Match Stats/Report - Borg vs Gerulaitis, Wimbledon semi-final, 1977


Hall of Fame
Bjorn Borg beat Vitas Gerulaitis 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in the Wimbledon semi-final, 1977 on grass

Borg was the defending champion and would go onto beat Jimmy Connors in the final to claim the second of his ultimate 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles. Gerulaitis would return to the semis the following year, his best result at Wimbledon, the only Slam where he did not reach a final

Borg won 177 points, Gerulaitis 176

Gerulaitis serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and all but 5 seconds. Borg serve-volleyed most of the time off first serves and occasionally off seconds

(Note: I've made educated guesses regarding serve type for a small number of points)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (93/163) 57%
- 1st serve points won (70/93) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (34/70) 49%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/163) 23%

- 1st serve percentage (94/190) 49%
- 1st serve points won (70/94) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (47/96) 49%
- Aces 4 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 9
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/190) 23%

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 51%
- to BH 38%
- to Body 12%

Gerulaitis served...
- to FH 25%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 137 (66 FH, 71 BH), including 29 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 8 Winners (3 FH, 5 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 40 Errors, all forced...
- 40 Forced (19 FH, 21 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- Return Rate (137/181) 76%

Gerulaitis made...
- 122 (58 FH, 64 BH), including 1 runaround FH, 1 runaround BH & 17 return-approaches
- 5 Winners (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 33 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 28 Forced (21 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (122/160) 76%

Break Points
Borg 5/20 (8 games)
Gerulaitis 4/11 (9 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 59 (17 FH, 22 BH, 10 FHV, 6 BHV, 4 OH)
Gerulaitis 74 (13 FH, 11 BH, 24 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 17 BHV, 8 OH)

Borg's had 15 from serve-volley points
- 4 first volleys (3 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 11 from second volleys (5 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)

- 8 returns (3 FH, 5 BH), all passes
- FHs - 2 runaround inside-out and 1 dtl
- BHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in

- 29 non-return passes (12 FH, 17 BH)
- FHs- 2 cc, 3 dtl, 2 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 2 dtl/inside-out and 2 lobs (1 at net)
- BHs - 7 cc, 4 dtl (1 net-to-net), 3 longline and 3 lobs

- 2 FH inside-out at net

Gerulaitis had 43 from serve-volley points
- 14 first volleys (9 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- 23 second 'volleys' (9 FHV, 8 BHV, 5 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 4 third 'volleys' (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH at net)… the FH at net was a pass
- 1 fourth 'volley' (1 BH at net)
- 1 double re-approach volley (1 OH)

- 5 from return-approach points (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)

- 5 returns (2 FH, 3 BH), all passes
- FHs - 1 inside-out (that Borg misjudged and left) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl

- 13 non-return passes (6 FH, 7 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out
- BHs - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 longline at net and 1 lob

- FHs - 1 inside-in and 1 longline/inside-out at net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 55
- 9 Unforced (2 FH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 46 Forced (10 FH, 30 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)… including 1 FH and 3 BH running-down-drop-volleys at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.1

Gerulaitis 71
- 23 Unforced (4 FH, 4 BH, 6 FHV, 8 BHV, 1 OH)… including 2 FH passes and 1 BH at net
- 48 Forced (12 FH, 19 BH, 10 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 1 Over Shoulder Lob Retrieval)… including 1 FH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index

(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
Borg was...
- 83/129 (64%) at net, including...
- 60/88 (68%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 50/68 (74%) off 1st serve and...
- 10/20 (50%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 2/7 (29%) forced back/retreated

Gerulaitis was...
- 138/218 (63%) at net, including...
- 111/171 (65%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 67/90 (74%) off 1st serve and...
- 44/81 (54%) off 2nd serve
- 12/17 (71%) return-approaching
- 1/9 (11%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Probably the best tennis match I've seen.... high quality from start to finish without a single blip... volleying, passing, returning, rallies with at least 1 player at net, touch shots and lobs, anticipation and movement are all on show at highest possible levels. There's some baseline stuff for variety too. And the match is as close as it gets -

Points won - Borg 177, Vitas 176
1st serve points won - Borg 75%, Vitas 74%
2nd serve points won - Both 49%
Unreturned serves - Both 23%
Games with break points - Borg 8, Vitas 9 …. (standard presentation of break points data is Borg 5/20, Vitas 4/11... which is deceptive without the games marked)

Compare this with another match of comparable, sky high quality, Rafter-Agassi Wimbledon semi 2000 -

