Would Edberg have beaten Becker in the '91 AO Final?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Moose Malloy, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I remember being pretty disappointed when Edberg lost in the semis to Lendl that year(after having 2 match points - see link. looks like Edberg choked) since Edberg & Becker had not played each other in a hardcourt major before(in fact they had very few outdoor hardcourt meetings in their rivalry)

    And they would never play each other again in any major again after '90 Wimbledon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O_UWfVeFVE&feature=player_detailpage#t=4917s

    Edberg hadn't won a hardcourt major yet at that point, while Becker had one('89 USO)

    Becker came out very flat in the final vs Lendl (heard he had some physical issues in first set)

    While Becker owned Edberg, Edberg did win 3 of their 4 meetings in majors, this could have been a very interesting match.

    In retrospect Edberg was not far from winning 3 majors that year(the famous 'never broken' loss to Stich in '91 W semis, choking a semi here, won the USO)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
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  2. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Would the number 1 ranking have been on the line had Edberg reached the final? If so, I think that would have been enough motivation for Becker to win on the day. If not, then it's a toss-up as to who would have won.
     
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  3. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Edberg would have won I think. I think he was overall the better hard court player and definitely better on rebound ace despite that Becker somehow won 2 titles there and Edberg 0 (Edberg lost in 1990 due to injury alone though, and was stopped by Courier at his peak in both 92 and 93). Edberg also tended to have the edge in their bigger matches, even though Becker did overall.
     
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  4. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    A more important question for me is, would Edberg have won W in '91 had he not lost to Stich in the semis? I think he would have, which would have meant he'd have matched Becker's 3 W titles. In addition to how close he was to 3 majors in '91, add in the '90 AO when he had to retire in the final due to injury after having played a nearly flawless tournament, plus the '89 RG final loss that was within his grasp.

    I used to agonize over some of Edberg's unexpected losses. I truly believe he was only a few close matches away from going from a great player to a GOAT contender.
     
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  5. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Never easy to tell with the big Becker vs. Edberg matches, but Edberg was in better form during 1991 Wimbledon. Becker might still have won the final, though. I think one of the reasons that Becker lost to Stich in straight sets was because he was so mentally prepared to face Edberg, that it threw him off when he was suddenly faced with a fellow German on a court that Becker considered his own.
     
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  6. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Indeed the 91 Wimbledon was imo the best i have seen Edberg play- up until the second set or better the third set in the Stich match. To me, watching him in the early rounds, he looked like the sure favourite to win it. On hard court, i am not so sure, who was the better player. For me, Boris had the more penetrating groundies. On grass, the soft skills of Edberg, his low returns to the toenails worked better. I remember, that Boris trained at Wimbledon with silky Vijay to get ready for Stefan.
     
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  7. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    You would think Becker with his game and playing style would be better on hard courts and Edberg would be suited to grass more than hard courts (while Becker's power, big serve, and attacking game would also work well on grass) but in the time it seemed Edberg was far and away the more consistent performer and threat in the hard court events. Becker never had a performance like Edberg at the 91 U.S Open. Edberg was consistently going deeper at both the Australian and U.S Opens. The two times Becker won the Australian Open while he played very impressively towards the end his draw kind of fell apart too.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    This would certainly be the match of the year on fast courts, as the Courier vs Agassi FO final was the match of the year on slow courts.

    I´d pick Edberg, but you could never count out Becker, who had a pretty good record vs Edberg.
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Edberg may have beaten Becker, but not the way he played in the semifinal, serving so many double-faults (12) and choking when he got to match point.

    Becker on the other hand was highly motivated to get the #1 ranking (though I'm not sure whether Edberg would have stayed #1 if he had made it to the final). He was in good form mentally, which was always the key for him. When he was in good shape mentally he was one of the toughest players ever to beat; when he wasn't, he often self-imploded.

    Becker did have those back troubles, and that might have cost him the first set of the final regardless of the opponent. I just think that Edberg, for whatever reason, was not in great shape mentally, while Becker would have had extra motivation facing Edberg, since Stefan had taken their last meeting in a major (the '90 Wimby final).
     
