Who was Greater, McEnroe or Connors?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by lordmanji, Sep 11, 2009.

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Who is Greater, McEnroe or Connors?

  1. McEnroe

    38 vote(s)
    43.7%
  2. Connors

    40 vote(s)
    46.0%
  3. undecided

    9 vote(s)
    10.3%
  1. lordmanji

    lordmanji Guest

    8 Grand slams for Connors versus 7 for McEnroe; Jimmy had more titles but McEnroe had a more varied resume with grand slam doubles wins.
     
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  2. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    A peanut butter sandwich is dry. A jelly sandwich lacks substance. Something special happens when you put jelly on one side of sandwich and Peanut butter on the other. Nothing is greater than a McEnroe/ Conners match except a Connors /McEnroe match. I know that is not the answer you meant but still. Sadly I can't for the life of me find PB&J on a tennis court anymore.
     
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  3. DCM

    DCM Banned

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    Hard one this. I'll go for Connors, just for more titles, matches won and GS...

    McEnroe close behind him though.
     
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  4. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Peak vs Longevity

    McEnroe at his peak was a better player in 1984. However, Connors had a much longer career at the top of the game. Hence Peak vs Longevity. Its up to your opinion as to what is more important. I go with Connors.
     
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  5. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Mac or Jimbo?

    Raw talent, hands down, it is McEnroe. Really, he did not accomplish as much as he could've/should've with his skill set...and having said that, he accomplished an awful lot. Particularly when he was faced w/Borg/Lendl/Connors/Wilander during his heyday. I don't think we have seen quite that level of competition simultaneously in some time. (maybe sampras/agassi/courier/chang/edberg period comes close, but not quite IMHO)

    Mac also had a fantastic doubles record, plus Davis Cup behind him. So that also makes me want to pick him.

    But, if you look at just singles, plus all matches over all surfaces, over entire career, it is hard not to go for Jimmy. Yes, there are some matches that he too should have won....his GS record should be a bit fatter....but overall, great diversity across surfaces, big wins in big places (W & USO), huge # of match wins and titles. In his mid to late 30's he was still a very tough player, even if he was no longer winning the GS events, he was still beating most of those beneath him and held a top level ranking (from #4 to low teens, I seem to recall, before he busted his wrist in '90).

    Mac v. Connors matches were usually such ragged affairs...you never knew what was going to happen, who was going to be "on" their game or "off" ...and who might blow up first....

    I actually found some of their seniors matches quite entertaining....
     
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  6. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    mcenroe won more grandies. obviously.
     
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  7. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Only if you factor in doubles (and Connors does have the 75 US Open doubles title). Connors won 8 singles Slams, winning on three surfaces. McEnroe won 7 singles Slams, on two surfaces.
     
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  8. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    yes i was testing you. and you passed! :)
     
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  9. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Close call. As said, Mac had more potential with his pingpong-like half volley-style, while Connors was a great pure striker of the ball. On matchup: Mac was always more vulnerable against hard hitters like Lendl or Connors, than against topspinners like Borg. On grass, Mac was potentially way ahead, but still Connors held him quite even at Wim and Queens. On clay, it was close between them, with Connors maybe a nod ahead overall. On hard courts, over the hill Connors was still able to give prime Mac fits in 1984.

    Mac should have won more majors, especially on grass. Many of his final losses in majors were very close five set affairs, while Connors, when he lost, he lost quite decisively. So Connors got the most out of his career, while Mac didn't fullfil his potential.
     
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  10. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Connors was unlucky in many respects I feel. To not play the French Open during his best years from 1974-1978 due to the fallout of that 74 ban, and miss out on a possible/probable Calander Slam in 74 due to the ban. To play at a time the Australian Open wasnt that valued as a slam. For it to be the only years in history the U.S Open would be played on clay right in the heart of his prime from 75-77, and end up losing 2 U.S Open titles to two clay courters who would have no shot against him on either grass or decoturf. If all these things had been different he even could have had 14 or 15 slams, certainly alot more than 8.
     
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  11. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Connors. Results are what matter, not potential. Not that McEnroe didnt have an outstanding career in his own right, he certainly did, but overall Connors clearly had the better career.
     
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  12. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    Doubles matter too. The fact that McEnroe was one of the greatest doubles AND singles players of all time has to be taken into consideration, IMO.
     
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  13. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    I dont feel doubles means that much in the big picture when comparing singles greats. Doubles mostly has its own category for me. Those who want to mix the two I respect their viewpoint, but that is not how I evaluate singles greats vs each other.

