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Zimbo 01-18-2013 09:36 AM

Got to hit with Wilander and also Q and A
He still hits a very clean ball. He doesn’t hit out much but when he does he can really rip it. His average ball has a lot of spin and is hit with a lot of depth but isn’t very heavy compared to a lot of guys. When he rips it his ball does have a lot of topspin that dips very quickly and explodes off the ground. His slice backhand has good penetration. Most of his rally shots had a huge clearance over the net. He has great control and placement on his balls. His volleys are solid. He still appears to glide around the court and still has such great footwork and balance. What made him so great was his anticipation. I saw first hand how awesome his anticipation still is. Bare in mind I have no doubt that he was holding back on me. I’m a lower end 5.0 player, and let me tell you, if we played a set I would be lucky if I got a game. I may get a few points if I serve well but if he tried, getting points would be very difficult. I wouldn’t be able to hit thru him. There’s not a ball that I can give him that would bother him. He would run me around the court till my lungs collapse.

Below are some of the questions that have been debated on this forum that I asked him. His answers are vary interesting and will no doubt led to further heated debates.

Sorry in advance if it's a little long winded and difficult to read. I copied paste it from a word document.

Zimbo 01-18-2013 09:38 AM

He answered these questions (paraphrase):
Create your perfect player (I allowed him to pick himself)
- Forehand: Fed
o Not the biggest but overall the best
- Backhand: Djoker
o Why no Agassi and Connors?
• Because Djoker can do more with the ball from a defensive position. Plus on the run Agassi backhand wasn’t as deadly
- Forehand volley: Edberg
- Backhand volley: Edberg
o Why not Mac?
• Both were great but Edberg was scarier at the net. Edberg was harder to past and got inside your head more because you see his perfect form, crispness of his volleys, etc…. would make you think you had to make the perfect shot to get it past him
- First serve: Isner (might have to go with Sampras because of how clutch Sampras was)
- Second serve: Sampras
- Return of serve: Djoker
o Mention other great returners like Agassi, Connors, Hewitt, etc….
o Fed gets a lot of balls back into play
o Agassi is the best returner when he guesses right but he gives up one side too much and pays the price by getting aced a lot
o Djoker and Murray are a cross between Agassi and Fed
- Court coverage: Djoker
o Not Borg?
• Yeah, I hate to say it
• Borg close second
- Stamina: Borg (he said he might pick himself here)
- Tactical: Himself
- Lobs: forgot to ask him
- Overheads: forgot to ask him
-Caveat: He said it’s really unfair to the past greats. Because of the technology, strings training, etc…. For example, how would Lendl’s forehand or Connors backhand look like with current technology? Same goes with the return of serve. So much easier to return the serve, hit winners, and hit passing shots with current conditions. Only thing the poly strings don’t help in are the volleys. Strings are “horrible for volleys.” Maybe now Borg could be even faster.

Zimbo 01-18-2013 09:39 AM

What was your game plan against the following?
a. Lendl: Very tough if he’s serving well. Have to mix it up. Try to get inside his head. The thing about Lendl was I knew he would always play the same way. It was up to me to adjust.
b. Becker: Make him hit as many balls as possible. Weather conditions, heat, wind etc… plays a big part. Move him around the court. If it was a fast court with ideal condition (indoor) just show up and shake his hands.
c. Edberg: All about if I could handle the kicker to my backhand. Try to get the ball at his feet. Stay away from his backhand and attack the forehand. Playing him at Indian Wells (where the balls really explodes and bounces high), forget about it.
d. McEnroe: Such a genius. Just have to react to what he’s doing.
e. Connors: Didn’t have a problem with him. Just play my game.
-I mentioned his 7-0 record in ATP event vs. his 0-6 in exo against Connors. Answer: “Its only an exo.” He didn’t really care about exo’s. “exo’s are just that, exo’s”
-Connors was the ultimate fighter and competitor. Would do anything to win. Would try to intimidate and bully his opponents.

I loved your plan to get a high percentage of your first serves in (97%) against Laconte in the 88’s French Open finals:
- I think I only missed 2 first serves
- Laconte was dangerous if you give him to many second serves
- He also was dangerous off a flat serve. If I hit a flat one that wasn’t good enough he would use it against me
- Didn’t give him balls to attack, made him play on my terms
- He had to hit thru me to win

Ferrer vs. Chang:
- Not fair question due to it being a generation gap
- Ferrer looks like the superior player but it could be due to the technology and current conditions
- Both has the never say die attitude but I will have to go with Chang because he wasn’t scared of the big boys. He had self -belief that he was as good as and could beat the best.

How would guys with good 1 hand backhands, like Edberg and Becker handle Nadal’s forehand? Could they do a better job then Fed?
- Would never let it happen
- They wouldn’t allow that ploy that Nadal uses against Fed to occur
- You wouldn’t see those rallies. Not just Edberg and Becker, it goes for McEnroe (even though he’s a lefty) also
- If they were to lose they would lose on their terms.
- They would chip and charge, take ball on the rise and attack, slice down the line, attack the 2nd serve, do anything possible to prevent that cross court forehand to backhand exchange
- Not to say they would win but they wouldn’t lose on Nadal’s terms
- Then he goes on to say that’s the problem with being so great and talented (referring to Fed) he could be too stubborn

Yeah but Edberg, Backer, and Mac where great net rushers, how would a natural baseliner like Guga with his 1 hander deal with it?
- It would be tough over time. It would be hard for Guga to always get there in time to set up to hit a clean shot back
- However, that’s a match I would love to see
- Guga had enough firepower to bother Nadal. Good serve and great off both wings. On clay it would be a great battle. Nadal naturally has the advantage but with Guga’s passion and spirit he could do it. At his highest level he would have the inner belief that he could win.

