Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.
I am inclined to agree: the Borg of 1980-81 was much stronger than the Borg of 1975-76.
All of that context is very important to tell the right story, of course. I agree with what you say.
I meant something more statistical, sans-context. Borg got on a roll and began winning at around 90%+ success (and closer to 97-98% on clay), much like Federer in his heyday. While a teenager Borg was much less consistent from tournament-to-tournament for many different reasons.
Young Borg often overplayed. He played such a crowded schedule, that he even got accused of giving in sometimes (i think once in Canada there were some rumors of giving in a match). Some think, that this heavy schedule took his toll later on in his early retirement. He played far less regular tournaments in 1979-1981, around 12 tournaments (but a lot of exhibitions anyway).
The heavy schedule in the early 70s is a main phenomenon, that one has to regard in the evaluation of some inexplicable losses. Champions like Laver, Ashe, Nastase, young Borg, even Vilas often played way over 100 tournament matches a year. Newcombe, Rosewall and even Connors were a bit more reluctant and took some time off. In the later 70s it changed, because the ATP computer ranking favored the percentage wins over the overall wins.
Here is Tony Wilding's 1914 run of eleven consecutive clay court titles, almost every match played over the best of five sets. The World Hard Court Championships in Paris was his last ever singles title win:
[5-11 January] Carlton Club (1st Meeting), Cannes, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
[26-31 January] Bordighera, Italy (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-2, 7-5
[9-16 February] Hotel Bristol, Beaulieu, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
[Circa 17-22 February] Cote d’Azur Championships, Cannes, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
[23 February-3 March] Monte Carlo, Monaco (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-2, 6-3, 6-2
[Circa 4-8 March] Riviera Championships, Mentone, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
[9-17 March] South of France Championships, Nice, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Gordon Lowe (GBR) 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
[16-26 March] The Country Club, Nice, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. F. Poulin 10-8, 6-2, 6-4
[23-30 March] Championships of Cannes, Beau Site Hotel, Cannes, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Norman Brookes (AUS) 6-4, 6-2, 6-1
[6-12 April] Carlton Club (Second Meeting), Cannes, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Norman Brookes (AUS) 6-2, 6-2, 6-2
[29 May-8 June] World Hard Court Championships, Saint Cloud, Paris, France (Clay)
FI: Anthony F. Wilding (NZL) d. Count Ludwig von Salm (AUT) 6-0, 6-2, 6-4
True.But he lost to just a few bunch of opponents.Guys with a creative or complete game that could beat him ocassionally.Panatta,Ramirez,Connors, maybe Vilas,Orantes and Nastase could have beaten them on any given day, but I just don´t recall them doing so.Maybe 5-6 at most players could beat 1975 Borg on clay ( I do not mean exos, of course).In 1980 he lost to Vilas at Dusseldorf and to Lendl at Basle.In 1981, Pecci beat him at Montecarlver 3 sets, in a kind of har tru surface, may be John Mc Enroe could have beaten Borg.¿Who else other than those 3-4 mentioned players could ? : Clerc? Noah?.I don´t think they did.
I think so, too.When younger, Rosewall´s footwork and sense of anticipation were nearly unbeatable on a slow court.His BH was very hard to cope with and, of course, Nadal has never played against a backhand like that.Not to mention how great he was at the net...on equal terms, I´d love Ken´s chances in a 3 set match; I think over 5 sets, I must give the edge to Nadal ( or Borg, for that matter).
This is the point.As the 70´s were moving on, exos began to take many of the players effort; price money was also increasing, so 1980 Borg ( or 1980 Connors or 1980 Vilas, to mention a few) would not need such an overloaded schedule as of 5 years before.The combination of more exos + more price money on regular tourneys ( and GS) along changes in the minimum tourneys needed for the computer, made that possible.
Don´t forget that also the reduction in number of tourneys came after WCT deflected its heavy loaded program.By 1977, Hunt´s organization organised about 10-12 events; in 1974-75, they had more than 50 or 60 events ( they needed 3 groups of 21 players to complete the schedule¡¡¡).
Laver,Rosewall and others were, in that sense, so much unlucky¡¡¡ they were able to make real money when being close to 40.That is something that I always felt was so utterly unfair..
Wilding - the Nadal of his day. He was even more dominant on clay than Nadal has been the last 5 years.
He fully deserves a ranking in the top 10 (my view top 5) of clay court players in the all time list.
Well, considering Nadal's main strategy is to hit to Rosewall's strength (which can be placed anywhere) I would still go with Muscles in best of 5
Borg had a kind of unbeatable aura to him in those years. The matches he did lose were almost flukes really - the Hamburg loss was an injury. The Vilas loss at a mickey mouse event. The Pecci one was admittedly shocking, but occurred I think mostly because Borg barely played that spring.
