set he wants to win, because as we know, you can clean Connors clock for 2 sets, but if you go off in the 3rd, he's waiting to strike. Ironically, if Fed didn't become completely shell-shocked, it would be good for his game in the long run. If he was able to pull it together, he'd really learn to be tough as nails!

    PS. I was a BIT suprised about Stich as well. Certainly Stich had all the shots, and good touch, and amazing agility for his build and size....so yes, quite a potential threat. Still, I wasn't sure Stich's second serve is the BEST. Sampras once mentioned that Flipper might have the best 2nd serve in the game...Krajicek arguably had a better first serve than Stich but probably his 2nd serve was worse (IMO)....I know Goran picked Stich's serve as the most unreadably but then, he didn't have to face his own serve! Well, it's a difficult call.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
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  30. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL! Indeed. Well it all falls under the "reason must be whatever sounds most charitable to my favorite player, and/or most palatable to me" category of analysis.
     
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  31. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Here is a good piece on Connors, one that I believe in as well. It is an extract from Peter Bodo's blog.

    Begin Quote:

    But before I draw any conclusions, I have to note that Connors at his best - in 1974 - probably would have beaten any player, past, present or future. His combative verve and confidence were nothing less than astonishing. That he couldn't sustain that fierce edge is one of the major themes in his career. For as much as the bombastic Connors played up his willingness to "spill his guts" as often as he threatened, ******d, or vowed to follow the likes of Borg to "the ends of the earth," he was never able to back up his bluster once he no longer had the upper hand. Once everyone stopped believing he was the fastest gun in town, it turned out that he wasn't. You know how it is with gunslingers - they tend to die young. It hurt Connors that, at least metaphorically, he did not.

    So there came a time when Connors was more apt to lose than win those 7-6 in-the-third type matches against quality competition. But it isn't all about psychology; the mental game is always shaped by a player's physical assets or limitations. Of the latter, Connors had plenty. That serve was nothing short of second-rate. As a young buck, Connors took particular pleasure in beating up the grand old man of tennis (what goes around comes around: the same fate would befall Connors, and partly for the same reason: his serve). But while Rosewall's serve was a puffball, he at least had sound if not explosive mechanics, and an uncanny talent for placement. Connors, most of the time, rolled in his serve with topspin, sometimes slice, his life made easier by the fact that at that time, few players (Connors was the exception) had figured out the importance of the return game.

    Connors's forehand, especially on low balls in the mid-court was a glaring liability that Arthur Ashe exploited brilliantly in the ultimate victory of sound and artfully executed strategy over brash aggression and shock-and-awe baseline prowess (1975 Wimbledon final). The low forehand, demanding an approach to the net, was such a sore point with Connors that at one Wimbledon press conference where I was in attendance, he absurdly challenged a reporter to go out and exchange forehands with him, if the press wretch thought the stroke so bad. . .

    End Quote.
     
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  32. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    WOW. That's one of the weakest things I've ever read from Bodo.
    -Connors wasn't as tough as he claims? Probably, he was a master of self promotion, and the claims extreme, but it's hard to prove he wasn't, and in fact, whether he lived up to his own hype or not, he certainly was darn tough and his performances prove that

    -Connors became likely to lose? Mmm....I think only when outplayed, and look at the people he was facing. More to the point, this is a guy who kept coming back despite being written off over and over again. Would be curious to know more details to what period and matches Bodo is referrring to

    -Connors losses were also due to limitations of game? Well sure, I can agree with that. But he just finished promoting the Connors wasn't that mentally tough premise...

    -Connors forehand as glaring liability? I wouldn't go that far. If it was THAT weak and THAT glaring, then Borg, Lendl, Mac an many others must truly be incompetent. This is like talking about how weak Fed's backhand, or Sampras' backhand is. Fact of the matter is, it's only relative. Connors forehand was relatively weak, and it was headline news,(Every player on earth knew it) but despite that, it obviously not enough to prevent him from winning all those tournaments. So...

