Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs McEnroe, Wimbledon semi-final, 1992

#1
Andre Agassi beat John McEnroe 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the Wimbledon semi-final, 1992 on grass

Agassi would go onto win the title - his first Slam (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-agassi-ivanisevic-1992-w-final.206118/), while this was the last Slam semi McEnroe was to reach

Agassi won 92 points, McEnroe 66

McEnroe serve-volleyed on all his first serves and all but 1 second serve

Serve Stats
Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (44/80) 55%
- 1st serve points won (31/44) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (23/36) 64%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/80) 28%

McEnroe...
- 1st serve percentage (45/78) 58%
- 1st serve points won (26/45) 58%
- 2nd serve points won (14/33) 42%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/78) 31%

Serve Pattern
Agassi served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 53%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 38%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 47 (16 FH, 31 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Winners (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 15 Errors, all Forced (6 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (47/71) 66%

McEnroe made...
- 57 (28 FH, 29 BH), including 3 runaround FHs and 17 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH),
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (57/79) 72%

Break Points
Agassi 7/7 (7 games)
McEnroe 2/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Agassi 36 (14 FH, 17 BH, 3 BHV, 2 OH)
McEnroe 18 (1 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)

Agassi's regular FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- FH passes - 5 cc, 4 dtl, 1 inside-out (a return) and 1 lob

- regular BHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl
- BH passes - 8 cc (2 returns), 4 dtl (1 return and 1 which McEnroe misjudged and left), 2 inside-in (both returns) and 1 dtl/inside-out

McEnroe had 10 from serve-volley points
- 6 first 'volleys' (5 FHV, 1 BH at net) and 4 second volleys (3 BHV, 1 OH)

- 1 other BHV was a stop volley

- 2 passes (1 FH, 1 BH), both lobs

- 1 return winner - a BH inside-out

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Agassi 23
- 9 Unforced (1 FH, 6 BH, 2 BHV)
- 14 Forced (9 FH, 5 BH)

McEnroe 27
- 8 Unforced (2 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 19 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 1 other)

McEnroe's 'other' forced error was an attempted over-the-shoulder with back to the net attempt to retrieve a lob that forced him back from the net

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)


Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was 8/13 (62%) at net, including 0/1 serve-volleying (a first serve point)

McEnroe was 45/92 (49%) at net, including 31/61 (51%) serve-volleying - off first serves 18/36 (50%), off second 13/25 (52%) - and 7/17 (41%) return-approaching.
He was 0/3 when forced back from net
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Match Report
A comprehensively commanding display from Agassi against the classic serve-volley game. McEnroe was on his last legs - but still plays excellently and had been in form in the tournament, but its one of those days when everything comes up aces for Agassi. I can't think of a match where so many lines are hit - crosscourt, down the line and even the baseline

McEnroe plays an out and out net-seeking game. He serve-volleys of all but one serve, return-approaches regularly and otherwise looks to rally his way to the forecourt. Agassi stays on the baseline and produces one of the best displays of passing you'll see... on top of all the winners, Mac is forced into a large number of volleying errors

Mac is fairly conservative with his serve. He tends to avoid the court-opening wide serve - and one understands why. While naturally winning a number of points when he does, Agassi does also return a number of them at sharp angles that puts Mac in trouble

Consequently, Mac serves mostly close to the body, possibly looking to cramp Agassi. His serve however, doesn't have the necessary force behind it, and Agassi is able to return fairly comfortably - and exceptionally damagingly.

The returns have variety. Some are simply slapped back full of power. Some are hit with top spin and are dipping on the net rushing Mac. Even the odd mishits tend to land inside

The passing as noted before is as precise as can be. Shot after shot - on the run, from defensive positions, from commanding positions, BHs, FHs it doesn't matter - paint the lines. When Mac comes closer to the net, Agassi starts lobbing him

The key to the match seems to be how well Agassi knew and read McEnroe. The two were friendly at the time, had played doubles together at the French Open a month ago and were practice partners at this Wimbledon. According to the commentators, they remarkably had a practice session together earlier on the morning of this match

The angles and spins Mac was known for on his serve don't seem to surprise or bother his opponent at all. With the serve weapon dampened so, its left for Mac to have a dream volleying day to take out Agassi

He approaches well and shows all the old touch on the volley but is bombarded with near perfect passes all day... which puts a cork in the possibility of having the needed dream volleying day.

