Duel Match Stats/Reports - Connors vs McEnroe, Queens Club finals '82 & '83

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In 1982, Jimmy Connors beat John McEnroe 7-5, 6-3 in the Queens Club final on grass

Connors would go onto beat McEnroe in the final of the upcoming Wimbledon also

Connors won 68 points, McEnroe 57

Connors serve-volleyed off almost all his first serves and rarely off second. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and most seconds

(Note: I'm missing four McEnroe service points - two won by McEnroe, two by Connors)

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (38/51) 75%
- 1st serve points won (31/38) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (6/13) 46%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/51) 27%

McEnroe....
- 1st serve percentage (45/70) 64%
- 1st serve points won (32/45) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (9/25) 36%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/70) 36%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 56%

McEnroe served....
- to FH 36%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 41 (14 FH, 27 BH), including 2 runaround BHs
- 5 Winners (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 16 Errors, all forced...
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH), including 1 runaround BH attempt
- Return Rate (41/66) 62%

McEnroe made...
- 34 (18 FH, 16 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- Return Rate (34/48) 71%

Break Points
Connors 4/11 (5 games)
McEnroe 1/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 21 (3 FH, 6 BH, 8 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
McEnroe 12 (2 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

Connors had 8 from serve-volley points
- 2 first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 6 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

- 8 passes (3 FH, 5 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc (1 return) and 1 dtl return
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 at net (net-to-net point), 2 dtl returns and 1 inside-in return

- 1 other FHV was hit net-to-net and 1 was a drop volley

- 1 BH inside-out, the sole baseline-baseline winner in the match

McEnroe had 8 from serve-volley points
- 3 first volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 5 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BH at net)

- 4 passes (2 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc and 1 inside-out return
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 inside-out return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 15
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46

McEnroe 27
- 6 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 21 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH, 6 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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
Connors was...
- 36/42 (86%) at net, including...
- 30/35 (86%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 27/32 (84%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/3 off second serve

McEnroe was...
- 33/56 (59%) at net, including...
- 32/54 (59%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 24/37 (65%) off 1st serve and...
- 8/17 (47%) off second serve
--------------------------------
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back
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Match Report
Splendid match from Jimmy Connors, outplaying McEnroe in almost all areas. In particular, volleying proves to be the key

Its a serve-volley fest. Connors typically serves a high percentage (75%) and comes in behind all but 5 of them (and he's usually look to approach from rallying situations when he doesn't). McEnroe does come in behind all first serves and most seconds

Serving & Returning
McEnroe obviously has the bigger and better serve, showcased in his superiority in unreturned serves (36% to 27%) and aces/service winners (8 to 1), but Connors is said to have improved his serve significantly recently by the commentators (Dan Maskell, I think). It doesn't look particularly 'improved' to me but he is putting all his weight behind the shot rather than rolling it in as he was wont to do. He gives an effortful grunt to enhance the impression of giving it his all, but visually its clear; he's hitting it as hard as he can - and still it isn't being hit all that hard. But enough to be a competent. In other late '70s early '80s matches of his Connors' serve by contrast, looks like a gift to the returner, an open invitation to have a go... at least that isn't the case here

That, the quick low bouncing surface and support of regular serve-volleying makes the serve relatively effective. Rarely is Mac stretched or overpowered when returning.... the forced nature of the return errors he makes is based on pressure of Connors being at net or the innate vagaries of returning on grass... not on some new, wonder serve

Mac by contrast has an effective first shot by any standard. Sharp angles, power (compared to his opponent) and disguise are all there. As his ace count suggests, he draws a number of genuine forced errors that would be a handful to return even on a slower surface or without a serve-volleying support

The difference on the key shot is compensated for by the difference in the opposite direction in the two men's returning. Connors takes big full swings and takes them early, giving Mac awkward first volleys. He also reaches some difficult balls and manages to get them back with surprising authority. Mac doesn't falter on return but isn't anywhere near Connors' standard either.... he puts the ball in play mostly with touch rather than power

Volleying & Passing
This is the decisive factor

Connors volleys fantastically - better than I've seen him - and though not pretty of style, I've never seen him volley badly. He scarcely misses a volley (just two forced errors - both to very low balls - and not a single unforced). He makes low volleys - he faces about 6-8 of them in the match - and gets them over deep and well placed. and to anything slightly under or slightly over net high... he's precise and takes charge of the point with the volley (though rarely actually putting it away). Mac would have needed to have an outstanding passing day to cope... which he doesn't. 86% net points won... one of the highest I've tracked from anyone coming in so much

