Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs Wilander, US Open final, 1987

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl beat Mats Wilander 6-7(7), 6-0, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the US Open final, 1987 on hard court

It was Lendl's third title and third in a row at the event and would turn out to be his last. Wilander was playing his first US Open final, and would go onto win the title, beating Lendl in the final the following year. Lendl had beaten Wilander in the French Open final earlier in the year, and would go on to do so at the Masters as well
previously posted - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1987-88-uso-finals-lendl-and-wilander.195835/

Lendl won 162 points, Wilander 143

Wilander serve-volleyed more often than not off first serves

Serve Stats
Lendl...
- 1st serve percentage (82/163) 50%
- 1st serve points won (64/82) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (34/81) 42%
- Aces 13 (1 not clean), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/163) 17%

Wilander...
- 1st serve percentage (94/142) 66%
- 1st serve points won (58/94) 62%
- 2nd serve points won (20/48) 42%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/142) 23%

Serve Patterns
Lendl served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 6%

Wilander served...
- to FH 49%
- to BH 41%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Lendl made...
- 105 (67 FH, 38 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 3 return-approaches
- 7 Winners (4 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 26 Forced (9 FH, 17 BH)
- Return Rate (105/138) 76%

Wilander made...
- 127 (41 FH, 86 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 10 return-approaches
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 10 Forced (5 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (127/156) 81%

Break Points
Lendl 8/14 (8 games)
Wilander 4/18 (7 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Lendl 56 (18 FH, 14 BH, 12 FHV, 7 BHV, 5 OH)
Wilander 33 (4 FH, 9 BH, 6 FHV, 11 BHV, 3 OH)

Lendl's regular FHs - 3 cc, 2 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out, 2 inside-in (1 runaround return) and 2 inside-in/cc
- FH passes - 4 cc (1 return), 1 inside-out and 2 longline (1 return)
- BH passes - 1 cc, 8 dtl (2 returns) and 1 inside-out return
- regular BHs - 1 dtl and 2 at net

- 11 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 FH at net, 1 BH at net)
- 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)

- 2 from return-approach points (1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 2 OHs on bounce from no-man's land

Wilander 10 had from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 5 second volleys (2 BHV, 3 OH)

- 4 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 3 BHV)

- FHs - 1 cc pass, 2 dtl passes and 1 running-down-drop-volley at net cc (very finely angled)
- BHs (all passes) - 1 cc, 5 dtl, 1 dtl/longline and 1 lob

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Lendl 70
- 46 Unforced (25 FH, 16 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)… with 1 OH on bounce from baseline
- 24 Forced (13 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.1

Wilander 73
- 36 Unforced (8 FH, 21 BH, 6 BHV, 1 OH)
- 37 Forced (13 FH, 16 BH, 4 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 Over-Shoulder)… the OH was flagrantly forced baseline attempt to fend off an at net Lendl OH smash. the FH1/2V was not a net point, but intent was to volley
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45

(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
Lendl was...
- 62/83 (75%) at net, including...
- 15/18 (83%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 3/3 (100%) return-approaching
- 4/6 (67%) forced back/retreated

Wilander was...
- 61/93 (66%) at net, including...
- 37/61 (61%), serve-volleying, comprising...
- 35/58 (60%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/3 (67%) off 2nd serve
---
- 8/10 (80%) return-approaching
- 0/3 forced back/retreated

Match Report
A great, all court match between two great players with varied action. Action is complex, the proverbial game of chess

Lendl pounds big serves. Wilander returns like a wall. Wilander serve-volleys regularly. The duke it out from the baseline - mostly in an outlasting way, based off BH cc's. Lendl has the big FH to do damage, but is also error prone of that side. Lendl manufactures approaches. Both attack second serves on occasion. Some stunning passing from both - especially Wilander. Great volleying from Lendl, and good from Wilander. The match has near enough everything - and second set (where Wilander is terrible) excepted, the two are neck and neck in play

And wind. Lots of wind, particularly early on, is a factor. It hampers Lendl more and is probably Wilander's equalizer because Lendl does seem to be the better player on the whole. While Wilander is maxed out to keep match competitive, Lendl seems to have more in the locker or underperforms in certain areas