    Not sure where Bodo was going with this, but this snippet was certainly unfocused and unsupported.

    Note also that the reporter Connors challenged referred to his forehand as "weak" as memory serves, and Connors was tired of being asked about it over and over. This is one case where not only do I not blame him, I thought his response rather funny. I think if reporters constantly asked Federer about his "weak" backhand, we'd see quite a fit at some point.
     
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  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Connors forehand was very strong. It was only weak compared to his awesome backhand.

    Also Connors was injured before he played the 1975 Wimbledon final so the stuff about Ashe taking advantage of his weak forehand is incorrect. Ashe may have won anyway but I think the one sided loss was due to the injury.

    If it was so easy to take advantage of the so called weak forehand, why didn't Ashe ever beat Connors again?

    Connors used to make some errors on slow mid court forehands at times but his forehand was probably one of the strongest in tennis. The man had the best groundies around, great depth and power and a person who has the best groundstrokes does not have a poor forehand. The forehand was a strong shot and a very powerful attacking weapon.

    Connors no doubt was very strong in 1974 but his Games Won percentage actually was better in some later years I believe and he was better a stronger circuit, not the weak Bill Riordan circuit. Strangely enough I think it's very possible Connors may have improved in later years but didn't have the majors to prove it. His winning percentages on the stronger tour were still over 90%, generally speaking.
     
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  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't think the H2H between them is so strange, because the Connors forehand was not known to be a chink in the armor until '75. After that, according to the ATP they played just twice, on indoor carpet in '79, with Ashe at the end of his career. Yet at 35, Arthur still took a set off Connors in one of those matches, in Memphis.

    And in general Ashe's best chance against Connors was always going to be on grass, with that wide-swinging serve to Connors' two-hander, and the ball bouncing low to that forehand.

    I remember Tony Trabert calling one of Connors' matches in the '80s (maybe the '85 USO sf), and saying that he had given Connors technical advice, something about the forehand though I don't remember the specifics. I do remember Tony saying that the advice was not taken.

    I think the comparison with Federer's backhand is a decent one, I just wish I had some stats on Jimmy's forehand errors. Anyway they're both strong shots, "weak" only relative to their strengths (as you say).

    How and when did Jimmy get injured at the '75 Wimbledon? It must have been after the semifinals because his form through six matches astounded everybody.
     
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  35. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Incidentally one "unofficial" match that Ashe and Connors played was in July '76 in the Pepsi Grand Slam, a consolation match for third place. Connors won 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), not a bad showing for Ashe considering it was on clay (and only two months later Connors won the USO on the same surface).
     
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  36. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    The question is not whether he was tough, because he was. But he was not as tough as he or his fans made him out to be. Federer is just as tough as Connors was. You are free to disagree with me.

    It was not a contradiction. I only put up a snippet of the blog, but here is another excerpt that answers your question.

    "Connors played on the tour from 1970 to 1992 (staggering in and of itself), and never beat Borg in an official match after September of 1978.A Connors fan can vociferously argue that Jimbo was punished for his longevity, but it's pretty clear that if Connors was playing well enough to get to play the likes of Borg at tournaments, he was anything but over the hill. The plain truth is that Borg simply was better. The key match in the overall scheme of things may have transpired at the Masters of 1979, in which Borg took out Connors 7-6 in the third on a surface (indoor carpet) that was better suited to Jimbo's game, and in front of a Jimbo-worshiping New York crowd.

    When someone wins 7-6 in the third, the notion that he's "better" than the other guy is fragile at best. You want to tell me that there's a noteworthy difference in talent or execution when it's that close? One guy won because the game demands that someone must. And the most valid takeaway, for me, is that the winner in that situation generally has superior mental strength or confidence (you can look at the last two Wimbledon finals in that light as well).

