Match Stats/Report - McEnroe vs Connors, San Francisco final, 1986


Hall of Fame
John McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors 7-6(6), 6-3 in the San Francisco final, 1986 on carpet

It was McEnroe's 12 straight win over Connors. Connors would go onto win the next 2

McEnroe won 77 points, Connors 66

McEnroe serve-volleyed off all 1st serves and about half his 2nds

(Note: I'm missing partial information for two points
A McEnroe serve point won by McEnroe. Per commentary, its been marked an ace and assumed to have been a 1st serve
Serve and return data for a Connors service point, which has been deduced to have been a 1st serve

Missing points - Set 1, Game 1, Point 1 and Set 1, Game 2, Point 1)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (35/62) 56%
- 1st serve points won (28/35) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (12/27) 44%
- Aces 8 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (20/62) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (61/81) 75%
- 1st serve points won (33/61) 54%
- 2nd serve points won (11/20) 55%
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (10/81) 12%

Serve Patterns
McEnroe served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 44%
- to Body 12%

Connors served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
McEnroe made...
- 70 (29 FH, 40 BH, 1 ??), including 1 runaround FH, 1 runaround BH & 12 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (4 FH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced ( FH, BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 1 Forced (1 BH)
- Return Rate (70/80) 88%

Connors made...
- 40 (20 FH, 20 BH)
- 6 Winners (3 FH, 3 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH), including 1 runaround BH
- Return Rate (40/60) 67%

Break Points
McEnroe 4/9 (5 games)
Connors 2/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
McEnroe 20 (7 FH, 6 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 3 OH)
Connors 24 (9 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)

McEnroe had 9 from serve-volley points
- 6 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- 3 second 'volleys' (1 BHV, 2 OH)… 1 OH was on the bounce, well behind the service line after being forced back from net

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 BHV)

- FHs - 1 cc pass, 5 dtl (4 returns, 1 pass) and 1 net chord dribbler

Connors' FHs - 2 cc, 5 dtl passes (2 returns), 1 inside-out pass and 1 inside-in return pass
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc and 4 dtl (3 returns)

- 1 from serve-volley point - a BHV
- 1 FHV was a third ball swinging shot... its been considered a non-serve-volley

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
McEnroe 30
- 20 Unforced (8 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 10 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48

Connors 36
- 21 Unforced (12 FH, 8 BH, 1 BHV)… with 1 FH pass attempt
- 15 Forced (5 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)… with 1 BH at net & 2 non-net FHV (1 while retreating from net, hit significantly behind service line)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(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
McEnroe was...
- 36/58 (62%) at net, including...
- 25/39 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 19/26 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/13 (46%) off 2nd serve
- 7/12 (58%) return-approaching
- 2/2 forced back/retreated

Connors was...
- 15/21 (71%) at net, including...
- 1/4 (25%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 1/3 (33%) off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
- 2/3 (67%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Decent match on a fast carpet court, with prospects heavily favouring McEnroe: For Connors to threaten the McEnroe serve, he has to return and pass extremely well - against very high quality serving and volleying. For McEnroe to threaten the Connors serve, he has to return a weak serve and keep the ball in play

Serve & Return
McEnroe serves particularly strongly. 8 aces and 2 service winners are good numbers (Connors has as many unreturned serves as Mac has unreturnable ones) and they're kept that low by great returning from Jimbo

Jimbo does exceptionally well in reaching wide serves and putting them in play. Firmly even, and occasionally, managing to slip one past the serve-volleying Mac. He faces a good mix of body serves and kickers, which he copes with too

40%+ unreturned serves wouldn't be unexpected in these fast conditions. All credit to Jimbo for keeping it to a relatively low 32% and returning well enough to give Mac tough first volleys. He belts second serves Mac stays back on too, sending them back deep

Note Mac's perfectly even distribution of serves - 26 to FH, 26 to BH (and 7 to body). Jimbo's returning across wings is near even too - 20 returns and 3 winners of each side and 4 forced return errors to serves directed at either side (1 is a runaround BH attempt to a ball directed at FH)

In a nutshell - great battle between a great serve and a great return, in conditions where the great serve is bound to come out ahead

