Wimbledon 1989: Lendl's greatest chance for the title

Enceladus

Professional
#1
Lendl ended up in the semifinals, but he was never so close to winning Becker as he was in 1989. And if Becker had stood up against Edberg, I would have believed him, Edberg showed a low performance in the finals. Edberg 89 looked more playable than Becker 86 or Cash 87. Do you agree?
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#3
Lendl ended up in the semifinals, but he was never so close to winning Becker as he was in 1989. And if Becker had stood up against Edberg, I would have believed him, Edberg showed a low performance in the finals. Edberg 89 looked more playable than Becker 86 or Cash 87. Do you agree?
All 3 very tough opponents and tough years for Lendl. Edberg might have been a little off in the 89 final, but he was red hot during the very late 80's and very early 90's, so this was pretty close to peak Edberg. (let's remember that he won Wimbledon the year before and the year after, not to mention making it to the French Open final in 1989! He just had an off-day against Becker)

Edberg seemed to run in streaks. He wasn't as consistent day in and day out as Federer, for example. Very hot streak in 1991 US Open, probably some of his best tennis ever. Then defeated soundly by Courier at AO final just a few months after seriously trouncing him at US Open?!?
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
#4
I think lendl himself said that was the closest he got was in 1989 against Becker, I think there was also a rain delay that shifted the momentum for Becker after that cost him...
I personally think of 1990 as his best shot even tho edberg trounced him in the semis.. he put all his eggs in one basket that year skipping the clay court season for grass, using a bigger racquet, getting very comfortable in the surface, and winning Queens the week before beating Mac and Becker, but wasn't meant to be...
Mac did end up being right when they asked about lendl's chances of winning W I think in '90, he said something like " I think if he practices a million years on grass he still won't win.. his game just isn't suited for it..."
 
#5
I think lendl himself said that was the closest he got was in 1989 against Becker, I think there was also a rain delay that shifted the momentum for Becker after that cost him...
I personally think of 1990 as his best shot even tho edberg trounced him in the semis.. he put all his eggs in one basket that year skipping the clay court season for grass, using a bigger racquet, getting very comfortable in the surface, and winning Queens the week before beating Mac and Becker, but wasn't meant to be...
Mac did end up being right when they asked about lendl's chances of winning W I think in '90, he said something like " I think if he practices a million years on grass he still won't win.. his game just isn't suited for it..."
Actually before 2001, Wimbledon grass was faster than Queens. Lendl actually found it more comfortable with Queen grass.

Likewise, Muster reached Queen SF despite not winning a single Wimbledon match.
 
#6
It's hard for me to say which year was Lendl's best shot. I thought he won some darn good matches vs. really good grass court players in 1986 leading up to the finals. Becker handled 1986 better than some players do in his situation - going from the upstart out of no where to suddenly having the pressure of being the defending champion. He handled it beautifully. It didn't really catch up with him until 1987.

Was it 1987 that Lendl handled Edberg in the semis? Edberg had already won the Australian, so that was a good win. He really should've beaten Cash. But Pat beat Lendl mentally as much as physically. He channeled his dislike for Ivan into a golden performance. On that one day Cash became a Wimbledon champion. And nothing before that day nor since really mattered ever again because he was a Wimbledon champion and a legitimate one. Instant forgiveness forever.

The 1988 semis is where I thought Lendl was going to break through. He played such a great match. I'm sure Becker's respect for Lendl shot up enormously after that battle.

But it was 1990 where Lendl really seemed ready to win it, and he showed it at Queen's Club destroying both Mac and Becker en route to the title. But he never looked that good during the 90 Wimbledon. And it all came crashing down around Ivan in the semis. I think that's the day his Wimbledon dream truly died.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
#7
I thought 87 was his best shot. But Cash was red hot....kinda came out of nowhere, clocking Wilander, Connors and Lendl in succession, no easy feat.
Cash said that the only player he feared at that year's Wimbledon was Becker who was the 2 times defending champion until, in one of the biggest upsets ever at Wimbledon, Becker got taken out for him in the 2nd round by Cash's fellow countryman, Peter Doohan (subsequently dubbed by the press, 'The Becker Wrecker').

Of such ironic moments, history is often made! :cool:
 
Last edited:
#8
It's hard for me to say which year was Lendl's best shot. I thought he won some darn good matches vs. really good grass court players in 1986 leading up to the finals. Becker handled 1986 better than some players do in his situation - going from the upstart out of no where to suddenly having the pressure of being the defending champion. He handled it beautifully. It didn't really catch up with him until 1987.

