Match Stats/Report - Connors vs Lendl, Wimbledon semi-final, 1984

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Jimmy Connors beat Ivan Lendl 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 in the Wimbledon semi-final, 1984 on grass

Connors would go onto lose to John McEnroe in what would turn out to be his last Slam final. Lendl had recently won his first Slam at the French Open. The two had met at the previous years US Open final, with Connors winning. Lendl had won the pair's last match 6-0, 6-0 at Forest Hills on green clay

Connors won 141 points, Lendl 123 (accounted for)
Connors won 145 points, Lendl 123 (minimum, if missing game were a love hold)

Connors serve-volleyed about a third off the time off first serves and rarely off seconds

(Note: I'm missing 1 Connors service game that he held and 2 Lendl service points that he won

I've made confident guesses regarding serve type for a significant number of points

Missing data -
- Set 1, Tiebreak, Points 3-4 in entirety & serve-return data for point 5 that's deduced to have been a first serve
-Set 2, Game 1)

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (81/120) 68%
- 1st serve points won (57/81) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (23/39) 59%
- Aces 6
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/120) 25%

Lendl...
- 1st serve percentage (84/142) 59%
- 1st serve points won (55/84) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (26/58) 45%
- Unknown serve points won (2/2) 100%
- Aces 18, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (39/142) 27%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 22%
- to BH 70%
- to Body 8%

Lendl served...
- to FH 61%
- to BH 34%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 97 (67 FH, 30 BH), including 5 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 17 Forced (10 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (97/136) 71%

Lendl made...
- 89 (15 FH, 73 BH, 1 ??), including 1 runaround FH & 2 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 13 Unforced (6 FH, 7 BH)
- 11 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (89/119) 75%

Break Points
Connors 6/14 (8 games)
Lendl 1/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 44 (11 FH, 8 BH, 9 FHV, 12 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 3 OH)
Lendl 33 (15 FH, 12 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)

Connors' FHs - 3 cc (1 that didn't bounce at all, 2 passes), 2 dtl (1 return, 1 pass), 1 lob and 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl at net pass and 2 net chord dribblers
- BHs - 5 cc (2 return passes), 1 lob at net, 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net pass and 1 net chord dribbler

- 7 from serve-volley points
- 4 first 'volleys' (2 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 3 second 'volleys' (2 BHV, 1 FH at net)

Lendl's FHs - 4 cc (2 passes, 1 at net), 8 dtl (1 return, 3 passes - 1 net chord flicker) and 2 drop shots (1 at net)
- BH - 5 cc (2 passes, 1 at net), 5 dtl (4 passes, 1 return), 1 inside-out pass and 1 lob

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first volley BHV

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 48
- 31 Unforced (19 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV)… with 1 FH at net
- 17 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 BHOH)... with 1 FH at net & 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Lendl 61
- 30 Unforced (14 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 OH)… with
- 31 Forced (6 FH, 19 BH, 5 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

(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
Connors was...
- 58/92 (63%) at net, including...
- 17/33 (52%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 14/27 (52%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/6 (50%) off 2nd serve
---
- 2/5 (40%) return-approaching
- 1/2 retreated

Lendl was...
- 24/45 (53%) at net, including...
- 8/19 (42%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 7/17 (41%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
---
- 1/2 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Patchy match, unclearly differentiated into 2 parts. Play is near even for a couple of sets with baseline play at the forefront. Action changes relatively stably in third set to more and more net play based and from end of third to the end, both players are serve-volleying regularly. Connors is much better player in the 2nd phase and by end of third set, Lendl looks physically a goner

Its sunny and apparently very hot. Both players are drenched in sweat by third set. Lendl being physically spent is very similar to what happened in the pair's US Open final less than a year before this encounter

Its not a particularly good match either, though interesting in how both players, particularly Lendl, approaches it. He's passive in trying to exploit Connors' FH. Not necessarily a bad strategy and it works to an extent. Connors hangs in well enough though his FH doesn't inspire confidence, Lendl's own FH isn't too reliable either and with baseline rallies going on long enough, inevitable bad bounces are apt to decide rallies

