Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs McEnroe, US Open final, 1985

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe 7-6(1) 6-3 6-4 in the final of the US Open, 1985 on hard court

The match was a repeat of the previous years final, which McEnroe had won in straight sets. It was just Lendl's second Slam title (from 8 finals) and turned out to be McEnroe's last final

McEnroe serve-volleyed on all his first serves - and most of his seconds

Lendl won 98 points, McEnroe 78

Serve Stats
Lendl....
- 1st serve percentage (51/88) 58%
- 1st serve points won (45/51) 88%
- 2nd serve points won (22/37) 59%
- Aces 4
- Double faults 4
- Unreturned serve percentage (29/88) 33%

McEnroe. ...
- 1st serve percentage (51/88) 58%
- 1st serve points won (38/51) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (19/37) 51%
- Aces 4
- Double faults 1
- Unreturned serve percentage (30/88) 34%

Serve Pattern
Lendl served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 11%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 11%


Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 57(24 FH, 33 BH), including 5 runaround (hereafter referred to as 'RA') FHs
- 6 winners (1 FH, 5 BH), the FH being a RA
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1BH)
- 23 Forced (17 FH, 6 BH), including 2 RA FHs
- Return Rate (57/87) 66%

McEnroe made...
- 55 (26 FH, 29 BH), including 2 RA FH and 15 chip-charges
- 2 winners (2 BH), 1 a chip-charge
- 25 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (7 FH, 4 BH), including 2 chip-charge attempts (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 14 Forced (7 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (55/84) 65%


Break Points
Lendl 3/7 (4 games)
McEnroe 1/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns)
Lendl 39 (13 FH, 13 BH, 7 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
McEnroe 15 (1 FH, 3 BH, 8 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

- For Lendl, 25/26 of his groundstrokes were passes. The exception was a put away BH at net

- he had 1 lob, a FH

- 1 BH winner clipped the net chord, without which, McEnroe appeared to have the ball covered

- most of the FHs were cc while the BHs were fairly balanced, with dtl forming the majority

- 4 volleys - 2 from each wing - were S/V points. 3 of these were 1st volleys, while one FHV was a second

- 1 FHV was a swinging one. He also struck a bold and powerful swinging BHV that forced an error from an at-net McEnroe

- McEnroe had 1 pass, a BH dtl return

- 1 BH was a firmly struck inside-out return that Lendl misjudged and played no shot to, though it was well within his reach

- 1 BH was played at net

- the FH was a perfectly placed dtl

- he had 5 1st volley S/V points (3 FHV, 2 BHV), one of the BHVs being a drop volley

- he had 2 2nd volley S/V points, both FHVS

- one non-S/V volley was a beautifully controlled stop FHV

- the OH was not a clean winner, I've included it as a judgement call


Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Lendl 29
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 22 Forced (9 FH, 13 BH)

McEnroe 29
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 22 Forced (2 FH, 11 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV)


Net Points & Serve-Volley
Lendl was 31/36 (86%) at net, including 14/17 total serve-volleying (14/15 off 1st serves, 0/2 off 2nd)

He was 17/19 on other approaches

McEnroe was 59/100 (59%) at net, including 48/69 serve-volleying (70%) - 34/47 off 1st serve and 14/22 off 2nd

He was 7/16 chip-charging and 4/15 on all other approaches

(Edit: Lendl's 'other approaches' corrected to 17/19, not 15/17 as originally posted)

Match Report
An outstanding performance from Ivan Lendl, though McEnroe looked clearly sluggish from as early as the 7th game of the match. The commentators noted that he'd scraped through a gruelling 5 setter with Mats Wilander the previous day, which may account for it

The first set featured a very high level of play, especially from McEnroe but starting with the tiebreaker, Lendl dominated the rest of the way

Mac started like a house on fire, winning 13 of the first 14 points. In fact, he hadn't lost a point on serve as he stepped up to serve for the first set at 5-3, while constantly pressuring Lendl on return with chip-charge returns and other approaches on his return games

That 5-3 game turned the match, completely against the run of play, Lendl broke to love. For once, the outcome can be attributed to both players. Lendl forced a pair of errors with excellent returns/passing shots, while Mac made a pair of unforced errors - one a particularly loose would-be approach shot

Lendl was excellent in the tie-break, hammering returns and quick to approach on his own service points. He took it 7-1

Mac started throwing tantrums early in the second set after going down a break. However, he sportingly granted Lendl an ace that had been called a fault

It's a testament to the value of taking the net that the last 2 sets featured just one break each. Having split the 68 points of the first set 34-34, Lendl towered ahead 64-44 in the next two sets

Generally Lendl served better (though Mac returned pretty poorly) and returned far better. You can see the unreturned serve count is all but identical (coincidentally, the first serve-in count actually is identical. So are the errors and my breakdown of their nature)... yet Mac's constant serve-volleying helped his count.

By contrast, Mac could barely touch Lendl's serve. Lendl won 26 consecutive 1st service points and 36 of the last 37

When forced to stay back, Mac looked all manners of out of his depth trading groundstrokes with the Czech, unlike in other matches between the two. Lendl fired strong off both wings - including on passing shots, which accounted for 25 of his winners (he had no baseline-to-baseline winners, while Mac had 1)

To cap the performance, Lendl was judicious in approaching and efficient at the net, winning 31/36 points there. While lacking Mac's feathery touch, his volleying technique was enough to satisfy the most exacting of critics and he put away a number of fine volley winners - more than Mac, in fact

In summary, a consummate showing from Lendl, an excellent first set from McEnroe, who was otherwise sluggish
 
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KG1965

Legend
Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe 7-6(1) 6-3 6-4 in the final of the US Open, 1985 on hard court

The match was a repeat of the previous years final, which McEnroe had won in straight sets (details of which you can find here https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1984-uso-final-mcenroe-lendl.210028/ ) . It was just Lendl's second Slam title (from 8 finals) and turned out to be McEnroe's last final

