Tri Match Stats/Reports - Becker vs McEnroe, Paris Indoor, Milan & Year End Championship semi-finals, 1989


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat John McEnroe 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 in the Paris Indoor semi-final, 1989 on carpet

Becker would go onto beat Stefan Edberg in final to win the event

Becker won 94 points, McEnroe 95

Becker serve-volleyed of all but 5 first serves. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all but 2 first serves and majority of seconds

(Note: I've made confident guesses about serve type for a couple of points)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (55/98) 56%
- 1st serve points won (45/55) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (19/43) 44%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (31/98) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (54/90) 60%
- 1st serve points won (38/54) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (23/36) 64%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/90) 30%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 8%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 20%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 63 (10 FH, 53 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 21 Errors, all forced...
- 21 Forced (6 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (63/90) 70%

McEnroe made...
- 61 (26 FH, 35 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 7 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 15 Forced (4 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (61/92) 66%

Break Points
Becker 2/6 (3 games)
McEnroe 2/5 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 32 (9 FH, 8 BH, 9 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)
McEnroe 30 (5 FH, 6 BH, 7 FHV, 10 BHV, 2 OH)

Becker had 10 from serve-volley points -
- 5 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH at net)… the FH at net was not clean
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)
- 1 fourth volley (1 OH)
- 1 re-approach volley (1 FHV)

- FHs - 3 cc passes (1 at net), 2 dtl (1 pass, 1 return), 2 inside-out (1 at net) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 2 dtl passes, 1 dtl/inside-out pass, 1 inside-in return pass and 1 lob

McEnroe had 14 from serve-volley points -
- 6 first volleys (3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 8 second volleys (4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

- 5 from return-approach points (3 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BH at net)

- FHs - 2 cc (1 return pass), 1 dtl pass, 1 inside-out pass and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 32
- 10 Unforced (2 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)… 1 FHV was not a net point
- 22 Forced (10 FH, 8 BH, 2 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49

McEnroe 31
- 13 Unforced (3 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH, 1 Point Penalty)
- 18 Forced (8 FH, 7 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.2

(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
Becker was...
- 41/58 (71%) at net, including...
- 29/39 (74%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 28/38 (74%) off 1st serve and..
- 1/1 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

McEnroe was...
- 52/77 (68%) at net, including...
- 45/67 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 31/46 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 14/21 (67%) off 2nd serve
- 6/7 (86%) return-approaching
- 1/3 (33%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Great and close match. Mac winning 1 extra point and having break point in one extra game speaks to the closeness, but it feels like Becker is more in control than that would tend to indicate - some of the time, he appears to be half-assing his efforts, allowing Mac to win points easily whereas Mac is on all the time. Even so, its a great match from both players

Both players serve-volley virtually all the time off first serves (Becker desisting 5 times, Mac twice). Mac comes in behind most second serves too, Becker just once

Court appears to be on the slow side for carpet. Both players return fairly comfortably and only Becker's extra powerful first serves are unduly troublesome (as they would be on just about any court). The comfort with which Becker returns Mac is the most notable difference from their matches in '85 and '86 when Boris clearly had no read on the Mac serve at all. Here, he seems to read it pretty well. Mac's also fairly conservative with his placement, sending down a big chunk of body and body-ish serves. Becker's fairly casual on return... just going through the motions on quite a few games. When he focuses, he looks a threat to break everytime

Noteworthy is the difference in the style of returning. Becker whacks whatever he can reach - casually or otherwise. The problems his returns pose are usually one of coping with the power behind them, rather than placement. With one exception. The BH inside-in returns in deuce court invariably has Mac scampering to sideways to reach

Effectiveness of Mac's return by contrast is more about placement and touch. Net rushing Boris finds balls dropping on him or placed off to the sides. Even second serves Boris stays back on are treated so. Mac forces Becker to bend his back on second serves with some very effective return-approaching, Mac winning 6/7 on the play. About half of these are chip-charges - Mac is quick to seize net when he sees a well placed orthodox return has created time for him to come in too. Keeping Mac from coming in probably has a hand in Boris' 6 double faults (Mac has 0)

