What was up with Connors - May to July 1984

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    all of the above, I would suspect. Although, in retrospect, I think he was trying to play Mac a bit too aggressively (serving & volleying) and getting slaughtered. He needed to find a way to slow it all down, perhaps let Mac, come down to Earth a bit. Maybe get into Mac's head a bit. But that never happened.

    Mac was just playing too well that season. He creamed Connors a week earlier at Queen's as well. It was unusual for him to beat Jimmy THAT easily on a fast grass surface....he was playing some phenomenal tennis.
     
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  2. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Connors had beaten McEnroe in the Queen's Club finals of both 1982 and 1983, as well as their big match at the 1982 Wimbledon final. The tables totally turned in their 1984 grass-court matches, McEnroe winning easily at both Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

    McEnroe's dominance over Connors in 1984 also turned around their official head-to-head.
     
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  3. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    This is true; Connors did not beat Mac again until the late '80s.....after Mac went on his sabbatical and forgot how to play great tennis.
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Some permanent memory loss occurred there.
     
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  5. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Umm....no

    McEnroe was number 4 in the world when Connors beat him in 89! (Past his best but number 4 in the world is still no slouch).
     
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  6. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    How bout Connors at the 1990 French Open third round agin Chang?
     
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  7. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    yeh, mcenroe couldnt miss really..i think he was really 'in the zone' maybe losing the french open final in such a horrendous manner helped him focus all the more..

    then again maybe the french open had nothing to do with it lol :)

    also when watching the olympic 2012 final and how 'off the pace' federer was compared to wimby final..made me think of connors-supermac at sw19..one sided contest between players age 25 - 30/31.
     
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  8. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Connors's overall win-loss record was significantly better than Lendl's that year actually, 74-14 for Connors across 18 tournaments, as opposed to 62-16 for Lendl across 16 tournaments. So that is a plus point in Connors favour.

    The thing to remember though it that it's not just 1 RG title for Lendl vs 5 smaller titles for Connors. It's 1 RG title plus 2 smaller titles vs 5 smaller titles. Lendl's second best title in 1984, Wembley (where he beat Connors in the semis), was just as big as Connors's best title that year, Tokyo (where he beat Lendl in the final). 2 extra smaller titles for Connors is not a hugely significant gap. If Connors had a Dallas or Masters title then I could see there being a case for him, but not without a title at any of the 5-6 biggest events of the year.

    As krosero mentioned, 1983 was almost a role-reversal of 1984 between Lendl and Connors. That year Lendl finished the year at no. 2, and Connors at no. 3. Connors won 4 official titles including the US Open. Lendl won 7 titles but none of them came at the majors, Masters or WCT finals. Lendl also had 21 more official match wins than Connors that year. Surely though most people would say that Connors had a better year than Lendl in 1983, and the opposite was true in 1984.

    Then again bringing their non-sanctioned titles in the discussion, that further strengthens the case for Lendl as krosero has said, with 5 titles for Lendl including the ECC in Antwerp, the Molson Challenge in Canada and the Suntory Cup in Tokyo to 1 for Connors (although that was a very important one at the Challenge of Champions in Rosemont).

    Still incredible for Connors to be so strong and so consistent at the age of 31/32.
     
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  9. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes pack crowds all over the world for those events, and the players took them every bit as seriously, if not more so, than many of the official sanctioned events. In many years the top players entered more unofficial events and invitationals than official ones.

    It's a shame that the ATP and their records were a complete mess back then, and that the title counts of Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg etc are all significantly understated.
     
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  10. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nice comparison of the two years. I actually hadn't noticed that Connors and Lendl had roughly the same achievements in '83 compared to what they did in '84, if you just switch their names.

    And actually in GS results, Lendl's achievements in '83 were stronger than Connors' in '84.

    Lendl was runner-up in 2 GS events in '83. Connors reached only 1 GS final in '84.

    Lendl in '84 had 1 GS victory and 1 runner-up showing. Connors in '83 had 1 GS victory, but no other GS finals reached.

