Some stats for 1975 Australian Open final

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Newcombe d. Connors 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)


    Newcombe had 17 aces and 7 doubles.

    Connors had 4 aces and 1 double (an intentional double-fault, to make up in part for an ace he got on a controversial call).


    Newcombe made 35 clean winners: 7 forehands, 6 backhands, 8 forehand volleys, 6 backhand volleys, and 8 smashes.

    Connors made 44 clean winners: 2 forehands, 15 backhands, 11 forehand volleys, 10 backhand volleys, and 6 smashes.


    The difference between them was clearly the serve -- even given Connors' greater return of service. They each hit 8 return winners.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
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  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    And Newcombe's endurance really deserves separate mention.

    He played 6 matches, and got just one day of rest -- in between his first and second matches.

    Round 1 -- straight sets
    Round 2 -- five sets (50 games) over Rolf Gehring (a 19-year-old)
    Round 3 -- straight sets
    QF -- five sets (56 games) over Geoff Masters
    SF -- five sets (58 games) over Tony Roche

    He saved a match point against Roche (his doubles partner), and won that match 11-9 in the fifth.

    Newcombe was 30, Connors 22.

    Connors lost just one set on the way to the final.

    And Newcombe did not look visibly exhausted during the final. He was stretching out his thighs a lot at the end, but he looked fit, and he even jumped over the net at the end.
     
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  3. Geezer Guy

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    Connors did???
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    At 2-3 in the third he got a service winner and an ace on two controversial calls, so he double-faulted intentionally on the next point. That brought the score to 40-30 -- and he ended losing his serve and the set.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Yeah, its interesting that Connors & Mac are considered such jerks, yet I saw them both display some sportsmanship that would be unfathomable by anyone today. When Borg played Mac at the 1980 masters, he got a bad call that got he complained about(extremely out of character for Borg) During the next point, Mac intentionally hit a ball into the crowd to give Borg a point!

    Who knows if these sort of 'make up calls' by players was common back then, but it does show that Mac & Connors were capable of more than fair play.

    But it is worth noting the generally amateurish nature of linesman back then, they weren't trained like they are today, basically they were just members of the local club. Borg, Vilas, John Lloyd have remarked that bad linecalls were very common at events in the 70s. So in a way you can understand the rage of mac & connors, they were playing for millions of dollars with officials who really didn't have a clue. It took a while for tennis to get more professional(have touring umpires, etc)

    Its been a while since I've watched this, I assume the commentators mentioned this? I wonder what the schedule of slams was like in the 70s, as I watch more old matches, I see that it was different, & maybe not just cause of the weather. It seems like Wimbledon didn't have finals on Sunday until the mid-70s, I wonder if it was always a 2 week event? urban?

    Was watching Rosewall-Smith '74 W SF, the commentators were talking about Rosewall having to play so many long matches in such a short amount of time that week. After your post, I wonder how many other crazy schedules players had to endure in the early open era. Kinda puts the criticism of the US Open & Super Saturday into perspective.
     
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  6. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.
     
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  7. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    krosero, I had a question about your match stats, are you counting service winners(not aces, which are a separate stat)?

    In todays stats, service winners are counted in the winner column. Often it is a judgement call, but I imagine Newcombe had quite a few as well. Service winners are shots that Connors just barely got a racket on, etc, etc.
     
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  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Connors was really what you might call a good sport in this match. He was chumming it up with Newcombe (not exactly reciprocated, was my impression) and the linesmen; the announcers said that all week long he'd won many friends in Australia. It was almost weird for me, seeing Connors this jovial. Newcombe was much more serious -- at least on the surface.

    The announcers said that Newk had just played two five-setters in two days, so I went to the Times archives to look at the whole tournament (since Wikipedia makes it look like just a five-round tournament, starting with the second round and marking it incorrectly as "First Round").

    The final took place on New Year’s Day, a Wednesday. Connors and Newcombe played their first-round matches on December 26, a Thursday. (All of these are the dates in Australia, not the day that it was reported in the States). Newk had Friday off but played all the other days.
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    All my aces are balls that went entirely untouched. If a guy got the frame or the strings on the ball but failed to return, I regard that as service winner, but did not count those.