Connors for his part looks to come to net. How he does so varies across match. For most of the early part, he slugs away from the back and is relegated to 'lifting' Lendl's little chips with his FH to keep them in play. Not hard hit, not too consistent and not troubling for Lendl, but Jimbo manages well enough. And for offence, he comes to net behind strong approaches

Phase 1 - First 2 Sets
Lendl initially rides on big serving and sends down a stream of aces. On return, he looks to put the ball back in play without heat and then draw errors from Connors' FH. Lots of little chip BH'ng from Lendl with little pace, looking for Connors to mess up on the low, slow FH

Connors has his 'improved' serve - 'improved' meaning one can tell the firsts from the second at least. Its still at most, an average serve. Its good enough to get a few errors from Lendl on the return, but I'd more discredit Lendl's returning than credit Connors' serving for how that plays out

From the back, Connors reacts to Lendl's chipping with attempted hard hits (can't hit hard enough to be troublesome off the FH) and looks for net to finish points with success

Phase 2 - Last 2 Sets
There isn't a sudden or drastic change after 2 sets. Set 3 begins where Set 2 left off... but play gradually changes

Lendl eases off on the systematic BH chipping, but remains largely passive from the back. Still looking to outlast Connors for errors, not beat him down and certainly not coming forward to destroy him. But now he plays more dual winged and actually hits a few BHs rather than chipping them

Not hard hitting. Just hitting. And that's a step up from what he'd been doing. Connors is able to handle matters on his FH more easily than earlier... which somewhat justifies Lendl's chipping approach. And Connors is able to turn baseline rallies into hard hitting ones (as opposed to lifting FHs and resisting making errors) to a greater extent - though again, overall, baseline action remains fairly mundane, with by a normal standard, can only be called normal hitting

Connors though does shift to proactively looking to manufacture approaches to net against neutral balls with good success

As set wears on, Lendl's movement slips some. Connors starts getting better of hitting. Connors starts coming in more regularly and eventually, starts serve-volleying regularly

Lendl eventually joins the net rushing party with serve-volleys, 'delayed' serve-volleys and even manufacturing the odd approach himself. Both players also throw in the odd return-approach (Connors more, in proportion to his greater general net hunger)

In first phase, Connors had barely missed a volley - hard or easy. Now, he starts missing fairly regularly - usually routine volleys. Not a blackmark... he's coming in a lot more, better for it and makes the volleys much more often than he misses. No fooling around on the volley itself - he swats them away with typical vigour

Lendl's volleying is not good most of match, but especially as match wears on. His movement forward is hesitant (likely due to fallible net instincts) and he doesn't get down properly for the volley. Bad technique? fatigue? - probably some of both. Doesn't punch his volleys through or place them wide - just steers them this way or that, a little better than plonking them in court somehow. Connors is left with decent shots on the ensuing pass

Some powerfully hit passes from Jimbo too, but the extent to which Lendl is unable to handle difficult volleys is disappointing too. A man at net typically makes some percentage of difficult volleys - and there has to be some line below which one can say the volleyer did badly. Here, Lendl seems to miss every tough volley around his feet. There aren't too many of them either

Run of play is clearly with Connors from middle of third set onward. He's coming to net, swatting away volleys, is harder hitter from back and just as consistent and still moving well. Lendl's serving strength declines, he's reacting more than leading from the back, is upended with Connors at net, doesn't come in nearly as much and when he does, can't handle the not-easy (as opposed to genuinely difficult) job on the volley
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Quality and all the shots vary across match. Lendl's serve is huge and impressive at the start but the pace and percentage drops as match goes on. Connors returning is as good as its allowed to be... early on, he does what he's allowed which isn't much and later on, is able to be more damaging. All in all, very good returning from Connors