McEnroe serve-volleyed on all his first serves - and most of his seconds

Lendl won 98 points, McEnroe 78

Serve Stats
Lendl....
- 1st serve percentage (51/88) 58%
- 1st serve points won (45/51) 88%
- 2nd serve points won (22/37) 59%
- Aces 4
- Double faults 4
- Unreturned serve percentage (29/88) 33%

McEnroe. ...
- 1st serve percentage (51/88) 58%
- 1st serve points won (38/51) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (19/37) 51%
- Aces 4
- Double faults 1
- Unreturned serve percentage (30/88) 34%

Serve Pattern
Lendl served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 11%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 11%


Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 57(24 FH, 33 BH), including 5 runaround (hereafter referred to as 'RA') FHs
- 6 winners (1 FH, 5 BH), the FH being a RA
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1BH)
- 23 Forced (17 FH, 6 BH), including 2 RA FHs
- Return Rate (57/87) 66%

McEnroe made...
- 55 (26 FH, 29 BH), including 2 RA FH and 15 chip-charges
- 2 winners (2 BH), 1 a chip-charge
- 25 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (7 FH, 4 BH), including 2 chip-charge attempts (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 14 Forced (7 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (55/84) 65%


Break Points
Lendl 3/7 (4 games)
McEnroe 1/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns)
Lendl 39 (13 FH, 13 BH, 7 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
McEnroe 15 (1 FH, 3 BH, 8 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

- For Lendl, 25/26 of his groundstrokes were passes. The exception was a put away BH at net

- he had 1 lob, a FH

- 1 BH winner clipped the net chord, without which, McEnroe appeared to have the ball covered

- most of the FHs were cc while the BHs were fairly balanced, with dtl forming the majority

- 4 volleys - 2 from each wing - were S/V points. 3 of these were 1st volleys, while one FHV was a second

- 1 FHV was a swinging one. He also struck a bold and powerful swinging BHV that forced an error from an at-net McEnroe

- McEnroe had 1 pass, a BH dtl return

- 1 BH was a firmly struck inside-out return that Lendl misjudged and played no shot to, though it was well within his reach

- 1 BH was played at net

- the FH was a perfectly placed dtl

- he had 5 1st volley S/V points (3 FHV, 2 BHV), one of the BHVs being a drop volley

- he had 2 2nd volley S/V points, both FHVS

- one non-S/V volley was a beautifully controlled stop FHV

- the OH was not a clean winner, I've included it as a judgement call


Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Lendl 29
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 22 Forced (9 FH, 13 BH)

McEnroe 29
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 22 Forced (2 FH, 11 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV)


Net Points & Serve-Volley
Lendl was 31/36 (86%) at net, including 14/17 total serve-volleying (14/15 off 1st serves, 0/2 off 2nd)

He was 15/17 on other approaches

McEnroe was 59/100 (59%) at net, including 48/69 serve-volleying (70%) - 34/47 off 1st serve and 14/22 off 2nd

He was 7/16 chip-charging and 4/15 on all other approaches
Before doing an intervention on the stats I just want to contextualize the match.

After McEnroe's domination from 1981-84 (even if it is Jimbo's 1982), Lendl prepares to overtake.
Ivan dominates Mac but in the american summer tournaments it is McEnroe who destroys Ivan.

The three most relevant hc tournaments are
- Cincy
- Canada
- Stratton Mountain (which replaced North Conway).

In Cincy the two do not participate but in the other two arrive in the final and Mac beats Lendl in both finals:
- 7-6 6-2 at Stratton M.
- 7-5 6-3 in Montreal.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Nice job on the stats. Thanks for posting these.

There were a couple of stats listed above that really impressed me.

1. Lendl had a 39-15 edge in winners. Lendl was a human backboard in this match.

2. Lendl reeled off 26 straight 1st serve points and 36 of the last 37. That is incredible

3. Lendl won 31/36 points at the net. That is 12 per set!

4. Lendl serve and volleyed 17 times and won 14 points. What a testament to this guy’s versatility.

This was truly a sad day for us Americans. It was bad enough that Lendl shredded #4 Connors in straight sets to get to this final. But this match was truly the changing of the guard. World #1 Mac was the defending USO champ. He had won 4 of the last 6 USO titles. But in this match, Lendl crushed him and took over the #1 spot and stayed there for a then-record 170 consecutive weeks. Only Federer had a streak that lasted longer.

I hated Lendl back then. And this match hurt even more than the 1984 FO final. But looking back, Lendl peaked incredibly high during a very tough era.

And how about this stat? From 11/5/1984 until the end of the 1987 season, Lendl put up an outrageous 36-7 record against the top 5. All but 5 of those matches were against Hall of Famers that ended up with at least 6 career slam titles.
 

KG1965

Legend
An outstanding performance from Ivan Lendl, though McEnroe looked clearly sluggish from as early as the 7th game of the match. The commentators noted that he'd scraped through a gruelling 5 setter with Mats Wilander the previous day, which may account for it
I do not want to take any credit to Ivan the terrible, but maybe that's a key. A.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I do not want to take any credit to Ivan the terrible, but maybe that's a key. A.
As a Mac fan, I wish that was the reason. But unfortunately, I highly doubt it. After the blowout at the 1985 USO, Lendl continued to own McEnroe. He won 9 the next 10 matches against Mac, which includes 8 straight set blowouts.

It is interesting that McEnroe was 3-1 vs Borg in slam matches, yet only 3-7 vs Lendl. Lendl won 5 of those slam matches against McEnroe in straight sets. And these 2 were only a year apart in age.

I think that Mac’s 1984 season is the greatest season ever. But I think that Lendl was undoubted the best player of the 1980s and a top 5 player in history, when factoring in his competition.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
As a Mac fan, I wish that was the reason. But unfortunately, I highly doubt it. After the blowout at the 1985 USO, Lendl continued to own McEnroe. He won 9 the next 10 matches against Mac, which includes 8 straight set blowouts.

It is interesting that McEnroe was 3-1 vs Borg in slam matches, yet only 3-7 vs Lendl. Lendl won 5 of those slam matches against McEnroe in straight sets. And these 2 were only a year apart in age.