    If doubles were that valued than Navratilova, Court, and King would be the undisputed 3 female GOATs of the Open Era and yet most have Court behind Graf and even possibly Evert, while King isnt rated up there at the very top.
     
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  14. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I would pick Mac over Jimbo because of doubles and Davis Cup. McEnroe was ranked the World No. 1 in doubles for a record 257 weeks and won four at Wimbledon and three at the US Open. The U.S. Davis Cup teams that Mac supported for 15 years and was part of U.S. winning teams in 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1992. Mac set numerous U.S. Davis Cup records, including years played (12), ties (30), singles wins (41), and total wins in singles and doubles (59). He played both singles and doubles in 13 series, and he and Peter Fleming won 14 of 15 Davis Cup doubles matches together.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
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  15. Mafia13

    Mafia13 Rookie

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    I think he also had a 12-0 record in Davis cup ties one of the years when USA won(I can't seem to remember the exact year), a feat Ljubicic nearly matched when Croatia won the Davis cup title(but he lost in the final to Hrbaty so it was 11-1)
     
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  16. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, Joe Sch, the DC gives Mac a big bonus. Besides: i remember an extraordinary team event, the WTC final in 1985 or 86, when Mac and Connors (and Flach/Seguso) were pitted against the strong Czech team of Lendl and Mecir. Mac lost to Lendl, and Connors saved the day, when he beat Mecir, who had a big lead and got tight and began to serve underhand.
     
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  17. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    McEnroe and Connors were two great Americans. When it comes to Head to Head, McEnroe was the better player, he actually beat Connors 11 straight times and he has a 20-14 lifetime record against him. However Connors has more titles compared to McEnroe, 108-77 and an 8-7 grand slam edge. Also Connors had more longevity on your, he made it to the semi's at the 1991 US Open at the age of 39, that was amazing.

    So when it comes to head to head, McEnroe was the better player, but overall Connors has the better numbers.
     
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  18. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    McEnroe's head to head against Connors, just like Lendl's, is heavily inflated by the fact that Connors kept playing into his late 30s. Neither got the upper hand on him until he was 33.
     
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  19. martin

    martin Banned

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    Excellent point!!

    It's not realistic or fair to compare an old and not prime connors against a prime mcenroe or Lendl who are seven and eight years younger.
    Connors is being punished for still competing at an old age.
     
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  20. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Connors v. Mac

    yes, connors lost more matches after he passed 35yrs of age....tho', ironically one of his last titles came in '89 when he beat Mac in straight sets in the Tolouse (FR) final...he was 37yrs old, (Mac was what then? 31 or 32?)....I recall Mac saying that Connors played some fantastic tennis...

    The Mecir match referenced above was World Team Cup...I think it may have been '86 ; Mecir had a lead in the 5th, got tight and Connors climbed right back to win. And, it was on RED clay...shocking, huh?

    anyways, I could flip a coin between these 2...they both are worthy, each for slightly different reasons.....
     
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  21. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Correct answer above, ad goes to the Belleville bomber
     
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  22. Kick Serve 14

    Kick Serve 14 Professional

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    17 to 8 Johnny Mac wins hands down...
     
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  23. Wuornos

    Wuornos Professional

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    For me no competition. McEnroe was far stronger than Connors at their relative peaks.
     
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  24. obanaghan

    obanaghan New User

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    Connors won more majors, 3 of the 4 majors and won on three surfaces. This is similar to Evert-Navratilova in that one player shone very brightly for a period but was no where to be seen at other parts of the career.

    Mac was great especially in 83-84 but only won 79US, 80US, 81WUS, 83W and 84WUS. Connors won majors in 74AOWUS, 76US, 78US, 82WUS and 83US.

    Connors was older than McEnroe by 7 years yet his last major was 12 months before Mac's. Also when he was 39 in 1991 he made the semis and when Mac was 39 in 1998 I don't recall such a run.

    Overall this is a singles comparison and Connors' numbers edge McEnroe.
     
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  25. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Re Connors and Davis Cup. It's somehow a pity, that Connors played so seldom. He seems to have lost his interest after a vital loss to Ramirez in 1976 or 1977. Connors would have been the ultimate Davis Cupper, like Becker, who could play the crowd like a piano and draw them into the match. He excelled in the Las Vergas challenge matches, promoted by Riordan.The mano a mano, do or die situation would have stimulated him to the extreme.
    One other thing. Connors was maybe unlucky at the USO, that the change to Deco turf came not earlier than 1978. He reached all finals between 1974 and 1978 and would have had even better chances against all finalists, Borg, Orantes and Vilas, if they had played on hard courts, instead of har tru.
     
