Chris Lewis Interview - talks Borg,McEnroe,Connors, Lendl

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
One of the more thoughtful interviews that I have read in quite some time. Thanks for sharing.
 

suwanee4712

Professional
Despite loving Mac's game, I remember rooting hard for Chris in the 83 Wimbledon final. He could never really get into the match. So after a great run Chris lost routinely in the final.

Chris was a nice guy and a popular figure. But after that Wimbledon our media didn't pay much attention to him again. However, on some of us, he had made his mark.
 

kiki

Banned
I watched Chris a few times.One of them at Eastbourne, when Sweden and New Zealand played a DC rubber after the 83 Wimbledon.

Lewis had just been the AELTC runner up and played FO finalist Wilander.Wilander won the match but you could see Lewis was spendt, still his courage, agression and movement kept him alive during 4 tough sets.

A good but not great player who took his chance to make it to the biggest event´s finals where he had no reason being.But he deserved it.

He also reached the Cincinnati final and Queen´s semis, always beaten by Mac.As he mentioned, he reached the Stuttgart finals, this time Lendl beat him.

He reminds me a bit of guys like Bagdhatis or Gonzalez, one timers who where perfectly fit at the right moment at the right spot.But Lewis talent never carried him better than 25 or 30 in the world.
 

Cuculain

New User
I remember feeling cheated out of another potential classic final by Wimbledon organisers.. Connors had just beaten Mac in straight sets at Queens. then they made the bizarre decision of putting the defending champion on court 2 for his encounter with Kevin Curran who had a purple patch match.. and was back to normal when he played Lewis on the semis..1983 had all the makings of another classic final between Connors and Mac but a bizarre decision and Curran playing out of his skin led to a lacklustre final instead..
 

jaggy

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes McEnroe beat him easily, I often thought if Curren has won the semi he may have diven Mac much more to handle match up wise, well if his serve was on.
 

timnz

Legend
I watched Chris a few times.One of them at Eastbourne, when Sweden and New Zealand played a DC rubber after the 83 Wimbledon.

Lewis had just been the AELTC runner up and played FO finalist Wilander.Wilander won the match but you could see Lewis was spendt, still his courage, agression and movement kept him alive during 4 tough sets.

A good but not great player who took his chance to make it to the biggest event´s finals where he had no reason being.But he deserved it.

He also reached the Cincinnati final and Queen´s semis, always beaten by Mac.As he mentioned, he reached the Stuttgart finals, this time Lendl beat him.

He reminds me a bit of guys like Bagdhatis or Gonzalez, one timers who where perfectly fit at the right moment at the right spot.But Lewis talent never carried him better than 25 or 30 in the world.
Chris actually got to 19 in the world. Pretty good for a journeyman. Another great match was him beating Vilas on clay in 1978.
 

kiki

Banned
Chris actually got to 19 in the world. Pretty good for a journeyman. Another great match was him beating Vilas on clay in 1978.
I never said he was a journeyman, but he certainly knew a Wimbledon title would be oversized for his stature.Good guy, nevertheless.I enjoyed his run at Wimbledon, but he was very lucky didn´t play a big player there till Mc Enroe.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
Thanks for posting. Good insight into the ERA back then.

This was interesting on how the pool of players was so small back then:

In my era, there were far fewer lower-level pro tournaments, and, subsequently, far fewer players.

Imagine if, today, 75 per cent of the futures and challengers events were discontinued.
You would see an immediate drop in the number of players pursuing a pro career as there wouldn’t be enough early opportunities to support them.

I cannot tell you how many ambitious junior players in my time would have liked to chase a pro career, but weren’t able to as there just weren’t enough tournaments around.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Thanks for posting. Good insight into the ERA back then.

This was interesting on how the pool of players was so small back then:
Talker, I contradict you and Chris Lewis: There were many tournaments in Lewis' time and many good players as well.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
Talker, I contradict you and Chris Lewis: There were many tournaments in Lewis' time and many good players as well.
I've posted with Chris before elsewhere, he's a straight shooter if there ever was one.
He says it like it is and he's dead on here.