Summing up, superb from Agassi - one of his very best - and nice to see McEnroe exhibit the old touch and skill, though his movements are noticeably slower than in years gone by
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#4
What were their stats like in other encounters? I remember watching this and it was depressing. Mac did not seem to have the zip he needed in the serve and Andre was on top of everything.
 

BGod

Hall of Fame
#5
Key stats were 1st Serve points won 70-58% Agassi and 2nd Serve points won 64-42% although DFs by McEnroe didn't help it's pretty much impossible to win a match with those service point margins.
 
#6
Thanks for the report. I'm not a big Agassi fan, but his performance at 92 Wimbledon is indeed incredible. He beat Mac, Becker and Goran (each represented the best on grass for yesterday, today and tomorrow at that time) in consecutive matches on the old low bounce, slipery grass, an achievement hard to be matched by any other base-liner after him. Everyone knows Agassi can hit big shots, but Agassi's intelligence is under-estimated. Now we all know one of the reasons he dominated Becker is that he found the clue to tell where Becker's serve went. Becker told his ex wife that Agassi can read his mind, well, not exactly, Agassi just knew how to read his tongue... As Aagssi revealed, this is the result of endless tape watching and analysis. More interestingly, he said the hard part was not predicting the serve direction, but how to use it without giving clue to Becker where things went wrong. I'd guess Agassi had similar deep insights for all his opponents, things that players themselves didn't even know..., well, except on Sampras serve. We have load of big hitters since Agassi's day, not many of them can match Agassi's career achievement. Certainly one of the big gaps is tennis intelligence.
 
#8
@Waspsting how are you choosing which matches to review? Your work is appreciated.
glad you like it - appreciate your appreciation

I choose matches on some combination of big players playing (preferably against each other), big occasions, matches that haven't been stat-istified before by others, matches that are complete (the two Connors matches you recommended earlier are both incomplete... good viewing though)

Or I get a sudden 'craving' for a particular player and do a bunch of his stuff.... did a whole bunch of Becker-Edberg that I'll post up soon

You watch a lot of old stuff... any preferences in how you choose?
 
#9
glad you like it - appreciate your appreciation

I choose matches on some combination of big players playing (preferably against each other), big occasions, matches that haven't been stat-istified before by others, matches that are complete (the two Connors matches you recommended earlier are both incomplete... good viewing though)

Or I get a sudden 'craving' for a particular player and do a bunch of his stuff.... did a whole bunch of Becker-Edberg that I'll post up soon

You watch a lot of old stuff... any preferences in how you choose?
Have you got the US coverage of the Wembley match? I didn't realise it was incomplete - haven't got round to watching it yet. I often find a game or so missing because of inopportune ad breaks.

I've recently taken a great liking to early 80's clay court tennis. Given the wrong pair of players it can be a bore. But given the right players, I feel it almost represents the original ideal of tennis. Points are crafted with strategy & flair, rather than won with brute power. Every type of shot is seen, unlike in a pure S&V match. And the slow surface allows me to appreciate even more the elegant strokes at work.

I hope to stat one such match soon, in more detail than I have previously (though I don't think I will be judging unforced errors.)
 
#10
I've recently taken a great liking to early 80's clay court tennis. Given the wrong pair of players it can be a bore. But given the right players, I feel it almost represents the original ideal of tennis. Points are crafted with strategy & flair, rather than won with brute power. Every type of shot is seen, unlike in a pure S&V match. And the slow surface allows me to appreciate even more the elegant strokes at work.
Haha - I think being 'boring' is the ultimate compliment when your winning.... Borg on clay, Sampras on grass... not my idea of fun, but I think they're about as good as it gets

I agree about the ideal of tennis too... something in line with what we think of when we say, "lets have some fun and play tennis"

We're thinking about running around, rallying, hitting forehands, hitting backhands.... not bombing down unreturned serves and blasting winners every other 3rd ball

I prefer watching hard and carpet stuff from that 80s period.... there's still plenty of point construction and flair and strategy, and taking the net is a skill in itself (as opposed to routine serve-volleying of grass)

I hope to stat one... (80s clay court)... match soon, in more detail than I have previously (though I don't think I will be judging unforced errors.)
Great!