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  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    12. Connors


    18. McEnroe
     
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  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Must be counting doubles titles also.?
    Connors: 8 slam singles titles
    McEnroe: 7 slam singles titles



    Mac's 1984 was pretty incredible.
    But Jimbo's 1974 was pretty decent also.
     
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  28. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    It was horrible luck for Connors really that the only 3 years in the history of the U.S Open to be played on har tru were right in the heart of his prime. Orantes and Vilas would have no shot against him on any surface other than some form of clay court. Granted to give due to those guys it was a huge win for either to beat Connors even on har tru, especialy Orantes. However on either grass or decoturf they would no shot vs Connors. The only guy of those to have a shot vs Connors at the time of their final on other surfaces than some form of clay was Borg in 76, and as it was Connors beat him even on the har tru so it is a moot point.

    I am pretty sure without that 3 year interim of har tru at the U.S Open he would have 7 U.S Open titles.
     
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  29. ElSuegro

    ElSuegro Rookie

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    Connors still owns three of the major records - no. of tournaments won (109), no. of matches won (1,222) and no. of grand slam matches won (about 230), and is second only to Sampras at weeks at #1 (268). Federer will surpass him in January probably on that last one. I don't have the stats, but I suspect that Jimbo is #1 on weeks in the top 10, due to his longevity.

    Mac's best stat was his singles record in 1984, about 91-3 or something? I don't think anyone, including Federer, has ever done better.
     
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  30. statto

    statto Professional

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    Mac edges it for me. Connors career lasted far longer than Mac's, yet he only managed one extra singles GS, whereas Mac's DC and doubles record is virtually untouchable. The most impressive thing about Connors is his winning percentage over such a long career.

    They're both in the all-time top ten IMO.
     
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  31. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Connors won big tournaments on grass, hard, and clay (US Open 76). McEnroe won only on grass and hard. Connors is the best.
     
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  32. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    dead even

    LOL...right now they are dead even in the poll......indicative of a very hard choice.....
     
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  33. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    It's clearly Jimmy isn't it:)

    At their peaks McEnroe was the better player, but Jimmy was way more consistent, looking at his tournament wins etc, so overall the greater player for sure!!!
     
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  34. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I agree:)

    I think he had an excellent chance to win the French 74-78 if he had played, and don't forget he only played Aussie Open twice (winning and runner up), he would have won another couple of Grand Slams for sure if he had played there more often!
     
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  35. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Good point:)

    And Jimmy still has same number of US Open wins (5) as Federer and Sampras!

    Thanks to the rainy weather I managed to get cheap ticket in the end while in New York for the US Open final (what a great match), and was looking for a reason to support Del Potro, and realised if he won then Federer would not beat Jimmy's record of 5 wins!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
    #35
  36. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    #36
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You lucky guy. Glad you were about to enjoy the US Open.:)

    Have you been to the US Open before?

    ElSuegro and Benhur,

    The weeks at number one statistic and years in top ten statistics bothers me a bit because it's only since I suppose 1973. Also a player like Connors could be hurt by the fact Borg was very dominant at the same time. So a number two ranking by Connors in some years may actually be better than a number one ranking in some weak years in which no player was really overwhelming.

    For example I would think some of Jimmy's years when he was number two may have been superior to some of Lleyton Hewitt's number one years.

    In years at number one or in the top ten, I would guess that past players like Gonzalez, Tilden and Rosewall would have been very high up in those categories.
     
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  38. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    No I've never been to US Open before. I live in UK and because of that will maybe not ever get the chance to go again. It really was great there, but very different to Wimbledon. It felt more relaxed at the US Open, less posh people there, which was a good thing!

    The atmosphere in the evening was great, there is nothing similar at Wimbledon. I really liked it at Wimbledon as well when I went this year, but it is a very different experience. I feel so lucky to have been to both in 1 year:)
     
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  39. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    The fact that you have Mac as the 18th greatest player of all time shows your list is worthless. He is easily top 10 if not top 5. Go crawl under a rock Mac hater
     
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  40. maddogz32

    maddogz32 Semi-Pro

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    hard to pick. but i picked mcenroe because it was more fun to watch him get mad
     
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  41. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, not my top-10. I'm no Mac-hater, but his record does not warrant higher.

    Not higher than Laver, Tilden, Rosewall, Borg, Federer, Gonzales, Sampras, Budge, Perry, Vines, Cochet, Kramer, Lacoste, Hoad, Lendl, Connors, etc.

