Mens Tennis Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A fascinating match from Laver's (second) grand slam year of 1969. Also a chance to see Ashe in action at a moment in time very close to the match that featured in the classic book, Levels of the Game. It's also a glimpse into the state of tennis at the dawn of the open era, featuring the best pro and the man that had been the best amateur.

The two had met the previous year at Wimbledon at the same stage, with Laver going on to win the match and the tournament.

The first thing to say is that yes, this 1 hour and 13 minute video shows the whole match! Changeovers have been edited out, but all the points are there. No towelling between points, no ball-bouncing, no prima-donna routines, no inspecting three balls to decide which has marginally less fluff: just fluid, high-intensity tennis. But, yes, it contains 4 sets, including a 9:7 set in the third (no breakers).

That'll do for now, more observations later.

Here's the match:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,981 Posts
just watching, admiring Ashe's passing shots. Great classic serve and volley tennis on display from both
 
  • Like
Reactions: The Federest

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,828 Posts
... You watch the first set and how fluid Ashe is playing with him hitting exquisite backhands and hitting extremely tough serves to return with his nice fluid motion and how he's outplaying Rocket Rod and then wonder how on earth he can get bageled in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
... You watch the first set and how fluid Ashe is playing with him hitting exquisite backhands and hitting extremely tough serves to return with his nice fluid motion and how he's outplaying Rocket Rod and then wonder how on earth he can get bageled in the end.
It's striking, isn't it? Ashe had consistency issues at times, and the fluctuation between brilliant shots and dud ones is very pronounced.

Speaking of Ashe's exquisite backhand, how about these 3 consecutive points?


An absolute BH masterclass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
And Laver's second serve, it is fantastic, looks like to be around 90% of the power of his first serve. I don't remember that at all from my blurred memories of the 60s/70s tennis.

And as I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and learned to make a first serve with both tennis balls in my hand, I see that neither Laver nor Ashe first served with both tennis balls in their hand. What was the percentage of players who did first serves with both tennis balls in their hand back in the late 60s and 70s? I would think a bunch did, but maybe I am wrong about that. It certainly was/is a technique that has totally gone away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Laver's proficiency in every aspect of his game was very much on display. Here's a nice example of his volleying ability:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And here's an equally impressive volley by Ashe:


This point really highlights Ashe's quickness and elegance of movement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Having played cautiously for the first three sets, Laver grew in confidence in the fourth.

Here's a wonderful sliced short-angle return winner on the stretch:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,981 Posts
might I suggest this match in 1984 for the next classic match, the match which stopped McEnroe from nigh on perfection in 1984, the FO final:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,981 Posts
Laver was great in the fourth set, clinical striking as Ashe's level dropped.
 
  • Like
Reactions: The Federest

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
might I suggest this match in 1984 for the next classic match, the match which stopped McEnroe from nigh on perfection in 1984, the FO final:

That's a great call. Will definitely do that match.

I've had a new idea for the series: I though we could try to create a sort of daisy-chain, whereby one player is featured two weeks in a row against different opponents, with that next player then also featured for two weeks in a row.

For example:

Laver - Ashe
Ashe
- Connors
Connors
- McEnroe
McEnroe
- Lendl
Lendl - ???

And so on...

That way, the series would range slowly forward and back in time and might throw up some interesting patterns.

What do you think?

Maybe the Ashe-Connors 1975 Wimbledon final next week (which was suggested a couple of weeks ago)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
Nicolas Mahut was serving with more intensity after 11 hours of play, than Rod Laver here in his first serving game. This has nothing to do with wood or metal rackets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
might I suggest this match in 1984 for the next classic match, the match which stopped McEnroe from nigh on perfection in 1984, the FO final:

I just checked and the full Ashe-Connors final isn't online anywhere. On second thoughts, I suspect that there won't be enough older matches online to do my chain idea. So I'm binning that for now...

So, yes, let's do the 1984 FO final next week. Would you be able to post the new thread on Monday with a brief intro setting the scene?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,981 Posts
I just checked and the full Ashe-Connors final isn't online anywhere. On second thoughts, I suspect that there won't be enough older matches online to do my chain idea. So I'm binning that for now...

So, yes, let's do the 1984 FO final next week. Would you be able to post the new thread on Monday with a brief intro setting the scene?
Ill try to remember :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: The Federest

·
Administrator | Chaos Theory
Joined
·
54,912 Posts
It's striking, isn't it? Ashe had consistency issues at times, and the fluctuation between brilliant shots and dud ones is very pronounced.

Speaking of Ashe's exquisite backhand, how about these 3 consecutive points?


An absolute BH masterclass.
that's clean flash. He looks so handsome in those glasses too.
 

·
Administrator | Chaos Theory
Joined
·
54,912 Posts
Nice display of skill from both players here, finished with a great sprint and touch by Laver:

almost unfair lol, the slice on that was pretty wicked. I didn't think Laver would manage it.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top