I think that Mac’s 1984 season is the greatest season ever. But I think that Lendl was undoubted the best player of the 1980s and a top 5 player in history, when factoring in his competition.
Mac from 79-85 and Mac from later on are significantly different. (prime and out of prime)
As pointed out above, Mac had beaten Lendl in straight sets at Stratton and Montreal (outdoor hard) - similar conditions to USO.
So yeah, the semi vs Wilander was definitely a factor.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Regarding McEnroe's semi being a factor in his performance in the final... I imagine it was. All I can report with confidence is that he was sucking air mid-way through the first set, while he was still up a break and in the drivers seat

Excuse-making is so common that one feels bad noting something like that, for fear of it being labeled excuse making or worse yet, feeding those who will. I think it was worth noting... but absolutely, full credit to the winner.

Its just one of those things, it happens in sports. If I had to point a finger at anyone, I'd point to McEnroe not being as fit as he could be. Grueling semi or not... to look visibly tired as early as he did speaks to relatively poor fitness. If that's the case, basically, he was begging for something like this to happen. That's on him. And of course, nothing was stopping him from blowing Wilander away in 3 sets if he was good enough

Borg weathered many a tough five set semi without any apparent ill effects in the final... he prepared his body for that type of thing. I don't think Mac did. That's on him

I've read that Lendl had his share of fitness related issues that possibly played in a role in big losses - FO 81, USO 83... and its commonly said that he raised the bar for taking fitness seriously. Mac apparently didn't. That's on him

The thing is, when Mac plays well, he looks well nigh unbeatable and beautiful in his sustained, controlled aggression. So when his level drops a bit and someone tops him, there's a tendency to think, "Well, if Mac had played like he was capable..."

At the top, that's not good enough. You have to be capable of playing as well as you're capable (if that makes sense) when the stakes are high and Mac wasn't this day

Another, less contentious way of looking at it is of Lendl weathering the storm effectively. Watching Mac in the first set, I would have thought, "he can't possibly keep this up" (I watched knowing the outcome, of course), regardless of fitness. Lendl hung tough through that phase - and that's all to his credit. Made some wonderful passes - including down set point with Mac chip-charging a second serve to take the net - amidst the flurry of Mac aces, unreturned serves, volleys, approaches, aggressive returning etc.

I got the sense Lendl had seen it all as far as McEnroe went... he didn't look remotely put out as McEnroe was breezing through the first set or when the inevitable tantrums came. He just kept doing his own thing. Think the beatings he'd been taking from McEnroe had toughened him up

The primary take away from the match was Lendl was very impressive - serve, return, groundstrokes, passes, volleys, demonstrated mental strength, clutch play... you name it
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
I'm not taking anything away from Lendl, but calling Mac unfit for not recovering well enough to be at his best a mere 24 hours later after playing a rough five setter in record heat( I don't think there has been a hotter day for the mens sf in the history of the USO) is a bit much. The situation is so unique, it's hard to name other players who had to do something like it(certainly no one on tour today. Posters today even make a big deal when player A gets 2 days off while player B gets 'only' one day before AO semis! Think about how much crazier this situation is. And this wasn't even a night final, so recovery time was basically nill)
Mac was forced to do amazing things in Davis cup often, playing best of 5 singles and doubles over 3 days. look at some of the ties and the scores, and surfaces. Don't see how that was possible without him
being pretty fit.

As far as Lendl's fitness, the year before Mac was saying he felt pretty bad prior to the final, until he looked over and saw that Lendl couldn't even touch his toes. He figured he could suck it up and go all out for 2 hours before he hit the wall and that may be enough. He won that final basically on fumes. As far as 1985 goes, maybe Mac's age was a factor. I know that sounds funny today, but 26 wasn't what 26 is today, and Mac had already played a ton of tennis in his career. Doing the back to back semis and final again and again got tougher as you got older. And Lendl's semi was vs a clearly hobbled Connors, he didn't have to do much to win.

Btw there have been some other threads on this match over the years, if you want to take a look.
 
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KG1965

Legend
As a Mac fan, I wish that was the reason. But unfortunately, I highly doubt it. After the blowout at the 1985 USO, Lendl continued to own McEnroe. He won 9 the next 10 matches against Mac, which includes 8 straight set blowouts.

It is interesting that McEnroe was 3-1 vs Borg in slam matches, yet only 3-7 vs Lendl. Lendl won 5 of those slam matches against McEnroe in straight sets. And these 2 were only a year apart in age.

I think that Mac’s 1984 season is the greatest season ever. But I think that Lendl was undoubted the best player of the 1980s and a top 5 player in history, when factoring in his competition.
Mac suffered the power of Lendl but until 1985 the american was ahead in h2h.
However I do not agree... Lendl was very strong but Mac IMHO was greater.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
But this match was truly the changing of the guard. World #1 Mac was the defending USO champ. He had won 4 of the last 6 USO titles. But in this match, Lendl crushed him and took over the #1 spot and stayed there for a then-record 170 consecutive weeks. Only Federer had a streak that lasted longer....

I think that Mac’s 1984 season is the greatest season ever. But I think that Lendl was undoubted the best player of the 1980s and a top 5 player in history, when factoring in his competition.
Its great to get the perspective of someone who followed the tennis in real time... my feeling is, however much history one reads up on, one can't get the kind of sense of what was happening at the time as a sound observer who followed in real time

I've seen a few commonly acknowledged realities about periods I followed in real time that I disagree with, as to be particularly mindful of this

The commonly acknowledged understanding of Mac is he was somewhat burnt out, took time off and was never the same player again. Like Borg to an extent, only he didn't drop out altogether

And so, Lendl took over from him kind of by default... basically, Mac declined, allowing Lendl to take over

You seem to not see it this way... could you talk a bit more about that?

I have mixed feelings about this... Mac at his best seems to be from another planet, superior to anyone. He just does what he wants when he wants and it all seems to come off. But I don't know if its realistic to expect to be able to keep that up for any length of time.

