The best baseliners in history, my top ten

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:41 pm

Now these rankings are based only on a narrow set of requirements covering baseline play. Of course serving, returning, volleys, half volleys, overheads, and drop shots are really not taken into account. That would be deemed outside of the criteria herein judged in the following list. What I did look at here is in forehand, backhand, defense, fitness, consistency, and ability to attack from the back of the court. Now please give your opinions really this a list of players I got a chance to watch so the old boys aren't included lets say circa 1980.

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Federer
4. Borg
5. lendl
6. Agassi
7. Sampras
8. Connors
9. Wilander
10. Murray


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Post by bogbrush on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:44 pm

Equipment changes make this impossible to gauge. Virtually a different game.
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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:45 pm

Well BB, humor me considering their abilities vs. the competition they did face.

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Post by bogbrush on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:47 pm

Impossible to say; how do you compare Connors wielding a tiny bat with dodgy strings with a modern big racquet with miracle strings? Can't be done.
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Post by Danny_1982 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:49 pm

In terms of just baseline play, side to side and ground strokes with depth, accuracy and power... Mr Agassi stands alone in my opinion.

Good top ten though.

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:50 pm

You rate them based on the conditions and technology they possessed you don't rate them on raw miles per hour on the forehand but relative effectiveness in their own period. It is just an exercise for discussion are we only allowed to talk about certain subjects you deem appropriate?

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:50 pm

Danny give me your top 5 and top 10 I would be interested to hear it?

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Post by lydian on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:51 pm

Murray at 10 when there are a plethora of multislammers not on the list including Kuerten or Courier? I'd even say Rios or Kafelnikov were more talented better baseliners too.

Agassi at 6...too low, arguably the best ball striker of the Open Era.

No surprise to see Djokovic not at 3, not at 2, but at 1! Sorry but he's not a patch on Agassi for me. Yeah he's a great marathon man and human metronome but hasn't got 1/10th of Agassi's flair. Nor the Sampras of 93-96 for that matter...
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Post by Spaghetti-Hans on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:53 pm

King Roger should, naturally, be #1 - as you well know Socal warning

'Mighty' Marat Safin should be #2 with 'Double A' - Andre Agassi completing the podium.

The Viper of Belgrade - Novak Djokovic, should only be 4th. 'The Animal' Dave Nalbandian should be on the list as should 'The Beast from the East' - Nikolay Davydenko, along with Lleyton Hewitt. 'No Weapons' Nadal has no business in the Top 10 - give his spot to the True King of Clay, Guillermo Coria.

clap

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:54 pm

I think Murray the new version I have seen over the last 12 months is good enough for the top 10 it was a close call with him and Courier and Kuerten would be 11 and 12 respectively, but this is a top 10 list and some cuts had to be made. agassi I agree but I feel like he is close between him and lendl for top 5 I went with lendl consistency and his speed for a man his size. That one was very close i admit your could flip agassi and lendl or even place him as high as 4 and I would have little qualms with the list.

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:59 pm

Spaghetti-Hans wrote:King Roger should, naturally, be #1 - as you well know Socal warning

'Mighty' Marat Safin should be #2 with 'Double A' - Andre Agassi completing the podium.

The Viper of Belgrade - Novak Djokovic, should only be 4th. 'The Animal' Dave Nalbandian should be on the list as should 'The Beast from the East' - Nikolay Davydenko, along with Lleyton Hewitt. 'No Weapons' Nadal has no business in the Top 10 - give his spot to the True King of Clay, Guillermo Coria.

clap

I love it Spaghetti Dave Nalbandian is certinally animal any time you find him in a buffet line. Not top ten material but yes a great ball striker from the back of the court. Good work spaghetti your levity is much needed with some of these stick in the muds.

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Post by lydian on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:01 am

Sorry socal but a 35 yo Agassi ran prime Federer close at USO2005...you forget how good he was. Don't go off his 8 slams...that was underachievement. He's the only man to win all slams as they were, and from the baseline. There is no way Djokovic is beating Goran at Wimb92 with those Western grips. And by way of this, don't forget that Sampras could easily live with, and often beat, Agassi from the baseline. This isn't as straight forward as you think socal...
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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:02 am

Agassi biggest problem in my rankings is he was not really a very good defensive player and he loses some points for consistency as well. But again very easily could be in the top 4 or 5 tough choices in those positions.

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:03 am

Again I agree about sampras I rated the man pretty highly Lydian, I just feel like Nadal, Djoko, and Fed have taken baseline play to another level over those guys although those players are still incredible from the back, namely sampras and agassi. I don't think I deemed their abilities from the back.

