Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Ivanisevic, Wimbledon final 1994

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6(2), 7-6(5), 6-0 in the Wimbledon final, 1994 on grass

With the win, Sampras defended his maiden Wimbledon crown. He would go onto win the following year for a three-peat and eventually, accumulate a then record 7 titles at the venue

Sampras won 118 points, Ivanisevic 88

Both players serve-volleyed off all their serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (51/101) 50%
- 1st serve points won (46/51) 90%
- 2nd serve points won (30/50) 60%
- Aces 17 - including 2 second serves, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (54/101) 53%

Ivanisevic...
- 1st serve percentage (65/105) 62%
- 1st serve points won (45/65) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (18/40) 45%
- Aces 25 - including 1 second serve, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/105) 41%

Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 24%
- to BH 74%
- to Body 2%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 55 (13 FH, 42 BH)
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (3 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (55/99) 56%

Ivanisevic made...
- 42 (10 FH, 32 BH)
- 8 Winners (1 FH, 7 BH)
- 36 Errors, all forced...
- 36 Forced (3 FH, 33 BH)
- Return Rate (42/96) 44%

Break Points
Sampras 3/11 (6 games)
Ivanisevic 0/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 28 (5 FH, 10 BH, 6 FHV,4 BHV, 3 OH)
Ivanisevic 22 (2 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)

Sampras had 13 from serve-volley points
- 10 from first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH and 1 FH at net)
- 3 from second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 13 passes (4 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 1 inside-in return, 1 running dtl, 1 cc and 1 longline played from mid-court
- the BHs - 1 inside-in return, 4 cc (including 2 returns), 2 dtl and 2 lobs

Ivanisevic had 12 from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 7 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

- 11 passes (2 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 2 dtl (1 a return)
- the BH returns - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside in
- non-return BHs - 2 dtl

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 15
- 4 Unforced (2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 55

Ivanisevic 31
- 7 Unforced (3 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 24 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 9 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.3

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Sampras was 60/83 (72%) at net, including 59/79 (75%) serve-volleying - off first serves 31/36 (86%), off second serves 28/43 (65%)

Ivanisevic was 37/73 (51%) at net, all serve-volleying - off first serves 20/40 (50%), off second serves 17/33 (52%)
He was 0/2 when forced back from the net

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Match Report
A serve(bot) fest. According to the commentators, the first rally to go over 4 strokes takes place early in the third set and I believe there are no more after that. So 1 point out of 206. There are no breaks - and precious few chances for either man - in the first two sets. Amidst the flurry of aces, unreturned serves and putaway first volleys though, there are subtle differences in quality between the players, which have come out well in the stats.

Goran's formidable service game seems to be based almost entirely on the unreturnable serve. Given the power of his serve, I would have thought that even sans aces, he would be doing well at net due to forcing weak returns. But he isn't. He's only at 51% points won serve-volleying with negligible difference between his two serves (1st serve 50%, 2nd serve 52%). Note also that I've only given him 1 service winner, so that judgement isn't denying him healthier numbers at net. Sampras does return fairly well, but I'd put Goran's low net number down primarily to the Croat's below par net game

Even more strange is he's doing the same thing on return - which might be unique. Of his 11 passes, 8 are returns - in only 42 returns made. He's not doing well playing passing shots after Sampras is able to make a first volley. In this case, Sampras' volleying deserves at least equal credit to the discredit Goran might get for indifferent passing shots - Pete is mostly careful and precise in the forecourt for the match

There is a further oddity about Goran's returning. Usually, when a player hits a number of return winners, he's also forcing many first volley or half-volley errors. Goran doesn't. He either blasts back a return of serve winner or puts the ball in play without much heat.... there's not a whole lot going on in between. Some credit here to Sampras making difficult first volleys or half-volleys... but mostly, this whole business is a product of Goran's unusual, blast-or-push returning tendency.