    In any case, the announcers' count of the aces was the same as mine -- 17 for Newcombe. They stayed the same for Connors as well, until the controversial ace in the third set, which they just didn't count afterward. They kept saying he had 3 aces, but he definitely got the fourth one (and they saw it as a good serve; it was the previous service winner that they thought was a bad call).
     
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  10. Moose Malloy

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    do you know if rain delayed the start of the tournament? if not, its absurd that players were expected to play 6 best of 5 matches in 7 days. Wonder how many other slams had this format back then. The atp site says the event started on 12/21/74, wouldn't be the first time they're wrong.
    Interesting that the year end masters for '74 was played 12/10-12/15 in Melbourne, surprised more top players(Borg, Vilas, Nastase, Orantes) didn't stick around for the '75 Australian Open held just a few weeks later.

    thanks. so the winner counts on these matches should be a bit higher. I tried doing stats on the Roddick-Federer USO Final last year & compared to the us open website, a lot of service winners for Roddick. My stats didn't match up exactly with theirs, but was close. Not all unreturned serves count as service winners, it is a judgement call as to whether the player should have returned it, usually they have to be moving, lunging for the return for it to count as a service winner. I did a set by set comparison & re-watched one of the sets, I think I can make a reasonable guess what it takes to be called a service winner from a statistician's perspective.
     
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  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The announcers didn't mention rain. I don't know why this weird schedule came about.

    Definitely, in order to compare with today's stats you'd have to count service winners.

    What was Roddick's count, do you still have it?
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Just read this on the Tennis Channel website:

    It was on New Year's Day in 1975 on the grass courts of Kooyong that Newcombe secured his last major singles title, toppling Jimmy Connors 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) in a stunning final round display. Connors had won three of the four major titles in 1974 and had lost only four matches that entire season, celebrating the greatest year of his illustrious career. He had seemed on the edge of invincibility as he headed into Melbourne, but then the wily and resourceful Newcombe cut him down methodically on the grass.

    As Newcombe recalls, "Of all the Slams that I won, that was by far the most physical endurance that I had to encounter. Normally for a Slam I would be preparing for a couple of months whereas I had ten days to prepare for that tournament. I hadn't played for a month. I wasn't playing. I was stopping. But then I found out ten days before the tournament that Jimmy was coming, and that was when I decided to enter the event. I only entered for one reason: I wanted [to beat] Jimmy."

    The reason Newcombe was so determined to take on Connors was because he had finished No. 2 in the world behind the American in 1974, and yet they had never met head-to-head the whole season. Newcombe, who had ousted Connors on his way to capturing the 1973 U.S. Open championship in their only previous meeting, had been the dominant player on the prestigious WCT circuit in the winter and spring of 1974 before Connors took over at the majors.

    "I thought," Newcombe recollects, "that I had not done myself justice in 1974 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open [he lost to Rosewall in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the Open].So I wanted to play Jimmy, but I had a hard time getting to the final of that 75' Australian. On the last three days, I beat Geoff Masters 10-8 in the fifth set on Monday and then played a doubles match after that. On Tuesday, I beat Tony Roche 11-9 in the fifth from 5-2 down and four match points, and then I had to default the doubles because I was so exhausted. I had no memory of the last 45 minutes of my match with Tony. I had to play Jimmy on the Wednesday. If I had lost the fourth set tie-break to Jimmy in the final, maybe I would have been a spent force for the fifth. I was into a lot of uncharted territory."