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Post by lydian on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:04 am

When you can blow people off court with the power of your groundstrokes you don't have to be quite as defensive as some. Would you rather rate mediocrity across all parameters above one of the best ball strikers the game has seen?
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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:07 am

Again I rate ballstriking in attack and I also in my criteria put defense as part of the criteria and here agassi is behind a lot of the guys rated above him. If it was pure attack baseline play agassi would be up even higher than his 6 position. But this list factors in offense and defense that is how wilander made the list on strength of his defense.

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:07 am

Is your ability to cover the baseline not part of baseline play?

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Post by lydian on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:12 am

Agassi was no slouch at defence as his being #1 at 33yo proved in 2003-4 when courts had already slowed...
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Post by Guest on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:13 am

Screech at the top.

Good joke thumbsup

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:14 am

No slouch agreed but I would say well behind borg, djoko, fed, and Nadal. Agassi gets hurt a bit on his consistency that plays into the factoring I measuring all the versions of agassi not just his best run of form, the average so to speak.

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:14 am

emancipator wrote:Screech at the top.

Good joke thumbsup


I love it emancipator you must have been a big saved by the bell fan, we don't dress that way in southern california by the way.

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Post by Guest on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:16 am

Agassi>>>>>>>>>>Screech

The guy could dictate from the baseline like no other.

Much more skilled than Screech who basically is a road runner.

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 12:18 am

Where would you place screech, agassi, fed, and Nadal then Emancipator, how would you chose between all these baseliners?

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Post by bogbrush on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 7:15 am

socal1976 wrote:You rate them based on the conditions and technology they possessed you don't rate them on raw miles per hour on the forehand but relative effectiveness in their own period. It is just an exercise for discussion are we only allowed to talk about certain subjects you deem appropriate?
But you're not, you're rating them based on what you see on the TV. Screech relies on his modern equipment to get so etching on those retrieval balls, without it he'd be nothing like the same player. He'd probably play in the forecourt.

There is no way you'd put Agassi anywhere outside the top two otherwise.
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Post by Guest on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 8:20 am

Very ambitious and generous ratings I have to say. Djokovic would struggle to make my top 5.

1) Andre Agassi
2) Bjorn Borg
3) Ivan Lendl
4) Roger Federer
5) Rafael Nadal

In fairness beyond that is a flip of a coin. For me these 5 easily the best 5 baseliners I have seen. As lydian said Agassi won the Slams when the surfaces were varied in every aspect. Djokovic has profited in the same way Nadal did. Once all the surfaces became hominginised, varying styles have become extinct almost. Lendl, Agassi and Borg achievements within the Slams are ridiculously amazing. Limited equipment and varying conditions. Maybe not so much in Agassi's case, but still the conditions and given the age factor too makes it the more impressive. After them you would put Nadal and Federer given their sheer consistency in the Slams and Masters events and maybe Sampras not far behind.

Murray should be nowhere near the top 10.

When we rank players, not so much think of the numbers or the competition, but the era. Era is not defined by just the strength of the players because that varies, but the conditions, equipment, the tour. Many Master events used to be BO5. This again limits Djokovic's achievements to some extent. All factors I think are not considered enough when trying to promote the achievements of a favoured player.

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 8:28 am

I wouldn't categorise Fed or Sampras as baseliners, so I'd leave them off my list.
My top 3 would be Borg, Agassi, Nadal, in no particular order.
Then Connors/Lendl
Then Wilander/Djokovic
Then Hewitt/Courier

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Post by time please on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 9:09 am

I know this is a boy centric forum, but you can't have a best baseliner thread and not mention Chrissie Evert - no-one could paint the lines, time after time with as much accuracy as her!

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Post by Guest on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 9:10 am

I did toy with the idea TP. I even made room for Serena Williams Very Happy

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 9:15 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:I did toy with the idea TP. I even made room for Serena Williams Very Happy

That's a lot of room.

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Post by Guest on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 9:17 am

JuliusHMarx wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:I did toy with the idea TP. I even made room for Serena Williams Very Happy

That's a lot of room.

Wink

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Post by bogbrush on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 10:06 am

JuliusHMarx wrote:I wouldn't categorise Fed or Sampras as baseliners, so I'd leave them off my list.
My top 3 would be Borg, Agassi, Nadal, in no particular order.
Then Connors/Lendl
Then Wilander/Djokovic
Then Hewitt/Courier
I have to go with those top three. If you weren't allowed to cross the service line I'm not sure how anyone would have beaten Agassi at his best.
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Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 10:11 am

socal1976 wrote:

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Federer
4. Borg
5. lendl
6. Agassi
7. Sampras
8. Connors
9. Wilander
10. Murray

Wilander was a moonballer. Laughable choice really. And Murray, I wouldn't put him in top 10 today. Sampras wasn't a baseliner but a S&V player instead. You rate him above Courier and Guga?? Now it is apparent that your tennis knowledge is seriously impaired.
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Post by newballs on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:20 pm

Agreed putting Sampras on a list of top baseliners is laughable.

