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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This match was suggested by @DinnerWarrior, who gave this excellent description:

1975 AO final is available fully and nicely remastered, Newcombe def Connors 7-5 3-6 6-4 7-6(7). A very interesting match as an example of old slow grass (compared to Wimbledon's medium speed in normally cooler conditions), Newcombe's last surge and Connors's first disappointment after dominating 1974. It was amusing to see the difference in demeanor: Connors relaxed and jovial, Newcombe focused and serious, quite the opposite of what you'd expect. Connors was young and evidently felt on top of the world, not so fiery as we remember him; Newcombe was aging and reeling from the disappointment of the previous season as he didn't even get to Connors at WB/USO to contest the #1 ranking but lost to ancient Rosewall instead, who was promptly eradicated in both finals. It was largely the mental aspect that decided this close match in Newcombe's favour; I'm sure it's one of those annoying losses that hardened Jimbo in his later mean attitude - better be a mean winner than a nice loser. Also an astonishing example of the crowd directly influencing the match as they booed a dubious line call in Connors's favour so much that he gave in and double faulted deliberately to make up for it (his only DF of the match). That definitely messed with his concentration as he lost three more straight service points to get broken. Jimbo was still young and cheerful then, an older Connors would never think of giving his opponent a point to please the crowd. I won't analyse the entire match here so as not to spoil everything, but if you want a taste of what grasscourt tennis with wooden racquets was like, that's a no-brainer pick.
The match is here:


More analysis to follow ...
 

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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some thoughts ...

Newcombe's serve was truly excellent. He had the whole package: great pace, positioning and spin on both first and second serves. Near the start of the match, Connors smacked back a few vicious return winners off the second serve, but Newcombe was able to up his level in response.

Newcombe's backhand slice and forehand volley were also outstanding.

The AO grass provided a perfect balance between the respective strengths of the two men. Connors was far superior from the baseline and hitting through the court, but Newcombe could still prevail through a mixture of strong serving and variety in slicing and lobbing and volleying. This contrast was nicely reflected in their racquets, with Newcombe's wooden model doing battle against Connors' stainless steel frame model. The OHBH vs DHBH added further pleasing contrast.

A lovely match on the cusp of a new tennis era. Some things that are unthinkable today: tobacco company sponsorship, the crowd ranged under and over the court like in a football terrace, and the flies constantly pestering the players between points.

Connors deliberately double-faulting at 40-15 up was an extraordinary moment. It broke his concentration, while Newcombe stayed fully switched on. And even though Connors did break back that set, something had shifted, and the poise of the match had tilted over to Newcombe.
 

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Newcombe's path to this title was brutal. 30 years old at the time and played three five setters en route to the final. Went 10-8 in the fifth in the quarters and 11-9 in the fifth in the semis (saved MPs in the process too). Three grueling battles only to still have to face the defending champion who had a significant age advantage over him. Yet he still won anyway despite it all. One of the hardest slam wins ever.
 

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WOAT Predictor
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For some reason I always thought Jimmy Connors only ever competed at the AO once, the year he won it, but must've confused him with Bjorn Borg.
But John Newcombe knew how to play on this court, and best the world number 1.
 

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Connors was way too laid back at times, I think he was a little cocky here- a trait he is of course known for.
 

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I've just started this match and already loving it, good quality video to start with.

Some initial observations:

The umpire is so clear with the announcements even repeating the linesman's judgments.
The commentary is also interesting, the Australian accent was a little bit different in the 70s as well.

Newcombe's slice serve is pretty sick, and would really take off well on grass.
 

