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Old 04-05-2012, 07:54 PM   #83
WCT
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Originally Posted by Mustard View Post
Tanner talks about how Connors always did what his mother and grandmother (one mom and two mom) told him to on the court and how feisty a competitor Connors was even back then. There's the bits about how Tanner usually beat Connors in the juniors, but Connors tended to have Tanner's number in the professional game. Tanner also talks about how Connors was determined to do things his way in the early and mid 1970s and how aloof he was from the other players. In those days, the Aussies, the Americans and some of the Brits would hang out with each other, while the Spaniards and Latin Americans did likewise, as did the mainland Europeans. Connors, though, didn't even stay in the same hotel as the rest of the players.

Tanner goes into detail about 1975 Wimbledon. The semi final line-up was Connors vs. Tanner and Ashe vs. Roche. Ashe was trying to tell Tanner what tactics you need to use to beat Connors, i.e. giving Connors soft balls, angled volleys, making him run and generate his own pace. It's interesting that Ashe was giving Tanner advice on how to beat Connors when Tanner had just beaten Connors a few weeks earlier in Nottingham, and Connors' only other loss that year had been in the Australian Open final against Newcombe. Incidentally, after Tanner beat Connors in the quarter finals of Nottingham, it was Roche who beat Tanner in the semi finals.

When Tanner's Wimbledon semi final match with Connors came about, he tried to incorporate some of the strategy that Ashe had been telling him to use, but Tanner said his angled volleys weren't good enough, and Connors tracked down everything and rode a wave of momentum. Tanner went back to his original gameplan in the third set, but it was no good as Connors crushed him. Tanner then talks about how he watched Ashe play out his gameplan to near perfection in the final against Connors, and how he couldn't believe what he was seeing, but said that he was so happy for Ashe it was almost like he himself had won Wimbledon.
Interesting. What I've read previously made it seem like this was a strategy Ashe's camp came up with after the Connors Tanner semi. I've also read Ashe started thinking of it after seeing Connors play Ramirez in the quarters.

Ashe wrote an article, a week after the match, in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED detailing what he did and how he did it. That article read like he came to the realization after the semis. It was him, Donald Dell, Dennis Ralston and Pasarell, I think.

That article talks about the Tanner upset in that warmup tourney. Ashe said they used different balls and commented that the balls were sometimes as important as the surface. In any case, from what you wrote, the Tanner book makes it seem like this was in Ashe's head earlier if he was advising Tanner about it.
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