At your ’88 prime could you beat Borg in his prime?
- Yes
- But that’s not to say I’m better or greater then him (another different era scenario) HE STRESSED THIS POINT
- In ’88 I had better training, racquet, the game evolved, I was a lot better and stronger then when I played him in ’82
- Borg was using a wood racquet in his prime
Wasn’t your rossignol essentially a wood racquet too?
- No, it was better then wood
- We don’t know how Borg would have played with a graphite racquet but with a wood racquet (Borg) I would beat him in ’88 with my form at the time
My dream match would see you vs. Borg both in your prime on clay.
- I don’t think anyone would want to see that match
- After the first few games most would get bored and stop watching

When you coached Safin, what was your main goal?
- Have him never to lose to anyone outside the top 10
- Great player, great serve, great off both wings
- Good mobility for a big guy
- Could have done a lot more

’11 Djoker vs. ’07 Fed
- Djoker played at a higher level more consistently throughout the year
- But in a big match against ’07 Fed, Fed could pull thru. Hard to bet against Fed.
- Very close, hard to call who would win. ’11 Djoker just so resilient and clutch.

How different would your game be if you grew up in this era?
- Couldn’t possible say
- Maybe a little like Andy Murray: because he had to learn to be more aggressive
- Does Gilles Simon remind you of yourself?
o No
o I hit with more topspin and tried to do more with the ball
o I tried to find a chink in my opponents game
o Gilles plays the same against everyone and his opponents doesn’t have to worry if he would do something different

Zimbo 01-18-2013 09:40 AM

Greatest of all time?
- Accomplishment wise you have to go with Fed
- But in truth, you really can’t say who’s the greatest of all time. To many variable; different eras, conditions, competition, grand slams (who played them, importance of them), etc………
- Talent wise from what I saw Laver, ’84 McEnroe, and Fed were the best.
- Sampras was a “nightmare” to play. Possibly the best fast court player ever. Gave his opponents no rhythm.
- Borg’s channel slams ranks up there

The Modern era
- Nadal: He’ll be back. He’s like a racehorse. He’ll run till he breaks down, recuperate and heals, and starts running again. Incredible athlete. I just don’t understand how he can win Rome and Monte Carlo that many times but then go out and do it again. His competitive fire is different then that of the Connors and the Hewitt’s do or die, fight to the death attitude, your opponent is the enemy mentality. Unreal motivation. Like a robot, purpose is to play, compete, and win.
- Djoker: Could and probably will take tennis to another level, if he hasn’t done so already. He’s the worst match up for Nadal. Love to see what he does for the next few years. Court coverage and flexibility is just incredible.
- Murray: Finally getting into the mix. Has a better all court game then both Nadal and Djoker. Has great touch and variety. Very good court sense. Just has to be willing to battle and keep focus.
- Fed: Greatest of all time? Did rack up a lot of his slams during one of the worst top 10 eras. But can’t hold that against him. He can do things no else can. The best reactive player ever. Best to go from defense to offense. Because he’s so talented he doesn’t have to think and plan when he plays.

Frankc 01-18-2013 10:44 AM

Very nice.. thanks so much for posting... Wilander was ajoy to watch... still cannot get over that brutal US Open semi with Mac in the utter heat - was it "84?

axel89 01-18-2013 10:51 AM

seems fake got a pic proving validity?

Zimbo 01-18-2013 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by axel89 (Post 7132547)
seems fake got a pic proving validity?

Are you serious? Come on now. Jeez man.

Kalin 01-18-2013 11:01 AM

Zimbo, great posts..... must have been a great experience

MAX PLY 01-18-2013 11:03 AM

Outstanding--Thanks for sharing.

McEnroeisanartist 01-18-2013 11:09 AM


Originally Posted by Frankc (Post 7132525)
Very nice.. thanks so much for posting... Wilander was ajoy to watch... still cannot get over that brutal US Open semi with Mac in the utter heat - was it "84?

No in 85. Wilander should have won that match, up two sets to one and 2-0 in the fifth set. McEnroe's fitness and fight were underrated.

Dino Lagaffe 01-18-2013 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by Kalin (Post 7132579)
Zimbo, great posts..... must have been a great experience


Originally Posted by MAX PLY (Post 7132581)
Outstanding--Thanks for sharing.


Mustard 01-18-2013 11:17 AM

Thanks Zimbo.

NadalDramaQueen 01-18-2013 11:19 AM


Originally Posted by axel89 (Post 7132547)
seems fake got a pic proving validity?

Did your favorite get dissed? :lol:

Thanks Zimbo.

pc1 01-18-2013 11:24 AM


Just fantastic. I appreciate reading it.

jxs653 01-18-2013 11:28 AM

Wow thanks. Great read. I think one interesting question might have been about Mecir, known for Swedish killer..

TennisLovaLova 01-18-2013 11:29 AM

This thread is crazy awesome.
Tx Zimbo!
Now let's watch the fed vs nadal vs djoko fans war begin...

Zimbo 01-18-2013 01:22 PM


Originally Posted by jxs653 (Post 7132643)
Wow thanks. Great read. I think one interesting question might have been about Mecir, known for Swedish killer..

Yeah, I totally forgot to ask him about Mecir. However, in various interviews, Mats is on record stating that he couldn't figure out how to beat the Big Cat.

Defcon 01-18-2013 02:54 PM

The respect for Mats has gone up more, its great to hear his opinions and views. Is he still doing Eurosport segments?

Mustard 01-18-2013 04:47 PM

Yeah, Mats is still on Eurosport.

Mike Bulgakov 01-18-2013 05:39 PM

Excellent questions and it was nice of Mats to give such thoughtful answers.

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