Credit here to Connors' volleying, not discredit to Mac's passing

Mac's facing a heftier return and heavier passing shots than Connors (the compensation for which is his lead in unreturned serves) but isn't at his best at the front. Struggles with balls just below the net hit with above average power. Shows little of the touch he's renowned for - no drop or stop volleys. 4 unforced volleying errors - most of them not easy, but by definition, not hard either - speaks to his sub-par volleying. The 9 forced volleying/half-volleying/smash errors speaks to Connors' passing and returning prowess. A combination of the two results in McEnroe struggling at net.... certainly more than Connors did

Beyond that, McEnroe shows next to no intent in capturing the net. Sans serve-volleying, he only approaches twice - and 1 was a chip-charge return as Connors was serve-volleying. There was scope for him to seek out the net with Connors staying back from time to time and Mac himself declining to come in behind some second serves.... but he doesn't seem to be interested

Not that it would have been easy to do so. From the baseline, Connors is comfortably the stronger player. Mac does win the best of these points though... down break point, he stays back off a second serve and holds his own in an 18 point rally. Comes in, is pushed back, comes in again and eventually, forces a passing error

----

Connors holds more comfortably throughout the match. Mac is first broken in game 5 of the first set in an extended, 18 point affair and has to save two break points in his next service game. Mac does break back to love later as Connors was serving for the set (the only break chance he has all match), but is broken right back

In the second set, Mac manages to reach deuce once in a game Connors overdoes the attempts at strong serving and double faults twice in three points. He does so once in the next game too. Other than these little lapses, Connors holds comfortably and handily breaks Mac twice by forcing volleying errors, hitting heavy returns and passing with power

Summing up, a convincing win for Connors. His volleying in particular is top notch, while he retains enough of the vigour on returning and passing that he's known for to stump Mac. For the younger player, an adequate showing, but just up against a better player on the day
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In 1983, Connors beat McEnroe 6-3, 6-3 in the Queens Club final

McEnroe would nonetheless go on to win Wimbledon that year, with Connors being eliminated early.

Connors won 61 points, McEnroe 49

Connors serve-volleyed occasionally. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and most seconds

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (42/60) 70%
- 1st serve points won (30/42) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (6/18) 33%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/60) 22%

McEnroe....
- 1st serve percentage (29/50) 58%
- 1st serve points won (17/29) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (8/21) 38%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (11/50) 22%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 48%
- to Body 5%

McEnroe served....
- to FH 45%
- to BH 49%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 38 (16 FH, 12 BH), including 2 runaround BHs
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 6 Errors, all forced...
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (38/49) 78%

McEnroe made...
- 45 (22 FH, 23 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 runaround BH
- 1 Winners (1 BH), a runaround
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 10 Forced (6 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (45/58) 78%

Break Points
Connors 5/7 (5 games)
McEnroe 2/3 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 19 (2 FH, 7 BH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
McEnroe 13 (3 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

Connors had 4 from S/V points
- 2 first volleys (2 FHV)
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- 8 passes (2 FH, 6 BH)
- FH - 2 cc
- BHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl returns, 1 inside-in return, 1 lob and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net

- 1 BH cc from mid-court

McEnroe had 6 from S/V points
- 2 first 'volleys' (1 FH at net, 1 BH at net)
- 4 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BH at net), the BHV played net-to-net & the BH at net was a running-down-drop-shot (net chord dribbler) cc at net

- 6 passes (2 FH, 4 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc (1 on the run)
- BHs - 3 cc and 1 runaround dtl return off a body serve

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 23
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH)
- 14 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.4

McEnroe 28
- 7 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV)
- 21 Forced (3 FH, 8 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 Over-the-Shoulder)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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
Connors was...
- 26/43 (60%) at net, including...
- 12/21 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 11/17 (65%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/4 (25%) off second serve
--------------------
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

McEnroe was...
- 21/43 (49%) at net, including...
- 18/39 (46%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 13/24 (54%) off 1st serve and...
- 5/15 (33%) off second serve
--------------------------------
- 0/4 forced back
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Match Report
A different type of match from the one a year ago. For one thing, Connors really is serving big - he has McEnroe hopping, skipping and jumping to get the ball back in play. Two, Connors isn't serve-volleying too much - but looking to come in during rallies (mostly not off the third ball, IOW - following standard operating baseline procedure of drawing short/weak ball and coming in off it). Thirdly, its Connors' return rather than volleying that takes the eye.... this is one of those performances that make you wonder "has anyone returned better?"