Taking stats takes some getting used to - and differentiating error types is the hardest part and not for everyone

First match I did was Lendl-Connors double bagel.... I had no plans to do anymore matches, but wanted to do one after reading all the wonderful match stats threads that had been posted here

I've found that looking for error types does end up focusing your attention on shot production beyond normal... and eventually (once you get the hang of it), sharpens your understanding of the game and shot production

and especially for a clay court match - and even more so in the 80s - errors are the key stat to assessing play
 
#11
Haha - I think being 'boring' is the ultimate compliment when your winning.... Borg on clay, Sampras on grass... not my idea of fun, but I think they're about as good as it gets

I agree about the ideal of tennis too... something in line with what we think of when we say, "lets have some fun and play tennis"

We're thinking about running around, rallying, hitting forehands, hitting backhands.... not bombing down unreturned serves and blasting winners every other 3rd ball

I prefer watching hard and carpet stuff from that 80s period.... there's still plenty of point construction and flair and strategy, and taking the net is a skill in itself (as opposed to routine serve-volleying of grass)

and especially for a clay court match - and even more so in the 80s - errors are the key stat to assessing play
Some clay court matches have plently of volleying as well. When I say the right combination of players... at least one has to be an attacker. On fast surfaces in that period at least one has to be a baseliner/defender, otherwise there are no rallies. That can be fun as well of course but every shot is either a serve, volley, or passing shot. You're never even getting an approach shot. I think the Wilander Vilas moonballing stereotype has given 80's clay court tennis a bad name. Get players like Noah, Pecci, Leconte and you get the whole tennis repetoire.
 
#12
... When I say the right combination of players... at least one has to be an attacker. ... I think the Wilander Vilas moonballing stereotype has given 80's clay court tennis a bad name. Get players like Noah, Pecci, Leconte and you get the whole tennis repetoire.
I'd make a distinction between
- entertainment value and...
- quality

guys like Noah, Pecci and Leconte of course make for more entertainment than Wilander, Vilas or Lendl passively rallying til the cows come home

But... Wilander, Vilas and Lendl were the higher quality players, weren't they? And Borg before them

Look at 90s grass. I'd much rather watch Andre Agassi playing on grass over Sampras... but Sampras was the higher quality player

On fast surfaces in that period at least one has to be a baseliner/defender, otherwise there are no rallies. That can be fun as well of course but every shot is either a serve, volley, or passing shot. You're never even getting an approach shot.
True... grass tennis could get monotonous too

Carpet was my favourite surface, followed by hard courts for that reason

I liked it because every style of play had a shot on it.... you had some serve-volleying, some approaching, good serve giving you an advantage (but not decisively, the way it can be on grass), good returning getting its due (unlike clay, where returning seems a given), both attack and defence from the baseline, longer rallies, shorter rallies... the whole tennis repertoire, as you said

Sometimes, my desire for fairness and balance is at odds with my personal preferences

Though carpet was my favourite surface, I thought it was unfair to have the year end finals played on it because it didn't have much for the passive baseliners by the 90s and I was glad when they switched to slower hard courts (probably the most neutral surface, but tending to lead to more 'grinding' type stuff I don't like)

What were their stats like in other encounters? I remember watching this and it was depressing. Mac did not seem to have the zip he needed in the serve and Andre was on top of everything.
not sure, Jrep

They only played 4 times - one in '86 (Agassi's first year on tour), another ending with Agassi retiring - so not much to go on.

