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-   -   What was up with Connors - May to July 1984 (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=446658)

timnz 11-26-2012 06:31 PM

What was up with Connors - May to July 1984
 
He just seemed to play well below his usual level. He got killed by McEnroe in the WCT finals and Wimbledon and got beaten by Lendl 6-0, 6-0 on clay - yes, I know that was absolute peak McEnroe - but by September Connors was playing his best again - Peak McEnroe only just squeezed past him at the US Open semi's and Connors also beat Lendl in Japan. So what happened April/May to early July that year - why was he so below his usual level?

Mustard 11-26-2012 06:52 PM

Connors was starting to get old then and it showed in some matches in 1984, although Connors still had Lendl's number when it mattered most (at Wimbledon). McEnroe was at his absolute peak. I also believe the 1984 North American hardcourt summer is when Connors ditched his T2000 racquet for the first time.

timnz 11-26-2012 07:13 PM

Yeah But
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 7034143)
Connors was starting to get old then and it showed in some matches in 1984, although Connors still had Lendl's number when it mattered most (at Wimbledon). McEnroe was at his absolute peak. I also believe the 1984 North American hardcourt summer is when Connors ditched his T2000 racquet for the first time.

I thought about the 'old' theory, but it just didn't stand up. After all later in the year when Connors faced McEnroe at the US Open he was his normal self again - competed with McEnroe on an even footing.

Mustard 11-26-2012 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timnz (Post 7034161)
I thought about the 'old' theory, but it just didn't stand up. After all later in the year when Connors faced McEnroe at the US Open he was his normal self again - competed with McEnroe on an even footing.

Connors' decline, i.e. the "old theory", didn't just happen all at once. There were early signs in 1984, where in some smaller matches, he would play poorly and barely win games, but he was still there when it mattered in the big matches against Lendl, but a peak McEnroe was usually too much. Of course, at the US Open, it was different, but that's Connors' best and favourite tournament. There's also the racquet factor that I mentioned.

1985 saw Connors be good and consistent, but his days of reaching major finals were over, and he couldn't win a tournament. 1986 was much the same, except with the 10 week suspension controversy added in, which probably had a factor in his poor showing in the majors that year. 1987 was an excellent year for an older Connors of reaching major quarter and semi finals, but still no tournament. 1988 saw some tournament wins, but his form in the majors was now declining, and it got worse in 1989.

1984 was the early signs of decline, but I still think that Connors was the second best player of that year. He would still beat Lendl in the biggest matches in 1984, whereas after the 1984 Tokyo Indoor final, Connors never beat Lendl again despite the odd close match.

kiki 11-28-2012 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timnz (Post 7034125)
He just seemed to play well below his usual level. He got killed by McEnroe in the WCT finals and Wimbledon and got beaten by Lendl 6-0, 6-0 on clay - yes, I know that was absolute peak McEnroe - but by September Connors was playing his best again - Peak McEnroe only just squeezed past him at the US Open semi's and Connors also beat Lendl in Japan. So what happened April/May to early July that year - why was he so below his usual level?

Mac also defeated him handily at Paris but Connors played great there against young up and coming guys like Sanchez,Sundstrom (2 true cc experts) and in 85 he trashed Edberg

kiki 11-28-2012 10:43 AM

In 84 he beat most of top guys like Lendl,Noah,Clerc,Kriek and Mayotte or Leconte
But he had mental trouble vs 2 guys, Wilander and Mac

robow7 11-28-2012 11:04 AM

I think when he looked across the net at Wilander, he thought, wtf, I thought this guy retired and then went into the tank.

tennisfreak73 11-28-2012 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiki (Post 7036483)
In 84 he beat most of top guys like Lendl,Noah,Clerc,Kriek and Mayotte or Leconte
But he had mental trouble vs 2 guys, Wilander and Mac

Everyone had mental problems with Mac and Mats. Mac was just plane crazy and Mats just picked you apart and mentally destroyed your game. Brad Gilbert around that time, perhaps later, was asked who has the biggest weapon in tennis? His reply, "Mats Wilanders brain"...