Dan Maskel - not a man given to hyperbole - explicitly states he's never seen anyone hit the ball harder than Connors does in this match. Adding upon being probed that perhaps Ellsworth Vines in the 1930s may have hit as hard

Its a shame we're missing 3 games because some of the final stats are surprising and possibly unique. Slightly biased against McEnroe as one of the games is a service hold for him. @krosero may find these stats interesting

- Connors 22% unreturned serves, McEnroe 18%. How often has this happened?
- 83% return rate on grass against McEnroe
- McEnroe under 50% at net.... he's 47% at net, which drops further still to 45% serve-volleying. On grass. Unique?
- Note both men doing poorly on second serve points won (Connors 38%, Mac 39%)

Play
Match starts with a bang - Connors serve-volleying and putting away winners, McEnroe forcing volleying errors and hitting a wonderful BH cc pass. Connors holds with a pair of unreturned serves. And breaks at once - there's a return winner in the game, but it ends with Mac making two volleying errors

He can't consolidate the break. Connors makes two groundstroke errors - the first going for a sharp angle, the second a routine ball - to open the door, and Mac storms through with a FH pass hit from mid-court

And Connors breaks right back. Forces Mac back with a lob and seizes the net himself to put away an OH and lobs him again, this time for a clean winner. Mac helps with 2 errors - a slice from the baseline and a volleying error

At this point, Connors puts away serve-volleying in favour of rallying his way to net. He'd won 6/7 points serve-volleying to this point.... not sure why he switched it up. At first, it gets him into a spot of trouble and he has to struggle through a 10 point service game (saving a break point with his sole ace). no serve-volleying in the game (6 first serve points), but approaches 5 times anyway. And forces 2 return errors - his serve is a genuine weapon in this match. That aside, he nurses his break to take the set without further alarm.

2 trade breaks to start the second set - Connors via powerful returns and passes, Mac on back of 2 stunning running BH cc passes. Unusual point in game 3, as Connors' pass pops over and to the side off the net chord, and Mac has to play a BH 'running-down-drop-shot' shot to hit it for a winner

Most the rest is a returning exhibition from Jimmy Connors. He hammers the return off both wings, leaving Mac hopping, skipping and leaping to try to keep up. Connors breaks first by forcing a couple of volleying errors and wrapping up with consecutive return winners. He also breaks to finish the match by forcing 4 first volley errors.

On his own service games, he holds most comfortably when serve-volleying (loses 1 point). the other two games, he chooses to mainly rally his way to net. Both games last 8 points (no break points for McEnroe)

Playing Dynamics
Two things stand out

- the Connors return, already described - which shapes McEnroe's serve games. Mac with 0 first volley winners on serve-volley points should tell you what he was up against
- baseline dynamics

Why did Connors suddenly decide to eschew serve-volleying when it was working so well - and continued to do so when he returned to it for his last service game? Stats show his net numbers (64%) is well short of his 1st serve-volleys (73%)

In place of serve-volleying, Connors looks to hit big groundies, push Mac out of position and/or draw a short ball - and then come in. It works. He dominates the baseline exchanges - clearly the more powerful of the two and slightly better at using court opening angles. McEnroe tries at times to 'attack' the Connors FH, often with longline slices. Presumably to tempt UEs off low FHs - a noted Connors weakness.

