Duel Match Stats/Reports - Borg vs Hrebec & Borg vs Kodes, Davis Cup final rubbers, 1975


Hall of Fame
Bjorn Borg (Sweden) beat Jiri Hrebec (Czechoslovakia) 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in a Davis final rubber, 1979 on carpet in Stockholm, Sweden

The rubber gave Sweden a 1-0 lead in the match. They would go onto win 3-2, with Borg clinching victory at 3-1 by beating Jan Kodes

Borg won 84 points, Hrebec 50

Borg serve-volleyed off all first serves

(Note: 6 points have been tracked via audio and ending of points are not known
Set 2, Game 2, Points 2-4
Point 2 is known to be to be first serve to FH. Likely a forced back from net point for Borg, a net point for Hrebec, ending with a Borg passing FE
Point 3 is a return error drawn by first serve... its been assumed it was a serve-volley point and the error forced
Point 4 is likely a Hrebec passing FE
Set 3, Game 2, Point 6 - a Borg winner
Set 3, Game 3, Point 1 - a Borg winner - very likely a BH pass
Set 3, Game 6, Point 5 - likely a Borg winner

Other than the bolded, nothing unconfirmed has been recorded in the stats)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (34/71) 48%
- 1st serve points won (27/34) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (21/37) 57%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/71) 23%

- 1st serve percentage (41/63) 65%
- 1st serve points won (20/41) 49%
- 2nd serve points won (7/22) 32%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (10/63) 16%

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 50%
- to BH 38%
- to Body 12%

Hrebec served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 46%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 51 (29 FH, 20 BH, 2 ??), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 4 Forced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (51/61) 84%

Hrebec made...
- 54 (35 FH, 16 BH, 3 ??), including 5 runaround FHs & 3 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 FH), including 3 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach attempt
- 10 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH, 1 ??)
- Return Rate (54/70) 77%

Break Points
Borg 8/12 (8 games)
Hrebec 1/5 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 27 (4 FH, 5 BH, 6 FHV, 8 BHV, 1 OH, 3 ??)
Hrebec 12 (5 FH, 2 BH, 2 BHV, 3 OH)

Borg's had 8 from serve-volley points
- 4 first volleys (2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 4 second volleys (2 FHV, 2 BHV)

- the OH was on the bounce

- FHs - 3 cc (2 passes) and 1 dtl pass
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc and 3 dtl

Hrebec had 3 from serve-volley points
- 2 first 'volleys' (1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 2 second volley (1 OH)

- 1 from a return-approach point, an OH

- FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-out pass and 2 inside-in passes
- BHs (both passes) - 1 dtl and 1 inside-out return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 27
- 13 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)... with 1 BH pass attempt & 1 OH on the bounce
- 13 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 1 Unknown
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.3

Hrebec 39
- 21 Unforced (10 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 17 Forced (8 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- 1 Unknown
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Borg was...
- 40/56 (71%) at net, including...
- 25/32 (78%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Hrebec was...
- 20/34 (59%) at net, including...
- 6/9 (67%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 2/3 (67%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
As one sided as a the 1, 3 and love scoreline suggests, with Borg being categorically better in all areas on a very fast carpet court

Borg plays an net-seeking game. He serve-volleys off all first serves and from baseline rallies, follows standard, come-in-off-short ball procedure. Not serve-volleying of second serves or return-approaching (bar once) or manufacturing approaches from neutral baseline position is the extent to which he isn't net-seeking. Conditions favour such play. The court is very quick - probably faster than grass - and groundstrokes and serves zip off the surface. It'd be possible to hammer groundstrokes to decisively finish points on it, though neither player tries - Borg for preferring to come in, Hrebec for not having the necessary power

Early on, Borg is unconvincing in forecourt, missing several easy balls and plonking above net ones down middle of court. He looks a typical, un-natural volleyer. That doesn't last too long and even before end of first set, he's volleying with conviction - swiping balls above net with finality. He's rarely challenged by Hrebec's passes. Couple of good low-ish volleys, couple of good stretch volleys and his movement to net is exemplary. Borg's movement to net is one of the highlights of match... he looks like Stefan Edberg in approaching (if not quite so on the volley itself) and is up there in a flash