    Was that victory over Connors--- after all Newcombe had endured, after such an arduous set of circumstances--- his most rewarding ever at a Grand Slam event? Newcombe answers, " I think my real coming of age was when I beat Muscles [Rosewall] in the 1970 Wimbledon final because that meant I was up there with Ken and Laver. With the Connors match at the 1975 Australian Open, that whole match was a story in itself. When I thought back on it a few days later I was proud of myself for what I had been able to put myself through physically to attain my goal that I had mentally. I had gone into areas of my body I had never been into before so it was a fascinating experience. I had read in books about people enduring things physically and going beyond the capacity that they think they have, and getting into an area where you just keep going, where you are past exhaustion and you are into some inner reserve inside your body. That was a great feeling for me to achieve that right at the end of my career."

    http://www.tennischannel.com/news/newsdetails.aspx?newsid=3617
     
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  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    A most interesting read. Watching this match was a surprise for me, since I knew little about it; I had no expectations, and it turned out to be a great match. It has one of the exciting finishes that I have seen in Slam finals. And that makes sense, because on one side you had Connors, always an intense competitor, and on the other you had this great intense desire in Newcombe -- who his record shows was an extremely tough competitor too.
     
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  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    New stats

    I've taken these new stats, and edited the original post: I had missed 4 winners (!) by Connors.

    Note: I’m missing two points on Newk’s serve at love-3 in the second set; I gave him 1 point won on first serve and 1 lost on second. I’m also missing a serve by Connors at 3-4 in the fourth set, on a point that he lost; I gave him a first serve.


    Newcombe won 140 points overall, Connors 135.

    SERVICE

    Newcombe won 80% of points started on first serve (67/84) and 45% on second (23/51).

    Connors won 64% on first (63/99) and 66% on second (27/41).

    So Newk's success on first serve is just slightly higher than the 79% that Tanner had in the '79 Wimbledon final (Borg reached 89% against Connors in a straight-set blowout at the '79W).

    One of the impressive things about Connors in this match is how well he played on second serve, sometimes staying back and gaining the initiative (the announcers remarked how confident he was staying back on second serves) and sometimes coming in behind it and volleying; it was rarely a clean winner but he usually knew how to get the last shot in.

    Newk on the other hand, had less to back up the second serve and was doing the right thing always coming in behind it (the announcers said that he was hitting it remarkably hard, enough to expect a few doubles), but it meant that he was going directly against Connors' return. Newk's first serve always put him in charge of the point, particularly the wide serve to Connors' BH; his second usually resulted in an exchange that Connors often won with a clean pass or forcing shot.


    Newcombe served at 62.2%, making 84 of 135 first serves.
    Connors served at 70.7%, making 99 of 140 first serves.

    Newk by set:

    21/34 - 62%
    15/27 - 56%
    18/29 - 62%
    30/45 - 67%


    Connors by set:

    29/42 - 69%
    17/28 - 61%
    25/32 - 78%
    28/38 - 74%

    Newcombe made his last 12 first serves of the match, including all 8 in the tiebreak.

    Connors missed just one serve in the tiebreak himself (and won the point).


    Newcombe converted 4 of 8 break points, Connors 3 of 10.

    Newcombe made his first serve on 5 of 10 break points. He was broken once on first serve and twice on second.

    Connors made his first serve on 7 of 8 break points. All four times he was broken it was on first serve.


    Newcombe drew 27 return errors, Connors 35. Out of all those serves I gave Newk 4 service winners, Jimmy 7.

    Newcombe drew 8 of 27 return errors with second serves, Connors 9 of 35.

    Connors drew a lot of return errors here, comparable to the number he drew in a match of similar length against McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1980. He often drew errors from Newcombe’s BH return.


    WINNERS

    Just extra info I got.

    Newcombe's winners by set: 7, 4, 11, 13
    Connors' winners by set: 9, 12, 9, 14

    Newcombe made 8 return winners (5 BH’s). Only one return, a FH, knocked off a second serve. All the returns were passes. In addition Newk made 1 passing shot from each wing, and a FH lob winner.

    Connors made 8 return winners (7 BH’s). All the returns were off second serves except for 2 BH’s. And all the returns were passes. In addition Connors made 6 passing shots (5 BH) and 1 BH lob winner.


    ERRORS (forced and unforced)

    Subtracting the clean winners and aces from the total points won:

    Newcombe made 87 total errors (forced and unforced). I counted 35 return errors and 7 double-faults by Newcombe, so that leaves him making 45 errors in points that had at least a successful return, that is, in rallies.

