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. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    I think McEnroe at his best was the better player but there can be little doubt Connors had the better overall career and deserves the higher rank.
     
    #51
  2. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, this is a good summary!

    And the great TW voters seem to agree as well:)
     
    #52
  3. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    The only reason Vilas won Australian Open, French Open and US Open is because he beated all the players who played these tournaments !!
     
    #53
  4. SAFINATORZ

    SAFINATORZ Hall of Fame

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    we've gotta remember mac did play a lot of doubles as well! if he had concentrated only on singles, I think he would've held more GS's than connors. Besides Mac never really hit the gym or practiced... this dude just played and never really worked on his game...
    Unlike now where's his is in his early 50's and is in great shape due to his off court training.
     
    #54
  5. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Vilas?

    No disrespect, but I think he is on a 2nd tier relative to Mac and Connors. He was an excellent player, particularly on clay, but hard to give a lot of weight to the AO wins when the best grass court players (mac/jimmy/borg) were not playing the event.

    On clay, I might give him the edge over both Mac and Jimmy, on a good day. But, both of them could beat him on their very best days on Har Tru (maybe not the red stuff)

    On hard courts or grass, I don't think Vilas could beat either one at their best.
     
    #55
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with you, Vilas wasn't close to Connors or McEnroe on hard courts or grass. On red clay however, generally speaking Vilas would be the favorite.

    I always like Vilas. But Vilas didn't have the greatest versatility in the world. He was a great player who could hit almost forever from the baseline with heavy topspin. He was NOT the most comfortable at the net, despite the fact he won some grass court tournaments.

    When he won the End of Year Masters in 1974 and defeated on grass great players as Newcombe, Borg, Ramirez and Nastase you would figure that this man would be a great serve and volleyer but it was not to be. Now that I think of it, that tournament was perhaps Vilas' great tournament victory.

    He did have a number of excellent years and many thought he was the best player in the world in 1977, winning the French Open and the US Open. His schedule that year was enormous, I think he won 134 matches and lost 15.

    You would have thought at that point he would be battling Connors and Borg and later McEnroe for years in all the majors but he eventually settled into a level just below the top tier.

    I remember watching a talk show here in the United States several years ago and the host called Vilas a really cool guy. That I agree with.:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
    #56
  7. muddlehead

    muddlehead Rookie

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    mac maybe best of all time for that 3 yrs or so peak period - numero uno singles and doubs - just missed at roland garros. jimmy best at long term career success.
     
    #57
  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Pmerk,
    You misunderstand my GOAT-list and its ranking. It has absolutely nothing to do with approving of someone's "profane outbursts" or not. It is all about achievements in the record books. I certainly do not punish Mac for anything. I evaluate him on what he achieved compared to what other players achieved.

    IMO compared to the other players on my list, his ranking is where it is.

    BTW I rank Vilas much lower, on my top-30 list, but just barely.
     
    #58
  9. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Why would you put his profane outburst in quotes. The guy from about '85 on used profanity at will.
     
    #59
  10. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    On grass, Vilas beated Borg, Nastase and Newcombe in the Masters january 1975.
    On hard court, by exemple, he beated Borg in Toronto 1975, McEnroe in Bâle in 1979, and Connors in Milan in 1982.
     
    #60
  11. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    McEnroe played doubles instead of practicing, he has mentioned this a number of times. He hated to practice.

    McEnroe was devastating in 84... but Connors was equally as impressive in 74' with a 93-4 record and 3 GS Titles... he was banned from playing the French. But Connors longevity is incredible... he made a run into the semi's of the USO at 39 years of age, and he also has the 2nd longest consecutive streak as number one in the world.What I find most impressive about Connors is he was able to achieve all this without any cheap points... his serve was used basically to start a point.
     
    #61
  12. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Read my post again JP. Yes, he won those tournaments by beating everyone who was entered. HOWEVER, aside from the 77 US Open, he won those tournaments when neither Borg nor Connors, the two best players at the time, were entered.

    It'd be like Roddick winning Wimbledon because neither Federer or Nadal played it.