Lendl's solidity (mind and game both) and the versatility you noted are also very impressive... but more than that, there's seems to me to have been an unspoken promise of more to come. He wasn't going to burn out, he had his head screwed on tight

I agree Lendl was greater, I suspect Mac reached greater levels of play

It is interesting that McEnroe was 3-1 vs Borg in slam matches, yet only 3-7 vs Lendl. Lendl won 5 of those slam matches against McEnroe in straight sets. And these 2 were only a year apart in age.
2 points of interest arising from this...

1) note that 3 of Lendl's wins were at the French... one imagines that Borg would have been heavily favoured over Mac too, had Mac been able to reach him there

2) is an implication about evolution of the game and its standards.

Taking commonly accepted understandings

- Borg and McEnroe roughly equal in 1980, 81
- Borg still prime/peak in 1980
- McEnroe 84-85 >> McEnroe 80/81

... it follows logically that McEnroe at his best > Borg at his

This is in line with something Wilander said... how he wasn't in Borg's league in winning the French in 1982, but thinking that his level of 1988 was greater than Borg. He thought this was natural

Mac suffered the power of Lendl but until 1985 the american was ahead in h2h.
The ups-&-downs of their rivalry are so strange

the up and coming Lendl winnings 7 in a row against the established Top Dog Mac (19/20 sets - all surfaces, all levels of competition)

then Top Dog Mac turning it around, winning 10/12... most of them in straights, and leading in the 2 he lost

and post 85, Top Dog Lendl thrashing a prematurely over the hill Mac to the end

1985 is probably the best, most competitive tennis these two played, which I guess makes this match the key one in their rivalry
 
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Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Its great to get the perspective of someone who followed the tennis in real time... my feeling is, however much history one reads up on, one can't get the kind of sense of what was happening at the time as a sound observer who followed in real time

I've seen a few commonly acknowledged realities about periods I followed in real time that I disagree with, as to be particularly mindful of this

The commonly acknowledged understanding of Mac is he was somewhat burnt out, took time off and was never the same player again. Like Borg to an extent, only he didn't drop out altogether

And so, Lendl took over from him kind of by default... basically, Mac declined, allowing Lendl to take over

You seem to not see it this way... could you talk a bit more about that?

I have mixed feelings about this... Mac at his best seems to be from another planet, superior to anyone. He just does what he wants when he wants and it all seems to come off. But I don't know if its realistic to expect to be able to keep that up for any length of time.

Lendl's solidity (mind and game both) and the versatility you noted are also very impressive... but more than that, there's seems to me to have been an unspoken promise of more to come. He wasn't going to burn out, he had his head screwed on tight

I agree Lendl was greater, I suspect Mac reached greater levels of play



2 points of interest arising from this...

1) note that 3 of Lendl's wins were at the French... one imagines that Borg would have been heavily favoured over Mac too, had Mac been able to reach him there

2) is an implication about evolution of the game and its standards.

Taking commonly accepted understandings

- Borg and McEnroe roughly equal in 1980, 81
- Borg still prime/peak in 1980
- McEnroe 84-85 >> McEnroe 80/81

... it follows logically that McEnroe at his best > Borg at his

This is in line with something Wilander said... how he wasn't in Borg's league in winning the French in 1982, but thinking that his level of 1988 was greater than Borg. He thought this was natural



The ups-&-downs of their rivalry are so strange

the up and coming Lendl winnings 7 in a row against the established Top Dog Mac (19/20 sets - all surfaces, all levels of competition)

then Top Dog Mac turning it around, winning 10/12... most of them in straights, and leading in the 2 he lost

and post 85, Top Dog Lendl thrashing a prematurely over the hill Mac to the end

1985 is probably the best, most competitive tennis these two played, which I guess makes this match the key one in their rivalry
Great post, amigo. I will add a couple of points regarding Lendl.

The first thing is that Lendl’s game evolved immensely. He eventually learned that he couldn’t slug Connors off the court. Once Lendl started mixing in a slice backhand with his top spin backhand, Connors was finished against him. Now granted, Connors was past his prime. But you don’t beat a guy like Connors 17 straight times without figuring him out. After all, Connors was still good enough at age 39 to make the USO semis. Lendl was slaughtering Connors far before that.

Secondly, Lendl in an interview said that he wasn’t in good enough shape in his early years. So by 1985, he not only had he fixed that, but he crushed everybody. I read an article years ago where Lendl celebrated a tennis victory by going on a 37 mile bike ride.

And lastly, Lendl changed his diet quite a bit too. His cholesterol was off the charts due to all of the eggs and red meat that he ate during his early years. But by 1984, he was eating the way a world class athlete should eat. His diet also contributed to his fatigue in his early years. He was feeling drained in the early 1980s. And he was so concerned, that he had doctors draw his blood to figure out what was wrong.

A foreshadowing of Lendl’s greatness is when he took Borg to 5 sets at the 1981 FO final. Lendl was only a scrawny 21 year old at that time that lacked endurance and ate like garbage. And he played a brutal 5 set match in the semis to get there. Lendl completely ran out of gas against Borg. And this was prime Borg, a guy that hadn’t dropped set until the final.

The level that Lendl reached by 1985 was 2-3 levels higher than 1981.

Would 1985 Lendl have beaten 1984 Mac? I don’t think so. I think 1984 Mac’s season is the best season ever. But Lendl from 1985-1987 was close. And in 1988, Lendl finally coughed up his #1 ranking due to several injuries that he suffered that year. He fractured his foot in the winter. He had a pulled quad muscle in spring, a pulled pec muscle in the Summer, and a torn shoulder in Fall. As a matter of fact, he had shoulder surgery to end the 1988 season. I.e, Lendl was injured in all of the slams that he played in 1988, which allowed Wilander to end his then-record streak at 170 weeks of being #1.

And I believe Lendl’s 36-7 vs the top 5 is the best ever run like that.

Lendl is a top 5 guy for me.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
2) is an implication about evolution of the game and its standards.