    Connors made 88 total errors (forced and unforced). I counted 27 return errors and 1 double-fault (intentional) by Connors, so he made 60 errors in rallies.

    Since their total errors were nearly equal, and Connors was ahead by 9 non-service winners, Newcombe pulled ahead overall with his aces.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
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  15. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    This thread is quite simply one of the best I've ever read. Thanks Kros, Moose and others for fascinating posts.

    Yes, this match is one of the best ever IMO. An absolute classic! What endurance from Newk who was great also in 1974. Borg-like endurance... Maybe even more... Sounds insane...

    Newk maybe was the best player on the planet in 1974? Newk was a king. What a satisfying stunner...
     
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  16. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    Your clips of this match on Youtube kros -- is perhaps IMO the best highlight-reels of tennis that exist on the net. A perfect compilation of unfathomable tennis all the while catching the lovely atmosphere of "old" Kooyong and maintaining every beat and fascinating telling detail. Absolute pro work on one of the GOAT-matches.

    Swedes love old Kooyong grass -- Wilander speaks highly of it, loves it he says, Edberg too, Nyström, Pernfors you name them. Swedes love super hot weather. It's paradise for us since we live in such a dark, cold, drab environment ourselves for 10 months of the year. Too bad the Swedes lost the two fantastic DC-finals there at Kooyong -- though it really didn't matter in the end because those bouts were great and Pat Cash was just golden at crunch-time in both battles...

    I loved watching these finals -- starting here in Sweden at 2 AM on the December 26th. Sitting there watching in the middle of the night, seeing the thick white snow glistening everywhere outside the murky windows and this glowing TV-screen showing spectacular tennis in a colorful, sun-baked paradise half a world away. Irresistible!

    Wow what a match Newk makes here. Yeah! His BH was supposed to be his weakest shot but he just slams them over and over here for clean winners. Look at that set point in Connors serve in third -- whammm!

    Newk was untouchable here. A General. Fourth Degree. And he mixes it up so beautifully too. Really slicing and dicing Jimbo only to whack a cannonball for good measure once in a while. He really paved the way here, on New Years Day (!), for the way to beat Jimbo -- if you were good enough to pull it off as supremely as Newk does here.

    Simply in awe of Newk...
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
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  17. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    I also became a big Pat Cash fan at this time. As tough as they come!
     
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  18. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I remember putting in some hard work on that 3-part clip but I never really knew it was making such an impression. What I see in my clips is not often the final result as fresh eyes would see it; I mostly remember the steps in putting it together. So, you're welcome.

    Pat Cash is also one of my favorite players. We seem to be on the same wavelength because the Pernfors match was the next match I was going back to, for the service stats. I didn't see it until a year ago when I counted the winners, but I had always wondered about it. Fantastic match.
     
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  19. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it surely was. Instant classic. Pernfors career best. He's just a champion in the first two sets making EVERYBODY believe that it's over and then the lion awoke that was Pat Cash -- ferocious, sparks flying and Cash just getting better and better and better -- whammm! He wins!

    The Swedes cheered this too like you wouldn't believe. Such fantastic skill and fightning spirit is irresistable. It was crystal clear by everyone when the smoke cleared that as great as Pernfors played -- Cash was the greater, the better player -- just in the zone -- doing honor to the great Australians that we all will never forget...

    And he just whacked Nyström in 1983 too -- fantastic grass-court play! Hats off -- and under such pressure too...

    And yes, kros, I think your work and your posts here are incredible. You have such amazing insight, do such a university-class precision-like work here on this site that I wonder if I must pay you somehow. What newspaper/magazine offer such in-depth high-quality re-evaluation work so consistently I wonder ironically?!

    And yes your Youtube work is sensational. Make no mistake about that. I actually sneaked on your stuff before i did my own posts -- going similar for crucial points, character, fairness, atmosphere, beats and so forth...