Was it 1987 that Lendl handled Edberg in the semis? Edberg had already won the Australian, so that was a good win.
Yep. Lendl took out Edberg in four: 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-4.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
#9
Lendl's easiest run to the Wimbledon semi finals was in 1983, ironically. Lendl then lost a close 3-set match to McEnroe in the semi finals, with underdog Chris Lewis waiting in the final. I think this is what sowed the seeds for Lendl in convincing him that he could win Wimbledon. As each year passed, his obsession with winning Wimbledon grew, reaching its peak from 1989-1992. He gave everything, and it wasn't enough for him to win it.

Regarding his Wimbledon finals of 1986 and 1987, Lendl had missed opportunities. In 1986, Becker was 0-40 down on serve late in the third set, giving Lendl set points. In 1987, while Cash was in peak form in the second set, Lendl led 4-1 and 5-2 against Cash in the third set. On both occasions, Becker and Cash got out of the holes and won the third sets, and won the match with it.

The 1989 semi final against Becker was the most painful for Lendl though. Lendl was as close to tears as you'll see him at the end, shaking his head in frustration. Lendl had levelled the match at 1-1 in sets and then went two breaks up in the third set with huge momentum before there was a rain delay. When the match started again, the momentum was more in the balance, but Lendl won the third set and was briefly a break up in the fourth set (at 3-2, I think). Becker got out of that hole and won in 5 sets, and Lendl had a few frustrating line calls go against him too.

1990 would have been incredibly frustrating for him too, because he played so amazingly good grass-court tennis at Queen's Club, and then failed to replicate his amazing Queen's Club form at Wimbledon. He was outplayed by Edberg in the semis at Wimbledon that year.
 
#10
What year Lendl's best chance was, I'm not sure, but Ivan could be considered a little unlucky in continually running up against better grass-court players in his day. McEnroe, Connors, Becker a few times, Cash, Edberg.
Leconte in hot mode took him out early one year too, I think.

On those faster courts back then, Lendl's formidable and powerful, but slightly wooden and basic, natural baseline game was at a distinct disadvantage against the best serve-volleyers when you needed to be confident and comfortable at the net and quick reactions came in handy. Some of the players I've named covered those grass courts better than Lendl too and maybe the weight of trying to win there played on his mind as the years went on.

He did try to develop his game to win at Wimbledon over time, but the elite grass court players back then were always his undoing in the latter stages.
Tough era for Ivan.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
#11
1985 Wimbledon was when Leconte beat Lendl, which was a truly sensational performance by Leconte in the third and fourth sets. The number of forehand returns down the line was incredible. When Leconte was in that mood, he could make more methodical players like Lendl look silly. Lendl beat Leconte at 1987 Wimbledon, but it was still tough.

Lendl was unfortunate at Wimbledon. He didn't get that bit of luck he needed. Everything within his power he tried.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#12
What year Lendl's best chance was, I'm not sure, but Ivan could be considered a little unlucky in continually running up against better grass-court players in his day. McEnroe, Connors, Becker a few times, Cash, Edberg.
Leconte in hot mode took him out early one year too, I think.

On those faster courts back then, Lendl's formidable and powerful, but slightly wooden and basic, natural baseline game was at a distinct disadvantage against the best serve-volleyers when you needed to be confident and comfortable at the net and quick reactions came in handy. Some of the players I've named covered those grass courts better than Lendl too and maybe the weight of trying to win there played on his mind as the years went on.

He did try to develop his game to win at Wimbledon over time, but the elite grass court players back then were always his undoing in the latter stages.
Tough era for Ivan.
That's basically it....he lost to a listing of grass court "all stars"....Leconte, well, when he was "on" he could be pretty amazing. Other than him, Ivan did lose to guys who were simply better, more comfortable on the turf.
 