As a matter of fact, muscless was pretty good on tough 5 setters.Newcombe and Smith know that after 40 years old Rosewall put them aside at Wimbledon, in ´74.However, on clay, I don´t think he could keep with Borg´s or Nadal´s pace and rythm.Still, I´d always rather see a 75% of form Rosewall than a 100% form Nadal.it is just a mather of taste and joy.
I'd rather see nowadays-Rosewall than 100% form Nadal lol
I wish I had more than just highlights
It is quite different a 3 set match than a 5 set match when we are talking about beating Borg specially on clay.from 1978 to 1981, I´ve seen one single player capable to get close, and ocasionally beat Borg on clay; Ivan Lendl.Pecci could do it over 3 sets, I doubt he could over 5 sets ( he lost in 4 at the 1979 FO).
On hard or grass, only Mac and Connors could get constantly close to him over the 5 sets distance.But only Mac, due to his serve and variety of strokes, including a sensational net play, would have a solid chance to beat Bjorn whenever they played.Connors, got very close but his lack of a dominating serve cost him many matches vs Borg.
Of course, Tanner and Kriek, if 100% inspired, could beat Borg, even in 5 sets on a very fast court.But they would also lose many more matches than those that they could win.Such was BORG´S MARGIN OF SECURITY, AND THIS IS HIS MAIN WEAPON.
If we talk about 3 setters, talented players like Scanlon, even Gerulaitis could beat him ( Gerulaitis really could, it was his menthal complex against his friend and rival that did not let him).Gene Mayer, one of the most talented players during the 80´s, could.Noah, in a certain day, could.But, at the end, they still would get beaten always over the course of a 5 sets match.
I think he is about 77 years old now? Well, I can tell you one of the greatest pleasures I had on a tennis court was seeing the " old master" sweeping around an over 45 tournament, at the beginning of the 80´s.Once you get captivated by his BH, you cannot get rid of it.Just magic, just pure talent, and pure grace.
People shouldn't rag on Nadal so much. He's one of the few players on the tour worth watching right now. Not another academy clone.
He has a wonderfully unique style - the kind of game we'll probably never see again, not unlike Borg. I like him.
Agreed. I love the way he is continues to improve and work on all parts of his game. His volley, serve, backhand and variety is so much better now then just a few years ago.
I'd have to say so, too. Nadal is not some mindless basher. He plays the percentages smartly, but he does it ferociously. What he can do athletically is breathtaking, and we all know his mental strength.
Celebrating the older players is not about declaring that they would beat the newer players, in whatever context. The older generations produced tennis in ways that are easy to appreciate, if you understand that tennis in its own context.
Agree with everything you wrote. I respect Nadal tremendously and I like the way he can game plan a match against some players. It's not like some players who play the exact same way every time and lose. I often want to scream at some of these guys "Do something different, you're losing with this style."
And of course I agree with what you wrote about the older generation.
he's not the worst on tour to watch, but there are far more interesting (Federer, Llodra, Dolgo, Raonic)
I want to swap places with you right about now lol
I've seen Raonic a few times and I'm not terribly enamoured. Big serve; not a pretty ground game. But I'm trying to cheer for him, being a Canadian and everything.
Whatever happened to beautiful backhands? All of these kids are emerging with these ugly factory-made two handers.
Agreed. Pros are basically mass-produced.
Main North American: BIG serve, big forehand.
Where's the personality? Where is the individuality? Of the top 5, Federer is the only one who actually plays aggressively to attack the net, everyone else is just a counterpuncher...
Raonic is different, he does attack the net, and he is better to watch than a lot of players imo, but there isn't the variability between like Borg and Lendl and Conners and JMac on today's tour.
And backhands are becoming major weaknesses instead of strenghts...
Nations cup in Dusseldorf was not a mickey mouse event. It's just before the French + and players played for their country. I saw the match Borg-Vilas, and Borg played very hard and seriously.
Thanks for the offer, but I just refuse it¡¡ .Just think that being elderly than you are is the price you have to pay for seeing Rosewall at, almost his best.The great thing is watching him at the second row, closely enough to catch up that unbelievable BH techniche; and volleying and approach shot techniche by that matter.
I´ve said many times, and I still keep it, that if I could chose a teacher for developing my game and just playing for fun, I would always stick with Rosewall ( though I know I´d be frustrated not to be able to do the same things Muscless did on court).
Man you´re talking about the peak of the golden era of tennis.It was great at the early 70´s, superb at the early 80´s, then slided back to just great at the beggining of the 90´s.Ever since, it´s gone backwards and backwards, even tough guys like Fed ( for his talent) and Nadal ( for his physical and menthal assets) make it still watchable.