    My only serious complaints are the AKAI-posts which I rushed in editing and picture enhancing... It took ages and I wanted to get them out as soon as possible and time was short...

    I basically stole ideas and tried to improve smoothness...:)

    My only problem with you kros, and its a biggie, you must post more videos!!! Your making my day brighter by your work and presence! Please keep it up if you can! And do more...:)
     
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  20. Borgforever

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    I really have a problem with getting this unforgettable match out of my mind. It keeps coming back to me what a true sensation this fight was/is.

    Great to see that Kooyong got one of the GOAT-finals of the 70s when they had such tough and sad time of attracting top talent to their marvelous championship and paradise-like courts...

    And the absolute Greyhound-ability of John Newcombe! That must be, arguably, the absolute No. 1 of endurance tests in Open Era tennis, bar none.

    * Just ten days of prep for Newk!

    * Six matches in just seven days!

    * Three of them -- some of the most grueling, five-setters imaginable being match-points down!

    * Taking on and completely outclassing one of the Open Eras most dominant players of a single year. A dramatic, highly entertaining and crystal clear deserved victory by The Lion Called Newk -- filled to the brim with amazing rallies!

    * All under the baking hot Aussie-summer!

    The only endurance test that compares was IMO Borg's Wimby-win of 1977. Grueling WTT-schedule prep in the spring and early summer and then three of the toughest, classic five-setters against inspired opponents. But Borg had two weeks. And WTT-schedule or not -- it's still way better than just ten days prep which is, lets face it, nothing. No, Newk's Master Victory of Australian Open on New Year's Day 1975 gets IMO the Open Era Gold Medal for greatest endurance.

    I knew it already. John Newcombe is a genius...
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
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  21. Borgforever

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    But what in the whole wide world was the Organizing Executive of AO 1975 really thinking? That schedule -- one week grand slam-tourney?! Between Christmas-presents and Champagne on New Years!? Seems to me that he must be a devoted follower of the Kamikaze-method.

    I just quote the last lines from one of my favorite movies -- David Lean's THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI:

    "Madness... Madness..."
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newk beat the two most feared new comers in 4 sets in two big finals: 1974 WCT vs Borg and 1975 AO vs Connors....had he been like 5 years younger, his rivalries with Borg and Connors, in the second half of the decade, would have been terrific.I think he also played Mac at the 1978 FH Invitational?


    Newcombe was a basic part of the chain that linked the old pros of the open era (Laver and Rosewall) and the pros of the golden era (Borg and Connors, later Mac Enroe...)
     
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  23. Stuart S

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    I think Connors' image had taken a bit of a knock Down Under the year before.

    When he crushed Rosewall at Wimbledon in '74, Connors at the after-match press conference said something like, "I know Ken is the old sentimental favourite. But the thing about today, gentlemen, is that I was just unbelievable out there". And before the match, he'd apparently said, "I'll be going out there to squash him." It was comments like these that made the Australian press, to say the least, very wary of Connors. "Connors typifies a generation that tips its hat to no man," they said.

    So maybe Connors was trying to make amends for this.
     
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  24. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Additional stats

    Success on serve in rallies of 2 or more good shots (the serve being the first shot):

    Newcombe 65% on first serve (31/48 ) and 42% on second (15/36).
    Connors 48% on first serve (33/69) and 58% on second (18/31).


    So if Connors could return Newcombe’s second serve he had good success, but that was not true at all with Newk’s first serve.

    Newk's first serve, even when it was returned, kept Connors off balance.

    Besides the rallies, of course, Newk hit a ton of aces and other unreturned serves. But his figure for 1st serve rallies is outstanding. Even when Connors returned the 1st serve he was at a clear disadvantage.

    For comparison, when Connors managed to returned Borg's first serve in the '81 Wimbledon semis (a five-setter), he still won 50% of the points.

    (However Connors had much lower figures on Borg's 1st serve in two routs at Wimbledon in '78 and '79).
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
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  25. krosero

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    Sports Illustrated had a good report on the match: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089417/1/index.htm

    Excerpts:

     
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  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Connors and Newcombe were both players that make an interesting contrast in styles. Connors as we all know, was arguably the greatest service returner ever versus John Newcombe, who was one of the greatest serve and volleyers of all time and with a huge service game.