Both players are strong in the forecourt. Its not unusual for Becker to make a mess of normal volleys on a given day - and on this one, he's faced with a number of awkward ones. But he's at his best on the volley - just the one net volley UE (+ 1 OH and a non-net volley). Some good winning shots to low-ish volleys too and otherwise, not hassled about where to volley. He goes to Mac's FH as often as BH... don't think he cared about which side, but went for the whichever one he could get the ball furthest away from Mac. Not quite putting balls in corners, but usually well away from his opponent... a lot closer to corners than opponent. That's another sign of Becker being at his best on volley... he's apt to just put volleys slightly to BH side of opponents quite often

Some excellent passes from Mac too... on the run or out of corners with needle threading touch precision. The ones he puts past Becker are virtually perfect shots

Mac volleys very well too - and of course, its more normal for him than for Boris. Dealing decisively with anything above net and very good at getting 1/2volleys in play. He does miss a first volley OH - one of the easiest shot I've ever seen him miss - but its not costly. To get through him, Becker usually needs 2 shots - a strong low return to draw a defensive volley or 1/2volley and a strong pass to follow it up. He tends not to falter on the second bit when he's done the first part

Movement isn't great from either player. Mac probably edges court coverage - and his superior placement based baseline attacks often leave Becker scampering (mostly unsuccessfully)


Hall of Fame
Much silly behaviour from Mac. He seems to be mocking Boris by exaggeratedly coughing. I hadn't noticed Boris was coughing til Mac's imitation. Seems to think Boris was doing it deliberately to throw Mac off (I doubt it). Later, he's complaining about time Becker's taking between points. While Becker is leisurely, seems within 30 second rule

Mac 'retaliates' by not stooping into his return position when Becker's ready to serve. And is given a code violation for wasting time. He argues that he was ready to play and would have gotten into position as Becker went into his methodical pre-service routine. And manages to get a second violation and is docked a point. He follows up with a lot of silly dilly-dallying on his own serve, and flirts a bit with doing some on return too. Lot of complaining about line calls and the like too. In reality, Mac takes longer between some points than Boris does (though he's quicker on average)... but 'hides' it by yapping away while he's doing it. With strict rule enforcement, all of those could legitimately be called for time violations

I suspect this was a standard tactic of his when he was playing for time... make a verbal fuss while doing it to distract/excuse his doing it. Most of what he's muttering about at such times makes little sense

With both players volleying well, server dominates play. Couple of Mac volleying UEs and couple of Boris passing winner (1 a particularly good BH lob) gives Becker the first break. Mac breaks right back - a good wide return, a good FH inside-out pass and a couple of Becker doubles do it for him

Down 0-2 in tiebreak, Becker wins 7 points in a row to take it. In the last game before it, he'd made 3 return errors somewhat casually - but when it counts, he hits them well. In first game of second set, he makes 3 more return errors - again, to lose game to love

Couple of bad net errors from Boris leaves him down 15-30 in game 6 of second set, and Mac finishes it with a return pass winner and a strong deep return that he nurses to finish break point with a FH cc winner. He struggles to serve out the set though - the game lasts 16 points and players combine for 10 winners (Mac 4, Becker 6) in it. Rest of points are all forced errors (2 of them returns). Particularly good are a Mac BH dtl pass that forces a diving BHV error, a Becker BH dtl winner pass, an exquisite Mac first volley, stop FHV and an even better Becker running FH cc pass. Mac made 10/16 first serves in the game... again, it looks like if Becker really wants to, he can make a dent against the serve

Becker breaks second game of deciding set to 15. Some very strong returning in the game, despite Mac making 4/5 first serves. Mac invariably faces difficult first volley or 1/2 volley (makes an error on just 1), and Becker follows it up as needed. Twice he comes into net to finish with volleys (once off a second serve, where Mac hadn't come in). Once he puts up a lob off a very good, difficult first volley from Mac that forces a back pedalling OH that Boris can block into open court for winner

Mac is near as impressive in moving to 15-40 next game... but Becker sends down 4 unreturned serves from there (the first a second serve that's been marked unforced return error). Comfortable holds from thereon, til Becker serves for the match. A brilliant running FH dtl pass, plus a double fault and a relatively easy FH1/2V miss gives Mac a break point. 2 unreturned serves later, Becker has match point, on which a BH dtl forces an error

