Article on Ilie Nastase in The Observer

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
I respect Becker _also as a commentator_, and this is what he had to say on Federer and Nastase:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/wimb/2003-07-05-men_x.htm

"He's a true master of his class," said Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion. "He's playing tennis like they used to play — go back to Ilie Nastase.

"He can serve-and-volley at times, he can stay back, he plays the drop shot, he plays the slice, he really can play all shots. That's something we don't see that much anymore, and it's good that this kind of tennis is succeeding at Wimbledon."

thus some might want to read the article on Nastase
reproduced here:
http://www.****************.com/showthread.php?p=628610#post628610

Also, check the quite fair Hall of Fame page:
http://www.tennisfame.com/enshrinees/ilie_nastase.html
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Maybe that's why I like Federer so much. :)

I don't know that he's a Nastase clone though. He's too sane and too nice on court. I do miss the Clown Prince of Tennis though. Nastase was by far my favorite player of any era.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Rabbit said:
Maybe that's why I like Federer so much. :)

I don't know that he's a Nastase clone though. He's too sane and too nice on court. I do miss the Clown Prince of Tennis though. Nastase was by far my favorite player of any era.

What is of interest to me is mostly the similarity in playing styles, the amazing all-court play.

And, of course, Federer has too much of a personality to be anyone's clone.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
aye rabbit..nasty was the master for sure, and could be obnoxious, but at least he could counter that w. some really fun antics unlike some players who only are good at nasty, with very failed attempts at humour. both fed and nasty surely have al the shots, but you always sensed that Nastase was playing tennis more as an artform and was far less efficient than fed who is alot more businesslike out there...remember how nastsase would intentionally not put volleys away just to prolong points and to create another opportunity to hit some amazing shot?
 

Metzler

Rookie
Very similar, the big difference is even allowing for the wood of Nasty's best days Federer has much more power off the ground so if his "touch" is off he's not helpless.
Might also add that Adriano Panatta on a good day resembled the above.
 

Kirko

Hall of Fame
agree abt. Panatta saw him play twice up close when he was "on" or cared he was sublime !
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Mojo!!!! - speaking of the devil. Today on ESPN Classic, at 5:00 PM CST, they are showing a 60 minutes segment. One with John McEnroe and the second with none other than Ilie Nastase. IN addition to his rants, they show his unbelievable talent. In one point against Tom Gorman on grass at the U.S. Open, Nastase covers about 50 feet behind the baseline and wins the point with a backhand that travels the length of the court, around the net post, out of bounds until it lands in the corner. The ball goes past a waiting Tom Gorman at net...he'd have to have outside the doubles alley at net to volley the ball. That one point also includes Nastase putting up a nosebleeder, fielding an overhead smash from Gorman, and moving Gorman around at net. God, I miss that kind of tennis. The last time I saw anyone play close to that level, it was a guy named Rios.

They also show the end of a match with Dick Stockton. Stockton apparently got mad, real mad, and at the end of the match, which Nastase won, Stockton goes to net to shake hands. Nastase walks off court. Stockton stays at net with his hand extended to....air.

You've got to see the segment. It shows Nastase for what he was, a genius on court and a demon on court. The guy could be the most charming player at one moment and the next he made you hate him.

Nastase called Pancho Gonsalez his "Little Father". I think Nastase idolized Pancho in his own youth. Pancho was fairly mecurical was well. My dad told me that Pancho used to yell at linesmen himself. Anyway, Nastase taught Connors quite a few tricks as well. Then McEnroe came along and showed them what a professional maniac was.

That's what tennis needs now, personality. Those guys kept it interesting for sure.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Rabbit said:
Mojo!!!! - speaking of the devil. Today on ESPN Classic, at 5:00 PM CST, they are showing a 60 minutes segment. One with John McEnroe and the second with none other than Ilie Nastase.