Pebbles10 11-28-2012 12:54 PM

He was really good here. But in the final Wilander was too good for him.

http://youtu.be/TUZf4hATHyM

Mustard 11-28-2012 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennisfreak73 (Post 7036511)
Everyone had mental problems with Mac and Mats. Mac was just plane crazy and Mats just picked you apart and mentally destroyed your game. Brad Gilbert around that time, perhaps later, was asked who has the biggest weapon in tennis? His reply, "Mats Wilanders brain"...

I thought it was Jay Berger who said that?

hoodjem 11-28-2012 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 7034143)
I also believe the 1984 North American hardcourt summer is when Connors ditched his T2000 racquet for the first time.

I recall seeing him play briefly with a Pro Staff. Was that 1984?

Frankc 11-28-2012 04:09 PM

If my memory serves me - Connors used a leaded up ProStaff in the US Open, 1984....

kiki 11-28-2012 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennisfreak73 (Post 7036511)
Everyone had mental problems with Mac and Mats. Mac was just plane crazy and Mats just picked you apart and mentally destroyed your game. Brad Gilbert around that time, perhaps later, was asked who has the biggest weapon in tennis? His reply, "Mats Wilanders brain"...

Ageeed.One of best shots ever

jrepac 11-29-2012 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiki (Post 7036478)
Mac also defeated him handily at Paris but Connors played great there against young up and coming guys like Sanchez,Sundstrom (2 true cc experts) and in 85 he trashed Edberg

Well, Connors was still a very formidable player in '84 and '85; I believe he spent most of 1985 in the Top 4. And, he could play on red clay...he just wasn't going to beat Wilander or Lendl. I think the '84 loss to Mac at RG was a little surprising, but it just showed how exceptional Mac's game was at the time. Connors also played very well at Wimbledon that year, until he met Mac in the final and was embarrassed. But, he really took it to Lendl in the semis.

1987 was an odd year; he was a bit unlucky not to win a tournament. Nerves perhaps....he was playing very well that year across a wide variety of events and surfaces. He finally won a few more tourneys in '88 and '89, but was not going to be a true GS threat (tho' he was dangerous at the USO...playing some fine ball in '89)

Age is a b#tch.

gavna 11-29-2012 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 7036809)
I recall seeing him play briefly with a Pro Staff. Was that 1984?

He started using the original Pro Staff the summer of 1984.......stick was primarily made for him btw. That experiment lasted just a few months as by the middle of 85 he was back with he T2000.

kiki 11-30-2012 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrepac (Post 7038831)
Well, Connors was still a very formidable player in '84 and '85; I believe he spent most of 1985 in the Top 4. And, he could play on red clay...he just wasn't going to beat Wilander or Lendl. I think the '84 loss to Mac at RG was a little surprising, but it just showed how exceptional Mac's game was at the time. Connors also played very well at Wimbledon that year, until he met Mac in the final and was embarrassed. But, he really took it to Lendl in the semis.

1987 was an odd year; he was a bit unlucky not to win a tournament. Nerves perhaps....he was playing very well that year across a wide variety of events and surfaces. He finally won a few more tourneys in '88 and '89, but was not going to be a true GS threat (tho' he was dangerous at the USO...playing some fine ball in '89)

Age is a b#tch.

james Scott was a solid contender for the grand slam titles till 84, although that year Mac overshadowed the rest of the planet.From 1985 onwards, he was an attractive player to watch but had no fuel left.

krosero 11-30-2012 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 7034143)
Connors was starting to get old then and it showed in some matches in 1984, although Connors still had Lendl's number when it mattered most (at Wimbledon). McEnroe was at his absolute peak. I also believe the 1984 North American hardcourt summer is when Connors ditched his T2000 racquet for the first time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 7034174)
Connors' decline, i.e. the "old theory", didn't just happen all at once. There were early signs in 1984, where in some smaller matches, he would play poorly and barely win games, but he was still there when it mattered in the big matches against Lendl, but a peak McEnroe was usually too much. Of course, at the US Open, it was different, but that's Connors' best and favourite tournament. There's also the racquet factor that I mentioned.

