USopen semi 1984..McEnroe v Connors

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Cuculain, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    The role of the racket is decisive.

    The graphite and other materials of the 80 (like that of Mac84) were revolutionary compared to wood ... but were not better than 10%.

    The real revolution took place in the 90s.

    Take a wooden racket and play against your racket opponent now and see if the difference is only 10% ....
     
    #51
  2. BringBackWood

    BringBackWood Semi-Pro

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    Exactly, I love rallies with wood and also early graphite. But then the 90's its gone too far. I think it would have been best to stick with wood. The few rallies you got on a quick court were the pinnacle, like a chess match with each man jockeying for superiority. Today is dumbed down. Still can enjoy it though.
     
    #52
  3. jaggy

    jaggy Talk Tennis Guru

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    What a day of tennis that was.
     
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  4. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    this was just a match of exceptional quality from 2 all time great players. many of the mac v. jimmy showdowns were very messy, with spotty periods of play. very up and down, like '82 wimby. this was probably the most evenly played match I ever watched between them...in terms of quality play throughout. Connors did let it slip away from him, I felt.....but, Mac was tough and held on.
     
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  5. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    Said it a bunch of times already. Will probably say it again. IMO, the highest quality of play, from both players, in any of their matches that I saw.

    I never felt Connors was on the verge of winning, though. He was up a break in the third, but it was pretty early in the third. It's not like he served for the set. He was playing from behind much of the match.

    Connors return was fantastic that day. Mcenroe was over 60% first serve and Connors broke him, what was it, 8 times? Mcenroe mentioned it in the press conference afterward. I'll always remember Connors with his son after that match.
     
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  6. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    I think he could've taken it in 4 sets....he let that break in the 3rd slip away. Easier said than done, right? Really, probably the best I've seen between them as well.
     
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  7. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    1980 is where I thought he had him. Already up a set and up a break, I believe it was 3 to 1, in the 4th. At 30 all he had a pretty easy volley for another break point and missed it. He had all the momentum that match. The 3rd set was at love and mcenroe really seemed out of it. YOu never know.

    Not the same level of play, IMO. More patchy play, from both players, than we had in 84. Rest would obviously have been a factor, but I really think Connors would have beaten Lendl in the final. It didn't last, but that new racquet really raised his game.
     
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  8. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    Watched the first 4 sets of this match at work last night (The Tennis Channel retake). Was certainly a great match with some spectacular shot making. But, without looking at the stats, did seem like a high number of unforced errors from both players.

    McEnroe seemed to get the better from Connors at the baseline, mixing in a lot of slice and the tempo of his shots. Little pace for Jimbo to work with. When McEnroe was "on", he steamrolled Connors.

    Of the uglier moments, which I've never seen mentioned before, was the incident with the photographers late in the 3rd set. McEnroe stops play and calls for the supervisor, saying the photographers behind the on court scoreboard are distracting. They are getting the photographers to move, when Connors walks over in a confrontational manner, says something like, "what the hell you all doing back there, we're trying to play a match". The heavier photographer says something like, " Id like to see you move all this equipment. " Connors puffs out his chest and replies, 'hey, don't get smart with me, pal". They exchange a few words, with Connors walking towards the photographer in an aggressive manner, then tosses a tennis ball at the photographers head. Not a word from the chair. Think earlier in the set McEnroe was glaring and cussing at a linesman over a bad call. Not a word from the chair. Neither blowup seemed to effect their play.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
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  9. BringBackWood

    BringBackWood Semi-Pro

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    On the contrary I thought those moments were far from ugly. For once Connors & Mac on the same side telling a disruptive photographer what's for. Mac lost his focus for a bit after the 3rd, and Jimmy was a bit flat in the 5th, but overall my impression was of a clean but more importantly a thrilling match from a shotmaking perspective.
     
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  10. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Another angle of this fantastic match: has there ever been another example of two players meeting at an event at which they'd had such recent success? Connors and Mac split the prior half-dozen titles at Flushing before their 1984 semi - not to mention Jimmy's title-final-title-final run at Forest Hills from 1974-77.

    I can't think of another example where two players met in the final weekend of a major who'd together won the last 6 editions. Maybe Chris-Martina or Martina-Steffi at Wimbledon, although in both instances the prior title counts would've tilted way towards Martina.
     
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  11. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    McEnroe handled the incident with the 2 photographers well. Let the tournament officials handle the matter. Connors, full of bravado... and security around him, had to act like a tough guy. Like he wanted to fight the guy. Threw a tennis ball at the guy. Maybe he was just playing to the cameras, or maybe just being his usual jerk self.

    Grew up a Connors fan. Loved his antics as a kid. Mac too. But, in reality, a couple of bullies who often treated game officials like crap.
     
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  12. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    High number of unforced errors? I've always maintained that this was the highest sustained level of play, from both players, in any of their matches. The match ended very late. Maybe between 930 and 1000. So that could have been a factor the next day if Connors won. That aside, I think he might have also beaten Lendl in straight sets the next day. That's how well he was playing at the Open that year. Didn't last, but that racquet really seemed to help initially.

    I thought Connors was an ass and a bully with the photographer. Let's face facts, he sometimes was one.
     
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  13. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    Yes on the unforced errors. Well, a lot higher than i expected. Seemed the high level of play swung back and fourth a bit. Connors seemed to leave quite a few passing shots in the net (forced, but makeable)..as well as spraying a few too many returns. Then he'd hit 3 or 4 down the line that left McEnroe scratching his head. Mac would play unbelievably well, then drop his level a bit. Maybe, my expectations too high. Hadnt seen in 34 years. Still had the great drama and tension. The Tennis Channel edition of that match was really high quality.
     
