Mac Hits the Big 5 Oh
Back in the day we were blessed. Three outstanding tennis players with three different styles of playing and three very different personalities. Bjorn Borg was the baseliner, the 'machine' according to Tennis World. Jimmy Connors was the all-court player, an 'animal' they said, and John McEnroe was the 'artist', a sublime serve and volleyer.

I was a huge Jimmy Connors fan, with the Brooks shoes and the Wilson T2000 racket, but too blinkered to realise that John McEnroe was the greatest talent ever to hold a tennis racket. I had high hopes of Connors beating him in the 1984 Wimbledon final, after all, Connors had defeated him two years earlier in a five-set epic, and had destroyed him at Queens the year before and also beaten him in the final of the Benson and Hedges. Connors was on a London role, but what happened that day was the greatest grass court demolition job ever. 'Death in the sun' I called it, as McEnroe trounced a two-times Wimbledon champion and someone who had been runner-up three times (four after that day). Connors was no slouch, he was a guy who could play on grass, but he was knocked off the court, it was a mugging, a hit-and-run.

So happy birthday, Mac. For being one half of the best Wimbledon final ever - forget last year's - in 1980 we had Borg, we had McEnroe, we had ice-cool verses the volcano, we had serve volleyer verses the baseliner, and we had THAT timebreaker, with all those match points; and we didn't have endless rain interruptions. So here's to him for that final; and for a facing-the-wrong-way backhand against Eliot Teschler at Queen's; and a backhand topspin lob reply against a looping double-handed Borg backhand approach shot in the 1981 US Open final that killed Borg's career stone dead. Right there and then, and don't take my word for it, Billy Jean King, watching that match, said so too.

Thanks, Mac, for the memories, and happy birthday.


By: Ian Hunter On Monday, 16 February 2009 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(1996)