Prime Becker vs prime McEnroe at Wimbledon

jxs653

Semi-Pro
Eh, I am not so sure about that. Mac could blunt power pretty well on a good day....he had a pretty good run against Ivan for some time. Again, everything would need to be working, the serve, the volleys, the footwork. I think we over-emphasize "power" simply by watching the current game, as it is played..
I guess the following quote somehow adds to my previous point:

"I got a vivid sense of the stark divide between tennis’ big-power present and the old days while working with John McEnroe on his autobiography, You Cannot Be Serious. John spoke almost wistfully of his stunning first encounters with Boris Becker in the mid-1980s, as John’s days of greatness were starting to draw to a close, and Boris’ were just beginning.

The young German’s size and strength and athleticism, the hugeness of his serve—all were a harbinger of the game’s future. And though McEnroe, genius that he was, found a few ways to counter Becker’s game before hanging it up, the Brave New World had announced itself. Tennis had changed irrevocably."

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/4-5-vs-mcenroe-article-from-tennis-magazine.14126/
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I guess the following quote somehow adds to my previous point:

"I got a vivid sense of the stark divide between tennis’ big-power present and the old days while working with John McEnroe on his autobiography, You Cannot Be Serious. John spoke almost wistfully of his stunning first encounters with Boris Becker in the mid-1980s, as John’s days of greatness were starting to draw to a close, and Boris’ were just beginning.

The young German’s size and strength and athleticism, the hugeness of his serve—all were a harbinger of the game’s future. And though McEnroe, genius that he was, found a few ways to counter Becker’s game before hanging it up, the Brave New World had announced itself. Tennis had changed irrevocably."

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/4-5-vs-mcenroe-article-from-tennis-magazine.14126/
that's a great article; really gives you the feel of what Mac was all about. Sure, the game, the tech and the players evolve. Bigger, stronger, faster. They can hit the ball harder. But there is/was more to the game than just clubbing the ball as hard possible. McEnroe was a fine example of that.
 
A hypothetical peak Becker would serve better than Kevin Curren in Wimbledon 1985 and also hit groundies like post-1985 Lendl. We all know what happened to Mac when facing red hot Curren and "levelled-up" Lendl in 1985.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
A hypothetical peak Becker would serve better than Kevin Curren in Wimbledon 1985 and also hit groundies like post-1985 Lendl. We all know what happened to Mac when facing red hot Curren and "levelled-up" Lendl in 1985.
Peak Curren serving likely outdoes anything Boris serves up. Have you seen Curren actually play? And, what is a "levelled up" Lendl, may I ask? 1985 Mac was off his game...we just did not realize how much until the year concluded. Curren, who could actually outserve Mac (and did), and Connors, was a wicked opponent. Frankly, he gagged in the final versus Becker. Anyhow, '84 Mac is probably one of the best grass court players, ever.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Eh, I am not so sure about that. Mac could blunt power pretty well on a good day....he had a pretty good run against Ivan for some time. Again, everything would need to be working, the serve, the volleys, the footwork. I think we over-emphasize "power" simply by watching the current game, as it is played..
Let's not forget how Mac played against Roddick...even though he lost.
 

fezer

Rookie
there could have been a w-final between these two in 89. but the mcenroe matches showed 1) mac had his moments of brilliance vs wilander (qf) and edberg (sf) just like in his heyday. and he seemed matured. 2) he still struggled vs an obviously declined wilander. and even if all three sets vs edberg were highly competitive and he had had some impressive victories over the swede in the previous years, one had never the impression, that mac could win. i conclude, that even a peaking mcenroe would have an uphill climb vs becker in full form.
both bo5 matches between these two saw becker more slumping than mcenroe. in 92 mcenore had his last hurray (aoqf, wsf, uso qf ?), while becker was in severe crisis after w91. in 87 becker came from a shock loss vs doohan, but still he battled vs mac and the hartford crwod to beat the tennis icon in dc on home soil. this is one of the most remembered becker matches here in germany, even more than his masters win in 88.
but still all those matches (i could also add the paris indoor sf 89) are not fully comparable to wimbledon, because even indoor both didnt rush the net all the time.
all in all i would give my vote to boris becaus of his overall wimbledon performance, sice he never had such humiliating losses there like mac vs curren, masur or agassi. and even a very very aged becker could swiftly beat players like hewitt, rios or kiefer.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
there could have been a w-final between these two in 89. but the mcenroe matches showed 1) mac had his moments of brilliance vs wilander (qf) and edberg (sf) just like in his heyday. and he seemed matured. 2) he still struggled vs an obviously declined wilander. and even if all three sets vs edberg were highly competitive and he had had some impressive victories over the swede in the previous years, one had never the impression, that mac could win. i conclude, that even a peaking mcenroe would have an uphill climb vs becker in full form.
both bo5 matches between these two saw becker more slumping than mcenroe. in 92 mcenore had his last hurray (aoqf, wsf, uso qf ?), while becker was in severe crisis after w91. in 87 becker came from a shock loss vs doohan, but still he battled vs mac and the hartford crwod to beat the tennis icon in dc on home soil. this is one of the most remembered becker matches here in germany, even more than his masters win in 88.
but still all those matches (i could also add the paris indoor sf 89) are not fully comparable to wimbledon, because even indoor both didnt rush the net all the time.
all in all i would give my vote to boris becaus of his overall wimbledon performance, sice he never had such humiliating losses there like mac vs curren, masur or agassi. and even a very very aged becker could swiftly beat players like hewitt, rios or kiefer.
'89 Mac was formidable, but very far off his peak game....Wilander was a year off of the #1 ranking, so that really was a good win for Mac. Edberg was always going to be a stretch...not impossible, mind you...since it was a matter of whose S&V game was working better followed by who could spot the returns. Not sure I agree about Boris...he was very up and down and struggled with certain players like Agassi. Losing to Curren on grass is not a shameful loss, IMHO. Curren is one of those guys who should have won a GS, but just fell a little short.
 

andreh

Professional
But what about if they play with white or yellow tennis balls? If white, I'm gonna go with Mac. Yellow, it's a tie.

What about if any of them actually drank the Barley water under umpire's chair? That's the real question.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
I recall an old broadcast (maybe late 80s), in which Mac complained that he just couldn't get any respect from Becker.

I think Becker eventually responded saying something to the effect of "I'll be happy to give him some respect, . . . after he earns it by beating me."
 
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thrust

Hall of Fame
It's interesting that when Becker was asked about Federer's greatness 2 years ago he praised Mac at his Wimby peak. However I would also put my money on Boris, but not all money:lol:


"Is Federer the best ever? I don't know," pondered Becker in an exclusive ESPN interview. "You have to say he is the most successful player we have seen, but how can you decide for sure that he is the best ever? Comparing generations is tough, especially in tennis, even though Roger ticks many boxes as the greatest ever.
"Federer has 17 grand slams, the most ever. He has the most weeks at world No.1, which is an impressive record and clearly he has been an incredible player for many, many years. His level of consistency is maybe his most impressive quality.
"However, would he have beaten McEnroe when he was at his very best in the 1984 Wimbledon final using a very different type of racket to the one he has now? I doubt it. Would he have beaten Bjorn Borg at his very best when he was dominating at the French Open or Wimbledon? Again, I doubt it, but that is not to belittle Federer's achievements for one moment.
For once, I agree with Boris. Unfortunately, however, we will never know for sure.
 
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