Was Borgs BH considered technically ugly in its day?

Heuristic

Hall of Fame
It always struck me as unesthetical and suboptimal from a technique perspective. What were the views back in the day?

I was surprised going over highlights how complete Borg was. He had a solid netgame on grass, underrated first serve, pretty decent return game. Fast. Nice FH.

His only weakness from a modern perspective looked to be his second serve?
 

Lorenn

Professional
Backhands were not as hyper analyzed back then. He adapted his motion from Hockey and was trying something to add topspin to it. Fun to watch it again after all these years. One of the interesting things is how deceptive it was for where the ball might end up. I always called it a hand and a half backhand.
 
Most players back in Borg's time were using text book flat SH BHs. Some of the prominent players that used DH BH stood out. Jimmy Connors is probably the big one although technically his BH was a DH Forehand

Back in the day Borg's BH was considered to be a DH BH. I guess it depends on the POV regarding what defines a DH BH. Some people think it depends on the racquet take-back. Others think it depends on what is happening at the point of contact with the ball.

Borg's takeback on the BH was definitely DH. And the stroke path to the ball was also DH. He took his left hand off the racquet at the Release Point a la a Hockey stroke as mentioned by @Lorenn. I also consider Borg's BH a ONE AND A HALF ... although technically I think it actually is a DH BH.

I don't think it was considered ugly though. It was very effective and generated a lot of topspin. Regardless, I think most people were more concerned about Borg's looks, his athleticism, and his massive success in the sport. He was the quintessential Tennis Rock Star!

(As an aside, Borg's FH was an enigma. He created an epidemic of tennis players around the world who would try to roll the face of their racquet over the tennis ball thinking that's what generated the massive topspin that Borg could generate. But high speed slow motion video analysis of that stroke - by late great Tennis Coach Victor Brayden - revealed that the ball had left Borg's racquet face long before he rolled it over. Borg was generating the massive topspin the same way Rafa does .. perpendicular racquet face meeting the ball at impact.!)
 

Lorenn

Professional
Borg's takeback on the BH was definitely DH. And the stroke path to the ball was also DH. He took his left hand off the racquet at the Release Point a la a Hockey stroke as mentioned by @Lorenn. I also consider Borg's BH a ONE AND A HALF ... although technically I think it actually is a DH BH.
What was interesting is he could change when he released the hand to change where the ball went. So it might look like he was aiming lets say down the line and then send it cross court. I don't think he was considered a weak part of his game.
 

BorgCash

Legend
Backhands were not as hyper analyzed back then. He adapted his motion from Hockey and was trying something to add topspin to it. Fun to watch it again after all these years. One of the interesting things is how deceptive it was for where the ball might end up. I always called it a hand and a half backhand.
Exactly the same i call it and i play myself the same, one and a half backhand.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
It was a double backhand, he let go with his left hand well after impact. The stroke was guided by the left hand like a typical DHB. Wilander did the same thing – today both of the follow through completely with both hands.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
I don't think it was considered ugly though. It was very effective and generated a lot of topspin. Regardless, I think most people were more concerned about Borg's looks, his athleticism, and his massive success in the sport. He was the quintessential Tennis Rock Star!
this is true , borg could have done anything and it would have looked cool lol
 
Most players back in Borg's time were using text book flat SH BHs. Some of the prominent players that used DH BH stood out. Jimmy Connors is probably the big one although technically his BH was a DH Forehand

Back in the day Borg's BH was considered to be a DH BH. I guess it depends on the POV regarding what defines a DH BH. Some people think it depends on the racquet take-back. Others think it depends on what is happening at the point of contact with the ball.

Borg's takeback on the BH was definitely DH. And the stroke path to the ball was also DH. He took his left hand off the racquet at the Release Point a la a Hockey stroke as mentioned by @Lorenn. I also consider Borg's BH a ONE AND A HALF ... although technically I think it actually is a DH BH.

I don't think it was considered ugly though. It was very effective and generated a lot of topspin. Regardless, I think most people were more concerned about Borg's looks, his athleticism, and his massive success in the sport. He was the quintessential Tennis Rock Star!

(As an aside, Borg's FH was an enigma. He created an epidemic of tennis players around the world who would try to roll the face of their racquet over the tennis ball thinking that's what generated the massive topspin that Borg could generate. But high speed slow motion video analysis of that stroke - by late great Tennis Coach Victor Brayden - revealed that the ball had left Borg's racquet face long before he rolled it over. Borg was generating the massive topspin the same way Rafa does .. perpendicular racquet face meeting the ball at impact.!)
Imo borg is clearly a two handed BH. His take back was two handed and contact too, he released one hand long after the ball already had left the strings
 

Heuristic

Hall of Fame
Why do you guys think Borg struggled more on grass against not so great players like Tanner? Mcenroe and Connors dispensed of these guys much more forcefully.