If you have references then show them.
 

timnz

Legend
I never said he was a journeyman, but he certainly knew a Wimbledon title would be oversized for his stature.Good guy, nevertheless.I enjoyed his run at Wimbledon, but he was very lucky didn´t play a big player there till Mc Enroe.
I meant Journeyman as a term of honour. I associate it with keeping at your craft and doing the hard yards day in, day out, even if you aren't the star.
 

kiki

Banned
I've posted with Chris before elsewhere, he's a straight shooter if there ever was one.
He says it like it is and he's dead on here.

If you have references then show them.
Geez man Bobby is so damn right
Besides the toughest colection of top players, from mid 70 till mid 80 it was tennis media and public explosion around the whole planet
Never companies invested as much as in the era known as Golden
Challengers and satelites developed and exploded geometrically then and exos around world took place almost week in, week off
Tennis has never had so much attention, popularity and corporate marketing and money
Heard of pro agencies ran by Don Dell, Mark Mc Cormac and others?
Well, they were created at that time to provide management services and financial consultancy to the top players
That alone summarizes the greatness this sport achieved in 70's and 80's
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I've posted with Chris before elsewhere, he's a straight shooter if there ever was one.
He says it like it is and he's dead on here.

If you have references then show them.
Talker, In 1983 there were at least 121 ATP tournaments held. There were 12 players with at least 3 tournament wins. Inferior to current time??
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
Talker, In 1983 there were at least 121 ATP tournaments held. There were 12 players with at least 3 tournament wins. Inferior to current time??
I would say Chris knows firsthand being brought up in the system, it wouldn't be apparent why he would say different.

This is something to look into for the historians. Maybe we can get some other information from players around that time.

No need to come to hard conclusions now.
 

suwanee4712

Professional
I remember feeling cheated out of another potential classic final by Wimbledon organisers.. Connors had just beaten Mac in straight sets at Queens. then they made the bizarre decision of putting the defending champion on court 2 for his encounter with Kevin Curran who had a purple patch match.. and was back to normal when he played Lewis on the semis..1983 had all the makings of another classic final between Connors and Mac but a bizarre decision and Curran playing out of his skin led to a lacklustre final instead..
Up until 1990 or so, the rule was ALL top players had to play on the outer courts at least once. Center and Court1 were the show courts. Court 2 was considered a show court as was Court 14 in later years before the big changes, but they qualified as outer courts. I liked the rule and wish it still applied.

I would say that Connors should've been put out there before the QF, especially with a big server like Curren looming. I remember Martina not being put out there until the QF in 1982 and 1988. But one of the big controversies was when Chris Evert was put out there twice in 1987 nearly losing to Fairbank and then again in the QF vs. Kohde.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I would say Chris knows firsthand being brought up in the system, it wouldn't be apparent why he would say different.

This is something to look into for the historians. Maybe we can get some other information from players around that time.

No need to come to hard conclusions now.
Talker, I just gave you facts. It's your decision to accept or neglect them...
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
In late 70s to even 81 or 82 the ATP only went up to 600 (maybe a bit more) or so in the singles rankings. If for example you played the PENN Circut and won at least two matches you got 1 ATP point.......good enough in mid 1980 to get a 600 or so ranking!

Totally different times.....did not have a third of current challengers/futures type events.

Many think that because tennis was popular in those times with Borg, McEnroe, Conners, etc. then there was plenty of money to support a lot of players at the lower levels.

As Chris said, many young and promising players didn't get enough money to follow their dreams, had to do something else.
This problem was always there so the pools were small from the beginning and a lot of potential great players never developed.
 

kiki

Banned
In contrast the top 25 was so much tougher...unthinkable a Ferrer could make the top four let alone remain there for so long
And you don' t win the big titles if you aren' t at least a top 25-30 guys
Or you are a Becker or Sampras kind of teen phenomenon
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
In contrast the top 25 was so much tougher...unthinkable a Ferrer could make the top four let alone remain there for so long
load of cr*p ...

ramirez was #5 in 76, dibbs was #5 in 78 , solomon was #5 in 80, jarryd was #5 in 85 ..