Despite having the bigger serve, having a higher first serve percentage (62% to 50%), and sending down more aces/service winners (26 to 18), Goran is comfortably behind Sampras in unreturned serve percentage (41% to 53%). Here I would primarily credit Sampras, who seems to read Goran's serve well and is able to get many a tough serve back. Not necessarily with much authority, but Goran's volley leaves much to be desired. He's hit 11 winners at the front of the court and forced 7 groundstroke errors for a total of 18 points won. Meanwhile, he's lost 20 points via volleying and half-volleying errors. Many of the FEs I've given him in the forecourt are marginal and the volleys he misses are more often than not makeable. Sampras made many such volleys - and he was up against a heftier return

In short, aces and return winners aside (i.e. what I call 'in play'), Sampras is vastly the superior player. And Goran is less than impressive
-----------------------------

With the serve shot so dominant, there are only a handful of chances and half chances for the two players against the others serve for the first two sets.

In the first set, Sampras goes down 15-30 due to a couple of doubles, but serves his way out of trouble. In his next service game, the American is coasting at 40-0 with 3 unreturned serves before Goran lets loose with 3 consecutive winners (2 returns), but again, Sampras serves his way out. Its Goran's turn to go through the hoop next as Sampras conjures two break points. Both are erased via unreturned serves. Next service game, Goran falls to 0-40 and Sampras has not only break points but set points to boot. The shot of the match wins him one of the points - he exquisitely BH lobs a winner. Doesn't seem to be much top spin on the ball, he just hits it up and very high above Goran's head. However, Goran saves the game with a pair of aces, and even gains a break point of his own in the next game (saved with an unreturned serve)

Goran's power returning, when he gets it right, is something to see. Sampras serves mainly to his BH and in the first set alone, the leftie has gone through the full roster of possible BH return winners - crosscourt, down the line, inside-out and inside-in

Goran plays more single handed BHs than any 2 handed player I've seen. And not just to balls he's forced to stretch for

1st set tiebreak turns on some clutch stuff from Pete. He hits an excellent BHV winner off a powerful return, forces2 third ball errors with powerful BH returns of his own and then withstands a powerful return to set up a not easy second volley winner.

Second set goes like the first. There's an interesting game where Goran wins back to back points returning. Up 30-0, Sampras drags Goran wide with the serve and has an easy volley into the open court to finish the point. Goran looks like he's given up on the point is almost walking towards the open court. Sampras plays the volley too casually and Goran sprints to reach it and dispatch a running FH dtl pass. You hear of people "sneaking to net". Here, Goran snuck sideways on the baseline. Next point, Sampras makes a strange BHV volleying error. Its a simple, high putaway, but Sampras hits it well out - the ball landing close to the line judges

On one of his few break point chances, Sampras inexplicably let's a Goran volley go though it's right under his nose and lands well in for a winner

While the third set has usually been described as Goran having a mental meltdown, I thought Sampras deserves at least equal credit for the unexpected bagel. Goran's head does drop but he maintains a high first serve percentage (11/16 @ 69%), but Sampras' returning is at its most certain and his passing most precise. He puts 5 passing winners away to take the set - and match.

Summing up, Sampras the much better player and Ivanisevic hanging tough for most of the match on the weight of his aces and return winners. In every other way, Sampras a class above
 
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JasonZ

Semi-Pro
I think Goran gave up in the third. He did stuff like that a few times, and everytime his first serve lost like 10mph then, was like a good second serve.
 
Pete Sampras beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6(2), 7-6(5), 6-0 in the Wimbledon final, 1994 on grass

With the win, Sampras defended his maiden Wimbledon crown. He would go onto win the following year for a three-peat and eventually, accumulate a then record 7 titles at the venue

Sampras won 118 points, Ivanisevic 88

Both players serve-volleyed off all their serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (51/101) 50%
- 1st serve points won (46/51) 90%
- 2nd serve points won (30/50) 60%
- Aces 17 - including 2 second serves, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (54/101) 53%

Ivanisevic...
- 1st serve percentage (65/105) 62%
- 1st serve points won (45/65) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (18/40) 45%
- Aces 25 - including 1 second serve, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/105) 41%

Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 24%
- to BH 74%
- to Body 2%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 55 (13 FH, 42 BH)
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (3 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (55/99) 56%

