40 Year Ago
Appreciation & Understanding & Learning
Bjorn Borg at the four minute mark of the first tape misses a relatively easy passing shot and responds with a negative reaction; something that was rarely seen. The speed of the ball was definitely slower yet the display of tennis is a worthy tennis lesson. The Pepsi Grand Slam was a four player exhibition held at Boca West in Boca Raton, Florida. The event was set to have only the Grand Slam champions play but in those days the top players did not play Australia, the event was in December, right before Christmas, and had a much smaller purse than the Grand Slams. The Boca event was played with the top four players in the world. On today's tape, one will see a contrast in players style with Jimmy Connors attacking with approach shots and Borg counter-attacking with passing shots. I was fortunate to attend all but one of the Pepsi Grand Slam events.
Roger Federer, "Today 90 percent of my opponents stay back. Early in my career, that was not the case. Tennis was more interesting when one player would play differently than the other."
Vic Braden,"Today if one player is playing another player who is better than they are from the baseline, they should just mail in the score. They have no variety, no options to change their tactics."
Five months before this exhibition, Connors beat Borg to win the '76 US Open and the match was also played on har-tru, American green clay. In my opinion, players would play better and coaches would coach better if they had an appreciation for tennis history.
In addition to the Borg-Connors highlight clips, check out the third tape which compares the technique of Borg and Federer.
1) Match highlights
2) Match highlights