Thursday, 8 May 2014


From 1976 through to 1980 the legendary Swede Bjorn Borg was known to many as the 'Ice Borg', cool under pressure, not a care in the World for a bad line call and seemingly untroubled by anything whatsoever. Jonny McEnroe was always known as the brat with apparent disrespect for opponents, linesmen , umpires and even members of the crowd who bothered the great man. Here's a story that may surprise you;
The Masters semi finals in the US in 1980 saw Borg and Mac play a classic match that at 6 all in the second set saw something rarely seen in tennis. It was 3 points all in the tie breaker when Mac came in off a back hand to Borg's forehand who did what he was famous for and threaded a winner down the line, or so it seemed. Borg's shot however was called long , tough call as the replay seemed to see it hit the line though the vision isn't totally clear. Borg made a trip to the umpire's chair to have a rather awkward conversation with a man who looks as though he could have passed as 'Inspector Clouseau' from the Pink Panther movie .
The next couple of minutes were not only awkward to watch as a spectator but for Jonny Mac they must have felt like pay back for the many times he had done the same to his opponents. Borg's argument was falling on deaf ears though as he received not only one but two point penalties that took Mac to set point at 6 points to 3. The following short rally appeared to see Borg mentally rattled as he missed a routine backhand by a long way to give Mac the second set. The score stood at 6-4 Borg, 7-6 to Mac but what was to follow was possibly the most remarkable thing you will ever see Jonny do on a tennis court.
At 15-0 in the first game of the final set Borg appears to hit an ace but it seems that Borg is not in favour with the linesmen in this match and the serve is called wide. This has now got the 'Ice Borg' at melting point as he makes his way to have another chat with 'Clouseau'. It's a brief chat and Borg accepts the call , goes back and hits a second serve.
Now if you know anything at all about tennis you will know when someone does something deliberately on court , Mac doesn't disguise it too well in this instance. His swing at Borg's second serve is one of those swings that resemble a bloke trying to hit someone's hat off in the crowd, not a genuine attempt to get it back into play. The crowd aren't silly. This action by Mac gets the whole stadium up onto their feet to give him a standing ovation, an acknowledgement by them that despite Mac's reputation he sees that Borg is getting 'mistreated' by officialdom. This was Mac's way of perhaps showing sympathy to a fellow champion regarding dubious line calls that can sway a match in an opponent's favour.
For the record Borg won the final set in a tiebreaker 7 points to 2 , a classic with some unexpected entertainment. So what about 'Clouseau'?? Well he is still waiting for that hand shake from the two Champs. Both Borg and Mac shook hands then ignored the umpire completely as they made their way to their chairs to pick up their bags.
Now rather than me just explain all of this I highly recommend that you have a look at this whole episode on You tube titled ' Borg protesting a point, McEnroe giving one away'.
Borg and Mac , 'fire and ice' they were called, however this time it was a role reversal, one of the more interesting things you will ever see in tennis, worth a look.......

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