Summing up, high quality match from both players, with Becker more in command than the stats and scoreline indicates. His serve is the only irresistible weapon on show - and as he volleys very well, it leaves Mac needing to do something extra special to make a dent returning. By contrast, Becker seems able to turn his effectiveness on return on and off

Stats for the final between Becker and Stefan Edberg -



have to disagree with you here on mac's behaviour. Boris recently admitted that the coughing was deliberate - check the discussion video that Mats, Ivan, Mac, Boris did at the US open. Ths match is referenced & he did it to Lendl at Wimbledon as well - Umpire gave a 1st serve to Ivan because of it's interference. Pretty shameful if you ask me. And on the point penalty, Mac was absolutely right. Boris was very clever looking behind him pretending that it was Mac holding up play when all John has to do is crouch down in the routine of Boris. And then Becker makes a derisory attempt to defend John by saying he takes a long time, but he quickly goes back to the baseline. The umpiring is ridiculous. He should have just told Boris to go into his motion. It's not up to the receiver to 'look ready'!


Hall of Fame
Early in the season, Becker beat McEnroe 6-2, 6-3 in the Milan Indoor semi-final, on carpet

Becker would go onto beat Alexander Volkov in final to win the event for the second time and he would go onto win it twice more in future. McEnroe was a former 4 time champion at the event

Becker won 65 points, McEnroe 49

Becker serve-volleyed about half the time off first serves. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and half the seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (32/61) 52%
- 1st serve points won (28/32) 88%
- 2nd serve points won (11/29) 38%
- Aces 11 (1 not clean), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/61) 39%

- 1st serve percentage (25/53) 47%
- 1st serve points won (15/25) 60%
- 2nd serve points won (12/28) 43%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/53) 26%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 53%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 2%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 18%
- to BH 73%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 35 (8 FH, 27 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (35/49) 71%

McEnroe made...
- 29 (17 FH, 12 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 6 return-approaches
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 10 Forced (4 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (29/53) 55%

Break Points
Becker 4/11 (4 games)
McEnroe 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 16 (6 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
McEnroe 10 (1 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Becker's FHs - 1 cc pass, 2 dtl passes (1 return) and 3 inside-out (1 pass)
- BHs (all passes) - 2 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-in return and 1 lob

- 2 from serve-volley points - a first volley BHV and a third volley FHV
- the OH was off a return-approach point
- the BH1/2V was a drop

McEnroe had 6 from serve-volley points -
- 3 first volleys (1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 1 FHV was from a return-approach point and as a stop shot

- FH - 1 lob
- BHs (both passes) - 1 cc and 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 17
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 3 BHV)
- 10 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

McEnroe 21
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 2 BHV)… 1 FH was a net point
- 15 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.7

(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
Becker was...
- 21/28 (75%) at net, including...
- 10/15 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 9/11 (82%) off 1st serve and..
- 1/4 (25%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching

McEnroe was...
- 25/46 (54%) at net, including...
- 18/36 (50%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/23 (52%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/13 (46%) off 2nd serve
- 6/6 (100%) return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
Becker overpowering McEnroe is the tale of the match. Court seems to be faster than in Paris

Becker's first serve is beyond Mac's ability to handle. He also serves a low 52% first serves in (and double faults 8 times) to give Mac chances on return... but when the serve is put in play, Mac can scarcely touch it (Becker has 11 aces and 2 service winners), much less return it. Mac returns just 55% of serves (due to large double faults, Boris' unreturned rate is just 39%)

Boris doesn't serve-volley much. Comes in 11/29 first serves or 38% of the time. Was looking to come in roughly less than that behind his aces and service winners. With first serves... he's largely in look-for-aces mode, and apparently confident that if he lands the delivery, it won't come back. No approach behind the serve necessary. And he's right

On serve in play, Boris mixes things up. Volleys as well as needed (nothing great is needed - neither Mac's returns or passes are particularly challenging). When staying back, he whacks a pair of third ball FH inside-out winners - the only non-pass groundstroke winners from either player in the match. Looks to come in too

