Match Stats/Report - Connors vs Leconte, Memphis Indoor final 1984

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Jimmy Connors beat Henri Leconte 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the Memphis Indoor final, 1984 on carpet

It was Connors' 4th title at the venue

Connors won 93 points, Leconte 82

(Note: I'm missing one Connors service point, won by Connors)

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (53/75) 71%
- 1st serve points won (41/53) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (15/22) 68%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/75) 35%

Leconte....
- 1st serve percentage (49/97) 51%
- 1st serve points won (37/49) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (25/48) 52%
- Aces 8 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/97) 27%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 68%
- to Body 3%

Leconte served....
- to FH 49%
- to BH 51%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 63 (30 FH, 33 BH), including 1 runaround BH
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround BH attempt
- 12 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (63/89) 71%

Leconte made...
- 48 (20 FH, 28 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 3 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (5 FH, 2 BH), including 2 runaround FH attempts
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (48/74) 65%

Break Points
Connors 3/7 (4 games)
Leconte 1/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 11 (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
Leconte 25 (5 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 5 BHV, 6 OH)

Connors had 8 passes (5 FH, 3 BH)
- FHs - 3 cc (1 at net) and 2 inside-in returns
- BHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl

- sole non-pass groundstroke was BH dtl

Leconte had 9 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 OH)

- 1 further OH was struck out of the air just inside the baseline

- 5 FHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- 3 BHs - 1 at net, 1 inside-in return and 1 longline pass

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 31
- 15 Unforced (8 FH, 7 BH)
- 16 Forced (6 FH, 10 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 41.3

Leconte 46
- 33 Unforced (12 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 Penalty)
- 13 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.8

(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)

(Note 3: Leconte's 2 'penalty' errors occurred when he fainted and was docked 2 points for time violations)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Connors was...
- 11/14 (79%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a first serve point...
---
- 1/1 forced back

Leconte was...
- 32/51 (63%) at net, including...
- 16/25 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 13/19 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/6 (50%) off second serve
--------------------------------
- 2/3 return-approaching
- 2/3 forced back
---------------------------------------------------

Match Report
A strange match on a standard carpet court

Painting in broad strokes - Connors looks old. His movements are declined and the way he bends down to take low balls looks like its a strain on him - and he doesn't bother doing it properly at times. His serve though looks strong and the return still great.

Leconte's game is pretty as a picture - the groundies, the slices, the approaches, the volleys, returns and the serve is a boomer. He's also an error machine - the groundies, the slices, the approaches, the volleys, returns and the serve

First set is an error fest from Leconte. He has 15 in play of every kind of shot. Also double faults twice on each of the games he's broken. Some strange shots... he makes two errors of what I can only describe as lobs, when Connors is on the baseline. They aren't moonball attempts.... they're genuine, top spin lobs that he tries to play in a baseline-to-baseline situation. He approaches some, serve-volleys some off both serves and return approaches once. Hits some lovely shots when he gets it right, but most of the time, he's getting it wrong

Second set is serve dominated. Not in a serve-bot sense because returns are being put in play and rallies are going on.... but the server ends up winning most of the points. Connors loses 2 points in 4 serve games, Leconte 3 in 4 games going into game 9.

Completely against the run of play, Leconte breaks to love and serves out the set

Third set is odder still. Leconte seems to be feeling lightheaded or dizzy and after playing two points (two return errors), he faints. Connors and officials nearby tend to him, while the chair umpire announces time violations for delay of game - and ends up docking him two points

Apparently, the technical term for Leconte's situation is "loss of condition". Its different from an injury (for which he would have been granted a time out) in that the player is held responsible. And having got two warnings, Leconte would have defaulted the match had he not gotten up to resume play within 45 seconds of the second warning. Actually, the time elapsed from Leconte collapsing is far greater than the sum total required for 3 warnings.... so the ref was lenient with him. But the whole thing looks farcical... an unconscious man being tended to while the umpire calls time violations

There's another peculiar incident in Connors' next service game. Down break point, he serves an ace, only for it to be called out. As Jimbo stares in anger - probably about to let everyone know what he thinks of the call - Leconte half-calls the point for Connors, which makes little sense. If Leconte were calling for Connors, the point should be an ace and over.... but he only calls for a replay of the point. The umpire agrees to Leconte's call

Connors seems to comment that the players shouldn't make their own calls in this way or "they'll be here all day", and should accept the line judges. With that he serves what technically, is a first serve, but he rolls it in like a second.... the statement seems to be he rejects that its a first serve and plays it like a second. I wonder if he'd missed the serve would he have stuck to that stance and given up the break? or would he then have served another, second serve?