And you don' t win the big titles if you aren' t at least a top 25-30 guys
jeez and how many players outside top 25-30 have won big titles recently ?

Or you are a Becker or Sampras kind of teen phenomenon
you have a certain rafael nadal in this era
 

kiki

Banned
load of cr*p ...

ramirez was #5 in 76, dibbs was #5 in 78 , solomon was #5 in 80, jarryd was #5 in 85 ..



jeez and how many players outside top 25-30 have won big titles recently ?



you have a certain rafael nadal in this era
All of them better than Ferrer
Nadal is a weak era phenomenon but he still is one
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
All of them better than Ferrer
lol, based on what ? trip to nostalgia land ?

ferrer is a clearly better player than all of them.

Nadal is a weak era phenomenon but he still is one
even a 19 year old nadal would've beat your favorite laver left right on clay :)

essentially you only have 4 teenage greats in the open era : borg in the 70s, wilander and becker in the 80s and nadal in the 2000s. by that I mean those who had consistent great success in teen years.

sampras' run in US Open 1990 was a one-off
 
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kiki

Banned
And here's a point featuring Eddie Dibbs:

http://www.ina.fr/video/I00000052/demi-finale-a-roland-garros-vilas-bat-dibbs-video.html

Based on this, I think Ferrer might be able to hang with Dibbs for a while but it's pretty clear that sooner or later Dibbs' sheer power and athleticism would prevail.

Alas, the weak era in which we live... truly giants walked the earth in those days... :eek:
Just compare their records.OK, maybe Ferrer record is just as good as Solly and Dibbs, so they belong to the same tier...
 

kiki

Banned
lol, based on what ? trip to nostalgia land ?

ferrer is a clearly better player than all of them.



even a 19 year old nadal would've beat your favorite laver left right on clay :)

essentially you only have 4 teenage greats in the open era : borg in the 70s, wilander and becker in the 80s and nadal in the 2000s. by that I mean those who had consistent great success in teen years.

sampras' run in US Open 1990 was a one-off
oh¡ I know it hurts you that Sampras won at 19 while Federer not

BTW, when is teen age overcame? because Mac won the Masters at 19, Edberg won the AO at 19 and, of course, you forgot Michael Chang, who won RG at 17.Like Wilander.
 

timnz

Legend
Knows some of the top guys

Chris knows some of the top guys. He was Ivan Lendl's coach for a while, late in Ivan's career in the early 1990's. Chris' brother is one of the coaches on Lendl's staff at Lendl's tennis junior program in Florida. Chris Lewis also toured New Zealand with Bjorn Borg in late 1983 for an exhibition series between the two of them.

As a side note he played my brother Chris a number of times (my brother always lost) when they were both very young :)
 
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kiki

Banned
Which brings us to an entertaining game
Who ranks as NZ second best player ever after Sir Tony Wilding?
Parun and Lewis both lost a slam final on grass
Lewis did better on small regular events while Onny had better results at majors
Parun was a strict s&v player and Chris a baseliner
Did they ever face each other on tour?
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Which brings us to an entertaining game
Who ranks as NZ second best player ever after Sir Tony Wilding?
Parun and Lewis both lost a slam final on grass
Lewis did better on small regular events while Onny had better results at majors
Parun was a strict s&v player and Chris a baseliner
Did they ever face each other on tour?
kiki, Even though Lewis reached the Wimbledon final, I rank Parun a bit higher.

I don't know if they met at all.
 

kiki

Banned
kiki, Even though Lewis reached the Wimbledon final, I rank Parun a bit higher.