#14
All 3 very tough opponents and tough years for Lendl. Edberg might have been a little off in the 89 final, but he was red hot during the very late 80's and very early 90's, so this was pretty close to peak Edberg. (let's remember that he won Wimbledon the year before and the year after, not to mention making it to the French Open final in 1989! He just had an off-day against Becker)

Edberg seemed to run in streaks. He wasn't as consistent day in and day out as Federer, for example. Very hot streak in 1991 US Open, probably some of his best tennis ever. Then defeated soundly by Courier at AO final just a few months after seriously trouncing him at US Open?!?
I think his true S&V style almost necessitated streaks. It's a hard style to pull off all the time. Baseliners can sort of take their time on an off day, work the point, find their groove, play more positioning shots. A serve and volleyer doesn't have as many options to work through it - unless they're someone with a huge serve and hit a lot of aces and service winners or draw a lot of weak return (someone like Sampras). Edberg had a very good serve, but not a huge serve. He had to hit that first volley more than someone like Sampras.
 
#15
Didn't Lendl at one point very consciously increase his amount of S&V on grass, basically coming in behind very first serve as if he was a natural S&Ver? If so, is that what gave him his best chances to win, or is it what doomed him from not winning, or really neither?
 
#16
Didn't Lendl at one point very consciously increase his amount of S&V on grass, basically coming in behind very first serve as if he was a natural S&Ver? If so, is that what gave him his best chances to win, or is it what doomed him from not winning, or really neither?
He played S/V consistently since 1986 on grass.
 
#18
1988 would have been Lendl’s best chance. The level at Wimbledon dropped off that year. However, Lendl was injured all year. He started off with a broken foot in February, which caused him to miss 2 months. He then pulled a thight muscle during the FO, which likely played a part in his blowout loss to a bum named Svensson. And then at Wimbledon, he strained a thigh muscle. And to top it all off, Lendl had separated cartilage in his tennis shoulder. He played the USO in extreme pain, yet somehow made it to thefinal. Later that month, he had shoulder surgery.

I think that 1988 could have been Lendl’s year. But it wasn’t meant to be.
 
#19
Its a shame Lendl didn't get rid of the S & V and just play his baseline game but with maybe a different racquet with better technology to try to overpower the S & V players. I know when Cash finally switched over to a graphite racquet in '85 he finally started winning big matches on grass.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#20
He played S/V consistently since 1986 on grass.
yes, we've debated this before re: Lendl. I was never keen on his switch to S&V, which he did not do in '83 or '84, yet reached the semis. Frankly, I think he would've been better off playing his normal game, maybe mixing in a little S&V , like Connors did. He just never seemed comfortable w/S&V. Just my humble opinion.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#21
Its a shame Lendl didn't get rid of the S & V and just play his baseline game but with maybe a different racquet with better technology to try to overpower the S & V players. I know when Cash finally switched over to a graphite racquet in '85 he finally started winning big matches on grass.
Lendl used a graphite racquet with a small head.
 
#23
Its a shame Lendl didn't get rid of the S & V and just play his baseline game but with maybe a different racquet with better technology to try to overpower the S & V players. I know when Cash finally switched over to a graphite racquet in '85 he finally started winning big matches on grass.
Pat Cash won Wimbledon-1987 with metal racquet Prince Magnesium Pro 90. He was last player won GS tournament with metal racquet. Only after when he switched Yonex he began to play with composite R-50 and RQ-180.
 
#24
yes, we've debated this before re: Lendl. I was never keen on his switch to S&V, which he did not do in '83 or '84, yet reached the semis. Frankly, I think he would've been better off playing his normal game, maybe mixing in a little S&V , like Connors did. He just never seemed comfortable w/S&V. Just my humble opinion.
He hated bad bounces so he had to S&V
 
#25
yes, we've debated this before re: Lendl. I was never keen on his switch to S&V, which he did not do in '83 or '84, yet reached the semis. Frankly, I think he would've been better off playing his normal game, maybe mixing in a little S&V , like Connors did. He just never seemed comfortable w/S&V. Just my humble opinion.

He didn't s/v in 83 and 84? IIRC, s/v every serve against Mcenroe in 83. I think Connors in 84 was the exception. Personally, I don't think he wanted to give Connors a target after he beat him 0 and 0 the last time they played.

Lendl did what Connors and Borg never did. Well, they never contended doing it. Borg was doing it against Taylor in 73. That is s/v on both serves every point. Textbook grass court tennis. Borg came in most of his 1st serves, all against Mcenroe, in 80 and 81, but never his second. Matches Connors s/v a lot, but never all.

I actually think Lendl volleyed surprisingly well. Don't worry about how pretty he looks doing it, chart how many volleys he is actually missing. I'd see him go near a set without missing one, miss a couple, and get the announcers immediately saying, he's not a good volleyer. I thought based on reputation rather than how he actually volleyed.