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  14. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    If you watched the CBS broadcast, they had stats throughout. Late in the fifth, Connors had 16 unforced errors, Mac 29. Statistically it's a really high quality match. FYI, there is a sticky at the top of this page titled match statistics. There is a thread on this match in there with many more stats.
     
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    #64
  15. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    I could not see thousands of matches in those years (it was not possible, at least in Italy it was not possible:mad::().
    Of the matches I saw this was the best of the "Era wood ".... let's say until the end of the 80s.
    Then the equipment changed and there were better ones especially in the Fedalovic period.

    I also remember very exciting Connors-Borg 76, Mac-Connors 80, Connors-Lendl 82 and the two finals won by Mac v Borg but maybe this is my favorite.

    Including 70s & 80s I do not remember exciting matches on red clay (there were for sure but I do not remember), some excellent match at Wimbly, but on hc or carpet tennis was of much higher quality. At Flushing Meadows has achieved the maximum.
    As tennis level it seemed to me US Open >>>> Wimbledon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  16. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    The way you are describing this match is the way I saw their 1980 match. Tremendously exciting, but flawed with some peaks and valleys on both sides.

    The unforced errors stats that Moose posted are how I see this match. 16 and 29 are not many unforced errors over nearly 5 sets. Especially when none of the sets are one sided.

    Of course there were some errors I didn't say it was the highest quality match I ever saw. I said it was the highest quality I ever saw between them.

    Did Mcenroe play like he did at Wimbledon? No,that is a level that is rarely reached, IMO, he played damned well this match. IIRC, served over 60%(high for him) and Connors broke him a bunch of times. Connors return was fantastic that night.

    1982 Wimbledon would be another match that I could see claims of some patchy play. This one, though, I never saw that way. Eyes of the beholder, I guess.
     
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  17. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    This was a much better match than the '82 wimbledon final, IMHO. That one did have some very exciting moments, however. In the USO match, I think Jimmy let that 3rd set get away from him . He could have won in 4 sets. After this one, they both had their moments in GS events from time to time, but i think their best was behind them. Which was not expected for Mac.
     
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  18. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    For me, it's not a matter of what came afterwards. This was the last time they played in GS or something like the Masters. This is about comparing this match to any of their matches that I've seen. They played in 4 US Opens, 3 Wimbledons , a French and 2 Masters. I've seen them all except for one. I just think this was the match with the highest consistent level of play, both players.

    I sometimes think Wimbledon 82 gets a bit of a bum rap. Back in 82, I saw Ashe say neither player played well. Don't confuse all Connors double faults with outright playing bad. There were patches, but I thought also some very good play. Definitely not the level of this match, though. Not, IMO.
     
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  19. BringBackWood

    BringBackWood Semi-Pro

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    Yeah there was exquisite play from both but a good description I've seen is that neither could play well for more than 2 games in a row. Mcenroe in particular seemed determined to be distracted & down on himself from the get go. By not having the focus he had during his 2 previous finals, I felt he let this one slip through his fingers, although, perhaps paradoxically, Connors gifted the breaks to John when he was ahead in both the 1st and 3rd sets.
     
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  20. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    Mac was just very cranky in that match. In his bio, he claimed he was having issues w/his ankle and his mobility was not what he wanted/needed against someone like JC. He did seem a bit off and very negative; attitude-wise, Connors was the one who was more positive and better focused. There was some fine play during that match, even if it was sporadic. And, it had a lot of tension...w/Connors being on the brink, only to come back and snatch it away from Mac. still, '84 uso was one where they both played exceptionally well.
     
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  21. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    I think where Connors played exceptionally well was their Queens match in 82. I've heard Mcenroe talk about how they used to practice together then and he thought it helped Connors read his game. In 84 where, by what I've heard/read, they couldn't stand each other again, Mcenroe mostly thumped him. But Mcenroe was better against pretty much everyone that year.

    Back to 82 Wimbledon. I've certainly seen them both play better, I have also seen them play a lot worse.
     
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  22. max_brat

    max_brat New User

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    I don't know what the two said about each other after the match in '84, but here's a story from my dad, a reporter who was in that press conference:

    Mac came in and sat down, and Maury Allen (New York sports writer) asked him, "John, I got a question for you" and Mac shot back "I got a question for you; how'd you give that error away?" or something to that effect. Allen was the New York Mets' scorekeeper, and gave away an error that cost them a no-hitter (incidentally, the Mets would not score a no-hitter until 2012).

    My dad always found it amazing that after that long and late a match, Mac could still make such a joke.
     
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  23. jrepac

    jrepac Hall of Fame

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    Funny you mention that....years back, in the old Louis Armstrong stadium, there was typically a gap between the day matches and evening ones (not like today). So, some of the pros would sneak in there to practice....one sunny afternoon, I was treated to watching Mac & Jimmy practice together. Along w/a handful of other fans who were "in the know." I think they respected one another, even if they never really got along very well.
     
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  24. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    IMHO the game level at Wimbledon couldn't exceed a certain threshold for the bad rebound.
    There were good matches between Mac-Connors, Borg-Connors, and especially Mac-Borg, and a few other interesting because the surface was too poor.
    The NY level was tremendously superior. At F.Meadows the players played 30% better. Many were very beautiful matches, some stratospheric.
     
    #74
  25. BringBackWood

    BringBackWood Semi-Pro

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    Borg Gerulaitis says otherwise.
     
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  26. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    I do not know about Vitas, Borg hated the weather and the noise of Flushing.
    But it's hard at that time there were many legendary matches at Wimbledon. :( ....
    NY was a circus. Was The Circus.
     
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  27. BringBackWood

    BringBackWood Semi-Pro

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    Lol I was talking about their 77 sf in response to you saying grass level had a threshold.
     
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