71% net points won by Borg, including 78% serve-volleying. 1 or 2 volleys at most to finish points - and he punches balls through leaving Hrebec hopeless passes. The serve is hefty but not overpowering and net figures aren't dependent on it. Just 2 aces and low-ish 23% unreturned rate. Hrebec returns firm serve with pushes that leave ball above net, short of high

Not difficult volleys by any means, but by his standard, very decisive finishing by Borg. It must be very rare for him to have so many more forecourt winners (15) than groundstroke ones (9). There are 3 other, unknown winners - though not marked, 1 of them is almost certainly another volley, the other two are likely groundstrokes (1 definitely).

From baseline, the two trade groundstrokes with Borg the more consistent (5 UEs to Hrebec's 17) and firmer hitter. Particularly off FH, he hits hard and has big advantage of power. On the BH, he's more willing to play loopier, neutral shots. When Hrebec coughs up a short ball, Borg pounces to take net - behind powerful FHs in particular. Off BH, he prefers coming in off slices

Hrebec looks to stay in ad court, and mildly back away to play FH inside-out to Borg's BH. They're not attacking shots. They're barely even neutral ones. Off BH, he usually slices or pushes or push-slices cc. Going BH dtl the line to attack - as an approach shot or otherwise - is open to Borg against this type of play. He elects not to go this route, and plays BH cc's back, waiting for a genuine short ball

Some powerful FH passing shots from Hrebec, but in rallying situation, its not particularly hard hit. Borg's though is. And he's quicker to come in behind a strong FH

Fairly ordinary serving from Hrebec, only occasionally banging down a powerful or damagingly wide serve. He serves at a very good 65% and serve-volleys about a quarter of the time. He's 6/9 at 67% serve-volleying and 12/30 at 40% staying back off his first serve (excluding 2 aces). The serve doesn't look like much, but coming in behind it is still better than getting into baseline rallies with an opponent better off both wings in every way

Like Borg, he also has lapses on the volley, missing regulation balls, but volleys well away from Borg. He looks comfortable around net. Unlike Hrebec, Borg passes exceedingly well, hitting some needle threading stuff and quick as can be to reach the ball. He needs to be - Hrebec volleys away from him and punches ball through. Good job from Hrebec than to win 59% at net. Outmatched from back, he doesn't have scope to come in behind strong approaches and takes to creating them from neutral position. Small number of errors on such approach shots and Borg's able to pass with authority. Hrebec's a modest 12/22 rallying to net. With approach errors included, he's under 50% when trying to make it to forecourt

Baseline-to-baseline play is minority. Borg hits harder and with typical consistency. Hrebec goes for the odd hard hit FH cc, but Borg's able to cover the ball falling back and doesn't give up errors

Finally, thorough returning from Borg against an average serve. He doesn't go for too much or too little. 84% return rate on such a court reflects a good job, despite the serve he's facing not being a big weapon. There are a fair number of strong serves - particularly of power, less so of placement - and most come back

Match Progression
Match starts as it doesn't continue, with Borg broken, missing a couple of easy volleys and Hrebec taking net on break point to force an error.

Borg wins the next 6 games, first breaking with a couple of volley winners and Hrebec missing a volley to a ball that was likely going out. Borg's second breaks comes from poor misses from Hrebec, has a tough hold after that and takes net to break again.

Borg breaks early in second set, and saves a break point to consolidate for 3-1. Wraps up with another break, finishing with a perfect BH cc passing winner

One tough service hold for Borg in the thrid where he makes just 4/12 first serves and has to save 2 break points. He masters Hrebec's serve though and breaks 3 times by outhitting and outlasting him from back, passing well and taking net to end points

Summing up, strong showing from Borg, playing a serve-volley and net seeking game, while returning consistently, passing ably and hitting hard and consistently from the back, always with an eye to coming in. An indifferent showing from Hrebec... just seems to be out of his league in the match


Hall of Fame
Later in the tie, Borg beat Jan Kodes 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

The result gave Sweden an unassailable 3-1 lead. Kodes had won his opening singles rubber against Ove Bengtson to tie the score 1-1 after Borg's win over Hrebec. In the doubles, Borg and Bengtson and beaten Kodes and Vladimir Zednik