I don't know if they met at all.
While Lewis did quite better on clay and hard, Parun had a bunch of Wimbledon,Forest Hills and Australian quarters all of them on grass
Known for his great endurance, he reached the 4 th round at Wimbledon aged 35 or 36
He beat Clerc but lost to Peter Fleming
Don' t tell me why but I always felt simpathy for the guy
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
While Lewis did quite better on clay and hard, Parun had a bunch of Wimbledon,Forest Hills and Australian quarters all of them on grass
Known for his great endurance, he reached the 4 th round at Wimbledon aged 35 or 36
He beat Clerc but lost to Peter Fleming
Don' t tell me why but I always felt simpathy for the guy
kiki, Yes, a nice guy. I talked to Onny after he had beaten Clerc in, I believe, 1979 when he was 32. Or it was in 1980.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
Chris knows some of the top guys. He was Ivan Lendl's coach for a while, late in Ivan's career in the early 1990's. Chris' brother is one of the coaches on Lendl's staff at Lendl's tennis junior program in Florida. Chris Lewis also toured New Zealand with Bjorn Borg in late 1983 for an exhibition series between the two of them.

As a side note he played my brother Chris a number of times (my brother always lost) when they were both very young :)
Right, Chris has been very close to Lendl for a long time.
We had a discussion about Lendl in 2008.
He was nice enough to drop by a forum for quite awhile back then and would answer just about anything you wanted to know.

I wouldn't be surprised, if he was asked by the right person, if he would stop by here and answer a few questions.
 

kiki

Banned
kiki, Yes, a nice guy. I talked to Onny after he had beaten Clerc in, I believe, 1979 when he was 32. Or it was in 1980.
It was in 80 but I really thought he was older than 32
Fleming made his best slam result after defeating Parun and losing his quarterfinal to Mac
 

carpedm

New User
It's interesting how Lewis talks about McEnroe trying to beam him in his first service game ( he had a great reaction volley because of it ). Lewis had two similar scenarios during Mac's next service game and yet he instead tried to hit around his fiery opponent instead. I guess he didn't want to wake a sleeping giant by ******* John off but seeing the final score, maybe Lewis should've adopted a few Lendl-isms.

Besides, who wouldn't want to walk around the club as the guy we beamed Mac?
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
oh¡ I know it hurts you that Sampras won at 19 while Federer not

BTW, when is teen age overcame? because Mac won the Masters at 19, Edberg won the AO at 19 and, of course, you forgot Michael Chang, who won RG at 17.Like Wilander.
I said consistent great results and great. chang was not a great player. edberg wasn't consistent enough

mac was closer to 20 when he won the masters .

as far as sampras is concerned, why would it hurt me ? sampras had one excellent run in USO 90, but was nowhere near consistently great at that time. reality.

as far as when teen age is defined, you have the clue in the word teen . thirteen to nineteen !
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
Really interesting interview. Thank you.
Side note, imo, Ellesse really was the most stylish tennis kit in the early 80s
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Just compare their records.OK, maybe Ferrer record is just as good as Solly and Dibbs, so they belong to the same tier...
let's see :

dibbs made two semis at majors - at the FO - in 75,76

ferrer has 5 semis at majors - USO 2007, 2012 ; AO 2011,2013, RG 2012

ferrer has a QF at wimbledon ( 2012 ), dibbs' best at wimbledon is 2R

ferrer made the final of the Masters in 2007 beating nadal, roddick and djokovic

dibbs made the final of WCT in 78 , but that was a weakened one with connors not there and borg injured.

similar no of titles overall .

overall ferrer's record is clearly better.

solomon has 1 final and 2 semi at RG, better than ferrer there, but nowhere else, not HC, grass or indoors. he has only one other semi at a major. no final at WCT or masters. ferrer's record is better overall.

you are saying now maybe they belong the same tier. So ferrer could be top 5 then as well just as they were, correct ?