Taking commonly accepted understandings

- Borg and McEnroe roughly equal in 1980, 81
- Borg still prime/peak in 1980
- McEnroe 84-85 >> McEnroe 80/81

... it follows logically that McEnroe at his best > Borg at his
mac in 80/81 > mac in 83/85. (83 is closer, but still, I think 80/81 mac was better)
only mac 84 is better than mac in 80/81.

as far as their bests go, I'd say Borg very clearly on clay - red and har tru.
Mac marginally on grass, Mac by a little more on indoor/carpet (must be noted though that Borg did beat him at the Masters in 79 and 80) and Mac clearly on outdoor HC.


This is in line with something Wilander said... how he wasn't in Borg's league in winning the French in 1982, but thinking that his level of 1988 was greater than Borg. He thought this was natural
err, what ?
 

KG1965

Legend
- Borg and McEnroe roughly equal in 1980, 81
- Borg still prime/peak in 1980
- McEnroe 84-85 >> McEnroe 80/81

... it follows logically that McEnroe at his best > Borg at his
IMHO
Borg and McEnroe roughly equal in 1980, 81 ..I agree, .. with surpass;)
McEnroe 84 >> 85 (82-3 v 72-9)
 

KG1965

Legend
Great post, amigo. I will add a couple of points regarding Lendl.

The first thing is that Lendl’s game evolved immensely. He eventually learned that he couldn’t slug Connors off the court. Once Lendl started mixing in a slice backhand with his top spin backhand, Connors was finished against him. Now granted, Connors was past his prime. But you don’t beat a guy like Connors 17 straight times without figuring him out. After all, Connors was still good enough at age 39 to make the USO semis. Lendl was slaughtering Connors far before that.

Secondly, Lendl in an interview said that he wasn’t in good enough shape in his early years. So by 1985, he not only had he fixed that, but he crushed everybody. I read an article years ago where Lendl celebrated a tennis victory by going on a 37 mile bike ride.

And lastly, Lendl changed his diet quite a bit too. His cholesterol was off the charts due to all of the eggs and red meat that he ate during his early years. But by 1984, he was eating the way a world class athlete should eat. His diet also contributed to his fatigue in his early years. He was feeling drained in the early 1980s. And he was so concerned, that he had doctors draw his blood to figure out what was wrong.

A foreshadowing of Lendl’s greatness is when he took Borg to 5 sets at the 1981 FO final. Lendl was only a scrawny 21 year old at that time that lacked endurance and ate like garbage. And he played a brutal 5 set match in the semis to get there. Lendl completely ran out of gas against Borg. And this was prime Borg, a guy that hadn’t dropped set until the final.

The level that Lendl reached by 1985 was 2-3 levels higher than 1981.

Would 1985 Lendl have beaten 1984 Mac? I don’t think so. I think 1984 Mac’s season is the best season ever. But Lendl from 1985-1987 was close. And in 1988, Lendl finally coughed up his #1 ranking due to several injuries that he suffered that year. He fractured his foot in the winter. He had a pulled quad muscle in spring, a pulled pec muscle in the Summer, and a torn shoulder in Fall. As a matter of fact, he had shoulder surgery to end the 1988 season. I.e, Lendl was injured in all of the slams that he played in 1988, which allowed Wilander to end his then-record streak at 170 weeks of being #1.

And I believe Lendl’s 36-7 vs the top 5 is the best ever run like that.

Lendl is a top 5 guy for me.
I do not agree on Ivan top 5 but I like this post.
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
Great post, amigo. I will add a couple of points regarding Lendl.

The first thing is that Lendl’s game evolved immensely. He eventually learned that he couldn’t slug Connors off the court. Once Lendl started mixing in a slice backhand with his top spin backhand, Connors was finished against him. Now granted, Connors was past his prime. But you don’t beat a guy like Connors 17 straight times without figuring him out. After all, Connors was still good enough at age 39 to make the USO semis. Lendl was slaughtering Connors far before that.

Secondly, Lendl in an interview said that he wasn’t in good enough shape in his early years. So by 1985, he not only had he fixed that, but he crushed everybody. I read an article years ago where Lendl celebrated a tennis victory by going on a 37 mile bike ride.

And lastly, Lendl changed his diet quite a bit too. His cholesterol was off the charts due to all of the eggs and red meat that he ate during his early years. But by 1984, he was eating the way a world class athlete should eat. His diet also contributed to his fatigue in his early years. He was feeling drained in the early 1980s. And he was so concerned, that he had doctors draw his blood to figure out what was wrong.

A foreshadowing of Lendl’s greatness is when he took Borg to 5 sets at the 1981 FO final. Lendl was only a scrawny 21 year old at that time that lacked endurance and ate like garbage. And he played a brutal 5 set match in the semis to get there. Lendl completely ran out of gas against Borg. And this was prime Borg, a guy that hadn’t dropped set until the final.

The level that Lendl reached by 1985 was 2-3 levels higher than 1981.

Would 1985 Lendl have beaten 1984 Mac? I don’t think so. I think 1984 Mac’s season is the best season ever. But Lendl from 1985-1987 was close. And in 1988, Lendl finally coughed up his #1 ranking due to several injuries that he suffered that year. He fractured his foot in the winter. He had a pulled quad muscle in spring, a pulled pec muscle in the Summer, and a torn shoulder in Fall. As a matter of fact, he had shoulder surgery to end the 1988 season. I.e, Lendl was injured in all of the slams that he played in 1988, which allowed Wilander to end his then-record streak at 170 weeks of being #1.

And I believe Lendl’s 36-7 vs the top 5 is the best ever run like that.

Lendl is a top 5 guy for me.
Lendl’s very underrated but to be fair to Borg in 1981 in the French final, I believe he had an injury.

Lendl used a slice backhand and looping topspin forehands with little pace against Connors. Lendl did comment that Connors had to play defensively against shots he would have attacked in the past. The matchup of the two was always fascinating. If both played at their best there was little to choose between them.

Lendl was a great ball striker. People have compared him to Don Budge in that way.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Before doing an intervention on the stats I just want to contextualize the match.

After McEnroe's domination from 1981-84 (even if it is Jimbo's 1982), Lendl prepares to overtake.
Ivan dominates Mac but in the american summer tournaments it is McEnroe who destroys Ivan.