Borg won 107 points, Kodes 79

Borg serve-volleyed off all but 2 first serves. Kodes serve-volleyed off most first serves and about half the time off seconds

(Note: I'm missing 3 Kodes service points (won 1, lost 2) and have guessed serve type for a couple of points
Missing points - Set 1, Game 1, Points 1-3)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (37/95) 39%
- 1st serve points won (30/37) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (30/58) 52%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/95) 28%

- 1st serve percentage (44/88) 50%
- 1st serve points won (28/44) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (15/44) 34%
- Unknown serve points won (1/3) 33%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- *Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/90) 21%

(*Note: Kodes' confirmed Unreturned Serve Percentage is 19/88, with 3 points missing. As he lost 2 of the missing points, the given figure is a deduced one
The exact figure is either 19/91 or 20/91)

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 46%
- to BH 38%
- to Body 16%

Kodes served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 68 (44 FH, 24 BH), including 17 runaround FHs
- 5 Winners (3 FH, 2 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (68/87) 78%

Kodes made...
- 65 (29 FH, 36 BH), including 2 runaround FHs, 1 runaround BH & 17 return-approaches
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (7 FH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 15 Forced (7 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (65/92) 71%

Break Points
Borg 6/10 (9 games)
Kodes 1/9 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 38 (16 FH, 10 BH, 7 FHV, 1 BHV, 4 OH)
Kodes 22 (3 FH, 2 BH, 7 FHV, 8 BHV, 2 OH)

Borg's had 7 from serve-volley points
- 3 first volleys (2 FHV, 1 OH)... 1 FHV was a net chord dribbler
- 3 second volley (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 5 returns (3 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 1 runaround cc pass, 1 runaround inside-out and 1 inside-in pass
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 inside-out pass

- 17 regular passes (9 FH, 8 BH)
- FHs - 3 cc, 4 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 longline and 1 lob
- BHs - 2 cc, 5 dtl and 1 lob

regular FHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/inside-in and 1 inside-out

Kodes' had 6 from serve-volley points
- 3 first volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 2 second volleys (2 BHV)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 6 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)

- 1 other FHV was a swinging shot and can reasonably be called an OH

- FHs (all passes) - 2 cc (1 net chord flicker, without which Borg likely had ball covered) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass and 1 inside-out

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 34
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)... with 1 FH at net
- 27 Forced (6 FH, 17 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.9

Kodes 39
- 16 Unforced (5 FH, 2 BH, 5 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 OH)... with 2 OH on the bounce from the baseline
- 23 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.9

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Borg was...
- 41/55 (75%) at net, including...
- 27/37 (73%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 23/30 (77%) off 1st serve and...
- 4/7 (57%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 forced back

Kodes was...
- 52/95 (55%) at net, including...
- 27/53 (51%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 19/30 (63%) off 1st serve and...
- 8/23 (35%) off 2nd serve
- 10/17 (59%) return-approaching
- 0/3 forced back/retreated

Match Report
A much better match, due to Kodes playing well and thus giving Borg greater scope to shine. Which he takes. This is one of the best Borg fast court showings, with all areas of his game on high. The returning in particular, stands out both for quality and of a different style than his well-back positional nor. Borg takes returns from about the baseline and spanks the balls instead, giving the serve-volleying Kodes all kinds of trouble

Serve, Return & Serve-Volleying
Kodes has a big first serve, roughly the same as Borg's (probably a shade bigger). And he's willing to go out wide with it to a greater extent than Borg. He serves some second serves near as strong (particularly when serve-volleying behind it) and otherwise, a good, healthy second serve that's not easy to attack

Borg has his hefty first serve but serves at an abysmal 39% and rarely places it challengingly wide. His second serves are ordinary. With that kind of placement and low in count, Borg's serving is far from overwhelming, which means he has work to do after the return is made

Borg all but serve-volleys off all first serves (stays back on last 2 points of match - forcing return error with first, and coming to net quickly on the second). Kodes does well to return consistently - neither powerfully, nor feebly. Borg typically gets net high first volleys, with the stronger returns being hard hit or/and slightly below net. He volleys very well - punching balls through hard and away from Kodes, though rarely as far as to corners. Doesn't matter - he punches them through hard enough that Kodes has little chance on the pass.

