Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs Wilander, Masters final 1987

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat Mats Wilander 6-2 6-2 6-3 in the final of the Masters (Year End Championship/ World Tour Final) 1987 on carpet

It was Lendl's 5th and final Masters title and capped another highly dominant year

Lendl won 88 points, Wilander 62


Serve Stats
Lendl....
- 1st serve percentage (27/65) 42%
- 1st serve points won (24/27) 89%
- 2nd serve points won (20/38) 53%
- Aces 8, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/65) 28%

Wilander. ...
- 1st serve percentage (64/85) 75%
- 1st serve points won (30/64) 47%
- 2nd serve points won (11/21) 52%
- Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/85) 19%



Serve Pattern
Lendl served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 67%

Wilander served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 57%

Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 67 (31 FH, 36 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (67/83) 81%

Wilander made...
- 45 (18 FH, 27 BH), including 6 runaround FH and 2 chip-charges
- 7 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (45/63) 71%


Break Points
Lendl 8/12 (9 games)
Wilander 2/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Lendl 38 (17 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)
Wilander 11 (2 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)

Lendl had 19 passes (9 FH, 10 BH)

- the FH passes comprise (5 cc, 3 dtl, 1 lob), with 3 of the cc's being running shots

- BH passes comprise (2 cc, 6 dtl, 1 dtl/i-o, 1 i-o)

- the non-pass FHs include 1 shot at net, the sole return winner (inside-in) and a longline down the middle with Wilander pulled out of position

- 2 non-pass BHs are a drop shot and a shot at net

- 1 FHV is a swinging shot, and 1 a drop volley. 1 BHV is a sharp reflex volley played point blank with Wilander at the net

Wilander had 2 BH passes - a lob and a shot at net

- 2 drop volleys - 1 FHV, 1 BHV. It's not clear if the ball bounced twice before Lendl touched the latter, but I think so

- 1 FHV was a c/c return point


Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Lendl 33
- 16 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- 17 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index = 50

Wilander 30
- 16 Unforced (2 FH, 11 BH, 3 BHV)
- 14 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index = 46.3

[Note: The Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is a measure of how forceful the average UE was.

20 is minimum (defensive), 60 is maximum (aggressive). 40 is neutral

This version is made with the 6-4-2 index]

(Note 2: All half-volleys refer to such shots played at net)

Net Points & Serve-Volley

Lendl was 16/24 (67%) at net, including 1/2 serve-volleying - both first serve points

Wilander was 25/55 (45%) at net, including 8/21 (38%) serve-volleying - 7/19 (37%) off first serve, 1/2 off second second - and 2/2 chip-charge returning

He was 0/1 when forced back from net




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Match Report
Clinical from Lendl but disappointing from Wilander who just doesn't show up. Lendl breaks 8 times as Wilander holds 5 times, while the defending champion controls most of his service games comfortably

There are many aspects of Lendl's performance that stand out. "Measured" might be the best word to describe his showing

He returns effectively. Granted the Wilander serve doesn't look damaging, but I didn't think it was a dip-your-bread excercise either, the way Jimmy Connors' feels sometime. Furthermore, he follows it to net a fair amount (21 times - 19 off first serve)

Doesn't matter. Lendl gets it back without strain or undue power

We see the same thing on Lendl's passes, which he makes right, left and center all match of both wings. He doesn't exactly hit them gently, but it's precision of placement rather than power that catches the eye. It should be noted that Wilander covers the net and actually volleys well... the credit here goes to Lendl's passing shots

One senses that Lendl has the exact measurement of what's required of each shot - and executes accordingly, without being tempted to spectacularly go for more

From the baseline, inevitably there are who-blinks-first BH cc rallies and these are about even, with Lendl slicing a fair bit. On the FH, by contrast, the Czech tends to take command of the point and the Swede is pushed on the defensive. In this match anyway, his FH is all shield no sword

I thought Mats could have been more patient on the neutral rallies. The BH points didn't seem to be going anywhere in a hurray but Wilander tended to manufacture an approach than just keep going

He was also apt to passivity against the second serve. He returned almost every one of them without difficulty.... so why not go for a bit more when the rallying dynamics were going so against him?