Courier needs to be on that list (often gets overlooked that the had a red hot spell in the hard court and French Open slams in the early 90s) and quite why Hewitt isn't there either is rather baffling.


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Post by User 774433 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:34 pm

Very difficult to compare with chancing technologies etc.
I've done best from each decade
1970's: Borg
1980's: Lendl
1990's: Agassi
Noughties: Nadal

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Post by User 774433 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:38 pm

Socal, I'm not entirely sure what Sampras is doing on this list lol.
If he was playing on slower surfaces where rallying and building up the point was more important, then he would have struggled (ie Nadal may have struggled if he had to S&V).

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:41 pm

Connors, Agassi and Nadal are the only 3 baseliners to have won slams on 3 different surfaces, I believe. Hence I put Connors up there with Lendl.

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Post by User 774433 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:42 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:Connors, Agassi and Nadal are the only 3 baseliners to have won slams on 3 different surfaces, I believe. Hence I put Connors up there with Lendl.
Yes but Borg won the FO-Wimbledon duo; which at the time is probably a bigger difference in surface than all three surfaces now.

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:46 pm

Which is why I put Agassi, Borg and Nadal at the top (see my list above), then Connors/Lendl. It just seems unfair on Connors to leave him off the list because he straddled 2 decades - I would rate him slightly above Lendl overall.

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Post by User 774433 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 1:48 pm

Fair enough OK

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Post by CAS on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 2:18 pm

I wouldn't put Federer or Sampras in that list, despite them being excellent baselines I would not categorise them as that. If the courts were faster you wouldn't see Roger at the baseline nearly as much, where as proper baselines will stay there no matter how fast the court

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Post by coolpixel on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 3:02 pm

Lendl Agassi Borg top 3. Djokovic not number 1 for sure

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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 4:00 pm

Jeremy_Kyle wrote:
socal1976 wrote:

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Federer
4. Borg
5. lendl
6. Agassi
7. Sampras
8. Connors
9. Wilander
10. Murray


Ahhh, Moonballer, I forgot if you use the word moonballer you have a heightened opinion of your own tennis knowledge. The fact that you wouldn't put Wilander was a moonballer. Laughable choice really. And Murray, I wouldn't put him in top 10 today. Sampras wasn't a baseliner but a S&V player instead. You rate him above Courier and Guga?? Now it is apparent that your tennis knowledge is seriously impaired.

Djokovic or Nadal on the list shows your complete lack of tennis knowledge. Sampras stays on the list he moved very well from the back of the court and had one of the top 5 forehands of all time, combine that with a backhand that he could belt winners from although it could break down on a slower court. Exceptional player from the back of the court. I would rate his forehand as good or better than Andre's just watch the two play each other and you will see that Andre got little joy going cross court with his forehand into Pete's forehand. The use of moonballer and the complete dismissal of Djoko and Nadal shows your lack of knowledge.

Djoko easily most complete of all these players from the baseline, You don't have to just have been a baseline only player to be a great player from the baseline. But if you look at Djoko forehand, backhand, defense all combined just the complete package. Easy change of direction off of both wings. But I forgot you used the term moonballer so that means you are smart when it comes to tennis, lol!

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Post by bogbrush on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 4:15 pm

Yeah, and that Jimmy Connors couldn't do that stuff had nothing to do with his garbage equipment.

Seriously, do you actually think Djokovic would be doing all that stuff with a Dunlop wooden racquet, or Jimmys Wilson T2000 Steel monstrosity? The way you trip it out suggests you think he's the only player so far who would have been able to do all that even if they all had the same gear.

To Julius, I also put Connors above Lendl, when it really mattered when those two met Connors normally had the edge, even allowing for age (until he could barely move).


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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 4:16 pm

newballs wrote:Agreed putting Sampras on a list of top baseliners is laughable.

Courier needs to be on that list (often gets overlooked that the had a red hot spell in the hard court and French Open slams in the early 90s) and quite why Hewitt isn't there either is rather baffling.