Ivanisevic made...
- 42 (10 FH, 32 BH)
- 8 Winners (1 FH, 7 BH)
- 36 Errors, all forced...
- 36 Forced (3 FH, 33 BH)
- Return Rate (42/96) 44%

Break Points
Sampras 3/11 (6 games)
Ivanisevic 0/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 28 (5 FH, 10 BH, 6 FHV,4 BHV, 3 OH)
Ivanisevic 22 (2 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)

Sampras had 13 from serve-volley points
- 10 from first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH and 1 FH at net)
- 3 from second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 13 passes (4 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 1 inside-in return, 1 running dtl, 1 cc and 1 longline played from mid-court
- the BHs - 1 inside-in return, 4 cc (including 2 returns), 2 dtl and 2 lobs

Ivanisevic had 12 from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 7 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

- 11 passes (2 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 2 dtl (1 a return)
- the BH returns - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside in
- non-return BHs - 2 dtl

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 15
- 4 Unforced (2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 55

Ivanisevic 31
- 7 Unforced (3 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 24 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 9 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.3

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Sampras was 60/83 (72%) at net, including 59/79 (75%) serve-volleying - off first serves 31/36 (86%), off second serves 28/43 (65%)

Ivanisevic was 37/73 (51%) at net, all serve-volleying - off first serves 20/40 (50%), off second serves 17/33 (52%)
He was 0/2 when forced back from the net

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Match Report
A serve(bot) fest. According to the commentators, the first rally to go over 4 strokes takes place early in the third set and I believe there are no more after that. So 1 point out of 206. There are no breaks - and precious few chances for either man - in the first two sets. Amidst the flurry of aces, unreturned serves and putaway first volleys though, there are subtle differences in quality between the players, which have come out well in the stats.

Goran's formidable service game seems to be based almost entirely on the unreturnable serve. Given the power of his serve, I would have thought that even sans aces, he would be doing well at net due to forcing weak returns. But he isn't. He's only at 51% points won serve-volleying with negligible difference between his two serves (1st serve 50%, 2nd serve 52%). Note also that I've only given him 1 service winner, so that judgement isn't denying him healthier numbers at net. Sampras does return fairly well, but I'd put Goran's low net number down primarily to the Croat's below par net game

Even more strange is he's doing the same thing on return - which might be unique. Of his 11 passes, 8 are returns - in only 42 returns made. He's not doing well playing passing shots after Sampras is able to make a first volley. In this case, Sampras' volleying deserves at least equal credit to the discredit Goran might get for indifferent passing shots - Pete is mostly careful and precise in the forecourt for the match

There is a further oddity about Goran's returning. Usually, when a player hits a number of return winners, he's also forcing many first volley or half-volley errors. Goran doesn't. He either blasts back a return of serve winner or puts the ball in play without much heat.... there's not a whole lot going on in between. Some credit here to Sampras making difficult first volleys or half-volleys... but mostly, this whole business is a product of Goran's unusual, blast-or-push returning tendency.

Despite having the bigger serve, having a higher first serve percentage (62% to 50%), and sending down more aces/service winners (26 to 18), Goran is comfortably behind Sampras in unreturned serve percentage (41% to 53%). Here I would primarily credit Sampras, who seems to read Goran's serve well and is able to get many a tough serve back. Not necessarily with much authority, but Goran's volley leaves much to be desired. He's hit 11 winners at the front of the court and forced 7 groundstroke errors for a total of 18 points won. Meanwhile, he's lost 20 points via volleying and half-volleying errors. Many of the FEs I've given him in the forecourt are marginal and the volleys he misses are more often than not makeable. Sampras made many such volleys - and he was up against a heftier return

In short, aces and return winners aside (i.e. what I call 'in play'), Sampras is vastly the superior player. And Goran is less than impressive
-----------------------------

With the serve shot so dominant, there are only a handful of chances and half chances for the two players against the others serve for the first two sets.