The three most relevant hc tournaments are
- Cincy
- Canada
- Stratton Mountain (which replaced North Conway).

In Cincy the two do not participate but in the other two arrive in the final and Mac beats Lendl in both finals:
- 7-6 6-2 at Stratton M.
- 7-5 6-3 in Montreal.
I still felt Mac was the favorite in this match. If not for the tough semi w/Wilander, he might've won. Whereas Lendl had an easy semi over a hobbled Connors. Ivan should've sent half of the check to Mats...

But, it's worth remembering that Mac was very up and down vs. Ivan in his career. When Mac was beating Borg and Connors, he was still getting pounded by Lendl in the early 80's. Lendl was hitting right thru Mac (it was JC who he struggled with because that strategy backfired on him). I seem to recall that Mac got some advice (from Tony Trabert?) on how to better attack Lendl and that made a difference in their later matches. Mac started to beat Ivan much more consistently.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Lendl’s very underrated but to be fair to Borg in 1981 in the French final, I believe he had an injury.

Lendl used a slice backhand and looping topspin forehands with little pace against Connors. Lendl did comment that Connors had to play defensively against shots he would have attacked in the past. The matchup of the two was always fascinating. If both played at their best there was little to choose between them.

Lendl was a great ball striker. People have compared him to Don Budge in that way.
Lendl became a smarter player, particularly against JC. But, the two of them were pretty evenly matched up until '84 or so. There were some close ones in the mix, but Lendl was too strong in the mid to late 80's. Giving JC little to no pace was key. Younger guys often weren't so bright. Aside from Agassi in the late 80's, not too many guys were going to simply outhit JC on a fast hard court surface. He ate up the pace and spit it back. '89 USO qtrs. is a fun one to watch....some real screaming shots...
 

KG1965

Legend
I still felt Mac was the favorite in this match. If not for the tough semi w/Wilander, he might've won. Whereas Lendl had an easy semi over a hobbled Connors. Ivan should've sent half of the check to Mats...

But, it's worth remembering that Mac was very up and down vs. Ivan in his career. When Mac was beating Borg and Connors, he was still getting pounded by Lendl in the early 80's. Lendl was hitting right thru Mac (it was JC who he struggled with because that strategy backfired on him). I seem to recall that Mac got some advice (from Tony Trabert?) on how to better attack Lendl and that made a difference in their later matches. Mac started to beat Ivan much more consistently.
jrepac you are very prepared and you have a good memory of the period from 1975 onwards.
I do not see you participate in the threads related to the pre-1975 period. I'm curious .. why? Are not you interested in black and white tennis?
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
jrepac you are very prepared and you have a good memory of the period from 1975 onwards.
I do not see you participate in the threads related to the pre-1975 period. I'm curious .. why? Are not you interested in black and white tennis?
That was a little too early for me....I didn't start following the game actively until 1980 or so....;)
 

KG1965

Legend
That was a little too early for me....I didn't start following the game actively until 1980 or so....;)
When one is prepared, he can write anything he wants.
When one has seen and judged Vilas & McEnroe, Geurlaitis & Lendl, Noah & Borg, Connors & Becker ... it is as if he had seen half the history of tennis! .. and can judge what he wants.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
This is in line with something Wilander said... how he wasn't in Borg's league in winning the French in 1982, but thinking that his level of 1988 was greater than Borg. He thought this was natural
err, what ?
Wilander was unequivocal in expressing that Bjorn Borg was far better than him on clay in 1982 (the year Wilander won the French for the first time as an unknown 17 year old and Borg was MIA)... said he couldn't take a set of Borg in practice, said (tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure) Borg probably felt sorry for him and gave a few games

He never changed that tune but in later years, he did add that by 1988, he was playing better than Borg ever had on clay... and explained that he thought the game evolved every 5-7 years, the general playing level always tending to go up

I think he might have added that if Borg had continued playing, then he'd have been part of the upward-moving trend, but comparing Borg's early 80s level to the top level of the late 80s, the late 80s was just higher


I seem to recall that Mac got some advice (from Tony Trabert?) on how to better attack Lendl and that made a difference in their later matches
It was was Don Budge, I believe

Trabert as his Davis Cup coach would no doubt have had his say too... it was Trabert who advised Mac to hit body serves to guys looking to attack the second serve

Lendl for his part had Tony Roche in his corner. Commentators in this match talked a bit about what Tony had had brought to the table for Lendl... mentioned that they'd been working on the volley - and Lendl's volleying in this match was textbook

---

About Lendl generally, its his versatility I'm most struck by

I've seen him moonballing and I've seen him firing rifle shot groundstrokes

I've seen him hugging the baseline for dear life and I've seen him volleying as naturally as you'd like.

I've seen him rolling in serves and I've seen him blasting down un-returnable serves

I've seen him ripping returns and I've seen him blocking/guiding them away

About Mac, its his attacking instincts and ability to work his way to net I'm struck by (taking as a given the superb net play itself )

I agree McEnroe 84 better than Lendl... but have reservations about how sustainable that 84 level was. Not having followed tennis at the time, I'd be particularly keen to get the take of those who did

We see a great player at his peak playing a great match... its flawless stuff, be it Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Agassi or the modern guys. But we also understand that that's the peak of the peak, they don't play like this everyday and no one can keep playing at this level everyday.

From what I've read (and little I've seen), it seems Mac virtually had a whole year of playing like that... but was it -

a) sustainable?
b) perceived as being sustainable?