Lendl with very large 18 aces and 2 service winners speaks to strength of his serve. Particularly early on, he rains them down. 12 of them come in first 2 sets
Connors with just 19 return errors - and 17 of them forced - fewer than Lendl's unreturnables. Having about the same number of return errors as being aced is common for Connors... a sign of his being strong at putting even tough returns back in play and only vulnerable to the absolutely best serves (that virtually anybody would be). Its not due to being aced unnecessarily - as tends to be the case with Andre Agassi

He barely misses a second serve return (just 2), and hits a good number powerfully back to near the baseline. Lendl tends to move slightly into court after his first serves, on look out for a big FH, and is pushed back. Some excellent returns against Lendl serve-volleying late in the match too. Generally, Connors returning heftily, reaching very damaging, wide powerful serves well and very consistent against regulation serves he can reach

Connors has his 'improved' serve. As in, you'd probably be able to differentiate 1st serve from 2nd serve without knowing which is which (as opposed to a few years ago when they were virtually indistinguishable). Improved or not, its still an average serve at best

Lendl takes 1st serve returns from 3 paces behind baseline and steps up to just behind baseline for 2nd serves. He aims for consistency, not doing damage with the return. There's healthy room for improvement in that consistency. His return rate is 75% and 13/24 errors have been marked unforced, most against first serves. Connors does throw out forcefully wide first serves at considerably greater rate than a few years ago (it'd be hard to do so at a lower rate). He's got 6 aces himself (almost all due as much to catching Lendl out to the FH - where he serves minority 22% - as being absolutely unreturnable) and most of the 11 errors he forces aren't serve-volley supported

Not too good from Lendl at dealing with the difficult return. Connors' better serves draw errors about as often as not. By contrast, Lendl's normal first serves are as challenging as Connors' better ones - and most not only come back, but do so with force

Some strange returning from Lendl towards the end, when he's just gently chipping BHs to gentle 2nd serves back in play

In nutshell, decent serving from Lendl, with the standard falling some with fatigue and excellent returning from Connors. Average to above average serving from Connors and about same from Lendl on the return. The standout is Connors' returning

Play - Baseline
In phase 1, Lendl leads play to the tune of chipping BHs softly cc to the Connors FH. The plan seems to be to draw errors from it

Its passive as can be, but not entirely unsuccessful. Connors FH yields match high 19 UEs. Lendl's BH has just 10

The Lendl chip BH - Connors FH rallies are dull. Connors tries to hit hard, without being able to muster much force, hitting the ball like a volley under the net to keep from making errors. Little attempt to take net against the chips either. Rallies are fairly long and a not insignificant end when bad bounce forces the issue. Given rally length, its not surprising... this is why they serve-volleyed so much on grass

Lendl's also on look out for a big FH after his serve. 'Big' here is a relative term - bigger than his BHs (it'd be impossible not to be), but not particularly big. Still in the style of range of keeping ball in court firmly. More outlast than beat-down of hitting strength. He does for for the dtl winner at times and otherwise changes direction. His focus once rallies have reached neutral point is to find Connors' FH... and chip away at it

Lendl's a bit loose off his FH and misses good lot of routine shots. It follows Connors' FH in the UE column with 14

Connors' BH is by far the best shot on show. UE counts read -
- Connors BH 4
- Lendl BH 10
- Lendl FH 14
- Connors FH 19

Not only does it barely make an error, he hits them hard... on average, more than Lendl's FH (and far more so than his own) and in all directions. Even inside-out attacking shots are throwing in, let alone longline change-ups. Connors' BH play from around middle of baseline is a rare sight... he's quite capable of going cc or inside-out and now sure of telling which way he will. Almost like a good FH. It stands out next to the mundane limits of his FHs range
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Net, Serve-volley
Connors at net 92 times, Lendl 45 speaks for itself in reflecting relative net hunger. While Lendl plays for FH errors, Connors looks to come in and finish points in forecourt

In first phase, Connors approaching comes mostly in rallies when he can come in after a strong shot. He barely misses a volley - and that's while facing a good lot of excellent passing shots. Lots of tough volleys from under the net or wid-ish to genuinely wide hit with particular power from Lendl... great job here from Jimbo