In the first set, Sampras goes down 15-30 due to a couple of doubles, but serves his way out of trouble. In his next service game, the American is coasting at 40-0 with 3 unreturned serves before Goran lets loose with 3 consecutive winners (2 returns), but again, Sampras serves his way out. Its Goran's turn to go through the hoop next as Sampras conjures two break points. Both are erased via unreturned serves. Next service game, Goran falls to 0-40 and Sampras has not only break points but set points to boot. The shot of the match wins him one of the points - he exquisitely BH lobs a winner. Doesn't seem to be much top spin on the ball, he just hits it up and very high above Goran's head. However, Goran saves the game with a pair of aces, and even gains a break point of his own in the next game (saved with an unreturned serve)

Goran's power returning, when he gets it right, is something to see. Sampras serves mainly to his BH and in the first set alone, the leftie has gone through the full roster of possible BH return winners - crosscourt, down the line, inside-out and inside-in

Goran plays more single handed BHs than any 2 handed player I've seen. And not just to balls he's forced to stretch for

1st set tiebreak turns on some clutch stuff from Pete. He hits an excellent BHV winner off a powerful return, forces2 third ball errors with powerful BH returns of his own and then withstands a powerful return to set up a not easy second volley winner.

Second set goes like the first. There's an interesting game where Goran wins back to back points returning. Up 30-0, Sampras drags Goran wide with the serve and has an easy volley into the open court to finish the point. Goran looks like he's given up on the point is almost walking towards the open court. Sampras plays the volley too casually and Goran sprints to reach it and dispatch a running FH dtl pass. You hear of people "sneaking to net". Here, Goran snuck sideways on the baseline. Next point, Sampras makes a strange BHV volleying error. Its a simple, high putaway, but Sampras hits it well out - the ball landing close to the line judges

On one of his few break point chances, Sampras inexplicably let's a Goran volley go though it's right under his nose and lands well in for a winner

While the third set has usually been described as Goran having a mental meltdown, I thought Sampras deserves at least equal credit for the unexpected bagel. Goran's head does drop but he maintains a high first serve percentage (11/16 @ 69%), but Sampras' returning is at its most certain and his passing most precise. He puts 5 passing winners away to take the set - and match.

Summing up, Sampras the much better player and Ivanisevic hanging tough for most of the match on the weight of his aces and return winners. In every other way, Sampras a class above
Excellent summary on this match Waspsting. This match more than any other highlighted the serve-dominated grass court era of the 1990s (the creeping red fescue and rye grass courts at Wimbledon were faster than the rye grass of today). After this match I remember a lot of discussion about how tennis needed to make changes to ensure longer rallies on grass. Sampras was the master on this surface. There was never anyone better on a fast grass court than him.
 

JasonZ

Semi-Pro
Excellent summary on this match Waspsting. This match more than any other highlighted the serve-dominated grass court era of the 1990s (the creeping red fescue and rye grass courts at Wimbledon were faster than the rye grass of today). After this match I remember a lot of discussion about how tennis needed to make changes to ensure longer rallies on grass. Sampras was the master on this surface. There was never anyone better on a fast grass court than him.
If Federer would have played in the 90s he would be better, by a small margin.
 
Pete Sampras beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6(2), 7-6(5), 6-0 in the Wimbledon final, 1994 on grass

With the win, Sampras defended his maiden Wimbledon crown. He would go onto win the following year for a three-peat and eventually, accumulate a then record 7 titles at the venue

Sampras won 118 points, Ivanisevic 88

Both players serve-volleyed off all their serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (51/101) 50%
- 1st serve points won (46/51) 90%
- 2nd serve points won (30/50) 60%
- Aces 17 - including 2 second serves, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (54/101) 53%

Ivanisevic...
- 1st serve percentage (65/105) 62%
- 1st serve points won (45/65) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (18/40) 45%
- Aces 25 - including 1 second serve, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/105) 41%

Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 24%
- to BH 74%
- to Body 2%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 55 (13 FH, 42 BH)
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (3 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (55/99) 56%

Ivanisevic made...
- 42 (10 FH, 32 BH)
- 8 Winners (1 FH, 7 BH)
- 36 Errors, all forced...
- 36 Forced (3 FH, 33 BH)
- Return Rate (42/96) 44%

