Edberg-Lendl Seiko Super 1987, Edberg-Becker Indian Wells 1987

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by shakes1975, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

    Mar 7, 2006
    Recently watched these two matches again from my archives, as I was dusting off my old collection.

    Nice matches, both. I enjoy both these rivalries as they are hard fought without any bad blood. Edberg won the match against Lendl, but lost to Becker.

    Both matches had a lot of baseline rallies. I expected that in matches against Lendl, but I was surprised to see plenty of baseline rallies even in the Becker-Edberg match. Obviously, they don't compare to the baseline rallies today, but both were surprisingly competent from the baseline, esp. Becker.

    I noticed a couple of things. Firstly, Edberg's serve motion changed significantly over the years. Here, as in the 1988 Wim F a year later, he was copying Mac's serve motion (Edberg actually admitted this) without that exaggerated stance. However, if you watch the 1989 Wim F (and later matches), Edberg's serve motion is abbreviated. He doesn't bend his back as much, and the serve lacked the pace and kick it had until 1988. I think his back injury in 1989 (after the AO) made him change it.

    Becker's serve motion changed too. Mac is on record (when comparing Becker's serve from 1995 Wim to 1995 USO) saying that Becker's serve was better in 1985-1986. His toss was shorter, and the whole motion was more quicker and more explosive.

    Secondly, service break exchanges were not uncommon. In both matches, either player broke his opponent's serve and got broken back again.

    Actually, it is surprising that the only time that service breaks were at a premium were when Courier-Sampras came out in 1991, and particularly when Sampras was ruling. Until then, service breaks (and re-breaks) were not unheard of. And the same pattern exists now. Nowadays, it's not uncommon for service breaks to be exchanged. This could partly be explained because of slower surfaces. Nevertheless, it was interesting to note.

    The Edberg-Lendl match is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwjjJBqUKnk

    The Becker-Edberg match is not online. In fact, some of the better Becker-Edberg matches are not to be found online. Some of their best matches are:

    1986 Dallas - Becker won 7-6,7-6,4-6,7-6
    1988 WCT Dallas - Becker won 6-4,1-6,7-5,6-2 (Becker had 22 aces)
    1989 Master's F - Edberg won 4-6,7-6,6-3,6-1

    One thing about their rivalry is that Becker never lost to Edberg after the Wim 1990 F loss. Until that match, their H2H was 15-9 in favour of Becker. Becker then went 10-1 (Becker retired at 3-3 in the 1st set in the 1990 Paris MS F for Edberg's only win).

    Becker, during his Wim commentary a few yrs back, said that he had problems getting "jacked up" against Edberg because he respected him too much as a person, and therefore couldn't summon his best game. He said that's why he did better against Lendl. He said Lendl trash talked too much, and Becker used that as emotional fuel.

    I didn't believe it at first, but looking at the stats, I think he was right. I know that the 1990 Wim loss hurt him real bad. And I think, that's why he never lost to Edberg after that, even when Edberg was playing the best tennis of his life in 1990-1991. I think he had no problems getting "mad" after that loss. :) As a Becker fan, that 1990 Wim loss hit me very hard at the time.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Jul 27, 2007
    Just quick question. I am sure Becker stayed back on his second serve but did Edberg?
  3. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

    Feb 2, 2007
    Edberg actually leads the H2H with Lendl 14-13 ( an overlooked rivalry).

    I always was mystified by Becker's 25-10 lead over Edberg. Not surprised Becker had a winning record against him, just didn't think it would be THAT drastic. I can see Becker building up a lot of wins at the very end of Edberg's career (latter 1994-1996), since Becker was still playing prime tennis more so than Edberg at that point.

    But, the 10-1 unbeaten streak (again, the 1 Edberg win was due to a Becker default) started in 1990, and Edberg was still playing top-tier, champion level tennis thru at least 1993, including his 1991 and 1992 USO titles.

    I know Becker was a beast indoors and many of their matches happened in the fall indoor season, but not enough to make that big of a difference. It was 15-9 becker before the unbeaten streak. I would have expected it to end more like 21-14, not 25-10

    People like to point out that Edberg lead 2-1 in Slam finals, 3-1 in Slams overall (I can't believe they only played 4 times in Slams), and 4-1 in the biggest events if you include the finals of the 1989 masters. But, Becker absolutely throttled Edberg a few times in Davis Cup, so their record on the absolute biggest stages was pretty even. Beyond that, Becker really dominated.
    I'd say it was simply a bad-matchup for Edberg, but when you can win 10 times, no matter how many losses, and win on big stages including Slam finals, is it really a matchup issue?
  4. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    Edberg was a bit predictable with his 2nd serve. Becker was really good at ripping those high bouncing kickers to his bh for winners. Lendl, not so much. Becker had a pretty strong upper body.
    I've seen Edberg make Lendl look pretty inept on the return at times, while Becker often returned like Agassi vs Edberg.

    The head to head could have been worse.
    Becker was up a break in the 5th set of the '90 W final & the '89 FO SF. I wonder if Becker ever lost a 5 setter on grass when he was up a break in the 5th. Heck, I wonder how often he lost any sets at Wimbledon when he was up a break in a set. Didn't Edberg break back in that W 5th set with a shanked bh lob over Becker? Or maybe that was to go up 5-4 & serve for it?

    And I think Becker was up a set & a break in the '89 Masters final. I remember him beating Edberg rather badly in the last RR match, not many were giving Edberg much of a chance in the final(& he had a cold as well)

    actually it was enough to make a big difference. 20 of their 35 matches were indoors. head to head was 15-5(counting that Paris Open final retirement as one of the 5 for Edberg)

    in which matches? In the 3 Wimbledon finals, both players S&Ved on both serves. On other surfaces, Edberg came in a lot more. I have the FO semi on tape, according to espn Edberg came to net 147 times as of 4-1 in the 5th, while Becker had been in only 67 times.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  5. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

    Mar 7, 2006
    In the match in question (Indian Wells Final, 1987), yes, even Edberg did stay back on his second serve. I think they both played different on grass.
  6. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

    Mar 7, 2006
    Yes, excellent point. Sampras once said this about Becker.

    "We all know that Andre had the best return of serve. But if I miss a couple of 1st serves, Boris does not hold back on the return. He just takes a big wind-up and cracks it. That puts a lot of pressure on the volleyer."

    Yes, Becker should've won their 1990 Wim F. I saw that tape many times. Edberg actually choked (hit 2 DFs) to get broken at 1-2 in the 5th set. I think Becker expected to cruise from there, and IMO was shocked himself and lost it a bit. However, the choke got to Edberg and made him mad. He visibly got more emotional and played better. Becker in an interview later that yr (Sportstar, India) said that he would've handled it better if he had broken instead of Edberg breaking himself.

    Also, in the FO SF, Becker made the mistake of trying to play a lot more from the baseline. Edberg just played his natural game. Becker came to net just 67 times, compared to Edberg's 147 times (as pointed out by Moose). Becker's ground game was very good, but not THAT good. To beat Edberg from the baseline, you have to be as good as Courier and Agassi from the ground, which Becker was not.

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