Its a weakness in that he doesn't King Kong hammer such balls (as he does most others), but that's about it. Mac draws at least 1 UE this way, but spends most of the baseline exchanges being run ragged

Once Connors does reach the net from rallying, his volleying is a good couple of steps down from his showing the previous year (which it was bound to be, since in '82 he was nearly flawless) - but more than good enough to handle business at hand. McEnroe also passes better than the previous year, which plays a hand in this

Noteworthy is that Mac - just like the previous year - makes little attempt to find the net from baseline situations. It wouldn't have been easy seeing how he was dominated from the back.... but not doing so seemed to leave his fate in the hands of his making a pass when Connors took the net. Probably not the best strategy

Summing up, hammer and tongs stuff from Jimmy Connors - genuinely serving big, blasting returns, commanding baseline plays, approaching wisely and well and volleying good enough. Mac looks overwhelmed.... obviously not his best performance, but good enough not to be bullied around the court like this
 
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WCT

Professional
Man, you have me questioning my ability to take stats Both years, I have Connors total points served as different than yours. And my s/v for 1982is 35 of 39 on 1st and 4 of 14 on 2nd. In 1983, it's 19 of 36 on 1st and 4 of 14 on 2nd. Thing with Connors is when he has an unreturned serve, it's not always clear to me if he was s/v. Perhaps that is some of the difference. If I thought he was s/v I count that as a net point and as a yes when dertermining his 1st and 2nd serve net approaches.

Mind you, I'd definitely advise anyone to go with your numbers. The incredible level of depth on your stats makes it highly unlikely, to me, at least, they you are making the mistakes.

I've talked about the 82 Queens match in relation to Wimbledon before. I've done this rant multiple times. If you have the NBC copy of the 82 final that you know it was 4 plus hours of Bud Collins going apeshit over the new Jimmy Connors. The old horse learning new tricks, etc. Like Connors never went anywhere near the net before 1982. Saw it live and was like, huh? But I had seen the 82 Queens match on USA network a couple weeks before.

Said it then, say it now. Connors s/v I believe it was 34 of 184 serves(my own stats) in that match. I think I had 80 net points in 340 total points. Anyway, I said back then, if Connors had played like he did at Queens, coming in around 90% of his 1st serves, then I can get going apeshit. For how he actually played, are you kidding me? I know Collins was there in 1974, 1975, 1977.

Absolutely correct about how well he volleyed. He did so in the Wimbledon final as well. If Collins had wanted to rant about how well he volleyed, that I'd get. I don't know if it was the best I ever saw him do it. I mean as a definite. But if it wasn't at the top, it's right up there near the top.

Now you have me wanting to rewatch the 83 match because I don't remember his volleying being down a couple notches. Not as well, but I didn't recall that big a dropoff.
More like an a+ to an a or an a to a b+. I thought he still volleyed very well in that match.
Probably been a good 5 years since I did the stats, though. Memory might be a little foggy.

A lot of people were picking Connors to win Wimbledon in 1983 off of how well he played at Queens. Kevin Curren had other ideas. That and he had to play that match on court2.
A real upset court at the time. Still, would have been really tough ifhe played Mcenroe at the level he was at by the semis and finals.
 

THUNDERVOLLEY

G.O.A.T.
@Waspsting - another excellent summary of a great match-up. I don't know what it was, but recalling Connors' efforts in 1982, he was on fire and for a short time, had McEnroe's number, which only intensified their locking horns kind of relationship.
 

WCT

Professional
He didn't really have his number. He won 2 grass court matches in 1982. And Mcenroe beat him in 3 1982 indoor matches. Killed him in 2 of them. Now that I think of it Connors beat him once indoors as well. A 5 set in a special event in Chicago.

I think this was during a period of time where they were getting along, relatively speaking. They used to practice together some. In retrospect, Mcenroe thought that hurt him. That it enabled Connors to read his game a bit better. Doug Henderson, Connors' former bodyguard of sorts, talked about that some in his book.

Whatever, Connors played great in those 2 Queens match. I think, in both, better than he played in the Wimbledon final. IMO, those Queens matches are more about how well Connors played. Not that Mcenroe was at the top of his game, certaonly not 1984 levels, but I saw him play a whole lot worse than he did in those 2 matches.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
WCT - good to see you? How've you been?

the 82 final that you know it was 4 plus hours of Bud Collins going apeshit over the new Jimmy Connors. The old horse learning new tricks, etc. Like Connors never went anywhere near the net before 1982. Saw it live and was like, huh? But I had seen the 82 Queens match on USA network a couple weeks before.

Said it then, say it now. Connors s/v I believe it was 34 of 184 serves(my own stats) in that match. I think I had 80 net points in 340 total points. Anyway, I said back then, if Connors had played like he did at Queens, coming in around 90% of his 1st serves, then I can get going apeshit. For how he actually played, are you kidding me? I know Collins was there in 1974, 1975, 1977.


