Stats for 1980 USO final (McEnroe-Borg)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    McEnroe d. Borg 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-4

    The big story with this match statistically were the unreturned serves. Borg made 64 errors trying to return McEnroe's serve, but he drew only 21 return errors from McEnroe.

    Borg made fewer errors than McEnroe once the ball was in play, and he led McEnroe in total winners by a surprisingly large margin. But the return errors put McEnroe comfortably ahead in total points.

    My stats:

    McEnroe won 184 points overall, Borg 161.


    McEnroe served at 58%, making 105 of 180 first serves.
    Borg served at 47%, making 78 of 165 first serves.

    McEnroe's service percentages by set:

    49% (27/55)
    63% (10/16)
    63% (26/41)
    55% (21/38)
    70% (21/30)

    Borg's service percentages by set:

    64% (25/39)
    32% (7/22)
    38% (15/40)
    46% (16/35)
    52% (15/29)

    McEnroe made 10 of 11 first serves in the two tiebreaks, including all 6 in the tiebreak he lost.

    Borg made 6 of 12 first serves in the tiebreaks, yet only 1 of 6 in the tiebreak he won (he won it with 5 non-service winners).

    McEnroe won 116 of 180 points on serve (or 64%). He won 79 of 105 points on first serve (or 75%) and 37 of 75 on second (or 49%).

    Borg won 97 of 165 points on serve (or 59%). He won 53 of 78 points on first serve (or 68%) and 44 of 87 on second (or 51%).

    McEnroe won 8 of 13 break points, Borg 5 of 15.

    McEnroe saved 5 break points in a five-deuce game at 2-all in the first set. It was the longest game of the match, and he held his serve.

    McEnroe put his first serve into play on 9 of 15 break points (or 60%). He was broken twice on first serve and three times on second.

    Borg put his first serve into play on 3 of 13 break points (or 23%). He was broken twice on first serve and six times on second.

    Borg served twice for the first set and was broken both times; he was broken again serving for the third set.

    McEnroe served 7 aces and 7 double-faults.
    Borg served 4 aces and 9 double-faults.

    McEnroe got 64 return errors from Borg (44 on first serve); of these I judged 8 as service winners.

    Borg got only 21 return errors from McEnroe (14 on first serve); of these I judged 7 as service winners.

    Part of the reason for the 64-21 disparity is that McEnroe served more points than Borg did (180 vs. 165). But their first-serve percentage also comes into it: McEnroe connected on 105 first serves to only 78 for Borg.

    Another factor is that Borg had a rough time returning McEnroe's serve from so far behind the baseline; the CBS camera often barely took him in.

    At Wimbledon Borg had served and returned better, drawing 48 return errors while McEnroe drew 59 from him.

    And that was on grass, so the fact that McEnroe drew more return errors on hard court shows that Borg was not returning as well as he could have -- for example if he had moved in closer to receive.

    The comparison is a good one because McEnroe served 180 points in both finals. And his service percentage was 5 points higher at Wimbledon than the USO, again making it surprising that he got more return errors at the latter.

    On carpet earlier in 1980, at the Masters, Borg drew 17 return errors and made 22 himself (not including two missing games). At the Masters in January 1981, he drew 24 to McEnroe’s 31.

    Those numbers are all similar to the 1980 W final, and I think Borg stood in closer at both the Masters and Wimbledon than he did at Flushing Meadow.

    Had he moved up his potential was probably similar to that of Wilander, who made only 33 return errors in a five-set loss to McEnroe at Flushing Meadow in 1985 (note however that McEnroe served on just 144 points, and his first-serve percentage was only 50).


    McEnroe made 48 clean winners apart from service: 8 FH, 4 BH, 20 FHV, 11 BHV, 5 overheads.

    Borg made 68 clean winners apart from service: 23 FH, 27 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 4 overheads.

    McEnroe's winners by set: 14, 5, 11, 8, 10
    Borg's winners by set: 19, 4, 20, 15, 10

    (One of McEnroe's winners was a return that Borg kicked with his foot after his racquet flew out of his hand.)

    I think these stats show that there was nothing about the surface itself that hindered Borg’s game. Compare his lead here in winners to Wimbledon, where McEnroe barely edged him in winners the first year (54 to 53) and led by a large margin the following year (64 to 47). So this USO final in 1980 shows, I think, how his game benefited from hard surfaces. With true bounces, the ball flying at a good speed into his hitting zone, he often hammered passing shots with an ease that he didn't always enjoy on Wimbledon's low-bouncing turf.

    Borg had 17 service return winners, including a dozen BH’s. All the returns were off second serves except 7 of the BH’s. All of the returns were passes except one FH off a second serve in the first game of the third set, which dribbled over the net.

    In addition Borg had 24 passing shots, a dozen off each side (including 1 BH lob). Altogether he passed McEnroe 40 times.

    (Compare that to Wimbledon where he passed McEnroe only 30 times, including 17 returns).

    McEnroe had 3 service return winners. One was the ball that Borg kicked in the fourth set. The other was a controversial FH return on the baseline, off a second serve at 3-all in the fifth. The remaining return was a BH off a second serve; it was not a pass.

    But McEnroe did make 3 passing shots, one off each side in the first set and one off the FH in the fifth.

    (At Wimbledon McEnroe had passed Borg with 7 returns and 13 other passing shots, which shows how much more Borg was attacking the net there).


    If I subtract winners and aces and from the total points won, McEnroe made 89 total errors, Borg 129.

    Of McEnroe’s 89 errors, I counted 21 return errors and 7 double-faults.