    Yet Connors is ranked ahead of Lendl in '83 -- which I think is right. For the same reasons it seems right to rank Connors behind Lendl in '84.
     
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  11. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes 1983 was a very good year for Lendl despite the fact that he didn't win a blue chip title. He was also the losing finalist to McEnroe at both Dallas and the Masters that year. So he reached 4 finals, 1 semi-final (at Wimbledon) and 1 quarter-final (at Roland Garros) at the 6 biggest events of the year.

    Plus he had big title wins at Milan (one of the biggest and richest indoor events on the circuit at the time), Montreal and Tokyo (indoor). McEnroe turned their rivalry around from 1981-1982 and owned him that year with big wins over him at Philadelphia, Dallas, Wimbledon and MSG. That Dallas final was an incredible all-time classic and arguably the best match of their rivalry, and their Wimbledon semi-final saw Mac produce one of the best grass court performances I've ever seen from any player. Still at least he wasn't shut out completely by Mac in 1983 and was able to beat him in the San Francisco final.

    Despite all this I agree with the common concensus that Lendl was 'only' the 4th best player that year, behind McEnroe, Wilander and Connors.

    As far as the 1983-1984 comparison goes, I also agree with you that Lendl's 1983 was better than Connors' 1984, and that Lendl's 1984 was better than Connor's 1983.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Very true about 83 Lendl.Noah was palying crazy tennis in front of home crowd and Wilander was untouchable at the Melbourne final and semifinal.Mac was nearly as brilliant as in 84 and Connors pulled up a last big efffort for his last ever major.But Lendl had some stomach trouble I lerant so you never know.

    Lendl´s 83 was better than Connors 84.And maybe, nº 2 behind Mac and along the other two guys make reflect the true picture about that year.

    he also won the very prestigious Chicago Exhibitional event at the start of the year, with two great wins over Borg and Connors ( who came to the event as the newly crowned world nº1) and his round robin defeat at Mac´s hands didn´t prevent him from reaching the final and beating in 4 tough sets Jimmy Connors.
     
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  13. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    1983 was a very good quality year, with Mac, Connors, Wilander, Lendl all playing a very high standard of tennis, and Noah's brilliant and inspired clay court season (beating both Lendl and Wilander to win a major on clay is amazing). Mac's conversation with Don Budge about how to beat Lendl (attacking and approaching up the middle of the court and not giving him all those angles) helped him the turn the tables on the Ivan.

    And yes that Challenge of Champions invitational was a huge event. Mac, Connors and Lendl all won it at least twice. It may have been the richest invitational event of the 80s actually, or at worst one of the richest and most prestigious.
     
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  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Connors won a whopping 9 non-sanctioned events in 1983 (including the Toronto Molson Challenge and Suntory Cup). I think that's one more reason to keep him ahead of Lendl for the year, despite Lendl's impressive achievements on the tour in general. Lendl didn't win any of the 4 Slams, or the Masters or Dallas, and I agree with you that that's a key.

    It's funny, how Lendl and Connors really swapped places in 1983-84. If you remember upthread I posted Lendl's record in '84: only 3 official titles, but 5 wins in non-sanctioned events. Basically Connors did the same in '83: 4 official titles, 9 non-sanctioned wins.

    Lendl in '83, and Connors in '84, each won only 1 non-sanctioned event. But it was the same event, and a big one: the Challenge of Champions at Rosemont.
     
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  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Lendl won 7 official titles. Noah won only 3 titles, but one was RG -- and Noah took down both Lendl and Wilander there. That was arguably the biggest single victory of the year.

    So can Lendl be ranked ahead of a GS winner? In this case I think overall performance, without a Slam, can leapfrog over someone who has a Slam title. Noah's 3 titles were all on outdoor clay (RG, Hamburg, Madrid), and as impressive as those titles were, he was only a force in the claycourt season. He did not play Wimbledon or the AO, and went out in the USO quarters. He didn't even meet Connors or McEnroe the whole year.