From what I've heard and read off Bud Collins, he seems like a hyperbolic, build-the-excitement kind of guy, rather than an accurate one. Like say John McEnroe or Wilander today

There's an article of his written in 1980 about Borg, where he's waxing lyrical. Writes about how Borg is always learning and improving and gives an example.

paraphrashing….In the very first point of his first round match at Wimbledon this year (1980), Borg serve-volleyed! Why had the king chosen to leave his baseline kingdom?

some fancy stuff like that. I scratched my head. Hadn't Borg been serve-volleying on grass for most of his career?

So yeah, I take what he says with a pinch of salt. Maskell doesn't seem the type though - so its something when he dishes out heavy praise, like saying he hasn't seen anyone hit the ball harder than Connors

Absolutely correct about how well he volleyed. He did so in the Wimbledon final as well. If Collins had wanted to rant about how well he volleyed, that I'd get. I don't know if it was the best I ever saw him do it. I mean as a definite. But if it wasn't at the top, it's right up there near the top.

Now you have me wanting to rewatch the 83 match because I don't remember his volleying being down a couple notches. Not as well, but I didn't recall that big a dropoff.
More like an a+ to an a or an a to a b+
. I thought he still volleyed very well in that match.

His volleying is fine in the '83 match. "down a couple of notches" is meant to be a compliment to the '82 showing rather than a critique of '83

If you just saw '82, you could be forgiven for thinking this might be the best volleyer ever. Edberg and McEnroe level stuff. '82 is just normal, good volleying

What other matches of his would you throw in up there for volleying with the '82 affair?
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Where do you guys get all your old matches from?

youtube

all kinds of goodies up in full or near full there

We haven't interacted before, but I've gone through some of your old posts, where you plead for objectivity. I'm of the same mind. Your participation in these match threads would be welcome
 

WCT

Professional
WCT - good to see you? How've you been?




From what I've heard and read off Bud Collins, he seems like a hyperbolic, build-the-excitement kind of guy, rather than an accurate one. Like say John McEnroe or Wilander today

There's an article of his written in 1980 about Borg, where he's waxing lyrical. Writes about how Borg is always learning and improving and gives an example.

paraphrashing….In the very first point of his first round match at Wimbledon this year (1980), Borg serve-volleyed! Why had the king chosen to leave his baseline kingdom?

some fancy stuff like that. I scratched my head. Hadn't Borg been serve-volleying on grass for most of his career?

So yeah, I take what he says with a pinch of salt. Maskell doesn't seem the type though - so its something when he dishes out heavy praise, like saying he hasn't seen anyone hit the ball harder than Connors



His volleying is fine in the '83 match. "down a couple of notches" is meant to be a compliment to the '82 showing rather than a critique of '83

If you just saw '82, you could be forgiven for thinking this might be the best volleyer ever. Edberg and McEnroe level stuff. '82 is just normal, good volleying

What other matches of his would you throw in up there for volleying with the '82 affair?

I'm good, thanks. I don't mean to badmouth Collins. I liked him and I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who disliked him. By pretty much all accounts I ever read, a prince of a guy. That said, I'm not required to agree with everything he said. In this instance, I just thought he was way off.

Now I'm going to have to watch the 1982 match again because my recollection isn't of sublime volleying. Mcenroe or Edberg at his best. I don't recall Connors making a slew of extraordinarily difficult volleys. You ever seen what's out there of the Connors/Laver challenge match. On some returns, Connors is hitting rockets at or near his feet. THAT'S extrordinary volleying. In my memory, 82 Queens Connors was excellent, not sublime. However, you just did the match and while I did net stats I didn't do them in the detail you did.

Connors best volleying performances. Not sure we judge it the same way. I seem to recall your criticizing his volleying in the 1977 Pepsi match with Borg. I thought he volleyed quite well that match. His overhead was terrible. So if you count that as a volley I get what you are saying. Missed 5 or 6, I think. Most I think I ever saw him miss.
I thought it might be the dusk. But conventional volleying, I thought at the very least it was good.

Speaking of conventional volleying. I didn't find Connors to be a clumsy looking or ugly volleyer. He's not graceful, but I don't think he was in anything he did on the court. He didn't glide about the court like a Goolagong did. I guess the backhand would have to be called unconventional since it was 2 hands and that was certainly not the norm.