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Some additional points:

  • Love the touch on Newcombe's BH with the lobs and short slices at times.
  • Connors has a very good two handed BH especially if you give him some time he will burn you with that shot. I suspect part of the reason he was so successful was because of that shot, very effective at making passes that many single handers wouldn't attempt.
  • Connors shouldn't try that smash retreating backward to baseline off a defensive lob, hardly ever worked for him.
  • Likewise it was difficult for him to adjust to balls in the mid court when having to retreat.
  • The rare extended baseline rallies were fun to watch.
  • For some reason, despite the fact that many, many points were ended as service winners/unreturnables, the aces or other well placed serves just "wowed". I don't usually have the same enthusiasm for aces in general in the modern game.
  • Connors' self commentary reminds me a lot of Kyrgios. Quite vocal with himself, and provided some good comic relief.
  • Usually a few poor judgment/execution pts would lead to the breaks. Evident at the end of set 1 with loose volleys at the net by Connors and also set 2 when Newcombe donated a break.
  • In the same vein, unforced errors were typically rare, but often decisive.
  • They don't generally hit the ball "soft" (finesse shots aside), every ball typically has intent and power.
  • Connors seemed to deal with being behind the scoreline fairly well, a bit like Nadal in some ways.
  • Newcombe had a fantastic overhead smash. At 1:09:40, Connors plays a fantastic defensive lob that gets the commentary in awe, but Newcombe dispatches it with ease and causes Connors to exclaim in frustration, "I can't get that one!"
  • This point also showcased some of Connors' amazing footspeed. This match may not have been the greatest to draw attention to this aspect due to the slick surface, but his footspeed sure would help him a great deal on hard court surfaces and clay.
  • As always, the volleys needed to be made very short and low were most difficult to execute, but marvellous when well connected.

To be continued...
 

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  • That game in which Connors "awarded" a pt to Newcombe in the third set proved to be quite a big one (well a contentious pt he gave parity with a subsequent DF. Of course Newcombe probably didn't deserve to lose the pt but then again Connors hit a first serve so a replay would have been apt and made the outcome less contentious). Newcombe did make some big plays to win the game but how it unfolded made it weird to watch. I think Connors thought he could finish that game from 40-30, didn't happen.
  • 0-40 was rare to see for the first three sets. However, two occurred straight - in the serving for the 3rd set game, which Newcombe ended up erasing to deuce (eventually unable to hold), and the following game at *4-5 with Connors attempting to hold.
  • Connors second serve proved to be a particular vulnerability relative to Newcombe's. Newcombe often harassed his FH immediately after the shot on the ad side, with good rewards. On the other hand, Newcombe was far more prone to DFs, usually as a result of overplaying the second serve.
  • Newcombe's FH is quite an interesting shot, like a shovel (reminds me of how Kimiko Date on the women's side plays it), surreptitiously effective at cutting through the court and producing angles at times, and he has a lovely squash approach too on that wing. 1:45:35 a very good example of that.
  • As we have seen too often in the modern game, nerves are not exempt from action. Newcombe again failing to serve out the 4th set, with a championship pt gone begging (though saves a 0-40 before capitulating)
  • Newcombe's risks paid off handsomely in the 4th set tiebreak with a fantastic BH topspin return DTL to grab the first minibreak (rarely played it), and also a big second serve dragging Connors wide for a simple putaway to the open court.
  • Connors rightfully falls on his feet after missing another major lob by an inch or so in the TB at 4-4.
  • Connors returned very well deep in the TB, getting a lot of first returns in. However not capitalising on the SP with an approaching pass that misses, and finally a missed volley to give yet another championship point to Newcombe, who converts. Jimmy's forecourt game isn't shabby but this type of mistake shows and made the difference, albeit a small one.
  • The climax to the 4th set was delightful, with very high quality shots throughout the TB in the 4th set. It had to be down to the wire.
  • Good cheerful speech by Connors as RU. You can't win all the time.
  • Newcombe - soft-spoken guy but very hearty and sincere in what he says, and evident in his character. Diligently humble. Very fit. Love the 70s moustache as well.
  • As much as Connors can be arrogant, he was very well behaved in this match and sporting. Overall a fantastic contested final with a mix of styles and tactics employed, and it's a shame only one could win. I'm glad Newcombe got through this one nonetheless, gave the crowd an amazing contest and champion.
Thanks @DinnerWarrior for such a good suggestion, actually of all the Classic Matches I've rewatched, this one is hands down my favourite out of all these despite being from a considerably different era.