First Set
Wilander is the better player overall - and also lucky to win it in the tiebreak. He hold serve far more easily (he serves 39 points to Lendl's 55), while Lendl is pushed to long games 3 times. 1 break apiece going into tiebreak

Action is fairly passive. Match starts with the usual Lendl-Wilander feeling-out phase and patient BH cc rallies. Wilander mixes up 1-handed slices with 2-handed top spin shots so much it'd be inaccurate to even call his BH a two-handed shot. Frequency of 1-handed and 2-handed shots vary across the match. In this first part, I'd estimate it to be 60% one handed

Wind gives Lendl plenty of trouble on the ball toss, and he has a low first serve in count, allowing for the long rallies. Wilander mostly serve-volleys of his first serves and in this part of the match, Lendl doesn't return it well

Curious patterns of consistency emerge with Wilander leading on FH and Lendl on BH. On FH UEs - Lendl 13, Wilander 2. On BH - Lendl 3, Wilander 9. Baseline action is mostly BH cc rallies. Lendl tends to outlast Wilander in them (i.e. Wilander not playing badly, just Lendl a bit better), but Lendl tends to just miss odd FHs (i.e. Lendl playing badly)

Lendl is broken first from 40-0 up. Back to back double faults don't help, but mostly good play from Wilander, who follows up a drop FHV winner with a return-approach point that he wins. On his second break point, he runs down a drop volley and places the winner at a fine angle off it. His celebration is Jimmy Connors like. Indeed, this is the most animated I've seen Mats Wilander - and the commentators say so too. There's fist pumping celebrations - and he even fist pump celebrates Lendl unforced errors on big points

Lendl breaks back to 30 a bit later. Bad game with 3 regulation baseline errors from Mats and just 2 first serves in

So Mats with just the one bad service game, while Lendl is regularly under the gun on serve.

Still, Mats is lucky to win the tiebreak. With set point, Lendl overpowers Mats and comes to net behind a powerful, deep step-in FH cc. Pushed back, Mats hits it best he can with FH almost on half-volley. Lendl lets the ball go. Both players are surprised the ball lands in... it seems to be a clear case of the wind causing it to so be. On Wilander's second set point, a strong Lendl FH inside-out is called out. Its a marginal call (I thought it was in), and Lendl doesn't like it, but first set to Wilander

2nd Set
Is a complete rot. Mats wins all of 5 points. after first 6 points are split, Lendl wins 22/24

Lendl finds his first serve, bangs down big ones, overpowers Mats and comes to net to finish points. Meanwhile, Mats makes unforced errors in short rallies. I've seen Mats Wilander blown away, but never seen him play this badly before. Complete butchery
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
3rd Set
Here's where the match picks up for good

There are 6 breaks, Lendl always being the one in the lead, but Wilander edging action. For Wilander to be so effective on return, you might think Lendl was having one of his runs of missing first serves... but that's not the case. Lendl serves at reasonable 53% but wins just 67% of those points (rest of match, he wins 84%) and on second serve, wins just 37% (rest of match, 44%). In other words, its down to Wilander playing well that he's able to be competitive

Wilander continues serve-volleying and takes more attacking stance in return games - chip-charging a few times, and drilling BH dtl returns off second serves. Lendl for his part, has largely come to grips with the return against serve-volleys and returns more effectively against it than earlier in match. Near end of set, Lendl starts serve-volleying fairly regularly too. Previously, he'd come forward off rallies but not serve-volleyed. Wasn't much reason to - he'd been winning vast bulk of his 1st serve points anyway

Serving at 5-6, Lendl falls behind 15-40, two set points for Wilander. Lendl snuff them out and ends the game with big serves

Lendl opens tiebreak with a great running lob that puts him up a mini-break. Wilander missing a straightforward second serve return he tried to come in on and routine first volley off serve-volley point make it 4-0 Lendl... and he eases his way to the set after that