Back to some of his better volleying efforts. The 2 1974 Rosewall matches. Like I said earlier, the 82 Wimbledon final. 81 Wembley. Didn't come in that much, but volleyed excellently when he did. In general, though, he didn't need to a lot of times. He came in on such penetrating approaches.

Couple more comments I missed earlier. Connors coming in more than Mcenroe in 1983. That's a wow, I wonder if that ever happened any other times. You wouldn't think so. You mentioned Mcenroe passing better in 1983. That's the way I remember it rather than Connors making errors.

Really enjoy Dan Maskell. Very insightful Extremely sparse on the words, though. If you are used to American tv coverage, a whole lot less talking. But what Maskell said I found it to be very astute.
 

krosero

Legend
In 1983, Connors beat McEnroe 6-3, 6-3 in the Queens Club final

Match Report
A different type of match from the one a year ago. For one thing, Connors really is serving big - he has McEnroe hopping, skipping and jumping to get the ball back in play. Two, Connors isn't serve-volleying too much - but looking to come in during rallies (mostly not off the third ball, IOW - following standard operating baseline procedure of drawing short/weak ball and coming in off it). Thirdly, its Connors' return rather than volleying that takes the eye.... this is one of those performances that make you wonder "has anyone returned better?"

Dan Maskel - not a man given to hyperbole - explicitly states he's never seen anyone hit the ball harder than Connors does in this match. Adding upon being probed that perhaps Ellsworth Vines in the 1930s may have hit as hard

Its a shame we're missing 3 games because some of the final stats are surprising and possibly unique. Slightly biased against McEnroe as one of the games is a service hold for him. @krosero may find these stats interesting

- Connors 22% unreturned serves, McEnroe 18%. How often has this happened?
In my stats and Moose's, I'm not finding any other time that this happened, between Connors and Mac. FWIW, Connors' unreturned rate was higher than Lendl's a few months after this match, in their USO final (that's a full-match count).

I don't recall seeing that happen for Connors against another big server.
 

WCT

Professional
What are your unreturned rate stats for the 82 US Open final? I had Lendl with 33 unreturned serves and Connors with 22. I didn't have the total points each served, though. Still, Lendl couldn't have served that many more to offset 50% more unreturned serves.
 

WCT

Professional
Whoops, that's right. Krosero was talking several months after 83 Queens, not 82 Are the stats for 83 in that thread? I saw Lendl had 27 unreturned serves, 17 aces and 10 others. I don't see Connors' total, though.
 

krosero

Legend
What are your unreturned rate stats for the 82 US Open final? I had Lendl with 33 unreturned serves and Connors with 22. I didn't have the total points each served, though. Still, Lendl couldn't have served that many more to offset 50% more unreturned serves.
I have 33 and 22 as well

'82 USO
Connors served on 118 points, and 22 serves did not come back: 18.6%
Lendl served on 129 points, and 33 serves did not come back: 25.6%

'83 USO
Connors served on 117 points, and 29 serves did not come back: 24.8%
Lendl served on 154 points, and 31 serves did not come back: 20.1%
 

WCT

Professional
Thanks. I saw you say full match. I never saw the first about 7 games of the first set. The copy I got, years ago, was missing them. I missed them live as well. CBS, where I live, joined the match in progress after a football game. It was something like 4-3. Most of the first set.

I did see his aces in that other thread. 6, that's a lot for Connors. Still, memory wouldn't have told me that he would have had a higher unreturned rate. Insane amount of breaks in that match.

Connors beat Lendl 3 and love at Queens that year. I've never seen that match anywhere, but I guess we wouldn't be that surprised if the % was higher there as well.
 

krosero

Legend
Thanks. I saw you say full match. I never saw the first about 7 games of the first set. The copy I got, years ago, was missing them. I missed them live as well. CBS, where I live, joined the match in progress after a football game. It was something like 4-3. Most of the first set.

I did see his aces in that other thread. 6, that's a lot for Connors. Still, memory wouldn't have told me that he would have had a higher unreturned rate. Insane amount of breaks in that match.

Connors beat Lendl 3 and love at Queens that year. I've never seen that match anywhere, but I guess we wouldn't be that surprised if the % was higher there as well.
6-0, 6-3 in that '83 Queens match. And yeah, if it happened in their 4-setter at Flushing it wouldn't be a surprise to see it happening in the Queens match; one report has Lendl winning just 10 points in the first set, though it does say that he was getting in big serves against Connors.
 