Points won - Rafter 162, Agassi 157
First serves in - Rafter 59.9%, Agassi 59.9%.
First serve points won - Rafter 69%, Agassi 69.2%
Second serve points won - Rafter 59.7%, Agassi 59.0%
Games with break points - Rafter 7, Agassi 7... (Rafter 5/12, Agassi 4/9)

In the 2000 match, spellbindingly good tennis was limited to Rafter's service games and the subsequent volley vs pass battle. in the '77 match, all games are high end. Vitas' service games perhaps a bit more - he is the more stylish and fluent net player (though not necessarily better. More on that later) and Borg clearly the stronger passer

Even matches that are overall very close tend to not be so over different segments. Here though, its neck and neck throughout

Off play, Vitas serve-volleys virtually 100% of the time and comes in regularly at other times. His finishing ability in the forecourt is the aesthetic highlight of the match. Borg serve-volleys most of the time off first serves and takes to doing so off second serves significantly too. His volleying is less clean than Vitas' - there are few players whose wouldn't be - but if anything, he's more secure up front. On the pass, Borg's are the better, though Vitas' are also good,

In numbers, the players' frequency of serve-volleying is -
- Vitas off 1st serve - 99%
- Vitas off 2nd serve - 94%
- Borg off 1st serves - 76%
- Borg off 2nd serves - 30%

Neither player is flawless tactically. Initially Borg seems to err in under-utilizing the lob, allowing Vitas to get in very close and tight to the net. When he redresses this around the third set, Vitas is forced to play from slightly further back in the forecourt and doesn't seem quite as deadly. Vitas under-utilizes chip-charge returning all match and would likely have won the match if he hadn't, all things remaining equal (more likely, it would have caused a change in Borg's tactics as far as frequency of serve-volleying off second serves goes)… still, I would back Vitas to have come out ahead in the scenario
Last edited:


Hall of Fame
Borg Serve & Vitas Return
How aggressively Borg places his first serve seems to depend on whether he's serve-volleying. His first serve is clearly more powerful than Vitas', and he serves at 57% to Vitas' 49%. So why do they both have 23% unreturned serves?

Its not because Vitas' extra serve-volleying because Borg draws a large number of return errors when he's not serve-volleying. Logically, one would expect him to have even higher rate of unreturned rates when he is serve-volleying... but he doesn't

It seems to be because he's relatively conservative in his placement when serve-volleying. Not serve-volleying, he sends down wide, power serves probably with the express intent of it not coming back (and many don't). When serve-volleying, he serves a little less powerfully - and noticeably safer of placement. Perhaps he felt the extra risk of being passed by the return that comes from the angles created by wide serving wasn't worth the benefits of having more open court to volley into? That would fit with his volleying strategy... which isn't overly about hitting winners or forcing flagrant errors but just getting ball in play, at least leaving Vitas with a shot on the pass. And it helps get a good percentage in

The volleying strategy isn't bad, and the serving fits in with it. It does leave Vitas with decent chances to return, as far as return rate goes - more so than if Borg were going all out looking for unreturned serves. Note also Borg serving 51% to FH and 38% to BH….. in French '80 final, he served 68% to FH and 21% to BH. He clearly thinks Vitas' FH is the better place to serve and the errors he draws justify it. Note Vitas with 1 runaround BH return also (serve was directed to body, on FH side) and just 1 runaround FH (Borg has 29) which he did to return-approach

Vitas returns with superb consistency. The extent of Borg's easing up on first serves when serve-volleying is he isn't going all out, but he is still serving powerfully and often wide. Keeping Borg's unreturned rate down to just 23% is very good and I would give full credit to Vitas for it, rather than discredit to Borg. And it gets better and better as the match wears on. Initially, Vitas has some trouble with it but for most of the match, he returns as surely as you could ask for

Borg's volleying is such that Vitas need not unduly fear having first volleys swatted away, which helps, but he doesn't leave too many easy first volleys to begin with. Furthermore, you can see the effectiveness of the forceful side of his returning in Borg winning just 50% second serve-volley points (a figure which rises as match goes on. Initially, he came in rarely and almost always lost such points)

Where Vitas errs is in infrequency of chip-charging returns. 'Just' 17 such plays, and he wins a tremendous 71% of such points (better than either man does serve-volleying and near even with their success first serve-volleying)

This is the best second serving I've seen from Borg. In all other matches, his second serve is average. Here its a bit up from that, harder to attack than normal. And he cranks it up when serve-volleying (the opposite of what he does with first serve) but still has just 3 double faults. Up from the norm second serving from Borg

