Extract from On this day in tennis history by Randy Walker

In the first-ever meeting between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, the 19-year-old McEnroe defeats the 22-year-old Borg 6-3 6-3 in the semifinals of the Stockholm Open in Sweden. The loss marks the first-ever professional loss for Borg to a younger player.
The McEnroe-Borg rivalry becomes one of the greatest in the sport as the two titans square off 14 times in all -each player winning 7 times. The two play in four memorable major finals, McEnroe winning 3 of 4 at the 1980 and 1981 US Open and at Wimbledon in 1981. Their epic final at Wimbledon in 1980 is regarded as one of the greatest matches of all-time, Borg winning his fifth consecutive title in a 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6 epic.
McEnroe wins the Stockholm singles title the next day, defeating fellow American Tim Gullikson 6-2 6-2 in the final.”

Check out what McEnroe had to say about that first match. Extract from his autobiography Serious:

“Some people compare Sampras to Borg. In my mind, there’s no comparison. Even though Pete is one of the greatest players, of all time, Borg, by his presence alone, gave a lot back to the game. His story was incredible too: Who could ever have imagined such a player coming out of Sweden, a country of only eight million people, with a sub-Arctic climate?

He was the best athlete I’ve ever seen on a tennis court – I don’t think people realize how good an athlete he was. And the fact is, he had to be, because his game was bizarre, in a way: running back and forth, well behind the baseline, hitting ball after ball after ball until an angle opened up or the other guy missed. It was so side-to-side, compared to my forward-forward-forward, but Bjorn was so fast he could make up for it.

The first time we played – in the semifinals at the Stockholm Open in November 78 – was a perfect scenario for me, because it was on fast indoor, which wasn’t well suited to his game, particularly against me. I also think he felt pressure playing me in his hometown, in front of a Swedish crowd who’d gotten excited about the game because of him.

The win in Stockholm was a huge win for me – I was the first player younger than Borg to beat him – but it didn’t make me think one bit less of Bjorn. I just felt that I was with the big boys now – and this was the official coronation.”

And 34 years later, the two tennis legends still provide entertaining matches. (photos by Tennis Buzz, Optima Open 2012).

Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

John McEnroe

Bjorn Borg

John McEnroe, 1979 US Open

Extract from John McEnroe’s autobiography, Serious:

On the other side of the draw, Vitas was having a great run: he beat Clerc in the round of 16, Kriek in the quarterfinals, and in the semis, Tanner who had just gotten revenge on Borg for his Wimbledon loss. (It was funny how Vitas could beat guys who had beaten Borg, and yet, when it came down to it, couldn’t handle Borg himself. Tennis always works that way.)

But then in final, Vitas faced me.

I was coming off a year in which I had won three big victories over Connors: in the Masters, at Dallas (where I’d beaten Borg to win the tournament), and now here at the Open, in straight sets in the semis. There’s no other way to say it – I felt it was my time. I was a little uncomfortable about having to play my buddy Vitas in a big match – but not uncomfortable enough to lose.
In the end, it wasn’t even a particularly close match – I won in straight sets 7-5 6-3 and 6-3. In fact, I think that Vitas was more uncomfortable than I was. People were booing because they were angry that Connors and Borg weren’t playing. At that moment they were still the real stars – here we were just two guys from Queens! But I thought it was miraculous: two guys from Queens in the final of the US Open! I was convinced it was never going to happen again (I’m still convinced).

For a couple of years, I’d been working to hang out with Vitas, wondering if I could keep up with him off the court. I’d be trying to be his friend. I looked up to him. And now that I’d blown by him, the victory felt hollow. I had taken something from him. He was still a legitimate number four in the world, but now he was off the mountaintop. Now it was Borg, Connors and me .
Things were never quite the same between Vitas and me after that.

2011 US OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT   /     ROGER FEDERER       -     Arthur Ashe Stadium Court, Flushing  NYC      -      09/03/11

All US Open 2012 posts are tagged US Open and are listed up below:

10 tips for your day at the US Open
US Open trivia

Fashion and gear:

adidas players outfits
Andy Murray adidas outfit
Ana Ivanovic adidas outfit
Fernando Verdasco adidas outfit
Maria Kirilenko adidas outfit
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga adidas outfit
Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit
Kim Clijsters Fila outfit
Roger Federer Nike outfit
Maria Sharapova Nike outfit
Serena Williams Nike outfit
Victoria Azarenka Nike outfit
Petra Kvitova Nike outfit
Li Na Nike outfit
Sam Stosur asics outfit
Novak Djokovic Uniqlo outfit

A trip down memory lane:

Top 5 strange events at the US Open
US Open biggest upsets
1970 US Open: Margaret Court completes the Grand Slam
1971 US Open: Chris Evert becomes the “It Girl”
79 US Open 2nd round: McEnroe vs Nastase, chaos on court
1979 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Vitas Gerulaitis
1980 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg
1981 US Open: Tracy Austin defeats Martina Navratilova
1981 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg: Borg’s last Grand Slam match
Back in 1990: Sabatini and Sampras win their first GS title: part 1part 2
1991 US Open: Connors, 39 qualifies for the semifinals
1991 US Open: Seles and Capriati introduce power in womens tennis
1991 US Open: Stefan Edberg defeats Jim Courier
1992: Stefan Edberg defeats Pete Sampras
1994 US Open 4th round: Jaime Yzaga defeats Pete Sampras
2000 US Open: Marat Safin defeats Pete Sampras
2001 US Open: Venus defeats sister Serena
2001 US Open QF: Andre Agassi – Pete Sampras
2001 US Open: Lleyton Hewitt defeats Pete Sampras
2002 US Open: last Grand Slam title for Pete Sampras
2003 US Open: Roddick wins his first (and only) Grand Slam title
2004 US Open: First time to NYC for a French fan of Agassi
Andre Agassi gives the Open crowd one more thrill ride, August 31st, 2006
2011 US Open by the numbers

Recap and analysis:

Tennis’ Big Three at the US Open
The 2012 US Open favorites and their racquet
First week recap

Polls:

Who will win the 2012 US Open?

  • Roger Federer (39%, 73 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (29%, 54 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (23%, 42 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Juan Martin del Potro (3%, 5 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 1 Votes)
  • John Isner (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 186

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Who will win the 2012 US Open?

  • Serena Williams (35%, 39 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (23%, 25 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (14%, 15 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (11%, 12 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (6%, 7 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Kim Clijsters (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Sam Stosur (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 111

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Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe reminded everyone of their extraordinary rivalry in a special match on Saturday.

John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg from Tennis Buzz on Vimeo.

Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

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Read part 1 of my recap here.

A few pics of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, more coming soon.

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

John McEnroe

Bjorn Borg

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An exciting day of tennis at the Optima Open on Saturday, in front of a sell-out crowd.
3 entertaining matches with:
– 2 players I had never seen play: Mark Philippoussis and Thomas Enqvist
– 2 players I had never seen play against each other: the two legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe
and 2 players I’ve seen countless times: Guy Forget and Henri Leconte

Ballboys warm-up:

Optima Open 2012

Optima Open 2012

Optima Open 2012

First match: Thomas Enqvist vs Mark Philippoussis. The winner of the match will meet Goran Ivanisevic in the final on Sunday.

Former top 20 Sabine Appelmans presenting the players:

Sabine Appelmans

Mark Philippoussis and Thomas Enqvist

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