Thanks for posting this.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
aye rabbit..thanks so much for the heads up..will watch this for sure after watching the steelers pummel the skins..i remember the dickie stockton no handshake episode and that stockton used the wilson advantage? i think that is what it was called....the pretty one w. the black fibre throat and the gold scroll work? am i right? Stockton was always such a gentleman, so nasty must have really done something bad to him. i just took the entire bottle of Ginkgo Biloba thus inducing a memory attack and am now having the rare lucid moment :) a couple things that stand out in my mind other than brilliance, is when he played w. an umbrella when it started to rain at one event, when he dropped the N bomb on arthur ashe, when a ball appeared on the court in the middle of a point and the ump said 'where did this come from?', and Nasty replied 'From between my legs' lol, when he kept trying to hit Joanne _____ in a mixed dubs match, when he would walk onto a practice court wearing like a quart of cologne with a babe on each arm and sometimes one or more walking right behind...thanks for the trip down memory lane rabbit and for the heads up..appreciate you.
 

pound cat

G.O.A.T.
thejackal: Tell your Romanian class mate all those Eastern Europeans are up to no good, so it's not surpising, LOL, but they sure are interesting...Ivanisevic, Nastase, Safin, Kafelnikov, Sharapova, Lendl, Medvedev , Korda for example.
 

pound cat

G.O.A.T.
rabbit...now that Goran's playing the senior's tour, that may be where the tennis interest is going to lie. And that crazy Iranianian guy Ba.... sorry I forget his name...the old guys were nuts, the new guys are after the money IMO, except for Safin who is both of these.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
pound cat said:
rabbit...now that Goran's playing the senior's tour, that may be where the tennis interest is going to lie. And that crazy Iranianian guy Ba.... sorry I forget his name...the old guys were nuts, the new guys are after the money IMO, except for Safin who is both of these.

the name is Bahrami ...
 

Type40

Semi-Pro
Nastase was even more talented than federer in my view, and I'm old enought o remember seeing him in action, but he peaked very young, his best years were 1972-1975, and did not have the temprament to match his talent, hence not such a good slam record. But when Nastase was on, he was the greatest thing to watch. The clowning was an act that belied an effortless supreme ability. He made too much of an ass of himself in many people's eyes, and that's a great pity, but it's great to see he is still talked about, he deserves to have a retrospective DVD come out, I would most definitely buy it.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Type40 said:
Nastase was even more talented than federer in my view, and I'm old enought o remember seeing him in action, but he peaked very young, his best years were 1972-1975, and did not have the temprament to match his talent, hence not such a good slam record. But when Nastase was on, he was the greatest thing to watch. The clowning was an act that belied an effortless supreme ability. He made too much of an ass of himself in many people's eyes, and that's a great pity, but it's great to see he is still talked about, he deserves to have a retrospective DVD come out, I would most definitely buy it.

You're right. However, I'd say he did not peak very young, he was 30 when losing that final in 1976 at Wimby with Borg. He started to travel internationally only when 20, and more seriously after 1968, thus at 22. He was #1 in 1973.

In terms of shotmaking talent, in my book he's tops, followed by Mac and Federer. He won US Open on grass in 1972 and the French Open in 1973 by playing S-V and not losing a set in Paris. Let's add 4 Masters won and a Master's final, all indoors. This only shows his range of talent. Off course, Federer is much steadier/tougher mentally and his killing shots are adapted to this era of power predominance, but the Hall of Fame is right when mentioning that:

No player in history has been more gifted or mystifying than Nastase ....

And yes, a DVD say including the Barcelona Masters 1972 against Stan Smith and the Wimbledon final against same, would be a delight. IMO, Stan was the most outstanding physical specimen ever to play the game in terms of athletic body, he was 6'4" and still had lots of difficulty when playing Nastase, because Nasty was unpredictible.
 