On the other side of the match up, Jimbo's serve is weak. Just 10 unreturned serves, and nothing approaching an ace of service winner (in fact, forcing just 1 error). Mac regularly return-approaches with ease against 1st serves

Note also the 4 Mac FH dtl return winners, all against 1st serves. The kind of shots one usually plays against 2nd serves... that's about the standard of Jimbo's 1st serve. Mac also strongly forces a baseline error with the same return

Jimbo with near identical winning rate across serves (54% off 1st, 55% off 2nd), which is common for him

In a second nutshell - weak Jimbo serve and Mac doing more or less what he wants to with it

Play - Net, Passing & Baseline
The Mac at net vs Jimbo pass is a good match. Jimbo thunders down returns and passes, leaving Mac with a handful on the volley. Mac isn't at his best in finishing volleys but still good but the standout feature is how well he copes with tough volleys. Lots of low and or hard hit ones that he makes in play. 1 BHV winner in particular is off a very hard, low, wide return that I'd have called near 'flagrantly forced error' had Mac missed Couple of very good 1/2volleys from Mac as well

Just the 3 volleying FEs for Mac. Jimbo has 4, coming in about a third as often

Jimbo's volley FEs are rather mundane compared to what Mac makes. Just normal paced, low balls... difficult volleys, but not a patch on the low + hard ones Mac makes regularly

Mac isn't anywhere near as good on the pass and Connors can come up to net and volley comfortably when he chooses, usually to balls comfortably over the net at no great power

Baseline to baseline, the stand out is the weakness of the Connors FH which has 12 UEs. Its particularly bad at the start and he makes 6 in the first 6 games... it just takes 2 or 3 shots tops to it to draw the errors

It improves from there to the point of being average, if we're being on the generous side of accurate. 6 more UEs in the matches remaining 16 games isn't bad. A number of those are approach errors and he misses a pass from just behind the service line

Mac doesn't do a good job targeting the FH. Initially, he'd been hammering FH cc's of his own. Most of the rest of the match is Jimbo leading with heavy BHs, while Mac dinks, slices and junks his own BH

Jimbo is the more powerful of shot from the back, especially after the first quarter of the match. He also doesn't come in enough

Coming in from rallying, Jimbo is 14/17 or 82%. Baseline-to-baseline by contrast, play is about even, Connors the more error prone but also the stronger hitter. Shouldn't he be trying to come in more? Especially in first set, it appears though he'd rather have Mac come in and play passing shots than come in himself. Around this period, Jimbo seems to have fallen back on this regularly. Its not good strategy at all

Match Progression
Mac breaks and opens up a 3-0 lead to start the match and pushes Jimbo to 10 point game (no break points) to make it 4-0. Instead, Jimbo levels at 3-3... breaking in a strongly played game where he lobs Mac, Mac does well to retrieve ball over his shoulder but Jimbo is there for the FHV winner and a couple of passing winners

After Jimbo's FH has settled, play becomes less uneven, though Mac continues to be the one to have more chances

Double faulting to start the tiebreak, Mac falls 2-4 behind with a return point to follow. He wins the next four points with net play - including a top class, low FHV winner and converts his 3rd set point of the 'breaker to take the set

There are 3 breaks on the trot early in the third. Its the BH that lets Jimbo down for the first as he misses 3rd ball BHs in succession and misses dtl winner attempt a couple of points later to hand over the break
Jimbo breaks right back to love with a pair of strong passing winners. Shot of the game though is a difficult BHOH he manages to put in play that Mac can't reach
Mac moves ahead again with 2 return-approach winning plays and another FH dtl return winner

He has to save a break point the following game where Jimbo doesn't just pass strongly, but dashes into net to dispatch a couple of BHV winners... something he doesn't do nearly enough of on the whole

Mac breaks again later to end the match, the BH dtl return-approach winning him two points, including match point

Summing up, some good action, especially in contest between Mac serve and volley against Connors return and pass. Matters are loaded against Jimbo though... he does no damage with his serve, is error prone of the ground and doesn't look to come in much, though that's where he's most effective, from baseline rallies


Hall of Fame
I remember this was a pretty good match. Connors had some chances...the big 'mystery' was the black, unnamed, unmarked frame he was playing with....I believe it was a Slazenger prototype. Anyone recall that?