Break Points
Sampras 3/11 (6 games)
Ivanisevic 0/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 28 (5 FH, 10 BH, 6 FHV,4 BHV, 3 OH)
Ivanisevic 22 (2 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)

Sampras had 13 from serve-volley points
- 10 from first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH and 1 FH at net)
- 3 from second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 13 passes (4 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 1 inside-in return, 1 running dtl, 1 cc and 1 longline played from mid-court
- the BHs - 1 inside-in return, 4 cc (including 2 returns), 2 dtl and 2 lobs

Ivanisevic had 12 from serve-volley points
- 5 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 7 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

- 11 passes (2 FH, 9 BH)
- the FHs - 2 dtl (1 a return)
- the BH returns - 2 cc, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside in
- non-return BHs - 2 dtl

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 15
- 4 Unforced (2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 55

Ivanisevic 31
- 7 Unforced (3 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 24 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 9 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.3

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Sampras was 60/83 (72%) at net, including 59/79 (75%) serve-volleying - off first serves 31/36 (86%), off second serves 28/43 (65%)

Ivanisevic was 37/73 (51%) at net, all serve-volleying - off first serves 20/40 (50%), off second serves 17/33 (52%)
He was 0/2 when forced back from the net

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Match Report
A serve(bot) fest. According to the commentators, the first rally to go over 4 strokes takes place early in the third set and I believe there are no more after that. So 1 point out of 206. There are no breaks - and precious few chances for either man - in the first two sets. Amidst the flurry of aces, unreturned serves and putaway first volleys though, there are subtle differences in quality between the players, which have come out well in the stats.

Goran's formidable service game seems to be based almost entirely on the unreturnable serve. Given the power of his serve, I would have thought that even sans aces, he would be doing well at net due to forcing weak returns. But he isn't. He's only at 51% points won serve-volleying with negligible difference between his two serves (1st serve 50%, 2nd serve 52%). Note also that I've only given him 1 service winner, so that judgement isn't denying him healthier numbers at net. Sampras does return fairly well, but I'd put Goran's low net number down primarily to the Croat's below par net game

Even more strange is he's doing the same thing on return - which might be unique. Of his 11 passes, 8 are returns - in only 42 returns made. He's not doing well playing passing shots after Sampras is able to make a first volley. In this case, Sampras' volleying deserves at least equal credit to the discredit Goran might get for indifferent passing shots - Pete is mostly careful and precise in the forecourt for the match

There is a further oddity about Goran's returning. Usually, when a player hits a number of return winners, he's also forcing many first volley or half-volley errors. Goran doesn't. He either blasts back a return of serve winner or puts the ball in play without much heat.... there's not a whole lot going on in between. Some credit here to Sampras making difficult first volleys or half-volleys... but mostly, this whole business is a product of Goran's unusual, blast-or-push returning tendency.

Despite having the bigger serve, having a higher first serve percentage (62% to 50%), and sending down more aces/service winners (26 to 18), Goran is comfortably behind Sampras in unreturned serve percentage (41% to 53%). Here I would primarily credit Sampras, who seems to read Goran's serve well and is able to get many a tough serve back. Not necessarily with much authority, but Goran's volley leaves much to be desired. He's hit 11 winners at the front of the court and forced 7 groundstroke errors for a total of 18 points won. Meanwhile, he's lost 20 points via volleying and half-volleying errors. Many of the FEs I've given him in the forecourt are marginal and the volleys he misses are more often than not makeable. Sampras made many such volleys - and he was up against a heftier return

In short, aces and return winners aside (i.e. what I call 'in play'), Sampras is vastly the superior player. And Goran is less than impressive
-----------------------------

With the serve shot so dominant, there are only a handful of chances and half chances for the two players against the others serve for the first two sets.

