What happened to Wilander after 88?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 1477aces, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. 1477aces

    1477aces Hall of Fame

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    Why did he go from winning 3 slams a year to not reaching another final? He was barely 24 after winning the 1988 USO.
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Burn out after reaching the top.like Borg,wanted to enjoy life
     
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  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lack of motivation. Wilander realised that he would have to work even harder if he was going to stay as world number 1, and he didn't have the desire to do that. He said in 1989 that he got more enjoyment out of cutting the lawn at his house and playing the guitar, than in playing tennis.

    After Wilander won the 1988 US Open, he won his next tournament (1988 Palermo) while he was still riding the high of being number 1 and holding 3 of the majors. Once that high wore off, the tank was empty.

    Wilander was similar to Newcombe in the sense that they both struggled with the day-to-day motivation throughout a long period of time, but they would bring it when they really wanted to.
     
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  4. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Just a theory of mine, but I suggest that the game was changing faster in those times than it is now or had before.

    There was a big-time transformation towards a power baseline game (largely due to technological change) and old-school guys had to work harder in order to remain competitive.

    Wilander's level slipped a bit (some rumors that he had too many recreational activities) and he was no longer winning anything.
     
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  5. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    That his 1988 should have never happen
     
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  6. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    He said that due to his lack of big weapons, he always had to grind out matches and that it took its toll on him mentally especially after he reached #1 and still had to grind even against low-ranked players.
     
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wilander's form was in decline before Pan-Am Flight 103. Check out his late 1988 form (i.e. after he won Palermo), in particular going 0-3 at the Masters and the Davis Cup final debacle in Sweden.
     
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  9. gavna

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    yeah he also loved the evil weed a bit too much..........he seemed to have just lost motivation and just liked staying stoned better.
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sonya took the last juices from him
     
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  11. TennisLovaLova

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    that pan am flight story is really weird
    In Mats' case, people are just lucky I guess, it's just incerdible.
    When I book a flight, I just take the damn flight
     
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  12. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    However, he did win the 88 USO (as well as the AO and RG in 88 ). His Parking Lot Press Conference happened during that US Open. His possible subsequent involvement with the creation of the ATP Tour and the demise of the Grand Prix may have distracted him later in 88 and in 89. The whole Lockerbie bombing incident in Dec 88 might have deeply disturbed him. (This is all conjecture on my part).
     
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  13. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I believe that in general, guys who grind out every point and reach the top burn out mentally and their bodies start to break down quickly. Borg, Wilander, Courier, and possibly Nadal fit into that mold. Nadal's extended break here could lengthen his career, as it lets him rejuvenate mentally as well as physically. We'll see.
     
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  14. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, this was also my take. When I spoke to Wilander and mentioned his '88, he even said it was impossible to keep up that kind of mental focus.
     
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  15. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    I think this is the closest answer to the real reason.
    A Wilander type player, see Borg, Courier, Chang.
    You just hit a wall one day and that's it!
    Best comparison is a boxer, one day it's just not there anymore, for a number of reasons.
     
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  16. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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    Wilanders Father died in 1989, then he lost all his motivation. His father was his biggest supporter!
     
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  17. TennisLovaLova

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    This puts the 04-08 federer years in perspective doesnt it?
     
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  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wilander never had a cruise game like a Federer or a Becker. For Wilander to do well, he had to go into a zone of intense focus and concentration.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He won majors on any surface bar indoors where his best result is the 87 Masters final that he lost to an overwhelming Lendl
     
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  20. Ramon

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    Wilander is an anomaly. He was sort of your anti-Connors. For some reason, maybe his upbringing or something, he was a very humble man. In a short time, he wins the French Open as an unseeded player, beats some of the greatest players at the time, but then during an interview he says he was lucky to win the French, and if he plays one of the top players, he might get lucky enough to win if the other guy is having an off day. Connors and McEnroe were totally dumbfounded by this, and obviously they reacted much differently to early success.

    In 88, he finally figured out that he was the best in the world, and I think he just didn't have it in him to keep it up because he knew it would be challenging. He's not like a Connors who was a brash in-your-face kind of guy who probably relished the idea of humiliating his opponents. In 91, I think Connors actually had in his mind that he could win the US Open one more time, even if he was the only guy who believed it, and it would have been all the more sweeter to do that as an old man and prove to those young guys that he was better. Wilander just doesn't have that kind of mentality.

    I also think Wilander preferred to take the underdog role. He was the overwhelming favorite to beat Noah in their French Open final, in both his mind and in the minds of the fans. He came into it playing it safe so as not to mess things up, but he knows now that was the wrong thing to do. If he's the underdog, he feels he has to work harder at it and do something special in order to win. After 88, he wasn't the underdog anymore, and I think it totally messed up his motivation to win.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Wilander is one of the most sensitive,down to earth and open minded pros I had the chance to talk to
    He was shy but you could notice he had a very solid life vision and that translates into tennis
     
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  22. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    Don't forget, at that time, winning 3 slams in the one year was almost unheard. It might happen every 2nd year these days but the 80s was a different ball game. As good as McEnroe was in 84, he won just the 2 slams. He was a set away from winning 3, but couldn't get over the line. So for Wilander to win 3 of the 4, it was like whoa.
     
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