    Lendl meanwhile was a force everywhere, even if he couldn't quite get that blue-chip victory (to use your phrase). He won titles on carpet, hard and clay; he made the finals of many big events (USO, AO, Masters, Dallas), which should count for something. He even did well at Wimbledon, with a good run to the semis. And though he won none of the top titles, he won some fairly big events (Canadian Open, Tokyo Indoor).

    At the end of the season no one was talking about Noah as a candidate for player of the year, that's for sure. No one thought Lendl was #1, either, but at least he entered the conversation. He was the prizemoney leader; and the (admittedly flawed) computer rankings placed him at #2, just a hairline behind McEnroe (129.60 points vs 129.92 points).
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Lendl was Mr Consistency from 1980 till 1990 or so.In 83 he had a year where he won no major indoor or outdoor events yet he never got beyond world´s nº 3.
     
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  17. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    That challenge of champions event in Illinois took place just before the Masters at MSG, so maybe Lendl's 1983 title there belongs to his 1982 season, and Connor's 1984 title there belongs to his 1983 season, depending on how you would allocate Masters results. If so that would actually leave Lendl with 0 non-sanctioned titles in 1983, and likewise Connors with 0 in 1984. Of course different people have difference preferences there.

    I agree that Connors's results at the invitationals in 1983 was just outstanding and is another factor to give him the clear lead over Lendl that year (though his sanctioned results alone are more than enough anyway). He had plenty of wins at those events against pretty much all of his rivals, Mac, Lendl, Wilander and yes even Borg. As part of his title haul, he also won very lucrative, big money events at Beaver Creek, Miami and Sun City in South Africa, to go with those Suntory Cup and Molson Challenge titles that you mentioned.
     
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  18. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes despite Noah's RG title I would also rank Lendl above him in 1983. Noah did pretty much nothing of note away from clay, apart from a US Open quarter-final appearance. He played in 4 official tournament finals that year, and all of them were on clay. Had he been more of a factor throughout the season then he definitely would have had more of a case.

    Lendl's record at the smaller (not they were insignificant) events on the circuit from 1980-1983 was outstanding, with him racking up title after title.
     
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  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Yes indeed, beat Borg in the finals of Suntory Cup in April and Industry Hills in July (the latter a five-set match).
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree.Exos of that level would account for as much in the 1970´s and 1980´s.Connors was the guy that tokk non sanctioned events to another level when he launched his winner takes all challenges at vegas, against Laver,Newcombe,Nastase and Orantes.
     
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  21. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Never got beyond number 3 in 1983?

    Sorry ..that is not correct. Lendl was actually number 1 in the world for 17 weeks of 1983. He was actually number 1 as late as December the 11th that year.

    NB I am interpreting 'never got beyond' to mean 'never got a higher ranking'....but now I wonder if you meant 'never got a lower ranking'...if you did, sorry 'bout that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
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  22. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    yes, mcenroe, connors, lendl played 'pass the parcel' with the world no1 rank in 1983..

    it changed loads of times..weekly sometimes.
     
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  23. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Remember the Sun City exo? Connors defeated both Wilander and Lendl.It was an almost forbidden tournament given the apartheid thing and Mc Enroe refused to accept the invitation to play on it.

    I think Curren or Kriek were the 4 th man of the event, which was probably the richest ever invitational event.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, I probably said it the wrong way.English is not my first language and I may use the wrong words combination.I meant that Ivan never got worse than nº 3 in 1983.I forgot he even ranked nº 1 for some weeks.Although the lack of a major win probably cost him the general consensus of being the best player.
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1983 Mac was exceptional indoors.On grass he reached the AO semis, the Queen´s final and won Wimbledon but on indoors, he just won the three big titles at stake (MSG, Philadelphia,Dallas beating Lendl those three times).He almost beat Lendl a 4th time at the Transamerican Open, which was a very important stop on the fall season, but Lendl barely defeated him in a classic match.
     
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