O-W-N-E-D :)
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
He reminds me a bit of guys like Bagdhatis or Gonzalez, one timers who where perfectly fit at the right moment at the right spot.But Lewis talent never carried him better than 25 or 30 in the world.
umm, chris lewis apart from the 83 wimbledon final never went past the 3R of a major, highest ranking was #19, he wouldn't have reached the final if curren hadn't taken out connors.

gonzalez apart from his AO 2007 final has a semi, 2 QFs at RG; one QF at wimbledon and 2 QFs at USO. he reached the AO 2007 final thrashing nadal and haas

baghdatis has a wimbledon semi and a quarter apart from his AO 2006 final. he reached the final beating roddick, nalbandian, ljubicic.

both easily tougher draws than lewis'

both gonzalez and baghdatis have a highest ranking within top 10.

lewis is nowhere in the same league as these 2. these 2 are much better players.
 

kiki

Banned
let's see :

dibbs made two semis at majors - at the FO - in 75,76

ferrer has 5 semis at majors - USO 2007, 2012 ; AO 2011,2013, RG 2012

ferrer has a QF at wimbledon ( 2012 ), dibbs' best at wimbledon is 2R

ferrer made the final of the Masters in 2007 beating nadal, roddick and djokovic

dibbs made the final of WCT in 78 , but that was a weakened one with connors not there and borg injured.

similar no of titles overall .

overall ferrer's record is clearly better.

solomon has 1 final and 2 semi at RG, better than ferrer there, but nowhere else, not HC, grass or indoors. he has only one other semi at a major. no final at WCT or masters. ferrer's record is better overall.

you are saying now maybe they belong the same tier. So ferrer could be top 5 then as well just as they were, correct ?

O-W-N-E-D :)
get a clue about Golden tennis and come back.

ferrer would , at most, be a good top tenner.as I said, Ramirez is a much more complete player than your iconoc moonballer.
 

kiki

Banned
umm, chris lewis apart from the 83 wimbledon final never went past the 3R of a major, highest ranking was #19, he wouldn't have reached the final if curren hadn't taken out connors.

gonzalez apart from his AO 2007 final has a semi, 2 QFs at RG; one QF at wimbledon and 2 QFs at USO. he reached the AO 2007 final thrashing nadal and haas

baghdatis has a wimbledon semi and a quarter apart from his AO 2006 final. he reached the final beating roddick, nalbandian, ljubicic.

both easily tougher draws than lewis'

both gonzalez and baghdatis have a highest ranking within top 10.

lewis is nowhere in the same league as these 2. these 2 are much better players.
what is the conversion factor between 2000´s drafts and 1970 or 1980´s drafts? due to the weakening of eras, it should be factored in and pownded.

Like we should pownded pro vs am slams and WCT/Masters against AO but also against FO/W/USo during the 70´s and 80´s...many things should be factored in in order to clarify things.

However, I never said Lewis was a great player, and you could be right.And Gonzalez and Bagdhatis have possibly a better overall career.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
get a clue about Golden tennis and come back.

ferrer would , at most, be a good top tenner.as I said, Ramirez is a much more complete player than your iconoc moonballer.
If solomon and dibbs were top 10nners, ferrer obviously would be easily.

If you call ferrer a moonballer, what would you call solomon and dibbs? Mega moonballers ? :twisted:

Ramirez was a more complete player, but not a more successful player in singles
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
what is the conversion factor between 2000´s drafts and 1970 or 1980´s drafts? due to the weakening of eras, it should be factored in and pownded.

Like we should pownded pro vs am slams and WCT/Masters against AO but also against FO/W/USo during the 70´s and 80´s...many things should be factored in in order to clarify things.

However, I never said Lewis was a great player, and you could be right.And Gonzalez and Bagdhatis have possibly a better overall career.
The ao vs wct/masters in the 70s is more objective fact based on the no of top players entering. Comparision b/w eras as a whole is much more subjective.


And yes, gonzalez and baghdatis are far better than lewis
 

kiki

Banned
If solomon and dibbs were top 10nners, ferrer obviously would be easily.

If you call ferrer a moonballer, what would you call solomon and dibbs? Mega moonballers ? :twisted:

Ramirez was a more complete player, but not a more successful player in singles
wake me the day midget ferrer wins the IO Ramirez won in 1975 beating peak Orantes in three straight sets...
 
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