Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Nystrom, Wimbledon third round, 1985


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Joakim Nystrom 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1, 4-6, 9-7 in the Wimbledon third round, 1985 on grass

The unseeded Becker would go onto win the first Slam title, beating Kevin Curren in the final. Nystrom was seeded 7th

Becker won 172 points, Nystrom 162

Becker serve-volleyed off all serves, Nystrom off all first serves and rarely off seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (99/150) 66%
- 1st serve points won (78/99) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (27/51) 53%
- Aces 19, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (72/150) 48%

- 1st serve percentage (95/184) 52%
- 1st serve points won (74/95) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (43/89) 48%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (54/184) 29%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 38%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 6%

Nystrom served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 123 (33 FH, 90 BH), including 31 return-approaches
- 7 Winners (3 FH, 4 BH)
- 39 Errors, all comprising...
- 8 Unforced (1 FH, 7 BH), including 4 return-approach attempts
- 31 Forced (12 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (123/177) 69%

Nystrom made...
- 73 (24 FH, 49 BH), including 1 runaround BH
- 8 Winners (4 FH, 5 BH)
- 50 Errors, all forced...
- 50 Forced (21 FH, 29 BH)
- Return Rate (73/145) 50%

Break Points
Becker 6/16 (10 games)
Nystrom 4/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 45 (8 FH, 8 BH, 7 FHV, 16 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 4 OH, 1 BHOH)
Nystrom 52 (15 FH, 16 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 7 OH)

Becker had 22 from serve-volley points
- 9 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 13 second volleys (4 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BHOH)... the BHOH can reasonably be called a BHV

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

- 11 passes (4 FH, 7 BH) - 4 returns (2 FH, 2 BH) and 7 regular (2 FH, 5 BH)
- FHs - 3 cc (2 returns) and 1 dtl
- BHs - 4 cc (1 return), 2 dtl (1 return) and 1 inside-out return

- regular FHs - 2 cc (1 at net, 1 not clean) and 1 dtl return
- regular BH return - 1 cc return (a would be return-approach that Nystrom left)

Nystrom had 19 from serve-volley points
- 14 first volleys (6 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 OH)
- 4 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 28 passes - 9 returns (4 FH, 5 BH) and 19 (7 FH, 11 BH, 1 OH)
- FH returns - 2 cc and 2 dtl
- BH returns - 2 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in
- regular FHs - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 lob
- regular BHs - 2 cc, 7 dtl (1 net chord pop over), 1 longline at net (that hit Becker) and 1 lob
- the OH was on the bounce from the baseline

- regular FHs - 1 cc at net, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net (which can reasonably be called a pass)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 51
- 17 Unforced (2 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 7 BHV)
- 34 Forced (8 FH, 7 BH, 6 FHV, 8 BHV, 5 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.8

Nystrom 48
- 16 Unforced (4 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 32 Forced (7 FH, 15 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 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...
- 107/169 (63%) at net, including...
- 83/123 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 56/77 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 27/46 (59%) off 2nd serve
- 16/31 (52%) return-approaching
- 2/3 (67%) forced back/retreated

Nystrom was...
- 68/101 (67%) at net, including...
- 64/92 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 59/80 (74%) off 1st serve and...
- 5/12 (42%) off 2nd serve
- 1/3 (33%) forced back

Match Report
Great grass court match, with the two players relative strengths and not-particular strengths (if not weaknesses) fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle to excellent contests on both sides. The odds would tend to favour Becker - with both players commanding their first serves, to win, he'd need to hold steady on the volley behind his second serve while Nystrom's chances rest on regularly passing his chip-charging opponent - and the result ends up falling that way 9-7 in the decider, though even then, its complicated with tremendous clutch play getting Becker out of very tight corners

There are 4 breaks on the trot in the fifth, with Nystrom twice failing to serve out the match not once, but twice in succession. All but 1 of the breaks is down to particularly good play from the returner - the exception being the one that starts it all, a Becker service game

Match is played over 2 days. The first 2 sets one evening in eventually fading light and the next 3 in bright sunshine on another

Becker serve-volleys off all serves - and both first and second are a booming handful - while Nystrom returns heftily to yield tough first volleys first up (when he can make the return, which isn't often)

Nystrom serve-volleys all off first serves, which are less powerful but better placed than Boris' bombs, Becker returns normally and Nystrom volleys soundly
Nystrom mostly stays back off second serves. He's eventually pressured to come in behind a few due to Becker's chip-charge returns. His second serve is not strong and invites the attacking returns. Nystrom proves up to it in all but the final set

Basic stats all favour Boris -
- points won - Boris 172, Nys 162
- points served - Boris 150, Nys 184
- first serve in - Boris 66%, Nys 52%
- first serves won - Boris 79%, Nys 78%
- second serves won - Boris 53%, Nys 48%

.... all that is nearly offset by Nys being more successful on the critical points, winning 4/6 break points and converting in all 4 games he has chances on, while Boris is just 6/16 and can convert on just 60% of the games he has them

The key is Boris' chip-charge returning. He's just 16/31 on the play at 52% ( a couple being nothing-to-lose virtual throwaway attempts against first serves), which lines up perfectly with Nystrom winning 48% 2nd serve points. Including clear attempt errors, that falls to 16/35 of 46% (and there are about 3-4 errors that aren't clear attempts but likely would have seen Boris follow to net)... so why is it significant?