The highlight for Mats was breaking Lendl with four successive winners - a FHV, an OH and 2 BHVs. ... surprising given he only hit 7 others in the whole match

Lendl returned and passed particularly well and was on top of the percentage play from the baseline. Always doing just enough, never getting carried away

All in all, a highly one sided encounter, measured and secure from Lendl, below par from Wilander
 
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KG1965

Legend
When I see Nadal playing in indoor tournaments, Mats comes to mind.
He has never managed to express himself adequately in indoor tournaments. It seemed a little uncomfortable.
A few months before Mats lost the final at Flushing from Lendl in a tight match.
 

KG1965

Legend
Wilander was 25/55 (45%) at net, including 8/21 (38%) serve-volleying - 7/19 (37%) off first serve, 1/2 off second second - and 2/2 chip-charge returning
:(:(:(
Mats had a remarkable volley, he was very fast towards the net but the shots of approach were not always at the top.
When you go to the net the effort is much greater than hitting from the bottom and you must have a realization percentage of 60% -70%.
Otherwise it is not worth going to the net.
Too much effort and a few achievements.
 

krosero

Legend
When I see Nadal playing in indoor tournaments, Mats comes to mind.
He has never managed to express himself adequately in indoor tournaments. It seemed a little uncomfortable.
A few months before Mats lost the final at Flushing from Lendl in a tight match.
Not a bad comparison, and the only impressive thing I think that Wilander ever did indoors was nearly beating McEnroe in their 6-hour Davis Cup match. Great performance from him but now it seems like an aberration against the rest of his indoor career.
 

krosero

Legend
Haven't seen this match myself. Lendl said it was the best match he'd played all year. Wilander surprisingly said he was not discouraged after the match, because of how many improvements he said he'd made recently to his game. He said it would be different if they met again on French clay or the Flushing cement.

Little trivia in the newspapers: in '87 Lendl and Wilander each lost only 1 match after winning the first set, Lendl to Edberg in Tokyo, and Wilander to Lendl at Flushing

Boxscore in the Tampa Tribune:



Per another report Lendl's edge in placement winners was 17-3 after one set, 32-8 after two, 45-15 for the match.
 

krosero

Legend
From The Journal News of White Plains:

Wilander said he gets consolation in the thought he will improve and Lendl cannot possibly do so. As he said, "Ivan's so good now I'm not sure he can play better."

But Lendl contends there are "millions of ways" to strengthen his game.

"I can learn new shots, learn ways of using the shots I have now, get stronger, quicker, more stamina," he said. "I'm not happy with my hamstrings . . . "​

Lendl mentioned again how he wanted to win all 4 Slams:

"But there are a million ways I can still improve and there are a lot of things I still want to do," said Lendl. "I want very much to win Wimbledon and the Australian Open because I think it's important to win all four Grand Slam titles in a career.

"I was disappointed with my loss in the Australian Open," said Lendl. "I did not take advantage of my opportunities. At Wimbledon, Cash was too good. So I must continue to try my best. I'm leaving for Australia to work with Tony [Roche]. He has some ideas to help my game. I was not joking, I really think I can improve."​
 

krosero

Legend
Wilander. ...
- 1st serve percentage (64/85) 75%
- 1st serve points won (30/64) 47%
- 2nd serve points won (11/21) 52%
- Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/85) 19%
Really no difference between his first and second serve, and doing poorly on both.

And under indoor conditions Lendl must have felt that he could get a really good read on Wilander's serve, to attack it.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
"I can learn new shots, learn ways of using the shots I have now, get stronger, quicker, more stamina," he said. "I'm not happy with my hamstrings . . . "
Can't believe I didn't mention that.... Lendl's hamstrings were terrible, just awful. Most noteworthy thing in his showing:)

I suppose he's not wrong about learning new shots... I doubt he 'learnt' the soft chip return later, but he certainly seemed to have honed it up for later grass campaigns

Lendl mentioned again how he wanted to win all 4 Slams.... "I want very much to win Wimbledon and the Australian Open because I think it's important to win all four Grand Slam titles in a career.
I should start taking notes on interesting things I hear on commentary from old matches that point at the values of the times.