Type40

Semi-Pro
I agree in general, but by 76 at the wimbledon final he was not able to mount a challenge to Borg, it was one sided, I remember watching it live. Stan Smith was a great player, he put his career on the line by going into the 1973 players strike at wimbledon,
not defending his title, and he never seemed to be able to recapture his form afterwards, but I give him great credit for his efforts.

Another very talented player from the early open era who never quite achieved his potential was Tony Roache, injuries denied him a few major titles in my view.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I remember the 76 final very well. Borg won in straight sets, and was treated on court for an abdominal strain. He had some kind of spray that he would use on himself during changeovers. Both men reached the final without the loss of a set. It was the first time that Nastase had promised prior to the tournament that he would concentrate soley on tennis and no bad behavior. I remember watching that match thinking that Borg had no chance and then watching him school Nasty on grass. It was the first of 5 straight for Borg and sadly the last great run for Nastase. He would be a factor, but never a favorite in the following years.

With regard to Stan Smith, he was the only player who ever bothered Nastase (well later Borg too). Why? Because no matter what Nastase did, Smith ignored it. Nastase would try to get inside Smith's head time after time and Smith simply ignored it. That drove Nastase crazy.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
This is from Winning Ugly:

Brad Gilbert said:
When I was a child I spent hours and hours hitting against backboards and walls in Piedmont, California. I would play entire imaginary matches in the US Open against an imaginary Ilie Nastase. The wall was Nastase and it was great practice because the wall would never miss.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
I'm currently reading the book 'Nasty:Ilie Nastase vs. Tennis' by Richard Evans. Highly recommended, he sounds like a fascinating player & person. I've been fortunate enough to acquire a few of his matches on vhs, if anyone has more of his matches, I'd love to trade.
I definitely could see his tendencies to toy with opponents, prolonging points uneccesarily. Was also impressed with his serve, it looked like it had a lot of pop on it.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Kevin Patrick said:
I'm currently reading the book 'Nasty:Ilie Nastase vs. Tennis' by Richard Evans. Highly recommended, he sounds like a fascinating player & person. I've been fortunate enough to acquire a few of his matches on vhs, if anyone has more of his matches, I'd love to trade.
I definitely could see his tendencies to toy with opponents, prolonging points uneccesarily. Was also impressed with his serve, it looked like it had a lot of pop on it.

The book by Richard Evans is very well written, the best book in fact about Nastase. Published in 78 in UK, then in US. Evans is one of the best tennis writers, I always liked his pieces. You're a lucky person, it's out of print now. I do not have it, but read it years ago in Toronto, at a library.

His serve was very fluid, thus he was definitely able to put some pop on it, for those rackets. He used a Dunlop Maxply initially (he got his signature and pic on some of them), then I think he switched to an Adidas (paint job?).
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
it was the Adidas Haillet (sp?)..pretty tough to paint job i think..it had a beautiful fiber laminated throat w. the 3 stripes and a different headshape than the Fort which was wider in the shoulders. very headlight in stock form. beautifully crafted frame IMO. and nasty did have an effortless serve w. plenty of work on it.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Marius,

It's interesting that Nasty was so dominant at the Masters. He won 4(only Lendl & Sampras have more) but 'only' 2 slams. Also he lost the '74 Masters Final to Vilas(on grass??) He thrashed Borg in the '75 Final, when he clearly wasn't #1 anymore.

Did Ilie S&V when he won the French? From reading Evans' book(you should check on ****, that's where I got my hardcover copy recently), he made it sound like Nastase played primarily from the baseline & his favorite surface was clay early in his career. 1972 was a big year in Nastase's career, when he proved to himself & the other players that he could play on grass(W Finals, US Win)
I assumed he went back to the baseline when he won the French in '73.