Just 5 UEs in forecourt for Borg. 2 are in last game of match, when match is good as over and he's perhaps over-excited at prospect of ending it. He misses an easy as can be putaway OH and high BHV. Another is when he's surprised by Kodes chip-charging the return. Not too many very difficult volleys around the feet to make, but a good lot slightly under net or low-ish and a few wide. He has 4 FEs on the volley, makes far more than he misses and punches those away hard and away from Kodes almost the same way he does the net high balls. Kodes has just 4 passing winners - and against what he's faced with, that's not bad. Full credit to Borg for his net play, Kodes would have to make very difficult running passes against well punched through volleys to do better than he does

Unlike previous match, Borg comes in behind a few second serves too, winning 4/7. 2 he loses are again in the edgy final game, including the putaway OH mentioned earlier. The second serves he comes in behind are usually extra powerful

At start, it looks like Kodes planned on serve-volleying off all serves. His second serve is good enough to come in behind. But he's met with powerful returns taken early. Borg returns superbly from about the baseline and hits hard. Even the net high balls aren't particularly easy coming at that pace... the kind of volleys a good serve-volleyer expects to make, but can't putaway regularly, is likely to miss a few and when making the volley, leave a reasonable shot on the pass. And these are just Borg's standard returns. The better ones, which are sprinkled in generously amid the standard ones go for winners or give very difficult, wide and/or low volleys while being powerfully struck

A return rate of 65% with this much heat would be a good, probably match winning figure. Borg's rate is 78%. And that's against the powerful Kodes serve. Top drawer returning from Borg, and categorically different from his usual style of taking the ball from well behind baseline, with focus on wide placement rather than power. Here, its the power rather than placement that gives Kodes a hard time. The runaround FHs are particularly good - he has 17 such - though the BH return isn't much less hard hit

Far from serve-volleying 100%, Kodes cuts back even on first serves. In all, he serve-volleys 73% of the time off first serves (winning 63%, as opposed to 54% staying back excluding aces and service winners) and 53% of the time off second serves (winning just 35% - exactly the same as staying back)

Kodes with acceptable 7 UEs on the volley to Borg's 5 (including a FH at net), coming to net about twice as much makes him appear to be far more consistent on the volley. That's deceptive. As explained earlier, Borg has a few crass misses, particularly in last game of match. On whole, Borg's consistency is very good. Kodes' has room for improvement, but isn't bad, particulary given the force of Borg's returns and passes

Kodes struggles to volley with authority and Borg's superb on the pass too. It comes as a surprise when he doesn't at least make Kodes play a volley when he has time to measure the pass. And a good lot go through him. 17 passing winners in play from Borg, 11 forecourt FEs for Kodes (good lot of which are drawn by the return), while Kodes manages just 6 winners serve-volleying... isn't good from the the servers point of view. Good lot of those Borg winners aren't from serve-volley points, but more broadly, the numbers are a good indicator of how Kodes at net vs Borg on the pass plays out. Kodes is kept to just 51% points won serve-volleying
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Hall of Fame
Non-Serve-Volley Play
Non-Serve-volley comprise small part of Kodes first serves, about half his seconds and most of Borg's seconds. There are a few interesting things going on there

Borg continues returning with heat - hammering returns hard and early. Standing up close, he probably can't adjust to Kodes staying back and returns assuming serve-volley. Kodes continues serving strongly off both serves, but Borg's wide and powerful returns push him back. Its a good move of Kodes to not serve-volley so much, seeing as he struggles on the volley. He doesn't get much respite staying back either though, with Borg's returns snatching initiative or at least, neutralizing any Kodes might aspire to

Kodes looks to 'delay' serve-volley, when he takes a couple steps in court after the serve and waits to see the return before deciding on moving forward. Almost always, the return is strong - and he stays put

Top notch baseline hitting from Borg - generally, he's always consistent, can be pressuringly powerful (if not outright attacking) with FH and unthreatentingly wall like with BH. Here, the iron consistency is there (2 baseline-to-baseline UEs. Kodes has 9) but the hitting is particularly deep and hard. Its like a high quality Novak Djokovic showing with ball after ball landing near the baseline, particularly off the FH