Lendl barely comes in

In second phase, Connors comes in more and more, manufacturing approaches or sneaking in and not waiting for short balls... and serve-volleying more and more regularly, even throwing in a few choice return & dashes. He's still particularly aggressive in getting right forward and swatting away the winner, but also starts missing regulation and even easy volleys occasionally. He's not faced with as many tough passes either, with Lendl's groundies growing feebler

Lendl eventually starts coming in too, particularly serve-volleying and 'delay' serve-volleying, probably due to fatigue. He does not play well up front. Doesn't get down for volleys and can't make anything that's difficult. Some good passing from Connors, but Lendl volleys like the quintessential un-natural net player

Breakdown of Connors' net points is telling. He doesn't do well serve-volleying
- 1st serve-volleying - 14/27 at 52%
- 2nd serve-volleying - 3/6 at 50%
- return-approaching - 2/5 at 40%
- approaching from rallies - 39/54 at 72%

... and most of the serve-volleying comes at time in match when Lendl is returning at his least strong in the match. And with Connors volleying very well on the whole. Improved or not, his is not a strong serve.

Connors net figures by phases of match -
- 1st 2 sets - rallying to net 15/23 at 65%, serve-volleying (all firsts) 7/11 at 64% (when it has element of surprise)
- 2nd 2 sets - rallying to net 24/31 at 77%, serve-volleying 10/22 at 45% (including 2nd serve-volleying)

... his first serve-volleying frequency also rises from 27.5% in phase 1 to 46.7% in phase 2 and from 0 to 30% for 2nd serve-volleying

0 forecourt UEs from Connors in phase 1. 9 in phase 2

Match Progression
Playing dynamics are as outlined earlier. No break points in the 1st set. Odds would favour Lendl in tiebreak because he thoroughly dominates his 1st serve for the set, eventually winning 19/23

At 5-5 in the breaker, Connors serves his only double fault for the match to give Lendl set point. Connors serve-volleys on it, is met by a good return and a better follow up pass that he can't handle. 1-0 Lendl

Connors breaks to move ahead 2-0 in the 2nd set, striking a pair of winners (BH cc and BHV). Lendl helps with a third ball, FH winner attempt early and down break point, misses an approach shot

Lendl comes in a fair bit for rest of set. He gets his first break point of the match as Connors serves for set. Missed regulation return, followed by a missed routine FH later, Connors has his first set point, on which he draws return error with a serve-volley

Lendl eases off on the BH chipping to start the 3rd, while Connors starts seeking net with renowned vigour. Not to the extent of not allowing Lendl to play. Not sure what Lendl is trying to do early on... looks like just keep ball in court off both sides and hope for errors. And with the way Connors play, he's forced to do a lot of passing

Connors has much better of action and ends up serving 41 points in the set to Lendl's 60. Lendl's service games include games that last 10, 14, 14 and 12 points

For all that, its Lendl who breaks first - couple of routine volley misses by Jimbo, couple of good passes from Lendl - but is broken right back. As set goes on, Lendl's movements and hitting declines at even rate and he continues playing without seeming intent. Connors continues seeking net to good effect

Lendl though, manages to hold through it all and has 2 break points in game 8. A good serve to FH goes for an ace on 1 and on the second, Connors serve-volleys behind a second serve for first time in match to dispatch a BHV winner. Good instincts... Lendl had been gently chipping 2nd serve returns and is caught out doing it again

Finally, Lendl takes to serve-volleying and 'delay' serve-volleying at 5-5. He doesn't get too far in court and Connors hits some excellent returns to score the decisive break

4th set is a breeze for Connors. Lendl plays still more listlessly, seemingly half-checked out. Looks more like fatigue than anything mental. The heat is no less for Connors and both players are soaked in sweat, but he keeps playing with vigour and virtually serve-volleys 100% of the time

Summing up, good struggle for 2 sets with unusual action. Lendl relies on huge serve, stays on baseline and chips BHs softly to try to get errors out of Connors' FH - with some success. Connors gets a few freebies on serve too and comes to net to attack with about the same success

Next 2 sets sees Connors surge ahead, rallying to net more regularly and proactively and adding large amount of serve-volleying. Lendl largely plays aimlessly and in 4th set, looks to have given up

Standout positive features are Connors' thumping returns, excellent net instincts backed up by vigorous finishing on the regulation volley and very good against the tough ones under net too. His BH is also a bedrock for the match
No small amount of below par play too - Lendl plays cluelessly at times, is off on the return and both players FH showings (especially Connors) has substantial room for improvement

@WCT - thoughts?