Set 4
Liveliest of the match. Lendl shows signs of tiring and serve-volleys regularly. Wilander, though not showing obvious signs of fatigue, I suspect is also feeling it physically. Even he's in a (relative) rush to end points quickly with approaches, serve-volleys, even attacking baseline shot

To be clear, there's still significant amount of baseline rallies. They're not overly aggressive ones, but a good 2 steps up from the pair's norm (which is distinctly passive of nature)

Again, its Wilander who has the slight edge in play. Lendl has to save two break points in opening game - 1 he aces away, the second ends with a routine Wilander BH error. Lendl's next service game is probably the best game of the match. From 30-0 down, Wilander knocks away 3 winners - FHV, BHV return-approaching and perfect BH lob - to bring up another break point. On it, he forces the serve-volleying Lendl back from net but does not come in... and goes on to lose the point to a FH error

Another great game awhile later, as Wilander holds a 12 point affair. He doesn't face break point - but Lendl getting a real hold on returns

Somewhat against run of play, the match ends as Lendl breaks. The key point is a second serve that Wilander somewhat foolishly comes in behind - its just the 3rd time he has, and Lendl was obviously lining up a big return for it. Having strongly forced a volleying error on that point, Lendl wraps up in style - a return-approach ending with a OH putaway followed by a BH dtl return pass winner to seal the match

Prospects & Strategy - Lendl
What is Ivan Lendl's game?

Against baseliners like Wilander, he tends to go for the service winner on first serves. If the serve comes back - big, commanding groundstroke follows
Second serves tend to be conservative, and then the players rally. An area where Lendl comes out ahead against almost everyone - but not necessarily Wilander. Lendl's style is tilted towards outlasting play (i.e. not making unforced errors and outlasting opponents), but he keeps an eye on taking charge of the point if a short ball pops up, especially with the FH. And he has the option of coming to net. His net play in matches around this period is first class

On return, he tends to prefer return consistency over being damaging against opponent staying back, but belts returns against serve-volleying. Returning second serves, occasionally he'll attack them, especially with FH
In rallies, same as his second serve points. If his opponent comes in, he's one of the best passers around, usually looking to hit clean winners in one go

Prospects & Strategy - Wilander
What is Mats Wilander's game?

First serve is average and second serve below average. He's capable of serve-volleying - good enough volleyer (especially of consistency) to be very effective as a change up, but behind that serve, probably not something he'd want to overdo. Especially against a returner like Lendl on a slow-ish court
His game is about rallying neutrally and outlasting opponents. One of the most consistent players imaginable - off both wings, he barely misses a ball. But doesn't have firepower of either wing to dictate play aggressively. Outlasting opponents - even Lendl, more often than not I'd imagine - as he does, the smart move against him would be to outhit him or come to net

Outhitting him isn't easy as his defence is excellent. Coming to net is tinged with risk too because his passing is top drawer

Serve, Return & Serve-Volley Frequency
I'd expect Lendl too bang down huge first serves - and he does. Comes with the territory of low percentage (just 50%), but that should be good enough if the first serve gives him lots of cheap points (or commanding third balls he can quickly end off). The wind also plays havoc with his high ball toss, putting a check on first serve percentage and probably quality of first serve

The spanner in the works is Wilander's outstanding, consistent returning. Note the very low 17% unreturned serve percentage for Lendl. Lendl has 16 unreturnable serves... but can only draw 13 other errors. Phenomenal returning from Mats. He follows it up by defending very ably when Lendl has third ball initiative

Great returning of the second serve from Mats too. Note his winning 8/10 return-approach points. These are not chip-charges, they're firmly hit shots he comes in behind. Some good BH dtl returns too

Meanwhile, Mats serve-volleys off 63% of his first serves. (winning 60% of them... about the same as when not serve-volleying). I'd say 63% serve-volleying is on the daring side of smart. His serve is not at all strong - note just the 2 aces. Sans serve-volleying, I'd expect Lendl to return about 90% (he manages 76%)