I thought his bigger problem was how he returned. Maybe it was his stroke mechanics, but I think the drop off in his returning was far bigger than Connors or Agassi. They weren't returning the way they did on hard courts, either. Still, I thought. a whole lot better than Lendl did.

I just went and looked in the stats thread. His 83 matches with Tanner and Mcenroe are there. According to them, both players s/v on all serves. I hadn't seen the Tanner match in 83. I did see the Mcenroe match and that was the way I remembered. I will also always remember Steve Flink's comment about that match in WORLD TENNIS. That the way Lendl played that day that he would have beaten anyone else in the tournament, save Mcenroe, in straight sets. And that included Connors.
 
Last edited:

Xfimpg

Professional
#26
I thought his bigger problem was how he returned. Maybe it was his stroke mechanics, but I think the drop off in his returning was far bigger than Connors or Agassi. They weren't returning the way they did on hard courts, either. Still, I thought. a whole lot better than Lendl did.
Agreed. I thought his main problem was lowering his string tension in adjusting to the grass, easier power with a shortened swing. Lendl just never looked comfortable returning on grass and didn't rip his returns the same way as say against Edberg at the US Open in 1986 or anytime against cash on hard court. Too much bunting.
 
#27
The 1989 semi final against Becker was the most painful for Lendl though. Lendl was as close to tears as you'll see him at the end, shaking his head in frustration. Lendl had levelled the match at 1-1 in sets and then went two breaks up in the third set with huge momentum before there was a rain delay. When the match started again, the momentum was more in the balance, but Lendl won the third set and was briefly a break up in the fourth set (at 3-2, I think). Becker got out of that hole and won in 5 sets, and Lendl had a few frustrating line calls go against him too.
Yeah, that was the one when he blew a fuse at some stage after an overrule that went in Becker's favour (one of many) and told the umpire something like "I know you want him to win, but..."

An excerpt from the LA Times:

"Before the rain stopped play, Lendl led, 3-0, up two breaks in the third set.

"He was just all over me," Becker said. "Then the rain came. That was definitely good for me. You know, I could settle down. I could think again and come back fresh."

At the time it began raining, Lendl sensed that Becker's game was in disarray.

"I felt he was shattered at the time when we went off the court," Lendl said. "I had a feeling he didn't know what to do at that moment . . . and he came back and started playing better."

Lendl's last moment came early in the fourth set. He went up a break to 3-2 when Becker double-faulted at break point.

But then Lendl gave it right back with his own double fault at break point, and the set was on serve again at 3-3.

"If I held serve there, I felt I would be pretty much in the driving seat," Lendl said.

Becker also realized that momentum was on the verge of shifting in Lendl's favor.

"I knew I have to break or I'm going to be out of these championships in another 15 minutes," Becker said.

Serving at 4-5, the match slid away from Lendl even more, given a slight nudge by a couple of unhelpful actions by chair umpire Paulo Pereira, who replayed points after overruling service line calls."


I still think to this day that Lendl would have won this one pretty comfortably without the rain delay. And Edberg was so out of it at the start of the final that this was probably Ivan's best chance. But it wasn't meant to be. He sure gave it his all, though (probably more than any other champion in the history of the game, actually (bar maybe Navratilova who changed her whole game to beat Evert)--the lengths he was willing to go in retooling his game to have a chance...)

1988 would have been Lendl’s best chance. The level at Wimbledon dropped off that year. However, Lendl was injured all year. He started off with a broken foot in February, which caused him to miss 2 months. He then pulled a thight muscle during the FO, which likely played a part in his blowout loss to a bum named Svensson. And then at Wimbledon, he strained a thigh muscle. And to top it all off, Lendl had separated cartilage in his tennis shoulder. He played the USO in extreme pain, yet somehow made it to thefinal. Later that month, he had shoulder surgery.

I think that 1988 could have been Lendl’s year. But it wasn’t meant to be.
It was the shoulder against Svensson at FO, actually. Pulled a muscle or something like that. It started at the end of the first set, and by the end of the second, the only real question was whether he would be able to finish the match or not. Sad times.
 
Last edited:

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#28
He didn't s/v in 83 and 84? IIRC, s/v every serve against Mcenroe in 83. I think Connors in 84 was the exception. Personally, I don't think he wanted to give Connors a target after he beat him 0 and 0 the last time they played.