    Of Borg’s 129 errors, I counted 64 return errors and 9 double-faults.

    That leaves making McEnroe making 61 errors in exchanges that had at least a successful return, that is, in rallies. Borg made 56 such errors.

    It was only because of the return errors, then, that Borg made more errors in total.

    That's what made the difference in the match.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
    Waspsting likes this.
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Published stats

    The Washington Post:

    Per the Post, Borg served “dreadfully” but won 20 of 25 points on his serve in the fourth set. That is confirmed in my own count.

    The Post’s 95 ground-stroke errors can’t be unforced errors, because I have Borg making 129 errors of every kind. There’s enough room in there for his 9 double-faults and 25 more errors. Barely enough room for any forced errors.

    In any Borg match you would expect him to make fewer unforced than forced. And that’s particularly true when he’s playing McEnroe, who got 64 return errors from him and forced a lot more errors with volleys.

    I think the Post maybe actually be referring to 95 forced errors on ground strokes.

    The New York Times:

    I have McEnroe serving at 58% for the whole match, though I do have him at 70% in the fifth.

    I have Borg at 47.3% for the match.

    Sports Illustrated:

    More here:

    Like SI, I have McEnroe winning 18 of 24 points, starting at 3-1 in the second set.

    And I also have Borg down love-30 in the second game of the third set and 15-40 in the fourth game – a game in which he missed all 8 of his first serves but managed to hold.

    Nowhere on my sheet do I have Borg missing 12 straight first serves. I have him missing 10 straight including the first two of the third set.

    And I do have McEnroe winning 17 of his last 20 points on serve (and 8 of his last 10).
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
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  3. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Tennis Channel showed a pristine copy of this last night so I've been able to make some changes to all my numbers above. I found the point missing on my DVD, so Borg gets one more service winner. He gets one more FHV winner on a shot that I judged "not up." And I found a couple of service faults by both players that came immediately after commercial breaks, missing on my DVD.

    So Borg's service percentage goes down even further, to 47%.
  4. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Mar 8, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Nice work, krosero.
  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    Here were the net stats I took on this:

    Borg 34 of 52(65%)
    Mac 124 of 190(65%)

    Mac served & volleyed on virtually every 1st & 2nd serve(all but maybe 10 service points). Didn't keep track, but I think he lost pretty much every point on his serve that he didn't S&V on.

    Oh, & Mac was called on one foot fault, a 1st serve at 1-2, ad in, 5th set.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
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  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Borg came in a lot more than this at Wimbledon.

    When Wilander finally beat Lendl at the USO in '88 he did it with over 130 net approaches; I remember how he'd lost the previous year and how it felt like he just didn't get aggressive enough. So I always figured that Wilander found a "solution" to the USO that might have worked for Borg.

    Thing is, Wilander was facing another baseliner. Borg, if he wanted to come in more, would have had to take the net away from McEnroe -- or face him up there nose to nose. It would have been difficult; and I'm not saying Borg should have approached as many as 130 times. But I think he would have benefited from coming in more.

    His winning percentage up there is not bad.
  7. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Oct 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Great work with the stats Krosero. This was a tough, close fought battle. I remember McEnroe complaining during a line call in perhaps the first set. This match was considered real big as the two were coming off their W epic. McEnroe yelled something to the effect of, come on.."this is the biggest match in history"..obviously he understood how much attention their matches were starting to get. When Borg won the fourth set, going into the fifth set, I fully expected him to have his first US Open title. Some more net approaches would have helped Borg perhaps, but two things come to mind, first Borg just didn't return as well as he sometimes did against McEnroe's great lefty delivery (in the ad court was where McEnroe could do the most damage, since he would often swing the serve out wide). Borg made more errors than usual there. Also, he served relatively poorly on this day (% wise). That did him in, even though he often won the rallies. This was the first five set Borg had after a string of about 17 straight 5 set wins for him. For guys that have played a lot of five set matches, he and Nadal have the best 5 set winning percentages (as evidenced by that other thread). Great match and win for McEnroe. I consider it perhaps his best win over Borg.
  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    On this, see the quote in the Sports Illustrated piece I posted above: it was only 13 five-setters in a row.
  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Additional stats

    Success on serve in rallies of 2 or more good shots:

    McEnroe 53% on first serve (29/55) and 34% on second (16/47).
    Borg 58% on first serve (35/60) and 52% on second (37/71).

    Those numbers work out to McEnroe winning only 44% of the time (45 of 102 points) when his serve was returned.

    So really, again, what won him the match was the large number of return errors that he drew from Borg.
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I guess this points to some evidence that Borg's passing shots and ability off the ground was pretty amazing.

    It would have been interesting if Borg and McEnroe played on red clay. McEnroe is pretty good on red clay but how would he do if his great serve's effectiveness was somewhat lessened by the red clay.

    A person would tend to think Borg would win easily but who knows, especially when a person remembers how superbly McEnroe played in the first two sets against Lendl in the 1984 French Open final.
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Definitely, he had a ton of passes here.

    In his form of '84 Mac could have beaten anyone, though in a best of 5 at RG you'd still have to go with Borg.

    In '80 or '81 it could easily have gone in straights to Borg. All these big, tight matches that they were playing were on fast surfaces -- grass, DecoTurf, the carpet at the Garden. The hard courts at the Canadian Open were somewhat slower than Flushing, and their match up there went to Borg 6-3, 6-3. In late '80 they met at the Stockholm Open on a unusually slow type of carpet; the New York Times said it "played no faster than clay"; and that one went to Borg 6-3, 6-4.

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