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.

Extract: Serious by John McEnroe

Some people talk about my 6-1 6-2 6-2 destruction of Connors in the 1984 Wimbledon as my greatest match ever, but the truth is – between you and me – I thought Jimmy was just a little flat that day.
I was also having one of those days, when everything seemed to be going almost too right. I got out of bed in the morning feeling great, and in my practice session, the ball looked as big as a cantaloupe. Since I always manage to worry when things are going well, I stopped the session early – I was afraid of leaving my best stuff in practice.

But it just kept getting better.
In fairness, Connors had had a tough semi against Lendl, a four-set slugfest on a very hot afternoon,while I had won in three agaisnt that feisty Aussie whippersnapper Pat Cash. Cash was a tough serve-and-volleyer in that great Down-Under tadition, still a little green at nineteen, but a great athlete and a fine tennis player. I thought he was a comer – especially after he shouldered me on a changeover during the second-set tiebreaker. That, I felt, was a very interesting move: here I was, number one in the world, a two-time Wimbledon champ, one of the game’s grand old men at twenty five … This kid’s got the right attitude, I thought.

Meanwhile, my attitude had utterly changed. I had wasted too much energy at the French by getting angry, I realized; from the first match at the All England Club that year, I was determined not to do anything that would derail me from avenging Roland Garros – my only loss in fifty-two matches so fa in ’84 – and winning my hat-trick Wimbledon. I was on a five-match winning steak against Jimmy, and I felt confident I could make it six.
I just didn’t know it would be so easy.

The heat wave had continued, but I was hotter than the weather that Sunday afternoon. From the start, Connors just couldn’t find his rhythm, while I was serving unbelievably well – slicing it wide, popping it up in the middle, doing whatever I wanted. I hit seventy-four percent of my first serves in the match, with ten aces and no double faults. I had three –three – unforced errors in the match.

That’s the best I ever played

I said in the press conference afterward. It was also the best I’d ever acted at Wimbledon: The London tabloids dubbed me ‘Saint John‘.

From McEnroe‘s autobiography Serious:

Connors was never intimidated by anyone – at least he never looked that way – and he was in the midst of an amazing year. From the jump, we played a very aggressive final, nothing like either of my last two against Borg, where the play had been more consistently fine, but also more subdued.
Every match I ever played against Jimmy was like a prizefight. At Wimbledon that day, I was ahead two sets to one, we went to tiebreaker in the fourth, and then I was three points from winning the match. Yet somehow, I just could’t dig deep enough to pull it out – maybe Jimmy was just hungrier. In retrospect, I should’ve said to myself, ‘Don’t let it go to a fifth set – stop him here or you’re finished.’

But I didn’t stop him, and when we went to the fifth, I think my body language showed what I was really feeling: between my ankle and my state of mind, I had done well just getting this far in the tournament. And that was as far as I went in the longest final in Wimbledon history.
Connors pulled off an amazing feat – he won his second Wimbledon eight years after his first – and I would have to wait another twelve months before I could prove I wasn’t a flash in the pan.”

Wimbledon Centre Court

All Wimbledon 2012 posts are tagged Wimbledon and are listed up below:

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club:

Wimbledon guided tour – part 1
Wimbledon guided tour – part 2
Wimbledon Centre Court roof
Court 3 : a new Show Court at Wimbledon
Waiting in the Queue to Wimbledon
Wimbledon Museum: The Queue exhibition
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum: Player Memorabilia

Fashion and gear:

Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit for Wimbledon 2012
Rafael Nadal Nike oufit
Roger Federer Nike oufit
Maria Sharapova Nike dress
Serena Williams Nike dress
Petra Kvitova Nike oufit
Li Na Nike oufit
adidas players outfits: Ivanovic, Kirilenko, Murray and Tsonga
Kim Clijsters Fila Collection

Marketing

Wimbledon 2012 Sponsorship Activation
Evian launches the ball hunt for fans to win tickets to Wimbledon

A trip down memory lane:

Wimbledon Trivia
Wimbledon past champions: stats and records
Wimbledon ‘s biggest upsets
Rod Laver – John Newcombe Wimbledon 1969
Bjorn Borg – Ilie Nastase Wimbledon 1976
Virginia Wade, Britain’s last Wimbledon champion
1981: First Wimbledon title for McEnroe
1982: Jimmy Connors defeats John McEnroe
1984: John McEnroe defeats Jimmy Connors
Wimbledon 1991: the first Middle Sunday
1992: first Grand Slam for Andre Agassi
1993: Pete Sampras defeats Jim Courier
2000 Wimbledon SF: Pat Rafter defeats Andre Agassi
2000 Wimbledon Final: Pete Sampras defeats Pat Rafter
2001 Wimbledon 4th round: Federer defeats Sampras
The Spirit of Wimbledon: a 4-part documentary by Rolex retracing Wimbledon history

Recap and analysis:

The biggest upset in tennis history: Rosol defeats Rafael Nadal

Polls:

Who will win Wimbledon 2012?

The good:

A sunny first week filled with big upsets and emotions

The feel good story of the tournament: Virginie Razzano

Prior to the 2011 French Open’s start, Razzano’s fiancé Stéphane Vidal died of a brain tumor. He had encouraged her to go ahead and enter the tournament, so she did, honoring his memory by stepping on court to play, but lost in the first round.
At the 2012 French Open, Razzano handed Serena Williams her first-ever first-round defeat at a major. Razzano came back from a set and 1-5 down in the second-set tie-break to emerge victorious 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. She was up 5-0 in the final set at one point and needed eight match points to close out the match. She lost to Arantxa Rus in the second round.

Maria Sharapova:
Despite her countless magazine covers, numerous contracts with Nike, Tiffany, Canon and co, Sharapova’s main goal is to win tennis trophies. She beat surprise finalist Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open title and become the 10th woman with a career Grand Slam.

Maria Sharapova

Novak Djokovic:
He could have been the first man since Rod Laver to hold the 4 Grand Slam trophies at the same time, but Nadal was just better than him in final.

Sam Stosur:
Another great performance in Paris for Sam… until her nervous breakdown in semifinals against Errani. She has vowed to use the pain of another French Open heartache (remember that final against Schiavone?) as the spur to one day reign supreme in Paris.

Sam Stosur

David Ferrer: a bittersweet performance for Ferru: he reached the semifinals for the first time at Roland Garros, but Nadal was merciless and dismantled him 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Sara Errani: it was the Slam of a lifetime for Errani. She beat two former French open champions (Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova) and two top 10 players (Angelique Kerber and Sam Stosur) en route for her first Grand Slam final. I really doubt she will repeat her performance at another Grand Slam, but you never know with these Italian players…
She also teamed with Roberta Vinci to win the doubles title, beating Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 4 match points against Djokovic and a ton of regrets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Sloane Stephens:
The 19-year-old American showed great potential and advanced to the fourth round for the first time in a Grand Slam. Could she be the “Next Great Thing” in American tennis?

Sloane Stephens

Arnaud Clément:
Beaten by David Goffin in the second round, Clement, 34, played his last Roland Garros. He is one of the favorite (along Cédric Pioline) to be named France’s new Davis Cup captain.

Arnaud Clement

The bad:

A second week wasted by rain and by the questionable decisions made regarding the schedule (Tsonga-Wawinka, Nadal-Djokovic…)

Serena Williams:
Serena Williams was 46-0 in first-round matches at Grand Slams before her stunning loss to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros.

Roger Federer:
Even though he reached the semifinals again and passed Jimmy Connors for the most Grand Slam wins in the Open Era ( 237 for Federer, 233 for Connors), Roger Federer never looked like a real contender the past two weeks.
Beaten in straights by Novak Djokovic, the Swiss hasn’t won a Grand Slam in over two years. Can he bounce back at Wimbledon?

Roger Federer

Juan-Martin Del Potro: he lead Federer by two sets to love, and then completely disappeared without a fight

Juan Martin Del Potro

Andy Murray:
Journalists keep talking and talking and a talking about the Big 4. In my opinion, they should stop, there are only three dominant players on the men’s circuit. In the way he plays, in his attitude, in his results, Andy Murray is far far away from Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

Andy Murray

Jelena Jankovic: Ousted by Varvara Lepchenko in the second round. Who remembers she was once the world number one?

Jelena Jankovic

The king:

Rafael Nadal:
7th Roland Garros title, 11th Grand Slam title and 50th career title. He’s also the 4th player to win a Slam title for 8 years in a row, joining Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.

Rafael Nadal