    Maybe it's so long ago but it always seemed to me that their first meeting at the 1973 US Open was an extremely high quality match and perhaps their best match. I think the people in the stands felt that too overall. Newcombe won in straight sets 6-4 (one break) 7-6 7-6. However but tiebreaks went to 4-4 so it was simultaneous set point in the second and simultaneous set and match point in the third set. It was an extremely close match.

    It's a pity they didn't play more matches when both were at or near their peaks.
     
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  27. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Two 5-4 tiebreaks, that's as thin a margin as you can get.

    You're right, they played only a few matches. Only 4 meetings are listed at the ATP and ITF websites. Apart from that Newk took a one-set match in World Team Tennis in '74. Connors beat him 6-2, 6-3 in March '76 as part of a World Cup series, in Hartford.

    And of course Connors beat Newk in the Challenge Match in Vegas. But that's it as far as I know.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
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  28. Moose Malloy

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    #28
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors also said..." I have seen people pitty Rosewall and see him win in the fifth set".A pretty realistic approach IMO
     
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  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree. Rosewall would have tried to crush Connors also if he had the chance. The Connors way of thinking to my mind is correct.
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Smith was 1972 nº1, newcombe 1873 nº 1...both got steamrolled by Rosewall, 10 years older, over 5 sets.If Connors hadn´t given his very best, no doubt Rosewall would have been the oldest Wimbledon champion.
     
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  32. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    NEWK isn't much of a fortune teller though. He's made so many outrageous predictions about Rafter, Hewitt, etc but to little effect. I remember the AO 75 final well. NEWK was so determined to win. It was inspirational S & V as much as Ashe's Wimbledon final performance was seemingly Zen inspired. Jimmy did in fact concede a double fault because he agreed Newk had been robbed of a point. Newk did not show hint of appreciation but it was the first moment that I thought Connors had some grace and sportsmanship in him. I started liking him at that final, although I wanted Newk to win soooo bad.
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors could be genuine, even if sometimes it looked like part of a plan to get into the other guy´s mind.He teased the crowds like few sportsmen (Ali,Nastase,Magic) have been able to do.

    I think Connors really liked Newcombe and, a few years later,were on dealing terms for him to be his coach.I also think Newcombe didn´t have too many bad feelings about the spoilt Connors of 1974-75, but a sincere admiration for his unique style of play.At least, not in the way of an Arthur Ashe, for example.Do you know something about both champion´s relationship?
     
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  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It really was. Connors seems to have overwhelmed and shocked Rosewall with his power, but Newcombe knew exactly how to deal with Connors' game.
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors did respect Newcombe so much...after all, he owned the eastern st Louis kid in real tennis...
     
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  36. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    One of the quirks of this match is how Newcombe was well below 50% success on second serve, while Connors, with the much weaker service, was winning about two-thirds of all points on his own second serve.

    A few months later Connors d. Newcombe in a Challenge Match in Las Vegas, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Vines, writing in 1978, thought that Newcombe lost that match because he came in too much behind his second serve.

    The Connors-Newcombe $250,000 showdown at Caesar’s Palace ... served to dramatize a salient tactical weakness in the “big game” method of attaining the net. Newcombe lost because he invariably followed in his second serve in the deuce court. This was the tragic flaw – in an otherwise outstanding performance – that allowed Connors to break serve and turn the tide. In fact, I think Newcombe might well have won if he had avoided this tactic; his mighty second serve could have given him the offensive jump on his first groundstroke. As it was, he actually outsteadied Jimmy in most of their rallies. But when Newk failed to mix up his serving tactics, Jimmy could concentrate all his efforts on making an offensive passing shot.

    Another drawback of the “big game” can be inferred from this match. Newk double-faulted nine times, not because he was serving badly, but because of his total commitment to the “big game.” In the light of Connors’ awesome ability to return, Newcombe was forced to attempt too much with his serve.

