Saturday, 7 December 2013


Would've been a long match , that's stating the obvious . I recall a rally between Borg and Guillermo Vilas at the French Open in the late 70's that lasted over 120 shots , that's just plain silly when you think about it .....
Too many Tennis players young and old actually 'beat themselves' rather than lose to their opponents . They go for shots that they don't own , most of the time because they want to get the match won sooner than later , a lack of patience, or a lack of fitness. So how do you win against an opponent if you both have a consistent game and mind that that is prepared to go the distance? What happened if you were feeling a little impatient when playing Borg in the 70's and you didn't own an approach shot and volley ? Shaking hands before you started may have been your best option . The French Open Final in 1978 was between the best two clay courters in the World , Borg and Vilas  , the Swede won 6-1,6-1,6-3 , let's put this scoreline into perspective . Vilas was the defending champion , just 12 months earlier he had beaten World number 5 Brian Gottfried , by a similar scoreline of 6-0,6-3,6-0 , a belting in any man's language.
Borg was a rather stubborn man , his mind was one that simply loved to just get two things over the net , his mind plus the ball , he didn't really own a big shot , just a determination to outlast his opponent , he had no other life commitments, he lived for Tennis. 
So what would've happened if Borg played his modern day 'clone' Rafael Nadal in a best of 5 sets in the French Open Final of whatever year was applicable? Personally I can't pick a winner , that's how good both Borg and Rafa were and still are , Borg had the greatest defence in the game , Rafa the same however owns a rather big forehand to push the pace when needed , Borg's forehand was brilliant but not big .
Mats Wilander , Borg's younger Countryman who won the French Open in 1982 that was considered 'the Borg defence' , as Borg retired without defending his 1981 Title , may have got it right when attacking Roger Federer's game plan against Rafa. Mats , who has now turned his hand to commentating openly questioned the tactics of Federer when trying to win the French Title from the Spaniard , he even said that Fed 'lacked balls', tough call but it has merit. Roger should have known his own capabilities , especially against Rafa , he knew he could never beat him from the baseline , so why try , ego?? Another Swede Robin Soderling did Roger the ultimate gesture and beat Rafa in 2009 , paving the way for Federer's sole French Open Title that gave him his personal Grand Slam , but Roger would have preferred to beat Rafa in the final , make no mistake. Wilander's comments got him into all sorts of trouble yet it was taken out of context and I believe even Federer could agree that he played Rafa 'all wrong', a tactical net attack may just have put the Spaniard off his 'groove'. Borg vs Rafa 14-12 in the fifth set , year 'What ever' , unforced errors , a hand full each , winners , not many , hard to hit one against an opponent who stays back . Pity it never took place , one for the History books , and the time keeper.......

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