    And Connors' record against Borg (8-15), even if throw out those five exo-type wins, is not persuasive. It also raises an interesting and largely unremarked aspect of Connors career - the way he tailed off against the three titans he battled over his long, illustrious career: Borg, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl. Connors was 14-20 against McEnroe. Starting in Cincinnati in 1983, McEnroe won 12 of his last 14 meetings with Jimbo. Lendl finished 22-13 against Connors, including the last seventeen of their meetings starting at Wembly in 1984. This, after Connors started like a house on fire, winning their first eight meetings, and 10 of their first 12.

    By the time Lendl started that 17 match streak, Connors was 32. He was 30 when McEnroe began to get the best of him. But when Borg began to dominate Connors, Jimbo was still a sprightly 27 - and if Borg had not abruptly retired in 1981, who knows how ugly that H2H might have become?"

    How about this ?

    "The well-documented flaws in Connors game would have been devastating liabilities in today's game. Most returners would go to town on Connors' serve, and even if he were able to cover the return, simply playing the ball hard and deep (a talent not to be under-estimated, by any stretch) would not have been an adequate response (as heavy-footed but viciously powerful Lendl demostrated). Just think of the aplomb with which Federer plays those (near) half-volleys off the baseline, and so adeptly transitions to offense. Like Lendl did, today's players would have pounded that Connors forehand until it broke down.

    "Connors is credited with winning 109 titles, and the number is for all practical purposes accurate. It speaks for itself. Here was a guy who absolutely reveled in the thrill of competition, and who had the firmest hand when he battled any player who could be cowed by the self-perpetuated Jimbo myth. Those who didn't entirely buy it, or were able to find ways to neutralize Connors's high-speed, aggressive game - Borg (with his superior speed and consistency) , Lendl (with his off-the-ground power and thundering serve), McEnroe (with his willingness to attack and take away Connors's time) - discovered that if they ignored the bark, they could suffer the bite and still get the best of him."
     
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  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    federer vs connors- game wise , federer wins hands down every single time on every surface .

    consistent BH slices to jimmy's FH, greatest FH of all time , much superior serve, (the difference in the quality of their returns other way around doesn't matter much compared to the quality of their serves ), better movement, great passing shots and very good volleys

    connors would win only if federer was slightly or more off
     
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  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    as far as the nalbandian-connors comparision is concerned, connors clearly hits flatter, nalbny hits with more topspin, nalby is more of a master of angles than connors was, takes it earlier and has a better serve.

    The mastery of angles and taking it early is why nalby can trouble fed when he is on. I don't think the comparison is apt.
     
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  39. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Well, the only reason I brought in Nalby was bcos the tag line was regarding the best baseliners and someone mentioned Connors. IMO, Nalby has better shots from the baseline than Connors.
     
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  40. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I was actually refering to datacipher's post about connors game giving fed trouble and referring to some sort of similarity b/w nalbandian and connors

    I'd agree that if nalby's playing well, he has the better groundstrokes when compared to connors, but the consistency is a question mark, especially the FH
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
    #40
  41. Changmaster

    Changmaster Rookie

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    Yeah, I read this article, and I have to say that 1st statement in bold really annoyed me. I have to wonder if Bodo really meant that, that he thinks Connors in 1974 would beat the likes of Federer or Sampras at their best? And unless I'm misinterpreting the statement, he thinks that Connors would beat ANY player in the FUTURE as well. That's one of the most absurd statements I've ever seen. Even though I think Federer at his best would win more often than not against any player in past history, and present as well (except Nadal on clay), I would never for a second suggest that NO future player will EVER be better than him. There will always be better players in the future, although in Federer's case, such a player may not come around for a LONG time!

    And in Connors case, such an absurd claim that he would beat any player in the future is even more absurd than it would be for a player such as Federer, because Connors has clear limitations in his game. Mental toughness can only get you so far; no matter how badly you want something, that doesn't mean you'll be able to get it. Even if some person's life was on the line, no matter how motivated that person might be, that doesn't mean such a person would be able to beat Ali in a boxing match. Having extreme mental toughness doesn't make you a god, especially when your skills are surpassed by other people. I think some people are giving Connors a bit too much credit for his mental abilities.
     