The serve-volleying enables Mats to win a lot of quick games (he serves 142 points in match to Lendl's 163), mostly with return errors. Lendl doesn't return particularly well. Against a serve like this (especially with majority of serves to his FH - more on that later), he's quite capable of absolutely taking Wilander's serve-volleying to the cleaners. Indeed, he would do in their Masters match at the end of the year

Lots of missed, makeable returns and the ones Lendl does get in play aren't particularly powerfully struck or placed. Wilander usually has a comfortable volley

Plenty of scope to go to town against the soft Wilander second serve too, which he does in moderation. Occasionally, he'll position himself to hit a FH - standing in doubles alley on ad court and in the center on deuce court

Lendl himself serve-volleys 18 times. This is almost entirely in last 1 and 1/2 sets... I think he's tiring. His serve is big enough and volleying good enough that its a strategy that suggests itself

Lendl strong serve, Wilander not. Lendl great volleying, Wilander less so. Wilander serve-volleys 61 times, Lendl 18. Seeing the match-up of games is against Mats, I think he approached the match daringly - all credit to him for it. There are two areas where he wasn't so bold or smart...

Wilander's Serve Pattern
Why is Mats Wilander serving 49% to FH and just 41% to BH???

Look at Lendl's return errors. On forced side, its 9 FH, 17 BH. Even on unforced side, its 3 FH to 2 BH (counting a runaround FH as a BH, from point of view of Wilander's serving pattern). In other words, he's getting far, far more errors from Lendl's BH than FH.... but he's serving mostly to FH. Why?

The only possible compensation could be in that the FH return is less damaging than the BH.... but not only isn't this true, its completely obvious that it isn't. Lendl is obviously hitting firmer off FH. Furthermore, this is also what you'd expect... it would be very, very surprising if he weren't

Lendl obviously prefers returning off FH (which doesn't necessarily mean he returns better off it - though in this case, he does), based on how he positions himself. And the way he positions himself somewhat contributes to Wilander's distribution, but mostly, its just Mats' choice

I can think of no justification for the move. Its just bad strategy. And it hurts Mats

In final game of match, Mats serve-volleys off second serve. Not a necessarily a bad ploy, potentially even a good surprise one. Only on the point in question, Lendl's standing in the doubles alley obviously looking for a FH return. Whenever he was doing this, he was blasting the return

As Mats' choices of approach shots indicate, he doesn't fancy coming in behind weak approaches - and that's wise. Lendl has great power on passes and Mats' volleying isn't the best. Why come in off a second serve that Lendl has telegraphed he intends to blast with his FH?

Sure enough, Lendl blasts the return and Mats misses a very difficult FHV. Next point is another second serve to FH, that Lendl whacks dtl and comes in off of to putaway an OH. That brings up match point

In nutshell, Lendl returns more consistently and more damagingly off his FH, and is actively looking for FH returns frequently.... and Mats, serves there most of the time. Not the best idea Mats ever had, but its not novel. He did the same in French Open final earlier in the year also (with similar results)
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rallying to Net Frequency
Lendl rallies his way to net 62 times (winning 44 or 71%). Mats does so 22 times (winning 16 or 73%). What to make of this? Why is Lendl coming in so much more from rallies?

a small part of it is just that most of these approaches aren't on Mats' first serve (where he's serve-volleying a lot), but that's a relatively small part. Most approaches, by both players, come after rallies have been going on for quite awhile

Another reason is Lendl tends to overpower Wilander and then come in. Wilander isn't able to do the same

Overwhelming amount of approaches are of the above described type. Neither player manufacture approaches or come in for the sake of coming in; rather, they gain the advantage from the baseline and then approach. Aside from last set, neither are in a hurry to do so either. Many a short ball is passed over, punched deep in play and the baseline rallied continued

Its here that Wilander errs a bit. More so than Lendl, he allows potential approach opportunities go by. That's not unusual in itself since he can win baseline rallies by outlasting Lendl.... but it is incongruent with his heavy serve-volleying strategy.