    Ironically, Connors hit more aces and double-faulted only a third as much, even though Connors’ delivery isn’t in the same league with Newcombe’s. But Jimmy had the advantage of not having to worry about following in his serve. And because he seldom took the net on service, he could relax and be content with placing it well … and deep. On the other hand Newcombe, who perhaps has the best second serve in the world, couldn’t transcend the basic advantage a greater returner has against a net attack. All I can say is, if you are one of those rare creatures blessed with a strong second serve, the “big game” can be a fine strategy against an average groundstroker. But when you face a great returner, the lesson is clear: be wary of the net on your second serve in the deuce court.​
     
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  37. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Admittedly off topic but has anyone seen any clips or read a word about Evert's first Australian Open where she got to the final vs Goolagong 74 0r 75. Its like that tournament final and neither semifinal never got so much as a poloraid or sentence of coverage. She might as well not have gone down at all and Evonee had a walkover. Anything written at all?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
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  38. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    No mention of the fact that Newk's win at Kooyong was on grass and his loss on carpet. That had to be a significant factor in Connors' ability to attack Newk's second serve in the exo.
     
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  39. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's true, the surface probably would make a difference in favor of Connors.

    I think Vines is saying something true about the second serve, but I'm not sure how much weight can be placed on that factor. Connors broke 4 times in the Challenge Match, 3 times in the AO final -- not a great difference.

    It seems that Newk's ability to break Connors changed the most, between the two matches. In AO Newcombe broke 4 times, in Vegas only once. In fact over the course of the first two sets in Vegas he converted only 1 of 11 break points.

    Connors did serve well in the challenge match, as Vines said. He out-aced Newk 8 to 6 per press reports.

    Newk thought it was his first serve that was the problem; he said it deserted him.
     
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  40. WCT

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    All that exists of that challenge match is the 4th set, 10 games. All that I've seen, anyway. I did stats for it and they don't match up with Vines recollection. Granted, it's only one set. Perhaps the others played out the way Vines described.

    Connors had 11 free points to Newcombe's 7. Connors served and volleyed 10 times in the 4th set, and he was winning his service games EASILY. Newcombe never got past 30. When Connors does stay back there isn't much of a rally. As pretty much happened the times he stays back at the Australian, it winds up Newcombe chipping to Connors forehand and Connors approaching after a couple shots. One thing. at the Australian, he lobbed Connors a lot. Not so much in Las Vegas. Again, though, it was only a set and Connors was winning his service games, the only time he would be at net, so easily. There weren't that many points for there to be a lot of lobs.

    This was Segura's Connors. Knowing that, based on how he played in the other 74-75 Connors matches I have, I tend to think Connors mixed it up the entire match. That he was never consistently serving and staying back which is how I read Vines' take on the match.

    Segura, in his book with Gladys Heldman, expresses some similar sentiments about serving and volleying on both serves simply because that was the way it was supposed to be done. Segura was talking more about taller players with less agility. The Stan Smiths and Clark Graebners. That they would be better off not consistently serving and volleying on second serves against elite returners. Better to work their way in on subsequent shots.

    At the end of that book Segura breaks down, in depth, 4 of Connors' main matches in 1975. The 2 challenge matches and The US and Wimbledon finals.
    My recollection was that he thought Connors served as well as he ever had in the Newcombe match. Just using the 4th set, I wouldn't argue. And he served big. Relatively speaking, I mean. Not big by Roscoe Tanner standards. Big, I think, by later Jimmy Connors standards.
     
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  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Thanks for this WCT. The fourth set is also all I've seen. I don't recall, how was Newcombe doing on second serve? Is that the part that didn't match up with Vines?

    Newcombe earned 11 break points in the first two sets, very different from the fourth set where he never got past 30 in Connors' service games.
     