By set, success from the ploy reads -
- First 4 sets - 5/18 or 28%
- Last set - 11/13 or 85%

Mostly good, kniefing chip-charges by Boris, with odd one dropping short. And as with his serve-volleying, he covers the net thoroughly after it. For most of match, Nystrom is superb in passing him. He can't keep it up though in decider, which is how Boris gets his breaks... lots of credit to Nystrom for doing it for so long - though also discredit to him for being in a position where he has to keep doing it all match. Its not a situation you need to be in just to hold serve, particularly when your under the gun returning against 2 huge serves on the other end


Hall of Fame
Serve, Return & Serve-volleying
Boris serve-volleys off all serves, Nystrom off all first serves

Boris serves huge off both serves. The first goes with saying, but particularly powerfully 2nd serving from Boris. It would make a decent first serve and gives confidence to serve-volley behind, with the serve likely doing much of the work. Bulk of Boris' 2nd serves would qualify as forceful without serve-volley support and plenty of hard return errors drawn, with Nystrom not being able to get the serve back to the net even

19 aces, 3 service winners, very large 48% unreturned rate and just 5 double faults for Boris... fantastic

Nystrom, though often rendered helpless, hammers whatever return he can make. Scarcely an easy volley first up for Boris. The balls around net high are powerful or at least firmly hit. The few floaters, he gets up trickily high to Boris' BHV... Boris carefully, controlled dispatching of the shoulder high BHV is a stand out impressive part of his showing. Most often, powerful or at least firm returns at least slightly below net and often low. In short, tough stuff for the volleyer to handle

And a great job by Boris handling it. 9 UEs aren't low but they're not particularly easy to 19 FEs (including 5 half-volleys). . And the high proportion of FEs indicates both his consistency on the regulation volley and just how many tough one's he's faced with. He places his volleys well as can too

Note also his winners comprising 9 first volleys to 13 seconds... he's not voluntarily in 2 volley mode, but Nystrom's returns don't leave him much choice but to be. They're too good to be putaway

Boris serve-volleying numbers are solid - winning 59% behind second serve to go with 73% behind the first. He holds comfortably most of the time, but there's enough going on from Nystrom's returns to gain breaking chances occasionally, even with Boris volleying particularly well

In short, a great big serve-volleyer vs return-passer battle

Nystrom wins still higher first serve volley points at 74%. His serve isn't as big as Boris but is better placed out wide and he's got impressive 15 unreturnables (12 aces, 3 service winners). Boris returns normally to firmly, yielding regulation, net high volleys. Nys is systematically regular in dealing with them and has just 6 UEs

Volleying numbers read
- UEs - Boris 9, Nys 6
- FEs - Boris 19, Nys 10
... and serve-volleying winners - Boris 22, Nys 19

... with 74% of Nys' winners being first volleys to 41% by Boris. Fair indicator of Nys' returning being much more challenging to volley against than Boris', and Boris' serve being bigger and tougher is both self-evident and reflected in the numbers

Nystrom's 2nd serve points
Nystrom's 2nd serve is just average, not difficult to attack, and doesn't inspire confidence that he could do well serve-volleying behind

He stays back off it and likely, planned to do so all the time. Becker chip-charging returns leads to him coming in a few times. In all, he serve-volleys behind it 14% of the time (winning just 42%). Staying back, he wins 54% excluding double faults and 49% including them

Better off staying back? On the whole, yes, but its not likely to hold for too long

Lot of Boris missed attacking returns (he has 8 return UEs - 4 of them clear approach attempts, and most others probably also). And Boris chip-charges 31 times

As indicated earlier, Boris' success is drastically different by parts of match
- First 4 sets - 5/18 or 28%
- Last set - 11/13 or 85%

I'd credit Nys for outstanding passing for the first part. Its unlikely he can keep passing like that indefinitely. Certainly, less likely than Boris holding steady on the volley behind Boris 2nd serve. In short, situation is such that Nystrom has to play outstandingly on both players 2nd serve points - hitting returns and passes against an excellent serve and sure volleying and keep making passing shots while serving - to get better of 2nd serve points. Eventually, it sinks him in the 5th

Not much baseline play going on. Boris looks to find net, Nystrom doesn't. Boris rallies forward 15 times to Nystrom's 9 (including some forced approaches), both players winning about half such points