Becker comes in 12 times in rallies (winning 10), to Mac's 4 and 1... that's a bit deceptive because with Mac serve-volleying and return-approaching (6-1... both players win all such points as returner) much more, there's more scope for Boris to come in, especially since his first serve gives him initiative off points. Still, Boris is quick to come in when Mac leaves door open in neutral situations... good, sharp net instincts from Boris

By contrast, Boris doesn't leave too many chances for Mac to approach. Strong second serves - a couple he stayed back on have been marked forced error - even discourage return-approaching. The price is the high 8 double faults. While in play, Becker hits far more powerfully off both sides, especially the BH, which Mac tends to slice drive

Mac doesn't serve well - just 47% first serves in - but 2 things are eyecatching

- the vast difference in power of serves. Mac's look downright gentle compared to Boris... it looks like the difference between Mac's serve and Jimmy Connors'
- how well Becker returns. As in Paris, seemingly reading the serve, he has little trouble reaching it - and hammers anything he can reach. Even Mac's first serve looks ordinary. Just 2 aces (and 1 service winner)

Note Mac in a pickle serve volleying - winning just 50% such points. Even on 1st serve, its just 52%. He volleys well and I would primarily credit Boris' returning and passing for this. Just 3 forecourt UEs for Mac - same as Boris, in about double the approaches speaks to Mac not volleying badly. 6 FEs speak to how well Boris returned and passed (along with 8 winners)

Mac's passing is fairly ordinary, but he's usually in defensive positions after the approach. Becker doesn't target a wing to volley to
By contrast, Becker's returns often leave Mac making 'defensive' volleys, and Mac does invariably volley to Boris' BH

Highlight for Mac is his chip-charge returns. Excellent stuff - invariably deep to the BH. Becker all but once misses the third ball pass (once a volley when Becker serve-volleyed). Seeing as he didn't have an error trying, maybe he could have been more adventurous in trying to make the play... but generally speaking, Becker's second serves are strong and not the type of thing one would look to come in off of
First set is all Boris. 11/16 serve points he wins are unreturned serves - Mac scarcely has a chance. Boris also returns and passes with power. Breaks to go up 2-0 with 2 FH passing winners - including 1 on the run - a return winner, plus a return that forces 1/2volley error. Threatens next game too with more of the same, but Mac holds on.

Second break to end the set is maybe even better than the first. On one point, he moves forward against a first serve when he sees his return is wide and a difficult volley for Mac. Mac makes it, but Becker's there to lob volley that, force Mac back and smash the rejoinder. Later, he deftly steps away from a body serve to whack a FH dtl return pass winner. Seals the set with a lovely BH lob winner, after forcing a 1/2volley first volley. When the worst points Becker wins in the game are a FH cc passing winner where he guessed/anticipated where Mac was going to volley and a strong return that forces a BHV error (powerful and low)… you know your seeing something pretty special

To start second set, Mac has hit first break point on back of a double fault and a couple of good shots - a beautiful stop FHV winner and a BH dtl pass, but Becker aces his way through. Mac breaks next game though - 3 chip-charge returns draw 3 BH pass errors, plus BH cc pass on break point do it for him (Becker helps with 2 doubles). Becker also striking a carefully controlled drop BH1/2V winner in the game

Becker finds himself down 0-40 next service game too - a double, a BH pass error off chip-charge return and missing a routine first BHV getting him there. 5 unreturned serves - including 2 aces, a service winner and a very strongly forced one - get him out.