Reducing the scale from a whole year to 1 set (completely ridiculous of course, but just a way of explaining my reasoning)... in this match, I saw Mac running wild in the first set and thought he can't possibly keep this up. Lendl's high level play by contrast, I don't have the same reservations about

Its nowhere near as brilliant or flashy as Mac... but there's a stable solidity about it that would have made me think he was capable of maintaining that kind of level. Keep in mind, Lendl was brilliant in this match. I don't think he can play this well everyday, but I would have thought he can continue succeeding in this vein... more so than Mac
 
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abmk

Bionic Poster
Wilander was unequivocal in expressing that Bjorn Borg was far better than him on clay in 1982 (the year Wilander won the French for the first time as an unknown 17 year old and Borg was MIA)... said he couldn't take a set of Borg in practice, said (tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure) Borg probably felt sorry for him and gave a few games

He never changed that tune but in later years, he did add that by 1988, he was playing better than Borg ever had on clay... and explained that he thought the game evolved every 5-7 years, the general playing level always tending to go up

I think he might have added that if Borg had continued playing, then he'd have been part of the upward-moving trend, but comparing Borg's early 80s level to the top level of the late 80s, the late 80s was just higher
yeah, I know the former part. I was asking about the latter one.
Wilander can be delusional, but do you have a link for the latter part (88) ?

He was saying Djokovic's level on clay was the highest ever in RG 2015 some time before the final. Then Djoko lost to Stan in the final. There are very few times when I've laughed harder at a statement from a former pro. :D
 
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WCT

Semi-Pro
Another one I got wrong. I really thought Mcenroe would win. IIRC, he beat Lendl in Canada and Stratton Mountain leading up to the USO. Same with Wimbledon. When Lendl and Mcenroe were knocked out, I would have bet that Connors was going to win the title. 0 for 2.

Very impressive net stats by Lendl here. I didn't remember that.
Haven't watched the match since I saw it live, though.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
yeah, I know the former part. I was asking about the latter one.
Wilander is delusional, but do you have a link for the latter part (88) ?
From an old thread -

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/bjorn-borg-versus-mats-wilander.520615/page-2

The relevant post -

Wilander told me the same thing {Waspsting note: referring to Wilander saying he couldn't take a set of Borg in practice in 1982}. But I asked him how '88 Wilander would do against Borg. His respond was he would beat Borg. He elaborated by saying '88 Mats was miles a head of '82 Mats and it "wasn't even close." Also, he said that every 6-8 years the game moves forward. He could only judge Borg's game with the wood racquet, that said '88 Mats would beat prime Borg. Mats made sure to let me know that he doesn't think historically he was a better player then Borg or guys like Laver but the level of tennis just continues to increase...
Regarding Wilander's more out there assessments.... there are a few old pros I suspect are goofing around, hyping and/or stirring the pot (as opposed to giving their honest take on matters) and Wilander is the one I'm most confident about. I doubt he believes half the things he says
 

Drob

Professional
Nice job on the stats. Thanks for posting these.

There were a couple of stats listed above that really impressed me.

1. Lendl had a 39-15 edge in winners. Lendl was a human backboard in this match.

2. Lendl reeled off 26 straight 1st serve points and 36 of the last 37. That is incredible

3. Lendl won 31/36 points at the net. That is 12 per set!

4. Lendl serve and volleyed 17 times and won 14 points. What a testament to this guy’s versatility.

This was truly a sad day for us Americans. It was bad enough that Lendl shredded #4 Connors in straight sets to get to this final. But this match was truly the changing of the guard. World #1 Mac was the defending USO champ. He had won 4 of the last 6 USO titles. But in this match, Lendl crushed him and took over the #1 spot and stayed there for a then-record 170 consecutive weeks. Only Federer had a streak that lasted longer.

I hated Lendl back then. And this match hurt even more than the 1984 FO final. But looking back, Lendl peaked incredibly high during a very tough era.

And how about this stat? From 11/5/1984 until the end of the 1987 season, Lendl put up an outrageous 36-7 record against the top 5. All but 5 of those matches were against Hall of Famers that ended up with at least 6 career slam titles.

Dear Pheasant:

What is your source for the 36-7 record? Many thanks.
 

KG1965

Legend
I have always found the result of the Flushing Meadows 1985 final incomprehensible because Lendl played well that year and perhaps proved to be the best but John was very fit that summer.
On both Stratton Mt. and Montreal he walked over Ivan.
These Waspsting stats allow us to understand which are the areas where the American worsened his performance (or improved Ivan compared to the two American stages prior to USO).

Serve Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl....
- Unreturned serve percentage (29/88) 33%
McEnroe. ...
- Unreturned serve percentage (30/88) 34%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/51) 43%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/66) 21%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/68) 47%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/68) 38%

Return Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl
- Return Rate (57/87) 66%
McEnroe
- Return Rate (55/84) 65%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (47/61) 77%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (29/51) 57%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (36/62) 58%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (33/65) 51%

Winners (including returns) US OPEN 85
Lendl 39
McEnroe 15
Winners
(including returns, excluding serves) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 19
Winners (including returns, excluding serves) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 12

Errors (excluding returns and serves) US OPEN 85
Lendl 29
McEnroe 29
Errors (excluding serves and returns) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 17
Lendl 24
Errors (excluding serves and returns) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 20
Lendl 22

McEnroe at net
59/100 (59%) US OPEN 85
37/54 (69%) STRATTON 85
43/62 (69%) MONTREAL 85
 

KG1965

Legend
I have always found the result of the Flushing Meadows 1985 final incomprehensible because Lendl played well that year and perhaps proved to be the best but John was very fit that summer.
On both Stratton Mt. and Montreal he walked over Ivan.
These Waspsting stats allow us to understand which are the areas where the American worsened his performance (or improved Ivan compared to the two American stages prior to USO).

Serve Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl....
- Unreturned serve percentage (29/88) 33%
McEnroe. ...
- Unreturned serve percentage (30/88) 34%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/51) 43%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/66) 21%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/68) 47%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/68) 38%

Return Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl
- Return Rate (57/87) 66%
McEnroe
- Return Rate (55/84) 65%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (47/61) 77%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (29/51) 57%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (36/62) 58%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (33/65) 51%

Winners (including returns) US OPEN 85
Lendl 39
McEnroe 15
Winners
(including returns, excluding serves) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 19
Winners (including returns, excluding serves) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 12

Errors (excluding returns and serves) US OPEN 85
Lendl 29
McEnroe 29
Errors (excluding serves and returns) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 17
Lendl 24
Errors (excluding serves and returns) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 20
Lendl 22

McEnroe at net
59/100 (59%) US OPEN 85
37/54 (69%) STRATTON 85
43/62 (69%) MONTREAL 85
Some things are clear:

1) Lendl had a great serve but McEnroe'serve was from another category. The problem is that the gap between the two serves in the two tournaments prior to the US Open is cleared in NY.