Still, its not so strong as to make chip-charging overly difficult. Vitas pre-mediates his chip-charges and its easy to tell when he's about to do it because he stands further inside the court. And he doesn't miss a single one (he does decline to come in after a couple which he seemed to have planned to come in on). If he can premeditate the shot and still make it every time... then the power of Borg's serve isn't the cause of his not doing so more. Vitas makes 5 return errors against second serves - none of them chip-charge attempts

71% return-approach points won. When he's not return-approaching, he wins 45% (and that includes double faults, without which its even worse). And he can seemingly do it whenever he feels like. Why not do it more often? Even without the help of the numbers, its clear that whenever he does, Borg struggles

The key to Vitas' returning is probably how well he reads the serve. He rarely seems caught out by direction

Vitas Serve vs Borg Return
Vitas gets the very most out of his serve, which generally, isn't a strong shot. Serves about as strongly as he can with the first serve, drawing a decent number of errors. And of course, he's at net virtually all the time for the rejoinder - and lethal there. Probably felt he needed to, given Borg's reputation as a top returner

Early on, especially first two sets, Borg returns fairly safely, looking to get ball in play without much eye for how damaging it is (which is fairly normal for him, I believe). Doesn't work. Vitas swats volley after volley away for winners. Later, he goes for a bit more and takes ball a bit earlier. More difficult and/or awkward first volleys for Vitas then... and that's when the rallying fun that's at the heart of the quality of play comes out

Generally, Vitas' second serve is average to weak, but that's well up from the norm. Stronger than usual and he seeks extra depth rather than width to make it harder for Borg to get stuck into. 9 double faults are one result, which isn't great but not too bad for 96 serves either. And he does get enough on them to keep Borg fairly honest

Initially, Borg was running around to hit FHs in both courts. A taste of Vitas volleying into wide open court when Borg did so in ad court keeps him to doing so just on deuce court for most of match. 55% second serve-volley points from Vitas is very good and a fair indicator of quality of his serve

1 curious second serve ace. Borg was trying to runaround FH to it in deuce court, but it was on the T and still passed him on BH side, making he champion look a bit silly. Note also Borg with 1 return-approach, which is worth mentioning as Vitas only stayed back on 5 second serves. Seeing Vitas hadn't come in, Borg does after making a normal return. This isn't keeping with his play for the match... he wasn't looking to come in for its own sake otherwise

Typical, very good returning from Bjorn Borg... getting lots of balls back, adjusting to getting swamped by stinging volleys and returning a bit more attackingly without compromising consistency. Some strong runaround FH returns when he wants to be extra strong against second serves. 8 winners and presenting Vitas with a good number of difficult first volleys (particularly low ones). 76% return rate against all out serve-volleying is a good figure

I'd call this mini-match a draw. Vitas outdoing himself, Borg about normal coming out that way. One would probably expect Borg to come out on top. Perhaps he does... Vitas' volleying has a lot to do with what happens next. But more credit to Vitas for turning out an extra special serving than his usual


Hall of Fame
Play - Borg at Net, Vitas on Baseline
The more I see of Borg, the more I'm fascinated by his net play. In 16 non-grass matches, a grand total of once would I describe his volleying so little as "average". Everything else is at least "below average" and more often downright poor. Sometimes comically so

Missing easy volleys, including putaways. Retreating from net from standard positions. Plonking routine volleys in middle of court. Not putting away OHs. All of this is typical of Borg at net

On grass at Wimbledon though, he volleys well and shows good net instincts in everything I've seen. Neither classically nor penetratingly... but he rarely misses a ball. The contrast is remarkable. I imagine a lot of preparation went into his Wimbledon campaigns

The standout feature of his volleying is consistency - a very, very overlooked part of volleying, which by its very nature is attacking. Celebrated master volleyers like Nastase, McEnroe, Rafter, Henman etc. are overtly impressive in the way they put balls away or volley into corners. Vitas is top drawer in this area too. Borg is not, even on grass. Balls that are there to be putaway are as often as not, not putaway or placed well. Seems like just getting ball in play is his objective

Note just the 7 forecourt UEs. Vitas has 16 by contrast (including a groundstroke)… with Borg approaching 129 times to Vitas' 219, however less elegant, damaging or impressive he looks, Borg's actually comfortably the more consistent volleyer. In fact, even more so than the above numbers indicate because a higher proportion of Borg's approaches were forced via drop volleys and have nothing to do with his volleying so realistically, his 129 approaches should be lower (I'd estimate about 10 such approaches) as far as making sense of frequency of volleying UEs go