Wheras on clay, Borg dropped much fewer sets and won more like a dominant nr 1....

I get that he was stronger on clay, but I'm talking about vs opponents that he was a heavy favorite against that he still struggled with... He even lost against Tanner at UO. Not his favorite surface but certainly not a bad surface for Borg.
 

Heuristic

Hall of Fame
Dominant performances or not. Borg is still the last male player to have streaks on wimbledon and the French consecutivelty. Fed, Nadal, Djoko, nobody could repeat that feat...
 

skaj

Legend
Why do you guys think Borg struggled more on grass against not so great players like Tanner? Mcenroe and Connors dispensed of these guys much more forcefully.

Wheras on clay, Borg dropped much fewer sets and won more like a dominant nr 1....

I get that he was stronger on clay, but I'm talking about vs opponents that he was a heavy favorite against that he still struggled with... He even lost against Tanner at UO. Not his favorite surface but certainly not a bad surface for Borg.
Big serves are more dangerous on faster surfaces.
 
Why do you guys think Borg struggled more on grass against not so great players like Tanner?
Borg had a 10-2 H2H against Tanner.

Borg's record on Grass was impeccable.

He even lost against Tanner at UO.
Borg's matches at the USO were usually scheduled during the Day Time Sessions. The 1978 QF match was bunked to the Night Session as a result of some other things that happened.

The famous 1978 QF match played under dim Lights on a night where Tanner was really hot . Borg never liked to play under lights because he believed it had a significant detrimental effect on his reaction time.

Most of the US Open Finals that Borg played in started in the late afternoon with the tennis court in shadow and continued into the evening under Stadium Lights. I believe this was one of the main reasons why he wasn't able to win a US Open Title. If he Finals had been scheduled to start at 2pm like they were at the other Majors, I think he would have won at least a couple of US Opens.
 

shamaho

Professional
It always struck me as unesthetical and suboptimal from a technique perspective. What were the views back in the day?

I was surprised going over highlights how complete Borg was. He had a solid netgame on grass, underrated first serve, pretty decent return game. Fast. Nice FH.

His only weakness from a modern perspective looked to be his second serve?
unesthetical - subjective
suboptimal - perhaps you're forgetting they were using heavy and tiny wood rackets ... and DHBH was very rare at the time, actually he popularized the DHBH more so than Connors
 

shamaho

Professional
Google "Alberto Berasategui"

And as Olli said above ... Wilander used to do it as well.
Yikes ! :) how you dare placing the two in the same sentence ? :)

Berasategui would only hit a BH if he could not possibly hit a forehand (he would hit FH even beyond his BH alley), Borg would not shy away from the BH...

Berasategui BH was not reliable at all, I once saw him struggle with the backhand in a practice just like a regular 4.5 amateur, and his coach was berating him really bad.
 

Frankc

Professional
Hmmm... if one sees Borg's BH as "ugly," then I can think of one top contemporary player whose forehand must be seen as far, far more than "ugly"...

Borg's BH was extremely athletic, like everything he did, imo...
 

GuyForget

Rookie
It always struck me as unesthetical and suboptimal from a technique perspective. What were the views back in the day?

I was surprised going over highlights how complete Borg was. He had a solid netgame on grass, underrated first serve, pretty decent return game. Fast. Nice FH.

His only weakness from a modern perspective looked to be his second serve?
not as ugly as Connor's serve+ forehand
 

Xavier G

Hall of Fame
Why do you guys think Borg struggled more on grass against not so great players like Tanner? Mcenroe and Connors dispensed of these guys much more forcefully.

Wheras on clay, Borg dropped much fewer sets and won more like a dominant nr 1....

I get that he was stronger on clay, but I'm talking about vs opponents that he was a heavy favorite against that he still struggled with... He even lost against Tanner at UO. Not his favorite surface but certainly not a bad surface for Borg.
Tanner could make Jimbo struggle on fast grass too. His big service game was made for it when firing. He knocked out Connors in straight sets at Wimbledon in the very hot UK summer of 1976 and James Scott had to go five sets to get past Roscoe in 1980.

On other occasions, Jimmy dealt with him a bit easier.
 
Borg was nowhere near his best the 1st week at wimbledon as he was the second
Very true. It was really quite amazing to witness Borg's improvement at Wimbledon over the course of the Tournament. He usually saved his best form for Finals Day. Although by the time he got to his 6th Final he was pretty much spent.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
I was curious and took a look at Borg's backhand.


The very dominant right hand with a strong Eastern backhand grip and straight arm are a nice foundation for a one-handed backhand. It seems to me that he had to release his left hand due to the lack of hip and shoulder rotation after contact. Wilander also released his left hand on topspin backhands, but did so later in the shot. Mats had much more hip and shoulder rotation. I like Wilander's backhand.