    Thanks for your approbation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
    #41
  42. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Mac

    18 seems kind of low...but that list covers the entire 20th century of players.....problem with Mac, as I maintain, is his talent was immense...right up there w/the very best....but his results/consistency weren't always there. And, his longevity was so-so at best. Still, at his peak, I think he'd give a lot of today's guys a big scare....most of them would not know how to handle his serve or his net play....[the idea that their power would blow him off the court, is dubious, at best]
     
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  43. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I can understand if you don;t approve of Macs profane outbursts but to punish him with an 18th ranking is harsh. Very Harsh.

    He was and is a vile man of the lowest order but he was top 10 material if not top 5.
     
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  44. Borgforever

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    I can't really separate Mac and Jimbo -- since the both exist on the same tier in my all-time ranking.

    I probably give Jimbo the nod since he had so many great years as almost No. 1 -- if not No. 1 and showed to everyone that he could advance further than many of the greatest players in the early 1990s at the 1991 USO, with his flat-hitting, unique and not very (by the 1990s) orthodox technique.

    I've said this before that I think that Hoodjem's GOAT-list is excellent and very sound. I've also said that I have a few minor issues with it -- for one thing I place them in tiers/echelons rather than in one line -- one after the other. But if one has to -- Hood's list looks very solid from many perspectives, not the least from tennis history stand-point -- many historians from the past would certainly think it's sound too since I've seen many observers and experts harboring very similar views on the subject.

    I have one major issue with Hoodjem's GOAT-list though -- and I'll take it on the H. L.-thread...
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
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  45. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I agree in whole with this. McEnroe tended to come and go in professional tennis. Connors, other than a potential career ending injury, was a constant in the game for 20 years. I think that gives him the nod (and a not only it is).
     
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  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The McEnroe and Connors debate is very tough. I think Mac was a bit superior if you compare their best play but even that's debatable with Jimmy's 1974 versus Mac's 1984.

    Subjectively I thought McEnroe was more versatile and his best was a little better than Connors. But who knows for sure.

    I thought Connors was more consistent than McEnroe over the course of their career. Connors was almost never bad. McEnroe was a little more up and down with his play but that of course had a lot to do with his higher risk style.
     
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  47. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Vilas was better than McEnroe. He won 4 Grand Slams and McEnroe 7, but Vilas won on grass and on clay (european and american clay, which is faster), and McEnroe only on fast courts. It's more important than the number of titles.
    And Connors is superior, for the same reason.
     
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  48. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    I'm having trouble deciding if you are being sarcastic or not. Connors winning the US on clay tips him over McEnroe. However, the only reason Vilas won the Australian is because neither Connors or Borg went there, and the only reason he won the French in 77 is because Borg skipped it. Borg owned Vilas on clay, and if you doubt it, look what he did to Vilas in the 78 French final.
     
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  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    McEnroe has won clay court tournaments including the har tru tournaments at Forest Hills. He defeated Vilas 6-1 6-1 in a semifinal of that tournament and it was the same surface that Vilas won the US Open on in 1977.

    Vilas was an excellent player and he had a better clay court record than McEnroe but I think John was a better overall player.

    MCENROE, John (USA)

    Versus Guillermo VILAS (ARG)
    Year Tournament Round Surface Winner Score
    1977 South Orange SF Clay (O) G.VILAS 2-6 6-2 0-6
    1978 Basle FR Carpet (I) G.VILAS 3-6 7-5 5-7 4-6
    1979 USCC-Indianapolis SF Clay (O) G.VILAS 4-6 5-7
    1979 Davis Cup 1979 Carpet (I) J.MCENROE 6-2 6-3 6-2
    1980 Masters Carpet (I) J.MCENROE 6-2 6-3
    1980 Davis Cup 1980 Clay (O) G.VILAS 2-6 6-4 3-6 6-2 4-6
    1980 Monte Carlo QF Clay (O) G.VILAS 1-6 4-6
    1981 Pepsi Grand Slam FR Clay (O) J.MCENROE 6-7 6-4 6-0
    1981 Davis Cup 1981 Carpet (I) J.MCENROE 6-3 6-2 6-2
    1983 Masters SF Carpet (I) J.MCENROE 6-3 6-3
    1983 Davis Cup 1983 Clay (O) G.VILAS 4-6 0-6 1-6
    1983 TOC Forest Hills SF Clay (O) J.MCENROE 6-1 6-1
     
    #49
  50. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    John won 4 US opens. He made 5 Wimbledon finals in a row and won 3. He was either number one or knocking at the door from '80-'85.

    I've never heard anyone put Villas in John's class before. Did Vilas ever make a Wimbledon final?
     
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