Stats for 1985 USO SF (McEnroe-Wilander)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    McEnroe d. Wilander 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

    This was McEnroe’s first win over Wilander in a Slam, after two losses in Paris and one in Australia.

    Per CBS the win put McEnroe up 8-0 in five-setters at the U.S. Open.

    In the second set a CBS graphic noted that the court temperature was 100 degrees and the humidity 80%. Early in the fifth set the temperature had climbed to about 112 degrees.

    McEnroe has said that this match was at least a significant factor in his loss to Lendl the next day. And without question it was a draining match. But McEnroe won a long daytime semifinal over Gerulaitis in 1981 and was still able to defeat Borg in four sets.

    I thought Wilander won the best point of the match with a forehand volley after a long rally, when he was up a break at love-2 in the fourth set. Yet McEnroe won the next 11 points.

    McEnroe was down a break again early in the fifth but broke Wilander at love.

    I remember Rino Tommasi on the CBS highlight show saying that this was McEnroe’s best-ever comeback.


    Per the Miami Herald, McEnroe served at 51%, Wilander at 69%. McEnroe had 45 unforced errors, Wilander 12.

    The San Diego Tribune had the same stats and added that McEnroe double-faulted 4 times to Wilander’s none.

    United Press International: McEnroe had 7 aces, Wilander 5.

    The Washington Post (byline by Arthur Ashe):

    96 placement winners (non-service winners) is a lot but they were not all clean winners. See below -- as best as I can tell, all the forced errors in this match were credited as winners.

    The following are my own stats.

    McEnroe won 148 points overall, Wilander 141.


    McEnroe served at 51%, making 73 of 144 first serves.
    Wilander served at 69%, making 100 of 145 first serves.

    McEnroe’s first-serve percentage by set:
    14/28 (50%)
    18/32 (56%)
    18/28 (64%)
    11/29 (38%)
    12/27 (44%)

    Wilander’s first-serve percentage by set:
    28/38 (74%)
    20/30 (67%)
    14/26 (54%)
    19/25 (76%)
    19/26 (73%)

    McEnroe won 87 of 144 points on serve (60%). He won 53 of 73 on first serve (73%) and 34 of 71 on second (48%).

    Wilander won 84 of 145 points on serve (58%). He won 58 of 100 on first serve, or 58%, and 26 of 45 on second, also 58%.

    McEnroe won 8 of 16 break points, Wilander 6 of 10.

    McEnroe got his first serve into play on 4 of 10 break points. He was broken twice on first serve and 4 times on second.

    Wilander got his first serve into play on 11 of 16 break points. But he was broken 5 times on first serve and 3 times on second.

    McEnroe had 4 clean aces and 4 doubles.
    Wilander had 5 clean aces and no doubles.

    McEnroe got 33 return errors from Wilander, of which I judged 3 as service winners. I think CBS judged all 3 as aces because if I include them I keep up with the running CBS count, which ended up with 7 aces.

    Wilander got 21 return errors from McEnroe, of which I judged 2 as service winners. CBS and I both had Wilander at 5 aces.

    CBS displayed its own “service winners” at 2-4 in the fifth. They gave McEnroe 28, just three short of the return errors that he’d drawn from Wilander on my sheet. The discrepancy seems to be due to the 3 serves that CBS counted as aces and I judged as service winners. Yet at the same time, the network gave Wilander 14 service winners, five short of the return errors that he’d drawn from McEnroe on my sheet; and I don’t see a possible explanation for that.


    McEnroe had 53 clean non-service winners: 7 FH, 8 BH, 18 FHV, 14 BHV, 6 overheads.

    Wilander had 42 clean non-service winners: 13 FH, 14 BH, 5 FHV, 6 BHV, 4 overheads.

    (At 3-all in the second set, CBS had McEnroe making 15 unforced errors from the backhand, Wilander none. At that point I have McEnroe at 3 clean BH winners, Wilander at 5.)

    McEnroe made 4 return winners. One was a FH off a second serve, and not a pass; the rest were BH passes off first serves. In addition he made 8 passing shots: 5 BH’s (including a lob) and 3 FH’s (including a lob). Altogether he passed Wilander 11 times.

    Wilander made 8 return winners, including 3 BH’s that were all passes off first serves. One FH was a netcord winner off a first serve; the other FH's were all passes, and one was off a first serve. In addition he had 16 passing shots, including 10 BH’s (one of which was a lob). Altogether he passed McEnroe 23 times.