Borg didn't seem to give two hoots about a Career Grand Slam. I don't think Mac did either. Was Lendl the first great player to think about this as a big goal?

I distinctly remember commentary from a match where two oldies talked about the "Grand Slam", and said it used to mean winning the four tournaments in a single year but that's changing now... implying that the idea of a "Career Grand Slam" was taking hold in peoples minds. Can't remember which match it was, but think it was before 1987

Lendl may have shaped the value of this goal, just as Sampras did Slam count. Interesting stuff
 

krosero

Legend
I distinctly remember commentary from a match where two oldies talked about the "Grand Slam", and said it used to mean winning the four tournaments in a single year but that's changing now... implying that the idea of a "Career Grand Slam" was taking hold in peoples minds. Can't remember which match it was, but think it was before 1987

Lendl may have shaped the value of this goal, just as Sampras did Slam count. Interesting stuff
If it was before '87, and the commentators did not give specifics, I think what they must have been referring to was the controversy over whether 4 straight Slam titles across two calendar years could be a genuine Grand Slam. That was the controversy occasioned by Hana Mandlikova winning the late-1980 AO and '81 French, then Navratilova taking six in a row in 1983-84.

I don't think that the idea of winning all four Slams in one's career was yet called a "career Grand Slam." That's a later term.

But I'd be very interested in seeing any early reference to the idea of winning all 4 Slam titles in one's career. I don't recall Borg or McEnroe ever saying anything along those lines. Lendl could have been the first, from that era.

But it was rare, as was the idea of overall major count. Sports Illustrated mentioned after the '81 French that Borg was closing in on Emerson's mark for overall major titles -- but that was kind of a one-off statement. It was not a public campaign by Borg that was written up in all the newspapers, as it was when Sampras was chasing Emmo.

I got into tennis in '85 and of course one of the first facts I learned about tennis history was that Budge and Laver were the only men to win Grand Slams. But I remember then asking, has anyone else at least won all four of those titles, if not in succession? I noted that Perry and Emerson had done so.

Early on I also made a list of how many majors each of the top champions had won. I knew about the Sports Illustrated remark, because as soon as I got into tennis I found all of SI's material about Borg's career and gobbled it up. So maybe that gave me the idea.

And if Lendl was talking about winning all 4 in a career, in his chats with the press in the mid-80s as we see in these reports, then maybe that's how i got that idea. Though I think it's natural enough to ask, who has won tennis' big titles in a year, and who has won them over many years?

Lendl could well have had an influence on all this.

But really it was inevitable for the idea to take off, once the AO started being "major" again.
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
And if Lendl was talking about winning all 4 in a career, in his chats with the press in the mid-80s as we see in these reports, then maybe that's how i got that idea. Though I think it's natural enough to ask, who has won tennis' big titles in a year, and who has won them over many years?

Lendl could well have had an influence on all this.

But really it was inevitable for the idea to take off, once the AO started being "major" again.
The idea of the Grand Slam as the holy grail in olden times makes perfect sense to me, in light of the heavy, heavy emphasis placed on "peak play" as an indicator of "greatness" in bygone generations

Just about all the older posters, who followed tennis, say early 70s and earlier express this value. So do the writers/experts of those times. So do the players

What concrete achievement can you have that demonstrates peak play? Its so subjective.

Answer - Grand Slam. Win 4/4 of the big ones in a year.... and your playing damn well

Now I followed tennis in the 90s, and just remember the Slam count value that was widely spread (and continues to dominate today).

This accurately represents a shift from the "peak play" value to a combination of level of play + longevity/consistency over time.

What concrete achievement can you have to demonstrate that?

Slam count

The career Grand Slam I think is secondary to Slam count and a nod to versatility.

----

Summing up -

Once we had "Peak Play" as the cardinal criteria, with "Grand Slam" as the measuring stick

Now we have "Level of play + Time Span" as main criteria, with "Slam count" as the measuring stick.... and a secondary criteria being "Versatility", with "Career Grand Slam" as the measuring stick

What happened in between, how the transition came about, I'm not entirely sure... I speculate Lendl and Wimbledon had a hand in it(?)