Stats for final between Connors and John McEnroe - (4) Match Stats/Report - McEnroe vs Connors, Wimbledon final, 1984 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for the pair's '83 US Open final - (4) Duel Match Stats/Reports - Connors vs Lendl, US Open finals, 1982 & 1983 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 
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WCT

Semi-Pro
Another match I am glad to see you do. I guess it really has been a pretty long while since I saw this match. Damn, another one where my memory is faulty. No way I thought Connors s/v a third of the time. And no way 6 times on the 2nd serve. I did remember correctly that he came in quite a bit off the ground. Also, I didn't remember such heat.

Lendl's relative lack of s/v I did pretty distinctly recall. I remember it being so glaring because it was such a departure from his usual Wimbledon play. Usually it was pretty much s/v on both serves.

At the time, I viewed this strategy it as a combination of 2 things. His respect for Connors return, but also not wanting to give him a target. If you remember, and I think you did stats for this match, their last match was the WCT at Forest Hills, on hartru. Love and love he beat him with a ridiculous point differential.

Lendl hardly came in at all that match. Basically kept it in play, waited for Connors to miss or passed him or drew an error when Connors came in. Even though it was grass I don't think he wanted to give Connors a target, a way to end the point, by coming in. He was going to make Connors show that he could win the points without a target at net. And to Connors credit he did.

We weren't seeing every Lendl match then. Well, maybe HBO showed some of them, but I didn't always have that channel. Still, I saw a bunch of Lendl Wimbledon matches over the years and I don't ever recall s\v numbers nearly this low. IIRC, he s/v on every serve, both serves, against Mcenroe in 83.

I sure didn't remember the unreturned serve % being that close either. My memory was that Lendl didn't play that well. Not terribly, certainly not as well as in 83 against Mcenroe, IMO. And Connors very good, not great. Let me put it this way. I didn't see this match and think, he's got a real chance against Mcenroe. I felt more optimistic heading into their US Open match because I thought Connors level was higher there. Not that I expected he would win that match either.

Great job, as usual, Wasp. You have the patience of a saint to do stats this comprehensive.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Interesting to see the stats on this one; thanks. Anyone know if it's online anywhere? Would not mind watching it again after ~40yrs :). I recall it being an interesting, tense match early on. But Connors got stronger and Lendl started to fade which made the difference. But, this was something of a grudge match for Connors after that WCT Final....where Connors played dreadfully. I think Ivan was a slight favorite in this one, but after the 1st set, he did not sustain his play while Connors got a bit better (at least more aggressive). Was not clear to me what Ivan was trying to accomplish here by hanging back, given that Jimmy was not throwing all that many UEs off the ground. But, I always recall Lendl seeming uncomfortable on the grass somewhat, awkward, a step off in several cases, whereas you saw none of that w/Connors. I believe they played one other time on grass, at Queens ('83?) and Connors clocked him pretty badly. I don't think there is video of that one? Surface really made a big difference with these two.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
There is a typo in first line, it should be Wimbledon instead of us open
Thanks - corrected

Anyone know if it's online anywhere? Would not mind watching it again after ~40yrs
its up in 3 parts here - https://www.youtube.com/user/LendlTennis

No way I thought Connors s/v a third of the time. And no way 6 times on the 2nd serve.
Those were done as adjustments. Don't think he'd planned it out

First 2 sets... serve-volleys occasionally. Starts doing it more and more as he sees Lendl weakening... don't think he would have otherwise
The first 2nd serve-volley comes when he's down break point. He's picked up on Lendl gently chipping 2nd serve returns, so comes in and dispatches the volley

Despite all that... he hasn't done well serve-volleying, winning just 17/33 at 51.5%
By contrast, rallying to net, he's 39/54 at 72.2%

At the time, I viewed this strategy it as a combination of 2 things. His respect for Connors return, but also not wanting to give him a target. If you remember, and I think you did stats for this match, their last match was the WCT at Forest Hills, on hartru. Love and love he beat him with a ridiculous point differential.