His 83 matches with Tanner and Mcenroe are there. According to them, both players s/v on all serves. I hadn't seen the Tanner match in 83. I did see the Mcenroe match and that was the way I remembered. I will also always remember Steve Flink's comment about that match in WORLD TENNIS. That the way Lendl played that day that he would have beaten anyone else in the tournament, save Mcenroe, in straight sets. And that included Connors.
Perhaps it's an aging memory, but I don't recall him S&V'ing in '83 or '84 w/the regularity he did later on...after he took on his new coach...name escapes me at the moment (age sucks). And, perhaps '84 I remember more vividly, since I thought he'd win that one and was ultimately dismantled by the end of it. Regardless, he did not seem like his "normal" self playing S&V, ever. And, I agree, he was never quite right on the grass. Some would say it was his stroke mechanics. I'm no expert, but watching him many times over, I felt he was forcing it on the grass when it came to serve & volley. he'd never do it as well as the best AND expose himself to guys like Connors who could cream the return. So, I never bought into it as a winning strategy for Ivan.
 
#29
Well, your memory is faulty because, as I said, people who did stats for 2 1983 matches said he s/v on every serve. Plus, I remember seeing the 1983 Mac match. Now, my memory could be faulty as well. However, the people who did the stats aren't going by memory.

Fibak was once a coach/mentor to Lendl. I believe the name you are thinking of is Tony Roche. I don't remember the year he started, but my recollection is that, after skipping Wimbledon in 82, that Lendl came back in 83 and immediately went to playing textbook grass court tennis.

It's not like now, though. Every match wasn't televised in the states. We weren't seeing all Lendl's matches in their entirety. First week, especially, HBO might have a 60 or 90 minute highlight program. The highlights I recall seeing were s/v except for the Connors.

Success is a relative term. How many semis and finals did Lendl make? A bunch. It's all relative. He had more success at Wimbledon than Connors did at the French.

As I said before, I think too much weight, for his failure to win Wimbledon is attributed to his s/v and not enough to his return game. Probably because groundstrokes, passing shots are generally considered to be his major strengths. And I think they were mitigated by the grass in a way that a Connors or Agassi weren't.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#30
Well, your memory is faulty because, as I said, people who did stats for 2 1983 matches said he s/v on every serve. Plus, I remember seeing the 1983 Mac match. Now, my memory could be faulty as well. However, the people who did the stats aren't going by memory.

Fibak was once a coach/mentor to Lendl. I believe the name you are thinking of is Tony Roche. I don't remember the year he started, but my recollection is that, after skipping Wimbledon in 82, that Lendl came back in 83 and immediately went to playing textbook grass court tennis.

It's not like now, though. Every match wasn't televised in the states. We weren't seeing all Lendl's matches in their entirety. First week, especially, HBO might have a 60 or 90 minute highlight program. The highlights I recall seeing were s/v except for the Connors.

Success is a relative term. How many semis and finals did Lendl make? A bunch. It's all relative. He had more success at Wimbledon than Connors did at the French.

As I said before, I think too much weight, for his failure to win Wimbledon is attributed to his s/v and not enough to his return game. Probably because groundstrokes, passing shots are generally considered to be his major strengths. And I think they were mitigated by the grass in a way that a Connors or Agassi weren't.
Yes, Tony Roche. I will go back and look at the '83 stats. I just don't remember it that way, but if that's the way they called it, so it is. And, it could be a matter of the PR surrounding his move to Tony Roche...suddenly, the guy is a S&V player. But, Roche was not with him in '83. I don't think there is "textbook" grass tennis, per se. To have someone play in a way that is largely unnatural and questionably effective, I think is not such hot advice. Ivan was never going to be at the level of the best serve and volleyers at Wimbledon. Why he decided that was the only way he could win it seemed very "off" to me. And, now we have a generation of non-serve & volleyers...who are killers from the baseline. Very much like Ivan.
 
#31
Using current players is apples and oranges because the grass is totally different. IMO, there is no arguing that, textbook grass court play was to s/v all the time. Of course, there are exception, as there are in everything, but that was what was predominately done.

I was doing a search to see if I could find out when Roche started because I thought it was around then. Maybe a year later. Since Roche played textbook grass court tennis, and was arguably one of the great volleyers(certainly on the backhand) it makes sense that he would encourage Lendl to do this.

i remember, in 1983, being taken aback by how he was playing. Both serves? I also remember being surprised by how well he did it. How well he volleyed. That doesn't mean he did it like Mcenroe. That doesn't mean he was bad at it. There is a wide chasm between Mcenroe good at the net and bad.