Match continues without much further incident til Leconte serves to send the match into a final set tiebreak. Only to get broken - again double faulting twice in the game - to hand Connors the match

Playing Dynamics & Stats
The key is Leconte's unforced errors. 31 in play (sans the 2 point penalties), 7 on return and 8 double faults - for a grand total of 48 (Connors has 20)

With the Frenchman playing this way, one could understand Connors playing out and out passive - just giving Leconte the rope to hang himself with. But he doesn't (at least, not intentionally). Connors continues to hit his groundies the way he usually does - flat, powerful and deep. Depth is particularly noticeable. He hardly comes to net in the first two sets because the points are ending before there's a need to, but Connors is relatively attacking

Nonetheless, his UEFI of 41.3 is remarkably low.... that's because even his regulation groundstrokes are fairly aggressive. Connors serve is strong and he forces genuine errors with it (as opposed to token forced errors given to first serves, which I tend not to do). The Ameican's return is also good. With Leconte serving big and going for lines, its Connors' ability to reach wide balls that takes the eye, rather than his swatting balls in his strike zone. His movements are on the slow side.... one of the things that surprises me about him is how fast he moves in general, for a stocky built man

Note Connors leading the unreturned serve percentages (35% to 27%), surprising given Leconte has a much stronger serve (he has 10 aces/service winners to Connors' 3). The reason for this is two-fold: the already mentioned Connors ability to get difficult serves in play.... and Leconte making many a careless and/or unnecessary error

Leconte's movement is a mixed bag. At times, he's at the net in a flash and at other times, he's jogging gently there. Some of his shots are extremely lazy... just has a swish at the ball without getting in position

Quick point on tennis terminology. Bud Collins is commentating and what he calls "aces" includes what we would call "service winners" and what he calls "service winners" includes what we would call "return forced errors"

Summing up, I can't call this an ugly match because even making so many errors, Leconte's shots are so easy on the eyes. And when he gets it right, it all looks sublime. And Connors plays his brand of power baselining. Calling it pretty or high quality though, would be an overstatement or a gross distortion

Special thanks to @The Green Mile - would be interested in hearing your thoughts about this one
 
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WCT

Semi-Pro
I've never seen this match. Back in 1984, my local PBS affliate didn't carry the match. And I never got the match or watched it on the net, More very unusual stats. How many matches can you find where Connors' opponent has over twice as many winners as him, but has a lower unreturned serves %?

Leconte and Kriek, I always kind of group them together. Potentially spectacular shotmakers. When they were on, they could give anyone fits. Then they just turn ice cold.
 

The Green Mile

Bionic Poster
Well, it's been quite a while since I watched this match but I do remember that the court was playing particularly slow for carpet which would probably play a factor in the percentage of unreturned serves. You can add Connors 20% more 1st serves in as well, plus the fact that Henri was indeed a lot more erratic and a risk taker at times.

About Henri's double faults, I've watched his SF here against Teltscher and his 2nd delivery was pretty amazing that day, high risk, high reward sort of style. It paid off then, so I wouldn't really fault Henri too much with regards to his multiple DFs in the games which he was broken in. He was just that sort of guy IMO, Connors would have also been piling on the pressure on the 2nd serve return... I would have liked to have known the percentage of directional serves from Leconte on the ad side off the 1st serve.
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Speaking of the ad court. IIRC, it was around 1984 and I was thinking that Connors had really improved his wide serve to the ad court. Doing more damage with it than previously. Relatively speaking, of course. Not saying he became Mcenroe, but I thought at the time improved. Just my impression, though. Nothing I ever did stats on to confirm. And was running cold I could see him missing some service returns more because of him than the quality of the serve.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
More very unusual stats. How many matches can you find where Connors' opponent has over twice as many winners as him, but has a lower unreturned serves %?
I was amused at the thought of the stats suggesting Connors might have serve-botted and won a who-blinks-first encounter

Its not really true... the serve numbers are twisted by Connors' excellent ability to get Leconte's much bigger serve back and Leconte's poor returning
The winners.... guess you can't hit winners if your opponent makes errors early in every other rally (and when he doesn't, he's the one to hit the winner). but yeah, I suppose more than 2-1 ratio over Connors would still be rare

Well, it's been quite a while since I watched this match but I do remember that the court was playing particularly slow for carpet which would probably play a factor in the percentage of unreturned serves. You can add Connors 20% more 1st serves in as well, plus the fact that Henri was indeed a lot more erratic and a risk taker at times.
He's a beautiful player and when he gets it right, looks amazing. Haven't seen much of him - but if he plays anything like this and gets it right more often than not.... yeah, I can see it looking and being spectacular

I would have liked to have known the percentage of directional serves from Leconte on the ad side off the 1st serve.
Leconte first serves on ad side.... that'd be Connors FH is out wide and BH is down the middle, right?

Then we have Leconte serving 7 out wide (30%) and 16 down the middle (70%)
 

WCT

Semi-Pro
Well, Connors was always a great returner. He was a great returner when guys like Borg Mcenroe had 15 to 30 plus more free points than him. So that leaves the other player and Leconte sure could be erratic. A definite hit or miss player. And Connors had a lot less of that in his game in 1984 than he did in, say, 1976.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Leconte could be amazing, or all over the place. Sounds like the latter here.
He seemed to struggle a bit more w/Connors, likely due to the return and consistency off the ground.
 
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