Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly
Yes, I'm well aware that Connors was probably past his prime with many of his meetings with Lendl. I have not yet looked closely at their h2h encounters to determine the trend/exact nature of their rivalry. In sheer numbers tho', with 35 encounters, I believe that it may be second only to Lendl's encounters with J Mac = 36 meetings.
J Mac won his first 2 encounters (1980) with Lendl but then lost the next 7 (81-82). However, with his wins over Lendl in 83-84, McEnroe took the h2h lead 12-9. J Mac dropped to #2 in 1985 but maintained his edge over Lendl, 14-12. J Mac took some time off in 86 (married Tatum) and never regained his dominance in singles. They met again starting in 87 but J Mac won only 1 of their last 10 encounters.
On the Connors rivalry, I don't have all the numbers, so I'm basically just giving you my subjective impression and why I think Connors got the better of it. When Lendl first burst onto the scene with upset victories over Borg and Mac, tennis writers and analysts were wondering why Connors dominated him. Something about Connors' style just bothered Lendl. As Connors aged and Lendl improved, it's no surprise that Lendl began to win against Connors, but if you look at their H2H in grand slams, even when Connors was nearing the end of his career he knew how to beat Lendl when it really counted. If you ask Connors or Lendl if they would trade any 10 tournaments for 1 grand slam tournament, I think they would unhesitatingly say "yes".
Good analysis of the Mac rivalry, BTW. Mac was never the same when he came back from retirement (and neither was Borg for that matter).