1985 saw Connors be good and consistent, but his days of reaching major finals were over, and he couldn't win a tournament. 1986 was much the same, except with the 10 week suspension controversy added in, which probably had a factor in his poor showing in the majors that year. 1987 was an excellent year for an older Connors of reaching major quarter and semi finals, but still no tournament. 1988 saw some tournament wins, but his form in the majors was now declining, and it got worse in 1989.

1984 was the early signs of decline, but I still think that Connors was the second best player of that year. He would still beat Lendl in the biggest matches in 1984, whereas after the 1984 Tokyo Indoor final, Connors never beat Lendl again despite the odd close match.

I think Connors had Lendl's number in the big matches through 1983, and it's fairly easy to see why. Lendl would slaughter Connors in USO tuneups, then lose to him at Flushing.

But in '84 the patterns in their rivalry had changed, and I don't think Connors having Lendl's number when it mattered is an accurate description anymore of their matches. In what you could call small matches, it was basically a wash, in '84: Lendl won at Forest Hills and Wembley, while Connors won in Tokyo. Connors took their Wimbledon semi, Lendl their Masters semi.

That is basically a split. You could argue that Connors' wins were bigger, but there's no longer a contrast like in '82 and '83 where Lendl would take the warmup matches and Connors would reverse the result only a couple of weeks later on the same surface.

Those reversals were largely due to Connors having a mental edge. But in '84 that edge never appeared -- except maybe in one of the "small" matches (maybe in Tokyo, I haven't seen that one). Jimmy's one big victory over Lendl was at Wimbledon, but even he, who was no fan of Lendl, made a point to say that Lendl's collapse was not mental but rather physical.

Lendl was completely depleted by his RG victory, for a while. So imo if Connors took their single biggest match in '84 (at Wimbledon), it was due to physical reasons: exhaustion on Lendl's part, and greater grasscourt skill on Connors' part.

In other words Connors was expected to take that match, and if they had met in a grasscourt tuneup I don't think Lendl would have taken it; in '83 Connors wiped him out at Queens. On grass, Connors would have been expected to take both the "small" and "big" matches against Lendl.

As for ranking them, I can't see Connors above Lendl for '84. Connors won no Slams, and reached only 1 final. Lendl reached two, and won at RG.

Lendl also beat McEnroe that year, while Connors could not. To me it seems a good argument to be right behind the #1 guy, if you're the only guy who can beat him.

Same with Wilander (the AO champ): Lendl beat him in '84 (big victory at RG), while Connors went 0-3 against Mats (0-2 on hardcourt).

Mustard 12-01-2012 07:41 AM

Had the pattern the rivalry changed? Connors might have been a better grass-court player, but Connors couldn't even win a single game against Lendl in Rotterdam and Forest Hills, yet won their major meeting at Wimbledon in 4 sets. Connors lost to McEnroe in the semi finals of the 1984 US Open, and pushed McEnroe to 5 sets. McEnroe crushed Lendl in the final, when both were very tired. A peak McEnroe was beating everyone, but I don't see anyone else above Connors for the year.

As for the Masters, Lendl would beat Connors there anyway, and had done before. It was a peak McEnroe who beat Connors in the majors (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) that year, as well as the WCT Dallas event.

pc1 12-01-2012 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 7041297)
Had the pattern the rivalry changed? Connors might have been a better grass-court player, but Connors couldn't even win a single game against Lendl in Rotterdam and Forest Hills, yet won their major meeting at Wimbledon in 4 sets. Connors lost to McEnroe in the semi finals of the 1984 US Open, and pushed McEnroe to 5 sets. McEnroe crushed Lendl in the final, when both were very tired. A peak McEnroe was beating everyone, but I don't see anyone else above Connors for the year.

As for the Masters, Lendl would beat Connors there anyway, and had done before. It was a peak McEnroe who beat Connors in the majors (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) that year, as well as the WCT Dallas event.

You may very well be correct about Connors being the second best player that year but strictly from an observer's point of view I just thought he lost a few steps and his reflexes were a bit slower. That's why I think he lost some of those matches badly. Considering everything I may still amazed at the unbelievable quality of his play against McEnroe in the US Open semi in 1984. That could be my favorite match. Makes you wonder how he would have done if he was 25.

Tennusdude 12-01-2012 09:28 AM

yep that is very true


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