Have you read Nastase's autobiography? Just wanted to get some feedback by anyone with an opinion on it.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
nasty played all the styles on all the surfaces..and often all the styles within a single match. he had every shot you could think of, and some not yet thought of. he had more spins and angles and touch and power when he needed it and one of the best serves you could have....he had too many shots IMO and that could have been part of his downfall.....he was the one true tennis artist of all time and i think that may be undisputable... but obviously didnt have the disciplined mind....he was the quintessential tempermental artist...you never get it all...well maybe occassionally you do like samps and fed. strokewise, the only weakness i can think of is that he really didnt sting his volleys but like i said before, part of that could have been him playing cat and mouse..he was by far, the most entertaining tennis player i've ever seen
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Kevin Patrick said:
Marius,

It's interesting that Nasty was so dominant at the Masters. He won 4(only Lendl & Sampras have more) but 'only' 2 slams. Also he lost the '74 Masters Final to Vilas(on grass??) He thrashed Borg in the '75 Final, when he clearly wasn't #1 anymore.

Did Ilie S&V when he won the French? From reading Evans' book(you should check on ****, that's where I got my hardcover copy recently), he made it sound like Nastase played primarily from the baseline & his favorite surface was clay early in his career. 1972 was a big year in Nastase's career, when he proved to himself & the other players that he could play on grass(W Finals, US Win)
I assumed he went back to the baseline when he won the French in '73.

Have you read Nastase's autobiography? Just wanted to get some feedback by anyone with an opinion on it.

Master's season in the year was great for Nastase, every year ... and for Romanians. When he won in 1972, in Barcelona, the whole Bucharest (and I guess Romania) was lit at 2am with people watching. A relief in tough times ....

Well, absolutely, he grew on clay close to Arena Progresul, in Bucharest. Very modest family. His older brother was a player too (and a coach later).

I haven't seen the 1973 French Final. Heard about it being S&V.

I haven't read the latest autobiography yet. Planning on it.

The book by Evans I already ordered yesterday from an Amazon associate.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
NoBadMojo & Marius,

what was the best match you saw Nastase play? Just looking at his record the match that sounds the most impressive was his '75 Masters Final against Borg- 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in Stockholm!

From what I'm reading, it seems like the '72 US Open Final against Ashe was perhaps Nasty's greatest moment in terms of staying mentally tough. Though it does sound like Ashe choked a bit(as he was known to do) up 2-1 in sets & up a break in the 4th.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
nasty probably got into ashe's head......he seemed to have a disdain for ashe if i recall correctly..he dropped the n bomb on him in a match once..that wasnt very nice....
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Kevin Patrick said:
NoBadMojo & Marius,

what was the best match you saw Nastase play? Just looking at his record the match that sounds the most impressive was his '75 Masters Final against Borg- 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in Stockholm!

It might well be ...

From what I saw:

1972. Masters, Carpet, F
Spain, Barcelona
Nastase-Smith
6-3 6-2 3-6 2-6 6-3
a great seesaw ....

That was the year in which Nastase lost in the Wimbledon F and Davis C final to Stan, thus a sweet payback ...

But I would like to see this one:
1971
Wembley, Hard, F
England
Nastase-Laver
3-6 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-4
one of the few encounters between them ...
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Apparently Ashe was so upset with Nasty's behavior he mentioned it during the awards ceremony, something like, "Ilie showed he is a great player today, hopefully he will learn to conduct himself like a true champion by his conduct on court someday." While Ashe was saying this Nasty was making jokes with people in the crowd.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
NoBadMojo said:
nasty probably got into ashe's head......he seemed to have a disdain for ashe if i recall correctly..he dropped the n bomb on him in a match once..that wasnt very nice....

I think they were quite friendly to each other, but not in competitive matches.

Wrt n bomb, I think this was a misunderstanding and a lack of awareness on the part of Nastase: in Romanian "negru" is "the color black" and "black person" and has absolutely no derogatory connotations, nothing like the n word here.

Nastase used "Negrone" an Italianized version in a friendly way, without probably seeing the connection. That was indeed quite unfortunate though, don't think he wanted to hurt Arthur.
 
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