Nice rally here, with Newcombe showcasing the art of the backhand lob:

bloody hilarious when they discuss Connors taking his time after that point. No shot clock in those days, but they didn't need one because they usually got on with it. Amazing what classifies as long rally in those days (still it was a long rally and took numerous pt ending attempts).
 

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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Next Monday's match is Marat Safin vs. Fabrice Santoro at RG 2001, as suggested by @MWW.

The whole match (missing a few games) is here:


There are also highlights here:


@MWW: Would you have time to create the new thread on Monday, with an intro if possible? (Using the usual format for the thread title).
 

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Next Monday's match is Marat Safin vs. Fabrice Santoro at RG 2001, as suggested by @MWW.

The whole match (missing a few games) is here:


There are also highlights here:


@MWW: Would you have time to create the new thread on Monday, with an intro if possible? (Using the usual format for the thread title).
I will set it up on Monday, no problems.

Truth be told, I have actually never watched this match myself so it will be completely new to me. However, as I said earlier the H2H was quite something and knowing how temperamental Marat could be, coupled with Santoro's unique and tricky playstyle plus his home court advantage, I can expect some interesting things, both the good and the bad. Indeed the scoreline says as much.
 

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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I will set it up on Monday, no problems.

Truth be told, I have actually never watched this match myself so it will be completely new to me. However, as I said earlier the H2H was quite something and knowing how temperamental Marat could be, coupled with Santoro's unique and tricky playstyle plus his home court advantage, I can expect some interesting things, both the good and the bad. Indeed the scoreline says as much.
Thank you. I haven't seen this match either, but am intrigued. Looking forward to it a lot.
 

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Way too much clowning from Connors in this one. Ok he was flying high after breaking through in 74, but Jimmy was trying too hard to be the court jester in this one and it cost him
 

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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Way too much clowning from Connors in this one. Ok he was flying high after breaking through in 74, but Jimmy was trying too hard to be the court jester in this one and it cost him
Yes, a lost opportunity, especially when you consider that Borg would soon win his second FO, and that winning slams would become a much tougher prospect for Jimmy and everyone else thereafter.
 

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Newcombe's path to this title was brutal. 30 years old at the time and played three five setters en route to the final. Went 10-8 in the fifth in the quarters and 11-9 in the fifth in the semis (saved MPs in the process too). Three grueling battles only to still have to face the defending champion who had a significant age advantage over him. Yet he still won anyway despite it all. One of the hardest slam wins ever.

... And Connors also had set points in the 4th set tiebreak so it could've been 4 five setters that Newcombe would've had to have won to bag the title..... and play against a younger opponent too in the final.


Now who does that remind me of..... oh yeah,Federer doing that very same thing at the Australian Open in 2017 ;)
 

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Way too much clowning from Connors in this one. Ok he was flying high after breaking through in 74, but Jimmy was trying too hard to be the court jester in this one and it cost him
haha. I enjoyed it for what it was. I pointed out earlier there is much of Kyrgios in the guy. Certainly good entertainment for the crowd. The 3rd set was where it went wrong for him, but I think that one awkward game aside where he "donated" a game, Newcombe was really getting to him with good plays. It could have gone to 5 sets but the right person won. Connors could have won as well if he was a bit more serious, but you couldn't exactly call it his way.
 

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  • I would suggest Ashe-Connors 1975 Wimbledon final for an upcoming week. Never saw the match, but heard lots of good things about it. That , and I have a Head Comp racquet somewhere in my house ! I always liked That racquet, like I love my Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes that I got years ago but never wore even once.
 

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God loves a trier
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
  • I would suggest Ashe-Connors 1975 Wimbledon final for an upcoming week. Never saw the match, but heard lots of good things about it. That , and I have a Head Comp racquet somewhere in my house ! I always liked That racquet, like I love my Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes that I got years ago but never wore even once.
Good shout. Will definitely do that one.
 
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