Bad game from Mac to give the break back, including a double fault, missing a first 'volley' FH at net and a third ball FH winner attempt from baseline. On his 3rd break point, Becker comes in off a Mac slice to win the point at net. Mac's broken again through a combo of bad play by him and good by Becker. Break point is particularly good... a running and fully on the defensive Becker throws up a perfect BH lob that forces Mac back, and Boris again takes net to claim the point

Becker serves out match by coming in off third balls, of both serves. You'd think he could just as easily have serve-volleyed. It seems like mixing things up just for the sake of mixing them up... either way, he'll win and does

Mac has a couple of tantrums about line calls and gets a warning. Particularly upset when a Becker fault is overruled by chair shortly after what he thought was a bad call against him. Same umpire as Paris match. Again, Mac doesn't shake hands with him at end

Summing up, overpowering stuff from Becker, particularly the first serve but also, quite frequently returns too. The odd neat touch shots look good against the backdrop of his general, power hitting play. Mac can't get much advantage with his own serve and does what he can against second serves and is thoroughly beaten


Hall of Fame
Becker beat McEnroe 6-4, 6-4 in in the Year End Championship (Masters) semi-final, 1989 on carpet in New York, USA

Becker, the defending champion, would go onto lose to Stefan Edberg in final. and he would go onto win it twice more in future. It was the last match McEnroe, a 3 time former champion, played in the event and his first entry in 4 years

Becker won 82 points, McEnroe 72

Becker serve-volleyed about half the time off first serves. McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and about half the seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (44/78) 56%
- 1st serve points won (34/44) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (14/34) 41%
- Aces 8, Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/78) 37%

- 1st serve percentage (43/76) 57%
- 1st serve points won (28/43) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (14/33) 42%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/76) 24%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 4%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 23%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 22%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 55 (17 FH, 38 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (55/73) 75%

McEnroe made...
- 45 (18 FH, 27 BH), including 10 return-approaches
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 11 Forced (3 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (45/74) 61%

Break Points
Becker 3/9 (6 games)
McEnroe 1/11 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 20 (7 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)
McEnroe 17 (2 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 7 BHV, 3 OH)

Becker had 5 from serve-volley points -
- 3 first volleys (1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 2 dtl (1 pass) and 3 inside-out (1 return pass, which McEnroe misjudged and left)
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 2 dtl (1 pass), 1 inside-out pass and 2 inside-in return passes

McEnroe had 9 from serve-volley points -
- 5 first volleys (2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 4 second volleys (3 BHV, 1 OH)

- 3 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 other OH was played net-to-net

- FHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl pass
- BHs (both passes) - 1 cc and 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 33
- 12 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 21 Forced (8 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 2* Net Touch)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 54.2

(*Note: Becker lost two points by touching the net. The first was a diving drop BHV which would have been a winner had he not touched net before the ball bounced twice. The second was a running-down-drop-volley BH lob at net, which McEnroe BHOH'd a winner off after Becker touched the net. As both shots Becker played would have been marked 'forced error' had he missed them, they have been marked forced errors)

McEnroe 30
- 14 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)… 1 BH was a net point
- 16 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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
Becker was...
- 17/30 (57%) at net, including...
- 11/19 (58%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 9/15 (60%) off 1st serve and..
- 2/4 (50%) off 2nd serve

McEnroe was...
- 45/71 (63%) at net, including...
- 32/56 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 25/40 (63%) off 1st serve and...
- 7/16 (44%) off 2nd serve
- 9/10 (90%) return-approaching
- 1/3 (33%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
A gritty match with 13/20 games going to deuce. Becker's huge serve and Mac's pretty ordinary one is decisive, and play is somewhat inelegant. Its a who-plays-the-big-points-better match

Serve & Return
As in Milan, McEnroe appears all at sea against the Becker serve. One gathers when Becker sends it down - especially when he doesn't come in behind it - that he doesn't expect it to come back, and looks caught off guard on occasion when it does, even weakly. Becker probably takes a bit off the serve when serve-volleying, likely to allow himself more time to get in close to net... some good touch returning from Mac - now a bit to the side, now dropping at the net charger - against it, but nothing too worrying for Boris

Again like Milan, Mac's at his best return-approaching... he wins 9/10 such points and the one he lost was a wild, desperado one against the first serve as Becker was serving for the match. That he was able to make the return at all (the volley he missed was makeable though he had to run to meet it and its been marked forced error) makes one wonder if he could have gone for low-percentage, desperate return-approaches more often. Probably not... inevitably he'd make errors (but he was making them anyway returning orthodoxly) and Becker was strong on pass all match