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ??? Really???
     
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  11. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    If we break down the Becker-Edberg h2h by surface (according to the ITF website):
    Carpet - 18 matches played, 13-5 to Becker
    Outdoor Hard - 7 matches played, 5-2 to Becker
    Grass - 6 matches played, 4-2 to Becker
    Indoor Hard - 2 matches played 2-0 to Becker
    Clay - 2 matches played, tied at 1-1

    So just over half of their matches were played on carpet, and Becker is one of the greatest indoor players of all time. Becker's return (surely one of the best one handed backhand return of serves ever seen) and ability to handle Edberg's kick serve was a major reason why he dominated their head to head.

    Edberg did win 3 of their 4 matches in slams, plus he beat Becker in the Masters final in 1989. Becker did however beat Edberg in the Davis Cup finals in 1985, 1988 and 1989, really destroying him in those last 2 matches. Of their 8 biggest matches they both won 4 each.

    It's funny that Becker beat Edberg in the 1988 and 1990 Queen's finals, only for Edberg to turn the tables at Wimbledon where it really mattered a few weeks later. Similarly in the 1989 Masters, Becker beat Edberg in the RR stage before Edberg got his revenge in the final.

    I just don't think it was meant to be for Edberg on the Rebound Ace. He said that failing to win the Australian Open after the venue and surface change and upgrade in status in 1988 was a big career regret. With the no. 1 ranking at stake I think Becker would have won a hypothetical final in Melbourne in 1991.

    However had Edberg got past Stich in Wimbledon later that year, I do think that he would have beaten Becker in a hypothetical 4th consecutive Wimbledon final.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The 1990 Queen's Club match between Becker and Edberg was a semi final. Lendl beat Becker in the final.

    On the other hand, Becker beat Edberg in all 3 of their Davis Cup final matches, 2 of them very one sided.
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He was just a good forehand away from it.His backhand and S&V are certainly GOAT strokes.
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Going by those posts, I don´t want to sound nostalgic or anything, since some other decades have been great to tennis, but to have 7 guys like Borg,Connors,Mac,Lendl,Becker,Edberg and Wilander going at each other ( not all of them at the same time, but rather one after the other), it seems to me awesome, and probably the peak this sport has known and, maybe, will know.
     
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  15. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    My bad about Queen's in 1990. How can I forget about Lendl's perfornance in the final which Dan Maskell labelled as one the finest grass court displays he had ever seen.

    Becker did beat Edberg in the 1988 WCT finals, but then again that tournament was coming to the end of its tenure and wasn't as important then as it had been in the 70s or early 80s.

    Also interesting to note that Becker won all 3 of their matches in Sweden, two of them very easily indeed.
     
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  16. deadlyedly

    deadlyedly New User

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    Have to agree with this. Problem was his weird and awkward continental forehand grip. Using an eastern FH grip would have worked wonders. I don't think it'd require too much of a change in the rest of his game either. In addition to Becker's great return of serve off the BH side that limited the effectiveness of Edberg's kick serve, he would pick on Edberg's FH on the big points. Worked well for Becker in their H2H.
     
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  17. martini

    martini New User

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    Yes, his forehand sometimes looked like a pretty weak shot, but over the span of his career I believe he perfected it, and it became, as Sampras pointed out, "better than it looked".
    Of course, Edberg´s volley was his best shot. Another question one could ask is: has anyone been a better friend of the net since Edberg? He simply loved it up there.
     
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  18. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Wilander and McEnroe were spent forces by 1991 really. I don't think they really had more greats playing. When we look back on this era in 20 years it'll look much the same - a group of multiple slam winners battling it out - including one almost GOAT, another CC GOAT, and 2 (perhaps 3) player who achieved the career slam - something none of the players you mention above achieved).

    BTW, I was at this Aussie Open (and the year before) including at the match posted in this video. I almost got heat-stroke one day ha ha. Next day I took a big sombrero with me.
     
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