Lendl hardly came in at all that match. Basically kept it in play, waited for Connors to miss or passed him or drew an error when Connors came in. Even though it was grass I don't think he wanted to give Connors a target, a way to end the point, by coming in. He was going to make Connors show that he could win the points without a target at net. And to Connors credit he did.

We weren't seeing every Lendl match then. Well, maybe HBO showed some of them, but I didn't always have that channel. Still, I saw a bunch of Lendl Wimbledon matches over the years and I don't ever recall s\v numbers nearly this low. IIRC, he s/v on every serve, both serves, against Mcenroe in 83.
I think for him, it was a question of his prospects serve-volleying vs chipping errors out of Connors' FH, and he went with the latter

It works, to a point. Connors' FH is very shakey against the little chips

He's not the only one to do this. Even McEnroe, in one his Queen's matches against Connors stayed back on a few 2nd serves and tried longline slicing to the FH
In '87 Queens, Becker did the same thing

In the last mentioned, Becker would probably have been better off doing it more. Connors returned and passed superbly in that match, but was very vulnerable on the low FH. 2-3 regulation slices is all it took to get errors out of him

When John McEnroe and Boris Becker - 2 quintessential 100% serve-volleyers on grass - go in for that kind of thing, can't blame 1984 Ivan Lendl for giving it a whirl

By the time he turns to serve-volleying near end of third set, he's obviously tired and likely just doesn't have the steam to go a few rounds from the back

My memory was that Lendl didn't play that well. Not terribly, certainly not as well as in 83 against Mcenroe, IMO. And Connors very good, not great. Let me put it this way. I didn't see this match and think, he's got a real chance against Mcenroe
Watching this match, my feeling was a top form John McEnroe would have as good a chance of beating them both together (assuming he could use the doubles court) as either of them would beating Mac 1 on 1 on this grass

I'm not joking
----

Something I've keyed in on this match-up is the extent to which Connors seems to fancy his chances going BH cc with Lendl's FH. And he usually gets the better of it

In later years, that could be because its preferable from his point of view to Lendl chipping BHs to his FH, but in the 2 US Open finals, he goes right into it

1 of the first threads I started here concerned Connors BH - who I'd seen next to nothing off - and wondering how a lefty with a great BH could possibly handle right handers' FH

I remember Jrep commented to the effect of ask Lendl about Connors' BH

Here we are now, full circle:)

Another oddity to me is the difference in the matches between Borg/Lendl, two similar players vs Connors and McEnroe

Connors Borg matches are fun and lively
Connors Lendl is some of the ugliest tennis you'll see

Mac Borg matches are a bit disappointing of quality (particularly in light of how highly they're spoken of), but highly competitive
Mac Lendl matches feature much better play, but are usually one sided whichever way it goes
 

NAS

Hall of Fame
They look so good, nowadays Wimbledon act like a dictator by saying wear complete white
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Watching this match, my feeling was a top form John McEnroe would have as good a chance of beating them both together (assuming he could use the doubles court) as either of them would beating Mac 1 on 1 on this grass

I'm not joking
----

Connors Borg matches are fun and lively
Connors Lendl is some of the ugliest tennis you'll see

Mac Borg matches are a bit disappointing of quality (particularly in light of how highly they're spoken of), but highly competitive
Mac Lendl matches feature much better play, but are usually one sided whichever way it goes
Mac vs. Ivan + Jimmy would have been a match I would have liked to see!...And, he probably would have won, serving the way he was. Made mincemeat of Connors in that final and I saw no reason for Ivan to do much better.