The penetration of his volleying in this match is actually decent too, but that would be easy to miss because Vitas' is extraordinary

Some good anticipation volleys from Borg too, again, in contrast with his non-grass norm. Generally, he reacts rather than anticipates - and more often than not it doesn't end well for him

Inclination to come forward is down compared to Wimby finals of '76 and '78. Other than a brief period late in match, he's not particularly looking to come in from baseline rallies, which allows Vitas to snatch net intead. And while he mixes up serve-volleying and staying back with disarming unpredictability, sometimes it unnecessary and causes trouble

At absolutely critical juncture, game 11 of 5th set with the match on serve... he stays back on 5 first serves and looks to come in off third balls instead. Vitas forces him back from net 3 point in a row, winning two points, and Borg wins 3/3 points when he first serve-volleys in the game and was winning such points when he makes the switch. The game goes 12 points and while not facing break points, just seems unnecessarily making life hard on himself (should be noted he was also winning first serve points staying back with unreturned serves round about this period)

Vitas' passing is good but less than great. The frail look of his groundies are such that one wouldn't expect strong passing - by that standard, he passes well with good power and decent precision. Borg's less than decisive volleying does leave him good looks on a number of passes that he misses. 2 passing errors have been marked unforced and at least a couple more could have been (1 on a very critical point that would have moved him to 15-40 in the same game described in previous paragraph). Footspeed to reach balls is exceptional - though Borg's takes the eye more since has more scope to showcase it - about equal to Borg's. And effective lobbing, pushing Borg back to the baseline 7 times (a minority of which was Borg retreated rather than being forced back)

Play - Vitas at Net, Borg on Baseline
Slightly higher quality than the other way round - at least aesthetically. While Borg misses fewer volleys, Vitas' damaging volleys are top drawer. Balls above net are whisked away for winner after winner and like great, natural volleyers, he makes it look so easy. Many a ball that isn't quite there to be putaway are too. And most everything else of that type are put deep to Borg's BH corner (Borg has 30 BH FEs to 10 FHs)

Nor does it end there. He faces plenty of difficult volleys - either low or wide - and makes many of them too. Shows great touch with drop and stop volleys, including to balls down at his feet

Missing some percentage of not-difficult to easy volleys is inevitable, and 16 UEs in 219 approaches isn't too high... but there's scope for improvement. Vitas is certainly capable of being as consistent as Borg

Borg passes superbly too. Runs down whatever can be run down to at least have a shot at improbable passes. The ones he makes are often spectacular from defensive positions (its rare for him not to be in defensive position after Vitas volleys). Forcing 18 forecourt errors and hitting 37 passing winners are great numbers from the champion. Vitas though has over 50 forecourt winners and forces almost as many passing errors... the volleyer coming out on top in a great volleying vs great passing contest on grass is as it should be

While both are great, I would say Borg passes just a bit better than Vitas volleys. The absolute key points of match are Borg breaking back to level 5th set at 3-3. Vitas hits 2 imperfect volleys. Not bad volleys. Better than good volleys even. But not killing the point dead... and Borg makes two running passes to take the points. That's the extra edge Borg has on the pass that Vitas can't match. It also illustrates how good Vitas had to be on the volley to end points - and other than his misses, he barely puts a volley in without depth and placement

The wildcard in the battle is lobs. Early in the match, Vitas is making volley winners right, left and center and the main reason is how close he gets to net. Borg's makes returns and passes in his usual heavily top spun way but are whipped away before they have time to start dropping. Vitas also shows good reflexes and anticipation to deal with Borg's harder hit shots

The lob suggests itself as a way to cope. It takes Borg a couple of sets to realize this, but from then on, the dynamics of this match-up. Vitas ceases closing down the net to such a degree, Borg throws up lobs that go for winners or force him back. In addition to the very large 9 forced back points, Vitas is forced back a further 9 times but re-approaches... this is by far the largest number of such points I've tracked

Forcing Vitas away from coming too close has other advantages. Angles open up for regular passes, and with Vitas on the look out for the lob, he's less prompt on his volleys. Also, his OH isn't the best and he's unable to finish points with it like clockwork (still wins most point of course)

Sans lobbing, I imagine the match from Borg's point of view would have been a wait-for-game-with-double-faults-or/and-couple-missed-volleys to look to break: the mundane stuff of facing good serve-volleyers on grass. With it, the match is dynamic with some of the best net vs pass battles imaginable


Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline
Not much of it going on, though there's scope for it with Borg staying back frequently. Most lead to an approach by one or the other and becomes a net point

Purely from baseline, Borg looks to hit big FH cc's. Vitas' groundies are dinky and weak, but he holds on well enough. 2 UEs from Borg, 6 from Vitas... and Vitas has the only winner, a FH inside-in

Initially, Borg doesn't look to come in from baseline but keeps hitting strong FHs. Vitas usually ends up coming to net then. He's 15/30 rallying to net

Later in the match, Borg starts approaching off third balls and otherwise, looks to manufacture approaches. He's 22/40 rallying to net

Match Progression
Match starts with what proves to be an ironic bang, with Borg breaking in the opening game. He forces Vitas back from net twice, comes forward himself to win the points and breaks with FH lob winner. He doesn't do much lobbing for another 2 and half sets and Vitas starts dominating the net

Borg has to save a break point himself middle of set. He's bold and comes to net, but hits a very ordinary volley, but Vitas can't make the pass. Vitas later survives a 12 point game, which he led 40-0 in with 3 volley winners

Second set is tough (all the sets are actually). Vitas is taken to deuce on 3 games, but faces just 1 break point. Borg missing some makeable returns in this period. Borg survives a break point in a 10 point game with some superb passing from Vitas, but Borg wins last 3 points with unreturned first serves (2 of which he stayed back on)

Passivity from Borg on rallying from back costs him the break. He's almost never serve-volleying on second serves at this point and in a game he makes 2/6 first serves on, Vitas is at net 4 times to break

Third set, Borg survives 10 point opening game with a flub volley that died on the grass on break point and Vitas missing an easy FH pass on game point. He then breaks to move ahead 2-0. Break point is fantastic... a runaround FH return forces a drop 1/2volley that Borg lobs at net pushing Vitas back. Vitas though retrieves the ball with a lob of his own that forces Borg back as he re-approaches and hits a drop volley. Borg returns t net to deal with it and his get clips the net chord, but Vitas reflexively gets that back. Finally, net to net, Borg hits FH lob winner

Vitas holds off 6 break points in a 22 point game filled with great shots from both men. But Borg breaks to move ahead 5-3, ending with a point where Vitas is forced back from net twice but re-approaches that ends with a Borg FH dtl/inside-out pass.

Borg struggles to serve out the set, with Vitas chip-charge returning 4 times, but having critical lapses on 2 points. 1 is a missed FH pass that's been marked unforced. On the other, he's unable to putaway an OH and Borg eventually wins the point after both players are forced back from net, Borg comes back, Vitas makes an over-the-shoulder-lob-retrieval on the baseline... spectacular stuff by most standards, not uncommon in this match

Vitas wins 4th set with 1 break. Down 40-15, he wins the next 4 points with 3 winners (1 pass and 2 at net) and a Borg double. That game aside, Borg holds comfortably and pushes Vitas regularly on return with games lasting 8, 10 and 8 games. Vitas stays 1 step ahead though and doesn't face break points in any of those games

5th set retains high quality. If possible, maybe even adds a shade to it. Borg somewhat randomly stays back off first serves and comes in regularly but unpredictably off seconds. Tremendous point where the two players combine to force one another back 3 times ends with Vitas making an awkward OH winner.

Borg saves 2 break points in 14 point game. He makes 2 good volleys to win the first break point and on the second, Vitas misses a makeable BH pass. Excellent first volley FHV inside-out winner from Borg the point after

Then Vitas breaks sensationally to love with 3 winners. Last is particularly elegant - a perfectly placed, sliced BH cc return pass. Borg breaks back at once in the game where he makes most of two imperfect Vitas volleys - the kind he'd putaway for winners for most of match - to make tremendous running passes. Very clutch from Bjorn

And so it goes on with low volley winners and drop volleys and lobs and net-to-net points and reflex volleys and at net passes. Borg staying back on first serves almost costs him match as Vitas shows his own lobbing ability by sending the champion back to the baseline 3 times in a row. Vitas misses a fairly easy pass in the game too that would have given him break point

The end comes in a game equal parts good play from Borg and not good from Vitas. Vitas starts at 15-0 up by missing back to back high first volleys - the first FHV, the second BHV. Next point, Borg hammers a runaround FH return that Vitas 1/2volleys back in play and he has to hit a difficult stretch volley the shot after. Borg BH lobs that for a winner. Match point is another Borg runaround FH return and this time, Vitas can't control the volley at his feet