WCT

Professional
Only 10 points? That's a spanking. That match and the final really had me thinking he had a good chance of repeating at Wimbledon. But you just never know.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Only 10 points? That's a spanking. That match and the final really had me thinking he had a good chance of repeating at Wimbledon. But you just never know.

Kevin Curren had other ideas. The guy beat some of the all time greats on grass, but couldn't quite snag himself the title.
 

BTURNER

Legend
In 1983, Connors beat McEnroe 6-3, 6-3 in the Queens Club final

McEnroe would nonetheless go on to win Wimbledon that year, with Connors being eliminated early.

Connors won 55 points, McEnroe 39

Connors serve-volleyed occasionally. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and most seconds

(Note: I'm missing 3 games - 2 McEnroe served, 1 Connors. McEnroe won two, Connors 1. Commentary indicates that McEnroe held once and was broken once, while Connors was broken)

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (38/54) 70%
- 1st serve points won (28/38) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (6/16) 38%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/54) 22%

McEnroe....
- 1st serve percentage (22/40) 55%
- 1st serve points won (12/22) 55%
- 2nd serve points won (7/18) 39%
- Aces 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (7/40) 18%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 49%
- to BH 48%
- to Body 4%

McEnroe served....
- to FH 40%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 33 (14 FH, 19 BH), including 1 runaround BH
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 4 Errors, all forced...
- 4 Forced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (33/40) 83%

McEnroe made...
- 40 (21 FH, 19 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 runaround BH
- 1 Winners (1 BH), a runaround
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 9 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (40/52) 77%

Break Points
Connors 5/7 (5 games)
McEnroe 2/3 (3 games)

[Note: based on commentary, the figures include a deduced 1/1 (1 game) for both players. Its possible they had more than 1 break point - though the points won and games are accurate. Connors may also have had break points in a further game

Connors appears to have broken first, with McEnroe breaking back and then holding]

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 17 (1 FH, 6 BH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
McEnroe 9 (3 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

Connors had 4 from S/V points
- 2 first volleys (2 FHV)
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- 6 passes (1 FH, 5 BH)
- FH - 1 cc
- BHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl returns, 1 inside-in return and 1 lob

- 1 BH cc from mid-court

McEnroe had 5 from S/V points
- 2 first 'volleys' (1 FH at net, 1 BH at net)
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH), the BHV played net-to-net

- 4 passes (2 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc (1 on the run)
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 runaround dtl return off a body serve

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 21
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- 13 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45

McEnroe 26
- 7 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV)
- 19 Forced (3 FH, 8 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 Other)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(Note 0: McEnroe's 'other' FE was an over-the-shoulder-with-back-to-the-net attempt to retrieve a lob)

(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
Connors was...
- 25/39 (64%) at net, including...
- 12/19 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 11/15 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/4 (25%) off second serve
--------------------
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

McEnroe was...
- 17/36 (47%) at net, including...
- 15/33 (45%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 10/19 (53%) off 1st serve and...
- 5/14 (36%) off second serve
--------------------------------
- 0/4 forced back
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Match Report
A different type of match from the one a year ago. For one thing, Connors really is serving big - he has McEnroe hopping, skipping and jumping to get the ball back in play. Two, Connors isn't serve-volleying too much - but looking to come in during rallies (mostly not off the third ball, IOW - following standard operating baseline procedure of drawing short/weak ball and coming in off it). Thirdly, its Connors' return rather than volleying that takes the eye.... this is one of those performances that make you wonder "has anyone returned better?"

Dan Maskel - not a man given to hyperbole - explicitly states he's never seen anyone hit the ball harder than Connors does in this match. Adding upon being probed that perhaps Ellsworth Vines in the 1930s may have hit as hard

Its a shame we're missing 3 games because some of the final stats are surprising and possibly unique. Slightly biased against McEnroe as one of the games is a service hold for him. @krosero may find these stats interesting

- Connors 22% unreturned serves, McEnroe 18%. How often has this happened?
- 83% return rate on grass against McEnroe
- McEnroe under 50% at net.... he's 47% at net, which drops further still to 45% serve-volleying. On grass. Unique?
- Note both men doing poorly on second serve points won (Connors 38%, Mac 39%)