I do think he might have been better off not s/v on every 2nd serve. But basically play the way he does on other surfaces or even only s/v once in a while? No, that isn't how Borg won 5 Wimbledons. Connors sure as hell didn't win his 74 title primarily from the baseline. Agassi would be someone who won coming in relatively little. Again, I never argued that there might be exceptions to the rule.

I think we just fundamentally disagree on how effective Lendl was at s/v. Again, I would use the word surprisingly effective considering how little I had seen him do it previously. Anyway, that wasn't going to help him when the other guy serves. The way I remember it, that was a big problem.

Full disclosure. This is all memory from seeing these matches once. Haven't seen any of them since I saw them then. Maybe my memory is wrong although it wasn't on the 83 Mcenroe match.
Correction, I have seen the Connors match. I have it, but wasn't surprised because I didn't remember him doing a lot of s/v in that match.

I just found a 2011 interview with Lendl. New York Times. Says he hired Roche after the 84 US Open. Reason? He was 3rd behind Mac and Connors and thought Roche might help him in preparing to play lefties. This interview seemed to be promoting an MSG match Lendl played against Mcenroe. He talks about how he's been practicing against a lefty in preparation. That leads into him talking about Roche.
 
Last edited:

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#32
Using current players is apples and oranges because the grass is totally different. IMO, there is no arguing that, textbook grass court play was to s/v all the time. Of course, there are exception, as there are in everything, but that was what was predominately done.

I just found a 2011 interview with Lendl. New York Times. Says he hired Roche after the 84 US Open. Reason? He was 3rd behind Mac and Connors and thought Roche might help him in preparing to play lefties. This interview seemed to be promoting an MSG match Lendl played against Mcenroe. He talks about how he's been practicing against a lefty in preparation. That leads into him talking about Roche.
Interesting in that I thought he hired Roche exclusively/mainly because he wanted to win Wimbledon. My only point re: Lendl serving and volleying is that in the mid to late 80-'s he was doing it all the time on grass. I don't think that was the case w/Borg & Connors, who may have done it a lot on grass, but not on every serve. It seemed to me that Lendl was never quite "right" doing that. And, I agree, his return on grass wasn't as effective as an Agassi or Connors. So, yes, while we agree that "predominantly" S&V ruled on fast grass in the mid-70's to 80's, I think guys like Borg and Connors were different creatures from the baseliners of today. perhaps more like Fed in that they were willing to deploy an all court game at Wimbledon, but less so elsewhere. I don't think Lendl had a problem w/lefties. He had a problem on grass courts. Was he a terrible grass court player? Absolutely not. But, he happened to square off against guys who were excellent ones. He was very unlucky, IMHO.
 
#34
Interesting in that I thought he hired Roche exclusively/mainly because he wanted to win Wimbledon. My only point re: Lendl serving and volleying is that in the mid to late 80-'s he was doing it all the time on grass. I don't think that was the case w/Borg & Connors, who may have done it a lot on grass, but not on every serve. It seemed to me that Lendl was never quite "right" doing that. And, I agree, his return on grass wasn't as effective as an Agassi or Connors. So, yes, while we agree that "predominantly" S&V ruled on fast grass in the mid-70's to 80's, I think guys like Borg and Connors were different creatures from the baseliners of today. perhaps more like Fed in that they were willing to deploy an all court game at Wimbledon, but less so elsewhere. I don't think Lendl had a problem w/lefties. He had a problem on grass courts. Was he a terrible grass court player? Absolutely not. But, he happened to square off against guys who were excellent ones. He was very unlucky, IMHO.
Again, I think bringing today's players into the discussion is apples and oranges. The grass is different, the equipment is different Now, the great exception is a top player who s/v all the time. Discussing what Lendl did back then vs what Connors and Borg did is apples to apples.

I've already conceded that I think his s/v on all 2nd serves might have been a mistake. Not s/v a lot, though. I still maintain he did it surprisingly well. I question all serves s/v, but I don't know that I'd call it egregiously bad strategy. I would call Connors trying to do it against Mcenroe in 1984 that. That was just suicidal and helped him get massacred. Not that I think he stood a chance no matter how he played. Still, probably mitigated against the very small chance he did have.