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  42. WCT

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    Sorry, krosero, I didn't do % stats for points won on serve. Surprised to hear about all those early break points, though. I reread Segura's take on the match.
    He did say that it was the best he had ever seen Connors serve. Makes no mention of tons of break points. Says that outside of Newcombe's one break to win the second set that Connors had very little difficulty holding.

    He did mention that Connors used the kick serve to Newcombe's forehand very well, and that he would stay back on that serve so as not to give Newk a target. He also mentions how he thinks smaller players, like Connors, should not serve and volley all the time. That they should mix it up. But that is consistent with his theme on Connors whenever his name is mentioned in the book. His unpredictability as in his ability to play from all parts of the court. He can stay back or come in. The one thing he lacks are the touch shots like drop shots.

    In that 4th set, the game he is broken was really the only time Newk was in trouble. There was a questionable call that gave Connors 15-40, IIRC. Surprised CBS never showed a replay.

    CBS got caught with their live mics a little too close. During one of the changeovers Connors is looking for a piece of a gum from his mother. Nobody has any, and Connors cursed on air. The dangers of live tv.
     
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  43. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    In those first two sets Connors faced 11 break points, but 6 of those were in one game (at 3-1 in the first set). So maybe he did have a number of easy holds in that time period. No question he held easily in the fourth set.
     
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  44. BTURNER

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    he did try the drop shot on occasion, but they rarely worked and he was smart enough to use them when he was trying to reserve energy and end a loosing game quickly.
     
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  45. WCT

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    Still, seems like a lot when we're talking about his best serving ever because he got broken once in addition to the other break points. Overall, obviously, it was not that unusual for Connors to face break points. Thing is, Segura specified how good he served that day. The best he had ever seen. I sure wish some more of that match showed up. Don't know the original source. Looks like a network feed with the timer like the Laver match.

    To be clear, Segura's comments are from 1976, at the latest. Connors did develop more touch shots as his career progressed, but there weren't many in the 74-75 matches I have.
     
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  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors had a pretty good drop shot, not at Orantes,Panatta,Santana ,Nastase or Gene Mayer´s level, but a reliable one and a pretty good % of points won.

    Did anybody recall Borg using a drop shot? I mean, from the baseline, not his pattented dead volleys...
     
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  47. WCT

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    Later on, he developed an okay drop shot. Not at the time of Segura's comments, though. If you look at the 81 Wimbledon semi, he uses it against Borg a few times. Not a ton. 5-6 times? Ashe was sort of working with Connors at the time. He was real big on the idea of needing to draw Borg in. Talked about in OFF THE COURT a bit. I mean Connors specifically, that Borg was just too good at the baseline.

    Thing is, Borg was so fast that it better be a good drop shot. Also, Ashe was probably thinking that even if he was a very good volleyer by that point, he still wasn't as good as he was from the baseline.

    Good point about Borg and drop shots. Offhand, I don't recall seeing him try any.
     
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  48. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Just wanted to renew this wonderful post on a spectacular and special match. It might be possible that a few recent viewers may have missed this post.

    Just finished another viewing of the match and the layers upon layers of talent, atmosphere, and story lines have been well mentioned.

    The crowd reaction and appreciation for the match is as genuine as I have witnessed. You can tell that they "knew" how remarkable this moment was. What an arena, what a tradition, what players... The endless standing ovation, on and on and on, is matched by only one other situation in my viewing. Connors again - when he retires against Chang at RG, the crowd is standing and cheering long after he leaves the court...

    As to Connors and his sportsmanship, he was on good behavior and he smiled and joked quite a bit, but I did sense that he knew Newk's reputation for tactical smarts and getting into a competitor's head. Newk just stared at Connors as Connors threw that point and the crowd cheered. Oh, to know what both of these champions were really thinking... More than a few times, Connors motioned the racket butt up and single digit to the crowd - the cheering continued...

    Thanks for this great, great post...
     
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  49. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I love this match,, I think in many ways it's a richer story than the Ashe-Connors final.
     
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newcombe changed tactics and seldom did use S&V continuously.

    After the match, Connors, the bad guy said: " Newcombe has pride in his game and above it, he has pride in himsmelf"
     
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