Play
Match starts with a bang - Connors serve-volleying and putting away winners, McEnroe forcing volleying errors and hitting a wonderful BH cc pass. Connors holds with a pair of unreturned serves. And breaks at once - there's a return winner in the game, but it ends with Mac making two volleying errors

He can't consolidate the break. Connors makes two groundstroke errors - the first going for a sharp angle, the second a routine ball - to open the door, and Mac storms through with a FH pass hit from mid-court

And Connors breaks right back. Forces Mac back with a lob and seizes the net himself to put away an OH and lobs him again, this time for a clean winner. Mac helps with 2 errors - a slice from the baseline and a volleying error

At this point, Connors puts away serve-volleying in favour of rallying his way to net. He'd won 6/7 points serve-volleying to this point.... not sure why he switched it up. At first, it gets him into a spot of trouble and he has to struggle through a 10 point service game (saving a break point with his sole ace). no serve-volleying in the game (6 first serve points), but approaches 5 times anyway. And forces 2 return errors - his serve is a genuine weapon in this match. That aside, he nurses his break to take the set without further alarm.

We're missing the first 3 games of the second set. McEnroe serves two of them and according to commentators, is broken once. Going by commentary, we can deduce McEnroe was broken in game 1, broke back in game 2 and held game 3

Most the rest is a returning exhibition from Jimmy Connors. He hammers the return off both wings, leaving Mac hopping, skipping and leaping to try to keep up. Connors breaks first by forcing a couple of volleying errors and wrapping up with consecutive return winners. He also breaks to finish the match by forcing 4 first volley errors.

On his own service games, he holds most comfortably when serve-volleying (loses 1 point). the other two games, he chooses to mainly rally his way to net. Both games last 8 points (no break points for McEnroe)

Playing Dynamics
Two things stand out

- the Connors return, already described - which shapes McEnroe's serve games. Mac with 0 first volley winners on serve-volley points should tell you what he was up against
- baseline dynamics

Why did Connors suddenly decide to eschew serve-volleying when it was working so well - and continued to do so when he returned to it for his last service game? Stats show his net numbers (64%) is well short of his 1st serve-volleys (73%)

In place of serve-volleying, Connors looks to hit big groundies, push Mac out of position and/or draw a short ball - and then come in. It works. He dominates the baseline exchanges - clearly the more powerful of the two and slightly better at using court opening angles. McEnroe tries at times to 'attack' the Connors FH, often with longline slices. Presumably to tempt UEs off low FHs - a noted Connors weakness.

Its a weakness in that he doesn't King Kong hammer such balls (as he does most others), but that's about it. Mac draws at least 1 UE this way, but spends most of the baseline exchanges being run ragged

Once Connors does reach the net from rallying, his volleying is a good couple of steps down from his showing the previous year (which it was bound to be, since in '82 he was nearly flawless) - but more than good enough to handle business at hand. McEnroe also passes better than the previous year, which plays a hand in this

Noteworthy is that Mac - just like the previous year - makes little attempt to find the net from baseline situations. It wouldn't have been easy seeing how he was dominated from the back.... but not doing so seemed to leave his fate in the hands of his making a pass when Connors took the net. Probably not the best strategy

Summing up, hammer and tongs stuff from Jimmy Connors - genuinely serving big, blasting returns, commanding baseline plays, approaching wisely and well and volleying good enough. Mac looks overwhelmed.... obviously not his best performance, but good enough not to be bullied around the court like this
Just a quick note of compliment. I like your summaries. Clear, objective and descriptive. Almost as good as watching the action.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
The '83 match is now complete

Previously posted -
Its a shame we're missing 3 games because some of the final stats are surprising and possibly unique. Slightly biased against McEnroe as one of the games is a service hold for him. @krosero may find these stats interesting

- Connors 22% unreturned serves, McEnroe 18%. How often has this happened?
- 83% return rate on grass against McEnroe
In my stats and Moose's, I'm not finding any other time that this happened, between Connors and Mac. FWIW, Connors' unreturned rate was higher than Lendl's a few months after this match, in their USO final (that's a full-match count).

I don't recall seeing that happen for Connors against another big server.

Mac in fact, shades ahead on unreturned rates - 22% to Connors' 21.67%

Pity
 

WCT

Professional
Very impressive how quickly you adjusted those stats. Watched a few games today and Connors' returning is just as impressive as I remembered it.
 
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