Excellent approaching from Kodes - Baseline rallies don't go on for too long. Kodes plays along and approaches soon as he can and his approaching is superb. He can't afford to wait for short ball - there are none to be seen - so he comes in off BH slice to first not particularly deep ball he gets. I'd expect a good lot of errors so doing, but there are hardly any. He makes the approach shots, keeps ball low and comes in. Borg remains excellent on the pass, and Kodes wins 15/25 or 60% rallying to net. Great job by him to get out of baseline rallying against such a heavy hitter and 60% coming in from mostly neutral situations against such a heavy passer is very good from him point of view

Borg isn't shy to come in either, but not particularly looking to do so. He's a near flawless 14/18 rallying to net. As considerably stronger hitter off both sides, there's scope for him to come in more. His success has as much to do with strong approach shots as the volley, though he continues to volley well too

Good job by both players rallying to net, especially Kodes

Kodes chip-charge returning - Unlike Kodes, Borg's second serve is average. And Kodes looks to come in off it. He does so 17 times (once against a first serve) and wins excellent 59% such points. Very unusually, he has as many winners from return-approaching as he does from serve-volleying (6 apiece), despite serve-volleying 53 times

That's a good indicator of how well Borg returns

The chip-charges keeps Borg down to winning 52% second serve points. He does well on his rare second serve-volleys and is in command from points starting from baseline (despite Kodes maximizing his success with great approaching)... its the chip-charges that keep Kodes in return games

Kodes has break points in 6 games, despite managing to break just once. He needs all the net seeking guile and skill - off the return or from rallies - to do that. And getting to net is no guarentee of winning points, with Borg passing superbly (he has 20 passing winners, to Kodes 17 forecourt ones)

Match Progression
Borg opens the match by breaking and saves a break point to consolidate. By his third service game, Kodes starts staying back on some serves. Both players have low first serve in counts for the set (Borg 42%, Kodes 44%) but both dominate their first serve points (Borg winning 92%, Kodes 82%)

Kodes takes net 3 times to even the set at 4-4 by breaking to 30, having just endured a 10 point hold. He's up against again right after, and broken in a 12 point game before Borg serves out the set

Borg's returning had been good in first set, thought left helpless by Kodes' bigger serves. From second set onwards, he takes it up a couple of notches from even there. Gaining a better read, he misses fewer returns and even down-the-middle net high returns are struck hard enough to be not easy to deal with. A good lot of low-ish and wide returns throw in between all that - including when Kodes stays on baseline. Kodes himself returns consistently, utilizes return-approaches and shows great judgement in coming to net safely behind slice BH cc's

He has his chances, 3 times taking Borg to deuce in second set and having break points in 2 of those games, with Borg's service percentage falling still lower to 28% for the set.
On serve though, He's constantly under the gun. Borg again breaks to start and adds another middle of set.

Third set is much like the second. The last game where Borg serves out the match is peculiar. On his first match point, Borg misses the easiest of putaway OHs. Awhile later, he misses an easy high BHV. 3/7 Borg second serve-volley points are in the game and he ends the game with his only 2 staying back off first serves. He has to save 2 break points in it, but finally gets the job done

Summing up, good match and great showing from Borg. The early, hard hit returns stand out for being different from his usual style (on top of being very good) and to a lesser extent, the consistent depth of his groundstrokes. He also volleys commandingly and consistently (beyond his norm) while passing superbly (which is normal enough for him). A good match from Kodes too - serving big, mixing up serve-volleying and staying back randomly, returning consistently with superb chip-charges and finding approaches when there's very little inviting it. Borg's volleying leaves him little chance on the pass and though up against a hefty handful at net, his volleying has room for improvement

There are few higher compliments than routin'ng a well playing, strong opponent and that's exactly what Borg does here


If i remember it right, then Borg and his team had trained with Nastase before this DC final. Curiously, Nastase had beaten Borg badly at the Masters final at Stockholm indoors some weeks before. Hrebec was a pretty talented allround player, i saw him a few times, but somehow he underperformed in his career. He did beat Newcombe on Kooyong grass in DC semifinal in 1973 and lost a close 5 setter to Laver.
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