    Yes, it's still a Slam win, but it's not as impressive.

    And for the record, Vilas is 2-10 vs. Borg lifetime and never won a set off him after 76. That includes a match on red clay in 77, the year Vilas won the French because Borg didn't play; Borg beat Vilas 6-3 6-2. Borg beat Vilas in the 78 French final 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, the most lopsided final till Nadal vs. Fed 08. Borg also beat Vilas on clay the last year they played, in 80, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2.

    Vilas vs. Connors isn't as lopsided, 4-5. However, Connors holds a 3-1 edge on Vilas on CLAY and a 1-0 lead on hardcourts. Three of Vilas's wins were on carpet.
     
    #62
  13. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    What is funny is how in 77 when Borg was still owning his lapdog Vilas to embarassing extremes, Vilas was actually doing better vs Connors than Borg was.
     
    #63
  14. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    OK, but that's not the problem of Vilas if Borg or Connors didn't play at Australian or French Open. It's absurd to say "if Borg was there ..." because :
    1/ He wasn't there !
    2/ Who can say what happened if Borg was there ?

    Vilas beated Borg 5 times : Buenos Aires 73, Toronto 75, Masters 74 and 75, Dusseldorf 80.
     
    #64
  15. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I didn't know this, very interesting!

    Shows that Connors would have had an excellent chance of winning French Open 74-78 (if he had played) or Aussie Open after 75 (if he had played), but I suppose we already knew this:)
     
    #65
  16. martin

    martin Banned

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    Doubles is another discipline and should be left out especially because the best players were not even interested to play doubles.
    If you just look at the records in singles Jimmy has achieved more and has a better record than Mac.
    Obviously anyone can find other reasons to think Mcenroe is greater.
     
    #66
  17. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    In official ATP tournaments, Vilas is 2-10 against Borg, and his last win against him was in 76.

    As for your two, it's easy to say what would have happened if Borg had been there to play Vilas: Vilas would have lost in straight sets, just like he did the following year in the FO final, and just like he did every time he played Borg between 77-80.
     
    #67
  18. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    I still think Borg was the best clay-court player in 77. It's unfair to say that Borg would have won the FO if he had played but it is fair to say that Borg would have gone into the tournament as favourite.

    Also I think it is fair to say that Vilas' record in 77 was achieved partly because Vilas and Borg hardly entered the same tournaments. The only tournament they both entered after Wimbledon was the US Open where Borg retired with an injury. I wonder if Vilas was deliberately avoiding Borg. For example why did Vilas not enter the two big clay tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid?
     
    #68
  19. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Connors 109 Open era singles titles is a record till this date. Why not go for Connors?

    And I can see it is a tight match but Connors has the edge already.
     
    #69
  20. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Excuse me, but tennis is not a sport so simple ! When Vilas played against Borg in Nations Cup 1980 in Dusseldorf, who was thinking that Vilas could win ? Nobody. Everyone said, like you : Borg will win easyly, why even playing this match ??? Vilas won 6/3 1/6 6/1.
     
    #70
  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I put it in quotation marks because I was quoting you. See below.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
    #71
  22. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

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    Nation's Cup is an exhibition, not an actual Grand Prix tournament, and so doesn't count. Borg often lost in exos to players he always beat when it mattered, because the exos were only a payday to Borg, nothing more.
     
    #72
  23. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Vilas did get one win over Borg in 1980 breaking a long losing streak. It was some small event in Germany.

    It is amazing to think if Borg had even played the 77 French, 78 Australian, and 79 Australian Open almost certainly Vilas would only have 1 slam title today (especialy as on grass his chances to beat Borg would even be far less than clay).
     
    #73
  24. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    If Borg had won the US Open in 78, 79 or 80 he would most assuredly have not skipped the Australian those years, b/c he would have had the chance to complete the calendar year slam each year.

    If Borg had played in the Australian, he would have won at least 5 more slams. However, part of being a great player is playing, and Borg chose not to. Hence he's behind Fed, Sampras and Laver in GOAT discussions.
     