    McEnroe's winners by set: 9, 11, 9, 12, 12
    Wilander's winners by set: 10, 5, 14, 8, 5

    In the fifth set Wilander had no volley winners, and only 1 smash. I don't have his net stats for that set, but he had been approaching with success, especially in the first half of the match. After nearly four sets, CBS had McEnroe winning 57 of 91 net approaches (or 63%), Wilander 29 of 41 (or 70%).

    The Washington Post, as quoted above, had McEnroe at 96 placement winners, and Wilander at 69, compared to the 53 and 42 that I counted.

    That’s easily the largest discrepancy I’ve seen in our project.

    CBS seemed to be on the same pace for winners as the Post (perhaps they shared stats). With almost 3 sets played, CBS already had the two players at my 5-set totals, McEnroe at 56 winners (with 32 unforced errors) and Wilander at 43 (with 6 unforced errors).


    If I subtract my numbers for aces, doubles, winners and return errors from the total points won, then McEnroe made 69 forced and unforced errors apart from double-faults and returns; Wilander made 57.

    Let’s say that the Post gave McEnroe 96 placement winners, and not the 53 clean placement winners that I counted, because they credited him with a winner on 43 points on which Wilander actually touched the ball but was forced into an error. Subtracting 43 forced errors from the 57 generic errors that I have above for Wilander leaves 14 unforced errors.

    And that makes sense, because the Miami Herald had Wilander at 12 unforced errors for the whole match.

    In the same way, let’s say that the Post gave Wilander 69 placement winners, and not the 42 clean placement winners that I counted, because they credited him with a winner on 27 points on which McEnroe reached the ball but was forced into an error. Subtracting 27 forced errors from the 69 generic errors that I have above for McEnroe leaves 42 unforced errors. That number rises to 46 if we include his double-faults.

    And again that tracks well with the Miami Herald, which put McEnroe at 45 unforced errors for the entire match.

    My conclusion, then, is that in this match, unlike any that I’m aware of, there was no category of “forced error.” All the errors we might normally call forced were credited as winners.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Comparison with 1982

    In 1982 McEnroe had defeated Wilander (then just short of 18 years old) in that six-and-a-half-hour Davis Cup match, finishing 8-6 in the fifth.

    The Washington Post had the following stats:

    McEnroe served 28 aces (and 10 doubles), Wilander 3.

    McEnroe served at 57%, Wilander at 82%.

    In that match, Wilander held serve 20 consecutive times. His service percentage was 25 points higher than McEnroe's.

    In 1985, he served 18 points higher than Mac, still a lot but still not quite enough to win.

    ETA: Wilander did no better on first serve than on second, in 1985, so his service percentage may not have been that critical. And we don't know how well he did in 1982 on first serve compared to second.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  3. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    do you know what the temperature was in the '81 SF? also I would think playing another S&V player in Vitas would be less physically demanding than this long match with Mats.
  4. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

    Feb 20, 2004
    Apprecaite the stats - an amazing match, one of my utter favorites...
  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    I don't know but if I find it I'll post it.
  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Additional stats

    Success on serve in rallies of at least 2 good shots, with the serve counted as the first shot:

    McEnroe 57% on first serve (27/47) and 41% on second (23/56).

    Wilander 48% on first serve (38/80) and 51% on second (20/39).
  7. subban

    subban Rookie

    Apr 2, 2010
    Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York, USA
    I have this match on dvd. Wilander defintely choked this match away. He was up two sets to one. maybe it was the heat or maybe it was that people were still in awe of mac's dominance and skill. Well, even Lendl in the final the next day was in awe of mac in the beginning of the match as Mac went to like a 5-1 lead in the first set. From there it was all downhill for Mac's career in terms of what he did and was as a player.
  8. evanjj

    evanjj Rookie

    Jul 31, 2010
    can we see a vid of this match anywhere?
  9. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
  10. evanjj

    evanjj Rookie

    Jul 31, 2010
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Feb 17, 2010
    Mc and Mats played sosme gruelling, long matches like that.I still remember their 1982 DC match, when Mats, almost unknown on tour had just won RG and JMac lsot the Wimbly final to Connors.Lovely match.On fast carpet mac dominated, but lost always on clay and were even on hard and grass.

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