By serve-volleying so much, Wilander has embraced risk. Behind that serve, serving to FH, on this court and against this opponent... its not at all an obviously good plan, but he pulls it off well. Coming to net more from rallying is also not obviously a good idea and tinged with risk against Lendl's very strong passing. In hindsight, he would probably have done better to seek out the net a bit more

This is an observation, not a critique (unlike the serve to FH thing). Any decision is tinged with risk - stay back, have outlasting rallies (which may or may not go his way... probably most will - and does) but risk Lendl coming in (which may or may not go his way depending on how Lendl volleys... no way of knowing how often Lendl will go this route either). Another probable outcome would be Wilander passing so well that he won the bulk of points Lendl came in on

As it turns out, Lendl comes out well ahead in this area. He can overpower Mats to the tune of coming in behind strong approaches. Mats passes very well in the circumstances - but Lendl volleys superbly

For Mats to turn the tide, he'd have had to take net to keep Lendl from doing so. He doesn't go this route. There would have been no easy approach to take, but its fair to say that Mats wasn't bold in this area

Play - Volleying & Passing
Lendl's net play is exemplary. He comes in off strong approaches. Mats not being too keen to do so does leave him un-pressured in his choice to come in - but very good from Lendl here. And volleying is first class

He isn't faced with too many strong passes. Few balls slightly wide or deep, but not many out and out easy volleys either. Whatever the case, Lendl closes in on net, volleys firmly and deep. Of look, he's as natural as you could ask for. Boris Becker doesn't look more comfortable in forecourt. Just the 4 UEs up front (along with 24 winners)

Mats doesn't much shot on the pass. Approaches are strong and volleys are strong... what can he do? Whatever he can, he does. He's particularly impressive on the defensive lob. In addition to pushing Lendl back 6 times, he forces him back a further 6 times only for Lendl to re-approach. These defensive lobs still leave Lendl in charge usually - fair few OHs on the bounce from no-man's land by him off them - but its a job just resisting losing the point with Lendl's first approach

Another, mostly in vain, thing that Wilander does is put OHs in play. Still goes on to loses points. Or he gets racquet on ball to deny clean winners in such situations

This is some of the best volleying I've seen from Mats. Consistency is good - but not unduly higher than his norm - with 7 forecourt UEs, but damaging quality of his volleys are well up from his standard. Near volley-into-corners good though he doesn't punch the ball through as well as Lendl

Still, scope for improvement for Lendl on the pass. Its mostly missing returns against average serves Mats serve-volleys behind that's the weakest showing in Lendl's passing, but he isn't at his best on the pass either. this is an observation, not a critique

Maybe the biggest potential leveller in the match is return-approaches. Mats wins 8/10. He only goes for the play when he's got a good, solid return back and one understands his reluctance to overuse the play. His return is strong enough that he likely could have attacked with it against Lendl's second serve more. As is, there's no reason for him not to be confident of winning baseline rallies, so there isn't much need for return-approaching

Play - Baseline
As ever between these two, staple baseline play centers around BH cc rallies

The new twist is Wilander is slicing a large number of BHs. Frequency varies across the match, but its roughly 50-50 slicing and top spinning. The new slice isn't necessarily an improvement

BH UEs - Lendl 16, Wilander 21. In matches between the two, these battles can go either way, but generally, Wilander comes out ahead. He hasn't in this match. Sans the first set, the figure is Lendl 13, Wilander 12... which is a more normal outcome

Does the slice have an advantage? It stays low, and Lendl invariably slices it back, even when its short. By contrast, Lendl is apt to try to attack against short, top spin shots (which sooner or later, are bound to come up over long cc rallies). Attacking isn't necessarily a good thing... Lendl isn't great at wading into short BHs, especially against Wilander's strong defence. If Lendl did attack short BH drives from Wilander, as likely as not the point would end in Wilander's favour, with Lendl making attacking errors

As stated before, this is a very complicated match. No easy answers as to best way to go about doing anything

So what Wilander's slicing ends up achieving is turning the rallies into completely passive who-blinks-first-rallies - even more so than the norm between the two.

