Originally Posted by krosero
The most impressive stat I ever saw for Lendl's serve was against McEnroe at RG in '88. In the fourth set, he made 20 of 21 first serves and lost only one point on serve.
He also served at 75% when he beat Tanner at Wimbledon ('83).
In both those matches he was hitting it with pace, not just spinning in it.
As long as you're talking about honorable mentions, how about Borg. I still don't know of anyone else who's won 19 straight points on serve in a fifth set -- and Borg did it twice, against McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon and then Tanner two months later at the USO.
That's a record -- if it's a record, though I don't know of any official source confirming such streaks -- that has stood for thirty years now. Should count for something.
PC1, I'd be interested if you ever come across information about the streak against Tanner. It was reported in the press but I don't know where to find a copy of the match, and I'd like to know how much of the streak was due to Borg's serve and how much to his overall endurance in a fifth set (I know against Mac it was a combination of both).
Anyway Borg put in some impressive service performances in his last two years of playing Slams. There were the Mac/Tanner sets; and 16 aces against Connors at the 81W; and 14 aces against Connors at the 81 USO, in only three sets.
Even Connors admitted after the last match that Borg served "extra special", and everyone was raving about his aces.
Plus, the CBS commentators said that one of his serves during the final was the fastest of the tournament -- somewhat surprising because Tanner was in the event (he lost in four sets to Borg).
I think Borg's serve was better than ever in his last years, and there's every reason to believe it would have gotten better if he'd continued.
Borg's serve was called by some people (not too many but some) the best in tennis in the late 1970's and early 1980's. I think it was a fantastic serve and what was amazing to me about the serve was how he seemed to get huge serves in when he needed it. I haven't seen the 1981 US Open semi against Connors in ages but didn't Borg serve himself out of break point numerous times in that match?
Even a player and expert as great as Fred Perry said that he never saw anyone able to get himself out of jams the way Borg was able to.