You may not have thought Lendl had problems with lefties, but he clearly did. To me, it's not some tragedy that he didn't win Wimbledon because he never came THAT close. If he had a match like the 84 French, where it was right there in his grasp, then it's more bittersweet.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
#35
Again, I think bringing today's players into the discussion is apples and oranges. The grass is different, the equipment is different Now, the great exception is a top player who s/v all the time. Discussing what Lendl did back then vs what Connors and Borg did is apples to apples.

I've already conceded that I think his s/v on all 2nd serves might have been a mistake. Not s/v a lot, though. I still maintain he did it surprisingly well. I question all serves s/v, but I don't know that I'd call it egregiously bad strategy. I would call Connors trying to do it against Mcenroe in 1984 that. That was just suicidal and helped him get massacred. Not that I think he stood a chance no matter how he played. Still, probably mitigated against the very small chance he did have.

You may not have thought Lendl had problems with lefties, but he clearly did. To me, it's not some tragedy that he didn't win Wimbledon because he never came THAT close. If he had a match like the 84 French, where it was right there in his grasp, then it's more bittersweet.
Too few S&V guys today to really know, frankly. No, I think we agree mostly...Lendl serve & volleying on all his 2nd serves made little sense to me. And, in the '84 final, I recall shouting at the TV when JC was coming in constantly and getting killed by Mac. I'm not sure about the leftie thing, maybe. I mean, early on, he killed Mac in many of their matches. And crushed Connors in a few as well (right before USO '82). Tragedy that he did not win? No, not really. Just an opportunity that slipped away, perhaps, for a range of possible reasons. And, I think he was unlucky. If he had squared off against a Chris Lewis, let's say, I think he'd have won. Or perhaps if he faced off against Connors in '87. But like Borg at the USO, the stars never quite aligned for him.
 
#39
Too few S&V guys today to really know, frankly. No, I think we agree mostly...Lendl serve & volleying on all his 2nd serves made little sense to me. And, in the '84 final, I recall shouting at the TV when JC was coming in constantly and getting killed by Mac. I'm not sure about the leftie thing, maybe. I mean, early on, he killed Mac in many of their matches. And crushed Connors in a few as well (right before USO '82). Tragedy that he did not win? No, not really. Just an opportunity that slipped away, perhaps, for a range of possible reasons. And, I think he was unlucky. If he had squared off against a Chris Lewis, let's say, I think he'd have won. Or perhaps if he faced off against Connors in '87. But like Borg at the USO, the stars never quite aligned for him.
Some people think that lefties have an inherent advantage against righthanders. No denying that early on he beat Mcenroe regularly. Not by the time he hired Roche, though. French Open 84 aside, he was pretty much getting spanked.

As I said, not like Connors would have won no matter how he played. Forget break points, did he even get to deuce once on Mcenroe's serve? That has nothing to do with Connors s/v. What Connors did probably just accelerated it a bit.

Very disheartening as a Connors fan. He really just toyed with him. This was much worse than what Connors did to Rosewall in 74. I think Mcenroe won twice as many points. And I've seen Connors play worse than he did that day. Obviously seen him play way, way better, but I've seen match where he sprayed errors all over the place. That is not what happened this match.

Chris Lewis is an anomaly. You can't expect someone that weak. Cash only won 1 Wimbledon. He is not an historically great player there. He was in the zone that day in 87.

Tragic, to me, is he was right there. He put the effort in, though. He committed fully to it. You never know how things develop. i remember 1985. Once Lendl and Mcenroe were out I thought Connors was going to win. Becker was just an unknown teenager. Nobody thought he was winning.

In 87, Connors had beaten Cash at Queens that year. Going in to that match, I gave maybe a 50/50 chance. What look like favorable match ups don't always work that way.
 
#41
Lendl ended up in the semifinals, but he was never so close to winning Becker as he was in 1989. And if Becker had stood up against Edberg, I would have believed him, Edberg showed a low performance in the finals. Edberg 89 looked more playable than Becker 86 or Cash 87. Do you agree?
Completely agree, I have been saying this for a while. And there was a rain delay in the match when Lendl was ahead of Becker....so I think that he could have won that match and met an Edberg who wasn't in the same form as 88. (Remember that Lendl beat Edberg in the 87 semi-finals). It seemed that Lendl just got better and better on grass until 90, when he beat Becker at Queens without having his serve broken the whole tournament. By Wimbledon in 1990 he had started to lose form (and Edberg was in really good form).
 
Top