Your comment on the head to heads is true...I always enjoyed watching Borg-Connors....something of a chess match to watch, IMHO. Mac v. Lendl too, but agree on the one-sidedness of them. But, Connors v. Mac may have been the messiest, patchiest with momentum swings as well.
 
Mac vs. Ivan + Jimmy would have been a match I would have liked to see!...And, he probably would have won, serving the way he was. Made mincemeat of Connors in that final and I saw no reason for Ivan to do much better.

Your comment on the head to heads is true...I always enjoyed watching Borg-Connors....something of a chess match to watch, IMHO. Mac v. Lendl too, but agree on the one-sidedness of them. But, Connors v. Mac may have been the messiest, patchiest with momentum swings as well.
I think Lendl would have won more games than Connors through having a bigger serve, but I think it would have been a straightforward straight sets victory for Mac.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I think Lendl would have won more games than Connors through having a bigger serve, but I think it would have been a straightforward straight sets victory for Mac.
Nobody was beating Mac that day....perhaps the most impressive performance I've ever seen....surely others would agree.
And while Jimmy was not in his prime, he was the reigning USO champ, so not exactly chopped liver.
I was surprised Mac played so well after the FO letdown, but at Wimbledon, he was more in his element
This also wound up being Connors last GS final appearance, since within a a little over a year, Lendl would become ascendant.
Which was also mildly surprising, given Mac's level in '84 and some saw W results in '85 as a bit of an aberration (which proved to be untrue)
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
This game is the source of one of my favourite tennis photographs ever. It's just so unexpected.

"Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl, sharing a laugh together at the net."

Always liked this photo...while they were not friends by any stretch they could at least have a mutual chuckle.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Its a lovely picture

Though a nice moment, I think the pic caught the 2 at just right moment in looking like chums, a bit more than the incident in question

Connors is captured as he was - a fair reflection.
Lendl was more bemused and confused then he looks here - the pic got him at just the right moment

It was in first game of 4th set, Lendl was tiring and looking down, not moving well, coming in and serve-volleying in hurry to end points and not doing it particularly well. Connors had just a hit a BH cc winner out of the corner, with Lendl giving up on the shot, which he'd started doing a bit off

Right after the winner was called, Lendl looked confused and claimed he heard someone call the ball out. No one had. After querying with the chair, he strides to net asking Connors if he called Lendl's shot out while hitting the BH winner

Connors moves to net himself jocularly saying no he hadn't called the ball out. He's laughing and in friendly way

Connors grunted as he hit the winner, but he was doing that on most groundstrokes

My feeling was Lendl was playacting, that he'd just not chased the ball (pretty common at that stage in match), probably wouldn't have got it even if he had tried and this was just for crowds benefit

They meet at net. Connors is amused and laughing, like he looks in the pic.
Lendl is calm, a little confused looking and seemingly looking for answers about what he says he thought he heard... he's not sore and irritated as he tends to get when down, but he's not as affable as he looks in the pic either

...some saw (McEnroe's) W results in '85 as a bit of an aberration (which proved to be untrue)
That would have been my take too

Mac played fabulously in the hard courts leading into '85 US Open at Stratton Mountain and Montreal. Played a hell of a much against Wilander at the French too

His play looks in the same ball park as his '84 tennis. A bit more in hurry to get to net, not as aggressively strong in his groundstrokes, but completely in command and knowing just what he wants to do and then doing it with seeming ease

Getting rolled over by a huge server can happen on grass, but he looks good to stay at the top

That '85 US Open final is one of the clearest, changing-off-the-guard moments I've seen. Top match from Lendl, and biggest part of it is, like the Wimbledon loss to Curren, Mac's inability to handle the big first serve

Similar return-server dynamics in their '82 matches in US Open and Masters.... Lendl letting loose with huge serves, Mac just overwhelmed by it. In between that and the '85 match, Mac would mercilessly attack 2nd serve returns and Lendl took to easing off on big first serving to deny him the chance... hence, Mac able to return a watered down 1st serve with reasonable comfort (selectively even charging it)
 
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