Funny point made by the commentators (Collins, Evert and Enberg) Much of Mac's usual tantrum throwing is self-directed as you know.... the commentators pointed out that he wasn't even able to do that since he was actually playing well... but still getting creamed
 
#13
@Waspsting you raise an interesting question, and it leads me to raise a further distinction: between Quality & Results. In my view, someone like Leconte has produced the highest quality tennis plays & shots, in terms of their difficulty tariff, and skillfull use of the court. Whereas an exceptionally fit player (and btw this does not refer one bit to Borg), who can hit safe shots & wear the opponent out, can get better results.

The former is both more entertaining, and higher quality, at least while he is able to produce it.
 
#14
@BringBackWood

The key distinction I'm making is between consistency and shot making (which you've hinted at yourself), not fitness

Statistically, we see 'consistency' in unforced error count (the fewer the better) and 'shot making' in winners hit +errors forced (the higher the better)

A guy like Leconte might hit more winners and force more errors than say Lendl or Wilander… but will also make more errors. Is it worth it? Depends on the final result... and the final result there is obviously Lendl and Wilander winning more matches and tournaments than Henri

Basically, I'm saying Leconte's game as you've described it is low percentage... he might dominate the highlights reel, but if he's losing more matches than the less aesthetically pleasing, high percentage players... to my way of thinking I can't say he's playing 'higher quality tennis' than them

On clay in particular, consistency is key... you see it in Borg, Vilas, Lendl, Wilander, Bruguera, Muster all the way down to Nadal

Earlier you said you weren't planning to distinguish between unforced and forced errors in matches you'll do stats for? If you want to see how it all comes together on clay, I'd encourage you to do so.... in my experience, unforced errors are invariably the key stat on clay

Strategically speaking, what happens is that usually, its pretty clear who the more consistent player is... then the onus is on the less consistent one to play aggressively (i.e. play beyond his comfort zone) because he'll lose if he just rallies until the inevitable error comes up. There are also matches where the less consistent player doesn't do this... and just ends up passively losing - this is poor strategy or/and bad judgement

The moonballing snoozefests we talked about earlier come up when its not clear who the more consistent player is... so neither guys goes on the offensive and the action comes down to 'who blinks first' (i.e. - who makes the unforced error first)

Good discussion here
 
#16
If we don't make both shotmaking and consistency factors in quality of play, are we not simply making 'quality' synomynous with 'results'? Often I find a successfull grinder wins by bringing the match quality down.
I see where we think about things differently

In my mind, I separate the action 'in play' from the serve and the return

so anything that hasn't been decided (ace, double fault, return error or return of service winner) or very heavily influenced (serve or return gives the shot player a big advantage) is what I'm thinking about when I think of 'quality of play'

In a nutshell, anything where -
a) return has been put in play
b) serve or return hasn't left the either player in a hopeless position

To me, both shot making and consistency go into that category of 'quality of play'.... its common and natural to remember and focus in on shot making (we remember the winners) and not on consistency (who remembers the errors?), but to me they're equally important (though clearly, not as memorable or eye catching). And taking stats for matches is probably what got me thinking that way... prior to that, I was much more in line with normal, the more proactive player is the 'better player' way of thinking

There's a great video of Rafael Nadal addressing this that I can't find right now. Some guy he'd beaten in back to back matches one year (probably at Indian Wells and Miami) told the press very firmly that he'd been the better player in both matches. Nadal was asked about these comments

In that lovely, shrugging, understated way of his, he said something like, "you hit every shot at 100 miles per hour.... whether it stays on the court or not.... if that's being the better player, then I guess he was the better player"

yeah, watching Borg putting balls in play like clockwork - and winning that way (waiting for unforced errors) isn't my idea of fun. And I'd rather watch Leconte artistically opening the court and finishing his guy off with winners/forcing errors - its just easier on the eyes

But assessing quality of play? No, I'd have to say the guy who wins more often has the higher quality.... aesthetic appeal is a whole other thing

On clay, serve and return are both largely neutralized.... its the purest surface to my way of thinking of seeing 'who is the better player'... and largely yes, results and 'quality of play' seem synonymous on it to me
 
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