    #74
  25. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Their official ATP count is 17-5 (though one of Vilas' wins was a walkover), including Vilas' win in 1980 at the Nations Cup.

    It's counted in their official H2H, but there are still signs that Borg did not take it very seriously. As Vilas start taking the lead in the third set, Jack Kramer said that he did not raise his level -- he said that Vilas took the lead because Borg was making uncharacteristic errors. And he was making a lot of them. Donald Dell even saw the unforced error at match point coming before Borg hit it.

    A few weeks earlier Borg had beaten him at Monte Carlo, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
    #75
  26. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    OK, it's very easy for Borg : even when he didn't play, it's possible to say he win the tournament ! So, I wonder why he played.
     
    #76
  27. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    And it's amazing to think if Borg was born in 1988, almos certainly Nadal would have O slam title today !
    And if Jean Borotra was born in 1988, alomost certainly Federer would have 1 or 2 slam title today !!
     
    #77
  28. Tomaz Bellucci

    Tomaz Bellucci Rookie

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    Some points:

    1) Why we are talking about Vilas where is not on the thread?

    2) McEnroe, Connors or Borg were better players than Guillermo. Fact.

    3) Borg was better clay courter than Vilas. Fact.

    4) Borg didn't enter RG 77 cause he got into WTT, it was his decision, not Vilas fault.

    5) Connors didn't enter in RG from 74 to 78 so, another **** can say that Borg titles were not so valuable as they printed on paper.

    6) "If" and "should" don't matter: Borg didn't go to aussie open cause it was held in late december or earlier january: his own choice again, not Vilas issue. Fact: Vilas won those 2 Aussie and was finalist of a third, obviously with the precaution of sawing the draws there. Connors went 2 times and won one. Fact: Borg didn't won the USO so he skipped the Aussie and that's it, no other "Would" of "If"

    7) For those who said Vilas skip some tournaments cause Borg, well maybe but Borg played Tehran too year ago; in fact, he lost the number one spot in 77 cause going to grass court season plating Wimby plus two others events, when he "could" kept on clay tournaments and blind off ELO system.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
    #78
  29. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    And the McEnroe fans (of which there are many more than Connors) have finally found the thread and are blindly voting for him:(

    Luckliy the experts have already agreed that Connors was the greater overall:)

    (Even though McEnroe was undoubtedly the more naturally talented player)
     
    #79
  30. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Oh please. HE was great player period. This naturally talented stuff is so overblown
     
    #80
  31. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    who has more fans?

    McEnroe has more fans than Connors? that is pretty debatable as well...LOL!

    John has caught up in recent polling here....but, their records speak for themselves....

    They are both great, great players, but Jimmy accomplished more in the singles arena..
     
    #81
  32. martin

    martin Banned

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    If you'd ask someone who doesn't know Connors or Mcenroe then there would be a score of 100% in favour of Connors.
    Other factors like popularity or maybe the fact that Mcenroe is more naturally gifted shouldn't matter.
     
    #82
  33. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I voted Connors. Definitely has the greater record.
     
    #83
  34. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I vote Connors.

    "If Borg had played in the Australian, he would have won at least 5 more slams. However, part of being a great player is playing, and Borg chose not to. Hence he's behind Fed, Sampras and Laver in GOAT discussions."

    In your view maybe. But to me you don't elevate the importance of a tournament after the fact. During Borg's era The Australian was a second rate event. It doesn't gain in stature merely because Pete Sampras started repeating the mantra "only GS events matter".
     
    #84
  35. rtruesdell

    rtruesdell New User

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    There's a similar debate in baseball regarding the Hall of Fame. The thought there is that a player who had a splendid peak, but didn't extend that into a longer career (e.g. Roger Maris), is less HoF worthy than the player who perhaps had a lesser peak but played extremely well for many years (e.g. Hank Aaron).

    This is the crux of the Mac vs. Connors debate. At their peaks, McEnroe was arguably the greater player, but his period of superb tennis was far shorter than Connors'. While both are tremendous all-time champions, the career mark has to go to Jimmy.
     
    #85
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What if we must include doubles play?
     
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