    #41
  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree that it is a silly claim but at the time a lot of people thought that Connors very well could have been the GOAT, at the time. After Connors craved up Tanner the next year in the Wimbledon semi it was echoed again. Problem is with Bodo, he had the hindsight of years and I'm surprised he wrote that.

    But to give Connors credit, he had a lot more than mental strength. The guy's groundstrokes were incredible. Very few in the history of tennis can match Connors in overall groundstroking ability. He also had possibly the greatest return ever and he had a good volley. His movement and passing shots were great and he was a great defensive player. He didn't win 140 tournaments for nothing. He won 82% of his lifetime matches if I recall correctly that is higher than Sampras and Federer and he played more matches. Connors in a prime would be tough for anyone that ever lived.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
    #42
  43. All-rounder

    All-rounder Legend

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    Of course he wouldn't include federer, he's perfect already lool :)
     
    #43
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    So what was the story on this?
     
    #44
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I read it in other places but I couldn't find it except here. I'm fairly certain I have some articles or books on this injury also.

    Here's the link.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?n...YYOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=joADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6441,5151352

    Bottom line is that the common wisdom is that Arthur Ashe, with some brilliant tactics defeated Jimmy Connors decisively in the 1975 Wimbledon Final. If this was true and I think it was then Ashe's tactics of moving Connors around worked not because of a major weakness in Connors' game, but because he had a leg injury and this moved him around. Junk and lobbing I would think would tend to be a major problem for a person with a leg injury.

    So perhaps if Connors was healthy, he may very well have won the 1975 Wimbledon. That's still subject to debate considering how well Ashe played in the final and up to the early stages of 1976. And who is to say the strategy wouldn't have worked if Connors was healthy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
    #45
  46. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    Courier's forehand was a monster inside out but only above average the other times. The book on courier was to get him to hit running forehands which caused him to lose a lot of spin and power.
     
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  47. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    Right. Sampras talks about this in his book, if he could keep Courier running to the corners on his groundstrokes and keep it out of the middle of the court where he could dominate then Pete would win.
     
    #47
  48. PeterC.Edinburgh2004

    PeterC.Edinburgh2004 New User

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    I have not seen the matches, but some articles make reference to Orantes winning the 75 US Open by hitting soft shots to Connors' forehand. It's a similar story with Borg vs Connors Wimbledon 77.
     
    #48
  49. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    He embraces and relishes being number 1 more than any other player I've seen. Once there, he didn't seem like "I've gotta protect this now" freaking out, he seemed so comfortable with the idea that everybody was gunning for him, he was expected to win EVERYTHING (something Sampras never had to withstand), that people had nothing to lose against him, etc. To me, it IS a sign of mental toughness. Or maybe toughness implies the presence of fear and overcoming fear. If that's the case, one can argue he was fearless. Either way, never seen a guy who smiled more, seemed happier to be top dog than Federer.
    That seems to be the implication, that he lost to Nadal or whoever because he's not mentally strong, as if it's not possible he was fighting hard, being mentally strong, but the other guy just outplayed him. That possibility isn't being entertained.
    In tennis, I usually don't draw much of a distinction between the mental and physical, technique aside. It's a cliche, but so so true, that what really separates the top players from the others is mental. They have a mental edge. Everybody can hit the ball well. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody, or test anybody, but the top guys just have that mental edge, keep their cool and are more effective at those 2 or 3 truly pivotal moments of a match.

    It might be overstated, and one can certainly argue that Nadal and Federer's forehands are great physical advantages no matter how you cut it, but that is the common wisdom, that mental toughness is what sets the great players apart from the good ones.

    If you believe there's any truth to that at all, not sure how arguably the GOAT can be cited as somebody uniquely weak in the head. You look at the list of people who were number 1 for 2 years or more, and you're looking at the list of the people who were very strong mentally.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
    #49
  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, I remember in 1974 he seemed invincible: many thought Connors would win the Grand Slam.

    And his net play is often under-rated.
     
    #50

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