In the first set, Sampras goes down 15-30 due to a couple of doubles, but serves his way out of trouble. In his next service game, the American is coasting at 40-0 with 3 unreturned serves before Goran lets loose with 3 consecutive winners (2 returns), but again, Sampras serves his way out. Its Goran's turn to go through the hoop next as Sampras conjures two break points. Both are erased via unreturned serves. Next service game, Goran falls to 0-40 and Sampras has not only break points but set points to boot. The shot of the match wins him one of the points - he exquisitely BH lobs a winner. Doesn't seem to be much top spin on the ball, he just hits it up and very high above Goran's head. However, Goran saves the game with a pair of aces, and even gains a break point of his own in the next game (saved with an unreturned serve)

Goran's power returning, when he gets it right, is something to see. Sampras serves mainly to his BH and in the first set alone, the leftie has gone through the full roster of possible BH return winners - crosscourt, down the line, inside-out and inside-in

Goran plays more single handed BHs than any 2 handed player I've seen. And not just to balls he's forced to stretch for

1st set tiebreak turns on some clutch stuff from Pete. He hits an excellent BHV winner off a powerful return, forces2 third ball errors with powerful BH returns of his own and then withstands a powerful return to set up a not easy second volley winner.

Second set goes like the first. There's an interesting game where Goran wins back to back points returning. Up 30-0, Sampras drags Goran wide with the serve and has an easy volley into the open court to finish the point. Goran looks like he's given up on the point is almost walking towards the open court. Sampras plays the volley too casually and Goran sprints to reach it and dispatch a running FH dtl pass. You hear of people "sneaking to net". Here, Goran snuck sideways on the baseline. Next point, Sampras makes a strange BHV volleying error. Its a simple, high putaway, but Sampras hits it well out - the ball landing close to the line judges

On one of his few break point chances, Sampras inexplicably let's a Goran volley go though it's right under his nose and lands well in for a winner

While the third set has usually been described as Goran having a mental meltdown, I thought Sampras deserves at least equal credit for the unexpected bagel. Goran's head does drop but he maintains a high first serve percentage (11/16 @ 69%), but Sampras' returning is at its most certain and his passing most precise. He puts 5 passing winners away to take the set - and match.

Summing up, Sampras the much better player and Ivanisevic hanging tough for most of the match on the weight of his aces and return winners. In every other way, Sampras a class above
Goran large number if bh volley errors stood out in your breakdown. I remember watching this match at the time and thinking that Sampras had become a serve-and-volley machine. The match was not nearly as close as the score indicated.

I was rooting for Goran but I gave up too after the second set. This was peak Pete.
 
Excellent summary on this match Waspsting. This match more than any other highlighted the serve-dominated grass court era of the 1990s (the creeping red fescue and rye grass courts at Wimbledon were faster than the rye grass of today). After this match I remember a lot of discussion about how tennis needed to make changes to ensure longer rallies on grass. Sampras was the master on this surface. There was never anyone better on a fast grass court than him.
Honestly, there was as much outcry after the 91 final(I have magazines and newspapers from then). they broke down the average shots in that one as well, I don't think it was any different than 94. The same was true of most finals from 85 on. Some writers were even calling Sampras Courier a servebot match(doubt many rallies went over 4 shots)
Lots of criticism every year, often from the commentators. It's sort of weird that 1994 is stil so infamous today, when players S&V on all serves there are pretty much never any rallies. Heck, I came across an article from the U.K. in 1971 where the writer was condemning the big serving monotony of the men's game(Smith Newcombe)

Goran was definitely one of the most under fire players by media of the 90s. So many press conferences where someone asked him if he thought fans really liked watching him hit aces.
 
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@Waspsting
You think Goran hit more one handed backhands than any 2 hander you've seen? Wow, I've seen him play hundreds of times, don't see how he really can compare with Wilander in that respect.
 