 

socallefty

Legend
In those days, 2HBHs were not too common and they were all considered ugly and ‘unmanly’. Heck, staying at the baseline and not coming to the net was considered ugly tennis. Borg was instrumental in making the 2HBH cool just because he won so much while going about playing tennis in the right way with his calm attitude which was highly respected - all the fans who identified with the “establishment“ (Nixon/Vietnam War/Republicans) in the US liked Borg while McEnroe and Connors were considered ’rebels’ and popular with the anti-war/new-age hippie/Jimmy Carter crowd. So, Borg succeeded in making 2HBHs and baseline tennis more acceptable amongst the establishment ‘country-club’ types.
 

Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
In those days, 2HBHs were not too common and they were all considered ugly and ‘unmanly’. Heck, staying at the baseline and not coming to the net was considered ugly tennis. Borg was instrumental in making the 2HBH cool just because he won so much while going about playing tennis in the right way with his calm attitude which was highly respected - all the fans who identified with the “establishment“ (Nixon/Vietnam War/Republicans) in the US liked Borg while McEnroe and Connors were considered ’rebels’ and popular with the anti-war/new-age hippie/Jimmy Carter crowd. So, Borg succeeded in making 2HBHs and baseline tennis more acceptable amongst the establishment ‘country-club’ types.
I grew up watching these players and disagree with almost every point you made as well as your “establishment theory” let’s call it which I never heard of before. I reject the theory in its entirety. 8-B
 

socallefty

Legend
I grew up watching these players and disagree with almost every point you made as well as your “establishment theory” let’s call it which I never heard of before. I reject the theory in its entirety. 8-B
Did you identify with the ‘establishment‘ or the ‘protest’ crowd at that time and were you a Borg fan or a Connors or McEnroe fan?
 
Braden. Vic Braden. Not Victor Brayden.
Actually Victor Kenneth Braden Jr. !!!


Victor Kenneth Braden Jr. (August 2, 1929 – October 6, 2014) was an American tennis player, instructor and television broadcaster for the sport.

So I will forgive you your mistake, if you forgive me mine. ;):)

Loved watching his videos. Loved reading his books. Strangely enough, when you mention his name to most Australian Tennis Coaches, all you usually get in return is blank stares.
 
I grew up watching these players and disagree with almost every point you made as well as your “establishment theory” let’s call it which I never heard of before. I reject the theory in its entirety. 8-B
Not sure if your post is being sarcastic or not. But I will assume you are being serious.

If you did actually grow up watching Connors, Borg and McEnroe and reject @socallefty 's "theory", then I suggest you must have been in a Parallel Universe.

There can be ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that Borg was embraced by the "Establishment" as a Traditional Player. For the vast majority of his Professional Career, Borg was a model tennis player, highly principled, highly respectful of the sport, it's traditions, it's etiquette, and the Tennis Authorities.

On the other hand Connors and McEnroe were derided as petulant, immature and bratish. McEnroe was given the moniker "Superbrat" by many.

The US "Country Club" crowd held the same views as the AELTCC Wimbledon crowd. The Wimbledon "Establishment" adored Borg, tolerated Connors, and despised McEnroe. The rest admired Borg, but many of the younger crowd related to McEnroe's antics and seemingly "Rebellious" nature. Connors was viewed more as an "Entertainer", a "Tennis Showman". Sometimes it was difficult to tell whether Connors was actually really angry or just putting on a show. However, when McEnroe got angry it was usually sincere. Both Connors and McEnroe were highly competitive beasts though.

For the record, Connors came to Australia and played the AO in 1974 (which he won against Dent) and 1975 (which he lost to Newcombe). He was the perfect Gentleman and became widely admired here in Australia.

Tennis purists found Borg's stroke technique "unusual". But it was very effective, and in those days most people were more concerned about a player's on court behaviour and then their results rather than how they hit the tennis ball. McEnroe's playing style was much more traditional. This is why the Borg / McEnroe rivalry was so fascinating and continues to be so to this day ... in the same way the Federer / Nadal rivalry is fascinating.
 

BumElbow

Semi-Pro
Borg's backhand was very smart. The swing was so long and the wooden racquet head so small that I am amazed with his coordination and timing when watching his matches. Borg's backhand had a full Eastern backhand grip with this right hand and used his left hand to change grips, stabilize and accelerate the racquet with, I think, an Eastern forehand grip. He needed 2 hands on the backhand because he had a very large grip change from forehand to backhand which was also reflected with the tape on his hands to prevent blisters. The best and smartest part of his backhand was that he let go with his left hand after making contact which put less strain on his lower back. As a result of this technique, he finished very high after hitting the ball. Borg's backhand was very versatile and he could hit slice with it as well as topspin.
 
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