Baseline UEs read
- Boris 8, Nystrom 10... and good lot of Boris' are approach attempts

Baseline play is otherwise neutral, with Boris looking to manufacture the approach. Again, potentially leaving Nys to have to hit passing shots

Putting it all together, a lot of passing shots for Nys to hit on his 2nd serve points. Boris volleys well all match, Nys likewise on the pass. Its not something you'd want to have to do in your service games when returning is so difficult

No easy alternatives though. His 2nd serve isn't strong enough to serve-volley behind with confidence, and would likely get pounded were he to do it regularly. Even coming in rarely doesn't work too well. No attempt to establish a hitting advantage from the back that he can parlay into approaching, just neutral shots. He doesn't seem like a manufacture approaches guy. Possibly not even a come-in-off-short-ball one, though he volleys soundly and well all match

Match Progression
3 off first 4 games go to deuce. Boris serve-volleys off all serves, is met by strong returns and handles a number of powerful and/or low first volleys. Nystrom serve-volleys off all first serves and stays back off all seconds. Boris looks to slice-approach off the return and slices heavily. Its not just a chip and keeps the ball low, but Nystrom hits some excellent passes to counter

Strong return game from Nystrom - forces 3 'volley' errors (1 a 1/2volley) and finishes with BH dtl pass winner to break to go up 5-3, before serving it out

No breaks in the 2nd set, but Boris has better of play. He has 2 games with break points in it and Nys ends up serving 55 points to Boris' 38 for the set. In tiebreak, 4 chip-charges from Boris. He only wins 1, though 1 he loses is a lucky, net chord pop over pass winner for Nystrom, but pressures Nys into a double fault. He takes it 7-5 before play is called off for the evening

Following day, Nys takes to serve-volleying behind 2nd serves when Boris is particularly keen to chip-charge. He's broken at once - 3 chip-charges on the last 3 points. Boris takes to odd return-approach even against first serves and breaks twice more to easily take set 6-1

4th set is Nystrom's best. He returns heavily all set, and break game stands out from even that. He wins 3 points forcefully in it, including with a pass winner where he hits Boris from close range

Thrilling decider. Nys saves 3 break points in holding 14 point game to level at 3-3. A double fault and a regulation FHV error gets Boris broken - and leaves Nys serving for the match

Boris breaks superbly, hitting his best passes and returns of the match to do so. Only Nystrom replies with another break - this time wrapping with 3 return-pass winners in a row - to leave himself serving for match for 2nd time

And again Boris breaks - and again, through aggressive returns - both hard hit and approaches. A wonderful passage of play

Boris wraps up the match awhile later. A very hard hit and deep FH draws an error, Nys double faults, Boris hits a great return to feet + follow up pass for winner to bring up break point, on which he chip-charges to force passing error

Summing up, great match from both players. Both Becker's serves are big, he wins a huge lot of points with it, but is tested sternly on the volley by excellent, hard hitting returning from Nystrom. He does well on the volley to resist the power hitting of Nystrom's passes. Nystrom's first serve-volleying is just as sucessful as Becker's - he faces normal returning and is sound on the volley against it

The standout is Nystrom's average second serve, which he mostly stays back on and Becker slice-approach returning against it. Nystrom holds it off with more great passing for most of match, but its a tall order to keep doing it indefinitely, and the play eventually puts Becker over

Great clutch play for Becker too, as he aggressively breaks both times Nystrom serves for the match

Stats for the final between Becker and Kevin Curren - (7) Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Curren, Wimbledon final, 1985 | Talk Tennis (


Becker had problems with the lanky Nystrom and his returns, later that year he lost to him in 5 at the USO. Becker was also lucky against Anders Jarryd in the semi 1985, when play was suspended, after Jarryd took the first set and had Becker under fire with his brisk returns.


Nystrom was part of the Wilander, Edberg, Jarryd, etc. era. He was very good, but never seemed like he was fighting to raise his level. Some good wins in his carer though. Won tournaments on all surfaces. Best GS performance was QF on multiple occasions. Jarryd got at least one SF; Svensson got two SFs.


Hall of Fame
Becker had problems with the lanky Nystrom and his returns, later that year he lost to him in 5 at the USO.

Not surprised. Terrific returning here by Nystrom

Becker was also lucky against Anders Jarryd in the semi 1985, when play was suspended, after Jarryd took the first set and had Becker under fire with his brisk returns.

I think the overnight break for this match with Nystrom also works to Boris advantage

He rides off his big serves, and if match had been continuous, think its likely the serving power would drop late in match, giving Nystrom more chances to return damagingly

Nystrom isn't as dependent on the serve

Nystrom was part of the Wilander, Edberg, Jarryd, etc. era

close knit group. A few of them are present on second day of match. I saw Wilander and a couple of other guys. Commentators mention how the Swedes regularly attended one anothers matches to support their guy along