Match Stats/Report - Becker vs McEnroe, Indianapolis final, 1988


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat John McEnroe 6-4, 6-2 in the Indianapolis final, 1988 on hard court

Becker won 69 points, McEnroe 57

Becker serve-volleyed most of the time off first serves and minority of the time off seconds. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all but 3 first serves and about half the time off seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (38/63) 60%
- 1st serve points won (29/38) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (11/25) 44%
- Aces 7 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (20/63) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (34/63) 54%
- 1st serve points won (21/34) 62%
- 2nd serve points won (13/29) 45%
- Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/63) 30%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 5%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 28%
- to BH 54%
- to Body 18%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 42 (14 FH, 28 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 5 Winners (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (42/61) 69%

McEnroe made...
- 41 (19 FH, 22 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (41/61) 67%

Break Points
Becker 4/10 (6 games)
McEnroe 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 20 (7 FH, 9 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
McEnroe 13 (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)

Becker's regular FHs - 2 cc and 1 inside-out
- FH passes - 1 cc, 2 dtl (1 return) and 1 inside-in return
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc, 6 dtl (1 returns, 1 at net) and 1 inside-out return

- 3 from serve-volley points - 2 first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV) and 1 second volley (1 FHV)

McEnroe's FHs (all passes) - 1 cc return, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 return) and 1 lob
- BHs (all passes) - 1 dtl return, 1 inside-in return and 2 lobs

- 3 from serve-volley points - 1 first volley (1 FHV) and 2 second volleys (2 FHV)
- the OH was on the bounce

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 23
- 9 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 14 Forced (4 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.1

McEnroe 27
- 8 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)… with 1 BH at net
- 19 Forced (4 FH, 6 BH, 5 FHV, 3 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.3

(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
Becker was...
- 21/38 (55%) at net, including...
- 17/29 (59%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/18 (67%) off 1st serve and..
- 5/11 (45%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

McEnroe was...
- 25/50 (50%) at net, including...
- 22/44 (50%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/30 (57%) off 1st serve and...
- 5/14 (36%) off 2nd serve
- 1/2 return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Interesting match with a very tough first set, followed by an easy second. Strong passing and returning from both players - Becker being stronger of serve and groundstrokes gives him a sizable advantage

Court is interesting. Pace seems fine - firmly hit groundstrokes give both players moderate difficult - but the bounce is the high. Becker serves a second serve ace that takes off and goes over McEnroe's head. Its the bounce that enables both players to return and pass strongly

Strategically, both play well and adjust well to conditions. Both lead with serve-volleying but are met with resistance. Of orthodox, swinging-with-force-returning against serve-volleying, McEnroe is well above his personal norm and stings the net rushing Becker with strong returns, hitting 4 winners, forcing volleying errors or otherwise leaving Boris with difficult first volleys

Boris adjusts by serve-volleying less. Its a good move... he's clearly more powerful of groundstroke and can take Mac from the back more readily than by serve-volleying. Also comes in from more comfortable positions - usually early in rallies - off big groundstrokes, so he retains advantage of net play

McEnroe serves excellently in the first set. Some background. In the pairs previous matches, Boris, even when winning, seemed to have no grip on the Mac serve. In their matches a year later, the situation was completely reversed (quality of Mac's serving went down drastically). In this match, we see something in between

Though with 0 aces, Mac's serves catches Boris out with direction, swings him wide, cramps him to the body.... in short, its effective. Boris also belts returns when he gets hold of them leaving Mac not-easy to very difficult first volleys

Boris' returning is strong enough that Mac desists from serve-volleying a bit too, but unlike his opponent, he doesn't have another viable option. From the baseline, he gets overpowered... so despite struggling, mostly continues to serve-volley. Its probably better than the alternative of staying back

First set is very tough with 6 games going to deuce and 1 other being a break. There are 86 points in it

Serve, return and strategy is as outlined above. Neither player is great on the volley. Note the very low 3 winners from serve-volley points by each player. Not volleying into corners, let alone whisking away winners stuff at all

Mac's a bit better in placing volleys away from Becker, without hitting corners with it. Becker's volleys are mundane, just putting the volley in play with average force, not particularly well placed

This leads to both players having decent shot on the pass.

In forecourt, both players have 4 UEs, but on FEs, Becker forces 9 errors while Mac can manage 4. Quality of passing is based more on power than placement; There are a number of passes blasted near (or even at) the net player that forces reflex/reaction volley errors. Mac also delights with 3 exquisite touch lob winners

Match starts with a pair of breaks. Mac's broken in 12 point game, where Becker's returning has already scared him off from serve-volleying all the time. Becker hands the break back in a terrible game - missing an easy BHV and then double faulting twice

Some very tough games from thereon. Mac holds from 0-40 down. Becker's taken to deuce. Mac saves 3 break points in 14 point game. Becker does the same in a 16 point one. Becker's in trouble again but holds off 2 break points to hold when he stays back off 4 straight first serves

But Boris is Boris. He breaks in a particularly impressive game where with 3 winners and forced FH1/2V error from Mac, finishing up with consecutive return winners (FH inside-in and BH inside-out)

Second set though is one sided, due to Mac making just 5/19 first serves. Becker wallops the returns - and its enough to get 2 breaks. Meanwhile, Boris ups the ante on his power serving to, while continuing to regularly stay back on them. Serve itself is a handful without him coming in behind it... Mac looks helpless to get ball back regularly

Summing up, good hard first set with both players returning and passing better than they volley (or are allowed to) making service games highly competitive. Becker's extra capacity to pull out the unplayably strong return game decides it. With Mac's first serve going AWOL in the second, Becker's can more calmly do the same again

Stats for pair's next 3 meetings -
Stats for their first official match after Becker's first Slam title -