2) The winners of the two champions resemble each other in Stratton and Montreal, in NY the difference is embarrassing, McEnroe makes the same winners with one more set, Lendl is explosive. On errors there are no big differences between the three matches.

3) McEnroe at net's performance is impressive in Stratton and Montreal (considering Ivan's passing-shot), but to NY loses 10 percentage points.

We will never understand what happened to Mc in NY, for sure Lendl in that final had a stratospheric match.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
I have always found the result of the Flushing Meadows 1985 final incomprehensible because Lendl played well that year and perhaps proved to be the best but John was very fit that summer.
On both Stratton Mt. and Montreal he walked over Ivan.
These Waspsting stats allow us to understand which are the areas where the American worsened his performance (or improved Ivan compared to the two American stages prior to USO).

Serve Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl....
- Unreturned serve percentage (29/88) 33%
McEnroe. ...
- Unreturned serve percentage (30/88) 34%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/51) 43%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/66) 21%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/68) 47%
Lendl...
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/68) 38%

Return Stats
US OPEN 85
Lendl
- Return Rate (57/87) 66%
McEnroe
- Return Rate (55/84) 65%

STRATTON MOUNTAIN 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (47/61) 77%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (29/51) 57%

MONTREAL 85
McEnroe made...
- Return Rate (36/62) 58%
Lendl made...
- Return Rate (33/65) 51%

Winners (including returns) US OPEN 85
Lendl 39
McEnroe 15
Winners
(including returns, excluding serves) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 19
Winners (including returns, excluding serves) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 15
Lendl 12

Errors (excluding returns and serves) US OPEN 85
Lendl 29
McEnroe 29
Errors (excluding serves and returns) STRATTON 85
McEnroe 17
Lendl 24
Errors (excluding serves and returns) MONTREAL 85
McEnroe 20
Lendl 22

McEnroe at net
59/100 (59%) US OPEN 85
37/54 (69%) STRATTON 85
43/62 (69%) MONTREAL 85
Your posted reminded me of the first matches I statt-ed

You'd comment - and everytime, you'd key in on the critical stats. I remember thinking, I should do that in my report

here we are, 300 odd matches later... and you're still better than me at it:)

An oddity I've found in Lendl-Mac matches is how often the errors - both total and broken down by forced/unforced - are similar. Seeing how differently they play, it is unexpected - but very common

I suppose its a sign of how well Mac volleys. With Mac at net, its hard for Lendl to make a UE, but I hand out volleying UEs readily

So, Mac at net vs Lendl on pass.... one would expect Lendl to have more forced errors, and Mac probably unforced

Only Mac rare makes volleying UEs (partially because Lendl hits tough passes regularly that draw FEs) and volleys a lot of winners

1) Lendl had a great serve but McEnroe'serve was from another category. The problem is that the gap between the two serves in the two tournaments prior to the US Open is cleared in NY.
Its been awhile since I've seen this match (and the Montreal one too), but that is my feeling was one of the biggest differences between NY and Montreal/Stratton Mountain.

Mac just seems overwhelmed by power of Lendl's first serve here. He coped fairly well in the 2 lead up matches

We will never understand what happened to Mc in NY, for sure Lendl in that final had a stratospheric match.
This match is one of most Rocky-movie like real things I've seen

Mac owned Lendl at Stratton and Montreal. Everyone seems to have picked him to win here

Mac owned Lendl in first set here. Was just brushing him aside. Set and break point in first set, second serve to BH, Mac chip-charges to net (I think this is the most important play in the match up)

And Lendl makes hte pass (odds would have been against it)

Lendl breaks - completely against run of play

Then Lendl dominates match. And rivalry. Forever

And that's not even an exaggerated description of what happened. Not a bad movie

Mac referred to this match when commentating for 2004 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. When Roddick was leading action by hitting big, he brought up being up against a guy who just hit everything big in this match. Said he didn't have the tools, the power off groundstrokes to cope with it (unlike Federer, according to him)
 
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bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
No one knew at the time, but it was the beginning of the end for McEnroe and the beginning of Lendl's best career phase
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
well maybe im mistaken if I'm the only one who "remembered" it... I thought they said toward the end he had a fractured foot but he didn't want anyone to know, I guess im wrong... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯...

I don't know why the momentum shifted so quickly in the lendl/Mac match... Maybe mac was just lucky to go up 5-2 so quickly in the first...
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
That 1985 USO final was a disappointment. Heading into that match, McEnroe was 61-5 and world #1. Lendl was 57-7 and still only had 1 slam title. As a matter of fact, Lendl was 1-6 in slam finals heading into this match. This tourney ignited Lendl. This USO tourney was the beginning of his incredible 31 match winning streak. That streak put Lendl at #1 for a 3 years straight until injuries and Wilander knocked him down to #2 for 20 weeks.

As the OP poster said, this match truly was the changing of the guard.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
That 1985 USO final was a disappointment. Heading into that match, McEnroe was 61-5 and world #1. Lendl was 57-7 and still only had 1 slam title. As a matter of fact, Lendl was 1-6 in slam finals heading into this match. This tourney ignited Lendl. This USO tourney was the beginning of his incredible 31 match winning streak. That streak put Lendl at #1 for a 3 years straight until injuries and Wilander knocked him down to #2 for 20 weeks.

As the OP poster said, this match truly was the changing of the guard.
I think the larger question is WFT happened to McEnroe after that.....lots of hypotheses, but we are talking in a matter of months, he ceded the top notch to Lendl, let's face it.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Late to the party, I know, but I just watched this match today and am amazed at how cleanly Lendl was striking the ball. I did watch the match live, but had forgotten. The pace of the ball coming off his racquet was so high. Yes, Mac set him up for some highlight reel stuff in this match, but wow... Which among today's players could do that with a racquet that's basically a woody? Zero. The guy was an absolute juggernaut from 1985-1987.
 
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