And Becker does some big second serving. Not always, but frequently. Strong enough to force errors. Mac does look to be attacking - stepping into court to take the returns, thus making it harder for himself (alternative though was probably even worse... just put ball in play from regular position and let Becker take charge of point). Overall, strong returning from Mac... but underlying it all is something both players seem to know: push comes to shove, Becker can just bang down an unreturnable (for McEnroe) serve

Mac's serve is quite ordinary. Not just of power, but of placement and its predictability. What on earth happened to Mac's serve over the years? He - who used to swing returners out past doubles alley can barely move Becker out of the singles lane (there is no doubles alley on the court). He - of the never-know-what-your-going-to-get-next serving - serves relentlessly to the body and when not, its usually body-ish (iow, not much wide serving)

Is he afraid of what Becker might do to wide serves, with the open angles helping the returner find a pass? Whatever the reason... his serving gives the opposite impression of Becker's: despite winning a decent 65% first serve points, sooner or later, Becker will get stuck into a few in a row - and that's trouble waiting for Mac, and so it proves. for example, he's broken despite making 4/6 first serves in 1 game, faces break point after serving 4/6 in another two... doesn't matter how well Mac serves, Becker is capable of thrashing it


Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline & Net
In baseline situations, Boris looks to hit out and take charge of points. Mac is passive. In neutral situations, he pushes balls back, often short and is often pushed on the defensive. Becker tends to make errors going for attacking groundies. Note Boris' very high UEFI of 54.2... with 9/12 such errors being baseline shots Mac by comparison has 50 with 7/14 being baseline shots

Not great from Boris. By far the more powerful hitter from the back, but he struggles to put Mac, who is not particularly fast of court coverage, away.

Not too great from Boris in forecourt either. Serve-volleying, the serve does much of the work. As noted earlier, Mac hits some tricky returns, but he's not particularly strong on the pass in play. 57% net points won is comparatively low for Boris

On flip side, Mac doesn't look great at net either, while Becker is selectively overwhelming on the pass (and at other times, very ordinary). Mac with 7 forecourt UEs to Boris' 3 speaks to their net play being about equal of quality since Mac approaches 71 times to Becker's 30. But Boris with just 3 FEs (sans the 2 net touches, which are obviously oddities) to Mac's 9 speaks to the winner being stronger on the pass

I'd say Boris' volleying was ordinary, while Mac's was grey by his standard and reputation. Nothing in Mac's showing to make you go 'wow - the greatest volleyer ever', but still better than Becker. He faces sterner passes and at times, is overwhelmed by power. At finishing points with volley or making difficult ones (which he faces a lot more of), he's Becker's superior, without quite setting the court on fire

Big Points
With Mac going 1/11 on break points, and even Boris just 3/9, there's plenty of big points. Most are saved via strong play from the server.

Game 4, Set 1, Mac leads 0-40 and sees 2nd serves on all 4 break points he has. Misses 2 returns - neither of them easy (1 marked forced, the other unforced) - and Becker outplays him on other 2. He has Boris at 0-40 again next game, but this time faces big strong first serves. His 4th break point is brought up by a horrendous Becker 3rd ball FH inside-in error, and he loses it with just as horrendous a drop shot winner attempt error in a rare baseline point he'd outplayed Boris on. Shot choice was fine with Becker well back and out of position and it wasn't a difficult shot

Down a break early in the second set, Mac finally converts a break chance after having squandered 9 in first set. This is a particularly bad game from Boris. For rest of match, Boris picks up his game. If he gets a bit behind on serve, bangs down big serves and he keeps threatening to break with sure returns and good passes.

It really does feel as though if motivated, Becker can overwhelm Mac on serve and at least threaten on return at will - and the times when he doesn't, he's cruising a bit. After Mac breaks, all his service games go to deuce. Becker finally breaks in game 9, highlighted by a pair of BH passes - 1 dtl, 1 cc. the cc is exceptionally hard hit. Its normal for Mac to be rushed on volleys, but this goes through him as he's just noticed the direction of the ball and before he can move accordingly
Summing up, not a pretty match at all. Becker's serves, returns and passes bombs when needed while playing choppily at most other times, while Mac doesn't seem to have anything he can count on to hurt his opponent with

Stats for the final between Becker and Stefan Edberg -