Possible alternatives is for either player to slice-approach. Lendl did a few times in their '83 Aus match on grass. It would be riskier to do so here - and neither he, nor Mats, tries

Another option for Lendl would be to play back-away FH inside-outs, which he doesn't do. I haven't seen Lendl go in for this play much in general. He prefers BH cc stuff. A bit odd for someone with a FH as strong as his

Neither player attacks BH dtl significantly either. Wilander rarely goes that way neutrally, with well short of point-ending forcefulness. Its a change-up shot, not an attacking one

Lendl coming out ahead in BH play leaves potential for him to take total charge of action with his obviously stronger FH. That doesn't happen because Mats is exceptionally consistent on that side. FH UEs - Lendl 25, Wilander a measly 8. Lendl is only loose off FH in first set (13 UEs, to Wilander's 2), but Wilander is outstanding. Great credit to him... lack of UEs is a part of good play that's easy to overlook

Lendl though probably still comes out on top on FH side of things. He hits winners, forces errors, takes charge of points, hits strong approach shots all off his FHs. Wilander does little more than not make UEs

Total baseline unforced errors - Lendl 42, Wilander 29 - is a fair reflection of Wilander's greater consistency of shot (Lendl would be leading in forced errors and winners, but UEs are how bulk of baseline points ended)

Thus, the onus would have been on Lendl to push action. Which he does by coming forward to much greater extent

Summing up, a very complex match - Lendl big serve, baseline consistency off both wings, the Lendl FH, the Wilander slice, need for strong approaches against great passing, good volleying, the risks of serve-volleying, swirling winds - all factors to consider in how to approach play and how play is shaped. Wilander probably maximizes what he can do. His serve-volleying is daring and comes off, but he's less so coming in off rallies. Both Lendl's serve and return are a bit off, but his net play is tip top. A great match and probably most appropriate result. Lendl the more commanding player coming out on top

Stats for the pairs French Open final earlier in the year - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-lendl-vs-wilander-french-open-final-1987.658697/
Stats for the pairs Masters final later in the year - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-lendl-vs-wilander-masters-final-1987.622971/
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Was rooting for Mats in this one....he had his chances. Not sure WTH happened in that 2nd set. It was bizarre. Mats was not a tanker, but it looked like he wasn't trying all that much. If he had won the 3rd set, it would have been a very different match, for sure. Of course, I had rooted for Mats in the RG final as well, and that was a bust too.
 

NicoMK

Professional
I think that the two defeats that he had against Lendl, both at the French and at the US Open + the 3 sets loss at the Masters helped him achieve what he did in 1988. He mentioned that on one or several interviews that I read long ago. Doing more practice off-court with Matt Doyle, who was his physical trainer in 1988. Can't remember if he was there already in 1987 but pretty sure that he wasn't with Mats at the beginning of 1989 anymore.
 

magnut

Hall of Fame
Matts was crazy fit in 88. The amount of work he had to do burnt him out though and that was it. Happens with almost all players. You can get to the top with a little luck and absolute dedication but its hard to maintain it weak in and weak out. A lot of peoples bodies just cant hold up in the long run. Sampras was able to do it for so long because he had a monster serve and a complete game to back it up plus the willingness to dedicate his life around it. It was a recipe for domination. Pete also took breaks and sceduled his year pretty wisely. You would see more consistent #1s if professional Tennis wasnt basically 12 months a year. It makes burnout and injury almost inevitable. In the end you have a lot of #1s in the years when the fields have a lot of depth.

Matts had a lot of Mental burnout too and thats pretty tough to deal with in tennis in general. When you mind is your only real weapon like Matts your versatility goes down...which leads to more problems in matches......which leads to more mental fatigue etc. etc. Kind of like you game starts to canabalize itself. Within just a few years Matts was basically a journeyman player on the tour. Its a big reason why in the 90s you saw players doing anything and everything to get bigger serves.... longer racquets.....sacrificing percentages etc. etc. The style of tennis Matts played was just counterintuative towards longevity in tennis. This is also apparent if you look at all the claycourters in the 90s. Big results on clay for a few years before almost all start transitioning to faster courts and developing more firepower to lean on instead of maental fortitude and grit.

There are exceptions once in a while to everthing. Conners probably being the biggest of them all. His hickups were mostly minor.
 
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