Courier v. Murray was a tough call. I actually view courier as you say to be vastly underrated but I feel like Murray with an improved forehand would clearly have a superior backhand and a speed advantage, in many ways I did give murray credit for accomplishments I forsee him getting in the future. If I did this list last year, I would not have murray on the list and he would be two or three notches for certain lower. But I view his forehand as being much improved. By the way murray has won more master's and has played in one less grandslam final than jim courier. The numbers will even out in slams between the two. But murray to an extent is the one guy who got points rightly or wrongly because of my prognostication of where he is headed. Hewitt doesn't have the weight of shot of most of the players in the top 10.

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Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 4:33 pm

socal1976 wrote:
newballs wrote:Agreed putting Sampras on a list of top baseliners is laughable.

Courier needs to be on that list (often gets overlooked that the had a red hot spell in the hard court and French Open slams in the early 90s) and quite why Hewitt isn't there either is rather baffling.


But murray to an extent is the one guy who got points rightly or wrongly because of my prognostication of where he is headed. Hewitt doesn't have the weight of shot of most of the players in the top 10.

Wow, sorry if I knew your prognostication I would have probably changed my mind.

If you think Wilander had more pace than say Hewitt or Kafelnikof or Safin, i would seriously recommend to spent less time writing on a forum and more watching past players in action.
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Post by lydian on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 5:29 pm

Sampras was good at the baseline, excellent actually, however he wasn't a BASELINER. So is exempt from this list. Likewise Federer.

I cant go much beyond Agassi - Nadal - Borg. Borg is lower down because he was more an all court player than Agassi or Nadal. Lendl was good but hey the other 3 have better records IMO.
Djokovic is top 10 but further down. Kuerten has to be in there, as does Courier - as does Wilander, he was very effective from the baseline indeed....and you cant have Lendl in there without Wilander given Mats was his nemesis/victor on many occasions. I'd also put Connors a little lower because again he was more all-court than many of the others.

So, something like...

1. Agassi
2. Nadal
3. Borg
4. Lendl
5. Wilander
6. Connors
7. Djokovic
8. Courier
9. Kuerten
10. Hewitt
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Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 5:49 pm

Ok Federer is a completely or lets say 90 percent baseline player. How exactly is the guy who plays 90 percent of the points from the baseline not a baseliner? This isn't about just baseline players again the list is meant to measure all players and rank them on their baseline play. These are the criteria I chose for my list. Sampras ok he was an S and V guy, federer volleys frequently but plays the vast, vast majority of points from the back of the court. Connors in his day volleyed more than fed does today, connors and borg woud be considered serve and volleyers today. So what? Federer is a power baseliner despite all of your protestations otherwise. Facts are facts he is not and has not been a net rusher by any stretch of the imagination.

As for Connors BB, even in his day with their technology connors' forehand was not particularly highly rated. Where as Djoko has a top 5 possibly top 3 forehand in the game. Again just measuring the effectiveness in their own era.

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The best baseliners in history, my top ten Empty Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 5:51 pm

Jeremy_Kyle wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
newballs wrote:Agreed putting Sampras on a list of top baseliners is laughable.

Courier needs to be on that list (often gets overlooked that the had a red hot spell in the hard court and French Open slams in the early 90s) and quite why Hewitt isn't there either is rather baffling.


But murray to an extent is the one guy who got points rightly or wrongly because of my prognostication of where he is headed. Hewitt doesn't have the weight of shot of most of the players in the top 10.

Wow, sorry if I knew your prognostication I would have probably changed my mind.

If you think Wilander had more pace than say Hewitt or Kafelnikof or Safin, i would seriously recommend to spent less time writing on a forum and more watching past players in action.

What are you talking about I watched them play when it happened and I remember their strengths and weaknesses quite well, did you watch them compete regularly in their prime?

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The best baseliners in history, my top ten Empty Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 5:53 pm

OH come lydian please justify putting wilander a power less grinder in his OWN DAY in the same class as Djokovic? I find that one a bit indefensible what exactly did Mats wilander have over Djokovic? Even when he was playing he was one of the dullest players who had real difficulty finishing points even in faster conditions. Djokovic hits way more aggressively and positions himself way more aggressively than Wilander considering the different periods.

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The best baseliners in history, my top ten Empty Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 05 Feb 2013, 6:00 pm

Sampras' baseline play was exposed a bit by his lack of success on clay. Yes, he had a great forehand, but he's still not in my top 10.

It's very hard to know how good any of the 80s/90s players would have been with today's technology and science. When Djoko hit one of his stretching, leg-splitting, forward-facing backhands at the AO, the commentators were in awe...of his abdominal strength. I doubt Connors or Borg gave a great deal of thought to having maximum abdominal strength or would have had the science to reach it.

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