I've heard Robin Soderling called many things, but never before a counterpuncher
I´d just use this thread related to great cc play to make a honest tribute to one of the most underrated great champs of the last 50 years, that is Jan Kodes.2 FO ( Nastase was one of the beaten finalists), 1 Wimbledon ( even if the 1973 boycott has undeservedly been so overlooked, hey, still the other 127 players wanted to win it badly¡¡¡) and 2 USO F, lost at the full distance of 5 sets and with quite a bit of bad luck¡¡.
Kodes was solid menthally, tecnichally and physically.Had a dominating forehand and played very well at the net, and had enormous courage to overcome his shortcomings and always be a very tough guy to beat, even for the greates players of his generation.And, more than that, without him, it is hardly possible that a Navratilova, a Lendl or a Mandlikova would have emerged in the way they did.
Maybe a bit harsh of me. But, yes, it was played just before the French and that speaks for itself. It was a minor event.
Ehh, one-dimensional base-liner, counter-puncher, same thing lol
maybe I was generilizing (why can I not spell that word ever?) a bit too much, but my point still stands.
I wish he went in a time machine and came back as his younger self just to dominate this tour lol
Yeah, doesn't mean I don't want a new Golden Age lol
A counterpuncher is someone who typically plays a defensive role in a rally, and looks to either capitalize from his opponents error or turn defense into offence.
I think if we were to actually study their matches, you would find that Soderling is a lot more aggressive than even Federer lol. Federer can play some defense on the baseline at least, and doesn't try end the point on every other shot.
I wouldn't say that. Federer can play whichever style he wants. As I said, I was generalizing too much, but still EVERYONE is a boring baseliner basically, aside from a select few...
you might want to learn the definition of a counter-puncher is before trying to go back too much into history ! :twisted:
I know the definition of counter-puncher; as I said I was generalizing too much. My point is they are all baseline-players, with one exception...
If Borg and Nadal are considered the greatest clay courters of modern tennis, then Cochet ( 4 French Open titles ) should by, by all means, considered the best clay court player of the pre war and post war era ( until the 1960´s, at least)
Amended for gender inclusion
Cochet and Wilding
Cochet was a fine player no doubt. But I am curious why you would rate him higher than Wilding. Wilding was nearly unbeaten on clay for 5 years (more dominant than say Nadal has been the last 5 years). He won more clay court titles than anyone in history. Not sure Cochet, as good as he was is in that league. Cochet did win 5 majors on clay (the World Hard Court Championships in 1922 plus 4 1925+ French Championships) - but Wilding only had 2 Clay majors open to him (the 1913 and 1914 WHCC) and he won both (the 1912 WHCC wasn't officially a major - and he didn't compete in that tournament for some unknown reason) . All his wins on the French Riveria though were the defacto Clay majors of the day.
Originally posted by BTURNER:
I'm not very good at these greatest/longest/shortest/fastest/best/worst-type lists, but I'd probably put Suzanne Lenglen at number one in the women's list because she didn't lose a match on clay after turning fifteen just at the time that she won the 1914 World Hard Court Championships in Paris.
In fact, after the 1914 WHCC she never lost a single set in about 250 singles matches played on clay mainly from 1919-26.
This is a pretty good list.However, Laver,Lacoste,Pietrangeli and Santana are also solid candidates for the top ten in cc play history.Vilas,Bruguera,Kodes and Courier could aslo join an all time cc greats list.
I fully agree on the women´s side, and I´d complete it with Sanchez Vicario,Henin,Connolly and Sperling .Sanchez and Sperling won 3 titles at Paris and beat the hell out of the very best on a clay court.
You may well be right. Its so hard for many to compare either the quality of the field, they played against as restricted as it was to practicalities of the era , and the completeness of the data must be somewhat suspect by the nature and quality of the evidence you are left to reconstruct with. The fact is modern tennis leaves modern masses of records in a variety of forms on top players or even junior players at small events. Not so back before Suzanne was a tennis super diva. its also true that whatever evidence you can acquire, is as likely to inform posterity of a loss as a win and we are obliged to use what we have. The further back we go the more nervous I get that I don't have my facts straight or wise judgment on their proper use. I think that is a basic reason many here won't include Suzanne or Helen at all, but that is our insecurity not yours
Rosewall should be number one....Won like 10 French opens...Borg number 2 and Nadal 3!
Why is Henri Cochet better than Lendl?
that's the real top 3
I'd go with Rosewall at #3, perhaps #2. You could definitely make an argument for Rosewall, or Nadal, or Borg in my opinion. I would put Bjorn Borg at the very top though. Nadal has several years left, so that'll be interesting to watch. See this clip on Borg and the French Open.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY03vJsl3kk&playnext=1&list=PLC0833364FB879074 (Heroes of Roland Garros clip)
In terms of results, Cochet won 4 FO titles to Lendl´s 3.
Key words here. Saying Cochet > Lendl is similar to say Emmitt Smith > Barry Sanders in terms of resuts.
Separate names with a comma.