Honestly, there was as much outcry after the 91 final(I have magazines and newspapers from then). they broke down the average shots in that one as well, I don't think it was any different than 94. The same was true of most finals from 85 on. Some writers were even calling Sampras Courier a servebot match(doubt many rallies went over 4 shots)
Lots of criticism every year, often from the commentators. It's sort of weird that 1994 is stil so infamous today, when players S&V on all serves there are pretty much never any rallies. Heck, I came across an article from the U.K. in 1971 where the writer was condemning the big serving monotony of the men's game(Smith Newcombe)

Goran was definitely one of the most under fire players by media of the 90s. So many press conferences where someone asked him if he thought fans really liked watching him hit aces.
Sure, there was talk after the 1991 final as well. Becker and Stich, two big servers, there weren't many long points. I recall a lot of talk during the early rounds in 1992 as well. The Wimbledon highlights show were even doing montages showing Goran's opponents looking at a loss how to return the serve (I seem to recall one clip with Mark Woodforde). Goran was most often the target when it came to criticism of big serving, but there were others too. There were many Wimbledon matches of this era when pundits talked about the big serving. But 1994 was probably the most memorable of these serve-bot matches.
 

JasonZ

Semi-Pro
Sure, there was talk after the 1991 final as well. Becker and Stich, two big servers, there weren't many long points. I recall a lot of talk during the early rounds in 1992 as well. The Wimbledon highlights show were even doing montages showing Goran's opponents looking at a loss how to return the serve (I seem to recall one clip with Mark Woodforde). Goran was most often the target when it came to criticism of big serving, but there were others too. There were many Wimbledon matches of this era when pundits talked about the big serving. But 1994 was probably the most memorable of these serve-bot matches.
It was ******** to critisize Goran for his serve. What was he supposed to do, stop serving well or what? Every player would serve like that if he had a serve like that
 
It was ******** to critisize Goran for his serve. What was he supposed to do, stop serving well or what? Every player would serve like that if he had a serve like that
I agree. It was unfair how Goran was targeted by the media because of his serve. One reason why this match was mentioned so often at the time was that one point lasted over four strokes (Waspsting mentioned this in his post). This was mentioned a lot in the press. I never agreed with the criticism. It was the natural outcome when you put two massive servers together on a fast grass surface in an era when players came in behind their serves to put away the volley. Nowadays we have matches like the 2017 US Open final between Nadal and Anderson, when Nadal was standing so far back to receive serve he was practically in the crowd, then Nadal hit high returns but Anderson stayed back behind his serve, so wasn't able to put away the volley.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Sampras was the master on this surface. There was never anyone better on a fast grass court than him.
He's the best I've seen. Not as big a server as the biggest (but close and with steadier nerves), not the greatest volleyer (but not too far behind)... the combination was frightening
And his focus. That stands out to me. No loosening up, no choking

And his movement, quick like a cat. He was carrying an injury in this match - had sprained his ankle in one of the earlier rounds and it was bandaged up for the final. And he still moved better than Goran.

Going by memory, I think he was carrying minor injuries in '93 (shoulder?) and 2000 (foot?) as well... didn't matter, just got on with business at hand

Goran large number if bh volley errors stood out in your breakdown. I remember watching this match at the time and thinking that Sampras had become a serve-and-volley machine. The match was not nearly as close as the score indicated.
That's largely because Sampras targeted the BHV, but no doubt he targeted it because he knew it was the weaker side - as it usually is for volleyers, especially not great ones

I should add that though I've marked them as forced errors, most of Goran's volleying errors were 'makeable'... maybe the balls were on the low side or struck harder than normal or some combination of the 2 but they weren't flagrantly forced errors - full blooded power hits that land at the volleyers feet. One wouldn't expect Goran to make any volleys to balls like that

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Re: criticism of Goran - and this match - for being serve-bot boring... I think the clincher was that you hardly even see volleys when Goran's on show.

I'm guessing there was scope for the art of volleying to be on show with Smith-Newcombe. Don't remember the specifics of Stich-Becker - I can see it having the potential to be a serve-bot fest, but there's scope with those guys for seeing some good net skills too

I've seen Edberg put away volley after volley, but there's aesthetic value in how he works the net and places his volleys.

Goran was a step beyond that.... could turn a grass court tennis match into something akin to a darts or archery contest

Not his fault and I think the criticism is unfair. As long as your winning, being called "boring" is probably the highest compliment. I find Borg on clay boring... and also as close to perfect as can be
 
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My research confirms that the outcry over Stich Becker was pretty big at the time(I pretty much have a photographic memory when it comes to 90s tennis)
Much was made over the fact there were only 9 minutes, 20 seconds of actual play time in the 2 1/2 hour match(google it). There were articles later in the year and in 92 in NY Times that made references to that bit of trivia. Men's tennis was oft criticized back then.