Summing up, many a match that's lauded as 'greatest ever' is overrated. This isn't one of them. Its high quality from start to finish - good serving, very good returning, top drawer volleying and passing, excellent point construction, superlative movement - and both players partake in all areas. What probably sets it apart from other great matches is the lobbing - from both players - and the number of forced back and re-approach and net to net points. Match could go either way, but final result is probably most appropriate. Borg playing the important points well, Vitas having minor lapses on the same

Stats for Rafter-Agassi, Wimbledon semi '00 -
Stats for Borg-Gerulaitis, French final '80 -


New User
Excellent match report. One of my favourite games of the match is the 10th game of the 5th set with Gerulaitis serving to stay in the match - he goes 0-15 down and then hits four winners, all on the volley.

Officiating was pretty good too. Only a handful of questionable calls, with both players just getting on with it for the most part. I think there's only two moments in the match where either one of them seemed genuinely bothered by a decision. In the second set, Gerulaitis thinks he's won the game but his shot is called out. He then loses concentration and has to save break point. When he finally wins the game, he sarcastically asks the umpire if his last shot was in. And Borg almost kills a linesman with a death stare at 2-1 in the 5th set when his pass is called out. He then tanks the next return to lose the game. The call still seems to be on his mind when he is broken to love to go 2-3 down. I swear there is a moment when he dumps a volley/half volley into the net to go 0-40 that he picks up the ball and is about to hit it at the linesman in anger before checking himself.

@Waspsting what did you think of Gerulaitis' service motion compared to the 1980 French Open final?


Serve Stats
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/163) 23%

- Aces 4 (1 second serve)
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/190) 23%
There is no difference between the two players, although Vitas' serve was considered very weak.
Borg's serving is light, totally different from that developed since 1978.


Hall of Fame
One of my favourite games of the match is the 10th game of the 5th set with Gerulaitis serving to stay in the match - he goes 0-15 down and then hits four winners, all on the volley.
Great stuff - the first was one of those innumerable net-to-net points, crazy reflexes. Second was beautiful, angled drop volley from under the net

In the second set, Gerulaitis thinks he's won the game but his shot is called out. He then loses concentration and has to save break point. When he finally wins the game, he sarcastically asks the umpire if his last shot was in
Must be game 5. I missed Vitas' reaction. Another beautiful, low drop volley on game point in that one

And Borg almost kills a linesman with a death stare at 2-1 in the 5th set when his pass is called out. He then tanks the next return to lose the game. The call still seems to be on his mind when he is broken to love to go 2-3 down. I swear there is a moment when he dumps a volley/half volley into the net to go 0-40 that he picks up the ball and is about to hit it at the linesman in anger before checking himself.
That one I did notice, though not the near about to hit ball at linesman part that followed. The call was a bit late and I thought it'd been in
For the shot he misses to go down 0-40, I've noted 'hesitates, routine'. A second serve-volley point

@Waspsting what did you think of Gerulaitis' service motion compared to the 1980 French Open final?
Looks better here

I've looked at 4 of his matches, I think... '81 Masters final with Lendl and Forest Hills final with McEnroe. He's got these 'old man' pre-serve tics in all of them. Nothing like that here

There is no difference between the two players (in unreturned serves), although Vitas' serve was considered very weak.
Borg's serving is light, totally different from that developed since 1978.
Think Vitas served above himself (or maybe his serve was stronger round this period?) and returned very well. I wouldn't go as far as to say Borg was light and he takes a bit off it at times... but yes, it looks stronger in later years

What a player.. (regarding Gerulaitis' 218 approaches)
superb. And I like how he did it without being in a mad rush to get to net. From baseline points, he'd wait and come in at good time. Think he should have chip-charged returns more than he did

Another thing that's part this match's appeal is the pace at which they play

Average time between points must be 5-8 seconds... it adds something to the feeling of non-stop, high flying action and brings home how slow play takes away from it. (Don't think I've ever had to pause play to jot down stats as often for any match)


Vitas' pre serve routine which as Wasp suggest, started at some point after this match, is one of the weirdest I've seen. I really want to know what he's looking at behind him (twice)! Also his 2nd serve became a real liability and problem. Sadly he usually just took to spinning it in. Back to the match... probably my favourite. So many things about this match encompasses what we have lost & what we will never see again. Others have said better than I can about the rallies and interplay. The only match I've also seen where the great Dan Maskell is genuinelly taken aback by the sustained quality. I remember probably the best rally in the 5th, where Dan just sighs in disbelief and says 'another masterly rally'.