He was so clearly the best player in the world, but not a Wimbledon champion.... making it awkward to say "#1 = Wimbledon champion" as they used to... so new values and criteria were pushed and spread, which have led us to where we are now

Worth a thought
 

KG1965

Legend
I should start taking notes on interesting things I hear on commentary from old matches that point at the values of the times.

Borg didn't seem to give two hoots about a Career Grand Slam. I don't think Mac did either. Was Lendl the first great player to think about this as a big goal?

I distinctly remember commentary from a match where two oldies talked about the "Grand Slam", and said it used to mean winning the four tournaments in a single year but that's changing now... implying that the idea of a "Career Grand Slam" was taking hold in peoples minds. Can't remember which match it was, but think it was before 1987

Lendl may have shaped the value of this goal, just as Sampras did Slam count. Interesting stuff
I remember instead reading (last year) two articles from the 70s where..
- Borg declared after winning in Dallas (1976) to be satisfied for winning all the most important tournaments at least once excluding the US Open (I can presume Wimbly, RG, Rome, Dallas... no mention was made to AO, Masters GP, others US tournaments),
- Connors declared after winning the US Pro indoor 1976 in Philadelphia to be satisfied for winning at least once all the most tournaments in circulation (no mention was made to Masters GP, RG, Rome).

I think it's interesting because even if the two do not speak of the 4 majors, there is a mention of a sort of "collection" of titles ... "I have won at least once titles that are deemed important".
 

KG1965

Legend
Worth a thought
There was a "before" and an "after", but I do not know the exact date of the big bang.

GS = "peak game" = indicator of "greatness" in past generations.
The peak game was the method used for the GOAT ranking but comparisons between different eras were so hard, so Laver's GS agreed. Simple and trivial.
I have always found the method exaggeratedly wrong but I am aware that the media reasoned this way.

"What concrete success can you have that proves the game of tip? It's so subjective.
Answer: Grand Slam. Win 4/4 of the biggest in a year .... and you're playing damn well ".
... right ... this is the concept.

Then maybe it turns out that in 1969 Rosewall was injured .... (that '62 is a fake).

Laver was probably the GOAT (or anyway the "wood GOAT") but not only for the GS 69.


It has gone from the 90s to a shift from the value of "peak game" to a combination of level of play + longevity / coherence over time (and in fact disappeared from the radar Kramer, Perry, Hoad and ... are back in vogue Rosewall, Connors, Lendl).

Peak v career. GS v career (count slam).

I agree with the analysis but I can not remember when there was a change in perspective.
 
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krosero

Legend
What happened in between, how the transition came about, I'm not entirely sure... I speculate Lendl and Wimbledon had a hand in it(?)

He was so clearly the best player in the world, but not a Wimbledon champion.... making it awkward to say "#1 = Wimbledon champion" as they used to... so new values and criteria were pushed and spread, which have led us to where we are now

Worth a thought
You've picked out several interesting issues in your post but let me just concentrate on this one.

This is right-on about Lendl, how he was the dominant #1 but was missing Wimbledon.

If you go back to the start of the OE, usually the #1 player of the year was also Wimbledon champion. There were some exceptions, but I have a hard time thinking of a men's champion who was YE #1, undisputed, without winning Wimbledon. Probably just Connors in '76.

Vilas in '77 was disputed. Laver had a claim to #1 in 1970 (I don't mean claims made today; I mean that significant claims were made back in '70, as we learned on the board some months ago through the research of a few posters); but that was also contested. Rosewall and Newcombe were also named #1 that year, and you get the picture: if you have more than one player claimed as #1 in a single year, some of them are going to be missing the Wimbledon title. But it's a different story if you've got a champion who is ahead of everyone else, and he doesn't have the Wimbledon title. Ok there was Connors: but that was just one year. Lendl topped the rankings without Wimbledon in '85, '86 and '87. The first real run of dominance, without Wimbledon -- without even one Wimbledon.

Then Wilander repeated the trick in '88.

Lendl again had a strong claim to '#1 in '89, again no Wimbledon, but that year was disputed by Becker, who won Wimbledon/USO, the traditional Big Two of the Big Titles.

But worth mentioning that Lendl in '89 was claimed to be #1 and his only major was, not any of the Big Three traditional majors, but Australia.

Changing times.
 
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