But there are some stats here that show grass tennis pretty always had very few strokes per point
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-agassi-ivanisevic-1992-w-final.206118/#post-7233044

Average strokes per point in the 92 final(Agassi Goran)was 3.64.

In the 75 final (Ashe Connors) it was 3.58. Go figure.
 
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NonP

Hall of Fame
He's the best I've seen. Not as big a server as the biggest (but close and with steadier nerves), not the greatest volleyer (but not too far behind)... the combination was frightening
And his focus. That stands out to me. No loosening up, no choking

And his movement, quick like a cat. He was carrying an injury in this match - had sprained his ankle in one of the earlier rounds and it was bandaged up for the final. And he still moved better than Goran.

Going by memory, I think he was carrying minor injuries in '93 (shoulder?) and 2000 (foot?) as well... didn't matter, just got on with business at hand
Haha, Pete's injuries in 2000 (back troubles on top of right-shin tendinitis) weren't "minor." He actually came close to pulling out, and he says in his book (and also in several interviews) that he might well have pulled the plug if not for his draw opening up.

But yes, that's a good summary of what made Sampras so dangerous on grass. For a big guy Goran was no lumbering slouch himself but Pete was by several degrees the superior athlete who had everything except world-class stamina due to that thalassemia of his (though his 5-set record is pretty darn good!). And I'm sure you've seen those (charted) numbers in our convo that show him as the one true outlier who actually did better on BPs than on regular service points! A truly unique player, and the one guy I'd back against other ATGs (at least in the past 30-40 years) to win that mythical tournament.

My research confirms that the outcry over Stich Becker was pretty big at the time(I pretty much have a photographic memory when it comes to 90s tennis)
Much was made over the fact there were only 9 minutes, 20 seconds of actual play time in the 2 1/2 hour match(google it). There were articles later in the year and in 92 in NY Times that made references to that bit of trivia. Men's tennis was oft criticized back then.

But there are some stats here that show grass tennis pretty always had very few strokes per point
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-agassi-ivanisevic-1992-w-final.206118/#post-7233044

Average strokes per point in the 92 final(Agassi Goran)was 3.64.

In the 75 final (Ashe Connors) it was 3.58. Go figure.
Hence my description of this match (in a separate convo, heh) as grass-court tennis at its most clinical. As a devotee of the big game I'm actually fond of this match and other serve-fests, and if others find 'em boring, their loss!
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Much was made over the fact there were only 9 minutes, 20 seconds of actual play time in the 2 1/2 hour match(google it). There were articles later in the year and in 92 in NY Times that made references to that bit of trivia. Men's tennis was oft criticized back then.

They showed a similar stat for this match. About 1 hour and 40 minutes into the match, the ball had been play about 5 minutes.... Bud Collins seemed to find this very amusing

McEnroe expressed his preference for wooden racquets and when someone (Dick Enberg, I think) teasingly asked him if he thought tennis should go backwards to wood, he said something like "just on grass"

I'm not sure if he was joking or not
 
They showed a similar stat for this match. About 1 hour and 40 minutes into the match, the ball had been play about 5 minutes.... Bud Collins seemed to find this very amusing

McEnroe expressed his preference for wooden racquets and when someone (Dick Enberg, I think) teasingly asked him if he thought tennis should go backwards to wood, he said something like "just on grass"

I'm not sure if he was joking or not
Yeah well I wonder what Collins would have said if he saw stats on Ashe Connors. Or Mac. They were all just jumping in the bandwagon. It was pretty trendy to criticize men's tennis back then. Part of the problem was that Connors/Mac were recently retired(both were doing commentary for major finals in early 90s) and of course weren't going to be too complimentary of the Era that just followed theirs(in addition to the constant criticism of the power game they - and much of the media - went on and on about the lack of personalities in the modern game)

@NonP
Sampras also came close to pulling out before 93 W, said pain was so bad in shoulder he could barely brush his teeth.
 
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